UWindsor alumnus Jim Weese (BHK 1980, MHK 1983) has been a hockey player, a leadership expert, a guest speaker, a university professor, and a senior academic leader.
The birth of his granddaughter Rylee seven months ago inspired him to add another title to his CV: children’s author.
Dr. Weese, former dean of the UWindsor Faculty of Human Kinetics, has recently released The Grandpa Rules: Essential Lessons for Success in Life and Leadership. It’s an illustrated storybook written to inspire children to set goals and to persevere to overcome hardships. It’s a tapestry of what he teaches in his leadership courses and what he has learned through his 65 years of living life.
“Rylee was the impetus for this book,” he said. “I thought, what would I want her to know.”
Weese is a professor of leadership and sport management at the University of Western Ontario. His first book, The 5C Leader: Exceptional Leadership Practices for Extraordinary Times, is used in leadership courses. His second textbook, The Leadership Lifecycle: How to Prepare, How to Excel, and When (and How) to Effectively Exit, will hit bookstands in a few days.
“Writing a children’s book was a different experience,” Weese said.
He said he turned to his friend Paulette Bourgeois, creator of Franklin the Turtle and author of the Franklin series of children’s books, for guidance on how to write from a child’s point of view. UWindsor alum Duncan Lam (MBA 2020), who has authored several children’s books himself, also provided helpful advice.
In his book, Weese reflects on his own childhood, growing up in Dresden, Ont., and the close relationship he had with his Grandpa Smith. He drew inspiration from his wife, Sherri (BA 1981, MA 1984, B.Ed 1989), his mother, and in-laws and the impact they’ve had on his two children’s lives.
In the book’s acknowledgments, Weese gives a nod to UWindsor kinesiology professor and friend Wayne Marino, whose mantra, “Do your best, be a good sport, and have fun,” influenced Weese’s philosophy.
“I have always used this mantra in working with children in youth sports and summer camps, and I also incorporated it into the lessons that Grandpa Sherwood offers in this book.”
The book offers children 10 rules for success in life and is informed by the latest thinking in leadership. There are blank pages at the back titled, “Other rules” that grandparents, parents, or even children themselves can use to personalize the book.
The book’s illustrator is Western student Kayla MacInnes. While the grandpa in the book looks uncannily like Weese, the children depicted come from diverse cultures.
Weese is directing proceeds from The Grandpa Rules to four charities: Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Junior Achievement, the YMCA’s Strong Kids program, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
He said he hopes the book raises lots of money and helps launch MacInnes’ career.
But foremost, he hopes his book inspires children: “I hope it inspires them to dream big.”
Weese is planning a reading in Windsor; watch for details from the University of Windsor Alumni Association as arrangements are finalized.