Book by Tri-C President Alex Johnson Shares Lessons on Leadership

‘Change the Lapel Pin’ Outlines Leadership Model while Raising Money for Scholarships

Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) President Alex Johnson’s recently published book on leadership — Change the Lapel Pin — reflects his passion for developing leaders, educating students and building on the academic achievements seen at Tri-C.

The book shows emerging and existing leaders how to draw upon their education, experiences and exposures — what Johnson calls the “Three Essentials of Leadership” — to accelerate the development of natural abilities and create an authentic and personalized style.

Methods shared in Change the Lapel Pin can propel leaders as they work to transform organizations, communities and lives as Johnson has done over a quarter century as a college president.

The book’s title stems from an early experience in Johnson’s career. It is symbolic of the power of leadership actions and decisions, regardless of their size, and the careful approach that must be taken.

“The message of this book is that authentic leadership must be influenced from without but developed from within,” Johnson said. “An effective leader molds a personal and dynamic approach that inspires, changes and grows organizations and, most importantly, people.”

At Tri-C, where Johnson became president five years ago, he worked to reshape the student experience with a strong focus on access, retention and completion. Graduation numbers exceeded 4,400 last year — a record high — and continue to climb under his leadership.

The accomplishments reflect a collaborative campus environment fostered by Johnson to involve faculty, staff and trustees in all aspects of student success.

“I am proud of Tri-C’s efforts to better equip students for success,” Johnson said. “Our graduates leave with the talent and desire to meet the challenges of tomorrow in Northeast Ohio. It is my hope that Change the Lapel Pin helps this new generation of leaders in more ways than one.”

Proceeds from the book will go toward student scholarships through the Cuyahoga Community College Foundation Gap Scholarship Fund. The fund benefits students who need financial aid but do not qualify for federal or state assistance.

Change the Lapel Pin is available online at or through Tri-C campus bookstores. Cost is $24.95.

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