November 11, 2019
On this episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman talks with Chris Stakich, CEO and Chairman of the Board at Rustic Pathways. Chris is also Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board for Thinking Beyond Borders, the global leader in gap year programs.
After graduating from Harvard University with a degree in economics, Chris felt compelled to get out into the real world and make an impact. In 2002, he abandoned his previous plans to start a career on Wall Street and instead took a job at Rustic Pathways, a global leader in community service travel for students. Charged with opening the company’s first program in Costa Rica, Chris transformed the new site into its most popular program, and worked his way up from there. After serving the company in nearly every capacity, Chris became CEO of Rustic Pathways in 2014.
In this episode, hear about Chris’s model for building a high-performance, impactful culture that all team members rally around. Plus, hear Paul and Chris discuss the benefits of taking a gap year before college, and the importance of following your passion, one step at a time.
October 7, 2019
On this episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman talks with Steve Palmer, Managing Partner of Indigo Road Hospitality Group.
The Indigo Road Hospitality Group operates more than 20 restaurants across the Southeast region of the United States, and in 2019 it was named one of Forbes' 25 best small companies in America. Palmer's career in hospitality began at the age of 13, when he washed dishes at a local Chinese restaurant. From there, he climbed the ranks and worked in several other restaurants and positions — which led to a problem all too common in hospitality: substance abuse. After battling an alcohol and cocaine addiction for ten years, Palmer went to rehab and found the road to recovery. Now 18 years sober, he's made it his life's mission to change the conversation in the restaurant industry and create space for others to find sobriety.
In this episode, hear the deeply personal story of Steve's substance abuse support group, Ben's Friends, and the sobriety movement it has inspired in ten cities. Plus, host Paul Spiegelman talks to Steve about his own recent venture into the restaurant industry and the challenges and opportunities of building positive cultures in hospitality.
September 16, 2019
When Gongos' beloved founder, John Gongos, passed away suddenly in 2012, Camille became the new owner literally overnight. Having joined in the launch of Gongos Research in 1991, Camille's s forward-leaning posture is establishing a new north for the company. Staying true to the company’s core competencies while nurturing new talent, Camille operates under the belief that people realize their full potential when put in the right seats. Her grounding vision is to foster a culture where innovation, transparency, and vibrancy shape a company fit for the future.
Nobody can be prepared for loss, but Camille's leadership and compassion helped employees, customers, and the community cope and find a new path forward. In this episode, hear how Camille used values to navigate those challenges, and the customer-centric strategy that is driving Gongos' success today.
August 12, 2019
On this episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman talks with Ty Hagler, founder and Principal of the industrial design firm, Trig.
As a teenager volunteering at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, Ty was exposed to the sport of flatwater kayaking for the first time. That was the start of what became a decade-long career: Ty eventually grew into a world-class kayaker and was even an Olympic hopeful in 2004. But there comes a time when every athlete must retire, and when Ty hung up his paddle, he decided to return to earlier passions that he'd abandoned. An introvert with a passion for art, design, and engineering, Ty founded Trig in 2008. After years of running the business solo, he shifted his focus to building a team of aligned, inspired individuals and committed to a 100% virtual model. Changing the current isn't always easy, but it's a life skill that Ty has mastered better than most.
After a decade as a world-class athlete, Ty realized that the same principles of discipline, processes, pragmatism, and persistence that are required for sport can also be applied to teams that lead innovation results. In this episode, you'll hear how Ty's lifelong curiosity allowed him to build an award-winning, virtual design firm.
July 8, 2019
On this episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman talks with William Vanderbloemen, founder and CEO of the Vanderbloemen Search Group.
After more than 15 years of ministry experience as a Senior Pastor, William Vanderbloemen came up with the idea to bring the best practices of executive search to faith-based organizations. Prior to his founding Vanderbloemen, William studied executive search under a mentor with over 25 years of executive search at the highest level. Realizing that many churches struggled to find and retain leadership, he brought the idea to his faith community and challenged them to do things differently. But bringing new ideas to the church isn't always an easy process — hear how William created buy-in and built what would become a 2018 Forbes Small Giant: Best Small Companies in America.
In this episode, you'll hear William's early lessons learned from an arch nemesis on his paper route, the nine cultural values that define his company, and William's lifelong habit of blowing stuff up.
June 3, 2019
On this episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman talks with Kornel Grygo, the newly-named CEO of Tasty Catering.
Kornel Grygo grew up in Poland until he moved to the United States at the age of ten. His childhood was defined by working hard and taking responsibility, two traits that would serve him well as he climbed the ranks at Tasty Catering. Kornel originally came to Tasty Catering as a front-line employee over a decade ago, working as a brand ambassador and a delivery driver. Kornel was a perfect match for Tasty's values-based, high-performing culture and the company continually invested in his growth and development — even enrolling him in a leadership development program with the Small Giants Community in 2016. Earlier this year, Kornel was named CEO of Tasty Catering.
In this episode, Kornel shares his early lessons on leadership and explains how Tasty's strong culture helped make his transition to CEO successful.
May 6, 2019
On this episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman talks with Courtney Kingston, founder of Kingston Family Vineyards in Casablanca Valley, Chile.
Growing up, Courtney Kingston's imagination was constantly captured by her family's 100-year-old cattle ranch in Chile. In the early 1900s, her great grandfather settled on the land, and five generations of Kingstons have since grown up on the farm. Eager to make her own mark on the family legacy, Courtney wrote a business plan to plant a vineyard in the far western hills of the family farm. They planted their first grapevines in 1998 and in 2003, they made 400 cases of Pinot Noir and Syrah under the Kingston Family label.
It sounds like the stuff of dreams, and much of the time it is. But every business faces challenges, and every leader has lessons they learned the hard way. In this episode, Courtney shares her trials and tribulations, from earning a spot as one of the best wineries in Chile to her mental health struggles during her family's move to Santiago. Through it all, hear how hard work, trusting relationships, and a grounding purpose helped guide the way.
April 8, 2019
On this episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman talks with Susan Leger Ferraro, a social entrepreneur and the founder of a family of transformational organizations with global impact.
Susan started her first business at age 17, when she boldly went against her parents' wishes and started her own company instead of attending college. For years, Susan had known that her life's purpose was to develop human capacity and share love, particularly for children and families in at-risk communities. Fresh out of high school, she started Susan's Playpen and became the youngest licensed daycare provider in Massachusetts. That humble daycare she started as a teenager grew to become Susan's first multi-million dollar company, inspiring her to forge ahead and start more companies built to do well and do good. Today, Susan oversees a family of organizations that impacts the lives of countless humans and changes the landscape of organizations around the globe.
In this episode, hear how Susan embeds humanity and a shared vision across multiple organizations and the tools they use to grow with purpose.
March 11, 2019
On this episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman talks with Kris Maynard, co-founder and CEO of Essential Ingredients.
For twenty-three years, Kris Maynard has been at the helm of Essential Ingredients, building it into one of the most successful Small Giants companies around. With $114 million in revenue, 84 employees, and more growth around the corner, it's no wonder Essential Ingredients was named one of 2017's Forbes Small Giants. And although Essential Ingredients is in the chemical business, Kris truly believes that they don't sell chemicals — they sell relationships. So why did Kris walk into a room in 2011 and tell his employees that he had sold the business? (Hint: it's not what you think!)
In this episode, hear Kris' journey from humble Midwestern beginnings to falling in love in Russia and ultimately, to purpose-driven leadership.
February 11, 2019
On this episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman talks with Rob Everts, Co-Executive Director of Equal Exchange, a worker-owned cooperative and online marketplace for fair trade goods.
Equal Exchange is the oldest and largest fair-trade coffee company in the U.S. and one of the most successful worker-owned cooperatives in the country. Driven by its core principle of people over profit, the co-op has over 120 worker-owners, each with an equal stake — and an equal vote — in the business. From open-book management to an energizing core purpose, Equal Exchange has established itself as one of the most inspiring examples of a Small Giant in the business world today.
In this episode, hear how Rob first fell into activism as a high schooler and the path that led him to join forces with Equal Exchange. Plus, Rob explains in simple terms how worker cooperatives function and the ins and outs of employee ownership under this model.