Darren Barndt is the Instructional Director of Fine & Applied Arts at Lake Forest High School. His first book, Extreme Teammates, released in October on Amazon, draws on more than two decades of experience as a teacher and coach. Barndt describes the project as “a collection of expectations, tools, and strategies that shows individuals exactly how to utilize their talents for the good of the team.” At the core is a belief that each person possesses unique potential—and adhering to that principle can improve the productivity of any organized group. Between his roles as an administrator, husband, and father of three, Brandt also serves as a speaker for various sports teams and businesses. Here, the Lake Bluff resident shares a few memorable lasts:
Last feedback on your book that made you proud of what you’re doing?
I appreciate all feedback, but recently David Nelms—the former CEO of Discover Financial Services and a native of Lake Forest—sent me an email that simply said “Darren, I like your book.” That remark definitely built some confidence in what I was doing.
Last discovery you made in your own hometown?
That my hometown of Beecher City, Illinois (population 450) still does not have a stoplight.
Last fantastic piece of advice you received that you now share with others? “Every person has a talent; it’s a leader’s job to find it.” I heard that comment at a conference last summer and it really became the glue that framed my thoughts for the book. When I give seminars to businesses or teams, I’ve discovered that identifying and cultivating the personal talents in each person is one of the most powerful strategies in creating unselfish teams.
Last impulse decision that you’ll never regret?
Purchasing a Masterbuilt electric meat smoker. That machine is so cool I rarely use my grill anymore.
Last meeting with a former student athlete that inspired you?
During Thanksgiving break, I met with Aron Khurana (2005 Lake Forest High School graduate) at Chief’s Pub. He shared with me his recent promotion at Siguler Guff, which is a private equity investment firm based in New York. I’m always inspired and proud when I hear how former players apply their leadership skills from sports to become successful in the business world.
Extreme Teammates is available at extremeteammates.wixsite.com.