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About Us

At The Leadership Lab, we believe that
“How you lead your Self is how you lead everything.”

Our Effective Approach

Too often leaders waste energy, time, and money trying to make strategy and operations to do something they can’t — compensate for the human factor. If it wasn’t for the people, leadership would be easy.
Who we are below the water line influences every part of our lives.
How you lead your Self is how you lead everything.
Too many successful leaders aren’t adept in the art of self-leadership.
Knowing what’s going on below the waterline is essential to being a leader worth following.

Our Vision

Create a global community of wholehearted leaders, and our proven process has helped hundreds of successful people be leaders worth following.

Our Unique Ability

Helping leaders be the best version of themselves.

Our Proven Process

While technology has many, many incredible benefits, it cannot come close to what can be accomplished when people are in the same room together. Relationship is the key and the core of what The Leadership Lab does, and this is why most Leadership Lab offerings take place real-time, face to face, and on a human scale.

Our Guidelines for Success

All programs delivered thought the leadership lab follow these guidelines
to help participants get the most from their experiences.

Show up.

Be here now & somewhere else later.
Unplug. Come Prepared.

Take Risk.

Trust takes more courage than time.
Practice Vulnerability.

Open Up.

Truth is freedom.
Freedom is scary.
The most valuable gift
you have to share is your Self.

Be Curious.

Ask honest questions.
Listen before you speak.


Celebrate yourself.
Celebrate others.

Stay True.

Practice confidentiality.
Keep your own conscious.
Trust your own gut.

We believe that

• Bigger is very often less effective.
• Change takes risk.
• Growth takes work.
• Time is essential.
Our proven process has helped hundreds of successful people be leaders worth following.

1. Engage Story.

Your story influences everything that you do, think, and believe. We learn to use that to our advantage or it ends up controlling us. By better knowing your leadership story you will discover how it makes you uniquely quipped for success.

2. Create Community.

Leaders are lonely. You can’t be your best self without the genuine support, heartfelt encouragement, compassionate accountability, and honest feedback of others. A likened network of successful full-hearted leaders who want to live more meaningful and generative lives.

3. Impact Others.

As we grow our true selves we have more and more to give to others. Full-hearted leaders become expanding spheres of influence who live fully, love deeply, and lead well.

“Little did I know the impact this would have on my life! My children have seen a difference in the way I parent. My wife has a better husband, and my employees have a better leader.”

Tim Whittemore

Owner, Operator – Chick-fil-A

Our Coaches

Stephen James, LPC-MHSP

Stephen James, LPC-MHSP

Founder & CEO

Social Entrepreneur • Leadership Coach • Author

Stephen is a social entrepreneur with a passion for creating life changing organizations, programs, and events that help others live fully, love deeply, and lead well. His unique ability is helping successful individuals and organizations clarify, adapt, innovate, and restore.

Besides The Leadership Lab, Stephen is the founder and executive director of Sage Hill Counseling. With offices in Nashville, Brentwood, and Murfreesboro, Tennessee, SHC helps individuals, couples, teens, and families recover their hearts, redeem their stories, and transform their lives.

He is the Assistant Coach for Mental Performance for the Nashville Soccer Club. Stephen has worked with athletes and teams from a variety of environments including MLB, MLS, NFL, NHL, Olympics, USL, and the SEC to play with heart so they can develop and sustain the passion, character, and resilience to achieve their dreams.

Before Sage Hill, Stephen worked as a private practice psychotherapist in Nashville, TN, for more than a decade.
Stephen is the co-author of seven books, including the bestselling Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys. His latest books include:

Parenting with Heart: How Imperfect Parents Raise Resilient, Loving, and Wise-hearted Kids.
Hope in the Age of Addiction: How to Find Freedom and Restore Your Relationships

Stephen earned his master’s in Counseling from The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology and his bachelor’s from Belmont University.

He has been married to Heather for over 20 years, and together they have four children.

Scott Hearon

Scott Hearon


Scott Hearon is passionate about building communities that help leaders become the best version of themselves. He is currently the co-founder and executive director of the Nashville Coaching Coalition, an organization committed to developing athletic coaches as mentors and leaders who positively affect the lives of every young person they coach.

Scott’s most rewarding and challenging roles in his life are being a husband to Allison, father to his son, Fisher, and daughter, Hart. In his spare time, Scott loves to sweat, read, or be outside learning something new... usually with his black lab, Ranger.

Ben Howard, MBA

Ben Howard, MBA

Ben is the CEO and founder of Third Coast Content. TCC produces content targeting the faith and family audiences through feature films, television and written word, in partnership with Endeavor Content, a division of William Morris Endeavor.

Ben Howard has been living at the crossroads of art, commerce, and faith for more than 25 years. Having worked among a variety of companies in the entertainment industry, he was most recently the Executive VP of Provident Films, (a Sony Music company), partnering with Sony Pictures for distribution. In this capacity, he developed and nurtured Provident's fruitful relationship with Sherwood Pictures, the Kendrick Brothers, the Erwin Brothers, and Kirk Cameron. Ben’s box office highlights include Moms’ Night Out, Woodlawn, War Room, October Baby, Facing the Giants, Fireproof, and Courageous. After a stint in the music business, Ben made his first foray into film and video in 1997 when he joined the emerging entertainment company Big Idea Productions (VeggieTales). He helped establish Big Idea's first marketing department, and founded its music division which became the No. 1-seller of children's music. During his time there, Veggie Tales became an industry-leading family brand, and more than 25 million videos were sold. His time their culminated with the successful release of Jonah, A VeggieTales Movie (Artisan).

Ben is a graduate of the University of Alabama (BA) and Vanderbilt University's Owen School of Management (MBA). He and his wife Gwen have three children and live in Brentwood TN.

Hunter Connelly

Hunter Connelly

Hunter Connelly is the CEO of Village Real Estate and a Principal and co-founder of Evergreen Real Estate, a multi-family real estate developer. Prior to Village and Evergreen, Hunter co-founded Core Development which focused on the development and renovation of in-fill neighborhoods.

He serves as a board member of Christ Presbyterian Academy. He graduated cum laude from Sewanee: The University of the South with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. Hunter and his wife Katty have four children.

Dane Anthony

Dane Anthony

Dane is the Director of Spiritual Formation for Sage Hill Counseling. He also co-facilitates multiple Men's groups each week, leads pre-marital counseling, and leads Module 3 of Sage Hill Training.
Dane has practiced as a spiritual guide and mentor for more than 30 years. His work with individuals and groups includes spiritual direction, vocational discernment process, and retreat leadership. Dane’s practice is rooted in the traditional understanding of Spiritual Direction as “holy listening,” a context in which God’s presence directs our conversation and leads us to live an “undivided life” with ourselves, others and God.

Dane also has more than 15 years’ experience teaching and consulting the StrengthsFinder Inventory for students, businesses, and individuals.

Interested in how our advisors can help?

Or call us at 615-933-1444