Choosing Leadership

with Sumit Gupta

A podcast for people who know deep inside that there is more.

Podcast Booking status: OPEN. Click here to apply!
on Spotifyon Apple

Why Choosing Leadership?

This podcast is called “choosing leadership” – because that is what leadership is – a choice.

The choice to step into the unknown. The choice to see fear as a friend. The choice to take courageous action rather than waiting for readiness. The choice to see how powerful you are.

I choose leadership every time I record this podcast, as I have procrastinated on it for more than a year.

My invitation to you is the same – to “choose” leadership and to step up a leader in an area of life that matters to you – be it work, passion, health, impact in society, or something else.

I will be starting (and stopping) multiple series from time to time. All of them will focus on leadership – but they will look at it from multiple angles and perspectives.

This is what I do most naturally – to lovingly and gently provoke you to help you see your own light – to help you see what you are already capable of.

Show Format – Multiple Series

Leadership Journeys

In this series, I am celebrating leaders for the choices they have made, which are not always easy and comfortable, to get to where they are today. So that all of us can learn from their journey.

Can't Stay Silent

This series is about the courage to speak our truth and live authentically. For most of my life, I have kept my voice hidden beneath layers of fear and insecurity. In this series, I will express myself fully from the heart.

Humble Inquiries

In each episode of Humble Inquiries, we deliberately put ourselves in the uncomfortable space of not knowing the answer and humbly inquiring about these challenges – with the aim to provoke new thoughts, actions, and practices.

Recent Episodes

Leadership Journeys [174] – James Burstall – “Being real and authentic is an essential part of being a leader.”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

Dive into an enlightening conversation with James Burstall, Chief Executive of a renowned production group, as he shares his journey from journalism to leading a thriving media empire. 

With captivating anecdotes and candid reflections, James unveils the essence of true leadership, emphasizing the importance of authenticity and emotional intelligence in navigating today’s ever-evolving business landscape. 

Discover valuable lessons on fostering creativity, building resilient teams, and thriving amidst crises, as James offers practical insights drawn from his extensive experience. 

Whether you’re a seasoned leader or an aspiring entrepreneur, this interview promises to inspire, empower, and equip you with the tools to excel in your own leadership journey. 

Tune in for a dose of wisdom, humor, and actionable advice from a visionary leader shaping the future of media and entertainment.

You can find James Burstall at the below links

In the interview, James shares

  • “We are a truly diversified group producing content across all platforms from TikTok to IMAX and everything else in between.”
  • “I’ve always liked that kind of entrepreneurial, trying things out and also not having people breathing down my neck and telling me what I can and can’t do.”
  • “Business is not a P and L. Business is a collective of people.”
  • “Use that as a lesson, what is there in that I need to learn? And in that particular lesson, I needed to learn that you’ve got to treat your clients, you’ve got to treat your people with respect, and then they will come back and work with you again.”
  • “We’re living in a time of permacrisis. We are constantly facing these challenges. So we need to be flexible and nimble in our mindset.”
  • “Emotional intelligence for me is probably one of the most important skills that I have.”
  • “Being real and being authentic is an essential part of being a leader.”
  • “My company, Argonaut, will always be there for you. And you can tap in and you can use our expertise as people, our relationships, our skills in legal, commercial, business affairs, editing, PR, HR, we can provide all of those services as the handrail.”
  • “A lot of my job working with creative people is trying to marry between giving talent, talented people space to do their work and help them where I can to develop their ideas.”
  • “I wrote it to be a conversation. I wrote it to be purposeful. I wanted to put down in writing our experiences, not just from my group, but from leaders in various sectors who have battled their way through difficult times.”

Leadership Journeys [173] – Mohammed Idriss – “Sudan requires peace and peace requires interaction.”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

Embark on a riveting journey with Muhammad Idriss, Executive Director for Allies Sudan, as he shares his remarkable rise from humble beginnings to leading one of Sudan’s largest humanitarian organizations. 

In this insightful interview, Idriss delves into the profound impact of his early experiences on his decision to pursue a career in humanitarian work. 

With over two decades of experience, he offers invaluable leadership lessons, emphasizing the importance of courage, compassion, and continuous learning in navigating the complexities of crisis response. 

Discover how Idriss’ unwavering dedication to community engagement and mental well-being inspires both his team and the wider world to drive positive change in the face of adversity.

You can find Mohammed Idriss at the below links

In the interview, Mohammed shares

  • “I am Muhammad Idriss, Executive Director for Allies Sudan, but I started from a humble Sudanese background.”
  • “I joined humanitarian work out of curiosity and because I grew up in a small community where uplifting someone gave hope.”
  • “My background in public health led me to volunteer, even though it was a job, to work in displaced population camps.”
  • “Every day in humanitarian work is a combination of devastation, aspiration, and hope.”
  • “It takes great courage and character to make tough choices in humanitarian work.”
  • “Listening to people, regardless of education or experience, teaches us something new every day.”
  • “We need to balance engaging at a high level with understanding the needs of our people on the ground.”
  • “In humanitarian work, co-creation with the community places us in a better position to understand their needs.”
  • “Continuous learning, listening, and adapting are essential on this journey of humanitarian work.”
  • “As leaders, we must prioritize mental health, teamwork, and supporting one another, especially in challenging environments.”

Leadership Journeys [172] – Andres Klaric – “Create a culture that outlives your presence in the room”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

Join us in this insightful interview with Andres Klaric, where we delve into his remarkable journey from Bolivia to Wall Street and beyond. 

With a background deeply rooted in the automotive industry and finance, Andres shares invaluable lessons learned along the way. 

From growing up with limited resources to now leading a thriving tech company, his experiences offer a unique perspective on resilience and adaptability in leadership. 

Discover how his upbringing shapes his approach to entrepreneurship and learn actionable strategies for navigating challenges, fostering a culture of excellence, and balancing work with personal passions. 

Get ready to be inspired and equipped with practical insights for your own leadership journey!

You can find Andres Klaric at the below links

In the interview, Andres shares

  • “I’ve always had this goal of coming to America and competing at the highest level. I thought about the U.S. as the land of opportunity.”
  • “Growing up in Bolivia, you learn to be a little more scrappy, dealing with very few resources. It’s something that perhaps I would have missed had I not grown up here.” 
  • “Sometimes I get shocked by the cost of things in the U.S., even after 20 years. It’s important to be frugal, but where are you frugal?” 
  • “Recognizing that frugality could get in the way of making big decisions is crucial. Having someone to counter that is important.” 
  • “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do? I’m very open to having my mind changed if someone presents better facts.” 
  • “I want to make financial institutions more efficient because the ultimate beneficiaries are humans, trying to get access to credit for education or small businesses.” 
  • “Convincing people that our platform can make a difference is a challenge. Building this operating system for lenders is worth pursuing.” 
  • “In the process of building, I don’t forget the other things that matter in life. We have families, and those things are fundamentally important.” 
  • “Creating a culture that outlives your presence in the room is vital as the organization grows. It’s about setting a foundation for scalability.” 
  • “Feedback loops that are codified in the organization are crucial. Culture needs some codes, so everyone can hold each other accountable.”

Leadership Journeys [171] – Siddharth Kajaria – “Your own company is your primary and most important client.”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

Join us for an insightful interview with Siddharth Kajaria, CEO and founder of Telex, a tech agency revolutionizing the way businesses approach technology. 

In this engaging discussion, Siddharth shares his journey from humble beginnings to scaling his second startup, Tailwebs, highlighting the challenges and pivotal moments along the way. 

Gain valuable insights into navigating the complexities of entrepreneurship, transitioning roles as a leader, and the importance of continuous self-learning in staying ahead in today’s fast-paced world. 

Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or aspiring leader, this interview promises inspiration, practical wisdom, and actionable strategies to tackle your own leadership challenges with confidence.

You can find Siddharth Kajaria at the below links

In the interview, Siddharth shares

  • “We are your tech partners, helping you navigate the complexities of technology decisions and execution.”
  • “Our journey began with a realization of the gap in the market for end-to-end tech solutions, leading us to establish Tailwebs.”
  • “As entrepreneurs, every phase brings its own set of challenges and tough choices, from defining our USP to scaling our business.”
  • “Our vision is to empower businesses globally by providing top-notch tech consultancy and helping them build exceptional teams.”
  • “In the next three years, our focus is on expanding our presence in key markets while executing cutting-edge tech projects.”
  • “Expanding internationally poses immediate challenges like establishing a physical presence and adapting to different cultures.”
  • “As a leader, my challenge lies in transitioning roles effectively and ensuring our team aligns with our company’s evolving priorities.”
  • “My strength lies in being a tech consultant, driven by a passion for solving business challenges and scaling ventures.”
  • “Streamlining internal processes has been crucial in reclaiming work-life balance and ensuring not all problems come to me.”
  • “Continuous self-learning is essential for staying ahead in the ever-evolving entrepreneurial landscape and leading with expertise.”

Leadership Journeys [170] – Rupesh Kumar – “No’s are more powerful than Yes’es.”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

Dive into an engaging conversation with Rupesh Kumar, CEO and Founder of Addict International, as he shares his journey from being a developer to a successful entrepreneur. 

In this insightful interview, Rupesh discusses the challenges he faced in starting a company amidst a pandemic and how he overcame them with determination and resilience. 

Gain valuable insights into leadership, cultural differences, and the importance of purpose-driven entrepreneurship. 

Whether you’re a seasoned leader or aspiring entrepreneur, Rupesh’s story offers inspiration and practical wisdom for navigating the unpredictable landscape of business with confidence and purpose. 

Tune in and discover how to turn setbacks into opportunities and lead with empathy and courage in today’s dynamic world.

You can find Rupesh Kumar at the below links

In the interview, Rupesh shares

  • “As a developer, what we do is we always build new things, and when we are building things, we are basically, that’s mainly to solve a problem.”
  • “Being a developer by heart also, I think developers need guidance to become a good developer.”
  • “There were many problems, many challenges, but we solved them one by one.”
  • “Pandemic was a kind of a challenge for us, but that taught us a lot and changed our whole perspective of working.”
  • “The challenges were quite a lot, especially starting up a company and convincing your new clients that you have to trust me.”
  • “The journey has been fantastic. I have enjoyed, I’m still enjoying every single bit of it.”
  • “Just technology and focusing on technology is not enough for the success of our business.”
  • “Cultural gap between India and Netherlands was a challenge, and we took each challenge one by one.”
  • “Leadership has to be empathetic as well as rebellious.”
  • “Your entrepreneurial journey has to be purpose-driven. You must find your purpose.”

Leadership Journeys [169] – Himanshu Arya – “Success is about enjoying the journey along the way.”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

Embark on an insightful journey with Himanshu Arya, a dynamic entrepreneur, as he shares his remarkable story from founding Grapes Digital in 2009 to venturing into the world of pre-owned luxury cars with Luxury Ride. 

In this engaging interview, Himanshu delves into the challenges of transitioning leadership styles within Grapes Digital, offering valuable insights for those grappling with building sustainable and independent teams. 

As he candidly discusses the shift from digital marketing to the unorganized luxury car industry, Himanshu reflects on the unique challenges of finding trainable talent in family-run businesses. 

Join us for an uplifting conversation that explores the delicate balance between personal and professional life, and gain actionable advice on leadership, entrepreneurship, and navigating uncharted business territories.

You can find Himanshu Arya at the below links

In the interview, Himanshu shares

  • “In 2009, as a 24-year-old boy, I started Grapes Digital with zero liabilities, realizing that delaying my entrepreneurial journey would only increase the responsibility on my shoulders.”
  • “The seed for entrepreneurship was planted in a small town called Karnal, leading me from hotel management to wealth management, ultimately realizing that business was the path to financial success.”
  • “Transitioning from the founder and CEO of Grapes Digital to the world of luxury cars, my focus shifted to the unorganized and nascent pre-owned luxury car industry, opening doors to new challenges.”
  • “In 2015, a conscious decision to transform Grapes Digital’s leadership model led to departmentalization, creating space for diverse leadership styles, and paving the way for the company’s autopilot mode by 2021.”
  • “Starting Luxury Ride, I faced the unique challenge of a talent deficit in the pre-owned luxury car segment, where family-run businesses dominate, making finding trainable individuals a significant hurdle.”
  • “Observing successful businesses, I’ve learned to stay open to new insights and perspectives, understanding that not everything requires my personal expertise, and seeking advice from experts can lead to innovative solutions.”
  • “Conservative in my personal life but aggressively pursuing professional growth, my journey is defined by the joy I find in moving forward and driving the next level of success.”
  • “From founding Grapes Digital in 2009 to acquiring a majority stake in Luxury Ride, my entrepreneurial journey reflects a constant drive to explore and conquer diverse business landscapes.”
  • “Balancing 90% of my attention on Luxury, 10% on family, and the roots of my journey in a small town, I’ve embraced the ethos that entrepreneurship is the way forward for those seeking substantial success.”
  • “As a first-generation entrepreneur, transitioning from a government job background, I faced skepticism, but the decision to pursue business in 2009 remains a testament to the belief that real success lies in the entrepreneurial path.”

Leadership Journeys [168] – Raghunandan Jagdish – “A leader doesn’t need followers. Leaders generate more leaders.”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

Dive into an inspiring conversation with Ragu Raghunandan Jagdish, the MD of London GSE Private Limited, as he shares the incredible journey of turning challenges into opportunities. 

From the unexpected closure of his workplace to founding Nandan Enterprises, Ragu’s entrepreneurial spirit shines through. 

Discover how his innovative solutions in material handling are making the world a safer place, especially in aviation and defense. 

Gain valuable insights into his leadership philosophy, tackling obstacles like COVID-19 with a focus on upscaling, and the importance of mentorship. 

Join us for a candid discussion that not only unveils the secrets behind his success but also offers practical wisdom for your own leadership journey.

You can find Raghunandan Jagdish at the below links

In the interview, Raghunandan shares

  • “At London GSE Private Limited, we make the world a safer place by providing material handling solutions for aviation, defense, and industrial needs.” 
  • “Nandan Enterprises was born out of a challenge – when the union struck and the company shut down, I decided to start something small on my own.” 
  • “My entrepreneurial journey began with a desire to contribute to India’s growth and make a difference, especially in the field of material handling.” 
  • “Returning to India after my master’s in the U.S. was a culture shock, but I saw it as a challenge to overcome.” 
  • “Machines are crucial for industrialization, making material handling safer, more ergonomic, and sustainable.” 
  • “Our vision is to address the challenge of placing the right people in the right positions at the right time, using machines to enhance efficiency.” 
  • “In the face of challenges like COVID-19, we pivoted and focused on upscaling rather than downsizing, rebuilding our factory and expanding our team.” 
  • “Our growth strategy involves focusing on aviation, defense, and material handling, while embracing global standards and best practices.” 
  • “Transitioning from an MSME organization to a leadership-focused one requires competency mapping and upscaling of our team’s skills.” 
  • “As a leader, my primary role is to ensure my team scales up – leaders generate more leaders, not just followers.”

Leadership Journeys [167] – Cem Eyi – “My role is supporting the team to help them succeed”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

In this insightful interview with Cem Eyi, co-founder of KidStart, we unravel the journey of transforming everyday shopping into a powerful tool for securing your children’s financial future. 

Cem shares his personal realization about the overlooked segment of children’s savings and how KidStart emerged as an innovative solution in the ever-changing financial landscape. 

Discover the unique vision beyond being a leading name in children’s savings as KidStart aims to solve broader family financial challenges. 

Dive into the challenges of growing a consumer-facing fintech business and learn about the importance of balancing priorities in a small, dynamic team. 

Cem’s story, infused with passion for music and multi-instrumentalism, adds a delightful touch to this conversation that goes beyond the traditional financial narrative.

You can find Cem Eyi at the below links

In the interview, Cem shares

  • “At KidStart, we’re on a mission to turn shopping into savings for your children’s future – because every little bit counts!”
  • “Discovering the unique path of building KidStart, I realized the overlooked segment of children’s savings was ripe for innovation.”
  • “In a world where incomes struggle to keep pace with living costs, KidStart aims to bring a sense of hope to parents, making every contribution count.”
  • “The journey of KidStart began as a personal realization – the importance of securing a financial future for our children.”
  • “As we build KidStart, our vision extends beyond being a leading name in children’s savings. We aim to solve broader family financial challenges.”
  • “In three to five years, success for KidStart means empowering parents who thought building wealth for their children was impossible.”
  • “Navigating the challenges of growing a consumer-facing fintech business, KidStart is determined to economically scale and make a lasting impact.”
  • “In the midst of the hustle, balancing priorities is key – focusing on needle-moving activities rather than ego-massaging tasks.”
  • “The strength of KidStart lies in its culture of open communication, ensuring the team stays aligned and avoids unnecessary rabbit holes.”
  • “Beyond the world of finance, my passion for music and being a multi-instrumentalist has taught me valuable lessons in acquiring complementary skills.”

Leadership Journeys [166] – Rob Masson – “We make a profit by having an inspired, motivated and organized team”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

Step into the fascinating world of data protection and entrepreneurship with Rob Masson, the Chief Executive of the DPO Center.

In this insightful interview, Rob shares his entrepreneurial journey, starting from developing software at the age of 18 to founding a globally recognized consultancy company.

Learn how the DPO Center’s unique ‘team first, client second’ philosophy shapes their approach to business, and discover the challenges and triumphs of managing a culturally diverse team across international borders.

Rob’s leadership insights, influenced by his passion for extreme sports, provide a refreshing perspective on tackling challenges and fostering a work environment where anything is possible.

Join us for a captivating conversation that transcends the conventional boundaries of leadership and business.

You can find Rob Masson at the below links

In the interview, Rob Masson shares

  • “In our consultancy business, we provide outsourced data protection officers globally, adhering to various data protection laws. Our core philosophy revolves around our one team approach, putting team dynamics at the forefront.”
  • “My entrepreneurial journey began at 18, developing software for the advertising industry. Over the years, I ventured into e-commerce and software, eventually founding the DPO Center. Each experience shaped our philosophy, emphasizing the importance of a motivated and cohesive team.”
  • “Team first, client second – our unique approach ensures a happy team leads to satisfied clients. Focusing on team development and camaraderie is key to achieving our goals and delivering exceptional service.”
  • “Balancing team priorities with client needs is crucial. Our ‘one team’ philosophy helps us navigate challenges, emphasizing the importance of a supportive environment for individuals to thrive.”
  • “Our philosophy extends beyond borders, with a culturally diverse team representing 20 different cultures. Managing a globally dispersed team requires recognizing and respecting various cultural expectations and beliefs.”
  • “As a CEO, I understand the challenges of scaling a people-centric business. Our success hinges on attracting and retaining the best talent, making our rigorous selection process and team-building efforts crucial.”
  • “Our vision is driven by a robust business model with high recurring revenue. This stability allows us to invest strategically, focusing on global expansion while nurturing new talent in the privacy sector.”
  • “Empowering our Managing Directors to lead with autonomy fosters a culture aligned with our core values. It’s crucial to adapt to local nuances while maintaining non-negotiable principles at a global level.”
  • “Beyond my role as a CEO, my passion for fitness and extreme sports reflects my leadership style. Ironman’s ‘Anything is Possible’ resonates in my belief that, together, we can overcome any challenge presented to us.”
  • “Reflecting on my ultramarathon and Ironman experiences, I encourage our team to embrace the idea that ‘it’s only impossible until it’s done.’ This mindset cultivates an environment where achieving the extraordinary is not just a goal but an expectation.”

Leadership Journeys [165] – Hariharan Subramanian – “Express to express, not to impress.”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

Dive into an insightful conversation with Hariharan Subramanian, a seasoned HR professional with over 18 years of experience. 

In this engaging interview, Hariharan shares his journey from HR novice to a strategic business partner, shedding light on the transformative evolution of the HR industry. 

Discover the key role he plays in the growth of Iris Software Group in India and the delicate balance of maintaining a unified organizational culture in a digital world. 

Gain valuable leadership insights as Hariharan discusses the importance of flexibility, customization, and fostering genuine connections in the ever-evolving landscape of HR. 

Don’t miss out on this friendly and informative dialogue that promises to inspire and add value to your leadership journey.

You can find Hariharan Subramanian at the below links

In the interview, Hariharan Subramanian shares

  • “In my 18-year journey in HR, I’ve witnessed the evolution from an administrative role to an integral business partner—a journey shaped by the hard work of predecessors in the industry.”
  • “As HR professionals, we must embrace the role of business partners, understanding the technology, target audience, and market dynamics to truly contribute to organizational success.”
  • “Joining Iris Software Group during a period of significant growth in India, my role involves bridging the gap, connecting the talent and opportunities for our UK-based organization.”
  • “Success in HR is measured not only by numbers but also by factors like retention and employer branding—a delicate balance of building a strong workforce and a positive company image.”
  • “The challenge lies in fostering a unified organizational culture, especially as we expand globally. Communicating the ‘Iris feeling’ becomes crucial in a world where virtual connections prevail.”
  • “Transitioning to a digital world was smoother for me, having experienced a work-from-home culture in Poland. However, maintaining emotional connections in a digital landscape remains a challenge.”
  • “Flexibility and customization are my strengths, but there’s a fine line. Sometimes being the ‘bad cop’ is necessary to maintain a balance between employee expectations and organizational goals.”
  • “Missed opportunities in HR arise when we fail to connect regularly. Frequent conversations are essential to uncover hidden talents, align employees with their passions, and retain top performers.”
  • “Employee voice champions, a successful initiative, ensures communication flows from top to bottom. Engaging line managers becomes key in conveying the organization’s vision and objectives.”
  • “In a world dominated by technology, my message is clear: ‘Express to express, not to impress.’ Genuine communication, rooted in ethics and righteousness, is the key to lasting connections and success.”

Leadership Journeys [164] – Tom Einar Jensen – “The ability to live in constant change is quite important for leaders.”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

In this insightful interview, Tom Jensen, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Freyr Battery, takes us on a journey through the dynamic landscape of sustainable energy. 

As a leading force in Norwegian battery cell manufacturing, Tom shares the remarkable story of Freyr’s evolution, from going public on the New York Stock Exchange to pioneering disruptive technologies like the 24m battery. 

With an economist’s background, Tom delves into the intricate balance between technology, market understanding, and raising capital—a must-listen for budding entrepreneurs navigating the sustainable energy sector. 

Engagingly, he explores the personal journey that fueled his passion for sustainable development, intertwining experiences from the oil and gas industry with a commitment to global change. 

Tune in for a captivating conversation that not only highlights the challenges in renewable energy but also provides valuable insights for leaders navigating the evolving landscape of innovation and sustainable business.

You can find Tom Einar Jensen at the below links

In the interview, Tom Einar Jensen shares

  • “We are the leading Norwegian initiative for sustainable battery cell manufacturing, listed on the New York Stock Exchange after relocating from Luxembourg to the United States.”
  • “Freyr Battery is dedicated to large containerized energy storage solutions using LFP batteries, with a focus on scaling disruptive technology like 24m for larger and thicker batteries.”
  • “My background in economics has fueled a 15-year journey leading disruptive technology in renewable energy, from hydrogen to solar and now batteries.”
  • “I’ve been preoccupied with sustainable development, influenced by my experiences in the oil and gas and aluminum industries, realizing the climatic impact of fossil fuels on the environment.”
  • “Success in startups is about a viable value proposition based on sound technology, understanding market dynamics, and securing the right people and funding over time.”
  • “To be credible stewards of investors’ money, understanding the subject matter is crucial, whether it’s technology, physics, chemistry, or the intricacies of renewable energy.”
  • “The integration of private and public initiatives is crucial for a sustainable energy transition, with China and the U.S. taking significant steps forward in renewable energy leadership.”
  • “Aspiring to be a spokesperson for global battery industry enablement, I believe in the importance of deploying facilities locally for critical energy infrastructure.”
  • “We are in the steepest part of the adoption curve for renewable technologies, beyond early adopters. The disruptive environment requires us to get up early to compete and clean up the mess for future generations.”

Leadership Journeys [163] – Yunus Jabalpurwala – ”Embrace the unknown and surround yourself with the right team

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

In this insightful interview, Yunus, a dynamic leader at Honda’s Emerging Technology Lab in the UK, takes us on a journey from his roots in Mumbai to his pivotal role envisioning the world of 2030 and beyond. 

As a passionate advocate for democratizing opportunities, Yunus shares the challenges and opportunities he faces in navigating the ever-evolving landscape of technology. 

Discover the key lessons he learned from being a project leader at a crucial time in his career, and how being comfortable with the unknown has become his superpower. 

He dives into the importance of surrounding oneself with the right team and emphasizes the value of internalizing support to navigate both personal and professional challenges. 

Join us for a candid conversation that unveils the mindset and practices he relies on to excel in his leadership role and stay resilient in the face of uncertainty.

You can find Yunus Jabalpurwala at the below links

In the interview, Yunus Jabalpurwala shares

  • “My role at Honda is mainly focused on 2030 and beyond – what would the world look like, and what technologies do we need to work on to be relevant and make lives better?”
  • “From Mumbai to the UK, my journey to a leadership role involved pivotal moments, like working as a research assistant and stepping up for a big project at Honda.”
  • “Comfort with being uncomfortable is crucial. It’s about pushing boundaries and striving for continuous growth, both personally and professionally.”
  • “In a world changing rapidly due to technology, my vision is to democratize opportunities. Access to technology should be available to everyone, bridging the gap between those who understand and embrace it and those who don’t.”
  • “Challenges include staying updated with advancing technologies and curating information. The real struggle now is not the lack of information but choosing the right tools to create effective solutions.”
  • “The biggest opportunity lies in the successful use of AI tools at the beginning of an exponential growth curve. Embracing these tools can lead to innovative solutions that benefit society.”
  • “As a leader, it’s crucial to surround yourself with the right team and constantly learn from experts in various fields. It’s a person-centric approach to problem-solving.”
  • “Being comfortable with the unknown has its challenges. Meeting accomplished individuals can trigger self-doubt, but understanding that success is relative helps navigate these moments.”
  • “Internalizing support is vital. While external support matters, relying solely on it can be problematic. Knowing you are enough and finding that internal strength is key.”
  • “Physical, mental, and spiritual health are interconnected tools for navigating challenges. Daily practices, like intense physical activities and self-reflection, help achieve a better version of oneself.”

Leadership Journeys [162] – Gille Sebrechts – “Time is the most valuable resource. You can spend it once and then it’s gone.”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

Embark on an inspiring journey with Gilles Sebrechts, the dynamic CEO of ProTime, as he shares his remarkable rise from mechanical engineer to leading a cutting-edge workforce management company.

In this insightful interview, Gilles reveals the crucial moments that shaped his transition, offering valuable lessons for young leaders.

Discover ProTime’s bold vision to double its turnover and impact 2 million lives through optimized time management.

Gilles candidly discusses the challenges of fast growth, providing practical insights for leaders navigating similar paths.

Join us for a conversation that goes beyond numbers, diving into the essence of leadership, growth hurdles, and the timeless quest for balance.

You can find Gille Sebrechts at the below links

In the interview, Gille Sebrechts shares

  • “I’m Gilles Sebrechts, CEO of ProTime, a workforce management company based in Belgium, specializing in time management solutions.”
  • “At 30, I might be considered young for a CEO, but my journey from engineer to CEO unfolded organically.”
  • “My background is in mechanical engineering, but a switch to traffic and logistics engineering set the stage for my transition into leadership roles.”
  • “The pivotal moment came when I joined SD Works, and after reflection, I embraced the growth journey, eventually becoming their director of transformation.”
  • “ProTime’s big vision is to double our turnover in the next three to four years and reach 200 million euros by 2028, optimizing businesses through effective time management.”
  • “Time is the most valuable resource. Our goal is to have 2 million people using our solutions to optimize their time within the next five to six years.”
  • “The challenge of fast growth is ensuring we don’t just run faster but also work differently, thinking strategically to sustain the marathon, not just the sprint.”
  • “As a young CEO, my initial challenge was finding my leadership role—balancing giving freedom while providing guidance. Now, the challenge is coping with rapid growth.”
  • “Leadership isn’t a yes-or-no playbook. It’s a constant learning journey. Confidence and asking for help are crucial in navigating the challenges.”
  • “For aspiring leaders, my advice is simple: Say yes to challenges, tackle them with passion, be confident, and don’t hesitate to seek help when needed. Leadership is a continuous learning journey.”

Leadership Journeys [161] – Vaibhav Mittal – “Music keeps me stable, it keeps me sane, it gives me creativity”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

In this engaging interview with Vaibhav Mittal, a dynamic entrepreneur hailing from Punjab, India, we delve into the intriguing world of family business, entrepreneurship, and the delicate balance between passion and responsibility. 

Vaibhav shares captivating anecdotes from his journey, from counting cash at the family business to studying entrepreneurship at Babson College in the US. 

His insights dispel misconceptions about the easy life of a business heir, emphasizing the daily hustle and the need for continuous growth. 

Discover how his love for music influences both his personal and professional life, offering unique lessons in teamwork and patience. 

Join us for a candid conversation that uncovers the challenges of leadership, the importance of empathy, and the powerful role of passion in shaping a fulfilling career. 

You can find Vaibhav Mittal at the below links

In the interview, Vaibhav Mittal shares

  • “Being in the family business is like fun because you get to hear about the business problems on the dinner table or on the breakfast table, and you keep getting exposed from a very young age.”
  • “In the late nineties, a gentleman confronted me while counting cash behind the counter, implying that sitting there with a lot of cash wasn’t suitable for someone my age. I clarified it was a responsibility given to me by my father, not just a means to feel wealthy.”
  • “You’re fortunate to be born into a family business, but you have to work hard every single day. If you don’t, someone will take over all the wealth, and it will deplete. Every day is a hustle; you have to learn and grow as a person and professional.”
  • “Studying at Babson College, the world’s top entrepreneurship school, instilled the feeling of being an entrepreneur. However, the real journey made me question the glamour of startups, emphasizing the importance of profitability over just being a founder.”
  • “The next 10 years are uncertain, but my fundamental job is to justify whatever work I do, learn and grow, and ensure that each business venture is not only profitable but also able to sustain and grow.”
  • “Passionate about music and organic/natural products, my dream is to explore these areas in business. Music, for me, is not just a hobby; it keeps me stable, sane, and creative, offering valuable lessons in teamwork and patience.”
  • “Music has taught me to work with different styles of people, similar to the diverse backgrounds of those in my workplace. It’s an ecosystem that connects people toward a common goal of productivity.”
  • “Challenges include getting the best out of people from diverse backgrounds, empathizing with their struggles, and keeping them motivated despite life problems. Impatience among the younger workforce is a common hurdle.”
  • “The dark side of wanting others to succeed is often misunderstood; people may perceive it as selfishness. Empathy and strong leadership sometimes lead to negative perceptions.”
  • “To tackle overwhelming situations, I introspect after a failure, motivating myself to learn and improve. If external circumstances lead to negative outcomes despite sincere efforts, I move on, staying clear and passionate about my work.”

Leadership Journeys [160] – Anirudh Pareek – “You cannot learn anything by studying it. You can only learn by experiencing it.”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

Embark on an inspiring journey with Anirudh Pareek, Chief Technology Officer at Vamani Overseas, as he shares his incredible career story on our latest podcast episode. 

From facing setbacks in his early days to leading technology and business operations, Anirudh’s resilience shines through. 

Gain valuable insights as he discusses the pivotal role of self-belief, the importance of aligning technological ideas with business growth, and the unique challenges of transitioning from a technologist to a business leader. 

Join us as Anirudh unveils the secrets to building a process-dependent company and successfully expanding operations globally. Whether you’re a seasoned leader or aspiring to be one, this episode promises wisdom, relatability, and a sprinkle of creativity from Anirudh’s poetic side. 

Don’t miss out on this empowering conversation that blends tech, business, and the art of leadership! 

You can find Anirudh Pareek at the below links

In the interview, Anirudh shares

  • “My career journey started with a turbulent twist – a company shutting down after six months, leaving us jobless. Little did I know then that this setback would shape my resilient path to success.”
  • “In 2007, paying a bank guarantee of 75,000 rupees as a fresher was a big deal. Fast forward, the experience taught me that challenges are not roadblocks but opportunities for growth.”
  • “The golden years of my learning curve were spent building a startup from scratch. Navigating the world of technology and business operations during the startup boom of 2012 was both challenging and enlightening.”
  • “Transitioning from an engineer to a tech leader, my biggest takeaway was aligning technological ideas with business growth. It’s not just about code; it’s about contributing to the company’s revenue and success.”
  • “Self-belief was my greatest transformation. Learning to keep my cool during setbacks and having situation awareness became pivotal. Experience taught me more than textbooks ever could.”
  • “Beyond the code, I found solace in poetry during the challenging times of the pandemic. Writing became not just a creative outlet but a source of confidence, proving that one can excel in multiple facets of life.”
  • “In the journey from zero to one and now aiming for a hundred, we’ve evolved into a process-dependent company. Building and improving processes have become paramount for seamless expansion.”
  • “Transitioning from technology to business, I learned that technology is a means to aid business goals. The real value lies in aligning technological ideas with the company’s growth and revenue.”
  • “As we expand globally, the challenge lies in combining technology and processes to fuel business growth. Success came when we seamlessly implemented processes in the UK without setting foot there.”
  • “Supporting leaders in a growing team involves understanding their challenges at the ground level. Involving everyone in decision-making, taking customer feedback first, and building solutions collaboratively has become our unique approach.”

Leadership Journeys [159] – Tanushree – “If you worship your work, everything else is a byproduct.”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

Embark on an inspiring journey with Tanushree, the Co-founder and CEO of Global Garner Sales Services Limited, as she shares her remarkable transition from a 15-year career at the State Bank of India to becoming an ambitious entrepreneur. 

In this candid interview, Tanushree delves into the motivations that fueled her shift, highlighting the challenges faced, including a pivotal moment when a major corporate partner attempted to reshape their business dynamics. 

Discover the invaluable lessons Tanushree learned about leadership, team dynamics, and resilience, providing practical insights for fellow entrepreneurs navigating their own professional paths. 

Join us for a conversation that goes beyond the success story, offering relatable anecdotes and empowering advice for those ready to take risks and build their own business empires.

You can find Tanushree at the below links

In the interview, Tanushree shares

  • “Leaving a government job in India is no easy decision, but driven by ambition and the desire to be together, my husband and I transitioned from banking and insurance careers to co-found Global Garner Sales Services Limited.”
  • “Our journey from a corporate job to entrepreneurship was fueled by a desire to live together amidst transferable jobs. This decision, born out of ambition and a commitment to each other, led us to build something greater for society.”
  • “In the face of challenges, we chose not to abandon our core team, even when a major corporate partner sought to change the terms. Our refusal sparked two tough years, but unwavering dedication and belief in a higher power helped us overcome those trying times.”
  • “Leadership, for me, is about creating more leaders. Learning from experiences, especially my husband’s insights from high-profile corporate positions, has shaped my leadership style to focus on identifying and nurturing the strengths of my team.”
  • “The vision for Global Garner is not just to be a company but the world’s biggest organization by empowering people. Our mission involves creating a vast network of entrepreneurs and digitally empowered vendors, generating sustainable jobs and benefitting generations to come.”
  • “Facing the challenge of finding leaders in our journey, we’re expanding our recruitment drive to build a strong team for Global Garner’s ambitious goals. Identifying individuals who are not only ready to work but also ready to lead remains a significant challenge.”
  • “Dealing with the pressures of entrepreneurship requires self-reflection and spending quality time with family. Recognizing that I am my own best friend, I find solace in moments of solitude, allowing me to recharge and tackle challenges with renewed vigor.”
  • “To empower our team, we focus on creating strong bonds within our organization. Daily huddles, team outings, and fostering empathy help in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each team member, laying the foundation for a collaborative and supportive work culture.”
  • “As we venture into the FinTech space, the biggest opportunity lies in the growing industry in India. Leveraging my background in banking and finance, Global Garner aims to capitalize on the potential of FinTech to further enhance our offerings.”
  • “If I could wake up with a new skill, it would be the ability to make Global Garner a household name, like Amazon or Flipkart. Understanding human psychology is crucial, and my goal is to connect with people on a deeper level to make our brand universally recognized.”

Leadership Journeys [158] – Jacqueline Samira – “Growing a company involves finding the right leaders early on”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

Embark on an inspiring journey with Jacqueline Samira, the dynamic founder and CEO of Howdy.com, as she shares her entrepreneurial saga in this insightful interview. 

From navigating the aftermath of the 2008 housing crisis to spearheading a tech-driven revolution connecting Latin America with US opportunities, Jacqueline’s story is a testament to resilience and innovation. 

Uncover the secrets behind her unconventional path into sales, a skill she now credits as the backbone of her entrepreneurial success. 

Dive into the intricacies of building a startup, the invaluable lessons learned through Y Combinator, and the transformative power of strategic sales. 

With candid reflections on the highs and lows of leadership, Jacqueline’s wisdom resonates, offering a fresh perspective for leaders seeking authentic guidance in their own journeys.

You can find Jacqueline Samira at the below links

In the interview, Jacqueline Samira shares

  • “What I want to be able to do is help connect people with opportunities. That is like my lifelong dream because I struggled so hard for it myself for a year and a half after college.”
  • “The first step is talking to people and communicating with potential customers and prospects. Through those early pre-sales activities, I had a really clear picture of the pain points and the solution that people would be happy with.”
  • “We ended up spending close to 800,000, which is an insane amount of money in reflection on digital campaigns, on digital marketing. While it did give us customers, it’s just not the path I want to go down.”
  • “There has been a problem with separating the fact that I’m still the CEO and I’m still the boss. Sometimes I have to unfortunately remind people, and that’s not a really fun conversation for me to have.”
  • “I always see solutions. So if there are problems presented, the first thing I’m doing is solutioning. I think a lot of my sales acumen taught me how to think that way.”
  • “I personally had 400 in my checking account. Here I am about to give birth, which babies are very expensive. Everything around that is very expensive. And it was just like this spark came in and they were shooting. Something told me, Jacqueline, go find the hidden money, go find the hidden money from yourself.”
  • “Frank is the first person I call anytime I’m frustrated, or if we leave the meeting or if I leave the meeting, so that I don’t react to the teammates. I use him as my sounding board.”
  • “If it doesn’t feel easy, and I think about that expression, when I think about all things, when I think about colleagues that I work with, if the relationship is not instantly working, if you don’t feel inspired and you’re both being lifted up, then it’s probably not right.”
  • “Because I’m friendly and welcoming and vulnerable, there has been a problem with separating the fact that I’m still the CEO and I’m still the boss. And sometimes I have to unfortunately remind people, and that’s not a really fun conversation for me to have.”
  • “I think that the most powerful thing you could do is unlock the world’s information in every single language to be able to understand every perspective.”

Leadership Journeys [157] – Oliver Pinson-Roxburgh – “I’ve always been and will always be willing to show vulnerability”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

Join us in this insightful interview with Oliver, CEO of two thriving companies in the cybersecurity space. 

Oliver shares his journey of transforming a struggling business from eight million to an impressive 11 million in revenue, emphasizing his passion for simplifying and innovating in the cybersecurity industry. 

Discover how he and his chairman, a seasoned entrepreneur, maintained a positive company culture through rapid growth, and hear valuable insights on the challenges of fundraising and building relationships in the business world. 

With a candid approach, Oliver discusses the balance of being a tech enthusiast turned CEO and how vulnerability can be a strength in leadership. 

Tune in for a dose of inspiration and practical advice for navigating the complex landscape of cybersecurity and business growth. 

You can find Oliver Pinson-Roxburgh at the below links

In the interview, Oliver Pinson-Roxburgh shares

  • “I’ve spent the last six years growing those companies, and the real focus has been taking Bulletproof, especially from eight and decaying revenue to now 11 million in revenue and three million EBITDA.”
  • “My real focus and passion are around helping organizations to improve their cybersecurity.”
  • “We really wanted to build something that was different; it wasn’t about growing a company to being a huge revenue generator, but about solving problems for people, simplifying, and innovating.”
  • “Our chairman is a serial entrepreneur. He’s built many businesses from the ground up. I learned a lot from Mark around just the general business day-to-day and how to grow and scale the businesses.”
  • “It’s always about pushing that positivity, promoting it in your values.”
  • “Helping them to understand that it’s just good business is part and parcel of the job.”
  • “We’ve gone from 30 people like six years ago to now 150 people across the world, a relatively quick growth for a business of our size.”
  • “One of the things we really focused on was positivity because, like you say, it’s very negative.”
  • “I’m the type of CEO that prefers to roll my sleeves up and lead from the front.”
  • “I would say that I definitely, I think the one thing I’ve always been and will always be is that person that is also willing to show vulnerability, to say, ‘Look, I’m bad at this as well, but we can face this thing together.'”

Leadership Journeys [156] – Ram Iyer – “I just find it economically very lucrative to trust people by default”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

In this captivating interview, Ram Iyer, CEO and founder of Vayana, takes us on a fascinating journey through three decades of entrepreneurship. 

From the birth of Vayana, where the name itself signifies weaving seamless connections in B2B trade financing, to the unconventional approach of running a 450-people company with no HR or appraisals. 

Ram shares insights on the evolution of his leadership style, emphasizing the importance of a ‘live and let live’ philosophy. 

Discover the unique analogy of running a company like steering a train, with defined tracks, individual compartments, and a delicate balance of trust and policies. 

Get ready for an enriching conversation that not only delves into business strategies but also explores the personal principles that drive Ram’s curiosity, kindness, and authenticity, forming the cultural backbone of Vayana. 

You can find Ram Iyer at the below links

In the interview, Ram shares

  • “Vayana, in Sanskrit, means weaving – reflecting our role in B2B trade financing, seamlessly connecting businesses for efficient and cost-effective transactions.”
  • “Embarking on entrepreneurship in ’94, my journey from consulting to founding CashTech, and now Vayana, highlights the organic evolution of startups.”
  • “Reflecting on my 30-year journey, I’ve shifted from emotional ties to a more dispassionate view, embracing a ‘live and let live’ philosophy in leadership.”
  • “In the startup world, 450 employees, no HR, and no appraisals? Exploring unconventional organizational structures and the philosophy behind it.”
  • “Running Vayana is like steering a train – defined tracks, unique compartments, and a balance between a common direction and individual cultures.”
  • “Challenges in running a unique culture: questions about tracks, compartments wanting AC, and the constant tension between trust and the need for policies.”
  • “Creativity flourishes within constraints – the balance of innovation in financial services while adhering to regulations and building trust.”
  • “Trust as a foundation: Defaulting to trust is not just about being a ‘greater human being’; it’s economically lucrative and fosters responsible behavior.”
  • “Shifting the salary mindset: Paying for future promises rather than past performance, aligning with annual targets and team contributions.”
  • “Beyond the business, my joy and energy come from curiosity, niceness, and authenticity – principles that define me and form the cultural backbone of Vayana.”

Leadership Journeys [155] – Bernard Chong – “It’s always about the people”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

Embark on a captivating journey with Bernard Chong, an illustrious angel investor and entrepreneur, as he shares his remarkable evolution from the family shoe business to pioneering ventures in animation studios, coffee brands, and tech platforms. 

In this insightful interview, Chong delves into the invaluable lessons he gleaned growing up in a family-run enterprise, where keen observation and interpersonal skills became his secret weapons. 

Uncover the pivotal role of salesmanship in his transition from selling shoes to strategic investing, and how this unconventional path shaped his unique perspective on business. 

Join us as we explore the wisdom gained from Chong’s diverse experiences, offering a treasure trove of inspiration for leaders facing their own entrepreneurial challenges. 

You can find Bernard Chong at the below links

In the interview, Bernard shares

  • “In the bustling business landscape of Manila, I, Bernard Chong, navigate as an angel investor with ventures in animation studios, coffee brands, and tech platforms.”
  • “With 53 branches across the Philippines, I’ve ventured beyond the family shoe business, delving into the realms of technology, currency exchange, and the restaurant industry.”
  • “Growing up in a family business was a unique training ground, exposing me to every aspect—from manufacturing shoes to managing our own stores.”
  • “Observation was key; my father always emphasized the importance of understanding people’s talk, thought processes, and actions. This skill proved invaluable in both guarding our shoe store and designing shoes in the factory.”
  • “My journey from selling shoes to investing in various businesses began when I realized I could make more impact and earn more by capitalizing on my connections rather than starting as a fresh engineering graduate.”
  • “Salesmanship paved the way for independence. Even when applying for jobs, my proficiency in sales led me to invest capital rather than work for others.”
  • “Transitioning from the family business, I invested in animation studios, radio stations, and restaurants, guided by a people-centric approach. It’s always about building connections with those you work with.”
  • “Currently, my focus is on supporting education through a coffee shop venture called ‘Mental Coffee’ in California, while also investing in small projects and movies, nurturing relationships with people I can grow old with.”
  • “My daily routine involves managing appointments, schedules, and meetings in California, where every interaction becomes a discovery of new businesses and opportunities.”
  • “Reflecting on challenges, I’ve learned that seeking advice from knowledgeable mentors is crucial. Surrounding myself with professionals, like lawyers for legal matters, ensures a well-rounded support system.”