24 episodes

Looking to build innovation, strengthen organizational culture, and develop greater confidence? Try play. Seriously. Play builds empathy, sparks creativity, and allows deeper reflection and learning. Why would we not integrate it into our workday?

Speaking with CEOs, executive coaches, and other business leaders, Mary Hendra explores what “play” can look like in professional spaces, its impact on us and our organizations, and how to integrate a little play ourselves to build more compassionate and creative workplaces.

Lead with a dash of Play Mary Hendra

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 6 Ratings

Looking to build innovation, strengthen organizational culture, and develop greater confidence? Try play. Seriously. Play builds empathy, sparks creativity, and allows deeper reflection and learning. Why would we not integrate it into our workday?

Speaking with CEOs, executive coaches, and other business leaders, Mary Hendra explores what “play” can look like in professional spaces, its impact on us and our organizations, and how to integrate a little play ourselves to build more compassionate and creative workplaces.

    TL;DL Play as a Force for Change

    TL;DL Play as a Force for Change

    We rarely have as much time as we want these days, so for leaders who want a taste of my brilliant guests this season - or listeners who want a quick reminder of some of the ideas - here it is. Some of the themes that emerged in our discussions this season include: identity, creativity, agency, joy, and getting rid of our outdated notion of work being “serious.” Whether you're looking for individual professional development, inspiration to change the structures in your organization, or a change in the world, take a listen! And then listen to the full episode from someone who inspires you.
    This season's guests heard in this order:
    Neel Doshi, episode 5Kathy Klotz-Guest, episode 1Neville Billimoria, episode 6Gary Ware, episode 11Annette Mason, episode 12Amy Climer, episode 4Jay Guilford, episode 8Jeff Harry, episode 2Mike Ganino, episode 14Natalie Nixon, episode 13Ruksana Hussain, episode 3Garry Ridge, episode 10Michelle Li, episode 7Van Lai DuMone, episode 9
    For more about me and how I play, join my newsletter: https://maryhendra.com/mary/

    • 34 min
    Why We Need Narrative Play

    Why We Need Narrative Play

    It’s easy to forget that kids play to sort things out, to discover boundaries, to problem-solve. So why do we think adult play is wholly different? Mike Ganino shares ways narrative play helps us identify what is possible and inspire change - individually and systemically. And it all starts with learning to see.
    GUEST: Mike Ganino
    Mike Ganino is a storytelling + communication expert who hosts The Mike Drop Moment podcast. He’s been named a Top 10 Public Speaking Coach by Yahoo Finance, and California’s Best Speaking and Communication Coach by Corporate Vision Magazine. He is an author, former Executive Producer of TEDxCambridge and has been named a Top 30 Speaker by Global Guru. He teaches storytelling, presence, and public speaking to some of the biggest names and brands. He’s a trained actor and coach from the World Famous Second City, Improv Olympics, and Upright Citizen’s Brigade. In addition to his track record as an executive in the hotel, restaurant, retail, and tech industries, Mike’s worked with organizations like the Disney, American Century Investments, American Marketing Association, and UCLA.

    • 30 min
    Toggle Between Wonder and Rigor

    Toggle Between Wonder and Rigor

    Play can both build a sense of awe - a practice of wonder - and the flow of committed, rigorous thought. And that combination contributes to audacity. Natalie Nixon invites us to design our space and time for wonder, give ourselves permission to daydream, and lead our teams to play and productivity.
    GUEST: Natalie Nixon
    Natalie Nixon, PhD is the creativity whisperer for the C-Suite. She is a creativity strategist, global keynote speaker and author. As CEO of Figure 8 Thinking, LLC she advises leaders on transformation and helps them amplify growth and business value - by applying wonder and rigor. 
    Natalie is one of Real Leaders' "Top 50 Keynote Speakers in the World for 2022". She is the author of the award-winning The Creativity Leap: Unleash Curiosity, Improvisation and Intuition at Work - an honoree in the creativity category of Fast Company's 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards. Her firm Figure 8 Thinking, was named among the top 20 women-led innovation firms by Core 77 in 2021.
    Natalie is a trustee of the Smithsonian's Cooper Hewitt Design Museum; Vassar College; and Leadership+Design. She received her BA (honors) from Vassar College, and her PhD from the University of Westminster in London. She is certified as a Foresight Practitioner by the Institute for the Future.
    LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/natalienixonphd/
    Instagram & Twitter: @natwnixon

    • 33 min
    Intentional, Designed Experiences

    Intentional, Designed Experiences

    In pursuit of the best structure and mindset for leadership development, Annette Mason co-constructs sabbaticals. These aren’t just for those in academia. To the contrary, individuals can use sabbaticals to learn and recover; businesses can use them to create space for transition and growth. What could you do with an intentionally constructed space for curiosity, play, and learning?
    "Travel is never a matter of money but of courage." – Paolo Coelho
    GUEST: Annette Mason
    Annette Mason is a lifelong traveler, learner, and child of the world.
    Annette's inner drivers are
    Faith Wholehearted Travel Curiosity Family Meaningful Connection
    Annette is the Founder of Trilogy Design Works, a human-centered design leadership development practice. Trilogy has evolved into a leadership practice focused on Communication, Connection, and Resilience for business leaders. Leaders get to experience personal and professional growth through fun and innovative practices that include immersive experiences, co-designing sabbaticals and curated global travel via insights tours. Clients get the opportunity to support immersive learning programs for underserved youth to grow their life skills and change the trajectory of their circumstances. 


    • 32 min
    The Antidote to Burnout

    The Antidote to Burnout

    How do you cultivate a playground of possibilities? Gary Ware found improv, and it changed the way he worked. Now he helps others incorporate play, building to a “playful rebellion” that can reshape organizational culture.
    “Play is the cheat code to business success, and leaders who are serious about leading need to cultivate play for themselves and their employees.” (Gary Ware, from The Playful Rebellion)
    GUEST: Gary Ware
    Gary Ware, the Founder of Breakthrough Play is a corporate facilitator, keynote speaker, certified coach, and author of the book Playful Rebellion: Maximize Workplace Success Through The Power of Play. Gary has over 14 years of experience in the corporate world holding various leadership positions. Being a multifaceted individual Gary also comes with nearly a decade of experience as a performer in improv theatre. After experiencing burnout in his pursuit for success and happiness, he realized that what was missing was play. Committing to a life of play is what led Gary to discover his passion for facilitating. Gary uses the power of applied improvisation and other playful methods to assist people in unlocking creativity, confidence, and better communication. Gary was recently featured as one of the Top 100 HR influencers of 2021 by the Engagedly HR software platform. When Gary isn't leading workshops or speaking, you can find him learning magic or off on an adventure with his wife Courtney and sons Garrett and Cameron. 

    • 36 min
    The Petri Dish of Organizational Culture

    The Petri Dish of Organizational Culture

    Shifting our notion of “failure” to “learning moments” gives us the opportunity to be more human. Garry Ridge led the global company WD40 for 25 years, with a playful streak that is still apparent in the stories he shares and the way he talks about the company. Can you be CEO and play?
    “Businesses and leaders have not only the opportunity but a real responsibility to create cultures that are engaging and where people really know they are making a difference in the world.” (Garry Ridge)
    According to Gallup's 2022 “State of the Global Workplace” report, only 21% of employees globally are engaged, only 33% are thriving in their overall wellbeing and 44% of employees experienced a lot of stress the previous day.
    GUEST: Garry Ridge
    Garry has 25 years of experience as Chairman and CEO of WD-40 Company, a Nasdaq-listed public Company. Garry has been with WD-40 Company since 1987 in various management positions, including executive vice president, chief operating officer, and vice president of international. He has worked directly with WD-40 Company in more than 60 countries. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego, where he teaches the principles and practices of corporate culture in the Master of Science in Executive Leadership program. Garry’s philosophy on company culture is based on Aristotle’s quote – “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.” Turning that into action, he believes that all leaders can create a workplace where you go to work each day, make a contribution to something bigger than yourself, learn something new, feel safe, are protected, and are provided freedom by a set of values and go home happy! He is passionate about the learning and empowering organizational culture he has helped establish at the WD-40 Company. In 2009, he co-authored a book with Ken Blanchard outlining his effective leadership techniques, titled “Helping People Win at Work: A Business Philosophy Called ‘Don’t Mark My Paper, Help Me Get an A.” A native of Australia, Mr. Ridge holds a certificate in Modern Retailing and a Master of Science in Executive Leadership from the University of San Diego.

    • 29 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
6 Ratings

6 Ratings

Petunia2012 ,

So glad I found this podcast!

Mary covers such great topics. All of what I’ve heard here is so relevant and I love the idea of creating professional environments where play is prioritized. She is a fantastic interviewer so the podcast is fun and easy to listen to.

Miriam Schulman ,

cant believe this is new!

mary has a stong podcast and i terview style thats easy to listen to

looking forward to hearing more

@schulmanArt host of The Inspiration Place podcast and author of the book Artpreneur

Wonder World Cafe ,

Fun, Necessary

Following along and enjoying your podcast! Info applies to our classrooms, too. 🌍💕

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