The Adapter’s Advantage: Breakthrough Moments that Lead to Success-logo

The Adapter’s Advantage: Breakthrough Moments that Lead to Success

Business & Economics Podcasts

Welcome to Adapter’s Advantage: Breakthrough Moments that Lead to Success, the podcast that brings you insider stories of the moments that mattered—turning points on the sometimes rocky road to success. Our guests are leaders in sales, training, enterprise learning, and academia, who share how they’re adapting to the changing world. These interviews are informative, inspirational, and based on real-world experiences to help listeners learn how their organizations can adapt to change. The host is Mark Magnacca, president and co-founder of Allego, the workforce training and readiness platform built for distributed teams.


United States


Welcome to Adapter’s Advantage: Breakthrough Moments that Lead to Success, the podcast that brings you insider stories of the moments that mattered—turning points on the sometimes rocky road to success. Our guests are leaders in sales, training, enterprise learning, and academia, who share how they’re adapting to the changing world. These interviews are informative, inspirational, and based on real-world experiences to help listeners learn how their organizations can adapt to change. The host is Mark Magnacca, president and co-founder of Allego, the workforce training and readiness platform built for distributed teams.




Unlocking Your Rockstar Attitude | Mark Schulman

During his career, performance driver and celebrity drummer Mark Schulman discovered that no matter what your role, you are critical to your group’s success. Whether you’re a supportive member or the star on stage, you bring something to the team that no one else can provide. And when everyone respects the importance and the validity of everybody else, your team’s ability is limitless. Schulman has worked with artists such as P!NK!, Cher, and Billy Idol, performing for sold-out audiences all over the world. Those experiences revealed to him how powerful your attitude is to achieving success. You may not be able to control what happens to you, but you have the power to control your attitude about what happens to you. And your attitude can drive many behaviors. Schulman is also a music producer, trained audio engineer, and co-owner of West Triad Recording Studio. In addition, he has taught at the Los Angeles Music Academy and is a highly sought drum clinician, hosting clinics in countries around the world. Show Notes


Engaging an Audience | Joe Sabatino

Joe Sabatino, founder of BehindTheTalk, has a unique background that spans Hollywood, corporate America, and professional sports. Over his career, he has honed proven methods of persuasion to help CEOs and other executives refine their public speaking skills and become more effective and influential. As a media trainer and public speaking coach, Joe has created a template for success that allows each executive to create a lasting impression on their audience while staying true to their personal style, brand, and individuality. His passion is to inspire his clients to become the most effective and influential communicators they can be. One of Joe's many successes was pitching and producing his network television series "Necessary Roughness" to Sony Pictures and the USA Television network. The studio and network invested over $85 million in the series, which was nominated for a Golden Globe and won a 2012 Voice Award. Joe has worked with NBC Universal, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, ESPN, HBO Sports, Showtime, Amazon, Google, Oracle. IBM Watson, Facebook and Microsoft. Show Notes


Advancing Technology Transformation | Marilyn Pearson Hendricks

Marilyn Pearson Hendricks, MBA is the co-founder & managing partner of WorkTech Advisory, a global consultancy specializing in the Human Resources and Work Tech sector. The firm helps SaaS companies unlock the full market potential of the investment they have made in their technology Marilyn has over 20 years of senior leadership, strategy, sales, marketing, alliances, and subject matter expert experience. She has dedicated her career to advancing the technology, processes, and mindset that support innovative people management used by organizations across the globe. Marilyn began her career as an HR practitioner, where she focused on digital transformation, change management, and business process redesign She now helps clients achieve their revenue and growth goals, specializing in strategic repositioning, pivots, opening new revenue streams, geographic expansion, and full-stack go-to market. Her experience spans numerous HR SaaS providers including Cornerstone OnDemand, Peoplefluent/Vector VMS/Affirmity (now LTG portfolio), Lawson Software (acquired by Infor) along with global HR strategic leadership consultancy PDI Ninth House (acquired by Korn Ferry) and SAP SuccessFactors implementation firm 3D Results (acquired by Rizing). Show Notes


Developing Virtual Sales Confidence | Melissa Finnegan

Melissa Finnegan possesses a broad depth of experience that comes from 25 years of service in the financial services industry. She currently serves as VP, Learning and Development at Lincoln Financial Distributors, Inc. In this capacity, Melissa and her team are responsible for conducting product, sales and technology training for all employees, which includes training on Lincoln’s annuity, long term care, life and small market retirement plan businesses. Her team supports individuals and teams in developing the skills and behaviors they need to achieve high performance and growth for the role they are taking, the role they are in, and the role that they want. Melissa has a B.A. in English from Pennsylvania State University. She is licensed in Life, Accident, and Health, and holds FINRA Series 6, 7, 26, 63, and 65. She is a certified instructor of SPIN Selling and holds the Certified Business Coach designation. She also has her black belt in Kenpo karate. Show Notes


Disrupting Sales Training | Emily Mason

Emily Mason is a senior learning strategist specializing in sales training at ResMed. ResMed is a pioneer of solutions that treat and keep people out of the hospital, empowering them to live healthier, higher-quality lives. Its cloud-connected medical devices transform care for people with sleep apnea, COPD and other chronic diseases. Emily has over 10 years of experience in medtech and pharmaceutical sales and sales training. Prior to joining ResMed, she held positions as a sales trainer at LEO pharma and sales roles at Pfizer and King pharmaceuticals. According to StrengthsFinder, her number one strength is “Futuristic”. Emily holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Northern Kentucky University. Show Notes


Selling With Greater Purpose | Bill Harmon

William Harmon is chief client officer for Voya Financial. In his role, Harmon leads the health and wealth sales, distribution and relationship management teams at Voya. He and his team support Voya’s efforts to deliver holistic solutions that help employers and their employees address their health and wealth needs and achieve greater financial wellness. He also serves on Voya’s Enterprise Leadership Team. Prior to this role, Harmon oversaw all aspects of Voya’s Corporate Markets business, which includes 401(k) and non-qualified plans. Harmon was responsible for sales, relationship management, strategy and profitable growth for all segments of the market. Prior to joining Voya in 2017, Harmon served as senior vice president, Core Markets, for Empower Retirement. Outside of the workplace, Harmon has been very active with nonprofits that serve the special needs community, which is consistent with Voya’s own commitment to serve this community through its Voya Cares effort. This includes Adam’s Camp, a group of nonprofit organizations providing a variety of therapeutic programs for children with special needs and their families, the Special Olympics, Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Association, and the Arc of The Farmington Valley (Favarh). Harmon holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Show Notes


Driving Sales Effectiveness | Ken and Nick Valla

Ken and Nick Valla are co-founders of The Valla Group, a sales effectiveness firm recognized as a modern sales training company. The Valla Group uses researched-based, proprietary content and an innovative, scalable approach to learning. Its customers include Amazon, Citrix, Autodesk, BASF, Avaya, Dekra, Siemens, Anthem, Crowe, and Verizon. Ken Valla is president of The Valla Group. With 30 years of experience in sales, sales management, and sales strategy consulting, Ken specializes in B2B selling to help companies transform and maximize the results of their sales organization. Ken has sold and implemented over $80M in sales effectiveness solutions and worked with over fifty Fortune 500 companies. Ken’s projects have helped these customers to measurably improve sales performance resulting in millions of dollars of return on investment. Nick is vice president of strategic sales at The Valla Group. With over 10 years of experience in sales, Nick has been a high performing producer at every organization he has worked for. Prior to starting The Valla Group, Nick sold for Citrix Systems, Wilson Learning, and Allego, where he helped grow the company’s mid- market presence from startup to sales enablement leader. Show Notes


Coaching Advisor Growth | Cheri Lytle

Cheri Lytle is Managing Director, Head of Chase Wealth Management Advice and Strategy at JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. Cheri has an extensive track record of developing leaders and advisors, implementing organizational change, and managing merger and acquisition integrations. Cheri’s organization provides market insights, investment expertise, practice management, and tools to enable financial advisors to help clients achieve their financial goals. Born a coal miner’s daughter in West Virginia, Cheri graduated from West Virginia University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Psychology and a Master’s degree in Business Human Resources & Labor Relations. Cheri began her career at General Electric Aircraft Engines, leading global systems initiatives across ten countries. She then held various leadership positions at Bank of America within bank branch operations, credit card, and small business. Prior to joining JP Morgan Chase, Cheri was head of advisor strategy and development at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, where she led the advisor development program for 3,500 advisor trainees and implemented practice management strategies for 15,000 financial advisors. Previously she led human resources and leadership development for Merrill Lynch. Show Notes


Activating Sales Strategy | Lori Richardson

Sales influencer, keynote speaker, strategist, and author Lori Richardson runs the sales strategy firm Score More Sales, which helps company leaders in SaaS, tech, telecom, manufacturing, distribution, financial services and professional services solve sales issues and grow revenue. Lori founded Score More Sales in 2002 to help companies grow revenues through strategic sales efforts, using lessons learned from 20 years in B2B sales and leadership roles. Lori is the author of “She Sells,” written to help company executives and sales leaders find, recruit, retain, and promote more women into sales and leadership roles. She hosts the award-winning podcast, “Conversations with Women in Sales,” and is an expert worldwide on creating inclusive sales teams. Lori also is President of Women Sales Pros and the creator of the She Sells Summit. Show Notes


Driving Diversity & Fueling Growth | Ryan Thompson

Ryan Thompson, Senior Director, Global Sales Training at Medtronic, has twenty-two years of experience in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. He is a seasoned executive and people leader of international teams and large-scale change initiatives. Currently, Ryan leads the Surgical Innovations global learning innovations team that is focused on identifying, piloting, and implementing the latest technologies used in the learning and development space. Ryan is a proud member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and in 2019 founded the Medtronic American Indian Employee Resource Group driving inclusion and diversity across the organization. Ryan is a co-founder of the VTA: Ventilator Training Alliance, which created a transformational ventilator training solution during the pandemic. The VTA app provides a free multi-vendor library of training and product materials for medical professionals. As a result of this work, he received a 2020 Global IT Award, 2020 International Stevie Award, and the 2021 Medtronic Star of Excellence Award. Ryan received his B.S. in Science Business from the University of Notre Dame. Show Notes:


Winning Sales With Video | Todd Hartley

Todd Hartley is the rockstar of remote selling, video marketing, and sales optimization. He’s one of Tony Robbins’ Business Mastery faculty speakers and delivers high-octane keynotes all over the world. His track record of being years ahead of his industry is why billion-dollar companies, celebrities, and world leaders hire him to develop their sales and marketing strategies. Some of his clients include 23andMe, Justin Timberlake, MD Anderson, The Home Depot, and an American President. Todd’s tactics earned his ROI-focused video, marketing, and sales optimization agency, WireBuzz, a spot on Inc 5000’s list as one of the fastest-growing privately held businesses in America in 2020. Growing up, Todd struggled with dyslexia and attention disorders. Today, Todd is a proud alumnus of the University of Arizona, an advisor to the Chairman of the President’s Cancer Panel, and a board member for the American Society of Breast Surgeons. He is also a member of the SALT Center advisory board — University of Arizona’s academic support program for students with learning disabilities and attention disorders. From 2003 to 2007, Todd led digital marketing campaigns for ClearChannel & iHeart Radio. Todd’s early prioritization of video as a business tool catapulted his career as a digital marketer, agency owner, and keynote speaker. Show Notes:


Building Customer Relationships | Jon Ferrara

Jon Ferrara is a serial entrepreneur, CRM pioneer, speaker, and leader in the relationship economy, which is the foundation of social selling and modern-day sales. He's been recognized by Forbes as one of the Top 10 Social CEOs, one of the Top 10 Social Salespeople in the World, and one of the Top 100 Marketing Influencers. Ferrara is the founder and CEO of Nimble, an award-winning social sales and marketing CRM for individuals and teams. He launched Nimble to help people nurture their personal and business relationships across email and social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Nimble is ranked #1 in Overall Satisfaction by G2 Crowd. He’s best known as the co-founder of GoldMine Software Corp, one of the first Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms for Small to Medium sized Businesses (SMBs). In 1999, Goldmine was acquired by FrontRange. Ferrara is an advisor to multiple start-ups and established companies. He also donates time to local business colleges and entrepreneurial programs including the Entrepreneurial Program at USC Marshall School of Business. Show Notes:


Reinventing Sales Content | Mitchell Haber

Mitchell Haber, regional sales director at OneAmerica Financial Partners, is a top performer who has trained thousands of financial advisors. His leadership and guidance for the regional offices includes sales, marketing, and service. In this episode, Mitch shares how he pivoted during the pandemic to find creative approaches to serving customers and the advisor community, the importance of disrupting complacency, alternative ways to deliver content, and the value of strategic partnerships. Show Notes: The views and opinions expressed in this material are solely those of the participants and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of any of the companies of OneAmerica. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. About OneAmerica® A national provider of insurance and financial services for more than 140 years, the companies of OneAmerica help customers build and protect their financial futures. OneAmerica offers a variety of products and services to serve the financial needs of their policyholders and customers. These products include retirement plan products and recordkeeping services, individual life insurance, annuities, asset based long-term care solutions and employee benefit plan products. Other entities referenced are not affiliates of the companies of OneAmerica unless otherwise noted.


Mastering the Omnichannel Sale | Jennifer Stanley

Jennifer Stanley is a partner at McKinsey & Company where she leads the Sales & Channel Management Practice for North America. She has over twenty years of experience specializing in go-to-market (GTM) transformations for B2B companies in a wide range of highly competitive industries, with particular emphasis on complex, omnichannel ecosystems. From the design of omnichannel strategy and architecture to the reorganization of the sales force, including digital sales, strategic key-account planning, and the development of capability-building programs, Jennifer brings a rich foundation of practical experience and insights from years of McKinsey research and client work. Outside of Jennifer’s client work, she has served in various volunteer alumni roles at the University of Tennessee, she’s a frequent author on B2B sales topics, and speaker at industry forums. Prior to joining McKinsey, Jennifer held various sales and marketing positions in a travel-related organization while concurrently completing her higher education. She also taught sales management and organizational leadership at the university level. Show Notes:


Having a Bias for Action | Brian Shortsleeve

Brian Shortsleeve is co-founder and managing director of M33 Growth, a venture, and growth-stage investment management firm that seeks to rapidly scale and build industry-leading companies. He is passionate about helping founders and CEOs win in their markets. Prior to founding M33, Brian served as the chief administrator and acting general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). He was handpicked by Governor Charlie Baker in 2015 to develop a plan to put the MBTA on the path to long-term fiscal sustainability. During his tenure, Brian led efforts to reduce the operating deficit, leverage technology, and industry partnerships to modernize business processes and accelerate the pace of state-of-good-repair capital investment. Before the MBTA, Brian spent 14 years in strategy consulting and investing at Bain & Company, H.I.G. Capital, and most recently, General Catalyst, where he served as a managing director and led investments in software and technology-enabled services companies. Brian served on the boards of Axium Software (acquired by Deltek), CLEAResult (acquired by General Atlantic), Envoy Global, Oceans Healthcare, and OGSystems. Brian is a Massachusetts native, a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School, and served as a Marine officer in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Persian Gulf. He was named one of the 50 Most Influential People in Boston by Boston Business Journal and one of the 2016 Game Changers by The Boston Globe. Show Notes:


Finding Your Superpower | Tiffani Bova

Tiffani Bova is the global growth evangelist at Salesforce and the author of the Wall Street Journal bestselling book GROWTH IQ: Get Smarter About the Choices that Will Make or Break Your Business. Tiffani has been named to the latest Thinkers50’s list of the world’s top management thinkers and is a welcomed guest on Bloomberg, BNN, Cheddar, MSNBC, and Yahoo Finance, among others. Tiffani also contributes to publications including Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Diginomica, Quora, Thrive, Rotman School of Management and Duke Dialogue Review. She is a change maker who’s thought-provoking and forward-thinking insights have made her a frequent guest on a variety of industry-leading podcasts and live broadcasts. Tiffani was named one of Inc. Magazine’s 37 Sales Experts You Need to Follow on Twitter, a LinkedIn Top Sales Expert to follow in 2018, 2019 and 2020, a Top 100 Women in Tech, a Brand Quarterly Magazine Top 50 Marketing Thought Leader, and one of the most Powerful and Influential Women in California according to the National Diversity Council. Show Notes:


Creating Hype | Michael F. Schein

Michael F. Schein is the founder and president of MicroFame Media, a marketing agency that specializes in making idea-based companies famous in their fields. Some of his clients have included eBay, Magento, The Medici Group, University of Pennsylvania, Gordon College, University of California Irvine, United Methodist Publishing House, Ricoh, LinkedIn, and Citrix. His writing has appeared in Fortune, Forbes, Inc., Psychology Today, and Huffington Post, and he is a speaker for international audiences spanning from the northeastern United States to the southeastern coast of China. His book The Hype Handbook: 12 Indispensable Success Secrets From the World’s Greatest Propagandists, Self-Promoters, Cult Leaders, Mischief Makers, and Boundary Breakers was released by McGraw Hill in 2021. Show Notes: The Hype Handbook: 12 Indispensable Success Secrets From the World’s Greatest Propagandists, Self-Promoters, Cult Leaders, Mischief Makers, and Boundary Breakers


Winning the Complex Sale | Dan Smaida

Dan Smaida has over 20 years delivering world-class sales training to clients from Fortune 100 to startups. He speaks all over the world on sales, relationships, and building sales training that works. Recognized as an innovator in the use of technology to train soft skills, Dan is sought out by Fortune 500 sales leaders seeking to improve the impact of sales development. Dan specializes in helping professional advising teams create, refine, and execute business development processes. He works with, and learns from, some of the world’s best sales forces on how to win complex, long-cycle sales. Dan has worked with some of the top organizations in multiple industries all over the world, and has deep experience in financial services. Dan is founder of Boatman Learning Inc., which develops sales training, workshops, and keynotes on how to build better business relationships. He is Editor-in-Chief of the AdvisoryEDGE™ Digest, creator of the AdvisoryEDGE™ method, and author of “Love and Selling” His custom-tailored sales methodologies continue to thrive in dozens of companies around the world. Show Notes:


Awakening Possibility | Benjamin Zander

Throughout his career, Benjamin Zander has developed a human and transformative approach to making and teaching music. The orchestra is a group of highly trained individuals poised to coalesce into an effective whole. Passion, creativity, and the desire to contribute are basic human instincts. ​In this new model of leadership, the conductor sees his job as awakening possibilities in others. Zander has traveled the world lecturing to organizations on leadership. He has appeared as a keynote speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he was presented with the Crystal Award for “Outstanding Contributions in the Arts and International Relations.” His best-selling book, The Art of Possibility, co-authored with leading psychotherapist Rosamund Zander, has been translated into seventeen languages. Zander has established an international reputation as a guest conductor. He has conducted orchestras as diverse as the Israel Philharmonic, Bournemouth Symphony, the Scottish and Irish National Orchestras, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Malaysian Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the National Youth Orchestras of New Zealand, Australia and Venezuela. Show Notes:


Having a Sense of Purpose | Tim Welsh

Tim Welsh is Vice Chair, Consumer and Business Banking (CBB) at U.S. Bank, the fifth-largest bank in the country. The company has been recognized by Ethisphere as one of the World's Most Ethical companies for six consecutive years. Collectively the CBB group includes consumer products, branches, small businesses, mortgages, auto, and many elements of digital. CBB accounts for nearly half of U.S. Bank's loans and deposits. Tim works with colleagues to achieve their collective purpose, which is to power the potential of consumers and businesses. Previously, he was a senior partner at McKinsey & Company, based in Minneapolis. In his nearly 27 years at McKinsey, he served clients throughout the financial services and consumer industries including some of the nation’s leading insurers, banks, investment firms, consumer packaged goods, retailers, and health care companies. Tim also cares passionately about helping the Minneapolis-St. Paul community thrive. He is one of the founders of the Itasca Project, which was covered in the NY Times, McKinsey Quarterly and Tom Friedman's book "Thank You for Being Late." He serves on the boards of many non-profit organizations in the community and nationally. Show Notes: