We believe everyone wins when a leader gets better. Everyone wins when YOU get better.
The mastermind is a hybrid group coaching and leadership development community designed by Daniel Bauer and facilitated by Karine Veldhoen
Mastermind members are:
“Supportive, wise, and not afraid to kick your butt!” — Eileen, Deputy Head, Qingdao, China
Join the Mastermind Waitlist
Thank you for your interest in the BLBS Mastermind.
Each member is hand-picked to join our community.
Applying is the first step.
I regularly review applications and reach out for an admissions interview. During our call I’d love to hear more about you, your school, and your #1 challenge. We’ll also explore how the Mastermind could serve you as well as the value you bring to the group. If it’s a great fit, we’ll then talk next steps and get you enrolled in this exclusive group ?
Expect to spend 2-3 hours leveling up your leadership a week.
One hour is devoted to the group meeting.
One hour is blocked for leadership reading or other leadership exercise (although it may not take that long).
(AN OPTIONAL) hour maybe used to engage in with other members in our private online community.
Are you the type of leader that invests in leadership coaching and connecting with our world-class network of leaders?
Mastermind membership is $250/month.
The majority of members invest out-of-pocket or cover their membership with school/district funds.
Is it worth it?
The mastermind has taught me that breaking the isolation is one of the most POWERFUL things a leader can do. We can’t do it all by ourselves, yet we try very hard to do so – at least until we learn that we’re better together. Through our incredible book studies, “hot seat” experiences, and regular networking, the mastermind has taught me that:
1) it’s okay to take risks – even if you fail
2) vulnerability can be a powerful thing – especially when you have a support system like this, and
3) regular participating in a leadership COMMUNITY is more energizing that you can imagine
— Nick, Principal, Virginia
If you have any questions in the meantime feel free to contact me
The best part of the mastermind is…
“The community, the support, but also being held accountable for pursuing my own professional development.”
—Philippe, Principal, Boston, MA
“The supportive community. School leadership can be isolating, but knowing I have a team of other school leaders with whom to share ideas, struggles, and wins gives me the courage and resolve to do what’s best for my school community.”
—Michelle, AP, Clarksville, MD
“The people, that although I’ve never met in person, feel like family.”
—Chris, VP, Kamloops, BC, Canada
The mastermind has inspired me t0…
“Never give up on my goals.”
—Renee, AP, Allentown, PA
“Be brave enough to push boundaries and explore opportunities.”
—Rob, Principal, Cameron, NC
“Not be afraid to expand my influence in education as a leader.”
—Tyson, Principal, Hugoton, KS
The mastermind changed…
“My heart and sense that this piece of me (that connection to other leaders) NEEDS to be filled.”
—Jess, Principal, Chicago, IL
“My ability to succeed in attaining my why by providing a community that challenges me, offers insights, and supports continuous improvement.”
—Christopher, Principal, Hanson, MA
“My thinking about and use of time. I’m more focused on deep work and reducing shallow tasks.”
—Amy, Principal, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Mastermind?
It’s like nothing else you’ve ever experienced. The mastermind is a PLN on steroids — that is if steroids were legal and good for you! The mastermind is also the best-personalized PD for current school leaders.
In fact, I challenge you to find something better. If it exists, I haven’t heard or seen it.
We’re a hybrid group coaching and leadership development community. Put another way — we are a leadership incubator for the world-class educators.
The mastermind is a safe, confidential community where you can be your authentic self and get the support / challenge you’re looking for to take your leadership to the next level.
Currently, the mastermind includes 45 school leaders from 8 different countries around the world.
Where else can I learn more?
Besides this FAQ, you can learn all about the value, transformation, and investment required to join the mastermind right here: https://betterleadersbetterschools.com/mm
There are also recorded meetings as well as video and written testimonials from current and past members.
When am I able to join?
Currently, there are rolling admissions until the mastermind is “full.” I determined in the winter of 2018 that my capacity to personally coach is at 60 members as a part of my Vivid Vision. After that, interested leaders can apply and go into the waitlist. I promise to reach out once openings are available.
When do groups meet? How often do groups meet?
Danny facilitates four groups:
Tuesday 4:30 pm PST | 6:30 pm CST | 7:30 pm EST (FULL)
Wednesday 2pm PST | 4 pm CST | 5 pm EST
Wednesday 3:15 pm PST | 5:15 pm CST | 6:15 pm EST
Wednesday 4:30 pm PST | 6:30 pm CST | 7:30 pm EST
Each meeting is one hour in length.
I’m worried that I’ll get lost in the group, do you offer private coaching?
You bet! Some leaders require some more focused attention from me. There are advantages to both the mastermind and 1-on-1. In 1-on-1 coaching, you’ll get greater attention and more focused goal setting / accountability. If you are interested in 1-on-1 coaching email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and put “1-on-1” in the subject line. From there we will set up a time to chat to determine three things:
– We are a good match to work together.
– That 1-on-1 and not the mastermind will help you achieve your leadership goals.
– That you are serious about coaching and investing in yourself.
What is the pace or rhythm of the group. How much time do I need to invest?
We meet weekly taking only four breaks throughout the year:
One week for Thanksgiving (USA)
Two weeks for Winter Holidays / NYE
One week for July 4 + 6 (my bday)
Other than that we are running meetings year-round. Now, you can’t make up real life, so when family or school priorities call your name, feel free to miss a meeting. If I see attendance is becoming an issue, then I will gently nudge you. People grow exponentially in the mastermind because they contribute. At a minimum, that means regularly attending meetings. If you can’t prioritize 2-3 hours per week to the mastermind, then don’t apply.
I say 2-3 hours because:
Each weekly meeting is one hour
We read one leadership book every two months – do you’ll take up to an hour a week to read
And we have a private Voxer group. This is where the additional hour of time would come in. It’s not mandatory, but the conversation continues via Voxer and again — you’ll get more out of the group, the more you engage.
Does Danny personally facilitate the mastermind?
Danny is the “default” facilitator for every meeting. Since 2018, members have been facilitating the mastermind which has added more creativity and better resources to each meeting. It has also increased ownership of the community and has pushed leaders to develop even more skills by presenting regularly to world-class peers.
What is the size of the mastermind?
Groups are full at 15 members. There are four groups. As of December 16, 2018, there are 46 members. I fully anticipate the mastermind will be closed permanently in 2019.
What topics does the mastermind focus on?
We talk education and leadership deeply. We also discuss individual needs like balance, family, and health. Danny chooses a great leadership book to read every two months (e.g. Creativity Inc., Never Split the Difference, The Power of Moments ). After that, the group caters to the needs of each member. So the theme is always the same (where do you need help this week?), but the focus different because of the personalized nature of the program.
Is there an application process?
You better believe it! The number one reason the mastermind thrives is the quality of the membership. So to that extent, I personally vet every applicant to uphold the quality of our community. There is a simple application, that you can fill out! It takes around ten minutes to complete.
When might a spot open?
Currently, the mastermind has rolling admissions. After we hit our 60 member capacity, the mastermind will be permanently closed until a current member vacates their seat.
Do you have advice on the mastermind application?
Be honest, authentic, and yourself. We are very interested in:
– Why you want to join.
– The current obstacles you face.
– What value you bring to our community (we are a give-to-give community … we’re not interested in entertaining “takers”).
Who's in the mastermind?
45 leaders in the local school or central office. These leaders are in private, public, charter, and independent schools. Members are currently located in the following states and countries:
- North Carolina
- New Jersey
- New York
Who is an ideal mastermind member?
The mastermind is for people who believe:
- leading in community is better than leading in isolation
- that leadership is an art that can be learned
- that the path to exponential leadership is through vulnerability and community
- big problems can be solved and it’s exciting to do so
And for people who want:
- support, connection, and community
- to take their leadership to the next level
- to engage in discussion about education and leadership that will challenge you to level up
I promise that engaging in the mastermind will help you:
- grow into the leader that you dream of and that your community deserves
If you can relate to those ideas, you’re almost there … an ideal mastermind member has these five characteristics as well:
- Driven by an inspiring mission and/or vision
- Desire to create a big impact
- Is working to solve an interesting problem
- Ready to commit to showing up and doing the work
- Has a “give-to-give” mentality.
Will I get in?
Maybe. The factors:
- Am I an “ideal mastermind member”?
- Am I ready to level up and invest in my development?
- Is there space?
What time zones/regions are eligible to apply?
Every single one. We have members in eight different countries around the world. There are four groups:
- Tuesday 6:30 pm CST
- Wednesday 4 pm CST
- Wednesday 5:15 pm CST
- Wednesday 6:30 pm CST
Is there an application fee?
Not at this time, but maybe in the future. At BLBS, we don’t need that for revenue. We can see it as a great way to separate leaders from those that are just window shopping and those who are ready to take their leadership to the next level.
If I am not accepted into the mastermind can I reapply?
Yes. If you’re not accepted into the mastermind, that means you didn’t illustrate how you are an ideal member of our community. Read that section over and do the personal work needed to become that leader. And after you have transformed, wait another six months and then reapply.
What can I expect?
Expect that you have found your tribe. If you are a rebel leader and ready to connect with a thriving community of authentic, innovative, and driven leaders, then welcome home ?
Meetings are (generally) every week for one hour. We share wins and offer accountability. We discuss leadership books from outside our industry. The “secret sauce” is the hot seat where a member gives the group context of a current challenge and we help her solve it. It’s magic.
How long is the term of membership? Are there contracts?
That’s your call. We have original members still in the group from when we launched in 2016. I tell all new apllicants to stick around for at least three months to see that our philosophy “sticks.” This will also give enough time to actually get to know other members and take action on what you learn in the mastermind.
After that the message is always the same — stay as long as you are growing and getting value from our community. If that ever changes, it is time to go.
How much is mastermind membership? Do you offer discounts?
Currently mastermind cohorts facilitated by Daniel are $250/month. There is a 5% discount for a six month investment and 10% discount for a year investment.
The mastermind is the best investment in your professional and personal growth available to you.
Can my district pay?
Absolutely! In fact, more and more members are asking their districts to cover the expense and many are saying “Yes!” The answer is always “No” unless you ask.
What kind of books do you read?
All kinds, but mostly books from outside our industry! My leadership approach is to expose you to great ideas and thinking outside of education. Let’s face it, you’re going to read plenty of education books without my help!
Here is a list of what we read (and will be reading) in the mastermind:
- July – Aug 2017: Ego is the Enemy
- Sept – Oct 2017: Leadership Step by Step
- Nov – Dec 2017: Never Split the Difference
- Jan – Feb 2018: The Happiness Advantage
- March – April 2018: Thinking Fast and Slow
- May – June 2018: Moments (Heath Bros)
- July – Aug 2018: The Art of Possibility
- Sept – Oct 2018: Great at Work
- Nov – Dec 2018: BLBS Roadmap
- Jan – Feb 2019: When
- March – April 2019: Culture Code
- May – June 2019: Emotional Intelligence 2.0
What types of payment are accepted?
Most members pay out-of-pocket, but some have successfully had their school / district cover the mastermind membership dues using PD or Title I funds. For those that pay out-of-pocket, it’s as easy as entering your card information one time on my secure website. Otherwise we can go the quote, PO, invoice route if your school / district will cover the investment in your leadership growth.
What is your refund policy?
There are no refunds. For three years we ran a 100% money back guarantee to any leader that felt the mastermind didn’t deliver on its promise to accelerate your leadership development.
Over three years zero members requested a refund.
We can confidently state that you will grow as a leader in the mastermind, but you must do two things:
- Consistently show up
- Execute on the ideas
If that doesn’t happen, we can’t guarantee delivering on our promise.
However, that’s not a mastermind problem. That’s a you problem.
What is your deferral policy?
There is no deferral policy. If you are accepted into the mastermind you are welcome to join as long as seats remain. If you wait and seat is taken — sorry. We value action takers and leaders that are ready to immediately level up.
Do you offer scholarships?
At this time we do not offer scholarships.
Are reimbursements possible?
Some members have successfully asked their district to reimburse their investment in the mastermind.
What is your attendance policy?
There isn’t an official policy. If you miss a number of meetings, you can expect me to reach out and make sure everything is okay.
Three principles to consider when reflecting on attendance:
- You’ll get more from the experience the more you contribute (and attend meetings)
- We want to hear from you. Part of what makes the mastermind magical is the great perspectives from the community. We don’t get that if you are absent.
- If you are chronically absent, I may ask you to exit the group since your contribution is not making the group better.
I heard this quote the other day from Joel Weldon: “Success comes in cans, not in cannots.” Wow. Reminds me a lot of the power of the “Yes, and…!” in improv comedy.
And that’s the spirit behind a YesAQ. I learned about it from the altMBA and they cited the team at Basecamp who cited a rest stop in the Illinois-Wisconsin toll road. The leadership lesson: leaders empower and remove obstacles. So here is our giant list of questions that the answer is always “Yes” too.
Yes for the application:
- Can I apply if I’m a veteran school leader?
- Can I apply if I’m new to school leadership?
- Can I apply if I’m a teacher with admin credentials currently looking for an admin job?
- Can I apply if I live outside of the USA?
- Do you read each application?
- Does it matter what I put on the application?
- Do you really turn some leaders away?
- If I’m accepted can I ask additional questions before joining?
- Do you handpick each member?
Yes for our meetings:
- Can I wear pajama pants and a tee shirt?
- Can I miss meetings when there is a school or personal family function?
- Can I facilitate a meeting?
- When I facilitate can I change the format of the meeting?
- Can I ask personal questions during the hot seat?
- Are meetings really an hour?
- Will I be challenged and sometimes uncomfortable during meetings?
- Will the meetings change my life and help me level-up?
- Are earbuds (or other headphones) enough to participate in the meeting?
- Can I connect to a meeting on a laptop?
- Can I connect to a meeting on a smartphone or tablet?
Yes outside of meeting times:
- Can I contact you outside of meeting times?
- Can I contact other leaders outside of meeting times?
- Can I share resources after the meeting?
- Is there an organized place where you keep all mastermind resources?
- Do we ever meet face-to-face as a mastermind?
Yes for the books we read:
- Do you ship me the book we read?
- Can I have a kindle or audible version of the book?
- Will I enjoy the reading?
- Should I take notes while I read?
- Will I share key takeaways or create projects based on the reading?
The Mastermind can change your life and make you a better leader, if you only let it!