I recently spoke at the 2022 Toyota Opportunity Exchange outside Detroit, Michigan. It was an honor to share with over 1,200 conference participants information from my fourth book, Strategic Partnerships: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Joint Ventures and Alliances. Toyota’s annual professional development and networking conference provides a dynamic forum to gain knowledge and to forge relationships with companies in the global Toyota supply chain.

One of the highlights of my partnership with Toyota was spending time with another speaker at the event, Mr. Jerome Avery. Mr. Avery has been a guide runner with U.S. Paralympics since 2004 and has guided David Brown, one of the world’s top visually impaired sprinters, since 2014. Bound by a tether, Brown and Avery sprint in lanes side-by-side, communicating by touch and sound with every synched stride as Avery tugs the tether to keep Brown in line to reach the finish line.

Once an Olympic hopeful himself, Avery finished in the top 20 in the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials and in the top 15 in the 2004 Olympic Trials. In high school, Avery was his school’s MVP all four years, and was ranked fifth in the state of California in the 100m.

While I certainly provided the conference participants the “how-to” of building strategic partnerships and alliances, Mr. Avery provided a powerful case study on how we put the principles and methodologies of forging strategic partnerships that are discussed in my book into life-changing action.