Former ag executive Cleo Franklin publishes a new book that provides inspiration and insight to help business leaders and startups meet leadership challenges.

We’ve just finished a new book, Coffee with Cleo, by leadership development consultant Cleo Franklin. Cleo has written a collection of 10 leadership lessons and personal stories of inspiration, self-reflection, and insight from his 32-year career as an executive with global ag brands John Deere, Case-New Holland, and Mahindra.

Readers will find inspiration and courage in Cleo’s honest and self-reflective writing, especially those who are business leaders or on startup teams. “I describe it as a modern-day Aesop’s Fables,” says Cleo.

The book’s foreword was written by Anand G. Mahindra, executive chairman of the Mahindra Group and Cleo’s longtime mentor. “A good story requires a good storyteller… Through artful storytelling, Cleo offers valuable leadership lessons for any aspiring leader or startup business team seeking guidance and a framework to help develop and improve their leadership skills… For many successful executives, it will serve as a reminder that we should sometimes jog the memory for insights that have, perhaps, been long forgotten.”

Books are available for order from Franklin’s website,, as well as Amazon and other retailers.

Cleo Franklin, author of "Coffee with Cleo."
Cleo Franklin, author of Coffee with Cleo.

About the Author

Cleophus “Cleo” Franklin Jr.’s leadership experience and expertise has been globally recognized, as has his passion for business development, developing robust brand strategies, and designing and implementing innovative, disruptive business models that have benefited many iconic brands across multiple industries. He is a fervent believer in the servant leadership model and helps communities and individuals find their purpose and focus by going beyond just selling products and services.

Cleo grew up in Chicago’s inner-city West Side in a family of nine children and was raised by parents who brought their resourceful, no-excuses, community-service, and education-first mentality to the family. Although growing up in urban America, Cleo’s industry expertise is deeply connected to agriculture, spanning over 30 years as a senior executive working for three major global agriculture brands. He owes this connection to his parents’ multigenerational rural and farming background in Arkansas, Missouri, and Mississippi.

Cleo is the president and CEO of Franklin Strategic Solutions,, a global consulting business that focusses on leadership development. He is also the founder of the Franklin Leadership Foundation in partnership with Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. The foundation works with businesses to develop future leaders through internships, scholarships, and mentoring access for students to top business leaders.

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