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Ep. 12: Laela Sturdy, General Partner at Google Capital  

Laela Sturdy is a General Partner at Google Capital where she has led investments for the firm in consumer and enterprise companies. Laela joined Google in 2007 where she has started, scaled, and lead teams in several emerging product areas.

Prior to Google, Laela was a consultant at Bain & Company where she helped lead projects in a range of industries including media, retail, CPG, and private equity. Laela holds an AB in Biochemistry from Harvard College, a MSc in Multimedia Systems from Trinity College Dublin, and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

In this episode we cover:

  • How to rise through the ranks at a large company like Google

  • Making the shift from operator to investor

  • Skillsets that she relies on to be a great investor

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Ep. 11: Mia Mends, CEO of Sodexo Benefits & Rewards North America  

Mia Mends is the CEO of Sodexo Benefits & Rewards Services in North America. She leads the strategic evolution and growth of the business, with a focus on delivering outcome-based employee engagement solutions through recognition, learning and well-being programs and platforms. To accelerate growth in these markets, Sodexo acquired Inspirus, LLC, in 2016. Inspirus is a leading provider of employee engagement solutions and is led by Mia under Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services.

Mia was amazing to speak with.  She has an authenticity that surrounds her that you don't find in a typical CEO.  

In this episode we cover: 

  • The importance of sponsors and how she built these relationships early on

  • What it means to be an authentic leader and how that has guided her

  • How to be successful when you are considered an “other”

  • The importance of taking risks in one’s career

  • Mia’s leadership philosophies & her tip for how to start meetings to help build authenticity within a team

  • Non-intuitive negotiation tips that helped Mia secure a large acquisition and that can also help you in challenging situations.

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Ep. 10: Kara Goldin, CEO of Hint Water  

Kara Goldin is the founder & CEO of Hint Water.  Prior to starting Hint, Kara was Vice President of Shopping and E-commerce Partnerships at AOL, where she helped lead the growth of its startup shopping business to a $1 billion enterprise

Kara has been named among Fortune's Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs and Forbes' 40 Women to Watch Over 40. The Huffington Post listed her as one of six disruptors in business, alongside Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg.

In this episode we cover:

  • Critical skillsets that a CEO needs to succeed

  • Kara's hiring strategy

  • Building a personal brand

  • How a drive for learning propelled her success

  • A key ingredient in your sunscreen that may be doing more harm than good

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Ep. 9: From Punk-rocker to SVP of Engineering at Salesforce, Cheryl Porro  

Cheryl Porro is the SVP of Technology & Products at is a social enterprise that gets technology in the hands of nonprofits and education institutions.

Cheryl’s story is fantastic as she articulates how she went from being being a Punk-rocker in her twenties to a senior executive at one of the largest SaaS companies in the world.  

In this episode we cover:

  • How to connect with teams at scale when her team grew from 30 to 85 overnight

  • How to master presentation skills

  • The importance of self-care around mind, body, & spirit

  • How Cheryl went from leading a support function to being the “Tip of the Arrow” -- owning and driving outcomes

  • How the stories that Cheryl was telling herself almost prevented her from being an executive

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Ep. 7: Heidi Williams, Former VP of Platform Engineering at Box and Founder of WEST Diversity & Inclusion

Heidi spent 17 years at Adobe working her way up from Engineer to Engineering Manager.  In addition, she led product management and strategic engagements where she worked with NBC Sports and Adobe Primetime delivering an Emmy-nominated mobile video experience for the 2012 Olympics.

Heidi was also the VP of Platform Engineering at Box. Last year, Heidi left Box and launched WEST, a mentorship program for mid-career women in tech.

In this episode we cover:

  • How Heidi went from being an Engineering IC to a Manager

  • How to advocate for a promotion & structure your own 360 process

  • Being an authentic leader

  • Setting yourself up for success before going out on maternity leave

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Ep. 6: Fern Mandelbaum, Lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business

Fern Mandelbaum is an entrepreneur, coach, teacher, and investor.   She is the Managing Partner at Vista Venture Partners and is also a lecturer at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford where she teaches two classes on Entrepreneurship and a class on Diversity & Inclusion.  

Since 1998, Fern has worked with CEO’s helping them develop and refine their business concepts, recruit management teams, key advisors and board members, implement fund raising strategies and establish strategic alliances.  She also works with companies on leadership, culture, and inclusiveness.

In this episode we cover:

  • How to structure an interview process that removes bias

  • How Fern dealt with imposter syndrome

  • Applying a growth mindset to your career

  • The advice that Fern gives to her students at the Stanford Graduate School of Business


Ep. 5: Shanna Tellerman, CEO of Modsy

Shanna Tellerman is the Co-Founder and CEO of Modsy.  This is a bit of a different interview since I typically don't interview founders, but Shanna is awesome and we had a fantastic conversation.  Shanna also has great experiences during her time at Google Ventures and Autodesk.

In this episode we cover:

  • Confidence - what does it mean and how can you build more of it

  • One phrase that can help fight imposter syndrome

  • A new take on a vision exercise that’s way more fun than OKRs

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Ep. 4: Jennifer Evans, VP of Strategy at Constellation Brands

In this podcast I interview my dear friend Jen Evans, who’s the VP of Strategy at Constellation Brands — a leading company in wine & spirits. After business school, she spent a summer in Napa learning about the wine industry and took the first steps of what would become a long career there. In the episode, she discusses in detail the thoughtful approach that took her all the way to VP. I’m sure you’ll find it as insightful as I did.

In this episode we cover:

  • The importance of initiating career conversations with your boss

  • Crafting an intentional path

  • How to act on tough feedback

  • Tips on how to pick out wine at a grocery store!

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Ep. 3: Julie Knight-Ludvigson, CMO of Reflektive

Today's guest is Julie Knight Ludvigson, CMO of Reflektive.  Prior to joining Reflektive, Julie ran Global Enterprise Marketing for Zendesk where she led all manner of field, partner and integrated marketing for this business unit. Starting in early 2012, Julie joined SAP SuccessFactors where she held numerous marketing leadership roles including Global Program Marketing for SAP, Global Marketing for HR LoB, and Global Field Marketing for SAP Cloud.

In this episode we cover: 

  • How to evaluate your next career move

  • How to build influence within your organization

  • The one piece of feedback that changed the trajectory of Julie's career

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Ep. 2: Kellie McElhaney, Professor at the Haas School of Business

Today's guest is Kellie McElhaney, Professor at the Haas School of Business, author of the book “Just Good Business”, and founding director for the Center for Gender, Equity, and Leadership. Kellie has worked with over 1000 companies and organizations in her areas of expertise and she was gracious enough to share her learnings with us.

In this episode we cover: 

  • How to build your personal board of directors

  • What companies can do to help increase the %'s of women in leadership

  • A fantastic lesson on you don't get what you don't ask for

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Ep. 1: Anne Raimondi, SVP Operations at Zendesk

My first guest is Anne Raimondi, SVP of Operations at Zendesk.  I've known Anne for several years and have admired her career from afar.  Anne has spent time at both large corporations like Bain and eBay as well as at many smaller startups including Blue Nile, Zazzle, Survey Monkey, and Task Rabbit before she landed at Zendesk.  In her time, she has also held many functional positions ranging from product, to marketing, to HR, and now operations.  

In this episode we cover:

  • How to build a personal board of directors

  • How to create a lasting mentor relationship

  • How to evaluate a new job opportunity

  • What is Executive Presence and how can we all master it?