On Mission Leaders
Sean Georges, J.D., LL.M.
Sean accepted a Commission in the Marines. He later became a Marine Corps Judge Advocate, serving on active duty for 13 years. Sean obtained his law degree from the University of Illinois, and later earned an advanced law degree (LL.M.) from The Judge Advocate General’s School of the Army. For the past 20 years, he has served as Senior Vice President of Human Resources and corporate counsel for a leading, publicly-traded retailer.
Sean has served on a variety of community boards, and summarized his perspective on leadership in a recent TEDx presentation, The Essence of Authentic Leadership. Sean humbly seeks to serve those who wish to carry their personal and professional leadership responsibilities.
- LL.M,. Military Law, The Judge Advocate General’s School
- J.D., University of Illinois College of Law
- B.S., United States Naval Academy
- Former Major, USMC
- 20+ Years: Corporate Counsel & SVP, Human Resources for a leading publicly-traded, national retailer
John Buford, Ph.D.
After serving in the Marine Corps for 20 years, John became an outdoor educator, wilderness medicine instructor, and college professor. He currently serves as a leadership coach, professional wilderness guide, certified whitewater kayak/canoe and sea kayak instructor, board member of several nonprofit organizations, and is a certified human performance consultant.
John has over 30 years of intense experience leading and following others, studying leadership, and developing the leadership capacity of adolescents, young adults and adult professionals in business, higher education, the military, the nonprofit sector, and the wilderness. He is dedicated to equipping and supporting those committed to becoming more authentic and effective leaders.
- Ph.D., Education (Training and Performance Improvement Specialization), Capella University
- M.S., Strategic and Operational Studies, Marine Corps University
- B.S., Forest Resource Management, Southern Illinois University
- Lieutenant Colonel, USMC (retired)
- Professor Emeritus of Wilderness Leadership & Experiential Education, Brevard College
- L4 Whitewater Kayak/Canoe and Sea Kayak Instructor, American Canoe Association
- Certified Leadership Coach, Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching
- 30 Years: Outdoor education, wilderness expedition leadership, leadership development program design.
The seeds of On Mission Leadership were planted many years ago as Sean and John stumbled through their youth together in a small Illinois farm town. Each experienced family tragedies that served to intensify their exposure to diverse values, beliefs, and leadership styles in the various role models they found in their coaches, mentors, teachers, and family members. Their initial understanding of the nature of teams, and the importance of loyalty, endurance, and leadership, were shaped first by a winless high school football season, followed the next year with a tie for the conference championship. That experience seems trivial today, but it served to spark a lifetime of leadership education, training, and experience.
As young adults, Sean and John began their formal leadership education and training in the military, John in the Marine Corps reserves and at a state university, and Sean at the U.S. Naval Academy. As fate would have it, both accepted commissions and served as Marine Corps officers. After their military careers had run their course, they continued their unique leadership journeys in the private sector, in the fields of law, business, outdoor education, higher education, and community service. Through the combination of these rich experiences, they learned to lead real people in real situations with real consequences. Every step of the way, they led and followed, observed closely, read deeply, and thought carefully about the nature and essence of leadership. To this day, their leadership journey continues, and John and Sean remain active students of leadership.
About 20 years ago they began sharing their thoughts about leadership and confirmed their core beliefs were aligned. With a shared commitment and passion about leadership development, they sought ways to build a foundation for developing authentic leadership in others. Realizing a serious “leadership vacuum” had developed in organizations across society, John and Sean agreed that this was a serious issue not being constructively addressed. In the absence of quality resources to serve aspiring leaders who wished to embark on an intentional learning process to become better leaders, they rolled up their sleeves and got to work. They describe their response to this challenge as a “calling,” a central part of their own personal leadership mission. John and Sean are fully committed to both lead authentically in their own lives, as servant leaders, and to help others find their voice as leaders.