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Grow Strong Leaders Podcast
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Grow Strong Leaders Podcast

Author: Meredith Bell

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In the Grow Strong Leaders Podcast, host Meredith Bell interviews business leaders who are committed to their own growth and the development of their people.
126 Episodes
What’s required to create relationships that are personally and financially rewarding? My guest Tyler Wagner has answers because connecting people is his superpower. A college drop-out and a door-to-door salesman, Tyler did not follow the typical path to a successful career. Since an early age, he’s known how to make friends and strategic introductions. It took him a while to figure out how to build a business around that, and today he has an incredible network of people who love helping him succeed. In our conversation, he shares ideas that you can adopt for your own business or career. Tyler is the Head Honcho at Authors Unite where he and his team help authors with all aspects of book writing, publishing and promotion—and that includes getting on best-seller lists of publications like the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. He’s also host of The Tyler Wagner Show, where I’ve been a guest, and he’s recorded almost 2,000 episodes.You’ll discover: What Tyler’s experience with door-to-door sales taught him about businessA key question to ask yourself up-front so you avoid taking “No” as a personal rejectionHow to use curiosity to learn, grow, and create strong relationshipsWhy Tyler thinks in terms of complementing and not competing with related vendorsMistakes to avoid if you’re considering writing a book or publishing one you’ve already written
What does it take for women to thrive in the corporate world? After spending decades trying to figure out the answers, my guest Helen Appleby came to realize that men had advantages that women didn’t. So she formulated her own set of rules that she now shares through her book, podcast, coaching and programs for women. In this interview, Helen shares specific, practical tips based on her experiences. My male listeners will benefit from our entire conversation and in particular the ideas she shares at the end on how men can support women in the workplace.Helen is an expert in women’s leadership. She’s navigated her own path to success in corporate life, which included running a billion-dollar global business and living and working in six countries. Helen now provides coaching and training to other women leaders. She wrote her book The Unwritten Rules of Women’s Leadership to help women step into their power, write their own rules and succeed in their career. She’s also the host of The Unwritten Rules Podcast, where she interviews women about their journeys and lessons learned in the corporate world.          You’ll discover: Why the advice Helen’s father gave her was both encouraging and unhelpfulThe difference between visible and invisible work—and why invisible work is not enoughHelen’s recommendation for making your work more visible without coming across as self-promotionalThe roles of Mentors and Sponsors in helping you advance your career3 things men can do to support the women they work with
Imagine if there were a company that could consistently achieve an employee engagement score of 93 or 94? You don’t have to imagine it. That’s a reality at WD-40 Company. My guest Garry Ridge describes the elements he and his tribe have put in place and practice daily. You’ll be inspired by his passion and commitment to create a learning and empowering culture where every single person in the company thrives.Garry is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of WD-40 Company. He now speaks and coaches with other CEOs to help them build positive cultures in their own organizations. Garry is also an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego where he teaches the principles and practices of corporate culture in the Master of Science in Executive Leadership program. In 2009 he co-authored Helping People Win at Work: A Business Philosophy called ‘Don’t Mark My Paper, Help Me Get an A with Ken Blanchard. In 2020 he wrote TRIBE CULTURE: How It Shaped WD-40 Company and in 2021 The UNEXPECTED LEARNING MOMENT. You’ll discover: What “accidental soul-sucking” CEOs do to undermine a positive work environmentWhy Garry refers to everyone at WD-40 as “tribe” instead of “team”The 4 pillars of the fearless tribe at WD-40The distinction Garry makes between empathy and egoWhy there are only “learning moments” and not failures or mistakes at WD-40
Have you ever wondered what’s involved in the path to being recognized as a thought leader? Denise Brosseau has provided the answer in her timeless book, Ready to Be a Thought Leader? And in our conversation, she reveals the key elements required to achieve that level of influence. Denise helps clients overcome a major obstacle in this journey—their reluctance to give themselves credit for their well-earned expertise. You’ll find out her approach to moving them past these self-imposed limitations. Denise is founder and CEO of Thought Leadership Lab, where she works with leaders and their teams to accelerate their journey from leader to thought leader. She founded the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, which is now Watermark, and co-founded Springboard, the prestigious women’s startup launchpad that has led to more than $10 billion in funding for women entrepreneurs.    You’ll discover: How Denise defines “thought leader”The essential steps for being recognized as a thought leaderIssues that hold people back from stepping into this roleThe importance of champions and allies—and the differences between these two groups of supportersWhy Denise has focused on helping women entrepreneurs get funding for their start-ups
How much attention do you pay to each moment as you experience it? My guest Achim Nowak shares four keys to becoming more mindful in the midst of a busy, full life so you create the best possible experience from every moment. In our conversation we explore four topics from his latest book, The Moment: A Practical Guide to Creating a Mindful Life in a Distracted World. This book is a rich resource of ideas and insights, and Achim is a superb storyteller.Achim is the Founder and President of Brilliant Best. In his work as an executive coach, he helps CEOs and C-Suite leaders around the world show up with relaxed authority and amplify their impact. He’s a TEDx speaker, the author of 3 books, and the host of an outstanding podcast, MY FOURTH ACT.  You’ll discover: How actors train to awaken their senses so they can be or do whatever’s needed in a given momentBenefits of developing and paying attention to “Prajna” or inner wisdomWhat you can do to create micro-moments of love throughout the dayIdeas for slowing down and making time stand stillWhy it’s important to build “unobligated time” into your life
Want to reduce the amount of drama and conflict in your life? My guest Nate Regier explains the drama triangle and the real causes of conflict…and why compassionate accountability is the solution to both. Nate’s unique perspective about conflict can help you approach differences with another person in a new, better way. He’s brilliant in creating models that foster positive relationships and workplaces…and then teaching clients how to use them to transform their organizations. You’ll find that his model for compassionate accountability has immediate application in your life.Nate is the CEO and founding owner of Next Element Consulting, a global leadership firm dedicated to bringing compassion into the workplace. He’s the author of three books, and this interview focused on his second book: Conflict without Casualties: A Field Guide for Leading with Compassionate Accountability. Nate hosts an excellent podcast called “On Compassion with Dr. Nate,” where he spotlights leaders committed to building positive cultures. You’ll discover: The dynamics between the 3 roles of Victim, Rescuer and PersecutorWhy Nate describes Rescuers as “non-consensual helpers”What Nate means when he says, “Compassion is not for the faint of heart”The 3 elements of the model (Open-Resourceful-Persistent-Order) and why the sequence is so importantThe distinction between boundaries, ultimatums and consequences
How do you respond to unexpected and unwelcome events in your life? My guest Vanessa Broers has walked this path herself and helps her coaching clients navigate these situations successfully, too. In our conversation, Vanessa shares specific lessons she learned during her pregnancy and her first year of motherhood. You won’t want to miss this interview, where you’ll learn how to see that “life’s challenges are specifically designed for your success.” Vanessa is a life and performance coach and the host of a weekly live show on Facebook and YouTube called “Practical Magic.” She is the best copywriter, bar none, in describing her guest for an upcoming show…and her interviews are all excellent. Vanessa is the author of a book about her experience with motherhood called We Are One, which I’ve read and highly recommend. You’ll discover: The distinction Vanessa makes between “balance” and “integration” or “expansion”Insights Vanessa gained during her pregnancy and first year of motherhood as a result of deep personal development work she did during that timeThe experience that helped her discover how to take in the fullness of the present moment and not just one piece of itWhy Vanessa believes we’ve gotten “motherhood” all wrongWhat she means when she tells clients to “stop asking for love like an infant” 
How can you tell stories that draw people in, enhance your credibility and don’t send the audience running? Ann Sheybani has the answer, and she shares her wisdom in great detail in this interview. Ann excels in helping speakers, coaches, and entrepreneurs write and publish books that attract their ideal clients and make them stand out from the rest. You will love her truth-telling, direct approach in describing what works…and what doesn’t.Ann is the Founder of Summit Press Publishers and The Influential Author. She’s also the author of How to Eat the Elephant: Build Your Book in Bite-Sized Steps. Ann received a Masters degree in Creative Writing and Literature from Harvard University and is a Book Yourself Solid Certified Coach.  She currently resides in rural Ireland with her husband and a former guest on my podcast, Walt Hampton. Ann and Walt together run Summit Success, a global business and personal development consultancy. You’ll discover: Why storytelling is such a critical component of a book or speechMistakes that authors and speakers often make around storiesThe kinds of stories you may be reluctant to tell…but will have strong persuasion powerHow one client almost lost a book deal because she was going to omit her most powerful story
Do you ever hesitate to speak up in a meeting or in a situation that you perceive to be risky? My guest Dr. Doreen Downing shares practical, valuable tips that can make those moments more comfortable and enjoyable for you. You’ll love Doreen’s approach to helping people identify their negative thoughts and beliefs that prevent them from feeling safe about speaking up. In conquering her own stage fright, she discovered being connected to your authentic self is the key to relaxed and confident speaking.Doreen is a Psychologist, Founder of the Essential Speaking Institute, and host of the podcast, Find Your Voice, Change Your Life. Her experience as a therapist helps her create a safe space for clients who want to get past the fears and doubts that have held them back from being their authentic selves. Doreen now specializes in the treatment of public speaking anxiety.  You’ll discover: How Doreen’s training as a psychologist helps her in her work with clientsThe fears that prevent people from offering their opinions and ideas in meetings or risky situationsHow to recognize when you’re being authentic so you speak with great confidenceWhy Doreen uses the word BE as the first word in each of her 7 stepsWhat’s required to BE Silent and quiet a busy mind
Can you imagine having your arm torn off your body at age 7? That was the reality that my guest, Brian Bogert, faced at that tender age. You’ll be inspired and moved hearing Brian’s story of the accident, his recovery, and how he has used that experience to pursue the path he’s on now. His goal is to impact one BILLION people in the next 25 years, to help them see how to experience No Limits Living. Get out your pen and paper because Brian shares so much wisdom that you’ll want to capture these insights and tips to apply later.Brian is a passionate human behavior and performance coach, speaker, business strategist, top sales professional and philanthropic leader who believes in helping growth-minded individuals achieve the best version of themselves: meaning, their most authentic selves.You’ll discover: How to experience pain so you can move through it now and avoid suffering in the futureWays to increase your levels of awareness to realize when you’re operating in a “victim” mindsetQuestions you can ask others to help you identify blind spots…and the mindset you need to adopt before you askHow to take personal responsibility even if you find yourself being emotionally triggered by someone’s words or actionsThe advantages of approaching a situation from a neutral position
What if there were a way to create a workplace (and world!) where people genuinely respect those who aren’t like them? That’s the focus of Robin Rosenberg’s work. As CEO and Founder of Live in Their World, Robin combines her expertise as a clinical psychologist with her passion for using Virtual Reality for good. Join our conversation to learn about the programs she’s created to help all employees of a company become more sensitive to bias and its effects…and develop more respectful and productive ways to interact with each other.Robin is board certified in clinical psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Clinical Psychology. She has taught psychology classes at Harvard University and Lesley University and has written psychology textbooks. She’s also had psychotherapy and coaching practices in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City.You’ll discover: How Robin defines civility in the workplaceWhy she prefers the sequence of Equity, Inclusion and Diversity (EID) instead of DEI.The impact on workplace behavior when someone is able to experience virtually what another person goes through when being disrespectedThe challenges of remote and hybrid work environments…and how to overcome them
Are you focusing every day exclusively on the systems and processes that will help you accelerate your business growth and get the results you want? If not, Crista Grasso has practical answers! She shares lessons learned from her own jewelry business that she brings to her work with clients. You’ll find out why she recommends a 90-day plan to help you achieve phenomenal results and achieve a Rich Fulfilled Life.Crista Grasso is a lean business consultant, creator of the Lean Out Method, the 90 Day Lean Out Planner, and host of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast.  She has been helping businesses achieve accelerated results and increased profitability for two decades through a combination of strategic planning and lean business practices. Crista, known as the "Business Optimizer," specializes in helping businesses identify the most important things they should focus on right now that will drive maximum value for their customers and maximum profits for their business.You’ll discover: How to eliminate waste in your business so you invest time in what gets you the best resultsThe 4 pillars for creating a lean businessWhy Crista created a Lean Out Planner with a 90-day focusHow she helps clients shift from their old, inefficient process to a more effective oneWhy it’s useful to listen for times when you say, “Yeah, but…”
What does it take to prepare college and university students to be effective leaders when they graduate? My guest Tom Kolditz knows exactly what’s required…and he’s making it happen as Executive Director of the Doerr Institute for New Leaders at Rice University—the most comprehensive, evidence‐based, university‐wide leader development program in the world. Tom was hand-picked by billionaire John Doerr to create this program. What Tom and his team have achieved in the past 6 years is ground-breaking and highly effective. Tom is extremely well-qualified for this role. He’s a retired Brigadier General, and for 12 years at West Point he led the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership. Then for 4 years he was the founding director of the Leader Development Program at the Yale School of Management. He's the co-author with my good friend Libby Gill of the book that explains all the components of the Doerr program: Leadership Reckoning: Can Higher Education Develop the Leaders We Need? You’ll discover: The 4 Principles of the Doerr Institute that drive all their program decisionsThe shortfalls in most college/university student leadership development programsWhy Tom’s focus of leadership development is on colleges/universities only and not high schoolsWhy HR executives compete to hire participants of the Doerr InstituteHow Tom has partnered with the Carnegie Foundation to co-create a classification system that every college and university in the U.S. can apply for
Want to have a truly inspired and inspiring life? You’ll love what my guest Tony Martignetti has to say about this! Tony is a master at guiding his clients to explore their pasts and uncover themes in their life that help them identify the future they’d like to create. During our conversation, Tony describes what he does to be fully present so his clients feel safe opening up to him. Just listening to him is a gift that will help you discover how you can be in the moment and live a more inspired life.Tony is the Founder and Chief Inspiration Officer at Inspired Purpose Coaching. His mission is to elevate leaders and equip them with the tools to navigate through change and unlock their true potential. He loves guiding people to find clarity in their lives so they are energized, fully present, and unstoppable. He has 25 years of business and management experience, including the fields of life sciences and high tech. Tony is the host of The Virtual Campfire Podcast and the author of Climbing the Right Mountain: Navigating the Journey to An Inspired Life. You’ll discover: The moment Tony realized that, “To change the room, I had to leave the room.”Why Tony calls his coaching methodology Inside Out CoachingWhat the best leaders do to inspire others to do their bestWhat causes many leaders to feel unfulfilled…and how Tony helps them create their own definition of successWhy Tony advocates using “employee enrichment” instead of “employee engagement”
Want to create a new perspective about the younger generation in the workplace? You must listen to my conversation with Evan Hackel! Evan is on fire about the value these young people bring to work. You’ll discover why he says, “Millennials are the best workers who have ever entered the workforce, and Generation Z will only be better.” Evan also describes the detailed process his company uses to interview and hire new employees…and the excellent results they’ve achieved. Evan is the CEO of Tortal Training, a leading training development company headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. Tortal is on the cutting edge when it comes to the creation of mobile training platforms for organizations with distributed workforces. Evan is also Founder and Principal of Ingage Consulting, a management and leadership consulting firm located in Woburn, Massachusetts. And he’s the author of a wonderful book, Ingaging Leadership Meets the Younger Generation. You’ll discover: The distinction Evan makes between Ingagement and EngagementThe unique strengths that younger workers can bring to your organizationWays that Millennials and Gen Z generations are differentWhat type of training young people respond best toHow to onboard new hires so they become part of your culture faster
If you’ve tried different time management systems and still feel overwhelmed and stressed, this episode is for you. My guest Mark Silverman shares key points from his excellent book (and my favorite on this topic), Only 10s 2.0 - Confront Your To-do List, Transform Your Life. Mark has created a simple system that’s easy to adopt and stick with. You will love the passion and energy he brings to our conversation around valuing your time, uncovering the real reasons why you don’t do the things that will achieve your goals, and the power of self-inquiry.When working for fast-growing tech startups, Mark generated more than $90,000,000 in sales. He achieved this by bringing together teams of executives and technical leaders to close complex multimillion-dollar sales. Mark has experienced, first hand, the pressure of the 'hustle and grind' culture along with the unique challenges of the "C-Suite." This experience, together with his years of training as a coach and facilitator, helps his coaching clients create sustainable and lasting success in all areas of their lives.Mark is the author of and the host of the Mastering Midlife Podcast.You’ll discover: How to identify the 10s that are your true top prioritiesWhy 7s, 8s and 9s can be so attractive and derail your focusThe one-word question Mark keeps asking his clients until they get to the real reason or root causeWhy self-inquiry is a key step in discovering the truth about your procrastinationHow to find the “gold” in any crisis
Have you had trouble establishing a work-out routine and sticking with it? My guest Carl Ficks has helpful solutions to that challenge! Even if you have minimal time available, Carl describes how to create a plan that will work for you. He shares how his routine enables him to be more creative and come up with great ideas for his business. You’ll love Carl’s passion for the topic and the practical tips he shares!Carl is Founder of No Surrender, LLC, and his passion is helping busy professionals reclaim their wellness. His Ficks System is a proven road map for endurance athletes and weekend warriors alike. His weekly LinkedIn posts and bi-weekly newspaper columns, both titled “The Friday Ficks,” provide strategies, tools and inspiration to stay resourceful and resilient.You’ll discover: How being fit helped Carl during his years as an attorneyThe 2 big obstacles that prevent people from getting startedThe first step you can take to put a fitness program in placeWhy accountability is a key element of staying on track with your fitness goalsHow you can get fit with zero equipment
Want encouragement about the future of our youth? My guest Asheesh Advani, President and CEO of Junior Achievement (JA) Worldwide, describes all the ways JA is preparing young people for employment and entrepreneurship. As one of the world's largest NGOs, JA is in more than 100 countries and reach 12 million students each year. Asheesh is a visionary and inspiring leader. You’ll love hearing the passion in his voice as he describes the impact JA is having on the lives of students around the globe. And he’s equally committed to developing his own team so they can serve their constituents in the most powerful way possible. Asheesh also describes how you can get involved as a volunteer in JA in your area.You’ll discover: The impact on career choice of high school students who shadow someone in a work settingHow AI lets students experiment with different career experiencesWhy it’s so important for non-profits to do impact tracking for their programsWhat Asheesh does to invest in the development of his leadership teamThe benefits Asheesh gained from getting 360 feedback and working with a coach
Do you procrastinate about business development? My guest Janine Bolon knows how you feel. In this lively conversation, Janine explains how she learned to block time for four all-important activities and what you can do to make them enjoyable and fun. She describes the actual messages she leaves with people and why she has so many calls afterwards. If you’re committed to building strong relationships that lead to clients working with you, get ready to take notes and apply Janine’s ideas!  Janine has been a serial solopreneur since the age of 10. She is owner of The8Gates, LLC, which produces 4 podcasts, 15 online coaching classes and markets her 10 books. She is also a mom of 4 rambunctious human beings who continue to keep her need for structure in check. Janine’s programs and classes are all designed for one purpose: to help you have abundant cash flow while enjoying the family and friends who surround you. You’ll discover: The 4 elements in Janine’s system that should be on your calendar every weekHow to create audio messages that are authentic and compelling…and result in people wanting to talk to youThe low-tech, automated solution Janine uses to stay in touch and follow upWhy it’s critical to set aside time each week for your own education
Want to learn ways to take better care of your brain so you think and perform at higher levels? My guest Cindy Shaw has answers! Cindy explains the roles that food (what to eat and what to avoid), sleep and stress management play in optimizing the function of your brain. We had a fascinating discussion, and I’m certain you’ll have some ah-ha’s as you take in her insights and advice on this vital organ.Cindy is the founder of The Better Brain Academy. She’s a Certified Brain Health Coach with Amen University, and she uses her expertise as a brain health and mental performance trainer to help people transform their lives. By blending leading-edge neuroscience, brain health and self-improvement strategies, Cindy helps others naturally improve their moods, boost their performance, supercharge their energy and focus, and optimize their well-being. You’ll discover: Why brain health is critical to overall healthThe 5 brain centers that can be over or under active5 foods to add to your diet to help you optimize brain health…and the ones to avoidHow to incorporate SHIDDs – Small Habits I Do Daily – into your daily routineThe impact of proper amounts of sleep and probiotics on your brain functioning
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