Something big is happening in the world of business. CEOs increasingly say their jobs have become less about giving orders, more about inspiring, motivating, setting a north star. They are taking the lead on big issues like climate change, worker retraining, and diversity and inclusion. They are under pressure from employees, customers and investors not just to turn a profit, but to prove they are doing good in the world. And in the process, they are fundamentally redefining the relationship between business and society. Join Fortune CEO Alan Murray and Senior Editor Ellen McGirt as they probe the best of these leaders for insight into what they're doing, why they're doing it, and what impact it is having.
Stitch Fix CEO: Modeling a 'New Normal' in Business
Katrina Lake is the founder and CEO of Stitch Fix, a personalized styling service founded ten years ago. When Lake took her company public in 2017, she was the youngest female founder to ever do so. And, she's one of the few women founders to IPO a tech company. The IPO itself was notable for another reason too: many pictures from the event show Lake holding her young son. "It was a really meaningful moment that I didn't anticipate," she tells Alan Murray and Ellen McGirt. Lake reports that she's moved from "bristling" at regularly being called a female founder (instead of simply "founder") to embracing her position as a role model for other women in business.
In this episode of Leadership Next, Lake describes the moment she knew she wanted to be in business, the dangerous lack of diversity amongst investors, leading through the pandemic, her plans to transition to executive chairperson, and more.
Crafting a Return to Work That Really Works
As we begin to emerge from the pandemic, it's a question that seems to be plaguing most CEOs: How do you hold on to the benefits of remote work while encouraging more in-person collaboration? This is just one topic that Alan Murray and Ellen McGirt broach with Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen. Listening and responding to employees is clearly something Adobe does well - the company has landed on Fortune's list of 'Best Companies to Work For' several years in a row.
It's far from the only thing the company does well however. Adobe's financial results continue to impress year after year. How does he do it, and how is Narayen positioning his company - home to products like Photoshop, Adobe Sign and many more - for the future? That's all on this episode of Leadership Next.
Also featured in this week episode, Catalyst's Senior Director of Women and the Future of Work, Lauren Pasquarella Daley.
Patagonia on Voting Laws and Environmental Responsibility
Patagonia - the 48 year-old outdoor equipment and apparel company - has long been passionate about protecting the environment. But when Georgia passed new voting access laws in March, Patagonia was one of first to speak out and push back against the changes.
Why did the retailer choose to be a part of this political fight? That's what Alan Murray asks Patagonia CEO Ryan Gellert in this episode of Leadership Next. Gellert details how the company's activism has evolved over time, and how Patagonia decides which issues to support.
Gellert also shares the challenges of becoming carbon neutral, how being a certified B Corp has made Patagonia a better company, and why a failure to fight for stakeholders is a "real risk to businesses."
Etsy: An Amazing Year During a Terrible Time
Etsy - the e-commerce site focused on handcrafted goods - saw its revenue more than double in 2020. CEO Josh Silverman describes the COVID-19 pandemic as the company's "Dunkirk moment." At a time where traditional suppliers couldn't even come close to meeting the demand for face masks, Etsy makers stepped up. The company wound up selling about $740 million worth of masks in 2020, according to Silverman. However those sales were dwarfed by the clamor for home goods - everything from custom-made desks to throw pillows.
In this episode of Leadership Next, Silverman tells Alan Murray and Ellen McGirt why he believes so many people turned to Etsy during the pandemic. And he explains the company's commitment to three big issues: economic empowerment, diversity and sustainability, saying "being a good citizen makes us an even better business."
Why This CEO Wants to 'Democratize' Real Estate
Ryan Williams is the CEO of Cadre, a company that's out to "democratize" commercial real estate. In other words, he's making it easier for the average investor to buy a piece of the pie. And, he's utilizing technology in a way the staid industry hasn't seen before. His success landed him on our 40 Under 40 list in 2019, and the COVID-19 pandemic hasn't slowed him down.
In this episode of Leadership Next, Williams tells us about his early business ventures and how he came up with the idea for his company. He talks about why he thinks everyone should be able to include real estate in their portfolios, and about the company's commitment to invest in minority operators who are often building properties in underrepresented communities. He goes on to explain why this investment will not hurt the company's bottom line saying in part, "unconventional approaches can lead to unconventional returns and outcomes."
Also joining Alan Murray and Ellen McGirt, Fortune's Shawn Tully who has his own take on Cadre's approach to business.
Boosting Diversity in Drug Trials
Biotech company Genentech has eight drugs in various stages of development as therapeutics for COVID-19. But early in the pandemic, the company decided to turn over a large chunk of its manufacturing capacity to a competitor. Time was of the essence, and this company had a promising monoclonal antibody cocktail in the wings. Will this spirit of collaboration survive post-pandemic? That's just one topic Leadership Next explores with Genentech CEO Alexander Hardy.
Another big topic of conversation: health equity and the diversity of drug trials. Health disparities between races is nothing new, but the pandemic put a bright spotlight on the issue. It quickly became clear that COVID-19 was hitting communities of color hard. This did not go unnoticed by Hardy who told Alan Murray and Ellen McGirt "we have a really significant responsibility as an industry to society to never let these sorts of issues impact these populations as they've done now." One part of solving this problem is ensuring that drugs in development are effective for all people, and that requires including more people of color in clinical trials.
Diana Zuckerman, President of the National Center for Health Research, joins Leadership Next to more fully explore why today's clinical trials lack diversity, and what needs to happen to change that.
Dynamic Team , Highly Entertaining, Superior Insights
Co-hosts Alan Murray and Ellen McGirt have extraordinary chemistry as co-hosts. They do a fabulous job interviewing iconic CEOs and newsmakers. With each new episode, I learn something new. You will too.
I have listed to all of the podcasts since the beginning and enjoyed each one. I am able to learn a little something from each of the guests. I may not agree with some of the things that they say, however each one brings something new and refreshing that we can all benefit from.
Entertaining, insightful and actionable! 👏👏👏
Whether you’re well established as someone who can translate creative energy into the impact you want to have on the world, or just getting started as a catalyst for change - this is a must-listen podcast for you! Alan, Ellen and the entire Fortune team do an incredible job leading conversations that cover a huge breadth of topics related to the ins and outs of building a thriving enterprise and life you can be proud of - with leaders who’ve actually walked the path. Highly recommend listening and subscribing!