Get To Know Us – The Dame Leadership Team

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John Dame

John Dame

Owner & Managing Partner

JD received a B.S. in marketing from Pennsylvania State University in 1973. He pursued a career in radio broadcasting for 32 years. His time spent in broadcasting was leveraged as a rich learning platform for his evolution as a business strategist.

JD’s reputation for insightful evaluation, planning, and a passion for driving results has grown his involvement with companies and organizations internationally. He has a fine-tuned understanding of the risks, challenges, and opportunities facing both seasoned and emerging CEOs allowing him to specialize in executive team coaching and strategic planning. His approach to strategic planning is simple and allows an organization to quickly execute better and drive results. He offers a step-by-step guide of the process in his book, Fast Track Strategic Planning.

JD is affiliated with Vistage International, the world’s largest CEO membership organization (based on revenue), as a Group Chair and the Best Practice Chair for South Central Pennsylvania. Vistage comprises 13,000 members in 15 countries with members generating nearly $300 billion in annual revenue and employing more than 2.1 million people. JD’s clients produce $5 billion in annual revenue and employ over 5,000 people.

His current focus has turned toward the role of purpose in the business environment, the new challenge of transitioning to a millennial-based workforce, and growing leadership teams within his client companies. Currently, in the sixth year, the Evolution Leadership Conference series is designed to help leaders move from the old “command and control” leadership style to a more Purposeful leadership style. In 2019 over 500 leaders and executives attended the conference.

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Ed Dame

Ed Dame


Ed is President of Dame Leadership where his focus is on helping people become better and more purposeful leaders. He is a graduate of Penn State University with a degree in Information Science & Technology. This blend of business and technology was not new to Ed when he started down this path. Starting in the mid-1990s, Ed began developing websites for bands that he loved. This eventually led him to develop the website for the rock band, Foo Fighters and assisting for other bands like Beastie Boys, Beck, and Jimmy Eat World. Despite his brush with rock stardom, Ed moved towards a career in leadership versus coding.

Ed has held leadership positions in Software Development, Information Technology Services, and Healthcare Information Firms prior to joining Dame Management Strategies in 2019. Throughout this time, he focused on operational excellence, process improvement, data security, leadership development & coaching, and enterprise software implementation and deployment. Ed has expertise with the following tools:

⦁ CultureWise – Helping Companies build a high-performing culture.
⦁ Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) – a framework for running your business.
⦁ Various Assessments (DISC, Kolbe, Outmatch, APQ)

At Dame Leadership, Ed has worked to develop products around the intellectual property that his father and business partner John, has developed since founding the company in 2002. This includes the Planning with Purpose Strategic Planning process, an executive coaching framework, and the forthcoming Evolution Leadership Labs which will launch in 2021. Additionally, Ed has partnered and organized the Evolution Leadership Conference which has been bringing world-class speakers and leadership experts to the Central Pennsylvania region since 2015.

In his spare time, Ed spends the majority of his time with his family. He has quite a busy household where he and his wife wrangle 4 kids, 2 dogs, and 1 cat. He volunteers with his church and with the Boy Scouts. Music, Photography, and Running are other passions.

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Brian Hodge

Brian Hodge

Leadership Consultant

Brian serves as a leadership consultant for Dame Leadership helping leaders improve through executive coaching, peer groups, strategic planning, and use of assessments. Founded in 2002 by John Dame and based in Central Pennsylvania, Dame Leadership enjoys an unparalleled reputation for integrity and excellence. Brian’s relationship with John goes back to 2011 when he was on the client side of Dame Leadership’s services.

Brian’s experience includes decades of sales, marketing, and operational leadership roles. He has participated in the installation of several systems used for company and individual growth including (partial list):

  • SOAR Selling
  • Action Selling
  • SOAR Hiring
  • Strengths Finder
  • Myers-Briggs
  • APQ/CPQ Assessment by Asher Strategies
  • OutMatch Leadership Development Assessments
  • Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS)
  • Five Dysfunctions of a Team
  • GiANT Worldwide

Prior to joining Dame Leadership, Brian worked for Soccer Shots Franchising where he built and led a team of franchise business consultants. Their job was to help 140 franchisees across North America grow their businesses. Brian refined and helped facilitate sales training for new franchisees and their staff. He and his team also helped franchisees use strategic planning tools, leadership development, and organizational development resources from EOS and GiANT Worldwide.

Before that, from 2012 through 2016, Brian served as the manager of culture development and associate publisher for Journal Multimedia (previous owner of the Central Penn Business Journal, et al). Brian defined and introduced company-wide hiring and performance management systems; including training and coaching managers both individually and by facilitating the internal leadership development program. He analyzed and validated the use of CPQ assessments in hiring sales associates and trained sales managers on leveraging the individual insights to coach staff and help select new associates. Brian was also responsible for the use and interpretation of the company’s Strengths Finder and employee engagement assessments.

Prior to this, Brian developed, trained, and led sales and marketing teams as well as culture-development initiatives in the information technology and transportation industries.


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Rob Vowler

Rob Vowler

Strategic Partner

Robert Vowler is a business advisor and experienced board member based in Hershey, Pennsylvania. He is the former CEO of Hershey Trust Company, the parent company of Milton S. Hershey’s business enterprises. The Trust administers the estate and philanthropies of Mr. Hershey and provides trust and investment management services to individuals.
For 12 years, Vowler spearheaded operations at Hershey Trust Company, overseeing investments totaling $10 billion. He led the oversight of The Hershey Company, Hershey Entertainment and Resorts, and the M.S. Hershey Foundation. He served as the primary trustee of the controlling interest in the titular Fortune 500 company and served as a board member of several Hershey entities as well.

Prior to being named CEO, he was the CFO of The Hershey Trust for ten years. Vowler also served as president of The M.S. Hershey Foundation for twenty years. He served as Audit Committee Chair and Executive Compensation Committee chair of The Hershey Entertainment Company for many years as well. He began his career as a CPA at various firms and is qualified as a Sarbanes-Oxley financial expert.

During his time as CEO of the largest stakeholder in the Hershey Company, Robert Vowler grew the Hershey Trust asset base from $2.6 billion to $8+ billion, led a $1.5 billion diversification of assets, and increased the Private Wealth Division revenues fivefold.

In addition to the Hershey Trust ownership in the majority of Hershey Company stock, he oversaw the Trust’s widely diversified investments. He also attracted and recruited talent to lead Hershey’s entities, perhaps best exemplified by his full replacement of the Board of Directors of the Hershey Company in 2007, which refocused the company’s direction and improved operating results without any loss of stock value.

Vowler was also responsible for boosting Hershey entities’ community involvement. He is credited for some of the most significant enhancements to Hershey’s iconic physical assets — from developing the Biomedical Research Park to renovating downtown Hershey to adding 1,000+ acres to the Trust’s real-estate portfolio.

In 2008, Robert Vowler stepped down from his role as CEO at Hershey Trust Company. He began independently advising businesses or individuals and also served as an expert witness focused on fiduciary investments. He is currently Business Advisor to one hedge fund, and has successfully advised another hedge fund for five years; Rob joined Dame Leadership as a Strategic Partner in 2020 where he specializes in advisory services to family offices regarding planning, marketing, governance, executive coaching, and more.

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Joseph Robinson, Jr.

Joseph Robinson, Jr.

Strategic Partner

From 2009 through Oct 2020, Mr. Robinson served as Executive Director of the South Central Pa. Sickle Cell Council, responsible for raising public awareness and resources for those affected by the disease in 26 PA Counties. He chaired the statewide PA Sickle Cell Provider Network and, nationally, served on the Leadership Council of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America. He also serves the community as President of the Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Development Institute, a local think tank and developer of community leaders trained in the tenets of Dr King.  Also, over 3,000 people have been trained in Robinson’s leadership model outlined in his book, 7 Leadership Imperatives from a Wild Man (Judson Press, 2008).  He retired from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation with 26 years of service, last serving in a senior management position as Chief of the Performance Improvement and Metrics Division.

He serves on the Harrisburg Public Schools Foundation, NAACP Executive Committee, and New Birth of Freedom Boy Scout Council. In 2011 he was selected Pennsylvania Association of Alpha Chapters “Brother of the Year.” In 2012 he received the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc’s “Citizen of the Year” Award. In 2013 he was named Commonwealth of Pennsylvania “Big Brother of the Year.” In 2015 he received the Central Baptist Laymen’s Association “Outstanding Community Service” Award. In 2017 he received the Greater Harrisburg Area NAACP “Presidential Award.” In 2018 he received the MLK Dream Showcase “Dream Servant Leader Award,” and the bcmPEACE “Peacemaker” Award. In 2019 he was awarded the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority’s “Men of Rhoyalty Leadership Development Award,” the Breaking the Chainz, Inc. “Excellence Award,” and the Dauphin County District Attorney’s “Outstanding Service by a Citizen” award. He is an active member and past president of the Zeta Theta Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, in Harrisburg, PA.


Because of his breadth of community involvement the Patriot News invited Robinson to serve as a monthly guest columnist from July through December 2011. He has appeared as a guest on PCN’s “Public Affairs Call-In Program,” WGAL Terry Madonna’s “Pennsylvania Newsmakers,” WITF Scott Lamar’s “Smart Talk” and Allentown, Pa talk show host Tony Ianelli’s “Business Matters.” In 2019 the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) broadcast live, statewide, his presentation, Dr. MLK: The Man, the Myth, the Martyr.”


He earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in English at the University of Virginia (UVA) and in 2016 was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters for Community Service by Central Penn College. He has also served as a Central Penn College adjunct faculty member teaching African American History, and was invited to speak for the “Batten Hour” at UVA’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. He is a 2011 graduate of Leadership Harrisburg’s, 25th Anniversary class. He is an ordained elder deacon of The Greater Zion Missionary Baptist Church since 1986 and has served in many capacities, including the first Director of Ministries for 70 ministries of the church.


Married to Edna M. Robinson, their son Michael resides in Kuwait, with wife Seneca; daughter Brittany, graduate of Howard University, resides in Mt. Ranier, Md with husband, Rejinal Bernard and their son, Elijah Joseph Bernard, the Robinson’s first grandchild.

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