Founder and President of Leadership Freedom LLC and FreedomStar Media / Air Force figher pilot
Lee Ellis Bio
Colonel Leon "Lee" Ellis, USAF (Ret)
A native of Commerce, Georgia, Colonel Lee Ellis graduated from the University of Georgia in 1965 as a Distinguished Graduate of Air Force ROTC. He received his pilot wings in August 1966 at Moody AFB, GA and was assigned to fly the F-4C Phantom fighter-bomber. In 1967 Colonel Ellis was assigned to Danang Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, where he flew 68 combat missions with 53 over North Vietnam. On November 7, 1967 he was shot down, captured and held as a prisoner of war for more than five years.
After repatriation in March 1973 he returned to flying duties with increasing positions of leadership. His assignments included duty as a T-38 instructor pilot, flight commander and section commander at Moody AFB GA and Randolph AFB TX, (560 FTS). At Randolph AFB, he also served as chief of flight standardization and evaluation (12th FTW), ATC staff officer, and flying squadron commander of the 560th FTS. After graduating from the Air War College in 1983, he served as Vice-Commandant Squadron Officer School (SOS) and Commander AFROTC Det. 160 (PAS) at the Univ. of Georgia. He retired as a USAF Colonel on February 1, 1990 completing 25 years or service.
Colonel Ellis is a command pilot whose decorations include the Silver Star with one Oak Leaf Cluster; the Legion of Merit with one Oak Leaf Cluster; the Bronze Star with Valor Device; the Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters; the Purple Heart; the Air Medal with eight Oak Leaf Clusters; and the Prisoner of War Medal. Lee is also a 2014 inductee into the Georgia Military Veterans Hall of Fame and the 2015 DAR Medal of Honor Recipient for a lifetime of patriotic service as a military officer and spokesman for leading with honor.
Colonel Ellis is founder and President of Leadership Freedom LLC, serving for more than fifteen years as a nationally-recognized leadership consultant, author, and expert presenter. He has authored or co- authored three books and two workbooks on leadership and career development. His latest book is entitled Engage with Honor: Building a Culture of Courageous Accountability. His last award-winning book, Leading with Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton has won book-of-the-year awards and was selected in 2013 for the USAF Chief of Staff Professional Reading List. Colonel Ellis and his wife Mary reside in the Atlanta GA area and have four grown children and six grandchildren.
As the Director of Career/Life Pathways from 1990 - 1998, Lee led the development team that researched, developed, and validated Career Direct , a vocational assessment package and two personality assessments with software applications. From 1998 - 2008, he was responsible for product development of three more behavioral and leadership assessments as well as the launch and Internet deployment of these resources. Most recently, he has developed and released his latest assessment tool, the Leadership Behavior DNATM Discovery Process (formerly N8Traits Profile). In total, these assessments have been used by more than 200,000 individuals and are the instrument of choice in many organizations, including Fortune 500 companies and nationally recognized not-for-profits. Lee's point-of-view on maximizing leadership performance and organizational leadership during crisis is framed by his extensive research and experience in the assessment of human behavior.
A prolific writer, blogger and thought leader, Lee's latest award-winning book is entitled Engage with HonorTM: Building a Culture of Courageous Accountability. His last award-winning book, Leading with Honor : Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton, shares his POW experience and the 14 leadership principles that helped him and his compatriots resist, survive, and return with honor. His previous book, Leading Talents, Leading Teams, was published by Northfield Publishing and shares in-depth team concepts on how to lead and manage based on individual, innate gifts and talents. Additionally, Lee co- authored three books and workbooks on career planning. He is a nationally-recognized Certified Speaking Professional* (CSP) and expert on the subjects of leadership and performance, team building, mentoring, and career planning. Some of his appearances include interviews on networks such as CNN, CBS This Morning, C-SPAN, ABC World News, Fox News Channel, plus hundreds of engagements in various industry sectors throughout the world.
Lee holds a B.A. degree in History from the University of Georgia and a M.S. degree in Counseling and Human Development from Troy University in Alabama. He is a graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College and the Air War College. Lee supervised, educated, and trained officers for the last 17 years of his Air Force career. He served as the Vice Commandant of the Squadron Officer School, the Air Force's leadership school for captains. He completed his Air Force career as Professor of Aerospace Studies and Commander of Air Force ROTC at the University of Georgia. More recently he has developed and presented leadership curricula in numerous organizations including Fortune 500 companies, focusing on management performance, leadership accountability and principle-based management strategies.
*The Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation involves a rigorous 5-10 year certification process. It is the highest speaking designation in the industry, and only 1.5% of speakers worldwide can claim this special title.