24 episodes

Hosted by Sarah Delahanty, Executive Decisions is a podcast for business leaders. One thing we all know is that successful executives are in a constant state of learning. Our guests share how their professional and personal roles have evolved over the years, what challenges they have overcome on their path to success, and how they manage the increasing financial complexity of life and work.

Sarah Delahanty works for SYM Financial Advisors. All opinions expressed by Sarah or any podcast guests are solely their own opinions and do not reflect the opinions of SYM Financial Advisors. This podcast is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for financial advice.

Executive Decisions by SYM Financial Advisors Sarah Delahanty

    • Business

Hosted by Sarah Delahanty, Executive Decisions is a podcast for business leaders. One thing we all know is that successful executives are in a constant state of learning. Our guests share how their professional and personal roles have evolved over the years, what challenges they have overcome on their path to success, and how they manage the increasing financial complexity of life and work.

Sarah Delahanty works for SYM Financial Advisors. All opinions expressed by Sarah or any podcast guests are solely their own opinions and do not reflect the opinions of SYM Financial Advisors. This podcast is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for financial advice.

    From Pacemakers to Entrepreneurship: Navigating the Medical Device Industry with Tim Early

    From Pacemakers to Entrepreneurship: Navigating the Medical Device Industry with Tim Early

    In this episode of Executive Decisions, guest hosted by Seth Whicker, guest Tim Early, CEO of DreamOn Group, shares his insightful journey from an early career decision to move from New York to Florida, leading to a pivotal role in the medical device industry with Cordis Corporation. Tim reflects on his educational transitions, notably from West Point to Rochester Institute of Technology, and his shift from accounting to packaging engineering, emphasizing the importance of aligning one's strengths with career choices. The episode delves into Tim's experiences with changing industry regulations and the challenges they presented, highlighting his adaptability and growth in various roles, including quality engineering at companies like CR Bard Corporation and Johnson & Johnson. Tim discusses the nuances of different corporate cultures, and the significance of effective communication and diverse skill sets in executive leadership. The narrative also touches on his venture into entrepreneurship, offering valuable lessons on risk-taking, resilience, and the critical balance of opportunity and decision-making in an executive's journey.
     
    About our guest, Tim Early:
    Tim Early, the CEO of DreamOn Group is known by many as the Founder and former CEO of Network Partners Group and a visionary in the life sciences industry. Tim brings with him a rich history of innovation, evidenced by his contributions to medical technology and packaging. He holds patents for advancements in laparoscopic packaging. His leadership in companies like Network Partners, Zimmer, and Johnson & Johnson has centered around building teams of passionate professionals and developing solutions that emphasize client and colleague needs. With a Master's in Packaging from RIT, Tim continues to shape the industry with forward-thinking approaches and a commitment to excellence.
     
    Summary and highlights from the show: 
    • Early Career Decisions: Tim Early shares his journey of moving from New York to Florida without a job and how he seized an opportunity in the medical device industry with Cordis Corporation, reflecting the importance of adaptability and initiative in leadership.
    • Educational Shift and Career Relevance: Discussing his transition from West Point to Rochester Institute of Technology, Tim highlights the significance of recognizing one's strengths and interests, as he shifted from accounting to packaging engineering.
    • On-the-Job Learning and Growth: Tim talks about his early career experiences in medical device packaging, emphasizing the value of learning on the job and adapting to roles beyond formal education, a key skill for successful executive leadership.
    • Facing Industry Regulations and Challenges: Tim's experience with FDA regulations at Cordis Corporation illustrates the importance of compliance and adaptability in executive roles, especially when navigating changing industry standards.
    • Career Development at CR Bard Corporation and Johnson & Johnson: Tim recounts his roles at these companies, focusing on the impact of corporate culture on his professional growth. His experiences underline the importance of aligning with a company's culture and values for effective leadership.
    • Quality Engineering and Interdisciplinary Skills: Tim's transition from packaging to quality engineering demonstrates the need for executives to possess diverse skill sets and the ability to handle various aspects of a business.
    • Leadership and Communication Skills: Discussing his role at Johnson & Johnson, Tim emphasizes the importance of effective communication with both peers and executives, a crucial skill for leadership, especially when delivering challenging news.
    • Insights on Corporate Culture: Reflecting on his time at different companies, Tim shares insights into various corporate cultures (technology-driven, sales and marketing-driven, financially-driven) and how understanding these cultures is vital for effective leadership

    • 20 min
    Cultivating Diverse Leaders and Inclusive Culture with Dionna Topps James

    Cultivating Diverse Leaders and Inclusive Culture with Dionna Topps James

    Dionna has been with Whirlpool Corporation for 15 years and currently leads the Whirlpool Sales Enablement Team as well as being the Chief of Staff for the Sales SVP.  She is responsible for creating strategies and experiences to enable profitable sales growth for both Whirlpool and its Trade Customers. Dionna has held various positions with escalating responsibility within training, operations, sales and merchandising. As an accomplished sales leader she has been awarded National Sales Manager of the year and has delivered record breaking profitable growth in each of her respective role scopes . An active leader within inclusion and diversity, Dionna has also led FOCUS, the African American Resource Group, through strategic shifts that helped influence Whirlpool Corporation's first ever Pledge to Black Colleagues in 2020. Dionna is a native of South Bend, IN. She graduated with a B.S. from Purdue University and received her Masters of Business Administration from The University of Notre Dame (Go Irish)!
     
    This podcast shines light on Dionna's career journey and experience as an African American woman in leadership. Dionna shares with the audience her early career, mentors who helped her develop confidence, navigating being underrepresented in her roles, and her work advancing diversity and inclusion at Whirlpool. She also discussed her approach to developing leaders on her team and work-life balance. Sarah and Dionna covered a range of personal and professional topics in this thought provoking discussion about Dionna's pathbreaking career.
     
    “You can be anything you want to be. And no one told me that I couldn't. But no one had said that I could.” - Dionna Topps James
     
    This week on Executive Decisions:


    Self-doubt and leadership growth. Leadership evolution and encouraging younger professionals to speak up. Diversity and representation in the workplace. Diversity and inclusion in leadership roles. Leadership development and team building. Hiring and evaluating leaders based on character and work ethic. Career advancement and mentorship in a corporate setting. Mentorship and personal branding. Work-life balance and personal interests with a busy woman leader.  
    Our Favorite Quotes:
     
    "I want to be a business leader. Yes, I'm a black woman. But you don't have to be the black woman business leader." - Dionna Topps James "I believe it's my responsibility, given the opportunity that I have now, to make sure that I'm clearing the path, and enabling others that look like me to be in rooms that they're not in." - Dionna Topps James “Hire the person and the core values of that person because you can teach the job, you can teach the nuances inside the organization. But you can't teach people to be good humans." - Sarah Delahanty “You sort of have to go first and be vulnerable, which can be a heavy burden. But in my experience, it's all been worth it." - Dionna Topps James  
    Connect with Dionna:
     
    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dionna-topps-james-she-her-228519b/ Email: dionnajames215@gmail.com  
    About SYM Financial and Executive Decisions Podcast
     
    Executive Decisions is a show for business leaders. In each episode, host and financial advisor Sarah Delahanty sits down with executives and local experts who serve them. Together, they tackle some of the harder questions that business leaders face today. From inspiring creativity in the workplace, to managing company politics, to making the best choices with executive compensation, taxes, and lifestyle — our show delivers stories and lessons learned across many industries and lifetimes. 
     
    Email Sarah at sdelahanty@sym.com with questions, comments, and to schedule a one-on-one conversation. 
     
    Follow Sarah on LinkedIn
    Follow SYM Financial on Facebook
     
    Subscribe here:
     
    Apple Podcasts 
    Amazon Music/Audible
     Spotify
     
    And, if you enjoy the show, please leave a review to help others discover the podcast.
     
    Di

    • 54 min
    From a Service Station Garage to Financial Advisory: Insights on Risks, Rewards, and the True Measure of Wealth with Dennis McKeever

    From a Service Station Garage to Financial Advisory: Insights on Risks, Rewards, and the True Measure of Wealth with Dennis McKeever

    Dennis McKeever has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh along with a PhD in physical chemistry from the University of California, Irvine. Dennis retired from Dow Chemical after a thirty year career where he primarily served as a senior manager in Research and Development.   However, he also had two business management experiences – first as the manager of the Chemicals business for Latin America and subsequently as the VP for the Polyolefins and Elastomers business unit for Dow North America.  After retiring from Dow, he served for six years as the Chairman of the Board for SYM Financial and saw the company through a major strategic redirection and a subsequent leveraged buyout to the current principals.  Following SYM, Dennis moved on to a large variety of positions in the biomedical sciences, including angel investing.

    Dive into the rich tapestry of Dennis McKeever's life - from service station garages in the '50s to boardrooms of major corporations. Through decades of risks, learning, and immense personal growth, Dennis shares the true measure of wealth, the balance of emotions, and the joy of traveling with loved ones.

    “I learned to be willing to take a risk on people, give them a break, but nurture them as much as you can along the way. Focus on investing in the success of your people.” - Dennis McKeever

    This week on Executive Decisions:
    Dennis’ first job. The importance of getting to know your customers. Pursuing a career change. The importance of mentors in your career. Taking risks and learning from mistakes. Transition from executive life to board and consulting role. The true measure of wealth.  Our Favorite Quotes: 
    "It really doesn't matter how big the business is, the same basic principles of business management and management people are there no matter what the size. Get to know your customers and take good care of them” - Dennis McKeever “Pick yourself up and you learn from your mistakes, whether they be people mistakes, or investment mistakes, or the lack of the best of judgment in making a business decision. Learn from those mistakes, keep them in mind as you move forward.” - Dennis McKeever “The true measure of a man's wealth is what he has left after you take all of his money away. So, treasure your family, treasure your friends, spend quality time with them. Doing this will be your enduring reward for a successful career, and a successful life. “ - Dennis McKeever  Connect with Dennis McKeever: 
    Email Dennis: ldennismckeever@gmail.com Connect on LinkedIn  About SYM Financial and Executive Decisions Podcast
    Executive Decisions is a show for business leaders. In each episode, host and financial advisor Sarah Delahanty sits down with executives and local experts who serve them. Together, they tackle some of the harder questions that business leaders face today. From inspiring creativity in the workplace, to managing company politics, to making the best choices with executive compensation, taxes, and lifestyle — our show delivers stories and lessons learned across many industries and lifetimes. 
    Email Sarah at sdelahanty@sym.com with questions, comments, and to schedule a one-on-one conversation. 
    Follow Sarah on LinkedIn
    Follow SYM Financial on Facebook
    Subscribe here:
    Apple Podcasts 
    Amazon Music/Audible
    Spotify
    And, if you enjoy the show, please leave a review to help others discover the podcast.
    Disclosure: Certain links above are to third-party sites and are not affiliated with SYM Financial Corporation (“SYM”). SYM is an independent investment adviser registered under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about SYM including our investment strategies, fees and objectives can be found in our ADV Part 2, which is available upon request.

    • 35 min
    From Frogman to CEO: How Special Ops Skills Translate to Corporate Success with Matt Stevens

    From Frogman to CEO: How Special Ops Skills Translate to Corporate Success with Matt Stevens

    Matt Stevens transitioned from the U.S. Navy in July 2017 after serving for 26 years as a SEAL. He attended The Honor Foundation’s (THF) inaugural East Coast class in the Spring of 2016, joined the THF SOF Advisory Board in the Spring of 2017, and then joined THF’s Board of Directors in February 2018. Throughout his career, Matt served as a Special Operations Executive leading high-performing teams conducting our nation’s most sensitive operations, cultivating interagency relationships and executing plans in dynamic environments. Matt served on the leadership team of an emerging technology company from 2017-2019 before assuming the role of Chief Executive Officer of THF.
    In this engaging conversation, Sarah interviews Matt Stevens, a former US Navy SEAL with 26 years of service. Matt's career journey is highlighted, including his transition from the Navy, involvement with the Honor Foundation, and his experiences as a SEAL team leader. Matt emphasizes the importance of trust and credibility in leadership, earned through tactical proficiency, keeping promises, and vulnerability. He also discusses the influence of mentors and the need to adapt leadership styles to different situations. 
    Matt shares how the Honor Foundation has been instrumental in helping Special Operations veterans find fulfilling post-military careers through personalized coaching, networking opportunities, and support. Matt's passion for helping his fellow veterans shines through as he shares success stories of program participants who have found meaningful careers and the joy of giving back by becoming coaches and instructors for the foundation. The conversation also touches on the organization's future goals, including expanding its reach to more transitioning veterans across the country.
    “In my work now at the Honor Foundation, I see that a lot of folks think that every single person who was in the military probably has PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, and they were like in gunfights every day of every month of every year for 20 years. And it's just not the case.” - Matt Stevens
    This week on Executive Decisions:
    Introduction to Matt Steven’s background. Where did Matt find his start as a leader? How to become an effective leader. Mentors and leadership style. Managing risk and saying no. Making the decision to retire from the military. The importance of educating veterans about the business world. The first class at the Honor Foundation. How the Honor Foundation has evolved under Matt’s leadership. Traveling as a family. Staying on top of life outside of work. Our Favorite Quotes:
    "We don't charge transitioning veterans anything; we go out and hustle and raise the money. So they don't have a financial burden while they're getting out of the military and losing that steady income stream." - Matt Stevens “I always just find it fascinating to hear as people have successful careers as leaders, where they found their start. And it could be something as basic as a paper route” - Sarah Delahanty "Success for us is somebody finding fulfillment as defined by them. It's not about how much money they're going to make or what school they're going to get into." - Matt Stevens “Title and the rank are just one component, then you have to earn the trust of the people behind you and they have to earn yours. A trust transfer in the relationship where they then follow you because they believe in you and you believe in them.” - Sarah Delahanty "We will never degrade the quality of what we're doing. It's a platinum standard, and we want to give that to any special operator who wants it." - Matt Stevens "It's not just all about 'help the veterans'; it's like, hey, how do you want to help your own business? You might consider hiring some of these rock stars who are probably gonna run circles around some of your other folks." - Matt Stevens "Scaling that jump in scale, at some point, is going to be huge. We're always thinking about how to grow wh

    • 1 hr
    Balancing Growth and Experience with Ed Mohr

    Balancing Growth and Experience with Ed Mohr

    Ed Mohr is the retired Vice President of Total Rewards at Whirlpool Corporation, a Fortune 200 company specializing in home appliances. With a background in HR, manufacturing, and logistics, Ed has accumulated 29 years of experience in various roles. In his current position, he is accountable for executive compensation, broad-based compensation, global mobility, benefits, health, wellness pensions, and 401 k plans globally. As a member of the Global Senior HR Leadership Team, he plays a crucial role in shaping the company's human resources strategies. Ed holds a bachelor's degree in Marketing and a Master of Business Administration from Western Michigan University.
     
    Today, Ed and I discuss his early career experiences and the path he took to become a leader. He emphasizes the importance of work-life balance and shares lessons he learned from his diverse career. He outlines the benefits of diverse backgrounds in a team. Ed suggests focusing on experiences that contribute to personal growth, exploring different roles, and developing leadership skills. He describes his career transitions and the importance of continuous learning, challenges, and making meaningful contributions. He details why it’s crucial to care about people, build relationships, and have a positive influence on others. He explains the balance between career planning and being present in the current role and how to take career risks. Ed also encourages curiosity, learning from experiences, and finding enjoyment in all situations and shares his upcoming travel plans. 
     
    “Instead of always concentrating on the actual function, concentrate more on the experiences and what the experiences are going to get you.” - Ed Mohr
     
    This week on Executive Decisions:
     
    How Ed’s early career experiences helped him on his journey to leadership Work-life balance and the lessons he learned from his diverse career The benefits of diverse backgrounds in teams How experiences contribute to personal growth more than specific jobs The importance of continuous learning and challenges How to foster genuine relationships The importance of caring about people and their work experience How to balance career planning and being present in the current role Traits that can harm a leader's career The importance of finding enjoyment in all situations Why you should enjoy the journey rather than solely focusing on the destination.  
     
    Our Favorite Quotes:
     
    “ When you’re having fun and enjoying what you do, the rest of it falls into place—enjoying the work, having meaningful relationships, and having a good time.” - Sarah Delahanty “Always learn things from people no matter who they are. It's shocking what people teach you. ” - Ed Mohr “To be an effective leader, you have to have fellowship and followers.” - Sarah Delahanty  
    Connect with Ed Mohr:
     
    Ed Mohr on LinkedIn  
    About SYM Financial and Executive Decisions Podcast
     
    Executive Decisions is a show for business leaders. In each episode, host and financial advisor Sarah Delahanty sits down with executives and local experts who serve them. Together, they tackle some of the harder questions that business leaders face today. From inspiring creativity in the workplace, to managing company politics, to making the best choices with executive compensation, taxes, and lifestyle — our show delivers stories and lessons learned across many industries and lifetimes. 
     
    Email Sarah at sdelahanty@sym.com with questions, comments, and to schedule a one-on-one conversation. 
     
    Follow Sarah on LinkedIn
    Follow SYM Financial on Facebook
     
    Subscribe here:
     
    Apple Podcasts 
    Amazon Music/Audible
    Spotify
    Stitcher
     
    And, if you enjoy the show, please leave a review to help others discover the podcast.
     
    Disclosure: Certain links above are to third-party sites and are not affiliated with SYM Financial Corporation (“SYM”). SYM is an independent investment adviser register

    • 53 min
    Blazing Trails and Giving Back with Jenée Velasquez

    Blazing Trails and Giving Back with Jenée Velasquez

    Jenée Velasquez is the Executive Director of The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, a prestigious organization dedicated to philanthropy and community development. Velasquez began her professional journey as the Chief Executive Officer of Midland County's Economic Development Corporation, Midland Tomorrow, where she played a pivotal role in driving economic growth and prosperity. Prior to that, she served as the Manager of Economic Development Services and the first Downtown Development Authority Coordinator in Midland. She also worked for the Manhattan, Kansas Convention, and Visitors Bureau, gaining valuable experience in promoting tourism and enhancing the local economy. Jenée is active in her community and serves on the Huntington Bank Community Advisory Board, the MidMichigan Health Board, the Midland City and County Joint Building Authority, the Council of Michigan Foundations Board, the Michigan Municipal League Foundation Board, and the Greater Midland Community Center’s Trustees Board. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Kansas State University, a Master of Business Administration degree from Michigan State University, and completion of an executive education course at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
     
    Today Jenée and I discuss her career and how she’s been able to give back to her community. She explains how she blazed trails and opened doors for other women to serve in leadership positions, and how it’s both a pressure and an honor to be the first. She recounts her experiences as a leader of Midland Tomorrow, the unique challenges in representing the opinions of the other women in the room, and how the relationships she formed supported her. She details her involvement in the Senior Olympics and her love for volleyball. Jenée also describes being the first in her family to go to college, reveals how her husband helped her achieve her educational goals, and highlights the importance of having a sense of humor. 
     
    “Its looking for people that inspire you to be better and learn new things.” - Jenée Velasquez
     
     
    This week on Executive Decisions:
     
    The mission of the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation Jenée’s accomplishments as a first-time leader  How Jenée broke ground for women in leadership  The challenges of being a first-generation college student  Jenée’s journey to leadership How networking paved the way for Jenée’s career path  The importance of learning to accept help from others How to balance work and life as a parent  The importance of integrity, kindness, and humility in leadership The necessity of taking risks in your personal and professional lives  How philanthropy affects communities  
    Our Favorite Quotes:
     
    “It’s about accepting help from others, learning from others, and reaching back to make sure that all the things that were given to you, you’re sharing with others too.” - Jenée Velasquez “Be thankful for the little things. Sometimes, those other things, they can wait.” - Sarah Delahanty “When you are in a leadership role, be easy to follow.” - Jenée Velasquez  
    Connect with Jenée Velasquez:
     
    Jenée Velasquez’s Website Jenée Velasquez on LinkedIn  
    About SYM Financial and Executive Decisions Podcast
     
    Executive Decisions is a show for business leaders. In each episode, host and financial advisor Sarah Delahanty sits down with executives and local experts who serve them. Together, they tackle some of the harder questions that business leaders face today. From inspiring creativity in the workplace, to managing company politics, to making the best choices with executive compensation, taxes, and lifestyle — our show delivers stories and lessons learned across many industries and lifetimes. 
     
    Email Sarah at sdelahanty@sym.com with questions, comments, and to schedule a one-on-one conversation. 
     
    Follow Sarah on

    • 47 min

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