Being authentic defines strong leadership. Bozoma Saint John has continually challenged expectations, moving purposefully across multiple roles, from Uber’s chief brand officer to Netflix’s CMO, from Pepsico to Apple, from working for celebrated director Spike Lee to working for iconic Hollywood talent agent Ari Emmanuel. The wall between the personal and professional is artificial, Boz argues, and a barrier to leading what she calls The Urgent Life in a new book. The best leaders tap into their emotions and listen to their instincts, she says, which helps to drive a team and a business forward.
To breathe fresh life into an established platform, Kickstarter’s new 33-year-old CEO Everette Taylor is shaking things up – and he’s unapologetic if it makes people uncomfortable. From bold new product lines to bold statements, Taylor is working to kickstart Kickstarter’s existing community while aggressively pursuing new users. Marketing is product and product is marketing, he says. “I want to build a juggernaut.”
Every company has its own internal factions: engineers vs. designers, East Coast vs. West, IT vs. everybody. The trick is turning factionalism into healthy competition that propels you toward your shared mission. At Motorola, Cisco, and now her start-up Fable, Padma Warrior has tapped into the power of internal divisions. It’s not about separating people into warring camps; it’s about building bridges from our differences, rather than divisions.
Paul English, co-founder of travel search platform Kayak, guides us through five critical lessons for the hiring journey. As you’ll hear, English is passionate and relentless about the subject of recruiting – and the scale of the stakes.
In May 2020, as companies began making promises about how they’d help Black-owned businesses, Aurora James launched the 15 Percent Pledge with an Instagram post. Tagging major retailers, she declared that 15% of retail shelf space should belong to Black-owned businesses. Learn the tactics and strategies that allowed one small, dedicated effort to unlock $10 billion in revenue.
Skepticism and doubt are no strangers to John Foley, the founder and former CEO of Peloton. In 2020, the company was supercharged by pandemic demand. However, in 2021, the company faced a slew of new headwinds, from product-safety issues to investor skepticism. But he doesn’t see skepticism as a sign of weakness. He expects it, and learns from it.
As a longtime motorcycle rider and a longtime champion of sustainability, Jochen Zeitz of Harley-Davidson is setting out to square those two passions.
No one knows the fundraising game like Mark Cuban, serial entrepreneur, investor, and star of Shark Tank. For founders, identifying the right source of capital, under the right terms, can provide a thermal updraft. But as Cuban explains, there are always strings attached when you bring on a financial partner — and those strings can pull you crashing down if you don’t understand them properly. Cuban shares what investors look for in a founder, and what entrepreneurs should be looking for in return.
When he became CEO of Nike in January 2020, John Donahoe had a game plan. But then lockdowns began and he had to adjust, assuming what he calls a “wartime” approach to leadership. Donahoe’s view is that, in crisis, top-down stewardship matters more than ever. To not only survive but come out in a stronger position, he is leaning into the brand’s legacy, his team’s strengths, and booming direct-to-consumer digital engagement.
Great entrepreneurs aren’t just product obsessed; they’re impact obsessed. Rana el Kaliouby, co-founder and CEO of Affectiva, has spent most of her career thinking about how to project – and steward – the possible uses of artificial intelligence. Affectiva uses AI to read people’s emotional states, but Rana won’t put her software to work for just anyone. She’s walking a fine line between thoughtfully nurturing her idea and being a cranky custodian: potentially throttling the scale of her business. It’s a risk she’s willing to take. She understands that entrepreneurship isn’t just about providing a product or service that people love, or creating jobs; it’s about asking: “Am I making a net contribution to society – not just right now, but for future generations?”
Colleen DeCourcy knows that meshing an economic goal with an emotional message has never demanded more creativity.
A social network that limits your network? Yes. Meet Nextdoor, a hyperlocal social network that’s all about who you really are and where you really live. Although it goes against everything that we’ve come to expect from social networks, Nextdoor’s secret to scale lies in real personal connections based on empathy and kindness. And this is what Nextdoor CEO Sarah Friar knows: No, these connections don’t scale as fast – but they tend to be stronger. And they can be the flywheel that drives you to scale.