Dr. Friedman holds a Doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller and is currently pursuing Executive Education in Non-Profit Leadership at Harvard University.
Dr. Damon Friedman is an electric sought-after speaker with an expertise in motivation, leadership, and team-building. He is a combat-decorated veteran who served four combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Originally a US Marine Corps officer, Damon transferred into the Air Force’s elite as a Special Tactics Officer (aka Combat Controller) and a leader in special operations. His decorations include three Bronze Stars (one with Valor) and the Air Force Combat Action Medal.
Just recently, Dr. Friedman received the Spirit of Hope Award by the Secretary of Defense for “duty, honor, courage, loyalty, commitment, integrity, and selfless dedication and significantly enhancing the quality of life of Service members and their families serving around the world.”
which recognized his national efforts to help the veteran community.
SHIELD OF FAITH
In 2011 Dr. Friedman established SOF Missions with a focus on “empowering warriors to find purpose and be resilient.” SOF Missions aims to raise awareness of the veteran suicide epidemic and provide a solution through customized holistic treatment plans that help warriors and their families deal with the scars of war.
Dr. Friedman is the Executive Producer of Surrender Only to ONE, a multi-award-winning film which follows the true-life stories of elite combat warriors in US special operations forces. The film reveals the implications of combat and the lasting effects our veterans struggle to overcome. Surrender Only to ONE not only highlights these challenges but also shares messages of hope available to all warriors.
Dr. Damon Friedman is the author of Igniting Movements which provides a model for building effective movements, inspiring people to come together under a singular vision to make the world a better place. The book draws upon research completed during Damon’s doctoral studies and real-world experience as a humanitarian and special ops leader.
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In 2010, I returned home from the Korengal “Death” Valley. Seven days of heavy combat in one of the most dangerous places on earth changed my life. It was a tipping point. After ten years
of service, multiple deployments, numerous conflicts, and explosions, I was suffering from a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress. I was in a dark place and on the verge of losing my marriage and career. As a juvenile delinquent from the mean streets of Los Angeles, I found a way to survive. Twenty years later serving in the military’s elite special operations, I found myself fighting for my life once again. This time, against myself: I questioned the purpose of my existence. It was quite an internal war, but I found hope. It was a miracle. Next, it was time to help others.
In 2011, my wife and I established SOF Missions, a faith-based non-profit organization serving people across America. After multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, I have experienced the darkest hours of combat, knowing first-hand the struggles of veterans returning home. This led our team to create and produce the award-winning film Surrender Only to ONE, a faith-based film following real-life stories of elite combat warriors. Creating awareness was not enough though. Therefore, we established The Resiliency Project, a holistic program dedicated to helping veterans battle visible and invisible scars of war. Our mission is to help our warriors find their purpose, embrace resiliency, and live a life of wellness. Since the inception of SOF Missions, we have established groups and worked in various capacities throughout thirty-two different states, serving an estimated eighty thousand people.
Our national efforts were recognized by the Department of Defense and I was selected as the 2018 Spirit of Hope Award winner, named for entertainer Bob Hope, which “epitomizes the values of Bob Hope: duty, honor, courage, loyalty, commitment, integrity, and selfless dedication.” I am passionate about making an atomic impact in the world. It took countless years and plenty of fails in order to find my ultimate purpose. This book is a genuine effort to pass on what I’ve learned and to help others find their purpose and ignite a movement.
The model presented on Igniting Movements comes from my doctoral studies. I researched movement theories and over a hundred of past and present movements. In my dissertation, I crafted a Movement Rubric that groups movement characteristics into four categories: Human-Agent, Ideology, Organization, and Strategy. Through the lens of this rubric, I conducted document reviews on select historical and contemporary movements, as well as semi-structured interviews with leaders of successful organizations across the country. I also conducted a document review on military special operations, which helped articulate practices and standard operating procedures. The research illuminates common critical factors that exist in each movement.
To learn how these factors can be applied in today’s non- profit world, I compared them to the current practices within SOF Missions. I developed change initiatives and implemented them within the organization. The results have been outstanding! Our initiatives created a spark that ignited a small movement.
This research offers like-minded people an opportunity to implement critical factors in their organization, so they too can ignite a movement. Igniting Movements is a manual for those that have answered their God-given calling and want to implement pragmatic practices that have brought success to thousands of nonprofit organizations. The common critical factors are keys to success. Each pillar is necessary and the synergy within each must exist. Obviously, there are the intangibles or what many call the “X” factors that can’t be explained. However, this book is a blueprint, and, if you’re serious about succeeding, Igniting Movements is the first step to ignition!
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