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Smart Leaders

Business & Economics Podcasts

Smart Leaders from Smart Business Network features interviews with the people driving change, innovation and growth in the local business communities we cover.

Smart Leaders from Smart Business Network features interviews with the people driving change, innovation and growth in the local business communities we cover.


United States


Smart Leaders from Smart Business Network features interviews with the people driving change, innovation and growth in the local business communities we cover.




John Kvamme, Senior Vice President of Associated Bank

If there’s one common mistake business owners make when planning their future, it is failing to prepare for the sale of their company — typically the largest financial asset in their portfolio. John Kvamme, senior vice president of wealth management at Associated Bank, says you can’t start early enough. He shares successful steps entrepreneurs can take to get started and strategies to enhance and maximize value in a business before the sale.


John Ensign, President of MRI Software

Operating in a virtual workplace with a global software company provided MRI Software a unique opportunity to quickly adapt to the COVID-19 crisis. President John Ensign discusses what he’s learned as a result of the workplace shutdown, what it means for MRI’s aggressive M&A strategy, and the opportunities this new reality offers to those who embrace the new normal.


Steve Millard, CEO of the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce

How are C-suite executives in the greater Akron region faring during the COVID-19 crisis, and where do they see the regional economy headed? Steve Millard, CEO of the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce, shares his thoughts on regional collaboration, leadership versatility and how the chamber shifted its 2020 slate of conferences and events to a virtual world.


Ansir Junaid, CEO of SupplySide Group

The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated the challenges American businesses face by relying on an interconnected global supply chain. Ansir Junaid, chairman and CEO of the SupplySide Group, shares his thoughts on how U.S. companies are navigating these challenges, as well as what he’s seeing on a global scale through his work as an advisory board member of the Rand Corporation.


Andre Thornton, CEO of ASW Global

As CEOs start exploring what a new normal means, one area that remains critical to achieving business goals is managing the supply chain. ASW Global CEO Andre Thornton offers his thoughts on how the logistics and transportation industry is reacting to America’s needs… and meeting them.


Phil Derrow, CEO of Ohio Transmission Corp.

Even though much of the nation’s M&A activity ground to a halt due to the coronavirus, Ohio Transmission Corp. CEO Phil Derrow is still looking for good companies to acquire. Derrow explains how OTC shifted operations to adapt to the shutdown and what he’s done to ensure its M&A-fueled growth curve continues long into the future.


Eric Schnur, CEO of Lubrizol

When COVID-19 caused shortages in PPEs and disrupted the global supply chain, Lubrizol CEO Eric Schnur was ready. Not only did the multi-billion-dollar chemical manufacturer have a contingency plan in place, but it leveraged its relationships to help provide components to speed production and get PPEs to health care workers. In this interview, Schnur talks about Lubrizol’s $2 million pledge, and how the Berkshire Hathaway-owned company is preparing for what comes next.


Marcia Ballinger, President of Lorain County Community College

As the COVID-19 crisis impacts organizations across all industries, higher education has been among those most affected. Lorain County Community College President Marcia Ballinger discusses how the college implemented its existing pandemic contingency plan within days of the state shutdown and was able to shift all learning online, as well as what the future of virtual education might look like.


Hoby Hanna, CEO of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services

How has the economic shutdown and stay-at-home orders across the America impacted the real estate market? Hoby Hanna, president of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, describes what changes he anticipates in residential real estate — and how his company has embraced the new virtual environment.


Ethan Karp, CEO of MAGNET

How much can be accomplished over a holiday weekend in the midst of a mandatory stay-at-home order and general chaos in the business world? Ethan Karp, CEO of MAGNET, shares the behind-the-scenes story of how he and others collaborated over Easter weekend to develop and deploy the Ohio Emergency PPE Makers’ Exchange to get front-line health care workers the equipment they needed.


Umberto Fedeli, CEO of The Fedeli Group

Now is a not a time to panic, despite the uncertainty. Umberto Fedeli, veteran investor and CEO of The Fedeli Group, discusses his thoughts on crisis leadership and the importance of staying calm as an investor during challenging times.


Tom Zenty, CEO of University Hospitals

As CEO of University Hospitals in Cleveland, Tom Zenty leads 24,000 employees, many of them on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic. In this conversation with Smart Business he discusses the health care industry's response to the pandemic and what it means to the future of health care delivery in the United States.


Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine took a lot of heat in March when he issued a state order prohibiting spectators from attending the 2020 Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus. More than a month later his decision has been vindicated as Ohio trails other big states in coronavirus infection rates. In this Smart Leaders interview Gov. DeWine talks about working with business leaders to lessen the damage done by business shutdowns, what a return-to-work world might look like, and how he came to make the...