On this page: Summary of Purpose - Programs - Progress - People - Plan

Purpose / Mission

To empower citizens, communities, and country

Vision Summary

  1. Students, professionals, and other citizens learn Best-Self Leadership, write a basic Plan for School and the 7 Areas of Life, and use a process to set resolutions, including Master Goliaths–attendance and achievement increase, including school and college graduation.
  2. Students learn the “who and where” of founding National Veterans Day in Alabama plus Character Traits connected to Freedom of Liberty, Freedom of Rights, and Freedom to Flourish.
  3. Advance Alabama for three national movements related to Freedom historically rooted here, adding education to events for Veterans Day, Civil Rights, and Plan for School & Life to create positive national branding before the World Games in Alabama 2021.

Programs / 7 Areas of Calling

I. Planning, Doing our best, Developing Character & Competence, Making Comebacks

1. Best-Self Leadership

2. Plan for School & 7 Areas of Life

3. Master Your Goliaths

II. Patriotism, Veterans Day Founding History & Character Education, Freedom of Liberty & Rights = Freedom to Flourish, Advance Alabama

4. Patriotism in Action

5. Veterans Day Founding History & Character Education

6. Freedom Lives/Freedom to Flourish

7. Advance Alabama

Additionally, Life Leaders has initiatives supporting our callings and country.

Progress Highlights

Best-Self Leadership and Plan for Life:

  1. Developed and teach 7 best practices each for Personal Leadership, True Professionalism, and Best-Self Leadership.
  2. Organized the first lecture in Alabama of Dr. Stephen Covey, author of the best-selling book on personal leadership, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, hosted at Birmingham-Southern College, 1993.
  3. Presented Dr. Ken Blanchard, author of The One Minute Manager, Situatational Leadership, and many more….
  4. Presented Mr. Hyrum Smith, Chairman, Franklin Institute (Franklin-Covey) and Dr. Denis Waitley, military pilot and author of The Psychology of Winning.
  5. Provided 250+ public events on planning, leadership, patriotism…
  6. Developed teaching models on the 7 Areas of Life, Empowerment, Motivating Values, 7 Levels of Leadership, Callings & Choices, plus assessments of TIME, Attitude & Ability, Financial Fitness….
  7. Launched the Plan for School & Life initiative to promote people planning and improving plus help educators help students write and internalize plans needed for college, career, and citizenship readiness.
  8. Provide Master Your Goliaths planbooks, instruction, and coaching (Veterans Making Comebacks–homeless and/or challenged by PTSD or trauma–and provide resources for service organizations).
  9. Presented and coached 100+ seminars for homeless veterans making comebacks at Three Hots and a Cot Veteran Center
  10. Longest-running organization in Alabama focused on advancing Best-Self Leadership, Planning for School & Life, and National Veterans Day Founding Education.

After “911” attacks on America–added Patriotism in Action, National Veterans Day History and Character Education, Freedom Lives/Freedom City, Branding Birmingham, Advance Alabama:

  1. Wrote and published Patriotism in Action, a patriotic guide featuring the history of starting National Veterans Day in Alabama and 10 character traits to teach.
  2. Wrote and published Professionalism Under Stress to organize lessons from college, corporate, and combat for use in military and civilian life for serious professionals, emerging leaders, mentors, and family members.
  3. Organized the first event added to National Veterans Day traditions since 1947: Tribute to the Founder (“Driving Force”) of Veterans Day, November 10, Birmingham, 2006-.
  4. Led the campaign of education and legislation to the U.S. Senate through Senators Sessions and Shelby that restored officially Alabama’s legacy for starting National Veterans Day in 1947 (U.S. Senate Resolution passed November 2012).
  5. Leader of Advance Alabama initiative for unique contributions as the only state to have led on national movements for both Veterans Day and Civil Rights (Freedom of Liberty and Rights), plus solutions for Freedom to Flourish.

More complete progress report

 Plan Highlights

I. Preparation for School, Profession, Life, Citizenship, Leadership

  • Plan for School and the 7 Areas of Life: so students write a plan in school to inspire and guide them with improved attitude, attendance, and achievement, help parents and counselors know intent and advise better, plus help students communicate, attract, and match with college and career opportunities. Retention, graduation, preparation.
  • Best-Self Leadership: so students and professionals learn common denominators of doing our best regardless of academic, professional, or other life choice with a written strategy for doing our best we can use and teach. Citizens are better prepared to serve.
  • Master Your Goliaths: so people learn a process they can use and teach to set resolutions to help them develop and achieve, assess and change, and overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges to benefit them and society.
  • Plan and personal leadership experiences on a Ranch and Farm: so more people seeking to develop. change, or make comebacks can renew and improve with animals, plants, nature.

II. Patriotism, Character Traits, Freedom of Liberty-Rights-Flourish 

  • Patriotism in Action: so more people take action as well as feel patriotic spirit as we provide events promoting personal leadership, true professionalism, and appreciation for patriots and freedoms.
  • Veterans Day History and Character Education: so students learn the national history (who, when, where) of America’s Veterans Day starting in Alabama connected to character traits (Patriotism, Courage, Perseverance, Citizenship, Loyalty as well as Freedom, Peace, Honor, Trust, Leadership).
  • Freedom to Flourish: so more students know they are free to flourish because of liberty and rights and learn how with a plan for life using best-self leadership.
  • Advance Alabama: proposal to leaders of Alabama, particularly education, government, tourism and commerce calling for us to take action before World Games 2021.

More on Mission Vision Goals

Core Capabilities and Services

  1. Equipping of Leaders, Teachers, Students, Parents, Boards, Supporters, Community Servant Leaders with advice and assistance.
  2. Best-Self Leadership Education & Development Lectures, Seminars, Courses, Books, Assessments, Tools, and online public service resources
  3. Planning, Leadership, and Community development training, consulting, and service projects for Boards & Professionals.
  4. Publications on Planning, Best-Self Leadership, Professionalism Under Stress, 7 Steps to Set Achievable Resolutions and Master Goliaths, Veterans Making Comebacks, Earning and Delegating Empowerment, Motivating Values, TIME….
  5. America’s Veterans Day Founding in Alabama History, Character Education, and National Branding, with books, posters, videos, and consulting for teachers and educational leaders.
  6. Patriotism in Action events for Veterans Day education and patriots.
  7. Alabama’s national contributions for Freedom—Veterans Day (Liberty), Human and Civil Rights (Rights), Plan for School & Life (Flourish).

Core Programs, Events, Initiatives

  • Institute Research-Publication-Teaching-Service for Personal Leadership & Plan for Life, 1988-
  • Association-Public Seminars on Personal Leadership (250+ or 10+ annually 25+ years), 1992- 2017 
  • Personal Leadership for Patriots Public Event, November 2001-
  • Professionalism Under Stress book, inspired 2001, published 2003-
  • Patriotism in Action book, inspired 2001, published 2003-
  • Patriotism in Action program, events, services, inspired 2001, launched 2002, published book 2003-
  • Tribute to the Founder (“Driving Force”) of Veterans Day (prior to National Veteran Award Banquet), 2006-
  • Veterans Day Founding in Alabama History, Character Education, and National Branding Project, U.S. Senate Resolution, 2012-
  • Master Your Goliaths (Veterans Making Comebacks…), 2014-
  • Freedom Lives web site for birthplace of Veterans Day and cradle of Civil Rights Movement, 2013-
  • Freedom to Flourish classes, presentations, online resources, 2014-
  • Freedom City initiative (seeking positive sustainable brand for 3 freedoms in Birmingham before World Games 2021), 2014-
  • Ranch & Farm education programs added to support development such as students learning life leadership with animals and agricultural sustainability and personal leadership in college classes, 2017-

Organizational Development History

Seeds of a Calling planted and growing
  • David inspired by the writings of Napoleon Hill and prolific people advocating teaching common denominators of doing our best at home, school, work, and places of worship connected to spiritual teachings on using our “talents” 1973
  • Personal study, use, and advocacy of best practices at Auburn U through student government and fraternity service
  • National fraternity consultant working with students and alumni adding planning and personal leadership to chapter management work in 20 states
  • Organized and published The Career Planner organizer and taught seminars for students, bookstore managers, and other professionals, learning needs for college seniors in planning, professional development common across USA
  • Higher education administration, part-time teaching in planning/management, and advocacy of Life Planning and Leadership in work at Birmingham-Southern College, 7 years
  • Doctoral studies at Vanderbilt in higher education administration with courses in teaching, student development, curriculum, and dissertation on Time Priorities of College Presidents at the U.S. New & World Report “best institutions” in the South, learning and sharing correlation in the success and longevity in office of presidents based on what David calls Time-Priority Leadership.
  • TV interviews and articles published in the Association of Governing Boards showed interest by policy makers and public.
Institute and Association
  • Institute launched after Dr. David Dyson completed doctoral studies in educational leadership at Vanderbilt University (research, publication, service) to advance Best-Self Leadership and Plans for Life–focusing on coaching, training, consulting, 1988
  • Launched learning and improvement interest group with Johnny Johnson, BSC VP Business, 1991
  • Founded Personal Leadership Association with monthly seminars and volunteerism for public, 1992
  • Incorporated with board of trustees, 1992
  • Launched Patriotism in Action, Veterans Day Education, and Freedom Lives after “Sept 911” attacks, 2001
  • Applied and approved as 501 (c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization Life Leaders America based in Alabama, 2012.

People Serving and Supporting

  • Col. Bob Barefield (USA Ret): (205)305-9561
  • Dr. David Dyson, founder and director: (205)422-6484 or
  • Mr. Melvin Carrington Smith, Sr.: (205)276-3333

Trustees in memoriam:

  • Col. C.H. “Stretch” Dunn (USA Retired), West Point Graduate, career Army, BE&K…
  • Mr. Johnny Johnson, VP, Business and Finance, Birmingham-Southern College
  • Mr. Hack Sain, Founder & CEO, Sain Associates

Financial Partners


  • Alabama Power Company
  • Alabama Power Foundation
  • Caring Foundation of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama
  • City of Birmingham
  • Daniel Foundation of Alabama
  • Joe Griffin Foundation
  • Mike and Gillian Goodrich Foundation
  • Protective Life
  • Tribal Council and Education Endowment of Poarch Creek Indians
  • Welch Hornsby
  • Trustees, Members, Donors

Major individual donors: Mr. and Mrs. John (Virginia) Hornsby, Dr. Susan Gubert, Dr. David Dyson


Sponsors of Leadership and Professional Development Programs helping us presenting authors and speakers in Alabama–Dr. Stephen Covey, Dr. Ken Blanchard, Mr. Hyrum Smith, Dr. Denis Waitley, hosted at Birmingham-Southern College (1993, 1994, 1995)–we donated tickets to students and volunteers, contributed to the BSC Center for Leadership Studies, plus earned operating monies:

  • BellSouth
  • Birmingham-Southern College
  • Parisian


  • Alabama Power Company
  • Southern Company Services
  • Protective Life

Major Individual Donors: Dr. David Dyson, Mr. Johnny Johnson, Col. Stretch Dunn (USA Ret)

People Leading, Advocating, Supporting Page

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