Monthly Archives: March 2019

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.