Habits of a Champion – Coach Dana Cavalea



One warm night in Texas Dana Cavalea was a 23-year-old Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the one of the greatest organizations in major league sports. During the 7th inning, the starting pitcher suddenly pulled his hamstring, and ended a no hitter start on the mound. The next morning, Dana had a meeting with executives that would change his life. He accepted the position to become the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the New York Yankees.

Although he was young, Dana had been working with the organization for many years, and even as an intern, he built up relationships with the players. While working for free, Dana knew he had nothing to lose. He would approach players as they entered the weight room and knew that the worst thing someone could say is no and that eventually someone would say yes and give him a chance. Dana admits that when he was starting out, he was underqualified and did not quiet have the science background for the role. However, he built a skill set about a new conditioning concept and used that to gain valuable trust and respect from not only the players, but also other staff members. He used the internship opportunity to show his passion and potential to the organization, which eventually led him to the head role, which he had for 12 years.

Throughout his career as a strength and conditioning coach, Dana spent time with some of the world’s greatest athletes. Dana learned that champions follow a simple and consistent routine that is paramount in their success. The greatest performers were also relaxed and comfortable in their own skin and were able to always play offensive in their careers and lives. The greatest athletes knew who they were, what they were really good at and what they needed to do in order to remain really good at it. In fact, he changed his way of thinking when he realized it was not how much time you spent at the job, but the productivity level you have while there. He came to realize that everyone’s routine may be different, but those who had consistent routines generally outlasted those who were always looking for the next method to improve. To Dana, greatness is defined as showing up every day and being consistent and achieving. As time passes, and you prove that you are achieving consistently, you will be considered great. Dana has used his knowledge and insight from his work to write “Habits of a Champion: Nobody Becomes a Champion by Accident.” In the book, he shares 15 lessons of what it takes to become a champion.

Coach Dana Cavalea is now an executive leadership coach and speaker and teaches the philosophies to help make individuals successful in the many facets of their lives. To learn more about Dana, his work, ideals and background visit his website: www.danacavalea.com.

 


Michelle McCloskey – From Oil Fields to Boardrooms



A self-proclaimed story teller, Michelle McCloskey, shares her path to success on the podcast today. Michelle is the President of the America’s Man Group and the President of Man Group FRM. Her role is to be the senior representative for the executive committee in North America. The London based investment management firm oversees over 114 billion dollars, over 5 different investment engines.

Michelle’s story starts in Texas as the 5th generation child of the oil business. Due to her roots, she went to school for engineering and when she graduated at 22, she went to work in the oil fields in Alaska. Her colleagues there advised her that she talked too much to be an engineer, so she began trading natural gas in the physical world when the market became deregulated. The natural gas market propelled Michelle, as it did with many other women, into opportunity galore, and at 24 years old she began transferring into futures trading when it became available. Although it presented challenges, Michelle was confident to succeed in the new opportunity. Over the course of time, she developed so many close relationships with clients that the company decided Michelle’s time and energy would be better facing outward than inward. After over 20 years of sitting behind a screen trading, Michelle now spends her days interacting with other to represent the firm. She uses her skills and knowledge to communicate with clients and colleagues to find true collaboration to help them grow.

Many of the jobs that Michelle has held, she was the only woman in the room. Michelle was able to find ways to adapt to make sure she stayed in the game. She advises listeners to try not to be intimidated and not to let yourself get told no. Find a way to get yourself to the table and show that you can carry your weight and you will prove yourself and achieve. Michelle used her network of peers to learn from and relied on them for support through her challenges. Whenever a new opportunity presents itself, Michelle is not afraid to take the risk. As a calculated risk taker, when a door opens, Michelle has the confidence in herself to try something new and figure it out along the way. An inspirational leader, Michelle has the opportunity to craft and shape the team around her. She wants to ensure that the environment her staff works in was not the same cut throat environment she had worked in so many time before. She tries to truly cultivate the essence of collaboration, and uses her communication skills to reach those who may have lost the art of communication sitting behind a screen. Michelle’s leadership style is one of caring about all of those around her, and she is excited to see where her story will go next.

For more about Michelle’s work with the Man Group and the Man Group FRM, visit their website: www.man.com and to learn more about Michelle’s story, connect with her on LinkedIn.

 


How to Find the Edge – Anthony C. Gruppo



After one full year of The Roots of Leadership podcasts, I would like to share with you some of the things we have learned together: what we have learned from our guests, what we have learned from you the listeners, and how our experiences have come together. I would like to thank each one of our guests for having a major impact on me. To you, our listeners, thank you for making me think a great deal about the questions you have sent in through social media. You have all helped me form and adapt my way of thinking. I would also like to thank my Roots of Leadership colleagues who were not in the media business a year ago and had to find the ability to remake themselves in a new industry. Our team is committed to continue to put the best possible guests we can out there for you to listen and learn from. I thank you so much for supporting the vision we had a year ago and making the show what it is today, and continuing to support us as we continue to deliver the messages, innovations, and concepts from The Roots of Leadership guests. Tens of thousands of listeners, countless words of encouragement, and incredible guest suggestions, you helped me build this platform. You helped me build this show.

During this episode of the Roots of Leadership, I would like you to ask yourself what area you can stretch yourself into that would be new, different, and a bit uncomfortable. All of the leaders on this show did not start out on top. Today’s podcast is about finding an uncomfortable spot to create even more comfort for yourself and those you care about. Think for a moment about you. What is the edge of your risk? Are you going about your routine every day, looking at your devices, spending hours in areas that do not help you grow, but perhaps only help you spend time? Where can you spend time looking for the edge? Look for the edge that should be a little uncomfortable. Define your edge of risk.

You can defy the odds. You can define your way to greatness. You can be a force of one. You can live in the moment where you stand right now and learn to win in that moment. Be an individual of great courage. Inspiration is the intersection of difficult with the belief that you can do it. Do not make excuses for what has happened in your past and do not make excuses to prevent what could happen in your future. You can create best practices for achieving successful outcomes in your life. What are you prepared to do to help yourself build the edge of greatness?

 


Chetan Dube – Can Machines Think?



Chetan Dube, the CEO of IPsoft Inc, goes one on one with Anthony to discuss the future of the workforce and how technology will change how we think and work. IPsoft is the largest privately owned artificial intelligence company. Chetan started his company after a question began to haunt him – “Can machines think?” His goal is to have machines come together with carbon forms to create a more efficient planet. IPsoft has already created technology that is changing the way companies interact with their customers. They have created the most human-like robot named Amelia, who is already utilized by some of the biggest corporations in the world.

However, new technology comes with fear. Some fear that we may not be able to distinguish carbon life forms from androids. Colleagues in the workforce fear that machines and technology will take their jobs. Leadership fears the cost and risk associated with implementing new technology. Chetan explains how leadership will be redefined in the years to come. The risk of not implementing and utilizing technology is greater than the risk of adapting to the changes technology will bring to the workforce. Technology will change the landscape of the workforce and it is not a matter of if it will change, but when and how it will change. This technological revolution took 1/5th of the time of the first economic evolution. Chetan’s one fear is that the masses will not be ready for the speed of the revolution. It is extremely important for leaders to align their business models with the changes that technology will bring, and to wake up the masses. Leaders need to prepare their workforce to understand that this technology is here to help them. It will open up colleagues’ time to new creative thinking and problem solving, and their roles will be redefined, giving thought back to the people who lost it to task.

With the changes that new technology will bring to the workforce, Chetan is hopeful and energized with the thought that the future will be filled with more imaginative and creative thinking. For the first 10 years of the company’s existence, IPsoft’s staff focused all of their efforts on researching and learning as much about the human brain as possible, not even writing a single line of code. Chetan sites current research which states the average human uses their creative brain less than 30% of the day, while 70-80% of every day is pulled down by common chores. He is excited to see what kind of human creativity will be unshackled as technology helps to unlock more time to use our creative brains. Humans are at the top of the food chain because of our brain and the new cortex, which allows us to think creatively. Chetan is confident that as technology evolves, human thinking will also evolve with it.

To learn more about Chetan Dube and the IPsoft’s work, visit their website: www.ipsoft.com.


Dr. Ed Placke – The Bridge to Adulthood



After retiring as a superintendent of a state school district, Dr. Ed Placke got a call from Green Chimneys. At first Ed, who has over 35 years of experience in education, hesitated to take the call, but after 15 seconds of visiting the 160-acre farm, he knew it was the place for him. Green Chimneys educates students with disabilities from ages 5 to 21. The school’s goal is to guide their students across the bridge to adulthood successfully. Throughout this podcast consider how important the lessons at Green Chimneys are for not only the children learning them, but also how important they can be in all careers and how they could be incorporated into everyone’s lives. 

Green Chimneys is not your typical “boarding school”. They have over 100 boarders at the school and 150 students who commute. Their goal is to help provide coping skills and strategies so that within 1-2 years the students can move back home and re-enter their public school systems. One of the driving factors for Ed’s work and all of Green Chimneys’ staff is that the employment rate for adults with disabilities is less than 30%, and with the addition of behavioral or psychiatric issues, the employment rate drops down to single digits. Through research with schools, companies and agencies, Green Chimneys found that the primary reason people lose their jobs is that they lack soft skills. On campus, Green Chimneys makes sure to teach their students how to work with their peers, important communication skills and how to be active listeners.

Utilizing standard classroom learning and working to care for the over 300 animals on the farm, students learn academic, social, emotional and many more necessary skills to help them succeed. Each student who comes to Green Chimneys represents the spectrum of humanity. Youngsters come with a variety of different skills and the staff’s focus is to capitalize on each child’s strengths and to extinguish their weaker skills. Each student also has their own individualized education plan with particular goals and outcomes regarding more than just their academic experience.  A team of staffers reviews the students’ progress and goals each quarter to make sure that Green Chimneys continues to guide the children on the path to success.

Early in his career as an administrator, Ed thought that he needed to bring the energy and focus to the job in order to lead. However, over time Ed realized that was not a way to create a sustainable team environment. Now, Ed tries to cultivate each team members’ confidence and independence by developing an organization where accountability, communication and high energy for each member is key.  Although one of his challenges is still learning how to balance when to let his staff take control of a situation and when he needs to step in and make decisions, he remains extremely passionate about his work at Green Chimneys. Ed spends 10-15 hours a day working, but it helps that he also lives on campus.

As a former special education teacher, Dr. Ed Placke knows that his job it to help each of his students. One of Ed’s greatest joys is when they release a bird of prey when a student completes their educational program at Green Chimneys. Ed has learned throughout his career that the skills these students bring to the table far outweigh any needs they may have. He is motivated every day to work with the students to help each child develop across the bridge to adulthood and have a successful life, one soul at a time.

Learn more about the mission of Green Chimneys https://www.greenchimneys.org/

 


Cristina Vigilante – The Road to Mastery



Cristina Vigilante is an impressive young leader who is responsible for the global sales operations for Marsh. Cristina has just accepted a new role as the Head of Sales for Asia and is relocating to Singapore in that capacity. Within her role, Cristina sets strategy and vision in terms of the planning and execution for growth. She implements client engagement strategies and enables the sales force with the tools that allow her colleagues to access the strategies and utilize them. She also sees where outpaced opportunities are for growth and how the company can go after them using analytics and insights about the business. Even with all of these responsibilities, Cristina drives to improve herself and improve the jobs and lives of those around her. Cristina uses trust to build relationships with her clients and colleagues. Trust is key to let those you work with know that you are reliable and that you will deliver good results. Cristina has found that all over the world, trust is a foundational principal based on positive predictability that is attached to your character and personal brand. Through building trust, Cristina has also found opportunities.

Another contributing factor to Cristina’s success are two principles she learned at a very young age as a musician.  For the majority of her life, while Cristina studied music she was taught discipline and rigor. She defines rigor as the willingness to take something that is difficult and complex in some way and break it down to its most functional, simplest elements. After learning and understanding those broken down elements, you need to build them back up slowly and eventually reconstruct them. This process must be done over and over again in order to create mastery. The discipline and rigor it takes to learn something new will lead to the mastery of a new skill or concept. Cristina also believes that one of the most important characteristics in a person is persistence. She notes that while you are on the road to mastery there will be speed bumps and challenges that need to be overcome. If you are of the mindset that you want to lean into the challenges and view them as opportunities to grow, you will become stronger and build confidence in yourself and your subject matter.

Driven by her need to be connected to a bigger and stronger purpose, Cristina aspires to be remembered as a great leader. She wants to be known as someone who, through her own actions and examples, influenced others around her to be the best versions of themselves. At the end of the day to fulfill Cristina personally and professionally, her goal is to inspire others to take ownership of themselves, take control of themselves and to develop them into their best selves.

Listen for more throughout the podcast on why this great leader does not acknowledge fear, how Cristina’s mentors have influenced her to think, and how she feels about having to let go of people who have been barriers to her success.

 


Rupert Holmes – A True Renaissance Man



Today’s podcast guest brings humor and personality that will keep you truly entertained as he illuminates his journey to success. As a “true renaissance man” Rupert Holmes’ list of accomplishments is endless. He is a mystery novelist, playwright, composer, arranger, screen writer, conductor, singer, song writer and as Anthony notes, a gifted leader.

Rupert Holmes is a man of many faculties and many stories.

With over 50 years in show business, Rupert explains how it took him 10 years to become an overnight success. Rupert’s journey started at age 17 when he wanted to become a song writer. He found a quote attributed to Calvin Coolidge and taped it to his daily appointment book. It read, “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not. Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not. The world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” To this day, Rupert lives by those words. He explains that you cannot wait for success to come to you. You must apply yourself. It is your responsibility to find out who your audience is and what you have to say to them.

However, with great success also comes great feats that you must overcome. Rupert had the number one record in the US called “Escape”, which many refer to as the Pina Colada song. Three years after the song was number one, he found himself in a shopping mall in West Virginia singing his hit next to an escalator with a high school garage band that he had met minutes before the event. In that moment he thought about how low of a point it was in his career and how he did not want to make this his new life or his new normal. Rupert persisted and an opportunity arose when he was doing a comedic musical act in a nightclub and a guest in the audience happened to be the producer of A Chorus Line. After the show, the legendary producer went backstage and suggested that Rupert write for theater. For the next two years, Rupert spent his time writing his first play, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. The play became a hit, and Rupert explains that throughout his career most of his opportunities came from places he least expected them. He also suggests taking every opportunity you can. You never know which project you will be working on that will be ground breaking, so it is imperative to put all of your efforts into making the project the best you possibly can. It is also important to use, as Rupert calls it “the power of negative thinking.” Think about what you would do if something in the project does not go right and make a plan for every outcome.

As a wealth of knowledge and experience, Rupert is always pushing himself to learn and do more. Learning on the job is an important function that has helped him to become so successful. He also knows how important it is to learn from others. Rupert expands this statement by explaining that the work relationships that you form over time are also significant in your success. Never exploit your relationships and continue to form honest and sincere relationships where you want to help others. Never think of other people as stepping stones to boost you. Rupert wants other to know that you should also always maintain the relationships you have created even after you are done working on a particular project. Even though it is difficult to form relationships with everyone you work with, it is your responsibility to find the humanity in everyone. Rupert suggests honesty for those who may be difficult to work with that you feel has armor that cannot be broken. Do not be afraid to tell the truth, but do it kindly.

Rupert Holmes is a man of great wisdom and renowned success and enjoys sharing his secrets for how he got there. To learn more about Rupert and what is coming next, visit his website: www.rupertholmes.com.

 

 


Michelle Sartain – Raising the Profile of Others



This podcast guest has so much wisdom to share that during the course of the discussion, Anthony even finds himself changing perspective. Michelle Sartain knows how to succeed and she uses her skills and knowledge to help others succeed as well. Throughout the podcast, Michelle gives valuable insight on a platform for a true leader.

As the US Sales Leader for Marsh, Michelle is responsible for growth, retention, innovation, client service, and guiding sales strategy across the United States. Although there are a lot of responsibilities that come with being a national sales leader, Michelle feels as though she grew into her roll and that each opportunity she had previously helped her to develop the skills for her current position. Throughout her 21 year career in the insurance industry, she faced numerous challenges. Michelle recalls one specific example of when she was taken out of a role that she thought she was doing well at. The company had decided to hire from outside the company to fill the role and only after she did some soul searching and stepped away from the challenge, that she was able to realize that her ego was really at the root of what caused her to be so shaken by the decision. Now, she looks back at that moment and is thankful because had she let that “defeat” get the best of her, she would not be where she is today.

If you ask Michelle’s children, her work day consists of a lot of meetings. However, to Michelle her work day is filled with opportunities to connect to colleagues and clients. She believes that the key function of her job is to help others do their job more effectively and loves to spend her time finding opportunities to do so. As a working mom with a demanding job, Anthony asks how she is able to balance her personal life with her work life. For Michelle, work fulfills her and she believes that she is a better mom by being a working mom. She has an amazing support system at home and realizes that tradeoffs need to be made on both professional and personal sides to find a balance. Michelle also acknowledges that there are many things that have to be prioritized and that you have to make choices in order to find the balance.

Michelle is a talented and insightful leader and often has large decisions to make. During the decision making process, she gathers information and perspective from others. She then finds a quiet space to do creative thinking and uses her knowledge and experience to come to the core of the decision she is making. Once she has come to the decision, she explains that it is important to be confident in that decision. Michelle clarifies that she is not a perfectionist and encourages others to be confident in the work that they do by doing the best work that they can and by continuously striving to learn more to become better. According to Michelle, the true definition of a leader is to find opportunity to help to raise the profile of others by giving them the opportunity to bring out the best in themselves.

Listen for more with Michelle including her thoughts on inspiration, how to be open and ready for new opportunities, and her idea of personal strategic plans that has Anthony taking coaching from Michelle.

Check out more from Anthony and Michelle in the blog they co-authored: https://marshmclennanagency.wordpress.com/2019/02/08/return-on-investment

 


Eileen Torres – Doing More with Less



As the Executive Director of BronxWorks, Eileen Torres knows how to make the most out of her resources. BronxWorks is a non-for-profit agency whose mission is to help individuals and families improve their economic and social wellbeing. The south Bronx based organization touches the lives of over 45,000 individuals and families a year. Throughout its 38 locations with the hard work and dedication of their 900 employees, the agency feeds, shelters, teaches and supports their neighbors to build a stronger community.

Executive Director is a title that Eileen earned after working for 20 years at BronxWorks. Eileen’s goal for her career was always to “do good”. After going to high school in the Bronx, she became the first person in her immediate family to go to college, and went on to law school. She announced to her family that she wanted to work in public interest, and her father tried to persuade her to become an attorney at a firm and just donate money and volunteer her time. Although she did not listen to her father’s advice, she has made him very proud through her career at BronxWorks. Starting off in an Administrative Services role, she helped the organization grow and found her work to always be changing and challenging. Her advice for young professionals is that promotions, for those who want to lead, take time and to be patient. She also advises all to work hard for what you want because the harder you work the more respect you earn.

Although her days are often long and sometimes difficult, she relies on her support system, just as her organization tries to be a support system and build support systems for those utilizing the BronxWorks services. One of Eileen and the organization’s biggest challenges comes from misunderstandings about non-for-profits. Eileen explains that the future for BronxWorks, and organizations like hers, is anxiety ridden and dependent upon government support.  In order to support the programs and services that BronxWorks provides to the community, the organization needs the capital to have the infrastructure that all other organizations also have. The funding for the organizations technology, human resources, and finances professionals is often overlooked. They partner with other organizations that can complement their services and always try to stay as true to their mission as possible. Eileen and BronxWorks have to do more with less, but walking through the BronxWorks sites inspires Eileen to keep going and gives her a sense of pride.

Eileen explains that her role is essentially to be the team leader to the organizations staff. Her team is very dedicated to the organizations mission and many being from or living in the Bronx, have a huge connection to the borough. The success of the organization also comes in part from having volunteers give their time to those who are in need. Eileen explains that throughout her career, every person who has volunteered has left saying how rewarding the volunteer experience was. Whether it was reading to kids in an afterschool program or playing pool at a senior center, volunteers leave BronxWorks programs with a sense of fulfilment and Anthony explains how helping others can really energize us. Eileen’s staff keeps her informed of events, so that she can stop in and be reminded of the good that she is working for.

Learn more about BronxWorks and how you can give back or volunteer: http://www.bronxworks.org/


Ed Danberry A Man with a Gentle Tenacity to Do Good



Ed Danberry is a former Army veteran whose never give up attitude and philanthropic outlook on business and life has positioned him into the successful leader that he is today. After a business opportunity introduced Anthony and Ed, Anthony knew that he had to have Ed on the show to discuss Ed’s path to leadership and his ability to connect with others and give back. Ed is the CEO of Group One Investments, LLC. He is also a jack of all trades when it comes to business and has experience in multiple facets including banking, finance, sales, marketing, operations and distribution management.

Throughout his life, he has come across many obstacles, some personal and some professional. At about 40 years old, Ed had to rebuild his career after he was terminated. Shortly after his firing, he found out he had cancer. After going through surgery and treatments, he had to rebuild his life. When Anthony asks how he stayed mentally tough and focused throughout that time and how he continues to do so, Ed explains that “You need to realize that you are the only person in charge of what you do. People can’t hold you back; you can hold yourself back if you put roadblocks in place, but only you can take those roadblocks down and go forward.”

Ed makes it a personal and business mission to help others and to give back. He believes he can make change and takes creative time to think about solutions and create opportunities for others. His company makes an extra effort to try to hire as many veterans as possible. The business also partakes in many philanthropic ventures and has partnerships with not-for-profit organizations. Because so many gave to him, Ed feels as though he should give back to others. He is grateful to have had so many mentors and teachers in his life that helped him become the person he is. One of his role models is Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone whose heroism inspired Ed.

Never shying away from a challenge, Ed is currently writing a new book titled ‘Profit-centered Accounting’. He advises that companies should spend less time focusing on expenses and more time focusing on revenue and where it is coming from. With each new project and endeavor Ed takes on, he uses his business strengths and skills to succeed while doing everything with kindness to help others have the opportunity to succeed as well.