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Lunch With Leaders – Real Stories of Pivotal Moments for Today’s Executive

After a two-year journey my fourth book is complete and ready for print. It will be officially published on Amazon on January 30th.

Lunch with Leaders was a big project that spanned over 2 years, but one that I am very proud of.  This will be my fourth published book in seven years, with a word count just shy of 70,000 words.


Thanks, and gratitude

In Lunch with Leaders, I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with twelve top executives (eight of the leaders are from Edmonton, two from Calgary and two from Toronto) who share their wisdom and insights that they have learned about what it takes to run a successful business.


A sincere thank you to each leader who took the time to share their story and business journey: Angela Santiago, Bruce Kirkland, Chuck Sanders, Graham Sherman, Henri Rodier, Keenan Pascal, Koleya Karringten, Mary Cameron, Richard Hansen, Ron Tite, Shannon Waller, and Shawn Kanungo. I am grateful for each of you. 🙏

I am grateful for Curtis Stange, President and CEO ATB Financial for his thoughtful contribution to write the foreword of my book. My respect and admiration for Curtis as a leader, and long-time friend since 1986, is one that I value and treasure a great deal.


Praise for Lunch with Leaders



Who should read Lunch with Leaders?

If you are a business leader, owner, or entrepreneur, this book is for you.

Have you ever felt like your business challenges are only unique to you?

You are not alone; no entrepreneur is. Many other leaders and entrepreneurs have experienced the same challenges, along with the highs and lows of business leadership.


Business Success and Failure

Each leader within my book experienced challenges, setbacks and had to get back up and be resilient to fight another day. We get to experience real stories of their pivotal moments and ideally apply it to today’s struggles or challenges in our own business.

It is my strong belief that their very candid honesty and vulnerability will lend invaluable insights and perspective to your own business journey. and hopefully give you the courage and strength to keep on, keeping on when times get tough.

Sometimes business reality rears its ugly head, and just like that, you have a major crisis or huge disruption in your business.

This could be a valued client who is threatening to leave, and the impact on your topline would be catastrophic. A major business partner conflict leads to the dissolution of the partnership, and now everything is in disarray, and the future is uncertain. You suffer the untimely death of a key person in your business or a close family member. The world experiences a black swan event, and you literally don’t know which way to turn. Your business is faced with a lawsuit that puts a tight grip on your operations, and emotionally, it cripples the forward direction of your business plans and growth and sustains your infrastructure. Several top employees are poached by your competition, and your bench strength is stripped so lean that the vulnerability of your business is exposed and creates massive risk to growth. Your relationship with your bank is strained, and they continue to tighten the reins on your access to financing, and growth capital is tight. You hit a wall and don’t know which way to turn.

In times like these, great leaders decide how they will navigate through these pivotal moments in their business. Should I do this? Should I make this key decision? There is no decision that gives you absolute certainty, but someone needs to make the decision, and not making any decision is a ticking time bomb.


What you may learn or gain from reading Lunch with Leaders

In Lunch with Leaders, you will learn how great leaders have navigated the rough waters of business, from tragedy due to the loss of loved ones to economic downturns that make you think: How the hell did they get through that? You are invited to sit at the same table with highly successful leaders and entrepreneurs, committed advocates, and award-winning business executives as they explore in depth the events that paved the way for their success. Discover the rules they live by and how they pivoted their way through struggles and major adversity.


Why I wrote the book?

As an entrepreneur for 17+ years after starting my business, X5 Management, I have had the unique privilege of sitting at the table with many leaders on a daily and weekly basis. While I am there to help them and their teams align for a bigger future, I too get to learn from them. I can’t help it as we develop and build deeply rooted, trusting relationships over time. I gravitate towards entrepreneurs and business leaders as I realize that over the years, I can relate on so many levels. I have also discovered along the way that my own business wasn’t without adversity and challenges over the years, and I too had to pivot and navigate choppy waters, but fortunately, I arrived safely ashore, until the next time when I am faced with an unexpected challenge.

Back in 2007, I was in the early stages of building my business, and while I had many connections, they weren’t with very many senior leaders, influencers, or entrepreneurs with whom I was really close or connected. I often thought, wouldn’t it be great to sit down over lunch and just learn from these successful and inspiring leaders who have done so many things? For the record, the many things were not just about making money, but how they supported the community, their travel, the various nonprofit boards they served on, the associations they were part of, lessons learned, and so much more.

One of the most impactful books I read at that time was Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time, by Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz. The concept of the book is a guide on how to make meaningful connections and leverage relationships to accomplish your goals and help others accomplish theirs. The primary strategy in the book, “Never Eat Alone”, encourages you to stop eating lunch by yourself, and instead use that time to connect with other people.

Little did I know at the time that this aspiration, coupled with my own entrepreneurial journey, would one day be the catalyst to write Lunch with Leaders!

If you take the time to read Lunch with Leaders, you’ll notice that each chapter is structured in an interview format to capture their story in their own words. Every chapter has many great takeaways for anyone who aspires to be a leader or entrepreneur, or if you have been one for 20+ years, there is something for all of you.

One thing that I am confident about—whether you read for three hours nonstop or read one chapter at a time, you will gain from the lessons learned from these leaders, and I want to thank them in advance for your reading the book. Without their decision to participate in the book, invest the time to speak with me, the experiences and wisdom that you are about to read would not have been possible.


Next steps

I really hope you take the time to order a copy on Amazon on January 30th and most importantly, that you enjoy the incredible stories within each chapter.

Like any book, you get to decide what you will learn and take away. I encourage you to think about The One Thing that you can glean and implement from each chapter that you read. There are hundreds of years of wisdom that comes from these leaders, all of whom have faced real business challenges and enjoyed great success.

Sincerely, Mike



Lunch with Leaders invites you to sit at the same table with highly successful leaders and entrepreneurs, committed advocates, and award-winning business executives as they explore in depth the events that paved the way for their success. Discover the rules they live by. Learn what they value most.

In Lunch with Leaders, twelve top executives share the wisdom and insights they’ve learned about what it takes to run a successful business in the twenty-first century. Their candid honesty will lend invaluable insight and perspective to your own business journey.

X5 Management offers an extensive list of communication, team development, leadership, sales, and service-related programs that can support any businesses training and coaching needs in any industry.

If your business wants to take advantage of the Canada-Alberta Job Grant so that you can expand on your sales and service-related training for your employees, let’s discuss your organization’s training needs in a complimentary Discovery Meeting.

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