Learning from Podcasts

The Lead podcast series provides true life stories from women leaders who share their leadership journeys, career paths, and personal growth. Focusing on themes of self-evolution with practical tips and insights, this series is designed to share actionable ideas on how women can start to be more successful in their careers and become the leaders of tomorrow.

Tune In

Tune into the Lead podcast series, where we invite guests to share their experiences, tips, and practical insights on leadership and personal growth. New episode updates every two weeks.


Episode 25 - Networking & connecting

Valerie Smiley

In this episode we're joined by Valerie Smiley, Founder & CEO of Super Party Network. Valerie is a successful Entrepreneur who started her Interior Design business in 1992, and from there went into a career in Direct Sales and Network Marketing. Pulling from her extensive business & networking background, she created Super Party Network for the purpose of bringing Direct Sales Professionals together all the while reinvigorating the Home Party Industry. Valerie also serves on the Women in Business Networking Advisory Board and is a 2018 “25 Women to Watch”.

We discuss Valerie's passion for bringing people together to succeed, and the importance of being fearless when it comes to networking. She also shares advice for budding entrepreneurs and speaks of her own experiences breaking through the glass ceiling.


Episode 24 - Women in tech

Rachel Serpa

Join us as we speak with Rachel Serpa, Senior Content Marketing Manager at Wrike, as she shares her thoughts on women in tech. Rachel recently wrote an article for Wrike titled “Women in Tech Know Their Worth—It's Time Everyone Else Does Too”.

In this episode, we find out what inspired her to write the article and what she uncovered during her research. We also discuss why tech is so much different for women than any other industry and get some excellent advice for those just starting their careers in tech.


Episode 23 - Reverse discrimination

Laura Busby

Tune in to this episode as we speak with Laura Busby, M.Ed., Founder of Dyslexia Pros. Laura works with and advocates for students who have dyslexia, and is proud to say she is dyslexic herself. Helping students with dyslexia achieve all their goals and feel good about themselves is Laura’s passion and life’s work. In 2007, she started her own business, Dyslexia Pros, which now has four centers and continues to grow.

We discuss Laura's journey to where she is now, the difficulties in getting a business off the ground, and finding time for yourself when your business is your life's work. We also delve into the need for gender parity and why it is important to make self-empowerment part of your mission.


Episode 22 - How to kill it in virtual reality

Samantha Kingston

In this episode we're joined by Samantha Kingston, an award-winning Client Director at Virtual Umbrella, a marketing consultancy specializing in virtual reality. Samantha is BIMA’s Rising Star, one of the Drum’s 50 under 50, and part of the Evening Standard's Progress 1000 2017. She is also one of the co-founders of VRGirlsUK.

Samantha shares her story of how she fell into VR by accident and became an advocate and proactive voice for women in tech. She also digs into her experience with starting a company and provides some advice for anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur.


Episode 21 - Finding your balance on the way to the top

Barbara Cavness

Join us as we speak with Barbara Cavness, CEO of 360Partners, about maintaining work-life balance while rising to the top of your organization. Barbara shares her experience with managing imbalance and taking pride in what you do. She also discusses the importance of having an excellence driven culture in the workplace.

With more than 12 years of experience in digital marketing and account management, Barbara joined 360Partners in 2010 as Director of Client Operations, rising to CEO in 2014. Prior to that, she earned a B.A. in Psychology from Duke University and was a Senior Client Services Manager at TIG Global, a Washington DC-based interactive marketing agency.


Episode 20 - Bring your self to work

Kip Hollister

In this episode we're joined by Kip Hollister, Founder and CEO of Hollister Staffing. Kip shares with us her thoughts on work-life balance and why she suggests we should bring “our whole selves to work”. We also dive into the importance of mindfulness and how it can help us propel our careers.

Kip opened Hollister Staffing 30 years ago and has grown the company into one of Boston’s largest recruiting firms. A certified Leadership Coach, Kip’s passion to create a business culture that thrives led to the launch of the Hollister Institute, which, among other things, builds energized work environments.


Episode 19 - The working mother

Sascha Mayer

Join us as we speak with Sascha Mayer, CEO and co-founder of Mamava, who shares her story of how she got started as an entrepreneur and discusses how we can better support new mothers in the workplace. We also delve into the differences in culture around the world in the treatment of working mothers, and the importance of mentorship for women.

Mamava is the only freestanding lactation suite where nursing mothers can breast feed or pump in private - you’ve maybe seem them in airports, stadiums and malls, maybe you have seen the Mamava locator app that helps find Mamava suites and 1500 designated lactation rooms around the country.


Episode 18 - Living your happy

Randy Taran

In this episode, we speak to Randy Taran, founder and CEO of Project Happiness and co-author of the Project Happiness Handbook, bringing the best of positive psychology, neuroscience and mindfulness to youth. The Project Happiness Handbook book has become the backbone for emotional learning curriculum for schools in every state in the US, and over 120 countries worldwide. Randy also produced the award-winning documentary “Project Happiness” which included a private audience with the Dalai Lama.

Through Project Happiness, and a median following of over 2.5 million people, Randy’s message of hope and science-based strategies for greater well-being are reaching people when they need it most. We're excited to have Randy join us on the podcast to bring her insightful and thoughtful strategies to Lead by womenwill.


Episode 17 - Here’s to the crazy ones

Barbara Coll

Join us as we speak with Barbara Coll, CEO at WebMama.com Inc., who shares her story about pushing the envelope and jumping into the gap to become the success she is today. We discuss the courage it takes to make big decisions that others may consider "crazy", and how self-belief and a little spontaneity can help towards making yourself visible.

Barbara moved from Canada to Silicon Valley in 1987 to be a software product manager, but quickly realized that demand generation was her forte and joined the marketing side. After a few start-ups, she then launched WebMama.com in 1996, one of the first search engine marketing companies in the world. From a Computer Systems Engineer in the 80s, to a pioneer in Web Marketing in the 90s, and then a leader in Search Engine Marketing for 20 years, Barbara Coll is a force to be reckoned with.


Episode 16 - Finding your sense of self

Victoria Nessen

In this episode, we speak to Victoria Nessen, President and Founder of NK&A, about the importance of staying balanced and not losing you sense of self. Pulling from her vast experience in relationship marketing and her recent work with women in leadership, we discuss how women should focus on the relationship they have with themselves in order to project their careers forward.

Victoria is known for turning creativity and business know-how into marketing success stories. Her ability to problem solve in the moment has earned her a reputation as a relationship building dynamo. In her career, Victoria has built a brand presence for companies like Timberland and Reebok, and advises on start-ups like Green Piñata Toy Share.


Episode 15 - Connecting passion with purpose

Joi Gordon

In this episode, Joi Gordon tells us about her journey from leaving behind a successful career in law to work for a not-for-profit organization, putting her passion with her purpose and being a voice for women who cannot speak up for themselves. We also discuss the realities of the "mommy track", the importance of paying attention to how you show up and being seen as a role model, and how to use your influence to set a pathway for others to follow.

In 1999, Joi Gordon joined Dress for Success, New York, and 3 years later she took over the helm as CEO Worldwide. Under her leadership, Dress for Success now serves over 1 million women across the globe by giving them the tools they need to achieve lifelong economic independence.


Episode 14 - Imposter Syndrome

Janet Barker-Evans

As an executive creative director, Janet Barker-Evans is part of a minority in the industry. Despite the fact that men and women join the creative department in equal numbers, the latest statistics reveal that only 11% of creative directors are female. In this episode, Janet and Lyranda discuss the different factors preventing women from achieving positions within leadership.

As executive creative director, Janet oversees creative work for clients across the Epsilon Agency network. Raised in digital, she is a fully integrated creative leader who has been directing multidimensional efforts for her clients for years. A passionate leader, she believes in the power of teams and the power of creativity to solve complex business problems for clients.

She and her teams have been the recipients of dozens of creative awards, and she regularly serves as a judge at award shows, including Echoes, Caples, Reggies, and Cannes Lions. She was named the Woman of the Year by WDMI in 2006, and was a DMA Rising Star recipient in 2009.

Janet is a member of the Executives Club of Chicago, and is an adjunct professor at DePaul University, teaching classes in digital and advertising.


Episode 13 - The Unlikely Career Path

Kim DeCarlis

In this episode, we're joined by Kim DeCarlis who speaks with us about her journey to Chief Marketing Officer, the expectations of women in leadership roles, the importance of STEM and her obligation to inspire and energize the next generation of girls in tech, and so much more!

Kim is the Chief Marketing Officer at Gigamon where she is responsible for all marketing activities from communications and corporate marketing, right through to product management and marketing operations. Previously she was the Chief Marketing Officer at Imperva, she led the worldwide marketing organization at BMC, and spent five years as the VP of Corporate Marketing at Citrix.

She is a frequent speaker at industry events on B2B marketing and C-level marketing engagement and was recognized by the Silicon Valley Business Journal as one of the “2010 Silicon Valley Women of Influence.” Kim serves on the Boards of Directors for the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose and Girls in Tech, as well as on the advisory board of Entytle, Inc., a Palo Alto based startup. She is a graduate of Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering.


Episode 12 - Women and power

Colleen Bracken

Join us as we speak with Colleen Bracken about the differences between how men and women perceive power, and how to seize and establish power early in your career. We also talk discuss imposter syndrome, how it can impact women as they rise in their careers, and how to encourage women who are looking ahead to the top to powerfully negotiate for themselves, even when it gets uncomfortable.

Colleen has witnessed the often-tenuous relationship that women have with their own power, and she is dedicated to helping all of us transform that so we can use our power to lead ever more confidently and positively.

Raised in a family of leaders and coaches, Colleen’s exposure to the importance of leadership and coaching set her up for a life in the field of Organizational Dynamics and Leadership Development. Established in 2003, Bracken Leadership has become a go-to resource for executive coaching, team development, and all forms of breakthrough conversations for organizations including The Wharton Business School, GlaxoSmithKline, and University of Pennsylvania Hospital System.


Episode 11 - Just do it (But don’t say ‘just’)

Ellen Petry Leanse

Join us as we speak with Ellen Petry Leanse, who shares her illustrious journey in her career so far and how it has influenced her work today. We discuss how tech has changed the way we interact, how to champion more women in STEM and strike a gender balance, and the importance of removing ‘just’ from our vocabulary and the implications it puts on women vs. men.

Innovation coach and tech pioneer Ellen Petry Leanse has spent 35 years working with extraordinary leaders at Apple, Google, Facebook, and with dozens of tech startups. Today, combining decades of perspective with insights from neuroscience, design and mindfulness practice, Ellen guides companies and individuals to “think different” about life satisfaction, relationships, impact, and the paths that build them. An author, Stanford instructor, and respected Silicon Valley influencer, Ellen is passionate about intentional living and how our brains can shape or interfere with our sense of purpose. Her book “The Happiness Hack” has just been released and is a brain-aware guide to life satisfaction.


Episode 10 - Charting your own course

Barbara Nelson

In this episode, we speak with Barbara Nelson about succeeding in the male dominated fields of tech and engineering and her advice on encouraging and inspiring young women to enter STEM. We also discuss the importance of influencers (both mentors and champions) to coach you, show you the ropes and empower you to seek out opportunities.

Barbara has been the CEO of two start-ups and has grown businesses from zero to over $100 million four times in three different companies. Currently GM and Vice President at Western Digital, an industry-leading provider of storage technologies and solutions, she is building a new consumer cloud services business at Western Digital. Prior, she grew new categories in markets ranging from entertainment video to enterprise security, and has led large, mature businesses as President of Quantum’s DLT Tape Group. She began her career as an engineer at Intel.


Episode 9 - A blueprint for leaders

Helen Pak

Join us as we sit down with Helen Pak, who walks us through her career path and the various choices she has made. In this episode, Helen talks about what it was like to switch between different careers and ways she was able to overcome challenges in each stage of her career.

Helen’s career initially began as an architect. But her experience ranges from working as CCO and CEO at Havas Worldwide Canada, leading creative at Saatchi & Saatchi, to being the country lead for Facebook’s Creative Shop. Today, she is the Chief Creative Officer at Grey, and is also the creative lead within the group’s many offices and sister agencies.


Episode 8 - Finding your home

Jordan Doucette

More often than not, our career paths are not as straight-forward as it seems. In this episode, Jordan Doucette shares her professional journey in the agency world and how she was able to climb the ranks at Taxi, an ad agency in Toronto, and ultimately make it her ‘home’.

Jordan has been in advertising for many years but was able to settle in quickly at Taxi. Within 8 years there, she rose from copywriter to Chief Creative Officer and General Manager, where she has won accolades at every major award show, including Cannes, The Clios, and The One Show.


Episode 7 - The entrepreneurial dream

Kat Cole

Join us as Kat Cole shares her story of the American and entrepreneurial dream. Moving up from a humble childhood, to Hooters waitress at 18, to restaurant executive by 26 and global chain president by 31, Kat is now considered a leader in change management, community engagement, brand building and leadership.


Episode 6 - The cereal juggler

Wendy Davidson

In this episode, we discuss the hot button issue of work / life balance. What does this mean in an age where our phones are glued to us at all times, keeping us reachable at all hours by call, text or email? Are we balancing anything or are we just sitting at the dinner table, not really present, waiting for the next email?

We’re joined by Wendy Davidson, Company Division President and General Manager of Kelloggs, who shares her snackable words of wisdom on how to balance all the roles we play and feel present at the same time.


Episode 5 - Swimming with business sharks

Theresa Moore

Sometimes we get locked down in our thinking, we only see what's in front of us and can't see other opportunities around us. It can be difficult to gain perspective, learn your limits and know what you are capable of achieving, especially when you’re surrounded by sharks. The business kind. In this episode, Theresa Moore shares how her journey helped her gain perspective, and that the key to diving in head first is to remember to breathe.


Episode 4 - Keep passion alive in both work and life

Sarah Liu

One of the most important things is learning how to keep your passion at the center of your career choices. In this episode, Sarah explains how to look at our career trajectory and encourages us to think about our careers as a portfolio of experiences.


Episode 3 - Leadership lessons from the field

Mia Mora

Mia Mora played division 1 soccer, and the lessons she learned on the field have shaped her success at Google. Mia shares her insights on leadership and the emotional commitment needed to bring out the best in your team.


Episode 2: Instilling confidence & owning your greatness

Brooks Bell

Self-doubt can inhibit your growth. In this episode, Brooks Bell shares her three secrets to moving beyond negative labels we ascribe ourselves and into the life you seek. She shares her personal triumph over an incredibly awkward childhood and the self-revelations that led her to being a leader in the emerging industry of conversion optimization.


Episode 1: Journey minded leadership

Elise Mitchell

Life is a journey, enjoy the ride. How do we stay focused on our ultimate goals while enjoying the journey? Elise Mitchell shares how learning to ride a motorcycle taught her the journey mindset. Pulling lessons from her recent book on leadership, Elise provides us with practical tips and road-tested advice.