Among the attributes of great leaders is the tenacity to overcome adversity and the courage to learn how to do something simply by doing it.

People who become great leaders make life-changing decisions at important turning points and aren't afraid to soldier on when they don't exactly have the skills yet to achieve their goals.

They're like the character in "The Cape," a song by the late, great Texas songwriter Guy Clark: No one told them they couldn't fly, so they did.

In their book "Kick-Ass Leadership," coaching consultant Dr. Deborah Osgood ( and radio host Jack Heath spotlight six such people through conversations and analysis.

"Each one of them faces a point in their lives when everything just doesn't work out, and what do they do about it? These are six individuals that decided to do something about it," Osgood said during an interview last week. "It's like that fire in the belly. And then they wanted to make a difference in an area that these events triggered. And they went forth and did."

The group includes familiar names, most with strong New Hampshire connections:

. Fahim Fazli, an Afghan-born American actor and U.S. Marines interpreter, whose family fled Afghanistan during the Russian Communist occupation and immigrated to the United States.

. Renee Plummer, vice president of Two International Group, a commercial real estate company that operates a million square feet of office space at Pease International Tradeport. Plummer was a single mom with three young children when she first began working for the company. She received a Granite State Legacy Award from the New Hampshire Union Leader in 2014.

. Tom Raffio, president and CEO of Northeast Delta Dental, whose community involvement includes a 10-year stint as chairman of the state Board of Education. His accolades include Distinguished Citizen of the Year by the Daniel Webster Council of the Boy Scouts of America in 2010.

. Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc, a native of Laconia who served in the U.S. military for 33 years. He led 10 deployments and served as commander of the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force in Afghanistan and Special Operations Command, Africa. His honors include two awards for valor, five Bronze star medals and two Purple Hearts.

. Linsday Hoopes, general manager of Hoopes Vineyard in Napa Valley, Calif. Before joining her family's business, Hoopes was a prosecutor for the district attorney's office in San Francisco and worked as a logistics manager for Pottery Barn.

. Morgan Munson, group sales manager for the NBA's Miami Heat. The native of Australia moved to the United States after high school to play basketball for Southern New Hampshire University. Before joining the Heat, she worked for the Boston Celtics.

The right stuff

The book features interviews Heath conducted with the six leaders, recaps between the authors about each one and analysis by Osgood that further explores characteristics of the leaders and challenges they faced.

Osgood and Heath were inspired to work together on the project after the radio host interviewed her for his "New Hampshire Today" morning show on WGIR-AM 610 a few years ago. They co-host iHeart Radio's "Movers and Shakers," which airs on Saturdays at 11 a.m., on Sunday at 10 a.m. on WQSO FM 96.7 and online at

"I met Jack Heath because our organization had done some work in helping the government of Nigeria to promote entrepreneurship for youth. The country pretty much needed to awaken leadership within that age group because of the economy and lack of jobs," said Osgood, who with her late husband, William, operated the Knowledge Institute for Small Business Development, based in Exeter.

Osgood hopes the book inspires people to pursue their dreams and realize - like the leaders profiled in the book - that hard work and drive can help temper a lack of experience or technical skill.

"Many of us think if we don't have the business degree we can't start a business; if we're not natural networkers we can't really bring people together," Osgood said. "Yet in all of these cases, these people didn't have the skills, but because they had the drive, the skills came."

Or they acquired the ones they needed, as Osgood did in 1996 when she decided to build an online data base of taxpayer-funded business resources, using a print directory her husband had compiled for the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston as a guide.

"I have an MBA, but I go to Daniel Webster (College) to get a webmaster degree, figure out how to make websites, and then I catalog, one at a time, over 30,000 programs that our tax dollars pay for - Small Business Development Centers, SCORE counselors and many others - and then to help people find them," Osgood recalled.

Osgood's goal was to share useful information with people who may not have known such resources even existed. Helping others is a theme that resonates throughout the stories of the six people profiled in "Kick-Ass Leadership."

Osgood, whose husband and business partner died unexpectedly last year, said she has been thinking about that a lot lately.

"When all of us are on our deathbed, regardless of how many awards we've gotten, how much money we've made, everybody has a similar question: What are the relationships and the lives? Who have you touched? Who means something to you? Who did you help to make a positive difference in their life?

"Since my husband has died, I've read many books, and all of them come down to that one question at the end."

Contact Business Editor Mike Cote at 206-7724 or