67 episodes

Revealing interviews with CEOs and other C-Suite leaders sharing their hard-earned and costly lessons.

Tune in to discover the tools, routines, and strategies that can help you "get to" or "stay in" the C-suite.

Your host is Ben Fanning, #1 bestselling author, Inc. Magazine Columnist, and CEO of The Fanning Group - an International Consultancy and Training Company.

https://www.benfanning.com/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/benfanning/
https://twitter.com/BenFanning1
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The CEO Sessions Ben Fanning

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 28 Ratings

Revealing interviews with CEOs and other C-Suite leaders sharing their hard-earned and costly lessons.

Tune in to discover the tools, routines, and strategies that can help you "get to" or "stay in" the C-suite.

Your host is Ben Fanning, #1 bestselling author, Inc. Magazine Columnist, and CEO of The Fanning Group - an International Consultancy and Training Company.

https://www.benfanning.com/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/benfanning/
https://twitter.com/BenFanning1
https://www.instagram.com/benfanning1/

    Dimitri Sirota, CEO of BigID - How to Win the Hearts and Minds of Your Team

    Dimitri Sirota, CEO of BigID - How to Win the Hearts and Minds of Your Team

    How can you tell a compelling story that will inspire and engage the hearts and minds of your team, customers, and investors?
    It’s a vital question as Bill Gates said, "The best leaders are the ones who know how to speak with their heart. They connect with people on an emotional level, not just intellectually."
    In my interview with CEO and Co-founder of https://bigid.com/ (BigID,) Dimitri Sirota, you’ll discover how you can leverage storytelling as a powerful tool that can help you communicate better with others.
    But it's not something that just happens by chance. It takes time and practice before you will become a masterful storyteller -- which makes sense because it is an art form! In this interview we take the guesswork out of telling your stories so they have maximum impact on your listeners.
    BigID is the augmented data management platform for privacy, security, and governance. They were selected as one of the Forbes 2021 World’s Best Cloud Companies.
    Dimitri is an established serial entrepreneur, investor, mentor and strategist. He is the Ernst and Young 2021 Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist and Forbes Tech Council contributor.
    Dimitri's LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dimitrisirota/ (https://www.linkedin.com/in/dimitrisirota/)
    WHAT YOU WILL DISCOVER FROM THIS EPISODE:
    How Dimitri’s appreciation of science fiction has influenced his entrepreneurial journey and leadership approach.
    How being an immigrant has given him drive to succeed.
    The “Immigrant Mentality” that provides drive.
    Should business schools require science fiction reading?
    The “King of All Data”.
    What makes working with BigID so special.
    His top strategy for raising capital!
    Why so much talent is going into startups versus other industries.
    How to know if an executive team is a great start-up investment.
    How CEO’s tell a good story.
    How to up your story telling game as a leader.
    The “Elon Musk” strategy for telling a compelling story.
    What happened when Jeff Bezos shared his origin story.
    Why stories are such a powerful communication tool for leaders.
    How you can earn credibility.
    How he established his company's culture based on the performance of ONE employee.
    QUOTES:
    For entrepreneurship: “You have to have an imagination.”
    Key point for raising capital, “Recognize that many investors want to be first,” and “You must learn to tell the story.”
    “Are they able to communicate a compelling story? What’s their plan to win? Why this team?”
    RESOURCES:
    Frank Herbert's Dune
    Isaac Asimov's Foundation
    Joseph Campell’s The Hero’s Journey
    Nancy Duarte's Resonate
    Homer
    -------------------
    https://www.benfanning.com/the-ceo-sessions/ (Apply to be on the show)
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    • 44 min
    Amanda Eisel, CEO of Zelis - How Leaders Achieve Work-Life Balance and Career Advancement -

    Amanda Eisel, CEO of Zelis - How Leaders Achieve Work-Life Balance and Career Advancement -

    Leaders are often torn between prioritizing their careers and neglecting family life or going all-in on family and not pursuing their career dream. Yes, this does apply to both women men; but only 8% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women, so this is an even bigger obstacle for them.
    This challenge creates a no-win situation for female executives who want work-life balance and the best of both worlds -- a fulfilling family life and a meaningful career.
    Today you’ll hear from CEO of Zelis, Amanda Eisel who is a successful executive with some helpful strategies to address the problem of balance between work and home.
    This one's for all of you who are looking for a little bit of inspiration and guidance when it comes time to take your family and career dreams seriously.
    Zelis is the leading payments provider in Healthcare. They partner with more than 700 payers, including the top-5 national health plans, Blues plans, regional health plans, TPAs and self-insured employers, 1.5 million providers and millions of members, enabling the healthcare industry to pay for care with care.
    Amanda has 20 years of experience in strategic consulting and investment management at the intersection of healthcare and technology.
    In her most recent role as an Operating Partner at Bain Capital, Amanda has played a leadership role in Zelis’ growth, operational, and talent strategies. Prior to joining Bain Capital, she was a consultant at McKinsey and Company, where she spent nearly a decade advising consumer companies.

    Amanda's LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amanda-eisel-80b6437/ (https://www.linkedin.com/in/amanda-eisel-80b6437/)

    WHAT YOU WILL DISCOVER FROM THIS EPISODE:
    The BIG Decision to take on the CEO role as a mother of three children.
    Making the trade-offs as Mom versus CEO.
    Balancing your personal calendar versus professional calendar.
    Find the work-life balance.
    "Mindful Mommying“.
    Getting feedback.
    How to go from consultant to CEO of a company.
    The leadership moment her mettle was tested.
    How to respond when you’re given a project “that will break you”.
    Why you must get a mentor and how to do it.
    What to do when you’re the only woman in the room.
    What makes working at Zelis so special.
    The two traits she’d instill in every employee--assuming positive intent and asking ”why”?
    Addressing the painful churn of employee turnover.
    A twist in her career that led to her success down the road.
    QUOTES:
    “You must get comfortable with ambiguity. Learn to embrace and love it.”
    “If you keep getting after it, you’ll eventually find your path.”
    “Assume positive intent.”
    “Ask Why!”
    -------------------
    https://www.benfanning.com/the-ceo-sessions/ (Apply to be on the show)
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    • 36 min
    SAP COO Meaghan Riley on How to Get Promoted at Work (Non-Linear Career Path Strategy)

    SAP COO Meaghan Riley on How to Get Promoted at Work (Non-Linear Career Path Strategy)

    Do you think having a non-linear career path will make it harder for you to advance in your career?
    Not everyone has a traditional career path to get to the Corner Office. Believe it or not, there are plenty of executives out there who have found success with non-linear careers. And if you're looking for advice on how to get promoted without following a well-trod path then look no further than my interview on The CEO Sessions with SAP COO of Global Strategic Segments, Meaghan Riley.
    A non-linear career path is not a death sentence. In fact recruiting employees with a broad background is an opportunity for many organizations, teams, and leaders to increase creativity, innovation, and problem solving.
    Enter Meaghan Riley, who has 20 years’ experience leading sales teams to help C-Level executives define and achieve their digital transformation objectives across a broad range of industries.
    She previously held several sales leadership roles at SAP in the North American region. Prior to joining SAP, Meaghan held roles in the strategic customer segments at Oracle, PeopleSoft, LivePerson, and Digex; receiving awards of excellence at each company. In addition to her roles in the technology sector, Meaghan served as Vice President at Sanford C. Bernstein and Co., LLC and co-founded a boutique investment bank in Latin America, providing MandA advisory services to privately held businesses, living in the region for several years.
    She holds a B.S. in Communications and Business Management from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and lives in Nashville, TN with her husband and Yorkshire terrier.

    Meaghan's LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/meaghanriley/ (https://www.linkedin.com/in/meaghanriley/)
    WHAT YOU WILL DISCOVER FROM THIS EPISODE:
    Why you should keep a statue of Wonder Woman on your desk.
    A time when a power pose paid off!
    Leadership lesson from working in a wallpaper store.
    Meaghan’s HDTV 15-minute of fame.
    A great strategy to help your team understand the bigger picture.
    The importance of becoming an entrepreneurial executive.
    What to do when you run into a “Protector of the Status Quo”.
    The two traits she’d instill in every employee…. passion and drive!
    A colorful story of when someone quit.
    A dose of inspiration from her 102 year-old grandmother.
    Why you don’t need a linear career path to get the C-Suite.
    Valuing the non-linear career path.
    Three success strategies for every employee.
    Where her love of travel came from and how it’s helped her grow personally and professionally.
    One of Meaghan’s most memorable travel experiences.
    An executive strategy to unwind.
    QUOTES:
    “Give your team the safe space to ask questions.”
    “Breadth of experience allows you to bring new ideas to the table.”
    RESOURCES:
    Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk
    HBR Idea Cast
    Adam Grant
    Simon Sinek, Start with Why
    Ted Lasso
    Miles Davis
    Art Pepper
    African American Music Museum in Nashville
    Country Music Hall of Fame
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    https://www.benfanning.com/the-ceo-sessions/ (Apply to be on the show)
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    • 44 min
    Jay Smith CIO of TracFone Wireless - How to Change a Toxic Work Culture

    Jay Smith CIO of TracFone Wireless - How to Change a Toxic Work Culture

    What can a leader do to change a toxic work culture? When you’re in this position it can feel frustrating and even hopeless. If you can’t make progress, it can lead to higher employee turnover and even threaten your goals.
    Some leaders either give up entirely on changing the culture or ram through initiatives without garnering support first... neither is a recipe for success.
    Enter my interview with Jay Smith, CIO of https://www.tracfone.com/home (TracFone Wireless). You’ll discover the key to changing a toxic work culture and a positive first step to get others on board with the changes.
    Jay's led positive change across TracFone Wireless, a company with revenues of $8B and 21M subscribers, plus World Fuel Services, NASCAR, Tyco, and CNA.
    Jay's LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamessmith/ (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamessmith/)
    WHAT YOU WILL DISCOVER FROM THIS EPISODE:
    Jay’s first job that helped him realize his career path.
    What inspired him most about his first professional job at Lockheed.
    The turning point of his career.
    What he learned running a consulting company and how it helped him become a better corporate executive.
    How to measure success when running your own company.
    Why you need to foster the “Entrepreneurial Spirit” in your team, and how to nurture it.
    Where decisions should be made in the company.
    How to change a toxic work culture.
    Why you must start small to build trust.
    Two traits to instill in every employee... humility and vulnerability.
    What happens when the senior leader asks for feedback.
    A blueprint for giving feedback to your boss and team.
    QUOTES:
    “Have the courage to take a risk and go for your dream.”
    “Create small cross-functional empowered teams that are responsible for business outcomes.“
    “Start with small ways to earn credibility and trust.”
    -------------------
    https://www.benfanning.com/the-ceo-sessions/ (Apply to be on the show)
    -------------------
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    • 43 min
    Belvedere Vodka CEO, Rodney Williams - How to Tell a Great Leadership Story

    Belvedere Vodka CEO, Rodney Williams - How to Tell a Great Leadership Story

    How often are you using your stories to help lead your team? A great leadership story narrative can inspire others to follow and commit.
    Rodney Williams, President and CEO of Belvedere Vodka, knows what it takes to tell a great leadership story, and he shares them in his interview on The CEO Sessions. You don't need fancy words -- all you need is a good understanding of the core concepts of storytelling theory and some practical tips on how to develop your own stories. And, with those two things in place, anyone can be an effective leader who inspires people around them.
    Rodney was named global head of the world’s first super-premium vodka in 2017. He encourages consumers to understand Belvedere's origins, ingredients and craft in order to understand the unique taste and character of Belvedere Vodka. This is the story of Polish rye and purified water, distilled by fire.
    He was most recently the CMO for Moet Hennessy USA's storied portfolio of iconic luxury champagne, wines and spirits brands. Rodney's tenure at Moet Hennessy began as Senior Vice President for Hennessy, where he led the brand out of decline and into record growth with a groundbreaking new strategic campaign.
    Prior to that he was in the wine business where, as SVP of Classics Brands, Jackson Family Wines, he launched the most successful new product in the company’s history; and as SVP of Robert Mondavi, Constellation Brands, oversaw the turnaround of Woodbridge.
    Rodney's LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rkw1115/ (https://www.linkedin.com/in/rkw1115/)
    https://www.belvederevodka.com/ (Belvedere Vodka)
    WHAT YOU WILL DISCOVER FROM THIS EPISODE:
    Going to Dot Com to Dot Bomb to Robert Mondavi.
    His surprising story of mistaken identity with Robert Mondavi.
    The cocktail you can make to impress any business guest.
    How you can describe vodka like a fine wine.
    How the spirits industry was challenged most during the pandemic.
    The BIG pandemic pivot he led Belvedere through, that boosted sales.
    Increasing cocktails with no bartender?
    How to use storytelling as a leader.
    Advice for storytellers who want amp up their game.
    Belvedere Vodka's Amazing Story.
    Starting your story with humor.
    The pros and cons of being a Determined Optimist!
    Where optimism comes from.
    Discovering an empathetic perspective.
    Staying connected as a remote team.
    Belvedere’s innovative approach to clean energy!
    The true passion that drives his career... problem-solving.
    How he led the charge on Batman and OnStar!
    How they are approaching the cost of employee turnover.
    How they leverage executive coaching to reduce turnover.
    A humorous story of his first week at Moet-Hennessy!
    QUOTES:
    “The fodder for great stories is already there.”
    “Storytelling is less about invention and more about excavation.”
    “The best story telling is authentic and real.”
    “If you are really passion-led, you will find a path.”
    -------------------
    https://www.benfanning.com/the-ceo-sessions/ (Apply to be on the show)
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    • 54 min
    How to Stand Out While Working Remotely - CEO of Catch Talent, Christina Lock

    How to Stand Out While Working Remotely - CEO of Catch Talent, Christina Lock

    Ever wondered how to stand out while working remotely? Working remotely can be a frustrating experience because you’re not getting “face time” with the leaders in your company. This can stunt your promotion potential.
    Enter Christina Lock, Founder and CEO of Catch Talent, a recruiting and staffing company. Christina Lock has a unique perspective on approaching this problem in a positive way. She’s seen hiring and firing in the remote world from every angle, and she has a terrific strategy for you.
    Christina is an entrepreneur and human resources executive with a proven track record of building companies and talent attraction expertise.
    As CEO of Catch Talent, Christina leads the delivery of technical recruiting services to growing technology, creative, and government contracting companies. Prior to launching Catch Talent, she was a founding member and Vice President of HR and Recruiting at SPARC, where her team hired over 300 team members in less than five years.
    Christina has also held senior leadership positions at ARAMARK and Aerotek.
    Christina serves on the boards of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, Charleston Women in Tech, Charleston Southern University JRS Coding School, and has spoken at SHRM, DIG South, Pecha Kucha, and the College of Charleston. She mentors fellow entrepreneurs, Mompreneurs and professionals through the Harbor Entrepreneur Center, Women in Tech, and Women’s Entrepreneur Group of Charleston.

    Christina’s LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christinalock/ (https://www.linkedin.com/in/christinalock/)
    Catch Talent: https://catchtalent.com/ (https://catchtalent.com/)

    WHAT YOU WILL DISCOVER FROM THIS EPISODE:
    What, recruiting is a “life skill”?
    Recruitment as a “higher calling".
    Employee engagement with Chuck Norris and bacon.
    How COVID has changed the recruiting landscape.
    The real cost of working remotely.
    How company and employee loyalty changed during the Pandemic.
    How to stand out while working remotely.
    The one trait she’d instill in every employee… ”Ownership”.
    Three success traits for every employee.
    Work-life balance strategies.
    A recruiter’s take on the cost of employee turnover.
    Insights for Mompreneurs and women in the workforce.
    HIGHLIGHTS:
    What being a recruiter teaches you:
    How to be instinctual.
    Picking up cues.
    Relating to other people.
    Being an active listener.
    QUOTES:
    “We think about recruitment as quality over quantity.”
    “Be a student of your profession.”
    “Think outside your job description.”
    When making a change as a leader “Put the person first.”
    “Turnover can be healthy for teams.”
    RESOURCES:
    https://www.amazon.com/Never-Eat-Alone-Secrets-Relationship/dp/0385512058 (Never Eat Alone )by Keith Ferrazzi
    https://www.blinkist.com/ (Blinkist)
    -------------------
    https://www.benfanning.com/the-ceo-sessions/ (Apply to be on the show)
    -------------------
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    • 40 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
28 Ratings

28 Ratings

AdamLeadership ,

Great passion for the topic

Ben brings a great passion for leadership to the podcast and has guests of interesting and diverse backgrounds. Keep it up.

Foooleduser ,

Insightful interviews

Highly recommended, I like how Ben authentically take the interviewee through the journey and share leadership nuggets with the audience

Mike Goncalves ,

Consistently great episodes!

Each episode is filled with valuable nuggests of info that Ben and his guests do a great job at conveying via their own personal stories and experiences that are personal, practical, and for the listeners benefit, actionable. Every episode seems to get better and better!

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