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Commercial construction and real estate development is a difficult space to break into, and building plans can change at the drop of a hat, forcing you to be flexible and nimble with clients. So joining us to talk about this dynamic and ever-growing industry is Case Swenson, alumnus and president/CEO at Swenson in the San Francisco Bay area.Case joins host Amanda Kramer to share the trends and challenges he is seeing in the construction and real estate space, so-called “green building,” the skillset needed to enter this industry, and what he's learned from scaling a 4 generation family-owned business. Leeds Business Insights Podcast is a production of Leeds School of Business and is produced by University FM.EPISODE QUOTES:The importance of understanding your market[00:11:22] I've seen a lot of different contractors go outside of their area, and a lot of times, they get hurt by doing that because they don't understand the market there, they don't understand the labor there. And it is very important to really understand the market that you're in, how much it costs per square foot, how high you can build, how wide you can build, what kind of municipality you're dealing with, and how difficult they are.The value of leverage[00:12:19] Leverage is the most important part of development and something that you should really focus on understanding. There's a difference between the science of money and the science of maybe something like brain surgery, and the science of money is complicated. But your deep understanding of that is the most helpful thing when it comes to doing development and construction.What is the current challenge in the construction industry?[00:05:24] Right now, the biggest challenge for us is the economic cycle. We have rising interest rates. Also, bring up cap rates, which is how your building is valued at the end of the day. SHOW LINKS:Swenson - The Swenson GroupCase Swenson on LinkedIn
Crowdfunding and volunteer mobilization are at the heart of how non-profits function on a day-to-day basis. But how does this work in an ever-growing remote workforce? And how can this ethos transfer to the business sector and for-profit organizations?Joining us to answer some of these questions and more is Gloria Urrea, an Assistant Professor of Operations Management in the Strategy, Entrepreneurship, and Operations Management (SEO) Department at the Leeds School of Business. Gloria studies operations of humanitarian organizations (HOs), whose mission is to alleviate human suffering and improve the quality of life of the most vulnerable population. She joins host Amanda Kramer to discuss crowdfunding in emergency support situations, mobilizing donors without burning them out, weighing volunteer experience, and the power of transparency.Leeds Business Insights Podcast is a production of Leeds School of Business and is produced by University FM.EPISODE QUOTES:Getting to know your volunteers is important[00:10:02] When we think about volunteer management, we are thinking about people that are donating their time. It's also important to recognize their heterogeneity, how they are different, and how they may have different priorities, or how I can offer them different tasks depending on who they are.The role of retention in volunteering [00:17:42] Retention is also important because charities want to avoid losing knowledge and experience. Moreover, research has already shown that when volunteers gain experience with a platform, they are more willing to take over maybe monotonous tasks or other tasks that are needed to be done for the long-term sustainability of the platform. The power of transparency[00:08:54] There is also a lot of research showing that even revealing some sensitive information to an extent, like costs, also incentivize people, really makes customers feel more valued by the companies. And they appreciate that with more loyalty or purchasing more, one key takeaway for businesses in general and for people is the power of transparency.SHOW LINKS:​​Gloria Urrea Faculty Profile at Leeds School of BusinessGloria Urrea - Google Scholar
If we look at the events that have unfolded in the first part of the year, our guests believe likelihood of a recession has increased, and changed expectations for the economy.Joining us today for this discussion on the economy and a look ahead, are Rich Wobbekind, the Dean for Business and Government Relations and Senior Economist at Leeds as well as Brian Lewandowski, Executive Director of the Business Research Division at Leeds.We dive deeper into the SVB crash and its ripple effects this episode, including effects on smaller community banks, the current status of inflation and interest rates on a national and state level, the status of labor shortages and where cryptocurrency fits in the economy. Leeds Business Insights Podcast is a production of Leeds School of Business and is produced by University FM.EPISODE QUOTES:What are the implications of the collapse on smaller community banks? [00:08:40] Richard Wobbekind: People have much more technology-based mobility now than they've had historically, and that is allowing or encouraging the flow of these funds out of the banking system.On the current status of inflation and interest rates[00:25:09] Brian Lewandowski: When we look at Fed policy, the fear or concern is that the Fed would stop too soon. If they pause or even make that bold decision to change direction and lower interest rates because of what's going on in the economy, that signal would sort of derail some of the progress that's being made on inflation right now.Post-pandemic trends that may contribute to recession[00:24:49] Richard Wobbekind: I think we've gotten much better at working remotely. We've really adapted to the use of technology more. We've become efficient in a number of ways, and it helps us recruit people from all over the country. If you have a remote job, we can have people working anywhere. And that's one of the things that may be impacting us locally.SHOW LINKS:Richard L. Wobbekind | Leeds School of BusinessBrian Lewandowski | Leeds School of Business
Everything on paper was perfect for Ashish. A successful job with McKinsey, a beautiful wife and baby, a happy and peaceful life in Boulder. But everyday, he would wake up with intense anxiety, nausea, and an overwhelming sense of doom. Where was this coming from, and what could it be pointing to? This is when the real journey began, and Happiness Squad was created. With a goal to help enhance joy, health, love, and meaning in your life, Happiness Squad works with organizations as well as individuals to help people reach their highest potential.Ashish Kothari is the Founder of Happiness Squad, author of Hardwired for Happiness, and a friend of the Leeds School of Business. He joins our host Amanda Kramer to debunk myths surrounding happiness & success, help us find happiness in our work, job crafting, and how we can integrate more happiness, gratitude and good habits into our own lives. Leeds Business Insights Podcast is a production of Leeds School of Business and is produced by University FM.EPISODE QUOTES:Burnout, stress, and anxiety affect people everywhere[00:04:59] I thought stress, anxiety, and burnout are prices insecure overachievers pay to climb the ladder and accumulate wealth. When I did this research to build this offering, I realized how wrong I was. I realize how big this issue of stress, anxiety, and burnout was in our world.Happiness is something that ensues[00:07:16] You can't actually pursue happiness. Those who have happiness as a goal are inherently unhappier because they're so focused on, Am I happy? Am I happy now? Why am I not happy now? And Tal talks a bit about this notion of happiness being something that ensues. You can't see the light, but you can break the light into its different components, and you can see the different colors.How companies help reduce stress and anxiety and increase performance[00:09:18] We can be less stressed if organizations join forces to fundamentally shape cultures of flourishing. It can make a big difference, both in an individual's life but even bigger in the performance of organizations.SHOW LINKS:Daniel Goldman, PsychologistHappiness SquadSonja Lyubomirsky Martin SeligmanEd DeinerTal Ben ShaharWhat Job Crafting Looks Like, by Jane E. Dutton and Amy WrzesniewskiBJ FoggDr. Kristin NeffHardwired for Happiness by Ashish KothariHappiness Squad Podcast
Both Silicon Valley and Signature Bank are two of the top three largest bank failures in American history, both in terms of dollars, but also on an inflation-adjusted basis. And they happen just a few days apart, just over 2 weeks ago now. To get more insight on this incredible financial event, we sat down with Shaun Davies. He is an associate professor and research director of the Burridge Center for Finance at the Leeds School of Business. We grabbed some time with Shaun during this hectic week to get the low down on what the SVB collapse means, the parallels between the 2007/2008 financial crisis and today, and what to look out for moving forward. Leeds Business Insights Podcast is a production of Leeds School of Business and is produced by University FM. EPISODE QUOTES: Bank fraud still exists [00:09:01] Typically, when we think about bank runs, we think back to black-and-white movies, like "It's a Wonderful Life," and we think that bank failures, they’re a thing of America's past. Well, the Silicon Valley Bank failure showed us that bank runs still exist. They can still happen. The unexpected failure of Silicon Valley and Signature Bank [00:03:44] Silicon Valley and Signature Bank are two of the top three largest bank failures in American history, both in terms of dollars but also on an inflation-adjusted basis. Even when we take bank failures 25 to 30 years ago, these are still larger, even on an inflation-adjusted basis. And it's hard to believe we saw that out of nowhere. And in the span of a few days. Moments of crisis should be expected [00:24:38] There will never be a time in which all risks are hedged, and everything is safe. Moments of crisis, massive stock market volatility, moments of your portfolio going down in value. Those should be expected. They're not fun, but they should be expected.
20+ years ago, if you were featured in an editorial story in the New York Times could keep customers coming to you for years. But in 2023, we are all too aware that the fight for you attention is happening at all times, and from all angles and devices. So how can PR agencies keep up and keep you focused? Alexis Walsko is a Leeds alumna and founder of Minneapolis-based agency Lola Red, starting the company when she was just 22 years old. This episode dives into all things PR and strategy, touching on the history of traditional PR and the rise of the influencer, what to look for in an influencer and how to evaluate their effectiveness in your campaigns, micro vs macro influencers, and Alexis’ work in the early days of Love Your Melon hat and beanies. Leeds Business Insights Podcast is a production of the Leeds School of Business and is produced by University FM. EPISODE QUOTES: Great brands make great partnerships with people [08:29] Great brands do great partnerships with people; that partnership is not about just a monetary exchange. It's actually about a deeper brand relationship. Consider the influence you leave on others [25:56] Always consider influence because we are all always being influenced. And so pay attention to that as a consumer, but also from a worldly perspective. And in the vein of what I got from my amazing time at Leads and at Boulder, was also to consider the influence that you have on others. How companies are using information and data? [04:19] Information and data are so accessible today, and companies are using any means possible to get it to the appropriate parties.
Season 3 - Trailer

Season 3 - Trailer


Spring is almost here, and so is season 3 of Leeds Business Insights! Join host Amanda Kramer Wednesday, March 15th for another series of outstanding guests and topnotch analysis to help you stand out from the herd. We’re diving into the world of influencer marketing, balancing startup life with personal wellness and a difficult diagnosis, and digging into the science behind happiness and purpose, just to name a few topics. We know you're not going to want to miss this batch of episodes, so make sure to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. We’ll catch you right here on March 15th with episode one, and every other Wednesday after that. We can't wait for you to hear them!
What's meaningful to one person may not be meaningful to the next. But one this is for sure, we as humans search for meaning through consumption, whatever that “meaning” may be. Lawrence Williams is an associate professor of Marketing at the Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado Boulder. In his research, Dr. Williams examines the subtle influence of environmental cues on consumer behavior, the impact of psychological distance on consumers’ emotional judgments, and the mechanisms of self-regulation and self-control. In this episode, Lawrence discusses the importance of self-expression, intrinsic and extrinsic rewards of consumption, and where purpose-driven branding & products fall into the mix. EPISODE QUOTES: On using behavior to guide a strategy [00:23:32] It's very easy, especially in modern world where we are incentivized to express our emotions and our opinions almost daily, nonstop, through social media and all of that stuff. That's amplified. It's really easy to talk about what you value. But when it's less about signaling and more about active choices, you have to look at people's behavior. Intrinsic vs. extrinsic [00:02:46] When we talk about intrinsic versus extrinsic, intrinsic is something that's coming from the inside, and extrinsic is something that's out there in the world. We tend to talk about those in terms of our motivation. What's driving us to pursue a certain thing, behave in a certain way, go a certain place, buy a certain thing? And sometimes, those motivations are coming from within us. What are people willing to give up in order to get meaning? [00:09:46] When it came to meaningful experiences when it came to meaningful pursuits, people were willing to pay less was very interesting, but it gave us some insight into what they're thinking about. And, for us, when people are thinking about pursuing meaning, you have an array of free things that come to mind.
Jeff York, the Leeds School of Business’ Research Director, and Brad Werner, Leeds’ Teaching Director and Instructor, host the podcast Creative Distillations, which takes academic research on entrepreneurship and turns it into actionable insights.In this episode, Amanda asks Jeff and Brad how they meld their research with real-world experiences – and what practical insights they have to share with new entrepreneurs.EPISODE QUOTES:On starting with your customerBrad Werner (13:02) “If you were to develop a company and you said, ‘Hey, I need a million dollars of investment money.’ And somebody gives you a million dollars and then you go to talk to customers and you find out they don't want it, you're out that million dollars now. Whereas if you say, ‘Hey, you know what, let me talk to some customers first and design for them.’ And you have customers telling you: ‘If you build this, we want this tomorrow.’ Now the investment money actually really does something and it's meaningful.”On realizing that you’re going to have to pivotJeff York (18:58) ​​”It's become this catchphrase. Like, oh, sometimes you have to pivot. I think actually we should be teaching that it's not just something to do when you run into a roadblock. It's where you're actually gonna end up. It's going to happen.”On leading with your valuesBrad Werner (32:27) “Starting a business is a real lift. You end up dedicating your life to it. And so you better be willing to dedicate your life to something that you care about.”SHOW LINKS: Creative Distillation Research PodcastCreative Distillation is co-hosted by Associate Professor Jeff York, our Research Director, and Instructor Brad Werner, our Teaching Director. Each episode distills academic research on entrepreneurship into actionable insights.
Can your business do something good for the world… and your bottom line? We think so. Join us this week as we speak with Jennifer Forman, who coaches businesses and individuals on social responsibility and sustainability practices through the Leeds School of Business Certificate of Corporate Social Responsibility program. In this episode, Jennifer outlines what she calls “Big Sustainability” and shares advice for connecting your company's culture and values with causes where they can make a positive difference. EPISODE QUOTES: On an holistic approach to sustainability… [00:03:03] “Environmental sustainability is really limited to the things we have to consider to keep our planet healthy. But there's more to business than just keeping the planet healthy… when we think about Big Sustainability, we're looking at diversity, equity, and inclusion. Who's at the table? Whose voices are you hearing? Have we got representation from the markets that we serve? That's really important in terms of growth, and being able to [speak] to your consumers and to the employees that you're going to need for long-term sustainable growth.” On incorporating Corporate Social Responsibility into your business… [00:04:42] “This movement has really seen explosive growth in recent years. And that's, in part, due to investor concerns around negative impacts of climate change. But it's also because younger generations are showing a really high preference toward working at, or buying from, purpose driven companies.” [00:05:19] “CSR and ESG concerns can be woven in and operationalized so that the way companies are making revenue looks at the least amount of negative impacts to all of their stakeholders and really using their unique area of expertise to leverage that for social good. So not only how can they make money – but how can this be done in a way that potentially benefits people everywhere that their business touches, from concept to creation, to sales, and eventually down the line.” On the tangible value of CSR… [00:15:29] “The Russell 1000 companies saw, on average, a 218% increase in share price over the last four years when businesses named at least one charitable recipient, had a diversity and opportunity policy, expressed board and gender diversity, and utilized a local sourcing policy. According to BCG Brighthouse, brands with a high sense of purpose experienced a valuation increase of 175% over the past 12 years compared to the median growth rate of 86%. So you see how these stats are adding up to show that businesses invested in this are doing really well.”
Professor Erick Mueller is the Executive Director of the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship and an adjunct professor of strategy, entrepreneurship, and operations at the Leeds School of Business. A lifelong entrepreneur, Erick is dedicated to helping new entrepreneurs, and business owners start and grow their businesses. In this episode, Erick talks about how to apply the lessons he’s learned to the current moment and business landscape. EPISODE QUOTES: You don’t have to do it alone [00:08:42] I recommend to everybody is, don't be afraid to ask for help and, and, and, leverage those who really care to help you with your venture and your idea. Learn from others’ mistakes [00:09:53] The number one reason that businesses fail: they haven't really created enough value and delivered on what customers are really excited to deliver on. So the solution to that is you just have to talk to more and more people, learn what their desires are, what their excitements are and adapt and incorporate that feedback into your product. What successful entrepreneurs have [00:15:05] They're excited. They're passionate, and it's almost like oxygen to them to really run and operate this business. From that place, they will figure out solutions to problems that arise, and that passion and excitement will get them through the challenging times.
Buying and selling homes has never been so easy. But that doesn’t mean real estate agents are a thing of the past! Join us this week as we speak with Mike DelPrete, an internationally recognized expert and thought-leader in real estate tech. Mike has traveled the world forging relationships with leading property portals and real estate tech startups, gathering first-hand knowledge and insights on tech trends and themes. This episode, he shares some of the most exciting innovations in real estate – including iBuying – as well as the unintended ways these new models are impacting property markets. EPISODE QUOTES: On the impact of innovative real estate strategies… [00:04:39] “If you wanna sell your home, you consider an iBuyer. If you wanna buy a home, you consider a power buyer. And these are companies that are trying to empower home buyers with more superpowers to be able to get the home they want. And they do so through two methods. One is cash offers, and the second is buy before you sell.” [00:01:56] “Open Door, the largest iBuyer, has around 1.3% market share, which sounds, you know, that's a small number. But the U.S. residential real estate market is huge. So 1% market share is pretty significant. That's tens of thousands of houses every year. So it's worth paying attention to.” On the unintended consequences of these new models… [00:16:36] “iBuyers are selling a certain percentage of their homes directly to institutional investors… They're sucking up houses from the market. They're buying them from people who want to sell. And then they're putting some of those back on the market, but they're also selling some of them directly to institutional investors, which are Wall Street companies who are renting those out. So that's a decision that's been taken away from homeowners and communities.” [00:18:09] “They can decide who they sell it to. They can keep it off the market, make it exclusive. They could just send an email to everybody on their mailing list and say, ‘Hey, we’ve noticed you've toured an open door home in the past. Here's a house for you.’” On the value of real estate agents (still)… [00:21:46] “Real estate is probably the largest transaction that somebody will undertake in their lifetime. So you have this idea of loss aversion, right? Which is that as human beings, we are wired to be conservative.” [00:22:43] “What's the potential downside of making a mistake buying or selling a home? It's tens of thousands of dollars monetarily, but not just that… The potential downside of choosing to purchase the wrong home or selling your existing home, you know, the wrong way is huge. So when the downside is really big, that's when people want expert advisors. They want insurance for someone to hold their hand through the process.”
Are you election ready? This episode, Sloan Speck joins us to talk about tax law and the many policies that Congress will have to deal with after the 2022 midterm elections.Today on the podcast, Sloan breaks down a bunch of legislation scheduled to sunset between now and 2025, the possible priorities of a Democratic- or Republican-held Congress, and who you should trust most when it comes to legal tax advice.Sloan Speck is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Colorado Boulder. He specializes in taxation and tax policy.EPISODE QUOTES:On the challenges Congress faces this election season…[00:06:24] “There are a lot of moving pieces right now in terms of tax policy under this Congress and this president, and then the next Congress and this president. And that dynamic is gonna be really, really tough for all of these parties to work through, even if Democrats retain control.”[00:06:49] “So first is the fact that there is not a budget for next year. And there could be continuing tax work that will occur during this Congress or maybe be kicked down the road to the next Congress… [00:07:07] Second, working out stuff from the Inflation Reduction Act. And that's going to be a process that's going to take time… [00:07:23] Finally, there are all of these provisions under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was enacted in December of 2017… [00:07:31] These are going to change incentives for businesses to make investments. And those incentives may be critical at a time of significant economic uncertainty.”On what this means for businesses…[00:12:30] “There are just a ton of sunsets that happen from 2022 on through 2026, and these changes are going to cause a lot of dislocation for different businesses. They're using these tax benefits, or subject to these tax detriments, as they shift over time.”On how to prepare for tax uncertainty… [00:18:16] “Really the person to talk to is your tax advisor and to really hammer out which these provisions apply to you, and what the changes might be, and what that might mean for your business and for your personal life.”[00:23:10] “One thing about the uncertainty related to tax law, is that it's a constant challenge to the way people do things. And it's an opportunity to rethink those prior practices and those prior pathways and really come up with something that's unique and focused on the business goals that you have in mind – and that is flexible enough to accommodate some of the choices that Congress may or may not make in the next, six months, or three years, or four years…[00:23:40] There's also an opportunity for taxpayers, and for businesses, to really address how they do things in an environment where it's important to be flexible and responsive to changes in law.”SHOW LINKS: Guest’s Profile:Sloan Speck Profile at Leeds School of Business
If you’ve ever bought tickets to a concert or sporting event, you know what it’s like to watch prices rise and fall – and to sweat over finding the perfect seats for your budget and enjoyment. Ovunc Yilmaz is an expert in the dynamic market of live events ticketing, and joins us to offer his insights into a $20 billion industry. Today on the podcast, he talks about the factors that influence ticket prices – from weather to proximity to a video screen – and the complicated ripple effects of secondary ticket markets. Ovunc also shares his research into innovative pricing strategies, and real-world advice for businesses in the live event industry. Ovunc Yilmaz is an Assistant Professor of Operations at the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder. He specializes in revenue management and pricing – particularly in the airline, hotel and event industries. EPISODE QUOTES: On the business of sports ticket sales… [00:00:33] “In 2019, the North American professional sports market passed $70 billion in annual revenues and the ticket revenues… were almost $20 billion. They're one of the major revenue sources of this industry. Others being media rights, sponsorship and merchandising.” On the unique challenge of matching supply to demand… [00:01:11] “The pricing problem is a very complex one, because teams are selling tickets for highly differentiated seats. For football, you can think of a 50-yard line seat versus an End Zone seat. For basketball, you can think of right behind a team bench or those nosebleed seats that you can barely follow the game. Teams are also selling tickets for different types of games based on different opponents’ strengths, maybe some rivalries, pre-season, regular season, post season. And teams are also selling tickets to fans with different tastes. You can think of a die hard fan who has gone to every game… since they were five years old or someone who is in town for just a day… [00:02:28] And of course, with the digitization of ticketing, sports organizations, leagues, teams – they try to use this data to make more informed, better, pricing decisions and improve their gate revenue.” On secondary markets in ticket sales… [00:07:33] “Since the ticket resale is allowed, there exist the secondary markets of these tickets after they've been purchased from the primary market. These transactions in this market, the secondary market, may take place between just two friends like me and you, or in person near the venue, those kind old school scalpers, or through online secondary markets… [00:07:56] And although an average sports fan may think that most of these transactions in this market are just between two fans who happen to own tickets, the secondary market itself is actually now a $15 billion industry dominated by brokers.”
Richard Wobbekind and Brian Lewandowski offer glimpses of what to expect in Colorado’s economy heading into 2023. Today’s episode takes listeners on a deep dive into employment rates, inflation, the pandemic’s lasting economic impacts, and more. Richard Wobbekind is the Associate Dean of Finance and the Business Research Division at Leeds. Brian Lewandowski is Executive Director of the Business Research Division. Together, they formulate the University of Colorado’s Business Economic Outlook report. EPISODE QUOTES: On what we’re seeing in the current economy… [00:05:34] Brian: “Nationally and locally, we've seen the highest rate of inflation that we've seen in the last 40 years in this country. So, it's concerning on many fronts. But I think one of the most concerning underlying components of the inflation rate is that it's very broad-based. It's not really driven by just one or two components within our economy.” On what to expect in 2023… [00:14:16] Brian: “If we take a look at … the JOLTS number, the job openings number, that's signaling that there's still extremely strong demand for workers. So, it appears that the employment market isn't as much at risk as it has been in the past when we've been in situations like this, where, where we're perhaps on the cusp of a recession. We usually see slowing job growth, lower demand for workers at this point.” [00:21:01] Richard: “We're anticipating a slower environment, but not particularly a negative environment—a GDP recession at the national level that just slows growth down for the year overall, and then a bounce back a little bit further on out. And again, a lot of this is being triggered by the Fed's attempts to control inflation with these higher interest rates. And we're not suggesting they're not needed. You really don't want inflation to become permanent in the system. And you don't want expectations to get entrenched around inflation. So, the Fed policy has a lot of logic to it, but it does ultimately create some pain.” Advice for businesses entering a period of slower growth… [00:26:42] Richard: “When you're in a very high-growth environment… you're more concerned with making sure the order gets out the door or it gets fulfilled. And you really don't want to miss the opportunity to make the sale. But when you get in a slower growth environment, you start to think about: Are we doing this in the best way? Do I have the best worker to do this? And you think more about, do I have the right skill sets with my employees? It's an opportunity to assess, to take a breath and to assess.”
Jaclyn Freeman Hester is a venture capitalist and partner at the Foundry Group. In this episode, Jaclyn talks about how she recruits and funds new talent, her “give first” philosophy, and what entrepreneurs should consider when it comes to VC funding. EPISODE QUOTES: On focusing on the journey (not the outcome)... [00:10:09] I think that’s what really helps folks stand out, especially when you're younger, taking a lot of risk and being way more focused on the journey and the curiosity and the learning and who you meet and kind of collecting people along the way versus the lockstep career path. On taking risks… [00:16:57] There's a ton of learning that can be done by joining companies and joining funds, especially early. So, I think it's just important for folks to realize that there is no one way to do this. On being people focused… [00:23:39] I think values alignment, both for hiring and for investing is huge. Because it speaks to, I don't know every single decision that's gonna come up with this company, but if I understand your values and what motivates you and how you think about things and what your philosophy is on lots of different aspects of building a business, then I can have better trust and insight into when things come up, you know, that it's gonna play out in a way that I would like… And so I think having hard conversations around, big questions that you have, and being direct and trying to understand someone else's values and motivations is really important.
Michael Huseby is a CU alumnus who has been managing the challenges of digital transformation in a number of industries, including retail communications, and now education as Chairman and CEO of Barnes & Noble Education. In this episode, Michael discusses how he’s managed to lead Barnes and Noble through the pandemic and offers insight on how to foster a strong brand and culture in an increasingly digital world. EPISODE QUOTES: On consumer trends (00:04:03) The generation of students that we serve is digital now. Most of them were born with a cell phone or an iPad in their hands. So we know that that's how they're used to interacting with information and how they're used to learning. Students are used to learning in a mobile way where there's ease of use and lower costs. You don't have a typical supply chain where you have to walk into a brick-and-mortar store to buy something. That all points to digital. So we have a digitally native customer base. The supply chain is electric and electronic and not physical. On driving change (00:10:57) What's difficult is when you have a culture that is strong and you're trying to change it to more of a performance-based culture, so to speak, that's really geared towards collaboration with customers in the context of driving change. Because in a service culture, you're generally trying to respond to requests and a model that's been proven for a very long time in a dynamic, digital, uncertain, ambiguous environment, you have to also lead change, which means that you have to build services and products that customers may or may not want, or may not want to change to themselves. On work/life balance (00:18:22) In a digital environment, you can really set yourself up for some stress. The barriers are kind of broken down that you usually have in a physical office or physical classroom. So we actually have rules in place where we try and get people to not leave people texts at three o'clock in the morning, even if you're up because people are so used to responding now to screens and notification sounds and that type of thing, you could be on edge all the time. So, respect boundaries.
Season 2 - Trailer

Season 2 - Trailer


Get ready, the second season of Leeds Business Insights is almost here! Beginning on September 7, 2022, host Amanda Kramer will bring you insights from industry leaders, including actionable takeaways (what we call L-B-Ideas) that you can use in your professional life.
Over the past two years, especially, we’ve heard the word “diversity” a lot in the workplace context – but what are people actually talking about when they say that’s important to them? This episode’s guest explains why it’s important for leaders to figure that out – and shares lessons about how meaningful diversity, equity, and inclusion work lifts the whole team. Professor Sabrina Volpone is a recognized expert in workplace diversity. At the Leeds School of Business, she is the doctoral program coordinator for the Organizational Leadership and Information Analytics division and also runs the Diversity and Identity (DI&ID) Management Research Lab. In this episode, she talks about different ways we can think about diversity in the workplace, and how digging into this work yields unexpected results. EPISODE QUOTES: On the benefits of gender-diverse teams [00:04:26] When you have more voices working on the team and working together and presenting ideas, you not only get that positive impact to get the work done with more ideas, more problem-solving more, individual types of decision-making going into the problem-solving. But what we also found happens is that individuals on the teams, when they're more gender diverse, tend to engage in boundary-spanning behaviors more. That means spanning the boundaries of the team. Going outside the team, and utilizing those networks, which will be theoretically more diverse because you have more women, more men. Those networks are going to look different. And so, you have even more resources outside the team that these individuals on the team can span, and ring back more information and resources for the team to do their job effectively. And that enhances the team performance even more. On expected inclusion benefits of the remote workplace [00:22:34] We are seeing reports that marginalized individuals have benefited in a number of ways from that networking environment because there's less microaggressions that they're experiencing through their daily interactions with colleagues. On the importance of DEI work [00:20:49] It's not going away. It's time to figure it out, and it's only going to benefit you if you know you're doing it right. And there's a lot of opportunities to benefit organizations.
The natural and organic products market is exploding, with more businesses and industries looking to create impact in this space. The epicenter for the movement: Boulder, Colorado, home to many of the players in this space as well as thought leadership about what the industry will look like going forward. On this episode, we’re joined by Leeds marketing instructor Heather Kennedy. Heather has over 15 years of experience in brand strategy, product development and management. She’s worked for Kraft Foods, Whole Foods Market, and, more recently, the Fresh Ideas Group in Boulder, which specializes in natural and organic products. Heather offers insight on how far the natural foods movement has come, and forecasts where it’s headed in the future. EPISODE QUOTES: On the difference between natural and organic [00:01:54] If you see organic, you know that that product has not been grown with certain pesticides or certain fertilizers, et cetera. Natural, on the other hand, is about how a product is processed in general. And, it really does not have a specific definition from the FDA or the USDA. Nobody takes a look to see if a product is natural. You don't have to be certified to say that your product is natural. And so, it really becomes up to the consumer to decide: when they see natural on a label, what does that mean? On how the industry is shaped by world events [00:08:49] 80% of the world's sunflower oil is coming from Ukraine and Russia. That may not seem like a big deal, except that it's an ingredient that's in a lot of national organic products, and very specific to the natural and organic industry. So the industry is going to have to find a way to source differently, whether that's finding local sources or growers and producers in the United States or nearby. That's going to be something that the industry needs to focus on moving forward. In addition, Russia and Ukraine supply more than a quarter of the world's wheat, and we're already seeing that impact in pricing, and in shortages coming from that. On how Leeds is preparing students for success in the industry [00:14:57] These businesses are based in purpose and passion. The downside is that a lot of these folks don't have the business skills or training that really would make bringing that product to market a lot easier and more efficient. It's a tough, tough industry, with a lot of competitors. So, we see an opportunity to train our students who have that passionate interest in the natural organic space or in doing something and training them in consumer packaged goods and business acumen so that they can go work in some of these companies on the other side of this. On marketing [00:18:57] I use the example of a passionate founder who wants to make hummus, and his friends really love the hummus that he's made. And so he wants to take it to market. But if you have to look a little wider, now, look at the marketplace, what's in the marketplace right now. There are a lot of hummuses out there. Probably the last thing the world needs is a hummus or a salsa. We’ve got a lot of those right now. So, what's going to make your product better and different?
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