Tracey Smolinski – The Queen of Networking

Tracey and Anthony discuss network tactics

On today’s episode of The Roots of Leadership, we are delighted to have the Queen of networking herself, Tracey Smolinski.

Tracey Smolinski is an entrepreneur, investor, and founder of award-winning global business network Introbiz. Introbiz works with a compelling vision – to make an impact on the business community by placing businesses with their target audiences at five-star events and locations. The business network is now one of the most respected in the UK, hosting weekly networking events as well as Wales’ national business exhibition every autumn.

Despite her love for meeting and talking to new people, networking didn’t initially come easy for Tracey. Used to the pushy world of sales, Tracey went to her first networking event with a game plan – introduce herself to as many people as possible, and tell them what she and the business she worked for sold.

It didn’t work.

With the help of constructive feedback, Tracey learned the difference between sales and networking, and came up with a new game plan. Get them to know you, to like you, to trust you… the business will follow.

In this episode, Tracey lays out a framework for efficient networking, based on her experiences creating Introbiz. Grab a pen and paper for this one!

A Star – Choosing The Other Path

Alidor Gaspar – known by his stage name A Star – has overcome a lot in his life.

Growing up in the east end of London, in a community surrounded by gang violence, poverty, and crime, it may have seemed to some like Ali’s path was set for him. As he explains to us, gang violence is a cycle – an endless circle of young teens being pulled into gangs, seeing their friends get hurt and even die to protect what they feel is their identity, doing what they can to fight for the block they grew up on. A mindset passed from generation to generation. Some people make it out, many don’t – but what does it take for a person to re-write their path? To change the story people expect them to read from?

Through his passion for grime music, and the chance to express himself through music, Ali created a better life for himself and for others. Sharing his experiences with sickle cell anaemia is a big focus – recent statistics show that only 1% of black people in the UK donate blood. For someone like Ali who needs regular blood transfusions due to his illness, having blood available is life or death. Ethnicity plays a big role in precisely matching blood to patients – ‘Ro’ is a blood sub-type more common in people of African/Caribbean descent, and the need for it in transfusions has increased by 75% since 2014. However, only around 2 per cent of donors have this rare sub-type.

This is an eye opening and inspirational episode, which we know you will learn a lot from.

Rob Larmour – Driving to the End of the Dream

‘At HiyaCar, we actually don’t have goals, we don’t have targets. We’ll have a direction of doing good things, but not a target’.

Often on this podcast, we’ll talk to people about the goals they set for themselves – both professionally and personally – and what about them as a person makes achieving those goals possible. Rob Larmour, and his company HiyaCar, is a different kettle of fish.

HiyaCar is a company that has no targets, no financial goals, and got its £2.2 million of financial backing from crowd-sourcing. Founded by Rob and his business partner Graeme in 2016, HiyaCar is described as the ‘Airbnb of cars’. It aims to make car ownership more economical and environmentally friendly through peer-to-peer car sharing.

Rob’s leadership style is calm and collected. He understands that having a ‘number’ to hit won’t motivate his team. He focuses on doing the right thing, over pushing people to achieve arbitrary figures.

This episode is unusual, inspiring, and thought-provoking. We can’t wait for you to hear it.

Alistair Fraser – The Road Map to Change

Alastair Fraser and Anthony Gruppo shaking hands

For our first episode of the new decade, we are delighted to bring you Alistair Fraser, the UK CEO for Marsh Corporate.

Alistair is a true citizen of the globe, having held positions in the UK, Singapore, and Indonesia. When asked to move across the world with 2 very young children in tow, many would have said no. Alistair, however, immediately packed his bags for adventure. As he explains in the show, ‘you can always go back home’!

This is a fascinating episode in which Alistair lays out the road map to achieving success. A big theme for this is community – how we interact with others, how we appreciate diversity of person and of thought, and the importance of knowing that you’re different – but that doesn’t mean you’re better.

Another great theme of this show is legacy. We don’t own our space in humanity or in our career. We merely rent it, and our job is make that space better for the next person. This drive for improvement and for making the world better than you found it is what makes Alistair such an inspiring leader. What an honour it was to have him on the show!

Ainsley Jane – The Child Leader Us (re-broadcast)

As we enter the festive season, this episode from August 2018 feels more and more relevant. With his 10-year-old co-host (and granddaughter!) Ainsley Jane, Anthony reminds us of the importance of play and imagination.

Through her love of Frozen and memories of building sandcastles with “Wolvie”, Ainsley’s perspective is vital to understanding not only the key leadership points that childlike wonder has to teach us, but also the importance of retaining our creativity, curiosity, and determination. How can we tap back into those childlike lessons of leadership? The ones that come so intuitively to us as kids, but that we lose sight of as we enter adulthood?

As Jim Henson once said, “the most sophisticated people I know — inside they are all children”.

Happy Holidays, and have a wonderful New Year.

Nabil Mankarious – When the Voices Stopped

It’s normal for our guests on this show to have inspiring stories to tell, but this one is nothing short of incredible.

Nabil Mankarious landed in the UK in 1987, with only a small amount of cash in his pocket, and a plan to provide for his family back in Egypt. Whilst working in a fruit and vegetable market in his spare time, a small opportunity to exceed expectations started Nabil down his path to leadership; a journey that would take him to senior management, starting his own successful business, and becoming a brilliant example of a leader who puts others first.

This is not a story of luck or of handouts. This is a story of hard work, dedication, and one man’s mission to make his mother happy.

Nabil Mankarious is the managing director of The Fulham Shore Plc, overseeing specialist restaurants Franco Manca, and The Real Greek. We are beyond honoured to share his words of wisdom.

Anthony C. Gruppo – How to Find the Edge (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.

This episode was originally released to commemorate the 1-year anniversary of the Roots of Leadership Podcast. Bringing together some of the ideas presented by guests over 12 months’ prior, Anthony talks about being comfortable with discomfort, and about finding your “edge” of risk. Do you go about the same routine every day, staring at your screens, spending hours of your life in ways that don’t actively help you grow and develop?

This episode asks you to think about where you can take a leap in life. How you can defy the odds, how you can define your way to greatness. You can live in the moment you stand in right now, and learn to win in that moment. Do not make excuses for what has happened in your past, and do not make excuses to prevent what could happen in your future. It’s time for you to find the edge – of risk, of reward, and of greatness.

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’.