Big news ahead for Beyond High Street but before I share, please let me reminisce for a moment. When I started Beyond High Street three years ago, I set forth to find the commonality for Miamians and all of us that ventured through the cornfields into Oxford, beautiful Oxford. But I learned and gained so much more. I built new and deep friendships, created mentor and mentee experiences and even personally invested with a few of my guests. I’ve had the pleasure of talking to wrestlers, CEOs, authors, doctors, visionaries, actors, producers, journalists, sports executives and many others. Each have shared their personal tales of Miami and life since. I am humbled for each and every one of the conversations and time they spent to participate. Beginning Monday, Beyond High Street will have a new host (stay tuned) and I am honored to participate as a guest for the first time. Beyond High Street will continue on! Thank you so much for participating, listening, sharing and supporting this journey and the Miami community. See you all at Skipper’s for a pint real soon. #LoveAndHonor
Ryan Graves (former Uber CEO) and Adam Bain (former Twitter COO) join the Beyond High Street together as the first-ever guest duo. A brilliant conversation on how their careers have compared and contrasted, scaling businesses and the power of operational success, feeling comfortable being uncomfortable and a big stroll down memory lane in Oxford, OH and Miami University. Stay for the tips they provide to incoming college freshman and those early in their professional careers. Make sure to check out Graves’ Saltwater business and Bain’s 01 Advisors.
Chris Wittine is an agent in CAA’s digital media business representing some of the world’s best gamers, esports athletes and streamers. It’s a thoughtful discussion for students as Chris like many of his peers joined the workforce in a digital-first era. He gives tips to the students in Oxford about how to process what is next and steps to take forward. Hint: relationships are key. The gaming industry – play and competitive – is thriving yet still in the first inning. It’s worth watching Chris and others take this category into the future.
Mike Whan, the Commissioner of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), was a wonderful guest as we make our return to Beyond High Street after a hiatus. The conversation starts with a question I have been asking many – “what have you learned the most about yourself the past six months during COVID-19?” The conversation goes deeper into the value of mentorship (and who he still calls on weekly for guidance), balances comfort and challenge and how to embrace the undecided. He also credits many of his successes to the learnings from mistakes. I really enjoyed the part about how Mike and a Miami classmate created the London exchange program when he was a student in Oxford. To the students he says – “be adaptive, listen and continue to learn.”
Andrea Saia is a Miami University alum, member of the school’s Business Advisory Council and a must-listen. She has had a wealth of business success yet she credits the most important decision and job to her first at Proctor & Gamble – learning the consumer and satisfying the customer need. It’s this statement that has guided much of her career. We jump from business challenges (like a product recall as a company CEO) to the power of mentorship and paying forward. Andrea shares plenty of tips for college-age and others in the work force, especially about getting a job in sales or marketing to learn about the customer journey.
Thank you Andrea for the time. Your continued commitment to Miami is fantastic and our conversation re-focused my attention to the customer journey. See you all at Skipper’s real soon.
Megan Fischer is the CEO and Founder at Sweet Cheeks Diaper Bank, a non-profit donating more than 175,000 diapers to needy families monthly (serving more than 3,500 babies). We have a great discussion about filtering out areas of “no-interest” to ultimately get you to the passions that drive your every day. From her Pre-Med major to Journalism and from textbook publishing work to non-profit, each of these paths had a reason for Megan, and that windy road narrowed especially during her second pregnancy. Five years into Sweet Cheeks and she is still the only full-time employee – it’s an incredible testament to her work ethic and willingness to do whatever it takes. Please donate diapers here.
Eric Lange is a Critics Choice nominee (Escape at Dannemora), 20-year+ professional actor and he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Miami. He has appeared in dozens (and dozens) of television shows, feature films, Broadway and brand ads; most notably as villain Stuart Radzinksy in LOST and Erwin Sikowitz in Victorious (as my kids remind me often). Our conversation bounces from ‘learning how to learn’ and how he would spend time at Miami if he could do it all over again to understanding and capitalizing on knowing you are and the confidence that comes with. He remembers his time at Miami fondly and the program, peers and professors that helped guide his way. If you get a chance, read his 2015 Miami University College of Creative Arts commencement address here.
Kurt Donnell is a President of Freestar, one of the fastest growing private business in the States and a self-professed deal junkie. He comes from a full Miami family – parents, brother, sister and uncle. That’s right. All Miamians. As an accounting major, turned lawyer, turned entrepreneur, Kurt credits his entrepreneurial spirit to growing up in Ohio and living in-and-around small business owners. We discuss curiosity and the thirst to learn; understanding customer service and how people are motivated; and the benefits of getting out of your comfort zone. He’s navigated a business career taking on challenges and focusing on his passions. He continues to thrive.
Kevyn Adams is the real deal and he has also come full circle in life. A Miami student-athlete and alum, a merger, Stanley Cup winner, business man and now, a father of a Miami student living in the same dorm he did 20+ years ago. As you’ll hear, the journey wasn’t straight and certainly not easy. But grit, perseverance, putting your work every day helped push him forward. You need to back it up and earn everything. They are more than mottos, they are a way of life that he learned as a student-athlete and hockey player at Miami. It’s a wide ranging pod from the impact Miami has on the NHL, to what he did when he had the Stanley Cup for a day to putting yourself in uncomfortable situations, learning and working with good people.
Spence Stiles oversees Stryker’s Joint Replacement, Trauma, Extremities and Spine business. But the title doesn’t do him justice. He is laser focused on helping people get healthier, developing leaders and giving back. We spend a lot of time in the pod talking about the power of Miami and what it meant to him personally and with the 70 plus alumni that are working today at Stryker. He is passionate about being fully present in what you do, taking risks and adventures, finding a passion and chasing what matters. I am thankful that our dear mutual friend and fellow Miami alum John Heinrichs connected the dots. The Miami network continues to thrive.