Growing with Purpose

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September 18, 2020  

Elizabeth Glasbrenner: Can a Leader Care Too Much?

On this episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman talks with Elizabeth Glasbrenner, co-founder and President/CEO of Smiley Technologies, Inc.

Smiley Technologies, Inc. (STI), is a group of entrepreneurial, service-centric software developers and support staff in Central Arkansas, with business practices and traditions that recall those who ushered in the first big wave of bank technology innovation a half century ago. Smiley Technologies is also a 2020 Forbes Small Giant: Best Small Companies in America.

Although Elizabeth co-founded the business with her brother seventeen years ago, she never envisioned herself as CEO. A self-described bleeding heart, she worked in non-profits and gravitated to positions where she could be in service to others and help them succeed.

When she had the opportunity to become CEO of Smiley, she was reluctant — she thought she cared far too much to become CEO. But she took a leap of faith and accepted the role, drawing inspiration on her father's example of purpose-driven leadership that she witnessed growing up. Today, Elizabeth is a compassionate, servant leader leading a successful and profitable business. 

In this episode, hear how Elizabeth challenged her own beliefs about leadership to realize she was built to become a CEO. Plus, hear Paul and Elizabeth discuss what the role of a leader really is: to help create success for other people.

August 28, 2020  

Travis Slisher Interviews Paul Spiegelman: Take Care of the Person In Front of You

On a very special episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, the tables are turned and host Paul Spiegelman is in the hot seat.

Small Giants Leadership Academy graduate Travis Slisher interviews Paul about his life journey and shares with Paul the impact of the Small Giants Scholarship Fund, which allowed him to embark on a journey to grow as a leader.

Travis has a story that many emerging leaders can identify with: he believes in a different, more purposeful style of leadership but he often feels isolated in his beliefs. Where could he find training and mentorship that aligned with his values and would give him the tools to grow himself and his organization?

"Then I discovered this community that I didn't know existed in Small Giants," says Travis. "I found what I was looking for here, and then Paul invested in me personally through the Small Giants Scholarship Fund. I want to thank him from the bottom of my heart."

Travis is the inaugural recipient of the Small Giants Scholarship Fund, which connects emerging leaders to the funds they need to complete the Small Giants Leadership Academy and become certified Small Giant leaders. As Travis' graduation approached, he asked for the opportunity to interview Paul — who seeded the Scholarship Fund — about his own leadership beliefs and lessons learned.

This episode is a rare opportunity to hear directly from our co-founder about his early days building a business with his brothers, which eventually became BerylHealth, why he started the Small Giants Community, and the endeavors that give him a sense of purpose today.

Paul also shares formative family stories — like his father's experience leaving Poland right before Hitler invaded — and his urgent advice to people of all ages: if you're not fulfilled by the life you're in right now, do not settle. 

In this episode, Travis has the opportunity to talk to the person who founded the Community that is impacting his life today and ask anything he wants. They cover everything from mindfulness to firing clients to the current movement for racial justice.

August 3, 2020  

Lisa Wise: Empathy Is My Engine

On this episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman talks with Lisa Wise, who leads Flock DC, a family of service companies with an innovative approach to real estate management and preservation.


Over the last 25 years, Lisa Wise’s professional experiences have all been anchored in empowering individuals as consumers, building stronger communities, and creating forward-thinking businesses. Growing up surrounded by love but short on resources, Lisa began seeking security by building businesses from a young age, starting with her first enterprise, The Sherlock Holmes Detective Agency in her parents' backyard toolshed.


Today, Lisa's leadership is defined by vulnerability, humility, and a fierce passion for justice for all people. With our country in the midst of a global pandemic, an economic crisis and widespread protests for racial justice, Lisa is stepping up in this moment with bold and unapologetic leadership, personal sacrifices, and a commitment to caring for her team members. 


In this episode, hear how Lisa has cultivated a circle of growth in her companies that puts employees first. Plus, hear Paul and Lisa discuss how to raise conscious children and the one thing they think parents get wrong about college.

July 19, 2020  

Jay Wilkinson: Leading with the Heart First

Note: This interview was recorded at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

On this episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman talks with Jay Wilkinson, founder and CEO of Firespring, an inside-out marketing agency and Nebraska's first B Corp. Firespring is also a 2020 Forbes Small Giant.

With a team of more than 200 employees, Jay spends most of his time working on the culture at Firespring and helping leaders in other companies become purpose-driven. But in the early 2000s, Jay experienced a pivotal moment in his life and career when he was fired as CEO of his own company. In the wake of the September 11th attacks and the economic decline that followed, his board of directors wanted him to fire more than half of their staff. When Jay refused, they fired him from the very company that he built.

In this episode, hear how Jay recovered from that experience and managed to buy out the venture capitalists on his board and rebuild the company. Plus, hear Paul and Jay discuss how to care for introverts on your team, starting from the very first interview.


June 7, 2020  

Emily Tetto: Tap Into Your Inner Journey

Note: This interview was recorded prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On this episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman talks with Emily Tetto, Vice President of Talent and Culture at Acceleration Partners.

Emily is also a Small Giants Leadership Academy facilitator, lending her expertise on how to hire and onboard top talent to emerging purpose-driven leaders. Early in her career, Emily worked in event planning and management, but she's always had a passion for people. As she moved into talent development, Emily realized that company culture is an event in itself: it's a living, breathing thing that takes intention and expertise to get right.

In this episode, hear Paul and Emily discuss the expertise she's developed in her career and how she finds and develops top talent for Acceleration Partners.

May 29, 2020  

Jonathan Keyser: You Don’t Have to Be Ruthless to Win

Note: This episode was recorded in 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. 
Jonathan Keyser is the founder and thought leader behind Keyser, the largest occupier services commercial real estate brokerage firm in Arizona. Through sheer determination and focus on selfless service, Jonathan is disrupting the commercial real estate (CRE) industry, and beyond.
A best-selling author, media contributor, and strong supporter of the Conscious Capitalism movement, Jonathan is here today to share his journey, mission, and selfless service approach to business. In his book and on this episode, You Don’t Have to be Ruthless to Win, Jonathan shares how you can activate selflessness in your life and see how and why this counterintuitive strategy can create long-term success in your own business. 
May 17, 2020  

Blair Kellison: Be Inspired to Be Like You

On this episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman talks with Blair Kellison, CEO of Traditional Medicinals, a mission-driven, organic and fair trade wellness tea company based in Sonoma County, California.

Blair Kellison made the best decision in 1995 by taking a 70 percent pay cut to leave the corporate world and take a job at a mission-driven, vegetarian tea company. As a four-time non-founder CEO, Blair has a reputation for being able to go into companies and transition them from a traditional, command-and-control style of leadership to a collaborative, values-driven team approach.

At Traditional Medicinals, Blair has helped grow the company from 60 employees to 200, and they recently surpassed $100 million in revenue. More importantly, Blair has finally found his passion: both working in the mission-driven, health food space and in helping others find their own passions. A deeply purpose-driven person, Blair is committed to making every person at Traditional Medicinals feel cared for and seen as an individual, and he's teaching founders and other leaders how to do the same.

In this episode, hear Paul and Blair discuss the key differences between founders and CEOs, and how leadership is an ongoing commitment to doing better than the day before. Plus, hear Blair's inspiring advice for those still looking for their passion, and his personal promise to help you find it. 

March 29, 2020  

Crisis Response: Take the Fear Out of the Workplace with Jack Stack

On this episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman talks with Jack Stack, Founder, President and CEO of SRC Holdings Corporation and a pioneer of the leadership model known as open-book management.

The coronavirus pandemic has ushered in a new wave of fear and uncertainty: about our own health and the health of our loved ones, our safety, and our economic security. For entrepreneurs and business owners, there's tremendous pressure to make the right decisions to navigate this crisis successfully. In this candid conversation, Jack and Paul draw on their personal wisdom as purpose-driven leaders to share an action plan for business owners who want to do right by their employees, customers, and communities. As entrepreneurs, we all share a certain amount of resiliency and creativity — it's those same skills that will help us pull through this crisis and come out stronger for it.

In this episode, hear Paul and Jack discuss what good communication looks like during a crisis. Plus, learn how to get started with a culture of transparency and empower your people to think like business owners.

February 10, 2020  

Tom Walter: “Change, Or We’re Leaving”

On this re-broadcast of the inaugural episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman talks with Tom Walter, serial entrepreneur and founder of Tasty Catering

Tom is a founding member of the Small Giants Community and has served as a Small Giants Leadership Academy facilitator to share his expertise with emerging leaders in the Small Giants Community. Throughout his life, Tom was a painfully shy, introverted person. He never wanted to be a leader, but he found himself thrust into the role time and time again. Despite his best efforts to remain #2, Tom became an entrepreneur when he opened his first restaurant business. Today, Tom is founder and Chief Culture Officer at Tasty Catering, and he has participated in the startup of 32 companies and acquired three others.

In this episode, hear longtime friends Paul and Tom discuss the most pivotal moments of Tom's career, including the moment when a group of employees confronted him about his leadership style and said that if he didn't change, they were leaving.

January 13, 2020  

Raman Chadha: Smarter, Healthier Leaders

On this episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman talks with Raman Chadha, founder of the Junto Institute. Raman is a Small Giants Leadership Academy facilitator who shares his expertise on emotional intelligence training with emerging leaders in the Small Giants Community.

Most of us know that emotional intelligence is an important skill in leadership — but is it a skill that can be learned? Raman Chadha's life work is dedicated to answering that very question. Raman was the founding director of DePaul University’s entrepreneurship center where he was also on faculty. Today, Raman is the founder and Managing Partner of the Junto Institute, where he spends his time developing programs for growth-stage Founders and CEOs. Raman's teaching philosophies are rooted in purpose, love, and the belief that human beings have an unlimited capacity to flourish. 

In this episode, hear Paul and Raman discuss how much more fulfilling work is when you let emotions and purpose lead the way. Plus, hear Raman's practical advice for identifying emotional intelligence in others and how people can learn to be more effective leaders. 

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