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A Call to Lead

English, Finance, 1 seasons, 29 episodes, 14 hours 51 minutes
Jennifer Morgan runs a global multi-billion-dollar technology business spanning six continents and encompassing tens of thousands of people and customers. She believes the best leaders are perpetual learners, and she wants you to join her on a leadership journey as she takes you inside the room for authentic, candid conversations with some of the world’s top executives, biggest thinkers, and boldest change agents. You’ll hear from guests like Arianna Huffington, Richard Branson, Gary Vaynerchuk, Simon Sinek, Bobbi Brown, Malcolm Gladwell, and many others as they share their own leadership journeys and offer practical advice on how you can discover the leader within. The podcast is presented by SAP, the world’s largest provider of enterprise application software.
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Season 1 Highlights

That’s a wrap! Season 1 of A Call to Lead is in the books. We pulled together a recap episode for you this week, featuring short clips from some of the great moments in the podcast’s first season. We were fortunate to have incredible leaders from across industries, disciplines, and fields share their stories and perspectives on leadership this season – and we wanted to share them with you as we wrap up Season 1 and look ahead to the second season. Share your feedback with us at [email protected]. We’re hard at work planning Season 2 and would benefit from your feedback and perspective.  Here are some of the guests and clips featured in this wrap-up episode: Arianna Huffington (founder & CEO of Thrive Global) on how allowing for “brilliant jerks” on your team can create a toxic culture.” (2:10) Gary Vaynerchuk, on how positivity is a strategy – not a delusion. (4:00) Simon Sinek on the res
30/07/201928 minutes 28 seconds
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Michelle Yeoh

This new episode of A Call to Lead has me in Singapore, sitting down in front of a live audience with one of the world’s most respected and popular global movie stars. Michelle Yeoh grew up in Malaysia and England, gained her early fame in Hong Kong action films, and went on to star in mega-hits such as Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Memoirs of a Geisha, Star Trek: Discovery, and Crazy Rich Asians. Michelle played family matriarch Eleanor Young in that blockbuster romantic comedy. As a master of her craft, Michelle shared great advice that applies to leadership in business and life. Here are 5 Points that my team and I found particularly valuable.  Like every good leader, Michelle fuels her work with empathy. “Empathy plays a big role for all of us. If you can't empathize, how can you lead?That is how I approach t
22/07/201940 minutes 24 seconds
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Mercedes Abramo

This latest episode features one of the smartest women in retail. Mercedes Abramo is the President and CEO of Cartier North America, and I had the opportunity to sit down with her at Cartier’s Hudson Yards boutique in New York City this past April. Growing up in a retail household (her dad was a senior executive at Lord & Taylor), Mercedes had her sights set on becoming a lawyer. She majored in political science, worked at a law firm, couldn’t stand it, got a job in a hotel—and found her calling. After graduating from business school in Paris, where she focused on luxury brand management, it was a natural leap to high-end retail. In this podcast, Mercedes shares plenty of career advice (“you really have to be flexible”) and business-building insights. Here are five of our favorite takeaways: I asked Mercedes what she learned as she rose through the hotel and luxury goods industries. Her answer is ter
15/07/201935 minutes 56 seconds
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Sylvia Acevedo

Whether you're a Girl Scout or not (I am—once a Scout, always a Scout), my conversation with Sylvia Acevedo, the CEO of the Girl Scouts, is worth a listen. Sylvia has a remarkable path to success: As a young woman, she was discouraged from pursuing her interest in engineering. So what did she do? She went to school for engineering and became a rocket scientist at NASA. After stops at IBM and Apple and Dell, Sylvia is leading millions of Girl Scouts to places they've never gone before—teaching them to code and about cybersecurity and other need-to-know things in the workplaces of tomorrow. In an episode full of leadership wisdom, here are five points that my team and I found particularly valuable:  Having learned, as a Girl Scout, how to create opportunity and how to sell, Sylvia still to this day follows the advice that her troop leader gave her: "Never walk away from a sale until you've heard 'No' t
08/07/201935 minutes 15 seconds
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Sarah Hauser

On this new episode of A Call to Lead, I sit down with someone out of my world, and probably out of your world too. Sarah Hauser is a champion windsurfer who knows a lot about leadership and navigating your ideal career. Sarah talks about how a missed deadline forced her to delay her plan to pursue a math degree and gave her an unplanned year off to pursue windsurfing, which turned out to be her true calling. There are plenty of lessons here—such as, control what you can, embrace the moment, and adapt. Here are 5 points that my team and I found inspiring: Sarah describes windsurfing as "a finesse sport" where, as in life, it's best to go with the flow. She explains: "You have to play with the forces of the elements—the wind, the current, the waves. So all of that can be against you, and you can try and force yourse
01/07/201924 minutes 44 seconds
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Tony Blair

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair recently sat down with me at A Call to Lead in Orlando. And on this week's podcast, we bring you the enlightening conversation. When the Prime Minister, who urged me to call him Tony, talks about the world or recalls his own experience as PM, he dispenses loads of wisdom about leadership. There's plenty in this episode. Here are just 3 points among many that make this show a terrific listen: No matter what field you're in, the mark of a leader is the same, Tony says: "The thing that distinguishes someone who leads is that you step forward and other people step back. If you're going to lead, you've got to understand you're going to step forward." PM Blair reflected on the inherent contrast between governing and campaigning, saying “One of the things you learn about politics is that running for office
24/06/201919 minutes 45 seconds
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Karlie Kloss

On this episode of A Call to Lead, you'll meet Karlie Kloss, a 26-year-old wonder who is building on her success as one of the world's top fashion models to expand her leadership platform and scale her social impact. She is teaching young women how to code at Kode with Klossy, her tech summer camps across the U.S. She is helping to discover the next generation of fashion designers on Project Runway, where she is the new host and executive producer. And she's constantly looking to hone her own leadership skills. Here are a few highlights from my interview with Karlie: Karlie explained why she learned to code: "I really wanted to understand what all of these tech entrepreneurs, primarily men, knew that I didn't know. That was this kind of mysterious, hidden, secret language that the people who knew it were able to build ideas into billion-dollar enterprises. I felt like I was just seeing the world be t
17/06/201929 minutes 10 seconds
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Adam Grant

We got a lot smarter after talking with Adam Grant on this new episode of A Call to Lead. You may know Adam from his best-selling books including Give and Take and Originals, and his hit podcast, WorkLife. Professor Grant's classes at Wharton are also wildly popular, which isn't surprising because he is one of today's smartest, freshest, and, yes, most original thinkers on leadership and success. Adam and I tackled these topics from all angles. Here are 5 Points from this show that my team found especially compelling:   On a recent episode of</sp
10/06/201946 minutes 57 seconds
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Laura Dern

Today on A Call to Lead, you'll meet Laura Dern, one of the world's great actors. Laura knows leadership. In films like Jurassic Park and Wildand TV shows like Enlightened and Twin Peaks, she has captured the complexities and vulnerabilities of strong women. In HBO's Big Little Lies, Laura's award-winning performance as Renata Klein is a study of a tech CEO who is also a fierce and
03/06/201929 minutes 18 seconds
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Jen Rubio

Today on A Call to Lead, I talk with Jen Rubio, the inspiring co-founder, president, and chief brand officer of Away. Jen co-founded Away on the notion that luggage—holding many of life's most important things when we travel—had become commoditized. Away injects style and community into travel. Jen and I talked about building great brands and thriving cultures, and about leveraging mistakes to learn and grow. Here are 5 Points that my team and I found particularly useful as we all work to build our own businesses: Having worked at Warby Parker earlier in her career, Jen knew that core values are key to building successful startups. She and her colleagues crafted Away's core values bottom-up: "We waited til we had maybe 30 or 40 employees. We were on a fun team trip in Nicaragua, and we split up into groups and asked people to describe what they thought our core values were. That set the stage. Our co
27/05/201928 minutes 14 seconds
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Dr. Jill Biden

Today on A Call to Lead, we have a very special guest: Dr. Jill Biden. Dr. Biden’s Memoir, Where the Light Enters, was released earlier this month and I hosted her for a live discussion several months ago at SAP’s North America Headquarters near Philadelphia. During the eight years that Jill served in the Obama White House where her husband, Joe, was Vice President, Jill advocated for military families, women and children, STEM education, and more, while never pausing her career as a teacher. Then and now, Jill teaches English at a community college in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. In this interview, she talks about learning leadership from remarkable people, some famous and many more not famous at all. And she shared her view of the famously close relationship between former Vice President Biden and former President Obama. Here are five points that my team and I
20/05/201940 minutes 56 seconds
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Malcolm Gladwell pt. 2 (Bonus Episode)

I hope you enjoy Part 2 of my conversation with Malcolm Gladwell recorded during a recent live podcast taping. Celebrated journalist, best-selling author, and keen observer of the ways that people lead and succeed, Malcolm continues, in this Q&A portion of our discussion, to talk about how leaders, in every profession, should think about changing how and where we find talent. Here are two interesting points from Malcolm to add to the five points that I shared with you from Part 1 of the interview.  Malcolm shared his view on building a truly diverse team, pointing out that getting this right starts with the right definition of what it means to have a diverse team. “A lot of what we're seeing in the diversity problem is an artifact of the way we choose to look.... building a diverse workforce is made infinitely
15/05/201914 minutes 38 seconds
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Malcolm Gladwell

On this week's episode of A Call to Lead, I talk with Malcolm Gladwell, renowned journalist and best-selling author who is one of the world's foremost observers of how we live and work and lead. Malcolm has plenty to say, and it's all incredibly thoughtful, different, and relevant. He expounds on how people and businesses function amidst tech revolutions and demographic booms. He riffs on how perhaps arbitrary rules change outcomes of chess championships, LSAT scores, and potential careers. And he explains why we may need "a major re-evaluation, in every profession, of where we find talent." Malcolm and I cover that and much more. It was such a great conversation that we’ll release it in two parts with the second episode dropping in the coming days. Here are five nuggets that my team and I find particularly intriguing from part 1.  Despite the speed of technological change we are living through, Malcolm wondered whether we underestimate the degree to which we s
13/05/201942 minutes 37 seconds
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Dana Perino

On this new episode of A Call to Lead, you'll meet Dana Perino. Dana has seen leadership from some very interesting and unique vantage points. She served as the first female White House press secretary in a Republican administration for President George W. Bush. Today, Dana is a bestselling author, mentor, podcast host, anchor of Fox News' The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino, and co-host of Fox News' The Five. In our conversation, Dana shares lessons learned from her career journey including time in one of the most high pressure, public jobs there is: White House Press Secretary. Here are five things that my team and I found particularly insightful: "I give three pieces of advice to young women: Don't be afraid to move. Find your strong voice. And choosing to be loved is not a career-limiting decision." "Listening is probably the most important leadersh
06/05/201929 minutes 15 seconds
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Bob Nardelli

On this week's episode of A Call to Lead, you'll meet Bob Nardelli, who has an extraordinary breadth of expertise from a series of CEO jobs: GE Power Systems, then Home Depot, and then Chrysler. Bob, who spent three decades at GE, has an incredible perspective on business, operations, and leadership in times of disruption. Here, he shares lots of great advice about building teams and finding opportunity amidst near constant global change. Here are five things that my team and I found particularly insightful: Diversity is most powerful when it’s practiced with its broadest definition. “When I think about diversity, it's not numbers, it's diversity of thought, diversity of opinion, diversity of ideas. Nobody has a corner on that, male or female.”   We talked about the need for speed in a business landscape that is constantly sh
29/04/201930 minutes 38 seconds
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Sir Richard Branson

On this week's A Call to Lead, we bring you one of the greatest entrepreneurs and business builders the world has ever seen: Sir Richard Branson. I had the pleasure of talking with Sir Richard at a recent event hosted by SAP Qualtrics. We discussed what makes a great, creative leader and the gaps in consumer experience he saw and exploited in building the iconic Virgin brand and disrupting industries ranging from music to airlines to telecom to space travel. Sir Richard’s team was kind enough to let us take a few of the highlights from our conversation and create a short episode of A Call to Lead. Here are five points that the team felt stood out from my conversation with this one of a kind businessman, adventurer, philanthropist, and global icon.  Balance and wellness start with the individual but scale with a global mindset. Sir Richard noted that at Virgin, “We have a something…where the first thing you do is draw a circle around yourself. You make sure t
22/04/20199 minutes 14 seconds
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Van Le

On this week’s episode of A Call to Lead, you'll meet Van Le, Co-Founder of Xinja. I sat down with Van on a recent trip to Australia, where Xinja is the country's first "neobank," empowering customers to bank 100% digitally, via a mobile app. Van is an expert on mobile technology and customer experience. She also has an inspiring personal story. She arrived in Australia as an 11-month-old refugee from Vietnam, grew up in Perth, got a law degree, and later traded law for entrepreneurship. I sat down with Van in Sydney, Australia. We shared ideas about technology, team-building, and the parallels between parenthood and leadership. Here are some highlights from what Van told me:   There are many commonalities between being a parent and being a leader, including how you deal with the unexpected
15/04/201932 minutes 15 seconds
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Julie Sweet

This week on A Call to Lead, you'll meet Julie Sweet, who is CEO of Accenture North America. Julie's story is remarkable. She was raised by hard-working parents who told their daughter that she could do anything. Julie ran with that ethos all the way to Columbia Law School and a partner position at law giant Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Then she did something really unconventional: Julie quit Cravath, joined Accenture as general counsel, and rose quickly to head Accenture's North American unit, where she oversees one of Accenture’s largest, most strategically-important businesses. In this podcast, Julie talks about what we all have to do amidst the tech revolution and disruption: learn continuously, develop flexibility, welcome divergent views, and collaborate constantly. Here are five things that Julie said that struck my team as parti
08/04/201936 minutes 12 seconds
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João Paulo Ferreira

This week, A Call to Lead takes us to São Paolo, Brazil, where I sat down with João Paulo Ferreira, the CEO of Natura, a fast-growing multi-billion-dollar beauty company that is both innovative and purpose-driven. João Paulo, a globetrotting former Unilever executive who goes by JP, drives purpose in so many ways—in the products Natura sells, in the way Natura operates its supply chain and its "social network" of salespeople , and even in the way the company operates its distribution center—highly customizing its facility for differently abled employees workers. JP offers fresh lessons in innovative, mission-driven leadership. Here are five points from our conversation:  Listening makes a great leader. The more senior you get, the more important this skill and discipline becomes.   Embrace topics tha
01/04/201920 minutes 24 seconds
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Sukhinder Singh Cassidy

In the latest episode of A Call to Lead, I sat down with Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, who has seen it all in the tech and startup worlds. Sukhinder was an early leader at Google, where she headed Asia-Pacific and Latin America operations. She went on to run startups that merged tech and fashion (Polyvore and Joyus) before taking the helm of StubHub, the online ticket exchange company owned by eBay. On the side (because Sukhinder is a master multitasker, as we all aspire to be), she founded and has continued to build theBoardlist (an online platform to help women get on corporate boards) while she serves on the board of Urban Outfitters. I could give you a dozen pieces of leadership wisdom from this conversation with Sukhinder, but I'll keep the list to five points and hope you'll listen to the entire podcast to hear the rest. 1. Sukhinder talked about what she called “operating range,” what she defines as one’
25/03/201934 minutes 41 seconds
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Bobbi Brown

In this week's episode of A Call to Lead, I sit down with Bobbi Brown, who started a cosmetics business in her home three decades ago, sold it to Estee Lauder, and stayed on board to build Bobbi Brown Essentials into a billion-dollar global brand. So Bobbi knows how to lead inside a giant corporation and, since she left Estee Lauder and is now back on her own, she is a serial entrepreneur. These days, Bobbi is innovating in the wellness space, with her startup called JustBOBBI, and in the hotel business. Bobbi Brown is a model of constant innovation and reinvention. Here are five key things that my team and I took away from our conversation:1. I like to be able to have an open dialogue. I would call people in and I'd say, “Okay, tell me the truth. What's going on? Why is this not happening the way it's supposed to?...No on
18/03/201937 minutes 30 seconds
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Bianna Golodryga

On this week's episode of A Call to Lead, my guest is Bianna Golodryga. Bianna is the co-anchor of CBS This Morning—and a woman with a fascinating path to success. Bianna was born in Russia, grew up in Texas, and spent her early career as a business news journalist, telling stories about CEOs and world-changing entrepreneurs. Over the years at CNBC, ABC, and now CBS, Bianna has interviewed some of the world's most prominent leaders in government as well as business. She's also a mother of two young children— figuring out, like the rest of us, how to juggle work and family.   Here are five key highlights from this episode of A Call to Lead with Bianna:  4:35 - You have very little to lose when you're 21 or
11/03/201936 minutes 25 seconds
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Stacey Cunningham

Our new episode of A Call to Lead is my interview with Stacey Cunningham. Stacey started at the New York Stock Exchange as an intern, quit to go to culinary school, did a stint at rival NASDAQ, returned—and rose through the ranks to become the NYSE’s first-ever female president. That’s an unconventional path to the top job (yes, “president” is the top position at the NYSE), and Stacey is leading the 227-year-old company in unconventional and new ways. She’s full of career advice and leadership wisdom. Here are five things that Stacey said and my team and I found particularly valuable: Leadership and management are not the same thing. So being able to contribute to the path forward doesn't mean I have to have X number of people reporting in to me, so my organization is bigger. 16:43   <span style="font-weight: 40
04/03/201926 minutes 42 seconds
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Walter Isaacson

Today we're bringing you a A Call to Lead Classic—one of my favorite interviews that I've done at Call to Lead at SAP's annual Sapphire Now conference. My guest is Walter Isaacson. Talking with Walter is always head-spinning and enlightening because he is the foremost expert on leaders who also happen to be the world's smartest people. Walter's specialty is geniuses. He's written biographies of Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, and Leonardo da Vinci. He's also a very smart leader himself, having headed CNN, TIME Magazine, and the Aspen Institute. Here are 5 things that Walter said and my team and I found interesting and relatable to all of us as ever-improving leaders: 5:43 - "If you're going to be a disruptor, you have to do like Steve Jobs and occasionally let your reach exceed your grasp."  19:07 - "Making a great product innovation is hard, bu
25/02/201929 minutes 33 seconds
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Simon Sinek

In this week's A Call to Lead I talk with Simon Sinek. You may know Simon from his TED Talks, which are viral phenoms, or his best-selling books. Start With Why, his first book, is a guide to discovering and honing purpose to help build extraordinary teams. In his upcoming and fifth book, The Infinite Game, Simon explains how to lead in a world where the competition comes and goes, where rules are changeable, and where there is neither a finish line nor definite winners. Simon spoke about playing "the infinite game" as part of a keynote I gave kicking off the year for SAP last month, and in this podcast he talks about that and much more. Here are our team
18/02/201933 minutes 41 seconds
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Frances Frei

This week on A Call To Lead, I talk with one of my favorite leadership philosophers, Frances Frei. Frances is a TED Talk phenomenon, a professor at Harvard Business School, and a former executive at Uber. She's a fount of wisdom on developing great teams, maximizing your own performance, and building trust in a world that’s devoid of it. Here are just a few choice insights that Frances shared with me:   15:52 - Learn more than you have to so you can describe topics simply, especially if you’re the one tasked with ensuring people understand something difficult. Simplicity is a gift. 17:41 - Want to understand why so many bad things are happening in our world right now? We need to find a way to trust each other again. Most of our challenges stem from a lack of trust.  <span style="fon
11/02/201943 minutes 53 seconds
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Gary Vaynerchuk

On this week's episode of A Call To Lead, I talk with Gary Vaynerchuk, digital marketing expert, social media guru, and one of the most energetic and candid leaders I know. Gary and I talked about everything from staying current in an app world to embracing your shortcomings in order to advance your career—and of course, we talked about building great businesses. Fair warning: Gary’s known for using colorful language and this podcast episode was no exception (though tame by his standards!) Here are just a few of the key takeaways: 18:00 - True leadership means: You work for everybody else. 20:00 - A lot of people think positivity is a delusion. Positivity is a strategy. 21:15 - People are grossly underestimating what voice is about to do in our society. 45:00 - Become a
04/02/201941 minutes 9 seconds
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Arianna Huffington

In this very first episode of my new podcast A Call to Lead, I talk with Arianna Huffington—serial entrepreneur, Uber board member, author, and leadership expert. Arianna shares her unique perspective on a broad range of subjects, from connecting people (she's a master) to building businesses (she's created many, including Thrive Global) to understanding the zeitgeist. Below are a few highlights from the episode. Enjoy!   6:20 - If we don't continue to learn, we're going to miss where the world is going. 12:18 - To be a risk taker, you can't be looking over your shoulder for approval. 14:30 - Worshipping top performers creates a very toxic culture. No brilliant jerks should be allowed. 26:20 - Human capital is the most important capital of the enterprise.   26:56 - Your job should be challenging and interesting. You must relentlessly prioritize. If you loved this episode, please
28/01/201932 minutes 33 seconds
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A Call to Lead Trailer

Announcing a brand new leadership podcast from Jennifer Morgan, President and Executive Board Member at SAP. 
01/10/201839 seconds