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Working Capital Conversations


Engaging conversations on business, technology and innovation.

Engaging conversations on business, technology and innovation.


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Engaging conversations on business, technology and innovation.




Julian Francis: Empathetic Leadership in Action

Today – a special edition of our sister podcast "Call In," which explores Inclusive Leaderships – when to call in, and when to call out. Our guest was Julian Francis, President and CEO of Beacon Building Products – the largest publicly traded distributor of roofing materials and complementary building products in the U.S. and Canada. A key component of the way Julian advances business success is through empathetic leadership, connecting a human understanding of each employee to the...


Mary Kay Orr: How Nazareth Housing Helps Families Unlock Their Potential

For anyone fortunate to come home to a familiar space, we can forget the compounding difficulty of homelessness. A home represents stability, and in the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic, homelessness was made even worse. Mary Kay Orr, the Executive Director of Nazareth Housing, wanted to address the problem of homelessness in New York in a meaningful way. Nazareth Housing is a community-based nonprofit serving vulnerable families and individuals in crisis. For almost 40 years Nazareth has...


Rep. Stephanie Murphy: What D.C. and Business Can Learn From Each Other

As global and domestic businesses enter a new and potentially-fraught economic environment, the relationship between the U.S. government and American business – always evolving – will face new challenges: Inflation, fair trade vs. free trade, China, protectionism, labor, supply chains, taxes, and of course, the massive humanitarian devastation and economic dislocation from Russia’s attack on Ukraine.So how can – and should – government and business work together to maximize American...


Christopher Leonard: The Lords of Easy Money

We know the headlines: Inflation is the highest in 40 years, climbing 7 percent last year. Stock prices and corporate debt have been running incredibly high. Unemployment, meanwhile, is incredibly low, while the U.S. economy grew 5.7 percent in 2021, its fastest full-year clip since 1984. The wealth gap, meanwhile, continues to spread. To fight these realities – especially inflation – the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank will soon start unwinding their two most significant policies that drove...


Maja Lapcevic: Mastercard Innovation, from Fintech to AI to Money 3.0

Of all human tools and inventions, few are as essential, complicated and stigmatized as money. In particular, financial technologies and concepts have often spurred growth, investment and powerful advancements around the globe.Maja Lapcevic brings a masterful understanding to the fintech space and these concepts. She is Senior Vice President, Mastercard Foundry Innovation Management & Marketing, where she leads Mastercard Lab’s Global Innovation Programs, the Mastercard Foundry Marketing...


Walter Isaacson: The Science and Business of CRISPR

Throughout nearly the entirety of human history, we have accepted a simple truth: A person’s genetic makeup is beyond one’s choice. Until now. In 2020, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna for the development of CRISPR, a method for genome editing. CRISPR may change everything -- and land us in a world previously imaginable only in science fiction. CRISPR can be wonderful and incredible. It may eliminate a child’s susceptibility to a...


Gregory Zuckerman: A Shot to Save the World — The Race for a COVID-19 Vaccine

By now we know what went wrong in the response to the most devastating pandemic in a century. Mistakes were legion and many of the world’s biggest drug and vaccine makers were slow to react or couldn’t muster effective responses. “A Shot to Save the World: The Inside Story of the Life-or-Death Race for a Covid-19 Vaccine” by award winning Wall Street Journal reporter and bestselling author Gregory Zuckerman is the untold story of what went right. It’s a riveting business, science, and...


Moving Forward with Purpose: Leadership in the Next Chapter

CD&R Co-President Dave Novak hosts Professor Nien-hê Hsieh, the Joseph L. Rice, III Faculty Fellow at Harvard Business School, for a discussion about the cultural shifts around business and purpose. As Founder, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Partner over his three-decade career at CD&R, Joseph L. Rice, III shaped an institution grounded in a set of core values with integrity at the center. Joe spent the major portion of his business career in private equity and is recognized for his...


Hive Health – Co-winner of Harvard’s New Ventures Competition

Today we explore entrepreneurialism – the spirit that drives it, and what it takes to turn that spiritual drive into tangible action. The journey takes us to hallowed halls at Harvard and Stanford, but it starts in – perhaps – a less likely location: The Philippines. The U.S. health care challenge is likely well known to listeners of this podcast. But the U.S. is far from the only country that struggles with access, cost, payment, coverage and more. That’s the challenge that students and...


Victoria Sakal: How Brands Can Build Trust

It seems obvious: We are not exactly living in the golden age of trust. Everywhere one turns, trust seems to be crumbling – institutions, politicians, media, even science. The causes, of course, are everywhere, starting – but not ending – with social media and that old line: a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes. So given the current state of trust, what are brands supposed to do? What are the key trends around the building — and breaking —...


Jordan Ellenberg -- Why Math Matters in Business

Great business leaders are often seen as innovators, inspirational storytellers and brilliant leaders. They are keen and decisive observers. But would we envision any mathematical principles in their toolkit? Just as business finds solutions to various problems and hurdles, mathematical formulas and practices make sense of our chaotic world. What can business-minded individuals learn from these insights? How do principles of randomness and probability factor into shrewd business...


Roberto Quarta: What Makes an Effective Board of Directors

In the time of an unprecedented global pandemic, boards – private and public – have been forced to re-examine priorities. And it’s not just trying to manage through Covid. ESG, diversity & inclusion, an evolving remote-work dynamic, a growing expectation that corporations will engage with social issues around race, gender and more.As companies face new challenges, what makes an effective board of directors? And how are companies with strong board compositions and engagement better equipped...


Nicholas Dirks -- The Impact of Science Today

Has there been a time when science has played a more significant, more direct role in the quality, if not quantity, of our lives? The most obvious example, of course, is Covid-19 – from understanding the pandemic to developing a cure in record time. And yet simultaneously – just as science brings us together, allowing individuals and societies to connect again – has there been a time when science has divided us more? Not only in our acceptance of how to manage Covid, but even extending to...


Ben Rhodes on What Happened to America -- and the World?

For eight years, Ben Rhodes served as Deputy National Security Advisor to President Obama, engaged in issues ranging from reestablishing relations with Cuba to Benghazi to helping negotiate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, better known as the Iran nuclear deal. Now, more than four years after leaving that role – but still engaged in business, politics, and international relations – Rhodes has written a book about his personal post-Obama journey that sought to answer a simple question:...


Daniel Feder on the State of Endowment Investing

It goes without saying – nearly every sector globally has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. But for few sectors are those effects more evident than universities. From admissions to in-person classes to college sports, there’s hardly an element of the experience that hasn’t had to pivot quickly. So what about endowment investing? As universities face untold economic uncertainties and challenges, what impact has it had on the approach endowments take. Put differently, have the...


Dr. Alexandria White: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion -- and Business

While the terms diversity, equity and inclusion are not new, the movement – across society, institutions, and businesses – gained extraordinary momentum this year. Obviously, this push for increased understanding, awareness, and action was greatly inspired by George Floyd’s death. It has grown from there. But what, exactly, does diversity, equity, and inclusion – often called D.E.I. – actually look like? What tangible steps can business leaders take to integrate the principles not as...


Dr. Josh Lerner — Future of Diversity and Inclusion in Private Equity

A straightforward question: as we consider the future of diversity and inclusion in private equity, can the industry meet the challenge? To seek answers, the Private Capital Project at the Harvard Business School and the Private Capital Research Institute recently hosted a webinar with a group of limited and general partners. What did they find? I spoke with one of the conference leaders, Dr. Josh Lerner, the Schiff Professor of Investment Banking at Harvard Business School. He co-directs...


Joe Coughlin: The Science & Art of Managing Business Risk Today

Businesses, of course, face risk every day, whether from supply chain disruption, calamity, or as we’ve seen from a series of hurricanes of the last years, Mother Nature. But most of these risks have a foreseeable ending – after all, at some point the hurricane passes. But among the many business risks during this Covid age are the unknown risks – how long will the pandemic endure? Which geographies will be hit hardest? What might recovery look like? And while the insurance business can...


George Nguyen: What Does Gen Z Want from Brands?

It’s the age old question nearly every business brand would like to know: What do young people care about? Do they apply their beliefs and goals to their commercial choices? Do brands matter to them? Put differently, from a brand’s perspective, do youth care about who you are — or what you do and how you do it? What are the forces influencing their brand choices? And when leading global and domestic brands want to know the answer to these questions, George Nguyen is one person they...


Vindi Banga: Business Outlook in a Changing World

Once again this year, thousands of the world’s leading economic and business players met in the little Swiss ski town of Davos. And once again, the key topics and discussions had little to do with winter sports. The reasons are obvious. There’s a lot going on in the world today and plenty of questions: To find out, we spoke with Clayton, Dubilier & Rice London-based Operating Partner Vindi Banga. Some background on Vindi’s global business and policy efforts: Banga spent 33 years at...