Marquette bookshelf: ‘Push the Tarp: A story about fostering authentic leadership and great teams’

By Tim McMahon, vice president for university advancement

Picture of Tim McMahon and the cover of his book
“Push the Tarp” is available Monday, June 20.

“Push The Tarp” is a novel about a 20-year-old who is faced with adversity, and through a fortunate turn of events learns from an unlikely mentor who teaches him a proven approach to authentic leadership and building great teams. In this truly heartwarming and relatable journey, Tim McMahon demonstrates how to close the gap from where you are to where you want to be by harnessing the power of authentic leadership and championship-caliber teamwork. This book encourages you to rediscover your authentic purpose and Push the Tarp—intentionally—every single day.

Learn more or purchase this book on Amazon

Tim McMahon answered some questions about his new book, including his favorite part of the writing process, what he hopes the book can accomplish and how it complements his work in University Advancement.

How would you describe the book in one sentence?

A fictional story about a mindset to foster authentic leadership and great teams in sports, business and life.

Where did the idea for this book come from?

The idea came from a saying my college roommate had when we had to push the tarp onto our field in college. Later in my career, I have used the metaphor of pushing the tarp as a way to describe that we all have to show up (service), we all have to push (teamwork) and we have to keep pushing (persistence) in our pursuits.

These three values of service, teamwork and persistence are the pillars of our University Advancement culture.

How does this book advance or complement your work with the university?

The lessons within this story are emblematic of how we approach our culture in UA.

What do you hope to accomplish with this book?

I hope to inspire leaders and aspiring leaders through this story and provide them with a framework that has worked for me.

I also think the story is an easy-to-read, a widely relatable tale about relationships, and it is a reminder to readers that life is about those we impact and those who make an impact on us.

Last, I hope this inspires the next generation of leaders to do so in their own authentic way. That we can utilize a common framework around agreed values and then empower future and rising leaders to bring them to life in their own ways.

What was your favorite part of the writing/editing process?

The creative process and the creation of the characters in the book. Each of the characters are fictional and I made them up as I wrote each morning. It is amazing how emotionally invested and connected I became to these characters.

Are there any other Marquette/Milwaukee connections to the topic or development process of your book?

The Greater Milwaukee area is the main location for this story. My main character plays for the Northwoods League’s Lakeshore Chinooks in Mequon; Marquette University is mentioned a few times in the book; and scenes take place in Church of the Gesu and at the Milwaukee Athletic Club.

If you have recently published a book, or if you have one coming out, we would like to feature your publication in an upcoming Marquette Bookshelf feature. More information on the submission process is available online.

Book Details

  • Language: ‎ English
  • Publication date:June 20, 2022
  • Print length: ‎ 103 pages