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

Investor’s Lens [01] – Suresh Narasimha – “I do not mentor, I co-create.”

This is the Investor’s Lens series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

This series will look at leadership from the point of view of an investor or VC.

In each episode of this series, we will explore what traits, behaviours, or red flags investors see in the leaders that they work with – and how founders evolve over time as they become better leaders.

Suresh Narasimha is an idea-stage investor in student startups. He helps student entrepreneurs with funding, resources, and connections; and believes in co-creating rather than mentoring or advising.

Join us in this captivating interview as we dive deep into the remarkable journey of an entrepreneur turned investor, who has paved a unique path in the world of startups. Discover how this visionary leader, with a strong sense of purpose, has dedicated himself to nurturing the brightest minds of the next generation. 

From motivating college students to become entrepreneurs while pursuing their education, his approach challenges the traditional norms of leadership. Uncover the power of purpose, flexibility, and emotional balance in driving teams towards success. 

Explore the intriguing dynamics of gender diversity and how having women in leadership positions has proven to be a game-changer. With thought-provoking anecdotes and practical wisdom, this interview will inspire and empower you on your own leadership journey. 

You can find Suresh at the below links

In the interview, Suresh shares

  • “I started as a deep tech entrepreneur and built several startups before transitioning to becoming an investor with a purpose.”
  • “I believe the best thing for the country and the world is when bright youngsters become entrepreneurs and solve real problems.”
  • “My role is to motivate and support young college students to become entrepreneurs while continuing their education.”
  • “In the past two years, we have invested in around 45 startups, with 60% of them being led by female entrepreneurs.”
  • “Leadership requires a strong vision and purpose to drive change in the world.”
  • “I emphasize the importance of sticking to purpose rather than being fixated on specific solutions.”
  • “When working with young and inexperienced individuals, I focus on co-creating rather than just mentoring them.”
  • “I trust in the capabilities of youngsters and believe there is much to learn from them.”
  • “In my investment decisions, I look for disciplined and innovative students who are deeply committed to solving complex problems.”
  • “Having female leaders in startups has proven to be beneficial, as teams with women in leadership positions tend to perform exceptionally well.”

Can’t Stay Silent [05] – Overthinking and the Vertical Dimension of Time

This is the Can’t Stay Silent series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

For most of my life, I have kept my voice buried beneath layers of fear and insecurity. In each episode of this series, I will find the strength to express myself from the bottom of my heart.

These short episodes will be filled with honest reflections, simple stories and metaphors, and some gentle provocations – all to help you Deploy Yourself in your own life.

Together, we’ll discover how we can create a world where all of us can show up as leaders. So, if you are ready to allow the leader in you to bravely listen to my call of leadership, join me on Can’t Stay Silent.

You can find more about me & the Deploy Yourself School of Leadership

Show Notes

  • How being smart and intelligent leads you to never having enough time?
  • He said that my biggest challenge is time. Or my biggest enemy is time. He said that I am super ambitious. I have this drive, this energy. I’m very smart. I know what to do, but I never have enough time. 
  • What if being smart and very good with planning leads you to never having enough time?
  • normally we see time as a horizontal time shift. Like we see time as something which is coming from the past and going to the future. We see time on the calendar. We see time as a minutes, we see time as hours and  seconds. And we also, we always see time on this dimension right. That it is running out. 
  • as long as we have this mindset about time. It only means that there is limited time. That’s one. Naturally. way for dealing with time horizontally. That there is only limited time.
  • They will never be enough time. In fact,  there cannot ever be enough time For your dreams for your potential, for your leadership, which are infinite as they should be. 
  • What if there’s also a vertical dimension to time, which is not finite, which is infinite. And which is always available to us. And which is a never-ending.
  • It’s a choice that we always have. To continue operating the way that we have been in the horizontal dimension of time driving. Thinking overthinking with our brains. And always ending up with time as an enemy, with never having enough time. 
  • Or we can slow down. We can stop. We can sense we can listen. We can go deep and we can see what is an oppurtunity, which is here. What is an opportunity that can lead to those big exponential results.
  • it is very important to recognize when your strengths are becoming a liability. Any strength. Even of being. Super smart or having an . High IQ. If you cannot choose to when to use it. And when not to use it. It becomes a liability.
  • you’re totally missing out on playing some shots. which can give exponential results, but which are only accessible when you access the vertical dimension of time. 
  • It requires you to be present. It requires you to slow down the rush.
  • When you get this, your life will never be the same again.  

Leadership Journeys [101] – Abdul Salim – “Everybody deserves respect.”

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 interview, Abdul shares how he took inspiration and lessons from his father and became an entrepreneur. He trusts people and believes in giving them full responsibility, and he also shared the importance of prayer, meditation, and journaling to his leadership and day to day activities as an entrepreneur.

 

You can find Abdul at the below links

In the interview, Abdul shares

  • my father was a very successful entrepreneur. So as a kid, I’ve tagged along with him, wherever he has done business, be it a small business or he was doing multiple businesses, right?
  • I was always with him and just to see his his persistence and passion, the way he used to work. It always inspired me, right? My father is my motivation and I’m following his footstep.
  • I worked in large companies where people would want to give their arms and legs to be in companies like infosys, HP or even Target, but I was never content there. I always wanted to be entrepreneur. 
  • I start very early, right? Like, I typically wake up by six o’clock every day. So first three hours is for myself, right? So that’s completely divided for myself. It could be my mind. It could be my body, it could be my learning, right? This three hours is completely, I will work out, I will do meditation
  • It helped me schedule my day pretty well. And then I don’t react for every little thing, right? because of meditation. It’s helped me for sure.
  • I’ve hired some smart people and then we have completely given them the freedom, where they can manage their work.
  • Whenever I think of a idea or anybody in my team, comes up with the idea and I feel that this is a good idea. We implement immediately so that freedom I’ve got being an entrepreneur we’ve seen a lot of ups and down, but then somehow manage to survive in this 10 years.
  • Everybody deserves respect and when you do that, the team members always perform  

Leadership Journeys [100] – Tom Coburn- “Do not get too high on the highs and too low on the lows.”

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 conversation, Tom shares how he started his company while still in college and how that has been an advantage – when it comes to culture, leadership, and working remotely. He reflects about the difficult times he faced early on and the important role of transparency in organisations.  

You can find Tom at the below links

In the interview, Tom shares

  • So this has been my only real job to date. I was not one of those kids growing up that like always knew I was gonna be an entrepreneur.
  •  I always wanted to be a doctor. My grandfather’s a doctor. He’s 82 years old and still practices in his small town outside of Boston where he grew up. And I always loved science and school.
  • I went to college in Boston, at Boston College. I got there in 2009 and I was, I, pre-med major, working in the lab, getting ready to take the MCATs. All of those things you’ve gotta do to go become a doctor in the US.
  • my roommates were in the business school, and our business school had a business plan competition. You could pitch a Shark Tank style pitch in front of judges and you could win $10,000 for your business idea. And so I decided to do that competition with my friends just for fun
  •  freshman year, we submitted our first year of college, we submitted an idea to the business bank competition, and we didn’t make it past the first round. Our second year, we came back with a new idea, which ended up being the start of the idea for Jebbit, although we changed the idea a lot and we ended up winning the competition with that idea. 
  • I was mentally ready to drop outta school after that summer and go do the business full-time. And the thing that made it an easy decision for me was I talked to both my dean at my college and I talked to the dean I was gonna have at the medical. And I just asked them both for a one year leave of absence and they both said, sure 
  • My current challenge is everything around culture and communication and getting everyone internally at Jebbit g rowing in the same direction, fully in sync with each other.
  • One of the things I hear a lot from new employees when I get their feedback is they’re shocked at how transparent me and my management team are.
  • We spend a lot of time trying to get people in person and getting the right combos of people in person. So we get the whole company together twice a year now for a three day offsite. Once in January and once in July. 

Leadership Journeys [99] – Abhijit Anand- “It becomes hard sometimes because there is nobody to talk to.”

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 interview, Abhijit opens up about how lonely it can get as a founder and the toll it can take on your wellbeing and health. He also  shared his decision making process – and how every decision in the company depends on how it impacts the bottom line, the top line, and the company’s reputation. He also shared how he plans his day, stays productive, and how gardening teaches him patience and tenacity.  

You can find Abhijit at the below links

In the interview, Abhijit shares

  •  I’m a first generation entrepreneur. My dad is a doctor, he’s been a government servant. And my mom’s been a teacher all her life. 
  • one thing I’ve realized is that cash is king. The moment cash disappears, the company will cease to exist. 
  • my number one priority is to make sure that there is enough cash in the company to keep us liquid for at least the next three quarters. That is the number one priority. Number two I’ve, both me and my wife, we’ve decided. that Every single decision that we take in our company will have a three-pronged approach. That decision will be a yes or a no, depending upon how well it improves the company’s top line. How well it improves the company’s bottom line, and does it impact the company’s reputation in a positive way or a negative way?
  • From a sales point of view, I’ve realized that, a small customer and a large customer, They’ll take the same amount of time. They demand the same kind of attention. So I’ve decided to focus on some very large customers who, from whom we keep getting big projects
  • one key thing that we did was we kept on we kept our focus on customer satisfaction. Number two, we’ve managed our finances very tightly. And number three, I think We’ve tried to make sure that we treat our employees with the same respect as what we would do to our customers and to our vendors.
  •  Richard Branson’s book, losing my virginity, somebody asked him a question that you look like a quintessential entrepreneur, in your opinion, how would you define a business? And his response was, I’m paraphrasing, but his response was, A business is nothing else but an idea that will improve people’s lives. So that’s how the name Zindagi, which is Hindi the way of life. That’s how the name started. 
  • one key mission statement that we have is to ensure that we leave this earth better than the, where, how we found it.
  • from a personal point of view, I can tell you that It becomes hard sometimes because I feel that there is nobody to talk to.
  • I think one thing that, that I’m trying to learn even now is, Don’t dilute responsibility. Give one task to one person, let him make it his baby and let him own it completely end to end. 

Leadership Journeys [98] – Paddy Raghavan – “It is not a failure, it is an experience”

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 heartfelt conversation, Paddy shares his passion for startups and how he moved from technology to entrepreneurship. He shared the powerful yet simple lesson of “nishkama karma” or detached action – and how he applies that in his role as the CEO. He shares how he had to take a big risk and pledge his property to pay salaries in his previous startup.   

You can find Paddy at the below links

In the interview, Paddy shares

  • I don’t know, somewhere in my life somewhere I got this entrepreneurial, bug it’s something that I’ve had right from my college days. Multipl is my third StartUp
  • I always wanted to build something on my own that was on the cards, but it wasn’t, I wasn’t really desperate or I wasn’t, not every day that I wake up that I start thinking about, or I should be starting something. 
  • I mean it’s always especially when you’re actually interacting with someone who’s fairly successful, which I would call myself and you would only see the positive side of it. And people tend to think that, yeah it’s a nice journey. It’s good we should become entrepreneurs. But I’ve definitely had my fair share of challenges.
  • I literally had to pledge my property and to pay the salaries in the previous startup it was at a point where we had very difficult situation in terms of you know, raising capital and paying the salary 
  •  I must be grateful to a lot of people. You know, my family has been very supportive. My wife has been very supportive throughout because that is very important. You can’t have a you know, if you have a family you need the support because that could definitely take away a lot of your Focus if it is not in the right frame. 

Leadership Journeys [97] – Pavel Shynkarenko – “I allow my team to make mistakes and 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.

In the interview, Pavel shared how his journey as an entrepreneur has evolved over the years. We talk about the importance of believing in ourselves, and how he has established teams in different countries that can work independently without his direct involvement. He also shares his love for flying and how he experiences freedom when in flight.   

You can find Pavel at the below links

In the interview, Pavel shares

  • I was interested in technical issues and legal issues and both together helped me to open the private legal practice for the internet companies in Ukraine.
  • I decided to move to international law and international taxation and help Russian based internet companies to move abroad to open the subsidiary companies anywhere in the world. 
  • I went to the chief of the office I was working in and told him of the future of internet business. He listened to me but didn’t believe that was a good solution. I was invented by that Idea and I took on that step and just followed my idea and my dream.
  • When I was a child I read a book written by the Russian famous authors. And there was a phrase, if you want to pass through the wall, you need only two things. You need to believe in yourself and do not look at the barrier. If you do not look at the barrier and look through that if you can, and if you believe in you, in yourself, you can go through the world. 
  • The first five years I worked really hard in Solar Staff and I almost had no time to have any kind of hobbies maybe except swimming in a pool or some kind of sports. 
  • I’m starting piloting. I will start my career as a private pilot next year in Oakland. I feel very excited about flying. Flying is like having freedom.  
  • I’ll also start my first art project. I’ll work together with a team of AIs to create an art. An abstract art, abstract portraits of the personalities. 
  • I allow my company and my team to make mistakes and and to learn from their own experience on those mistakes.
  • Now I’m focused on the human and AI collaboration and sometimes it scares me. I start to learn A lot of subjects, a lot of terms about the philosophy of AI systems, and I start to know a bit more about that.

Leadership Journeys [96] – Brian J Esposito – “Money is a byproduct of good people doing good work.”

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 the interview, Brian shares how his world turned upside down when a drunk driver hit him in 2016, and how he turned that into a positive by creating companies that can continue to operate without him. He shares that if he doesn’t feel a connection with somebody at a grounded level, he doesn’t do business with that person.  

You can find Brian at the below links

In the interview, Brian shares

  • I get invited into startups, even up the Fortune 500 companies and help these companies succeed, grow, and become profitable.
  • when I work with these startups, or even failing large corporations, it gets really fun and exciting to look at what am I holding that can make them more valuable
  • So in the late nineties, I built the first B2B B2C eCommerce platform for the beauty. I was first to build a website basically to distribute beauty products and personal care products.
  • I had to quickly learn that life is very difficult and we want to try to do great things sometimes. Whether it’s universe or jealous, people want to try to harm you and prohibit that from happening.
  • I learned from that experience, it turned problems into potential opportunities. So anybody that was potentially suing me, like it was a, if it was a brand, for example, or a retailer, well, I was very open and communicative with them.  
  • So I always try to look at problems or negativity and turn in and say there’s always a solution or an upside here.
  • when they had a liquidity event or a larger company bought them out, not only did I have no connection to the upside or equity ownership, I also lost the brand and the distribution because those other companies have their own distribution.
  • biggest turbulent time in my history was in 2016, a drunk driver hit me head on and outside of Nashville, Tennessee, I had 30 or so companies in my holdings doing what I felt was quite well and That was the first domino where I began to lose everything. So my whole world turned upside down. I realized I was the glue for everything. 
  • I’m definitely love old movies and old western types of shows, so that’s my escape. I do that every night. I’ll watch, I’ll flip on YouTube and start going through old Johnny Carson shows, and that’s my therapy, that’s my escape. 

Leadership Journeys [95] – Luis Gonçalves- “You cannot be attached to your own ideas.”

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 the interview, Luis spoke about the importance of organizational structure and having a strategy – especially for content and sales – for first-time entrepreneurs. He also shares how he is experimenting with Reiki and meditation and is obsessed with personal development. He is learning to be more patient and deal with rejection on his entrepreneurial journey. 

You can find Luis at the below links

In the interview, Luis shares

  • I started my career almost 20 years ago. I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. So 20 years ago I left Portugal in direction of Finland.
  • I was lucky enough to work in Nokia that time. Nokia was still a really big company 
  • I’m an Amazon best seller, so I have four books published. The last one is coming in couple of weeks.
  • From the leadership point of view, if you’re a leader in the company software de delivery is the core. But if you don’t really look at organizational structure, the strategy, the operations
  • I was lucky enough to start as a software developer, but then I moved a little bit for more to, into team leadership and then a little bit more into organizational design. 
  • when people know me and they ask me what’s my background? And I say, I’m a software engineer, everyone, wow. How is it possible? Because I’m very outgoing. So I’m not shy at all, so I’m very social person
  • My first book in 2015, if I remember correctly, was about a job retrospectives. So it was exactly a book on that topic.
  • So what I do is usually I have an idea, I create a brochure, I create a brochure of that idea, and then I send to a bunch of people and ask for feedback 
  • then as hobbies I do water polo I play football as any Portuguese guy, I go to gym. I’m trying now as well. 

Leadership Journeys [94] – Rosemarie Diegnan – “Your lows are when you learn how committed you are.”

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 the interview, Rosemarie shared her interesting journey from being a lawyer to a tech startup co-founder. She has just joined the Founder’s Pledge to give a percentage of her proceeds to charity. She shares her love for working together in person and adds that we are denying us something if we do not work physically together.

You can find Rosemarie at the below links

In the interview, Rosemarie shares

  • started out in the tech world as a technical I’d always had an intent to go to law school. So after doing that for a little while, I went to law school worked as  a lawyer in the US for about five years.
  • Decided I did not wanna be a lawyer and tried a bunch of different things. Actually, I I thought I wanted to go. I was looking into going into the charity sector and worked for about two years between being a lawyer and getting full-time employment 
  •  did various things including working as a volunteer attorney for an organization addressing women and children’s issues. 
  • after about a year of doing HR consulting I’m was at an event and I met someone who was the c e o of an HR software company, and I convinced him to hire me as their first product manager without actually really knowing what a product manager was.
  • But so started that, did that for a while. I was involved with a couple of startups in the US and about 10 and a half, 11 years ago made the decision to, I was able to get my Irish citizenship through my heritage. My grandparents were born in Ireland, so I decided now’s the time to take advantage, and I came to the UK to check out the startup scene here.   
  • like giving back has always been a big motivator for you, like when you started as a lawyer also, can you share a bit about. ultimately it’s something that is important to me and hopefully in the future I’ll be able to do it more effectively. But particularly children and opportunities for children have always been really important to me 
  • when I was in California, I joined an organization called casa, which is court appointed special advocates. And basically what it is they train volunteers. So  I happen to be a lawyer, but you don’t have to be one to do this. They train volunteers to represent the interests of children who are in the foster care system.
  • And I’ve just joined an organization called Founder’s Pledge where essentially what you do is you pledge to give a percentage of the proceeds from your. Your startup, your scale up once you have an exit and then it can be, it gets given to charities. 
  • I think that one of the biggest things that hold people back is fear.

Leadership Journeys [93] – Akhil Sivanandan – “I just couldn’t sit by and do nothing”

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 the interview, Akhil shares how he traveled as a child to protected rainforests, and how that has shaped his vision and what he does today. He also talks about the importance of having mentors for any entrepreneur, and how he loves to go on long walks without any direction. 

You can find Akhil at the below links

In the interview, Akhil shares

  • Green Story. So what we do at Green Story is we work with fashion brands to calculate the footprint of their products in a very credible manner through a scientific methodology, and allow them to make improvements in their supply chain, offset their footprint, and most importantly, show it to consumers at point of sale. 
  •  I never thought I’d want to wind up being an entrepreneur. I grew up in India and very typically I did engineering in India in computer science. I didn’t have want anything to do with it in my career so I ran away screaming and ended up working In a space that I was very interested in since I was a child, and that was in the environmental space. 
  •  Then I moved to Canada in 2011. The intent was to build out a career in the renewable energy and sustainability space in Canada That’s also where I met my co-founder, Nav. He and I were one of five people in the entire batch who were into sustainability.
  • I do want to point to my father as one key component of that. I was very fortunate in the sense that he had a job in the government of India, which involved a lot of work in rural communities. And a lot of his work was in charge sometimes of the development of these regions in India. 
  • gradually I grew a love for nature and my parents also instilled that in me by purchasing a lot of books about it. For me I was a voracious reader, so I read a lot of books on natural history and used to watch a lot of documentaries    
  • what I learned to do was learn to identify. Whom I could go to for what, . So if I needed different levels of support, if I needed different levels of push sometimes to get to that next level, I used to find different mentors who could help me for those specific things and just or just generic like mental health in a way. 
  • I’m myself very bad at taking breaks. , which is a weakness that I have, but I do think that’s important though. 
  • What I like doing in my downtime is really what people call rambling. So it’s probably the most boring. What I find the most rewarding hobby in the world is like really going in a long walk with no direction. , and that’s how my wife and I Spend quality time together There’s so many beautiful parks and forests where you can get lost in
  • My wife’s a professional artist. I’m very much part-time, so . I do like drawing and sketching and painting as a way to relax and also express myself.
  • I used to actually do a lot of Tai Chi as a relaxation mechanism. I don’t practice as much anymore, unfortunately. And I do want to get back into it. It’s something I learned from my master in India.
  • Be mindful of your body, and recharge your batteries cuz that’s when you can present the best version of yourself.

Leadership Journeys [92] – Nicole Grinnell – “It is easy as an entrepreneur to go high as a kite and to the bottom of despair”

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 the interview, Nicole shares how she grew up as a small business daughter and that led her to develop a powerful work ethic. She reveals her fun side in the interview, and how she builds a culture of accountability and fun in her company. She also mentioned how she is running a remote company, but never misses on opportunities to bring people together and connect in person. 

You can find Nicole at the below links

In the interview, Nicole shares

  • I had a unique perspective of being able to work alongside my parents’ employees and hear the complaints and needs that they had, as well as understanding the management and leadership that’s needed to have employees. 
  • Having a background of being a small business daughter, I think I have an unbelievable work ethic and really, Resilience and ability to hop into any role. And I think that in my corporate life, that was really what made me succeed. 
  •  Having to let go of a team member is probably one of the toughest.
  • when you have a creative space and bouncing ideas off of each other, even though our team is remote, we like to be able to get together in person. There is a human to human connection that is really needed.
  • Most people don’t know that I have two polar opposite personalities. When I’m at work I just wanna be productive and I’m a complete goofball outside of work.   
  • We definitely love to have a good time internally and, keep things light and we celebrate wins like crazy. That is our biggest thing. 
  • It is so easy as an entrepreneur to go high as a kite and like to the bottom of despair. And just when those experiences happen, whether it’s the loss of a client or a situation that happened, we have like a three step process where we look back and say, what could we have done differently.
  • Find a mentor and it doesn’t have to be this exclusive program that you enroll in, but just find someone who has already done what you are doing. 
  • We actually have a mentorship program internally. We do open forums where our other contractors are able to meet with the current contractors and do different topics every quarter.

Leadership Journeys [91] – Shikha Gupta – “Collaborating instead of Competing is the most important leadership skill”

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 the interview, Shikha shares her vision and how she started out in her own unique way. She started an edtech consultancy based in Africa and serving the African continent when she saw that nobody was serving Africa. She shares how she drew inspiration from her mother and grandfather early on and that led her to becoming the first engineer in her family.

You can find Shikha at the below links

In the interview, Shikha shares

  • I completed my engineering in computer science 2012, and I started working with one of the companies as software developer just out of curiosity
  • when I actually thought of starting my own company, that was one major curiosity that hit me was why not Africa? So why are the companies not reaching out to the African market?
  • She’s the first engineer, and a woman working and owning a business on her parents side. 
  • Her mother was always encouraged her become something and how both her brother and her are the only engineers in the family.
  • The people she met have been respectful of the position and very curious to know her journey.
  • How recently they were shortlisted by New Chip Accelerator, which is a accelerator program in Texas based in USA because they are concentrated on the Western world and also trying to make a change in the African continent.  
  • She feels that she has, as an individual, achieved whatever she has to. From starting working in six different companies in a corporate world, starting her own company, not just in one country, but two countries in two different continents
  • She says that the only thing left is just going to the moon. 
  • She wants to strike a good balance between developing high-tech projects for the Western world and trying to make something substantial for the African continent.
  • There’s more that comes to being a leader than just having the knowledge. The most important skill that a leader should have is empathy.
  • I feel that in the next three years of time when it comes to me as transitioning, who I want to be, to what I want to create is also this one important fact that I want a table where everyone gets the opportunity to speak. 
  • So the only advice that I can give is you need to work on how to conquer that fear, because once you are over that stage of being fearful, the world is all yours and I really feel you take one step and then the world will help you take the next 10 steps.

Leadership Journeys [90] – Sanjay Borkar – “You have to involve all your stakeholders in your dreams”

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 heartfelt conversation, Sanjay shares his story of starting out as an entrepreneur 27 years ago and the challenges he faced. He shared how he has grown and evolved as a person along the way, and his vision of contribution and serving the agricultural world through technology. He also shares the powerful but often invisible role our co-founders and families play in our success. 

You can find Sanjay at the below links

In the interview, Sanjay shares

  • We were first-generation entrepreneurs when we founded our company, and I would say that the toughest part is we did not have any experience working anywhere. 
  • Santosh and I, came from agricultural families but studied computer engineering in the University and we felt we should marry agriculture and IT so software. 
  • We were offered to go and work in Brazil by our first client. However, Santosh and I didn’t find it very attractive. He even offered to come to our houses and speak to our parents.
  • We approached the Department of Agriculture to see if we could work with the and we fortunately got the opportunity to develop design and develop a multimedia content for them. 
  • We learnt that information has to be always given free but the services are to be charged or sold. 
  • You have to involve your stakeholders, employees, customers, vendors, your banks or financial partners etc in your dreams and vision so that you can all be in the same page. 
  • You need to learn how to communicate with everyone successfully so you can get your work done through a very right way of communication.
  • for next three to five years, definitely we want to be one of the top five companies in the world who are serving agriculture typically as a smart platform. 
  • Secondly, we want to add value to all our customers not just by providing them with technical solutions, but also helping them practice regenerative agriculture. 
  • So internally in the organization we inculcate a lot of leadership trainings and behavior to create more leaders. 
  • We most importantly try to hand over the entire responsibility to a leader and give them complete freedom to work on the project
  • I’m very grateful For my friend and co-founder Santosh together with my family and his family and definitely not forgetting our employees. 

Leadership Journeys [89] – Glenn Puolos – “When I set my sights on things, I can get very focused on following up and sticking to the task”

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 the heartfelt conversation, Glenn shares the story of how he moved into sales early in his career, and how he has never looked back. He also revealed many other stories from his long career and the lessons he draws from them – which are not only useful to anybody in sales but any leader in my opinion. You will not want to miss this conversation.

You can find Glenn at the below links

In the interview, Glenn shares

  • My first job was as a civil servant. I worked for the federal government as a technical role in the weather department fixing electronic weather equipment.
  • I had a government company car. It was the crappiest car you could imagine and I think it was a Chevy Chevette.
  • My then boss always told me that I was in the wrong job. So I listened to him and I applied for a sales job and I ended up getting that job and leaving the government and going into the world of sales.
  • When I got the interview for the sales job they flew me to Montreal to visit and meet one of the owners. I was picked up in a B M W 750. And and I’m like, wow, I really need a job in Sales because I had just gone from a Chevy Chevette to a BMW 750, and that had a huge impact on me I was like “I gotta get me one of these things.”
  • The only reason I got the job was because I was the only one that followed up twice a day for 10 days. Their reasoning was that I would go to that length to keep the job. When I set my sights on things, I can get very focused on following up and sticking to the task  
  • I found it very difficult to learn the products at the beginning because I didn’t have any way to apply them. But once I got into the field, I started learning tips and tricks from the owners who became my mentors, and that’s where I started writing down the rules, which eventually became the book.
  • I resigned my job after I realized that my bosses were never gonna be my partners or see me as an equal.
  • After I retire, I’m planning on building the background to perhaps have a bit of a public speaking effort or just drift off into the sunset, play pickleball and relax. Book some speaking gigs and maybe do a bit of public speaking tours.
  • the biggest challenges were integrating our business into another bigger business that bought us and figuring out how to blend systems and people.
  • I learned was that the moment you realize you’re not getting the business leave, just end it and let other people fight for it because you are wasting time.
  • A rejection and a no is not a judgment on yourself. It’s a path towards finding the person that does need your product or solution at that time.

Leadership Journeys [88] – Chinmay Bhanagay – “Music helps me zone out, balance myself and get back the next 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.

In the interview, Chinmay shares how he wanted to stand out and that led him to entrepreneurship quite early in his life. He also shares the importance of learning as a leader, and how he learned and became good at sales. We also touched upon on his passion for music and travelling and how this helps him find balance and deal with the pressures that come with entrepreneurship. 

You can find Chinmay at the below links

In the interview, Chinmay shares

  • He comes from a background in enterprise sales and solutions but studied mechanical engineering.
  • I’ve been part of multiple roles in one company and has really given me a sense of how difficult the journey is but rewarding and how much fun it is to delve deep into different realms of the business and to understand different aspects of the business.
  • In college I started a company with my friend, selling t-shirts to colleges where we would customize, print and make t-shirts. I started enjoying that a lot more than actually starting for mechanical engineering because it I used to go around different colleges.
  • I’ve always enjoyed keeping my foot in different places and experiencing different sites of business or life in general as well.
  • I love being part of finance, part of the solution, part of enterprise sales and building relationships with clients and really understanding the problem statements and then consulting them or suggesting different solutions. 
  • In the near future we see ourselves being able to simplify the usage or the way people, consume services in a much more efficient and simpler way.
  • The challenge facing them is being able to operate lean, serving a broader range of customers and still meeting demands which lie outside the purview of the product solution you provide.
  • Personally, I handle challenges keeping myself occupied with certain hobbies. I play instruments I’m an active guitarist and I have a band I play with. This helps me zone out and also balance myself and get back on that the next day.  
  • I travel quite a bit and it’s all offbeat travel with my wife. We both love exploring places that people have not gone to, and we make video logs of it.

Leadership Journeys [87] – David Rodriguez – “We must not be slaves of what we are doing.”

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 the interview, David shares his story and the philosophy behind running a group of 8 companies and 130+ people. We spoke about the importance of being kind and transparent as a leader, and also the importance of delivering on what you have promised. He shares that business is not the only important thing and everything else that he spends time on a daily basis.

You can find David at the below links

In the interview, David shares

  • I wanted to develop the Spanish market and a UK company I was working for didn’t believe in the Spanish market. 
  • I quit my job and I mortgage of my house so I could start my company. Started on my own working from my parent house.
  • I hired my first employee who was my sister and she started doing call meetings, setting appointments etc.
  • I start getting customers and more customers and now we have like around one hundred forty employees, nine different divisions and different companies.
  • We are focused more on e-commerce and the entire digital business. 
  • I try to set up a really good relationship with people and they help me because always I have been helping them without expecting anything back
  • I don’t like to work with people that don’t work very well with teams especially those that don’t respect others
  • If my team does something wrong, we have to admit it to our customers and we pay for the mistake and vice versa. 
  •  It is important to be aligned with people that have, similar values as you have
  • You have to deliver what you promise and you should are not be slaves of what you are doing. 

Leadership Journeys [86] – Mohan Thas – “For a leader, it is important to give employees the freedom and the advice they need to get the work done.”

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 the interview, Mohan shared his family roots and connection to entrepreneurship. He shared many interesting stories from his experience as an entrepreneur – providing valuable lessons like how to hire well, how to delegate and scale, and the importance of trusting your intuition and following up. He also shares how he is a very simple man and finds valuable lessons from ancient 2000 year old classics like the Bhagavad Gita and the Thirukkural from India.

You can find Mohan at the below links

In the interview, Mohan shares

  • I’m the first this generation to be in business in my entire family from both my mom and dad’s side.
  • From a young age I used to see my grandfathers having lot of money, counting cash at end of the day, and this somehow made me get interested in business.
  • I resigned in early 2009 and then I started my company in April, 2009 along with my longtime friend.
  • I was earning very good, much it’s a very good lavish spending. I enjoying. . But the thing is you can’t see as a person, you cannot even more than 24 hours a day. So I believe on that since when I saw my grandparents. Okay, so they take even though, or they are in trading, if they want to take a leave or they want to take a risk, they can do easily
  • I want to retire by 45 years, so that’s what my aim is to get 30 years. start a business, earn lot of money. Retire at 45 and enjoy life. Yeah. 
  • I’m a very minimal person, a frugal person. I don’t. spend that was much of money. Yeah. Okay. So my needs are very small and and also I can take risk since I am started from the lower level.
  • So delegation is more important and we have to give freedom for them, and we have to give advice for them  get work done.
  • as an entrepreneur, if you are very much strong in sales and marketing, it’s very easy If you are a tech guy or a operational guy, if you don’t know sales and marketing then it’s very hard to sustain in the business.
  • you have to delegate to a person who knows very good in sales and market.  and you have to learn from them. , you should not just delegate. The sales and marketing is a different strategy.

Leadership Journeys [85] – Smiti Bhatt Deorah – “Be comfortable with the idea of being uncomfortable”

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 the interview, Smiti shares her journey as a woman leader and the kind of unique challenges it presents. She talks about how she was raised as second to none and how led to confidence and growth as a leader as she is on a mission to create happier workplaces. She gives practical nuggets of wisdom from her life and simple advice for leaders when it comes to dealing with the challenges that come with leading by example.

You can find Smiti at the below links

In the interview, Smiti shares

  • I think as a person your Priorities and your ambitions in life keep changing over time. As you grow, as you experience more of the world, you realize that, okay, this is the right fit for me.
  •  I do love technology, It’s not like I cannot code for the life of me, but I realized that maybe business is something which I’m more interested in. 
  • One of the major things which women, not just leaders or otherwise, lack today is self-worth which comes from the lack of support, which comes to men naturally from their peers. 
  • General stereotyping definitely affects the way one thinks and of course eventually has a major impact on ones growth.
  • Men are naturally accepted as leaders as compared to a woman who have to prove herself to then be accepted as a leader.
  • I’ve been lucky enough to have a great family support structure, not just from my parents, but also like from my in-laws and that has helped in my own self-confidence.
  • my mom always had that ideology that she’ll not make her girls feel any lesser than the boys and overprotect us.
  •  to create happier workplaces, to create digitized programs through which in a hybrid work setup, you can actually bring employees closer together to the organization, make them more productive, uh, reduce attrition, increase retention overall. 
  • So employee retention has become very big problem, not just in one country, but globally
  • biggest challenge from an Advantage Club’s perspective, which we see today is the is that there’s so much to cover and there is so little time to cover so much.

Leadership Journeys [84] – Markus Weubben – “You need to surround yourself with people who are better at things than you are.”

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 the interview, Markus shares his story of starting as a scientist and and his growth as a leader. He shares about some of the important but difficult lessons that he had learned along the way. He also explains how he has invested in his own leadership and now continues to grow the next level of leaders in his organisation as they scale .

You can find Markus at the below links

In the interview, Markus shares

  • how he founded his company in 2015 and their main focus was on increasing the customer lifetime values.
  • In his young years he always wanted to achieve more, he wanted to play a lot of basketball and be successful and just create things and create something out of his own hands. 
  • When you’re really in charge, you need to understand everything and be realistic and honest to yourself in order to see when things are not running right and when you need help.
  • as an entrepreneur, one of the key things you need to do is you need to surround yourself with the people who are better at things than you are not.
  • I think it’s important that we focus on the learning and development aspect because times and society is changing.
  • In my company, we have flexible working hours, but we don’t allow people to work at night because we believe we are humans and need to interact.
  • I’m very reliable, so when I say something, I’ll get it done. If something doesn’t go well, I try to always be there
  • I never demand anything from my employees that I’m not doing myself. I can’t demand anything from people that I’m not really showing.
  • So when there are setbacks, it’s really around what can we do to be better next time.
  • thing that worries me in terms of maybe the business is the way that we sometimes lack to accept the opportunities and innovation. We are focused on the risks and things that could go wrong if you were employing new technologies.