The Stories Behind a Purpose with CeCe Morken

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These days, we’re all exhausted. And it’s not just the physical tiredness of managing kids, virtual schooling, shifting work locations in a house, or balancing disruptions as our personal lives and workspace converge. It’s a mental tiredness and fatigue, and the effects are pretty dramatic.

It’s a good thing that companies were already working on body and mind wellness. Wellness support and training has become an integral part of many company’s benefit plans and training initiatives. The added stress and uncertainty of the pandemic has intensified the conversations about mindfulness, meditation, and a company called Headspace.

On this episode of What’s Your Story, Sally’s guest is CeCe Morken, President and CEO of Headspace, and she’s here to share The Stories Behind a Purpose, her experience with how she found herself in this role, and how to manage, inspire, and support a team virtually.

More about CeCe Morken

CeCe Morken serves as President and Chief Operating Officer of Headspace. She is a highly accomplished technology industry executive with 35 years of experience building and growing organizations, from start-ups to global, publicly traded companies.

CeCe joined Headspace after 13 years at Intuit, where she led multiple business units. She served as Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Strategic Partner Group, responsible for the accountant, financial institution, and enterprise platform business generating $700M in annual revenue — in addition to leading both the Corporate/Government Affairs and Corporate Responsibility functions for the company. Morken was also responsible for building strategic partnerships between Intuit and financial institutions, government and educational entities, and enterprise platforms, and also responsible for expanding global engagements, which doubled the velocity of contracts in the target countries of the UK, Australia, Canada, and France.

Before serving in this capacity, Morken led Intuit Financials Services (IFS). She led this business through a technology and business model transformation that moved the business to the number one ranking in share and product design across online and mobile platforms, leading the industry in open platform designs. Subsequently, CeCe led the strategic decision to divest the business and close the sale to the private equity firm Thoma Bravo in August of 2013.

Morken is a graduate of North Dakota State University, with majors in Economics and Business Administration, and attended the University of Chicago Booth’s executive development program. Morken currently serves on the Boards of GENPACT and NDSU College of Business.

Morken has also been recognized as one of The Most Powerful Women in Accounting (2017), National Diversity and Leadership Most Powerful Women in Technology (2017 and 2019), and has received the Intuit CEO Leadership Award in 2011, 2014, and 2017, and the Bill Campbell Coaches Award in 2018.

Show Notes

  • Headspace: Improve health and wellness of the world. This organization helps people build healthy routines through mindfulness in an app.
    • 46% of people over the age of 18 will have a diagnosable mental health issue
    • 60% of those are untreated
  • Purpose of Headspace: Corporate social responsibility and working in service for the greater good.
    • What is the impact of mindfulness thinking?
    • How mindfulness has changed the workplace
  • Study by Headspace:
    • 65% of employees report that most of the stress they feel is from work
    • 42% state that work/life balance is the greatest source of stress
    • 45% of those lose 2 hours a day because of stress
  • There has been an increase of CEO’s listing mental health and mindfulness as a priority in the workplace. With the emphasis on this from other companies there are positive results and improvement.
    • Employers need to enable people to bring their whole selves to work. Virtual environment has mad that difficult
  • The Headspace work environment is one to model. They offer the following:
    • Meeting breaks
    • No meeting days
    • Every other Friday off
  • Headspace offers support programs for companies and shares their best practices with their employees
    • Offer flexibility for the caregivers in the family to prevent losing women in the workplace
  • Mindfulness isn’t about taking more time, it’s about being present. It’s not about time, it’s about frequency. Being purposeful with your time.
  • Headspace got big names like Sesame Street, John Legend, and other celebrities involved.
  • Headspace Outreach
    • Working with Governor Cuomo’s office giving all New Yorkers access to their app for free
    • Worked with other states hit hard, early on, by the pandemic
    • Made their app free to every unemployed person, all health care providers, and educators
  • Headspace provides content like: music, stories, sleep casts, etc. All offerings are backed by science and clinical studies.
  • Headspace worked with Sesame Street with the goal of helping young minds develop healthy habits.
  • Hundreds of thousands have taken advantage of their app.
  • CeCe shared a Storytelling meditation clip from the Headspace app on Wisdom: Mind, Body, Speech
    • The clip covered intention, mindfulness, voice and body of speech.
  • How to manage, inspire and support a team virtually:
    • Best practices for management:
      • Don’t just ask “how are you?” ask “really…how are you?”
      • Start the conversation with their development, not just the business outcome
      • Be a good role model – take breaks, set up healthy boundaries
      • Ensure that you’ve got clarity of common purpose and do “less” better
      • Remind people why you are there and what you are focused on.
      • Speed – don’t wait for normal – make a difference and take advantage of the situation and lean in more.
      • How you spend your time is important, pick your career for the right reason.
      • Find purpose in your work.
      • Do something that makes your heart beat faster every day.

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

The Wingman

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As a leader, your brand, style, message of the company, and the company itself are intertwined. SW&A coaches many leaders and considers themselves the “wingman” for people in leadership positions.

On this episode of What’s Your Story?, Sally talks with instructors Francie Schulwolf and Lia Panayotidis about their experience as The Wingman.

More About Our Guests

Francie Schulwolf: Francie’s focus is on developing strong, confident communicators. With close to twenty-five years of global, corporate experience in advertising, marketing and communications, she is intimately familiar with the demands executives face. This understanding, along with her honest and warm style, create a safe and comfortable environment for individuals to learn and grow.

Lia Panayotidis: As a lead instructor for our style programs, Lia focuses on raising awareness of individual brands and working with people to strengthen personal presence. She creates an insightful learning environment in each program and can make the most vulnerable discussions a little easier. She approaches each program with a natural joy of connection and fifteen years of diverse experience in training and development

Show Highlights:

  • As a leader, your brand, style, message of the company, and the company itself are intertwined.
  • Sally Williams and Associates coach several leaders and consider themselves the “wingman” for people in leadership positions.
    • Wingman means the person behind the leader who is focused on that individual to become successful.
  • Sally has spent several years speaking in front of groups and now uses the tools she learned in leadership and visible roles to help others.
  • Coaching is about observing others.
    • There is more joy in watching someone else succeed.
  • What is the role of communications as an influencer?
    • Having the ability to get people to deliver on a message they can get behind.
    • Understand every CEO has a different approach and skill set.
    • Being the voice behind the curtain that makes everybody sound really good.
    • Understand how to separate content from style components.
    • Practice and teach others how to become self-aware and develop self-confidence.
  • Coaching is all about connections and getting leaders to the next level.
  • What is done with the content collected?
    • SWA talks about celebrations and people.
    • SWA learns from each new leader they work with.
  • Coaches are trying to figure out what is going on and how to get their leaders/clients to that next place.
    • They work toward figuring out how to help them discover their voice and how to get them there.
  • What is frustrating as a coach?
    • Coming into a session and encountering apprehension from the beginning and an unwillingness to be open. When clients have their guards up from the start.
    • Seeing the potential that the coach knows is there and they are matched with resistance.
    • Clients who don’t realize the value of feedback.
    • Leaders who refuse to watch themselves on stage to learn.
  • What makes a great coach?
    • Chemistry.
    • Connection.
    • Relationship.
    • Creating a safe zone where clients can try new things.
    • Coaches who are still learning.
  • The clients that are remembered are the ones that really made a difference during the training.
  • The ones who grew a lot not.
  • Leadership is about:
    • learning what is happening in the room
    • Embracing the intent is behind what they are doing
    • Discovering how the listener is doing
  • Coaching is taking the love of people and development and putting it together.
  • How do you coach mastery?
    • You give them the tools and show them how to master it.
    • Encourage clients to be intentional about practicing.
    • Realize that each person’s goals are different and embrace it.
    • Ask the clients:
      • What do you want for yourself?
      • What do you see for yourself?
    • Success is gauged by audience response.
    • Helping clients realize it comes down to their own desire to master it.

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

How Securities Teams Share Data Insights with Kim Keever

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Every communicator plays a significant role within an organization, but some of those roles get more visibility than others. Sales shares about customer insights, marketing relays their brand and product strategies, and something we’ve seen grow in the last five years, is that data security teams have become big communicators, with many CISO’s managing the communication to leadership teams and corporate Boards.

On this episode of What’s Your Story, Sally connects with Kim Keever, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer of Cox Communications, one of the leading cable, internet and home automation providers to talk about the increased demand for security insights and how she brings clarity to a pretty complex topic.


More About Kim Keever

Kim Keever is Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and Senior Vice President of Security, Analytics and Technology Services for Cox Communications (CCI) in Atlanta, Georgia. Her teams are responsible for all aspects of Information Security for Cox Communications; the Technology, Product and Operations Center of Excellence for Analytics; and for Technology people programs. Since joining Cox, she has built an industry recognized security team.  Additionally, the new Analytics COE has transformed the use of analytics resulting in significant cost savings for Cox. Her teams partner closely with Cox Enterprises, Cox Automotive and Cox Media Group. In early 2016, Kim’s team received an innovation award from CSO Magazine, and Kim was named a top woman in technology by Multichannel News. Each year from 2017-2019, she was named one of the most powerful women in cable by Cablefax.  She was a 2018 Women in Technology (WIT) honoree in the large/enterprise organization category, and early in 2019 she was named the Information Security Executive (ISE) of the Year for the Southeast Region and in November 2019 named the North American Information Security Executive (ISE) of the Year in the Commercial category.

Kim is a graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology.  She is a member of several industry associations and boards including Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) and the FCC Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council V. She is active in volunteer organizations including Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Technology Advisory Board and support of homeless shelters located in Atlanta.


Show Highlights:

  • There has been an increased demand for security insights since 2014 because of large company security breaches.
  • Leaders started looking for an increase in security insights out of worry and wanted to know: what happened, how did it happen, and could it happen to us?
  • How do you talk to leaders about security without scaring them?
  •  We talk about security with a risk based approach:
    • Call out the highest risks first.
    • Do a little bit at a time.
    • Give them context.
    • Give them a comparison so they can better understand where the risks are.
  • There are two types of CISO’s:
    • High tech.
    • Business focused.
  • The ability to explain the technology in a business context and alert companies to what the risks are is important because it’s the most effective way to help CISO’s operate. Companies will be more likely to get buy-in and senior leaders will feel more comfortable with the security team.
  • How do you understand the magnitude of what to keep a watch on?
  • There are different areas in which data breaches are happening:
    • Bad Guys.
    • Nation State Actors.
    • Hack-tivists.
  • When you start talking about security and risk, you run the risk of making companies look bad as far as their security of data goes.
  • Don’t let your vulnerability be because of funding. How can you partner with other departments or organizations to get the funding needed to reduce the risks and fix the issues early on?
  • Don’t bombard your listeners with too much detail, give them the facts but don’t overwhelm them.
  • Train your employees on effective communication, and continue to practice it.
  • Be sensitive of the information you share.
  • Help clear up misunderstandings or potential misunderstandings.
  • When you speak about complex things, you may need to say them multiple times and tell them in different ways in order for listeners to fully understand and remember.
  • The security team is trying to educate the entire organization, more than just talking about security risks.
  • Hands on experiences have helped prove the need for heightened security. Finding ways to make security fun and interesting tends to help the content resonate with people.
  • A strong leader is someone that employees are willing to follow.
  • As a leader, hire people who are smarter than you and have diversity of thought, those who are independent in their work and want to do the right thing.
  • Give employees opportunities to keep them engaged, allow people to own their own space, and let them grow in their career.
  • Keep your employee’s best interest in mind, and always keep an open dialogue.
  • Security is a great field to get into. Having a background in technology helps, and this career is in high demand and won’t go away.
  • Be willing to gently show people that they may not be doing enough in one area.

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

Communicating Through Crisis with Special Guest Panel

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As we focus on a pandemic around the world, we are all searching for information and for answers. On a personal level, we’re relying on our government and our media to share what’s happening. It’s an unprecedented topic and a new normal in our homes, schools and our lives.  But we also wonder about our professional lives. And companies have to interpret the impact of that new normal for employees.  In most companies, that calls up the communications and human resources teams to activate or develop a crisis communication plan.

SW&A hosted a special panel with some of our colleagues and friends, who know how to manage crisis communications. You’ll hear insights and best practices on what employees and customers need and want during trying times. It takes clarity in ambiguity, confidence in uncertainty and some guidance and advice from those who’ve been there a time or two.


More About Our Panel

Patti Wilmot: former HR Leader – Patti has over twenty years’ experience as a former-chief human resources officer. She has helped create award-winning leadership development programs focused on creating a “bench” of future leaders. She brings expertise in assessing talent, improving the effectiveness of leadership teams and helping leaders leverage their strengths to improve effectiveness and impact.

Steve Soltis: former Executive Communications Leader – Steve is a senior adviser with MAS Leadership Communication. Soltis recently retired from The Coca-Cola Company, where he led both executive and internal communication for the past 11 years. In his role at Coca-Cola, Soltis was responsible for orchestrating the company’s entire C-suite executive visibility efforts and for formulating its employee communication strategies and execution.

Francie Schulwolf: Former Communications Leader at InterContinental Hotel Group – Francie’s focus is on developing strong, confident communicators. With close to twenty-five years of global, corporate experience in advertising, marketing and communications, she is intimately familiar with the demands executives face. This understanding, along with her honest and warm style, create a safe and comfortable environment for individuals to learn and grow.

Sally Williamson: Founder of SW&A – Sally is a leading resource for improving the impact of spoken communications. She has developed key messages and coached leaders and their teams to deliver them effectively for more than thirty years. Sally specializes in executive coaching and developing custom programs for groups across company verticals.


Show Highlights:

  • What is the picture of success? What do you want to achieve through this situation?
  • How can businesses leverage this situation? How to win hearts and minds. 
  • What is your central message and who are your stakeholders? 
  • Know how your employees are doing, understand what your consumers are needing to hear.
  • Timing is critical and consistency is key. 
  • Address compensation as best as possible for employees. Be honest with your messaging, if you don’t know the answer let employees know. 
  • You can be just as clear about what you know and what you don’t know.
  • Always show unity with leadership and re-enforce it in your messaging.
  • Figure out who are your best messengers who can clearly communicate. Be in constant contact with your employees. 
  • Come out with messaging that connects with your brand and your culture. 
  • How to construct a plan that shows a picture of success – do this through employee engagement and build off of that. 
  • How do you help a group think about clarity and how to understand it? 
  • How do leaders deliver this messaging to their teams? There needs to be a means to get the message to them, let employees know how it will get to them and be consistent. 
  • Front line people managers are incredibly important during this time, this is the time to step up and this is the time to reach out to employees. 
  • Contact each individual employee frequently and know what is going on with your employees. 
  • Even if you don’t have something to say to employees, still have that touch point to contact them frequently. Employee care is incredibly important. Keep morale up. 
  • Make sure your employees hear about what you are doing before the public knows.
  • Get senior leadership out, touching base with employees personally. 
  • Learn to develop manager talking points from leadership.
  • What companies are doing a good job with communicating their message through the crisis?
  • Clarity of truth is important. Not all companies can give good news. 
  • This is the moment that will define your leadership. 
  • It’s overwhelming as a leader right now, leaders need to be the calming force and utilize empathy.
  • Leaders need to be able to send information both ways, up to higher leadership and down to employees. 
  • Don’t let a world wide crisis become your crisis, do everything with kindness and with accurate information. 
  • Ask people how they are and if they know what they are supposed to be doing during this time. 
  • How we treat our team members now will come back to us.

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

Clarity Around Complexity with Bharath Kadaba

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Innovation is king. But that doesn’t mean everyone understands it or knows how to leverage it. In fact, many view it as the silver bullet and the easy button that changes everything overnight. And that’s just not how it works.

Innovation evolves step by step and can be years in the making before a viable product or concept can be leveraged. And that’s why companies invest in future technologies.

On our latest episode of What’s Your Story, Sally speaks with Bharath Kadaba, Chief Innovation Officer of Intuit, about his role building and leading the Technology Futures group within Intuit, and how that group communicates about their work in a way that builds interest and buy-in.


More About Bharath Kadaba

Bharath Kadaba is Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer at Intuit, and leads the Technology Futures group.  His organization is responsible for creating game-changing technology in support of Intuit’s mission to power prosperity for consumer, small business and self-employed customers.

Since joining the company in 2008, Bharath has served in a variety of executive leadership positions. Prior to his current role, he was Vice President and Engineering Fellow with responsibility for leading engineering teams that built innovative new technology for the company’s QuickBooks, TurboTax and Mint product lines. Before that, he led advanced technology development as Vice President for Global Ready Offerings, and Vice President for the Global Business Division, Product Development, respectively.

Before Intuit, Bharath was Vice President of Media Engineering at Yahoo, where he led the development of a shared services platform to serve as the foundation for all media properties (news, finance, sports, games, etc.) and significantly expanded the U.S. media product capabilities. Prior to Yahoo, he was an executive with Siebel Systems, AristaSoft, and News Corp., after spending 15 years at IBM and IBM’s TJ Watson Labs.

Bharath earned a Ph.D. in Computer Networks from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and a BSEE and Master’s in Computers and Control from the Indian Institute of Science.


Show Highlights

  • Innovation evolves- What is it and how do you leverage it?
  • Why do companies invest in future technology?
  • How does a company define a future technology group?
  • How do we bring technologies and build products that benefit our customers?
    • Start with the customer problems.
  • The goal is to help consumers lead a prosperous life as technology is constantly changing,
  • what is the match between the customer problem and the new technology?
  • Purpose: To help customers at the same time as building future technology.
  • Customers always want to see how they can make more money.
  • Small teams that are obsessed with technology – How can we change the way humans interact with machines?
  • There is a need for people who are passionate about the work, problem solver, innovative, and future thinking.
  • The beauty of the deep craft expertise is somebody who knows the tech well and can problem solve.
  • Always be willing to explore multiple solutions. Fall in love with the problem not the solution.
  • What is a craft expert?
  • How do you find a craft expert and a person with curiosity and expertise?
    • Find somebody customer obsessed, they will be the first to solve the problem.
  • Customer Collaborative commerce? What is it?
  • How does your team think about clarity when outcomes aren’t always clean/how to find clarity in communication?
  • Understand what is clear and what is ambiguous – Always set the expectations of what you know and don’t know from the start.
  • Communication and narratives are critically important. Know what the challenge is and why you have the challenge.
  • How to show that you are about the future and relevant today at the same time.
  • How to invert a story so that it’s built entirely from the consumer’s perspective?
  • How to teach a team to do good work and illustrate what they do?
  • How much has awareness gone up since they began talking about what they do?
  • How storytelling has brought to life the impact of what they have done and how they do it?
  • Doing Great Work is not enough, you have to stand up and tell a story.


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

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!