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Podcast title Talent Magnet Institute Podcast
Website URL http://www.talentmagnetpodcast...
Description The Talent Magnet Institute is committed to developing leaders to succeed in relationships, work, community, and life: we’ll reframe what success means, and you’ll hear the personal stories of successful leaders from around the globe. From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, every guest has a unique story to tell and insights to bring. Discover how to achieve a new type of success that goes much deeper than profits: culture, talent, and holistic leadership.
Updated Fri, 14 Jun 2019 19:35:34 +0000
Image Talent Magnet Institute Podcast
Category Business

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1. Embracing Ambiguity in Your Career with Myrita Craig
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Telling someone to embrace the ambiguity in their career doesn’t sound like good advice, nor something a person would want to do. According to the ‘Queen of Ambiguity,’ Myrita Craig, it’s actually a great idea. Myrita, AVP of the Office of Innovation - Strategic Partnerships at the 1819 Innovation Hub, shares how she earned the title and why she leans into ambiguity. It began with a company that you know well where she helped develop the first automated bridal registry system.

Ambiguity Gives You Power

When you go into a situation without knowing anything, you are empowered to ask questions and learn from the people who do know. Learning from others is a fantastic way to exercise an open mind, and make innovations where they haven’t been made before. More importantly, to look at a system holistically. Myrita shares the story of stepping into a situation with no funding, no plan, but a passion for helping women leaders.

Agenda 360

What happens when you have an ambiguity wrapped in another ambiguity? Myrita took on a large, unpopular program that was more of a vision of regional prosperity called Agenda 360. One of the major lessons Myrita learned when working with disparate teams and many ideas for how it should work was the importance of looking at best practices. She talks us through the other lessons she learned while making the program a huge success, including getting people on the same page.

Getting Others Onboard

It’s hard to rally a team when you lack certainty and frameworks. One thing you absolutely MUST have is transparency. Myrita shares how she approaches her team whenever she takes on a project where things aren’t clear. Regardless of what the project is, people need to see themselves as part of the process. It’s also an opportunity for others to opt themselves out.

Creative Collisions

Sometimes the best ideas come from the craziest sources. Myrita shares why she often puts herself in different situations with people she might not normally come in contact with. Diverse ideas, age differences, gender, professional fields, and more: differences provide people with colliding ideas that, in fact, lead to ultimate creativity.

Talent is the Name of the Game

Part of what Myrita does is to help create a place for innovation and a talent pipeline for students to find businesses where they can start their careers. It’s called the Innovation Hub and Myrita believes that innovation is the new currency. She explains why it will be difficult to compete regionally unless you focus on innovation and talent. And what’s more ambiguous that innovation or developing talent? Disruption, and without a doubt, there is disruption happening in every industry. You have to be willing to embrace it.

Lead Well

When you lead a team or an organization and have countless responsibilities to attend to, it's easy to forget about taking care of yourself. There are three pillars of personal care that will make YOU a better leader. Find out what they are, and how to work them into your busy schedule.



Innovation Hub


2. Unpacking with ‘Small Giant’ Joe Motz
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Joe Motz is the President and CEO at The Motz Corporation and was awarded the Small Giants award by Forbes. Joe’s journey has been an interesting one: he found amazing success but learned it would cost him his life. So Joe learned the importance of ‘unpacking.’ Today, he and Mike discuss how strong leaders can also be strong and healthy people.

Joe’s Beginning as an Entrepreneur

Joe got into the lawn business because he wanted to do what he was good at, and that was growing grass and creating really cool environments for people to play on. He was surprised to find, however, that being good at the thing he loved to do ended up moving him further away from it. So Joe had to learn an entirely new skillset: managing a team.

Greatness over Growth

One thing that sets Joe’s business apart on the product side is that his vision is sustainability. Not only are his materials high-performance for sports, they’re also environmentally sound. As a result of his bigger picture thinking, Joe’s company was awarded the Small Giants title by Forbes, for those organizations who honor greatness over growth. He shares the story of how that came to pass, and what his company did to receive the honor.

Being a Type A Leader

Type A leaders will often drive themselves into the ground when it comes to professional success, especially those who are moved to greatness. Joe felt the effects of this first-hand. From being gone from home a lot to dealing with health issues, he learned over time that he had to adjust his lifestyle after his doctor told him he wouldn’t live past his 50s if he kept on going as he was. He shares how he changed his life while still being a great leader.

People Pack for Their Fears

The more we get into a position of leadership, the more we tend to carry more armor. Carrying it around with us all the time can be truly detrimental. Joe talks about what it means to pack for your fears and how vulnerability is the anathema to an armored lifestyle. Vulnerability is, according to Joe, enriching. He shares a few tools and tips on how to pack less and enjoy more.

Leadership Can Be Lonely

Do you have a friend you can call at 3 am if you’re having a crisis? If not, then you need to find one. Mike shares his own experience of reading a book that ‘hit him right between the eyes.’  The problem is, it’s lonely at the top when you have problems because everyone is looking to you for answers. It’s also difficult to build a support network of friends when all your time is spent in the business. How do you find the balance? Joe shares his thoughts on where it lies.

The Joy of Unpacking

Balancing work, life, and your own support system, the next thing to do is honor the thing you are put on this earth to do and the gifts you’ve been given. Joe talks about how taking care of yourself is imperative to being your best and the steps he took to turn his life around. It’s never too late to start caring for yourself and being young at heart. One of the best ways he’s found is to go ‘off the grid.’ For Joe, that means going backpacking or cycling for a week or so at a time and remaining completely disconnected from everything else.

Lead Well

When you lead a team or an organization and have countless responsibilities to attend to, it's easy to forget about taking care of yourself. There are three pillars of personal care that will make YOU a better leader. Find out what they are, and how to work them into your busy schedule.





Other Resources


Small Giants

Forbes 2018 Small Giants - Joe Motz

The Motz Group

Center for Creative Leadership


Related Episodes

Making Leadership Scalable with Daniel Wachter

The Value of Inclusion, Diversity, and Clowns with Paul Miller

3. Leading an Inclusive Community with Mary Stagaman
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What does it truly look like to lead an inclusive community, and how can we, as leaders, make an impact on this conversation? Join us today as Mary Stagaman, the Vice President of Inclusion at Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, talks about reaching beyond the familiar, celebrating diversity, and the difference this makes for us in our businesses and our lives.

Cultural competency

If we were to get more intentional about diversifying our workforce and building a more inclusive community, we could accelerate the pace of change.

We need to develop the skills that we talk about when discuss cultural competency — the ability to change our communication styles, the way we interact with people to bridge differences — because these aren’t skills we are born with. We instinctively try to find our own tribe. But the good news is, we can bring people to higher levels of cultural competence in a fairly short period of time.

They’ve developed a program called Building Cultural Competence, and it’s specifically focused on leaders, so that when they go back to the community, the skills they learn become magnified as they echo out through their circles of influence.

Focusing on inclusion

Focusing on inclusion is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. Diverse teams perform better, and companies that are more inclusive have better bottom lines.

We can look at inclusion in two ways: the first is personal. Each of us is on his own learning journey, and if you’re ever the only minority in the room, you’ll realize how powerful of an experience it is.

The second is taking it up to the leadership level. Any organization that aspires to be wholly inclusive must have leadership that is culturally competent, willing to take strong stances against discrimination and willing to understand the pervasive systemic issues.


Immigrants absolutely have to be a part of our growth and competitive strategies for the region. Immigrants disproportionately study STEM disciplines, and they’re also disproportionately entrepreneurial. They have an outsized impact and are adding vibrancy to our community in ways we should all benefit from.

It’s so important that cities around the country have gotten into the welcoming business over the last few years, whose sole purpose is to make sure that immigrants are being integrated into the population as quickly and effectively as possible. Because we aren’t just a community. We are a country that has always depended upon immigration for our growth and advancement.

Diversifying your network

The Stir! Multicultural Networking Reception is a program for people to come and meet other people across cultures and communities. Mary also talks about how there is an amazing roster of large global companies in the region that are major actors in our journey to a more inclusive community.

We’re all afraid of stepping out and embracing the unfamiliar. It requires intention, a persistent willingness to deal with cognitive dissonance, and the openness to engage in tough conversations. But if many people and companies are starting this journey, then maybe we have the opportunity to accelerate the rate of change and development.

Lead from the middle

Understand what you can do, and know that it’s possible to start something by simply changing your own behavior. For example, if you manage a small team, you can change the way you approach that team, whether or not your organization as a whole has fully embraced the idea of diversity as a strength, and inclusion as a must-have. It comes back to the individual’s ability to step up and say, "I want to be part of creating a better organization and a better community."


Mary Stagaman (LinkedIn)

Stir! Multicultural Networking Reception

CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion

Episode 18: Becoming Fully Human with Dan Hurley

Episode 19: Diversity and Inclusion with Dr. Janet Reid

Episode 24: The Value of Inclusion, Diversity, and Clowns with Paul Miller

Episode 51: Creating Vibrant and Prosperous Communities with Jill Meyer

4. A Year of Wisdom in One Episode with Mike Sipple, Jr.
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On this special episode, we’re looking back on the first year of the Talent Magnet Institute Podcast. We’re highlighting some of our best topics and episodes, telling stories from behind the scenes, and sharing insights from the year that was.


This podcast began as an effort to bring out not just incredible stories that people could find themselves in, but also important topics that others might have never heard of before. The goal of this podcast is to help you succeed in relationships, work, community, and life, as well as reframing success and leadership.

Conscious Capitalism

When making a difference in your community and the world at large, it all starts with your values. Be intentional with the decisions you make as a business, and it’s so important to volunteer and give back. How can you utilize your privilege to bless others and help change that trajectory for them?

Episode 17: Conscious Capitalism with Steve Shifman

Workforce pipeline

Our future is with our children. How can we make sure that our public and business policies include the kids who are in school right now? In terms of retention, many people are having trouble at work because of a lack of childcare, or their child is sick, or they want to be involved in school. How can we get employers to start caring more?

Episode 42: Childcare and the Cliff Effect with Vanessa Freytag

Episode 50: The Economic Impact of Early Childhood Education with Amanda Greenwell

Skilled workers

There is a pathway for everyone in life. We need to make sure we show everyone the pathways they can take and be careful not to put everybody down the same pathway. What do these pathways look like? How can we introduce a variety of them to children so they can figure out what they were put on this earth to do?

Episode 27: Changing How People Perceive Skilled Trades with Dieter Moeller

Diversity and inclusion

Diversity is the noun; inclusion is the verb. If, as an employer, you have individuals who work for you who are different from you, this is a topic you should care about. You want to bring out the best in all people, and we have a responsibility — and opportunity — to do this.

Episode 19: Diversity and Inclusion with Dr. Janet Reid

Episode 3: Know Your Neighbor Concept with Shakila Ahmad

Episode 46: Leaning into Organizational Performance with Priya Klocek

Episode 51: Creating Vibrant and Prosperous Communities with Jill Meyer

Episode 56: Competitive Advantage of Gender Equity with Meghan Cummings

Human Resources

We need to treat people like people. We can, it’s allowed, it’s legal, and people are aching for it. How can we build empathy, friendship, and understanding? Every human is different, and we need to focus on bringing together, valuing, and leveraging these differences so we can grow not just our businesses, but our people, too.

Episode 35: HR on Purpose: Putting the Human Back in Human Resources with Steve Browne

Episode 46: Leaning into Organizational Performance with Priya Klocek

Episode 49: Creating Thriving Organizations with Elaine Suess

Episode 5: From Talent Recruitment to Founder and CEO with Jennifer McClure

Episode 32: Rethinking HR to Achieve Business Success with Beth Giglio

Lonely leadership

Too often we get so busy that we don’t even realize that we don’t have a life, and we end up forgetting about our dreams. How much focus have we put into our work that we never put into our personal relationships? We need people who love us and care about us because of us, not because of our work.

If you’re in a tough spot, that's okay. You’re loved, you’re cared for, and we’re here for you at the Talent Magnet Institute Podcast.

Episode 34: Changes, Dreams, and Leaps of Faith with Mary Miller

Episode 43: Creating a Marriage Strategy with Jackie Bledsoe

Episode 15: Becoming CEO: Journey and Reflections with Chris Painter

Episode 26: The Warren Bennis Leadership Experience with Jack FitzGerald

Get in touch

Email: masipple@talentmagnetinstitute.com


Hashtag: #TalentMagnet


5. Why Volunteering is Great for Business with Doug Bolton
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Volunteering is amazing for communities, but how can it also be great for business? Join us on this episode of the Talent Magnet Institute Podcast with Doug Bolton, a board member and faculty of the Talent Magnet Institute, and the President and CEO of Cincinnati Cares, as he shares with us the power of volunteerism.

The impact of volunteering and the responsibility of giving back

Doug shares about a role model who instilled in all of his employees that they benefit as a business from the vibrancy of the business community, so they should give back to the community that provides so much for them.

Not only does volunteering obviously impact the community, but it also improves yourself. Doug shares that he probably learned twice as much from volunteering than he did from his professional experience, and the experiences he had outside the workplace were formative in helping him become a better leader and better manager.

Opportunities for engagement

There are so many examples that show that when a business allows their employees to not only do their job well, but then allows their employees to be outwardly focused and help the company connect with the community, it really does produce bottom line results. Employees can’t wait to get to work because they have so much of a bigger passion and purpose in life, to help other organizations and other parts of our community that need their help the most.

Raising volunteerism rates

Rates of volunteerism had been declining significantly. Perhaps due to geopolitical issues and a loss of hopefulness and a hesitation for businesses to invest in the volunteer ecosystem, but also because the way that volunteers find opportunities to help has been broken. If you look at cities with increasing rates of volunteerism, they have a single organization that is 100% focused on the volunteer. And that’s why Cincinnati Cares was born. It’s now the most popular way for Cincinnatians to find ways to help.

They’ve built a technology platform that makes it as easy as possible for the volunteers: it’s frictionless, it’s mobile-friendly, it’s beautiful — which makes the experience for the user unlike anything they’ve experienced before. Instead of finding volunteers in an “episodic” manner (e.g. we need 10 people by next Tuesday), this technology allows for evergreen applications, where opportunities are available all the time.  

And the power of volunteerism is that you can do through volunteers what you are unable to do through paid staff, and produce returns on your investment.

Lifting all boats

Volunteerism affects your company culture, and the better a company culture, the more engaged your employees are. So it benefits the community and the business and the individuals to extraordinary levels.  

Including children

It’s much easier for young people to know about their passions and things going on around the world. They’re no less interested than baby boomers in being committed and giving, but they just do it differently. They’re more informed and have a broader perspective, and so philanthropy is changing.

So, when we have volunteers who are more deliberate about their dollars, who are given the pathway to be able to activate their time, we can create more impact.


Doug Bolton (LinkedIn)



Inspiring Service

Dan Beard Boy Scouts

Muhammad Ali Center

Episode 17: Conscious Capitalism with Steve Shifman

6. Competitive Advantage of Gender Equity with Meghan Cummings
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What does getting to know your employees have to do with your business’s bottom line? In this special episode of the Talent Magnet Institute hosted by Jessica Baron, Centennial Inc.’s Vice President of Executive Search, we are joined by Meghan Cummings. Meghan is the Executive Director of the Women’s Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, and today she’s talking about the impact we can have — on our businesses and in people’s lives — when we take the time to truly listen.

The Women’s Fund

The goal of the Women’s fund is to lead the community on women’s economic self sufficiency issues by looking at the policies and practices in our community. Do they create a great environment for women to participate in, prosper, and reach their full potential?

Their primary focus is on women who are making between minimum wage and self-sufficient wage. When you look at these women, many things affect them en masse. Meghan shares an analogy: if you go to the lake and see a fish washed up on shore, you might say something happened to that specific fish. But if you go to the lake and see 500 fish washed up on shore, then there’s something much bigger going on. Their job at the Women’s Fund is to look at the “water,” per se, to understand the barriers women are facing, and figure out how to start removing those barriers at a systems level.

How this affects business

The Women’s Fund had a project that trained women to get into businesses with openings, but they found out that these women weren’t lasting. What was going on?

When they asked the HR directors, it turns out they were missing too many days of work in their first 90 days, and policy says you have to be there every day to show you’re committed. But when they probed, they realized what was going on: sick kids. But on the business side, they were also consistently struggling with employee attraction, retention, and engagement.

What happened? The Women’s Fund came up with a series of recommendations and policies to help bridge this gap and make it a win for both families and businesses.

Meghan shares other stories and examples too: how a reasonable clean uniform policy is an entirely different experience for low-wage employees, and how the Cincinnati Zoo’s offer for a monthly bus pass wasn’t taken by employees until they made one simple change to the reimbursement schedule. In both cases, it took next to nothing to retain these employees, except keen insight and a real understanding of their needs.

We have the responsibility to ask and not assume

We cannot pull ideas out of the sky from our middle-class values. It takes listening to the community to co-create something that’s authentic.

It’s also important to listen to the businesses and what their concerns and pain points are. That way, problem solving can help both the women and the businesses, and knock off a lot of pain points with each project.

Women’s Fund Programs and Projects

As a woman gets ready to take the next step in her career, there is an uptick in domestic violence. What started as anecdotal evidence turned into a research project for the Women’s Fund, as they uncovered this hidden barrier that is keeping some women from moving up in the workforce. Read more about it here.

Another project is helping women become appointed to civic boards and commissions because they are largely underrepresented. Only about 30% of the people on these boards are women, and in some areas, that number is closer to 6%. Appointed is a matching website that asks about the areas you care about, your educational experience and professional credentials, and importantly, your lived experience, so you can help make effective decisions for our community. Take five minutes and sign up here, so we can increase the number of women — specifically, women of color — on local civic boards and commissions.

This is a thriving city, and when we can live up to our full potential, we are going to be unstoppable.


Meghan Cummings (LinkedIn)

The Women’s Fund

The surprising thing that is keeping some women from moving up in the workforce


7. Suits That Rock: Using Rock Music to Understand Business
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What can rock music teach us about business? Joining us on today’s episode is John Domaschko, managing member of the incredible initiative Suits That Rock, a fundraising concert for charity whose performers are business and professional leaders. When you have a VP, or managing partner, or a CEO up on stage performing at a rock concert, it’s quite an experience, and they’ve now raised over $900,000 so far for arts programs for young children.


The idea began with the question, wouldn’t it be fun to have five or six people perform for an hour within somebody’s fundraiser, and get the shock value on the faces of the people in the crowd when they see the president of their company or the chairman of the board up on stage? By the time they had found a charity and a venue that agreed to the effort, more people had volunteered: from five or six people, there were now about 20 interested musicians. So what was once an hour-long set evolved into a four-hour long concert.

Now it happens yearly, with this year’s concerts being June 22 and June 29, 2019.

Music as a metaphor for business

Being in a rock band is a group of people accomplishing a result together, and bringing all their individual skills to the stage, which are better than any one of the individual skills by themselves. And that’s the fun part — starting with a clean slate and coming up with something that highlights the skills of the people involved: how can we make everything work in a way that enables people to give their best performance?

And that’s the goal in any leadership situation as well. Every leader’s job is to get the obstacles to the team doing their best out of the way, to make it conducive to everybody being able to perform at their maximum level.

Serving on boards

John enjoys the process of watching more than one person come up to a solution with a problem. Together, people can come up with better solutions that one person could have done on their own. Often, the thing that spurs the most creativity is somebody coming up with the craziest idea you could ever come up with, and having that prompt someone to say, maybe that won’t work, but this could. In board meetings, everybody has a different superpower, and they bring those superpowers to the meetings.

John recommends serving on a board  — but don’t get on one that feels like drudgery. From the beginning, get on something that interests you, and act like you’re getting six figures to be there. You’ll have more fun, and the more engaged you are, the more you’ll get out of it. You’ll learn more and probably get more opportunities on other boards to do the same kind of thing.

Getting the right people on the team

Another thing that translates from the music world to the business world is getting the right people on the team. If you have a group of people that have mutual respect for each other and are growing in the same direction and addressing the same problems with their different skill sets, it’s magic.


John Domaschko (LinkedIn)

Suits That Rock (Facebook)

June 22nd and June 29th

Carnegie in Covington, Kentucky

Metropolitan Club - Cincinnati

TMI Episode 17: Conscious Capitalism with Steve Shifman

8. Exclusive Versus Inclusive Capitalism with Ed Rigaud
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Inclusivity is important — but what does it look like as it relates to capitalism? On this episode of the Talent Magnet Institute Podcast we have Ed Rigaud, the President and CEO of EnovaPremier, and today we’re talking about the concept of inclusive capitalism. How can we realize freedom in a way that’s possible for everyone?

The gap

Around the world, and particularly in the US, there is a tremendous disparity between the wealthy and the poor. Capitalism isn’t working — but not because capitalism is inherently flawed. It’s because we haven’t implemented capitalism in a way that can help us all to achieve freedom and the pursuit of happiness and prosperity.


HOFF stands for Honest, Open, Fairness, and Fun. This is a concept that Ed came up with at Procter and Gamble when he took over a division from someone who was a very autocratic manager.

There was a lot of fear in the organization, so he interviewed each and every person in the 260-strong division, finding out what their aspirations and feelings were, and preaching HOFF. With that, he was able to build trust, and the culture of the division became more P&G-like.

Empathize to innovate

It’s the -isms that are keeping us apart: tribalism, classism, racism, sexism. So it’s all about establishing empathy and respect for one another. When you’re able to listen to a different point of view from someone who comes from a different background, that’s the stuff that leads to innovation. If you don’t rub elbows with people who come from a totally different perspective, you’re not going to come up with anything different.

The larger the difference, the more difficult the work. But the fruits that come out of it are incredible — like the story Ed shares about the Vernon Manor investment, which was a minority investment group that was intentional about being inclusive.

The new capitalism and looking to the future

There are young people out there who have the wherewithal and intellectual capabilities to be successful, they just need to be given an opportunity to take advantage of the new kind of inclusive capitalism that we can have. Inclusivity is not a matter of Robin Hood stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, it’s about participation among groups that are normally not invited to the party.

Book recommendations

Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas
This book challenges us to look at ourselves more critically along the spectrum of greed versus love. We’re only going to move that gap if we’re working together and bringing more and more people into the investment world.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

This book shows how minorities, and African Americans in particular, are still in a Jim Crow world as a result of mass incarceration keeping a large percentage of the population in tow.

The End of Loyalty: The Rise and Fall of Good Jobs in America by Rick Wartzman

Including the whole spectrum

Studies say that if you let poverty go on its own, it doesn’t break for eight generations. Not only are they not climbing the ladder, they don’t even have a ladder to climb. They can’t get on the first rung. We need to shift the whole notion of how capitalism is applied at every socioeconomic level.

There are different remedies that we have to put energy and resources behind, and Ed shares his idea for helping solve transportation challenges with Uber Cars as an example, and talks about the work of Dan Meyer of Nehemiah.

Social Responsibility is the key difference for corporations between exclusive capitalism and inclusive capitalism.


Ed Rigaud (LinkedIn)

Inclusive Capitalism:
Goering Center Social & Learning Event, May 16, 2019, 4:00 - 6:00 p.m., Rhinegeist Brewery

The Magic of Dialogue: Transforming Conflict into Cooperation (Amazon)

Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World (Amazon)

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (Amazon)

The End of Loyalty: The Rise and Fall of Good Jobs in America (Amazon)

Episode 42: Childcare and The Cliff Effect with Vanessa Freytag

9. Becoming an Emotionally Healthy Leader with Pete Scazzero
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What is an emotionally healthy leader? And what can you do to become one? Joining us on this episode of the Talent Magnet Institute Podcast is Pete Scazzero, founder of the New Life Fellowship Church in Queens, New York, the co-founder of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, and the author of The Emotionally Healthy Leader. Today we’re talking about learning how to let go, leading out of your marriage, and the gifts of our limits.

Every ending has a new beginning

There has to be an ending before there’s a new beginning. There has to be a death before there’s a resurrection. In order for something to be birthed, we need to make room for it — something many people don’t do, out of fear that they won’t like the new beginning.

The inner life of the leader is the key to any succession process. Many people struggle with succession because who they are is grounded in their job and their role, which makes the process of letting go frightening. So it’s important to be able to grieve and feel that loss and let it go. Succession is something that will always happen in our lives. Why not be a good steward of our role in it?

There is a loneliness in succession that you must walk alone. It’s painful, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t wonderful. One of the most important things you will do in terms of your legacy is handing it over.

Leading out of your marriage

The health of the organism of your marriage is an indicator of the health of the organism of the organization. Pete recalled that he couldn’t resolve conflicts with his wife in a mature, healthy way at home — so how was he going to resolve conflicts in a mature, healthy way at the boardroom with that enormous tension and pressure? If he couldn’t have a healthy team with his own spouse, how could he build a healthy team of 20 staff?

The beauty of limits

God comes to us much more through our limits than our potential. When you embrace the gift of being limited and accept that you are just one human being, that the world is big, and that you have your part to play — you will not only accomplish much more by doing less, but you’ll also lead a much more joyful life when you’re not trying to do it all. Trying to be more than you are is what makes life messy and turns leadership into a burden instead of the joy it can be.

White space is important. Rest is important. We are not meant to work 24/7. Doing so does violence to our soul and crushes our creativity. We are built for rhythms, and without that white space, we aren’t going to be able to do the work we really need to do if we’re going to lead effectively.

A challenge for you

Who you are is more important than what you do. So:

Begin to build a life where you have time to work on your interior or inner life. Take the time to look at those parts of yourself that are dark and sinful, and get some input into that. It can come from a counselor or mentor, or even taking the space to face your own shadows because you bring them wherever you go. Work on your marriage. You are going to lead out of your marriage or singleness. Invest time. Get training. Having a great marriage isn’t going to happen naturally. Having a great family is harder than building a company. Slow down your life. Have a Sabbath: a day a week that you don’t do paid or unpaid work. Let your soul rest for a 24-hour period.

These four things are pillars. If they aren’t set in stone, eventually your leadership will have cracks.

Brand Ambassadors

People talk - and not just about your products and services - professionals share information about what it's like to work for you, so do you have brand detractors or ambassadors?


Pete Scazerro

The Emotionally Healthy Leader (Amazon)

Emotionally Healthy Discipleship Courses Leader’s Kit

The Emotionally Healthy Leader Podcast (iTunes)

The Emotionally Healthy Leader Podcast (Website)

10. Social Corporate Responsibility with Paul Fox
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Welcome to a very special episode of Talent Magnet Institute with our guest host Jessica Baron, the Vice President of Executive Search for Centennial. Today on the show, we have Paul Fox, a self-described career communicator and formerly with Procter & Gamble, as he shares about leadership and corporate responsibility, how that comes from the culture, and its effects on the community.

Face to face with the consumer

Often, consumers can’t articulate specifically that they want a certain thing. But they experience issues, and once you understand what those issues are, you can begin to develop products that hopefully meet those unarticulated needs. Many times, they do this by spending a considerable amount of time in their customers’ homes.

Paul shares the story of staying with a family of about 12-14 people in a cramped home near Mexico City. On top of their washing machine was Ariel laundry detergent, a premium brand of P&G. Why would they invest so much money on the detergent? The team expected to hear her say something along the lines of pride in her family. As it turns out, Ariel doesn’t make her hands crack or blister — so she can hold her husband’s hand on their rare date nights out.

The Greenpeace incident

Greenpeace mounted a protest against P&G years ago, highlighting the degradation of natural environments. While P&G was already taking steps to address this in relation to their products, Greenpeace didn’t feel they were moving quickly enough.

So they decided to work together.

Over the next few months, P&G and Greenpeace devised a plan to make things happen. There are usually many reasons why businesses aren’t moving as quickly as the public might want them to, but it’s so important to be able to articulate your position well so you can defuse situations and move forward.

The importance of people

A former CEO of P&G said: you can take away all our buildings, you can take away all our machinery, just leave me the people and I’ll rebuild the company within five years. People are without a doubt the most important asset any business has, and building and growing that talent is the most important role that we all have. We want to help them recognize and reach their potential so they can do your old job better than you ever did, which will then allow you to move on to some other activity.


No matter where you are in your career, you always have something to offer individuals around you. When you work with some of the most iconic business leaders in the world, you can’t help but learn something from them, and it’s certainly our role to try and share some of that knowledge and real-world experience.

P&G Alumni Network

P&G has a very strong culture, very clear values, and very clear purpose, and the people who have worked there over the years share many — if not all — of their values. These are individuals who have a passion for doing the right thing and making a difference in the lives around them, and these beliefs don’t change when you leave the company.

There are thousands upon thousands of people with very common beliefs, and so the alumni network has created a forum where we can continue to share that same passion for excellence, and touching and improving lives.


Are you hungry for the best talent your industry has to offer? Centennial's 5 point checklist for attracting top talent will have them banging down your door.


Paul Fox (LinkedIn)

Jessica Baron (LinkedIn)

11. Creating Vibrant and Prosperous Communities with Jill Meyer
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How do you attract talent to your region — and get them to want to stay? Jill Meyer is the President and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, and on today’s episode, we’re talking about talent, inclusion, transportation, and overall regional transformation to elevate our region and make it one of the world’s best places to live, work, and play.

Growing the vibrancy and economic prosperity of the region

These two phrases must always go together: you cannot achieve economic prosperity without a vibrant region to attract and keep talent, and you can’t attract and keep talent without economic prosperity. The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber takes a unified regional approach to this, looking at the region as a whole and tying together all the different people, landscapes, histories, and futures.


The Connected Region is a vision of the future of transportation for the region. Technology is impacting how people get around, and we have to focus on solutions that work for different people. We need options for those who drop off kids in the morning, or check on an elderly parent at noon, or any of the millions of things that people have to incorporate into our days, and still be at their jobs — and this has to be a regional system. Not just separate pieces.

Cincinnati Mobility Lab

One of their current pilot projects is the Cincinnati Mobility Lab, Uber’s only mobility lab in the world. Uber’s treasure trove of data is helping the region understand where the transportation gaps are on the people side of the equation, so they can do better in more creative, forward-thinking ways.

The Workforce Innovation Center

There are a lot of people in the community who are underemployed, or rather, as Jill would say, overemployed and not making enough money to make ends meet. This is happening because while the community has plenty of training programs, and a tremendous number of employers with open jobs, they aren’t connected.

Thee Workforce Innovation Center is a one-stop shop for employers where they can say: we have X number of open jobs, we’re open to exploring working with a new population of people and we’re willing to look in places we don’t normally look. The Innovation Center will then reach out to their ecosystem of providers and trainers to find the right people for the job, taking the guesswork out of it for the employers.

An inclusive and global region

The heart and soul of everything that drives an economy is people, period. To create a community where anyone can thrive, inclusion in its purest form is critical: everybody must feel at home.

You have to be both diverse and inclusive, and while being diverse is easy, that doesn’t mean you’re being inclusive. For example: would you know what you need to do to employ individuals with different abilities? How can you be accessible?

The region is still far too segregated. Push outside of your comfort zones and work together with people who are so unlike you that you can’t believe you have something in common with them. Because guess what: you do.

Cultural Competency for Leaders

This is a pilot project that forces people to acknowledge and learn about their own implicit bias, and then learn and understand how they can move beyond that. It’s a phenomenal program because it forces people to have conversations, to as themselves, “How inclusive am I actually being?”

What Jill loves about the implicit bias conversations is that we don’t need to find similarities, because it’s about appreciating our differences.

Brand Ambassadors

People talk - and not just about your products and services - professionals share information about what it's like to work for you, so do you have brand detractors or ambassadors? You might be missing a key component of your recruitment efforts.


Jill Meyer (LinkedIn)

Cincinnati Chamber

The Connected Region

The Cincinnati Experience


Episode 12 with Brent Cooper

Episode 27 with Dieter Moeller

Episode 30 with Julie Calvert


Being CEO: It's About the Journey and the Destination with Candace McGraw

Changes, Dreams, and Leaps of Faith with Mary Miller

Diversity and Inclusion with Dr Janet Reid

12. The Economic Impact of Early Childhood Education with Amanda Greenwell
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Why should businesses and business owners help kids succeed? Joining us today on the Talent Magnet Institute Podcast is Amanda Greenwell, Director of the Northern Kentucky Area Center. On this episode we’re talking about early childhood education: why does it matter, and why should you care?

Amanda’s personal experience

When Amanda had children, she took five years off from the workforce to be with her kids, giving them the best experiences she could. Parents are the first teachers of our children and their most important influence in the very beginning. But many families aren’t able to have these interactions with their children for a multitude of reasons, and when that occurs, the child suffers long term.

So what Amanda does is look for opportunities with partners in the early childhood community to make sure that people not only have access to early childhood programs, but quality early childhood programs.

Childcare and the workforce

Two-thirds of our children under five are in some type of childcare. We have to accept that families need quality care, but quality care is really, really expensive: an average of $155 a week. That’s one-third of the income of someone making $12 an hour.

So if we’re looking at strengthening the workforce and making sure employees are coming to work focused — childcare is a way for that to happen.

Flexible solutions

Kindergarten is not a full day, and what we’re seeing in the community is that school districts are partnering with others to help supplement that full day, thinking outside the box to expand the school day. Children learn best in high-quality, full-day programs, and working parents need the stability of that all-day program so they can thrive in their jobs as well.

So how can businesses get involved? Amanda lists a number of different ways employers can be part of the solution, other than opening on-site childcare, because when an employee comes to work, they come with their whole self. They don’t stop being a parent or grandparent.

Why business leaders should care

The first five years shape our brains and bodies in profound ways, so childcare really is a long-term investment in shaping the workforce of the future. For every $1 invested in early childhood, there is a sevenfold return, because that’s where children are receiving the greatest return to be set up for success.


MyPre-K offers resources within your community to help you better understand the development of your child, what it means to be ready for kindergarten, and even what’s available in your local community. This is for any parent or caregiver who is loving or spending time with a child up to age 5, to help them navigate their options to make sure the child is successful.

No Small Matter

United Way is partnering with 4C for Children to host a screening of No Small Matter. This film is built from stories of real children, families, and teachers, and illustrates the impact of high-quality early childhood experiences and how you can make a difference. Change is necessary and critical, and we can do it if we all put our minds to it.


Amanda Greenwell (LinkedIn)


MyPre-K Awareness Campaign

No Small Matter

The feature documentary NO SMALL MATTER confronts America's most pressing problems with an unlikely but powerful weapon: babies and young children. From home to childcare to preschool, high-quality early care and education has far-reaching impacts, and groundbreaking science to back it up. With a healthy dose of humor and a surprising edge, NO SMALL MATTER reveals the tragic cost of getting this wrong, and the huge payoff for our kids, our families, and our country of getting it right.




TICKETS ARE FREE (however, seating is limited)

RSVP here

Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Time: 1-3:30 p.m.


Lincoln Grant Scholar House

824 Greenup St, Covington, KY

Tour of Scholar House to follow screening.

Date: Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Time: 5:30-8 p.m.


Crossroads Florence

828 Heights Blvd, Florence, KY

For child care, email lisa.litteral@uwgc.org

Other Resources

Episode 4 with Navigo Scholars and Children, Inc.

Episode 10 with Crystal Kendrick

Episode 14 with Cincinnati Preschool Promise

Episode 17 with Steve Shifman

13. Creating Thriving Organizations with Elaine Suess
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How can we create a thriving organization? Elaine Suess is the President of BeyondBeing Executive & Leadership Coaching. On this episode, she shares how she builds positive cultures in organizations and helps leaders reach higher levels of success by focusing on strengths, asking questions, and quite literally changing the way we think.

A strengths-based approach

We have a million words to describe what’s wrong with us, but only a few to describe what’s right with us. In her approach, Elaine uses Appreciative Inquiry, a positive strengths-based approach. Appreciative Inquiry shifts the questions from “What’s wrong? What’s not working?” to “What do you want and how can we focus on achieving what you want?

Getting unstuck

The idea is to help leaders and executives push outside of their comfort zone, but not so far outside that they can’t reach it. That’s where growth happens.

Many times, people will develop patterns that live in our blind spots. Sometimes these patterns work really well, and sometimes they don’t. Elaine’s job is to ask questions to help people think internally about whether they want to change their behavior or make different decisions.

Another area people get stuck in is conflict management. We have developed language and beliefs around how to manage conflict, and many times, it’s not working. So then they work on how to shift the communication to a way that feels authentic to them but produces much better results. A tip: when something uncomfortable occurs, address it within 24 hours instead of letting it linger. You’ll free up a ton of energy.

The Amygdala Hijack

When people are put in the fight, flight, or freeze position, that’s called an Amygdala Hijack. When we’re in hijack mode, we don’t have access to our prefrontal cortex, which is where empathy, decision making, creativity, and connection points reside.

Think about the triggers that might get you into hijack mode. If you know what your triggers are and can put strategies in place to manage those, you can improve relationships and outcomes. To paraphrase Viktor Frankl, between stimulus and response is choice. That is powerful because it gives us back our control, which makes us more effective and successful.

The Multiplier Effect

The work that Elaine is doing with people and that people are engaging in is much farther reaching than just themselves. She encourages them to spread the wealth, and shares a story of how one client influenced upward and shared his insights with his supervisor. Employees started performing better, and even the organization’s internal processes began to shift.


Think golf: instead of telling people on the course to stay out of the rough on the left side, wouldn’t it be more effective instead to say, hit the ball over to the right? If we’re more focused on telling our folks what they should be doing instead of what they shouldn’t, and inviting them to the table for a discussion on what would work best, then we get better results.

Collective Intelligence or the Wisdom of the System

Many times, we we might stop at doing a SWOT or GSM — which are great approaches, but another approach is this appreciative approach. Invite and actively search for what your employees know and what they bring to the organization. Tap into their experiences and knowledge. What happens is that people step up as leaders, they’re connected more, and, as one gentleman Elaine worked with said, “These outcomes will work because they’re our ideas.”

Final thoughts

Elaine had a client who was worried her employees would see her as weak if she started asking questions. Elaine asked back: "What else might they think? That you value them, that you know they have an opportunity to contribute, that you’re empowering them?”

When you’re willing to ask questions, amazing things happen.

Be a Better Boss

How people feel about their bosses makes the biggest contribution to their workplace happiness and productivity - and as a boss, you can level up your performance in just 30 minutes!


Elaine Suess (LinkedIn)

Beyond Being

The Multiplier Effect (Amazon)

14. Being CEO: It's About the Journey and the Destination with Candace McGraw
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How can you make an organization the size of a small city feel like home? Candace McGraw is the Chief Executive Officer of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport or CVG. This organization spans 14,000 people and 7,500 acres — and somehow, Candace and her team are able to build a strong sense of community, both for her team and her passengers.

The Phoenix Rising of CVG

CVG used to be a flow-through hub for one main carrier, so at the time, not only were 90-95% of the passengers in the airport not from the region, but the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Area wasn’t even their final destination. They didn’t need a sense of place or community.

But when their main carrier changed their business model, CVG needed to, as well. Now 90-95% of all passengers who come through the airport are local and it has become important to relay all the great things the community has to offer as you come through the airport. For example, they consolidated all the carriers into one main complex and designed the River City mosaic, and once a month, they bring local arts organizations into the airport to perform for the passengers and bring a sense of liveliness and energy into the terminal.

It’s personal

Even if CVG is a huge public entity business, it’s personal to Candace and her team. She loves the business as if it were her own because it’s so impactful. Not only does it impact everyone’s businesses in the community, but grandparents can now afford to see their grandchildren more often, they see people coming in who haven’t been to the area before. Their jobs are bigger than their individual jobs.

The compassionate human element

Doing right by her team is one of Candace’s key metrics. To keep compassion at the forefront, she makes it a point to have authentic conversations with the employees about why certain practices are in place. They also hold training sessions to make sure everybody knows the mission of the airport, what their role is, and how they can impact and help our businesses succeed.

One effort initiated by the team was setting out what people’s career paths could be at the airport. They have classes, internal training, on-campus programs, tuition reimbursement, and lots of other support to help their employees get to where they want to go.

On being involved as a leader and showing up in the community

On the practical side, it helps drive business. You hear what people are saying on the ground, you understand the community in which you are living, and you can then figure out how to connect those insights to very impactful business growth. On the altruistic side, we each have an obligation to make our little corner of our communities better. We have a responsibility to our neighbors and friends to help them in the best way we can.

Women leaders in the industry

At the time Candace was beginning her career as an airport lawyer, there were only two or three women running airports in the US. Now there are about 15 of them, and they have a close sorority: as a group, they get on conference calls every month, and then go on retreats once a year.

Worldwide, there is a dearth of women. The International Trade Association is undertaking a gender study and really looking at: how do we get more women? How do we get more people of color involved in the industry? How do we grow that?

Investing in yourself and overcoming obstacles

Candace is a firm believer in learning your craft. There is no substitute for that, no matter how high up the ladder you are. You will always need to learn more.

Focus is likewise critical. Of course you’ll have to scan your environment, but generally you need a good roadmap and to stay on that roadmap to meet your destination. Candace talks about their one-pager roadmap. If you set out your plan in a simple way and your team understands it, buys into it, and is trained on it, then you’ll achieve great results.

Fix Your Turnover Rates

Having a high turnover in your organization doesn't just nibble away at your resources - it totally consumes them. Discover 8 huge factors that directly affect your turnover rates and what you can do about them!


Candace McGraw (LinkedIn)

CVG Airport

15. Starting Your Own Business with Todd Pfister
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Should you start your own business? And if so, what kind of business should you run? Todd Pfister is the Managing Partner of FranNet MidAmerica and a Partner of TP4 Advisors. On this episode of the Talent Magnet Institute Podcast, we’re talking about entrepreneurship: how to know if it’s right for you and how to know where that fits into your continued career path and long-term life success.

Knowing if business ownership is right for you

Business ownership is the road less traveled: it’s winding and exhilarating, but it’s not for everyone. Todd’s team has developed an evaluation process that includes determining your personality profile, building out a business model, and understanding your why. The right business ties into your skill sets, professional experiences, and personal experiences. There is no cookie cutter path: it’s about helping people realize their individual gifts and understand their talents.

Todd’s advice to entrepreneurs

What are you waiting on? There will never be a ‘right time.’ Get a coach. High performing athletes will have several coaches and so should business owners. You need to sharpen yourself with people who have outside experience and knowledge if you want to grow to the next level. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you are and can offer you different points of view so you can grow yourself personally and professionally. Entrepreneurship can be very lonely. Fill your team with people who can speak life into you and hold you accountable.

Getting clarity about your goals

Understand the difference between passion and interest. One key hurdle for a lot of people wanting to start or buy into a business is that they don’t have that passion. They don’t have a specific industry or skill set that they really want to build on. But they might be passionate about getting to the next stage of life or having more freedom or control or flexibility. You need to unpack your passion and your interests — and what it is that really motivates you.

The most common result of people going through Todd’s process is deciding they’re not built to be business owners and getting a corporate job instead. And that’s okay. You need to understand what kind of business owner you can be... IF you do decide to be a business owner. Do you have the aptitude for it? The funding? The support? What kind of business is your personality best suited for?

The right timing

Timing is one leg of a four-legged stool: you also need to look at funding, aptitude, and spousal support. Do you have all these other legs in place to keep you up?

And from a timing standpoint, you can’t have everything at once. Life comes in stages. For example: owning a business early in their marriage wouldn’t have been feasible for Todd and his wife. The timing is a lot better now, 20 years later, that their four kids have grown up.

Take a long term view of where you are within your career and family and understand: is now the right time for you?

Why entrepreneurs fail — and what to watch out for

We’ve all had a bad job or a bad boss or bad outcomes: that’s normal. But if someone has a spotty career history with consistent performance issues, Todd would hesitate about having them go in and buy into a business.

Another issue is when people have trouble managing the revenue cycles. Usually, when you’re a small business, you’re either selling or delivering. If you can’t manage your revenue, then it’s hard to go out and do market development and then come back to create solutions, because revenue will naturally go up and down. You have to be really comfortable with driving revenue and building that income.

Be a Better Boss

How people feel about their bosses makes the biggest contribution to their workplace happiness and productivity - and as a boss, you can level up your performance in just 30 minutes!


Todd Pfister (LinkedIn)

Todd’s Recommendations

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life

16. Leaning into Organizational Performance with Priya Klocek
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How can we understand people better and lean into organizational performance? Priya Klocek is the President and CEO of Consulting On The Go and is a board member of Women Helping Women. Today we’re talking about building relationships and recognizing yourself as an individual, so you can show up and lead authentically.

Manage conflict instead of avoiding it

First, recognize your personal relationship with conflict. Oftentimes our culture plays into our worldview, and depending on when or where we grew up, we could think of conflict as something to ignore, or something that has to be put on the table.

Then take a look at your team. Who are you working with? And whose conflict or communications styles are different than yours? We tend to surround ourselves with people who are more like us so that we don’t need to deal with conflict.

Understand the role your upbringing plays

In every relationship and interaction, we are the common denominator. How aware are you of your environment, how you’re showing up, and the impact it’s having?

There are also various tools out there, like the Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory which measures your conflict and communication styles through the lens of culture. Growing up in the ‘70s in India will impact you differently than growing up in the ‘70s in California, and affects the way you show up today.

Adapting to cultural differences in communication

No two people are exactly alike and one size does not fit all, so how do we lead a diverse team? The hope is to get our team to adapt and adjust to each other, which is why we need to have those honest conversations.

What are the key steps that organizations can take to get to know and understand each other on a deeper level?

Human beings are like icebergs: you can only see about 5-10% of us, and the real stuff that makes us who we are lives below the waterline. When we operate at that 5-10% level, the results we get are not always real and authentic.

Recognize and understand what drives you and your behavior as a leader. Accept yourself. Be aware of who you are, what you believe, and why you believe what you believe. Own your benchmark, the one that’s driven by your values, beliefs, culture, education, title, and all those wonderful things. It’s what made you who you are today. Be aware of and know your worldview about leadership. Are you a servant leader? Are you more authoritarian? Be curious. Always ask people, "Help me understand?” Get to a place where you’re open to feedback. We all have blind spots.

On assessment tools

Assessment tools shouldn’t define you, but they can inform you. If you’re honest with yourself, what correlations can you make with what the tool is sharing with you? And as leaders, how do we continue to up our skills and competencies to be able to continue to lead our teams? We’re all works in progress.

On change management

Anytime we embark on a journey of development and truly follow through, it requires change, and therefore change management. Recognize what your motivation levels are, and take the knowledge you’re processing (e.g. from reading a book on the topic) and put it into action.

Fix Your Turnover Rates

Having a high turnover in your organization doesn't just nibble away at your resources - it totally consumes them. Discover 8 huge factors that directly affect your turnover rates and what you can do about them!


Priya Klocek (LinkedIn)

Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory


Talent Magnet Institute Podcast Episode 13: Relationship is Everything with Darrin Murriner


Myers-Briggs Assessment

VIA Survey of Character Strengths

Lion’s Lead

Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator

Queen City Certified

17. Herding Tigers: Leading Creative Teams with Todd Henry
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Are you the type of leader that creative people need? Todd Henry is a keynote speaker and the author of Louder Than Words, Die Empty, The Accidental Creative, and — the book we’re diving into today — Herding Tigers. Doing the work and leading the work are very different things. How can you, as a leader, set the stage for your creative team members to do their best work?

What inspired you to write Herding Tigers?

This book is meant to address the people who have the biggest sway within the organization. It’s not enough to throw resources at your team and tell them to do great work. You have to understand the underlying dynamics of the creative process and what talented people really crave so they can produce their best work.

Stability and Challenge

There are two things that creative people need more than anything else: stability and challenge.

Stability is predictability of process, clarity of expectations, and a clear and coherent leadership philosophy that helps them understand how to engage. It’s a myth that creative people only want complete freedom. Orson Welles said that the absence of limitations is the enemy of art, so if you want brilliant, creative, and innovative work, you need clear and consistent boundaries.

Challenge means pushing your team. They need to see that you know and understand them and know what they’re capable of even better than they do. This means believing in your team and having their back if they take risks.

Where does trust come in?

Trust is the currency of creative teams. Without trust, there is no risk or innovation. But trust is like a water balloon. Once you fill it up, if you puncture it, even in a tiny way, then you lose trust everywhere.

One of the ways we do this is something called ‘declaring undeclarables,’ or making small promises you can’t keep. To your team, they’re signs that they can't fully trust you to tell them the truth all the time.

Bravery entails asking difficult questions.

We are defined by the questions that we avoid more than the questions we ask. Not asking questions means we get to stay in our comfort zone. Asking questions immediately generates accountability to act on whatever the response is.

Leaders have to ask dangerous questions that challenge assumptions, even if the answers may not be the things we want to hear.  

Surround yourself with the right people

It’s so important to have people around us who are willing to speak truth to us — preferably people who have known you for a while, who have seen you at your best, at your worst, and as you were growing into your position of authority. This is the community you need to help you make good decisions in life and business.

Prune proactively

Sometimes in our teams, there are behaviors we know aren’t healthy but we let slide anyway. This is “normalization of deviance,” which is, in effect, a tacit endorsement of this behavior until it becomes the company culture.

Great cultures aren’t built; they’re grown from the inside out. We have to regularly fertilize what we want and prune what we don’t want. Prune the deviant behavior so you can grow a healthy culture just like you would grow a healthy garden.

What can we do to start creating a healthier organization today?

The question “Why?” is really important. Not being willing to ask why is a sign of mediocrity; of getting halfway up a mountain and saying, “close enough.” Those who build a body of work they're proud of are the ones who are willing to ask that really dangerous “Why?” question consistently.

What do you hope people take away from Herding Tigers?

There is a tremendous upside to creative leadership. In 100 years, it’s unlikely people are going to remember any of our businesses. But the impact that we have on the lives of the people that we lead is going to echo for generations to come. Generation after generation of people will be impacted because you were willing to be the leader that you always wish you had.

Be a leader who makes echoes.

Be a Better Boss

How people feel about their bosses makes the biggest contribution to their workplace happiness and productivity - and as a boss, you can level up your performance in just 30 minutes!


Todd Henry (LinkedIn)

Todd Henry (Website)

Herding Tigers: Be the Leader that Creative People Need

The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice

Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day

Louder Than Words: Harness the Power of Your Authentic Voice

18. Securing the Future with Jenny Berg
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Today we welcome Jenny Berg, executive director of the Leadership Council for Nonprofits. Jenny has served on many boards, including Impact 100, Women Helping Women, and Catalyst. We’re talking about an upcoming annual conference called Securing the Future. It’s happening on March 6, 2019, so if you’re listening before then, now is a great chance to learn what it’s all about.

What does the Leadership Council for Nonprofits focus on?

The Leadership Council provides leadership building capacity programs, cost savings programs, and collaboration opportunities for nonprofits. The biggest growing program is called the Leaders Circles which is similar to a mastermind: it’s a peer-to-peer coaching program where people can share concerns, challenges, and ideas and get feedback from their peers.

Their next program is the Leadership Challenge, based on a five-part leadership mode: model the way, inspire the vision, challenge the process, enable others to act, and encourage the heart. This is coming up on April 22, 2019, and Leadership Council members are welcome to apply.

Can you tell us about the Securing the Future Conference?

This is the conference’s 19th year, and previously run by the Cincinnati USA Chamber, it was started to motivate and help the nonprofit and philanthropy sectors. Some notable speakers have been:

Dan Pallotta, author of Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential (Civil Society: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives), helped us think differently about how we can run a nonprofit organization and what we shouldn’t be afraid to ask for.

Dr. Frances Hesselbein,  past president of the Girl Scouts of America and president of the Hesselbein Leadership Institute. She’s now 102 years old, and was 84 years old when she spoke in 2001. She also co-authored a book last year called Work is Love Made Visible.

Ruby Payne, whose work on understanding poverty is well-known in the nonprofit sector.

Are there any particular innovations that your organization has been focused on to help nonprofits advance?

The Leaders Circles are able to pull out the wisdom from the individuals within the group. Live to Lead is a five-part leadership series. One of its main components is change management — one of the only constants we have in this industry. The World Café Model will be act three of Securing the Future, and it’s a model of conversation that uses your own internal resources to frame questions around what is important to the people in the room.

Who’s the speaker for this year’s Securing the Future conference?

Alton Fitzgerald White is well-known for playing King Mufasa in Lion King on Broadway. He played the role 4,308 times, and in his book My Pride (Broadway's Record-Breaking Lion King): Mastering Life's Daily Performance, he focuses on bringing your best self to work every day, even if you’re doing the exact same thing, the way he was when he played Mufasa. He looks at it as being a servant leader to his audience, being humble in your work but still taking pride in it.

The second act of the conference will have breakout sessions based on Alton’s talk, led by:

Maureen Maxfield on strengthening resilience during rapid organizational change Joe Moorman on how to recognize and activate your strengths Jennifer Goodin, Ronald McDonald House, and Jen Eismeier on confidence, authenticity, and a “lit” team Lauren Jones on a recent report they’ve put out about black philanthropy called Giving Black

What brought you to this work and keeps you motivated every day?

Jenny grew up with parents who were great supporters of the nonprofit community in a variety of ways, so that has always been instilled in her. Helping the nonprofit community is her passion, and she’s grateful to be able to impact the larger nonprofit community in a powerful way.

Sign up for the conference

Securing the Future is happening on March 6, 2019 at the Cintas Center at Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH, and you can sign up at leadershipcouncil.us or here.


Jenny Berg (LinkedIn)

Leadership Council for Nonprofits (Website)

Tickets for Securing the Future Conference

Dan Pallotta (LinkedIn)

Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential (Civil Society: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives) (Amazon)

Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute (LinkedIn)

Work is Love Made Visible (Amazon)

Alton Fitzgerald White (LinkedIn)

My Pride (Broadway's Record-Breaking Lion King): Mastering Life's Daily Performance (Amazon)

19. Creating a Marriage Strategy with Jackie Bledsoe
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You have a business strategy, but do you have a marriage strategy? Jackie Bledsoe is the CEO of JBSB, a speaker, and the bestselling author of “The 7 Rings of Marriage.” Today on the show, we’re talking about relationships (even if you’re single!), peace, and living life — both in your personal life and in the workplace.

What led to the journey of writing The 7 Rings of Marriage? And what do you hope people get out of the book?

Jackie wanted to share the ups and downs he and his wife went through in their marriage to share what they learned with others, and also to say: you might be in a rough season, but this season won’t last forever. You can grow from there. There’s hope.

What is a marriage success plan?

Winning at work is great. It’s exciting, and it’s celebrated. But winning at home is the most fulfilling.

You can’t drift into a great marriage: sit down and put your plan together with the same intentionality you use to reach your financial or professional goals. Your goals can include not just wanting to own a house in a specific neighborhood together, for example, but also things like wanting to be great at communication, growing closer, spending more time together, or getting to know your spouse so well that you have a Ph.D. on them.

What are your insights into persevering and preparing for storms?

Most vows say, “for better or for worse,” but sometimes we forget that we signed up “for worse.” Know that challenges will come, and that when they do, it won’t be the end of your marriage. It’s not time to call it quits, it’s an opportunity to both grow yourself and grow closer together. Always be moving forward into what’s coming next.

On marriage mentors

Having a marriage mentor is game-changing, marriage changing, and life-changing. Your mentor is your lifeline: they understand the pressures and challenges of a marriage, and they’ll be there to counsel, listen, and learn from. Jackie encourages being prayerful about the couples you’re already surrounding yourself with, and allowing God to bring someone into the relationship with you that you can trust with your marriage.

The analogy of the tandem bike

The person in front steers the bike: they control the speed and can swerve to avoid obstacles. The person at the back may feel frustrated because they’re along for the ride and can’t see what’s happening. As the leader, you have to communicate what’s going on in front of you. It’s also a good exercise to switch places with one another from time to time to understand each other’s perspectives.

It can be madness, but it’s also wonderful. Don’t quit when it gets rough, because if you stop pedaling, disaster can happen. But once you get in sync, you’ll find out how fun it can be.

Final thoughts

The engagement ring is the foundation of your marriage, and that foundation has to be built on solid ground; on a rock. Make sure your foundation is set: what are your prayer lives, individually and with your spouse? And spend an uninterrupted 15 minutes every single day alone together.  

If you have the book or are considering getting the book, find out where you are in the 7 Rings of Marriage, so you can take the next steps to get to the next ring and continue to grow.

“He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”

Be a Better Boss

How people feel about their bosses makes the biggest contribution to their workplace happiness and productivity - and as a boss, you can level up your performance in just 30 minutes!


Jackie Bledsoe (Website)

Jackie Bledsoe (Linkedin)

Jackie’s Video

The Seven Rings of Marriage: Your Model for a Lasting and Fulfilling Marriage (Amazon)

Episode 15: Becoming CEO: Journey and Reflections with Chris Painter

20. Childcare and The Cliff Effect with Vanessa Freytag
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What does childcare have to do with your business? A lot more than many realize. Vanessa Freytag is the President and CEO at 4C for Children and the Board Chair of the Human Services Chamber, and today we’re talking about the Cliff Effect. What is it, and why should you care as an employer — and a human being?

What is the Cliff Effect?

As you progress in your journey as an employee, there’s a point at which the benefits drop off as you earn more. For example, you might receive a raise of $2000 each year, but lose your child care benefits worth $5000 a year. Many employees turn down raises or walk away from their jobs because they literally cannot afford the promotion.

Steps for change

Businesses need to advocate on this issue where these benefits peel off. This has everything to do with decisions in the legislature, and you have an opportunity to weigh in heavily and be heard.

At 4C For Children, they perform three major functions in the community:

Help childcare providers improve the educational quality of their programs.
Administer child nutrition programs, because 90% of brain growth happens between 0 and 5 years, and you have to fuel it with healthy food.
Work with parents to help them connect to child care that meets their needs, which gets complicated if you’re a low-income family, have limited or no transportation, have off-hours shift work, and so on.

It’s not an issue of whether or not somebody has a desire to work hard; if you don’t have a place for your child to go while you’re working, then you can’t work. It’s not just an education issue, it is absolutely an employment issue.

Where do you see great advancements in early childhood and where we need to go as a community?

Employers want a person who has the right problem solving skills, the ability to work as part of a team, the ability to follow a leader and to be a leader, and the employer can teach them whatever else they need to know. Those skills are called executive function skills, and the basis of it is all formed from the ages of 0 to 5.

We’ve come to understand what’s helping children succeed or not when they get to school, and ultimately, when they get to your door as a potential employee.

What can business leaders do to get involved with this?

By June 30, 2020, any licensed child care program that doesn’t attain the first level of quality cannot serve families on vouchers. As an employer, it’s not just about your future employees, it’s about your employees right this second, because this is their child care.

Businesses need to help make this possible because there are fewer than 22 months to get this done. As employers, it’s easy to think that it’s the employees’ problem, but that’s not true. It is everyone’s problem.

You went through a leadership transition. What led you down the path of where you’re at today?

Vanessa had been at the Women’s Fund and loved her work there, but after about seven years, she realized that she missed working close to the frontlines, where the actual difference happened each day.

When she did the Cliff Effect report, she realized that the lens many people had — to work harder and you’ll get out of poverty — was wrong. Working harder is the very act that pulls you back down. Now she helps businesses understand that this is our issue right this second.

The pieces fell into place, and with 4C For Children, she had the opportunity to take something that was already very good and say, how do I preserve this legacy? And how do I help us figure out where we should go next?

FREE RESOURCE: Is your company culture toxic?

A toxic work culture can be costlier than you imagine, but hard to identify. Learn more about the 7 signs that there's something you need to fix in your workplace.


Vanessa Freytag (LinkedIn)

4C For Children

Episode 15: Becoming CEO: Journey and Reflections with Chris Painter

21. Building Strong Leaders with Brent Carter, Part 2
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Any leader can benefit from having a coach. Today we’re joined once again by Brent Carter to continue the conversation about building stronger leaders. Brent is a senior consultant and senior executive coach at Leadership Excelleration Inc., and we’ll be talking about how to build stronger leaders through coaching.

We’re coached a lot as kids for sports and other activities. So why is it that when we graduate and go to our first employment or run a $300 million organization, do so many not receive coaching?

One might think that they’ve got it all figured out, which is very probably not the case. For some, there’s a stigma that comes with having a coach.

But the trend that Brent has noticed is that coaching has gone from stigma to perk. A lot of it boils down to being humble enough to realize that you don’t have it all figured out, you don’t have all the answers, and you can still learn no matter how experienced you are.

What are the challenges of being an executive coach?

One of the biggest challenges is being conscious about how you show up to the conversation. Many coaches can project their experiences onto their clients, or make assumptions about a situation because they’ve seen the issue before. So it’s really about coming into the conversation with no real expectations and putting on the glasses of wanting to learn, listen, and understand.

On transparency

We encourage any leader that we coach to be transparent. Be open with your team about the process, and be transparent about the feedback you receive, both good and bad. Being sincere about the process and intentional about your own improvement as a leader will change your relationship with your team, and they’ll engage in that process with you.

What is the difference between an executive coach and a mentor?

Executive coaches will help uncover some of the issues that keep leaders from being effective in their roles, which typically include an assessment process and feedback. The objective is to hold up a mirror to the executive and help them see what they’re doing well, what they can improve on, then working together on a path for their development.

With mentors, the priority is the relationship. They’re somebody you would look up to and learn from, experience-wise, so it’s good to have somebody you really click with, have conversations with, and can be vulnerable with. This is someone you can rely on over time to learn and grow from.

What trends are emerging in executive coaching?

Having a coach is now seen as a real benefit, instead of something stigmatized. There are more internal coaches, coaching teams who are in-house, and even partners certified as executive coaches. One downside is that just about anyone can call themselves a coach these days. It’s more of a declaration versus having experience, knowledge, and expertise. It’s very important for senior leaders to go with coaches who have the expertise and the background in the business world to challenge them and help them be their best.

What are other reasons people bring in coaches?

It starts with discovery. If somebody is in a vacuum, then they’re not getting the feedback that would benefit them, and they could think they’re doing fine. When people are more self-aware, they’re more likely to think about specific situations they’ve been in. That’s when they start saying, “Maybe it’s time to have somebody onboard to help.”

Final thoughts

If you’re an organizational leader and you don’t have a coach, are you really fine-tuning your craft? Mike would even go so bold as to say, if you don’t have a coach, then you shouldn’t be leading. You need that accountability, transparency, and openness.

Do you have a toxic work culture?

A toxic work culture can be costlier than you can imagine, but hard to identify. Discover the 7 signs to see if there’s something you need to fix in your workplace.


Brent Carter (LinkedIn)


Episode 13: Relationship is Everything with Darrin Murriner

Episode 15: Becoming CEO: Journey and Reflections with Chris Painter

Talent Magnet Institute





22. Building Strong Leaders with Brent Carter Part 1
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How can we build — or be — good leaders? My guest on the podcast today is Brent Carter, a senior consultant and executive coach for Leadership Excelleration, Inc. He’s here to talk about the challenges leaders and companies face, the skill gaps we fail to notice, and how we can be more successful, more effective, and stronger leaders.

Onboarding vs. Assimilation

Many companies have onboarding programs that tend to focus on company logistics and the basic rundown. The problem with that is the deluge of meetings, with no direction toward connecting with the team and getting on the same page.

With assimilation, there is a focus on integrating with the culture. You want to make sure there’s a good foundation to help people get an effective start in their new position.

How can you check in on how a new leader is doing?

It’s important to continuously check in and make sure they’re clear on their expectations, as that can change once they experience their position and responsibilities. It’s also important to make sure there’s good cultural assimilation since what they used to do in their old company or department may not work now.

What challenges do companies face today?

Many companies work in silos: leaders who work autonomously and teams without focus, support, and mutual accountability.

Another challenge is the lack of diversity, inclusion, and talent optimization. There is a tremendous opportunity to make a difference by leveraging the talent of each and every individual. Innovation and disruption happen not because we’re doing the same things we’ve always done but because we’re doing something different.

What are some leadership skills gaps?

As leaders grow in their career, they need to change their mindset and the way they work. Many leaders begin careers as doers, but at this stage, there are things they can no longer do themselves. They have to work through other people to get things done, and it’s tough for a lot of leaders to be able to let go.

What does the overall aspect of executive presence look like today?

It looks different for different leaders in different organizations. For small- to mid-sized family-owned businesses, executive presence isn’t a necessity. But for large corporations, it is. It’s a key part of credibility.

How can you create a high-performing culture?

Similar to a sports team, you can’t just rely on the leader or individual players: it’s got to be a group effort, with a senior leader in place with the desire to create that culture. Cultures are most effective when there’s servant leadership in place that empowers others, understands their needs, and develops them to do the work.

It helps to put structures in place. Map the annual goals to the strategic plan, and make sure performance is aligned to that. Then intentionally revisit your goals throughout the year to see how you’re doing.

Have a budget for talent strategy and investing in your people. What you spend the most on is what’s important to you.

How can you be empathetic and still drive results?

Accountability is established through clarifying expectations and making sure you’re on the same page and then following up to make sure what’s supposed to happen is happening.

There may be an occasion where somebody on your team is struggling. In that case, have a conversation with them to understand why they’re struggling so you can provide extra support, and maybe even adjust the results that you’re looking for.

An effective leader finds that balance.


Brent Carter (LinkedIn)

Your Next Move: The Leader's Guide to Navigating Major Career Transitions (Amazon)

The First 90 Days, Updated and Expanded: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter (Amazon)

The Ascending Leader by Diane Egbers and Karen Schenck (Amazon)

WorkLife with Adam Grant: A debate with Malcolm Gladwell

Talent Magnet Institute Episode: Diversity and Inclusion with Janet Reid

Leadership Development Institute

Goering Center for Family and Private Business

Talent Magnet Institute





23. Rethinking Systems for Equality with Stephanie Byrd
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When you don’t have a roadmap, the beauty is that you can create it, and the risk is that … you can create it. Today on the show we have Stephanie Byrd, the CEO of the Greater Cincinnati and Dayton Region American Red Cross, who is here to talk about the vulnerability of life’s success, and the opportunities we have to lean into our work and create a greater community.

The journey

Stephanie took on leadership of the ‘Success by 6’ role with United Way when the community was looking for inspirational strategies to address a very difficult time.

During that time, Stephanie was moving out of a career. She shares that she began her career in Cincinnati. She left graduate school with a Masters in health and hospital administration, then worked in health care for a number of years. After that, she created Health Span and worked for the Health Alliance before the Success by 6 offer came. It was perfect timing; she was looking to do something different.

And this was important for her, because she was on the verge of leaving the city. She had three African-American children at the time; was this really the city and the future she wanted for her children? So when the offer came, she decided not to flee, but instead, dug in and saw what she could do about the situation. She decided to make whatever difference she could.

Stephanie felt like being part of the creation of a movement to give every child the same opportunity that her kids have was hers to do. She had a lot of skills and built a lot of relationships in healthcare; it was something she could leverage that for the next thing.

When it comes to wrestling with the topic of equity, where can we go from here?

This is a significant and deep issue, not just in Cincinnati, but in the country and the world. The good news is that we are increasingly aware of it, and we are willing to have a conversation about where we are.

But we have to be mindful that solutions go well beyond conversations: we need to put money on the table to solve the problem. Many of the issues are systemic, and we have to rethink our systems to get everyone in our community on the same playing field.

We need to invest in creating healthy relationships and help people become successful in their personal lives.

Building employee relationships

One of the things we don’t pay enough attention to is listening and being accessible, so that employees can learn that you do care. We want them to learn that it’s not just about their particular job, but it’s who they are — and what makes them who they are — that allows them to be their best selves on the job.

We often make our employee relationships transactional and not relational, and a successful organization is one that knows how to balance that. It takes time, patience, and organizational culture, but that’s what attracts Stephanie to the nonprofit arena.

What motivates you to do what you do?

It was truly about thinking how she could make a difference based on a very difficult time in their community’s history. In doing that, it allowed her to see not only what brings her joy, but also what she could give back.

Stephanie shares her journey to the Red Cross, and how their mission of alleviating human suffering is one that resonated with her. Part of the appeal for her is figuring out how to reintroduce the Red Cross to the community: How can they make it attractive to people either as a career opportunity or because they’re looking to give back?

The key is that you’re able to put your skill sets to use and give back and help people when they need you.

Do you have a toxic work culture?

A toxic work culture can be costlier than you can imagine, but hard to identify. Go to talentmagnetinstitutepodcast.com/toxicculture to learn the seven signs of toxic culture, and find out if there’s something you need to fix in your workplace.

Resources for Stephanie Byrd


United Way of Greater Cincinnati (LinkedIn)

American Red Cross (LinkedIn)

Talent Magnet Institute





TMI Podcast Episode 25: Workforce Solutions: Investing in Purpose and People with Janice Urbanik

24. Redefining Success: The 5 Secrets for a Successful Career with Keith Lawrence
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What does having a successful career look like to you? On this episode of the Talent Magnet Institute Podcast, we have Keith Lawrence, president of Sustaining Success Solutions and author of Your Retirement Quest. For many people, success means climbing to the top — but today, Keith is going to help us define that very differently, and he’ll reveal the five secrets for a successful career.

Begin with the end in mind

In an ideal world, what would you love to do? Start by defining what a successful career looks like for you and recognize that it’s going to change over time as you learn and evolve. Ask yourself: if you had your way, what would your career look like?

Play to your strengths (and those of others)

We need to realize we’re not great at everything. We can’t do it all, and that’s okay. The magic happens when you bring your unique strengths to the party and figure out how to work with one another. Play to your strengths... and be willing to play to the strengths of others.

Pursue your passions, but balance it with family first

It’s important to find a role where, as Steve Jobs would say, you’re going to make a dent on the planet. But make sure you do that in the context of putting family first. It’s a tough but critically important balance. Set some boundaries. Becoming too consumed with work while sacrificing your family only results in regret later on.

PIE: Performance, Image, and Exposure

Keith’s father taught him hard work was the key to success. Performance is important — but not enough. Image is how you show up every day to work, your demeanor, your engagement level. And Exposure means seeking out opportunities to gain exposure to different parts of the business. Volunteer for projects and presentations, be willing to go to seminars, and do things that might be above and beyond the call of duty in the spirit of your development.

Take ownership of your career

Don’t wait for someone to guide, manage, or take care of your career. Take on that responsibility yourself and be willing to move beyond your comfort zone. Part of taking responsibility is being bold.

How to start

First, join a company that values developing their people and recognizes the importance of leadership, and take full advantage of it. If you can’t, take advantage of everything available to you: TED talks, podcasts, the internet. Switch gears and learn something you’re not used to. You don’t need permission to invest in your own development, and you’ll bring a better-equipped self to work.  

Second, don’t wait for major life crises like an illness or a loss of a loved one to realize life is short. Now is the time to put family first, pursue your passions, play to your strengths, and make a change.

Final thoughts

Be connected. The people who have the richest lives have “2 o’clock in the morning friends:” people they can call at 2am, no questions asked. To have a fulfilling life, research says you need seven of these friends, and the average person has just 1.5. If you don’t have these friends yet, begin the journey.

Plan your life beyond your career. What do you want it to look like? This is the difference between reacting to things (and waking up 30 years later asking what happened), and proactively living your life.

FREE RESOURCE: Is your company culture toxic?

A toxic work culture can be costlier than you imagine, but hard to identify. Learn more about the 7 signs that there's something you need to fix in your workplace.


Keith Lawrence (LinkedIn)

Your Retirement Quest: 10 Secrets for Creating and Living a Fulfilling Retirement (Amazon)

Strengths Finder (Amazon)

Strengths Finder (Online Test)

Episode 9: Making Leadership Scalable with Daniel Watcher

25. Get Unstuck with Julie Bauke
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Why do a lot of leaders feel stuck in their jobs? On today’s episode, we have Julie Bauke, the Chief Career Advisor of the Bauke Group, to explain what makes a person feel ‘stuck’ and how companies can help create a work environment that benefits both the business and their employees.

The ‘stuck’ state of mind?

Being stuck can manifest in a variety of ways, but the state of being stuck is all between our ears: stuck is a state of mind. And according to Julie, it’s a choice.

If you’re staying in a place where you are no longer getting satisfaction, happiness, growth, or opportunity out of it, that’s a choice, too. Step back and ask yourself: How can I take charge of the situation? How can I make a change to better my life, my situation, my circumstances, so I can get more, do more, and be more?

Why do people stay in jobs they obviously hate?

It’s a complex answer. The combination of fear, complacency, and lack of confidence plays a critical role in the mindset of someone who feels stuck. The longer this unhappiness is endured, the more normalized and internalized it becomes, until people feel like they have no other choice.

Julie also explains why people often can’t answer when you ask them what they want in their work or career, but can easily rattle off everything they dislike about their current job.

What do people really look for?

You have to ask: What is it that really matters to you?

People who aren’t stuck know that a career is something you invest your time, effort, and resources in. Nowadays, people want to have a sense of value about what they do, and they’re determined to make their work life matter.

What's your ‘why?’ Why do you do what you do, and why do you want to do it at your workplace? This is the first step in really understanding your mission and purpose in your work. It’s bigger than you.

What responsibility can an individual take to make the world around them better?

We have to accept that we now live in a world where people are not going to stay with us for the next 30 years. So as a business owner, your main job offer should be a part of someone’s career journey. It’s okay to be no longer part of an individual’s long-term plan, and letting go of someone via favorable means will benefit your business in the long run.

Julie uses the analogy of an orange who can’t grow on a lemon tree. If you’re an orange having a hard time on a lemon tree, that doesn’t mean you’re not a delicious piece of fruit. It just means that you should go in a direction where you can find orange trees to grow in. So before thinking about getting unstuck, first figure out what factors are contributing to you being in a place where you feel like you have no options.

Organizations that are talent magnets

How can you let people leave your organization with dignity and respect? This question is important because how you let people go will impact your reputation in the market. The way you treat people going out the door will determine how they speak of you, and recommend people your way.

Final words

There is value in action, forward motion, and being hopeful and optimistic in knowing that you have possibilities that can lift your circumstances and propel you toward what's next. If you've been in the wrong job for a long time, that doesn't mean you're a bad person. It just means you're in the wrong job. There is definitely someplace you can shine if you go after it with the right approach and commit to it.

FREE RESOURCE: Is your company culture toxic?

A toxic work culture can be costlier than you imagine, but hard to identify. Learn more about the 7 signs that there's something you need to fix in your workplace.


Julie Bauke LinkedIn

The Bauke Group

The Bauke Group Facebook

26. From Founder to CEO with Todd Uterstaedt
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You’ve founded a company. Now, how can you lead it to sustained success? Today on the show, we have Todd Uterstaedt. He’s the host of the podcast, From Founder to CEO. He’s also the co-founder and CEO of an executive coaching firm called Baker & Daboll and a mentor with Cintrifuse. Todd is here to talk about stepping up and scaling yourself, your team, and your company. How can we do it as the new wave of “small business leaders” — whose businesses are growing so fast that they’re anything but small?

What are the common challenges of a founder pivoting toward becoming a CEO?

The From Founder to CEO podcast is a space where founders are able to be vulnerable and share what their journeys are really like. Todd observes that many of these founders try to cover up their very real fears and anxieties because, what if it gets back to the investor or their team?

They also struggle with the transition from founder to CEO. Founders have a very powerful emotional energy about “what can be.” That’s a very critical energy, but a major pivot that needs to happen is shifting the focus of their emotional energy, from being about the product to building the team that focuses on the product.

Building a culture and setting up your organization

As your company grows, you have to be more and more intentional with the culture you create. As the founder, you have an outsized influence over the culture that exists, so you’ll need to take into account: is that the right culture for continued growth? And are your employees aligned with this culture?

You’ll also have to decide whether or not you’re ready to be a leader. If you don’t want your company to crumble when you’re not there, you have to delegate to — i.e. empower — your team.

The most successful CEOs are absolutely fanatical about improving the lives of the people they serve. They also realize that, to make that happen, they need to a) bring in the very best people who also believe the same thing, and b) coach and guide them both as individuals and as a team.

On self-evaluation

Things move so fast in business that many founders are very reactive instead of proactive. One of the things Todd tells founders to do is to debrief the experiences you’re happening. Once a week, simply journal what’s going on, and answer these four questions:

What am I feeling grateful about? What am I feeling optimistic about? What am I still wondering about? What am I feeling discouraged about?

This exercise is important to slow down the brain and allow you to sort through your thoughts, feelings, and ideas so you can gain some clarity.

Another exercise Todd recommends is a “360,” where you survey the people around you. Coming from a place of wanting to understand your performance, ask them: What are the behaviors that are working for you, in your eyes? What are the behaviors that aren’t working? He sees a lot of successful founders do this because they say, “I don’t have all the answers, and I want to get better at this job.”

Final thoughts

This is a journey. If we look at the very long perspective, we’ll realize that many of the issues and problems that we think are big in the moment are not as big in hindsight. Things will happen, and we have to remind ourselves that it’s okay; things will happen along the way. Expect that there will be bumps along the road, and you won’t be disappointed when you have to slay another problem dragon.

FREE RESOURCE: Is your company culture toxic?

A toxic work culture can be costlier than you imagine, but hard to identify. Learn more about the 7 signs that there's something you need to fix in your workplace.


Founder to CEO Website

Todd Uterstaedt - LinkedIn


From Founder to CEO Podcast

Trail Team 10

Trail Team YouTube

27. HR on Purpose: Putting the Human Back in Human Resources with Steve Browne
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Today’s guest is Steve Browne, the Vice President of Human Resources at LaRosa's, Inc. and a Board Member at the Society for Human Resource Management. Steve, simply put, loves people, and it’s that love that propels his innovative thinking in the HR field. Steve wants to put the ‘human’ back in human resources, which is increasingly important when corporations want culture but have no idea how to put people first.

The shift to a people-centric work culture

Work culture used to be more about processes and systems; asking how someone was doing was seen as a waste of time. That is, until companies realized that if they weren’t being people-centric, they were missing out. This new generation of employees now wants to work in a culture where they are valued, elevated, and challenged.

This is both a challengeandopportunity, because having genuine relationships where people feel they are acknowledged, recognized, and valued consistently and on purpose makes for a better company.

The “report card” mentality

Performance management has also changed over the last few years. Steve observes that the report card mentality is failing because it’s not motivating: it shifts the focus toward what a person isn’tdoing. Instead, as leaders, we should be saying: if you’re worth my time, and you’re a good member of my team, part of my performance should be equipping you to do better.

We should be investing in the whole person: lifting their strengths, making them aware of where they have gaps, and exploring how to address those gaps. It’s not a matter of trying to make people fit the norm within your company; it’s allowing them to express themselves within the parameters and letting them bring who they are. When they do, they’ll bring their best selves to the table.

Drawing out authenticity in your company

How do you begin to allow people to bring their whole selves to your organization? Steve shares a few tips. First, ask how far you’re willing to go and what makes sense for your company. Then, change and test just one small thing at a time, so you can see what's working and what isn’t, and give yourself permission to say something didn’t work.

You can't teach people to be people centric simply by writing another policy. You have to do it by slowly coaching them on behavior, in a manner that’s more conversational than dictatorial.

Listening and leadership

When Steve started in HR, his boss gave him this advice: listen. For the first 90 days, he was only supposed to listen to people. No offering advice, no brainstorming ideas, no coming up with programs. Just learning.

Steve considers the best professional advice he’s ever gotten, because through this he was able to see how amazing the people were and what was already working well in the company. He didn’t have to come in and destroy anything. Instead, he was able to take things and shift them. He says: “From a leadership perspective, I think you have to make yourself available, be adaptable, and be agile.”

Camaraderie is key

It’s important for industry professionals in any department to get together and exchange great stories and great practices. It allows you to stay relevant and also gather diverse perspectives, which is necessary in organizations to avoid “groupthink” or “this is the way we’ve always done it” mentality.  
Final thoughts

We need to treat people like people. We can. It’s allowed. It’s legal. People are aching for it. It’s something we should all do.

Resources for Steve Browne



HR on Purpose: Developing Deliberate People Passion

How to Practice HR on Purpose

28. Changes, Dreams, and Leaps of Faith with Mary Miller
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What does it take to truly go for your dreams? On the show today we have Mary Miller, the CEO of JANCOA Janitorial Services and an associate coach with Strategic Coach. In today’s episode, we dive into the stories behind her book, Changing Direction: 10 Choices that Impact Your Dreams, and why it’s important to help others find their passions too.

Embracing change and establishing dreams

If you’re going to go after your dreams, something has to change — otherwise nothing else will. But first, ask yourself: What are your dreams really? You have to get down to the soul of what you want and know why it’s important to you. How will that change the quality of life on your trajectory of where you’re going next?

The dream for your team

Mary shares that one of the first things they do at orientation for new hires at JANCOA is to have every employee fill out a form about their dreams. This unlocks a different energy and much deeper conversations, like when someone said all he wanted to do was be able to read a story to his three-year-old daughter. These are things that people don't normally think about because everybody's busy just trying to survive life.

This might mean people will leave because the job isn’t their dream. And that’s okay. In business, you want people who want to be there because that creates and environment and a culture of caring, where the team helps make each other’s lives better.

White space

Mary stresses that free days are important. You need 24-hour periods with no work-related activities. Too often, we get so busy that we don’t even realize that we don’t have a life, and we need that space to free up our minds to ask ourselves: What am I really trying? What am I really being driven for? What do I ultimately want to achieve?

When brick walls get in the way

The brain is the dumbest muscle of the whole body. It only believes what you tell it. When there are obstacles — brick walls — in our lives, the brain can transform to figure out ways and strategies to go over, under, or around that wall.

This is how the Dream Manager Program came about. The obstacle for Mary was turnover and employee retention, which had gotten so bad that a business consultant they’d hired to fix the problem fired themafter only two days. But Mary shares that they didn’t have the luxury of feeling sorry for themselves. Their only choice was to keep moving forward and focusing on what they needed to move through the obstacles. And for her, it was choosing to put people first.

What’s really important

Nobody on their deathbed wishes they’d worked harder, or had more success or money.  It’s always: I wish I spent more time with my family. I wish I had real friends and took care of myself better. We need to stop waiting for our deathbeds and cultivate our relationships now. That’s when life becomes enjoyable. We aren’t made to be by ourselves, we are made to be part of a community.

Mary also shares how desire and faith play transformative roles in her business and her life, the kind of legacy she wants to create and leave behind, and why our tasks aren’t what make us who we are.

Final thoughts

We are all born with dreams. And we are born with the talents and skills to achieve those dreams. It's so important to realize that adventure in life is bringing those pieces together.

The first step is just declaring that you want more than you have in your life today and embracing the change that’s about to come.

FREE RESOURCE: Is your company culture toxic?

A toxic work culture can be costlier than you imagine, but hard to identify. Learn more about the7 signs that there's something you need to fix in your workplace.


Mary Miller (LinkedIn)

JANCOA Janitorial Services

Changing Direction: 10 Choices that Impact Your Dreams (Amazon)

The Dream Manager (Amazon)

Episode 15, Becoming CEO: Journey and Reflections with Chris Painter

29. Crafting the Candidate Experience with Todd Markle
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How do the candidates you interview for jobs feel about your organization? Today we have the founder and Founder & CEO of Hello Hire and member of the Talent Magnet Institute Faculty, Todd Markle. Todd Markle is a global expert on candidate experience, and we’re very excited to have this discussion today about candidate experience, employee experience, and the impact that can have on your business.

Why invest in your candidate experience?

First: Great talent is getting more and more difficult to find. Employers are beginning to realize that in order to attract talent, they need to provide a better candidate experience.

Second: Organizations are starting to think about how the candidate experience can impact their customer experience. People who go through the recruiting process are potential customers, and when someone applies for a job and has a bad experience, the odds of them returning as a customer are not great. The numbers can get pretty big, pretty fast, so Todd considers this to be a no-brainer reason to invest.

Third: Candidates are starting to expect to interact with employers. They’re looking for things like transparency and quick feedback, and employers who are moving in this direction are already reaping the benefit of attracting great talent to their organizations.

Developing the employment brand

You want to get people excited about working for your company, but also be transparent about the challenges that come with the job and what it’s really like to work there. Some jobs aren’t necessarily glamorous and it may involve getting hands dirty, but it’s all about telling an authentic story.

It’s important that the employment brand is authentic. One of the worst things that can happen is for a current employee to see the brand messaging and go: that doesn’t seem like where I’m working right now. That’s when you run into trouble. 

Leveraging technology

There are so many different technologies in the talent acquisition space, and many of these tools touch the candidate experience and the employment brand. But there is so much happening that it can be difficult to know what to do. Todd shares that he and Hello Hire begin by asking: For your talent function and objectives, what are you trying to accomplish?

For example, a step forward in the transparency element for candidates would be giving them the ability to check on their status, perhaps a portal where they could log on and see that the company had received the résumé, or that it had been sent to a hiring manager. The world has become so transparent, but the recruiting process is still a void that leaves candidates wondering what happens next. It’s not the intent of any organization to have poor communication, they just have many other plates spinning, so this would be a step in the right direction. 

Where to begin with the candidate experience

Typically, as a first step, Todd shares the Candidate Experience Model with his clients. There are four areas to look at: discovery, application, interview and selection, and close. The goal is to have people walking away from the recruiting experience feeling positive about the company, regardless of the outcome.

Under each of those four areas, Todd talks about the different things they look at, and from there, paint a picture of where the company is today, what’s working really well, what the potential gap areas are, and finally, prioritizing the next steps.

FREE RESOURCE: Is your company culture toxic?

A toxic work culture can be costlier than you imagine, but hard to identify. Learn more about the 7 signs that there's something you need to fix in your workplace.


Todd Markle (LinkedIn)

Hello Hire Candidate Experience Solutions(Experience Assessment link at top of page!)

3 Tips for a Tough Talent Market

30. Rethinking HR to Achieve Business Success with Beth Giglio
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Welcome to this week's episode of the Talent Magnet Institute podcast with Beth Giglio, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at 84.51˚. 84.51˚ is a data science and customer experience organization, and we are very excited to have their head of human resources, culture, and people here with us today. Today, Beth shares her experience with strategic human resources, and what it means to be a business partner first and HR partner second.

What is strategic HR? Even if you lead the function of human resources, you are a business leader. Be business-minded first to understand the strategy. And then take that back into a talent mindset and ask: what are the talent-enabling strategies that go with it? Become a thought leader in the human resources space. Bring cutting edge thinking in HR to the business. Beth shares how they read articles all the time, have discussions, and go to conferences. These are places where human resources teams don’t usually invest - but need to - to become strategic HR partners. Be really clear about your strategic outcome. At times HR professionals can get into tactics, so always ask: What is the business outcome that we're trying to drive? Followed by: What is the talent outcome we’re trying to drive? That way, you can contextualize it.

Advice for becoming strategic with your HR

For business owners who say they don’t have time to be strategic because they’re executing every day, step back and ask: What are you trying to achieve? And then stack rank the limited time you have to actually put against it. Invest in building capacities. Step back and ask of the business: Where do you want to play? Then think about how the team needs to change, and what solutions you need to give them, so that your business can be at the table where it needs to be. When it comes to making sure employees are meaningfully engaged, many companies send an 85-question survey out, and then mine those 85 questions for insights. Beth advises looking at what you want to accomplish in one to two years, and shares how you can look at your data instead. Because if you’re looking at the survey and automatically trying to improve the bottom ranking 16 questions, that’s a lot of work that might not actually drive value at the end of the day. It might be challenging as a human resource professional to show the value of HR to the business and bring business-minded conversations to the table. So start small and get your wins! Every company has their pain points. Bring up the talent implications of those pain points, even if they don’t ask for it. That’s how you get the opportunity to sit at the table. Don’t screw up on your new hires. There is tension in hiring: do you make the call now because you have an immediate pain point? Or do you hold out for the best talent and wait? Remember, in smaller organizations especially, the right hire matters. Where does implicit bias exist? Are you afraid of the tough conversations? Or, are you willing to put the hard stuff on the table and take your workplace to the next level?

Final thoughts and challenges

The most important thing is to identify the handful of things you’re trying to do as a business to be successful. What are the two or three things you want to drive as a leader? And how can you get your team rallied around that, versus everything else they could possibly do?

What is an easy way to make sure you’re giving your employees meaningful feedback and recognition so that they keep coming back to do the things that you want them to do?

Is your company culture toxic?

A toxic work culture can be costlier than you imagine, but hard to identify. Learn more about the 7 signs that there's something you need to fix in your workplace.


Beth Giglio (LinkedIn)

84.51˚ (LinkedIn)

Life at 84.51˚

Pathfinder - corporate learning and development platform

Implicit Bias Test

Heineken ‘Worlds Apart’ #OpenYourWorld

Podcast Episodes Referenced:

Episode 3 with Shakila Ahmad

Episode 19 with Dr. Janet Reid

31. Lessons Learned: The Fido Factor and Shooting for Par with Dan and Krissi Barr
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What happens when you mix marriage and business? For Krissi and Dan Barr, it’s success, fun in conflict, and two bestselling books. They are the co-authors of “Plugged: Dig Out and Get the Right Things Done,” and “The Fido Factor: How to Get a Leg Up at Work.” Together, they run Barr Corporate Success, a coaching and strategic business consulting company.

When Krissi wanted to take her business to the next level, it was Dan who suggested writing a book, and Krissi who suggested back that they do it together. They share the experience of writing the books, from the idea coming to Dan in a dream to working on the weekends for two years because they both had day jobs.

Krissi shares the story of a conversation that changed the trajectory of her career, back when the executive coaching industry was just beginning. It had been rough sailing until then, but Krissi says these negative experiences have made her a better and more successful coach, because she knows exactly what her clients are dealing with.

Krissi and Dan share what it’s like working as a married couple: from why they decided to bring Dan on board Krissi’s business to how their personalities — and personality clashes — work for them. The books, too, are borne from their personal experiences: Plugged is golf-themed, as Dan is a golfer, and The Fido Factor comes from their shared love of dogs.

The Fido Factor is a book about what dogs can teach us about leadership, because what makes a dog man’s best friend is also what makes a great leader.

F: Faithful leaders earn trust and loyalty I: Inspirational leaders move people to do what’s meaningful and purposeful D: Determined leaders keep people progressing toward their goals, they won’t give up O: Observant leaders take as much info as possible so they can spot problems and opportunities

Plugged is a golf-themed business book, told in story format. The core lesson is “PAR,” which the hero of the story learns as he’s worried about a member-guest tournament with his biggest customer. These are simple but difficult to execute:

P: Prioritize - focus on what matters most A: Adapt - be open to change R: Responsible - be responsible and take ownership of the outcome

Dan and Krissi want to leave behind a legacy. Krissi hopes that with any interaction someone has with them, be it through their books, the Meditation Labyrinth, or a conversation, that people are able to look inside themselves, become more self-aware, and go forward with an optimistic future. Dan hopes to give people new ideas and make them smile. Because if you’re happy, the odds of you succeeding go way up.

Their final advice: when you’re feeling off track and having a tough time, a better attitude is the single best way to start the journey of getting back on track. A better attitude will create better behaviors, and better behaviors will change the direction of the result. Krissi shares a formula: E + R = O. Events + Response = Outcome. You control the R, so you can control the O.

Is your company culture toxic?

A toxic work culture can be costlier than you imagine, but hard to identify. Learn more about the 7 signs that there's something you need to fix in your workplace.


Krissi Barr (LinkedIn)

Dan Barr (LinkedIn)


Plugged: Dig Out and Get the Right Things Done

The Plugged Scorecard

The Fido Factor: How to Get a Leg Up at Work (Amazon)

The Fido Factor Assessment Tool

Frannet MidAmerica

32. The Cincinnati Experience and How It Benefits Business with Julie Calvert
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How can you breathe new life into a city? Stories. Discover the impact that messaging and stories can have to elevate your community and move it giant steps forward. The guest for today’s episode is Julie Calvert, President and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau. She’s doing amazing things to elevate Greater Cincinnati as a destination for tourists, families, and businesses. And HER story might just inspire you to do the same for your city.

Julie discusses how Cincinnati wasn’t necessarily talked about negatively … it just wasn’t talked about at all. People weren’t considering it for all sorts of reasons, whether to move to, or visit, or relocate a business. She knew that once people were inside, the place would sell itself for sure. But how do we get people interested in the first place? How do we talk about the offerings it has as a community? Think about creating a sense of place: when you hear Cincinnati, you might think “baseball” or “chilly,” but that doesn’t give you a sense of the neighborhoods, the quality of life that exists, the opportunities present. So spend a good time focusing on the value and benefits of the region: how your life is better here. Then you need to get that story ‘adopted.’ For example, when it comes to relocation, it’s not just about getting the right offer, it’s about creating the right experience for that family, so they can find their sense of place and belonging in the new city. What experiences can people have here? What can they fall in love with? Julie shares the differences in perspectives and opinions between people who have lived in the city all their lives and the new ‘transplants.’ What are the things people take for granted after living somewhere for a long time? And how do we get people to appreciate that and become ambassadors for their region? How can you make your city get on one of the Top Cities lists? Julie says it’s not something you can just pitch. It’s about waking up every day, thinking about the stories you want to share with publications and podcasts, and having your stories build up to this cumulative effect — that will eventually lead to an influx of visitors and a swell of civic pride. You can’t buy that. And all these stories that people start to tell become credible third-party endorsements of what’s happening in the region. You just have to be dedicated to telling your region’s story. It’s no accident to make it onto those lists; it’s something that needs to be earned. From economic development initiatives, talent attraction initiatives, business expansions, neighborhood development: you need the goods to back your story up, absolutely. What things can we do to be a part of the community and help maintain the vibrancy? Julie shares several different ways - for example, bringing friends and family over. People need to see and visit the place first long before they ever decide to move or open a business there. Seeing is believing! Don’t say you have something for everybody. It’s a dead giveaway that you don’t know how to ‘sell’ your city! Julie discusses what you can do and say instead to get to the heart of what makes your city great. Collaboration is key. If you think about the people and the executives who are moving this region forward collaboratively, that’s not their day job. They’re running Fortune 500 companies and national law firms. So it’s our responsibility to connect these folks and help them lead through the change, get the community together, and invest. Mike recounts a story from his childhood, and Julie shares how investment changed that neighborhood from being themost dangerous neighborhood in America to a celebration of heritage. How can you value your neighborhoods and give them more life? Julie dives into what happens when leaders really care, and the impact of the travel and tourism industry. How does it feed into economic development? Why should we be attracting tourists, and what is that able to do to create a vibrant region? Plus, she shares a story of what happens when a community rises together.

Download this Free Resource!

Teams and organizations that have authentic leadership perform better, last longer, and attract the best talent. Are you an authentic leader? Find out if you’re ticking all the boxes!

The Cincy Experience


Cincy Experience Northern Kentucky

The Cincinnati Experience:





Julie Calvert:


Brent Cooper “The People Business” episode

33. Team Building and Generational Diversity with David Velie
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‘Millenials are like this; Gen Zs are like that.’ Statements like this put employees in little boxes and don't let them shine with unique talent. To be a talent magnet, you need to understand how people think. Why do people want to work for your organization? What do you have to offer to your employees? How are you different from your competition? David Velie, CEO at AMEND Ventures, joins Mike, and they discuss how to create a culture of commitment with generational drivers in their organization.

David Velie is a leadership consultant who thrives on helping others accomplish amazing things. David's understanding of generational drivers has given his organization an innovative recruitment edge. Most employers seem to miss the importance of understanding the psyche of their recruits. The biggest misconception is that money is the reason behind why employees come and go. But that isn’t the only reason. Beyond financial security, people have other motivations, which is why companies must create a flexible work environment that nurtures a commitment to their organization. David talks about the importance of understanding why employees choose to work with you. Each generation has different opinions on what their priorities are. To make things simpler, companies resort to sorting their workforce into groups. Unfortunately, labeling often comes with its own biases, and when this happens, leaders miss the opportunity to tap into their employees’ individual strengths. David shares how his company encourages engagement and why you should get your team together in one room and hang out. How can you optimize your team to perform at their best? The simple answer is: “Set them up for success.” Help your employees align their personal goals with your organization's goals. Provide the necessary tools and training they need to do their job well. Encourage them to take on new roles and do better. Listen to them and look for ways to offer flexibility. When you invest in your people, you give them the opportunity to invest their best effort back into your company and their community. Mike and David talk about the importance of living in the present and practicing intentional talent engagement. Engage your team so they can ask important questions. Empower them so they can answer those questions themselves. Your organization is able to develop results that are largely dependent on how you are leading them to success and solutions. When you give people room to grow, lead and be successful, innovation is born. Most of the time, the biggest ideas don't come from the top of the organizational hierarchy. This is because innovation is made out of smaller ideas merged together through creativity. Let your employees share their ideas and listen to these ideas. Doing so will help create an even bigger idea pool and the whole organization benefits from finding new solutions at a faster rate.

Key takeaways from Mike and David's conversation:

Intentional engagement encourages individuals to build relationships within the generationally diverse workforce. Allow people to share their ideas in creative ways and avoid hierarchy mentality. Understand generational drivers - there's no one way to get everyone on board. Leaders who encourage people to take the next step contribute to the awakening of even more extraordinary leaders.

Download this Free Resource!

Teams and organizations that have authentic leadership perform better, last longer and attract the best talent. Are you an authentic leader? Find out if you’re ticking all the boxes!

David Velie

AMEND Ventures
Cincinnati Chamber Roundtables
Goering Center Roundtables

34. What You Need to Become a Talent Magnet with David Velie
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Your company’s culture and success all start from the same place: hiring the right people in the first place. So how do you attract the right people and recruit exceptional employees to your organization or venture? That’s the subject of today’s show with the CEO of AMEND Ventures, David Velie. Mike and David talk about what it takes to not only hire the right people, but transform yourself into a talent magnet.

What are the challenges that companies face with today’s workforce? David shares how companies with accelerated growth often struggle to maintain momentum and progress. The irony? We're currently living through an economic boom. So why are we facing this particular challenge in a growing economy? One possible explanation is that many companies seem to believe that there's a shortage of viable workers in the industry. But this shouldn't be the case, especially when considering how close we are to the lowest American unemployment rate ever since 1976. Where do you start to retain great employees and attract the right people for your organization? David says you've got to hire the right people first. Once you have them onboard, you need to figure out why they chose your company in the first place. Ask your key team members' open-ended questions to help you narrow down the possibilities. Remember: it isn't always about the money. Uncover what the other considerations are and how you can include it in your hiring strategy. Employees will eventually leave - this is a reality of any business. They either move up the corporate ladder or exit. So how are you going to control what they say about your brand long after they've moved on? Mike and David talk about the importance of building a culture of commitment and loyalty. While you can't always help it if an employee has to exit the company, you can make their stay with you so positive that they only talk about how amazing working for the brand was after they leave. The brand of your corporate culture is either made or broken by the personal views of the people who currently or once worked there. They know what goes on inside your company. They've experienced the company culture, leadership, and processes first hand. Your employees are your brand ambassadors — whether you like it or not! David talks about the importance of creating compelling reasons why people should choose your company. "What does your company stand for?" "What can you offer that will improve your employees' well-being?" It's not just about how big the paycheck is. Sometimes the non-financial factors bear the most weight in a candidate's decision to join the company. These competitive advantages are what will attract talent and retain them. These competitive advantages evolve when a business decides to be more flexible. The hurdle here is the mindset that being flexible will cost more money — there are always ways to be more flexible and still achieve stellar returns. It can be something as simple as offering a transportation service, or something more innovative like recruiting from untapped talent pools. This flexibility is what removes the barriers that most companies struggle to overcome. Organizations who invest in their people and company culture are far more successful than those who don't. Your workforce is comprised of people with goals, dreams, and families. When you provide them with the flexibility they need to do their job, they will do their job well. The bottom line is that people prefer working for businesses that take care of their employees and make them feel valued. Invest in your employees. The easiest place to start? Ask them what they need — and listen!

Download this Free Resource!

Teams and organizations that have authentic leadership perform better, last longer and attract the best talent. Are you an authentic leader? Find out if you’re ticking all the boxes!

David Velie

AMEND Ventures
Cincinnati Chamber Roundtables
Goering Center Roundtables

35. Changing How People Perceive Skilled Trades with Dieter Moeller
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How does the manufacturing industry provide an equal opportunity to compete with the newer fields? Dieter Moeller, CEO at Rhinestahl Corporation, says that the skilled trade business has dramatically evolved over the years. Innovation has turned this long-standing industry into one with greater employment opportunities. Today, Mike and Dieter share a deep conversation about the current state and future of the skilled manufacturing industry. They talk about how one quintessential family business grew into a successful organization, along with its legacy and contributions to society.

Wanting a piece of the American dream, Dieter's father left Germany and went on to build a business with a friend. In fact, Rhinestahl started in the family's garage. Dieter shares his story of growing up and witnessing his father's leadership and work ethic in the family business. Leadership turnovers are usually fraught with emotions and tight deadlines. Family businesses have that too, except it gets a lot more interesting when you add in such close relationships. Dieter shares his journey in joining the family business. He never planned on becoming part of its executive leadership team. What do they look for in the talent that joins their company? Dieter and his father are passionate about what they do and look for the same level of gusto from candidates. After all, the best team almost always brings in the best results, and the best team is comprised of people who absolutely love what they do. More importantly, they care enough to do a great job. It's a shame that there aren't many people pursuing careers in the skilled manufacturing industry. A stable career, decent pay, and a fair opportunity to learn and develop new skills sound like a good deal. So why does society give the skilled trade business the cold shoulder? Dieter accounts stereotypical perception as the culprit. He talks about how he and his executive team are investing in the workforce and economic development programs. People won't know what opportunities are available unless they see them. So Dieter makes sure Rhinestahl is involved in the community and giving back. They are partnering with local schools to start changing students’ and their parents' perception of the skills trade industry. Currently, only 3-5% of Americans get the opportunity to take part in an apprenticeship program. Dieter and Mike talk about how engaging and educating the community help in boosting the workforce numbers AND the economy. Dieter shares his insight on setting standards and how one must give it their best effort no matter what profession they're in.

Are you an authentic leader?

Teams and organizations that have authentic leadership perform better, last longer and attract the best talent. Find out if you’re the best leader you can be!

Dieter Moeller


Rhinestahl Corporation Website

Rhinestahl Facebook

Partners for Competitive Workforce

REDI Cincinnati

36. The Warren Bennis Leadership Experience with Jack FitzGerald
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Has someone ever inspired you so deeply that it changed your life and your mission? Today’s guest, Jack FitzGerald, not only had his life changed, but he has also dedicated himself to changing others’ lives, too. Jack is the founder of the Warren Bennis Leadership Experience, an annual event in Cincinnati. Jack shares how the event’s namesake, Warren Bennis, touched his life from the time he was a young man and led him to where he is now.

What led Jack to his leadership journey and the inspiration from which the Warren Bennis Leadership Experience (WBLE) has become? Jack believes family is the first organization we are a part of, and his father modeled great leadership from the time Jack was a boy. His father took him to community functions and showed his leadership style - bringing people together and inspiring them to take action. Jack shares a story about a ‘punishment’ his father gave him for being late for curfew one night - to read the book, On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis. His father told him he couldn’t go out with his friends again until he had finished the book and taken notes on every chapter. Neither of them realized the profound effect this experience would have on Jack’s future, especially when he was tapped to create a leadership program at the University of Cincinnati. So who, exactly, is Warren Bennis? Warren was the 22nd president of the University of Cincinnati, and he held this position during the 70’s. Not only was the university growing quickly, but it was also a very turbulent time, during which, Warren led the campaign to make UC a full state university. After his time at UC, Warren wrote more than 20 books on leadership and became a mentor to many of the greatest leaders of our time. Warren Bennis's book made such a huge impact on Jack's life and leadership style. In fact, his fascination only seemed to grow from there. As he walked the UC campus, he didn’t see Warren’s name anywhere, and that shocked him. Jack soon realized that he wanted to share this leadership experience with others and the Warren Bennis Leadership Experience was born. Jack points out that while WBLE might be a conference, it’s actually an experience. That’s a very important distinction and a big part of Jack’s vision for the event. He wanted attendees to feel like they were spending time with Warren Bennis. Jack might not have met the man in person, but he spent a lot of time talking with people who did. He reveals exactly how he got the first speaker to sign on for the event. The event is annual, and this year, Jack is bringing something very exciting: Building a Culture of Fresh Ideas. That might strike you as odd when the namesake of the event led in the 70’s, but Jack explains why he chose to go this route, and how it builds off of last year’s ideas. The goal of WBLE is to help change perspectives, which is timely seeing as society has become more and more disconnected and turbulent. Through the WBLE, young thought leaders get the opportunity to learn and experience Warren Bennis’ leadership through the same people that Warren Bennis had inspired decades ago.

Key takeaways from this episode:

Our leadership journey starts at home. Leaders are made, not born. We all have the potential to be great leaders. READ - Books are man’s greatest legacy.

Are you an authentic leader?

Teams and organizations that have authentic leadership perform better, last longer and attract the best talent. Find out if you’re the best leader you can be!

Register now for WBLE!

WBLE: October 19th 2018 Registration Link

Jack FitzGerald

Two NYT bestsellers headline 2nd annual Warren Bennis Leadership Experience
Father Of Leadership: Warren Bennis
The Four Golden Rules of a Champion | Jack FitzGerald | TEDxUCincinnati
Books & Resources
On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis
Warren Bennis Leadership Books
Doris Kearns Goodwin Books
David Gergen Eyewitness to Power - The Essence of Leadership Nixon to Clinton

Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty - Harvey Mackay

“Leadership is the capacity to turn vision into reality.” - Warren Bennis

37. Workforce Solutions: Investing in Purpose and People with Janice Urbanik
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A business should be more than just a means to an end. More than making money, it should be seen as a tool that can bring good into the world. To do this, we need to change how businesses do business, and this starts with how we treat our employees. In today’s conversation, Mike and Janice Urbanik cover topics like workforce interventions and how employers can enforce better solutions by being flexible when it comes to implementing their talent management strategies.

Janice Urbanik is the Senior Director for Innovation and Strategy at the National Fund for Workforce Solutions. NFWS supports 33 regional funding collaboratives across the country. Their goal is to drive corporate practices, policies, and investments that enable workers to succeed in good jobs so that employers have access to a skilled workforce. What’s the most impactful statistics that would open the eyes and ears of employers? Janice begins by explaining that when we are below 4% unemployment we are under a “Full Employment Economy.” Everyone who's skilled, able, and willing is already working, and the percentage doesn’t include people not actively seeking employment, like stay-at-home-parents. How does the average cost of living affect workforce capacity? A family of 4 needs to earn $50,000 per year to be able to meet their basic needs like food and housing. 3 out of 4 jobs pay less than $50,000. It’s hard enough to make ends meet with 2 wage earners, so what about families with only 1 wage earner? Due to this disparity, low-income earners are forced to juggle several jobs with different employers, which often makes them vulnerable to abuse. This lack of career growth and reasonable pay opportunities keeps most of these families in a state of poverty. With the boom in the service and manufacturing industry, businesses need to fill the gaps within their ranks to scale their companies and increase profits. But how can businesses achieve this if most of them are already employed? Janice and Mike talk about how changing recruitment strategies can improve a company’s hiring, onboarding, and retention process. Investing in your workforce enables your team to become better providers for their families. Is your company ready to implement better workforce intervention strategies? Answer these questions: What are the wage and benefit structures? What levels of employee support can you provide? How can you help employees stay on the job, stay focused on the job, and do the job well? When businesses strike a balance between making a profit and supporting their workers, it triggers a positive chain of events. Families become more financially secure, employees perform better, and employers become even greater talent magnets. We hope this helps you understand how much power employers have and how it can change and affect their employees’ lives - for better or for worse.

Are you an authentic leader?

Teams and organizations that have authentic leadership perform better, last longer and attract the best talent. Find out if you’re the best leader you can be!

Janice Urbanik



Resources and Talent Magnet Institute Episodes Referenced:

National Fund for Workforce Solutions

Partners for a Competitive Workforce

Women’s Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation - Research

Greater Cincinnati Foundation

Aspen Institute

Inclusive Capitalism

Conscious Capitalism

Dr. Karen Bankston - TMI Episode 1

Shakila Ahmad – TMI Episode 3

Steve Shifman – TMI Episode 17

Dr. Janet Reid - TMI Episode 19

Lynne Ruhl - TMI Episode 23

38. The Value of Inclusion, Diversity, and Clowns with Paul Miller
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Did you know there’s such a thing as ‘medicinal clowning?’ Or that clowns are used in child surgery to reduce the number of drugs needed? Our guest this week is Paul Miller, former Ringling Brothers performer and creator of Circus Mojo, a circus act with a mission. It might be fun and games, but Paul’s mission is nothing short of inspiring, including his extensive work in inclusion and diversity. Paul and Mike talk about why the world needs more clowns.

So, what happens when you pair humor with the ability to push boundaries? Paul shares his humble beginnings of how he went from class clown to being a world class performer, and later a successful entrepreneur. Paul attended the University of Cincinnati, College of Conservatory Music but found his true calling at the Ringling Bros. Clown College. He went on to perform for the Greatest Show on Earth and toured the world. He eventually started his own ventures: Circus Mojo in 2009, Social Circus Foundation in 2013, and Bircus Brewing Co. in 2015. He connected and built relationships with talented individuals from different countries. This enabled him to create such an inclusive and diverse team full of passionate individuals. Aside from their amazing entertainment value, Circus Mojo also had dived into medical support efforts. How does it work? They're a group of specially trained clowns who scrub down and spend time with children who are being prepped for surgery. Building trust and providing comfort to the child as they’re wheeled into the operating room and being there for them as the child wakes up. Circus Mojo demonstrates the power of people gathering and working together to achieve a common goal. And how every profession has an impact in the lives of those needing the service. This transformative mindset of accepting and nurturing people’s gifts and pairing them with others’ is a trait all talent magnets should have.

Key takeaways from this episode:

Extraordinary things happen when you think outside the box. You can work AND have fun. We need to lighten up a bit. People with a common goal work better together.

Are you an authentic leader?

Teams and organizations that have authentic leadership perform better, last longer and attract the best talent. Find out if you’re the best leader you can be!

Paul Miller


Circus Mojo

Bircus Brewing Co.

Social Circus Foundation

INC Magazine Article

39. Cultural Transformation and Courageous Leadership with Lynne Ruhl
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What is work culture and how does it affect the corporate environment? Discover how one phone call changed a stay-at-home mom’s life and how she changed the abusive, toxic culture in children’s competitive gymnastics. The impact she made led to a career in leadership and corporate cultural development. Today, Mike brings in Lynne Ruhl to discuss why leaders are accountable for developing the culture in their organizations.

Lynne is the CEO at Perfect 10 Corporate Cultures. She is an esteemed thought leader in corporate culture. She knows what it takes to build a strong work environment where employees and customers feel valued, understood, and respected. So how did Lynne become an innovator in corporate culture? She traces it back to this life-changing phone call. Lynne's daughter had a talent in gymnastics and needed to train to join a competitive team. Lynne did her research and checked out gymnasiums that were reasonably close to her area. But nothing could prepare her for the horror of what she saw as a typical and accepted way of training the children. Rather than building children and their skills, she saw coaches tearing down the kids, breaking them through ridicule and manipulation and build them back up as robots who did what they were told. Lynne refused to subject her daughter to that kind of torture. So she did what she thought was the only solution. She and her husband bought their own gym. Immediately, they saw they had inherited the typical toxic culture. Most people would have fired them on the spot, but Lynne believes that people are not disposable. And so she took it upon herself to turn these individuals around and give them a chance to behave better. As a result, the gymnastics academy also became a relationships academy. The athletes, staff, and organization have shed their toxic culture and reformed into something better. The Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy has re-framed its success and leadership by shattering the belief system that fear and abuse was the only way to produce Olympians. This simple truth sparked a national change in the way other children were taught. Which brings us to the question: How can leaders promote the same kind of culture transformation? Lynne shares that the only way to invest in cultural transformation is to understand the roots of the culture itself. According to Lynne, culture isn’t a big, overarching thing. Instead, it’s the thousands of one-on-one interactions that occur in a company every single day. If the quality of those interactions is healthy – so is the culture. If those interactions are unhealthy or full of conflict and avoidance, then the culture is toxic. Lynne and Mike dive even deeper into reframing leadership and success through positive culture. They answer key questions to help you understand the power of organizational culture. Discover what relationship skills leaders must have to build and contribute to a positive corporate culture and the importance of investing in the environment you lead. Lynne also brings up an incredible point. Since no person is disposable, you need to change the way you look at your employees. If you see each of them as a resource that you haven’t fully tapped, how does your perspective shift? What can YOU do to tap into their personal greatness?

Don't forget to download this Free Resource!

Teams and Organizations that have authentic leadership perform better, last longer and attract the best talent. Are you an authentic leader? Find out if you’re ticking all the boxes!


Lynne Ruhl LinkedIn

Perfect 10 Corporate Cultures

Three Impossible Promises: The Inspiring True Story of Olympic Gold and How Organizational Culture Means Everything

40. What Makes Leaders Extraordinary with Don Frericks
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The rules for fostering great leaders in your workplace are changing. It’s not enough just to train them; you also have to develop them. Today, Don Frericks, CAO of Community Blood Center and Founder & Leadership Coach of Make Me A Better Leader, joins Mike Sipple, Jr., to talk about what makes extraordinary leaders. The talk about Don’s study of leadership, how he developed his method to recognize and cultivate great leaders, and why you should never settle for anything less than extraordinary.

Don believes in building deep, meaningful relationships and has met phenomenal leaders throughout his career. It has come to his attention that extraordinary leaders share a common denominator of sorts, and it was this shared characteristic that led him to study leadership and how to identify great leaders from average ones. As a thought leader, Don has fulfilled many different roles in training, coaching, consulting, and mentoring. He was driven to find a better way to get people to become the best version of themselves, become better leaders, and figure out a way to objectively measure the effectiveness of good leadership. Here’s an interesting statistic Don points out: 80% of people don’t do anything with what they learned in workplace leadership training. It goes in one ear and out the other. Don realized that you can’t just train people to be good leaders. You have to help them develop extraordinary leadership skills, too. Nearly 67% of employees are disengaged at work due to ineffective and uninspiring leadership. This means that average or ‘good-enough’ leaders don’t cut it! Extraordinary leaders have profound strengths that create a work environment where people have the highest levels of fulfillment, productivity and engagement. Great leaders motivate employees to go the extra mile, to get the work done better and faster.

Throughout the episode, Don and Mike explore certain common themes and leadership characteristics that distinguish the average leaders from the exception. Here are a few:

All journeys are different. Leaders aren’t born, they are made. Good and bad bosses help us learn and understand leadership. Leaders need training, coaching, and mentoring at some point in their career. Organic Process of Leadership Development: Observe, Internalize, and Apply.

Listen to the full conversation to understand how leaders encourage people to take the next step and how organizations can contribute to the awakening of more extraordinary leaders.

Don't forget to download this Free Resource!

Teams and Organizations that have authentic leadership perform better, last longer and attract the best talent. Are you an authentic leader? Find out if you’re ticking all the boxes!

Don Frericks

Make Me A Better Leader

Community Blood Center "Be A Hero, Give Blood"


Rapid Leadership Development Video


Team of Teams – New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World by General Stanley McChrystal

The Extraordinary Leader – Turning Good Managers Into Great Leaders by John Zenger and Joseph Folkman

How To Be Exceptional – Driving Leadership Success by John Zenger and Joseph Folkman

41. The Man Behind the "Mike" with Christine Lewis and Mike Sipple, Jr.
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We’re changing things up a bit this week on the Talent Magnet Institute podcast to give everyone a special opportunity to know more about Mike Sipple Jr. and his almost superhero-like ability to connect thought leaders with other key leaders. We have gone long enough not knowing about Mike’s career origin story, and we have Chris Lewis throwing the questions to get a sneak peek into the mind of a second generation President and what it took to get him to where he is now.

Mike is the second generation owner of Centennial, a talent strategy and executive search firm. He has been working for the family business for almost two decades and has served as its president for 3 years and 9 months - and counting. As it turns out, Mike has a lot of things to share with us other than his guest’s story, business strategies, and the key takeaways from their conversation. One of the most interesting things about Mike’s career origin stories is that he initially wanted to become an architect. Meeting with real architects, however, gave Mike the foresight he needed to choose a different career path instead – so, he went to school to become a landscape architect. But how did he end up joining Centennial if he had wanted to do landscape architecture? As it turns out, Mike has a gift of building intentional relationships and absolutely loved connecting people. Despite being the son of the head of the company, his career in the family business wasn’t laid out mainly because they didn’t anticipate his knack of finding the right people who fit the right opportunity. Mike is what people in the industry would call “a natural.” Mike was driven to improve this skill and was intent in learning more to help mold him into an effective leader. He and his father signed up for the Goering Center for Family & Private business program not knowing that Centennial would be transformed into a family business. He has had some incredible business mentors including Ron Brown, Jean Lauterbach, and Lynne Ruhl. That program was instrumental in laying out the foundations of their family business and creating the kind of culture that continues to thrive to this day. When asked what his considerations were before he joined the family business, Mike said, “Don’t let your parent’s or grandparent’s choices define you, you need to define you – your life is your responsibility.” To be successful one must be in tune with who they are and focus on ‘their’ best and not what everybody else insists is best. Throughout his career, he managed to deliver stellar results for his clients and their organizations simply because he pairs his skills and passion for people with the client’s business goals. Which is why it’s important to understand that strategic planning, intentional communication, and active listening are all necessary for companies regardless if they’re a family business or a traditional business.

The conversation was nothing short of insightful and Chris notes the two secrets to Centennial’s success as a family business: Receptiveness and respect -- simple words that deliver great results. With Mike being the amazing leader that he is, it would have been easy to keep the interview going for hours and hours and hours, but we can save the rest of the story for a later time. Hopefully, this was enough to give you a good idea of the things you didn’t know you needed to know about Mike Sipple Jr. and his contributions in the global community as a second generation President.


How to steer a successful succession

Family business lessons from the Skywalker Family

Next Generation Institute

Perfect 10 Corporate Cultures

Lynne Ruhl LinkedIn

Jean Lauterbach LinkedIn

Jonathan Theders LinkedIn

Lee Bushman LinkedIn

Howard Kaplan LinkedIn

Tara Halpin LinkedIn

Scott Bucher LinkedIn

Brent Rippe LinkedIn

John Moore LinkedIn

Chris Painter LinkedIn

Goering Center for Family and Private Business

Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber CEO Roundtable




42. Remarkable Leadership in Family Business with Jonathan Theders
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Jonathan Theders is the CEO of RiskSource Clark-Theders, a prominent family business that focuses on providing comprehensive insurance solutions and risk management services to protect clients from the unexpected. As the next generation CEO, Jonathan has gone to great lengths to transform the family business into a remarkable organization, but there’s more to running a family business than meets the eye. Find out what makes this company unique and how Jonathan’s approach can improve yours.

Some people are blessed with knowing what their calling is at an early age. Jonathan Theders is one such individual - his dream was to work with his father. As a child, he would eagerly seize every opportunity to join his father at work: carry his briefcase, file papers, or mow the grass; it didn’t matter to him what he was doing, just that he really wanted to be there, too. Despite wanting to work at the family business immediately, Jonathan figured that he should get experience outside the company first and gain the perspective necessary to fulfill his role in the business. He got an internship while in college, and later went full-time as a Certified Underwriter for Business Insurance in Iowa, where he stayed for almost 3 years before finally joining the family business. As you might imagine, family businesses are different from “outside” companies. When running the family business, there’s always something that feels personal beyond normal business - you do more for family than anyone else, after all. But that doesn't mean you like it. Jonathan has been Mike’s long-time client and friend, they’ve been on an executive roundtable and other various initiatives together. He is undeniably a high-level leader, but what sets him apart is his intentional way of communicating - something that he learned from his father. Jonathan’s father set their breakfast meetings every Wednesday, to mold him into the kind of leader his organization would look up to - they have spent more than 850 Wednesday mornings together this way. The Goering Center for Family and Private Business has also been instrumental by teaching him to runs through questions like, “Have you thought about this? Have you planned for this? Have you considered this?” Jonathan has met a lot of people who have played a significant role in his career development, which made him realize that business is about building deliberate relationships and practicing effective communication to go beyond the WHAT, understanding the WHY, and HOW everything else would fit into that. Join Mike and Jonathan as they expound on the value and power of deliberate communication, how the Seth Godin’s Purple Cow concept has transformed Jonathan’s family business, the ReSOURCE process, and why RiskSOURCE has pivoted into the more sustainable B Corp business model.

Stay Ahead of the Game!

Do you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your current AND your prospective talent? You should be asking yourself these ten questions so you can stay ahead of the game!

Jonathan Theders

RiskSOURCE Clark-Theders


Beyond Insurance


Goering Center for Family & Private Business

B Corporation Certification

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

43. Diversity and Inclusion with Dr. Janet Reid
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Dr. Janet Reid is the founder of BRBS World, a private global management consulting consortium located in Cincinnati, that works with companies to develop and keep world-class leaders who value diversity and inclusion. Dr. Reid is an author and consultant with 35 years of promoting diversity and inclusion, and today, she and Mike talk about how you can be a better leader by embracing both.

Everyone has a definition of diversity and inclusion, but are their definitions accurate? As one of the foremost minds on the subject, Janet shares what diversity and inclusion mean to her. Diversity refers to all the way people are both different and the same. This can span race and gender to thinking style differences and problem-solving. If diversity is the noun, then the verb paired with it is inclusion. It’s how you leverage those differences and similarities to benefit a business, community, or organization. Talent optimization is something every business owner wants. According to Janet, diversity and inclusion are key to optimizing talent, and she explains why beginning with what the talent pool looks like in the US and abroad. In the past, employees tried to ‘fit in.’ But that isn’t working, and she shares why. In many organizations, diversity and inclusion are just buzzwords that people like to repeat but don’t really understand. According to Janet, being truly invested in those standards will give you a leg up on your competition in attracting and keeping talent. Not because you’re improving your bottom line, but because you’re improving everything for everyone. Janet cites an article, Diversity Matters, wherein they show measurable difference between companies who embraced diversity and those who didn’t. Janet also points out that this is only true if you have the verb, inclusion, with the noun, diversity. Diversity first popped up on the corporate radar some time ago, and since then, the conversation has changed. Janet recalls how Affirmative Action over 50 years ago was the beginning, but many people still see diversity as that. The evolution of diversity has seen everyone included in the conversation: white, black, male, female, country of origin, faith, backgrounds. No one is left out. Equally as important, diversity also now requires action. A big part of that action is to teach our brains to be comfortable with differences rather than view them suspiciously. How are you supposed to rewire your brain? Fortunately, Janet has a new book coming out that will help you do just that. Janet explains the difference between outright prejudice and the more subtle bias, and what it means in the workplace. As a leader, it is imperative that you spend time developing yourself to not just see the importance of diversity, but also to take action to make inclusion a part of what you do daily. To begin, you must strive to be uncomfortable. There are some steps you can take immediately to help condition yourself to be more inclusive and it begins with a self-inventory. Who do you most often have in your home? How do you spend your spare time? What do your children’s friends look like? In whom are you most likely to recognize brilliance? Going deeper, if you were to look at the C Suite, only 5% have female CEOs. And most of the C Suite are also male. Janet points to this as a fact of conditioning: you see brilliance more easily when it looks like you, so if you’re going to embrace diversity and inclusion, you need to open your eyes to reality. You can take the assessment that Harvard created. It’s a great place to start and share what you learned with #TalentMagnet. If you pay a lot of attention to the media, they seem to only talk about disconnect and discontent. However, if you take a look at the world around you, with your own eyes, you’ll see there are a lot of people who are working very hard to embrace diversity with inclusion. Are you one of them? Janet shares a few more key thoughts you should hold tightly and consider as you go about your life, whether at home, at work, or in the community.

Stay Ahead of the Game!

Do you want to make sure you're getting the most out of your current AND your prospective talent? You should be asking yourself these ten questions so you can stay ahead of the game!

Dr. Janet Reid


McKinsey - Why Diversity Matters

McKinsey - Delivering Through Diversity

McKinsey Delivering Through Diversity Whitepaper

Psychology Today - Can't We All Just Get Along? Time for Inclusion & Diversity

The Phoenix Principles - Leveraging Inclusion to Transform Your Company - Co-authored by Janet B. Reid, Ph.D., CEO of BRBS World Consulting, LLC and Vincent R. Brown is President and CEO of V. Randolph Brown Consulting

Implicit Bias Test through Harvard University

44. Becoming Fully Human with Dan Hurley
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Dan Hurley has had an incredible career, and after retirement, he continues to do so. He was a teacher, historian, the Director of Leadership for Leadership Cincinnati, the Interim CEO for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and a producer and reporter for WKRC TV. Currently, Dan is the founder of a company and host of a local NPR radio show. Dan says he failed at retirement, but those lives of the people he touches are glad he did.

Dan’s career began with teaching high school history, and he planned to be a college professor, but after grad school, he had different ideas. He realized that to be a historian, he needed to work with people who have experience, so Dan chose to educate adults. And that was what landed him at the Cincinnati Museum Center, and eventually, on television. Eventually, Dan worked with a university with his eye on a museum director position, but he spent a lot of time working with the business school which was setting up their entrepreneurial center. Dan developed a love for it and set up his own business, a public history consulting. He figured he could find work for a year, but the business endured for 20 years. After learning how to be an entrepreneur, Dan decided he wanted to see if he could lead a staff, and after one stint leading a team of 4 departments, he found a home as the Director of Leadership for Leadership Cincinnati. Dan retired, but it didn’t last. He was asked to become the Interim CEO for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and he couldn’t turn it down. And as that was ending, the local NPR radio station offered Dan a radio show. Dan talks about why it’s important to ‘follow your gut.’ With such a rich and varied career, Dan has some amazing insights on leadership that he shares. Dan says there are three keys to great leadership. The first is a leader is someone who sees how they can improve something and will act on it. Second, leaders are people who really know how to listen and respect the people they work with. Finally, great leaders are patient, something we, as a culture, don’t place a lot of value on. Dan pulls from Aristotle: you can’t be fully human until you’ve stepped into the public arena. Taking that risk allows you to test out, to find out, who you are. There are many ways of doing that, low to high risk. Dan talks about his own experience working with politicians. They’re on the forefront of the public arena, and Dan shares why he has a more positive opinion of politicians than the general public. Not all politicians are worthy of Dan’s praise, and he shares his experience working with a congressman whose only concern was where the next vote was coming from. And now, in his radio show, he interviews politicians all the time, and he’s got one simple rule: don’t lie to my face. Mike shifts gears and turns the conversation to small to medium-sized business leaders who haven’t really stepped into the public arena. Dan shares the story of a bank vice president who had a 180-degree turnaround after working with a nonprofit, and how it changed not just his professional career, but also his personal values. It all comes from being around and working with people who have very different experiences. This is what changes people. Dan has a lot of experience as in interim leader, and the one stand-out thing about that is how tenuous the position is. You don’t know how long you’ll be there, you can’t make any long-term commitments, hiring is a challenge, and your job isn’t to ‘clean house.’ Dan shares how he succeeded as an interim, and there are a lot of lessons you can take from it if you ever find yourself in that position. One of the topics we cover often is early childhood education and with very good reason. The right education early on helps children achieve so much more, and Dan is a firm believer in that. Dan shares his thoughts on reaching kids early and helping provide them with equal opportunities. He also loves working with the cutest people on the planet. He would know; he’s a grandfather. In all seriousness, though, Dan talks about the need to figure out how to change the economic structure so that low and middle-income families can not just survive, but also give their children the best opportunity to thrive. You’ve probably heard the phrase, ‘history repeats itself.’ As a historian, Dan doesn’t believe it. Human nature, on the other hand, doesn’t tend to advance as quickly. Dan shares his own thoughts on how we can learn from the past – not from the chronology, but from the significance of human experience. It’s about unseeing the world from others’ eyes and becoming fully human.

Stay Ahead of the Game!

Do you want to make sure you're getting the most out of your current AND your prospective talent? You should be asking yourself these ten questions so you can stay ahead of the game!

Dan Hurley


Leadership Cincinnati

Leadership Action

WVXU Cincinnati Edition

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

4C for Children

Cincinnati Preschool Promise

45. Conscious Capitalism with Steve Shifman
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Fellow Cincinnatian Steve Shifman is the president of Michelman, Inc., and has been Mike’s dear friend for many years. As a believer in conscious capitalism, Steve believes that by leading with community-based values, companies can build up their capacity to change the lives of not only their employees but the lives of generations of families to come.

As the head of a long-running successful business, Steve’s approach to setting the tone at Michelman is all about challenging the primacy of profit. In his experience, many of today’s business problems like CEO overpay, corporate ratings and employment cuts are byproducts of a flawed philosophy. For Steve, making money for shareholders and supporting employees across the world are not mutually exclusive. Steve discusses Michelman’s efforts to operate as a balanced, responsible and community-oriented company and their recent growth. Has Michelman always operated under the philosophy of conscious capitalism? Steve’s predecessors were very community-minded but over the years, he has made an effort to articulate and distill these values even further, making sure to spread them across the company’s global arms. For such a large and spread out organization, how does Michelman retain this kind of community energy across the world? Steve talks about how their purpose, vision and values – and their mission to innovate a sustainable future – knit the many threads of the company together, inspiring their approach to hiring, rewards, and investing. When it comes to creating a sustainable future, it all comes down to implementing good values and purpose. Steve spends most of his time traveling visiting Michelman facilities and offices around the globe but wherever he and his team go, they communicate what’s happening within and without the company. Steve writes monthly newsletters, conducts both in person and video town halls, webinars and leadership summits. You can’t make a good product without great raw materials. At Michelman, leaders start the day with purpose and values but for someone who comes from a different business culture, making the adjustment isn’t always intuitive. Steve talks about infusing the hiring process with these same values to ensure that new talent fits in well with the organization. In America today, many people dread Mondays like the plague. For Steve, providing a sense of fulfillment for employees isn’t just about cutting that dread for performance metrics but about helping people be their best selves at home, in their communities and in the world at large. Conscious capitalism, in no uncertain terms, is a mission to change the world. As both Mike and Steve have seen throughout their careers, the negative effects of unhealthy leadership and workplace culture can be dangerous for generations of families. Conversely, the benefits of a compassionate and intentionally community-oriented approach to business can uplift not only generations of employees but also serve as an example for other organizations. The aim of Michelman’s Leadership Accelerator is to “Michelmanize” leaders across the company worldwide, ensure that the fundamental building block of quality leadership is present in each individual. Steve talks about the in’s and out’s of the program and how it fits into the purpose, values, and vision of the company on a broader scale. Steve’s wife Julie Shifman is the Executive Leader of the Adopt A Class Foundation and Steve has been very involved in setting up the Cincinnati Preschool Promise. Mike asks Steve about why working with children, mentoring and education is so important to him; Steve gives us some insight into his early days in Cincinnati and his entry into community work which has become a lifelong pursuit and business priority.

Stay Ahead of the Game!

Do you want to make sure you're getting the most out of your current AND your prospective talent? You should be asking yourself these ten questions so you can stay ahead of the game!

Steve Shifman



Michelman, Inc.

Cincinnati Preschool Promise

Julie Shifman




Adopt A Class Foundation

46. Improving Mental and Physical Stamina with Elyse Jarard
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Elyse Jarard is a speaker, author, healthy mindset strategist, principal of My Ripple Effect, as well as Mike’s personal coach for many years. Elyse believes that leaders today need someone supporting them as they navigate the evolution of what leadership is and will become. Discover the science behind the practice of being, how to overcome the feeling you aren’t enough, and why the stories you tell yourself matter.

As her first career, Elyse was a trained scientist, which, she says, made her first career change a logical one as a health and fitness coach. And more importantly, Elyse knew she could impact people’s lives by helping them live better and healthier. This planted the seed of a concept that would take root and bloom a little later in her life and coaching career: being able to put yourself first. This realization hit home with Elyse. As the leader of a fitness studio, she didn’t have much time for herself. After reflecting on her situation, Elyse realized that she was looking at things all wrong. She was losing the mental battle with success. She was in ‘survival mode,’ and that kept her from tapping into the best, most amazing version of herself. There are symptoms that accompany this – how many of them do YOU have? If you have a recurring conviction that you aren’t able to do enough, if you’re constantly fatigued and possibly in pain, Elyse has a message for you. You need to take care of yourself. And the first step that Elyse uses with her clients is to schedule a few self-care things each day. It can be as simple as taking a few minutes to just breathe or changing the things you’re listening to. Elyse explains why these simple things matter. Elyse also advocates getting outside into nature. While it might sound a little ‘granola,’ there’s science behind it. Trees give off massive amounts of oxygen, and oxygen makes our brains work better. Equally as important, we’re wired to have a deep connection with nature, whether we realize it or not, and things like hiking can spark creativity. Elyse talks about the benefits to your daily work life when you take time out to enjoy nature. She also reveals why you should ‘hit pause.’ This is the basis for the Ripple Effect. Elyse shares why ‘just being’ has a ripple effect on people. A great example is holding the door open for someone. It’s a small kindness that puts the other person in a better mood. She also shares a dose of reality when it comes to your to-do list. It’s never-ending, right? And that makes it hard to just be. She shares her own strategy for trimming down the to-do list, and it’s incredibly simple. Elyse is a certified coach, and she learned from Olympic athlete coaches – the real deal. And she discovered some extremely counter-intuitive things about helping others succeed. First among those is how people who seek out coaching will often say they have more time for training than that actually do. They even sacrifice sleep for it, and that is a surefire way to fail. Elyse explains the concept of overreaching versus overtraining. One of the simplest, most effective things you can do is listen to your body, but it doesn’t start there. Self-care begins with appreciation, so you need to learn to appreciate your body for the amazing biological machine it is. Elyse shares some of her thoughts on how to bring yourself to a place of gratitude that will allow you to listen to your body’s needs before you wear it down. Your gratitude should extend beyond caring for your body. You also need to care for your mind, and there are a few easy methods of training your brain to be more positive. When you finish the day, do you focus on what you didn’t get done, or on what you accomplished? Elyse shares several ways to reinforce the positive things, which puts you in a state of mind to be more creative and a better leader. Stories are powerful. We’re wired to remember them, but did you know that sometimes our powerful memories can work against us? When we tell ourselves stories about our lives, it can have a self-limiting effect. Think about what stories you tell yourself and how they make you feel. And then ask yourself if they’re only true because it’s a pattern you follow. If you’re ready to take a step forward in your leadership and your life, then you need to hear what Elyse has to say about the Mindset Detox. It’s the same idea as a diet detox, but the big difference is that the Mindset Detox is designed to help you keep the changes you begin instead of going back to the old ways a week later. This is possible because you can change the way your brain works on a molecular level, and Elyse explains how.

Stay Ahead of the Game!

Do you want to make sure you're getting the most out of your current AND your prospective talent? You should be asking yourself these ten questions so you can stay ahead of the game!

Elyse Jarard


Mindset Detox




Depression in the C-Suite

47. Becoming CEO: Journey and Reflections with Chris Painter
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Chris Painter is the president of Logikor and a longtime client and friend of Mike’s. Throughout his career, Chris has always wanted to be the one at the helm of an organization, leading the way. And it shouldn’t surprise you that he started near the bottom and worked his way up. Today, Chris and Mike talk about how he worked his way up to a CEO position. They share advice on how to identify if you have the right team and how to build the right team. This includes inside the organization and outside the organization with advisors. The conversation really heats up with insights when they begin discussing the impact of self-evaluation and how imbalance can impact a leader, their family, and the organization.

Chris started his career with an internship at Dow Chemical. He learned that while he isn’t a ‘transactional guy,’ he loves business. The travel, the people, the wheeling and dealing – Chris knew he’d found what he wanted to do with his life during his last year and Dow and his time at Transfreight: transportation and logistics. During the late 90s, Chris committed himself to transportation and logistics. If you recall, this is also when Japanese manufacturing was taking North America by storm, and Chris was more than a fan. He was an adopter of the practices and chose his next position based on which company was doing the ‘just in time inventory.’ Chris’s first position was nothing glamorous; he was a front-line supervisor dispatching trucks and drivers. But Chris was ready when his first big break came, and he shares how exactly he landed on the path to leadership and his current position as the president of a company. It was one of the most challenging roles he took on, but Chris flourished. Chris had aspirations to run an organization, even when he was a frontline supervisor. Even though he didn’t have a plan for it, he had a very effective approach: find opportunities, don’t wait for others to present them and give everything you have to succeed at them. Very often, this meant raising his hand and volunteering to fix things that were broken. But there came a time when it was about building something. Chris understood that his role was something new in the company, so that meant there wasn’t a lot of support for him. This points directly at how transportation and logistics were changing drastically in North America. This worked in Chris’s favor; all around the world, companies wanted to adopt what Toyota was doing. But when the industry caught up, Chris realized he needed to be more proactive in driving the growth strategy. If you’re interested in being a CEO yourself, Chris has some wonderful anecdotal advice for you. The parent company had previously used a rotational leadership role. They realized that things were broken badly, and they couldn’t continue that way. As CEO, Chris faced unique challenges; the staff was used to having someone in to maintain rather than the drastic changes he had in mind. He shares the three-year journey and his success. Getting the right leadership team in place is one of the biggest challenges companies face. Chris worked extensively with Mike to lay out what the organization should look like, even down to the roles that each member of the team would fill. It wasn’t an easy process; they ended up having to let several people go, building an entirely new executive suite and Chris explains why. Starting with the end in mind they had to define what success ultimately looked like and had to focus on getting the right people in the right seats on the bus. Chris and his executive team had to set a new vision for the future state of Transfreight. They had to assess the leadership gaps and define the differences in success for positions across the organization. This included hiring executives and leaders across the organization that would allow them to achieve success of the desired state. This ultimately led to building a $300M+ revenue organization, 1,200 employees spread across 32 facilities in Canada, United States of America and Mexico. Ultimately this also led to the organization being sold to Penske Logistics. Chris has always focused on making himself a better leader, and this led him to begin a 360-degree evaluation and attending the Center for Creative Leadership: Leadership at the Peak program. It was a life changing experience. Chris shares many of the ways the program helped not just him, but also his cohort, recognize how they were leading their relationships, work, community, and life. It was an experience of brilliant minds and Chris realized that one of his biggest problems was trying to be good at everything. He encourages us to reflect on where you get your energy, where you get your passion and what will allow you to become the greatest person you can be. He also shares the concept of ‘white space’ and balance in leadership and relationships. The drive to run an organization and throwing yourself into the organization can create significant challenges and imbalance. Chris eventually went from CEO to entrepreneur after reflecting on what he was truly accomplishing at Transfreight. While it was a great place to work and he was fairly compensated, the passion wasn’t there for him anymore. But it wasn’t a quick decision for him. Chris lays out the strategy he used to make the single biggest decision in his life. During his time at Transfreight, one of Chris’s teammates left to start a company called Logikor. This new company was driving growth and very nimble, to the point where Chris was interested in acquiring them for Transfreight. That didn’t come to pass, but when he left Transfreight, Logikor was a very natural candidate for Chris to consider. He shares what convinced him to become an owner and the President of Logikor. Chris and Mike discuss the impact of allowing your advisors to understand the vision, the values and the desired future state of your organization. It is an important approach for successful business leaders. A strong network of outside resources, who are along the journey with you, is a winning strategy when you are at the top. It will fuel your growth and success.

Stay Ahead of the Game!

Do you want to make sure you're getting the most out of your current AND your prospective talent? You should be asking yourself these ten questions so you can stay ahead of the game!

Chris Painter



Center for Creative Leadership

Leadership at the Peak Video

Book Recommendation

No Man’s Land by Doug Tatum

48. Early Childhood Education and Workforce with Shiloh Turner and Florence Malone
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Early education is the difference between success in grade school and life, and yet, many children never get the opportunity to be part of a preschool program that will prepare them for the years to come. It’s a tragedy, which is why people like Shiloh Turner and Florence Malone dedicate their lives to changing that fact. If you, as a leader, want a worthy cause for your business, this episode is for you.

So, what is the preschool promise and why does it matter to our communities? It begins with science – early brain development sets a child up for success in school, and ultimately, in life. Cincinnati is leading the way by making preschool programs accessible to all families, and Shiloh shares HOW they’re succeeding. There’s a barrier to understanding and communication that exists for some families; they don’t understand the importance of sending their children to preschool. In this case, it’s not just the child’s education that is important. Education is crucial for families, and the first step to that, according to Florence, is identifying what the barrier actually is. Beyond sitting down with families, it’s important to raise awareness through outreach in the community. Shiloh shares some of the strategies she uses to get the word out to the community. It doesn’t just help families. There are many community-minded businesses that learn about the Cincinnati Preschool Promise and want to get involved. We mentioned that early brain development in children is crucial to their success. But it isn’t just in academics; the implications are far-reaching. You might not be aware, but 90% of brain development happens by the time the child reaches 5 years old. This includes language, being able to relate to others, social situations and more. Consider: by the age of 3, there’s a 30-million-word gap between the children of the wealthiest families and those who don’t have the same financial means. Shiloh believes this comes from exposure to more opportunities to learn. Shiloh talks about how the first year of Cincinnati Preschool Promise was very much like a start-up, and as a leader, you’ll empathize with what it was like. She and Florence share the great successes they’ve had along the way and the outcomes of all the hard work they put in to build the organization the right way. Every day, the number of families they help is growing. Florence is passionate about getting families involved, about giving them choices on what works best for them that results in their children receiving an early education. She shares some of the stories and some of what she personally does that shows every single child matters. It’s more than just words, and her dedication will inspire you. It’s so important to meet families where they are in the process of informing them about the Cincinnati Preschool Promise program, and it’s equally important to be persistent. Florence shares the story of one very busy mom she didn’t give up on. Every accredited preschool has a quality rating, but that quality rating doesn’t always fall in line with what is important to parents. Part of what Cincinnati Preschool Promise does is to match parents’ wants with the center that works best for them. And the other part is to work with the centers who might have a lower rating to help them improve their score. Early education programs aren’t limited to the Cincinnati area. Across the US, many areas are recognizing the importance of starting early, and Shiloh shares some of the leaders who are forging the path and finding the best ways to do things. As a business leader, are any of these centers near you? If so, how can you get involved? You might not have considered the confidence factor when a child who hasn’t gone to preschool enters grade school for the first time. They are behind, and rather than speak out and admit that they end up ‘going in the corner’ and are embarrassed to ask for help. Mike, Florence, and Shiloh talk about the long-term effect of this on the mental health of a child. Cincinnati Preschool Promise relies on partnerships with not just schools, but also businesses. If you’re interested in getting involved with early education for children, Shiloh has some incredible ways you can get involved, even if you aren’t in the Cincinnati area. There are countless ways.

Cincinnati Preschool Promise




Ready Nation Council for Strong America

Child Trends

National Association for the Education of Young Children

49. Relationship is Everything with Darrin Murriner
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Darrin Murriner is an author, entrepreneur, and the co-founder and CEO of Cloverleaf.me, a comprehensive personal and team development tool. His book, Corporate Bravery, is about eliminating fear-based decision making and transforming corporate cultures into brave places for people to do their best work and to be engaged. Today, Darrin and Mike talk about the opportunity we all have to unlock the potential in those around us. 

Darrin did all the ‘right’ things as a kid and young adult: he had good grades, went to college, found an employer and expected to stay with them for 30 years, then retire on a beach. But about 4 years into his professional career, he felt empty. He read the book Good to Great, and that changed his perspective on what he thought his future would be. So, he and his wife decided to build something of their own and Darrin was bitten by the entrepreneur bug. What Darrin learned prompted him to write his own book, Corporate Bravery. Having been on the inside of corporations, he saw what he calls ‘fear-based management.’ It’s a different approach to management. Rather than worrying about what could go wrong, Darrin teaches how to look at what opportunities are out there. He talks about how this can be done in day to day management. At Cloverleaf.me, Darrin’s team is very in line with the Talent Magnet Institute way of thinking when it comes to creating cultures that value and bring out the best in others. Mike and Darrin talk about positivity, abundance, and the other key ingredients to build winning teams. He also shares what the last year has been like growing Cloverleaf.me. Cloverleaf helps build great teams using existing employee data and assessments to provide insight into increased team productivity. For example, Darrin explains the 5 components of teaming—personality, culture, strengths, skills and competencies—and the role you play. In essence, it brings resources directly to you to maximize performance and engagement amongst your teams. Have you ever gone into a meeting with someone and the two of you walked away with completely different ideas about the same thing? It’s something Mike and his dad did at times, and Darrin seeks to use Cloverleaf’s platform to help bridge that gap. He knows to do that, the results need to be integrated into various productivity tools and reviewed in real time. He explains what that looks like. Darrin’s love of entrepreneurship isn’t just apparent in his professional life. He grew up in a poorer family, and now that he has more financial freedom, he works to spark the love of entrepreneurship in his children. It can be as simple as selling drinks as a parade, but he wants them to see the direct result of their work. The culture you create in your family is affected by the culture you experience every day at work. You might not mean to bring home your troubles if you are unhappy at work, but you do. Darrin and Mike talk about how to build a culture at work and at home (including the neighbors) that lifts everyone up. One great example is how Darrin’s business is involved with charity for children and families – for him, it all comes full circle. Darrin shares some wonderful feedback he’s received about Cloverleaf.me, specifically about communication and knowledge-sharing. Over the course of two months, Darrin worked with this team on collaboration, and it changed the silo culture into one where learning, sharing, and teaching were the pillars of the team.

Do you want to make sure you're getting the most out of your current AND your prospective talent? You should be asking yourself these ten questions so you can stay ahead of the game!

Darrin Murriner




Darrin’s Corporate Bravery Book

FREE whitepaper: Team Development Insights Courtesy of Cloverleaf and Talent Magnet Institute

50. The People Business with Brent Cooper
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Brent Cooper is no stranger to being involved in local communities. He’s the CEO of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. One of the things that distinguishes Brent is his belief that if you are in business, then you’re in the people business. If you don’t operate on that principle, then you’ll have a hard time holding on to great talent and getting new clients. Want to know how to make your business a people business? Brent’s advice is to start regionally.

Brent’s family has a long history of community engagement: boards, councils, and small business owners. He tells how his parents and grandparents impacted his early life. In turn, Brent started his own involvement early in high school and college. It wasn’t just family who inspired Brent. He talks about some of the people he met professionally that have impacted him profoundly. It’s not just important WHAT you do; it also matters HOW you do it. Brent has created a very successful business, CForward. Brent shares his experience of growing the business and how he used what he learned about community involvement in making it successful – not just for himself, but for his employees and clients. He explains it simply: we are in the ‘people’ business. Embracing that is the key to succeeding. Being regional is one of the most wonderful things that Brent embraces. In his case, Northern Kentucky is made up of several ‘mini-communities’ but they are all part of something bigger. He talks about why being regionally aware is so important for businesses who want to succeed while fulfilling a greater purpose. Education, health insurance, transportation, driving the workforce: Brent sincerely hopes that businesses will get involved on this front and tell their stories. Through this, people get a much greater understanding of the challenges and can help create better solutions. How can YOU get involved with your own company by telling your story? Eggs and Issues… Pints and Perspectives. Sound strange? Actually, it’s a revolutionary way for people to come together – people and businesses – and talk about issues and perspectives over something we all enjoy, food and drink. Brent shares what it’s like being part of a community filled with people who have great ideas. (Eggs are for early birds, and Pints is for happy hour.) These discussions that Brent takes part in aren’t just all hot air. He tells the story of how doctors who were fearful of malpractice claims was addressed through legislation that directly resulted from one of these talks. Because they were more than just talk; these doctors told their stories and connected with others. There’s a hidden benefit of being involved in the community and making positive change. It can also grow your business. Brent explains that almost every time he goes to the big events, he ends up with a new client or vendor. That’s now why he goes, and that’s why it works. Mike brings up a great point: balance versus integration. Mike and Brent both seem very busy, and Brent shares a few tips. First of all, no one has it all figured out, but you should always put your health first. You can’t always predict what challenges are ahead of you, but as long as you remain aware of your current state, you can adjust as you go. If you’re interested in getting YOUR business involved, there are some low-hanging fruits in the four areas Brent mentioned: education, transportation, healthcare, and workforce. Your goals can be as big as a bridge or as small as a pothole. Look for the problems everyone knows exist but no one is addressing.


Do you want to make sure you're getting the most out of your current AND your prospective talent? You should be asking yourself these ten questions so you can stay ahead of the game!

Brent Cooper


Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce






Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce


Northern Kentucky Education Council


Cincinnati Experience



My Pre K - There is more than one way to Pre-K


River City News Audio

51. Growing Companies with People with James Biro
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James Biro is the Vice President of Supply Chain of Perfetti Van Melle North America and has worked with such brands as P&G, Kellogg’s, and Mead Johnson. James’s passion lies in change, or more specifically, change through growth, which he spearheads through creating a clear strategic intent and an inherent sense of trust, transparency, and empowerment. James and Mike talk about his career being a people leader rather than a business leader.

James believes that a lot of what makes or breaks you as a leader starts very early in life. James grew up in Mexico City in a multicultural household: his mother is Irish-American, and his father is Hungarian-Mexican. Multiculturalism has been present all his life, as well as a spectrum of friends in different economic situations. Through this, James developed a great interest in learning who people really are. As you can imagine, this makes for a great leader – a deep interest in people combined with James’s natural analytical nature. Beginning in college, James was recruited into P&G and it opened his eyes to a much wider world. After his time there, James was ready to try something different, something that would become a hallmark in who he is: jumping in and figuring it out after the jump. This landed him in the US working with Mead Johnson, and James expected that in a few years, he’d go back to Mexico City, but that isn’t what happened. Surprisingly, James’s choice to stay wasn’t based on next steps and positions in the corporate ladder. It came down to something else: how are we going to grow as a family, as individuals, and how can we contribute here? The answer led him to stay in the States, and eventually landed him his current role at Perfetti. What is it like working at a heritage business that is nearly two centuries old? James worked at Keebler – yes, the little elves – and he shares the story of how Keebler came to exist, how it grew, and how he landed in the most awesome, wood-paneled office with a fireplace. And he talks about the change that happened in the company when it was acquired by Kellogg’s. One of the major changes that James focused on during the transition was how it affected people who had been with Keebler for decades, through its many leadership changes and the eventual buyout by Kellogg’s. It wasn’t an easy transition for them, especially when Kellogg’s changed some very key things that had made Keebler (and the company it had been before) different and successful. First among those was the counter-intuitive practice of hiring family members. Not all of the changes diminished the company, though, and James shares how the unions and Kellogg’s HR department worked together to create one of the most comprehensive onboarding programs with the help of the generation that had been there for more than 40 years. There was a lot of time spent working through differences, but the effort was worth it. When James left Keebler, he reached out to his old friend Mike. James and Mike had crossed paths many times before and had become good friends. They worked together to find James’s next career change: working at one of the fastest growing, coolest confection companies out there: Perfetti. Often, recruitment is a dry process that’s focused on landing someone. But James and Mike strove for something very different. Making the change from Kellogg’s to Perfetti started in tears with his young daughter, who is one of the biggest Kellogg’s fans there is, and James shares one of the most heart-warming, funniest stories that define his fatherhood/leadership career. Also, having candy before it's officially released to the public is quite the hot commodity for a grade-schooler, as James learned. James’s son's reaction was quite different and James still tears up thinking about what he said. James spent so much time working with huge corporations, inside their ‘bubble,’ that he found himself lacking a very special skill when he decided to try to cross over and make positive change and growth in his community. Wisely, James asked for help and perspective. He shares how those learning conversations changed his approach completely, and how he’s become as invested in community as he is in company. James makes impact through Prospanica and St. Vincent de Paul. James has most recently become a part of Disrupt HR as emcee, speaker, and general advocate. So why did he ‘sell out’ to that organization? It all goes back to James’s passion for growing organizations through the people in them, and he talks about how Disrupt HR inspires those in the HR department to do just that. James didn’t believe that he’d actually be able to speak at Disrupt HR; he didn’t have a single day’s experience in that field. But he learned quickly that the organization isn’t about what roles you have held. It’s about the ideas you have, and James has a wealth of them, all stemming back to his love of diversity and his abiding interest in who people are. When you think about HR, do you see them as ‘naked and afraid?’ James does, and it was the subject of his latest talk. James shares the ideas he covered, and make sure you check the links below – you’ll find videos of his talks at Disrupt HR. You’ll also find links to some of the articles that James has written about leadership. He might speak some truths that are hard to hear, but true to his character, they will help you grow. James leaves us with one big takeaway, one thing you need to ask yourself: Why do you really want to lead? The answer to that question matters less than the honesty you have when answering it. James explains why, and it’s something you, as a leader, need to hear.

We hope you enjoyed the show!

If you enjoyed today’s episode, make sure to subscribe and review, and leave a comment below! You can find us on your favorite podcast player. Help us get the word out by sharing on social media using #TalentMagnet!

James Biro


Perfetti Van Melle USA


Disrupt HR: The Rebellious Future of HR



DisruptHR Talks

Richness and Entropy

The Secret to Leadership


How Netflix Reinvented HR

I believe that leadership is about:

Leading Can Be a Laughing Matter

Other Links

St. Vincent de Paul

Diverse by Design

52. The Voice of Great Leadership with Crystal Kendrick
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Crystal Kendrick is the CEO of The Voice of Your Customer and Founder of The Voice of Black Cincinnati, and she’s dedicated her life to customer service and using her leadership skills to enrich her community in Cincinnati with a ‘do it yourself’ approach to getting better quality news to the public while connecting people with businesses and universities. Mike and Crystal talk about how companies can put customers and employees first (and themselves second), and how it ultimately leads to a more successful business. 

Crystal got her degree in marketing and planned on working part-time while going to school, but when she went to the Urban League for help finding a job, she found a career instead, with Rockwell International in Kentucky, which became Meritor and eventually became ArvinMeritor. She worked there for 10 years and had great leadership, mentoring, and developed herself. Crystal finally decided to try something new and worked for a large hometown bank – an entirely new experience filled with new learning. Crystal assumed that she’d eventually retire as the Vice President of Customer Service from some corporate company, but that isn’t what happened. What she realized was that as she climbed the corporate ladder, she went from working directly with clients and customers to managing 70-80 people and it required her to be an extension of Human Resources. Reports, conflict management, disputes, hiring, training, etc., and it moved away from her passion. She wasn’t great at those jobs and realized that sometimes a person can love those tasks without actually enjoying managing those tasks. Crystal started doing ‘secret shopping’ for friends, and when she wasn’t able to work normally due to an illness, other businesses began to flood her with calls to do secret shopping for them, too. She decided that she was going to try it full time. She had 2 years of savings to live on, and she hasn’t looked back since. The lesson? It’s okay not to do well in a position and it’s okay to take time to figure out what you really want to do because your health, your well-being, and your happiness are #1. It wasn’t always easy… Crystal had some lessons to learn about how using the wrong language could stall her business – specifically calling it Secret Shopping. Second, with her degrees and experience, her clients didn’t ONLY want secret shopping. She shares the three facets of her business, The Voice of Your Customer. There are many people who helped shape Crystal’s career, but the most influential ones came from her first job at Rockwell/ArvinMeritor. She shares how each of the three people molded her ideas of what great leadership is. From identifying talent and helping them grow, to the tactical and strategic issues of being a leader, to the art of ‘customer first’ and how to sell and engage with customers, Crystal still uses what she learned from them to this day. Crystal isn’t just a successful entrepreneur; she’s also very involved in improving the community. She adopted the motto of one of the paragons of community outreach in her area: “Give to get to give.” In short, the more you give, the more opportunities you get to give. Since giving is a love language for Crystal, that lesson has been incredible for her. In every community, there are problems and there are people looking to solve those problems. Crystal shares some of the toughest issues facing many communities today. Education is at the forefront for her; it’s something that no one can ever take away from you. And education also creates opportunities, another of the conversations Crystal is passionate about. Another is health. There are too many lives altered, changed, or ended because people don’t have healthy options. It’s the little things we take for granted when we have the resources. Crystal isn’t just passionate about education, opportunities, and health. She founded The Voice of Black Cincinnati, an organization that strives to use media to represent diversity in a far more positive light than what we typically see in the news: crime and sports. Rather than relying on mainstream media to portray successes and positive news, Crystal decided to bring that type of news directly to the audience. Crystal’s work doesn’t stop there. The organization has a database of colleges, corporations, businesses, and more who are sharing information about scholarships. They also have a community calendar for events the audience can come out and be a part of while connecting and networking with others. In addition, they have a jobs board, an amazing resource that companies are invested in just as much as the workforce is. Now this seems like a lot of data, and it is, so as a media company, The Voice of Black Cincinnati consolidates this data, and Crystal explains how. Crystal is a very special leader, a picture of what it means to be enthusiastic and engaged, and she shares what inspires her to do what she does and lead well. She shares a unique insight: in the past, business was about quality, or leadership, or whatever else. But today, it’s all about the worker. What does that mean? Crystal explains her two jobs as CEO, and it might change the way you look at modern business. With her broad-ranging experience, Crystal has several insights to share about staffing and customer experience. There’s far too many to list here, but you’ll definitely want to take some notes because you can apply all of this to YOUR business and leadership style. But the biggest takeaway here is the one thing Crystal recommends all leaders do: ‘secret shop’ your own company. The issues you face are the same ones your customers face on a daily basis.

We hope you enjoyed the show!

If you enjoyed today’s episode, make sure to subscribe and review, and leave a comment below! You can find us on your favorite podcast player. Help us get the word out by sharing on social media using #TalentMagnet!

Crystal Kendrick


The Voice of Your Customer




The Voice of Black Cincinnati



Other links from this episode:

5 Love Languages

Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio

Minority Business Accelerator

53. Making Leadership Scalable with Daniel Wachter
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Daniel Wachter is a sales and marketing, training, innovation, and business development expert who has been a personal friend of Mike’s for many years. He’s made his mark by embracing disruption by promoting innovation to drive real change in company cultures. He’s currently the Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing of Bemis Healthcare Packaging.

Today, Daniel and Mike talk about a style of leadership that has changed Daniel’s life: freedom of action and drafting a vision. And all of this points to how you can make great leadership within your company more scalable.

Daniel has a unique and ‘in tune’ approach to leadership and it was one of the first things Mike noticed about him. He shares the life journey that brought him from a student co-op job at a safety packaging company to managing multiple departments within, all while getting his MBA. The journey brought him from Germany to the US, where he’s currently a Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing at Bemis Healthcare Packaging. Leaders don’t get to where they are by themselves, and Daniel has his own story to share about his first leadership position and what his father told him: be of value and justify your salary. Since his father was a teacher, it might have been a bit generic, but Daniel learned how to make it relevant in business and he shares that excellent advice. And surprisingly, his advice is shaped by his own love of the arts. In an expanding, global business world, one of the challenges leaders face is being able to span the gaps between countries, cultures, and languages. Daniel has had the privilege to receive excellent cultural awareness training in addition to working in many different areas. The most important thing he learned there was that we are all products of our culture and that is how we anchor our values. You cannot spend your time comparing how things are different, and you must understand that language is key to people’s thinking. What’s it like being a non-family member in a family business? There are challenges; the mindset of the owners is very different, and they’re involved to different degrees. Daniel worked in one such business for 21 years and he shares his lessons around trust, loyalty, and freedom of action. He also points to the fact that sometimes, successful, family-owned businesses must overcome a mental barrier in order to build a strong management team to scale, too. Daniel mentions ‘freedom of action’ frequently. It’s the key to success for any leader, but it’s also difficult to handle. The crux of the issue is that leaders who aren’t owners need to run the business as if it were they’re own but do so without falling into the trap of thinking that the business IS theirs. It’s such an important distinction to make, especially when there are many opinions about the right things to do for the company. Turning a company into a talent magnet isn’t easy, as Daniel learned at Rubenshuis in Belgium. How can a single artist sell more paintings than he could ever paint in a lifetime, and how does this relate to leadership? Daniel answers this riddle, and you’ll want to take note of the 3 key ideas you can use not just to improve your own leadership strategy, but also to make it scalable. What is a business vision if not a draft? Daniel talks about the importance of leadership in vision, but also how that vision must be able to be implemented. That’s why he views a vision as a draft, and this knowledge can help you share your own vision with your employees and have a much better experience getting it implemented. Daniel also shares how treating a vision as a draft can help YOU get much clearer on what you want to achieve. As leaders, we often find ourselves caught up in the fast-paced, entrepreneur or managerial lifestyle. We don’t always take time to pull ourselves out of that situation and challenge ourselves in new and different ways. Daniel has some solid advice for you, and even if you don’t enjoy the arts or the orchestra, something as simple as writing, reading, and bicycling can put you in an entirely new state of mind. The impact of digitalization on business has been felt for years now, and it’s not a static change. You’ve got to keep yourself current. Daniel recently attended an executive program at Harvard about driving digital strategies and he shares the insights he has gathered from both his experience and the lessons from his colleagues about the future of business. One of the biggest takeaways is that you shouldn’t view digitalization as an IT topic, like HR, it’s a business Daniel and Mike leave us with one important question: if you’re going to take advantage of the digital revolution, what kind of talent do you need in your organization, and what kind of leadership will it take to remain successful in a rapidly changing world?


Daniel Wachter:



Rubenshuis ("Rubens House") is the former home and studio of Peter Paul Rubens (1577ñ1640) in Antwerp.

Other Links:


Bemis Healthcare Packaging

Harvard Business School - Driving Digital Strategy

Columbia Business School - Digital Business Strategy: Leading the Next-Generation Enterprise


The Logic of Failure: Recognizing and Avoiding Error in Complex Situations by Dietrich Dorner

Overworked and Overwhelmed: The Mindfulness Alternative by Scott Eblin

Living Forward by Michael Hyatt

Emotionally Healthy Leader Book by Pete Scazzero

Podcast from the authors above
Lead to Win

Emotionally Healthy Leader Podcast

We hope you enjoyed the show!

If you enjoyed today’s episode, make sure to subscribe and review on your favorite podcast player. Help us get the word out by sharing on social media using #TalentMagnet!


54. Boost Your Leadership Effectiveness Tenfold with Maggie Frye
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Maggie Frye of Core Consulting has a mission. She wants to teach the concept of ‘heads-up leadership’ to businesses across the world. It’s far deeper than the name suggests because as a leader, you can’t just be aware of what’s going on around you. You must also be aware of what’s going on in your own mind. Today, Maggie and Mike talk about how setting aside dedicated time for self-reflection and practicing heads up leadership can increase your effectiveness as a leader tenfold.

Maggie and Mike talk about what exactly ‘heads-up’ leadership is. It begins with setting aside time for you to self-reflect. But this self-reflection time isn’t just about you. It’s about your interactions with others is coming across and how it affects them. It’s about seeing your company culture around you and how your actions affect it. As a leader, you know that people are watching you, but do you know to what degree? Maggie explains just how much your employees learn from you, and if you aren’t careful, it won’t be the lessons you’d like them to learn. It can be something as simple as replying to emails during the weekend or on vacation sending the wrong message despite the fact that you mean well. Maggie uses Wiley DiSC assessments and Strength Finders in her own organization and encourages her clients to use it as well. This goes back to her dedicated time for self-reflection. Not only do you get a chance to reflect, but you also have a framework to put it in perspective. You don’t have to go the assessment route, though. Sometimes the best observations and perspectives you can get are from those you trust. Everyone’s talking about work-life balance. But there is a slew of new concepts and ways of looking at that age-old question. In fact, in Maggie’s work with leaders, she’s noticed a trend of them no longer wondering how well they lead at work. Instead, they’re focused more on the whole self, which includes wellness, social life, home life, and more. Developing great leaders is what Maggie does, and she shares some personal habits Core Consulting encourages its clients to embrace. But, she warns, when you want to make a big change, don’t try to ‘eat the elephant.’ Take it one piece at a time, like adding 10 minutes of journaling in the morning, or giving 3 compliments a day. There aren’t enough hours in the day… or so many people believe. So how do you find time to add in these habits that will increase your leadership effectiveness? It begins with a simple vocabulary change. Instead of saying you don’t have time for something, say that you haven’t prioritized that thing. How does that change your mentality around it? Maggie asks that if you remember nothing else, remember the concept of heads-up leadership. Be aware of what’s around you, what you’re bringing to the table, whether you’re really listening and paying attention to the interactions around you. Get a sense of the bigger picture before you dive into the details. In doing this, you will naturally become a better leader. Quote from Robert Greenleaf: "When you look at anything or consider anything, look at it as 'a whole' as much as you can before you swing on it." 

Questions to ask others in your life:

What do you see as my greatest strength?

What do you see as my greatest limitations?

When I say this, what do you hear? How am I coming across?

How would you describe my personal brand?

Links from this episode:

Maggie Frye



Core Consulting Group

Robert Greenleaf quote - "When you look at anything or consider anything, look at it as 'a whole' as much as you can before you swing on it."

Questions to ask yourself: 

What are my top 3 core values and how do I use them in my role as a leader? How do they help me make decisions? What are my greatest priorities in life (personally and professionally)? How do I spend my time? Do the answers to those two questions match? How do I "show up" to work? Am I bringing the right levels of energy and positivity that others will naturally want to follow?

Share your thoughts with us at #TalentMagnetPodcast

55. A Sweet Corporate Culture with Mehmet Yuksek
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Ever enjoyed Airheads or Mentos? If so, then you’ve tasted the work of ‘candy man’ Mehmet Yuksek, President and CEO of Perfetti van Melle North America. But Mehmet’s work goes far deeper than making life sweeter through confections. Perfetti van Melle is a stand out company in terms of innovation, culture, and community involvement, and today, he and Mike talk about how Mehmet’s company makes a real difference in the lives of its employees and the communities where they operate.

How on earth did Mehmet go from the youngest of three siblings in Turkey to the North American leader of a global company? He shares the tale of striving in a city that was ‘too small to contain him,’ and how the support of his family helped get him to Istanbul, to university, and eventually, to a career as a ‘candy man.’ Every great leader has had a great mentor (or a few) along their road to success. Mehmet’s English teacher was a ‘world citizen’ and intellectual who opened his eyes to more than just English. His classes were rich and varied, and his teacher took a special interest in each of his students. This shaped Mehmet’s life and still affects him today. In high school, Mehmet also had his eyes opened to the world of marketing. Mehmet’s life took a dangerous turn when he served his mandatory time in the military on the Iranian border where he had the lives of 50 soldiers in his care. He learned the meaning of leadership in the harrowing conditions of the Iranian border. After his 16 months of service, Mehmet found Perfetti and worked with them in marketing. From Colgate as an intern to Perfetti as an employee in Turkey and Milan and now one of the global chief executives, Mehmet shares what heart-centered ideals at Perfetti have kept him there. In 2012, Mehmet journey to the US to take on the President and CEO of Perfetti Van Melle North America, and it’s a direct result of being able to interact directly with executives and shareholders. He lived in a more entrepreneurial environment and was exposed to how that mindset shaped the future of the company. Mehmet shares the benefits he garnered from the experience. Passion and purpose are necessary in Mehmet’s working life. He reveals his favorite book on the subject of leadership, Good to Great by Jim Collins. Patrick Lencioni was also a major influencer because of his adherence to simplicity in leadership. Mehmet shares how he has brought what he learned into day to day life and organizational health. It all starts with the word, ‘how.’ What’s the first thing that keeps Mehmet up at night? Talent. Having top talent and keeping them is critical in a business’s success. He’s the first to admit that he can’t make Perfetti successful on his own; he needs an ‘army’ of talented people beside him on the journey. Mehmet shares how he builds his team based on a vision and the culture of celebration that makes it happen. Mehmet’s success as President and CEO of Perfetti Van Melle North America isn’t just all talk. Since he took over in 2012 in North America, Mehmet has led Perfetti on a real, measurable turnaround. Innovation played a major role as did re-evaluating the talent pipeline. Mehmet’ story proves that you can grow without buying, acquiring, or selling. Mehmet has a beautiful framework you can take and use in your business, and it’s based on the principle of a house. The roof is composed of courage, focus, and clarity. The structure is the people you have. And the foundation is strategy, innovation, and execution. He explains the sections of the house and how the three pieces fit together. Mehmet wraps up his story with one very important thing we should all do, whether in business, community, or family: be generous with your time and your money whenever you can.

Links from Show:

Mehmet Yuksek, President and CEO of Perfetti Van Melle USA North America


Patrick Lencioni

Table Group

The Hub – all about organizational health


The Advantage

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Jim Collins

Good is the Enemy of Great


Good to Great

?WHAT IF! Believes a healthy people-obsession is exactly what will lead to the next big thing.

?WHAT IF! Blog

56. Developing Leaders and Attracting Talent with Mike Kelly
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Mike Kelly is one of those people who, whenever you talk with him, you walk away wanting some extra time to reflect on what he said. Mike might be soft-spoken, but the man has made global impact through his work. In addition to being a leader and entrepreneur, Mike has dedicated much of his life to charity organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Rotary, and more. Mike Kelly is the gold standard for how to live well in relationships, work, community, and life.

Mike Kelly’s story begins in South Carolina. He shares how his parents were the heart and soul of who he is. Despite the fact that neither of them finished high school, his mother encouraged him to read and understand math. His story of triumph and higher education is a prime example of how the right attitude and work ethic can take you far beyond where you started. Mike believes that business and community are inseparable. He shares his belief about the responsibility business leaders have to their communities. He shares what he’s learned about making that a reality, and one of the greatest factors you have to consider: time versus money. Michelin was an amazing learning experience for Mike. They did things differently, and he shares some of the biggest ways working at the company changed his way of thinking. Mike was eventually recruited away from Michelin to work at Macy’s, and he brought his lessons with him. We all can think people in our lives who have impacted our lives in many ways. For Mike, it began with his parents, and he shares the different people who changed him. From thinking big to helping him make connections with people in industries he was interested in. This led to his first work in charity, and it also taught Mike that growth might not be easy, but it’s necessary. And we have to do and take on things that will cause us to grow. Mike has been deeply involved in Rotary, which focuses on building relationship and community. In truth, Mike had no idea what Rotary was besides a possible ‘secret society.’ He couldn’t have been more wrong. He talks about how he was introduced and how he decided he would dedicate himself to it. From eliminating polio to building communities, Mike found a new home in Rotary. There are some key trends in learning and development you need to be aware of, including getting and keeping great talent, and developing leaders. There are challenges businesses face in both areas, and Mike shares some surprising statistics about what it really takes to help your managers and leaders grow. He also reveals how to ensure they retain what they’ve learned. One of the surprising ways your organization can be a ‘talent magnet’ is its involvement in the community. It’s something Mike Sipple, Jr, has noticed, and he and Mike Kelly talk about the ways they’ve both seen it in action. In fact, many top talent consider this to be a huge factor in their own career paths. They also enjoy community building through the arts. Mike has served on the May Festival Board. He reveals how music is an amazing way to get involved in the community and his experiences going to the concerts and getting his company involved. Something all leaders deal with is divisiveness among their employees, and it doesn’t help anyone. Mike has some interesting things to say as a man who, in his early years, saw signs that said, ‘No Blacks Allowed.’ It comes down to conditioning, he believes, and the first step to breaking through divisiveness is for people to be aware of their own conditioning. To wrap up, Mike leaves us with some actions we can take on our own to be better leaders, employees, and community builders, and it all begins with a personal mission statement. He shares how he works with his own clients and teams to create one for themselves.

Find Mike Kelly:





May Festival


Habitat for Humanity


Mars Hill University


Right Path Enterprises


Kelly Financial Planning


Three important quotes in Mike's life:

“It isn't where you came from, it's where you're going that counts.” — Ella Fitzgerald, Singer

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” - Leo Tolstoy

"He that would govern others, first should be Master of himself." - Philip Massinger

57. Critical Success Factors of Leadership with Jim Samocki
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Mike and Jim have been friends for over a decade, and in fact, Mike’s company helped him find an amazing leadership position with Doran Manufacturing. And now, Jim has some things to teach Mike about how he’s succeeded in the Vice President and General Manager position. He shares his ideas of the most critical success factors that have made him a superb leader, how he creates a strong company culture, and how he keeps himself balanced while doing it.

When Jim was in school, he figured the fastest way to learn about business would be through sales. He did that for 12 years before moving over to product development. He followed that trend of learning all facets of business and earned an MBA, all with the intention of setting himself up to lead a business. Not just to lead, however. Jim wanted to lead well. With Jim’s expansive work experience, he’s learned quite a lot about leading and being led. There are several factors he considers critical for success, not least among those actually listening to people. Jim shares some of the other secrets that have made him such a great leader. Jim strives to create a culture of success, and not all of that success is focused inward. When it comes to product development, he believes you should treat your customers’ problems like they are your own, and Jim shares his theories on how that works for the good of all. In short, listening is key. You know that every great leader has a vision. They are the driving force of a company, but what happens when the leader is the only one who sees that vision? How can people follow when they don’t know where you’re going? Jim talks about how to create a shared vision, one that everyone in your company can get behind. Ask yourself this: do your employees work FOR the company, or are your employees THE company? Everyone is talking about culture, and there are plenty of empty platitudes about it. But Jim has created a culture at Doran that is centered around the way people share energy. He explains the most important thing to get right and how it’s translated to everyday work-life with his team. Remember, handwritten thank you notes matter. Jim shares the story that makes that one thing so meaningful to him, and it has to do with collegiate baseball. Jim shares what he learned about celebrating successes and learning from losses because you won’t always win in business. You won’t always get everything right, and if you don’t learn how to deal with it and how to not make the mistakes again, you’ll never grow as a person or a company. One of the best lessons Jim shares is the concept of ‘no for now.’ It’s not easy being a leader. Your decisions affect a lot of people, and you need to have their best interests in mind. It’s no different for Jim. He reveals some of his personal checkpoints and tactics to keep himself in balance under the pressures of leadership. One of his biggest supporters is his wife.

Links from this episode:

Jim Samocki on LinkedIn

Doran Manufacturing



Eureka Ranch 


58. Peeling Back the Onion Layers of Poverty with Dr. Karen Bankston
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Dr. Karen Bankston is the executive director of the Child Poverty Collaborative, and she has an important message for you. Poverty isn’t what you think, it’s not getting better, and it’s a system that is set to repeat itself over and over again without the intervention of companies and leaders. It is they who must help break the cycle of poverty and to do it will require innovation and compassion.

The Child Poverty Collaborative has a unique way of looking at poverty: it’s an onion, and every layer is connected to the one before it. Dr. Bankston explains how her organization grew out of a need to understand why, in such a rich community, 1 in 3 children were living in poverty. She shares the surprising way they went about learning why and the answers they received. There are so many misconceptions about poverty, from who is affected to why they are affected. Dr. Bankston takes us through a look at the real face of poverty, which will change the way you think about it. These working families have rent to pay, transportation to get to and from work, groceries, clothing, and other basic needs that must be met. They might receive aid, but if they go over a certain income level, it’s stripped away, and that income level is quite unreasonable for a typical family. Mike talks about one organization’s revolutionary way of helping its employees not only improve their work ethic but also their families. This comes from the psychosocial issue of generational poverty, and as employers, we need to be more aware of how social factors affect people who live in poverty at work. One problem a lot of people in poverty face is that, in their current financial situation, they aren’t able to afford vehicles and instead rely on public transportation. However, public transportation isn’t always reliable, so when they are late a few times and are terminated because of it, Dr. Bankston asks, ‘How is that just?’ She also shares some of the revolutionary ways employers are making a difference for those employees, including picking them up and taking them home. Think about how that affects turnover costs. The average age of a person living in poverty is 9 years old. That statistic should shock you, and it should also make it apparent why the Child Poverty Collaborative’s work is so important. Dr. Bankston makes an important point that while many studies say that there are fewer children living in poverty, that isn’t necessarily the case. She goes on to make the point that these children didn’t choose poverty, and it’s up to us to help them break the generational cycle. It’s not just about today; it’s just as much about tomorrow. Leaders and business owners are a major part of the equation of breaking the cycle of poverty. That’s a given. But why should they go out of their way and be innovative and compassionate? Dr. Bankston has two answers for them. First, we are our brothers’ keepers. And if that’s not enough for you, there are financial reasons as well – things that affect a company’s bottom line. Companies NEED people. Bankston began her life as a child in poverty. She shares her heart-rending personal story and why the work she does means so much to her. She was able to rise above what life had planned for her and has become a celebrated figure in the push to end childhood poverty. She tells us what it was exactly that made the difference in her own personal journey. "We may encounter many DEFEATS, but we must not be DEFEATED." Maya Angelou


Links from this episode:

Dr. Karen Bankston on LinkedIn


Child Poverty Collaborative






Article written by Cincinnati.com 2017 Women of The Year: Dr. Karen Bankston https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2017/10/09/child-unwed-mother-her-own-unplanned-pregnancy-high-school-and-subsequent-abusive-relationships-all/704193001/

59. The Know Your Neighbor Concept with Shakila Ahmad
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Companies these days are global, and yet, many of them don’t understand what interfaith dialogue is about. Today’s guest, Shakila Ahmad, is President and Chair of the Board of the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati. Her life’s work is to help others understand interfaith dialogue and implement it in their daily lives, so their leadership can make their company a better place to work, and their communities a better place to live.

Shakila is an immigrant to the US. At 9 years old, her family came here so her father could become a professor in the States’ education system. Shakila is a self-professed ‘Cincinnati girl,’ and she shares her journey that started in Pakistan and what has compelled her to be the kind of leader who seeks to unite through similarities rather than categorize through differences. Shakila began her career at IBM, and her time there inspired her to create a business with her husband that follows the model of community involvement and education, which in her case, focuses on the topic of interfaith and tolerance. All across the country, business leaders are partnering with communities to make a difference, and Shakila shares some of the greatest opportunities to do so. She believes that this type of involvement is what takes a company from ‘good’ to ‘great.’ There are many ways you, as a business leader, can get involved. It can be as simple as asking someone like Shakila to speak at your company for a brown bag lunch, but the implications of this are far-reaching. It’s not just something you’re doing for your company. When you educate your employees, what they learn goes with them to their personal lives. Shakila is passionate about understanding what interfaith means and she shares a poignant reminder: learning about other people’s faith and understanding them doesn’t make you any less than you are. If anything, it should make your own faith stronger, your life enriched. Instead, people focus too much on differences and end up creating discord. One of the best ways to break through prejudice and discrimination is to ‘know your neighbor.’ Shakila shares what she has been doing to promote healthy and vibrant communities, and it is all about getting people together to learn about one another. This concept extends beyond faith and race. Poverty, domestic violence, and social services needs are also front and center. The dialogue around tolerance and kindness doesn’t just happen on the macro level. Instead, every one of us, whether we’re business leaders or not, needs to be aware of what we’re saying around our own families, especially our children who model our behavior. Mike and Shakila talk about how these little things we say can have a major impact on the community around us. Our corporations and businesses are worldwide these days, and never before have we needed diversity training as desperately as we do now. Shakila shares what she learned in working with GE. How can you apply the wisdom and dialogue to your own company? Shakila leaves us with some sage advice on how you can move your company forward to greater harmony within and positive social change based around it. Most important among those: don’t assume you know what another person is all about. Have an open mind and learn.

Links from this episode:

Shakila on LinkedIn

Allergy and Asthma Specialty Center


Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati and Know Your Neighbor Program


Cincinnati Regional Coalition Against Hate


Article written by Movers and Makers Cincinnati - Building Bridges in a Troubled World


Muslim Jewish Advisory Council


Interfaith dialogue refers to cooperative, constructive, and positive interaction between people of different religious traditions (i.e., "faiths") and/or spiritual or humanistic beliefs, at both the individual and institutional levels." ~Wikipedia

Learn about interfaith dialogue.

60. How Business Leaders Can Invest in Students with Tim Hanner
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Do you believe that students aren’t being prepared well enough for life beyond high school, that there’s a gap in the recruitment and hiring pipeline that can be filled by a younger generation, hungry to begin their careers? You and Tim Hanner have something in common. Today he talks about how his organization, NaviGo College & Career Prep, works with students and businesses to help fill that gap.

The biggest part of what NaviGo does is to work with students early – before they graduate – to get to know each one and determine what they really want to do and what they’ll excel at. Tim explains how, since they merged with Children, Inc., their services range from prenatal care to school administrators, to graduate career placement, even after college. The amazing part is that it’s based on a sliding scale and never financially out of reach for anyone. Their work doesn’t stop there. In addition to working with young people, parents, and teachers, NaviGo also works with business leaders, mending a break in the pipeline that gets fresh, young talent into organizations where they’ll succeed. Tim explains how the process works, from designing activities with businesses, how they are implemented, and how some of the students are selected as NaviGo scholars. The NaviGo program isn’t a contract between students and businesses. Tim shares an inside look at what businesses are thinking when they invest in these students, and how NaviGo works with the students to find what best suits them and their future without locking them in. Why should you get involved in what NaviGo and similar organizations are doing? How will it benefit you, and more importantly, the community? Tim has a beautiful insight into how apprenticeship can change a generation of young people in a time where college can be out of reach for so many. It’s more than just a tour or field day. It’s real-life training. Why does Tim love what he does? He shares the story from before he retired, when his students wrote his school’s third goal. What he does now is a direct response to their desire to start preparing for their careers earlier. He shares what changes he saw as he worked with them, and how NaviGo still honors this by having a Student Board of Directors. Tim makes the important point that not only must we engage students as early as primary school, but we need to make sure we are engaging with them in things that will help prepare them for life after high school. Fortunately, NaviGo’s work isn’t strictly regional. Tim explains how the company is piloting programs across the US. Young people can bring far more to the table than just skillsets, and Tim shares his vision of how the students who take part in the Scholars program will not have to search for employment, and instead, be sought-after by companies who need them for what they bring and know. Another encouraging and unexpected benefit has been for students and colleges. Many of the colleges who are involved with NaviGo have offered tuition assistance for students who have completed the Scholars program, and some of the college employees have also been certified as NaviGo coaches. Tim shares some heartfelt stories about some of the students who have succeeded with NaviGo Scholars, including one student who didn’t recognize her strengths and voice until she began working with her coach. Her story will inspire you. 

Links from this episode:

Tim Hanner on LinkedIn


NaviGo Links:




NaviGo Prep Scholars:


NaviGo Prep Passport:


NaviGo Prep Coaching:


NaviGo YouTube: 


Children Inc.


61. From Talent Recruitment to Founder and CEO with Jennifer McClure
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Jennifer McClure is no stranger to Centennial, the parent company of the Talent Magnet Institute. In fact, she’s been employee, friend, and mentor to Mike and his father. And on her own, Jennifer is a force to be reckoned with. Enjoy this delightful and impactful interview with Jennifer, Chief Excitement Officer of Disrupt HR.

Jennifer shares her corporate experience, but it’s not nearly as dry as it sounds. Interweaved within her story is the tale of a woman who was destined to step about and become a CEO of her own company. But she had plenty of impossible situations to face along the way. One of the biggest blocks Jennifer faced when changing careers was her lack of networking skills. How do you become the type of speaker and CEO that she is now? You go on the remedial path. She shares her time with Mike’s father, Mike Sipple, Sr., and it’ll put a smile on your face… and spark some new ideas for your own networking and marketing needs! Jennifer shares what it felt like being told she wasn’t ready to start her own business and how all her peers kept pointing her toward Centennial as a way to learn how. She reveals what she actually learned during her four years working with Mike and his father. Who in their right mind would give away 10% of their time for free? Jennifer did, and she explains how she got more than her money’s worth out of it by listening and becoming someone others could trust. This led to the beginnings of her speaking career, amazingly enough, about how to network. The breadth of experience Jennifer has had professionally is profound and she has so many lessons to share. She shares the funny story about applying for a job that, without her realizing at the time, would end up requiring Jennifer to work herself out of that same job. And how the only reason she went in for the interview in the first place was to find out who the company was. You can’t overestimate the importance of having a vision as a leader, but also communicating that vision to your employees and taking impactful steps to make it happen. The job Jennifer took was one where a radical turnaround was needed, and she walks us through the steps she and the CEO took to rescue the company and sell it to the owners who continue to oversee it today. They helped turn around a legacy brand with a group of dedicated investors who were willing to invest in people if it made business sense. Jennifer and her leadership team were given five years to turn the business around. In just 2 1/2 years they successfully sold the company to a Fortune 100 Company. Jennifer shares one of the most important things she learned about HR in an environment that, by necessity or preference, forced her to put profitability first. It could have been an impossible situation, but Jennifer found another way to rally for what the employees needed to create the kind of culture she envisioned. After 20 professional years, Jennifer finally started her own business, Disrupt HR. It took meeting with a young entrepreneur who thought everything she said was brilliant for it to really take off. Their vision was to create an HR event that broke the trend and filled a need in the community that wasn’t currently being met. She shares how the first event played out and what the future of Disrupt HR will be.

Links from this episode:

Jennifer McClure

Impact Makers Podcast





The World Needs More Balcony People: 


Disrupt HR: The Rebellious Future of HR


Disrupt HR Twitter 


Jennifer's speaking schedule


Laurie Ruettimann


Let’s Fix Work Podcast with Laurie Ruettimann

62. Welcome to the Talent Magnet Institute Podcast
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The Talent Magnet Institute is committed to developing leaders to succeed in relationships, work, community, and life: we’ll reframe what success means, and you’ll hear the personal stories of successful leaders from around the globe. From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, every guest has a unique story to tell and insights to bring. Discover how to achieve a new type of success that goes much deeper than profits: culture, talent, and holistic leadership.