Each episode we interview a badass social change leader and learn the ins and outs of what they're doing to make the world a better place. This podcast will help you feel optimistic that we can make a difference and give you practical tips about how to go about doing so in a big way.
Bonus Episode: High Tech High Unboxed- Improvement as a tool for our collective liberation, with Dr. Brandi Hinnant-Crawford
59:00Unleashing Social Change Podcast has a featured episode for you this week! High Tech High Unboxed, hosted by Alec Patton. In this Episode, Stacey interviews Brandi. Stacey Caillier talks to Dr. Brandi Hinnant-Crawford about what Improvement Science looks like when equity and liberation are embedded in the PROCESS, not just the hoped-for result. This interview is rooted in two things, how improvement science can be a tool for our collective liberation and what we do in the meantime before that liberation comes about. Hope you enjoy this week's Bonus episode. Show Resources: HTHunboxed Podcast: https://hthunboxed.org/podcast-home/ Order Becky’s Book Impact With Integrity: Repair the World Without Breaking Yourself
Unpacking Mentorship; Humility, Authenticity, and Curiosity.
1:02:24Nicki Roth and I met back in 2003 working on the 100,000 homes campaign. She is currently heading the executive leadership coaching offered to all MBA students at MIT Sloan School of Management. She has published two books on leadership and is the co-founder of The Messy Truth Leadership. I am honored and SO grateful that Nicki listened to the entirety of Season Four and brought her wisdom and expertise to this debrief. Nicki is unafraid to call a spade a spade, or an asshole, and for that I love her. Unapologetic in her mission to develop leaders that are able to lift and progress teams rather than exhaust them with tone deaf egos, Nicki has decades of experience working in leader development and has her pulse on what leaders across sectors need. In this episode we unpack the magnitude of the season. We discuss the threads of leadership lessons we saw woven throughout decades of service and the most prominent characteristics of authentic leadership. To sit down in conversation with my old friend was a treat. Enjoy the last episode and then start all over again. Show Notes: The difference seeing leadership development as a profit generator versus a necessity. There is more clarity of purpose in mission driven organizations. Commonalities between nonprofit, military, and corporate leaders. The journey from being externally motivated to developing intrinsic self worth. The opposite of humble leadership is “I’m in charge” The nuance of navigating ego as a non-dominant group leader. How ego driven leadership limits careers and exhausts staff. Never underestimate how honored a leader will be if they are asked to be a mentor. People in non-dominant groups must have internal mentors to advocate for them, to help them navigate systems, see them, hear them, experience them, and help develop their talents. Leadership isn’t about the leader, it's about the group. Show Resources Nicki’s Projects The Messy Truth Leadership Sloan's approach to leadership Private audio coaching Nicki’s Books The Messy Truth About Leading People Beyond Passion: From Nonprofit Expert to Organizational Leader Pre-order Becky’s Book Impact With Integrity: Repair the World Without Breaking Yourself
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56: Sharon Kanis: A Profile in Interconnectedness of Communion
1:01:20My last mentor of the season is one who has known me since before I was born, my Aunt and Godmother, Sharon Kanis of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Taking her vows at the age of 19, Sharon has since gotten a degree in chemistry, a masters in applying Jungian theory to biblical archetypes, and a PhD in how people experience their spirituality in their bodies. When asked if I could introduce her as Doctor Sharon Kanis SSND she scoffed and said the phd was just a thing she did a while ago. Sharon is a truth teller and willing to question her own assumptions with enduring humility. She has traveled the world to pay witness and be of service. An educator through her decades of service, she brings people and their shared experiences together in community. Sharon has rooted her service in the interconnectedness of the web of life and is unwavering from the oneness of the universe. In this episode, you’ll hear that the thing Sharon attributes her progress to is also the biggest obstacle she’s faced as a leader - mutual accountability; showing up, consistently, willing to meet someone where they’re at, to get the work done. And although sometimes inconvenient, it is necessary and rooted in justice. Show Notes: The lesson I taught her at three years old. The difference between community and communion. Theology isn’t about answers, it's about questions. Our identities are not reasons for division but markers for community. How to stay in communication with people when egos inflate the room. Consensus is not always efficient but it is necessary. The philosophy of mutual availability. The web of life and what it means to be interconnected. Making time for contemplative practice. What happens to one of us happens to all of us. Weaving together common experiences as a mode of operation. Order Becky’s Book Impact With Integrity: Repair the World Without Breaking Yourself
55: Noah Winnick and Josue Barnes: A Profile in Fearless Community Activism
57:51Description: A few years ago I received advice that every leader should have a mentor who is 20 years younger than them. In the reckoning of June 2020, I found mine in Noah Winnick and Josue Barnes. The duo founded Claremont Change and have been representing the voices of marginalized people in the community since the inception of the organization. They are fearless advocates who are relentless in their commitment and vision in creating an antiracist Claremont and I will follow them, quite literally in peaceful protest, to the ends of the earth. The synergy between these lifelong friends is animating to witness. Somehow they are able to make the daunting and often draining work of social justice joyful and approachable. They authentically show up for their hometown and I am so proud to be in arms with them as I do my part in shaping the city where I have rooted my family. I hope you enjoy this time with “The Rom-Com Boys” as much I did. Show Highlights: Fostering fearlessness and Cat’s The Musical The weight and responsibility of speaking out in a town that you were raised in. How to bring humor and irrepressible joy to the daunting journey that is social justice advocating. Learning how to hold your own as the baby of the family. Trusting instincts and accepting that just because someone knows more than you doesn't mean they’ll be helpful. Navigating trust in politically charged strategies. Learning that knowledge does not imply truth or helpfulness. Show Resources: Claremont Change Order Becky’s Book Impact With Integrity: Repair the World Without Breaking Yourself
54: Mark Lipton - A Profile in Vision, Genius, and Feeling Feelings
1:02:53This week I sat down with Mark Lipton who I met when he was the Department Chair of my graduate program in Organizational Change Management at The New School. He has since moved on to Professor Emeritus status, which has freed him up to consult with Fortune 500 companies and write awesome books, so be sure to check out Guiding Growth: How Vision Keeps Companies on Course and the award-winning Mean Men: The Perversion of America’s Self-Made Man. I learned that Mark and I had all kinds of things in common in this episode. For example, we bonded over the fact that both of us entered higher education entirely on a whim. And I was absolutely fascinated to listen to Mark’s thoughts about what he calls Emotional Fortitude - a signature attribute of “undisruptable CEOs” that he defines as, “the art of examining one’s own thoughts and emotions surrounding a decision in order to consider those thoughts and emotions themselves as inputs to the decision-making process.” Though we have traveled different paths, the fact that we are both so keen on helping leaders know themselves and do the inner work of mining their emotions confirmed for me that this is someone I was so lucky to have as a mentor and teacher so many years ago. Mark’s reflections on purpose and vision are something everyone leading anything needs to listen to. This wonderful human being has a great big heart to match his great big brain. Everything he shares is oozing with humility and thoughtfulness. I hope you enjoy listening to this show as much as I enjoyed recording it with Mark. Show Highlights: “Knocking out a phd” could alter the course of your life The leadership superpower of Emotional Fortitude How do organizations set up feedback loops? And how can leaders actively listen? What is trust and how do we gain, sustain, and lose it? Why knowing what you are feeling in the moment is one of the most important skills you can build as a leader What is left when we let go of the notion that we have something to prove to others or ourselves Understanding your feelings, in the face of a challenge, will let you know what you truly want to do about it Thoughts on (not) retiring Vision. Is. Everything. Show Resources: Mean Men: The Perversions of America’s Self-Made Man Guiding Growth: How vision keeps companies on course. The Group Laboratory Pre-order Becky’s Book Impact With Integrity: Repair the World Without Breaking Yourself
53: Rosanne Haggerty: A Profile in Disruption and Active Listening
1:11:53In this episode, you’ll meet Rosanne Haggerty, winner of the 2001 MacArthur “Genius Award.” Having worked for her for 11 years I can say with no doubt: she really is a genius, although she’d never tell you that herself. Super humble and one of the most relentless leaders I’ve ever known, Rosanne’s work speaks for itself. Last year the organization she founded, Community Solutions, was awarded the prestigious $100 & Change grant from the MacArthur Foundation, a global competition for a $100 million to fund a single proposal that promises “real and measurable progress in solving a critical problem of our time.” I am so confident Rosanne and her team will deliver on this in spades. Back in 2003, when Rosanne hired me to reduce street homelessness in two-thirds over three years in parts of Manhattan, NYC, all I knew was that I wanted to throw myself into work where I felt zero ambivalence. Rosanne took me under her wings and taught me that there’s no such thing as a problem that can’t be solved. Why she hired a former Army officer to lead an effort to tackle street homelessness is a mystery that she attempts to answer in this episode, and her answer sheds light on her knack for disrupting business as usual. Everett Rogers estimates 2.5% of the population are innovators for any given area. Rosanne is one of those rare 2.5% who cannot help but generate fresh insights into entrenched problems. This leader was put on the planet to shake things up! In this episode, you’ll hear us talk about our time working together on the 100,000 Homes campaign, the challenges we faced, and the power of active listening. You’ll also hear some of the behind-the-scenes stories from my book, Impact with Integrity: Repair the World Without Breaking Yourself. As always, enjoy the show and please share far and wide. Show Notes: Thinking outside the box when it comes to hiring. Mobilizing accountability in complex problems. Homelessness is the collective failure of other systems and structures. Stepping up for the people who need it. Why solving short-term crises doesn’t work and where we need to start. The challenge is not sinister or mysterious - it’s solvable. Learning how to engage people in a way that’s not overwhelming for everyone. Matchmaking genius and what it can do for an organization. Allowing space for what needs to come next. Finding the balance between keeping an organization afloat while keeping it equitable and innovative. Pre-order Becky’s Book Impact With Integrity: Repair the World Without Breaking Yourself
52: Holly Craig Silkman: A Profile in Candor
53:18Holly Craig Silkman, aka Adele Adler, aka my college roomie, joins us from her horse ranch in Montana to talk about her experience narrating the audio version of my book, Impact with Integrity, and her experience as a leader for more than three decades. Our time as roommates at West Point was much like this episode, a hoot and a half with tons of laughter. Holly was one of the first people I ever came out to and her compassion in that moment forged a friendship that changed both of our lives for the better. Throughout this episode, Holly’s perseverance, great personality, and candor shine through. A truly authentic leader who leads with compassion, courage, and a heart for service - there is never a dull moment when Holly is in the room. Even in the lowest moments of her incredibly successful career, she found a way to make things better for others. I am so grateful to embrace this ray of sunshine as my lifelong best friend. I guarantee she’ll have you laughing along within the first few moments of the show. Show Notes: “It’s not woo woo if it works.” Breaking free from toxic social conditioning. Becky’s favorite Holly story involving a special kind of bird. “If you don’t seek to be compassionate first, it won’t work.” How Holly went from being an Army Colonel to narrating books. Never start to believe your own press. The price one pays when pride overshadows intuition. What graduating from Airborne school at the age of 45 looks like. You can’t be a leader without being a servant. Navigating the repercussions of sexual assualt from a four star general. The importance of healthy masculinity and the influence good fathers can have on fostering unwavering leadership. Good ole cowboy logic: never miss a good chance to shut up. It’s hard to speak truth to power but people need to hear it, especially from your unique perspective. Show Resources You can check out Adele Adler’s other audio recordings on Amazon here. Pre-order Becky’s Book Impact With Integrity: Repair the World Without Breaking Yourself
51: Howie Cohen - A Profile in Becoming a Leader's leader
57:57Join me this episode as I sit down with my mentor and friend, retired Colonel Howie Cohen, to discuss leadership, community, standards, and perseverance. We reminisce on the unconventional methods Howie used to instill cohesion in every one of the dozens of organizations he led, from being one of the first officers ever to sign into the Third Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment to commanding the White House Communications Agency. Woven throughout our conversation you will notice the profound joy of cameraderie forged by the shared experience of selfless service to something bigger than ourselves alongside the heartbreak that comes with the difficult challenges that life brings our way. Howie embodies the essence of the word excellence and his commitment to learning, growth, and contribution shine through in all his stories. He is a prime example of someone who is a leader’s leader, never asking someone to do something he isn’t willing to do himself, always looking for the developmental moment. Willing to hold himself to a higher standard not because he has to, but because he believes it’s the right thing to do. I had the privilege of working for Howie two separate times during my nine years of service, first when he was the Battalion Commander of the 112th Signal Battalion (Special Operations) (Airborne) and again when he commanded a Special Mission Unit that we both served in. I’m so grateful to share the heart and humor of this amazing leader - this amazing human being - whom I'm honored to call my mentor and friend. Please check out Howie’s current project on Mental Fitness and preventing veteran suicide in the show notes below and help spread the word to everyone you think might benefit. Show Highlights: What it looks like to enforce high standards and how doing so creates a high accountability, high performing organization Excellence becomes contagious when you lead by example The experience of community creates an essential bond of an organization and is an essential ingredient for success The caliber of the team goes up when the accountability of each individual on the team goes up How to create a self-regulatory culture in an organization Even if you don’t win, you win when you’re committed to excellence Finding meaning in sadness. Asking yourself ‘what am I doing right now to develop my leaders and what can I do better?’ Prioritizing leadership development even when others haven’t The gift of letting go of something you’re not good at so you can pursue your passion How to find your resilience even when you suffer from a difficult setback Show Resources: Pivotal Moments Media: https://www.pivotalmomentsmedia.com/ Charlie Mike Channel: https://www.pivotalmomentsmedia.com/charlie-mike/ Army ETS Sponsorship Program: https://etssponsorship.com/ Dept of Veteran Affairs TASC: https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/transitioning-service/index.asp Pre-order Becky’s Book Impact With Integrity: Repair the World Without Breaking Yourself
50: Jan Hicks: A Profile in Authenticity and Kindness
55:39Today Jan Hicks is living her best life as a farmer, mother, and doting grandmother. When she retired as a two-star Major General in 2005, she was serving as the Commanding General of the United States Army Signal Corps. I had the tremendous good fortune of serving under Jan when she was the Battalion Commander of the 125th Signal Battalion in Helemano, Hawaii. Leokani Okauwila - a Hawaiian phrase that translates into Voice of Lightning - was the motto of our unit that provided tactical communications support to the 25th Infantry Division. If you’ve read the first chapter of my book, you’ll be familiar with the story about my boss poking me in the chest with some salty language. Jan Hicks was that boss. She was also one of the most inspiring, authentic, and deeply kind leaders I have ever had the privilege of serving under. By the way, if you haven’t read the first chapter of my book, what are you waiting for? I’m giving the first chapter away for free here, so please check it out! As a freshly minted Lieutenant, I was doubtful that I would ever be able to succeed in the army while at the same time being my authentic self. Though we never spoke about it directly, Jan embodied authenticity and kindness so thoroughly that I have known for the rest of my life that it is 100% possible to be myself and be effective as a leader. I have to confess, I got a little more emotional than usual recording this episode. I didn’t realize until we were speaking the full extent of Jan’s impact on me all these years later. I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to serve with this incredible human being who knows in her bones who she is and what she stands for. I hope that listening to this episode strengthens your own conviction to be true to yourself and kind to others. Show Notes: How to handle a man mansplaining to you that he can’t work for you because you’re a woman. The “rest of the story” behind Becky’s infamous “unfuck this, Lieutenant” moment. What it was like being the first General Officer in the Army who was also a mom. The profound gift of life-long friendships. You can opt out of being miserable. How life’s pendulum will eventually swing back in your favor. The ripple effect of embodying goodness and kindness. It’s okay to make mistakes, just make sure you’re making new ones. Pre-order Becky’s Book Impact With Integrity: Repair the World Without Breaking Yourself
49: Jane Holl Lute: A Profile in Never Moving Backwards
1:00:20Thirty years ago I met Jane Hall Lute while she was my professor at West Point. Since our time together she has gone on to be the Assistant Secretary General for Peacebuilding Support at the United Nations, the former Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security for the United States, and is now the Director at SIPCA. As she mentions,” Jane Hall does not move backward”. Her illustrious career is cornerstonesd with humility,curiosity, and a commitment to learn something new from every conversation. Jane has always been able to distill the most complicated processes and ideas into comprehensible action steps. She is able to shift the context through humor and simplification, on the dime, and even does so a couple of times in this recording. In this episode, you’ll hear what leadership means to Jane and how we must show up as leaders, not to be praised or because it’s being asked of us - but rather because it is our collective duty as humans. Jane’s ‘what you see is what you get” demeanor is funny, sharp, and inviting. I’m so grateful for the time we spent together. Enjoy the show! Show Notes: What happens to your presence when you realize you’ve become a role model. Human beings don’t need to earn respect, they deserve respect. Presence as the most important attribute of a leader. How being a “spectacular failure” can work out for the good. Leading by example stays with people for life. Leaders need to be the weight bearing capacity for the waste of an organization sometimes. What’s meant to be on your path will find a way to make its way there. Navigating toxic people in organizations without compromising the mission. An example of setting boundaries and not suffering in silence. One of the most important choices we have is choosing who is in the sandbox with us. Jane’s insights on Ukraine and the Western World. Pre-order Becky’s Book Impact With Integrity: Repair the World Without Breaking Yourself