Chris Lay – Generating the Next Generation of Leaders

Photo of Chris Lay and Anthony C Gruppo talking about leadership

In this episode of The Roots of Leadership, we talk to Chris Lay – CEO of Marsh UK and Ireland. Throughout his 30-year career with Marsh, Chris has held a variety of senior leadership positions across the globe – including CEO roles in the UK, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Russia, the Nordics, and Canada.

Energised by those around him, Chris is a brilliant advocate for teamwork and for humility. Becoming a great leader isn’t something you can do just by yourself – we need the support and help of others. Chris hasn’t forgotten this, and talks us through his enthusiasm for working with young graduates, and helping them on their leadership journeys too.

Anthony and Chris also discuss the importance of making things better: how you leave your space – both in humanity and in your career – better for the next person, so they can go even further than you did? Covering the importance of good pressure, attention to detail, and having deep respect for the things you have and the people you know; this is an episode jam-packed with tips and tricks for success, that we know you’ll love!

Zara Lone – Requiem of a Millennial (re-broadcast)

Each month, we will be delving back through the archives of the Roots of Leadership, to bring you one of our favourite episodes from the past.

In this episode from April 2018, Anthony and guest Zara Lone explored how generational diversity and integration could be the foundation for greatness. They discussed the danger of attaching labels and of the fear of change, as well as offering great solutions for working together – regardless of change.

As relevant now as it was 18 months ago, this episode celebrates the talents of humanity, and the differences which make us better together.

Anna Frost – Living Life as a Movement

Anna Frost and Anthony Gruppo talking

Welcome to the first UK-based episode of the Roots of Leadership!

In this episode, Anthony is joined by one of his new colleagues at Jelf, Anna Frost. Alongside her role as a Digital Marketing Assistant, Anna is also a pole dance instructor, teaching people of all backgrounds how to love and look after themselves through movement.

When we think of learning about leadership – and the qualities it requires – we often look only towards the people already at the ‘top’. We talk to CEOs, to company directors or founders. But the truth is that great leaders are made, not born – and they can be found at any rung of the career ladder. Talking to a guest at the beginning of their leadership journey can give us new insight into what the word really means, as well as a look into the future of how businesses will be run.

During the course of this episode, we talk about what it means to be fearless, how to let the ‘fires’ in your life forge who you are, the importance of being a defender of others, and the rights that people deserve – regardless of their lot in life. Together, we can all learn to ‘live life as a movement’.

Inner Growth for Outer Impact – Dr. Marni Gauthier

As a professor of literature and film, Dr. Marni Gauthier took a facilitative approach to learning. She met her students where they were, understood what they brought to the table, and knew where they needed

As a professor of literature and film, Dr. Marni Gauthier took a facilitative approach to learning. She met her students where they were, understood what they brought to the table, and knew where they needed to go. Marni aligned her students’ needs with the goals of the curriculum and university in order to facilitate them on their journey. Her goal as a professor and now as a leadership coach are one in the same: to empower others and set them up for success.

Marni founded Four Site Leadership in 2012. Since then she has developed a set of programs that create a holistic approach to leadership development. Marni defines Holistic Leadership as inner growth for outer impact. She teaches a holistic approach to life and work by connecting individuals to their unique purpose. She works with her clients to help them find why they are here in the world and what they are here to do. Marni has found a systems approach to the self as well as those we are leading make good leaders great.

One-on-one coaching allows Marni to have a special connection with each client. The unique difference from group training is innate in that we as humans are wired for relationships. Witnessing and facilitating clients identify and break through patterns which had limited them previously gives Marni energy to keep doing what she loves. Her leadership retreats are also spectacular and focus on specific topics. The first job of a leader is to get a clear understanding of what the current state of the company is and then establish the desired future state. Exercises at the retreats are both individual and collaborative and include reflection time and visualizations. After tapping into the current reality and future vision, strategy and action can come into play. Every time Marni is able to observe a leader close the gap between current and future state she honored and filled with joy.

Marni is currently working on a new book which explores the crisis of leadership and inter-gender relationships in the workplace. Examples of topics included in this project include: changing your mind about what constitutes male and female qualities. and the idea that the loudest voice in the room no longer wins; instead it is the best listener and collaborator who wins.

To find out more about Marni, her thoughts on leadership, information about her retreats, and more visit: foursiteleadership.com.

Recruiter Secrets – Author: Danielle Gruppo

On this episode of The Roots of Leadership, two Gruppo’s join forces to give listeners a bounty of information regarding entrepreneurship, business success and secrets about the recruitment process. Anthony is joined by his cousin, Danielle Gruppo, who is the CEO and founder of InternAlliance.

After 25 years in human resources, Danielle saw gaps and issues within the recruitment process. She founded InternAlliance as a platform to connect college students directly with employers.  With a team she developed a patented algorithm that matches students job skills with job postings. Danielle also built the platform with the recruiters in mind so they can focus more on whether the candidate will fit into the company culture. Danielle advises candidates to also consider the companies culture before accepting a job offer. It is so important for long term success for applicants make sure the companies mission, policies and ethics match with your ideals.

Danielle shares so many important secrets and tips, not only for young professionals just out of college, but general advice for everyone to grow personally and professionally. Some of the areas that Danielle and Anthony discuss include: marketing yourself and your brand, never stop learning, do what you love, don’t forget the basics, and so much more.

Check out Danielle’s book: Recruiter Secrets to learn more tips to land the job you want. 

Dr. Ken Keis –Live, Lead & Work with Purpose

Dr. Ken Keis is a global authority on behavioral assessment strategies and process and an expert in leadership, purpose and wellness. He is an author, speaker, podcast host and life coach who focuses on holistic living, self-awareness, self-mastery, and Dr. Ken Keis –Live, Lead & Work with Purpose emotional intelligence. As the President and CEO of Consulting Resource Group International, Inc., Dr. Ken believes his purpose in life is to help others live, lead & work with purpose.

At his core, Dr. Ken believes every person is here for a reason and every single person has a contribution to make. Dr. Ken himself spent 6 months with a coach to find his purpose. He even hand wrote over 60 pages of narrative to get a clear direction of his purpose. Before hiring a coach, Dr. Ken grew up on a dairy fam and woke up one morning asking himself, “Would it be okay if I was doing what I am doing now 20 years from now?” The answer was no, and Dr. Ken went on his self-discovery journey to determine what to do next. Driven by the data which states only 13% of the global workforce is engaged in their work, Dr. Ken is motivated to make a difference. Not only are you doing a disservice to your employer if you are unfulfilled working 6-10 hours a day, but you are doing a greater disservice to yourself. Meaning really comes into engaging and doing what you love. Dr. Ken asks you to ask yourself: Can the majority of what I’m doing have an intrinsic meaning? He encourages everyone take responsibility of their life and to find their true purpose and passion.

 So many people are confused. They are not willing to do the work to find their purpose or passions. So many people are too busy being busy. Many people have jobs to pay the bills, but are live in fear to change what they are doing. The certainty of misery versus the misery of uncertainty. Sometimes when someone is on a new path, they feel like they constantly have to explain themselves. Dr. Ken encourages you to make the changes best for you. Keep your relationships, but understand you are not going on the same path your loved ones may be on. Seek advice from those who have been in your position before, in your desired field, and those who have “been there and done that”. Do not expect past relationships to continue as your journey goes. You may feel guilty about leaving people behind, but remember you have left them stronger and better. You are on your own journey and you cannot always take everyone with you.

 Part of Dr. Ken’s work is to develop the whole person and a person’s whole potential. All of the cogs in the wheel are important as part of the development pathway. Dr. Ken explains how important it is to be a lifetime learner and to not get too focused on certain things. As clarity increases, performance increases. High performers know who they are and where they are going. Dr. Ken helps his clients to create clarity to have them optimize and realize their potential. We all have talent and something valuable to say, find your pathway to say it. If you do not know what your purpose is, then your first purpose is to find your purpose.

 As a free gift to the listeners of the Roots of Leadership, Dr. Ken is providing an electronic copy of his newest book: The Quest for Purpose. Please visit: www.kenkeis.com/roots to access the book and begin your journey to live, lead, and work with purpose.

 

Andrea March – Connecting the Entrepreneurial Spirited

Andrea March is a self-claimed serial entrepreneur. A gifted woman with a mission, her goal is to help bring entrepreneurs like herself together.

After running a jewelry business with her husband, Andrea was watching CNBC and did not understand what they were discussing. As someone who invested her money, Andrea realized there was a need for more information on the topic and founded Investment Expo, the largest financial strategies trade show and seminar program. During one of her trade shows, she met another business woman who had an idea to bring women leaders together. In 2002, Andrea cofounded the Women’s Leadership Exchange. Women’s Leadership Exchange is a social entrepreneurship organization for successful businesswomen. The organizations goal was to fill information gaps and build connections. At the center of the program Women’s Leadership Exchange held conferences that feature leading experts, business coaches and interactive programming in multiple cities across the U.S. Through the Women’s Leadership Exchange, Andrea founded LEXCI, a leadership development program whose aim was to connect professionals with each other. Participants in LEXCI made connection circles and served as advisory boards for one another. 

In her current project, Andrea continues to strive to unite women leaders. She will be launching in the Fall of 2019

The “ExchangeWay” platform and app, a new way of doing business, will be accessible from your mobile device and desktop. The ExchangeWay is a global peer supportive community comprised of accomplished women business leaders from diverse industries and professions who are committed to advancing themselves and each other to shift the paradigm of the way women are perceived as leaders in the world. The 24/7 accessibility of the ExchangeWay app will allow its users to communicate, contribute, and collaborate with each other to achieve collective success, sharing the tools, resources and life lessons to take their businesses to the next level. Educate, Empower. Inspire, Share – This is the NEW WOMEN’S NETWORK!  It is an unprecedented digital forum to build and strengthen professional networks and it offers an opportunity for women to exchange ideas, challenges & solutions. If you would like to hear more about the “ExchangeWay” please contact Andrea March, amarch@womensleadershipexchange.com.

Throughout this episode of the Roots of Leadership, Andrea shares her strong ideals on the key components of what makes a great leader. For Andrea, it all starts with a clear and articulate vision. To be a successful leader, you must also be an authentic communicator.  Another component of a leader that Andrea possess, which makes her a great leader, and which she thinks all leaders need is courage. A leader cannot be afraid to take risks. They need to have steadfastness and not give up, but Andrea acknowledges that leaders must also be flexible. Not giving up does not mean that you have to stick to the same path when you hit a barrier, but using creativity to find another way around it. She believes leaders need to be someone who other people want to follow and represent someone who their colleagues admire, want to be and want other people to understand. Andrea believes that an organization’s culture is created at the top and a leader will exemplify the attributes of the culture they want to create. It is important for leaders to surround themselves with people who believe in their culture, but can also help to broaden it.

Listen for more on this episode of The Roots of Leadership, where Anthony and Andrea address many traits of what makes a great leader, the risk it takes to be an entrepreneur and their thoughts on some of the issues that many companies struggle with today.

 

Nicolás Delgado – No Short Cuts

Anthony sits down with Nicolás Delgado, the regional corporate and sales leader for Marsh Latin America and Caribbean, and Nicolás shares multiple gems of wisdom for both personal and professional development and his story builds out a perfect platform for a personal strategic plan.

As a lifetime learner, Nicolás’ schooling began in a very unique way. Growing up in Colombia, his parents wanted what was best for him and enrolled him into a very competitive landscape studying under Benedictine monks. The school’s motto was “ora et labora” which means “pray and work”. There were no shortcuts and he learned you must work really hard to make things happen. This drive was imbedded in the way he was raised. Looking back, Nicolás realized the Benedictine monks, along with his parents, were responsible in planting the little seeds inside him to make him the person he is today.

During his summers off of school, Nicolás’ father would send him to the US to stay with family and attend summer school. Nicolás dreamed of getting a fulltime educational experience in the US. Before high school started, he asked his father if he could attend high school in the US and his father said no. Then, when it was time to apply for his undergraduate, he applied to schools in the US, but his father influenced him to stay in Colombia. When it came time to enroll for his MBA, promotions and added responsibilities at work kept pushing Nicolás’ dream of education backwards. Once he was ready to apply, the school told him he was now too old and too seasoned to enroll in the graduate program. Nicolás did not let these setbacks stop him from perusing his dreams, instead, he found a program at Northwestern University for executive type graduate students and finally was able to continue his learning journey. Although it was not what he had originally envisioned, Nicolás would not let his dream fail.

Nicolás advises others to always have an end goal in mind, and although the plan will get altered, to never give up on the dream. Remember your dreams and ultimately your decisions will affect all of those around you. Be as responsible as possible, but also remember to have fun and enjoy every stage of life while you are in it. As a leader of 11 countries, Nicolás has found although there are many differences in each geographical location, there are commonalities which help us come together. We are all going through this journey of life together. It is important not to forget we are more basic than we think. We have common goals and aspirations and we need to find the purpose of life that motivates us to do things which will be self-satisfying and also deliver for the greater good of the community.

Nicolás is a one of a kind leader whose personal story has lead him to success. He is excited for the future, to keep learning and growing and to keep driving forward to leave his mark on the universe.

Tackling Life – Tahir Whitehead

Going into his 8th year in the NFL, Oakland Raiders defensive linebacker Tahir Whitehead shares his story on what it took to make it to the big stage and what it takes to stay there.

Growing up in Newark, New Jersey, Tahir did not want to become a “product of his environment”. Newark is generally associated with crime, violence, and many other typical stereotypes of an inner city. Tahir realized he would not be able to be successful and achieve what he wanted to if he did not make a conscious change. In his junior year of high school, Tahir realized he had the opportunity to become the first person in his family to go to college. Tahir made the decision with the encouragement and support of his mother to switch schools his senior year of high school in order to get a fresh start to focus on bringing up his grades and doing whatever it took to make it to college. He would not let himself become another statistic. Tahir accredits his high school football coach for pushing him and advising him to put his head down and keep grinding when waiting to hear about football scholarships.

With the opportunity to go to Temple University, Tahir’s new teammates and coaches continued to help him excel with important lessons on and off the field. Even though he may not have been the strongest or fastest, Tahir used hard work to continue to thrive. In order to win and achieve greatness, Tahir knew he had to do his 1/11th. In football, each player on the team needs to do their individual jobs and if all 11 players on the field do their one part, they will succeed. In life, Tahir translates the message to make sure he is always giving 100% in each role he plays.

Accountability is a major part of Tahir’s success. Facing the man in the mirror keeps Tahir focused on the job ahead. At the end of the day, he knows if he did all he could to be the best he can be. Taking ownership of his actions is one of the major factors of what makes Tahir a great leader. In life there will always be someone waiting to take your job. In the NFL, it is no different. Every year there is a draft class, players around the league on free agency, and even players on your team all fighting for the starting position. In order to attain the starting position, you cannot take any days off. Tahir explains how you need to go to work every day being the ultimate professional who is constantly grinding and working hard.

With his success, Tahir now has the opportunity to give back. This year he will be hosting his 5th annual youth football camp. Instead of just going through football drills, this year Tahir also wants to enlighten Newark youth on how to succeed and be a professional regardless of the field they aspire to be in. He plans to help bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community, stress the importance of not slacking on schoolwork and grades, how to transition to college, and how to carry and conduct yourself throughout life.

Tahir has hundreds of tackles in the NFL, but has tackled and continues to tackles thousands of obstacles in life.

Start, Stop, Keep – Eric Widmondt

Eric Widmondt is the second generation leader of Woodmont Properties. The northeast based development company was built by his father, and now Eric is the CEO and principal leading the organization. Although Woodmont is located primarily in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, they have also branched out to Georgia and Colorado. Servicing the community to cultivate properties where people live, work and play, Woodmont develops the highest end industrial buildings, retail spaces, apartments and housing to provide something which cannot be found elsewhere.

Looking towards his father, Eric learned how to be self-aware, driven, and selfless. Eric is a leader who believes perseverance is one of the best qualities you can have. The key to Woodmont’s success is at the core of their culture and doing things, the “Woodmont Way” – learn from your mistakes to do better and always do the right thing. As the organization grows, Eric has found his role also evolves. Eric wants to build an organization with a successful legacy and continues to empower the managers and colleagues to give them the freedom to drive their own divisions and business. Looking back from when he started working for Woodmont 20 years ago, Eric is now able to be more of a mentor and coach, as opposed to someone driving the day to day operations. He sets the direction and has become a visionary for the organization.

One of the biggest challenges Woodmont leadership faces is for all of their colleagues, in all positions and locations, to feel engrained in their organization’s culture. Eric believes it is important for every colleague to understand they are part of the mission. Woodmont ensures all colleagues have their voice heard. Throughout the year, the Woodmont staff participates in “Start, Stop, Keep”. Each colleague is able to submit an idea for the three categories: what new things they should implement as a company, what is not working and they should stop doing, and what processes they should continue to keep building upon.

Not only does this process aid in colleague investment of the company mission and goals, but the start, stop, keep model is also something Eric uses in his everyday life. Eric is a measured results oriented individual. Every year he sets personal, professional and family goals he monitors on a weekly basis. He evaluates what he is doing right, what he should stop doing, and what new things he can do to allow him to achieve his goals.

Eric believes it is critical for everyone to realize we can improve ourselves daily. Every challenge or setback is actually a learning experience. Woodmont also has a process to reward those who bring up challenges they faced or situations which did not go “the right way”. Woodmont prides itself on the culture of all hands on deck when an issue occurs. Through their collaborative efforts, they are able to figure out the best solution so colleagues can learn from one another and are able to use those solutions to help the organization down the road.

To learn more about Eric’s work and Woodmont Properties, visit their websites: www.woodmontproperties.com.