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Beyond Competition with Ed Frauenheim – Act 1

Author and researcher Ed Frauenheim opens  Act 1 reminiscing about his past as a young boy in a suburb of Buffalo, NY, an “idyllic place” where Ed’s early - and somewhat persistent - understanding of what a man was supposed to be took form. 

As a young man, Ed’s perceptions of manhood were challengingly rigid; “it’s about competition, it’s about being tough, it’s not about expressing emotion, and those were hard rules for me to fit into in a lot of ways…”

He shares a story of how, in a hockey game at the formative age of 13 that ended in a shared championship title, he viewed the outcome as a loss, because a tie was not a heroic win.

While Ed was arguably very successful on paper, his ideals of manhood led to coloring his  formidable accomplishments as “not quite,” even as a high-achieving student at Princeton University.

Ed reflects on how separating self-worth from achievement and one's “win-loss record,” even in things like playing basketball and Frisbee golf with friends, makes room for different kinds of relationships between men.  He touches on important lessons learned from examining competition and introduces the critical practice of forgiveness.

Before wrapping Act 1, we wrestle with letting go of armor to open ourselves to more substantial, emotionally vulnerable and connected relationships, bringing it home with a fun examination of how fatherhood offers fantastic opportunities for a reset… whilst stripping away any remaining illusions of control.


Ed Frauenheim is about reinventing masculinity, workplaces and society--and about connecting the dots among the three for a more soulful world.  He is a writer, speaker and consultant who has focused on workplace, technology and culture matters for more than 25 years.  His stories have been featured in Fortune, Wired and USA Today.  Ed spent six years as director of content at Great Place to Work, the global consultancy that produces the annual Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list.  He has co-written four books including A Great Place to Work For All and Reinventing Masculinity: The Liberating Power of Compassion and Connection.  

 Ed co-founded The Teal Team, a group of professionals dedicated to creating more soulful organizations.  He also co-founded Project Compassion, an initiative to elevate compassion in policing to strengthen the heart of communities. He is the father of two teenagers and husband to artist Rowena Richie. He lives in San Francisco.

Find Ed at, on LinkedIn and Twitter - @edfrauenheim