Growing with Purpose

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September 12, 2018  

Lester Thornhill: The Answer Is Around the Corner

It doesn't happen often, but it happened to Lester Thornhill: his CEO took him out to dinner and asked Lester to leave his role as IT Director and take over as Chief Executive Officer.

Today on the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman talks with Lester Thornhill, President and CEO of Life's Abundance, a company that provides healthy products for people, pets, and the planet. Although he comes from an IT background, Lester has leveraged his unique perspective to build a people-driven culture that isn't tethered to traditional workplace practices. Not only is Life's Abundance an ESOP, they've also done away with the annual review and replaced it with monthly in-depth, personal self-evaluations.

In this episode, hear Lester's passionate approach to leadership and learn how he's cultivated a compassionate, high-performing company culture.

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August 6, 2018  

David Bolotsky: The Hard Way Is the Only Enduring Way

UncommonGoods is an award-winning company, most recently winning the 2018 Forbes Small Giants award. But UncommonGoods doesn't do it for the awards — their culture is driven by their core values and using business as a force for good, even when no one is watching.

Today on the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman talks with David Bolotsky, Founder and CEO of UncommonGoods, an online marketplace for designs and products by independent makers. David leads the company with a focus on long-term sustainability for the company, its employees, and the environment. A certified B Corp, UncommonGoods is leading the charge in companies who use business as a force for good.

In this episode, hear David's trials and tribulations as he learned to use positive leadership to cultivate a culture defined by learning, open-mindedness, and collaborative teamwork.

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July 24, 2018  

Michael Spinosa: From Corporate Culture to Open Culture

Can a high-ranking corporate leader make the switch to purpose-driven leadership? Michael Spinosa, CEO of Unleashed Technologies, hit the reset button on his career to pursue building his own business as a way to escape his unfulfilling career in the corporate world.

Today on the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman talks with Michael Spinosa, CEO of Unleashed Technologies, an award-winning design and development firm in Columbia, Maryland. Though Michael started out in the corporate world and found great success, he felt a pull to build a business with purpose. As he attempted to transition out of his career, he found himself running into major national crises, like the dot-com bubble burst after college and the housing crisis in 2007. How does a leader pave his own path amidst national unrest — and what does it take to reinvent yourself as a leader mid-career?

In this episode, hear how Michael built a culture of trust, fun, and accountability at Unleashed Technologies, and the greatest challenges he's faced on his journey to purpose-driven leadership. 

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July 11, 2018  

Ellyn Davidson: How Leaders Survive Tragedy

When a leader is struck by personal tragedy, how do you persevere? Ellyn Davidson was diagnosed with breast cancer as a rising leader at her agency and with three kids at home. Today, she is President of Brogan & Partners and a mentor to women facing their own diagnoses. 

Today on the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman talks with Ellyn Davidson, President of Brogan & Partners, a full-service marketing and advertising agency in Birmingham, Michigan. Ellyn's business card hasn't changed for 24 years — she was hired as an intern at the company and worked her way up the ladder through a commitment to relationships and values. In fact, when Ellyn was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, she still found a way to forge connections and make a difference. An 11-year survivor, Ellyn not only overcame her diagnosis, she used it as a force to do good in the world.

In this episode, hear how Ellyn balanced her family, her career, and her cancer diagnosis — and managed to become company president just three years later. 

 
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June 26, 2018  

Howard Spector: Is It Too Late to Find Your True Calling?

How late is too late to find your true calling? If you ask Howard Spector, every step we take is a lesson learned and valuable in its own way. Today on the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman talks with Howard Spector, Co-Founder and CEO of SimplePractice, a software company serving health and wellness professionals. Howard is something of a late bloomer — he's held many jobs in his life, and for a long time he felt disconnected from his true self. But when Howard decided to go back to school to become a psychotherapist, he uncovered a passion for people that helped him forge his own path to happiness.

In this episode, hear how Howard found the courage to start fresh and make a change, and his journey to purpose-driven leadership. 

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June 11, 2018  

Betsy Pepine: The Best Lessons Are Learned the Hard Way

If there's one thing that Betsy Pepine knows to be true, it's that all good things come from lessons learned the hard way. But you wouldn't know it from looking at Pepine Realty today — Betsy's award-winning real estate firm has grown to three locations all while maintaining a people-first culture. 

Today on the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman talks with Besty Pepine, Broker-Owner of Pepine Realty. When Betsy first started Pepine Realty in 2010, she didn't think much about culture. After she lost a valued employee to a competitor with a great culture, Betsy committed to building an unbeatable culture for her organization, defined by strong relationships, learning and development, and community service. 

In this episode, hear how Betsy has continuously turned challenges into opportunities and stayed committed to culture in an industry that pulls in the opposite direction. 

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May 22, 2018  

Zawadi Bryant: Your Team Is Your Best Leading Indicator

After building a successful career in engineering and manufacturing, Zawadi Bryant was surprised when her friend, Dr. Anastasia Gentles, approached her about starting an after-hours, pediatric urgent care center — where Zawadi would be the Chief Executive Officer.

Today on the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman talks with Zawadi Bryant, CEO of NightLight Pediatric Urgent Care. In 2007, Zawadi left the engineering world to tackle a new challenge: high-quality, convenient pediatric care for when other pediatric offices are closed. As Zawadi stepped into her new role as a leader, she became a student of her own experiences. She looked to her past bosses and managers to learn about effective leadership, bringing it all together to create her own identity as a leader. 

Eleven years later, NightLight Pediatric is thriving. The company has 115 employees, $10 million in revenue annually, and has multiple locations across the greater Houston area. Named one of Forbes' Small Giants: Best Small Companies in America in 2017, NightLight Pediatric differentiates itself in the competitive healthcare space by valuing their team and putting people at the center of the business. Their focus on culture and values is driving their financial results, making their team the leading indicator of their success.

In this episode, hear how Zawadi and her team have effectively executed a people-first culture despite the challenges of the industry, and learn how they're scaling their award-winning culture, even as they expand to multiple locations and grow the business. 

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May 9, 2018  

Shawn Askinosie: Can Chocolate Change the World?

By many measures, Askinosie Chocolate is a small company — they work in small, artisan batches, they focus on developing their 17 employees, and they're not afraid to hit the breaks and decelerate in order to achieve goals other than growth for growth's sake. But the impact of Askinosie Chocolate is anything but small.

 Today on the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman talks with Askinosie Chocolate founder and CEO, Shawn Askinosie. Shawn started Askinosie Chocolate in 2006 after leaving a successful career as a criminal defense lawyer. Shawn is the only chocolate maker to work directly with cocoa farmers on four continents to source the beans used to make their chocolate. But it doesn't stop there — Shawn also extends the company's open-book management program to their partners; profit-sharing and translating company financials with each farmer.

Recently named one of Forbes' Small Giants: Best Small Companies in America, Askinosie Chocolate is sharing business ethics with the world through "Chocolate University," introducing students to the chocolate-making process and even taking a group to Tanzania every year. They also started a sustainability program that feeds 1,600 children a day in Tanzania and the Philippines, without ever collecting a single donation. In 2017, Shawn released a book with his daughter, Lawren Askinosie, about finding meaningful work that feeds your soul

From their factory and warehouse in Springfield, Missouri, Askinosie Chocolate is forging its own unique path to change the world through chocolate. In this episode, hear Shawn's ideas around reverse scale and deceleration, extending open-book management to company partners, and how entrepreneurship can help heal grief.

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