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July 21, 2020
Leaping to a new S-Curve of learning can be an overwhelming experience. As we transition from being at the top of our field into a new and less experienced trajectory, our emotions and anxieties can get the best of us. Our guest this week believes science, specifically the discipline of rocket science, can help us better navigate personal and professional disruption. Ozan Varol is a rocket scientist turned award-winning law professor and bestselling author. A renowned professor, author, and speaker, Ozan writes and speaks often about creativity and critical thinking. He's authored many book chapters and law review articles, and now he has a new book: Think Like a Rocket Scientist: Simple Strategies You Can Use to Make Giant Leaps in Work and Life. In this episode we learn how Ozan stays attune to his mind and body, sensing when it is time to disrupt. He shares how important it is to see yourself through a forgiving lens and discusses the importance of failure in the trajectory of success. For a complete transcript and links from this episode, please visit https://whitneyjohnson.com/ozan-varol.
July 14, 2020
Organizational change can be a disorienting experience. We all have bristled against it at one time or another, unnerved by the unknown. However, leaning into change and following the path of disruption can be a liminal moment for organizations and the individuals involved. Our guest this week, a self-described change junkie, knows all to well the discomfort and rewards of disruption. Michelle McKenna is currently the Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer for the NFL. She is responsible for their technology strategy, shared service delivery and management of the league’s technology activities.  In this episode we learn the benefits of asking why we do it this way and how important it is to never stop innovating. Michelle offers an inside take on producing the 2020 NFL Draft and previews the future of data driven decision making for players and coaches. For a complete transcript and links from this episode, please visit https://whitneyjohnson.com/Michelle-McKenna
July 7, 2020
Mindsets are foundational to everything we do. Improving our mindsets can improve our success across life, work, and leadership. Our guest today Ryan Gottfredson, Ph.D., takes us on a deep dive into the power of mindsets. In his book, Success Mindsets: Your Keys to Unlocking Greater Success in Your Life, Work and Leadership, Ryan blends the latest in mindset research and practice to present the most comprehensive mindset framework to date. Ryan is a mental success coach and cutting-edge leadership consultant, author, trainer, and researcher. He helps improve organizations, leaders, teams, and employees by improving their mindsets. Ryan is currently a leadership and management professor at the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics at California State University-Fullerton (CSUF). He holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Human Resources from Indiana University, and a B.A. from Brigham Young University. In this episode, Ryan exposes how the lens in which we view the world impacts our mindset. He walks us through four main mindsets and explains how we can adopt a better way of showing up in the world. For a complete transcript and links from this episode, please visit https://whitneyjohnson.com/ryan-gottfredson.
June 30, 2020
One in three Americans listen to at least one podcast per month. This is an astounding number given podcasting was a relatively unknown medium as recently as 2012. Recently, Apple surpassed the 1 million mark in podcast titles, and we’ve witnessed an explosion of genres ready to tickle our ears on demand.  Our guest today, Molly Beck, knows the power of podcasting firsthand.  Molly is the founder of podcast creation site messy.fm, creator of the lifestyle blog Smart, Pretty & Awkward; and a marketing expert who has provided digital strategies for numerous companies including Forbes, Venmo, Rice University, and Hearst. Her work has been featured in Business Insider, Parade, Refinery29, Lifehacker, The Boston Globe, and more. In this episode of the Disrupt Yourself Podcast, Molly shares how early career constraints stimulated creativity and spurred her into an unexpected entrepreneurial journey.  For a complete transcript and links from this episode, please visit https://whitneyjohnson.com/molly-beck. 
June 23, 2020
Our inner desire to label ourselves into personality categorizations is strong. In the quest to understand one’s self, we find solace in labels and fixed ideations. However, focusing on labels alone can lead to a belief that we are who we are and as such, are incapable of change. Our guest today, Dr. Benjamin Hardy, is keenly aware of our propensity toward self-labeling. Through his research and work as an Organizational Psychologist, Dr. Hardy reveals that our inner makeup is not fixed, that we are in fact capable of learning and growing into new patterns of behaviors and beliefs. He encourages us to be aware and choose the meaning we give things. Dr. Hardy has authored two books, the bestseller Willpower Doesn’t Work: Discover the Hidden Keys to Success (2018) and his latest, Personality Isn’t Permanent: Break Free from Self-Limiting Beliefs and Rewrite Your Story (2020). He is a #1 rated writer on Medium.com for three years with blogs featured on Forbes, Fortune, CNBC, Cheddar, Big Think and countless others. In this episode of the Disrupt Yourself Podcast, Dr. Hardy shares his own personal journey of forgiving his past self and explains how your future self is more important than who you are today. For a complete transcript and links from this episode, please visit https://whitneyjohnson.com/benjamin-hardy-personality.
June 16, 2020
Today on the Disrupt Yourself Podcast, our guest is Liz O'Donnell, a marketing executive who is an expert on taking a step back to slingshot forward and that will be the topic of our conversation today. Liz is the award-winning author of Mogul, Mom & Maid: The Balancing Act of the Modern Woman and Liz's latest book is Working Daughter: A Guide to Caring for Your Aging Parents While Making a Living, a book in which she discusses her personal experiences and lessons learned from having to transition quickly from working mom to working daughter - working in a busy career, caring for her own family and taking on the care of her elderly parents. Many of the lessons she outlines in the book apply not only to taking care of elderly parents, but how to go through any type of disruption while showing up for others. For a complete transcript and links from this episode, please visit https://whitneyjohnson.com/liz-odonnell
June 9, 2020
Today on the Disrupt Yourself Podcast, our guest is Gregory Haile, President of Broward College in Florida. On this episode, Greg takes us through his educational journey and background - beginning as a child in a dangerous neighborhood in Queens, through his decision to attend college. Ultimately graduating magna cum laude from Arizona State University, going to Columbia Law School and eventually President at Broward College two years ago.  Though we did this interview several weeks ago, at the time of this recording, the United States is in the midst of riots and racial protests across the country. We hope this episode will give you a chance to listen and understand and start to help dismantle and battle any feelings of entitlement that might be holding you back from disrupting yourself and growing in the way you’d like to. For a complete transcript and links from this episode, please visit https://whitneyjohnson.com/gregory-haile
June 2, 2020
Pamay Bassey, the Chief Learning Officer at Kraft Heinz posted this quote from Cleo Wade on LinkedIn: “My friend Maud once said, 'There are times when we must speak, not because you are going to change the other person, but because if you don't speak, they have changed you.' Silence doesn't change the world. It changes us.” I don’t want to be silent, but I’m not yet sure what to say. But what I’ve learned from Luvvie Ajayi Jones, a speaker and New York Times bestselling author is that when you don’t know what to say, you pass the mic. In this episode, we are re-airing a conversation I had with Luvvie in 2017. It’s an important conversation. Luvvie – I’m taking your advice. Here’s the mic.
May 26, 2020
Today, on the Disrupt Yourself Podcast, our guest is Hubert Joly, former CEO of Carlson, member of the board of directors of Ralph Lauren and Johnson & Johnson and currently chairman of Best Buy, where he was previously CEO for seven years. When Hubert took the job of CEO at Best Buy, they were in shambles. But he focused on people and purpose and ended up quadrupling the stock price. He was named as CEO of the year. At this moment, every company is in some sort of crisis. We've all been disrupted. It's not about deciding if we're going to jump to a new S-curve, we've just been pushed. So who better to turn to than a proven leader in a crisis. Hubert is talking to us today about his approach at Best Buy and how he would approach our current situation as a leader, why work is transformational for people and why purpose should be the thing that guides all of your decisions in work and in life. For a complete transcript and links from this episode, please visit https://whitneyjohnson.com/hubert-joly
May 19, 2020
Today on the Disrupt Yourself Podcast, our guest is Dr. David Peterson. David has been the Director of Leadership and Coaching at Google since 2011, Chief Transformation Officer at 7 Paths Forward, one of the original members of the Marshall Goldsmith 100, and one of the most influential coaches in the world. When you want to learn a new skill or level up - especially in sports - the first thing you do is find a coach. And in the world of leadership and personal development, it’s the same. One of the fastest ways for us to slingshot forward is to have someone help us see our blind spots, both the good, and the bad, and a coach can help us do that. And David Peterson is one of the best, and it is our absolute pleasure to have him on the podcast so that you can learn from him about how to navigate these uncertain times. For a complete transcript and links from this episode, please visit https://whitneyjohnson.com/david-peterson
May 12, 2020
Today our guest is Jennifer Petriglieri, associate professor of organizational behavior at INSEAD. She's been shortlisted for the Thinkers50 New Thinker and Talent Awards and been named one of the world's best business school professors under 40 by Poets and Quants. Jennifer is an expert on how people craft and sustain their personal and professional identities under conditions of high uncertainty such as organizations in crisis or mobile careers, basically when disruption is in play. Which is certainly true in the case of dual-career couples where there is a dance of disruption as by turns each partner upends the other, or in a time like we're experiencing at this airing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Jennifer discusses some sound principles and frameworks for navigating the transitions that allow us to thrive in relationships and careers. Complete transcript and show notes available at https://whitneyjohnson.com/jennifer-petriglieri
May 5, 2020
Today our guest is Kelly Goldsmith. Kelly received her PhD from Yale, is now a professor at Vanderbilt, where she's received numerous teaching awards including being one of the youngest professors ever to be nominated for Professor of the Year at Kellogg where she taught previously. Kelly studies how people respond to uncertainty and scarcity, uncovering the seemingly paradoxical effects, which is why I wanted you to hear from her. Pursuing a disruptive course involves embracing constraints, the lack of something, which in addition to her academic research, Kelly knows about first hand, not only because she went on the job market in 2008, but because she was a contestant on Survivor: Africa, the third season of Survivor. Complete transcript and links available at https://whitneyjohnson.com/podcast
April 28, 2020
Today, on the Disrupt Yourself Podcast, we welcome innovation expert and one of the top-ranked thinkers in the world, Alex Osterwalder. You will hear how Alex views failure, about his mentorship with Yves Pigneur, and which companies he views as leaders in business model innovation. Alex explains the ideal work structure in the 21st Century, including why your company might need a Chief Entrepreneur or Chief Internal Venture Capitalist. We also talk about the power of using visuals, and what it’s like to be a company in the “sweet spot”. For links and a complete transcript, please visit https://whitneyjohnson.com/alex-osterwalder
April 21, 2020
In Episode 80 of our podcast, we started a series, on our seven-point framework of personal disruption. In Episode 100, we did a deep dive accelerant #1, take the right risks, we moved to play to your distinctive strengths in Episode 120, to embrace your constraints in Episode 140, and now we are to Episode 160, we are talking about battling our entitlement––the S Curve Killer. In this episode, Whitney will share her current thinking on the process of battling entitlement - discussing what entitlement is, what it can look like in different examples in our lives and what it takes to battle entitlement as we climb our own individual S curves of learning.  Complete transcripts and links available here: https://whitneyjohnson.com/battle-entitlement    
April 14, 2020
Our guest today is Mark W. Johnson, the co-founder and senior partner of Innosight, a strategy and innovation consulting firm he co-founded with Clayton Christensen in 2000.  Mark's latest book is titled Lead From The Future: How To Turn Visionary Thinking Into Breakthrough Growth, and today, we're going to talk about what this means. Because whenever you make the decision to disrupt yourself, you are giving up what you have today for something you could have in the future, and the status quo that you have today, whether it's good or bad, is comfortable. We're more motivated by what we lose than by what we gain, and that's where Mark and his co-author Josh's work comes in. They've developed a process called future back thinking, a process that whether you are an organization or an individual, helps make living the present a little less scary, and the future a lot more hopeful and exciting. For a complete transcript and links from this conversation, visit https://whitneyjohnson.com/mark-johnson
April 7, 2020
Conflict is everywhere. Even in "normal" times, it's all around us. And it is inherent in the process of climbing an S-curve of learning. There will be challenges, there will be friction. Conflict is a constraint, so what do you do with that conflict? Does it stop you or does it become a tool of creation? Dr. Jen Goldman-Wetzler has an answer. She has the answer. She is the author of the new book, Optimal Outcomes: Free Yourself from Conflict at Work, at Home and in Life, which was recently named as a Financial Times Book of the Month. Show notes and complete transcript available at https://whitneyjohnson.com/podcast
March 31, 2020
You may decide that you are going to change jobs, move to another country to physically disrupt yourself, hoping to improve your lot. But based on Susan David's 20 years of academic and clinical research, it's how you navigate your inner world, your thoughts, your feelings, and self-talk; how you disrupt your mindset that determines how successful you will be. Her article on Emotional Agility was named the Management Idea of the Year by Harvard Business Review and her book by the same name has been a number one Wall Street Journal bestseller, USA Today bestseller and Amazon Best Book of the Year.  Links and complete transcript: https://whitneyjohnson.com/susan-david
March 27, 2020
Our brains control almost all of our thoughts, emotions, actions and reactions. For instance, the thought of wanting to get ahead in one’s career originates in the brain. The actions that we take (or do not take) to turn that thought into reality are governed by the brain. But while all brains may be created more or less equal at birth, some people nourish and exercise their brains to make them grow stronger while others do little to grow the brain beyond its natural progression. “To be an agent of disruption, first, we must become its subject, and that starts with understanding how our brains work.” To learn more about how we can tune our brains for peak performance, I invited Dr. Tara Swart to speak with me on the Disrupt Yourself podcast. Tara is highly accomplished; she’s a neuroscientist (Ph.D.), a psychiatric doctor (MD), a senior lecturer at MIT and King’s College London, and an executive advisor to business leaders throughout the world. Now more than ever, we need principles and truths to anchor us. The wonderful news is, that no matter what is happening around us, we have a brain that can forge neural pathways that serve us if we can be deliberate about what we are thinking and doing. Tara Swart’s work will not only help you accomplish your goals and dreams, but her work is also critical in managing through times of stress.  
March 24, 2020
As we find ourselves in the midst of a great experiment around how and where work is done, I wanted to talk to someone who has been thinking about and leading companies through this process for years. Our guest today is Cali Yost, CEO and Founder of Flex+Strategy Group - a company that helps leaders reimagine how, when and where their people work today and tomorrow. Join us as we discuss 5 things you can do right now in your organization to help you weather our current coronavirus crisis and how you can take the things you learn into improving your culture in the future. Transcript and Links: https://whitneyjohnson.com/cali-yost
March 19, 2020
Our guest today is Scott Miller.  Scott is the Executive Vice President of the Thought Leadership practice at FranklinCovey. Scott is a twenty-three veteran of FranklinCovey, which is part of the reason that I wanted you to hear from him. His 20+ year tenure would suggest that FranklinCovey recognizes that for an organization to get where it wants to go, its people need to grow --- to practice personal disruption. Scott faced more than his fair share of struggles on his 20+ year path to leadership success. He has distilled those lessons into his new book, Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow, about becoming the leader you would want to follow. Join us as we talk about Scott’s journey through his various roles, the biggest challenges he faced in going from individual contributor and aggressive Type-A sales personality to seasoned leader, and get Scott’s hidden gems that can help make you the leader you yourself would want to follow. Show notes and transcript available at https://whitneyjohnson.com/podcast
March 17, 2020
Right now, we find ourselves in uncharted waters. A pandemic, political wrangling, a volatile stock market. Most of it we’ve experienced before. But it feels a bit like we’ve sailed into the Bermuda triangle of uncertainty, even chaos. These macro events coupled with the micro anxieties that accompany our everyday human lives might make us fear we are sinking. There’s no question that the past few weeks have been disconcerting. Most of us are finding it discombobulating; pretty normal to be feeling that right now. Our way of life is without a doubt being disrupted. On this episode, we will review the framework of personal disruption within the context of our current crisis. It is a seven-point framework, and typically I refer to the seven steps as accelerants. And they are. But right now, when it often feels like we are on a ship that could sink any minute - they are guardrails. 7 Guardrails for the present; 7 accelerants for the future.
March 10, 2020
Today our guest is Stew Friedman, an organizational psychologist at Wharton. He's one of the most influential management thinkers in the world, as named by Thinkers 50, one of HR Magazine’s most influential thought leaders, and one of America's most influential men who have made life better for working parents according to Working Mother Magazine. And this is the subject of his latest book, Parents Who Lead, which he co-authored with Alyssa Westring, a management professor at DePaul University. Because for anyone who has become a parent, you will know that parenting is a very big disruption, but if you will let it, it will help you slingshot into who you want to, and can be.
March 3, 2020
Our guest today is Michael Bungay Stanier, and if that name sounds familiar, you may remember him from our previous conversation on the podcast in early 2018. Michael is our first repeat guest on the Disrupt Yourself podcast, and it would be hard to find a worthier candidate for the distinction. Michael is the number one thought leader in coaching as named by Thinkers 50 MG 100, and is the bestselling author of The Coaching Habit, which has sold a staggering 700,000 copies. His new book, The Advice Trap, is an excellent companion piece, filled with focused guidance on how to change behavior so you can, as Michael likes to say, “stay curious a little longer.” Join us as we discuss the three personas of “The Advice Monster,” the seven questions you can use to identify real problems, and the six “fogger fires” that distract us. Show Notes & Transcript: https://whitneyjohnson.com/podcast
February 25, 2020
My guest on the podcast today is Marco Trecroce, Senior Vice President and the first ever Chief Information Officer of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. I had a chance to meet Marco in Toronto a few months ago, and on hearing about his completion of a 10-year technology transformation which obviously requires all sorts of internal and personal disruption, combined with the fact that the Four Seasons is known as the global industry leader of luxury hotels and resorts, not technology, I was intrigued and wanted to hear more. Join us as we discuss what it takes to roll out and complete a project of this scale for a global brand and how sometimes innovation and disruption take time. Links and Show Notes: https://whitneyjohnson.com/marco-trecroce
February 18, 2020
Today's guest is Gabrielle Blair, a woman whose life has been full of disruption, of playing where no one else is playing and discovery driven learning and growth. Beginning with her lifestyle blog Design Mom - which she started in 2004 - a blog focused on the intersection of motherhood and design, she then founded Alt Summit, the premier summit for creative entrepreneurs and social media content creators. Gabrielle is a New York Times bestselling author of the book Design Mom: How to Live with Kids, and is the wife of one and mother of six with children ranging in ages from nine to 22.
February 11, 2020
My guest on the podcast today is Jeremy Andrus, the CEO of Traeger Grills and the former CEO of Skullcandy. During his tenure, Skullcandy grew from $1 million in sales to $300 million, and over the past few years, Jeremy has taken Traeger from $70 million in revenue to almost half a billion with a goal to reach $1 billion in the near future. Join us as we discuss Jeremy’s journey, from childhood dreams of being a CEO to realizing he needed to be a good CEO; his short-lived but thrilling career as a day-trader; and the importance of creating experiences for other people. Links and complete show notes: https://whitneyjohnson.com/jeremy-andrus
February 4, 2020
Our guest today is Tom Rath, the New York times bestselling author of How Full is Your Bucket and Amazon's top selling non-fiction book of all time StrengthsFinder 2.0. For the past five years Tom has served as Gallup senior scientist and he recently co-founded the publishing company Silicon Guild with Peter Sims (a previous guest on this podcast). Tom has sold over 10 million books, including his latest works Life's Great Question: Discover How You Contribute to the World, and the autobiographical It's Not About You. While many thought leaders focus on individuals “finding their passion,” Tom believes that we must shift focus outward to find work worth doing. Join us as we discuss the “buckets” of contribution, how to have conversations at cocktail parties, and the importance of challenging experiences. Transcript and show notes available at: https://whitneyjohnson.com/tom-rath
January 28, 2020
Our guest today is Angela Blanchard, a globally recognized expert practitioner in community development, disaster recovery, and effective long-term integration for immigrants and refugees. It may be sad to think about, but we have culturally become accustomed to seeing the immediate aftermath of natural disasters. Dramatic visuals of fleeing citizens, devastated buildings, and heroic rescues fill social media feeds for the days immediately following the unthinkable. Join us as we discuss the measure of a great city, the concept of “No one’s coming,” and how when everything is lost we can be the ones to stand in the gap and stabilize those who have been disrupted in unthinkable ways. Full Show Notes and Transcript - https://whitneyjohnson.com/angela-blanchard
January 21, 2020
Our guest on the podcast today is BJ Fogg, world-renowned behavioral scientist and the founder of Stanford’s behavior design lab. BJ’s new book, Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything, he examines the fundamentals of what it takes to modify our habits and lays out a framework for individuals to make small adjustments that lead to lasting change. Many authors once dreamed of writing a book, but BJ can state unequivocally that this book exists because of a dream. When he began teaching the concepts of Tiny Habits as far back as 2011, he was frequently asked when the book would come out—but unfortunately for his students, BJ wasn’t writing a book. He didn’t have the time. However, his priorities changed when he had a terrifying dream where he was about to die in a plane crash. The thought that remained with him long after that night was his gut reaction of deep, deep regret that he had never shared his work in a way that would help people outside of his classroom. BJ had long had the technical ability to write a book, and he was constantly being prompted to write the book, but now, the final piece of the equation slipped into place: BJ had motivation. There are many other pearls of wisdom sprinkled throughout our conversation, and I’m excited to share it with you. If you enjoy what you hear I hope you feel motivated to pay it forward and share the episode with someone you know.   Show notes: https://whitneyjohnson.com/podcast
January 14, 2020
My guest today is Claire Diaz-Ortiz, digital strategist and author of the new book Social Media Success for Every Brand. Claire’s journey in social media expertise began as an early user of Twitter, and to put that in perspective, her Twitter handle is @claire. That’s it. No other words, numbers, or symbols. Just @claire.  After effectively using the platform to raise funds and promote awareness for her nonprofit organization, Twitter hired her to help others do the same and proactively make a positive change in the world. Claire took this experience and successfully pivoted into consulting with startups on their branding and marketing strategy. She would create detailed marketing plans, including a strategic social media presence, but she began to notice an unfortunate trend: many clients firmly believed that their best social media strategy was to have a post “go viral.” “I think there is this crazy mistaken idea that social media is really only good for, quote on quote, going viral. And that, thus, that is your only strategy when it comes to being on social media….[a]nd it was only after kind of this experience and me thinking through it in my head that I really realized that a clear solution needed to be found.” Her solution was to create the SHARE model, a social media strategy based on the principles of the StoryBrand marketing framework developed by Donald Miller. SHARE is an acronym for the components of the strategy, and you’ll want to have a pen and paper ready to take notes when Claire outlines it on the podcast today. Full show notes and links at https://whitneyjohnson.com/podcast
January 7, 2020
To kick off 2020 I am talking to Simon Sinek, who is best known for popularizing the concept of “why” in his 2009 TED talk. To date, it is the third most-watched talk at TED.com with over 40 million views. Simon is the author of several best-selling books, including “Start With Why,” “Leaders Eat Last,” and “The Infinite Game,” which was released in October of 2019.   Join us as we discuss how to shift your mindset from finite to infinite, the role of worthy rivals, and how becoming the leader you wish you had can change the future of a company. Complete show notes and podcast transcript with links mentioned in the episode available at https://whitneyjohnson.com/simon-sinek
December 31, 2019
The end of the year is a time for reflection and looking back at the progress made. We love taking a look at where we are as a team in our S-Curve of Learning as podcasters. looking back at some of our most popular episodes, which interestingly, include the solo episodes; we also love sharing our favorite conversations and the impact they’ve had on each of us. Full show notes and links available at https://whitneyjohnson.com/disrupt-yourself-podcast/
December 17, 2019
On today's episode of the Disrupt Yourself podcast, we're talking with Jim Ferrell. Jim is a bestselling author, sought-after speaker, and renowned thought leader on mindset and organizational change. And we're talking all about self-deception. Understanding this concept of self-deception is key to one of the most important accelerants in disrupting ourselves - battling our sense of entitlement. This is where we preference ourselves above others, effectively turning those around us into objects, rather than seeing them as people, resistant to their feedback and ideas, preferencing our wants and needs above all else. This is a learning curve killer. For show notes and links to the books and people mentioned in the episode, visit https://whitneyjohnson.com/disrupt-yourself-podcast
December 10, 2019
Constraints. For most of us, just hearing this word evokes a negative response. Limitations. Restrictions. A cage that prevents us from spreading our wings. However, if you’re familiar with the accelerants of disruption, you’ll know that Accelerant #3—Embrace Constraints—will be one of your finest friends if you are really serious about growth. To build momentum toward the life you dream of, you need resistance. You need structure. And constraints provide both. Full Episode & Blog Post: https://whitneyjohnson.com/embrace-constraints
December 3, 2019
When a photo of a new “boy band” crossed PR Agent Heather Hawkins’ desk in 2001, she was surprised at how glamorously they were presented. The era of Backstreet Boys was over; kids were listening to “real music” (like highly produced punk), and what was more, the look of the band didn’t match the sound. As Heather and her coworkers listened to the music and got to know the band members, they quickly realized that something needed to change. “[W]e realized that in order for them to survive in the ecosystem we needed to absolutely double down on the music and who they really were as people. We understood that that was going to mean making some really tough decisions.” Heather and her crew took on the philosophy of “Radical Authenticity” and proudly began shipping the band to Jeep Jamboree campouts, Sam Adams beer festivals, and locations, where bands respected for their musical proficiency, would be expected to play. Their long game paid off: the band, Maroon 5, became a globally recognized tour de force, and are still producing hits today. Now the CEO and founder of Elevation Strategy, a visibility consultancy, Heather loves working with companies to crystallize their brand DNA and find their “guiding North Star.” Listen in to our conversation and learn more in the show notes at https://whitneyjohnson.com/heather-hawkins
November 26, 2019
Disruption can be a powerful personal tool, but as we discussed during the re-launch of Disrupt Yourself earlier in the month, disruption is not limited to individuals looking to jump into the entrepreneurial life. Significant disruptions can come from within large organizations, leading, as Kaihan Krippendorff pointed out, to important innovation. But how do you disrupt from within a large organization? My guest today is one of the foremost experts on this very topic. A professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and partner at the consulting firm RBL Group, Dave Ulrich has published over 200 articles and 30 books, including his most recent collaboration with Arthur Yeung, Reinventing the Organization. For complete show notes and links from this episode, visit https://whitneyjohnson.com/dave-ulrich
November 19, 2019
As a child, Allison Holzer was fascinated with the invisible. When asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she would enthusiastically tell the listener that her dream job was to be a nuclear physicist (even though she wasn’t completely clear on what that meant). All she knew was that she wanted to study the teeny tiny particles that, when tapped into, could create huge amounts of energy. Years later, Allison’s career trajectory took a turn when a psychology professor dramatically helped her realize the importance of mindset in shaping our reality. This ignited a new spark in Allison: a desire to understand what inspires people to do what matters to them, and what gives them the energy to achieve it.   Join us as we discuss how inspiration is “contagious”; how to pull ourselves out of burnout; and tips for activating inspiration when we really need it. Full show notes - https://whitneyjohnson.com/allison-holzer
November 12, 2019
Today is the day! Disrupt Yourself: Master Relentless Change and Speed Up Your Learning Curve has officially been re-launched into the world. As with all my book “children,” I am very proud of this creation. You, my audience, have been so receptive, and I am gratified and humbled by your many emails and comments characterizing what this book has meant in your life. Your stories are inspiring, and I am eager to learn more! On today’s episode, we have our wonderful producer, Macy Robison, back in the interviewer’s chair. This week’s podcast is really a reflection of the book—it’s a wide-ranging conversation, free-wheeling, and full of energy. I love the insights that Macy brings to the table as we discuss her connection to the book, the story behind the re-release, and what lessons I took away from the first launch. Thank you for being with me on this journey. Show notes available at https://whitneyjohnson.com/disrupt-yourself-relaunch
November 5, 2019
It’s okay to end up in a place you didn’t expect. Just ask Eric Schurenberg. As with most of our guests, Eric’s path was not a linear one. His post-collegiate occupation was acting, but after finding some success he realized that the lifestyle no longer matched his ideals. Pivoting, he went back to school and launched himself into the world of journalism. His career continued to be punctuated by strategic pivots, with the end result being that Eric is now the CEO of Mansueto Ventures, the media holding company that is home to Inc. and Fast Company. I’m excited for you to hear more about Eric’s incredible journey, as well as the amazing stories of others who have gone before. Hopefully, this will serve as a reminder: as you take the right risks and play where no one is playing, you’ll figure things out as you go, and it’s okay to end up in a place you didn’t expect. Complete Show Notes and Links: https://whitneyjohnson.com/eric-schurenberg
October 29, 2019
When picturing disruptive innovators, many people picture the lone genius entrepreneur: Steve Jobs or Bill Gates in a garage, working outside of The System to get their product to market. But is this really how great innovations are created and incubated? In Driving Innovation From Within, Author Kaihan Krippendorff delves deep into the 30 most transformative innovations of the last 30 years. What he found was that despite the stereotype it is actually employees that push the boundaries of innovation, and we do a disservice to employees everywhere when we perpetuate the notion that you have to be an entrepreneur to make an impact on the the world. Join us as we discuss Kaihan’s new book, his framework for internal innovation, and what makes a company truly transformative and encouraging of employee innovators. Transcript and show notes: https://whitneyjohnson.com/kaihan-krippendorff
October 22, 2019
For the past few weeks, we have been taking a deeper dive into the seven-point framework of personal disruption in anticipation of my book Disrupt Yourself being re-released by Harvard Business Press on November 12. If you stick around to the end of this episode, we’ll talk about a special opportunity for those of you who pre-order the book. So, today’s deep dive is on accelerant number five. Step back to grow.  Though we always want to be moving forward in growth, this accelerant addresses the idea that our greatest progress almost always involves some type of step back: we crouch to jump, bring a fist back to punch, land lies fallow, we rotate crops. And while we’ve looked at stepping back in your career to facilitate that growth - one great example being Dan Shapero’s story in episode 97 - we haven’t talked much about the importance of rest. Our guest for this episode is filmmaker, Webby award founder and newly minted author Tiffany Shlain. She recently released her book 24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week exploring her family’s decade-long, transformative practice of turning off screens one day each week for what they call Technology Shabbats. 
October 15, 2019
In anticipation of the re-release of my book, Disrupt Yourself with Harvard Business Press - available for pre-order now - we are continuing our look at the seven-point framework of personal disruption. Today our interview focuses on accelerant number four - battle entitlement. What do I mean by battle entitlement? There are a number of definitions that I use, but one of them is the belief that the more successful we are, the more we think we deserve that success. Buying into this mindset might look like thinking that because things have always been one way, they will always be this way. It could be forgetting, because we’ve worked really hard to get where we are––that there are always, always people upon whose shoulders we stand. Or it could be dismissing the voices of people who we work with because of their age, education, or experience––all of these things can become huge roadblocks if you want to become a high growth individual.  Our guest today, Buster Scher, has worked extraordinarily hard to get where he is. He’s built a huge multimedia platform called Hoops Nation. He regularly rubs shoulders with and is hired by NBA players and hip-hop legends. Rather than let this success go to his head though, he just keeps looking for what’s next on the horizon and moves toward it. Buster’s finding success by battling his own entitlement, and the fact that he’s building a successful media empire at age 19 helps other people battle theirs. Links and complete transcript available at https://whitneyjohnson.com/disrupt-yourself-podcast/
October 8, 2019
In anticipation of the re-release of my book, Disrupt Yourself with Harvard Business Press on November 12, 2019, we are continuing our look at the seven-point framework of personal disruption. Today, we will be examining accelerant number three - embrace constraints. This accelerant can be tricky for people at first. It’s tricky because we think we need limitless resources to be successful. We think we can’t launch that company until we have an investor with deep pockets or think we can’t start that project until we have 4-hour blocks of time available to really focus. We somehow believe that in order to create the life we want to create we need to have nothing but blue skies and rainbows ahead. But in reality, embracing constraints - whether they be lack of time or money or expertise - can actually help us gain momentum more quickly as they force us to bootstrap and focus on what is essential.  Our guest today is an expert in embracing constraints - Jonathan Mendonsa. Jonathan is the co-host of the popular Choose FI podcast and co-author of the new book Choose FI: Your Blueprint to Financial Independence.
October 1, 2019
Playing to your distinctive strengths is vital to personal disruption. We covered this accelerant in episode 120, and I hope you’ve taken the time to consider your own “superpower.” Today’s episode is focused on distinctive strengths, but with a bit of a twist—instead of focusing on your own, we’re going to discuss the inherent value of the distinctive strengths of others. My guest today is CV Harquail, author, consultant, speaker, and self-proclaimed “change agent” whose life’s mission is to create a world in which all people flourish. CV wants to help leaders think differently about the relationships between business outcomes, organizations, and the individuals that inhabit the systems we create. Her new book, Feminism: A Key Idea in Business and Society, examines the role that feminism could and should play in the organizations and businesses. This episode is the second part of a seven-episode series celebrating the re-release of Disrupt Yourself by Harvard Business Press on November 12, 2019.
September 24, 2019
With today’s episode, we’re starting something new. On November 12, 2019, Harvard Business Press will be releasing a new version of my book Disrupt Yourself. As a countdown of sorts, we’re going to spend the next seven episodes focusing on the seven-point framework of personal disruption. These seven accelerants help you manage through – even embrace change - whether at work or at home. Today, we’ll be talking about accelerant one - taking the right risks. We covered this in-depth in episode 100, and we’ll link to that in the show notes, but in short, we take the right risks when we take on market risk instead of competitive risk and play where others aren’t playing. My guest today is a great example of a person taking on market risk - Adela Mizrachi, founder of the Podcast Brunch Club. Links and free resource available at https://whitneyjohnson.com/129
September 17, 2019
Nancy Duarte is a communication and persuasion expert whose firm, Duarte, Inc., is behind some of the most influential visual messages in business and culture. She’s worked with 25 of the world’s top 35 brands, helping them incorporate story patterns into business communications. Nancy has been featured in Fortune, Fast Company, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. She’s written five best-selling books, four of which have won awards. Her most recent book, DataStory, is available today. Show notes and links at https://whitneyjohnson.com/nancy-duarte
September 10, 2019
Today’s guest is David Bray, and hearing his life story is like hearing the movie “War Games” brought to life. At the age of 15 he began working on computer simulations for the US Military. By the year 2000 he was working as the IT Chief for the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response program for the US Centers for Disease Control, and in 2001 he lead the response to the horrible anthrax attacks that followed 9/11 as well as the SARS outbreaks in 2003 and other public health emergencies. Join us as we discuss his unusual “high school job”; the impact of cognitive easing; and what is more important than the desire to always be right. Complete show notes and links at https://whitneyjohnson.com/david-bray
September 3, 2019
My guest today is Rita McGrath, and she literally wrote the book on inflection points for businesses. These moments when the assumptions about your business change or become irrelevant are not always easy to spot, but, as Rita explains, they can make or break you. Rita gives some great insights into how organizations can plan for the future, as well as how they can avoid the pitfalls of short-sightedness. Join us as we discuss why big ideas sometimes fail; how to spot inflection points; and what may be around the corner for American businesses. Full show notes and transcript available at https://whitneyjohnson.com/rita-mcgrath
August 27, 2019
When we talk about disrupting yourself, I typically advise that you look before you leap. Make a planned exit, cushion the landing, prepare for the change. But that is not the route Ali Brown took. After two years at a small marketing firm, she knew she was undervalued. She had so much more to give! Opportunities to move up were limited, and to top it all off, there wasn’t even a women’s bathroom! When a freelance marketer casually mentioned to her that he thought she had the skills to be a freelance copywriter, Ali started asking questions. What’s a freelancer? And, more importantly, can I take you out for coffee to learn more? Join us as we discuss how Ali went from a simple email list to business consultant, how you can find your lane in life and the types of risk worth taking. Listen on the player below, or download the episode on iTunes. And please, let me know what you think of this episode. Can you relate to Ali? Have you found your lane? Complete show notes and links at https://whitneyjohnson.com/ali-brown
August 20, 2019
My guest today is Hal Gregersen, the executive director of the MIT Leadership Center and a senior lecturer in leadership and innovation at MIT Sloan School of Management. A Thinkers50 globally ranked management thinker, he has authored or coauthored ten books. His most recent book, “Questions Are the Answer,” examines the fact that while people are pre-programmed to look for answers, the real catalysts for innovative change are questions. Join us as we discuss Hal’s early careers in photography and politics; what makes a catalytic question; and the question that best motivates him to take action. Complete show notes and links can be found at https://whitneyjohnson.com/hal-gregersen
August 13, 2019
To say that Karen Beattie is comfortable with change is a bit of an understatement. Her childhood was nomadic, with her father’s job taking her family to such diverse places as Trinidad, the Caribbean, Libya, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, and the Philippines. It was not unusual for her father to come home and say, “We’re moving to a different country.” And Karen loved it. It hasn’t been easy; Karen compares her professional life to a roller coaster. Through it all, Karen has found that being comfortable with change has given her opportunities she never would have dreamed of as a kid. “[W]hat I did was I made a choice. Yes, do I want this. It’s going to be hard. So I intentionally stepped into it.” Join us as we delve into Karen’s early career, her pursuit of flexibility and freedom, and how she took the leap for the right kind of risk. Complete Show Notes and Links - https://whitneyjohnson.com/karen-beattie
August 6, 2019
Stephen Nelson speaks the language of music. A primarily self-taught pianist, he has an amazing talent for composition, oftentimes performing on-the-spot “mash-ups” of famous songs for live audiences. His ability to effortlessly create melodies has led to multiple collaboration efforts, including producing the cinematic pop group GENTRI. Today’s podcast is unique for several reasons: first, Stephen composes a “mash-up” of two of my favorite melodies, and I am delighted at the result! Additionally (because we like to keep things exciting), you’ll get to hear Stephen collaborate with our very own producer, Macy Robison. Join us for an enthralling journey into the heartbeat of music and the world of collaboration.  Complete show notes and links available at https://whitneyjohnson.com/stephen-nelson
July 30, 2019
As the mother of two young children, all of Julie Berry’s focus was on keeping them safe, happy, and healthy, but despite loving them fiercely, Julie also felt intensely isolated. Walking around in maternity clothes with spit up and pieces of breakfast clinging to her, Julie couldn’t help but feel frustrated with her limited sphere of influence in the world. What had been the point of going to college? Was this really all she was made to do? Julie’s story is beautiful, and especially dear to me as Julie was a “late bloomer.” She may not have left college as a bestselling author, but her stories are made all the richer by the experiences that have led her to this point. Join us as we discuss her circuitous career path, the inspiration behind All the Truth That’s In Me, and how we should pursue the things that matter most to us. Complete Show Notes & Links: https://whitneyjohnson.com/julie-berry
July 23, 2019
It’s time for something a little different.  Instead of interviewing a guest today, I’m going to do a dive deep into one of the accelerants outlined in my seven-point framework for personal disruption that I discussed in Episode 80, as well as in my book, Disrupt Yourself. In Episode 100 I did a deep-dive on accelerant #1: taking the right kinds of risk. Today, we’re going to talk about accelerant #2: play to your distinctive strengths. Links and complete show notes (including an accompanying worksheet) available at https://whitneyjohnson.com/distinctive-strengths
July 16, 2019
When Adam Grant joined his high school diving team, his coach told him he had good news and bad news: Adam lack flexibility and grace, two of the three components needed to be a successful diver. The good news? His coach would be there to support him the entire way. He [said he] doesn't care how good I am. That whatever level of effort I put in, he's willing to put in that level of effort as a coach too. He actually said, "I will never cut a diver who wants to be here." And, I mean to me that is the epitome of what a coach is, right? To say, look, you know, I respond to your motivation, not what I think is your talent level.”  This event had a profound impact on Adam. His coach not only believed in him but was willing to match the effort that he would put into his own success. His influence was also felt as Adam reached out to help other divers—even those that would be in direct competition with him—because he knew that he could help. The willingness of his coach to be a “mini helper” continues to influence Adam’s life, and he is a wonderful example of a giver (although he is too modest to give himself the label). I feel I have much to think about after this conversation, and I think you will, too. Join us as we discuss how he chose a career where he could be “ambitious for himself and ambitious for others,” his best dive ever, and how Givers can truly help others (without becoming doormats). Full show notes and links - https://whitneyjohnson.com/adam-grant
July 9, 2019
Don’t hold back. That is my biggest take-away from our guest today, Carol Kauffman, the founder and Executive Director of the Institute of Coaching at the Harvard Medical School. A veteran psychologist and Professional Certified Coach, Carol has participated in over 40,000 psychotherapy and coaching sessions, working with top leaders at some of the largest organizations in the world and is known for being “the coaches coach.” Her career in psychology began in helping trauma survivors, but over time she became renowned in her field for turning those same clients into peak performers. After twenty years, Carol had a “pivot point”—exposed to the world of coaching, she realized that she could use her same skill set to help people in an entirely new way. Join us as we discuss Carol’s circuitous (yet bold) career path, her goal with every new client, and the power of harnessing both the light and the dark in becoming a great leader. Complete show notes and links at https://whitneyjohnson.com/carol-kauffman
July 2, 2019
I always love speaking with individuals at the low end of the learning curve. So many emotions are on the surface, but by the time someone hits the sweet spot, they often don’t remember how hard it was to do the things that now come easily.   In an attempt to capture this movement along the learning curve, today’s podcast is in a new format: part one was recorded back in December, when my guest, Sarah Green Carmichael, had just left her position as Executive Editor at the Harvard Business Review. I’ve known Sarah for ten years, and this was a BIG jump. She was comfortable at her job and loved her colleagues, but she was clearly at the top of her curve. It was time to jump…but that didn’t make it an easy decision. Conquering her fear, Sarah accepted an offer to work as a Managing Editor of Ideas at Barron’s. In part two of the podcast, we catch up with Sarah several months later, after she’s had time to settle into her new role. We discuss the steep part of her learning curve, what happened in her first few months, what surprised her, and where she is on her learning curve after an unexpected new curve came her way. I loved discussing Sarah’s “jump,” because her story is so similar to many I’ve heard across the country. When you’ve grown complacent in your job but it’s not “bad,” is it worth the leap? It’s uncomfortable at the top of the learning curve, but it’s uncomfortable at the bottom, as well. Complete Show Notes, Links and Transcript - https://whitneyjohnson.com/sarah-green-carmichael
June 25, 2019
My guest on the podcast today is Antonio Neto-Rodriguez, a passionate expert on project management and the author of The Project Revolution: How to Succeed in a Project-Driven World. In a traditional work setting, managers think of projects as something outside the regular duties of employees. Some even consider them a distraction from the “real work” that needs to be done on a daily basis. However, the evidence is beginning to suggest that projects are the work of the future: with more and more routine tasks being completed by computers and other forms of automation, projects are quickly becoming where “real work” is done. Join us as we discuss how to recognize the benefits of projects before they’re done; what to do prior to your company kickoff event; and the time that Antonio bet his entire career on the importance of projects…and the result was not what he expected. Links and complete show notes: https://whitneyjohnson.com/antonio-nieto-rodriguez
June 18, 2019
Amy Edmondson is the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School, where she studies the dynamics of organizations and how to create a psychologically safe work environment. Over the past 20 years, Amy has shown through her research that teams who are comfortable asking questions and admitting failures work more harmoniously together. “Questions are really powerful in creating safety because they indicate to someone that you actually want to hear their voice…whether you're the boss or a team member or anything, every single one of us can practice the opportunity to say things like, what can I do to help? What are you up against? What are your concerns? You know, I, I'm, I'm all ears. I want to hear from you. Is the, is the implicit message with those lovely little questions.” In her latest book, The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation and Growth, Amy has created a handy blueprint for organizations who desire to foster creativity and “redefine leadership.” Join us as we discuss why good teams make more mistakes, the psychology of the S learning curve, and the time Amy’s boss wrote a thirteen-page treatise on how Amy was actually right all along. Links and show notes at https://whitneyjohnson.com/amy-edmondson
June 11, 2019
We’ve had two married couples on the podcast so far, and today I’m excited to introduce a third - Martin and Kym Frey.  On April 17, 2016, Martin Frey became the first person in the world to climb the Seven Summits – the highest peaks on each continent – and sail the Seven Seas. While Kym may not have climbed to the top of each mountain with him, she was nonetheless integral to Martin’s accomplishment. As he put it, she served as a “great source of strength and confidence,” becoming his biggest cheerleader and never letting him give up on his goals. From tiny islands in the South Pacific to the peak of Mt. Everest, the Frey’s have learned that stepping out of their comfort zone and accepting new challenges brings joy to their life in ways they never would have anticipated. Full Show Notes & Links - https://whitneyjohnson.com/martin-kym-frey
June 4, 2019
My guest today is Priya Parker, the founder of Thrive Labs and a strategic advisor who helps leaders and teams create transformative gatherings. She is the author of The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters, and was featured on the TED2019 stage in April. In a world full of meetings, how many of them are transformative? It’s an impressive word for something so common, but for Priya, every gathering has the potential to be meaningful and memorable. Join us as we discuss the role of a host, the true moment a gathering begins (hint: it’s not when you think!), and the important power of endings. Full Show Notes: https://whitneyjohnson.com/priya-parker
May 28, 2019
My guest today is Marcus Buckingham, Best-selling author and the Head of ADP Research, People + Performance. Marcus spent almost twenty years at Gallup, and recently released Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World, which he co-wrote with Ashley Goodall of Cisco. His vast experience, applicable knowledge, and grounded wisdom make him a wonderful guest for this podcast. Join us as we discuss the lies that we’ve been told about leadership, the myth of “high potential” and “low potential” people, and how performance reviews should be changed to make them effective (which they usually aren’t). Show Notes: https://whitneyjohnson.com/marcus-buckingham
May 21, 2019
I love Brené Brown’s story. A “late bloomer,” Brené graduated from her undergrad when she was 29 years old, then proceeded straight into her master’s and Ph.D. programs. She experienced first-hand the impact of amazing professors and knew what she wanted her life’s work to be—changing the lives of students while getting to talk about what she was passionate about. And Brené is passionate about vulnerability. She shared her passion in a TedxHouston talk, “The Power of Vulnerability,” and to her great surprise it went viral. To date, it has been viewed over 35 million times online and is one of the top 5 TED talks of all time. Join us as we discuss what brings Brené joy; who inspired her to pay attention to vulnerability; and how the stories we tell ourselves can make or break us. Links and complete show notes available at https://whitneyjohnson.com/brene-brown
May 14, 2019
My guest on the podcast today is Safi Bahcall - physicist, biotech CEO, entrepreneur, tennis aficionado, and author of the outstanding book, Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas that Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries. Complete shownotes: https://whitneyjohnson.com/safi-bahcall
May 7, 2019
When Tamika Catchings was a freshman at the University of Tennessee, her coach, Pat Summit, told her that someday her story would “impact thousands, maybe millions of people.” It was a crazy idea. Diagnosed with hearing loss at the age of 3, Tamika was self-conscious about speaking in front of anyone, let alone large groups, and the idea that she would willingly speak in front of an audience was mind-boggling. “And, now you fast forward, that was 1997. Now I’m a public speaker. That’s what I do, I go around, I speak, I tell, I share my story and share…about leadership and all the different things that I’ve learned throughout the course of my life.” Join us to hear how Tamika achieved her goal, and not only became a star player but a valued “role player” as well. We’ll also discuss how her hearing loss improved her performance on the court, how she’s creating her legacy, and what goal is posted on her mirror today. Links and Show Notes: https://whitneyjohnson.com/tamika-catchings
April 30, 2019
My guest today is Jason Jedlinski, a digital product executive, innovator and brand builder currently serving as the Senior Vice President of Product for Gannett Media. Jason’s career in media spans most of his life, taking root in the second grade when he began producing a monthly family newspaper. It was one of many entrepreneurial avenues Jason pursued as a child, ranging from collecting toll fees outside his father’s office to tutoring computer skills on an Apple II. A discovery-driven thinker, as an adult Jason has repeatedly reinvented his role within an organization and is clearly not afraid to leap to new opportunities.  But don’t just take my word for it: join us as we discuss Jason’s humble entrepreneurial beginnings in his family’s basement, how he took on market risk and created his own job opportunities, and the time he went all the way to the C-Suite on the 24th floor to tell the powers-that-be there was a more efficient way to complete the project he’d been assigned (something he still can’t believe he did!) Links and complete show notes - https://whitneyjohnson.com/jason-jedlinski
April 23, 2019
My guest on the podcast today is Ty Shay, the Global Chief Marketing Officer of Norton/LifeLock. Well regarded for his expertise, marketing is not the career path Ty originally set out on. After working tirelessly to get a job as an investment banker at Dean Witter Morgan Stanley, Ty quickly realized that it wasn’t a career he was interested in pursuing. Join us as we discuss Ty’s journey from banking to marketing, the risks of being “invaluable” to a company, and how Ty knows when it’s time to move on. Complete Show Notes & Links - https://whitneyjohnson.com/ty-shay
April 16, 2019
My guest on the podcast today is Maren Kate Donovan, the founder and former CEO of Zirtual, a company that went from rapid growth and success to shutting down seemingly overnight. The measure of their success ended up being their downfall: rapid growth, combined with the reality of unit economics, created a firestorm where it became painfully obvious that continued operations would lead to an inability to pay employees for completed work.  Maren made the difficult decision to simply stop and pay everyone while they still could—a decision she still believes was the right call for the circumstances. Maren got back on her feet and is now finding her way to success through the founding of AVRA Talent. Her team partners with companies to help them fill critical roles in their staff, what they refer to as “on-demand talent acquisition,” And Maren knows that she never could have moved in this direction without her “$5 Million Dollar MBA” earned at Zirtual.    Join us as we discuss Maren’s early desire to “Escape the 9 to 5,” her crash course in Silicon Valley and the Founders Institute, and how she turned failure into perspective and, ultimately, success.  Complete show notes and links from this episode at https://whitneyjohnson.com/maren-kate-donovan
April 9, 2019
Management isn’t rocket science. It’s harder than rocket science. At least, that’s what Paul Hill, former director of mission operations at NASA, believes. Paul has spent most of his life around rockets: first as a child growing up near the Kennedy Space Center, and then as an adult in mission control. From designing space stations to investigating the explosion of the Columbia space shuttle, Paul has had a front-row seat to the victories and tragedies of the space program.  Join us as we discuss Paul’s solution to the budget cuts; his epiphanies on management at NASA; and how learning management techniques from NASA Mission Control can help your team disrupt itself and stay relevant in rapidly changing environments. Complete show notes and links at https://whitneyjohnson.com/paul-hill
April 2, 2019
My guest on the podcast is Gina Bianchini, founder and CEO of Mighty Networks. Gina created Mighty Networks to be a social platform that goes beyond the typical scrolling conversations of social media and focuses instead on community and engagement between network members. Whether it’s managing email replies to a podcast newsletter or starting a discussion about living with Type 1 diabetes, Mighty Networks gives creators the opportunity to keep all of their communication tools in one place, facilitate conversations, provide content, and even charge subscriptions. Gina’s enthusiasm is contagious as she describes the possibilities of her platform in helping leaders emerge and create lasting communities.  Complete show notes and links at https://whitneyjohnson.com/gina-bianchini
March 26, 2019
About six years ago, Tasha Eurich was in a work lull. Her coaching clients were on vacation for the winter holidays, and feeling the bug to accomplish something anyway she began to dig into one of her favorite topics—psychology. Tasha had noticed that many of her clients expressed a desire to see themselves clearly, to clarify who they were, and understand how others perceived them. A correlation was emerging between this self-awareness and her clients’ overall confidence and success, so she delved into the available literature. It quickly became clear that very little research had gone into the topic of self-awareness from a scientific standpoint. So Tasha did what any self-respecting Organizational Psychologist would do.  She decided to study self-awareness. Join us as Tasha and I dissect the nuances of self-awareness; how incremental improvement can change the way we see ourselves; and how musical theatre may have contributed to Tasha’s fascination with the human mind. Full show notes and links at https://whitneyjohnson.com/tasha-eurich
March 19, 2019
Liz Wiseman knows a thing or two about bosses. She is the author of the best-selling book Multipliers, which explores the impact that leaders have on their teams, whether positive (multipliers) or negative (diminishers). In researching for the book, Liz and her team analyzed data from over 200 leaders and noticed a trend between the groups that seemed to maximize the potential of each individual versus those groups that experienced drains in intelligence, energy, and capability (despite having highly intelligent members).  What her research found was that some leaders inspire employees to stretch themselves and do more, while others, despite high intelligence, “diminish” (sometimes accidentally) that ability of their team members. Our conversation today explores how leaders can avoid the pitfalls that lead to becoming an “accidental diminisher,” as well as how to start on the road to recovery. We also get a fascinating look into Liz’s early life, including how she won a lawsuit at the age of only 17 years old. Complete show notes and links mentioned at https://whitneyjohnson.com/liz-wiseman
March 12, 2019
When Erik and Emily Orton sailed their boat up the Hudson River, there was no one to greet them. It was late, and no fanfare or celebration disturbed the stillness of the night. But the Orton’s and their five children felt what they had sensed many times over the past year: a quiet victory. They had made it. One year and 2,500 miles after leaving home, the Orton’s had managed to sail their family from St. Martin’s in the Caribbean all the way back to New York City. Today on the podcast my guests have a particularly unusual story of disruption. I typically showcase individuals who jump to a new professional learning curve, but Erik and Emily didn’t just jump, they leapt, swam, and climbed up a curve completely removed from their original day to day life.  As documented in their book Seven at Sea, they chose to live on a boat with their five children for a year while sailing up the east coast of the United States at the breakneck speed of 5 miles an hour. While many would balk at the idea of taking a year off of work (and some would say life) to make such a trip, the Orton’s felt strongly that this opportunity would be transformative—in all the best ways. Through physical strain and emotional courage, Erik and Emily found their balance, strengthened their family, made lifelong friends along the journey and learned that they can, in fact, do hard things. Full show notes and links at https://whitneyjohnson.com/erik-emily-orton
March 5, 2019
To celebrate the 100th episode of the Disrupt Yourself Podcast, we're disrupting our format a bit. In Episode 80 we gave you a preview of an online course we're developing. It's been our most downloaded to date. So, in celebration of our hundredth episode, and as a way to say thank you for listening, we're going to pick up where we left off. Back in Episode 80 I provided an overview of the Seven Point Framework of Personal Disruption. In this episode we'll do a deep-dive on Accelerant Number One, taking the right kinds of risks. Not just taking risks but taking the right kinds of risk. For links and show notes, including a worksheet that accompanies this episode, visit https://whitneyjohnson.com/right-risks
February 26, 2019
Ilana Golan is someone who goes first.  She was the first female commander in the Israeli Air Force, and that experience set her up for a career filled with blazing trails and then creating a wider path for others to follow. From her start at Intel in Israel to the work she is doing now with her firm Golan Ventures and her new endeavor, Homrun, she's taking her vast knowledge of startups and technology and easing the way for Israeli entrepreneurs to build a network and open doors so their startups can grow in the US. Hear the full conversation and download a transcript and links from the show at https://whitneyjohnson.com/ilana-golan    
February 19, 2019
While growing up in a small farm town in Maine, Melissa Smith had the opportunity to try lots of different things. She drove the flatbed to collect hay on the family farm, was captain of the math team, captain of the cheerleading squad and played on the soccer team. But when it came time to start talking about what she wanted to be when she grew up, Melissa had set her sights on something slightly different than the other girls in town. Melissa wanted to be the CEO of Gillette. It was one of the few big businesses near her home, and though she had the opportunity to try a lot of new things growing up, there wasn't a great deal of exposure to what life was like outside her small town. But because Melissa's mother worked in the business world, Melissa knew she wanted to work. She wanted to do something in business. Now as the CEO of WEX, and a wife and mother to three children - giving birth to twins while CEO - she continues to model the things that matter to her - especially in her commitment to team building and creating an environment where her team members can share their perspectives. Full show notes and links at https://whitneyjohnson.com/melissa-smith
February 12, 2019
Dan Shapero’s team was a rocket ship. When he stepped in as leader of LinkedIn’s recruiting business, annual revenue was around $40 million. By 2014, it was a billion and a half dollars. So it came somewhat as a surprise when the CEO of LinkedIn told him that he was probably in the wrong job. Join us as we discuss the importance of teams, transformations, and the time that Dan told his boss he was the wrong guy for a promotion.  Download a copy of the transcript, or see the full show notes and links at https://whitneyjohnson.com/dan-shapero
February 5, 2019
The launch point of a learning curve can feel like a slog. There is so much to learn, and just keeping your head above water requires tremendous effort. When progress seems nonexistent it is human nature to feel impatient and want to change direction, but it is important to remember that you are making progress—and, if you stay focused and committed, someday you will hit the steep part of the curve and find yourself in the sweet spot. My guest on the podcast today is Ryan Gottfredson, a leadership and management professor at Cal State Fullerton in California. I sent out the call a few months ago for another listener to be coached on the air, and Ryan was quick to volunteer as tribute. Full show notes and links available at https://whitneyjohnson.com/disrupt-yourself-podcast
January 29, 2019
I have shared on here before that I am a recovering perfectionist when it comes to my podcasts, and I have yet another confession: sometimes I make mistakes. Or, rather, errors. I recently received feedback from a newsletter subscriber that helped me see that some of my newsletter content was not what she was expecting, or hoping to receive. I’ve told you many times that I value feedback, and I’m taking what this subscriber said and trying to learn from it. I won’t get into the details here (I’ll do that in the intro to the podcast), but suffice it to say that our interaction reminded me of what I learned from Donald Miller—but maybe I needed to learn it again. Repetition is a good teacher. So, please enjoy this encore episode of my conversation with Donald Miller - New York Times bestselling author and the CEO and founder of StoryBrand, a marketing company that helps you clarify your marketing message so people will listen. Links and Show Notes available at https://whitneyjohnson.com/donald-miller-encore
January 22, 2019
When we’re feeling stagnate or trapped in our job, jumping ship altogether often seems like the best option for disruption. However—and this is a big one—what if you didn’t have to? What if you could identify what motivates you, and why your current job isn’t a good fit? What if you communicated your desires for growth to your boss, and were able to do so in a constructive way? What if you could find a way to disrupt yourself without quitting or losing your job? Bethany Quam’s “first career” at General Mills was not a good fit. Having graduated from college with an accounting degree, Bethany spent her first two years working in the finance department and making practical use of her practical degree. At her annual performance review Bethany was shocked to find out that while she was considered technically sound at her job, she was also “too chatty.” Bethany would go on to be in sales for 18 years before pivoting to a different “career” within General Mills (she says she’s had four careers in total). Her ability to communicate with her direct superiors about her motivation and drive allowed her to disrupt herself within the company, all while maintaining a steady paycheck. Join us as we explore Bethany’s career journey, how to push out of the comfort zone to stay in growth mode, and Bethany’s love for the gift of feedback. Links and show notes available on our website at https://whitneyjohnson.com/bethany-quam
January 15, 2019
My guest today is James Clear, and he’s the go-to expert for those small changes, or Atomic Habits (as his New York Times best-selling book refers to them).  James advocates that the way to build habits is to try and get just one percent better each day—something that sounds almost too easy to do, and yet builds a firm foundation for continual improvement. James is great at giving practical tips for improvement, and I hope you enjoy our discussion as much as I did! Thank you to James for being a great guest. I am especially grateful today for Ralph Campbell, a Disrupt Yourself podcast listener who introduced me to the work of James, leading to this interview today. I really value the feedback of my listeners, and suggestions for future guests are appreciated! Please subscribe or leave a comment. Click here for the full show notes and to get episode links at our website.
January 8, 2019
Israel and Palestine. Northern Ireland. Colombia. Libya. These are more than just countries to Donna Hicks. Notorious for their political upheaval and turmoil, within their borders, Donna has sat between sworn enemies and dared to help them find common ground. Wherever there is an “intractable conflict” in the world, Donna and her team work diligently to facilitate dialogue between the disparate parties and find ways for them to work together. It’s far from easy, but over the past 25 years, Donna has noticed a pattern emerge, helping her achieve better results with each conversation. I can’t wait for you to hear one of Donna’s favorite stories from her time in Libya. It gives me hope that even when things look dark - when we choose to respect the dignity of others and connect with each other there will always be a light at the end of the tunnel. For links from this episode and full show notes, visit https://whitneyjohnson.com/donna-hicks
January 1, 2019
On the podcast today I am pleased to introduce Asheesh Advani, the CEO of Junior Achievement. Junior Achievement (or JA) is an organization that provides children and teenagers around the world opportunities to learn about work, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential learning. Asheesh believes passionately in the mission of JA, not only because it is his job, but because at the age of 14 Asheesh was made “CEO” of a T-shirt company through Junior Achievement, giving him hands-on experience and insight into how a company (even on a small scale) must operate to survive. It was an enlightening experience for Asheesh, and cracked the door for him to be interested in entrepreneurship later in life. In 2019, JA is celebrating its 100th year as an organization, and Asheesh is excited to remove any obstacles standing in the way of his team so they can take the opportunities JA provides to a whole new generation of students. Join us as we discuss the mission of Junior Achievement, the early turning point in Asheesh’s life, and the not-so-successful business idea Asheesh embarked on as his first entrepreneurial venture (and what he learned from the experience). Complete show notes and links mentioned in the episode available at https://whitneyjohnson.com/asheesh-advani
December 18, 2018
I have a confession:  I am a recovering perfectionist. Up until very recently I have been completely unable to listen to a single “Disrupt Yourself” podcast. I convinced myself that I would be a terrible interviewer, and my imagination was doing just fine on its own without my hearing every flaw, every weakness, and every “should-have-done” possibility in each episode. But something brilliant has happened—I’m in the sweet spot! I have finally crested the low end of my learning curve, and have reached the point where this podcast is challenging to produce (but not too challenging). And in many ways it is getting easy (but not too easy).  Now that I feel I can breathe, I can also take a look back at my previous episodes with a more balanced eye. And I have actually listened to the episodes! I’m in a place where I am ready to learn and grow again, and I’m excited to see what lessons 2019 will bring. Just as we did last year, I have compiled some of the most-listened-to podcasts of the past twelve months as well as some of the favorites of our newsletter subscribers and production team. It was amazing to revisit these interviews! Maybe they’ll sound familiar to you, or maybe they’ll sound brand new. Either way, I hope you enjoy the “Disrupt Yourself” highlights of 2018, and revel with me in the delightful comfort of the sweet spot. (Of course, now I need to be on the lookout for the top of the S-curve. Stay tuned!) Links and show notes at https://whitneyjohnson.com/2018-review
December 11, 2018
Keith Krach collects people. It’s not that he’s a comic book villain, mind you—Keith simply has a knack for finding people, discovering what they’re interested in, and building a team from that connection. Over the past ten years at DocuSign he has asked over 300 people to be on the Advisory Board (an unsually large number), but his reasoning is sound: why not?  Creating genius is certainly familiar territory for Keith. In college, he earned an internship opportunity at GM, and went on to participate in their scholarship program at Harvard Business School. Finding leadership and team building to be his passions, Keith climbed the ladder at GM for a decade before moving on to Silicon Valley and opportunities to work in the C-suite. He is now the Chairman and former CEO of DocuSign, and co-founder and former CEO of Ariba. Along the way, he has always paid diligent attention to attracting and retaining the right talent. More information and links from the episode available at https://whitneyjohnson.com/keith-krach
December 4, 2018
Thinking about the competition often keeps business owners up at night. Will someone else find a way to copy your product? Will they lure customers away? Will they make your clientele happier? It’s the stuff of nightmares. Mike McDerment, the co-founder and CEO of FreshBooks, decided that he didn’t want to waste time being afraid of his competition. Why wait for someone to figure out how to do your business better? So he decided to do something about it now—and created a strong competitor. It was an unconventional move, but effective. Using everything they learned in their mini-startup, FreshBooks was able to make a smooth transition to their new platform and learned valuable information about their customers in the process.  Join me as we discuss customer proximity, being a partner with your clients, and how Mark went from being a marketing consultant to creating a valuable cloud-based accounting software (despite not being a programmer). Show notes and episode links available at https://whitneyjohnson.com/mike-mcderment
November 27, 2018
When President Kennedy announced in 1961 that he wanted to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade, it was a longshot. Some believed it to be impossible. However, on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped out onto the surface of the moon and that “longshot” became a reality. In January of 2011 President Obama put out his own “moon shot call”—in his State of the Union address, he announced the goal of 100k more science, technology, engineering, and math teachers in in the United States over the next 10 years. And not just any teachers: he wanted excellent teachers to help train the next generation of STEM students. Talia Milgrom-Elcott remembers this speech vividly. It was a rallying cry that she felt deep in her bones. She knew it wasn’t enough to just stand and clap for the announcement (which received wide bipartisan support). Someone needed to do something—why not her? Join us as we discuss how Talia built her team, when she realized how true success would be measured, and the difference between fixing symptoms and solving problems. Join us in the player below, or download the episode on iTunes. Links and show notes available at http://whitneyjohnson.com/talia-milgrom-elcott
November 20, 2018
When his eight-year-old son asked Dave Hollis what his biggest fear was, no doubt he anticipated an answer along the lines of “tarantula” or “scorpions.” Instead, he received a brutally honest assessment: “Not living up to my potential.” At the time, Dave Hollis was the President of Worldwide Theatrical Distribution at The Walt Disney Company—you know, that little start-up out of California that has distributed such niche films as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Black Panther, and Toy Story. Dave had spent 17 years of his life working his way up the ladder at Disney, and to most of the world appeared to have achieved the apex of his career. But Dave didn’t feel that way. Despite working for one of the biggest (and in Dave’s opinion, greatest) companies in the world, he couldn’t escape the feeling that he was no longer challenging himself in the role that he occupied. He had an amazing team, amazing support, and given the track record of the company also had little resistance to do whatever he wanted to do for theatrical distribution. But he wasn’t challenged, and that was a problem. There’s more to this story, and I hope you’ll take the time to listen to it. You can learn more and get all the links in our show notes at http://whitneyjohnson.com/dave-hollis  
November 13, 2018
As I say at the beginning of every episode, I think, write, speak, and live all things disruption. I take this responsibility very seriously, so while each week I encourage you to disrupt yourself I am also looking for ways to disrupt myself. Since I spend each podcast interviewing guests, my personal journey is revealed to you in drips and drabs, and periodically I like to turn on the water hose and let you know how I’m really doing, what I’m learning, and where I am on my own learning curve. Today’s episode revolves around the question that you, as my audience, have asked me in person, tweeted online, or messaged me on LinkedIn. With me is Macy Robison, my fearless podcast manager and producer, who will be asking the questions and contributing some of her own insights along the way. For links from today's episode and the full show notes, visit http://whitneyjohnson.com/qa-85
November 6, 2018
Diane Dietz would have happily spent her career working in marketing at Proctor & Gamble, but as we all know, life can be unpredictable. When she found herself seated next to a tall, dark, and handsome stranger at a wedding, she could not have predicted that she would someday move from Cincinnati to San Francisco to start a family with him. That unpredictable relocation led to a significant career disruption, taking her from oral care and cosmetic marketing to a C-suite position at Safeway, where she led the marketing, merchandising, and supply chain of the second largest grocery retailer in the US. Even after being a chief marketing officer, executive vice president, and responsible for over 12,000 employees, Diane still felt some hesitation when she was approached by a recruiter about the CEO position at Rodan + Fields. Up to that point she had been looking at the number two position at really large companies, but as she met with the team at Rodan + Fields she fell in love—only this time with a company. Diane accepted the position and has grown Rodan + Fields from 600 million to 1.5 billion in sales (which I find super impressive). Furthermore, she has built an impressive team, wherever she has gone in her career and has developed a reputation as someone who makes those she works with better. Join us as we discuss how she spots talent for her “A Team,” what she loved most about her favorite bosses, and how Rodan + Fields manages their exponential growth without spending for digital advertising. Show notes and links: http://whitneyjohnson.com/diane-dietz
October 30, 2018
When Saul Kaplan produced his carefully compiled spreadsheet of how he planned to host a two day summit on innovation, the last thing he expected his friend to do was tear the spreadsheet to pieces—literally.  His friend was none other than Richard Saul Wurman, the founder of TED, so his feedback was not something Saul could take lightly. This summit was his dream. After years of being a consultant and looking at innovation from the top-down, he knew that he wanted to put on an event that focused on innovation from the bottom-up—what Saul referred to as a “human-centered design.” He had planned everything, from how they would scale from the nano to the cosmic, but the feedback from Richard was blunt and to the point: “You have an awful lot to learn, Kaplan, about what organic engagement and connection is…Design something that you’re interested in, that you can learn from, and then allow other people to participate in that by doing it openly and transparently.” In many ways, that has become the touchpoint of the annual Business Innovation Factory (BIF) summit. Organic engagement and connection permeate each session, and the best talks are those that solve problems in the real world and discuss the human experience. Join us as we discuss his advice for anyone planning a conference or summit, what it means to “Cause a RCUS,” and how he continually finds ways to reinvent himself. Show notes and links - https://whitneyjohnson.com/saul-kaplan
October 23, 2018
Being the host of a podcast, I’ve had my share of great conversations, but I’ve also had some that were…not. Whether the blame should be placed on myself, my guest, or both of us, can be left up to interpretation, but I find it interesting that something we do every day—converse with others—is also something that we receive very little, if any, formal training in how to do well. Lisa Kay Solomon wants to change all that. Lisa is the author of Moments of Impact: How to Design Strategic Conversations That Accelerate Change, and she is passionate about great conversation. In the business world, this passion translates into a careful examination of team meetings and huddles, and Lisa is not afraid to shy away from the awful truth: most meetings are terrible. Americans spend (or waste) 1.2 billion hours every year in meetings, an average of four hours per week per person, and yet most employees feel that the most important discussions occur after a meeting is over, when discovery oriented conversations take place. Show notes and links from the podcast available at http://whitneyjohnson.com/lisa-kay-solomon
October 16, 2018
As children, we are taught to say “please” and “thank you,” but oftentimes, as adults, these habits are not reinforced in the workplace. We are not asked to perform tasks, we are told, and we are paid for our efforts; in other words, we do something because it is our job. What more do we need?   According to Bob Nelson, we need a sincere “thank you.” Bob is the president of Nelson Motivation Inc, and is considered to be one of the world’s leading experts on employee motivation. He has written 30 books ranging from The Management Bible to 1,001 Ways to Engage Employees, and has dedicated his life to the idea that thanking employees makes for a better work environment.   Whether you’re praising performance on the latest project or celebrating an accomplished goal, saying a sincere, specific “thank you” can strengthen trust and relationships, and make your team more engaged in their work. Join us on the podcast today as we discuss what employee recognition is, how it can benefit your team, and what managers can do today to get started.  Show Notes: https://whitneyjohnson.com/dr-bob-nelson
October 9, 2018
Before you can be an agent of disruption, you first become its subject by disrupting yourself. Keeping this in mind, today’s podcast is a bit different. If you’ve been a long-time listener, this will probably come as no surprise (disruption is what we do, after all)! In the past I have shared episodes where I take part in some one-on-one coaching, but today I am taking it a step further: I will be coaching you. All of you. I’m going to start at the top with giving you five reasons why you might want to disrupt yourself, and then we’ll talk about what disruption is—what the term truly means. Once we’ve established that common language, we’ll get to what you really want to hear: How do I get started? I know this may be a bit scary to some of you. You may not feel ready to “get started”, or take that next step, and you’re afraid that I’m going to dare you to take it anyway. But I suspect that one of the reasons you listen to this podcast is because you want to take things to the next level, and if so, then I am committed to helping you. We have a worksheet and the complete transcript of this episode to help you get started on this path. Click here - http://whitneyjohnson.com/disrupt-your-self-today
October 2, 2018
My guest today is Shawn Askinosie, the founder and CEO of Askinosie Chocolate and author of the number one Amazon best selling book, Meaningful Work: The Quest to Do Great Business, Find Your Calling, and Feed Your Soul. For Shawn Askinosie, picking a favorite kind of chocolate is like asking someone to pick a favorite child. His company, Askinosie Chocolate, sells 17 different chocolate bars, but when asked to pick just one he is at a complete loss. “[I]t seems like the last place that I have been is my favorite…the people mean so much to me it’s hard to separate the people from the chocolate. And the hard work that they provide to make these beans what they are. So it’s hard. It’s hard for me.” Shawn most recently returned from Tanzania, where he personally met with the chocolate farmers that produce the cocoa beans used in his factory. This is unusual in the chocolate world—larger companies (or “Big Cocoa” as Shawn refers to them) buy almost exclusively through a broker, resulting in local farmers receiving as little as $1 a day for their crops. Shawn knew that he needed a completely different business model: not to make a bigger profit, but a bigger impact. This is an honest and beautiful conversation. If you enjoy it, please share it with someone who could learn from listening to Shawn. Takeaways and links from the show at https://whitneyjohnson.com/shawn-askinosie
September 25, 2018
This year on the Disrupt Yourself Podcast we have had musicians, writers, CEOs, entrepreneurs, and even a mountain climber as guests on the show, but I must admit that today’s guest feels more disruptive than usual—Margaret Busse is a politician. Spoiler alert, we don’t talk national politics at all. Margaret is an MBA graduate from Harvard as well as a devoted mother of 5 young children, and back in 2012 I included an essay that Margaret wrote in my book Dare, Dream, Do. In the essay, Margaret talked about her early love of democracy and her desire to someday run for public office, as well as the fear that held her back from fulfilling that dream. “When the time is right,” she said, “I will dare to do it.” The time is right. And she really is daring to do it. Conquering her fear, Margaret is running for a seat in the Massachusetts state senate. Surprisingly, a lot of our discussion focuses on the “how-to’s” of setting up a political campaign, a process that at times surprises and challenges Margaret. Thankfully, she still finds the challenge worth the reward. Full show notes and takeaways at https://whitneyjohnson.com/margaret-busse
September 18, 2018
My guest today is Beth Comstock, former vice-chair of GE, a member of the Board at Nike, and author of the new book Imagine It Forward, a candid and encouraging narrative in which she shares both business and life lessons. Despite having been a biology major in college, Beth realized early on that her passion led her to storytelling. Instead of becoming a doctor, as she originally planned, she turned instead to the world of television journalism. The call of the unknown led her to make many surprising leaps in her career, often with co-workers questioning her sanity, but Beth’s willingness to take a risk and play where no one else was playing allowed her to have a fascinating and varied path. Join us as we discuss taking risks, the importance of communication, the difference between mentors and champions, and how Beth Comstock intends to start new again in 2018. Listen on iTunes or using the player below, and be sure to check out Imagine It Forward, available for purchase today on Amazon or at your local bookseller. For show notes and links from the podcast, visit https://whitneyjohnson.com/beth-comstock
September 11, 2018
David is the co-founder and Executive Chairman of Degreed, and coauthor of the new book The Expertise Economy: How the Smartest Companies use Learning to Engage, Compete, and Succeed. His company focuses on “Jailbreaking the Degree” by giving employees credit for their lifelong learning, including formal certification as well as a “transcript” for skills learned on the job. Additionally, Degreed gives them a platform to find the best resources for learning new concepts and skills across a variety of platforms. Becoming an entrepreneur was not an easy step for David, who admits that going from the perfect collegiate applicant to a member of a start-up is in many ways antithetical. The path was difficult, almost cinematic at parts, but David still feels the same passion for education—true, lifelong learning—that he did as a 17 year old boy.   Show notes and links from this episode: http://whitneyjohnson.com/
September 4, 2018
My guest is Karla Ballard, the CEO and co-founder of YING, a peer-to-peer skill sharing platform that allows you to trade time rather than money for services (also known as a time bank). Karla’s first experience in “banking” was of a much more traditional variety—after graduating from the University of Virginia she was hired by MBNA America and soon after was selected to participate in their management development program. This gave her the opportunity to rotate positions throughout the entire company, and while working in the marketing department in Wilmington, Delaware, Karla became involved in a community program to teach youth financial literacy as a way of combating juvenile delinquency. Karla was able to take the bank’s interest in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and combine it with her commitment to the community to produce real-life results beyond a simple donation. Feeling the entrepreneurial itch, Karla created a consulting practice to work with local non-profit organizations on their strategy around sustainability. In 2015 Karla took the next step and co-created YING, a skill and time-sharing platform that gives people access to services in exchange for their own time and talents, creating a community around connection and engagement. Join our discussion as Karla explains the intricacies of time banking, how “mucking and gutting” entered her lexicon, and what each of us as human beings have that creates value on a level playing field (hint: it’s about time). More takeaways and links from this episode at: https://whitneyjohnson.com/karla-ballard
August 28, 2018
For most graduates, a steady job is a dream come true (bonus points if it comes with good pay). When Shachar Orren completed her two-year mandatory service in the Israeli army, her parents thought she had achieved that dream: she was offered a full-time job working in military intelligence, with steady work, excellent compensation, and a healthy dose of prestige.                                                 She would be crazy to leave…right? But when a job popped up at her favorite magazine, Shachar leapt at the chance to become what she had wanted to be since she was a little girl—a writer. Despite conventional wisdom saying that she would be better off staying in military intelligence, Shachar knew that the best road to happiness was the one right in front of her. For complete show notes and links from this episode, visit https://whitneyjohnson.com/shachar-orren
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