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 [127] – Kirk Byles – “My inquisitiveness has been the most advantageous for my career”

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.

Discover the inspiring journey of Kirk Byles, a seasoned technology executive, and turnaround specialist, in this enlightening interview. 

Kirk shares his remarkable experiences in helping both large corporations and small to medium-sized businesses find their path to success. 

With a keen eye for identifying hidden opportunities and a passion for solving complex problems, he delves into the art of turning struggling companies into thriving enterprises. 

Kirk’s insights on building trust, gaining buy-in from stakeholders, and navigating the delicate balance of change in leadership provide valuable lessons for anyone facing leadership challenges. 

Tune in for a captivating conversation that will leave you motivated and better equipped to lead your organization toward a brighter future.

 

You can find Kirk Byles at the below links

In the interview, Kirk shares

  • “I’m a 25-year executive in the technology world, primarily focused on helping small to medium-sized businesses find their next market or technology.” 
  • “Businesses often get caught up in their own momentum and can’t get out of their own way.” 
  • “I love the idea of solving these problems and working with other companies.” 
  • “The challenge is convincing people that I know what I’m doing and that I can help drive change in the company.” 
  • “It’s about getting buy-in from senior management and making them believe in the vision for the company.” 
  • “People often have sacred cows in their businesses that hinder progress.” 
  • “Sometimes, you need to make hard decisions to stop the bleeding and move the company forward.” 
  • “My inquisitiveness has been the most advantageous for me and my career.” 
  • “As a consultant, I can suggest, I can tell leadership what I believe needs to happen, and I can push and pull.” 
  • “You’ve got to figure it out and make those changes along the way, as difficult as they may be.” 

Leadership Journeys [126] – Mike Kaeding – “When you do something new, you’re terrible at 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 captivating interview, we sit down with Mike, the dynamic CEO of Norhart, a company on a mission to revolutionize the housing industry. 

As he shares his inspiring journey from reluctant heir to a visionary leader, you’ll discover the transformative power of purpose-driven leadership. 

Mike’s insights will leave you pondering the untapped potential within your own team and how vertical integration, innovation, and an unwavering commitment to hiring the best can drive extraordinary results. 

Join us for an illuminating conversation that unveils the keys to building a brighter future, both in business and life.

 

You can find Mike Kaeding at the below links

In the interview, Mike shares

  • “I’m Mike, and I’m the CEO of Norhart. We design, build, and rent apartments, but we’re really focused on driving down the cost of construction.”
  • “We believe that over time we can achieve a 50% reduction. But imagine what that means. Someday your rent could be half.” 
  • “It’s a whole, yeah. If you look at the world of construction versus other industries, for example, manufacturing has improved labor productivity by 760% over the past 60 years.” 
  • “My parents originally started the business very small at the time.” 
  • “I struggled with my own ego, but eventually got past that, realizing that deep down I wanted to make some kind of meaningful, positive impact on the world.” 
  • “It was a struggle. I went off to college focused on finance and computer science and computer graphics and a number of other things.” 
  • “One of the first things we did was bring all that work in-house, which is a huge challenge.” 
  • “Instead of driving the product down the line, you can take the person and move them through the building.” 
  • “People, there’s always frustration. We were always butting heads in different things, and looking back, it was primarily because I was just hiring anyone who would do the work.” 
  • “I think the best leaders in the world have a breadth of knowledge and can bring things together from a lot of disparate places.” 

Leadership Journeys [125] – Abhinav & Raghav Aggarwal – “You are the sum of all the things you do daily”

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 engaging podcast episode as we dive into a gripping conversation with the dynamic duo who co-founded an AI-focused company a decade ago. 

With a passion for technology ignited at a young age, they’ve embarked on an inspiring journey that bridges the realms of artificial intelligence and enterprise innovation. 

Through live demos and relentless dedication, they’ve defied doubts and led their organization to success, revolutionizing the way AI impacts businesses. 

Discover their evolution from self-doubt to self-assurance, and gain insights on how their diverse interests in reading, finance, and music have shaped their strategies. 

Tune in for an enriching discussion on the power of multidisciplinary approaches, managing growth, and envisioning a future where AI empowers employees to reach new heights. 

 

You can find Abhinav & Raghav Aggarwal at the below links

In the interview, Abhinav & Raghav shares

  • “We co-founded about 10 years ago, focused on artificial intelligence solutions powered by the likes of GPT. Our goal is to provide enterprise versions of AI to revolutionize industries.”
  • “We’re taking an organization’s knowledge and transforming it into a set of intelligent assistants for every employee, allowing them to focus on impactful work.”
  • “Our journey began by exploring technology and coding at a young age. Our deep interest in finance eventually intersected with our tech capabilities, leading us to where we are today.”
  • “Our parents, entrepreneurs themselves, inspired us to pursue our ideas. They encouraged us to share our innovations with the world.”
  • “Starting young as entrepreneurs, there was less pressure to meet metrics initially, allowing us to focus on innovation and learning.”
  • “Dropping out of MBA to pursue our business was a tough call. The risk of cutting ties with opportunities if the business didn’t scale was a challenging decision.”
  • “Educating customers about AI’s potential and its value required persistent effort. We insisted on live demos to showcase real-time impact.”
  • “Adapting to self-doubt and uncertainty is crucial for entrepreneurs. Building a muscle for growth, learning from failures, and being comfortable with change are keys to success.”
  • “Our vision is to become the enterprise AI that empowers employees to focus on impactful work, automating tasks that can be handled by AI.”
  • “Outside of technology and entrepreneurship, we’re passionate about reading, finance, and music. These interests enrich our perspectives and influence our approaches to challenges.”

Leadership Journeys [124] – Michael McFall – “It is on YOU to earn the right to 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.

Join us for an inspiring interview that takes you on a journey of entrepreneurial growth and leadership evolution! 

In this episode, we sit down with Michael, a visionary entrepreneur who started as a humble barista and, over the past 28 years, transformed a single coffee shop into a thriving business empire. 

Discover the power of falling in love with your work, the challenges and triumphs of transitioning from a startup mindset to effective leadership, and the secrets behind fostering a team culture that drives results. 

From the grind of entrepreneurship to the art of building trust, he shares invaluable insights that will reshape your perspective on leadership, encourage your personal growth, and leave a lasting impact on your business’s journey. 

Tune in and unlock the keys to success through authenticity, transparency, and a commitment to leaving a meaningful legacy. 

 

You can find Michael at the below links

In the interview, Michael shares

  • “I fell in love with the business. I fell in love with being a barista. I loved showing up to work, making drinks, and putting a smile on people’s faces in the morning.”
  • “We shook hands and agreed to form a new company. That company was formed in June of 1998, and we’ve been doing business that way ever since.”
  • “Grind was written to capture the ethos of startups, while Grow picks up in the progression from bootstrapping entrepreneur to effective leader.”
  • “The transition from being an obsessive entrepreneur to an effective leader is a slow and long journey, often taking a decade or more to accomplish.”
  • “Understanding that you don’t have all the answers is key to growing the business beyond the bootstrapping entrepreneurial phase.”
  • “Your best mentor is your team. Bringing them into your growth journey allows for real feedback and progress.”
  • “Creating an environment where people feel okay with bringing you feedback starts with explaining that you need their input to become a more effective leader.”
  • “Leaders must be vulnerable enough to say they’re not perfect, they have a lot to work on, and they want feedback to become more effective.”
  • “Creating trust as a leader means investing first in your team members, helping them unlock their inner superpowers and strengths.”
  • “True leadership goes beyond profits. It’s about improving the human condition, using resources to create a legacy that positively impacts the world.”

Leadership Journeys [123] – Sanjay Kaul – “I’m not here by design, I am here by default.”

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

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

In this captivating interview, meet Sanjay Kaul, a seasoned entrepreneur with over two decades of experience in the ever-evolving world of startups. 

From a first-generation entrepreneur to founding India’s leading marcom company for rural marketing, Sanjay shares his journey that defies convention. 

Tune in to discover how he tackled challenges that pushed him to the brink, the power of building a team that brings fresh perspectives, and his knack for curating content and conferences. 

Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or a seasoned leader, his insights will inspire and equip you to navigate the dynamic landscape of business with unwavering confidence. 

Join us for a candid conversation that’s equal parts wisdom and warmth!

 

You can find Sanjay at the below links

In the interview, Sanjay shares

  • “I’m a first-generation entrepreneur, and I started my entrepreneurship journey in 1999, so almost 25 years into the entrepreneurship journey.”
  • “The startup bug caught me at 60. Now I am running a startup called LMC, which focuses on rural channel enhancement.”
  • “I founded Impact Communications in 1999, India’s leading marcom company for rural marketing.”
  • “I see myself not here by design, but by default.”
  • “Creating a good team is essential. I hire people who bring something new to the table, beyond what I already know.”
  • “In my journey, there have been near-death situations, but I’ve always managed to navigate through challenges.”
  • “When facing pressure, I don’t tremble. I lead the front, energize the team, and trust them to succeed.”
  • “As a leader, I’ve learned to address challenges by partnering with my team’s worries and allowing them to contribute solutions.”
  • “My passion for curating content and being actively involved with the industry has taught me valuable leadership lessons.”
  • “Weekends are family time; it’s essential to completely shut off for two days and spend quality time with loved ones.”

Leadership Journeys [122] – Stefany Barker – “Things are hard, but they’re under control”

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 captivating episode as we dive into the incredible journey of Stefany, a seasoned entrepreneur, investor, and technophile. 

With a passion for maximizing potential, Stefany unveils the pivotal moments that shaped their path, from delving into technology’s role in economic growth to pioneering AI-powered decisions at Palantir.

Discover how she navigates the challenges of entrepreneurship while staying grounded through their unique shutdown and startup routines. 

They reveal how dance, sports, and hobbies play a vital role in disconnecting from the daily grind and gaining fresh perspectives, proving that finding balance can amplify both personal and professional success.

Tune in to this inspiring conversation and gain actionable takeaways for your own leadership challenges, finding motivation and empowerment in her journey of entrepreneurial growth. Whether you’re looking to pivot, innovate, or foster meaningful relationships, this episode offers valuable insights that will resonate with you on your own journey. 

 

You can find Stefany at the below links

In the interview, Stefany shares

  • “Maximizing potential, whether in people or businesses, has been the common theme in my journey.”
  • “Technology was the multiplier of economic growth that intrigued me from the start.”
  • “Lean Startup methodologies gave me the power to iterate ideas and test their worth.”
  • “Turning ideas into reality takes humility, as seen when I went door to door testing hypotheses.”
  • “Failures can lead to unexpected opportunities; my failed healthcare venture birthed a new website solution.”
  • “Aligning incentives and building trust have been key to my evolving strengths as an entrepreneur.”
  • “I’ve learned that win-win situations are not just ideal; they’re essential for sustainable success.”
  • “Mindset shifts from ‘me thinking’ to ‘we thinking’ can drive better leadership and results.”
  • “Rituals like my daily shutdown and startup routines have transformed my productivity and self-care.”
  • “Dance, sports, and hobbies help me disconnect, stay grounded, and gain perspective in life and work.”

Leadership Journeys [121] – Sufiyan Sait – “The delta between your expectation and reality is inversely proportional to happiness”

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 for an insightful journey into the dynamic world of startup leadership! In this episode, we sit down with Sufiyan, a trailblazing entrepreneur and head of people, partnerships, and community at the innovative product-led growth startup, Toplyne. 

Join us as Sufiyan shares his captivating story of transitioning from a thriving consulting career to becoming an integral part of a game-changing startup. 

Discover the secrets behind nurturing a vibrant company culture, scaling teams with finesse, and unleashing the power of authentic leadership.

If you’re seeking inspiration to navigate the challenges of building and leading a startup, tune in and absorb Sufiyan’s valuable insights that will leave you motivated and armed with practical strategies for your leadership journey.

 

You can find Sufiyan at the below links

In the interview, Sufiyan shares

  • “I wanted to be a large part of something too small. I wanted to see visible impact in front of my eyes.” 
  • “I thrive in uncertainty. I like having no structure. I can play around, and it just makes more sense for me to be in that setup.” 
  • “The delta between your expectations and reality is inversely proportional to happiness.” 
  • “I’m at a stage of life where I want to experiment as much as possible. I want to do all it takes and then figure out my niche.” 
  • “Performance is a byproduct of culture. Can you create a culture where people can come and be their true selves?” 
  • “Growing in the right way is the biggest challenge. Can you walk into the office and say, ‘I gave my true self today’?” 
  • “Leadership 101: You walk the talk. You cannot expect your team to be there if you are not available.”
  • “A leader is also human. Show your true side to your team. Admit when you’ve gone wrong. The buck stops at you.” 
  • “Everyone should be great at sales. It’s not just for your job; it’s a great life skill.” 
  • “Give more as much as you can. Be a great listener. Help people in every small way you can, and you’ll compound more than you can even imagine.” 

Leadership Journeys [120] – Afraaz Masters – “The most important thing is to keep moving forwards”

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 Afraaz Masters, a seasoned entrepreneur, empathetic problem solver, and visionary leader. 

With a rich background spanning both the Indian and US startup ecosystems, he shares invaluable insights into his journey of growth, transformation, and impactful problem-solving.

Discover how Afraaz transitioned from accidental entry into the startup world to becoming a driving force behind meaningful ventures like Rudderly, aiding thousands in career transitions, and Love Local, empowering local businesses against industry giants. 

Uncover his personal approach to handling the emotional rollercoaster of entrepreneurship, and learn how he’s pioneered a revolutionary “Life Board” framework to conquer challenges and keep focused on goals.

Tune in to gain unique insights into Afraaz’s leadership style, from leading by example to striking the balance between short-term tactics and long-term vision.

 

You can find Afraaz at the below links

In the interview, Afraaz shares

  • “I categorize myself as an empathetic problem solver. My superpower is identifying problems naturally and figuring out solutions to help address those.”
  • “My journey through the startup ecosystem has been a roller coaster of emotional swings, from the highs of success to the challenges of building impactful businesses.”
  • “Empathy and problem-solving are key to my leadership style. Leading by example and balancing short-term needs with long-term vision are facets that separate me from others.”
  • “In the startup world, managing the emotional roller coaster is crucial. Not letting your highs be too high and your lows be too low is essential for sustained progress.”
  • “Creating the ‘Life Board’ framework on Miro has helped me navigate the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. It keeps me focused on goals and separates fact from fiction during tough times.”
  • “One of the most important skills I wish I had is the ability to learn like a superhuman. Rapid and effective learning is crucial in today’s ever-evolving landscape.”
  • “Practicing skills in real-life situations, rather than just mock settings, is vital for effective learning and skill development.”
  • “Addressing emotions like guilt and frustration is essential for growth. Learning to listen to these emotions and seeking professional help can break down emotional blocks.”
  • “Working closely with mission-driven founders and unicorn companies has been a defining aspect of my career. Learning from their mindsets and experiences has been invaluable.”
  • “Gratitude fills me for the opportunity to work alongside impactful people. Being part of the startup world has exposed me to unique experiences that have shaped my journey.”

Leadership Journeys [119] – Karoli Hindriks – “I want to make a difference with the time I have on planet Earth”

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.

Tune in to our latest podcast episode as we sit down with Karoli, the brilliant mind behind Jobbatical, a game-changing company using automation and AI to revolutionize the way we navigate the often bewildering world of visas and relocations.

In this captivating interview, she shares her remarkable journey from accidental inventor to becoming the youngest inventor in her country.

Her insights into leadership and growth are invaluable, as she candidly discusses her transformation from a micromanaging CEO to a visionary leader who embraces transparency and continuous self-improvement.

Discover how Karoli’s unique morning routine and executive coaching have equipped her to navigate the challenges of heading a global team while remaining centered and energized.

Don’t miss out on this conversation that delves into entrepreneurship, embracing change, and the exciting future of immigration and travel.

You can find Karoli at the below links

In the interview, Karoli shares

  • We’re using automation and AI to make the hideous visa and relocation process for employees faster, so twice faster and three times lower costs.”
  • “With the time I have on planet Earth, I only want to make a difference.”
  • “Starting early gave me the advantage to make a lot of mistakes and learn from them.”
  • “It was such a great idea. Why don’t you go to the patent office? Karoli recalling her father’s support”
  • “Being a CEO is very lonely. You have your investors, your team, but everybody has their stakeholders. Getting an executive coach was one of the best decisions I’ve made.”
  • “Owning your weaknesses is the first step to growth.”
  • “Scheduling yourself will help you take care of yourself, even amidst the CEO’s busy schedule.”
  • “The slowdown in the economy and the hiring going down created challenges, but it also pushed us to innovate and make some of our best product decisions.”
  • “Taking care of yourself physically makes you a happier and more efficient leader.”
  • “We’re working towards making moving to a new country as easy as booking a flight.”

Leadership Journeys [118] – Ranjan Kumar – “The more you worry about the outcome, the more corrupt you become with your efforts”

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 Ranjan, the founder and CEO of Entropik Tech, as he takes us on a captivating journey from engineer to entrepreneur. 

With a background rooted in tackling hard problems, Ranjan’s transformation reflects a core belief that success is an ever-evolving internal journey. 

Discover how his early experiences in teaching and sales shaped his approach, where the fusion of rationality and empathy became his leadership mantra. 

Join us as Ranjan shares insights on leading through awareness, the power of detachment from outcomes, and the art of aligning teams for extraordinary results. 

Whether you’re navigating the complexities of business or seeking a fresh perspective on personal growth, this interview is a treasure trove of wisdom and motivation.

 

You can find Ranjan at the below links

In the interview, Ranjan shares

  • “At the core of your personality, you stay the same. How you approach a problem reflects who you are, shaped by your experiences and upbringing.”
  • “Sales is not just a job skill; it’s a life skill. Whether applying to university or building a startup, we’re constantly exchanging value and showcasing our skills.”
  • “The journey from engineer to entrepreneur began with my early experience running a physics institution during college summers to support my education.”
  • “Early experiences taught me that hard problems are my calling. I wanted to solve challenges that had a scale of humanity, and that’s where Entropik’s vision emerged.”
  • “In a digital world, understanding human behavior requires delving into the subconscious, where gestures and expressions reveal more than words alone.”
  • “Leadership is an internal journey before it becomes an external one. It transitions from running faster and harder to being more aware and responsive.”
  • “Successful leadership is a blend of rationality and empathy. These constants have guided me through individual roles, management, and leadership.”
  • “Entrepreneurship thrives on aligning people with a common purpose. Companies with aligned teams can create disproportionate magic and drive remarkable outcomes.”
  • “As my role evolved, passing on the vision and passion to my leadership team became paramount. Open communication and leading by inspiration, not fear, guide us.”
  • “Detach yourself from outcome while finding motivation in the process. Aligning your actions with your vision without fixating on results helps you thrive under pressure.”

Leadership Journeys [117] – Blake Hutchison – “Transparent communication and customer centricity are essential for effective leadership”

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.

Uncover the Inspiring Leadership Journey of Blake Hutcherson, CEO of Flippa.com! 

Join us in this captivating interview as Blake shares his leap from a corporate giant to a startup founder, revealing the pivotal moments that shaped his dynamic leadership style. 

Tune in to discover how embracing innovation and rapid change became Blake’s secret sauce for success, and learn how he harnesses customer insights and data to make informed decisions. 

Dive into his unique approach to team building, where aligning individual strengths with company goals is the key to a thriving workplace. 

Don’t miss this engaging conversation that’s packed with actionable insights for leaders navigating the ever-evolving business landscape

 

You can find Blake at the below links

In the interview, Blake shares

  • “Flippa is a worldwide marketplace to buy and sell online businesses and digital assets.” 
  • “Moving from an established corporate entity into my first startup was a crucial decision that gave me the confidence to dive in deep and take risks.”
  • “I learned to love innovation and speed of change. I thrive in innovation-based environments where change is a part of the culture.” 
  • “Customer happiness is reflected in the number of deals we do successfully on our platform each quarter and each year.” 
  • “We do 10-week sprint cycles: two weeks planning, eight weeks execution. That goes on for the entirety of a full calendar year.” 
  • “Listen to your customers, develop a strong gut feel, and use data to make informed decisions.” 
  • “We like to profile the right Flippa employee by looking at our existing cultural DNA and the people within it who are having the most success.” 
  • “We are a mass change environment, so we look for people who are adaptable.” 
  • “Our biggest challenge is driving matching at scale and pinpointing the right buyers for the right assets.” 
  • “It’s more about trying to remove the outside noise and focusing all of your energy on the noise that you can generate to drive the behaviors you want.”

Leadership Journeys [116] – Ajay Tiwari – “Pain brings you closer to reality”

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.

Discover the inspiring journey of Ajay, a visionary entrepreneur who transformed challenges into opportunities and created a thriving business empire. 

With over a decade in HR, including tenures at Nokia and Vodafone, Ajay’s ambition led him to co-found the successful startup happylocate.com. 

His drive to break free from limitations and his middle-class upbringing fueled his journey into entrepreneurship. Ajay’s candid approach and transparent communication have been his guiding principles, enabling him to weather storms, including the impact of Covid-19. 

Through innovation, Ajay pivoted during the pandemic, launching an asset delivery vertical that became a significant revenue source. With an eye on the future, Ajay envisions his startup evolving to handle even more complex relocations and is driven by an unwavering commitment to creating value for employees, partners, and clients. 

His story is a testament to the power of intent, resilience, and visionary leadership.

 

You can find Ajay at the below links

In the interview, Ajay shares

  • “I’ve always believed that ambition is the driving force that propels us to unexpected heights and compels us to embrace the unplanned.” 
  • “Entrepreneurship is more than a career choice; it’s an attitude, a mindset that encourages autonomy and the pursuit of significant value.” 
  • “From a middle-class background, I understood the true value of money, and that propelled me to become ambitious and explore the path of entrepreneurship.” 
  • “In the face of challenges, pain brings us closer to reality, driving us to explore opportunities and pushing us to succeed.” 
  • “Finding comfort in discomfort is the turning point where ambition meets determination, and where diplomacy gives way to authenticity.” 
  • “Ambition is the compass guiding us, pushing us beyond our limits, and making us explore options we may never have considered.” 
  • “During times of crisis, the challenge becomes an opportunity to prove our resilience and adaptability, and to emerge as the fittest.” 
  • “Transparency, ethical intent, and candid communication lay the foundation for solving problems, building trust, and achieving success.” 
  • “Leadership isn’t about managing tasks alone; it’s about developing people, creating value, and driving growth through collaborative effort.”
  • “In moments of pressure, we must remember that our capacity to handle smaller challenges is what prepares us to tackle larger obstacles.” 

Leadership Journeys [115] – Paul Baron – “Selling is not about talking. It is about listening”

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 captivating world of Paul, a seasoned entrepreneur with over 70 years of life’s wisdom and business acumen. From the bustling streets of New York to the serene shores of Wilmington, North Carolina, Paul serves as the President, CEO, and visionary founder of the innovative Wall Printer venture. 

His journey is a symphony of peaks and valleys, with each note playing a part in crafting his resounding success today. With a passion for promoting entrepreneurship, his mission is to ignite dreams and empower individuals to seize business opportunities they are passionate about. 

The Wall Printer, a cutting-edge vertical printing technology, stands as a testament to Paul’s ingenuity. Imagine transforming any surface, from walls to floors, into vibrant canvases for art and expression. It’s more than just a product; it’s a gateway to realizing aspirations.

His wisdom is distilled into a powerful message: success hinges on relationships. Whether he’s creating partnerships, guiding budding entrepreneurs, or building a dedicated team, his ethos is rooted in authenticity and trust.

A community of dreamers turned doers, painting success stories one wall at a time. Amidst this quest, he remains grounded, finding gratitude not only in business triumphs but in the harmonious balance of work, life, and personal passions that define his remarkable tale.

 

You can find Paul at the below links

In the interview, Paul shares

  • “Entrepreneurship is about realizing hopes and dreams through passion-aligned products.”
  • “Life’s journey is filled with peaks and valleys; success is about how many times you rise.” 
  • “The Wall Printer: Transforming walls into canvases of innovation.” 
  • “Success is built on relationships, understanding customer needs and being a trusted resource.” 
  • “Balancing short-term goals with long-term success requires a strong team and wise leadership.” 
  • “Creating opportunities for others to realize their dreams is the essence of The Wall Printer’s mission.” 
  • “Innovation is painting a brighter future, one wall at a time.” 
  • “A lesson learned: Be a trusted resource even when your product isn’t the solution.” 
  • “Building a strong team and letting them thrive is a hallmark of great leadership.” 
  • “Gratitude is found in the balance between work, passions, and enriching lives.” 

Leadership Journeys [114] – Chandan Mishra – “When somebody joins my team, their success becomes my goal.”

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 world of Chandan, the co-founder and head of UX design at Coditas, a dynamic software development company shaping the digital landscape. 

With a team of 80 design practitioners, his leadership journey is a masterclass in bridging tech and design. Hailing from a small town near Varanasi, his life’s tapestry is woven with lessons of empathy and perseverance, a bedrock for his career evolution. 

His passion for design, sparked during his college years, has grown into a guiding light for his team. Amidst the fast-paced tech realm, Chandan’s unique blend of spirituality and meditation keeps him centered, nurturing both personal growth and professional excellence. 

As Coditas soars, Chandan faces a challenge that resonates with every leader – cultivating curiosity and encouraging a culture of questioning. 

His secret? Fostering an environment where mistakes are embraced as stepping stones to success. His journey is an ode to growth, an invitation to step out of comfort zones, and a reminder that genuine connections shape remarkable futures.

 

You can find Chandan at the below links

In the interview, Chandan shares

  • “I am currently working as the co-founder and head of UX design at Coditas, where we offer everything from UX strategy to AI-driven software development.”
  • “From my small-town upbringing near Varanasi, I imbibed the values of hard work and valuing what you have.”
  • “I started enjoying design, and today, if there’s one thing I could do my entire life for free, it’s design.”
  • “In dealing with high-pressure situations and people, meditation and spirituality have played a pivotal role in keeping me grounded.”
  • “As my company grows, I’ve realized the importance of maintaining a balance between business and people.”
  • “I consistently learned the value of upgrading your own skills, no matter at what position I reach.”
  • “As a leader, my focus is on enabling my team to develop new AI-driven thinking, ensuring their success even beyond our company.”
  • “The biggest organizational challenge we face is cultivating curiosity and encouraging our team to question the norm.”
  • “I channelize my emotions into productive outlets, making sure they contribute positively to my work.”
  • “If I could wake up with a new skill, it would be the ability to understand people beyond their words.”

Leadership Journeys [113] – Avnish Anand – “Somewhere along the way I learned to reflect better.”

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 captivating world of Avnish, a trailblazer whose journey from the corporate maze to the helm of CaratLane, India’s foremost omnichannel jewelry giant, is a testament to resilience and daring optimism. 

With a knack for recognizing opportunity where others see impossibility, he unveils his narrative of evolution. From the tenacious days at Onida where he almost walked away but found his grounding, to the fateful encounter that paved his path to entrepreneurship, his story is one of transformation against the odds. 

His leadership prowess shines as he divulges his guiding principles – the alchemy of reflection, the power of empathy, and the art of balancing risk and realism. Through his eyes, we glimpse the artistry of understanding human behavior, the fuel that ignites innovation. 

He opens the door to his treasured library, revealing profound reads like “Think Again” by Adam Grant and insightful biographies of trailblazers, offering readers a compass for navigating leadership challenges. 

His tale is a symphony of unwavering positivity, a testament that the road less traveled can lead to the extraordinary.
 

You can find Avnish at the below links

In the interview, Avnish shares

  • “CaratLane is India’s first and largest omnichannel jewelry company, a wonderful opportunity I could have asked for in life.”
  • “I’ve been through rejection, difficult jobs, and the shock of the real world; overcoming fear changed my perspective.”
  • “Reflecting on longer-term windows helped me overcome rejection and focus on winning the wars, not just battles.”
  • “I’m delusionally optimistic; optimism is good for the uncertainty of entrepreneurship.”
  • “Understanding human behavior is key; what does a person really want and how does it benefit both parties?”
  • “Bias for action and valuing both outcomes and inputs are essential for innovation and effective leadership.”
  • “Books like ‘Think Again’ by Adam Grant and biographies of leaders offer valuable insights into leadership and reflection.”
  • “Radical Candor, ‘A Brave New World’ by Adam, and books on the human aspect of business are highly recommended.”
  • “Balance optimism with the ability to recognize risks and when to quit; self-awareness is essential.”
  • “A combination of family, personal interests, and professional growth is my future vision, along with making a positive impact.”

Leadership Journeys [112] – Marina Narishkin – “I don’t lose, I either win or I learn”

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 captivating world of Marina, a visionary leader on a mission to reshape humanity’s trajectory. An enigmatic blend of a scientist’s curiosity and a diplomat’s acumen, Marina’s journey unfolds across continents, languages, and cultures. 

From an early age, she defied norms, embracing challenges that propelled her into diverse realms, from academia to the event and fashion industries. 

Guided by unshakable ethics, she steered clear of paths misaligned with her values, forging a luminous trail through the intricate landscape of leadership.

Her story is a symphony of resilience, a testament to the power of listening. Her keen perception, honed through encounters with CEOs and navigating uncharted territories, highlights the magic of understanding others.

With an unwavering commitment to positive reinforcement and a conviction that being rich transcends financial gain, she envisions a future where humanity slows down, savors its advancements, and charts a harmonious course with the planet. 

 

You can find Marina at the below links

In the interview, Marina shares

  • “I’m probably a frustrated scientist, pushed into diplomatic services instead of scientific studies.”
  • “I’ve learned that listening is magical; it taught me more than all my education and cultural experiences combined.”
  • “Leadership is not about being born or becoming one, but about staying true to yourself through humility and audacity.”
  • “Fear is a dominant factor in decision-making; I choose to listen to the call of good instead.”
  • “Being rich has nothing to do with money; it’s about finding contentment and learning from the simple joys of life.”
  • “We’re living on a ball that’s running around the galaxy; we need to stop taking ourselves so seriously.”
  • “Leadership is about embracing diverse forms of intelligence, from academic to emotional, to foster growth.”
  • “Authenticity shatters stereotypes; leadership transcends gender norms and empowers each individual’s unique qualities.”
  • “In a world racing toward the finish line, we must learn from history and slow down to appreciate our advancements.”
  • “Education is the key to humanity’s survival, addressing ecological, financial, and poverty-related challenges.”

Leadership Journeys [111] – Anthony Millin – “If entrepreneurship was easy, everyone would do 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.

Anthony is the Founder and Co-Chair of NEXT powered by Shulman Rogers where they are innovating in delivering legal services to startup and emerging growth companies. 

Join us in this insightful and engaging interview with a seasoned entrepreneur, startup attorney, and investor, as he shares his incredible journey in the startup ecosystem spanning over 25 years. 

Discover how he transformed his passion for innovation into a thriving platform, Next Powered by Schulman Rogers, revolutionizing the way legal services are delivered to startups. 

Gain valuable leadership insights on maintaining culture in a distributed workforce, navigating global markets, and staying resilient in the face of challenges. 

If you’re looking for inspiration and practical advice on entrepreneurship and building a successful venture, this interview is a must-listen. 

You can find Anthony at the below links

In the interview, Anthony shares

  • “For me, my journey with entrepreneurship started in college and high school where friends were getting traditional jobs, but I was already starting my first company—a small publishing business.”
  • “Every challenge you overcome, every failure you experience, provides an opportunity for personal growth and development in the entrepreneurial journey.”
  • “At Next Powered by Schulman Rogers, we are innovating the way legal services are provided to startups, focusing on predictability and a customer-centric experience.”
  • “Our mission at Next Power is all about empowering success, and we’ve launched initiatives like Startup U and Next Raise to support founders in building and scaling their companies.”
  • “As we continue to grow and work with global startups, maintaining culture and building a distributed remote workforce become some of the key leadership challenges.”
  • “I believe that stepping back to gain perspective during challenging times is crucial, and having a great team around you helps address and solve any crisis.”
  • “My unique background as an entrepreneur, startup attorney, and investor gives me a unique perspective on what we are trying to achieve at Next Power.”
  • “Outside of work, my family is the most important aspect of my life, and I also enjoy swimming and constantly improving my sports and exercise routines.”
  • “To aspiring entrepreneurs, I would emphasize the importance of perseverance and agility—the ability to quickly iterate and make decisions with imperfect information.”
  • “Entrepreneurship is not an easy road, but the rewards and fulfillment it brings make it a journey worth embarking on for those with a passion for creating something new.”

Leadership Journeys [110] – Adam McChesney – “Exercise, meditate, read, focus on affirmations, and drink a gallon of water every day”

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.

Adam is the Owner at Hite Digital – St. Louis with a focus on family, growing people, and delivering excellence. 

In this captivating interview, Adam shares his transformation from a successful medical device salesperson to a thriving business owner running a full-service digital marketing agency called Hite Digital. 

Learn how Adam’s family background in entrepreneurship and his passion for sports influenced his competitive edge in the business world. 

Discover the secrets behind building strong partnerships, empowering remote teams, and navigating the highs and lows of entrepreneurship with grace. 

Tune in for valuable insights on setting clear goals, achieving peace of mind, and creating a remarkable legacy as a leader. 

This episode is a must-listen for anyone seeking to grow and scale their business while prioritizing family, faith, and personal growth. 

You can find Adam at the below links

In the interview, Adam shares

  • “I run a full-service digital marketing agency called Hite Digital, so I’m a partner over there. We do everything from logo, branding, web design, search engine optimization, Google ads, Facebook ads, all that good stuff.”
  • “Entrepreneurship just has a very competitive edge, and it’s a continuous self-development journey.”
  • “I built 200 websites on my own before I ever actually sold one, and just had a ton of experience and built that up on the side in medical device sales.”
  • “I’d rather have a smaller piece of a much bigger pie. Find the right people, align on core values, and have strengths in areas that you have weaknesses.”
  • “Right now, we’re really focused on growth, building out a sales division to impact more people, both on our employees and their families, but more importantly, impact small businesses around the world.”
  • “Finding the right people and getting them aligned with the mission and culture is the biggest challenge in scaling a remote-based organization.”
  • “New levels just bring new devils. The higher you get, the more impact you have, the more success you have. It doesn’t get easier; you just get better at navigating those things.”
  • “Training in a remote environment gets extremely tough, so investing in online training platforms and QA departments becomes essential.”
  • “Setting the right expectations and aligning with core values is crucial in managing a business focused on family and faith first.”
  • “Start with the end in mind. Define what success and growth mean to you and reverse engineer what you need to do today in order to get there.”

Leadership Journeys [109] – Kilian Kaminski – “To be successful, you have to create long-lasting relationships.”

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.

Kilian is the co-founder and COO of Refurbed, which is the fastest growing online-marketplace for sustainable products in Europe. 

In this inspiring interview, Killian shares his journey from a sustainable startup in Shanghai to building a leading marketplace for refurbished products in Europe. 

He reveals the challenges he faced while convincing investors about the power of sustainability as a driving force for their business. 

Learn how he strategically balances supply and demand to create a seamless experience for both customers and suppliers, and how he adapted his leadership style while scaling from a small team to 300 employees. 

Discover valuable insights and personal development tips that will empower you to drive positive change and embrace sustainability in your leadership journey. 

You can find Kilian at the below links

In the interview, Kilian shares

  • “Our mission is to make sustainable consumption easier for both end customers and businesses.” 
  • “The first touchpoint of being in a startup showed me the strong ownership one can have in driving positive change.” 
  • “Launching the Amazon Renewed program opened my eyes to the benefits of refurbished products: lower prices, sustainability, and warranties.” 
  • “Joining forces with my co-founder Peter, we saw a huge market for a marketplace focusing solely on refurbished products.” 
  • “Our vision is to create a new normal in society where the circular economy and sustainable consumption are at the core of all decisions.” 
  • “One of our biggest challenges was convincing investors that sustainability could be a driving force for our business.” 
  • “Balancing supply and demand has been a constant challenge for our marketplace model, but we strive to create a great experience for both customers and suppliers.”
  • “As we continue to scale, we are focusing on profitability to ensure a sustainable future for the company and the environment.” 
  • “The journey from a small startup to a team of 300 has required constant learning and adaptation as a leader.” 
  • “Personal development and seeking feedback have been essential in shaping my leadership style and guiding our company towards a more sustainable future.”

Leadership Journeys [108] – Mihails Scepanskis – “Motivation means trust in the future”

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.

Mihails is a Scientist turned entrepreneur and the co-founder and CEO at Cenos, which is simplifying simulation-based design for every engineer. 

With over six and a half years of experience in the startup world, Mihails shares his fascinating journey from building a scientific career to founding his own engineering simulation software company. 

Discover how he navigated the challenges of transitioning from scientist to entrepreneur, the power of making decisions that embrace the future vision, and valuable insights on maintaining motivation and trust in uncertain times. 

This candid conversation is filled with wisdom and practical takeaways that will inspire and empower leaders facing their own growth challenges. 🚀

 

You can find Mihails at the below links

In the interview, Mihails shares

  • “I am Mihails Scepanskis, a scientist turned entrepreneur. My journey from academia to founding a startup has been a visionary quest to revolutionize engineering through simulation software.”
  • “As an entrepreneur, I learned that taking risks and daring to speak beyond what you can prove is the essence of visionary thinking. We sell the future, not just the present.”
  • “Starting my own company was driven by a realization that my consultancy work was often unnecessary for my customers. It sparked the desire to create a solution that would empower engineers in smaller companies.”
  • “The journey from scientist to entrepreneur has been filled with challenges and tough choices. Refusing an investor’s offer may seem emotional, but sometimes it’s about finding the right fit for the long-term vision.”
  • “In decision-making, it’s crucial to trust data, but simplicity and beauty also matter. Easy and beautiful solutions tend to find their applications in the future.”
  • “Motivation and trust in the future are critical for an entrepreneur. I maintain trust by being transparent with my team about challenges and opportunities, allowing them to be proactive.”
  • “For the next 12 months, our biggest challenge is sustaining growth without external funding. We’re focused on making our business more capital efficient to maintain steady progress.”
  • “Our growth strategy is sales-driven, but it’s also a careful combination of sales and product development. Delegating sales and documenting processes has helped us scale effectively.”
  • “Being an entrepreneur taught me to make decisions that embrace the future vision, not just immediate survival. Thinking beyond the present enriches both personal and professional aspects of life.”
  • “Transitioning from scientist to entrepreneur has empowered me to take visionary steps, like going electric with my family car. Embracing the future has made life more beautiful and fulfilling.”