Every podcast guest has had a different path to success and through life, and this one is unique in its own way. Gerri Kahnweiler used her first several years after Miami’s graduation in the accounting field, and working for a hedge fund. She then spent 30 years out of the work force dedicating her life to raising a family and volunteering in women and girl’s philanthropy, included a couple stints as an elected official, among other positions. Two years ago, she began a new life phase, and opened Invest HER Ventures, a fund focusing on funding female entrepreneurs seeking early stage capital. There are great life lessons in this conversation for women (and men) about priorities and how any chosen path isn't necessarily final.
Ray and I have known each other for 28 years, dating back to freshman orientation in 1990. Ray always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and since finishing Miami, his motor has not stopped. He did spent several years at P&G, and since then, he created a team dating app, became General Manager of a Los Angeles-based professional boxing team, and now, he is the Founder and CEO of the vitamin company Buiced. We spoke to Ray just days after he secured an huge order from Wal-Mart, putting his liquid multi-vitamin in more than 2,000 stores nationwide. The conversation details his pitch to the retail giant and how he got Buiced to where it is today….on his own. His passion for his product is clear, and it’s a big reason why I am betting on Ray’s success.
Kate Pratt is the Director of Marketing Partnerships at Madison Square Garden and brings an energy that makes you smile. She is a rising star (2017 Forbes 30 Under 30) in the workforce, and in the pod she shares great feedback for students looking either for jobs or to jump into the internship game. We also touch on my time back on campus recently judging the Entrepreneurship Program start-up competition. We’ll have the winners of the competition on the podcast in the next few weeks.
Talk about backstory? Matthew’s background is incredibly interesting. The now best-selling author joined the Marines after finding his calling soon after breaking up a fight at a movie theatre. He became an author after realizing he could write a better novel than the “boring” best seller he was reading at the time. He talks about finding the right path for his career, even if it wasn’t what he would have envisioned for himself. But of most importance to him, Matt talks about his upcoming novel Field of Valor, the latest installment in a series of thrillers featuring the protagonist Logan West. Field of Valor can be preordered here, and found wherever books are sold when it is released this coming Tuesday, May 22nd. He was recently back on campus providing life and business tips to Miami’s ROTC program.
The buzz the past few years has been all about “the rise of the influencer” and “influencer marketing”. And there is no better example than this week's guest, Rachel Rudwall. She is multi-talented. A host, photographer, speaker, writer, explorer, and yes, an influencer. It was a fun, action-packed conversation. She speaks 10+ languages, has traveled to 70+ countries, helping dozens of brands create or amplify their campaign work along the way. These adventures, along with her Tedx speech, are reasons why her social following grows every day. I also enjoyed part of the conversation where we discussed mentorship. Hers? Former pod guest Jeff Conroy. We are never too old to learn and grow.
The curiousity to explore and thrist to learn are two qualities that define Julie Felss Masino. She works tirelessly to build culture, innovate for the future, and lead by example. And now, as North American President of Taco Bell, she is doing it for the world to see. Her career has inscluded incredible brand work at Coach, Godiva, Sprinkles Cupcakes, Fisher Price and 10+ years at Starbucks. Her experience in the restaurant and retail world is unmatched. I think you’ll appreciate her honesty of what her daily schedule is like and what it takes to bring companies to the top.
“Companies who sit still find themselves behind”
“Always solve consumer needs before the consumer knows they need it”
Day in the Life of a North American President.
- Get to the office early: it’s imperative to have time before everyone comes into the office.
- Being a leader means being ready for the day and to know what’s coming. You want to show up well, be prepared for every meeting, and to know if you should have an opinion about a matter.
- Give yourself an hour where you don’t have to think. It’s super important to let the mind be free before going to bed, so you can fully show up to work.
Sometimes You Work Weekends.
- Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, led by example to always be on and to always be working.
- It’s necessary to unplug on the weekends and try activities such as pilates, yoga, or hiking.
Lead by Example.
- Don’t take the responsibility of being a leader lightly.
- Believe in teamwork, positivity, optimism and to bring everything to your role.
- Ultimate questions of being a leader:
- How do you inspire and put the right people in the right roles?
- How do you give your team the tools to be the best?
- How do you challenge them to be the best?
- All of these leadership questions stem from holding the bar high for yourself. Never ask anyone to do something if you wouldn’t do it.
Always Be Curious.
- Read a lot and ask a lot of questions.
- It’s important to be very confident and to not be afraid to ask for help or admitting you need help.
Help Others Along the Way.
- Look around you at Miami University or in your career and make friends.
- Share knowledge and help your peer group. It’s beneficial to help others along the way and to nurture these relationships now.
- Say yes to new opportunities and try new things whether it’s in a role or location
- If you want a bigger role in leadership, it’s important to understand the bigger picture of business and to take roles even if it’s not in your specialty. It makes you a better and more well-rounded leader.
- Not only this, it makes you a better human and widens your lens to understand there’s not one way to do things.
- Make sure you have a network you have the ability to say yes to new things. Sometimes you have to say no, ensure you’re saying “not now” to open more opportunities later in your career.
Innovation Is Important.
- Work with brands you are passionate about and believe in.
- Key reasons for coming to Taco Bell: being in a culture that reinvents the business playbook, they are passionate about their customers, and want to continue to be a part of their lives in fun ways.
A special treat for the pod this week as we have Charlie Yook, the NFL Network's coordinating producer for "NFL GameDay Morning" and the NFL Draft, just over 24 hours before the 2018 NFL Draft kicks off. Like previous guests, he stresses the importance of storytelling and implores students to master the skill. He also credits a particular Miami class that put him in front of and behind the camera as the inspiration to really explore working in media. With 20 years in the industry, the last twelve of which at NFL Network, he hasn't looked back. Enjoy the conversation and make sure to tune into the NFL Network coverage starting on Thursday, and through the rest of this week.
Talk about being ahead of the curve. Bryan Murphy was creating, building and selling businesses in the tech, web and venture world….20 years ago, and is still doing so today. That’s forward thinking. His entrepreneurial spirit started at the age of 10 and he shares a great story of making and selling custom pies. Yes, that’s right - Pies. After school, he saw a marketplace opportunity in creating brand websites, and as they say, the rest is history. Our conversation spans from his early work days in Detroit, to his first meeting with (and sale to) a venture capitalist, selling a business to eBay, and understanding marketplace gap in selling mattresses online. And that is the world he lives today as President and Founder of Tomorrow Sleep, a wholly owned subsidiary of Serta Simmons Bedding. If you are on campus, look for Bryan May 10th when he comes back to Oxford to judge a Shark Tank-style competition for senior Farmer School business students.
From a Political Science and Public Administration major to the President of a MLS club – kudos to you Tom Fox. Tom’s business career and success has spanned all sides of sports marketing – brand, league, agency and now team. He earned his stripes at Quaker, Nike, Gatorade, NBA, Arsenal, Aston Villa before joining the San Jose Earthquakes. He has demonstrated incredible timing with his career moves and advancement – from opening the NBA’s first Asia office, to leading Gatorade’s efforts as sponsorship exploded, and then into soccer domestically where the fan base continues to grow daily. He credits Miami for helping him learn and understand parts of life beyond what you learn in a classroom. And later in the conversation we talk about content and the disruptive nature of how the current (and future) generation of viewers consume it. I do like his nugget that his first brand work was on Captain Crunch cereal (one doesn’t forget those days).
Leadership. Character. Commitment. Three simple words that Captain Adam Carlstrom professes over-and-over to describe what he does day-to-day, and that he deems are important for success in life. As Deputy Commander of Electronic Attack Wing, US Pacific Fleet for the US Navy, Carlstrom takes those words very seriously. His work purview includes 160 aircraft and close to 5,000 individuals. He also talks often about the goals of his unit: Man. Train. Equip. Getting the next person ready for their daily work. This motto could be on the door of every corporate human resources executive out there. Captain Carlstrom’s call sign is Pinto, he is part of a Miami merger and he was enjoyable to converse with.