31 episodes

What's Your Story is a podcast dedicated to helping business leaders use storytelling to improve the impact of spoken communications within their organizations. If you’re looking to learn communication and storytelling strategies, as well as best practices from leadership and talent development experts, this is the show for you.

Each episode features an interview with an executive or thought leader, discussing topics like: effective storytelling, executive presence, influencing others, corporate communication, leadership and talent development and more.

The What's Your Story podcast is hosted by Sally Williamson and brought to you by SW&A.

What's Your Story: How Leaders Tell Stories to Influence and Connect with Audiences Sally Williamson & Associates

    • Business
    • 4.8 • 13 Ratings

What's Your Story is a podcast dedicated to helping business leaders use storytelling to improve the impact of spoken communications within their organizations. If you’re looking to learn communication and storytelling strategies, as well as best practices from leadership and talent development experts, this is the show for you.

Each episode features an interview with an executive or thought leader, discussing topics like: effective storytelling, executive presence, influencing others, corporate communication, leadership and talent development and more.

The What's Your Story podcast is hosted by Sally Williamson and brought to you by SW&A.

    Reigniting Ideas & Strategies with Teams with Keith Wilmot

    Reigniting Ideas & Strategies with Teams with Keith Wilmot

    It’s safe to say we all wish we could wake up every day and bring everything we have to the roles we’re in. Each day would be a new day, every agenda a clean slate. But the reality is that many of us are in roles that are a little messier than that.
    So messy in fact that getting to new ideas or exploring an out-of-the-box concept isn’t easy. In fact, with a pile of problems and challenges in our every day, new ideas can feel impossible.
    Unless you’ve spent time with Keith Wilmot.
    In our latest episode of What’s Your Story, Sally talks with Keith about how his agency, Ignitor, helps leaders and their teams get unstuck by blending process and creativity to release new ideas and broaden the lens on most situations. And he also has a wild story to share about his own experience with getting unstuck.
    More about Keith Wilmot
    Keith’s successful career spans over two decades of leading innovation and creativity for global brands such as Coca-Cola, Listerine, Neosporin, Brach's Candy and many more. Keith has extensive experience in global, publicly traded organizations, as well as leading small, privately held firms. He is described by his team as a student of leadership and disciplined operator with a unique skill-set of money and magic.
    Show Notes

    Coca-Cola Company - coca-colacompany.com Built an internal agency called Ignitor  Built innovation capability, behaviors, and mindset shifts in the organization to allow creativity to happen inside the organization.  McDonald's mcdonalds.com Nandos nandos.com Mercedes-Benz mercedes-benz.com The first company to create the crash dummy and the crash dummy process Leaders get stuck in some core behaviors and mindsets that force certain types of processes and operations and organizations. Impact efficiency  Impact teams and organization  If they're not intentional about breaking those patterns and looking differently at their organization, those areas of getting stuck can be pretty damaging to an organization. Decentralization of the innovation strategy - a decentralized approach to creativity in an organization and innovation, meaning that every single person that's in your organization is responsible for and owns the innovation agenda of the company Virtual vs In Office workers Ignitor believes it's about engagement and collaboration, If meeting in person teams must make meetings more intentional. If teams are going back into the office, you've got a whole new cultural challenge. Salesforce salesforce.com It’s important to make sure companies are still bringing people face-to-face.  How to clarify the challenge, and how do to clarify what you're trying to solve for? Several tools that go into helping organizations, brands, people, and leaders better clarify the challenge.  Insight and finding insight in places that you normally wouldn't find.  Suite of eight behaviors and six mindsets that accelerate collaboration, and innovation creativity in the teams and the organization.  Growth mindset, and it's the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset.  What are the most important initiatives?  What are the initiatives that we believe are going to deliver the most value?  Coca-Cola Red coca-colacompany.com/press-releases/coca-cola-and-red-inspire-people-to-move The worst place for an HR leader in an organization to be is in their office.  Why hiring a group like Ignitor for offsite and onsite training is more effective than having the leader of the organization add it to their list? Norwegian Cruise Lines norwegianvoyages.com We're innovators that are powered by inspiration that powers us, but we're measured by the realization of ideas. So a team has to come to a point where whatever they create together has got an output, and has an impact on the organization. When did  Ignitor fail an organization?  Ronald McDonald House charities org Animal Kingdom Lodge - disney.go.com/destinations/animal-kingdom "What is your 600-pound w

    • 47 min
    Talent, Data & People - The Strategic CHRO with Kim Sullivan

    Talent, Data & People - The Strategic CHRO with Kim Sullivan

    We all faced new dynamics and uncharted waters as managers and leaders navigating a pandemic, social unrest and different ways of working. But if you considered the corporate role that felt the most impact, the CHRO, Chief Human Resources Officer, would rank high in terms of the toughest leadership positions over the last few years.
    And that's why this episode is so timely. In this episode, Sally talks to Kim Sullivan, who has been an HR leader for three global companies and a CHRO for more than six years which means pre-pandemic, post-pandemic and during the pandemic, giving her great perspective and comparison. Tune in to hear Kim's take on today’s leaders, employees, company cultures, and perhaps a few insights on expectations that all of us need to adapt to.
    More about Kim Sullivan:
    With more than 20 years in the HR industry, Kim Sullivan has had an extensive career, including a mix of strong business acumen and the desire to develop people, while also identifying the business drivers and complex issues of every organization she’s worked with. She has experience modernizing the People Solutions (HR) function by implementing new HR service delivery models; redesigning, eliminating, and repositioning roles; and implementing a digital HR strategy to address short and long-term business needs. Kim is a thought leader in all things transformation, including organizational culture. She is passionate about elevating HR team performance to ensure people and culture strategies enable a company’s value agenda. She holds a master's degree in Human Resources Development from the University of Houston and a bachelor's degree in Speech Communications and Organizational Psychology from Texas Southern University.
    Show Notes:
    CHRO - Chief Human Resources Officer What has been the change of the CHRO role over the years? Typically tucked under the CFO There is a heightened need for the CHRO role to be at the table helping to make decisions that support the stratic outcomes for the business CHRO in the Global pandemic Continued to reflect on the overwhelming impact on the world Defining digital transformation Moving people from worksites to their homes in three weeks or less Keeping the lights on CHRO continues to learn from March 2020 Essential skills to be a CHRO Understanding the business and how to business makes money How to solve problems that positively impact the organization's business goal Understanding what are the people implications and cultural implications Must be talent savvy, biz savvy, data-savvy - how do you use data to make decisions Coaching and advising the leadership team Engage with leadership and with the frontline staff Employee Experience - everything a worker learns, does, sees, and feels at each stage of the employee lifecycle. How do companies define reset? Hybrid/ Virtual work Plan what the "return to the office" looks like for their organization dependent on the organization and employees People value flexibility - What is the why, and when should they come together? What happens when they get there? Define what roles should be remote, in-person, or hybrid. Mid to senior career-level workers feel more productive and focused at home; recent graduates want more in-person networking opportunities but do not want to be in the office every day How to define what is valued as work-life integration? Collect data to find what is the desired work style Use that data to establish the workplace strategy Leadership is culture; culture is leadership. Be deliberate about the culture you want to create and who you are as a company. Clearly define your values and be intentional about when you come together. Define what your employee's role is, make sure to check in with them, and have systems in place to support them. Mirror what you say you do as an organization at all levels of the company. Management needs to be international and consistent. Stay visible even in remote settings. Make sure

    • 57 min
    Getting Down to Business with Kim Wilson of Lucy's Market

    Getting Down to Business with Kim Wilson of Lucy's Market

    Small businesses have gotten a lot of visibility over the last two years. As the world slowed down and dealt with a pandemic, we were more aware of the businesses on the corner that weren’t focused on five-year plans but were focused on next months’ payroll to survive. It brought front and center a look at how small businesses work and interestingly, as the world reset, it seemed to inspire a whole new culture of entrepreneurs and people who’d like to be their own boss. But running a small business isn’t for the faint of heart. As the last two years have proven, the safety net looks very different for a small business than it does for a big company. And as we move beyond worries and reset with opportunities, we thought it would be fun to talk to a small business about success, resets and lessons learned.
    If you’re in Atlanta, it won’t surprise you that we went straight to Lucy’s Market to talk to Kim Wilson. But if you’re listening from another city, here’s what you should know.
    Lucy’s Market is the special place in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta where you go for fresh vegetables and leave with the makings of a party. Or you dash in for a bottle of wine and a favorite cheese and leave with the serving pieces that make it look like you worked harder than you did to create a setting. It’s a local spot with warmth, charm, a little spunk… an expanded list of offerings that seem to have evolved effortlessly over the years.
    In this episode, Sally talks with Kim Wilson, thefounder of Lucy’s Market. Kim shares her story and more about what it took to build Lucy’s Market.
    More about Karen Kim Wilson 
    Kim Wilson has always had a passion for fresh produce and florals, spending a number of years growing an extensive vegetable garden in her backyard. However, she never considered evolving that passion into a career until she was ready for a change after working in advertising sales for over 25 years. At the same time, a gas station was abandoned on Roswell Road in the heart of Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood. Kim took over the space in 2009 and turned it into a farmer’s market, establishing Lucy’s Market. The market’s growth ultimately led Kim to move it inside the gas station before expanding and moving to another location. In 2017, Kim relocated to where the market stands today. Named after Kim’s love for her grandmother and daughter, Lucy’s Market still carries the same deep roots and many of the same customers since the early days. Over the past 12 years, Lucy’s has ripened into not only an admired farmer’s market but a specialty store, gift shop, and floral boutique.

    Show Notes

    Who is Lucy? Kim Wilson's grandmother was named Lucille, and she named her daughter after her grandmother. Was Lucy's Market a grand vision, or did it evolve? The market began very small with Kim's love for veggies grown in her backyard. Lucy's started as a place to get fresh veggies Monday-Saturday, and then the business spread word of mouth. Kim had over 30 years of sales experience before starting Lucy's Market started. Movement The business moved around a bit and evolved, and the concept followed. Location and parking are the most important things when moving. She seeks wide-open locations with lots of space. Her experience in real estate has helped her understand the value of location. How did she grow this? Using her sales experience, she got to know each customer by name and worked to understand what they liked and what they were looking to purchase. The Business Today: Currently, 7000 sqft retail space, 8000 feet of office and storage to hold seasonal inventory. 30 employees, many are part-time with a core full-time team. Seasonal employees are hired in addition to the 30 consistent year-round employees. Market is open Mon-Sat They sell fresh produce, locally prepared food, wine, flower arrangements, gifts, and gift baskets. How do you decide what to offer? Decisions are ma

    • 37 min
    Resetting & Reducing Social Distance with Karen Riddell

    Resetting & Reducing Social Distance with Karen Riddell

    Social distancing is a term that took hold during the pandemic as a descriptive way of creating boundaries from each other. But after two years of distancing and now going back to offices and social settings with colleagues and friends, social distance may take on new meaning. At a minimum, the re-engagement in groups feels awkward at first. We’ve forgotten some of the social norms and feel a little rusty at small talk. In a corporate setting, we realize that Zoom calls didn’t allow for much of a relationship with colleagues. So, we aren’t quickly at ease as a member of the team. Virtual events just aren’t the same as taking time for lunch or going on a walk with a colleague or friend. 
    And now, we’re somewhere between anxious about reconnection, stressed about being left out or lonely because many of our friends have moved on. Our social life and world didn’t just relaunch or reset to where it may have been two years ago. We continue to hear from managers and leaders who are trying to accelerate connection and strengthen relationships across new work settings. And I think we’re all looking for some confidence in connection and some new ways of getting there.
    In this episode, Sally talks with Karen Riddell, Sally’s long-time friend and Positive Psychology Life Coach who has taken a special interest in social connections.
    More about Karen Riddell

    Karen Riddell is a Positive Psychology and Life Coach, who started her business after her interest in friendship led her to become certified in applied positive psychology and life coaching.  
    In her coaching practice, she works with groups and individuals to find the sweet spot where their strengths, purpose and passions align. Karen partners with clients to clearly conceptualize their goals, envision the possibilities, and map out a concrete action plan for thriving. Karen’s practice centers on positivity, engagement, connection, purpose and vitality.
    In December 2020, Karen published Friendship Matters, a book extolling the miraculous power of friendship to transform your life. The how-to book details specific, simple ways to find, make, and build new friendships as well as ways to enrich, deepen, and strengthen existing relationships. It also contains an easy-to-use workbook that allows the reader to create their own personal path to joy through friendship.
    Prior to this, Karen received two degrees from The University of North Carolina, moved to Atlanta with her husband, where they had three daughters, and Karen became a prominent community volunteer. She is now writing her second book for mothers-of-the-brides sharing tips on how to navigate the complex process of wedding planning, and doing it with joy.
    Show Notes

    Karen Riddell - Positive Psychology Life Coach After social distancing, people now feel awkward with re-engagement and out of the practice of social norms. They are anxious about reconnecting, stressed about being out, and lonely. Social distance is more than just physical space. For managers and leaders: What are some of the most significant challenges with the limited socialization over the last few years? The impact of social distancing is underestimated. We are experiencing a double pandemic - Covid is threatening our physical health and social distancing is threatening our mental health. Work is a structured social setting that fell through. Social connection strengthens us in all the vital facets in our lives. It brings us physical and mental health, stronger families and relationships, and success in the workplace. Social disconnections weaken us in all those areas.

    What about social anxiety? Pre-pandemic - FOMO (Fear of missing out) People now feel FOBI (Fear of being included) Social anxiety can feel different: embarrassed awkward uncomfortable in crowds. Social anxiety can be felt physically: heart racing sweating panic attacks Negative emotions cause us to want to avoid social settings,

    • 40 min
    The Mastery of Skills with Kenny Selmon

    The Mastery of Skills with Kenny Selmon

    Every day, we talk to people about practice. And we explain that to become effective at communication, you have to work at becoming good at it. And we define mastery of a skill as those who become so good at a skill that you can count on their performance and outcome consistently.
    And once you begin to talk about performance and outcomes, it’s easy to draw a parallel between mastery of a skill like communication and mastery of sports like the Olympics. And that’s what we’re going to do for you on this podcast:  connect the concepts of practice, mastery and outcomes. And accentuate the value of practice and the ultimate results of effort.
    Because that’s what today’s guest has achieved.
    Recently back from the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games, Kenny Selmon represented the U.S. in the 400-meter hurdles. He began his track and field career just down the road at Pace Academy in Atlanta (where my claim to fame is that I overlapped in high school with him for one year!) and where he won the National Championship in the 400-meteres in 2014. Then he continued on to run hurdles at UNC, where he places 2nd in the NCCAA Division 1 National Championships in 2018 and set UNC’s record for the 400-metres.
    After graduating from UNC, he won the 2018 USAF Outdoor Championships and the Athletics World Cup in London. And in 2021, he qualified for the 2021 U.S. Olympic Team.
    Tune in to see what Kenny shares with guest host Hurst Williamson about the Master of Skills.
    Show Notes
    Mastery of a skill is an individual that becomes so good at a skill that you can count on their performance and outcome consistently. The podcast today will cover the practice, mastery, and outcome. Accentuate the value of practice and the ultimate results of the effort. Kenny Selmon, Olympic Athlete, USA What were some of the most difficult hurdles to overcome on the journey of being an Olympic Athlete? Covid Impact Lost sponsorship No access to tracks to train Unknow future of the Olympics What is the difference between intention and repetition behind the practice? How do you keep that intention when training? Know your ‘why”, understanding why you are doing it. Your “why” gives you the full vision and picture Know what you want even if you are struggling to find your “why” When you understand what you want it makes the steps to get there easier and will lead you to your “why” What is it like to consistently practice even when you’ve mastered the sport? How do you keep going? Every day you must perform at the highest level, even in practice. You don’t know if it’s going to work, all you have is faith and knowledge that your work will pay off. Have a coach that knows how to get you there Prepare for disrupters (rain, heat) Must always be ready to perform, there are no second chances What role does resilience play for the brand of an athlete? The importance of personal brand Book referenced at 14:56, Disrupted! How to Reset Your Brand & Your Career Genuine care to supporters – responding to text messages, listening, and understanding they are on the journey with you. Everybody is competing with the brand and the personality next to you, how to stand out? Understand that athletes are all people that have been given a gift. Always be a person first. It’s not about standing out, it’s understanding who the person is and being genuine. Be yourself. Is there a brand that stands out to you? (Kenny) “Brand” is connected to success Allyson Felix for her brand to work so must continue to do well, compete, and win. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allyson_Felix Companies look for candidates that can show discipline and focus behind their experience. What are the parallels for an Olympic athlete? Faith- What you can not see Knowledge – You know knows what it will take, they’ve been through it Delayed gratitude – Bad/hard days will be stacked up for one day of celebration All of those experiences connect

    • 35 min
    The Art of Coaching - How to Choose the Right Coach with Francie Schulwolf

    The Art of Coaching - How to Choose the Right Coach with Francie Schulwolf

    In the last year, millions of workers took early retirement, which created a band of less-experienced managers and leaders in most companies. It’s a great career opportunity and accelerated promotions for several managers. But it also pushes a less-experienced leader to learn how to drive while the car is moving, and it can create risks within a company when someone is leading who doesn’t have a bank of experiences to draw on.
    That’s why coaching is a hot commodity.
    A Coach becomes a trusted advisor to a new leader. A good Coach becomes a sounding board… and a confidante. A good Coach can broaden your thinking and help you solidify your options. And the best Coaches will help you expand your skills and your tools so that you can leverage the learnings even after the coaching relationship wraps up.
    So, how do you find the right coach?
    On this episode of What's Your Story, Sally talks with her colleague and SW&A Executive Coach, Francie Shulwolf, about how they work together to identify the right direction and guidance for coaching clients. Francie has also been a recipient of coaching services from her previous leadership role in a large hospitality company. Over the years, she often says: “What we do here at SW&A is different. It’s so much richer in terms of takeaways.” So today's podcast shares insights from both sides of the table.
    More about Francie Schulwolf
    Francie is an Executive Coach and Business Development Director at SW&A, and a former Communications Leader for a global hospitality company. Her focus is on developing strong, confident communicators. With close to twenty-five years of global, corporate experience in advertising, marketing and communications, she is intimately familiar with the demands executives face. This understanding, along with her honest and warm style, create a safe and comfortable environment for individuals to learn and grow.
    Show Notes
    In the last year, millions of workers took early retirement which resulted in a shift in the workforce, creating a group of less experienced managers and leaders. A good coach can broaden your thinking and help you expand your tools. How do you find the right coach? Role of the manager has shifted Managers are taking on a more significant role. Distractions are gone, people are home. There is more pressure to get things done. People were being more intentional/more empathetic. Do you need a coach if you have a mentor in your company? Mentor sees you daily and helps you navigate the waters of your company. A Coach provides you the valuable tools to enhance your leadership style and is a third party outside source that is focused on the individual’s leadership outside of the company. A coach is results driven. How to start Decide what you need a coach for. Coaches have the skillset to build leaders' communication and leadership style. Chemistry is important with the coach - Trusted relationships Should you get a coach? There is a difference between somebody who has experience vs expertise. Coaches help you combine the two and become a compelling communicator and leader. Tell your potential coach about what you are looking for Most business decisions are not new decisions - a good coach has experience. The coach brings insight. Impressions are someone else's perspective - insights shift to improvement. Videotaping Going through the before and after on the video - raise awareness of habits. When you get out of your head and into the room, it shows. Distinguish experience from expertise The reason to go to a coach is the expertise in the final assessment. The 4 things that help somebody align with a coach Chasing chemistry - must have chemistry to get to a place of trust with a coach. Insights vs improvement - get the feedback, doing something with it, have great awareness. Balance experience vs expertise - What do you need to do to be better? Inside coach vs outside coach - get a third party involved.

    • 23 min

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