Welcome to a gathering place created for leaders by leaders. You will find here conversations about starting and guiding organizations, whether for-profit or nonprofit. Our name, The Whole Enchilada, refers to a leadership spirit. These are the brave, buoyant souls who go all in, dreaming of better ways to solve problems.
During season one, we address issues such as:
- The path through significant startup setbacks
- Sustaining a championship organizational culture
- Maintaining a work-life balance
In each episode, host Mitch Santala, CEO of a startup supporting the financial services industry, and his guests target two objectives: offering encouragement and providing insights to those on the sometimes foggy, often risky, and always rewarding path called leadership.
Seeing Well and Leading Well
When entrepreneurialism and academia collide, you end up with a conversation that gets to the heart of discourse in our culture. Mitch is joined by Rita Kirk in an interview that brings new perspectives to a world where communication is easy to access but hard to master.
Mitch opens the episode by asking Rita Kirk, Ph.D., Professor of Corporate Communication and Public Affairs and endowed Director at the Maguire Center for Ethics and Responsibility at Southern Methodist University about her experience in entrepreneurialism as an academician. Rita responds that teaching is the epitome of entrepreneurialism because it’s a field of solving problems for the world. She then talks about how her experience in an underwater photography class gave her a new perspective on entrepreneurialism and what it takes to succeed.
Mitch asks Rita about her top three principles of effective communication and Rita responds with insightful thoughts from both academic and personal points of view. She notes hometown hero, J. William Fulbright, as one of her role models who helped in the formation of her career goal of ending hate speech.
The pair move on to talking about common communication errors and Rita gives a surprising answer about what she sees in her students recently.
The conversation turns to Rita’s experience in the political strategy arena and a poignant story about knowing your worth. She delves into a memory about a political campaign that was destroyed from the inside out, and how corporate values cannot just be something hidden on a Web site. They must be put into practice.
Mitch asks Rita about her greatest joy and the two talk about the rather unique reading material her dad chose during her formative years, leading the conversation to the topic of failure.
Rita announces exactly what she’d like to be doing when she draws her dying breath and relays the story of William Wilberforce as an example.
The topic of Rita’s book, Hate Speech, is broached and Rita shares her personal belief on how hate is born. Mitch likens the conversation to unity versus conformity and compares it to a husband and wife who don’t agree on everything. Rita shares a story of a student who found a way to ignore the hate speech that was thrown at her.
Mitch and Rita finally get down to business discussing where to get the best Mexican food in The Big D – Dallas. Rita will be taking Mitch to Jalisco Norte in the Oak Lawn section of the city, where they will start with a Bring the Heat, a pineapple-jalapeno mixed drink. They’ll order Queso Cowboy, Osso Bucco, Milpa and Tres Leches. Rita gives a mouth-watering description of each and decides to call an Uber.
Mitch dives straight into his thoughts on Rita’s interview and Gil immediately reminds him that he hasn’t introduced the other people at the table. Mitch narrowly escapes insulting Erin’s age and, finally, the three of them, along with Isaac the Former Intern, dive into the conversation.
Gil was moved by Rita’s segment on hate speech and losing the ability to disagree respectfully. He agrees that hate speech does not make the world a better place.
Isaac notes that higher education truly is entrepreneurial because it involves the constant creation of new information. He acknowledges that there are many ways to start the journey as a lifelong learner, but says he hates that college and university get a bad rap as one of those routes.
Mitch questions Isaac’s use of the word hate in the context of this interview.
Gil chimes in about writing a thesis and the entrepreneurial spirit that must go into creating something from nothing. Mitch shares his weird but thought-provoking knowledge of teaching, knowing, and doing…and that the three aren’t always in that order.
Erin attended Southern Methodist University and says that Rita probably wondered if Erin was stalk
Lead Like A Child
Joining The Whole Enchilada this week is author Brandon Waldon, who draws on his own experiences in being an artist to give his own perspectives on the power of words and how being more childlike can enhance our experience as entrepreneurial leaders.
Mitch Santala introduces best-selling author Brandon Walden and starts by asking how the idea for his first book, Seeds and Trees, came to fruition. When discussing Brandon’s success in some areas of life while he had failures in others, Brandon mentions a childhood trauma that lead him down the pathway of self-discovery, that ended in Seeds and Trees.
The two then talk about the timeless principles of entrepreneurial leaders and Brandon says that hands down, the power of words is a principle all leaders need. He follows up with comments on kindness.
A conversation about patience leads to a bank account analogy and examples of how bad roots can creep in, to the detriment of the good roots, with Mitch comparing Hallmark Channel movies to an episode of Survivor.
Brandon comments on letting seeds grow too big, not anticipating how overgrowth can be stifling, while Mitch shares his own struggles of moving from a career in ministry to a career in business. Is commoditizing something you created akin to selling out?
Childlike dependency is discussed when Brandon tells a humorous story about his daughter’s need for help after a trip to the bathroom, leading to a conversation about complexity and simplicity.
Mitch then asks Brandon about a time when he felt like he was up against too much and wanted to quit and shares his own story about a snafu at Starbucks and how he never saw the third option that was right in front of him.
Brandon talks about his dad’s own entrepreneurial journey and about how the definition of entrepreneur is changing.
Finally, Mitch asks Brandon about his favorite Mexican food and Brandon laments the lack of white cheese queso in California. He wants to take Mitch to San Jose Mexican Restaurant, a regional chain in South Carolina. Of course, they’ll order a large bowl of white queso and Brandon suggests a taco salad. Mitch is not prepared to eat rabbit food until Brandon describes the salad in mouth-watering detail and Mitch agrees that he sounds delicious.
Gil Moegerle, Erin Pruetz, and Isaac the Former Intern join Mitch to talk about their perspectives on Brandon’s interview.
Gil is drawn to Seeds and Trees being about kindness in leadership, sharing his own story about a difficult-to-please boss who operated with anything but kindness. Isaac talks about his own journey as he starts out in creating a new social media marketing business. He places importance on creating seeds inside himself that will grow into his own, personal garden of leadership principles.
Erin is reminded of a saying that her kids came home from camp with one year and how it can be applied to life and leadership -- fear is a liar.
Mitch finishes up the episode by remarking on how small changes, like how we pose a question, can lead to big changes in what we harvest, even going back to his kids’ elementary school days and a program that highlighted kids doing good deeds around the school.
Seeds & Trees
The King’s Way of Life
San Jose Mexican Restaurants
About Our Sponsor:
Executive Scheduling Associates employs 120 professional schedulers filling the sales calendars of 500 financial wholesalers across North America. And we now provide short-term services dispositioning even
The Boulder in the Bathtub
Executive Scheduling Associates’ founder and CEO Mitch Santala talks to ER physician and entrepreneur, Jeremy Corbett, about his three start-up companies and the paths he took for each of them. The Whole Enchilada Team then discusses the interview and how it applies to their own journeys.
Mitch begins the episode by asking Jeremy about his entrepreneurial journey, taking us back to the mid-80s and a profound and oddly specific letter 13-year-old Jeremy wrote to himself.
Jeremy goes on to talk about baseball as an analogy for entrepreneurialism and Mitch asks him to further comment on the three tenets of The Whole Enchilada: the place, the path, and the person. Jeremy uses the word opaque to describe part of his path and then moves on to talk about being a physician during a worldwide pandemic – how it’s expanded, rather than restricted, his reach in helping others.
Mitch and Jeremy discuss getting to the place, or the destination, and what to do then. Jeremy even ponders if it’s right for him to continue moving even after the goal is achieved. He uses his sons’ golf course business as an example to further illustrate his point.
There’s also a humorous story about Jeremy’s dad, also a doctor, and what he said to Jeremy when he couldn’t decide if he was going to finish medical school or not. Jeremy makes a point that answers can change depending on the timing of the question.
Mitch asks Jeremy to talk about seeing a goal from concept through fruition and Jeremy gets real about his strengths and weaknesses. He makes a great point about why ice cream geniuses should not open butcher shops.
Mitch and Jeremy end their conversation on entrepreneurialism by discussing surrounding yourself with the right people, not just filling in the gaps with any old belly button.
Our signature question, “Where are we going for Mexican food and what are we having?” takes us travelling back in time to Davis Island, FL, when Estella’s Restaurant was still open. Young Jeremy and his bride are feeling the financial tightness most new marriages experience, so we order tortilla soup, guacamole, and chips…and leave the restaurant with a bill less than $11 (including tip).
Mitch is joined by Gil Moegerle, Erin Pruetz, and Isaac the Former Intern.
Mitch asks The Whole Enchilada team what stuck out of the interview for them and Erin chimes in with her experience of putting someone in a position simply because they were willing, not because they were the right fit. Gil had a similar experience when he started a band.
Isaac takes the interview very personally as someone who is just starting out in his career. He says that Jeremy’s ideas about there being more risk in not doing something than there is in not trying hits home with him, reinforcing Isaac to not stay comfortable in the dugout. He recalls Season 1 guest, Brett Collins, who said he is not afraid of the word no because “it’s not like they can eat you.”
Gil shares a story about his own failure when someone gave him capital to start a business and that while it was hard to admit defeat, he is still pleased that he gave it a shot.
Mitch ends the episode by reminding listeners that there is an entrepreneur in all of us (does he or she look like Baby Yoda?) and that there is no better way to add value to your world than by letting him or her come alive.
About Our Sponsor:
Executive Scheduling Associates employs 120 professional schedulers filling the sales calendars of 500 financial wholesalers across North America. And we now provide short-term services dispositioning event and cold contact lists. Ask us for details at esasolutions.com.
Subscribe to our podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google, and Stitcher.
Website Facebook Instagram LinkedIn Twitter
Risk, Potential, and a Classic Chicken Sandwich
Start-up CEO Mitch Santala talks to Elizabeth Dixon, the Principle Lead of Strategy, Hospitality, and Service Design at Chick-fil-A about her entrepreneurial background and the leadership principles that guide both her career and her personal life.
Gil Moegerle starts Season Two off with a recap of Season One, where financial executive Brett explained the power of “No,” followed by PR practitioner, Jamie, reminding us that, “If your company sucks, PR is not your problem.” We’re also reminded of Kimberly Thompson who loudly proclaimed her desire to bathe in the white queso dip of her very favorite boujie Mexican food restaurant.
Mitch Santala then introduced the audience to entrepreneur and leader, Elizabeth Dixon, diving right into asking her how she defines an entrepreneur. Elizabeth’s thoughtful answer includes a quote from Henry David Thoreau and the importance of working toward something bigger than yourself. She makes a point to mention that we should always add value to others.
Mitch follows up by asking Elizabeth about the first time she realized she was an entrepreneur and Elizabeth gives a great story from her freshman year in college. Billy Blanks’ Tae Bo, some hazardous conditions, and a non-existent wrestling team are all that it took to get her first small business off the ground.
Mitch expands on Elizabeth’s experience by commenting on how she took the initiative to get the project started. She had an idea, she solved the problem…then she asked for help. Elizabeth continues the conversation about taking one step at a time, citing the story of how Netflix was born from a bad experience with late fees.
The topic shifts to branding when Mitch asks Elizabeth about raising kids to create their own brand. Elizabeth quips that kids are sponges and that we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about entrepreneurial concepts with them while they are young. She says that being your own brand is your authenticity and talks about paycheck vs purpose.
Mitch also brings up best practices in innovation and customer loyalty and Elizabeth proudly notes that innovation is decentralized at Chick-Fil-A. She explains that customer expectations are always evolving and likens the lack of innovation in business to the Sports Illustrated effect for athletes. Mitch agrees that hubris should not get in the way, because that’s where innovation dies.
The two discuss the difference between side hustles and side hassles and the struggle that comes with being an entrepreneur – they’re always building or creating something. If you don’t give them something to do…watch out. Mitch and Elizabeth also agree on maintaining the health of your priorities before you start down an additional path.
Anyone who loves Chick-Fil-A, will get a kick out of the “My Pleasure” origin story that Elizabeth shares and, taking inspiration from Kanye West, Elizabeth describes the restaurant’s Number One with a lemonade and the unique, chaste relationship the pickles have.
Finally, Mitch asks our signature question: Where are we going for Mexican food and what are we having. Elizabeth doesn’t hesitate to answer Taqueria del Sol, local Atlanta chain. They have a simple menu of six types of tacos, enchiladas, and sides and Elizabeth orders the pulled pork Carnitas. Mitch says he’ll try one of those, too, with an additional carne asada for the heck of it.
In true Chick-fil-A form, Mitch thanks Elizabeth for being on the show and she responds with, “My pleasure.”
The Infinite Game by Simon Cynic
How the Mighty Fall by Jim Collins
Season 1 Intermission
Sit back and enjoy a moment while we reminisce about some of the more spontaneous moments of our premiere season and give you a preview of what's coming in Season 2, launching in March 2021.
Part 4 - Leading Through Change (Mini Series)
The power of presence and the importance of slowing down to serve others in an otherwise hectic and fast-paced business…and a chaotic sales environment. Mitch Santala talks to a 25-year financial industry veteran who believes that in the middle of a sudden, unexpected change, you have to take time to slow down.
Mitch begins by recapping our four-episode mini-series, recalling Brett from Episode 1 who talked about how change can be a good thing. Episode 2 was Brad who said he gained clarity when COVID hit and his business environment changed drastically. And Episode 3 featured Karen who told us about her shift into survival leadership mode, where she put some tried-and-true practices in place and forged ahead with new vision.
Mitch then introduces our Episode 4 guest. He asked to remain nameless but is a 25-year veteran in the financial industry, focusing on long term care. He’s also been an ESA client for ten years.
Our guest begins by sharing his outlook on life and how he keeps it positive. He talks about how he plans his strategies through but that he’s found that one tactic that is especially important in times of change: presence.
Mitch comments on our guest’s philosophy of presence, even bringing in the sage advice of Guns n’ Roses. In a fast-paced business environment, we have to take the time to be present with our colleagues, friends, and families. He mentions author Celeste Headlee and her book We Need to Talk, in which she goes through a few key points on what we can do to be more present for others’ in our lives.
There’s also some great lessons that can be learned from chickens and Mitch shares his experience on how hens act (and don’t act) when there is a rooster around.
Finally, Gil turns the table, so to speak, and asks ESA’s Director of Communications, Erin Pruetz, about her favorite Mexican restaurant. A long-time resident of San Antonio, Erin says that she has her pick of great Mexican food, but that Aldaco’s is the place to go, where ceviche and chicken enchiladas divorciadas are two must-order dishes.
Celeste Headlee, We Need to Talk
Aldaco’s Mexican Cuisine
Whole Enchilada Socks
Subscribe to our podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google, and Stitcher.
Website Facebook Instagram LinkedIn Twitter
Loved the content! Great podcast!
Just finished listening to the 10 & 0 episode and definitely will come back for more. Loved the subject discussed and thought that it was well put together. 👍🏽👍🏽
Can’t recommend enough!
Mitch is a fantastic host and does a masterful job of asking engaging questions to his guests. The Whole Enchilada captures the stories, philosophies, and views of the people who truly showcase the spirit of leadership and entrepreneurialism. Listening came easy and kept me engaged, not to mention motivated me to refocus on my leadership aspirations. I highly recommend giving this podcast a shot.
Mitch is a great host and leader! Every guest he has had seem to be at the top of their game! He’s had leaders and entrepreneurs from several different realms! I love it! Keep bringing the fantastic content! I’d highly recommend this podcast to anyone who is an entrepreneur or leading in their field. I’m a gym owner and it’s perfect!