Success is not achievable alone. We all have a story of a person who took a risk, someone who imagined a life greater than what we could, someone who stood in the gap. This show shares those 'someones.' Those unsung heroes who pushed us when we could have settled for what is.
Stood in the Gap focuses on the journey of where leaders were before they achieved their goals. It's stories often left untold, yet those stories made the difference between giving up and pressing on. And in those moments, what made all the difference? The words said. Each leader on our show, shares what was said in their darkest moments, catapulting them out of the darkness and into who they are today.
What were those words? And why were they said? And more importantly what happened next. Join host Derrin Slack to find out.
Blake Behr: “Maybe it’s on you.”
Blake Behr grew up in a one-parent home. He knows how important it is for people to show up and show support for others. For Blake, one such person hit him with the cold, hard truth: were his problems the fault of others, or was some of it really on him?
That question changed his life trajectory. Now the President of Ridgeline Electrical Industries and as a leader, Blake puts ownership of his words and actions at the top of his list of priorities. Blake takes time to coach his employees everyday and invests in them as people as well as employees, all because he wants to be able to stand in the gap for them, just like many people did for him. Listen to his whole story to hear how that effort has proven to be more than worth the while.
In This Episode:
[00:52] This/That with Blake [05:55] Blake’s story [10:07] Learning to take responsibility [12:53] How the words “maybe it’s on you” changed Blake’s trajectory [14:12] What inspired Blake to want to develop people [17:24] Problematic mindsets [20:50] Principles that define a leader [25:37] What keeps Blake up at night [27:13] Blake’s guiding principles [29:41] Why a leader needs to be empathetic [31:41] How to be a strong foundation for others [35:02] Blake’s advice to anyone struggling Quotes From This Episode:
“We’re all scared boys and girls inside of our own heads that need somebody to step into that gap, that need someone to say those words to overcome that one mindset that’s holding us back from greatness.” “Nobody gets pissed that a game isn't over yet. Nobody cares because there's a game. You enjoy the game. You enjoy the process. I feel like business is the only game where we are pissed off we're not already at the finishline.” “Get curious and lean into the danger.”
Bryan Brenner: “You’re the man of the house now.”
At the age of twelve, Bryan Brenner’s life turned upside down. Suddenly, his parents got divorced, the family filed for bankruptcy, and Bryan's father told him he had to be the man of the house.
For Bryan, it was a lesson in how impactful words can be in a negative way, as that sentence filled him with a sense of responsibility that he had no way of fulfilling. Still, Bryan believes some positive things came out of feeling like he needed to grow up fast, like starting a business early on and greater awareness of how he communicates with his family.
In this episode, Bryan talks about the need to be thoughtful about our own words and how we absorb the worlds of others.
In This Episode:
[02:24] This/That with Bryan [04:12] Admitting when you’re wrong [06:43] Lessons learned growing up on a farm [07:45] What got Bryan into employee benefits [09:30] The importance of self-awareness and leading yourself [11:05] “What do I want my influence to be?” [13:34] Learning from past mistakes [16:04] The wrong words at the wrong time [22:02] “You can do anything you put your mind to.” [23:17] How Bryan’s parents shaped him as a parent [26:28] Words matter Quotes From This Episode:
“The more self-aware we are, the more vulnerable we can be, the more genuine we are, the better the outcomes.” “If a human being feels known for who they truly are and they feel loved in that, they can do just about anything and work through just about anything.” “Be careful with how you absorb other people’s words because often they don’t know how they might impact you and you have to be responsible for that yourself.”
Tony Mason: “Help people because it’s the right thing to do.”
“Help people because it’s the right thing to do.”
It’s a simple concept that has served Tony Mason well. As CEO and President of the Indianapolis Urban League, a community outreach program dedicated to helping minorities achieve social and economic equality, Tony lives those words every day.
As Tony admits, helping others is sometimes a thankless task, but he’s had others go to bat for him and believes we should all pay it forward. Listen to his full story to see what shaped him as a man, father, and community leader.
In This Episode:
[02:22] This/That with Tony [04:38] Tony’s story [10:34] Where Tony’s work ethic comes from [12:57] Tony’s path to Indianapolis [16:30] Leading with your heart not your head [18:07] People who stood in the gap for Tony [22:16] Never assume you know what someone’s going through [25:30] Showing up and being vulnerable [31:03] “Help people because it’s the right thing to do” [32:17] What Tony wants people to know about him [33:26] Bring leaders together to achieve a common goal [35:21] Words of wisdom Quotes From This Episode:
“We’re not guaranteed in this life that every day is gonna be smooth. It doesn’t matter how strong your faith is. There are going to be challenges, and you’ve got to find a way through all of that. It forces you to be humble and open, and vulnerable.” “We have to work together to be the cavalry for our people and our community. No one is going to do that for us.” “If you think the cost of education is expensive, try the cost of ignorance.”
Kelli Jones: “Successful products spring from a passion to improve people’s lives”
Kelli Jones is the Co-founder and Co-CEO of Be Nimble Foundation, where the goal is to create a fully diverse and inclusive tech ecosystem. Kelli has been on the tech scene for years making her way to Be Nimble where she’s doing what she sees as her life’s work - putting money into the hands of black people to fix economic disparity. She knows it’s not gonna be easy, as she says, “it’s a marathon” but Kelli is more than ready for the fight.
In this episode Kelli shares how everything her Foundation does is about making an impact on people’s lives and changing systems that have been dysfunctional for far too long - something she’s wanted to do from a young age, and she’s just getting started.
In This Episode:
[02:15] This/That with Kelli [03:51] Kelli’s life purpose [05:24] Why Kelli does what she does [06:34] Empowering others to change the world [11:56] Advice for those who haven’t found their passion [14:33] Self motivation driven by adversity [15:57] “This is a marathon” - solving generational trauma [16:46] Mutually beneficial partnerships [20:22] Working to put yourself out of business [21:47] Innovation starts with turning your brain on [25:24] Building things to improve people’s lives [27:23] Words of encouragement to fill in the gaps you see [29:20] What Kelli wants to clear up about herself
Eric Love: “You can’t burn out, if you’ve never been on fire.”
Eric Love is the Director of Staff Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Notre Dame, where he strives to create an environment in which people treat one another with dignity and respect, regardless of their views.
Coming from a biracial and bicultural family Eric always felt like he belonged both nowhere and everywhere but he found a way to make that work for him, literally. In fact, he says his work as a diversity educator started when he was a kid growing up in a place where people had often never met a black person before.
But just like many of us, there was a point when he felt like his job was an uphill battle and he was burnt out. And then Eric read a quote, “You can’t burn out if you’ve never been on fire.” And he realized he hadn’t actually given it his all, to hear about the different approaches he then took check out his full story.
In This Episode:
[02:41] This/That with Eric [04:59] Growing up biracial and bicultural [08:45] Belonging everywhere and nowhere [13:05] Becoming a diversity educator [15:23] Advice for those struggling with feeling accepted [16:43] Those who have influenced and inspired Eric [19:42] Hiding depression and fighting to get out of it [23:52] The necessity of expressing emotions and feelings [28:05] The words that got Eric over his obstacles [32:30] The dangers of polarization and the importance of civility [35:11] Values that guide Eric [37:09] “Start from where you find yourself” Quotes From This Episode:
“God gives you everything you need for success. There’s always someone better looking, smarter, richer, stronger, but you have everything you need to accomplish what you want to accomplish.” “If you get an infection, if you don’t get help it’ll get worse. It’s the same with mental illness. If you’re not feeling well, go ask for help. It’s not a weakness, it's a strength to take care of yourself.” “We’re not all supposed to all agree on everything, but we have to disagree with dignity and respect.” “You have to start where you find yourself, if you’re inadequate you have to get stronger but you have to start where you are and build slowly and intentionally from there.”
Dave Neff: “Don’t forget the mission.”
Dave Neff is the Chief Revenue Officer at Prolific where he oversees new business development, partnerships and alliances. Before Prolific, Dave served as President and CEO of EDGE Mentoring for nearly six years – the nation’s largest, faith-based, whole-life intergenerational mentoring organization. At EDGE, he was reminded not to forget his own mission and that of the business.
While Dave speaks about this impactful moment, he also shares his struggle with Crohn's disease from an early age. To learn how this hardship strengthened him and helped him understand the power of reaching out to others, listen to the full story.
In This Episode:
[01:19] – This/That played with Dave [02:50] – Being diagnosed with Crohn's Disease [05:41] – Overcoming challenges along the way [08:34] – Balancing work and life — making the most of it [10:28] – Knowing your organization’s core [13:37] – The danger of forgetting the mission [15:58] – People who stood by Dave’s side [17:02] – What guides Dave, keeps him grounded [19:27] – Advice for those struggling Quotes From This Episode:
“You have to have a natural work ethic to achieve success. At the same time, know that you can certainly impact outcomes and scenarios, but God's got to show up and bless it at the end of the day.” “Whether you lead a nonprofit or a business or even yourself, I think it's not that we need to be instructed as much as we need to be reminded to stay true.”