Choosing Leadership

with Sumit Gupta

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

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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 [141] – Ben Foster – “This company isn’t about me anymore”

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 Ben Foster, CEO of the SEO Works, we delve into the fascinating journey that led him to the helm of his company and how his leadership style evolved organically over time.

Ben shares his inspiring commitment to hard work and how it has shaped his remarkable success.

He reveals the critical role of mentorship in his growth, highlighting the importance of believing in the potential of your team members.

Ben’s insights into nurturing company culture and his refreshing perspective on balancing work and personal life provide valuable takeaways for any leader facing challenges in a dynamic, high-pressure environment.

Don’t miss this candid conversation with a leader who has truly found balance in the world of business and beyond.

You can find Ben Foster at the below links

In the interview, Ben shares

  • “Our mission as a company is to help our clients grow online, get more exposure, more leads, more business.”
  • “I always wanted to work hard because I thought if you work hard, good things will happen, really, and that’s been my mantra all the way through.”
  • “My love for computers developed from an Amstrad CPC 464 computer as a kid, which really developed my love for computers, not just games, but also programming.”
  • “I never in my head wanted, had a vision of me being a leader. It happened organically over time.”
  • “We want to prove we’re experts and share that expertise with people in the market.”
  • “Our biggest focus and our biggest worry is we lose that culture as we continue to grow.”
  • “We have a chairman who is a great sounding board. By having conversations and working things through, you often get to a good decision.”
  • “You’ve got to remain balanced. Success and failure, those impostors both the same.”
  • “Maintaining that calmness influences people around you.”
  • “I’m outwardly calm and level-headed, and that’s the approach I take to running the business and working with people.”

Leadership Journeys [140] – Abhishek Kirti & Nishka Sinha – “Leadership is about the ability to take calculated risks with maximum impact.”

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.

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You can find Abhishek & Nishka at the below links

In the interview, Abhishek & Nishka shares

  • “I learned early that entrepreneurship was in my blood. At seven, I set up a home library, monetizing my love for books—it was the spark for my venture spirit.”
  • “Being an entrepreneur was contrary to my family’s background, but growing up internationally exposed me to diverse cultures, fostering adaptability and innovation.”
  • “Engineering trained me to solve problems. It was a natural step from addressing local infrastructure issues to founding Drisma to solve global challenges.”
  • “Unconventional backgrounds provide an edge. They prepare you to adapt, innovate, and mold yourself to different environments—crucial life skills for any entrepreneur.”
  • “Our journey began by recognizing a pain point: the arduous, weeks-long process for product photos. We sought to revolutionize it using AI technology.”
  • “The heart of our company lies in being customer-focused. Identifying and addressing their challenges birthed the idea behind Drisma.”
  • “It’s easy to miss the bigger picture when immersed in execution. We take time to interact closely with our customers—they guide our vision and validate our steps.”
  • “In a tech-based company, the constant challenge is staying ahead of technological evolution. Adapting to market shifts, like the sudden rise of generative AI, is essential.”
  • “In startup life, surprises and pressure are routine. Our resilience comes from a steadfast belief in our vision and the support of a passionate, dedicated team.”
  • “While entrepreneurship may seem glamorous, the challenges are numerous. Support from family, teams, and a steadfast belief in your vision make the journey worthwhile.”

Leadership Journeys [139] – Gaurav Gandhi – “We never introspected. Success overwhelmed us.”

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 enlightening interview, we sit down with the dynamic entrepreneur, Gaurav Gandhi, whose journey from an ‘accidental’ entrepreneur to the helm of a thriving enterprise will leave you inspired and informed. 

He shares the secrets behind his unexpected success story, revealing how he transformed his average beginnings into a thriving business empire. 

He delves into the critical shift that COVID brought to his business and how it prompted introspection and a complete overhaul of their company culture. 

Discover how he’s zero-tolerant on integrity breaches and the meticulous steps he’s taken to build a consistent, high-performing culture. 

Join us for an engaging conversation filled with valuable leadership insights that could reshape your approach to business challenges.

 

You can find Gaurav Gandhi at the below links

In the interview, Gaurav shares

  • “I started my business at the age of 25. I found a gap in the telco space and decided to start solving those problems.” 
  • “My journey began accidentally with a vision to create a successful enterprise.” 
  • “I was an average student, but that average performance drove me to excel in my career.” 
  • “I realized that my intent was to create a business that solved problems, not just a technical job.” 
  • “We became complacent for a few years until COVID forced us to reevaluate and change our strategy.” 
  • “The biggest challenge we face is establishing a consistent and strong company culture.” 
  • “Culture is not convenience; it’s about creating a consistent and right behavior.” 
  • “We have defined values such as integrity and efficiency, and we are zero-tolerant when it comes to integrity breaches.” 
  • “I’ve learned to accept my mistakes and continuously work on improving myself.”
  • “Exercise, good food habits, and my passion for golf help me stay calm and balanced in my entrepreneurial journey.”

Leadership Journeys [138] – Harsh Sethi – “You should not be doing everything 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.

In this captivating interview, we delve into the remarkable entrepreneurial journey of Harsh Sethi, a seasoned expert who has mastered the art of thriving in challenging circumstances. 

From a modest background to navigating the turbulent world of entrepreneurship, Harsh shares his inspiring story of resilience and determination. 

He offers invaluable lessons on the importance of cash flow, the multifaceted aspects that determine entrepreneurial success, and the pivotal role of marketing in taking a product to market. 

Furthermore, we explore Harsh’s latest venture, Trinano Technologies, and their groundbreaking solid-state nano coatings that are revolutionizing the solar energy industry. 

Whether you’re a seasoned leader or a budding entrepreneur, this conversation is a treasure trove of insights and motivation to fuel your own journey to success.

 

You can find Harsh Sethi at the below links

In the interview, Harsh shares

  • “I had the passion that I wanted to do something on my own.”
  • “I don’t have to put up any money; I just have to run the plant, and that’s how the entrepreneurship started.”
  • “Cashflow is important; you must know each of them.”
  • “Even though the product could be good, there are a lot of other factors that decide the success of entrepreneurship.”
  • “It’s thinner than human hair, and it increases energy generation from day one.”
  • “Cleaning frequency, cleaning costs, and especially in countries like India, the use of water is quite reduced.”
  • “The first challenge is to convince the customer. Most customers take their own testing.”
  • “Technology is very fast-moving, and you can never guess what the next moment will bring.”
  • “You have to believe in yourself, your invention, your creation, your idea, then only you can take it forward.”
  • “You have to make sure that none of those corners gets chipped off; you have to make balance.”

Leadership Journeys [137] – Gabriele Musella – “You join as a team player first and then as an engineer.”

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, we delve into the fascinating journey of Gabriele, CEO and co-founder of CoinRule, a fintech disruptor.

Gabriele’s story is one of seamless transitions from a pure design background to a thriving entrepreneur, and he shares how his early ventures prepared him for the world of startups.

His unique blend of design thinking and business acumen offers invaluable insights for those navigating their own entrepreneurial path.

Gabriele’s journey is one of relentless innovation and adaptability, where he applies lessons from underwater hockey to the boardroom, making this episode a must-listen for aspiring leaders and entrepreneurs.

You can find Gabriele Musella at the below links

In the interview, Gabriele shares

  • “My career has always been about design and business –  adding value to digital products, especially in the fintech space”
  • “Most of the entrepreneurs I know are unemployable”
  • “Be intolerant about your present; that creates your future”
  • “By changing interfaces and new technologies, you actually change the world”
  • “Coinrule is trying to level up the playing field between big institutions and retail investors”
  • “The job of a CEO in a startup is to over communicate the strategy, the mission, and the vision.”
  • “It’s challenging to balance the role of a Designer CEO, from the pixel to the vision.”
  • “Matching people in a team determines the success of your experience with that specific team.”
  • “I play underwater hockey, and I also obsess over tennis. It makes me a better entrepreneur and leader.”

Leadership Journeys [136] – Rachit Ahuja – “Leadership is creating 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.

In this insightful interview, we dive into the remarkable journey of Rachit Ahuja, a Delhi native whose path from a coder in a banking software company to a thriving entrepreneur is nothing short of inspiring. 

Rachit shares candidly about his early career confusion and how he discovered his true calling on the business development side. 
He emphasizes the importance of self-awareness and the need for role models in navigating one’s career. 

Rachit’s story is a testament to the power of introspection, mentorship, and adaptability, offering valuable leadership lessons for those looking to create a workplace where they genuinely love what they do. 

Join us for an engaging conversation that’s bound to motivate and resonate with your own leadership challenges.

 

You can find Rachit Ahuja at the below links

In the interview, Rachit shares

  • “My name is Rachit Ahuja, brought up in Delhi.”
  • “I realized that my inclination, my bank of mind wasn’t really towards the coding or the software development.”
  • “I took the call, worked with a few companies.”
  • “I think another key element is that we don’t have role models, so we don’t have that awareness to so that even somebody can help us.”
  • “A platform to introspect and to go a little deeper inside me.”
  • “I wanted to create a place where I liked working.”
  • “So if you don’t have it, then you create it.”
  • “The most important thing is to leave them on their own.”
  • “We limit ourselves by thinking we can or cannot do this.”
  • “You got to do something every day to be able to fit again. Be fully present in what you are doing.”

Leadership Journeys [135] – Manish Kumar – “You never get enough time to spend with your loved ones”

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, we sit down with Manish Kumar, an entrepreneur and content creator extraordinaire, to explore his remarkable journey of transformation and resilience. 

Manish’s story is a beacon of hope, from navigating the tumultuous waters of corporate life to forging his own path towards entrepreneurship, all while facing the daunting challenges brought about by the global pandemic.

Learn how Manish took control of his life and time, with a passionate drive to provide the best for his family. Discover the secrets of his success, including the importance of diversifying your portfolio and managing cash flow effectively. 

Manish’s wisdom extends to leadership, emphasizing the crucial role of building a visionary team and staying humble amidst confidence.

This interview is a treasure trove of inspiration and practical advice for anyone seeking to overcome adversity and thrive in the world of business and leadership. 

Tune in and let Manish Kumar’s experiences guide you toward your own path of growth and fulfillment. 

You can find Manish Kumar at the below links

In the interview, Manish shares

  • “I should actually take control of my own life. I should take control of my own time so that I can actually give the best time to my daughter, to my family, to my parents, everybody.” 
  • “It is very important to diversify the portfolio.”
  • “Starting a business is not difficult, but running a business and retaining that business is very important.” 
  • “If you’re starting a business, for at least two years, stop investing in stocks and cryptos. Start investing in yourself.” 
  • “In terms of the business, I believe there are two different challenges. One is the team management. You need good guys in your team.” 
  • “The fundamental of any business is the cash flow. If you know how to manage your cash flow, you can do business anywhere.” 
  • “Believe in yourself is the most important thing.” 
  • “The more you become confident, try to become more and more humble. That is the most important thing.” 
  • “It’s okay to deal with failures because everybody faces such kind of failures.”
  • “The more you get humble, you will see, you will get a lot of support and love from your family, from your community.”

Leadership Journeys [134] – Aron Ezra – “I love thinking about the future and different possibilities”

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, Aron Ezra, Chairman of Plan A Technologies, takes us on a journey through his remarkable career, filled with unexpected twists and profound insights. 

From an early fascination with creativity to becoming a crisis manager for Fortune 100 companies, Aaron shares his unique path to entrepreneurship. 

He delves into the transformative power of embracing change, drawing from his experiences in guiding organizations through tumultuous times. Aron’s wisdom shines as he discusses effective leadership during crises and the importance of self-reflection. 

Discover how he fosters a culture of innovation at Plan A Technologies and find inspiration in his passion for work that feels more like a rewarding hobby than a job. 

Join us for this illuminating conversation that’s sure to leave you energized and motivated for your own leadership challenges.

 

You can find Aron Ezra at the below links

In the interview, Aron shares

  • “We do work for clients all over the globe, tackling all sorts of interesting technology challenges.”
  • “Change went from being scary to being exhilarating and exciting.”
  • “Very often, organizations got to that place because some people had made some very bad decisions and terrible mistakes.”
  • “Life is short, and you gotta do everything you can to make the most of the time that you have.”
  • “We focus on creating an environment that’s almost academic in nature, where culture fit is just as important as technical fit.”
  • “When we take on clients, we take on clients in the verticals that we know very well.”
  • “I would love to see the company continue to diversify, get into even more verticals, even more countries.”
  • “I get a chance to keep exercising those creative muscles as we grow.”
  • “Our clients are coming to us and saying, ‘What am I missing? Tell me how I can make this better.'”
  • “That joy that comes from your work, where your work doesn’t totally feel like work, is something that is way too rare in the world.”

Leadership Journeys [133] – Kathleen Hunter – “We all have something valuable to share”

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, Kathleen Hunter, a passionate advocate for embracing one’s uniqueness, takes us on a profound journey of self-discovery and leadership. 

Growing up in a traditional household, Kathleen shares how gender stereotypes influenced her life and career choices. 

Her story underscores the importance of education as a gateway to endless opportunities. 

Kathleen’s deep insights into inner knowing and the power of meditation will leave you inspired to align your thoughts and emotions for effective leadership. 

Join us as we explore the transformative journey of self-awareness, trust, and the pursuit of authentic leadership.

 

You can find Kathleen Hunter at the below links

In the interview, Kathleen shares

  • “We are unique and have valuable skills, gifts, and preferences to share, but we are often trained away from that sense of uniqueness.” 
  • “Gender stereotypes are a huge part of limiting our perspectives and identity, but we are at an awakening in many societies.” 
  • “Education was my gateway to more opportunities, and it’s a guiding theme in my life.” 
  • “Trusting my internal guidance and connecting with my inner knowing has been essential to my journey.” 
  • “We’re taught to know who we are, but the truth is, who we are changes over time.” 
  • “We can always connect about something and agree on something; I’m not here to tell somebody what is right or wrong.”
  • “Knowledge is something that we know has value, and it goes beyond mere information or data.” 
  • “Meditation helps gain alignment between thoughts, emotions, and the physical experience.” 
  • “Wellbeing is a spectrum of emotions and physical experiences, from peace and tranquility to enthusiasm and joy.” 
  • “Letting go is not giving up on your desires; it’s about trusting the universe’s guidance and knowing that wellbeing is natural.”

Leadership Journeys [132] – Josh Staph – “A good leader knows what questions to ask and what questions need to be answered”

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, we sit down with Josh Staph, the dynamic President and CEO of Duncan Toys Company, an iconic brand with a rich history dating back to 1929. 

Get ready to dive into a conversation that transcends toy-making and ventures into the fascinating world of innovation and leadership. 

Discover how Josh seamlessly transitioned from the digital media industry to the toy business, breaking traditional molds along the way. 

He shares invaluable insights about the power of empathy in leadership, the importance of embracing change, and how building a strong team is the cornerstone of success. 

If you’re looking for inspiration and actionable leadership wisdom, this interview is a must-listen! 

You can find Josh Staph at the below links

In the interview, Josh shares

  • “Duncan is one of the world’s oldest and most recognized toy brands, founded in 1929.”
  • “We have a patented yo-yo technology with sensors built in, allowing us to bring yo-yos to mobile gaming.”
  • “Leadership is not about having all the answers, but knowing what questions to ask.”
  • “Understanding what makes people tick is the key to helping them reach their goals.”
  • “I can’t do it all on my own. Part of leadership is building a team of people who can do things better than you.”
  • “My family is my rock, and they recharge my batteries.”
  • “One of the challenges of leading people is avoiding long-lasting negative impacts when changing course.”
  • “Clear communication is key to navigating changes without causing emotional stress.”
  • “Leaders should be open and willing to admit when mistakes are made and take responsibility for them.”

Leadership Journeys [131] – Dmitrii Kustov – “No matter what you do, do it to your best ability”

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.

Get ready to be inspired by Dimitri Kustov, the founder of Regex SEO, in this enlightening interview. 

Join us as Dimitri shares his incredible journey from a mathematics graduate to a successful entrepreneur in the world of digital marketing. 

Discover how he turned an unexpected career twist into an opportunity for growth and how his unique perspective on time and purpose transformed his approach to business. 

Gain valuable insights on leadership, finding your ‘why,’ and measuring success beyond financial metrics. 

Don’t miss this conversation that will not only motivate you but also challenge the way you think about your own leadership journey.

 

You can find Dmitrii Kustov at the below links

In the interview, Dmitrii shares

  • “Our goal is to take any business out there from the level they’re at to that next level they have as their goal.” 
  • “No matter what you do, do it to your best ability. Be the best burger flipper in the world.” 
  • “As a business owner, there are so many other things from sales to hiring, recruitment to taxes, to marketing.” 
  • “The only unrenewable resource is time. You can’t reinvent time.” 
  • “Count the times, not the years. Make every moment count.” 
  • “I want to leave the planet better than it was when I came in. Let’s work with companies that care about the future.” 
  • “Measure everything in ’cause,’ not just money. Define your impact and goals beyond financial metrics.” 
  • “Finding your ‘why’ can become the glue that ties your team together through tough times and good times.” 
  • “These questions about purpose and meaning can create joy in the journey, not just at the milestones.” 
  • “More than anything, it’s about creating a meaningful and beautiful impact on the world.”

Visionary Voices [06] – Tina Kuhn and Neal Frick – “We both had different but compatible leadership styles”

Welcome to Choosing Leadership, and this is another episode of the “Visionary Voices” series with your host, Sumit Gupta.

In this dynamic new series of episodes, I am bringing you thought-provoking conversations with visionary leaders who have reshaped industries, challenged norms, and carved their own paths to success. In a world where leadership is a blend of art and science, where the ability to navigate uncertainty is as crucial as driving innovation, we’re diving headfirst into the minds of those who’ve mastered the craft.

In this insightful interview, join Neal and Tina as they delve into the world of empathetic leadership, offering invaluable wisdom and practical advice. 

Discover how empathy goes beyond mere sympathy and compassion, shaping their dynamic leadership styles. 

Uncover the compelling link between empathy and organizational success, as they explore the ROI of empathy and its impact on productivity and customer relationships. 

They share personal anecdotes and lessons learned, shedding light on how introspection and constructive criticism have fueled their growth as leaders. 

Tune in to grasp the transformative power of empathy in today’s ever-evolving business landscape, whether you’re leading in-person or navigating the challenges of remote work.

 

You can find Tina Kuhn and Neal Frick at the below links

In the interview, Tina and Neal share

  • “Empathy in leadership is about looking at the big picture, beyond sympathy and compassion.” 
  • “Empathy first leadership allows you to understand an individual’s perspective and adjust your management style to support them.” 
  • “The ROI of empathy is about understanding your customers, which directly correlates with sales and productivity.” 
  • “Trust is the foundation of a strong leadership team, and it’s built on communication and recognizing others’ perspectives.” 
  • “To be an effective leader, you must continue to grow, learn, and listen to others. Narrowing your viewpoint makes you a less effective leader.” 
  • “Empathetic confrontation is about solving problems and removing ego from the equation to benefit everyone.”
  • “Diverse perspectives shape leadership positively, leading to better decision-making and problem-solving.” 
  • “Empathy in marketing and sales means understanding customer needs and solving their problems with your product or service.” 
  • “Remote work requires deliberate leadership and empathy to build trust and maintain effective communication.” 
  • “Empathy is the key to successfully running a virtual organization, understanding team needs, and holding people accountable.” 

Visionary Voices [05] – Mark Beal – “Every generation brings unique value to the workplace”

Welcome to Choosing Leadership, and this is another episode of the “Visionary Voices” series with your host, Sumit Gupta.

In this dynamic new series of episodes, I am bringing you thought-provoking conversations with visionary leaders who have reshaped industries, challenged norms, and carved their own paths to success. In a world where leadership is a blend of art and science, where the ability to navigate uncertainty is as crucial as driving innovation, we’re diving headfirst into the minds of those who’ve mastered the craft.

Get ready for an insightful conversation that delves into the dynamic world of generational leadership! In this interview, we sit down with Mark Beal, a seasoned expert with over 30 years in public relations and marketing, who has made an extraordinary transition into academia. 

Mark shares his journey from working with top-tier brands like the Rolling Stones and the Super Bowl halftime show, to shaping the minds of the next generation as a full-time professor at Rutgers University. 

Discover how Gen Z is reshaping the workforce and learn valuable tips on how to engage, retain, and empower this tech-savvy, purpose-driven generation. 

Mark’s perspective on bridging generational gaps and embracing change is a must-listen for anyone navigating leadership challenges in today’s evolving landscape.

You can find Mark Beal at the below links

In the interview, Mark shares

  • “Generation Z will become the focus in 2023, 2024, 2025.”
  • “They’re the first generation that learned to swipe before they wiped.”
  • “They welcome technology, they welcome ways to improve efficiencies using technology.”
  • “They are the most inclusive generation, the most diverse generation.”
  • “They prioritize diversity and inclusion. They wanna belong.”
  • “They are the purpose generation. They are looking to support brands with a higher purpose.”
  • “They’re contributing to making mental health less of a taboo topic.”
  • “Give them the opportunity as ZEOs, to launch something new, try something new, create something new.”
  • “Experience counts. Don’t discount the experience of an older generation.”
  • “Millennials are the critical bridge between the older generations and Gen Z.”

Visionary Voices [04] – Chris Cirak – “Your true calling is not something that is comfortable to you.”

Welcome to Choosing Leadership, and this is another episode of the “Visionary Voices” series with your host, Sumit Gupta.

In this dynamic new series of episodes, I am bringing you thought-provoking conversations with visionary leaders who have reshaped industries, challenged norms, and carved their own paths to success. In a world where leadership is a blend of art and science, where the ability to navigate uncertainty is as crucial as driving innovation, we’re diving headfirst into the minds of those who’ve mastered the craft.

In this captivating interview, we sit down with Chris, a seasoned entrepreneur and mindfulness expert who has navigated the complex terrains of both the corporate world and startup culture. 

With a background rich in diversity and a proficiency in four languages, Chris shares his remarkable journey of self-discovery, emphasizing the critical importance of internal alignment in achieving external success. 

He delves into the transformative power of mindfulness, offering practical insights on how to cultivate presence in our fast-paced lives and leverage it for personal and professional growth. 

Discover how Chris’s unique perspective on surrender and clear action can help you navigate leadership challenges with newfound clarity and resilience. 

Tune in to explore the profound connections between mindfulness, movement, and authentic leadership in this inspiring conversation.

You can find Chris Cirak at the below links

In the interview, Chris shares

  • “I grew up speaking four languages and always had the contrast of there is no absolute truth.”
  • “I was always in creator mode.”
  • “I had nurtured the external life so much that you can only go so far with that until the internal life starts to call you.”
  • “It’s realizing that everything we do is driven by something inside of us that needs more fulfillment.”
  • “The way we make peace with everything is to come out of resistance to them and to see them as they are.”
  • “Your true calling is something that, like the word implies, is calling you to something, which means you’re not ready yet.”
  • “As we heal ourselves, then we become healers for others.”
  • “Meditation is not a separate activity. It’s a state of being that we bring to the things that we do.”
  • “It’s always maintaining a connection to how we are feeling, a feeling state without judging the feelings.”
  • “Surrender is staying out of wanting the situation to be something it’s not. It’s already happened.”

Visionary Voices [03] – Joey Havens – “You don’t manage people. You lead people.”

Welcome to Choosing Leadership, and this is another episode of the “Visionary Voices” series with your host, Sumit Gupta.

In this dynamic new series of episodes, I am bringing you thought-provoking conversations with visionary leaders who have reshaped industries, challenged norms, and carved their own paths to success. In a world where leadership is a blend of art and science, where the ability to navigate uncertainty is as crucial as driving innovation, we’re diving headfirst into the minds of those who’ve mastered the craft.

In this insightful interview, Joey Havens, a seasoned CPA and former managing partner of a renowned firm, takes us on a journey through the fascinating world of workplace culture transformation. 

With over 40 years of experience under his belt, Joey shares his secrets to success, highlighting the pivotal role of culture as the number one strategy for growth and profitability. 

From the power of personal faith to the courage required to prioritize people over immediate results, his wisdom offers a fresh perspective on leadership in today’s fast-paced world. 

Join us as we delve into the art of leading with significance, fostering resilience, and driving long-term success through a people-first approach.

You can find Joey Havens at the below links

In the interview, Joey shares

  • “We decided we would make culture, workplace culture our number one strategy.”
  • “The more our culture got stronger, the more our business grew, the better our profitability was.”
  • “Success is all about me. Leading with significance is about serving the people you work with.”
  • “When you lead with significance and put people first, success always follows in big bundles.”
  • “We grew double digits the next two years as people really bought in, leaned into that.”
  • “Leadership is behaviours. It takes an authentic heart, truly caring for others.”
  • “Commitment starts with honouring the values and living them, so people see and believe.”
  • “People need goals and accountability. But it’s not about not having expectations; it’s about clarity.”
  • “A key to a magnetic culture is leaders trusting first, being vulnerable enough to trust.”
  • “Good is not good enough; always strive to be better, especially in an exponential world.”

Visionary Voices [02] – Eric Holsapple – “It is impossible to listen when we judge others.”

Welcome to Choosing Leadership, and this is another episode of the “Visionary Voices” series with your host, Sumit Gupta.

In this dynamic new series of episodes, I am bringing you thought-provoking conversations with visionary leaders who have reshaped industries, challenged norms, and carved their own paths to success. In a world where leadership is a blend of art and science, where the ability to navigate uncertainty is as crucial as driving innovation, we’re diving headfirst into the minds of those who’ve mastered the craft.

Join us for an inspiring interview with Eric Holsapple, a seasoned business veteran with over 40 years of experience in real estate and economics. 

In this conversation, Eric shares his incredible journey from a successful yet unhappy executive to a mindful leader. Discover how mindfulness and purpose transformed his life and business. 

Eric offers valuable insights into the power of acceptance, the importance of aligning your life’s purpose with your business, and the role of mindfulness in leadership. 

If you’re looking for practical wisdom on becoming a more mindful and purpose-driven leader, this interview is a must-listen.

You can find Dr Eric Holsapple at the below links

In the interview, Eric shares

  • “Profit is not a purpose. Profit’s the result of a purpose-driven organization.” 
  • “Purpose is your North star. It’s the guiding light during difficult times.” 
  • “Acceptance is the first step to change. When I accept myself, then I can change.” 
  • “Mindfulness is tapping into your gut instinct and having the confidence to act on it.” 
  • “Being present is a major purpose in life – it’s recognizing why you’re here and being awake.” 
  • “Start with yourself. You’re the only one you can change to make a difference.” 
  • “Purpose can’t be that far off from the purpose in life. Align your business with your life’s purpose.” 
  • “Presence is accessible to anyone in any given moment, just be present.” 
  • “You can’t have a mindful corporation, but you can have mindful individuals within it.” 
  • “Start with yourself, set an empowering vision, and lead by example.” 

Visionary Voices [01] – John Nance – “A good leader is also a follower”

Welcome to Choosing Leadership, and this is another episode of the “Visionary Voices” series with your host, Sumit Gupta.

In this dynamic new series of episodes, I am bringing you thought-provoking conversations with visionary leaders who have reshaped industries, challenged norms, and carved their own paths to success. In a world where leadership is a blend of art and science, where the ability to navigate uncertainty is as crucial as driving innovation, we’re diving headfirst into the minds of those who’ve mastered the craft.

In this enlightening interview, we sit down with John J Nance, a multifaceted expert with a remarkable career spanning aviation, law, and safety. 

With a warm and engaging demeanor, John shares invaluable insights into leadership, safety, and the power of human factors in high-stakes industries. 

His journey from an Air Force pilot to an acclaimed aviation analyst offers a unique perspective on the importance of trust, transparency, and continuous improvement in leadership. 

John’s wisdom extends beyond the cockpit, emphasizing the need for adaptable systems and open communication in any field. 

Tune in for a conversation that will inspire and equip you to navigate the challenges of leadership with newfound clarity and purpose.

 

You can find John J. Nance at the below links

In the interview, John shares

  • “I’ve spent the last almost 30 years now trying to translate these human factor elements from aviation and nuclear power generation to the medical profession.”
  • “Human beings are incapable of 100% perfection 100% of the time, and no matter how much you yell and scream as a manager, you’re not gonna be able to transcend that completely.”
  • “Blame is for the lawyers. They can figure that out later. What we wanna know is every single solitary thing that went wrong, large and small, that might have contributed to this accident because it’s not just one cause.”
  • “Quality and safety are not the same thing. They’re inextricably intertwined, but they are not the same thing.”
  • “You trust your people. You have deployed them correctly. If that’s the case, you don’t need to be out there in the lead telling everybody what to do when they already know the job.”
  • “You’ve gotta struggle constantly to find out what’s really happening on the front lines and to make sure that your system and your people are able to adjust to that.”
  • “If you’re gonna work in the company and be a part of the company, and the company is gonna care about you, you’ve gotta care about the company.”
  • “If you’re not living what you’re saying, you’re a fraud. People are gonna look at you as a fraud.”
  • “The most dangerous phrase in medicine, not just in America, but all over the world, is ‘this is the way we’ve always done it.'”
  • “Change is a change between a structure that is controlling things and a philosophy.”

Leadership Journeys [130] – Srikant Chellappa – “You have to train your brain to do hard things.”

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 engaging conversation with Srikant, a seasoned entrepreneur with a diverse portfolio ranging from technology to filmmaking and real estate. 

In this interview, Srikant shares his journey, emphasizing the power of curiosity and the willingness to push boundaries. 

He delves into the art of starting something new, the importance of resilience, and the need to embrace discomfort for personal growth. 

Discover his insights on leadership, the critical role of self-leadership, and how to maintain composure and humor in the face of challenges. 

Don’t miss this chance to gain valuable wisdom from a multifaceted leader who believes in creating fulfilling careers and workplaces.

 

You can find Srikant Chellappa at the below links

In the interview, Srikant shares

  • “I’ve done a lot of things along my life, but they all had the same principle of being an entrepreneur and working with people essentially.”
  • “Starting something new is actually very easy. A lot of people do that, right? Everybody starts something. Everybody starts going to the gym.”
  • “You cannot be developing unless you’re on the edge of discomfort. If you’re getting comfortable, you’re not developing.”
  • “If you believe that you can do something, your mind and your body will follow in that, but it starts with the belief that it is possible.”
  • “We are on a mission to provide people with fulfilling careers by helping organizations align the organizational goals with people’s aspirations at work.”
  • “Scaling a startup is actually one of the hardest things to do. It is somewhat easier to be a CEO of a billion-dollar company, which is already set up and running and profitable.”
  • “You had to start before you can lead others. You had to lead yourself first, and then the whole journey is you lead yourself first, and then you lead others.”
  • “You cannot be developing unless you’re on the edge of discomfort. If you’re getting comfortable, you’re not developing.”
  • “As a leader, you can’t give that unless you have your house in order, in your own life, in your own work that you do.”
  • “The biggest challenge for us, I would say is us. Not the external environment. The environment is the environment. I cannot change the environment.”

Leadership Journeys [129] – Moiz Arsiwala – “Don’t overthink, just take micro steps and trust the process”

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, we sit down with Moiz, a dynamic leader and key member of the founding team at WorkIndia, a platform connecting blue and gray-collar employees with employers. 

Moiz shares his remarkable journey, from his early career in software application development to his pivotal role in shaping WorkIndia’s mission of providing meaningful livelihoods to millions of workers across India. 

With genuine passion and a deep sense of responsibility, he discusses the challenges of leading a department amidst India’s complex job market and the need to combat exploitative practices in the industry. 

His insights resonate with anyone facing leadership dilemmas in today’s fast-paced world, offering valuable lessons on resilience, persistence, and the pursuit of ambitious goals. 

Join us for an inspiring conversation that underscores the importance of purpose-driven leadership and continuous self-improvement.

 

You can find Moiz Arsiwala at the below links

In the interview, Moiz shares

  • “Our purpose of existence is to provide meaningful livelihood to 23.6 million blue-collar workers across India and hopefully one day, 1.2 billion globally.” 
  • “I was fortunate enough to get placed in a company in their software application development team.” 
  • “You’re creating opportunities for others, and it’s a big responsibility.” 
  • “In India, there is this middle layer that tries to exploit, which is where the placement agents in the blue-collar industry make money in the name of giving jobs but don’t actually provide them.” 
  • “Leadership is what it is, but having this opportunity to serve so many people gives you a deeper connection to it.” 
  • “It’s difficult because there are changing priorities every time. Even though we have spent seven years, we still have the hustle culture.” 
  • “It’s not just about saying the big statement of providing meaningful livelihood; it’s about the ‘how tos,’ the actionable steps to get there.” 
  • “Our focus is on profitability and making this a sustainable business. Bringing down cash burns and increasing contribution margins is our goal.” 
  • “Life doesn’t happen to be simple. It’s never too late to have ambitious goals and push yourself towards them.” 
  • “Life is about an experiment, so you have to continuously experiment and try to continuously improve from where you left the last time.” 

Leadership Journeys [128] – Marjukka Niinioja – “I had to learn to stop myself from speaking to listen more.”

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.

Marjukka is the Founder of Osaango Ltd and is Transforming Businesses with Intelligent API and Information Architecture.

In the interview, Marjukka shares her journey of leaping into consultancy from a corporate role, defying the naysayers. 

Her advice will resonate with both professionals and leaders, underlining the significance of active listening, acknowledging the power of “I don’t know,” and finding value in unexpected perspectives. 

She emphasizes that listening is not just about silence, but understanding the unspoken. Tune in for a captivating conversation.

You can find Marjukka Niinioja at the below links

In the interview, Marjukka shares

  • “I got into APIs accidentally, and I definitely got into entrepreneurship accidentally.”
  • “It has been really good in terms of there were some very practical reasons of setting up the company there.”
  • “People being the kind of problem and the solution for any of the technical or business things that we want to do and innovate and change.”
  • “I think from that vision I think it’s even more so now we have AI, IT, IoT, supercomputing, like everything cool and fancy, all related to APIs, still highly needed.”
  • “The challenge is that technical people don’t necessarily want to know more about business, or they find it challenging, and then vice versa.”
  • “I think a lot of it is kind of focusing on, well, like really focusing on the one thing at the time, but also doing this kind of like almost meta-consulting.”
  • “Sometimes you are too stuck in your own bubble, like with people who speak exactly the same stuff as you do. It really keeps you from being too in your bubble and believing that everybody is either believers or non-believers.”
  • “And I’m still not saying it’s easy and that I’m hyper successful in it, but it’s something that if at least I believe that if somebody pays attention to that and understands that, you need to develop.”
  • “I don’t know is the starting point of learning because when you say, ‘I know,’ it feels comfortable, yes. But at the same time, you stop yourself from learning something new.”
  • “Once you realize that you can start scaffolding, but as long as you believe that the world is flat, you can’t start exploring that. It is actually round.”