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 [183] – Bimal Shah – “Our customers are probably our biggest sales 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.

In this captivating interview, Bimal, founder and CEO of Elemental Concepts, shares his remarkable journey from chartered accountant to technology consultancy trailblazer. 

Discover how his experiences in mergers and acquisitions, including privatizing the Ministry of Defense’s research agency, shaped his innovative approach to business. 

Bimal’s insights delve deep into the importance of understanding clients’ needs, fostering transparency, and empowering diverse voices within the team. 

Get ready for an inspiring conversation that showcases the power of integrity, resilience, and genuine leadership in navigating today’s complex business landscape. 

Tune in and unlock invaluable lessons to fuel your own leadership journey!

You can find Bimal Shaifta at the below links

In the interview, Bimal shares

  • “We help businesses figure out if they need to use technology to solve a problem. Quite often, we end up building the solution to help their business grow and continue to maintain and improve those systems over time.”
  • “Starting as a chartered accountant taught me to understand what drives a business. The numbers reflect the importance of what’s behind them.”
  • “I worked on the privatization of the Ministry of Defense’s research agency, now Kinetic, which had 9,000 scientists researching future technology.”
  • “Joining Nomad Digital, I learned valuable lessons on running a company and grew it to be the largest internet provider on trains worldwide, signing contracts in 14 countries.”
  • “One of the biggest lessons I learned was how crucial it is to have a dedicated team that shares your vision.”
  • “We value understanding our customer’s business and identifying the return on investment metrics to measure the success of their projects.”
  • “Transparency is key for us. We are open with our customers and invite them to our daily standups, sharing our progress and challenges.”
  • “It’s important for everyone in our team to have a voice, regardless of their culture or background, because diverse perspectives drive innovation.”
  • “We prioritize doing the right thing, even if it means losing money or a contract. Our decisions are guided by what’s best for our customers and our team.”
  • “A young boy’s idea to create a marketplace for second-hand school uniforms inspired us to build a platform now used by 400 schools in the UK, demonstrating the power of simple, impactful solutions.”

Leadership Journeys [182] – Sophie Milliken – “Good entrepreneurs spot opportunities and follow them to see where they lead.”

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 episode, Sophie Milliken shares her journey from accidental entrepreneur to the founder of Moja, a thriving modern PR agency. 

Sophie reveals the key strategies she used to navigate the male-dominated business landscape of the Northeast, offering practical advice on building confidence and embracing resilience. 

You’ll learn how to balance multiple responsibilities, including running a business, chairing a charity, and pursuing a PhD, all while avoiding burnout. 

Discover how to effectively say no to create more meaningful opportunities and the importance of strong support networks. 

Tune in for a conversation packed with valuable lessons for aspiring leaders and entrepreneurs.

You can find Sophie Milliken at the below links

In the interview, Sophie shares

  • “My challenge this year is to say no to more things so that I’m not quite as busy.” 
  • “Moja is a modern PR agency based in the North East of England. We work with entrepreneurs and corporates to raise their profiles within their industry.”
  • “We do lots of things around award strategy, helping clients win business awards, write books, and get on stage to speak at events.” 
  • “I chair SmartWorks Newcastle, a charity providing education, interview clothing, and coaching for unemployed women across the Northeast.” 
  • “I’m doing a PhD part-time at Durham University Business School, focused on female entrepreneurship.”
  • “I didn’t set out to own a business; I’m an accidental entrepreneur. I didn’t have role models in that sense, so I found my way as I went along.” 
  • “Networking with women who were at similar points with their businesses helped me feel comfortable, share challenges, and grow my confidence.” 
  • “I feel passionately about the Northeast of England as a place to do business. I want to promote the region and support women to realize their ambitions.”
  • “I think resilience is really important for any entrepreneur. You need to keep going even when things don’t go as planned.” 
  • “Last year, I felt burnt out and exhausted. I’ve started saying no to more things and focusing on my well-being to avoid reaching that point again.”

Leadership Journeys [181] – Wais Shaifta – “The moment Work stops being a Hobby, I stop doing 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.

In this episode, we sit down with Wais, the CEO of Private Doc, who shares his fascinating journey from leading major companies like Push Doctor and Just Eat to revolutionizing the wellbeing industry. 

Wais delves into the intricacies of consumer-first strategies, the profound psychological impact of beauty treatments, and the evolution of digital healthcare. 

He offers valuable insights on leadership, emphasizing the importance of respecting team foundations and adapting management styles to diverse demographics. 

Discover how Wais balances high-stakes business decisions with a passion for his work, treating it as a hobby rather than a stressor. 

Whether you’re navigating leadership challenges or seeking inspiration for your own career, this episode is packed with wisdom and practical advice.

You can find Wais Shaifta at the below links

In the interview, Wais shares

  • “Private Doc is transitioning from online pharmacy and prescriptions into wellbeing, with bespoke healthcare programs for both men and women. Stay tuned for our exciting expansion.”
  • “At Push Doctor, we served over 6 million NHS patients. Leading through COVID was fascinating and challenging.”
  • “I’ve held leadership roles at Just Eat and TreatWell, managing global operations and driving innovation in the digital space.”
  • “In addition to my role at Private Doc, I sit on the boards of a major gym group and Reach PLC, the largest news publisher in the UK.”
  • “My career has been driven by a consumer-first mindset, optimizing products and influencing consumer behavior to deliver the best experiences.”
  • “Treatwell taught me the profound psychological impact of beauty treatments, which was an eye-opener for me in understanding customer wellbeing.”
  • “Joining Push Doctor, we launched the first digital video consultations in the UK, making healthcare more accessible and immediate.”
  • “Leadership is about respecting the foundation built by the team and highlighting their achievements to motivate further growth.”
  • “As a leader, adapting my managerial style to different demographics, especially the younger generation, is a continuous learning process.”
  • “Work is a hobby for me. The key to managing stress is prioritizing family and keeping a balanced perspective on work challenges.”

Leadership Journeys [180] – Andy Mackin – “Don’t worry about stuff you can’t control. It takes so much energy.”

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, Andy Mackin, CEO and founder of the Mackin Group, shares his journey from the Irish Navy to founding a global professional organization. 

With a focus on environmental health and safety consultancy, Andy discusses the pivotal moments that shaped his leadership style and the unexpected turns that led to the growth of his company. 

He reflects on the importance of maintaining a positive outlook, setting achievable goals, and prioritizing personal well-being. 

Join us as Andy shares his wisdom on leadership, growth, and the transformative power of changing habits. 

Whether you’re navigating a career shift or seeking inspiration to take your business to new heights, Andy’s story offers valuable lessons for leaders at every stage.

You can find Andy Mackin at the below links

In the interview, Andy shares

  • “Life went on, and time went on. I’ve learned to live with that.” 
  • “It probably shaped my character in terms of just having a more positive outlook in life in general and seeing the good things for what they really are.” 
  • “It was a contrast in style for sure, but by the time my retirement came up, I probably had about four or five regular clients that I was dealing with.” 
  • “If somebody told me we’d be where we are now 20 years ago, I would have said, ‘No, you’re mad.'” 
  • “Every year you do well, you want to improve the following year.” 
  • “I always had a vision. I always want to ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange. That’s my North star.”
  • “Success for me is having a good balanced life, enjoying life, enjoying the work you’re doing every morning.” 
  • “I always had a vision and I still have it. I always want to ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange.” 
  • “The meditating definitely calms the brain, allows you to have a little more focus, and be clear-minded.” 
  • “Look, if you can do this, you can get beyond just living with magic.” 

Leadership Journeys [179] – Geeta Gadekar – “Vulnerability makes us human and makes things real rather than just superficial”

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, Geeta, MD/CEO of Publicis Resources, shares her remarkable journey from the general insurance sector to leading operations for one of India’s top companies. 

She discusses the pivotal role her son’s passion for cricket played in her decision-making, drawing compelling parallels between motherhood and leadership. 

Geeta emphasizes the importance of mentorship, self-motivation, and continuous learning, offering invaluable advice on achieving excellence both personally and professionally. 

Her candid reflections on balancing family life, career growth, and personal passions provide invaluable insights for leaders navigating similar challenges. 

Get ready to be inspired and empowered as Geeta shares her secrets to success and fulfillment.

You can find Geeta Gadekar at the below links

In the interview, Geeta shares

  • “I started off with the general insurance side in India, then moved to the BPM industry. My journey continued into captive shared services, working with organizations like Principal Global Services, WNS, Thomas Cook, and now Publicis Resources.”
  • “As a mother, I’ve learned that parenthood and leadership share many parallels. My father taught me the importance of independence and exploring all aspects of life, which has greatly influenced my journey as a mother and a leader.”
  • “When my son showed a passion for cricket at the age of five, we faced a crucial decision: studies or sports. We chose to support his passion early on, which led us to Mumbai, where he could explore his potential.”
  • “In both my personal and professional life, I believe in pushing people to be their best selves. Whether it’s my son pursuing cricket or my team achieving excellence, mentorship and belief in one’s potential can shatter any ceiling.”
  • “I believe that a leader is as good as their team. It’s not about taking credit for individual accomplishments, but about empowering and guiding your team to reach their full potential.”
  • “For me, career decisions aren’t just about titles or money. It’s about learning, adding value, and leaving a legacy. I constantly strive for excellence and encourage my team to do the same.”
  • “Self-motivation is key. Whether it’s in professional or personal life, finding internal drive and setting high standards for oneself is crucial for growth and success.”
  • “Communication, leading by example, and ensuring that teams are aware of their potential are crucial for creating a culture of excellence within an organization.”
  • “Every six months, I reflect on my personal and professional goals to ensure that I’m aligned with where I want to be. Self-assessment and reflection are vital for personal and professional growth.”
  • “As a leader, mentorship is important to me. In the next 10 years, I aim to focus more on mentoring young professionals, especially women, helping them navigate the corporate world and achieve their goals.”

Leadership Journeys [178] – Juhi Garg – “I am a work in progress”

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 inspiring conversation with Juhi, founder and CEO at Divin Grow Private Limited and Divin Pro Foundation, as she shares her journey of empowering women through employment and social impact. 

From her family’s four-generation legacy of women’s empowerment to her vision of becoming one of the most respected organizations globally by 2040, Juhi’s story is a testament to perseverance and purpose-driven leadership. 

Discover how she balances practical business strategies with her mission to create meaningful change, and learn valuable insights on leadership, financial empowerment, and prioritizing responsibilities. 

Tune in for an episode packed with wisdom, passion, and actionable advice for leaders striving to make a difference.

You can find Juhi Garg at the below links

In the interview, Juhi shares

  • “My great grandmother and her grandmother were working for women tirelessly before independence. This purpose is perhaps in my genes, and I don’t credit myself for anything.”
  • “To be a leader, you must learn the art of following your purpose and listening to your inner call. And of course, learn from the worthy people around you.”
  • “Just be a parent, take leadership as a parenting job. If you take care of your employees’ hearts, if you can empathize with them, everything will fall in place.”
  • “My clients are my investors. I have not raised any funds from any other party. I have not taken any loans. People believe in causes and good causes.”
  • “By 2040, I would like to be one of the most respected organizations across the globe. Respect doesn’t come easily; you need to prove yourself at every step.”
  • “I would like to be more financially apprised and sensitized so that I can achieve what I want. I still feel that I somehow lack that now, and I am working towards that.”
  • “Perhaps my biggest strength is building institutions, teams that stick with me. Having people in my life and bringing them together and keeping them with me is my biggest strength.”
  • “Create that fertile land wherein you all work and bloom together. Respect differences, be vulnerable, and let people help each other grow.”
  • “Let people say whatever they want. Let me not doubt at least, let me be confident about myself. If I am confident, if I feel that what I know and what I do not know, I accept gracefully.”
  • “You need to make choices and take decisions. When you make choices, you will have to understand what is the right thing that is going to help you rise above.”

Leadership Journeys [177] – Shak Hanjgikar – “As an entrepreneur, you are answerable to yourself”

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 conversation with Shak, founder and CEO of VTest, as he shares his journey from being a tester to an entrepreneur. 

Shak talks about the inspiration behind starting his software testing company and the invaluable lessons he learned from managing his family business. 

With over 20 years of experience in software testing and an MBA in finance, Shak offers unique perspectives on entrepreneurship and leadership. 

He discusses the importance of adaptability in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape and shares his vision for scaling up while keeping client value and team satisfaction at the forefront. 

Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or a seasoned leader, Shak’s story is sure to inspire and provide valuable insights for your own leadership journey.

You can find Shak Hanjgikar at the below links

In the interview, Shak shares

  • “The motivation or the first step came from my wife. She used to be working for a recruitment company in New York that recruitment company was trying to build an application. And then we were like, okay, if you’re building, they definitely want to test it.”
  • “I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but obviously we always have that dilemma that fixed salary.”
  • “The practical part, or let’s say the understanding and the groundwork part of the MBA, I did it at my father’s business, wherein I knew how to manage resources.”
  • “If you come from a business family, let’s say everything that you do revolves around that business.”
  • “Scaling up has been on the anvil; there have been merger acquisitions or requests coming in terms of acquiring and so on, but we always kept them on the back seat because we’re like, we try to grow ourselves and we try to work ourselves and then see once we get to that stage.”
  • “Nothing in terms of exit but definitely creating more value for the client. It’s also an avenue for us to reward our team members.”
  • “Hitting the dead end is one of the important things in terms of individual growth. We do not want our senior leaders or any of the leaders to themselves they’re dead ends, wherein they will not be able to figure out what they have to do, or whether they are not growing.”
  • “We do not want to be in that situation. So aligning what the individual wants with what VTEST wants in terms of the VTEST benchmark and the industry benchmark is something that keeps me more engaged in them.”
  • “In terms of pain point, we typically have the evolving landscape, I would say when things change by the day by the week. Adaptability is one of the challenges.”
  • “So adaptability is something one of my important, one of my tasks and one of the major of my time goes in finding out or researching or talking to people or talking to senior leaders and connects.”

Leadership Journeys [176] – Manisha Kumar – “I don’t make what I do become the locus of my identity”

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 Manisha Kumar, Chief Operating Officer at Global Hospitals, as she shares her inspiring journey from an engineering background to leading a group of hospitals in India. 

With over 12 years of experience in the healthcare industry, including managing hospitals during the challenging times of COVID-19, Manisha offers invaluable insights into leadership, navigating stereotypes, and the importance of intuition in decision-making. 

Her story is not just about overcoming challenges, but also about finding strength in diversity and making a real impact in healthcare. 

Tune in to gain practical wisdom for your own leadership journey!

You can find Manisha Kumar at the below links

In the interview, Manisha shares

  • “I’ve been in the healthcare industry for over 12 years now, I’ve run a lot of hospitals, large multi specialty hospitals, commissioned hospitals from scratch, managed COVID in the worst of times.”
  • “I was very interested in finance. So I majored in finance and I was trying for a lot of consulting placements, with McKinsey and the likes.”
  • “Healthcare was and has been, one of the most unrealized industries; it’s just been up and up.”
  • “There were a lot of layers of stereotypes for me initially when I entered. I felt that there was some kind of at least an unconscious bias for somebody who didn’t come from a medical background or didn’t have that much experience.”
  • “I decided to play to my strengths and to deepen my learning curve, I moved out of my strategy role.”
  • “In healthcare, we are a service industry, and it’s largely people-driven. Whatever digitization, automation, it’s basically a people service industry.”
  • “I think intuition is very important. So as you were talking about the future, right? This is like there is something ahead for you that you have in your mind. I think more than your mind, if there’s something which is more emotional or more heart-based for you.”
  • “I think for a leader, three things are very key. One is leading by example, which is what I practice, day in and day out. So I take the first step and then have everybody follow me.”
  • “First, I’ll tell you about the COVID time. I think then it was very kind of, we had to think out of the box and think on our feet. We really had to invent solutions at times.”
  • “I try to detach myself from work as far as possible when I’m in my personal space. Because hospitals, we are a 24 by seven environment. It was inevitable for the first five, six years of my work, I would keep getting calls from work, even in the nights, and I’m continuously embroiled in work.”

Leadership Journeys [175] – Robin van Breukelen – “I do not have all the answers but I can help you”

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 as we dive into an insightful conversation with Robin, the COO of Avisi, a software development company. 

From his early days as a developer to traveling the globe as a consultant, Robin shares his journey and the valuable lessons he learned along the way. 

Discover how he mastered the art of flexibility and communication, crucial skills he acquired during his consulting years. 

Robin also opens up about the challenges of leadership, emphasizing the importance of transparency and continuous learning. 

With a blend of personal anecdotes and professional wisdom, this episode offers practical advice for anyone navigating the complexities of leadership and business.

You can find Robin van Breukelen at the below links

In the interview, Robin shares

  • “As a developer, I always had an interest in seeing more of the project than just simply doing the coding.”
  • “Flexibility is something that you must have as a consultant. Prepare something, but also be flexible around what you’re gonna find.”
  • “It’s good to have a plan, but also accept when the fundamentals of your plan have changed.”
  • “Being a leader is not about pretending to have all the answers, but about being transparent and taking action to make the right choices along the way.”
  • “Not knowing is the gateway to future learning. If you say ‘I know,’ then there’s no scope for learning.”
  • “I think if you put in the time, you should be able to learn at least the basics of business. That’s how I came to understand finance.”
  • “One of the benefits is that I’m someone who really wants to know how things work. When I’m confronted with something I don’t know, I want to learn.”
  • “One of the foundational elements of our culture is trust. We give team leads a credit card to buy things for their project, trusting them to make the right decisions.”
  • “While we grow the company, really focusing on nurturing the culture side of the company is gonna be paramount.”
  • “I’m most grateful for having the opportunity to fail, make bad decisions, and learn from them without being judged by others.”

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 Alight 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 Alight 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.”