Clarity Around Complexity with Bharath Kadaba

Subscribe to the podcast!


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

Subscribe to the podcast!


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

Subscribe to the podcast!


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!