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“EVOLVE: A New Era Of Leadership” is a podcast evolving the concept of leadership. Of the human spirit. And showcasing people worth talking to. Hosted by Carolyn Swora

Episodes 31 to 40

It’s Not About Balance, It’s About Blooming with Dan Pontefract

In this week’s episode, Dan Pontefract and I are challenging the traditional notions of work-life balance and authenticity in the context of leadership. Our conversation is particularly special to me because Dan wrote the forward for my book – you can hear that story at the beginning of our conversation. 

Dan and I unpack the myths surrounding work/life balance concepts and offer a fresh perspective on what it truly means to thrive both personally and professionally. Through engaging insights, he explains why separating work and life isn’t conducive to authentic self-expression and fulfillment in today’s interconnected world.

The episode takes a fascinating turn as we explore why asking the question “Are you engaged at work?” misses the mark. Dan presents a paradigm shift, encouraging us to rethink the way we view engagement and fulfillment in our careers.

Therefore, how do we reverse-engineer work-life balance? Dan introduces a groundbreaking approach that involves understanding the interconnectedness of various life factors. He introduces the concept of “work-life bloom” and delves into the four quadrants that contribute to a holistic sense of thriving.

Our conversation takes a critical look at traditional career trajectories versus the concept of a career mosaic. Dan also explores the idea of nonlinear career paths and how embracing a mosaic approach can lead to greater fulfillment and authenticity.

Dan Pontefract is a renowned leadership strategist, author, and keynote speaker with over two decades of experience in senior executive roles at companies such as SAP, TELUS, and Business Objects. Since then, he has worked with organizations worldwide, including Salesforce, Amgen, the State of Tennessee, Nestle, Canada Post, Autodesk, BMO, the Government of Canada, Manulife, Nutrien, and the City of Toronto, among others.

He’s an award winning and best selling author of four books. Lead Care Win, Open to Think, The Purpose Effect, and Flat Army. His fifth book, Work Life Bloom, will be published in October 2023. Dan also writes for Forbes, Harvard Business Review, and other outlets. 

Join us for this transformative episode as we challenge conventional wisdom about work-life balance, authenticity, and leadership.

We discuss:

  • [4:40] Work life balance is a myth 
  • [7:40] The myth of authenticity at work: you can’t be authentic when you’re expected to separate work and life
  • [10:40] Why ‘are you engaged at work’ is the wrong question to ask
  • [12:50] Reverse-engineering work life balance
  • [14:15] The four quadrants of work life factors to be in bloom
  • [18:10] Differences in generations as well as genders
  • [21:55] Revelations within his research 
  • [23:40] The 6 factors you use to evaluate work and life bloom
  • [31:10] How Gen Z sees leadership differently and why belonging is so important
  • [33:10] The career ladder vs. career mosaic 
  • [36:40] What prevents leaders from valuing employees
  • [39:20] How to be transparent about pay
  • [41:25] Six life factors to thrive at work and in your personal life
  • [51:55] A moment that gave him deepend self awareness
  • [52:45] A practice or ritual that he uses to regulate his nervous system
  • [53:50] A song or genre of music that makes her feel connected to something bigger than himself

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Connect with Dan

I hope you enjoyed this episode of Evolve: A New Era of Leadership. I’d love to hear from you.

Developing Authentic Influence and Team Empowerment with Emily Goodson

In this week’s episode, we delve into the captivating world of authentic influence, inner self-discovery, and impactful leadership. Get ready to embark on a transformative journey of self-awareness and empowerment as we are joined by our special guest, Emily Goodson.

We kick off this enlightening conversation by getting into the intriguing question: Is it truly difficult to recognize the nuances of ‘influence’? Emily shares her profound insights that shed light on the intricate aspects of human interaction. Through her experiences, we gain a deeper understanding of how influence shapes our lives.

Emily’s dedication to helping individuals tap into their inner selves comes to the forefront, fostering a genuine form of influence rooted in authenticity. You will learn and  discover practical strategies for aligning the body, heart, and nervous system to become powerful tools for effective leadership.

In the midst of our bustling lives, finding time for meditation can be a challenge. Stay tuned as Emily unveils unique approaches to integrate mindfulness into your daily routine, even when time is scarce. Learn about the profound impact of reciting mantras and how they can significantly enhance your overall well-being.

Stepping into the realm of professional growth, Emily reveals her fascinating work with startups. Uncover the secrets behind investing in workplace culture as a startup and why it holds the key to long-term success. Her insights offer valuable lessons for businesses of all sizes. We also dive into the intriguing chasm between proclaiming to live by our values daily and the actual experiences people around us undergo. Emily’s perspectives offer thought-provoking insights into bridging this gap and living authentically.

Emily Goodson is a writer, entrepreneur, and workplace culture advisor based out of New York City and Los Angeles. After experiencing a childhood brain injury at age eight, Emily was partially paralyzed on the left side of her body. In recovering from her injury, Emily rebuilt her body, relearning to walk with two legs of different lengths and fully functioning with one arm and hand.

As an adult, Emily now applies the lessons she has learned from her physical disability as an educator, entrepreneur, and speaker. She was recognized by the National Association of Women Business Owners for her workplace culture business, CultureSmart. Companies such as American Express, Culture Amp, Lattice, and have also featured Emily’s expertise in workplace culture.

Emily Goodson is a published writer for the LA Times, focusing on topics related to dating and happiness. Additionally, she serves as an entrepreneur-in-residence for Verizon’s Forward for Good startup accelerators and holds the position of adjunct faculty member at George Mason University. In this role, Emily teaches about the intersection of branding, workplace culture, diversity, and inclusion.

We talk about:

  • [3:55] Is it hard to spot ‘influence’?
  • [5:30] Helping people find their inner self so they can influence in an authentic way
  • [14:25] Connecting our body, heart, and nervous system to use them as leadership tools
  • [16:15] Meditation when you don’t have the time
  • [19:40] The impact of reciting mantras
  • [26:30] Her work with startups
  • [28:55] Why invest in workplace culture as a startup
  • [31:50] The gap between saying we’re practicing our values everyday and the experience people around you have
  • [38:40] Key things for organizations to adopt in the future
  • [44:35] Finding new ways to look at results by looking at the whole person
  • [48:20] A moment that gave her insight into the person she truly is
  • [52:50] A practice that centers her
  • [53:20] A song or genre of music that makes her feel connected to something bigger than herself

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Connect with Emily

Connect with me

I hope you enjoyed this episode of Evolve: A New Era of Leadership. I’d love to hear from you.

It’s Not About Balance, It’s About Blooming with Dan Pontefract

In this episode, we delve deep into the world of leadership, emotional well-being, and the intricate web of trauma. Join us as we sit down with Angie Dairou, a seasoned corporate leader and psychologist who has gathered a wealth of wisdom from her experiences in different dynamic business landscapes.

Angie takes us back to her beginnings, recounting the pivotal moments that laid the foundation for her transformative work. She shares how her journey working in China shaped her perspective on leadership and personal growth.

The delicate balance between work and family life is explored, with Angie shedding light on the advantages of maintaining clear boundaries. Discover the insights she’s gained over the years on the importance of carving out space for both professional and personal spheres.

Team leaders and managers won’t want to miss the discussion, where Angie reveals strategies for tending to the emotional needs of team members. She introduces us to the Satir Model, a powerful tool for fostering healthier team dynamics.

As the conversation progresses, we dive into the intricate topic of trauma. Angie demystifies this often-misunderstood concept and unveils why comprehending trauma is becoming increasingly essential for corporate leaders in today’s fast-paced world.

The reverberations of the challenging year 2020 are unpacked, as Angie outlines the lasting stress effects on individuals and organizations alike. But fear not, we explore surprising strategies drawn from silent retreats that leaders can incorporate to foster resilience and clarity.

Listening, both to others and to oneself, takes the spotlight, with Angie sharing techniques for honing this invaluable skill. We delve into the difficulty of self-assessment and being present in the moment.

The cognitive demands of learning and innovating are scrutinized, as Angie elucidates the challenges that leaders face in these ever-evolving times. And don’t miss the intriguing glimpse into the workplace landscape of 2030, where Angie draws upon her foresight to paint a vivid picture.

We’re treated to a personal experience that granted Angie profound self-awareness. Discover the ritual that helps her find her way back to tranquility, and tune in to hear the soul-stirring musical choice that evokes her connection to something greater.

Join us for a thought-provoking episode that blends psychological insights with pragmatic leadership advice, offering a roadmap for both personal and professional growth in an ever-changing world.

We talk about:

  • [2:50] How she began the core of her work in China
  • [8:45] Why it can be beneficial to keep work and family separate 
  • [11:55] Ensuring team members’ emotional needs are met 
  • [13:55] The Satir Model
  • [17:25] What is trauma 
  • [20:45] Why it’s relevant for leaders in the corporate world to understand trauma
  • [25:30] The lingering stress effects of 2020 
  • [32:05] Strategies leaders can learn from silent retreats
  • [36:50] Learning how to listen more
  • [38:30] Why it’s hard to take stock of where you are right now
  • [41:55] The cognitive load to be learning and also innovating
  • [48:20] What 2030 will look like in the workplace
  • [53:45] An experience she had that gave her heightened awareness about herself
  • [56:00] A ritual or practice she relies on to help her return to a state of calm
  • [57:45] A song or genre of music that makes her feel connected to something bigger than herself

Connect with Angie

Connect with me

Developing Authentic Influence and Team Empowerment with Emily Goodson

In this episode, Katie Kurtz and I embark on a profound exploration of trauma as we navigate its intricacies. We begin by defining trauma and examining its impact on our lives. Discover how to recognize your unique relationship with trauma and the physical responses it triggers.

Dive into the world of trauma distinctions, from Big T to Little T traumas, and understand the diversity of traumatic experiences. Explore the pivotal role our nervous system plays in interpreting and coping with trauma. Learn why it’s essential to stay within the “window of tolerance” and the consequences of straying outside it. Explore the four competencies employed by our special guest, Katie, in her transformative work.

Challenge common misconceptions surrounding trauma-informed care and gain insight into Katie’s trauma-informed checklist. Hear real-life examples of unintentional harm and its lasting effects. Katie shares a profound personal experience that heightened her self-awareness, and discovers her rituals and practices for finding calm amidst life’s challenges. Finally, explore the music that brings Katie a sense of connection to something greater than herself. 

Katie Kurtz, MSW LISW-S (she/her), is a renowned expert and trainer in integrative and inclusive trauma-informed care. With 15 years of experience as a licensed social worker and certified coach, she has honed her expertise across various disciplines and industries. Over the last seven years, Katie has redefined trauma-informed care to make it more accessible and inclusive, developing innovative frameworks and methodologies. Her integrative approach has trained thousands of professionals worldwide on six continents, fostering a future where trauma-informed care is accessible and practical for all.

Katie is not only an author, known for creating the Contain Card Deck©, but also the host of the enlightening A Trauma-Informed Future Podcast. She actively contributes as a regional co-chair in Ohio’s Trauma-Informed Care Collaborative and serves as a Subject Matter Expert with the Integrate Network. Recognized nationally and internationally, her leadership and contributions have left a significant mark in both the social work and coaching fields. With a diverse educational background and certifications, including a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Gender Studies and a Master of Social Work, she stands as a licensed independent social worker with supervision designation (LISW-S) in Ohio, an Internationally Certified Coach with BYCA, and a trauma-informed 200hr registered yoga teacher. 

Join us on this illuminating journey through trauma’s complexities, where understanding, healing, and resilience await.

We talk about:

  • [3:00] Defining trauma
  • [5:50] Identifying our own relationship and physical response to trauma
  • [7:15] Big T and Little T trauma 
  • [10:20] Our nervous system’s role in how we interpret trauma
  • [14:55] Why it’s unhealthy to stay outside of the window of tolerance
  • [22:40] The 4 competencies that Katie uses in her work
  • [35:15] Misconception of trauma-informed care
  • [38:50] Katie’s trauma informed checklist
  • [41:55] Examples of unintentional harm
  • [50:30] An experience she had that gave her heightened awareness about herself
  • [52:50] A ritual or practice she relies on to help her return to a state of calm
  • [54:50] A song or genre of music that makes her feel connected to something bigger than herself

Connect with Katie

Connect with me

I hope you enjoyed this episode of Evolve: A New Era of Leadership. I’d love to hear from you.

How Three Centres of Intelligence Create the Leaders we Need in Our Workplaces with Sharon K. Ball

In this insightful conversation, we dive deep into the world of trauma-informed care and leadership with our special guest, Sharon K. Ball.

Sharon shares how she started integrating the enneagram into trauma-informed care, shedding light on the powerful intersection of these two practices. Discover the nuances of trauma and what it truly means (and doesn’t mean) as our discussion unfolds.

Leaders, this one’s for you! Learn how you can appreciate your nervous system as a tool for effective leadership and discover the concept of co-regulation. We explore whether our nervous systems fluctuate between states of “safety” and “unsafe” and discuss the importance of training from a trauma-informed lens first, equipping leaders with invaluable insights.

Stay tuned for an exploration of the 3 M’s and practical advice on not getting hung up on the details of your team members’ trauma. Find out why trauma-informed leadership is a crucial topic in today’s world and how the enneagram can be a key tool for understanding your team better.

Delve into what ‘safety’ means for each center in the body and hear a personal story from Sharon about a challenging moment of self-discovery.

And, of course, we get to know Sharon on a more personal level as she shares her favorite song and genre of music, wrapping up this episode with a touch of fun.

Sharon K. Ball is a highly experienced licensed professional counselor with over 25 years in trauma-informed care. She holds multiple certifications in therapies like EMDR, TIC, ACT, CBT, DBT, and TBRI, and she completed Yale’s School of Management program on diversity and inclusion. Sharon founded 9Paths, a counseling center that offers trauma-informed therapy and supervises counselors for licensure. She’s been a mental health first responder during international disasters and serves as a family court parent coordinator. 

Sharon consults with Nashville homeless shelters, anti-human trafficking organizations, and Fortune 100 companies on workplace psychological safety, inclusion, and belonging. She’s an active member of the Enneagram in Business Network and partners with the Urban League of Middle Tennessee, driven by her belief in the unifying power of recognizing and resolving trauma.

Join us for this enlightening conversation that explores trauma, leadership, and the enneagram in a way you’ve never heard before.

We talk about:

  • [5:30] How she started integrating the enneagram into trauma informed care
  • [8:00] What does trauma mean or not mean
  • [11:15] How leaders can appreciate their nervous system as a leadership tool
  • [14:40] What is co-regulation
  • [16:50] Does our nervous system fluctuate between “safe” and “unsafe”?
  • [19:40] Training from trauma informed lens first and how leaders can learn from it
  • [23:25] The 3 M’s
  • [27:55] How to not get hung up on the details of your team member’s trauma
  • [33:45] Why we need to talk about trauma informed leadership 
  • [35:25] How the enneagram can help leaders understand more about their team
  • [37:40] What ‘safety’ looks like for each center in the body
  • [41:10] A time she learned something hard about herself
  • [42:35] Ways in which she regulates her own nervous system

Connect with Sharon

Connect with me