161 episodes

Leading with excellence is not something that happens overnight. Join Brad Formsma, best-selling author and a Forbes top-rated leadership speaker, as he dives in to uncover the extraordinary stories of failures and triumphs of other successful leaders in business and beyond. The Wow Factor strives to empower the journey of business leaders through raw conversations and uncovered stories of today’s thought leaders. This podcast will also help you discover the words of wisdom to inspire a team of any size, spark a culture of generosity and innovation, and lead with excellence. For extended insights and podcast show notes, go to https://www.thewowfactorpodcast.com

The Wow Factor Brad Formsma

    • Business
    • 4.9 • 169 Ratings

Leading with excellence is not something that happens overnight. Join Brad Formsma, best-selling author and a Forbes top-rated leadership speaker, as he dives in to uncover the extraordinary stories of failures and triumphs of other successful leaders in business and beyond. The Wow Factor strives to empower the journey of business leaders through raw conversations and uncovered stories of today’s thought leaders. This podcast will also help you discover the words of wisdom to inspire a team of any size, spark a culture of generosity and innovation, and lead with excellence. For extended insights and podcast show notes, go to https://www.thewowfactorpodcast.com

    Kendra VanderMeulen: CEO of National Christian Foundation | The Art of Biblical Generosity

    Kendra VanderMeulen: CEO of National Christian Foundation | The Art of Biblical Generosity

    Kendra VanderMeulen is the CEO of the National Christian Foundation, the largest Christian grantmaker in the world. The team at NCF mobilizes resources and inspires Biblical generosity, serving thousands of families, advisors, and ministries nationwide. Previously, Kendra served as the President of the National Christian Foundation Northwest, where she loved growing in her Journey of Generosity and helping those she served to do the same. Kendra received the Distinguished Alumna award in 1990 from the College of Engineering and is the recipient of the 1999 Catherine B. Cleary award as the outstanding woman leader of AT&T. She was also recently recognized by C3 Leaders with the Ralph Palmen High Ground Award.
     
    Kendra joins me on The Wow Factor this week to talk all about her leadership journey and how her path led her to the Lord, who still accompanies her on her path. She describes how she moved up the career ladder, making a pivot into the technology space en route, but why ultimately, taking some time off gave her the space to really think about what she wanted to do in life. Kendra also shares the details of her work at the National Christian Foundation (NCF) and the joy she finds in helping others to live generously.
     
    “I spent two years trying just walking with the Lord learning how to practice silence and solitude.” - Kendra VanderMeulen
     
    “Our mission is to mobilize resources and inspire biblical generosity.” - Kendra VanderMeulen
     
    “We get to see lives changed for the givers, we get to see lives changed for the organizations they send the money to, and we get to see our own lives changed as a result.” - Kendra VanderMeulen
     
    This Week on The Wow Factor:
    Kendra’s childhood and teenage years in competitive swimming How she found her way into the world of technology The challenges of moving up the career ladder with a very young family When Kendra came to know the Lord and why that relationship was so meaningful in the moment Some of the technological innovations that Kendra has been part of What prompted Kendra to request a sabbatical, and how her time away from work helped her gain clarity How the generous giving conference energized Kendra and introduced her to so many different experiences and questions What is National Christian Foundation (NCF), and how they make it easier for people to deploy resources for God's work How donor-advised funds help givers mobilize resources and inspire biblical generosity  
    Kendra VanderMeulen’s Word of Wisdom:
    You need to find space in your life for the Lord. There's there needs to be an hour in the morning that's focused on Him and what He has to say so that you can move forward according to His Word.
     
    Connect with Kendra VanderMeulen:
    Kendra VanderMeulen on LinkedIn  
    Connect with The WOW Factor:
    The WOW Factor Website Connect with Brad Formsma via email Brad Formsma on LinkedIn Brad Formsma on Instagram Brad Formsma on Facebook Brad Formsma on Twitter

    • 49 min
    Allen Morris: Chairman & CEO at The Allen Morris Company | Why Growing in Your Personal Life Can Help You in Your Professional Life

    Allen Morris: Chairman & CEO at The Allen Morris Company | Why Growing in Your Personal Life Can Help You in Your Professional Life

    Allen Morris joined his father at The Allen Morris Company in 1980 at the age of 28. Since then, his company has developed 85+ successful award-winning commercial and mixed-use projects with $8.025 billion in business volume. Their portfolio of development projects includes the Florida headquarters for AT&T and multiple district headquarters for Bell South, Florida Power and Light, IBM, Unisys, International Harvester, General Motors Acceptance Corporation, and Lockheed Martin, amongst others. Allen believes his company's legacy of success is due to its unwavering commitment to placing the client's needs first, guaranteeing satisfaction, and delivering what they promise.
     
    I’m excited to be talking to Allen about his recently published book, All In: How to Risk Everything for Everything that Matters, which he wrote as a roadmap for how men can achieve greater effectiveness, fulfillment, and influence when they allow themselves to be vulnerable. He shares what happened when he had a serious accident flying an airplane and why it inspired him to really make his life count. Allen also discusses the connection between old wounds and intense emotions and why understanding that connection is so impactful for inspiring leaders.
     
    “I should not have survived an engine failure at night in an airplane over a wooded residential area — and it gave me a seriousness about wanting to really make my life count and to use my days as best I could.” - Allen Morris
     
    “We can lose our connection to the truth about ourselves and those around us because we've shut out our awareness of emotions.” - Allen Morris
     
    “Old Wounds and intense emotions have a profound, lifelong influence on our lives that we may not realize.” - Allen Morris
     
     This Week on The Wow Factor:
    Why Allen found his calling in the family business despite initially seeing it as a stepping stone to other opportunities How Allen’s father built the Allen Morris Company How the business has grown and evolved over the years Some obstacles to a leader’s personal success and what Allen has learned from his own leadership experience How Allen got burned out when he overcommitted, the physical symptoms it produced, and how he got to the heart of the issue Why our subconscious is actually outside of our everyday awareness Allen’s experience of going to AA meetings and how they helped him despite him NOT being an alcoholic The value Allen finds in taking part in a circle of grace, creating a space of safety, and being honest with no judgment Why people can be so defensive about change  
    Allen Morris’ Word of Wisdom:
     Anyone aspiring to be an influential leader understands that it's got to start with you. You need to discover what is holding you back personally and where you can grow more deeply and find more freedom in your personal life because what happens there will be reflected in your business.
     
    Connect with Allen Morris:
    The Allen Morris Company Website all in: how to risk everything for everything that matters by W. Allen Morris All in Leaders Website  
    Connect with The WOW Factor:
    The WOW Factor Website Connect with Brad Formsma via email Brad Formsma on LinkedIn Brad Formsma on Instagram Brad Formsma on Facebook Brad Formsma on Twitter  

    • 53 min
    Jeff Reeter: Managing Partner for Northwestern Mutual | Making a Difference in the Lives of Others

    Jeff Reeter: Managing Partner for Northwestern Mutual | Making a Difference in the Lives of Others

    Managing Partner for Northwestern Mutual – Houston Jeff Reeter pursues life by design as an entrepreneur, servant leader, and strategist. His mission in organizational leadership is wholly developing teams of champions dedicated to excellence in serving others. Jeff is married to Cindy and enjoys outdoor adventures and spending time at the Reeter Ranch with family and friends.
     
    Jeff is on the podcast this week to discuss what it means to be a good leader and why he wanted to write Do Life Differently: A Strategic Path Toward Extraordinary to help others live a prosperous and rewarding life by being their authentic selves. He shares what it means to be a mentor to your people and the importance of building your team up and helping them believe in themselves. Jeff also talks about how he finds the right people to join his team by ensuring they understand the heartbeat of Northwestern Mutual and the culture there.
     
    “Seek first to serve and love and care and matter and make a difference and be a catalyst in the life of another person.” - Jeff Reeter
     
    “We hire smart heads, but the final decision on who joins the firm has to do with hearts.” - Jeff Reeter
     
    “Fear may be the most common, but love is the most powerful.” - Jeff Reeter
     
    This Week on The Wow Factor:
    Why Jeff chose to become a life insurance agent at Northwestern Mutual straight out of college Jeff’s story of his interaction with a colleague's father and his revelation about what it means to others to have good leaders Why we should pray in the good leaders and learn from the bad ones How to ask God to guide us and stay in his footprints better as leaders Why your best investment is to bet on yourself rather than placing your faith in external factors Remember that you need to remind, speak over, and encourage your team Jeff prioritizes heart in prospective employees - because he can help them with training and head knowledge, but he can’t change their fundamental attitudes How to support people who have fear and doubt creeping in What Ranch Reboot is and how it helps men pursue God in a powerful, abundant way Why writing the book Do Life Differently: A Strategic Path Toward Extraordinary was such a labor of love for Jeff  
    Jeff Reeter’s Word of Wisdom:
     We, as leaders, need to reject passivity. Leaders should become comfortable being uncomfortable. I've got an acronym that I love. Best bold hope - balance, excellence, service, and truth, then be, own, love, and do, and finally help, others, pursue, extraordinary.
     
    Connect with Jeff Reeter:
    Jeff Reeter on LinkedIn Do Life Differently: A Strategic Path Toward Extraordinary by Jeff Reeter  
    Connect with The WOW Factor:
    The WOW Factor Website Connect with Brad Formsma via email Brad Formsma on LinkedIn Brad Formsma on Instagram Brad Formsma on Facebook Brad Formsma on Twitter  

    • 37 min
    Jeff Jackel and Jay O’Brien: Co-Founders of Client Giant | Automating Thoughtful Gift-Giving

    Jeff Jackel and Jay O’Brien: Co-Founders of Client Giant | Automating Thoughtful Gift-Giving

    Jeff Jackel is Co-Founder, and Chief Strategy Officer of Client Giant, a tech-enabled client care and concierge service helping business owners and operators in the USA and Canada drive unparalleled repeat and referral business. As Client Giant's co-founder and Chief Day Maker, Jay O’Brien is dedicated to delivering unparalleled client experiences, acts of employee appreciation, and making people's days on behalf of business owners across a broad spectrum of industries.
     
    Jeff and Jay of Client Giant are with me on the show to share how they got connected and why they were inspired to move into the gift-giving space. They discuss the importance of investing in repeat and referral business rather than using a scattergun marketing approach of handing out tacky branded swag. We also dive into how the Client Giant gifting process works, how they decide what gifts and experiences to offer, and where their new opportunities lie.
     
    “Step one is recognizing that it's your ethos, and your personal way of doing things to treat people well and to care more about relationships than transactions.” - Jeff Jackel
     
    “I believe most people are still missing the mark in truly knowing what a thoughtful gift isn’t— it's not pointing directly back to themselves as the gifter.” - Jay O’Brien
     
    “We create moments for your clients that are more impactful than you could do on your own.” - Jeff Jackel
     
    This Week on The Wow Factor:
    How the pair moved into automated thoughtfulness and scaled it Why it takes a lot of time and effort to understand what kind of thank you gift to give How Jeff and Jay have successfully navigated their partnership The importance of feedback from early adopters Some of their early learning curve moments Who Client Giant helps and how they help customers give thoughtfully What kind of experiences and gifts Client Giant offers, and why they have different tiers Why they’re so specific about every aspect of the experience - including the gift bag Some of the gift options that have bombed and what they have learned from that experience Touchpoints that Client Giant can cover for their clients that proactively solve pain points Industries that Client Giant work in New opportunities for Client Giant, including employee happiness  
    Jeff Jackel’s Word of Wisdom:
    Business leaders need to understand that growing a relationship with a smaller number of people will ultimately be more fruitful than hitting the absolute masses and doing what everybody else is doing.
     
    Jay O’Brien’s Word of Wisdom:
    My advice to any business owner is to constantly reevaluate each new strategy and decision by taking off your business owner hat and putting on your consumer hat.
     
    Connect with Client Giant:
    Client Giant Website Jay O'Brien on LinkedIn Jeff Jackel on LinkedIn Special promo on Top of Mind service clientgiant.com/wow  
    Connect with The WOW Factor:
    The WOW Factor Website Connect with Brad Formsma via email Brad Formsma on LinkedIn Brad Formsma on Instagram Brad Formsma on Facebook Brad Formsma on Twitter

    • 43 min
    Phil Cooke: Founder and CEO of Cooke Media Group | God Fired Me So I Could Do Better Things

    Phil Cooke: Founder and CEO of Cooke Media Group | God Fired Me So I Could Do Better Things

    Phil Cooke works at the intersection of faith, media, and culture, and he’s pretty rare – a working producer in Hollywood with a Ph.D. in Theology. His client list has included studios and networks like Walt Disney, Dreamworks, and USA Network, as well as major Christian organizations from Voice of the Martyrs, The Museum of the Bible, The Salvation Army, The YouVersion Bible app, to many of the most respected churches in the country. He’s produced TV and film programming in more than 60 countries worldwide, and in the process, been shot at, survived two military coups, fallen out of a helicopter, and been threatened with prison. And during that time – through his company Cooke Media Group in Los Angeles, California – he’s helped some of the largest Christian and nonprofit organizations in the world use the media to tell their story in a changing, disrupted culture. Phil is also a successful author, and his most recent book, Ideas on a Deadline: How to Be Creative When the Clock is Ticking, is the definitive book for creative people who have to deliver breakthrough ideas on demand.
     
    I’m excited to have Phil on The Wow Factor to share how a chance encounter with a fellow college student inspired him to major in film and start the journey he’s currently on. We discuss the intersection between creativity and leadership and how to cultivate your talents so you can serve others to the best of your ability. Phil also shares his insights on the importance of developing the right mindset and the importance of self-reflection.
     
    “Ideas are the most fragile thing in the world — and if you don't write them down, you'll forget them.” - Phil Cooke
     
    “The truth is, if your no has no meaning, your yes has no meaning.” - Phil Cooke
     
    “If you're comparing yourself to other leaders, I urge you to bail. Get out of there quick because it's just not going to help.” - Phil Cooke
     
    This Week on The Wow Factor:
    Why Phil feels God fired him to inspire him Why he feels so privileged to be working with nonprofit organizations, such as The Salvation Army and Global Water Mission, to tell their story The importance of having the mindset Phil shares more about his latest book and why he was inspired to help people stop being afraid of deadlines Why Phil believes we’re all born creative Why sometimes you have to say no to make things happen Some of the lies we convince ourselves are true and how to recognize them Why we need to stop working on our weaknesses and start focusing on what we're good at Why feedback is a gift and how to be gently honest with people in a motivating way Why you should block time in your calendar for thinking and reflecting Tools Phil uses to write down and record his thoughts and ideas  
    Phil Cooke’s Word of Wisdom:
    I encourage leaders to look at their creative team a little bit differently and understand that they can take your message and multiply it in ways you would never dream of. Creativity is the currency of this generation, and we need to value it because it's what will help us get to the next level.
     
    Connect with Phil Cooke:
    Phil Cooke's Website Phil Cooke on LinkedIn  
    Connect with The WOW Factor:
    The WOW Factor Website Connect with Brad Formsma via email Brad Formsma on LinkedIn Brad Formsma on Instagram Brad Formsma on Facebook Brad Formsma on Twitter  

    • 49 min
    Pat Hord: President of Hord Family Farms | Watering the Roots of Your Culture Tree

    Pat Hord: President of Hord Family Farms | Watering the Roots of Your Culture Tree

    The Hord family is in its 5th generation of family farming, with over 100 years of farming heritage. Located in North-central Ohio, Hord Livestock and Family Farms is a pig, cow, and grain farm. Their team of talented individuals and growing partners strive to raise our animals with care and utilize modern and advanced farming practices to be efficient and sustainable. Professionally, Pat serves as President of Hord Family Farms, and outside of the business, he also serves on several advisory committees for non-profit organizations and is actively involved in the county and local economic development initiatives.
     
    Pat Hord is on the podcast this week to discuss how Hord Family Farms changed as it moved from one generation to the next and the importance of appreciating that each new steward of the business has to have ownership of their own initiatives. We also explore how Pat’s relationship with God informs his role as a leader and supports him in empowering his people to achieve. Pat also describes Hord Family Farms’ vision of their culture as being like a tree that exemplifies their company's mission and vision.
     
    “We as leaders really need to listen.” - Pat Hord
     
    “Our relationship with Christ is the ultimate identity that we need to have.” - Pat Hord
     
    “Each one of us as children of God is supposed to use what He's given us.” - Pat Hord
     
    This Week on The Wow Factor:
    What Pat learned from tagging along behind his grandfather as a child on the farm Why Pat is committed to being a lifelong learner The devastating event that triggered a change in Pat’s relationship with God The idea of stewardship and why it’s so important to understand how to protect your business for the future Why Pat views his leadership through the lens of being a follower of Jesus How the National Christian Foundation has helped Pat get another perspective on what it is to be generous and how it plays out in his business today The Hord Family Farms company culture and why the qualities of trust and innovation are a critical part of bringing people onto the team Why Pat looks for people who are empowering other people How Pat became involved with the Lifewise Academy and how they provide Bible-based character education in public schools Where listeners can taste a Hord Family Farm pork chop  
    Pat Hord’s Word of Wisdom:
    In our very noisy world today, there are so many things coming at us, so to really value somebody enough to listen and actively listen to what they're saying is invaluable in a leader.
     
    Connect with Pat Hord:  
    Hord Family Farms Website Pat Hord on LinkedIn Lifewise Academy Website  
    Connect with The WOW Factor:
    The WOW Factor Website Connect with Brad Formsma via email Brad Formsma on LinkedIn Brad Formsma on Instagram Brad Formsma on Facebook Brad Formsma on Twitter  

    • 34 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
169 Ratings

169 Ratings

jclark007 ,

Quality conversations and audio!

Just listened to the Norton Rainey episode - it was fantastic, and I don’t say that just because I’m a huge Norton fan. The audio quality is great and the conversation was natural, insightful and interesting.

daniamarques ,

Outstanding Leadership Podcast

This podcast always has extremely valuable insights regarding leadership!

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