27 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

    • Management
    • 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.

    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
    The Big Pitch with Rachel Spasser

    The Big Pitch with Rachel Spasser

    This episode's topic is The Big Pitch. And it’s a discussion of one of the most important presentations you may ever give. It has a definitive and measurable impact. It’s rarely shared with a large audience. And while the audience may be small, they are a critical one. Because their interest and reaction to the presentation may change the future of a company. And in fact, that’s actually the point. Today, we’re going to talk about “pitch” presentations. Those opportunities when a start-up, mid-size or even a large corporation wants to be acquired.
    The Big Pitch is a different kind of storyline with huge expectations and potential disappointments. And when you’re the communicator, it’s a crash course in how to position your company in a story that will resonate and attract a buyer.
    In our podcast today, you’ll hear a lot about those expectations and some best practices on how to think about The Big Pitch.
    More about Rachel Spasser
    Rachel Spasser is a Managing Director and Chief Marketing Officer at Accel-KKR Consulting Group. Rachel provides strategic guidance as well as sales and marketing leadership across Accel-KKR’s portfolio. Prior to joining Accel-KKR’s Consulting Group, Rachel was the Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Ariba, Inc., an SAP Company. With over 25 years of experience in marketing, business development and general management, Ms. Spasser has spent the past 20 years focused on the business-to-business technology space and speaks frequently on topics such as marketing strategy, demand generation and management and customer adoption marketing.
    Show Notes
    What are Pitch Presentations? Rachel Spasser Managing Director and Chief Marketing Officer at Accel-KKR What is the market like today after an unprecedented year? Q2 of last year was quiet. Companies that were going into investment during Q2 pulled back to wait and see what the market was going to be like going forward. Q3 through the end of the year was very busy. A lot of capital in the market and investment firms need to deepen that capital. Acquisition has become an essential part of the growth strategy. Listeners and the buyers are financial backers and sponsors. Listeners are the deal teams Strategic side Development department and functional leaders interested in acquiring that business. Make sure you understand who the listeners are going to be prior to the pitch. What are people listening for? Expertise Metrics of their business Leadership and the team dynamics Common mistakes in storytelling. People fall short on the presentation itself by rambling or going deeper than the listener can comprehend and not reading signals well. Data is important and should support the story you’re telling. Telling the rearview mirror story rather than the forward story. Backstory is great color and great context but there has to be context of what the future looks like.   Seller can make the story real with good examples and buyer can have a vision for tomorrow. The deal makers and the bankers - most knowledgeable about the situation. What role do they play? The best bankers are the ones that can coach and bring the team along and develop a compelling way to bring the story along. Communicator - or the seller. Typically not a normal sales process. Pitch is high pressure environment. Salespeople are the most prepared for pitches. The pitch team should consist of: Key functional leaders CEO and CFO and senior leadership team CTO Head of Marketing Chief Customer Officer What do you do when your Chief Operating person or Executive is not comfortable in this space? Don’t bring them into the room. Hire a coach to help them feel comfortable presenting even a small part. Investor is looking at the team asking “can these people get me to where I want to go?” and sometimes the CEO doesn't want to go there. Team showing up and showing well is important. If the numbers don’t add

    • 39 min
    Disrupted! A Talent Acquisition Perspective

    Disrupted! A Talent Acquisition Perspective

    Disruption happens every day across the corporate world. As employees, we experience reorgs, layoffs and acquisitions, and as disrupters ourselves we move cross country, chase ideas and challenge norms. But amidst all the disruption we all experience, some of us seem to thrive in times of turmoil.
    These are the communicators who have mastered the two secret arts hidden within corporate disruption: learning how to establish a compelling brand and build an intriguing career narrative. They are skills that take time to perfect, but they’re the differentiator factors between those who are cast adrift from disruption and those who prosper from it.
    We believe in this strongly...and it’s why we wrote our latest book: Disrupted! How to Reset Your Brand & Your Career.
    But don’t just take our word for it. On this episode, Hurst Williamson is joined by 2 Talent Acquisition specialists to share their perspectives on the trends they see every day and what makes a job candidate successful…or forgettable.
    More About the Guests
    Elisa Abner-Taschwer is the Talent Acquisition Manager at FORUM Credit Union in Fishers, Indiana. She has over 30 years of HR experience, primarily in Talent Acquisition. Elisa lives with her husband of 27 years and their Mini Golden Doodle, Max.
    Lauren Baksh, M.Ed. is the Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition at Graphic Packaging International. She has over ten years of talent management experience in the manufacturing industry and currently supports her team with the design and executi
    Show Notes
    Careers are no longer on a straight and narrow path. People will change their job/career 7-10 times throughout their career. Interview determines if there will be a next change in a person's career.What does it take to make a job a candidate memorable or forgettable? What percentage of people are good at interviewing? Less than 5% Not as many people are good at interviewing that think they are good at interviewing. Those that think they are good at interviewing usually lack authenticity.  
    What goes wrong in an interview? Lack of prep - didn’t know much about the company or the interviewer. Lacked confidence - unaware of body language. Lacked impact - didn’t understand their experiences well. Prospective employee must be interviewing the company as well as being interviewed by the company. Preparation will help a candidate seal the deal. Good story tellers have better impact in an interview.  
    Virtual vs. In-Person Interviews Same challenges exist in a virtual interview as an in person interview. Candidates see virtual as more informal and have a low awareness of their setting and background. Fewer people ghost virtual interviews.  
    When prepping for a virtual interview, consider it the same as if you are going to meet with someone - dress professionally. Potential employers encourage prospective employees to ask questions about the attire and the platform being used to the interview. How many resumes for a potential position are reviewed?  Far too many 20-30+ resumes for an open position 30-50 resumes  
    What really makes a candidate stand out? Individuals who understand the organization and the culture. Candidates with confidence in themselves and the ability to have a good vision as to what they want in their new position. Candidates must be a good cultural fit. Candidates must ask questions in the interview and understand the opportunity.  
    The most critical skills for a top candidate: Problem solving and thinking. Collaboration and cooperation. Communication and influence. Advice to stand-out in interviews: Translate the experience you had with the job you want to do. Think about things that you’ve done that have given you that experience. Update your resume annually and add accomplishments from the previous years. Highlight how you work on a team. Candidates approach an interview very reactively. Understand the resume is a list - make sure to

    • 39 min
    Disrupted! A Talent Development Perspective

    Disrupted! A Talent Development Perspective

    Disruption happens every day across the corporate world. As employees, we experience reorgs, layoffs and acquisitions, and as disrupters ourselves we move cross country, chase ideas and challenge norms. But amidst all the disruption we all experience, some of us seem to thrive in times of turmoil.
    These are the communicators who have mastered the two secret arts hidden within corporate disruption: learning how to establish a compelling brand and build an intriguing career narrative. They are skills that take time to perfect, but they’re the differentiator factors between those who are cast adrift from disruption and those who prosper from it.
    We believe in this strongly...and it’s why we wrote our latest book: Disruption: How to Reset Your Brand & Your Career.
    But don’t just take our word for it. On this episode, Hurst Williamson is joined by 3 Talent Development specialists to share their perspectives on what makes an employee a high-potential candidate and what traits they look for in tomorrow’s leaders.
    More About the Guests
    Alexandra Daily-Diamond is the Northwest Regional Talent Development Manager at Gensler, a design and architecture firm. In her role she identifies people-focused solutions to HR challenges. She focuses on organizational and employee development and engagement, talent management, coaching, and HR strategies that promote wellbeing.
    Hilda Currey is the Enterprise Learning Management Systems Administrator for Methodist Health System, a non-profit healthcare organization located in Dallas, Texas. Hilda has over 25 years of experience in corporate & healthcare learning and talent development, and has held a series of progressive positions in the training and development field.
    Megan Breiseth is the Senior Director of Learning and Development at InsideTrack. Megan has worked  in employee development since 2006. At InsideTrack, she coached online adult learners and eventually moved into Learning and Development leadership. During her career, Megan has built and managed learning programs that unlock the potential in coaches, managers, and support staff.
    Show Notes
    Disruption is happening across the board in companies and for employees. Employees no longer have a mapped-out career path. Seek opportunities to expand your skills and repackage your potential. What do companies think about talent development?  What percentage of the workforce has needed to do some kind of rest in 2020? 100% of the team had a reset in priorities, personal goals, and how they do the work. All training was converted to virtual learning, 10% of corporate employees shifted to work from home. 100% of people's jobs changed and circumstances changed. Staff neededg to focus on what is most essential for students and institutions to meet their basic needs. Prioritize safety, wellness, and how to set up systems to support employees so they could show up.
    Pandemic aside - What other things would be examples of organization disruptions? Integrating separate systems into one Transition from for profit to nonprofit business  Change roles to be more scalable and sustainable More efficiency changes in the workplace Pandemic heightened changes that would have happened otherwise but pandemic made it more urgent. Economy is a general factor in disruption. - Global company and global economic impact. Companies are shifting to have a clear focus to elevate the human experience.
    What is the organization's responsibility in an employee’s development and what is the employee's responsibility in that? Company being intentional to listen and empower. Employees seek out feedback on what the individual could do better. Ask the questions that are going to get employees thinking deeply. Empower employees to own their career and see themselves. Have a specific program for leaders. Offer employees training or tuition reimbursement. Encourage them to play a visible role in committees. Offer the opportunity to get input from

    • 48 min
    Disrupted! A Podcast with the Creators: Why We Wrote It & What We Learned

    Disrupted! A Podcast with the Creators: Why We Wrote It & What We Learned

    Disruption happens a lot across the corporate world. Sometimes, from a company’s perspective through realigning functions. And sometimes by employees themselves as they make choices to try different things. But whether disruption is caused by a company or an individual, it’s occurring more frequently.
    And from our vantage point, we see individuals who aren’t ready for it…and aren’t good at resetting around a challenge or an opportunity that disruption causes. The book sets out to help individuals understand why disruption occurs and how to plan for resets.
    This episode of What's Your Story has guest host, Lia, who interviews Sally, Hurst, and LaKesha about book insights, highlights and maybe see if they'll share a few tips from our latest book, Disrupted! How to Reset your Brand and Your Career.
    More about The Creators
    Sally Williamson is the founder of SW&A and an expert in all things related to spoken communication. Sally brings more than three decades of experience, insights and a general love of connection to empower more than 15,000 leaders and managers to influence and impact any group. Disrupted! is her fourth book.
    Hurst Williamson is the ultimate utility player who can uncover client needs, lead a workshop or weave an incredible tale. He owns every room and brings genuine engagement to communication. He is the heart of the career journey and a proud member of the generation most disrupted. But he sees it as an opportunity to tell your story and own your journey. And he’s helping many of our clients do just that. Hurst co-authored Disrupted! and it is his second book.
    LaKesha Edwards is a life-long learner who loves research, insights and discovery. With a Ph.D. added to her own career journey, she questions what we’re learning and how we’re solving it. And with SW&A, she creates the steps to continue a development experience by thinking through what we learn, what we teach and how we coach. And quite frankly, she keeps us all on our toes. She led the research behind Disrupted!
    Show Notes
    Disrupted! How to Reset Your Brand and Your Career Disruption happens all over the world and it’s occurring more frequently. This book sets out to help individuals understand why disruption occurs and how to plan for resets.
    Why Disrupted! How to Reset Your Brand and Your Career was written: It felt like the right time for the topic and they had the tools to sell it. As a communications firm they have a broad view of business change. SW&A wanted to support individuals and how they deal with disruption. This time, around wanted to include two new minds in the process to have fresh perspective about a topic that will directly affect their generation. The timing of COVID-19 offered the space, insight, and necessity for this book. This book has blended all their different talents together.
    What was Disrupted! How to Reset Your Brand and Your Career trying to uncover and discover? Focus on developing the skills of current employees. Noting talent strategies have shifted with business beliefs. Talent acquisition is trying to bring in the needed talent to solve for gaps. Where does that create insight for a reader or an individual who’s thinking through their own career path and development? Talent Leaders have encouraged employees to take ownership of their own career path. Training for employees to directly support company goals is 82%.  8% of their time is focused on development outside of company goals. If your interest does not align with the company's goals, it will not be a priority. Talent development is in charge of supplying the people to let that growth happen. Goals get narrow fast - if an individual doesn’t fit in the scope, they will fall behind. Employees must take ownership to develop their skills to make sure they stand out. Employees must not rely on somebody watching out for them- they must own their career. There is not a master database of employee’s devel

    • 30 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
13 Ratings

13 Ratings

kculler08 ,

Love it!

Amazing insights. Easy to listen to.