Sharing Student Stories: Storytelling’s Place in a Changing Academic World with Pete Wheelan

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We know storytelling’s place in the business world, but have you considered the role it plays in academic institutions across the nation? In our first episode of What’s Your Story?, Season 2, Sally speaks with Pete Wheelan of InsideTrack about how he uses storytelling alongside professional coaching, technology, and data analytics to increase the enrollment, completion, and career readiness of students.

More About Pete Wheelan

Pete Wheelan is dedicated to leading mission-driven, high-growth companies unlocking human potential and currently serves as CEO of InsideTrack, the nation’s leading student success coaching organization.

Under Pete’s leadership, InsideTrack has now served 2 million + students and 4000+ academic programs for clients including Harvard, the Cal State System and Ivy Tech. He led the purchase of InsideTrack by Strada Education Network, a $1.4 billion public charity focused on improving high education outcomes, and InsideTrack’s acquisition of Logrado, the foundation for InsideTrack’s uCoach technology and analytics platform. Pete also serves as Executive Chairman at Roadtrip Nation, a fellow Strada Education Network affiliate.

Before InsideTrack, Pete served as COO/CRO of Blurb, a leader in self-published books, and as SVP of strategic marketing and business development for Lonely Planet. He also founded online portal Adventureseek and was a strategy consultant with BCG.

Pete received a B.A. from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. and J.D. from Northwestern University.


Show Highlights

  • What is the power of stories in academic settings?
  • Inside Track is a company that started in 2001 that was trying to solve the issue that college is hard and most institutions don’t provide support that is not academic or financial aid related
  • What are the big issues that stop students from completing their academic programs?
  • For communication, the best way is to meet students where they are, utilizing email and texting and not just a phone call.
  • What are students seeking with InsideTrack’s service?
  • Most higher education institutes have gone from a growth mindset to a fixed mindset
  • Why is the sense of belonging a big struggle for new students?
  • What are the causes of a student actually dropping out?
  • How do you approach universities to integrate this program?
  • How does the storyline with the school take shape?
  • Inside Track coached 300-400,000 students in 2019
    • Inside Track has access to student satisfaction and work to help remove obstacles and challenges for students
    • Student success has become increasingly important in the institution
  • What are some things InsideTrack provides for students?
  • With students, InsideTrack provides reputation and relationships that develop over time – it’s not a one and done.
  • How do you keep the human at the core of your program but use technology to enable them?
  • To sell this program the best case is having partners and clients tell their story via a case study,
    • Teaching sales to lead with stories in their conversations
    • Bring coaches and coach managers into early conversations with potential partners
    • Use first generation students as coaches to represent and share their story- makes it real and relatable
    • Stories that are repeated by other institutions using their stories and coming back as a referral
  • InsideTrack is a predominantly virtual workforce.
  • Advice on inspiring employees?
    • Communication
    • Authenticity
    • Repetition
    • Clarity and consistency
  • When you are approachable it provides credibility for the other communications to an employee.


Like what you hear? Hear more episodes like this on the What’s Your Story podcast page!

Training Technologists to be Storytellers with Patricia Martin

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On today’s episode, we’re speaking with Patricia Martin of Cox Communications about the importance of effective storytelling and communication among technologists. Patricia also shares some insight into the impact good leaders can have on inspiring others.

More About Patricia Martin

Patricia Martin joined Cox Communications in 2005. In her time there, she has led several key initiatives at Cox, including the creation of the first national team of virtual construction estimators and Cox’s first-generation Video Back Office National Center of Excellence. Martin oversees the Network Operations Centers and Tier II support teams for both Residential and Cox Business support models. In 2017, Martin streamlined the Service Assurance NOC to one operating model with two locations, Atlanta and Phoenix. She synchronized national teams and subject matter experts toward improving customers’ experience and set a new road map within the company for other functions to emulate.

Martin is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and of the WICT Betsy Magness Leadership Institute. She has been recognized by Women in Cable Technology (WICT) and CableFax for her leadership skills, her ability to drive results, her unwavering commitment to her team and customers, and the positive changes she has delivered at Cox Communications.

Show Highlights

  • What is Technology Service Assurance? How do you successfully keep multiple platforms operating while knowing who is the right technologist to contact?
  • PIR – Post Instant Report- It’s important to communicate with your customer base letting them know what occurred and how it won’t happen again.
  • How does a team communicate internally to non-technical audiences when they are facing a challenge?
  • Why is it important to be a good storyteller especially during budgeting time?
  • How do you build confidence in your technologist through storytelling? Focus on the issue, and leave the details for others who will understand.
  • What is the importance of developing a structure to share information? Consistency in how you deliver your message in a technology world is extremely important.
  • Why is communication important when leading an organization? People who are great communicators will be great management and directors.
  • How do you establish a connection with an audience? Make sure your message meets people where they are. Set them up with a storyline to help people digest it and explain the reason of “why”.
  • How can using stories help lessen the blow of a big change for employees? Helping people understand why tough decisions were made allows them to see that it was something happening with them and not to them.
  • Why is it important for leadership to tell stories and be vulnerable? People want to know who they work for. Listeners connect to stories on challenges and disappointments, they want to see the journey.
  • Connect with people as a leader, because that is what people will remember.
  • What makes a good leader? Vision, strategy, empathy, and a backbone of steel.

Like what you hear? Hear more episodes like this on the What’s Your Story podcast page!

Telling the Difficult Stories with Allison Ausband and Evia Golde

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On today’s episode, we’re speaking with Allison Ausband of Delta Airlines and Evia Golde, formally of United Way of Greater Atlanta, about how they are taking on one of Atlanta’s darkest topics, human trafficking, and are bringing it to life so the statistics become more than numbers. Allison and Evia also shared a few success stories that have come out of Delta’s #GetOnBoard training.

More About Allison Ausband

Allison Ausband is Senior Vice President–In-Flight Service for Delta Air Lines, leading a team of 24,000 flight attendants, supervisory and support personnel around the globe,as well as Delta’s onboard global food and beverage operation and experience.

She previously served as Vice President–Reservation Sales and Customer Care, where she was responsible for 10 customer engagement centers in four countries, which handle over 37 million customer contacts each year and generate over $2 billion in annual revenue.

Under Allison’s leadership, Delta’s In-Flight Service team has achieved all time customer satisfaction scores. While in Reservation Sales, she developed and launched Delta’s social media customer service model as well as a home-based employment program, creating a new virtual workforce culture that yields more than $2 million in savings each year. She also led the corporation’s strategy to move from the bottom to the No. 2 position in DOT Consumer rankings, and under her leadership achieved JD Power certification for Delta’s engagement centers–the first US airline to ever achieve.

Allison began her career at Delta in May 1985 as a flight attendant.

Currently, Allison is Delta’s executive sponsor for human trafficking and leads their annual Breast Cancer Research Foundation campaign. She is a member of Leadership Atlanta Class of 2014. She is a University of Georgia Board of Trustee and serves on the Board of Directors for Delta Community Credit Union and the Board of Trustees for the William R. and Sara Babb Smith Foundation. She is also an active member of her local church serving on the personnel committee.

More About Evia Golde

A retired attorney, Evia has served as the Human Trafficking Committee Chair for Women United Atlanta since 2014. Women United is a group of 100+ donors who support the work of the United Way of Greater Atlanta, and Women United’s signature issue is to eradicate child sex trafficking in Atlanta and Georgia. During her tenure with the UWGA Women United, she has held the role of Cabinet Chair and in 2016 was Co-Chair of the Safe Harbor Ballot Committee, a campaign that helped successfully pass the Safe Harbor Amendment to create a permanent Fund for victims of exploitation in Georgia. She is the recipient of the United Way of Greater Atlanta 2017 Leading a Life of Purpose Award.

In addition to her work at the United Way of Greater Atlanta, Evia has been a Community Advocate raising awareness to combat the sex trafficking of Georgia’s children. She has been involved as a volunteer, advocate and fundraiser with multiple organizations fighting to end child sex trafficking, including Wellspring Living, youthSparke & Street Grace. She currently sits on the Board of Wellspring Living, a non profit that has been serving survivors of childhood sexual abuse and exploitation since 2001.

Show Highlights

  • There are 25 million victims of human trafficking – How do you take a tough topic and bring it to life so the statistics become more than numbers?
  • Why did Delta take on this dark topic and how did it get involved in the prevention of it? 
  • 2011 ECPAT Code of Conduct was created and Delta was the first airline to sign it and took a leadership role as a company to fight human trafficking
  • What has been Deltas biggest success story? -Getting people on board to take the initiative to stop human trafficking. #getonboard
  • What are the signs of human trafficking? Examples of human trafficking identifying training: employees were able to save two young girls because of what they learned in the training
  • Why is the awareness piece so important? Why wasn’t it talked about before? 
  • How and why did the United Way get involved? 
  • Why does Atlanta have such a huge human trafficking problem?
  • How has UPS been involved in combating human trafficking?
  • How did the See Something Say Something campaign begin?
  • During the Superbowl, there were169 arrests over 11 days.
  • What is Georgia Pacific’s role in the fight?
  • What is the Safe Harbor Law and what does it do and how did it impact Georgia? 
  • How do relatable stories change the way you look at the issue?
  • Why are people willing to listen now as opposed to a few years ago?
  • What are the things the victims are doing to help other victims? 

Like what you hear? Hear more episodes like this on the What’s Your Story podcast page!

Talk, Listen, and Laugh – Essential Ingredients for Women (with Cox FORGE)

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On today’s episode, we’re joined by a group of women who have learned the power of sisterhood in career. Through personal development, overcoming ego and fear, and integrating passion into their day to day life, these women have grown to cherish the powerful bonds between strong women who lift one another up rather than cut one another down through competition and cattiness. Today, they’ll teach us what they’ve learned on their way. 

More about today’s guests:
Ashley Hill:

Ashley Hill manages the Supplier Diversity and Risk Management programs at Cox Automotive.  She’s been at Cox for 9 years in various finance roles including the FORGE rotational program.  Prior to Cox, Ashley worked at Cisco Systems and Cbeyond. Ashley received a Bachelor’s degree from Georgia Tech in Business Management with concentrations in Finance and Operations Management.  Growing up as a military brat and traveling the world, Ashley developed the skill of adaptation and a love of diverse foods.

Lainey Sibble

Lainey started her career at KPMP in the Real Estate Audit practice.  Upon realizing she wanted to redirect her focus within business, Lainey returned to graduate school and earned an MBA from Columbia Business School.  Since Columbia, Lainey has found her passion in strategy. She spent two years working in strategic finance roles at Unilever, and then joined Cox where she has worked across the different divisions.  She started in a financial investment strategy role at Cox Business, rotated across divisions and functional groups through a leadership development program, and ultimately found a strategic planning director role at Cox Automotive, where she works today.

Julie Meier

Julie joined Cox Enterprises in 2013 after beginning her career in public accounting, and has since held roles in Audit, FP&A, Strategy, International Finance, and Business Operations. In her current role, she helps Cox’s Sales and Marketing teams understand the impacts of proposed changes on financial statements and customer relationships. Julie enjoys supporting her alma mater, Notre Dame, by serving on the alumni board as well as volunteering around Atlanta with the Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity, and Ronald McDonald House. 

Lauren Kicklighter

Lauren Kicklighter is a team-oriented and dedicated individual that enjoys driving results. She also enjoys an environment in which she can learn and grow and coach others to do the same. Experienced in managing projects, she learns quickly and is enthusiastic about adopting best practices and procedures. Her goal is to improve the efficiency and quality of business operations through utilizing data-driven metrics. With strong executive presence, Lauren builds relationships quickly as well as effectively communicate sound strategic recommendations. 

Kristi Roche

Kristi Roche is a Director of Audit Services at Cox Enterprises, Inc. with 10+ years of experience across a variety of finance disciplines.  She joined Cox in 2014 as part of the Cox Automotive Strategy team before joining the leadership program in 2017. Prior to Cox, Kristi worked in finance and strategy roles for Carter’s, Accenture and Protiviti.  She’s an avid Georgia Bulldogs fan after earning both her BBA and MBA from the University of Georgia.

Show Highlights

  • What sorts of issues cause trepidation about joining groups of other women in a career setting? Do issues like catfights and competitiveness often cause problems? Are these traits of strong women?
  • How did these women find their own rules and cadence for the group? What role did personality tests play from the beginning on? 
  • How did a sorority approach (vs. a competitive approach) build vulnerability, bonding, and the ability for the women to help one another?
  • What types of stress behaviors came out when the women had to do their bi-yearly reports to top leaders from various companies? Why was this their least favorite part of the program? How did having support from other women help?
  • What things were important to the bonding of the women in the group? What role did shared life experiences and rope courses play in creating the sisterhood?
  • How does personal development (vs. work skills) assist in careers at the early stage and the leadership stage? What did they learn about how to build a team (and how not to)?
  • How did the timing of this program affect women differently? What major life events occurred during the program? What discoveries did this result in as far as choosing a path forward, regardless of what was happening in life?
  • What archetypal roles did the women play in the group and what difference did these combinations make to the team? How do you integrate your passion into day to day life when it isn’t an integral part of your day job? Satisfaction emerges from finding opportunities to add your passion to your role.

Like what you hear? Hear more episodes like this on the What’s Your Story podcast page!

Building Collaboration and Inspiration in Marketing with Sarah Stansberry

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On today’s episode, we’re speaking with Sarah Stansberry about how to take a disparate panel of marketing experts and integrate them into a cohesive team with common goals. Sarah discusses her seven tips for leaders to help guide teams through the use of shared principles and methods to open engagement and conversation. Sarah’s insight into storytelling expresses how the simple act of telling a story changes both the listener and the speaker alike. 

More About Sarah Stansberry

Sarah Stansberry was named Interim Chief Marketing Officer of Equifax in March, 2019 and brings strong expertise in general management, digital marketing strategies, global demand generation, product marketing, public relations and brand activation across web, social and search channels.  As the Interim CMO, Sarah champions corporate marketing as the catalyst for Equifax growth focused on strengthening stakeholder engagement, demonstrating market leadership and optimizing marketing effectiveness globally. 

Sarah joined Equifax in 2013 and has held numerous marketing leadership positions of increasing responsibility, most recently as the SVP, Solutions Marketing and SVP, Marketing Operations where she and her teams focused on creating and activating customer-centric marketing strategies across the Equifax enterprise. During her tenure, Sarah has led lead product marketing, digital strategy and web experiences, product and solutions sales training and marketing operations teams.

Her focus on aligning people, process, tools and team dynamics helps change marketing organizations from reactive, sales support teams to true business partners that enable business growth through delivery of integrated marketing strategies.

Previously, Sarah held other marketing leadership roles including VP Marketing for LexisNexis Risk Solutions and SVP Marketing for AccuData Integrated Marketing.   She has also served in a number of marketing positions for start-up and large enterprises such as Click Commerce, RR Donnelley & Sons and PLATINUM Technology. 

Sarah was recently recognized as the 2018 Marketing Executive of the Year by the Technology Association of Georgia.  She holds a degree in Marketing from Loyola University, and an MBA in Strategic Management from DePaul University.  

Show Highlights

  • Specialized teams vs. a general focus on marketing: how do you solve the challenge of bringing together subject matter experts to generate broad insights and effective teams?
  • How do themes and stories play a role in helping people do self-checks? How can this help with guiding principles of a company in order to keep disparate teams on the same page?
  • Educate, enable, empower. For example, you shouldn’t create from scratch if you don’t have to. Utilize templates to help generate common work such as go to market plans. How does this three word concept help with team cohesion and trust? 
  • The Tiny Book of Teamwork… What is this guide about? How did this guide come about? What are the green boxes of love, and how do they set expectations among teams?
  • Many Ways for Many Brains… How do people consume content differently? Why is it important for marketers to keep this in mind? Plus, other segments of the book and what they mean to the modern marketing team.
  • Check Yourself… Why it’s important not to be a jerk. Negativity in the workplace is each individual’s responsibility.
  • One of the responsibilities of leadership is developing future leaders. Sarah discusses the ways her seven tips help foster this mindset, even subconsciously, allowing leaders to be more thoughtful and get more engagement from their teams by providing a way and framing to have a conversation. 
  • Sarah discusses stories and storytelling and their impact on both listeners and the communicator themselves. 

Like what you hear? Hear more episodes like this on the What’s Your Story podcast page!

The Stories that Make Successful Conferences, with Allison Hunt Eubanks

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Today, we have the pleasure of speaking with Allison Hunt Eubanks about the LexisNexis CAM conference. How and why does a company host an event of this magnitude? How do they bring it all together, train their speakers, and generate a cohesive gathering? And what role does storytelling play in an event where attendees are meant to walk away with a message? Find out on today’s episode!

More About Allison:

Allison Hunt Eubanks is Director, Content Marketing and Events for the insurance business at LexisNexis Risk Solutions where she leads the content marketing team, and is responsible for the overarching messaging strategy, which includes driving messaging alignment for four business lines.  In her role, she oversees content for four blogs, and for more than 110 annual events, including a national customer meeting for approximately 500 attendees. Allison joined LexisNexis in 2014 and has more than 15 years of insurance marketing experience. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism – Advertising from the University of Georgia. 

Show Highlights

  • What exactly is CAM and how does it relate to Lexis Nexis? If not lead gen, what is its purpose? How do you measure its success? 
  • What is the process behind choosing the theme and the topics discussed at CAM for the breakout sessions? How do make it look like it all goes together? 
  • LexisNexis itself is huge. What is the purpose of bringing everyone together? What value to attendees of CAM receive? What sort of customer feedback do you get from customers in reference to CAM? 
  • Are there other actionable measures of success? And, on the topic of success, is there a formula, whether that be the venue, the topics, entertainment value? 
  • What challenges do you have with assembling many technical experts? How do you help train and prepare your speakers to ensure the event goes smoothly? What are the benefits of bringing in an outsider instead of staying internally focused? 
  • What are good and easy ways to facilitate connections? Can storytelling play a role? What story does Allison have to share? How does she use stories to show the value of CAM to customers? 

Like what you hear? Hear more episodes like this on the What’s Your Story podcast page!

The Power of Mentoring Among Women with TD Bank

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Today, we have the opportunity to discuss women in leadership and the value of sisterhood and structured mentor programs on the success of modern business women with four female leaders from TD Bank. These ladies will also share how stories impact authenticity, growth, and inspiration within an organization when operating as leaders.

More about Molly Abair:
Molly Abair is the Executive Credit Officer for TD Bank’s New England Metro. In this role, she is responsible for the adjudication of commercial loan requests, ensuring the portfolio grows within the banks’ risk appetite. She’s honed the ability to bring together stakeholders with differing views, understand their perspectives, and facilitate a collaborative approach to success. Molly’s instinctive approach to leadership and talent development aligns TD Bank’s vision and framework. Her intent focus on customer and employee experiences has contributed greatly to consistently strong business results.

More about Rachel Wilner
Rachel Wilner is a respected leader and senior executive for the commercial banking team managing the Delaware and Chester County regions for TD Bank. She has demonstrated the ability to produce strong results in multiple regions of the bank and within other financial institutions during her career. Rachel is a recognized coach and mentor, has successfully developed high caliber teams, has cultivated deep relationships with clients who view her as a trusted advisor, and is also deeply committed to the communities she serves.

More about Emily Stoddard
Emily Stoddard is the Middle Market Team Lead for New York City. Emily is responsible for leading a commercial banking team to grow TD Bank’s loan portfolio through deposits, products and services offered to middle-market businesses throughout the five boroughs of New York City. She is recognized as a strong client professional and a strategic leader who consistently motivates her team to deliver results while being passionate and disciplined.

More about Cindy Stover
Cindy S. Stover is the North Florida Market President for TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®. As Market President, she has leadership responsibilities over the Jacksonville, Gainesville, Daytona Beach and Ocala areas of Florida. Cindy is responsible for the successful operational management of Commercial banking while providing leadership and guidance for TD Bank’s North Florida overall strategic and market performance.

Show Highlights

  • On women in leadership… 1 in 5 leaders are women in the finance industry. How has TD Bank improved this statistic for themselves? How does diversity play a role? What about confidence?
  • What are the top skills needed to help leaders develop? Are any of the necessary skills particular to women? How do relationship building, listening, and communication skills play a role in reaching collaborative solutions?
  • Where did these ladies find feedback early in their careers? What difference did it make? How important is having a mentor?
  • How did the team begin to think about mentoring, and how did the program come together and evolve at TD Bank? In what way did “paying it forward” help develop the program? What does the group do when they meet and how do these group sessions assist the women involved? How did they structure it?
  • Sisterhood plays a role, but the right leaders need to be in the room and be able to mentor. How did Cindy get involved in the program? And what does she get out of her mentee relationships? Have the men within the organization been supportive?
  • How has structure benefited mentors and mentees alike? What would women leaders who believe they are already good mentors gain from being part of a structured group of mentors? 
  • How does a woman’s image impact her career? How can a woman’s image detract from her ability to bring focus to herself and her words? In what way can mentors give visual feedback from a good place to help women further their careers?
  • How do stories help leaders instill authenticity and inspiration within their organization? Which stories do these ladies use to guide their mentees?

Like what you hear? Hear more episodes like this on the What’s Your Story podcast page!

How to Develop a Global Leader With Helen Nghiem

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On today’s podcast episode, we are meeting with Helen Nghiem of Epsilon to learn what makes a good leader and how she trains leaders from all over the world. How important is communication as leaders take on more teams, and how does the pressure shift as leaders are no longer able to manage projects on their own? Are leaders the same across the globe, and is the modern economy changing what is expected of leaders? Helen Nghiem discusses how to use leadership skills to tell stories in order to communicate effectively, to instil a sense of loyalty and excitement for a company, and how these stories make memories stick. 

Helen Nghiem is a seasoned consultant and corporate learning and development leader with a passion for galvanizing leaders and employees for change.  Throughout a 20-year career, Helen’s industry experience is wide, spanning management consulting, energy, travel and hospitality, technology, and digital marketing.  She drives business results by drawing from deep expertise and insight to build unique talent and organizational development solutions. In her current role, Helen helped Epsilon grow from a $500M company to a Fortune 100 global enterprise.  She cites the company’s steadfast investments in leadership and employee development as the agent of growth.

Show Highlights

  • 1:00 Leadership development and creativity. Skills needed in communication, influence, and engagement in order to develop leaders
  • 2:00 What is Epsilon? What do they do regarding leadership interaction and management? What technology do they use and how does data play a role?
  • 5:00 Did Helen focus on people who were becoming new leaders who were taking on responsibilities they’d never had? Or did she focus on seasoned leaders? What was the business need Epsilon chose to approach and why?
  • 7:00 How does Helen define a leader? How does vision play a role? What about the shared experience of change and ambiguity? And communication skills?
  • 10:00 How does pressure shift to communication as the number of teams reporting to a leader grow in number? What makes leaders not able to take over a task if the team falls through? 
  • 12:00 Did Helen have a master plan for what would make a leader successful when starting her program? What sorts of topics did this entail?
  • 17:00 What did Helen learn from leaders in the program over 9 years? What did the leaders get out of it? Have leadership needs changed in that timeframe? How does leadership change across cultures?
  • 23:00 What are the most impactful stories Helen has heard from leaders? How do leaders fare with managing the requirement to tell an impactful story in front of other leaders? Does she remember the stories told by leaders over the years? What makes them stick? What benefits does this have?
  •  30:00 How are senior leaders impacted by Helen’s program? Open, honest, and vulnerable are expectations of leaders. How do stories promote these sensations?
  • 36:00 Where has Helen seen the impression of a leader strengthened or expanded based on their experience in the program? What part did storytelling have in this? Plus, Helen shares her own story.

Guest Information

Helen Nghiem is an accomplished and widely regarded professional with vast cross-industry experience spanning more than fifteen years. She is an effective, dynamic, and seasoned leader in key organizational development and business consulting roles who never settles for the status quo. A meticulous strategic planner with a proven track record of success at galvanizing leadership, management, and employees for change. A skilled communicator with a history of upward mobility in fast-paced global domains.

You can find more information about Helen on Linkedin:

Like what you hear? Hear more episodes like this on the What’s Your Story podcast page!

Telling Shareable Stories to Sports Fans with Barry Blyn of ESPN

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Barry Blyn is Vice President, Audience and Content Insights at ESPN, a post he has held since late 2018. In this position, Blyn’s team provides best-in-class, fan-centric content evaluation for key clients across ESPN and even The Walt Disney Company.

A graduate of the NYU Stern School of Business, Barry has worked with insights, data, and people throughout a variety of industries including politics, comedy, and sports. Currently in sports, Barry offers insight into the mind of the fan from ancient history until now and the nuances that lie therein. Do sports have meaning? And, if they don’t, why do fans engage in such deep loyalty practices, wearing their team’s colors and painting their faces? Can you convert a sports fan to a new favorite team?

He tells us of ESPN’s consumer image, sponsorship opportunities and how fans react to them, the virality of sports stories, and the ever-accelerating sports news cycles. Because of his time in other industries, Barry is able to home in on what really sets the sports industry apart, and what changes content creators and storytellers should make to target this audience.

Most importantly, Barry talks to us about stories themselves, often while using stories himself that demonstrate the concepts he discusses. How do you know when a story works? What if you hear your story repeated back—and what if you hear it repeated wrong? Find out in today’s episode!

Show Highlights

  • 1:00 Sports stories fit almost all types of business situations. But what about if you’re in sports? What type story do you use then to explain the business situations?
  • 2:00 What does Barry Blyn’s team do at ESPN? What tools do they use?
  • 4:00 How has the business of giving insights changed? What impact has Big Data had, and what’s important now when so much information is available?
  • 6:00 What insights does Barry try to collect in regards to sports? How does history and brain wiring play a role in sports insights? Are all sports fans the same?
  • 8:00 How have things changed over the years as it pertains to sports and events? Is that a particularly interesting or complex area of sports insights? How has the sports news cycle changed?
  • 12:00 Stories are how information gets remembered and repeated. Are sports fans one of the audiences who repeat content the most? Are sports stories the original viral content?
  • 14:00 How is sponsorship in sports different from advertising in other niches?
  • 20:00 What were the early risks of Game Day?
  • 25:00 Are the sports fans Barry profiles constantly changing or easy to profile? What changes can occur?
  • 34:00 Are there times Barry’s stories get repeated back to him? Barry describes some important moments in his career that assure him his storytelling works.

Guest Information

Barry Blyn is a strategic researcher who obtains data in innovative ways and transforms key points into actionable consumer insights across all media platforms. Uniquely able to understand and compellingly communicate consumer behavior to shape a company’s agenda. Regarded in industry as expert in storytelling and in pushing ideas beyond expected and conventional.

You can find more information about Barry on Linkedin:

Like what you hear? Hear more episodes like this on the What’s Your Story podcast page!

Employee Experience and Winning the War for Talent with Nick Mailey

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On today’s podcast, we have the opportunity to speak with Intuit HR executive Nick Mailey. He shares with us his insights on building not only a brand, but a “work brand.” How do work brands influence the types and levels of talent that an organization can attract?

Why is that so important in today’s world of talent deficits? Nick expresses a need for a culture and a mission that’s meaningful to future employees—and a data-driven plan to make these future hires aware of these important facets of a business. Nick’s expertise highlights what new and existing companies can do to facilitate an engaged, loyal workforce with high mobility.

Show Highlights

  • 1:00 How do you create an environment that makes workers want not only to join the company but also to stay? How does storytelling play a role in this?
  • 6:30 “Powering Prosperity” How has Nick Mailey used research in the workplace to understand how well people recognize Intuit? How is this relevant to the brand and, more relevantly, employment brands? Why is it important to have a purpose and a more mission-driven focus?
  • 9:30 How do you expose potential employees to what working for a company would entail? How do you convey the experience and culture? How does the data support the methods Nick shares?
  • 17:30 How much are “Follow-Me-Homes” part of Intuit culture? How is this a testament to the power of stories? How does this story build a higher degree of commitment to the cause of powering prospering? What percentage of Intuit employees don’t know that story?
  • 27:00 How does Intuit bring a candidate into the company after having exposure to the brand and its mission? What is the interview process like? How was it developed? How does Nick coach candidates through this process to help them get ready?
  • 36:00 How does Nick leverage leaders and their stories within Intuit? What is the purpose of a “talent magnet?”
  • 40:00 What is the importance of highlighting the challenges in a story, especially for leaders? How do the twists and turns of a story humanize leadership?

Guest Information

Nick Mailey is an HR executive who leads Talent Acquisition at Intuit, a Most Admired Software Company that also ranks among Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For. A passionate talent executive with over 20 years of experience leading recruiting teams in Silicon Valley, Nick is enthusiastic about driving business results by attracting awesome talent.

Nick’s expertise is in developing creative recruiting strategies, assessment methodologies and innovating recruiting solutions. He focuses on cultivating highly engaged teams.  He encourages his team to develop creative and innovative solutions to solve problems.

Nick received his Bachelor’s degree from Temple University and his Master’s degree in Organizational Development from the University of San Francisco.  He’s been recognized by HRO magazine as an HR Superstar and one of the Top Talent Acquisition Leaders in Industry today.

You can find more information about Nick on Linkedin:

Like what you hear? Hear more episodes like this on the What’s Your Story podcast page!