Print this article

Uncommon Friends: The Ultimate Mastermind Group


Uncommon Statue

The Statue of Edison, Ford, and Firestone in the community park in Fort Myers, FL.

By Stephen Tweed

For the past week, I’ve been attending a meeting of our own personal Mastermind Group.  This is a group of six people – three couples – who are all involved in the business of professional speaking.  We have been traveling and studying together for the past fifteen years.

We’ve been in Naples, Florida for our study, and we spent one day at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers.  Thomas Edison had a winter home on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River.  He had a laboratory and a workshop here and achieved many of his inventions here.  His friend, Henry Ford came down to visit, and later bought the house next door. Edison and Ford shared many hours together here and formed a deep friendship.

Ford also formed a close friendship with Harvey Firestone, the founder of Firestone Tire and Rubber.  Ford, Edison, and Firestone worked together on experiments to find new ways to grow rubber trees that could be used for car tires and other beneficial uses.  Another later member of this prestigious group was Charles Lindbergh.

Uncommon FriendsUncommon Book (2)

In the bookstore at the museum, I picked up a copy of a book by James Newton called Uncommon Friends. It is the story of Newton and his close personal friendship with Ford, Edison, and Firestone.  Newton was a twenty year old man working in real estate when he met Edison and Ford.  They both took him under their wings and for a while Newton worked for Firestone Tire.

Not only did Ford, Edison, and Firestone work together on experiments and business ideas, but they enjoyed each others company camping, fishing, and boating.

The Ultimate Mastermind

Napoleon Hill, the Publisher of Success Magazine and author of “Think and Grow Rich” talked about the concept of “The Mastermind”.  In his book, he talked about the group of Edison, Ford, Firestone, and Lindbergh and how they all benefited from their friendship and spending time together.  Many of our speaker friends in the National Speakers Association have formed Mastermind Groups, and Elizabeth and I have been part of several of these groups over the years.

Rhode Tweed Bonura

Uncommon Friends Jim Rhode, Stephen Tweed, Joe Bonura

Our current group we call The SoulJourners.  The others in the group are Jim and Naomi Rhode from Phoenix, AZ and Joe and Carol Bonura from Louisville.  The Rhodes founded and recently sold a very large dental supply company.  They grow their business by conducting seminars for dentists and their staffs.  Both Jim and Naomi have served as President of the National Speakers Association.

The Bonuras founded a very successful advertising agency which grew to be the largest in Kentucky.  They also sold their business and Joe went into the speaking and consulting business.  Joe also served on the Board of NSA.  After selling their business, Carol went back to school and got a degree in art history and became a Docent at our local Speed Museum of Art. She’s also our private docent when we travel.

These are highly successful business people and Elizabeth and I have learned a lot that we have translated into our business.  The concept of The Mastermind has really paid off for us personally.

Another Uncommon Friend

One of the highlights of this experience was talking our friend and professional speaking colleague, Danny Cox.  Danny was a close personal friend of Jim Newton.  After visiting the Edison & Ford Estate and seeing the book, Naomi called Danny at his home in California.  He spent an hour on the phone telling us about his experiences with Jim Newton and his wife, along with Mrs. Lindbergh.  It was amazing being just three degrees of separation from Lindbergh, Edison, Ford, and Firestone.

The Home Care Mastermind

Because of all that we learned from our own mastermind group, we brought this concept to the home care industry as part of The Academy for Private Duty Home Care.  In 2012 we formed The $5 Million Mastermind Group.  This is a group of home care companies that generate more than $5 million in revenue annually, which puts them in the top 5% of the industry.


Members of the Private Pay in Home Health Mastermind Group meet in New York City.

In 2014 we formed the Private Pay in Home Health Mastermind Group.  This is a group of private duty companies that are affiliated with home health agencies.

These two groups continue to meet twice a year in person, and by telephone in between face-to-face meetings.  The members of these groups have become friends and they share ideas, solve problems, and encourage one another.  Two of the original members of the $5 Million Mastermind Group have sold their businesses and have left the group.  They have been replaced by new members.

If you are interested in becoming a member of a home care mastermind group, visit the web site to learn more.  Then let us know what type of group you would like to join.  We will be starting more Home Care Mastermind Groups in 2015 and perhaps you can be part of one.



Print this article