Mission First People Always's podcast

By Dr. Mike Patterson: Leadership Expert

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Better business results, stronger teams, more successful careers and happier lives often boil down to better relationships, so author and educator Dr. Mike Patterson uses curiosity and kindness to bust biases and break down the barriers that keep people apart. Through respectful and fun conversations with thought leaders, scholars, and real people in the trenches, Dr. Mike explores what it takes to build dynamic and respectful workplace cultures, while also achieving the loftiest of organizational goals. Each episode creates a clear path to achieving results with, through, and for people.

Episode Date
38. Authentic Collaboration: Practical Tips to Lead and Energize Your Team with Edward van Luinen and Tricia Cerrone

My guests on this episode believe that they have cracked the code on improved collaboration and creating healthy organizational culture. It’s an issue that most companies need to address--especially since a recent Salesforce Survey found that 85% of respondents said that the primary reason for failed projects and workplace failures is “poor communication and an overall lack of collaboration.” Few people would disagree; however, most people don’t know how to fix it. Our guests believe the answer is authentic collaboration.

About the Guests

Tricia Cerrone

Courage and collaboration are hallmarks of Tricia’s global leadership experience, whether it is leading a project, innovating new designs, or overseeing a portfolio of work. With a keen eye for talent and more than 20 years on the business and production side of designing and delivering technically challenging projects at Disney and other Fortune 500 companies, Tricia is adept at inspiring and motivating teams toward successful outcomes while advancing careers and developing new leaders. She is also an award winning author and screenwriter, as well as co-CEO of Authentic Collaboration.

Edward van Luinen

Edward is CEO and Board Advisor of Global Talent Builders, LLC, a worldwide recruiting, change, DE&I, and workforce development company in Pasadena, California, as well as co-CEO of Authentic Collaboration.  His corporate talent and change experience features Walt Disney Imagineering, Sony, Heineken, and Avon Products, Inc. Edward’s collaboration motto is “advance a team member when you advance yourself.” He has worked in Africa, Europe, and North America. Edward collaborates in both French and English.


What You’ll Learn on this Episode

  • The definition of “Authentic Collaboration”
  • How authentic collaboration drives better outcomes
  • The five behaviors of Authentic Collaboration
  • Practical tips for kicking off or reinvigorating your team leadership with meeting, coaching, and career development tactics that work
  • How to start Authentic Collaboration

Links for This Episode:

Connect with Dr. Mike: 

Episode Minute By Minute:

  • 5:04 The real danger of a bad team environment 
  • 9:38 What “Authentic Collaboration” is and why it matters
  • 13:37 When Edward and Tricia first met 
  • 17:33 Why leaders should make their focus relationships 
  • 19:27 5 ways to have better collaboration 
  • 21:54 How generosity can change your team
  • 27:43 How any leader can get better at collaboration today!
  • 32:40 How collaboration can break cultural barriers 
  • 38:41 Tips all new leaders should hear 
  • 48:17 Dr. Mike’s biggest takeaways and tips for listeners
Mar 07, 2023
37. Team Effectiveness Around the World with Pete Baker

On this episode, you’ll meet Pete Baker, a senior leader in Human Resources for a variety of organizations, who has worked in nine countries of the course of his 30-year career. During that time, he has learned a great deal about what makes teams successful and the kind of interaction that ignites innovation and energized collaboration. He shares some of what he has learned from his journey in a fun, upbeat conversation.

We talk about what defines a highly effective teams, what it takes to build them, and how trust is the foundation of every highly effective team. You’ll also hear how cultural differences may impact team effectiveness and the creation of trust. My guest brings tremendous wisdom and practical experience from which you will most certainly benefit.


About the Guest

Pete Baker is Vice President of Human Resources for Amcor Rigid Packaging, a world leader in the manufacturing of rigid packaging for the food, beverage, spirits, personal care, home care and healthcare industries with 61 facilities in 12 countries.

Pete previously held senior HR roles at First Abu Dhabi Bank, AP Moller Maersk and Procter & Gamble.  A native of Australia, Pete has lived in nine countries throughout his career.  Pete's passion within business is driving team effectiveness and leadership transformation.  He currently lives with his wife in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


What You’ll Learn

  • That disagreements on teams are good
  • If handled well. Those disagreements drive creativity and innovation
  • What keeps people from sharing ideas
  • What’s at risk when people on a team aren’t willing to freely sharing their ideas
  • How trust is the foundation of all effective teams
  • The components of trust


Connect with Dr. Mike: 


Episode Minute By Minute:

  • 2:24 Get to know Pete Baker
  • 5:55 When  Pete started his International career
  • 13:41 When Pete felt like he lost everything
  • 16:34 The journey of finding a new career path
  • 23:33 What does an effective team look like in 2023?
  • 32:02 Why teams that can debate always win
  • 38:50 How to create intimacy in a team without the personal side
  • 44:04 Why all leaders need to become a feedback machine 
  • 46:23 Dr. Mike’s takeaways and things to reflect on
Feb 21, 2023
36. Reflections of a Learning Leader with Dr. Kevin Claypool

Have you ever wondered how learning leaders think about delivering leadership and employee development across a large enterprise? On this episode we climb inside the brain of the Head of Learning and Development for an iconic American company and the world’s largest beer company, Anheuser-Busch. Home to brands like Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, Stella Artois, and too many others to name, Anheuser-Busch is committed to developing people and elevating its performance to create a future with more cheers.


About our Guest

Dr. Kevin Claypool is the North American Head of Learning and Development for Anheuser-Busch, the world’s top brewer, based in St. Louis, Missouri. He is a graduate of York University in Nebraska, and Abilene Christian University, and he earned his doctorate at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology. Strap in because his passion for people and elevating performance is contagious!


What You’ll Learn

  • How learning executives prioritize initiatives to drive strategy
  • Challenges that senior learning leaders face
  • The importance of using both internal leaders and external subject matter experts to lead learning
  • How Anheuser-Busch creatively uses simulations to drive the practical application of learning
  • How to scale learning across an enterprise


Links for This Episode:

  • email: kevin.claypool@anheuser-busch.com


Connect with Dr. Mike: 

Episode Minute By Minute:

  • 0:02 A look inside today’s conversation
  • 3:27 Welcome to our first in-studio interview!
  • 4:50 The love language in a corporate setting
  • 12:00 The workforce reshuffling around the globe 
  • 14:29 The greatest challenges leaders face 
  • 18:04 The power of storytelling in learning
  • 23:00 A creative and invited simulation Kevin does with teams 
  • 26:30 Word of mouth still works in 2023
  • 32:01 One thing that can help you become a better leader today


Feb 07, 2023
35. Lead Deeper with Coaching with Jeremiah Shaw

Coaching is an approach to learning and personal and professional growth that creates self--awareness, drives transformational change, and provides much needed support and an appropriate level of challenge. Some executives have the opportunity to engage professional coaches who are outside of their organization and chain-of-command, and have no loyalties beyond their professional commitment to their clients. Unfortunately, the services of these professional coaches are often expensive and available only to senior executives or high-potential leaders being groomed for the top ranks of an organization.

Today we’re talking about how managers can be coaches and bring that benefits of coaching to their team members. We’re also talking about how it’s a great way build a deeper relationship with the folks on our team and truly get to know them as people–not just a means of production. And there are all sorts of benefits when that happens. In fact, everyone benefits from coaching when managers become coaches.

On this Episode You’ll Learn

  • How coaching humanizes the workplace
  • How coaching is different than managing, mentoring, performance management, and therapy
  • The business case for workplace coaching
  • The three keys to effective coaching as managers

Guest’s Bio

Jeremiah Shaw, the President of Strata Consulting, has a genuine desire to understand others’ stories, explore their challenges, and connect them with the resources that support their vision. With the power of positivity and a joyfully mischievous spirit, Jeremiah enjoys helping his clients clarify and enact a full, purposeful life by defining their value-driven vision, professionally, organizationally, and personally.

Along with a deep passion for both nonprofits and sales, Jeremiah also possesses a master’s degree in Organizational and Global Leadership from York University and a B.S. in Industrial Safety from the University of Central Oklahoma. As an ACC Certified Coach with the International Coaching Federation and a Co-Active trained coach, he can’t help but push those around him to maximize their potential. As a coach, Jeremiah believes that you need to know yourself, accept yourself, and define yourself! Purpose. Values. Direction. Action.

Jeremiah lives a very full life with his wife and three children in the quiet town of Clark, Colorado, where the population sign reads with a bold “?.” When not serving clients or spending time with family, Jeremiah will be found wandering the wilderness with his two golden retrievers, Birdie, and Trout, fly-fishing, hunting, mountain biking, skiing, or writing. If it has to do with adventure or family, he is there.


Links for This Episode:


Connect with Dr. Mike: 

Episode Minute By Minute:

  • 0:02 What’s inside today’s episode 
  • 1:50 Why we do this podcast
  • 3:00 Get to know Coach Jeremiah Shaw
  • 5:01 How Jeremiah learned how to coach and lead
  • 9:31 The Strata Consulting mission and purpose 
  • 11:30 How employee expectations are changing
  • 15:40 How coaching solves problems 
  • 17:00 The real role of every leader
  • 19:25 Unlocking your team's potential 
  • 23:34 The character traits of great coaches
  • 26:13 Jeremiah’s metric for success 
  • 27:58 How you can become a coach
  • 31:31 Jeremiah’s tips to become a better leader


Jan 24, 2023
34. The Solution is in the Dialogue with Peter Andrew Nixon

The world is in dire need of better, more productive conversations. To support that assertion, all you have to do is turn on the news to witness people talking at each other, making accusations, and interacting in ways that, in some cases, are disrespectful and in no way honor the human dignity of the people involved. My guest today contends that we would all be better off if we had better dialogue–a statement with which most of us would agree.

About Today’s Guest

Today’s guest is Peter Andrew Nixon, a Canadian by birth, who has spent much of his professional life in Hong Kong. He is a prolific author, consultant, coach, and trainer who focuses on better communication and collaboration to address organizational challenges and differences.

He advises mainly inside organizations,  but also teaches public courses at management institutes, chambers of commerce, universities, schools, and colleges around the world, including: CUHK (MBA), HKPolyU, McGill University, SFU, & Bishop’s, and HKICPA’s Financial Controllers’ Program. Peter has also appeared on TEDx, CNBC, Discovery Channel, TV5, TVB,  Media Corp., YPO and EO.

He is the author of the following titles, all available on Amazon:

Dialogue Gap (Wiley)

Negotiation: Mastering Business in Asia (Wiley)

The Business Developer’s Playbook: Relationship Selling Principles and the DNA of Dialogue Selling (Taylor Francis)

We're F*cked: But We can Change and Here's How (Kindle)

The Change Manager's Casebook (Kindle)

What You’ll Learn

  • Why the solution is in the dialogue
  • How dialogue is different from communication
  • What gets in the way of good dialogue
  • How to deal with people who don’t want to dialogue
  • How culture affects dialogue


Links for This Episode:


Connect with Dr. Mike: 


Episode Minute By Minute:

  • 0:45 Why today’s episode is so important
  • 3:22 How Dr. Mike and Peter met
  • 4:16 Why the answers are always in the dialog 
  • 6:42 The difference between dialog and conversation
  • 10:30 The art of “give and take.” 
  • 13:22 How to become better at dialog 
  • 18:30 What active listening really looks like
  • 21:43 Communicating your goals more effectively 
  • 25:53 How Dr. Mike would use the SDI in this scenario 
  • 30:00 How meditation can help you become a better leader
  • 31:42 Tips for doing business internationally 
  • 38:44 How you can become a better leader today
Jan 17, 2023
33. Lead like a Navy Seal with Dr. David Livingston

We all admire at the courage, commitment, and success of the US Navy SEAL Teams. These warriors are often thought of as supermen, but in reality, they are just highly trained professionals who work very effectively as a team--even in volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) environments. This does not happen by accident. It is part of their training and their culture--and something other teams can learn from and aspire to become.

Our guest on today’s episode has studied what gives the SEAL teams the ability to adapt as a collective unit in the most dynamic circumstances, and shares his findings on the factors that affect the success of these particular action teams. Using data gathered from official documents and interviews with retired Navy SEALs, he has greatly expanded the understanding of dynamic instability as it relates to team adaption in uncertain environments. He shares these lessons learned in practical ways that will be useful to leaders and teams in a variety of industries and settings.

Today’s Guest

Today’s guest is Dr. David Livingston. David is the Managing Partner of the McChrystal Academy, part of the McChrystal Group in Alexandria, Virginia. The McChrystal Group was founded by retired 4-star Army General Stanley McChrystal, most famous for his command of the Joint Special Operations Command during the Global War on Terror.

At the McChrystal Group, Dr. David Livingston leads a team of subject matter experts, learning designers, and dynamic facilitators who develop and deliver custom learning courses and programs that leverage a variety of experiential learning methods–including some really effective simulations–to drive individual growth and higher performance for teams and organizations.

Prior to joining McChrystal Group, David worked at the Corporate Executive Board as a Senior Learning Designer, responsible for developing classroom and e-learning programs on best practices of leadership. He also held positions as a Learning and Organizational Development Consultant and a Project Manager at a global engineering firm, charged with leading an accelerated development program targeting high-potential managers.

David earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Messiah College, Master of Arts degree in Practical Theology from Regent University, and a Doctorate of Education in Human and Organizational Learning from the George Washington University. His doctoral research focused on team adaptation in uncertain environments.


What You’ll Learn on Today’s Episode:

  • How this research on the Navy SEALS was conducted
  • Definitions of key terms like “dynamic instability, action team, and adaptive capacity”
  • Why having simple rules are important for teams
  • The role of experience in creating adaptive capacity
  • Why relationships are so important for Navy SEALS
  • What factors affect the quality of relationships on teams


Links For This Episode:


Connect with Dr. Mike: 


Episode Minute By Minute:

  • 0:24 What’s inside today’s episode
  • 2:31 Get to know Dr. David Livingston
  • 4:14 How Dr. Mike and Dr. David met
  • 6:48 Why the Navy Seals inspire Dr. David
  • 9:25 How Dr. David gained the Seal's secrets 
  • 14:37 Th power of an “action team”
  • 18:08 Why simple rules can change your organization
  • 20:28 A common mistake many leaders are making in 2023
  • 27:46 How to build your team's adaptive capacity 
  • 33:49 What to do when things get tough 
  • 29:10 What builds trust within your team
  • 41:07 Dr. Davids #1 tip for all leaders today
Jan 10, 2023
32. The Value of Emotional Intelligence with Phil Johnson

According to the The World Economic Forum, Emotional Intelligence is one of the top-ten, must-have job skills of the twenty-first century. And that doesn’t surprise me in the least. Here’s why…because the difference between success and failure as a leader often comes down to one’s ability to relate to people. It’s all about relationships.

The lack of emotional intelligence is usually pretty easy to recognize. It’s the manager that throws a tantrum when things don’t go his way or is quick to throw one of his people under the bus in a meeting. It’s the coworker who shares way too much at the wrong time, it’s the leader who lacks empathy–asking you to sacrifice your family time, while he leaves early, and then claims the credit for your hard work. It’s anyone who lacks the ability to control their emotions and have empathy for others. You will recognize it pretty quickly with most people–and let’s hope that that person isn’t a key stakeholder in your life or work.

Most people readily recognize people who have emotional intelligence in abundance. They are authentic, they are usually good listeners, and they attract people to them–you just want to be around them because they bring out the best in others. They’re safe.

Our Guest

To unpack the value of emotional intelligence, our guest today is Phil Johnson. Phil is an author and the creator of the Master of Business Leadership program which focuses on emotional intelligence. For the past 22 years, Phil has been an executive coach assisting executives and organizations to bet on themselves by developing better leaders and stronger teams with EQ.

What You’ll Learn

On today’s episode, we talk about

  • What exactly is Emotional Intelligence?
  • Is it something that people are born with or can it be developed?
  • Just how important is it? Can you put an economic value on it?
  • What’s at risk if I don’t have it?
  • How do emotionally intelligence people inspire trust
  • How a lack of emotional intelligence causes one to try to steal energy from others?
  • How emotional intelligence helps me to connect to what really matters


Links for This Episode:


Connect with Dr. Mike: 


Episode Minute By Minute:

  • 0:02 What’s inside today’s episode
  • 0:59 Get to know Phil Johnson
  • 4:04 Why emotional intelligence is so important
  • 8:20 The real power of self-awareness
  • 11:29 What Energy Physics has to do with EQ 
  • 16:09 Finding a greater feeling than fear 
  • 19:06 How to find a greater purpose in your 9-5 
  • 21:14 How Phil Johnson help his clients
  • 34:44 One thing you can do today to take back your energy 
Jan 03, 2023
31. An OD Leader's Expat Journey with Berry Lumpkins

What’s it like for a native of Tennessee to build a successful in learning, leadership development, and organizational development in Europe and the Middle East? Today, we find out because we’re talking to Berry Lumpkins. Berry has followed a very non-traditional career path that took him from the home of country music to exotic, far away places in Europe and the Middle East.

Berry Lumpkins is currently the Global Director of Organizational Development at NKT Group based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Prior to joining the NKT Group, Berry held a number of global and regional roles with DP World, FAB (First Abu Dhabi Bank), Zurich Insurance Group, A.P. Moller-Maersk and Siemens focusing in the areas of learning, leadership development, talent and culture, based in the US, Europe and the Middle East. He holds an MA in Ethics from the University of Wales, UK, and a BA in Philosophy from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN. Berry is a dual national (Sweden & USA), currently living in Sweden with his wife, two children, and a cat.

On today’s episode you’ll learn:

  • Berry’s expat journey from that’s taken him around the world
  • What it takes to be successful in a cross-cultural environment
  • How to respect the culture of the host country, while remaining authentic delivering unique value
  • People’s similarities and differences across countries and cultures
  • Key Leadership Lessons from a career spent overseas


Links for This Episode:


Connect with Dr. Mike: 


Episode Minute By Minute:

  • 0:02 What’s inside today’s episode
  • 5:00 Get to know Berry Lumpkins
  • 12:27 Berry’s unique approach to teaching
  • 19:25 The dangers of stereotyping the ones you lead
  • 23:00 The power of hospitality and going the extra mile
  • 28:21 Lessons every leader needs to understand
  • 37:08 The craziest thing that’s happened to Berry abroad
Dec 06, 2022
30. Turning "Doers" into Leaders with Vanessa Judelman

The transition from being a doer to a leader can be a difficult one for many people. Doers are outstanding individual contributors who, based on their performance in their current role, are promoted with the assumption that they will also be a good manager. In reality, some doers never become leaders. Instead, they become “super-doers” who micromanage the work of their team members with a running commentary on how they would perform particular tasks. Both the new manager and people on the team become frustrated.

On today’s episode, we hear from Vanessa Judelman, an author and consultant who helps people make this transition from doer to leader. Vanessa is the President of Mosaic People Development, a company that develops leaders who inspire great results. Over the last 20 years, she has coached and developed thousands of people across the globe who want to be strong leaders.

In her book, Mastering Leadership: What it Takes to Lead in Today’s Fast Paced World,  Vanessa identifies the key problems facing leaders today and provides compelling solutions for the most common leadership challenges. Her goal, through the book, is to create confident, self-aware, and strategic leaders.

Vanessa who works with a wide-array of world-class organizations, is often quoted in the media on issues related to leadership, and lectures in the Ted Rogers School of Management. In short, Vanessa brings a wealth of experience and expertise to our conversation today.

On this episode you’ll learn:

  • The core skills that people must learn when they move into a leadership role
  • The three pillars of leadership success
  • How to make leadership learning stick
  • The importance of boundaries to stay mentally fit and focused
  • Whether some people are simply not suited for leadership roles

Learn more about Vanessa and her company and work at:

Connect with Dr. Mike: 

Episode Minute By Minute:

  • 0:02 What’s inside today’s episode
  • 2:16 Get to know Vanessa Judelman
  • 5:05 Why most promotions don’t work out
  • 9:02 How Vanessa learned about leading well 
  • 16:33 Self-awareness is critical for growth
  • 18:34 Change and adjust your leadership situationally 
  • 22:17 How to execute more statically 
  • 26:00 Some types of change take time
  • 31:04 Leadership is a skill set
Nov 29, 2022
29. Building Your Professional Network Authentically with Racquel Cagurangan

Many years ago, I had a professor in grad school who often said, “Your success will almost always be based on the people you know and the stories they tell about you.” I have found his assessment to be absolutely true as I progressed through my career and now serve clients as a speaker, consultant, and coach. In fact, virtually all of my recent client engagements have resulted from a previous student, colleague, or client who knew and respected me, and recognized that I could add value to their current organization. In short, it really is all about relationships.

But how does one build a professional network organically and authentically in 2022? In a post-Covid world where more and more people work remotely, there seem to be fewer mixers or conferences to attend, and people tend to rely on social media more and more for information and sense of connection, how do we build meaningful relationships? Where do you find people that you would feel comfortable asking for assistance, a referral, or seeking their opinion on a pressing matter that has caused you some sleepless nights?

To some, networking has uninviting connotations. If working the room, handing out business cards, and inviting new acquaintances to coffee doesn’t feel natural, then this episode just might be for you. Today, we’re going all the way to Manila, in the Philippines, to talk with someone who has built a powerful network in natural, authentic ways–because she cares deeply about the causes and people with whom she is involved. As a result, some call her the most well connected woman in the Philippines.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • The value of networking
  • The right mindset for networking
  • Why connecting with relevant people is the priority
  • How to be a maven and influencer

Guest’s Bio

Racquel Cagurangan is currently the GM for International SOS operations in the Philippines. Until recently, she was Head of Ambulatory Care of Metro Pacific Health, the largest hospital group in the country prior to joining her new post. She also led a chain of medical clinics, mobile xray business and  managed over 200 company clinics with over 300% revenue growth in 5 years. She used to be the general manager of a well-known mall-based clinics and was COO of the largest HMO in the Philippines. She served as Treasurer of the Philippine Ambulatory Surgical Center Association and Chairman of the Management Association of the Philippines’ Health and Wellness Committee this year.

Racquel has been very visible in the healthcare industry for the past decade however; she started in the telecom industry and served 11 years in AT&T and 6 years in the biggest mobile company in the country, Globe Telecom where she was one of the youngest Vice Presidents. She was also Chief Administrative Officer in Globe’s wireline subsidiary, Innove. She moved on to the online digital industry in 2009 as GM of 88DB handling 5 web portals in Asia Pacific most notably politicalarena.com, the only web partner of Philippines’ first automated election

At one point in her career, she was GM of a call center with 800 agents and called herself “Chief Maven”. She continues to advocate for the contact center industry to date. She is now an Institute of Corporate Directors' Fellow promoting corporate governance and sustainability, a case discussion Leader for Harvard Business, president of Reef Check Philippines and an active member of the Filipina CEO Advisors. In her spare time, she plays badminton, golf, poker or sing karaoke and ballroom dancing.


Links for This Episode:

  • Email: rrcagurangan@yahoo.com.ph
  • Facebook: Racquel Reyes Caguragan
  • What’sApp / Viber: +639178980142 or +639689801424


Connect with Dr. Mike: 

Episode Minute By Minute:

  • 0:02 What’s inside today’s episode 
  • 1:19 Get to know Racquel Cagurangan
  • 3:35 How Racquel became so connected
  • 7:09 The real ROI on a good network
  • 10:00 Why Racquel doesn’t like the word “networking”
  • 18:30 Finding relevant people in your industry 
  • 24:39 The importance of sharing knowledge
  • 30:00 What Racquel is working towards
Nov 01, 2022
28. Doing DEI with Cultural Intelligence with Dr. Kristal Walker

According to Diversity Wins, the third in a series of reports from famed management consulting firm, McKinsey and Company, the business case for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) is stronger than ever. In their research, McKinsey followed the trajectories of 1,000 companies in 15 countries using a very sophisticated methodology called “social listening” to determine what actually drives success.

They’ve followed these companies since 2014, so this is not simply a snapshot; instead it’s a true look, with the perspective of time, on what’s happening. The reality is that many, if not most companies, made little progress during a 5-year period. Some even regressed. However, the diversity winners are adopting systematic, business-led approaches to inclusion and diversity (I&D).

McKinsey’s latest analysis reaffirms the strong business case for both gender diversity and ethnic and cultural diversity in corporate leadership—and shows that this business case continues to strengthen. The most diverse companies are now more likely than ever to outperform less diverse peers on profitability. Moreover, Mckinsey found that the greater the representation, the higher the likelihood of outperformance. In the case of ethnic and cultural diversity, their business-case findings are equally compelling.

While these data points are persuasive, getting there is not easy and it doesn't happen overnight. On this episode, you’ll hear from a leader in this space who is doing the hard work–on a daily basis–of creating more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organizations. You’ll discover what goes into making this happen and hear some ideas on how you can make it happen for your team or organization.

You’ll learn:

  • How to simply define and describe DEI
  • Why the conversation about DEI is so important
  • What cultural intelligence is and how to build it
  • Where DEI practitioners can find an appropriate certification
  • And much more…

Dr. Kristal Walker, CPTM

Vice President of Employee Wellbeing, Sweetwater

Dr. Kristal Walker, CPTM, has worked in the learning, leadership, and organizational development space for over 15 years helping clients engage people, apply processes, and implement technology to improve human and organizational performance. She currently serves as the vice president of employee well-being at Sweetwater Sound, where she is responsible for crafting and leading wellness, diversity and inclusion (D&I), and training initiatives. She is also a Training Industry Courses instructor, where she teaches the CPTM designation, as well as a few additional courses, including new D&I Inclusion workshop for which she authored. She is now in the process of launching oa new online institution called Proverbs University, which offers professional certifications in Corporate Training, DEI, High-Impact Leadership, and Talent Management Strategy.

Dr. Walker's education prepared her well for her current and future endeavors. Though she earned an undergraduate degree in human services, a graduate degree in management and organizational leadership, and a doctorate of management degree in organizational leadership, she is committed to forever being a student of her craft. She holds the Certified Professional in Training Management as a true testament of "practicing what she preaches". She is also certified in analyzing Caliper Essentials and PDP ProScan, TeamScan, and JobScan Assessment data, which allows her to provide expert coaching and strategy in building talent from selection through succession. According to Kristal, she takes greatest pleasure in being the wife to her loving and supportive husband, and the mother to her amazing children

Links for This Episode:

Connect with Dr. Mike: 


Episode Minute By Minute:

  • 0:02 A look into what makes people successful 
  • 3:35 Get to know Dr. Kristal Walker
  • 6:10 The value of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the real world
  • 14:35 The “Chef” analogy 
  • 17:59 How to have more inclusive conversations 
  • 24:01 Tips on transitioning into a new culture 
  • 28:00 What “doing the right thing” looks like
  • 36:15 Are you tracking the right data?
  • 40:23 How to connect with Dr. Kristal Walker
Oct 25, 2022
27. Developing Young Hispanic Leaders with Eric Rodriguez

According to the 2020 census, there are 62.1 million Hispanics in the United States or 18.7 percent of the population. It’s also the fastest growing ethnic group in the country. Yet even with the strength in numbers these data may suggest, many young Hispanics are still struggling to find success in higher education and the workplace. This episode is dedicated to better understanding how one university professor and the non-profit Hispanic 100 Educational Foundation is making a difference in the lives of young people who will someday be our leaders.

Guest Bio

Dr. Eric Rodriguez eaches a variety of business, management, and I/O psychology courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels at California State University–Fullerton, as well as Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, California.

He is also a principal and founder of Focused Leader Consulting Group, a boutique consulting firm centered on people and organizational development. In that practice, Eric and his colleagues leverage a variety of learning tools and interventions to improve relationships and drive organizational performance.

Eric earned his doctoral degree from Pepperdine University and a MBA from Azusa Pacific University, as well as a wide array of certifications in a variety of assessments and learning programs.

Eric is also dedicated to giving back to the community as reflected in his work with the Hispanic 100’s Mentorship Program where he serves as co-chair.

About the Hispanic 100 Foundation

The Hispanic 100 organization is established to develop and promote leadership from within and from the Hispanic community and to advance free enterprise principles through advocacy and educational activities that impact the Hispanic population as it relates to the overall social and economic good.


Links for This Episode:


On This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • Some of the unique challenges first generation, Hispanic college students face
  • The story of a successful, first generation Hispanic college student
  • What the Hispanic 100 does
  • Why mentoring is so valuable
  • What does it take to give back


Connect with Dr. Mike: 


Episode Minute By Minute:

  • 0:01 What to expect on today’s episode
  • 1:15 Get to know Eric Rodriguez
  • 7:14 Struggles commonly found in young Hispanic communities 
  • 19:01 How Eric is helping Hispanic communities get mentored 
  • 20:19 One of the most powerful stories about mentorship
  • 23:00 The importance of personality assessments
  • 26:32 The real power of giving to others 
  • 33:10 The number one challenge Eric and his organization 
Sep 27, 2022
26. Navigating Enterprise Politics with Dr. Jawn Lam

You’ve heard it a thousand times: “I hate all of the politics at work.” You may have even said it a few times or at least carried the sentiment. And since it’s such a ubiquitous topic of conversation, more than a few of us have likely commiserated with colleagues about office politics over drinks at a happy hour or a plate of food in the company cafeteria (just for clarification, that’s a place where people gathered to eat when we went to the office), but odds are you didn’t leave that gathering with a plan for navigating those political tides.

Today’s guest, Dr. Jawn Lam, has done scholarly research on how people gain, hold, and exercise power in organizations, and has built a business based on helping people win that political game at work. And if we think of organizational politics as a game that can be won or lost, we want you to gain some insights that will help you win.


Guest Bio

Dr. Jawn Lam, is a scholar-practitioner who is obsessed with how people gain and wield power in the workplace. He is the founder of Durable Leadership, an organizational consulting firm that helps executives win at enterprise politics. Jawn is a graduate of Pepperdine University at the undergraduate, MBA, and doctoral levels.


On this episode, you’ll learn:

  • The common myths about office politics
  • How power and politics play out in the corporate setting?
  • The moral/ethical implications of power and politics
  • Why everyone in the organization should be aware of political dynamics whether or not they decide to engage
  • How office politics possibly be beneficial to the organization
  • How you can win at enterprise politics

Links for This Episode:


Connect with Dr. Mike: 

Episode Minute By Minute:

  • 00:01 What to expect from today’s episode
  • 1:26 Get to know Dr. Jawn Lam
  • 5:55 How to be more authentic and productive 
  • 9:01 Why do you need more power? 
  • 10:55 How Dr. Lam handles working with a narcissist
  • 14:10 How Dr. Lam has helped his clients get more power 
  • 18:50 What success looks like to Dr. Lam
  • 25:57 How Dr. Lam protects the repatriation and interest of his clients 
  • 33:14 The truth about power dynamics and relationships 
  • 37:17 How to connect with Dr. Lam and closing thoughts
Sep 20, 2022
25. How to Build a Great Leadership Team with Jack McGuinness

You have likely been on some really good teams where everyone enjoyed working together and together, you accomplished some pretty exciting things. And…you had fun doing it. And on the rough days, you picked each other up and addressed the challenges together.

Like me, you’ve probably also been on some teams where everyone seemed to be pulling in opposite directions, where no one seemed to want to be there, and where results were mediocre at best. It wasn’t a good experience, so you’re in no hurry to go back. You might even be on that kind of team now.

Since both scenarios are common, how do we intentionally build great teams? What’s the secret sauce that allows leaders to attract and retain great people, exceed performance goals, have everyone get along, and create a truly enjoyable experience for all involved? That’s exactly what we’re going to talk about in today's episode--but with a particular focus on leadership teams--where the stakes are often much higher. In fact, the future of an entire enterprise is often determined by how well a small group of people can work together to guide the organization.


Guest Bio:

My guest today is Jack McGuinness. Jack is an executive coach, author, and co-founder of Relationship Impact, a consulting firm focused on helping organizations build great leadership teams.

Jack is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and served with the Army’s famed 10th Mountain Division. Since leaving active duty, Jack has also been the Chief Operating Officer of a boutique management consulting firm, and the CEO of a contract managing company, as well as an adjunct professor at the John Hopkins Carey School of Business.

Jack’s new book, _Building Great Leadership Teams: A Practical Approach for Unleashing the Full Potential of your Leadership Team,_ is the focus of our conversation.


What You’ll Learn:

  • What gets in the way of leadership teams being effective?
  • What is your approach to helping build great leadership teams?
  • Why are leadership teams so important?
  • What is the leader’s role in building a great leadership team?
  • How do you measure the effectiveness?

Links for This Episode:

  • Email: jmcguinness@relationship-impact.com

Connect with Dr. Mike: 

Episode Minute By Minute:

  • 0:02 Are you ready to transform your team?
  • 2:21 Get to know Jack McGuinness
  • 4:28 What led Jack to write his book
  • 7:20 What gets in the way of a successful team 
  • 14:20 The importance of building trust 
  • 20:14 How to create empathy within your team
  • 21:43 Why the leader should model the culture
  • 27:12 How Jack’s process works with organizations
  • 29:15 How to get a copy of Jack’s new book
  • 30:44 Dr. Mike’s closing thoughts and advice
Sep 12, 2022
24. Creating a Retirement Filled with Meaning and Purpose with Sheryl Roy

On today’s episode, we’re talking about what it takes to lead yourself well into retirement–and how to make that season of life filled with meaning and purpose. We’ve also included several great resources to consider here in the show notes, so take a look!


Guest Bio

My guest today is Sheryl Roy,  a Leadership and Transition Coach, an expert in Organizational Effectiveness and has a passion for Diversity & Inclusion.  She recently retired from ExxonMobil with over 31 years in Engineering, Project Management and Human Resources.  She spent her last 10+ years as a Global Organizational Effectiveness (OE) Consultant, including developing and mentoring hundreds in OE across the globe.  In her final few years, she helped drive ExxonMobil's D&I Strategy across businesses and ERGs.

Sheryl graduated from UT Austin in Mechanical Engineering, then later attained her HR Certification from Cornell University.  She also completed the Rice University CoachRice Leadership Coaching Program and achieved her coaching certification from the ICF (International Coaching Federation), coaching many leaders inside and outside of ExxonMobil over the years.  She is certified in many psychometric tools such as Core Strengths, Team Management Profile and more.  As you can see, she has a passion for continued learning and development.

Sheryl resides in Houston, Texas.  In retirement, she plans to continue her leadership and transition coaching practice, consult in OE areas, and dive deeper into her Artwork with hopes to one day have her own art exhibit.


On today’s episode you’ll learn:

  • Why retirement transition is an important topic of discussion? 
  • What the different phases we experience in retirement are
  • How to discover meaning and purpose in retirement
  • Other important considerations for retirement planning
  • How to assess where you are versus where you want to be
  • …and much more



Links for This Episode:

Social Links

Additional Resources

Michael Bungay Stander (How to Begin, Start Doing Something That Matters)

  • Thrilling - it lights you up, gets you excited, speaks to your values, it’s what you care about
  •  Important - it gives more to the world than it takes from the world, worthy of your time
  • Daunting - it challenges you, makes you delve down deep into your core to discover your unlimited potential and your creative abilities, it makes you stretch far beyond the boundaries of your known capabilities, knowledge, and resources in order to achieve it


Books/articles to consider:


Retirement Wheel of Life:

How would you assess where you are in each area….choose a value between 1 (very dissatisfied) and 10 (fully satisfied):

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Relationships/love
  • Health
  • Fitness
  • Spirituality
  • Joy in life



  • Money
  • Investments
  • Financial stability
  • Recreation
  • Relaxation
  • Personal development and growth


Contribution to society

  • Career/job/work (if you are still working)

Connect with Dr. Mike: 

Episode Minute By Minute:

  • 0:02 What to expect on today’s show
  • 2:41 Let’s design a retirement with meaning
  • 3:51 Get to know Sheryl Roy
  • 6:55 Why planning for retirement is key
  • 9:50 Dealing with the feeling of being “unneeded” 
  • 12:59 A look into the phases of retirement 
  • 16:45 The number one question people ask about retirement 
  • 20:13 What “daunting” task to tackle first
  • 23:10 The power of giving yourself choices
  • 28:51 Preparing for retirement at different ages
  • 32:45 How to connect with Sheryl
Aug 16, 2022
23. What's so Hard about Innovation? with David Thomas

There is an ancient Chinese proverb that states: “When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.” On this episode, we’re going to build some windmills!


Innovation has been called the survival skill of our time. If we don’t innovate, we don’t survive. As a result, it seems that everyone is talking about innovation and how important it is, but relatively few people are actually giving us specific steps on how to be more innovative as a leader of a team or small business person. Today’s guest will make the case for innovation, but also help us begin to take some practical steps toward becoming more innovative and creative--how to break the status quo.


On this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why 2022 may be a “meteor to the dinosaurs” moment in the life of your business;
  • That innovation is a team sport in which everyone in the organization must play a role;
  • How innovation is as much about People and Purpose as it is about Process, Methods and Tools;
  • How a pathway to greater innovation can be created with intentionality, focus, and skill development.
  • What the “six I’s” of innovation are and why they are important; and
  • Much more…


Guest Bio:


David Thomas is an Improvement Scientist and Business Coach, specializing in Strategy, Innovation, Process Improvement, and Leadership Effectiveness – Helping successful leaders to develop and enrich strategies, Innovate products, services and processes, drive change in organisation culture, become more streamlined, and build themselves and their teams to deliver superior performance - in short to become more successful!


Born in Australia, David has lived in Asia for 22 years, including China, Singapore and Hong Kong and has deep experience with business dynamics and cultural diversity of the Asia-Pacific Region.


He has more than 35 years’ experience in commercial operations, manufacturing, services management, strategy, quality and business Improvement, with 12 years serving in Asia regional leadership roles for major multinationals such a Compaq, Hewlett-Packard and Philips Electronics.


Aside from having a mission to help leaders and their organizations diagnose their challenges and find practical ways to navigate critical transitions and accelerate sustainable growth, David has a passion for enabling dialogue and action around environmental and social restitution, and developing the leaders of tomorrow.

Links for This Episode:

  • Email: enquiries@pkpasia.com


Connect with Dr. Mike: 

Episode Minute By Minute:

  • 0:02 What Dr. Mike’s been doing this Summer
  • 3:29 Get to know David Thomas
  • 6:49 The need for innovation in 2022
  • 14:10 The trainable skill set of innovation 
  • 19:29 How to know when you should invest in an idea
  • 21:45 How to deal with the “Debbie downers”
  • 27:27 What can derail a teams invitation
  • 31:05 One book all innovators should read
Aug 09, 2022
22. Leading With Dignity with Dr. Robyn Short

Everyone wants to be treated with dignity and feel safe. Unfortunately, some workplace paradigms--and individual leaders--do a poor job of promoting this kind of peace…

Welcome back to the Mission First People Always Podcast! On today’s episode, we talk to Dr. Robyn Short, an expert on “dignity intelligence,” who will explain what it takes to create organizational cultures where people can thrive and bring their best selves to work each day--and experience peace at work. 

Robyn is the founder and CEO of the Workplace Peace Institute, a consulting, training, and research firm that brings peace and dignity to the workplace. She also works as a peace-building trainer, mediator, racial equity coach, and restorative justice facilitator. She is the founder and publisher of GoodMedia Press, an independent book publisher whose mission is to promote peace and social justice through books and other media. Dr. Short is an adjunct professor at Southern Methodist University in the Master of Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution program, Lipscomb University’s Conflict Management Institute, and the Master of Leadership and Negotiation at Bay Path University. She has authored four books on peace building. 

Hit play to learn what it takes to be a “more human human,” and in turn, become a better leader for your team. For more resources or to get in touch, check out the links below! 

On today's episode, you'll learn:

  • What factors create or diminish peace in the workplace
  • What Gen Z employees demand from their employers
  • How common organizational paradigms can promote or diminish a sense of safety and dignity
  • How the role of leaders is changing from decision-maker and distributor of resources to human behavior expert
  • Why a culture of dignity and acceptance drives performance
  • One simple question you can ask to connect with members of your team emotionally
  • And much more!


You Can Connect with Dr. Short at:


Connect with Dr. Mike: 


Minute By Minute:

  • 0:23 Let’s talk about creating a positive workplace
  • 2:28 Get to know Dr. Robyn Short
  • 4:18 A look inside the workplace peace Institute
  • 12:15 How to create a more people-focused business
  • 14:45 Does peace make you money?
  • 21:04 How to help your people feel like they belong
  • 27:35 What to do when dignity violation happens to you
  • 33:45 How to connect with Dr. Robyn Short
Jun 28, 2022
21. Grief in the Workplace with Kim Kerr

Grief is both a very individual experience as well as a universal reality. At some point in our lives, we will all lose something or someone that we hold dear to us. It will make a significant impact on who we are, how we understand the world, and how we do our work, but the thing to know about grief is that, while painful, it can ultimately lead to a deeper appreciation for life and living. In the end, this can only strengthen our resolve to lead meaningful, full lives.

When we are grieving, it can be hard to put into words the wide array of emotions that we feel: regret, outrage, sadness, guilt, and helplessness among them. In times like this, it’s often helpful to turn to the wise words of others who have also experienced grief — both as a means of support and a reminder that things will get easier over time. As renowned painter Henri Matisse once said, “​​The pain passes, but the beauty remains.”  

Welcome Back! On this episode of the Mission First People Always podcast, we talk with a trained Grief Recovery Specialist and longtime HR professional who will give us some excellent advice on how to help people–our most precious resource–work through these tough times. 

Today's guest is Kim Kerr. Presently, Kim works at Meta as a Program Manager in People Experience and leads the Jobs and Career Expectations Program. She is also a certified Grief Recovery Specialist and has a number of passions–all fueled by her heart to serve others. 

Kim holds a master’s degree in organizational communication from the School of Communication at Northwestern University in Chicago, where she focused her research on teams and relationships and organizational effectiveness. She has completed doctoral studies at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology. 

Kim is a lifelong learner. She holds certificates in OD Consulting from Depaul University, Change Management from LaMarsh Global, Relationship Intelligence from Core Strengths, and the Grief Recovery Method from The Grief Recovery Institute and Sunrise at Midnight. 

Join our conversation to learn how you can best support your team through difficult times, and for more resources, check out the links below! 

On today's episode, you'll learn:

  • Common causes of grief that impact the workplace
  • Costs and consequences of grief in the workplace
  • How grief manifests/shows up in the workplace
  • What managers should do in response
  • What resources are available to managers

You can access grief recovery resources at:

You can reach Kim Kerr at:

Connect with Dr. Mike: 

Minute By Minute:

  • 0:02 What’s inside today’s show
  • 2:06 Get to know Kim Kerr
  • 5:11 Different types of grief in the workplace
  • 9:49 Why leaders should respond well to grief
  • 16:08 What to do if a team member is going through traumatic events 
  • 21:00 Boundaries leaders shouldn’t cross
  • 23:53 When colleagues pass away suddenly
  • 26:44 Kim’s advice to every leader on grief
Jun 21, 2022
20. Leading from Anywhere with Dr. David Burkus - Part 2

Welcome back to the Mission First, People Always Podcast! We are back again with Dr. David Burkus for part two of our conversation about remote teams and remote leadership. Before you hit play, be sure to catch last week's episode for part one so you are caught up to speed. If you are a leader who has found yourself "working from anywhere," these two episodes are a game changer! We hope you enjoy these conversations and share the link with a leader who could benefit from it. 

David is considered one of the top business thought-leaders in the world by Thinkers50, is a sought-after keynote speaker with a Ted Talk that’s been viewed over 2 million times, and is an active consultant who has a track record with some of the world’s top organizations. He’s the author of several highly acclaimed books, and today, we dig into this latest book, Leading from Anywhere: The Essential Guide to Managing Remote Teams. 

In the book, David makes a persuasive case for remote teams being as effective–or even more effective–than traditional teams that mostly operate together, face-to-face, on a daily basis. However, getting the most out of these remote teams requires a certain leadership approach which fortunately can be learned. Join the conversation on how to bring out the best in people from afar. 

Listen in as we discuss how to get started right with a remote team, how to find and leverage a common purpose for the team, how to engage your people, onboard new team members, how to let people go on Zoom, and much more. We even talk about Elon Musk’s recent declaration that everyone has to come back to the office. Every point has a practical application, so you'll find the entire conversation both relevant and immediately useful.

For more resources or connect with us, check out the links below! 

Learn more about David’s work :

Connect with Dr. Mike: 

Minute By Minute:

  • 0:02 Welcome back for part two 
  • 0:55 Non-cheesy games to play with your team
  • 3:48 Why traditional phone calls are needed
  • 6:45 One tip to connect to your team on zoom 
  • 8:15 On-boarding new members in a digital world 
  • 10:50 The best way to fire a remote worker
  • 16:00 Thoughts on Elon Musk’s remote work tweet
  • 19:15 Dr. David Burkus’ favorite tip and how to connect 
Jun 14, 2022
19. Leading from Anywhere with Dr. David Burkus - Part 1

Welcome back to the Mission First People Always Podcast! In today's episode, I'm offering my conversation with author, Dr. David Burkus, in two parts because it is so good I didn't want to try to stuff it all in one episode. In fact, I believe everything we talk about has practical implications for nearly every manager, so make sure to come back next week for part two of this conversation. 

David is considered one of the top business thought-leaders in the world by Thinkers50, is a sought after keynote speaker with a Ted Talk that's been viewed over 2 million times, and is an active consultant who has a track record with some of the world's top organizations. He's the author of several highly acclaimed books, and today, we dig into this latest book, Leading from Anywhere: The Essential Guide to Managing Remote Teams. 

In the book, David makes a persuasive case for remote teams being as effective–or even more effective–than traditional teams that mostly operate together, face-to-face, on a daily basis. However, getting the most out of these remote teams requires a certain leadership approach which fortunately can be learned. Join the conversation on how to bring out the best in people from afar. 

Listen in as we discuss how to get started right with a remote team, how to find and leverage a common purpose for the team, how to engage your people, onboard new team members, how to let people go on Zoom, and much more. We even talk about Elon Musk's recent declaration that everyone has to come back to the office. Every point has a practical application, so you'll find the entire conversation both relevant and immediately useful.

For more resources or connect with us, check out the links below! 

Learn more about David's work :

Connect with Dr. Mike: 

Minute By Minute:

  • 0:02 Welcome to part one
  • 1:38 The solutions you'll hear in this episode 
  • 3:09 Get to know Dr. David Burkus
  • 5:03 The basics of remote leadership
  • 9:31 The path to earning trust with your people
  • 13:00 Setting a culture of respect with your team
  • 16:07 How to get your people to speak up during your call
  • 21:37 What are you fighting for as a team?
Jun 07, 2022
18. Building Resilient Teams with Dr. Gene Coughlin

Resilience is the capacity to deal with difficulty, adapt, and come back stronger. It's something today's guest argues is critically important for teams--especially if there is going to be meaningful development and learning. But this requires an intentional approach that engages all of the key components of resilience. 

Welcome back to the Mission First People Always Podcast! In this episode, we have a conversation with a scholar who has not only studied building resiliency on teams as an academic discipline but who has quite literally, proven to be a fearless leader in the trenches. Dr. Gene Coughlin is a Marine Corps officer and combat veteran (We love our veterans on the Mission First People Always Podcast and we sincerely thank them for their service). He has also worked in a variety of for-profit and nonprofit organizations to witness the value of resilience firsthand. 

Dr. Coughlin is the founder and CEO of the Resilience-Building Leader Program (RBLP). Their mission–and yes, we love mission clarity around here –is to certify front-line supervisors, middle managers, and senior leaders that have successfully demonstrated competency in what it takes to Build Resilient Teams for organizational learning and change.

You see, we believe resilient teams are needed now more than ever. Hit play to learn how you can create a team that not only overcomes adversity but adapts and grows from it. 

For more resources or to connect with us, check out the links below! 

In today’s episode you will learn:

  • Why resilience matters (because the important stuff is always hard)
  • What leaders do to promote resilience in their teams
  • How the Resilience Building Leader Program (RBLP) was developed
  • How supervisors, managers, and senior leaders can earn the RBLP Certification
  • Why resilience is tied to organizational learning and change
  • And Much More!

To learn more about the RBLP or to follow Dr. Gene Coughlin's work, please visit::

Connect with Dr. Mike: 

Minute By Minute:

  • 0:02 Let’s talk about prepping your team to overcome adversity
  • 2:00 Get to know Dr. Gene Coughlin
  • 7:30 What Dr. Coughlin learned about leadership during his doctoral research
  • 10:02 The power of resilience in the workplace
  • 13:44 How to build trust with your people
  • 20:28 One hole Dr. Gene has identified in the market
  • 24:30 The #1 challenge most teams encounter
  • 31:30 How Dr. Gene used experimental learning
  • 37:16 How to connect with Dr. Gene and learn more
May 31, 2022
17. Which Assessment Is Right For You? with Ray Linder

Welcome back to the Mission First People Always Podcast! Did you know? According to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), about 60% of employees are asked to take an assessment of some sort, with 22% of employers using assessments to screen job applicants. It’s no surprise then to learn that the growing assessment market is now estimated to represent $500 million in annual sales with strong–as much as 10% per year–growth in recent years.  In short, it’s big business.

There is no lack of options either. Estimates suggest that there are more than 2,500 psychometric tests of various sorts on the market. Some are very clearly rooted in science, with strong reliability and validity, while others are little more than clickbait on the Internet. With so many options available, how does the HR professional or frontline leader choose? Which assessments are most valuable, and which ones should be overlooked because they provide little value? 

You’re going to want to hit play for this! In today’s episode, we take on the challenge of sifting through the data to present you with valuable insight into which assessments work best for what situations. We begin by laying the foundation with some basics about personality, psychometrics, reliability, and validity. Most importantly, we’ll keep it practical for leaders in the trenches–the folks who are looking for tools to help them lead better, build better teams, and generally get more done. 

Listen in as I talk with returning guest Ray Linder! Ray is a master facilitator, consultant, and coach who has worked with a wide variety of organizations in both the public and private spaces–and I consider him an elite expert on at least two of the assessments we’ll talk about today. There’s more to Ray than that though, he brings a broad base of knowledge due to his background, work, and experience. He is based in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, and he’s always on the road leading training for someone. 

Join us as we discuss the best ways to cut through all the noise and get to the tools and resources you need to take your team to the next level. To find out more or to connect with us, check out the links below! 

In today’s episode, you will learn:

  • Solid working definitions of two terms we throw around a lot in the workplace: personality and psychometrics.
  • Identify some of the common misunderstandings about psychometric assessments
  • The ABCDE Model of Personality (originally put forward by William Revelle, Professor of Psychology at Northwestern University):

   Affect (what we feel)

   Behavior (what we do)

   Cognition (what we think)

   Desire (what we want) 

   Environment (where we are)

  • Hear what reliability and validity mean when it comes to assessments and why they matter
  • Understand the Barnum Effect
  • And Much More!

Connect with Ray:

Connect with Dr. Mike: 

Minute By Minute:

  • 0:02 What to expect on today’s show
  • 2:20 Welcome back Ray! (Guest from episode 13)
  •  7:19 Personality is not a physical trait
  • 11:14 How personalities start to develop
  • 13:14 The definition of psychometrics
  • 25:36 Define the outcome before you start
  • 30:00 The ABCDEs of measuring personalities
  • 36:33 Understanding face validity
  • 43:29 Our go-to assessment test for any team
May 24, 2022
16. An International Entrepreneur's Long Journey to Success with Gerald White
One of the goals of this podcast is to inspire you with stories of people who overcame adversity, worked hard, played fair, made good decisions, learned from bad decisions, and found a way to succeed. I’m confident that today’s guest will do just that–inspire you to keep pushing forward even when it seems impossible. 

Welcome back to Mission First People Always! Today’s episode is a fascinating story of a man who found himself where he didn’t plan to be, doing something he hadn’t planned to do and almost failing. Still, by the grace of God and the support of his family, he has become an incredibly successful international entrepreneur. 

Join the conversation as I speak with Gerald White! Originally from Texas, Gerald began his career as a United States Marine Corps officer and then transitioned into what would become his life’s work: the commercial side of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and therapeutics. He has worked for TAP Pharmaceuticals, American Medical Systems, and AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. Then he started two companies in Southeast Asia: Edge Medical Devices and now CardioSource Medical Equipment. 

Hit play to hear Gerald’s incredible journey to success, keys to overcoming your top challenges, and more! For more resources or to connect with us, check out the links below! 

In today’s episode you will learn:

  • How failure can unexpectedly open doors of opportunity
  • The challenges and pitfalls of starting a new business in a foreign country
  • How one overcomes obstacles in creating a new business
  • The importance of being nimble and open to change as you learn
  • The centrality of building productive relationships in any new venture
  • And Much More!

Connect with Gerald:

Connect with Dr. Mike: 

Minute By Minute:

  • 0:23 Welcome back to another episode
  • 2:10 Get to know Gerald White
  • 6:00 Why Gerald decided to become an entrepreneur
  • 13:25 What led Gerald to the Philippines
  • 20:44 How all things work together for good
  • 24:40 The power of just moving forward
  • 27:30 The fundamentals of success that work anywhere
  • 32:20 What Gerald wishes he knew earlier
  • 37:16 What life looks like today for Gerald White
  • 48:08 Wise words from Dr. Mike 
May 17, 2022
15. Innovation in an Old Industry with Latane Meade and Matt Paulson

Welcome back to Mission First People Always! Today’s guests are two guys who are doing it RIGHT

They are entrepreneurs who are taking an old, stale, stuffy industry and turning it onto its head by creating a people-centered culture for their clients and for their employees. 

How old, stale, and stuffy is their industry you ask?  Well, the origins of the title insurance industry date back to 1876 which makes it 146-years old to be exact. And as a point of reference, Ulysses S. Grant was president of the United States and buggy whips were still a thriving business. 

Their industry arose because there was an 1868  Pennsylvania Supreme Court Case that brought to light the fact that people could, in good faith and with reasonable due diligence, sell or buy a property and later find out that there was a lien on the property or some other problem that could lead to financial loss for one or more of the parties involved. With limited resources and no insurance backing, the risk of losing a property due to unresolved issues was significant. 

Necessity being the “mother of invention,” led a group of sellers in Philadelphia to write the first title insurance policy in 1876 to protect the purchasers of real estate and mortgages against defective titles, liens, and encumbrances.  

Of course, things have changed over the last 100-plus years but think about it. If you’ve purchased a home, were you ever excited about your title insurance or who was holding your money in escrow. Did you even care? Could you identify any of the companies by name? 

Most likely, you just wanted the transaction to close as quickly as possible and with as little hassle as possible, so you could get on with moving into your new home. You gave little thought to who was handling the title and escrow process.

But today’s guests saw an opportunity within this unexciting industry–an opportunity to do it differently, to do it better, and to make it a different kind of experience for every stakeholder involved in the process. 

My guests today are Latane Meade and Matt Paulson, both principals in Allied Title and Escrow, headquartered in the Washington, DC area. They’ve already been featured by a wide array of media outlets like ABC, Fox, CNN, Buzzfeed, and The Washington Post and they are becoming rock stars in their industry.

Hit play to learn exactly how Matt and Latane are breathing new life into their industry. You may even get some ideas of your own, I know I did! 

If you’d like to learn more or want to get in touch with us, check out the links below! 

In this episode you will learn:

  • That Latane and Matt see themselves as being in the people business, not the Title and Escrow business, and how this mindset focuses them more on relationships than on transactions. 
  • How these two entrepreneurs created a culture with people and relationships as their focus.
  • How a willingness to admit that you're not perfect opens doors to stronger relationships and more committed employees.
  • What is a "givers gain" philosophy
  • The value of turning a transaction into a relationship.
  • And Much More!


Connect with Matt and Latane:


Connect with Dr. Mike: 

Minute By Minute:

  • 0:23 Welcome back leaders! You’re in the right place
  • 1:50 A quick history of the title and escrow business
  • 11:22 The summer and story that started it all 
  • 16:32 Turning a transaction into a rate relationship
  • 20:35 Letting your team know it’s okay to make a mistake 
  • 24:40 Giving your employees the power to make decisions
  • 28:59 Does your origination walk the talk?
  • 35:28 How Matt and Latane plan to expand
  • 40:00 A recourse all leaders need to better their communication
  • 43:27 Why team culture really does matter
May 10, 2022
14. Three Kindnesses with Odell Mitchell III

How do you define kindness? Selfless acts that make someone else's life better would probably be part of your definition. You might even offer examples of kind behavior like compassion, generosity, or genuine concern for others. In today's episode, we hear from a kindness ambassador who not only defines kindness in a very precise way, but teaches organizations how to build kindness into their culture. 

Welcome back to the Mission First People Always Podcast! Today's guest is Odell Mitchell III. Odell Mitchell III is an entertainment attorney, organizational effectiveness consultant, and Kindness Ambassador. As co-founder of Three Kindnesses, he brings his passion for safety, empathy, and diversity to organizations, teams, and coaching clients all over the world. 

The goal of Three Kindnesses is to give people permission to find places where they are celebrated, where they feel safe, where they can be their authentic selves. No matter how they are wired, how they identify, or how fast or slow they move through the world. As a Diversity & Inclusion specialist, Odell's deepest desire is to make sure people are seen and valued for exactly who they are.

Join our conversation to learn about the Three Kindnesses, safety, empathy, and diversity. The Three Kindnesses methodology is centered around these three foundational components and how critical they are for every organization to successfully take care of their people and drive performance. You’ll also learn how they can help when addressing common workplace issues like low employee engagement, endless internal conflict, high turnover, or tension in your organizational values. 

Hit play to learn how you can use the Three Kindnesses methodology to take these problems out at the root and create a kinder workplace environment for everyone! For more resources or to connect, check out the links below! 

Connect with Odell:

Connect with Dr. Mike: 

Minute By Minute:

  • 0:22 Welcome back! Let’s dive right in. 
  • 0:36 Dr. Mike’s goal for every episode
  • 1:56  Get to know the great Odell Mitchell III
  • 3:01 How Dr. Mike and  Odell Mitchell III met 
  • 6:06 The three types of Kindnesses
  • 8:40 Odell’s definition of phycological safety
  • 12:03 The importance of asking for feedback
  • 19:45 How kindness moves the needle
  • 23:49 How to be a value-based leader
  • 32:59 What most employees want in a job
  • 37:52 How this type of work changed Odell’s life forever
  • 40:44 One practical action step you can take today
May 03, 2022
13. Inclusioning with Ray Linder

Welcome back to the Mission First People Always Podcast! Any organization that wants to upgrade its workplace environment is familiar with the terms diversity, equity, and inclusion. That's because they are essential when it comes to bringing out the best in people and elevating performance. 

Let's begin with some simple definitions, so we’re all on the same page:

  • Diversity means that differences are present. In the workplace, the differences we refer to are largely related to aspects of our humanity that are legally protected against discrimination like race, gender, ethnicity, disability, and sexual orientation. Other aspects of diversity include religion, religious commitment, political perspective, nationality, and even personality type.

In fact, anything that makes us unique can be considered an element of diversity. Many scholarly studies have proven that more diverse teams tend to perform at a higher level than those teams that lack a diverse membership.

  • Equity involves the fair distribution of resources, along with fairness and justice in all policies and decisions. Many present inequities are historically rooted and must be recognized to create more equitable organizations today. 
  • Inclusion is when everyone feels welcome. One famous metaphor to explain inclusion goes something like this.

"Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”

It's giving everyone a voice, inviting them to fully participate in organizational life, and helping them feel comfortable doing so. 

Of the three, inclusion may be the most difficult to achieve because it focuses on people and how they feel. It's more subtle and nuanced and, therefore, more challenging to develop fully. Because teams are always shifting, and people are coming and going, the work of creating an inclusive environment is ongoing. Our guest today has the insight you need to make this process smooth for everyone. 

Join our conversation as I talk with guest Ray Linder! Ray helps government agencies, Fortune 100 companies, and major universities develop leaders, strengthen teamwork, and navigate change. Hit play to learn about what Ray likes to call “Inclusioning” and how you can take your team to the next level.  

This episode is rich in useful content, so grab a notebook, listen carefully, and take away several ideas that will help you build a more inclusive team. For more resources or to connect with us, check out the links below! 

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • Why "inclusioning" is the right word to use in describing the ongoing process of helping people to feel included and welcome
  • The business case for being inclusive
  • Why creating an inclusive team is difficult
  • How the "fruit" of inclusion is a better sign that you have an inclusive team or organization than simply talking about how inclusive you are
  • The two critical ingredients needed for inclusion: empathic capacity and curiosity. 

Episode Resources: 

Connect with Ray:

More About Ray: 

Ray Linder helps government agencies, Fortune 100 companies, and major universities develop leaders, strengthen teamwork, and navigate change. He has taught thousands “how to be themselves with more skill” at places like Harvard Business School, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Office of Personnel Management, the Department of Health and Human Services, and Johns Hopkins University. 

Ray is the author of three books, one of which is about personal finance and personality type, where he was able to combine his interest in psychology and psychometric assessments with his formal education in finance and economics. As a result, he was featured on CNBC, and in USA Today, the Boston Herald, the Washington Post, and Men’s Health Magazine. 

He is associated with several firms that focus on talent development and has served as an adjunct faculty member at the Federal Executive. 

Connect with Dr. Mike: 

Minute By Minute:

  • 0:25 The heart behind this podcast
  • 3:09 Get to know Ray Linder
  • 6:37 Inclusion is a verb: Inclusioning
  • 8:02 The ROI on inclusion
  • 10:13 How being inclusive can mitigate risk
  • 13:26 The markers of Psychological safety 
  • 16:47 How being inclusive impacts team culture
  • 22:10 A healthy perspective on the word “biased”
  • 24:43 The two tools for inclusion
  • 28:48 What empathy really looks like
  • 39:36 One thing every leader can take action on today
Apr 26, 2022
12. Your Team Needs Rhythm with Dr. Gil Brady

Welcome back to the Mission First People Always Podcast! Today’s episode is all about teamwork. Teamwork is a term we initially hear at a very early age. It usually happens at 5-, 6-, or 7-years old, or whenever you step onto a sports field or court for your first attempt at sports. 

Whether it was t-ball, soccer, basketball, or something else, there was probably a group of kids who didn't fully understand the rules or point of the game, always brimming with raw energy and bouncing off each other. While the volunteer coach keeps talking about the need to work together to score goals, score runs, and win games.

Of course, we all know that it’s not always easy to get little kids to work together to achieve goals. In fact, there’s often more chaos than cooperation. A ball hit toward second base can often bring six or seven of the nine defensive players charging to chase it down. While one kid chases butterflies in the right field, the catcher discovers that he had to use the bathroom about that time and wanders off the field. That leaves no one to cover first base as the runner crosses the bag with great encouragement from the coach. 

As professionals in the workplace, we tend to do a little better, but that’s not always the case. If teamwork is defined as a coordinated effort toward achieving a common goal, then there are some teams I’ve experienced that didn’t meet the definition. As a result, performance suffered–and many weren’t very satisfied with the experience. 

However, great leaders and great teams do better than this, and the tool that helps them is rhythm. 

Join today’s episode as we talk with Dr. Gil Brady! Gil is the President of Nativity Preparatory Academy in San Diego and a partner at Core Strengths. He is also a wise counselor to many, a sought-after executive coach, and a keynote speaker. Listen in as Gil gives us a look into rhythm and how you can use it to get your team up and running together. 

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • Why teams need rhythm
  • That rhythm is an act of diligence
  • How rhythm helps people balance people and performance
  • The many benefits of team rhythm
  • How you can do a team meeting audit to assess the status of your team's rhythm

Hit play to join the conversation and upgrade your teamwork starting today! If you enjoyed this episode, make sure to share with a co-worker, friend, or even family member you think could benefit from this! For more resources or to connect, check out the links below! 

Connect with Dr. Gil Brady:

Learn more about Nativity Preparatory Academy at:

Connect with Dr. Mike: 


Minute By Minute:

  • 0:24 Welcome back! What’s inside this episode
  • 2:25 Get to know Dr. Gil Brady
  • 4:30 A look into the Nativity Preparatory Academy
  • 8:40 One story of how NPA is helping impact the next generation 
  • 14:03 What rhythm does for your team
  • 19:09 Who should decide if the lead rhythm is working
  • 23:25 How to keep everyone engaged in your meeting
  • 28:20 How to develop the skill of positive regard
  • 38:01 One practical leadership tip you can apply today
  • 40:12 How to implement this concept in your organization
Apr 19, 2022
11. Neuropsychology Basics for Leaders with Dr. Steve Swavely

Over 100 years ago, Henry Ford was reputed to have said, "You can have a car painted any color you want--as long as it's black." It was the beginning of mass production and the assembly line, and "once-size-fits-all" was necessary to make it all work. For many years, we have treated employees pretty much the same way. We hired people for their hands and their ability to perform certain tasks with consistency, but that is rapidly changing in the knowledge era. 

We need people's intellect to help us solve complex problems and to collaborate with colleagues to get things done. We now understand that people's emotions have an impact on how effective they are at work. This is where the emerging science of neuropsychology is helping us understand how to bring out the best in those wonderfully unique people on our teams. 

Welcome back to Mission First People Always! In today's episode, we meet Dr. Steve Swavely. Steve’s purpose is to help executives and organizations improve their leadership capacity through the integration of neuroscience research within leadership development programs and services. Steve helps his clients improve decision-making processes, manage resistance to change, modify self-limiting beliefs and actions, increase collaboration, and much more! 

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • What neuropsychology is exactly?
  • What neuropsychology offers small business owners and leaders
  • Specific applications of neuropsychology to business success and leadership

You won’t want to miss the end of this episode! Steve provides three simple questions based in neuropsychology that leaders can begin using immediately to improve their leadership:

  1. What's going well?
  2. What can I help you with?
  3. Who should I recognize? 

Neuropsychology can be a powerful tool for leaders, so we hope this episode provides a good foundation on which you can build. For more resources or to get in touch, check out the links below! 

Connect with Dr. Steve: 

More About Dr. Steve: 

Steve holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology, and his doctorate is in clinical neuropsychology from Georgia State University. Steve is an active writer on issues related to neuroscience and leadership.


Connect with Dr. Mike: 


Minute By Minute:

  • 0:26 Welcome back! What you can expect from this show. 
  • 2:05 Get to know Dr. Steve Swavely
  • 4:29 What is Neuropsychology is and why it matters
  • 9:46 What happens in the brain when people feel listened to
  • 12:12 Practically bringing out the best in people
  • 17:55 The power of solution-focused questions
  • 23:12 How to redirect the conversation with action steps
  • 28:41 Specifics applications of neuropsychology in the workplace
  • 38:55 What all good salespeople have in common
  • 41:56 When assertiveness is perceived as abrasiveness
  • 44:17 Questions to ask your team that lead to better leadership
Apr 12, 2022
10. Navigating Change with Karen Simmons

Welcome back to the Mission First People Always Podcast! Today,  we gain a new perspective on organizational change from change expert, Karen Simmons! Karen Simmons is CEO and founder of The Change Executive, an organizational development agency, based out of Sydney, Australia. She is a complex change specialist (and enthusiast!) working across the UK, Europe, USA, Asia Pacific, and Australia for the past 30 years leading and supporting high-impact social and business transformations, including service, programs, operations, and financial performance shifts, organizational restructures, and culture change.

She inspires leaders and teams to positively transform and builds capability with an innovative, outcome-focused, and inclusive approach. Bringing a depth of understanding of what it takes to transform a business (and a leader!) from the inside out.

A trusted advisor to a multitude of leaders and teams across government, private and not-for-profit sectors. As a coach, she is known for her boldness, refreshingly honest, and straightforward approach. Karen asks the questions most are afraid to, enabling her clients to gain clarity and calmness with even the most complex and challenging of situations they are facing.

Join us as we talk about why most change initiatives fall short of expectations, the difference between change and transition, why you can’t manage change, and even debunking common change myths. Listen close because this conversation is loaded with insight to make your next big change, the right one.

If you enjoyed this episode make sure to share it with someone who needs it, for more resources, check out the links below!

Connect with Karen:

 About The Change Executive, Sydney, Australia:

The Change Executive is an organizational change agency, providing organizational development advisory services, coaching, and facilitated learning experiences. The office and client-dedicated coaching and workshop space is based in Sydney, Australia with clients served in multiple States across Australia in both metro and regional areas.

Their mission is to support as many organizations, teams, and individuals as possible to reach their full potential and to thrive in times of change. Through building positive and resilient workforces and robust, happier, healthier sustainable workplaces.With a focus is on building the internal capability of leaders and their teams to enable organizations and individuals to realize their full potential.

We uniquely blend face-to-face and remote collaboration methods, integrating the latest global thinking, neuroscience, strength-based psychology, agile and continuous improvement practices. Leveraging 30 years of change leadership and workshop facilitation experience, we have a track record of delivering innovative, high-impact interventions in the fields of high-performing teams and leading transformational culture change.

Key Services The Change Executive provides:

  • Peer Coaching Networks – a unique process for breaking down silos and building powerful leadership coalitions
  • Organizational Reviews –  a way to look for opportunities for change, and identifying where are you getting stuck. Our focus is on processes, practice, and structures
  • Change Executive Mentoring and Coaching Services – one-on-one sessions, or in-tact leadership teams


Connect with Dr. Mike: 

Episode Minute By Minute:

  • 0:25 Welcome back!
  • 1:20 Get to know Karen
  • 2:25 How to be enthusiastic about change
  • 6:51 Eliminating the fear of change
  • 12:23 Celebrating and talking about what was
  • 18:12 Busting myths around fear and change
  • 23:56 Don't stick to your plan, but be disciplined about your execution.
  • 26:53 Everyone is a change leader
  • 33:40 How small things can make a big impact
Apr 05, 2022
9. Developing Soft Skills in Students

What's the right time to become intentional about developing the relational skills of young people? Today, we discuss how one psychology professor has become very intentional about building interpersonal skills with his students.

Welcome back to Mission First People Always!  My guest today is Pete Gleason, Ph.D. Pete began his career as an educator at Loma Linda University, teaching doctoral courses on behavioral health and administrative leadership. He partnered with global talent development leader Core Strengths to integrate professional interpersonal skills into higher education. More recently, Pete served as a tenured professor of psychology at Walla Walla University, where he continued his work integrating professional interpersonal skills into academic curricula.

In 2021, Pete was invited to speak at the Association for Talent Development International Conference and Exposition. His talk, entitled “Never to early: Designing soft skills courses in Higher Ed,” shared the challenges and successes associated with his work to build bridges between the academic and professional realms.

If you enjoyed this episode, Dr. Gleason would be pleased to have a conversation with anyone interested in bringing soft skills training into a college classroom. For more resources or to connect with him, check out the links below! 

On This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • Why it is critically important to develop interpersonal skills of university students;
  • Why academics are behind when it comes to recognizing the value of interpersonal skills
  • What it looks like to bring corporate-style relationship-building training to the college classroom
  • Why it's so important for students to invest in developing soft skills.


Connect with Dr. Gleason at:

More About Dr. Gleason: 

Dr. Gleason is a psychologist, educator, and speaker dedicated to helping people discover their personal worth and potential power through collaborative influence. In addition to his clinical work, Pete teaches in the psychology programs at Thomas College’s School of Arts and Sciences and is an enthusiastic conference speaker.

Pete lives in the hills of Maine with his beautiful wife, Jeanine,  and son, Sam, where they enjoy family and playing in the great outdoors.  


Connect with Dr. Mike: 


Episode Minute By Minute:

  • 0:24 Welcome back!
  • 1:18 What to expect on today’s episode
  • 1:33 Get to know Pete Gleason, Ph.D.
  • 4:00 Why Dr. Pete finds it important to teach communication
  • 12:33 The skill of connection and how to preserve it
  • 15:27 Bringing academic and professionalism together
  • 21:24 A practical exercise to develop connection skills
  • 26:16 Does the modern education system teach soft skills?
  • 31:29 A tip on how to cultivate more connection
  • 32:50 How to connect more with Pete Gleason, Ph.D.
Mar 29, 2022
8. Do You Need A Coach?
Welcome back to the Mission First People Always podcast! On today’s episode, we invite you to carefully consider an important personal and professional question: Do I need a coach? Your answer could change the trajectory of your career and greatly benefit those around you. In order to answer this question, you need to understand what coaching is, how a coaching relationship works, and whether there are any tangible benefits you can expect from coaching. 

To answer these questions, I’m joined by Dr. Gary Reinecke, an International Coach Federation master certified coach who has coached hundreds of leaders during his more than 30 years as a coach. Whether you are actively looking for coaching and accountability or if it has never crossed your mind, we hope this episode leaves you inspired and motivated to find the tools and resources you need to reach higher and hit the goals you set for yourself and your organization. 

As a free gift for every listener of Mission First People Always, Dr. Gary Reinecke has provided the InFocus Leadership checklist to help you stay (or get) focused! Scroll down to find the link for this and all of our other recourses. 

In This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • The difference between a consultant, mentor, and coach
  • What a coach does
  • How a good coach operates
  • The foundational nature of trust in a coaching relationship
  • How the benefits of coaching are categorized and measured
  • What coaching is and is not


Connect with Gary: 

More About Gary: 

Gary is the Executive Director of InFocus, the cofounder of Christian Coaching Tools, and co-author of Christian Coaching Excellence and the Coaching 101 Handbook. He lives in Murrieta, California with his wife, Gina. Together they have two highly accomplished children. 


Connect with Dr. Mike: 


Episode Minute By Minute:

  • 0:24 Welcome back!
  • 0:44 Do you need a coach? Find your answer in this episode
  • 1:29 Get to know Dr. Gary Reinecke
  • 3:13 What coaching is and is not
  • 11:24 Who should be responsible for taking action
  • 13:45 Shifting from boss/supervisor to coach
  • 17:04 Who is coaching for?
  • 21:09 The ROI on coaching
  • 27:44 How coaching relationships should work
  • 33:20 Practical steps that will benefit you today
  • 35:02 How to connect more with Dr. Gary
Mar 22, 2022
7. Purpose Centered Leadership™ with Art Jackson

Welcome back to Mission First People Always! Dr. Mike here, today I talk with speaker and executive coach, Art Jackson. Join us as we discuss the reason why we have lousy leaders in organizations and what we should do about it when we get one. 


We’ll learn from Art the importance of caring about your leader and using a tactful approach to influence them toward success.  In fact, everyone has a responsibility to help the leader succeed because the leader's success is inevitably tied to the mission of the organization. 

Listen in as Art talks about the one tactic that puts everyone on an even playing field: asking questions to learn about your boss and what's important to them. Leaders are human and they have insecurities and personal challenges. We talk about why it's important to know who they are and love them. Yes, Art uses the "L" word toward leaders and coworkers. Loving others makes us--and them--better.

There’s so much good stuff in this episode--including several of Art's personal stories--that you'll definitely want to hear. So hit play and learn what you can do now to begin leading up. 

For more resources or to get in touch with Art, check out the links below!

Connect with Art: 

More About Art: 

Art is a professional speaker, executive coach, and the President of Eagles Nest Performance Management, Inc. He is a recognized expert in the areas of leadership, performance improvement, and interpersonal skills. Art is the originator of the Purpose Centered Leadership™ system that has been used to improve performance in many facets of public and private life.

Art is a West Point graduate who served as an active-duty Army officer before beginning his civilian career. He went on to have a successful career as an engineer, and now he spends his time coaching executive-level leaders and speaking to groups. 


Connect with Dr. Mike: 

Episode Minute By Minute:

  • 0:26 Welcome back!
  • 3:05 Characteristics of a crappy boss
  • 11:38 Leadership lessons from being a Company Commander
  • 14:40 The results of letting your boss know you care
  • 17:28 Why leaders need to let employees know they care
  • 20:30 The most embarrassing mistake Art has made
  • 29:28 What love looks like in the workplace
  • 35:20 A question you should ask your boss today
  • 39:09 How to move up the food chain
  • 39:40 How to connect more with Art
Mar 15, 2022
6. The Antifragile Team with Jodi Orgill Brown
Welcome back to Mission First People Always! In this episode, Dr. Mike interviews Jodi Orgill Brown about what it takes to build an antifragile team. 

"Antifragile" is a term coined by mathematical statistician Nissim Taleb whose work is focused on dealing with randomness, probability, and uncertainty. It suggests a property of systems that increase their capability to thrive amidst stressors, attacks, mistakes, and volatility--something we've all experienced in sometimes overwhelming degrees in the past 2-years. Listen in as Jodi reveals the actions leaders and teams must take to build antifragility into their culture. 

For more resources or to connect with Jodi, check out the links below!


On this episode you’ll hear: 

  • You can't always choose whether you live or die, but you can choose how you are going to live the time you have.
  • Decide to become better, not bitter. 
  • "Recover" from challenges as you would train for a sport, set goals, milestones, and plans for how to achieve.
  •  Take control of the things you can control.
  • Adopt an adaptive response system to handle challenges when they arise.
  • Deal with the threat with as little interruption to "normal" life and business as possible.
  • Test and experiment in small ways to improve.
  • One technique to use to build in antifragility is the "Weigh In." It's a check-in with the people around you, in your family and teams. Do not judge based on "capability" alone, but also on the "weight" they are carrying at any given time.
  • Do a regular weigh-in at team meetings, family councils, daily huddles, etc., to share the load with the group, rather than putting all the pressure on any individuals/s.
  • Create a circle of safety with employees/teams where it is OK to share personal information for the purpose of supporting each other.
  • Create a network of people you care about enough that you would fight for them, and they will fight for you.
  • Choose relationships over transactions.
  • Show up for people when they need it.
  • Always DO something to show you care -- no act of kindness is small when someone is in need.


Connect with Jodi: 


More About Jodi: 

Jodi Orgill Brown is a partner and keynote speaker with Global Leader Group, where she helps strengthen organizations by empowering individuals. Through her speaking, coaching, and writing, she helps people build systems to increase their capability to thrive amidst stressors and lead at any level.

Jodi is a survivor. In fact, she has an amazing story of survival and renewing her strength during her ongoing battle with cancer. In her words, she was living a white-picket-fence life in Utah, raising a young family, and thriving at work, when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Fifteen surgeries and dozens of complications over 12 years have given her a new, intimate understanding of both the receiving and giving sides of life.


Connect with Dr. Mike: 


Minute By Minute:

  • 0:25 Get to know Jodi!
  • 5:40 When Jodi knew something was wrong
  • 8:00 The moment Jodi got the diagnoses
  • 17:04 The fight for life 
  • 20:10 Will you become better, or bitter?
  • 25:30 The definition of being “anti-fragile”
  • 29:15 Responding well in every situation
  • 32:32 The great resignation
  • 38:52 How to support your colleges during dark seasons
  • 41:30 How to take action today
Mar 10, 2022
5. Mindful Leadership with Dr. Jenn Guignard
Welcome back to Mission First People Always! Today, Dr. Mike interviews Dr. Jenn Guignard about the benefits and practices of mindful leadership. 

During the course of our conversation, Jenn reveals the three key aspects of mindful leadership:

  1. Metacognition (taking a step back to objectively observe what's happening)
  2. Reflection without judgment/criticism
  3. Inquisitiveness (increasing curiosity). 

Listen in as Dr. Guignard gives some practical examples of how to practice mindful leadership in the workplace, she explains how mindful leadership increases psychological capital in organizations. The four components of psychological capital are:

  1.  Hope (a positive mental state)
  2. Optimism (a positive approach to addressing problems)
  3. Self-Efficacy (the belief you have what it takes to take on challenges)
  4.  Resilience (the ability to bounce back when you fall or face adversity). 

Join us as we discuss the Mission First People Always eLearning course that Jenn and Mike created, and how the practices of a Mission First People Always team include mindfulness. 

To connect with Dr. Guignard, check out the links below!

Connect with Dr. Guignard: 

  • Instagram: @leadingmindful


More About Dr. Jenn Guignard:

Dr. Jenn Guignard is a leadership professor and executive mindfulness coach. In addition to having a doctorate in Organizational Leadership and an MBA, she has studied meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. She’s taught thousands of students at the university level and thousands more at Fortune 500 companies as an executive coach and corporate trainer. This is after a 20-year career in corporate roles, having lived through the personal hardships faced by employees in the workplace. Her passion is helping others develop their leadership skills so that they may thrive in their careers. 


Connect with Dr. Mike: 


Minute By Minute:

  • 0:24 Welcome back!
  • 0:40 Get to know Dr. Jenn Guignard
  • 2:00 Let’s talk about mindful leadership
  • 4:14 How to know if you’re being fully present
  • 10:48 Is your smartphone damaging your leadership?
  • 16:09 Proactive tips for being mindful
  • 22:55 How many breaks leaders should have in a day
  • 27:16 The discipline of working from home
  • 29:59 How mindfulness can help you find promotion
  • 35:00 A look into our E-learning experience
  • 41:27 How to connect more with Dr. Jenn
Mar 10, 2022
4. A C.R.A.Z.Y. Approach to Marriage with Ernie Cason
In this episode, Dr. Mike reconnects with a former team member, Ernie Cason, to discover powerful lessons about creating a healthy marriage even in the face of the most extreme challenges. 

After meeting on a blind date and quickly becoming engaged, Ernie's heart was pierced...not by Cupid's arrow, but by a serrated steak knife wielded by his fiance, Ronna's, enraged ex-boyfriend after he attacked her. Ernie miraculously survived two open-heart surgeries (one to save him and one to repair the hole on the backside of his heart when they eventually recognized that the knife went all the way through). 

After overcoming the distrust, finger-pointing, family boycotting of the marriage ceremony, and Ronna asking for a divorce on their 4-year wedding anniversary, their relationship endured, thanks to God, a lot of prayer, and a ton of personal growth. 

So hit play and join me as we learn from this life-changing experience. For more resources check out the links below!

In addition to Ernie's story about his near-death experience, on this episode you'll hear:

  • Marriage can be a minefield, but how anything worthwhile requires effort. 
  • Marriage isn’t a fairy tale. It’s always a work in progress. 
  • Advice to husbands: Be a better listener.
  • The C.R.A.Z.Y. approach to marriage
  • And Much More!


More About Ernie and Ronna: 

Ernie and Ronna Cason are the hosts of the incredibly popular "Married into Crazy" international podcast that helps married couples navigate the minefield called marriage. They are also conference speakers and coach married couples around the country.


Connect with Dr. Mike: 


Minute By Minute:

  • 0:25 Get to know Ernie!
  • 1:40 How Ernie and Dr. Mike first met 
  • 3:15 The Crazy story that started it all
  • 7:34 Why Ernie used to be hesitant about sharing his story
  • 9:24 The rocky early days of marriage
  • 15:05 What does it mean to cleave to your wife?
  • 17:01 How Married intro C.R.A.Z.Y. started
  • 20:44 The key is in remembering
  • 24:30 What submission to your spouse actually means
  • 28:30 A common misconception about marriage
  • 32:15 Be your most genuine self
  • 36:40 How to connect more with Ernie and his wife
Mar 10, 2022
3. Leadership Lessons from the Life of Rosa Parks with Dr. Angela Sadler

In this episode, Dr. Mike interviews documentary filmmaker and television personality, Dr. Angela Sadler Williamson, who is a cousin of civil rights icon, Rosa Parks.  Through family interactions with "Cousin Rosie" and her deep research in support of her award-winning documentary, Angela offers reflections and insights on Rosa Parks as a leader, supporter of leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and a member of the broader team of civil rights workers. 

Join us as Angela relates her observations of Rosa Park as someone who invested in young people who she knew would someday continue the unfinished work of civil rights and dignity for all. There are also some fun, personal anecdotes that no one but a family member would know. 

For more resources, check out the links below!


Connect with Dr. Angela: 


More About Dr. Angela: 

Dr. Angela Sadler Williamson’s 2020 Emmy nominated documentary film “My Life with Rosie,” about the activism of her cousin, Rosa Parks, has won numerous “Best Documentary” titles at film festivals across the country and was recently acquired by PBS. Angela’s companion book, “My Life With Rosie: A Bond Between Cousins” was named “Best Children’s Book about Black History” by "Mothering Magazine" and continues to be an international bestseller. 

Angela has over 25 years of experience in broadcast TV, cable news and higher education industries. She obtained her undergraduate and graduate degrees from California State University, Fullerton, in Mass Communications, and her doctorate in Human Services with a specialization in Management of Nonprofit Agencies from Capella University in Minnesota. She is now an associate communication studies professor at Rio Hondo Community College in Whittier, CA, as well as the host of the KLCS PBS show “Everybody with Angela Williamson,” which emphasizes diversity within education, the arts, and people. 

Angela is a former producer and copywriter for the Orange County News Channel, Fox 11 Television, Fox Sports West, and Prime Ticket and a multiple Telly awards recipient. She continues to leverage her marketing and TV skills for social good by involving herself in Southern California-based projects or organizations that focus on improving the communities they serve. Angela is a proud member of P.E.O. Sisterhood, an organization making a difference in women’s lives by promoting educational opportunities. 


Connect with Dr. Mike: 


Minute By Minute:

  • 0:24 Episode starts
  • 2:46 Get to know Angela
  • 9:11 When Angela’s Rosa Parks documentary first showed
  • 11:09 How Rosa Parks made others better
  • 16:33 The biggest misconception  about Rosa Parks
  • 20:20 Being a team player when you’re in a big movement
  • 32:20 How to see the documentary and buy the book
Mar 10, 2022
2. Leadership Lessons I Learned in the White House with Darrell Williams
In this episode, White House Communications Agency Hall of Famer, Darrell Williams, shares leadership insights gathered while working in the White House during the George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush administrations. The White House Communications Agency provides assured global information services to the President, Vice President, and others as directed, ensuring the White House is able to communicate with anyone, under any condition. Darrell Williams was determined to be one of the best to ever serve there. Listen in as Darrell talks about how in moments of crisis or great difficulty (like the aftermath of 9/11), your team members need to know that you care about them before you ask them to do anything. Once you have established your concern for their wellbeing, people will be ready to take on the toughest tasks. That’s the “people always” part of the equation.

Important missions bring stress. It’s the nature of the job. In order to manage the stress, trust your training (i.e., Do what you’ve been trained to do in those situations), always plan for contingencies, and be willing to find out-of-the-box solutions. Take ownership of the issue and take initiative to find a solution. 

When mistakes happen–and they inevitably will–empower people to take action and find a solution, make decisions, and move forward. The need to complete the mission does not change because something went wrong. If it’s someone else’s mistake, show grace when you can (i.e., don’t seek to embarrass or make an example of the mistake) and make the experience an opportunity for them to learn. Highlight the learning and the creative solutions that were discovered. 

Advice for success: Find a need (in your organization, family, community). Address the need using your talents and strengths. Repeat as long as there are needs in the world (you'll never run out of opportunities). You’ll feel better about yourself, make a difference in people’s lives, and learn along the way. 

For more resources check out the links below! 


Some of the big ideas from this episode include:

  • Find a mentor – someone who has more experience than you do
  • Seek out those who are at the top of their game
  • Be eager to learn from the best
  • Ask questions. Stay curious. 
  • Raise the bar continuously

Connect with Darrell: 


More About Darrell: 

Darrell Williams has led over 500 White House missions and following 9/11, he was selected as one of five key leaders to direct emergency action communications for the Vice President of the United States, including duty on Air Force Two. As a member of the military, Darrell was awarded the Presidential Service Badge, a prestigious award earned by relatively few members of the military throughout the history of the United States. 

Darrell is now retired from active duty, but he is still serving. He is presently the Chief, Military Personnel for Operations, at the Defense Information Systems Agency at Fort Meade, Maryland where he supports nearly 500 members of the military from all branches of the service. He is also a professional speaker, workshop facilitator, and coach through Alliance Seminars Coaching. 


Connect with Dr. Mike: 


Minute By Minute:

  • 0:25 Welcome back!
  • 0:40 Get to know Darrell 
  • 3:09 Why Darrell decided to join the armed forces
  • 6:28 What it’s like working in the White House
  • 11:43 How Darrell felt with the pressure of the job
  • 24:30 The most surprising thing about working with elites
  • 28:30 What Darrell learned from 9/11
  • 33:14 Making brave decisions
  • 39:11 Identifying and meeting needs
Mar 10, 2022
1. In The Beginning...
In this inaugural episode of the Mission First People Always: Great Leaders. Great Teams. podcast, Dr. Mike Patterson introduces himself, describes the purpose of the podcast, and sets the stage for all the episodes that will follow. 

The big idea is that this is a place where we will have honest and even difficult conversations about what it takes to be a leader that balances people and performance while building thriving teams that achieve extraordinary results. Since better business results often boil down to better relationships, each future episode will emphasize how people can more effectively relate to each other and work better together.  

If this sounds like you, then hit play and join us on this journey of becoming an effective leader. For more resources or to connect with Dr. Mike, check out the links below!


More Of What’s Inside This Episode:

  • Leaders, learn why this is the show you’ve been looking for!
  • A look into Dr. Micheal’s time in the military
  • Why Dr. Micheal is so passionate about this topic
  • What you can expect every week
  • When Dr. Micheal became a professor
  • What unhealthy teams look like
  • And more!


Connect with Dr. Mike: 


More About Dr. Mike: 

Dr. Mike Patterson is an author, educator, and consultant dedicated to helping leaders and teams collaboratively solve problems, navigate conflict—and get better results. Dr. Mike is the author of "Mission First People Always: The Definitive Guide to Balancing People and Performance," and the co-author of "Have a Nice Conflict: How to Find Success and Satisfaction in the Most Unlikely Places." As a master facilitator and learning strategist, he works with corporate, government and nonprofit clients worldwide and is a frequent conference and keynote presenter. As an educator, Dr. Patterson is a dynamic classroom facilitator who has guided graduate students at several prestigious universities. 

Minute By Minute:

  • 0:25 Welcome to the show!
  • 1:40 Get to know Dr. Micheal
  • 6:30 What this podcast is all about
  • 9:31 Dr. Micheal’s services in the Cold War
  • 11:40 When opportunity knocks
  • 14:29 A look into Dr. Micheal’s most recent project
  •  16:12 What to expect in episode #2
Mar 01, 2022
Trailer: Mission First People Always

Welcome to the podcast!

In this quick trailer epiosde your host, Dr. Mike Patterson wants to introduce himself and give you a look at what you can expect when you listen to the full episodes!

Hit play to learn more.



Jan 26, 2022