About

Teams. We've all been there.  

How many times have you worked on a big project where you may have gotten the results you wanted, but wound up feeling lousy, dispirited and frustrated?

Our protagonist, Max, is a young manager who gets in over his head leading a group of colleagues with clashing styles. But a chance meeting with an unlikely mentor leads him on a journey to help him better understand himself and the people he works with.

Join Max in this unique educational odyssey⁠—created by a team leader at Google⁠—to learn how to gain the confidence and expertise to lead your winning team!

Graphic novels are not just a cutting-edge educational tool—they're just good fun! Immerse yourself in a dramatic office story by Stephen Gay, a passionate and creative leader currently working at Google. For years, Stephen has taken pride in nurturing high performing teams to solve complex problems, and in delivering innovative and delightful experiences. With a deep understanding of the best practices in facilitation, collaboration, and communication, Stephen is excited to share years of practical wisdom into his first book.

Why Always Wins is a versatile resource for individual professionals or organizational leaders at all stages of their careers. Early career  professionals and recent grads will have an invaluable book on  accelerating your career with practical, proven methods. Managers,  mentors, and team leaders will find a fun, compelling tool to share and  discuss best practices in groups or 1:1. Educators and organizational  leaders will have a unique resource for fostering a culture of impactful  collaboration and respect. 

The book features the expressive and dynamic art by Der-shing Helmer, creator of critically acclaimed, award-winning comics including The Meek and Mare Internum, and the elegant design sensibilities of GB Tran, award-winning author of Vietnamerica.

We are happy to say that the book is 100% complete, and the files are ready to be sent to the printer as soon as funding is secured. With  your help, we hope to be able to bring our comic to life for the first time.  

Why Always Wins is an exciting passion project of 5 years in the making, uniting Stephen's love of play, of comics, and of coaching others for impact into one engaging package.

Included with your book are multiple worksheets that allow you to hone your own skills while you join Max on his journey. 

the activity sheets are designed to be effective individually, in teams, or working with a coach

Want more worksheets? Sure! As we reach funding goals, we'll be able to add additional activity content to reward sets, free of charge.

Our main focus is to fund a print run of the book, but Kickstarter is complete without the opportunity to nab some unique rewards. Enjoy automatic, unlockable upgrades to your book or workshop package:

Next rewards unlock at 12.5k!
More rewards are added to your order automatically as we hit over-funding goals

 Coaching

In the personalized coaching tiers,  Stephen will answer questions and facilitate a coaching session for you and/or your team focused on mentoring best practices. The goal is to  provide you a practical approach to accelerate your goals, based on the methods in the book. In advance of the call, you'll be sent an online session planning form to customize the session to maximize the value and benefit of the call to you and your team.

Call and book packages initially available in US and Canada, please message to inquire about additional countries.

Personalized Workshop Tiers

Stephen  will bring the methods and skills from Why Always Wins to life in an engaging and informative workshop for you and your team.  His goal is to provide you a highly tailored workshop to support the team and accelerate your goals.  In advance of the workshop, you'll receive an online session planning form to  help better understand your team's current focus and challenges.  We'll personalize the core topics and practice the worksheets from the  book. We'll also discuss best practices for the future of your team and  project.

In-person Workshop packages limited to the Bay Area (San Fransisco to San Jose), and available via video conference outside the Bay Area. Please don't hesitate to PM via Kickstarter with any inquiries prior to pledging.

Check out what our advance readers are saying!

Stephen Gay is an award-winning designer with over 20 years of leadership experience. He has championed product development in start-ups and large-scale creative organizations like Google, Intuit, and more. Having led change in organizations that span the globe with teams on five continents, Stephen has extensive facilitation training and experience leading team-building and designing workshops, and is excited to offer you the best of what on-the-job learning and mentors have given him. 

When not writing comics, Stephen brings  his sense of play to his work and home life, which comes in handy with two little boys and a wonderful wife.  

I am grateful to have worked with a talented team of artists, creatives and comic professionals, and so humbled by the support to bring this passion project to print. I believe we all can be leaders and work on high performing teams. 

A huge thank you for the tremendous work, support and inspiration from:

Der-shing, Ron and Matt!
  •  Der-shing Helmer - award-winning comic artist and Kickstarter consultant
  •  Matt Silady - brilliant advisor and champion of the comic art form
  •  Ron  Kertzner - trusted mentor and incredible subject matter expert
  •  Tracy Hayes, my wonderful wife
  • Graphic Design - GB Tran, award-winning author of Vietnamerica
  • Editorial - Kayla Mauriello, super talented copy editor
  • Art assistance - Amber Padilla, amazing comic artist
  • Editorial - Rich & Julie Coolberg 
  • Ad assistance - Alex Dow & Eric Holts 
  • Video creation & music - Shane Olbourne 

And most of all, thank YOU for the support and and for taking the time to look at my project.

        ⁠—Stephen Gay

Risks and challenges

This is Stephen's first Kickstarter project, but he is partnering with seasoned veterans to expedite the printing and fulfillment Why Always Wins. His goal is to provide you an engaging, high-quality product with prompt delivery.

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    Thank you for supporting the project. We love team work!

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    Why Always Wins (digital edition)

    The DRM-free digital edition of Why Always Wins

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    Why Always Wins

    A physical copy of the graphic novel, Why Always Wins

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    Friends and Family

    A signed edition of the book, as well as your name listed on a special thank-you section of the website.

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    • Why Always Wins (signed print copy)
    • Why Always Wins (digital PDF copy)
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    Coach Package

    A personal training session; the perfect tier for students and new hires.

    Includes:
    • Why Always Wins (print copy)
    • Why Always Wins (digital PDF copy)
    • 30-minute conference call
    • your name thanked on our website
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    Mentor Package

    With a call and 3 copies of the book, this is a tier for smaller teams looking for a personalized skillset boost.

    Includes:
    • Why Always Wins (print copy)
    • Why Always Wins (digital PDF copy)
    • 30-minute conference call
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    Educator Package

    A tier for educators, managers and team leaders, with two conference calls to provide more in-depth discussion.

    Includes:
    • Why Always Wins (signed print copy)
    • Why Always Wins (digital PDF copies)
    • 2x 30-minute conference calls
    • your name or team name thanked on our website
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    Manager Package

    Multiple books and a full 2-hour workshop to be delivered to your small team.
    Note: Workshops will be delivered online, and in person to companies located locally in the CA Bay Area. Please message ahead of time to confirm your location if you have any questions!

    Includes:
    • Why Always Wins (signed print copy)
    • Why Always Wins (digital PDF copies)
    • 2-hour in-person workshop
    • your name or team name thanked on our website
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    Start-up Package

    Multiple books and a full 2-hour workshop to be delivered to your medium-sized team.
    Note: Workshops will be delivered online, and in person to companies located locally in the CA Bay Area. Please message ahead of time to confirm your location if you have any questions!

    Includes:
    • 10× Why Always Wins (signed print copy)
    • Why Always Wins (digital PDF copies)
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    • your name thanked on our website
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    Corporate Package

    Multiple books and an extensive 3-hour workshop to be delivered to your extra large team.
    Note: Workshops will be delivered online, and in person to companies located locally in the CA Bay Area. Please message ahead of time to confirm your location if you have any questions!

    Includes:
    • 15× Why Always Wins (signed print copy)
    • Why Always Wins (digital PDF copies)
    • 3-hour in-person workshop
    • your name or team name thanked on our website
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    Why Always Wins (early bird edition)

    A physical copy of the graphic novel, Why Always Wins at a special early-bird discount!

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    Why Always Wins

    A physical copy of the graphic novel, Why Always Wins

    Includes:
    • Why Always Wins (print copy)
    • Why Always Wins (digital PDF copy)
    • any additional unlocked rewards
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