Stephen Clark’s Favorite Ten Leaders Profiles

RESTON, VA Mar 4, 2014 (TLC News)  — Since we launched The Ten Leaders Cooperative in 2002, many have asked us to assemble our best Ten Leaders profiles.

Below are ten profiles which, like Ten Leaders groups themselves, are a solid and best-efforts representation. They are of professionals across the spectrum: Lawyers, Surgeons and Finance Professionals.  According to TLC Director Stephen Clark, their stories are among the most compelling – in both a professional and personal sense. “They all share a common element: The subjects were willing to speak candidly about themselves – and they allowed us to share that candor,” says Clark. “They trusted us to tell their stories, with little interference or revision. Not everyone does that.  I think that candor ultimately benefited them. A powerful narrative has a way of distinguishing people.”

Clark added that “Ten Leaders profiles are intended to make a case the professional is a solid example of his or her profession.” Some of the profiles below are also, well, just good stories:

James Duffy & James Wilkens, Civil Trial & Personal Injury Law, Long Island (Developed 2005) — Jim Duffy runs one of Long Island’s most successful personal-injury and malpractice trial-law boutiques. Duffy, even after 35 years as a lawyer, remains wonderfully unstuffy and straightforward.  His story reflects a unique fire and competitiveness, obviously a source of his professional success.

Duffy’s colleague Jim Wilkens has made perhaps the most memorable career ascent of any trial lawyer in America today. Wilkens’s profile was written in 2008:

Sarah (Sally) Oldham, Divorce Law, Connecticut (2009) — Many women in the law will relate to the professional story of Sally Oldham, who surmounted many of life’s biggest challenges to create career success on her terms.

Clay Greene, Divorce Law, Bay Area, California (2010) — Clay Greene of Marin County brings loads of personal perspective to his work – and that comes out in his profile.

Dr. Peter Hetzler, Plastic Surgery, Little Silver, NJ (2005) – Plastic Surgeon Peter Hetzler M.D. is a great example of someone who returned home after getting world-class training – and reaped the benefits. He has run an exemplary hometown practice almost his entire career:

Randy Neumann, Independent Financial Professionals, New Jersey. (2008)  People may know Randy Neumann from his years as a referee of heavyweight boxing matches. His story, like Long Island lawyer and ex-pugilist Curtis Exum‘s, is a tale of how competitiveness and perseverance have a way of defining your life and career:

Robert I. Whitelaw, Divorce Law, Greater Philadelphia (2005): Bob Whitelaw is the hard-nosed managing partner of one of Philadelphia’s top firms – yet, with no PR flack sitting in, he was willing to describe his career and life trajectory with powerful candor, rare for a professional of his stature:

Robert Preston, Divorce Law Age 45 & Under, New York City (2012) – Bobby Preston is well known in New York City’s divorce bar. The personal story he shared – remarkable especially given he’s still early in his career – is close to fearless:

Samuel V. Schoonmaker, Divorce Law, Connecticut (2008) – Now retired, Sam Schoonmaker made no bones how he reached the top of Connecticut’s divorce bar – it was luck and timing, he insists, in a profile that also tells the story of one state’s politics of divorce. It helped that he was a tough and smart litigator who could spot talent:

Betty Thompson, Divorce Law, Northern Virginia (2006): We waited for Betty Thompson to return to her Arlington office from a court hearing in 2006 and interviewed her for nearly two hours. In her 80s and practicing for 50 years, Ms. Thompson didn’t hold back: She called her own clients “greedy” and lamented the erosion of honor and decency – not only among lawyers but in society in general. She was a standard bearer. When Betty Thompson died in September 2012, The Washington Post included a portion of her Ten Leaders profile in the obituary: