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Fearless - The Art of Creative Leadership

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Ep 70: Paul Venables of VB+P on the power of good intentions

"The Magnetic Leader". Paul Venables is the co-founder of Venables, Bell and Partners. A San Francisco ad agency with self described ‘good intentions.’ Last year, VB+P, was named one of Fast Company’s most innovative companies and one of the top ten companies in media and advertising. So having good intentions is clearly working for them. Which makes you wonder why more companies wouldn’t claim such apparently low hanging fruit. After all, it’s easy to claim ‘good intentions’ as your...


Ep 69: Lisa Clunie and Jaime Robinson of Joan Creative on changing the rules

'The Pressure Valve Leaders' In this episode I talk to Jaime Robinson and Lisa Clunie, the founders of the New York agency, Joan Creative. These two women are building a company on their terms and establishing new ways to get the best out of the people that work for them. This week's theme on Fearless is 'team-building' and you'll hear examples of how Joan brings people together - clients and employees - to unlock new possibilities. You'll also hear why their partnership surprised them...


Ep 68: Alain Sylvain of Sylvain Labs on challenging the potential of himself and others

'The Sensitive Leader'. Welcome to the second season of ‘Fearless’. We've added a weekly theme focus. This week we're looking at Empathy. You'll find more of our thinking on empathy here. This episode is my conversation with Alain Sylvain - the founder of Sylvain Labs - an innovation and brand design consultancy. Sylvain Labs is 8 years old and describe their tools as science and whimsy. Their client roster is diverse, from Google to Nike. From Chobani to GM. Before starting his own...


Ep 67: David Abraham of Wonderhood Studios on taking calculated risks

'The Explosion Expert'. This is my conversation with David Abraham of Wonderhood Studios in which we talk about taking calculated risks. Wonderhood is a startup - a modern media company built around a content and programming studio and a full-strength creative agency for major brands. David’s experience comes first from the London creative agency world of CDP and Chiat / Day. And most recently from seven years running Channel Four in the UK.


Ep 66: George Felix of KFC & Jesse Johnson of Wieden + Kennedy on collaborative problem-solving

'The Servant Leaders'. In 2018, KFC was named marketer of the year. Wieden + Kennedy were named agency of the year. And their partnership produced the Campaign of the year. Their partnership is driving business results and changing culture. It’s also the embodiment of the Wieden + Kennedy philosophy that Jason Bagley and Eric Baldwin described in our podcast last year - a philosophy they describe as ‘branded everything’. George Felix and Jesse Johnson are the two people at the heart of...


Ep 65: Mohan Ramaswamy of Work & Co on supporting others’ strengths

'The One-of-Many Leader'. This is my conversation with Mohan Ramaswamy - one of the partners of Work & Co. Mohan and I recorded this conversation at the Cannes Creativity Festival in June. Work and Co is unusual because they have 14 partners - all of whom are involved in all the major decisions of the company. For a business whose reputation and success has grown rapidly, that kind of community leadership is rare.


Ep 64: Avery Baker of Tommy Hilfiger on being a thinker and doer

'The Empowering Leader'. This is my conversation with Avery Baker - the Chief Brand Officer of Tommy Hilfiger. It was recorded live on stage as part of this year’s Cannes Creativity festival. Over the last two years, Avery has been instrumental in changing how Tommy Hilfiger shows up in the world. From a business that required five months to take clothes from the runway to the consumer, she led an internal and external revolution that produced a brand capable of delivering ‘see now buy...


Ep 63: John Seifert of Ogilvy shows how company loyalty pays off

'The One-Company Leader'. I first met John Seifert in 1983. We were both working at Ogilvy & Mather in New York on the TWA business. The world was very different back then. What hasn’t changed much is John. John and Ogilvy always seemed to fit together. You couldn’t imagine hime working anywhere else. Thirty nine years later, he still hasn’t. Today he is the company's CEO. In an era and industry defined by upheaval, I wanted to talk to John about why he has stayed at one company for so...


Ep 62: Thomas Benski of Pulse Films on leading by example

'The Son'. This is the second of my interviews from the Cannes Creativity festival. In this one - which was recorded in front of alive audience - I talked to Thomas Benski, the founder of Pulse Films, an award winning modern-day content studio, which two years ago was bought by Vice. Thomas is charming and charismatic. He is relentlessly energized and filled with original ideas. He is engaged. Interesting. And Interested. He is driven in large part by what happened to his family when he...


Ep 61: John Boiler, Glen Cole, Evin Shutt & Matt Jarvis of 72andSunny on emphasizing optimism

'The Preacher, The Teacher, The Weird Kid and The Absurdist'. This is my conversation with the four people at the heart of over the last 14 years. The two initial founders: John Boiler and Glenn Cole. And the two people they added soon after to help build the business. Evin Shutt and Matt Jarvis. Rarely - too rarely - do I see partnerships that - both in their intention and in their casting, have been formed on lasting foundations. Ego, insecurity and yes, fear get in the way. Common...


Ep 60: Chris Weil of Momentum on building a distinct culture

'The Pace Setter'. This week, my conversation with Chris Weil - the CEO of Momentum. Chris has always struck me as clear, confident and charismatic. He welcomes people into his world and puts them at ease. And he relishes change. I wanted to talk to Chris about where his confidence and openness comes from.


Ep 60: Chris Weil - In 5

A five minute edited highlight of our full conversation.


Ep 59: Robin Domeniconi of Threaded Tale on trusting her instincts

'The Instinctive Leader'. This is my conversation with Robin Domeniconi - CEO/Founder of Threaded Tales and one of the founders of Real Simple magazine. I was struck by Robin’s history. By the diversity of things she has done. Of the size and significance of the organizations she has led. And during our conversation - as she talked about what she has overcome and how she has overcome it - I was reminded again of how even the best of the best are human. And that it is their ability to use...


Ep 58: Kat Gordon of 3% Movement on pushing for diversity

'The Gymnast'. This is my conversation with Kat Gordon - founder of the 3% Percent Conference and CEO of the 3% Movement. Kat started 3% in 2008, to highlight the fact that only 3 percent of creative directors at major ad agencies were women Kat is a change agent, moving into previously unoccupied spaces, doing things that hadn’t been done before. A revolutionary in a time of revolution. I wanted to understand where that willingness to take on the status quo in such a public and...


Ep 58: Kat Gordon - In 5

A five minute edited highlight of our full conversation.


Ep 57: Cheryl Abel-Hodges of Calvin Klein on getting comfortable with discomfort

'The Open Leader'. This week, my conversation with Cheryl Abel-Hodges, the Group President of Calvin Klein North America and The Underwear Group. Cheryl welcomes debate and exploration and new ways of looking at things. She welcomes it whether the conversation is about her business or about her leadership. So, this episode is called, "The Open Leader." I was struck by Cheryl’s clarity, her openness and her generosity. And by the environment she creates for real give and take. I’m...


Ep 57: Cheryl Abel-Hodges - In 5

A five minute edited highlight of our full length conversation.


Ep 56: Ramaa Mosley & Aniya Wolfe of Adolescent Content on erasing age limits

'The Young Leaders'. Adolescent Content is the idea of the filmmaker Ramaa Mosley, and is based on the simple insight that content intended for youth would be more impactful if it was conceived and created by youth. Their creators, directors and photographers are as young as 11. They have developed marketing concepts and content for iconic brands, shot feature films and given TED talks. Ramaa and I were joined by one of her directors, sixteen year-old Aniya Wolfe. Aniya is a member of...


Ep 56: Adolescent Content - In 5

A five minuted edited highlight of our full-length conversation.


Ep 55: David Slocum of Berlin School of Creative Leadership on fostering creative leadership

'The Teacher'. I’ve known David Slocum for a decade or so and he’s been kind enough to invite me to speak to his executive MBA class at the Berlin School in Cannes for the last several years. He has a rare gift for combining the theoretical with the practical, and I’ve watched scores of his students become more thoughtful and intentioned leaders as a result of his teaching. One of the areas we talked about was why talented people are willing to work for demanding leaders. ‘Demanding’...