Book by alumnus explores the power of reputation
Mike Mooney ’93, who learned the significance of reputation through a storied career alongside NASCAR racecar drivers, has published his first book.
By Sarah Collins ’18
“How much is your reputation worth? Try to put a dollar value on it.” This is the first question Elon alumnus Mike Mooney ’93 asks students, executives and successful athletes to consider when they evaluate the worth of personal reputation. A consultant with more than two decades of experience in reputation and crisis management, Mooney published his first book, “Reputation Shift – Five High Performance Truths for Success,” for those looking to better understand, build and leverage their own reputations.
Mooney’s work is the culmination of 25 years spent in the world of motorsports communications and marketing. During that time, he helped lead the transition and launch of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series in 2004 as director of marketing communications for Sprint Nextel and created dynamic sponsorship platforms for brands like Walmart, Tylenol, Lowe’s and Sunoco as vice president of The Marketing Arm, a marketing and promotion agency. He continued to focus on brand building for four competitive NASCAR teams as senior vice president for Roush Fenway Racing. “My career has centered on building and protecting brands and I’ve seen the impact, both good and bad, of reputations, particularly for athletes, executives and professional drivers. The reality is that people typically don’t think about the value of their reputation until they’ve paid a price,” he says. “This book is about shifting perspective and getting people to proactively think ahead in how they manage this natural asset.”
Available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Mooney’s personal website, the book offers five strategies that encourage readers to value reputation in their everyday lives. For example, Mooney draws on a racing analogy to implore readers to identify their own personal blind spots. He asks readers to consider their “spotters”—the people who are looking out for them and can identify unseen weaknesses. He also articulates the importance of visualizing a “personal instant replay” before making decisions. He asks readers to evaluate how a decision will look from different perspectives in their lives to help them course correct and anticipate varying outcomes.
The book also features action-oriented questions at the end of each chapter for readers to reflect upon and consider application for their own lives. “This is not just a ‘turn the page’ type of book,” says Mooney. “It incorporates reflective questions as well as stories from personal experiences in my career, from crises around driver deaths to athletes shooting off their mouths. This book will provide readers with a roadmap for strengthening and protecting their reputation in this world of instant information sharing.”
At Elon, Mooney majored in corporate communications and minored in business. He intended to major in business until his junior year, when he experienced a change of heart after he came in contact with a public relations firm during an internship. With a newfound interest in communications, Mooney returned to campus and enrolled in several public speaking and writing courses. He was guided by the direction of his academic adviser, Assistant Professor of Communications Gerald Gibson, to whom he is thankful to this day. “Gibson has a very special place in my heart,” he says. “He really helped me as I was figuring out what I wanted to do in communications.”
He was also heavily involved in Elon’s Student Government Association during his time as a student, having served in multiple positions including vice president and president. “It was those experiences with students, administrators, faculty and advisers that shaped my love for communications, connecting people and creating solutions for challenges, as well as a lifelong love for Elon,” he says.
Mooney currently lives in Huntersville, North Carolina, with his wife, Krista Horton Mooney ’94, and their three children, Alexa, Blair and Brooke. For more information about Mooney and his book, visit mikemooney.com.