Baldwin grad writes book, encourages lives of leading

By Lauren Fitch

Pioneer News Network

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – From the football field to the basketball court to the business arena, Donte’ Hill knows the secret to success is good leadership.

The Baldwin native and 2001 Ferris State University graduate recently shared his insights on leadership in his book, “Contagious Leadership: 13 Principles to Spreading a Winning Culture,” which was published in November.

“From my athletic background, I was always in a position to be a leader,” said Hill, who lives in Jacksonville, Fla., now where he runs King of the Court Leadership International. “In transitioning to the corporate world, I started as a sales rep. To be a successful sales rep, you have to be able to lead yourself. Then I was able to start teaching others how to lead.”

“Contagious Leadership” discusses how to create a shared vision for a group, the importance of recognizing successes, communication, inspiring others and leaving a legacy.

Hill earned an associate’s degree in pre-teaching secondary education from Ferris, before receiving a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Brewton-Parker University in Mount Vernon, Ga. During his time at Ferris, Hill played point guard on the basketball team and went on to play professionally for the Continental Basketball Association in Canada, Michigan and Mexico. He also coached professionally for the Florida Mackos in the American Basketball Association.

The importance of leadership was evident to Hill as early as high school, when he was elected class vice president and played quarterback for Baldwin High School. He attended Baldwin schools from kindergarten to 11th grade before graduating from Ottawa Hills High School in Grand Rapids after his family moved.

“As far as Baldwin, located in Michigan’s poorest county, I would love for people to know that you can accomplish your goals. Go for your dreams. There is a saying that, ‘If you shoot for the moon you’ll fall among the stars.’”

Ferris offered him the chance to further expand his leadership skills.

“A lot of people come from different parts of Michigan (to Ferris),” he said. “Some people are not comfortable in a diverse situation. ... Something I wanted to do at Ferris was embrace the whole experience. Part of that experience was going out of my comfort zone.”

Ferris was a natural choice for Hill as his grandmother, three aunts and his godmother have degrees from the university.

“It really helped me make the decision (to attend Ferris) because they went there and were successful,” he said. “It gave them a lot of tools for later in life.”

At Ferris, Hill made a point to reach out to people who were different than him or his friends in high school. His status as a student-athlete gave him natural opportunities to lead and influence his peers, which is something he imparts to the next generation through King of the Court Leadership International.

King of the Court is a consulting group Hill founded to help athletes at any level transition to the next phase of their athletic or professional careers. He works with high school, college and professional athletes to teach them leadership skills and strategies for translating their athletic abilities into real-world assets.

“We’re known as transition experts,” Hill said. “We offer 1-on-1 or group consulting so they can be their best in whatever arena they pursue.”

Hill also is a motivational speaker. His latest endeavor writing “Contagious Leadership” is one more way he emphasizes the ties between success in sports and success in life.

“I’ve had a great response (to the book),” he said, citing feedback from teachers, coaches, athletes and sales people. “One comment I continuously hear is that reading it is very addictive.”

For more information on “Courageous Leadership,” visit amazon.com.