Inspiring career stories from today's top CEOs, executives, and leaders
Starbucks Former President: Howard Behar
Howard Behar grew up in North Seattle, attended Roosevelt High School, and struggled to find his way early on in his life. He took some courses at Everett community college but didn’t finish school because he was directing his energy towards his work. At the time he was helping run his brother’s furniture store in Edmonds, WA. He would spend the next couple of decades in the furniture business – eventually becoming president of one of the companies he’d worked for. Then, when he was in his forties, decided to purchase a business. As he was searching and networking with people, he met Howard Schultz, who had recently purchased Starbucks. After getting to know each other, Howard Behar made a proposal to work at Starbucks for free for one week before committing to join. When Howard Behar first joined Starbucks, it was a regional brand with a few locations – as we chat about in the conversation, he played a critical role in not only expansion across the country, but international expansion all over the world. Today, Starbucks has a market cap of over $138 billion, employing more than 349,000 people worldwide, with more than 62,000 stores in over 83 countries.
Tune into this episode to get a full look into Howard’s career journey leading up to Starbucks, what challenges and setbacks he faced at Starbucks, and what his advice is for those of us who strive to excel in our careers and live an exceptional life.
Stripe CRO: Mike Clayville
Mike Clayville is the Chief Revenue Officer of Stripe, a payment processing company that is building the economic infrastructure of the internet. Their mission is increasing the GDP of the internet -- and Stripe is valued at almost $100 billion. In our conversation, we talk about Mike’s career journey leading up to Stripe. He was born and raised in Idaho, got a degree in geotechnical engineering and then went on to get his MBA after he had a hard time finding a job. After graduating, he went to work for IBM, the world’s most profitable company at the time, and worked his way up the ranks eventually becoming an IBM executive. After IBM, Mike made several career moves, eventually landing at Amazon Web Services, as a Vice President, where he helped grow their business from $1.8 billion to $43 billion in sales. Stick around until the end and hear about how Mike was able to make career moves that positioned himself to win big, what he thinks are important things to consider when making career moves, and why he started the Clayville Foundation to lend a helping hand in curing cancer.
(Special): Business in the Digital Age with Howard Tiersky
In this episode, you’ll get to hear from Howard Tiersky. Howard began his career in theater and performing arts before starting his consulting career at Ernst & Young. There, he would build E&Y’s first website and get exposed to a whole new world. After 15 years of being in the consulting space, Howard started his own business; From Digital, a digital transformation agency that helps companies develop new digital products for all kinds of industries. Howard is the author of the Wall Street Journal’s best-selling book, Winning Digital Customers. In our conversation, we talk briefly about Howard’s career journey before transitioning into an especially important topic; business in the digital age. Stick around until the end and you’ll get to hear Howard’s thoughts on how to really understand your customer, building digital experiences around your customers, and what causes most digital products to fail in our world today.
Beecher's Cheese Founder: Kurt Dammeier
A fourth generation Puget Sound native and nascent New Yorker, Kurt has always felt passionately about authentic, full-flavored foods, free of artificial additives. Kurt is the owner and head chef of Sugar Mountain, a creative food company that is home to extraordinary food brands and restaurants, from the award-winning Beecher’s Handmade Cheese to The Butcher’s Table, a swanky steakhouse that features Mishima Reserve, Sugar Mountain’s American Wagyu beef brand. With each operation, Kurt’s goal is to demonstrate how quality ingredients make for delicious meals, without added food colorings, flavor enhancers, or preservatives. Beyond the retail world, Kurt is effecting change in people’s eating habits through his book, Pure Food, and through The Beecher’s Foundation (501c3). Through education and community engagement, the Foundation inspires people to eat real food and vote with every food dollar.
In our conversation Kurt takes us way back to his early childhood growing up in Seattle, what struggles he faced at work coming out of college, and ultimately, what inspired Kurt to purchase businesses like Seattle’s famous Pasta & Company and start Beecher’s Cheese, one of the most successful food brands in the world. And if you stick around until the end, you will get to hear all about Kurt's ambitious philanthropic goal of changing the way America eats.
(Special): Entrepreneurship with serial entrepreneur Chris George
In this special episode, we chat with Chris George, a serial entrepreneur who has successfully started and managed 7 businesses in his career (most recently Founder of Certified). His first business that he started in college, was a debt collection agency that he worked in for almost a decade. His most recent venture was a subscription-based men’s fashion company: Gentleman’s Box. Today, he’s chairman of the subscription trade association, a for-profit association that he co-founded. You’ll want to listen closely because in this episode we discuss business strategy, marketing tactics, and what it takes to be successful as an entrepreneur in any industry.
Sana Biotechnology CEO & Co-Founder: Steve Harr
In this episode, we cover the man behind the largest biotechnology IPO in history, Steve Harr. Steve co-founded Sana biotechnology, a company that went public earlier this year (2021) and raised almost $600 million dollars in its IPO. Sana is changing the way diseases are cured. Their approach is based on repairing and controlling genes within cells, essentially engineering cells so that they are better equipped to fight off diseases. Prior to co-founding Sana, Steve served as an executive at Juno Therapeutics, a biotech company that was acquired for $11 billion in 2018, and worked as managing director at Morgan Stanley for over a decade. If you stick around for the whole episode, you'll get insight into the extreme highs and lows of Steve's career journey, you will hear what Steve would advise his younger self, and you will get a peek into how he thinks about leadership.
My favorite podcast to listen to on my drives!
Very helpful podcast. I can't say how many episodes I've heared but i love them all
Best podcast show!
I love listening to Execu Talks podcast every weekend and wanted to leave a 5 star reviews