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Left to Our Own Devices with Erica Keswin

Business & Economics Podcasts

What does it mean to be human, really human—in work, at home, and in life? How can we bring our whole selves to everything we do? Left to Our Own Devices is a podcast that explores how to bring our human to work and life. It all boils down to one simple thing: honoring relationships. And it’s not rocket science, but it does take intention. Each week, workplace strategist, speaker, and bestselling author, Erica Keswin interviews CEOs, founders, philanthropists, thought leaders, and people just like you to find out all the ways they bring their human to their own lives. Honoring relationships has never mattered more.


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What does it mean to be human, really human—in work, at home, and in life? How can we bring our whole selves to everything we do? Left to Our Own Devices is a podcast that explores how to bring our human to work and life. It all boils down to one simple thing: honoring relationships. And it’s not rocket science, but it does take intention. Each week, workplace strategist, speaker, and bestselling author, Erica Keswin interviews CEOs, founders, philanthropists, thought leaders, and people just like you to find out all the ways they bring their human to their own lives. Honoring relationships has never mattered more.




Season Finale: A Mental Health Roundtable presented by coaching startup, Terawatt

Mental Health in the workplace is top of mind, especially these days. With all that’s going on in the world, Covid continuing to upend plans, and burnout running rampant through organizations, leaders need practical, tactical solutions to helping their people (and themselves!) deal with mental health challenges. So on this final day of Mental Health Awareness month, Erica moderates a mental health roundtable discussion featuring leading experts in the diversity, inclusion, and belonging...


Scaling a Fintech Platform to Unicorn Status by Following Immigrant Family Values with Suneera Madhani, Co-founder and CEO of Stax Payments

What does it take to scale a business from an idea to unicorn status? Suneera Madhani would say to look to family values—specifically the ones her Pakistani parents instilled in her. With her brother, Suneera co-founded Stax Payments, a fintech platform now processing $23 billion in payments, so it’s clear that these immigrant family values are working. Suneera speaks with Erica about her three-bucket principle to prioritizing what matters most, Stax’s rituals around shared meals, why...


The Human Way to Disagree with Amy Gallo, Author, Speaker, and Contributing Editor at Harvard Business Review

Contrary to popular belief, the highest performing teams are not necessarily conflict free. In fact, healthy disagreement—or creative friction—leads to more innovation, more trust, better ideas, and higher performance. Amy Gallo, author, podcast host, and contributing editor at Harvard Business Review, sits down with Erica on this week’s episode to discuss how to disagree in a human way. This conversation equips leaders and employees alike to build trust and psychological safety in...


How to Cope with Big Feelings at Work with Liz Fosslien, Author and Illustrator, and Head of Communications and Content at Humu

When Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy pitched their second book, Big Feelings: How to Be Okay When Things Are Not Okay, to their publisher in January 2020, the authors were met with questions about its relevance. Fast forward six months (and three months into a new and terrifying global pandemic), and the publisher recognized this was, in fact, a very relevant book to publish. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why. In these turbulent times, with millions participating in The...


How to Use Play to Increase Connection with Facilitator, Speaker, Coach, and Founder of Breakthrough Play, Gary Ware

Gary Ware was working as a VP at a digital ad agency when he realized that being completely depleted, feeling broken, and having no drive to do anything was perhaps *not* normal. Gary was experiencing what many of us have faced, especially during the pandemic—burnout. So Gary took an improv class and realized play is what was missing in his life. On the podcast this week, Gary chats with Erica about his journey from burnout to breakthrough by incorporating play and games into the work day....


How Sports Skills are Transferable to the Business World with Former Team USA Women’s Hockey Captain and 3x Olympian, Meghan Duggan

Few activities prepare a young person for the world of work better than participation in team sports. With skills like leadership, performance under pressure, work ethic, teamwork, problem solving, and the ability to strategize, athletes are naturally set up to be successful. And that’s just what this week’s guest, former Team USA Women’s Hockey team captain and three-time Olympic medalist, Meghan Duggan, has found. Meghan joined Erica on the podcast to discuss her transition from leading...


Culture Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated with Joe Camberato, Founder and CEO of National Business Capital

From a one-man business consultant working out of a spare bedroom in 2007 to a team of 100 employees, 1 billion dollars secured in business financing, and a leading fintech marketplace for small businesses, Joe Camberato—or, Grow By Joe, as he’s known on the internet—knows a thing or two about growth. Which makes sense, because Joe’s mission is to help drive growth, both for clients and employees. So how does he do it? This week on the podcast, Joe Camberato, founder and CEO of National...


Prioritizing D&I is a Competitive Advantage with Endeavor’s Chief Inclusion Officer, Alicin Williamson and Director of D&I, Nicholas Griggs-Drane

How do we shift society as a whole towards more diversity and inclusion? It starts with the people and brands defining culture itself—“the icons, visionaries, renowned experts, award-winners, champions, leading brands and institutions.” And nowhere do they influence culture more than at Endeavor, a company that represents this top tier talent in sports, entertainment, fashion, live events, and media. On this episode, Erica spoke with Alicin Williamson, Chief Inclusion Officer, and Nicholas...


Start with People, Get Results with Jeannie Weaver, VP of Retail Marketing at AT&T

Whether joining a meeting from Zoom, on a walk, or in-person, Jeannie Weaver knows that intentional connection is key to how she leads a team of 45+ in the retail marketing and special experiences space at AT&T. The pandemic disrupted so much, but it never changed—only reinforced—her approach to leadership: start with people. Her team has been able to thrive through these turbulent times by recognizing individual contribution, curating experiences together, and focusing on gratitude. In this...


Building Community and Breaking Down Barriers Through Rice with Award-Winning Chef JJ Johnson

Food is a vessel for connecting people. It helps build community and break down barriers. That’s the vision behind Season Four’s first guest, James-Beard-award-winning chef, TV personality, and author, Chef JJ Johnson. Chef JJ’s most recent restaurant venture, FIELDTRIP, is a made-to-order dining experience based around rice, as it’s the universal ingredient that connects us all and can be found at the center of the table in almost every community. In this episode, Erica and Chef JJ discuss...


Welcome to Season 4…Now What?

Here we are, two years after March 2020, when everything changed. Things are FAR from back to normal. People are quitting their jobs in record numbers. Mental health challenges remain at an all-time high. And flexibility isn’t going anywhere. So how do leaders retain top talent and run their businesses during all this uncertainty? On Season 4 of Left to Our Own Devices, Erica is asking, “Now What?” And leaders from all walks of life will help her find the answer.


Season Finale: An Awesome Human Hour—Navigating the Future of Work with Bestselling Author and Founder of Happier, Nataly Kogan

What’s a human leader to do as we all try to figure out how to navigate the future of work? There are so many variables right now around the return to the office, working from home, hybrid models, and everything in between, that it can be tough to make the smartest and safest decisions. And we can’t do this difficult work alone. That’s why for the finale of the Hybrid season of Left to Our Own Devices, we’re running a special episode: a live webinar (previously recorded) from keynote...


Creating Magical Moments in the Post-Pandemic Transition with Executive Coach, Alisa Cohn, and Serial Entrepreneur, Jake Stein

We’re half way through summer, which means the official “return to office” date, the day after Labor Day, is fast approaching. Many companies expect that their employees will be back in the office in some capacity. Which means NOW is the time to be thinking about how to navigate that transition. Enter executive start up coach Alisa Cohn and her client, co-founder and CEO of startup Common Paper, Jake Stein, to chat with Erica about how they’re both figuring out this transition time. In the...


HOLIDAY REPLAY: The Value of a Woman’s Hour: How COVID has shaped women’s lives and rituals with Eve Rodsky

For the July 4th holiday week, we’re replaying the Season Two finale, featuring Eve Rodsky. As the discussion around Hybrid work and equity around the Return (or not) to the Office continues to heat up, Eve’s perspective on how women are impacted is ever important. As one woman noted to me recently, “I want to take advantage of my company’s offer to work from home on Thursday, but the two men on my team aren’t going to do it.” Women especially want flex, but don’t want to be left behind if...


Bye-Bye Burnout with Jen Fisher, Chief Well-being Officer at Deloitte and Keren Ehrenfeld, Managing Director at Morgan Stanley

The pandemic accelerated several workplace trends, but none more rapidly than the conversation around holistic well-being. How do we think about wellness at work? How do we integrate work and life instead of trying to force an impossible balance? How has the pandemic changed our view of well-being in a way that’s holistic and gives mental health equal weight? At the end of the day, “We bring work to life by bringing life to work.” This week on the podcast, Erica chats with two women leading...


How to Bring Yourself to Everything you do with Author Expert Mori Taheripour

What’s important to you? What are your non-negotiables? What are your goals? When it comes to negotiating what’s best for each person in the hybrid workplace, answering those questions is a great place to start, says Mori Taheripour, this week’s guest on Left to Our Own Devices. Mori is a globally recognized negotiation and DEI expert, executive, Wharton professor, and author of Bring Yourself: How to Harness the Power of Connections to Negotiate Fearlessly. Erica and Mori discuss why it’s...


The Figure-It-Out Mindset with Colette Stallbaumer, General Manager of Microsoft 365 and Future of Work at Microsoft

How do the leaders of one of the biggest and most successful tech companies in the world lead in the Hybrid Revolution? With a figure-it-out mindset. Today on the podcast, Erica chats with Colette Stallbaumer, General Manager of Microsoft 365 and Future of Work at Microsoft. Colette explains Microsoft's approach to Hybrid work—it’s centered around a three-part framework: people, places, and processes. They’re using technology and research to implement best practices around empowering...


How to Develop Talent in Turbulent Times, with Betterment VP of Talent Development, Susan Justus

How do you develop great talent in turbulent times? What about for a future of work which has never yet existed? By being a people-first leader. This week on Left to Our Own Devices, Erica sits down with Susan Justus, VP of Talent Development at Betterment, a digital automated investment platform. Susan has spent many years in the talent development space and understands that building relationships with people “beyond the task” (part of The Betterment Way) is key. To develop employees with...


How to Design a Space for Creative Flow with Chief Strategy Officer at A+I, Peter Knutson and Chief Design Officer of Publicis Groupe, Bastien Baumann

As we start thinking about the epic “Return to the Office,” many are thinking about space and how it can be used more intentionally for collaboration, creativity, and productivity. Peter Knutson, chief strategy officer at architecture firm A+I and Bastien Baumann, chief design officer at Publicis Groupe join Erica on the podcast this week to discuss this very topic. A+I and Publicis Groupe partnered together to form Le Truc, “a New York City-based center of creative excellence for clients,...


Lessons From Your Covid Furry Friends: How to be Truly Human at Work with Banfield Pet Hospital President, Brian Garish

When Covid hit, several industries were hit hard, but some thrived immensely. One such industry that’s seen a huge uptick in business this past year has been the pet industry, as 11 million households got a new pet in 2020. Wow! That’s a lot of new family members. But Banfield Pet Hospital is here to help new pet owners manage all that animal energy. On this week’s episode, Erica sits down with Banfield Pet Hospital president, Brian Garish, to talk all things cats, dogs, and leadership in...