Understanding the Why Behind the What with Kermit Randa

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Today, we’re going to be chatting with Kermit Randa about the power of story and the struggles leaders must endure during the first 90 days at a new company. How do leaders settle into their roles and what sorts of pressures do they feel? What strategies are most important to implement in the first three months?

As Chief Executive Officer of Kaufman Hall’s Software division, Kermit Randa oversees all product development, sales, implementation, training, and support functions for the firm’s Axiom and Peak Software products.

Kermit has more than 20 years of experience spanning healthcare and software. His areas of expertise include enterprise software insights and adoption, business transformation and innovation, strategic partnership cultivation and management, and risk identification, monitoring, and mitigation. Prior to Kaufman Hall, he served as Chief Growth Officer with Waystar, and Chief Executive Officer for PeopleAdmin.

Kermit received his M.H.A. from Xavier University. He completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Kermit is a strong supporter of data gathering and utilizing information to guide decision-making processes. In today’s episode, Kermit will explain that power behind surveys and offer us a glimpse into how he and his team sorted nearly 90k data points into condensed, actionable intelligence. How do top leaders utilize modern technology and fast communication? Find out more on today’s episode.

Show Highlights

  • 3:25 How did Kermit get started? What was most important to learn about the business? How did surveys play into this discovery process?
  • 8:30 Learn to listen and be disciplined in what you’re listening for. Are leaders asking the same things throughout their information collection process? Why does it matter?
  • 11:35 How did Kermit and his team break down more than 89k data points into actionable information in under three months? Which facets of business have been guided by this information?
  • 14:00 How did Kermit take all of the information he gathered then synthesize it into what he wanted to say to employees?
  • 24:09 How do leaders determine how much context to give to employees? How do you offer them clarity? Kermit asks himself, “What does this sound like at the kitchen table?”
  • 27:25 How has Kermit personalized himself to his employees through the power of story? Kermit tells his story and explains how he knows this story works. “Opportunity doesn’t come from a thing… Opportunity comes from a person.”

Guest Information

Kermit Randa is characterized as an inclusive leader, one who inspires accountability and a results-oriented focus to achieve sustained outcomes. Kermit understands and capitalizes on change initiatives to deliver results that drive increased market success. He pursues new challenges with positive energy and builds relationships with stakeholders, peers, clients, and other corporate leaders.

You can find more information about Kermit on Linkedin:


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Engaging Employees with Experiences featuring Tim Minahan of Citrix

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We all accept what we’ve been told about the generic marketing and sales cycle, but should we? Why are stories and experiences just as important, if not more important, to sell than your product? How do you stand out in today’s saturated world, and how much do the experiences of your employees impact your customers? Today, we’ll find out all of this and more with our special guest, Tim Minahan.

Tim Minahan is the Executive Vice President, Business Strategy And Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Citrix where he has a proactive role in helping to drive focused strategic initiatives and the company’s overall business strategy. In addition, he leads global marketing strategy and operations for the company’s vision of securely delivering the world’s most important apps and data to enable people and businesses to work better.

A technology industry veteran who specializes in defining new markets and positioning companies to own them, Minahan has served in a broad range of business leadership roles at leading enterprise software, cloud, and services firms. He most recently spearheaded SAP’s successful transition to the cloud as CMO of the company’s Cloud and Line of Business unit. Minahan joined SAP when the company acquired Ariba, where he was SVP of Business Network Strategy and global CMO.

At Ariba, Minahan led the commercial strategy for the Ariba Network, the world’s largest and most global business network, and oversaw the design and execution of go-to-market programs and marketing initiatives to fuel its growth as a leading cloud company. Previously, Minahan was senior vice president of marketing at Procuri Inc., where he helped drive the company’s strategic direction and emergence as one of the fastest growing Software as a Service (SaaS) application providers. He also served as chief services and research officer at Aberdeen Group, a leading independent market research firm, and held several leadership roles at Reed Business Information.

Minahan is on the board of Made in a Free World, a non-profit technology company that is using the power of networks and big data to detect and mitigate forced labor from global supply chains. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston College and completed the CMO Program at Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management.

Show Highlights

  • 02:45 – Why is the current model of business not working? How great is the shortage of mid and high-level talent going to be in 2020? Why don’t centralized work hubs work? Tim explains why you need to be able to develop the talent you have with new skills, even though the majority of talent you do have is largely disengaged at work.
  • 08:13 – Why are employees so frustrated at work? Why are we using so many applications, yet utilizing only 10-15% of their functionality?
  • 13:07 – Experience, balance, and choice—how does a company provide a superior experience for employees and customers, balance it with an increasing need for security, and do all of this without limiting employee choice of cloud, device, etc.?
  • 18:00 – What stories make their way back to Tim, verifying their function? What stories are most compelling, and why must it reach beyond the generic—faster / better / cheaper / simpler?
  • 25:20 – The CIO & CHRO must engage in a true partnership in order to create a solution via the convergence of three things: digital workspace, physical workplace, and culture. What tools do employees use? Is there openness and collaboration but still room for privacy and mindfulness?
  • 32:57 – How does Tim leverage customer stories in order to illustrate his story? Tim brings to life what he does through a story about Red Bull’s Formula One racing and their use of Citrix.

Guest Information

Tim Minahan is recognized as a game-changing technology executive with proven success creating new markets, driving visionary cloud transformation, growing platform businesses, and leading high-performing teams to unprecedented success.

As a change agent for digital transformation, go-to-market strategy, demand generation, sales execution, M&A, and supply chain, he has generated billions of dollars for both fast-growing start-ups and premier technology brands.

He has a passion for technology-driven transformation – especially digital platforms and networks – to radically improve business productivity and make the world a better place.

You can find more information about Tim on Linkedin:


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Helping Leaders Go From Competent to Compelling with Randy Donaldson

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Randy has been a leading business communicator for more than four decades. He has held a variety of leadership positions across the communications spectrum and has spent most of his career advising CEOs and business unit leaders. He has led media relations, internal and executive communications, both in the U.S. and internationally. Randy’s expertise is creating communication strategies that drive employee engagement and corporate performance across organizations.

On today’s episode, we’ll be discussing the importance of clear communication, challenges faced by leaders in conveying genuine leadership, and how leaders can improve their communication skills. All too often, we see leaders fall into discussing their area of expertise or relying on their tools and datasets—a practice that pulls the audience out of the experience.

Customers need a clear story that resonates with their wants, needs, and expectations in order to stand firmly behind a brand. Companies seeking to stand the test of time must communicate clearly and provide a clear set of values and intentions that customers can rally around—give them a definite sense of greater purpose.

Show Highlights

  • 6:20 – How can leaders effectively read the room? Do tools harm presentations more than they help?
  • 7:30 – How do you address a customer’s wants, needs, and feelings while involving them in something larger than themselves?
  • 8:30 – Are listeners more likely to challenge authority sources now than five years ago?
  • 9:00 – Donaldson affirms that leadership legitimacy is built over time, but it can be started and accelerated in single instances.
  • 10:15 – How does corporate language affect employees at difficult times? Bluntness?
  • 13:20 – Leadership should have some origins within the organization being led.
  • 15:00 – Leaders have to invest their time in crafting their own story. How does using a fabricated story impact their appearance?
  • 17:40 – Randy notes that some personality types tend to excel at storytelling from the beginning, but can others readily be coached?
  • 25:40 – Stories tend to convey information better and increase retention.
  • 27:30 – Simplicity should be at the heart of business. If customers can’t understand a business, they’ll struggle to support it.

Guest Information:

Randy has held a variety of leadership positions across the communications spectrum, for most of his career advising CEO’s and business unit leaders at The Coca-Cola Company. During his 34 years at Coke, he worked in and led media relations, financial communications, internal communications and executive communications, both in the U.S. and other parts of the world. As a consultant, he has worked with Atlanta’s Woodruff Arts Center — one of the largest arts centers in the world — to provide assistance on communications strategy, media relations and patron experience.

He provides strong writing and communications skills and common sense approaches to challenges and opportunities that have marked his prior experience as a communications leader, public relations counselor and journalist.

You can find more information about Randy on Linkedin:


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Leading with Purpose: How to Engage Employees from the C-Suite with Fredda McDonald

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Fredda McDonald is Managing Director with World50, a member-based organization that brings leaders together from around the globe to share their ideas, insights, and solutions. On today’s episode, we’ll be talking about the role of the Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO), storytelling, and leadership qualities that foster employee engagement.

In this episode, Fredda and Sally will discuss how to leverage storytelling to lead with purpose. When employees understand what they are working toward and why it actually matters, they are drawn into their work. Leaders who can engage both the head and heart of their employees have a better chance of gaining buy-in.

We’ll discuss how leaders can generate and boost morale within their organizations by building a strong relationship with other members of the C-suite. Some of the methods she will cover include polling for employee engagement at all levels of the organization and even having a third party collect information directly from the source.

We also follow Fredda down memory lane as she traces some stories where leaders have effectively implemented the steps mentioned above and how they impacted the overall employee experience.

Show Highlights

  • 03:10 – What is the difference between mission, vision, and purpose statements? How does understanding why employees are doing their job impact their experience at work?
  • 07:00 – How do weak relationships at the C-level impact employee experience?
  • 08:10 – Each executive needs to have their own story and be able to explain it simply.
  • 08:30 – Be real. Employees watch actions more than they listen to your speeches.
  • 12:00 – How did a Silicon Valley company work with a 3rd party to get unfiltered information in employee surveys?
  • 16:00 – A CHRO is frequently tasked with making the call to focus on enterprise success and collaboration. What struggles do businesses face in seeking to stand the test of time and survive disruption?
  • 20:00 – How have employees expectations of leadership qualities changed over the last half decade to highlight vulnerability and authenticity? Can too much vulnerability undermine employee confidence?
  • 27:30 – Does having a background as a CMO help in the CHRO role? How so?
  • 28:10 – What is the brand behind a company?
  • 39:00 – Identifying non-traditional ways to foster collaboration can pull even the most disparate teams together. One company uses an annual “Battle of the Bands” to foster collaboration.

Guest Information

Prior to taking her role at World 50, Fredda published a book entitled, BoxBreakers, an Amazon bestseller in the business category, for leaders seeking to inspire innovation in the workplace as a sustainable business practice. The content for the book was gathered from experience she gained serving in senior executive roles with the International Olympic Committee and electronic payments giant MasterCard Worldwide – and from working with global leaders from Delta Air Lines, the Coca-Cola Company and other Fortune 500 companies as a consultant.

You can find out more about Fredda on Linkedin:


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