The Leadership Society of Arizona Wins ASU’s 2016 Changemaker Challenge for Education!


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The Leadership Society of Arizona (LSA) recently competed in ASU’s 2016 Changemaker Challenge competition. ASU’s Changemaker Challenge had over 100 applicants and only 30 finalists. Changemaker Challenge awarded the LSA $5,000 to fund their 2016 summer education programs. The judges saw incredible value in the business venture. The judges believe that LSA had a solid foundation to thrive as a future nonprofit. Judges including Sentari Minor from SVP Arizona and Rick McCartney from InMedia Company offered to mentor LSA.

 Who We Are

The Leadership Society of Arizona (LSA) is a professional leadership organization that aims to teach students the value of using logic to become efficient in their daily lives. From the concepts, students learn how to increase their personal accountability. LSA seeks to change the paradigm of traditional education by improving students’ lives. The organization continues to build a network of educators, professionals, students and business leaders with the same goal of improving education.

Mountain Pointe High School Picture
Mountain Pointe High School Program Picture

The Problem

In brief, the average college freshman is stressed, overwhelmed, and under-prepared for college. The Center for Collegiate Mental Health in 2015 confirmed this epidemic. It found that anxiety and depression are now the most common mental health diagnoses among college students. The American College Health Association conducted another study on depression in 2010. This study found that 30.7% of college students say at one point in the past 12 months they “felt so depressed it was difficult to function.” Every year, 12% of U.S. college students make a plan to commit suicide. Consequently, 1,000 of those plans are not prevented. (Wilcox, et. al, 2010).

Mental health issues are also prevalent in junior high and high school students. The Wall Street Journal quoted a high school superintendent saying, “I cannot help but think that we may be failing [our students] by reinforcing an educational system that perpetuates grades at the expense of deep and meaningful learning.” Unfortunately, at this school district alone, there were more than 120 reported cases of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. (Goyal, 2016).


The Real Issue

Students in college and high school are unprepared for life after graduation. LSA proposes that this could be due to the format of traditional education. Traditional education focuses on memorizing technical information for the test. The difference is that LSA wants to help students understand who they are. When students know who they are, they know where they can best use their talents and unique abilities.

Furthermore, the evidence for education reform is dominant, but the root of its problem and how to resolve it is not. What is evident is the misalignment of students who are not pursuing what they are best at and enjoy most. In fact, the students with the most difficulties in life seem to be those who are less clear about their future. These students do not know how to best align themselves with what will help them to achieve success. As a result, many types of irrational behavior in school and at home reflect this misalignment.

 The Solution: Logic and Natural Laws

LSA exposes students to a framework for life that uses observable laws of nature and simple logic. Usually, each student adopts different concepts that benefit their daily life. The natural laws help students to understand who they are and how to best align themselves in life. The logic helps students to quickly break down issues and understand what causes them. Contrary to the norm, LSA teaches very little technical information and focuses on teaching students how to think. Altogether, LSA uses this structure to augment the current education system. By providing students a method to simplify their problems in school and at home, they have the ability to learn five times as fast.

Natural Laws

What We Do

The purpose of the Leadership Society of Arizona is not to prepare students to go to college. LSA prepares students to be successful, to be happy, and to provide value wherever they go. When students enjoy what they are doing, they excel in college, they excel in the industry, and they excel in all aspects of life. Above all, it is important to remember that leadership skills cannot be taught to someone in a classroom. Knowing this, LSA simplifies common problems to allow students to apply the concepts to their lives. As students overcome their problems, they learn to see life as leader does. This perspective gives students opportunities to improve themselves and help others wherever they go. When students learn who they are, what they enjoy, and what value they can provide to others, they become successful. With this success, students find peace and are happy.

Jake Leadership
Jake Gunnoe, an LSA Founder, instructing at North High School about Leadership.

Our Foundation

LSA’s concepts come from industry testing, personal life, and findings from history’s greatest minds. Through research, LSA found that Socrates, Bruce Lee, Einstein, Richard Feynman, Edward Deming, and others professed these same concepts. Dr. Dean Kashiwagi began testing LSA’s concepts in the industry and in his personal life in 1994. Industry professionals collectively refer to the concepts as the Best Value Approach. Dr. Kashiwagi became the director of the Performance Based Studies Research Group (PBSRG). PBSRG’s goal is to spread logic and the Best Value Approach across the world. Along with his son, Dr. Jacob Kashiwagi, they have refined LSA’s concepts over the last 23 years.

In its short history, PBSRG has received $17.3M in research funding to test the leadership model over 1,850 times.  All over the world, the concepts have improved industry’s leadership and project management performance.  The most noteworthy industries tested include Information Technology, Engineering Services, Construction, Business, Medical, etc. So far, PBSRG has tested the concepts in 7 countries and 32 different states (PBSRG, 2016). As a result, Dr. Kashiwagi’s research has increased the efficiency of delivering services by up to 40%.  At the same time, the approach reduces client project management by up to 79%. The approach is an innovative response to the traditional price-based purchasing of professional services.


Our Case Studies

In 2009, Dr. Kashiwagi started teaching a leadership philosophy course for honors students. Dr. Kashiwagi adapted the course from his industry experiences. Students from the #1 Honors program in the world had the opportunity to learn the Best Value Approach. Students saw tremendous value by applying industry-proven concepts to their own lives. From the common sense principles taught in the course, many students overcame personal issues. These issues included anxiety, depression, alcoholism, addiction and family/mental instability.

Due to the college courses’s success, in 2013, Alfredo Rivera and Jake Gunnoe, LSA’s founders, had the idea to bring the college curriculum to high schools. As a result, they wanted to identify how a class based on logic could impact high schools. Dr. Jacob and Dr. Dean Kashiwagi helped LSA develop a leadership course for high school students. Consequently, the proposal was that if LSA could teach high school students personal development, they’d know who they are. Students who know who they are will similarly be more prepared for college.

From 2013 to 2015, LSA taught the curriculum at ASU’s Barrett Summer Scholars program. Then, in 2015, LSA created an NCAA accredited curriculum for Saint Louis High School in Hawaii. In 2016, LSA also taught standalone week-long leadership programs at North and Mountain Pointe High School. All these programs had staggering results. The programs showed 100% of the 69 high school students wanted to enroll in another program after the week. Students additionally had an average increase academic confidence by 20%,  and the programs received an administrator satisfaction rating of 10 out of 10.

North High School Education
Closing Ceremony of North High School s Summer Program

What Comes Next

With the course’s success, LSA will search for new avenues to help the rising generation. The aim is to continue to help simplify students’ lives and align them with what they most enjoy and are best at. LSA intends on expanding to over 20 high schools over the next 5 years. The group offers to teach after-school programs and summer workshops for high school students. As a result, LSA will prepare students for higher education and their careers.

If you are interested in working with us, please contact Chuck Zulanas at  Watch one of our student testimonials here and view one of our class presentations here.

Professional Leadership Education Organization


American College Health Association. (2010). American College Health Association—National College Health Assessment II: Reference Group Data Report Spring 2010. Linthicum, MD

Center for Collegiate Mental Health. (2015). 2014 Annual Report.

Goyal, N. (2016). Solutions for Stressed-Out High School Students. The Wall Street Journal. Web (Feb. 12, 2016). Retrieved from

PBSRG. (2016). Performance Based Studies Research Group Internal Research Documentation, Arizona State University, Unpublished Raw Data.

University of La Verne. (2015). Major Exploration. Retrieved November 21, 2015, from

Wilcox, H. C., Arria, A. M., Caldeira, K. M., Vincent, K. B., Pinchevsky, G. M., & O’Grady, K. E. (2010). Prevalence and predictors of persistent suicide ideation, plans, and attempts during college. Journal of affective disorders, 127(1), 287-294.


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