On this episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman speaks with Heidi Baumgart, COO of Skidmore Studio, a 65-year-old branding firm.
As an only child growing up in rural Ohio, Heidi observed generations of her family work hard to build their businesses, be it a dairy farm or a home renovation business. She took these values with her through her academic career, and into her first job after college at an advertising agency. Soon enough, though, when Heidi and her now-husband were planning their wedding, she pivoted her career to run her own events planning business for five years, which she claims has heavily informed every role she’s had since. Heidi’s pivoted her career since then, first into marketing leadership, and most recently into people management, which is allowing her to live her purpose of helping humans flourish.
Tune in to this episode to hear Heidi and Paul discuss Skidmore’s strong remote work culture, the influence of the Small Giants Community Summit on Heidi’s career journey, and their shared optimism about young people entering the workforce.
5:05 – Building a better culture through remote work
On this episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman speaks with Eric Jones, co-owner of Adamantine Spine Moving, a local and long-distance moving company based in Iowa.
Eric didn’t always dream of owning his own moving business. In fact, for a long time he didn’t know where he wanted his career to take him. His prior path stretched from coast to coast of the US, and involved time as a teacher and soccer coach at a boarding school, completing an MFA in nonfiction writing from the University of Iowa, and working in the burn unit of a hospital. Eventually, Eric picked up a defunct moving business from a friend, and built it up over time. It wasn’t until 2020, when co-owners Cliff and Emily Wallace opened a new branch in Des Moines, and the pandemic saw a boom to the moving industry, that Adamantine grew at an exponential rate. But with growth comes challenges, and Eric and his team had to evaluate how they’d scale while still maintaining their culture and values.
Tune in to this episode to hear Eric and Paul discuss Adamantine’s efforts to be an ecologically-conscious business, takeaways from participating in the Small Giants Community’s Leadership Academy, and the challenges Eric faces as the leader of a growing company.
3:30 – From boarding school teacher to burn unit tech
https://smallgiants.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Website-Logo.png00Jason Armourhttps://smallgiants.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Website-Logo.pngJason Armour2023-11-05 11:19:002023-11-05 11:19:00Eric Jones: The heavy lifting of purposeful leadership
On this episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman speaks with Andrew Barry, founder and CEO of Curious Lion.
Andrew got his start on the accounting side of business at KPMG. But as his passion for learning grew, he embraced his own courage by moving from his home country of South Africa to the United States, where he started his own training services business. Even though the road wasn’t always smooth, Andrew had mentors (including several standout female leaders in a male-dominant industry) to back him up, as well as his own curious mindset, to propel him forward. Now, through Curious Lion, he’s helping organizations shift their cultures to ones that are people-focused and embrace change in order for them to thrive and not just survive.
Tune in to this episode to hear Andrew and Paul discuss the dual influences their parents had on each of their leadership journeys, the dynamics of being a thought leader while running a business with its own identity, and the power of storytelling.
If you want to take a deeper dive into the tools and philosophies of Curious Lion, Andrew and his team have developed a free email-based course for anyone to access. Sign up to get these problem-solving tools here!
3:50 – Awareness is the key to starting a learning culture
6:00 – Optimize the planner, not the plan
11:15 – From accounting to entrepreneurship
17:30 – Andrew’s personal journey
29:05 – Curious Lion’s challenges in 2023
34:00 – “Stories are one of the greatest technologies we’ve ever invented”
https://smallgiants.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Website-Logo.png00Jason Armourhttps://smallgiants.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Website-Logo.pngJason Armour2023-10-09 13:38:002023-10-09 13:38:00Andrew Barry: Building a Culture of Learning
On this episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman speaks with Jason Fried, co-founder and CEO of 37 Signals, as well as the co-author of several books such as Shape Up and It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work.
As soon as Jason was old enough to work at the age of 13, his parents encouraged him to do so. From a young age, he was able to observe – and learn from – various management styles. Jason also took on an early interest in developing software, and freelanced and sold his own products throughout college. By the time he co-founded 37 Signals in 1999, he had an informed opinion of what strong leadership looked like.
One of the things that has made 37 Signals stand out is their willingness to share what’s in their (not so) secret sauce. Jason says that he’d rather out-teach his competition than out-spend it, and part of that is being public with their company decisions and thought process. This outlook caused controversy for the company in 2020, but ultimately Jason stands by his and his teams’ commitment to transparency.
Tune in to this episode to hear Jason and Paul talk about the lesson that chefs can teach business leaders, the future of work, and the founder’s role in taking risks.
06:30 – Building a brand with a stance
09:00 – 37 Signal’s existential risk
12:55 – Lessons in management styles
20:45 – What’s next for 37 Signals?
25:30 – The future of work
29:30 – “Profits buy you time, and time is a hard thing to buy.”
Beck’s passion is bringing people-hearted and business-minded leadership beliefs to individuals, teams, and organizations. A self-proclaimed “business geek” as well as a longtime mindfulness practitioner, Beck’s aim is to help people understand the importance of weaving together business and leadership, and to do so by showing up to work as their full selves. And Beck finds that sharing their personal story is a helpful illustration of this belief.
Beck grew up in an evangelical christian household, received a bachelor’s degree from Liberty University, a large evangelical school, and later gained one of their master’s degrees from Naropa University, a buddhist-inspired school. Beck is also same sex attracted and gender nonbinary, a component of their identity that has taken time to fully embrace and share with others, including their colleagues at different organizations, and family. And although the road has not always felt smooth, Beck acknowledges that in order for us as leaders to promise a culture of acceptance, we have to be willing to remove our own masks and show up as our full selves.
Tune into this episode to hear Beck and Paul discuss mindfulness in the workplace, embracing one’s complete self, and not being afraid to share our true selves with the ones we care about the most.
On this mailbag episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman speaks with Corey Rosen to answer listener questions about the world of employee ownership. Corey is the founder of the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO), a nonprofit membership and research organization that is an authoritative source on broad-based employee ownership plans.
Corey founded NCEO in 1981 after working as a staff member in the US Senate, where he was first introduced to and intrigued by the concept of employee ownership. As he tells us, employee ownership was legislatively recognized in 1974, and is a unique topic in US politics because ever since its conception, has been consistently favored by both major parties. Despite employee ownership being politically practical, financially strategic, and allowing economics to become more equitable, there are still misconceptions on the topic hindering it from becoming more widespread.
In this episode, Corey helps us to understand the origins of employee ownership, the different variations, including ESOPs and purpose trusts, and what types of companies are good candidates for them. We’ll also dig into dispelling some of the myths around ESOPs, and the many benefits your company may see from adopting an employee ownership structure.
On this episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman speaks with Carl Erickson, the recently retired Executive Chairman of Atomic Object, a design and development software consultancy he co-founded in 2001.
Previously a tenured professor at Grand Valley State University, he enjoyed teaching, but didn’t so much appreciate the affinity in academia for sticking to the status quo. So, when a former student asked him to help manage a team for a startup, Carl took a sabbatical, and eventually resigned, to pursue the new opportunity. The innovation happening in such a new industry was thrilling. When that startup didn’t make it, Carl took the ashes of that business and created Atomic Object.
Carl takes pride in having formed a team of longstanding Atoms who have helped him to shape the company from the early years into what it is today (their first intern, Mike Marsiglia, is now a co-CEO of the company). And part of that is due to Carl’s self regard, combined with his lack of business training – unburdened, he simply created a company that he wanted to work at.
Tune in for this episode as Carl and Paul discuss Atomic’s handcrafted employee ownership structure, how moving states as a child shaped Carl’s personality, and the humbling lessons he’s learned on the company’s aspirational journey to becoming 100 years old.
https://smallgiants.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Website-Logo.png00Jason Armourhttps://smallgiants.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Website-Logo.pngJason Armour2023-03-15 12:16:002023-03-15 12:16:00Carl Erickson: Give a Sh*t
On this episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman speaks with Lauren Adams, the Director of Operations at the Center for Financial Planning, a privately held wealth management firm.
Lauren has always had a strong work ethic that combines with a passion for working towards a greater good. Even as she pursued education, and then a career, in financials, she wasn’t interested in the large public firms and the Wall Street culture. Rather, she focused on finding a work environment that fit her mission of working towards a greater purpose. And in the two companies she’s worked for since graduating – Morningstar and the Center for Financial Planning – she’s found just that.
Tune in for this episode as Lauren and Paul discuss why Lauren shifted from being a stock analyst to a personal financial planner, how the Center for Financial Planning is unique in its industry, and what helped Lauren to get through the early days of the pandemic – all while she was creating new company policies, going through the Small Giants Leadership Academy, and raising a newborn.
On this episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman speaks with Taylor Vanden Hoek, a delivery lead at Atomic Object, a custom software consultancy. Along with one of her colleagues, Taylor is currently working towards opening and managing Atomic Object’s fourth office, which will be located in Raleigh, NC.
From a young age, Taylor had a love for art, largely thanks to her dad’s own passion for creativity. But it wasn’t until her senior year in high school, when she enrolled in a graphic design program at a tech center, when she really hit her stride. After studying at the Art Institute of Chicago, Taylor went on to have design jobs at various companies with different angles on the role of designer. Through this diverse experience, she was able to learn that she loved the parts of design that prioritized the end user and strove to problem solve with them in mind (also known as human centered design). With this self-awareness in mind, she found a place where she could thrive and pursue her purpose in Atomic Object.
“Being able to know myself really well is something that has helped me figure out the systems I need to build for myself in order to be successful.”
Tune in for this episode as Taylor and Paul discuss how Taylor came to lead the charge on Atomic Object’s fourth office opening, her passion for gardening (and how it relates to her leadership journey), and finding her own leadership style in the tech community.
https://smallgiants.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Website-Logo.png00Jason Armourhttps://smallgiants.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Website-Logo.pngJason Armour2022-10-16 15:31:002022-10-16 15:31:00Taylor Vanden Hoek: Problem-Solving Through Art
On this episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman speaks with Devyn Bachman, Vice President of Research at John Burns Real Estate Consulting.
Devyn grew up surrounded by the entrepreneurial spirit. While her parents ran a 20-seat hair salon in Colorado, Devyn grew to love the idea of creating something on your own, but also to respect the relentless hard work that it takes to make a business a success.
Devyn was the first in her family to attend college, and, for the majority of her academic career, was also a dancer on the Denver Nuggets dance team. This terrific opportunity allowed to travel the world, all while pursuing her passion for dance.
And she didn’t stop traveling after that. When Devyn’s now-husband proposed to her during their senior year of college, he was also just about to begin his career in the NHL. This meant moving houses, cities, and even states, at an alarming rate for over a decade.
“You wouldn’t believe the people I have met along the way. It’s absolutely been a thrilling adventure at every turn.”
Now, Devyn has been a part of the JBREC team for seven years, and she credits the company’s founder, John Burns, with his innovative approach to remote work – or rather, what they call connected work – in part for her ability to remain at one company and develop her leadership skills over those years.
Tune in for this episode as Devyn and Paul discuss her experience on student council in high school, the ups and downs of constantly being on the move, and the merits of working at a company that values leadership in a variety of ways.
https://smallgiants.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Website-Logo.png00Jason Armourhttps://smallgiants.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Website-Logo.pngJason Armour2022-09-27 14:05:082022-09-27 14:05:08Devyn Bachman: On the Road Again
On this episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman speaks with Lauren Eckhardt, founder and CEO of Burning Soul Collective.
Lauren grew up in rural Missouri with plenty of space to let her imagination roam. She took a detour from her creativity in college, and began her career in Human Resources roles. And while she enjoyed certain aspects of HR, like identifying and celebrating individual’s strengths, her priorities shifted after the birth of her first child, and she knew she wanted to do something different.
After a scary bout of covid in the early days of the pandemic, Lauren was forced to look at her life path and where she wanted to take it into the future. By this point, she had already published her own books and done some ghost writing, and people would often ask her to help them with their own stories. So, in the wake of a pandemic, Lauren decided to take her skills and passions, and turn them into a business aimed at helping people write their own life stories.
Tune in as Lauren and Paul discuss the merits of being an introvert who’s good at listening, tips on how someone can begin writing their story, and Lauren’s ongoing journey to discover her identity as a leader.
https://smallgiants.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Website-Logo.png00Jason Armourhttps://smallgiants.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Website-Logo.pngJason Armour2022-08-21 16:31:002022-08-21 16:31:00Lauren Eckhardt: ”You don’t have to be a celebrity to share your life journey.”
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