5 episodes

Companies with great cultures outperform those without by 3x—but what are the visible and not-so-visible forces that make up this organizational superpower? Melissa Jezior, corporate culture maven and CEO of Eagle Hill Consulting, deconstructs culture with top innovators and changemakers on her debut podcast series.

cultur(ED) Melissa Jezior

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    • 5.0, 17 Ratings

Companies with great cultures outperform those without by 3x—but what are the visible and not-so-visible forces that make up this organizational superpower? Melissa Jezior, corporate culture maven and CEO of Eagle Hill Consulting, deconstructs culture with top innovators and changemakers on her debut podcast series.

    Victoria Blake on winning with a culture of change

    Victoria Blake on winning with a culture of change

    Former Division 1 volleyball player and Eagle Hill Associate Victoria Blake tells Melissa how creating a culture of change led her college team to unprecedented success.


    Melissa Jezior: Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Cultured Podcast. I’m Melissa Jezior, your host. On this podcast I talk to top culture makers in the world today from different industries and backgrounds to unpack the visible and not so visible forces that make up this often overlooked superpower of organizations. This inspired me to learn from elite athletes and coaches to unpack their tips and tricks for building winning cultures.
    Today I’m pleased to welcome Victoria Blake. Victoria is a colleague of mine here at Eagle Hill and a former nationally ranked high school volley player—who went on to play for an incredible four years at University of Wisconsin. That’s where they competed in the NCAA championships for a title and won their regional championships. Victoria, thank you so much for joining us today.
    0:01:00
    Victoria Blake: Thank you for having me. It’s always exciting to step outside of the day-to-day.
    Melissa: I’ve been learning so much from these conversations and I’m fascinated to talk about your experience playing at a D1 level and how this really translates into your work life today. So to start out with, you’re a nationally ranked volleyball player in high school, broke a lot of records, I hear, at your high school, so much so that you got recruited by University of Wisconsin and finished high school early to join the team. I understand that a few days before you made this jump you got somewhat of a curveball. So tell me about this curveball that you got and how you handled it.
    0:01:58
    Victoria: One night I was actually sitting around and we were eating dinner with the family, and my sister, my mom and my dad were all sitting at the dinner table and the phone rings. It was the coach that I had committed to at Wisconsin letting me know that he was no longer going to be the coach anymore, he was retiring.
    Yeah, so just a few days before I was actually supposed to move out to Wisconsin I had already packed up all of my things for college. They were sitting in the living room and ready to go, and I wasn’t sure if I really had a spot on the team or even a scholarship at this point. I had no idea how to navigate these waters.
    Now, it’s a really awkward time because I had just gotten my diploma, so I had no idea what I was going to do for the next semester if I was not going to go to Wisconsin. Definitely an awkward time.
    0:02:57
    And I just remember thinking am I still graduating early and am I still going to start Wisconsin in just a few weeks? I already had, you know, packed, I’d already have everything. Everything was prepared, ready to go, just walk out the door and move into the dorm, that was all I was waiting to do, and now there was this huge change, and it was just a big…a big mess for a little bit, to be totally honest.
    And we waited a few days. We waited a few days and then I got a call we had a coach at least, which was great news, Coach Kelly Sheffield, who was gonna come over from the University of Dayton to be our leader throughout this time. And he…he said he wanted to come over for dinner. And that’s really where it all started, was him deciding that he wanted to sit down and make sure that we were still a good fit for each other.
    So we set up a dinner and he decided to drive up to the house. That being said, he was late. He had no idea where I lived, actually, so he drove to where I practiced, which was two and a half hours away from my home.
    My mom had made dinner, so there was a lasagna in the, like in the stove cooking, probably burning. By this time it was like 10:00 at night. It’s super cold outside because it’s the middle of winter in Michigan and I’m—I remember this so vividly—I’m sitting

    • 25 min
    Playing for your teammates: a winning approach with Lindsay Henson

    Playing for your teammates: a winning approach with Lindsay Henson

    How do you find your role on a team, and adapt your strengths to what the team needs for success? Melissa talks teamwork with Lindsay Henson, Director at Eagle Hill and former professional soccer player.


    Melissa Jezior: Welcome to the cultur(ED) podcast. I’m Melissa Jezior, your host. On this podcast, we have conversations with top culture makers in the world today from varied industries and backgrounds to unpack the visible and not-so-visible forces that make up culture, an often-overlooked superpower of organizations. I’m intrigued to learn from elite athletes and top coaches about their philosophy on organizational culture, as well as learn some strategies and tactics for building and sustaining winning cultures.
    I am here today with one of my esteemed colleagues, Lindsay Henson. She grew up playing soccer, was ranked as the top player in the state of North Carolina, and went on to play with some of the most successful teams in college sports, the University of North Carolina, and then after that she went into professional soccer and played along some really well-known players like Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach.
    00:00:55
    So, I’m really excited to sit down with Lindsay – Lindsay’s been with Eagle Hill for three years – and understand a little bit more about her journey in terms of how she got into soccer and some of the lessons that she has learned playing soccer into her day-to-day work life as being a working mom and kind of learn a little bit more about your journey. So, with that, I’m going to jump right in and maybe just let’s start with how did you get into soccer?
    Lindsay Henson: So, like many things in life, I got into soccer by following my brother. So, my brother and I are two years apart, and so as – well, of course, I was really young. I was four when we started – when I started playing soccer.
    Melissa: Oh, my goodness.
    Lindsay: Yeah, tiny, right? One of those kids where the shin guards go up to the knee, and then like the shorts go over the knees, so you actually don’t see any leg?
    Melissa: Yeah.
    Lindsay: That was me when I started playing soccer. So, I of course started when I was four. And as my mom tells me, the rest was kind of history. I loved it, really–
    Melissa: So, you loved it right from the beginning.
    Lindsay: Right from the beginning I loved it, because it was something – I got to run around and chase a ball and hang out with friends. And so, I was kind of hooked apparently from early on.
    Melissa: Early on. And so, did you immediately go into, like, the travel teams and you–
    00:01:58
    Lindsay: So, I grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. And this is – I don’t want to say how long, but let’s just say pretty–
    Melissa: Not very long ago at all.
    Lindsay: I know. When I was a youth soccer player, right? And so, soccer was still kind of up and coming in the country, and while there were kind of grassroots youth programs, I would say the infrastructure we have today around youth soccer did not exist back in that day. But we did in Raleigh have what they used to call select club teams. And so, it’s kind of like travel soccer now in kind of the local D.C. world. And so, I tried out for – and I don’t know that – I don’t even think at the time they had a girls’ team, and so I of course tried out for the boys’ team. I was like, why not, I’ve been playing with boys since I was, you know, four, so let’s give it a go.
    So, I remember in second grade I tried out for the Raleigh Caps. Funny story on making that team. Again, so my mom kind of reminds me, so I was the, I think I was one of the only girls who tried out for the team. And flash forward to like a week later after the tryouts.
    00:02:57
    My mom gets a call from the coach, and the coach calls and says, hey, super excited, we just wanted to let you know that we thought Lindsay was a great player, he’s going to ad

    • 23 min
    Cathy Reese on Core Values, Culture & Team Success

    Cathy Reese on Core Values, Culture & Team Success

    On this episode Melissa is joined by Cathy Reese, the head coach of University of Maryland’s women’s lacrosse team to discuss how core values and culture can yield success.


    Melissa: Welcome to the cultur(ED) podcast. I’m Melissa Jezior, your host. On this podcast we have conversations with top culturemakers in the world today from varied industries and backgrounds to unpack the visible and not so visible forces that make up culture, an often overlooked superpower of organizations. I’m intrigued to learn from elite athletes and top coaches about their philosophy on organizational culture. As well as learn some strategies and tactics for building and sustaining winning cultures.
    On this episode we’re joined by Cathy Reese, the head coach of University of Maryland’s women’s lacrosse team.
    00:00:40
    Melissa: Cathy, thank you so much for taking the time today.
    Cathy: Oh, of course. It should be fun.
    Melissa: Well, if you’re not from the Northeast or the Mid Atlantic region of the country you may not be aware that lacrosse is a big deal here, and the Lady Terrapin team is the biggest deal across lacrosse. I’ve just started myself to get into lacrosse because my 9-year-old daughter picked up a stick last winter, and has not put it down since. This past May the University of Maryland’s women’s lacrosse team won the NCAA championship, the team’s fifth since Cathy became head coach in 2007, and the program’s 15th NCAA championship overall.
    00:01:22
    I have to imagine that culture of the team is one of the driving forces behind the success.
    I read recently a quote from Jen Adams, she’s Loyola’s coach, and Cathy, I think one of your former teammates and assistants and she said—which, I think Is a really telling quote and a great set up for our discussion on culture—she said “they are great players so they win”—except it doesn’t work that way. Because If that’s the way it worked then lots of teams would have lots of national championships.”
    There’s something special going on at the University of Maryland, and I think it has to do with the people that are in charge and are leading. So that’s a pretty powerful quote. And I am excited to talk to you, and congratulations on all of your successes.
    Cathy: Thank you, thank you. Yeah, Jen’s a special person, one of my favorite people, for sure, that I’ve had the pleasure to play with at Maryland. I was a senior when she was a freshman, and then we were assistant coaches together.
    00:02:13
    I coached her for 3 years and then we were assistants at Maryland together, and then we both went out—
    Melissa: Oh, cool.
    Cathy: —to Denver and back to Maryland, so we have a lot of history there, for sure, but she’s a special person, that’s for sure.
    Melissa: Oh, that’s awesome. Well, I love the idea that it isn’t just about having a team of great players that makes you so successful. So tell us, what can you share in terms of your thinking behind the culture and the values you’ve established for your team, and how much do your core values and culture play into the individual players and the overall team success?
    Cathy: Well, it’s interesting ‘cause I think I’ve learned a lot about this as I’ve grown over the years. You know, when I was—in 1995 when I was a freshman at Maryland and played for Cindy Timchal, who’s now the current head coach at the Naval Academy, I kind of walked out of a high school state championship program into Maryland, and we were right there competing for national championships.
    00:03:09
    And through our four years there, we won each year. And so you don’t really…you don’t really think about any of that until, you know, you’re now in the coaching position, and you’re moving on, and you’re like gosh, why…what makes these teams different than other teams out there. And they do, they’ve got great pl

    • 26 min
    How core values in sports transcends to the workplace with Anson Dorrance

    How core values in sports transcends to the workplace with Anson Dorrance

    Melissa sits down with Anson Dorrance, one of the most successful coaches in collegiate athletics, to discuss how to build a lasting culture in a high turnover environment.


    Melissa: Hi. Welcome to the cultur(ED) podcast. I’m Melissa Jezior, your host. On this podcast we talk to top culture makers in the world today from a variety of industries and backgrounds to unpack the visible and not so visible forces that make up this often overlooked superpower, culture. Right now we’re in the heart of the women’s World Cup, and this inspired me to learn from elite athletes and coaches to unpack their tips and tricks for building winning cultures.
    Today I’ll be talking to Anson Dorrance, the head coach of the women’s soccer program at the University of North Carolina, and one of the most successful, if not the most successful, coaches in the history of college athletics. Well, thank you so much for taking time today. I’m looking forward to chatting with you.
    Anson: Hi. I’m looking forward to it myself.
    Melissa: So it’s been fun for me because I went through the process, as I was getting ready for this interview I read about you and I watched some interviews that you gave, and I have to tell you I was positively blown away by your numbers.
    00:01:00
    And I think, ladies and gentlemen, hold onto your hats, ‘cause I’m about to blow you away with this one man’s accomplishments. Anson has 40 years in his coaching career and he’s lost less than 70 games. Think about that for a second. And he’s won more than 800. He was the first coach in NCAA history to win 20 championships coaching a single sport. In fact the Lady Tar Heels have won 22 of the 36 NCAA soccer championships.
    He’s led a team to 101 game winning streak, coached 13 different women to a total of 20 national Player of the Year awards, member of the UNC Hall of Fame and the Soccer Hall of Fame, and he’s coached some of the best players in soccer history, including Michelle Akers, Mia Hamm, Tobin Heath, Crystal Dunn, and one of my colleagues here at Eagle Hill, Lindsay Henson. And I can’t forget to admit he also had 5 players on stage at the World Cup last week. So Anson, you are quite an accomplished man and I’m sure have lots of great insights to share with us.
    00:01:56
    Anson: Well, you’re very kind with that introduction. Thank you very much.
    Melissa: So I hear you’re about to begin your 41st season as head coach of the Tar Heels in the fall. And one of the things that really interested me the most about you, Anson, after reading about you and talking to Lindsay Henson here at Eagle Hill, and one of the phrases that she associates most with you and the team culture, was “refuse to lose.” Lindsay said refuse to lose really stays with her today, and not just as a memory, but really and truly as her mindset and how she shows up in all aspects of her life. So how do you inject this mindset into your players? Maybe you can let us in on the secret.
    Anson: Actually, it’s probably the core of our success. When I was a young coach our legendary former basketball coach, Dean Smith, used to let me come watch his basketball practices, and the thing I liked most about watching his teams train was the amount of data they would collect in a typical practice. Everything counted. So we stole this idea, we soccer-ized it, we took it to a new level.
    And this was a game changer for us in practice, because before you came to practice the next day you could go to our bulletin board and in 28 different categories you would see where you ranked on the team. All the different elements that are critical for our success in a practice and a game were recorded by the managers and then posted on the bulletin board.
    Melissa: So let’s talk a little bit about these 28 factors that you identify and grade on or rate on every day. I think right now in the corporate world

    • 41 min
    Culture: It’s A Team Sport with Abby Wambach

    Culture: It’s A Team Sport with Abby Wambach

    Melissa sits down with two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA Women’s World Cup champion soccer powerhouse Abby Wambach to talk teams and culture. Just how important is culture to a team and what’s the secret sauce to a constructing a powerful culture?


    Melissa: Hi. Welcome to the cultur(ED) podcast. I’m Melissa Jezior, your host. On this podcast we talk to top culture makers in the world today from a variety of industries and backgrounds to unpack the visible and not so visible forces that make up this often overlooked superpower, culture.
    Right now we’re in the heart of the women’s World Cup and this inspired me to learn from elite athletes and coaches to unpack their tips and tricks for building winning cultures. On our first podcast in this series I’m pleased to feature Abby Wambach, the highest all time international goal scorer in soccer history.
    Well, Abby, welcome to the cultur(ED) podcast, and thank you for joining us. I have to tell you I’ve been so excited to talk to you. I’ve been—I read your book. I really, genuinely loved it. In fact I’ve been telling my husband about it, I’ve been telling my kids about it, I’ve been telling my colleagues about it. In fact I want my 13-year-old daughter to read it because I think it has so many great messages, and so it’s just, I’m really excited to talk to you today, so.
    00:01:03
    Abby: Yeah, the same. I’m so excited to be here, and thank you for reading the book and wanting to talk about it. You know, it’s a labor of love, something that I’m really proud of, and I’m glad that your daughter, and, you know, I have 2 daughters of my own, a 13 and 11-year-old, so this book is for sure something I’ve [been super] into and we are like trying to put—throw it down their throats, [essentially].
    Melissa: [Laughs.] That’s awesome. I’m with you. I’m so with you. I think, you know, obviously your soccer accomplishments are like in a league of their own, like a 2-time Olympic gold medalist, you know, FIFA world, women’s World Cup champion. But I have to tell you I had one of the proudest moments on your behalf last Saturday. Actually, maybe even on behalf of all women. I was chatting with one of my daughter’s friend’s dads at a swim meet and I was telling him how excited I was, that I was getting to interview you this week. And he says, oh, oh, Abby Wambach. Wait, isn’t she the highest all time women’s goal scorer?
    Abby: Mm-hmm.
    00:02:01 And I was like oh, actually, let me tell you, no, she is the all time scorer period across both women and men. So it was like on your behalf I was so proud to say that to him. So I can imagine how this book must feel like such a labor of love and an accomplishment. It’s really cool.
    Abby: Yeah, thank you so much. I appreciate you and I appreciate you fixing, you know, being somebody out there that’s editing both—
    Melissa: [Laughs.]
    Abby: —[versions] of my record, so that’s great.
    Melissa: But that’s actually, I think, why—that was what got me so excited at the concept of talking with you about your new book, “Wolf Pack: How to Come Together, Unleash Your Power and Change the Game,” is I think you’ve managed to take something that so few people have accomplished—there are not many elite athletes in the world, and you’ve taken something so unique and not only made understandable and relatable, but something I think that everybody can rally behind. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about the concept of the “Wolf Pack” and how you came up with this concept, and what it means.
    00:02:58
    Abby: Well, so first of all, I’m going to start at the beginning. When I retired the president of Barnard College emailed me and asked me to participate and be the commencement speaker of last year’s graduation, and reluctantly I said yes. And I say reluctantly because, you know, I was n

    • 36 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
17 Ratings

17 Ratings

c.mccarthy131 ,

Thought provoking!

Melissa’s interview with Abby should be mandatory listening for all culture leaders and anyone looking to institute positive change in their work environment. So inspirational and thought provoking, I can’t wait to see where this series goes!

Amymedia ,

Culture Inspiration!

Fantastic podcast! I can’t wait for more episodes. Love the hosts style and curiosity. Abby’s message applies to all - go out and do great things and work to create the world you want to live in. I also love her reminder for us to be grateful to those in our pack.

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