How Leaders Lead with David Novak

By David Novak

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David Novak hosts real leadership conversations with the best in business, sports and entertainment to talk about how they get such incredibly good things done and how they are making a difference in their communities. David, a former co-founder and CEO himself, has been asking great questions and learning from top leaders his whole life. Now he brings those leadership learnings to you in How Leaders Lead with David Novak.

Episode Date
Starbucks CEO, Kevin Johnson on Leading with Joy
Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks, has brought the power of vulnerability to his role. After succeeding Starbucks’ founder and CEO Howard Schultz in 2017, Johnson believes strongly in preserving the legacy of the brand while embracing the innovation necessary to push the company into the future. Listen as David and Kevin discuss distributed leadership, people over profit, and how he learned transcendental meditation through Ringo Starr.
Jan 14, 2021
Season 2 Trailer
Get ready for Season 2 of How Leaders Lead with David Novak!! In each episode, David Novak interviews some of the biggest names, in business, sports and life – and you’re gonna love learning how these leaders think… what’s important to them… and how they inspire those around them. How they lead.
Dec 28, 2020
Leading with Calm - Children's Hospital of Philadelphia President & CEO, Madeline Bell
Madeline Bell, President and CEO of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), has redefined her title during the global pandemic from CEO to CRO, or “Chief Reassurance Officer”. From bedside to the boardroom, Madeline started her career right out of college as a nurse at the very same organization she now runs. Listen as David and Madeline discuss the progress of the COVID-19 vaccine, believing in yourself first and how to “keep calm, and carry on” amidst a global crisis.
Dec 17, 2020
Leading with Zeal - Weezie Towels Co-Founder & CEO, Lindsey Johnson
Lindsey Johnson and her co-founder Liz Eicholz were close friends before starting their groundbreaking luxury “bathleisure” brand, Weezie. With a background in finance, Johnson was a natural fit for CEO while her partner excels in creative direction and brand building. Listen as Lindsey and David discuss first-time foundership, what sets Weezie products apart, and how to carve out your own unique success story.
Dec 03, 2020
Leading with Belief - John Calipari, University of Kentucky Head Basketball Coach
Head coach of the University of Kentucky NCAA men’s basketball team, John Calipari’s approach to leadership (and coaching) is direct and fearless. Affectionately known as “Coach Cap,” he has been named Naismith College Coach of the Year three times, and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015. Listen as David and John discuss communication and trust, eating KFC with Warren Buffet, and how to build a successful team year after year.
Nov 19, 2020
Leading with Preparation - Jack Nicklaus, Golfer, Businessman & Philanthropist
Jack Nicklaus, nicknamed the Golden Bear, has dominated the game of golf. Known around the world as one of the best players of all time, Nicklaus won 117 professional tournaments over his 44-year career. Listen as David and Jack talk about the important lessons he learned from his father, the great advice he gave Rory McIlroy, the importance of family and many other incredible stories of leaders he admires including previous presidents and other successful athletes.
Nov 12, 2020
Leading with Win-Win, Former Honeywell CEO, Dave Cote
A firm believer in the power and rarity of independent thinking, Dave Cote, former Honeywell CEO and current Executive Chairman of Vertiv Holdings, released his first book this year, “Winning Now, Winning Later.” The book, released in June, expresses his knack for individualist thinking by analyzing and challenging the current, accepted trends in leadership. Listen as Dave and David discuss leading amid a pandemic, his tenure at Honeywell, and his goals for the future.
Nov 05, 2020
Leading with Humility - Home Depot former CEO, Frank Blake
As a lawyer working in mergers and acquisitions for Home Depot, Frank Blake was shocked to be offered the job of CEO in 2007. For the next eight years, he experienced a crash course in leadership at the highest level. Taking cues from his son (a store manager at the time) and “Built From Scratch”, the story of Home Depot, Frank employed the “inverted pyramid” approach to his new role. Listen as David and Frank discuss the power of handwritten notes, avoiding the CEO “bubble”, and why he decided Home Depot should stop opening new stores.
Oct 29, 2020
Leading with Principle - NBCUniversal Chairman, Steve Burke
Steve Burke, Chairman of NBCUniversal for the last nine years, landed his dream job. Ignoring his family and mentors’ advice, he followed his intuition to NBCUniversal after working next door to his father’s old office at Capital Cities/ABC. Listen as David and Steve discuss running Euro Disney, what he’s learned from Warren Buffett, and teaching people to think like owners instead of renters. 
Oct 22, 2020
Leading with Purpose - 822 Group Founder & CEO, Mory Fontanez
Founder and CEO of 822 Group, Mory Fontanez is a purpose coach whose mission is to cultivate mindful, EQ-driven leadership in a capitalistic culture. She guides other leaders and CEOs to identify and then employ their intuition, helping them establish authentic values and an actionable mission for their organizations. Listen as David and Mory discuss the everchanging consumer zeitgeist, harnessing chaos, and the role that love can play in corporate America.
Oct 15, 2020
Leading with Guts - PwC US Chair & Senior Partner, Tim Ryan
After more than thirty years with PwC, Tim Ryan was elected Chair and Senior Partner by his peers in the spring of 2016 for his aggressive growth plan and long history with the company. But when a racially charged shooting took place that summer, listening to his employees’ rousing response motivated Tim to drastically shift his plans. Against the advice of many, Tim immediately pivoted his focus to address racial injustice both at PwC and in society at large. Listen as David and Tim discuss his toughest client experience, the Oscars mixup, and why he wrote a letter to his partners in 2040.
Oct 08, 2020
Part 2: Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase Chairman & CEO
In part two of this interview, Jamie Dimon talks with David about growing up in Queens, the Bear Stearns acquisition, the future of the American dream and what prioritization looks like when you’re leading the world’s largest financial institution.
Oct 01, 2020
Mid-Season Summary From David
As we reach our midway point of this first season, I want to take a time out and just thank you for the overwhelming positive support you've given to the podcast. The reception we've felt from you has been nothing less than sensational. Your words have been encouraging in both reviews & how you've spread the news through social media. You really give me a sense that we're doing something right :) So, thank you.
Sep 30, 2020
Part 1: Leading with Real - Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase Chairman & CEO
Jamie Dimon has served as the Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, the largest of the big four American banks, since 2005. Born into a family of stock brokers, Jamie has led through the 2008 financial crisis, a massive emergency heart surgery, and now a global health pandemic — What’s his secret to success? Anticipating every possible outcome, reading constantly and continuing to learn from those around him. Listen as David and Jamie discuss the global economy, battling cancer, and the future of America.
Sep 29, 2020
Leading with Relationship - Mark Messier, NHL Hall of Famer
Former Captain of the New York Rangers and NHL legend, Mark Messier attributes his success to building close relationships with his teammates outside of the game. One of the greatest ice hockey players of all time, Messier started his professional career with the Edmonton Oilers alongside his friend and fellow hockey legend, Wayne Gretzky. He is a six-time Stanley Cup champion — and the only player to ever captain two teams to Stanley Cup Championships. His playoff leadership while in New York ended a 54-year Stanley Cup drought in 1994, earning him the nickname "The Messiah.” Listen as David and Mark talk about his transition from the Oilers to the Rangers, what it felt like to lose Gretzky as a teammate, and how to galvanize individuals to maximize team performance.
Sep 24, 2020
Leading with Care - CEO of CVS Health, Larry Merlo
Larry Merlo, CEO of CVS Health, started his career as an impassioned pharmacist with no aspirations for the C-suite. Through his passion for pharmacy and level-headed vision, he has led CVS Health to incredible success through streamlining their mission statement, balancing the roles of teacher and student and never losing sight of the consumer and their health— including the historic decision to eliminate the sale of tobacco products. Listen as David and Larry discuss Covid-19 testing, Arnold Palmer, the opioid crisis and healthcare innovation.
Sep 17, 2020
Part 2: Leading with Heart - Tom Brady, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
David is back with Tom Brady for a deeper dive into what makes him such a compelling leader. This extended interview offers a glimpse into Tom’s early life, why he chose football over baseball, how to display confidence when you don’t feel it, and more.
Sep 11, 2020
Part 1: Leading with Heart - Tom Brady, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Six-time Super Bowl Champion, Tom Brady opens up about the “second quarter” of his career as he transitions from a 20-year run with the New England Patriots to a fresh start leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brady describes his personal leadership style as “caring,” and places emphasis on listening and learning, diligently preparing every day, and the gratification that comes with helping those around him achieve success. Many of us have seen Tom Brady in action — but what we see on the field is only the tip of the iceberg for this incredibly passionate, hardworking and humble leader. Listen as Tom and David catch up to discuss performing in the clutch, social injustice in the NFL and the importance of daily dedication to your craft.
Sep 10, 2020
Leading with Resolve - Indra Nooyi | Former Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo
David talks with Former Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi, about her path from childhood in India to leading Pepsico’s transformation to deliver healthier products with greater purpose. Indra tells how she saw dark clouds on the horizon of PepsiCo’s future when she was established as CEO, and how she carried out her plan to change the product portfolio to reflect the changing consumer, despite strong pushback. Now enjoying retirement, Indra shares her perspective of how COVID is exposing the need for radical societal change to address inequalities. She also talks about the work she is doing on a memoir about how she balances career, marriage, and family.
Sep 03, 2020
Leading with Panache - Bobbi Brown | Founder of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics & CEO of Beauty Evolution
How does the creator of one of the world’s most well known beauty brands, pivot to the wellness category and find her footing in a place where authenticity, realness and reality are key? David gets the story behind Bobbi Brown, the brand and the woman who turned her lipstick-making hobby into a billion dollar brand, only to sell it in search of a new challenge – the wellness market. He gets to the story behind the story, where from an early age, Bobbi watched her grandfather in his business, building up security and comfort to be “Just Bobbi.”  Always working to make things better, Bobbi left Estée Lauder after 22 years to try her hand at wellness products. This gave her the freedom to solve problems in unexpected ways and lead a creative team who is not content with the norm. Her lack of fear and excitement to jump into new opportunities with a risk of failure, keeps Bobbi from feeling like she missed a moment. Her desire to create something more authentic has driven her through her career. Whether it be more natural toned lipsticks and makeup that bring out the innate beauty in women, or finding that natural product that brings out the best in someone - has naturally guided her devotion to raising up other women, creating role models and to pursue wellness and success in life.
Aug 27, 2020
Leading with Decency - Ajay Banga, CEO of Mastercard
David talks with the CEO of Mastercard about his work to make fairness as important a trait of leadership as empathy. David gets Ajay’s story about growing up in India and learning to create plans B and C for every situation. Ajay shares his vision for creating financial inclusivity that empowers low-income people to access the funds and credit they need to thrive without depending on corrupt government support. Ajay also explains how diversity is closely linked to innovation, and how the responsibility of leaders is not to create unbalanced privilege for a few, but to level the playing field for all and recognize success from wherever it comes.
Aug 20, 2020
Leading with Drive - Ethan Brown, Founder & CEO of Beyond Meat
Hear how Beyond Meat Founder and CEO Ethan Brown pushes his people with intense loyalty to drive success all while delighting his customers with better protein options that don’t change why people enjoy meat.
Aug 14, 2020
Leading with Intent - CEO of the PGA of America, Seth Waugh
In this episode, David talks with the CEO of the PGA of America to find out how Seth is leading in light of COVID-19 externally, and improving communication internally. When he left finance on Wall Street and joined the PGA of America, Seth discovered a disconnect between headquarters and the Professional instructors that required him to reshape the culture to have better communication and trust, where no bad attitudes would be allowed to poison the atmosphere. Seth is also working to make the PGA more diverse from headquarters to the golf course.
Aug 06, 2020
Leading with Clarity - Doordash Co-Founder & CEO Tony Xu
Tony Xu leads by breaking problems down to the lowest level of detail - almost to the point of applied mathematics. That’s why he worked every step of delivery for the first year and a half that DoorDash existed as a company. Tony is committed to hiring and training employees that have a strong ownership mentality and bias towards action that spurs them to get 1% better every day. Using high-powered data and logistics, Tony wants to help small business owners serve more customers—even during the COVID-19 economic slump. Such a big task requires Tony, and his people, to break problems into smaller pieces, so that by understanding the twenty steps that go into delivery and the many steps required to helping small businesses survive and thrive, they can make good things happen for restaurants, dashers, and consumers. 
Aug 06, 2020
Leading with Greatness - Larry Fitzgerald | Arizona Cardinals WR
Larry and David talk less about Larry’s career as a football player and more about Larry’s leadership in the community during divisive times, his philanthropic efforts, what leadership looks like on the field (people follow those who work the hardest, regardless of their position), and how sports bring diverse people together and breaks down walls. David opens by getting Larry’s origin story about going from the son of a sportscaster in Minnesota to being the youngest player in the NFL as a wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals. David then gets Larry’s stories and insights from the world of pro football, along with his life advice for young leaders about learning, handling criticism, and what sports can teach a divided nation about unity. David then asks Larry about his experience in the world of business and how he has adapted to that world. After the Lightning Round, David asks Larry a series of questions about his work in the community and his family.   Larry Fitzgerald works hard. He isn’t concerned about having a title people respect. Instead, Larry wins people over by setting an example worth following, and by investing in the people around him on a personal level. By being the best player and business person he can be in practice, Larry knows he will be ready to perform at the big game on Sunday. Even at the game, Larry sets an example by making precise plays instead of relying on raw athleticism. 
Jul 30, 2020
Leading with Kindness - Evan Spiegel | SNAP CEO
In this episode, David gets the story behind Evan Spiegel’s creation of SnapChat, and how Evan went from riding a wave of celebrity after SnapChat went public to climbing out of the hole when his app redesign soured the stocks. Evan recognizes that his role as CEO is to create a place where creative people feel comfortable with themselves and their teammates in order to take the risks required to make great innovations happen. That is why he works hard to establish a culture of Kind, Smart, and Creative for himself and his team. Evan shares how he has matured as a leader, embracing accountability from his board, team, and customers, and how he learned to say “no” in order to focus on what matters most. David also gets Evan’s perspective on the COVID crisis and the push for racial justice in America, and how both events should change how decision-makers invest in America’s future. Evan Spiegel loves what he does, and he wants the people who work at Snap to love what they do and be comfortable with who they are. By making kindness one of Snap’s core values, Evan is building a culture where employees are able to be the most creative and innovative designers in social media technology. As a young CEO, Evan has faced many ups and downs—from getting several big-dollar offers to buy him out after going public to facing severe criticism when he redesigned SnapChat. Along the way, Evan has embraced accountability and listened carefully in order to bring the community with him towards exciting innovations in communication. 
Jul 30, 2020
Leading with Simple - Kendra Scott | Founder & CEO
Kendra and David talk about entrepreneurship and what it took for Kendra to turn a pain point she experienced as a consumer buying jewelry into a successful business devoted to surprising and delighting customers while empowering employees. They also talk about how Kendra has pivoted her company in light of COVID-19 to not just survive, but create ways to be even more effective and engaged with their customers.  David and Kendra talk about how her mom’s work for Mary Kay inspired her own style of entrepreneurship and ways to lead others. They talk about her journey from starting a hat boutique at the age of 19 to running a multi-billion jewelry business far from the elite coasts in Texas, and how hearing so many people tell her “no” spurred her on to find success. David also gets Kendra’s perspective on creating a work culture that is kind, quick to pivot and get creative, and empowers front-line associates to make decisions that best serve the customers. Kendra is making a difference in the world of jewelry by turning the pain point of entering a stuffy jewelry store less scary and more relational by focusing on customer connections rather than transactions.
Jul 30, 2020
How Leaders Lead - Trailer
David has been asking questions and learning from some of the most talented people on the planet for decades. Which is a big reason he became one of the 20 Best CEO’s in the world according to Barron’s Magazine. On How Leaders Lead with David Novak, David keeps the questions coming for you to listen to, learn from, and maybe even apply to your own style of leadership. 
Jul 25, 2020