2-28: "The Successor" - Pelle Sjoenell

2-28: "The Successor" - Pelle Sjoenell

It’s hard to follow a legend. Sometimes because they’re unique. Sometimes because history is written by the winners and they write themselves that way.

John Hegarty - Sir John Hegarty - is the former. A true original thinker and the creative head of what - for a number of years - was one of the most creative companies of all time.

Following a legend is a challenge. Following a legend who is still a powerful presence in your industry requires a strong sense of self. You also need an understanding of what you can bring to the table.

Pelle Sjoenell has both. As the worldwide chief creative officer of Bartle Bogle Hegarty his job is to replace a legend. 

Doing that, he has learned, is not about taking credit, but about taking responsibility.

This episode is called, “The Successor”.

2-27: "Owned By No One - Part 1" - Nils Leonard, Alex Goat, Mohan Ramaswamy, & Spencer Baim

2-27: "Owned By No One - Part 1" - Nils Leonard, Alex Goat, Mohan Ramaswamy, & Spencer Baim

I’m just back from the Cannes Lions festival of creativity and recorded some podcasts while I was there. This is the first of them.

In this conversation I’m joined in the Vice Penthouse overlooking the Croisette in Cannes by three people who have previously been guests on ‘Fearless’ - Nils Leonard of Uncommon, Alex Goat of Livity and Mohan Ramaswamy of Work & Co. And by Spencer Baim, who is the Chief Brand Officer of Vice Media.

And this episode is called “Owned By No One - Part 1”.

2-26: "The Legacy Builder" - Josh Wyatt

2-26: "The Legacy Builder" - Josh Wyatt

Josh Wyatt is the CEO of Neuehouse. They describe themselves as a private cultural and collaborative space for prominent creatives, artists and entrepreneurs. A lot of people I know have launched and run their businesses from spaces they’ve rented at Neuehouse.

Josh is intentioned, thoughtful and present. He cares about what he does today. And he cares about the impact that has on tomorrow.

So, this episode is called, “The Legacy Builder”.

2-25: "The Honest CEO" - Joanne McKinney

2-25: "The Honest CEO" - Joanne McKinney

Joanne McKinney is the CEO of Burns Group - an advertising brand consultancy and innovation company.

She’s worked on the agency and client side. She’s lived and worked in the US and in Europe. She’s started her own company, been named one of 24 global agency innovators by The Internationalist, and has succeeded at every step of her career. And while doing all that she’s been a wife and a mother to two children.

She’s a year into being a CEO. She’s smart, self aware and honest.

2-24: "The Boy Scout" - Eric Baldwin

2-24: "The Boy Scout" - Eric Baldwin

I first interviewed Eric Baldwin two years ago when he and his new partner Jason Bagley came on the show, 6 months  after they had been named to run Wieden + Kennedy Portland.

I wanted to talk to him this time about what he’s learned about leadership two years later with two agency of the year titles under their belt as well as being named Fast Company’s most innovative marketing company of the year and just this week being named agency of the year by the One Show.

We’ve worked together closely over those two years and Eric Baldwin is one of the most honest people I know. But even he lies. Which in his case is particularly surprising. 

Because Eric is a Boy Scout. Literally. 

Which is the name of this episode. “The Boy Scout”.

2-23: "The Dancer" - Julie Kent

2-23: "The Dancer" - Julie Kent

Julie Kent has not always been Julie Kent. The Kent name was suggested to her by Mikail Baryshnikov when he asked her to co-star in his film The Dancers just after he had watched her audition for the American Ballet Theatre in New York. 

Julie went on to become the longest-serving ballerina in American Ballet Theatre’s 75-year history, and performed as a principal dancer for 23 years. 

She has danced in well over 100 ballets, been named one of People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People”, and in 2016, she became the Artistic Director of The Washington Ballet.  She is a world-renowned star by any definition.

And, this episode is called, “The Dancer”.

2-22: "The Transparent Leader" - Nancy Dubuc

2-22: "The Transparent Leader" - Nancy Dubuc

Nancy Dubuc is the CEO of Vice Media. When she took over the job just under a year ago, she was inheriting two of the hardest circumstances for any leader. She was replacing the founder. And she was stepping into a crisis. Several, actually.

There were reports that there was a pattern of sexual harassment at Vice among senior male executives and that HR had been unsupportive about the complaints. The company had missed its revenue targets by more than $100 million. And New York Magazine published a story that claimed that Vice had been “built on a bluff”.

Taking over in that environment meant defining the future and providing hope. It meant keeping what was working and changing what was not.

Most of all, it meant bringing people together and establishing trust.

So, this episode is called, “The Transparent Leader”.

2-21: "The Removal Men" - Neal Arthur and Karl Lieberman

2-21: "The Removal Men" - Neal Arthur and Karl Lieberman

If you’re interested in unlocking creativity in the people around you then Wieden + Kennedy is a real-time case study. Like all great creative companies, it is three-dimensional, and no two sides look the same. Understanding how and why it works means looking at it from several angles.

In earlier episodes, I’ve talked to Colleen DeCourcy, who has a global perspective; Eric Baldwin and Jason Bagley, who had just taken over the leadership of Wieden in Portland; and Jesse Johnson and George Felix, about how the agency/client relationship works when Wieden is at its best.

This episode is a conversation with Neal Arthur and Karl Lieberman, who run W+K New York.  

They came together just over three years ago, following a long period of uncertainty in the leadership of that office. Since joining forces, they have provided focus, consistency, care and hope. They also have clear expectations of themselves and those around them.

So this episode is called, “The Removal Men”.

2-20: "The More-Than-Me Leader" - Alex Goat

2-20: "The More-Than-Me Leader" - Alex Goat

Alex Goat is the CEO of Livity, a self-described, "youth-led creative network”. Their purpose is to create a more positive life for young people by partnering with marketing, talent and policy clients. Their goal is to make youth culture that creates change.

Alex is on a mission to make the world better. It gets her up in the morning and it keeps her up at night. 

So this episode is called, “The More-Than-Me Leader”.

2-19: "The ‘I Don’t Know’ Leader" - Rick Brim

2-19: "The ‘I Don’t Know’ Leader" - Rick Brim

Rick Brim is the Chief Creative Officer of Adam&Eve/DDB - one of the world’s most creative companies.  

Rick is down to earth, self reflective, supportive and passionate. He cares a lot.

Adam&Eve/DDB are perhaps most famous for the annual John Lewis Christmas campaign that produces one of the standout commercials of the year. For this and for many other reasons, they generate high praise and enormous attention. 

Which brings with it the other side of success. Expectation.

That’s when the pressure of leadership really shows up.  

This episode is called “The ‘I Don’t Know’ Leader”.

2-18: "The Ambitious Leader" - Susanne Preissler

2-18: "The Ambitious Leader" - Susanne Preissler

Susanne Preissler is the founder of Independent Media, an advertising and entertainment production company that represents a group of some of the best known film and television directors around - from Ben Affleck to Janusz Kaminski to Tony Goldwyn.

Susanne is also a leader of intention and determination. She has high standards, a point of view and an innate ability to solve problems. She also wants to make a difference.

So this episode is called, “The Ambitious Leader”.

2-17: "The Documentarian" - Alex Gibney

2-17: "The Documentarian" - Alex Gibney

From the Oscar-winning Taxi to the Dark Side, which tells the story of an Afghanistan taxi driver who was tortured and killed at Bagram Air Force Base in 2002. To the Emmy Award-winning Going Clear which looks closely at the world of Scientology. To We Steal Secrets - the story of Wiki leaks. As Alex Gibney describes it, he’s drawn to stories that reveal abuses of power.

He’s been called the most important documentarian of our time by Esquire Magazine. 

I assumed, as I sat down with Alex, that this was a man of strong beliefs, determined to tell stories that right what he saw as wrongs.

But his story and his view of the world is much more complex than that.

So this episode is called, “The Documentarian”.

2-16: "The Confidence Builder" - Charles Day

2-16: "The Confidence Builder" - Charles Day

Since I started this podcast, some people have said they’d like to hear how I’d answer some of my own questions.  What have I learned through my own experiences as a leader.

So I asked Adam Bryant - the founder of the Corner Office Column in The NYT and now the Managing Director at Merryck & Co - If he’d come back on the show and interview me.

Adam is a good friend and he said he would. So today my guest is me.

And this week’s episode is called, “The Confidence Builder”.

2-15: "The Economist" - Bertrand Cesvet

2-15: "The Economist" - Bertrand Cesvet

Bertrand Cesvet is the CEO of Sid Lee - a multidisciplinary, brand-building creative company with offices in Montreal, Toronto, New York, Paris, and Los Angeles.

He looks constantly to the future, is sensitive to the different needs of the people that works for him and sees the world through both the lens of the possible and the lens of the practical.  He is a business builder, an author, a creator, a tennis player and a father.

He is also an Economist. Which is the name of this episode.

Oh, and he says what he thinks.

2-14: "The Alchemist" - Andrew Essex

2-14: "The Alchemist" - Andrew Essex

Today’s conversation is with Andrew Essex. He’s the co-founder of Plan_A - a self described marketing services company. He’s best known for his time as the CEO of Droga 5, and before that as the Chief Executive Officer of Tribeca Enterprises, the parent company of the Tribeca Film Festival.

He’s sharp witted, a quick thinker and has a relentless curiosity for what’s next.

This episode is called “The Alchemist”.

2-13: "The Explorer" - Kara DeFrias

2-13: "The Explorer" - Kara DeFrias

It would take a longer podcast to describe all of the places that Kara DeFrias has worked - the Oscars, the Emmys, the Women’s World Cup, The Super Bowl, and the Obama White House, to name a few.

She’s passionate, funny, caring and a survivor. A three-times survivor. She was fired once two days after starting a job. 

So this week’s theme is Curiosity.

And this week’s episode is called, “The Explorer”.

2-11: "The Direction Finder" - Tom Stockham

2-11: "The Direction Finder" - Tom Stockham

Tom Stockham is the CEO of ExpertVoice. Before that, he was the CEO of ancestry.com and the President of ticketmaster.com. He was there when that particular rocket took off.

He is interested in making change that makes a difference, sees the future faster and more clearly than most and worries about how to bring other people on the journey.

So, this week’s theme is action. And this episode is called “The Direction Finder”.

2-10: "The Generous Leader" - Susan Credle

2-10: "The Generous Leader" - Susan Credle

Susan Credle is the global chief creative officer of FCB. She is original, open-minded and generous - sometimes, by her own admission, to a fault.

As the global CCO of a multinational agency, her job is to inspire, teach and hold to account a network of talented individuals most of who work in different cities than the one she calls home - New York.

Providing creative leadership to a large network brings different challenges. Building trust with people you see only intermittently is one of the most important.

Knowing yourself - your strengths, your weaknesses, your tendencies and, perhaps most importantly, your own heart - is a competitive advantage in any leadership situation. In a complex, organizational structure, it’s even more valuable.

So, this week’s theme is Self-Awareness.

And this week’s episode is called, “The Generous Leader”.

2-9: "The Honest Leader" - Mark Thompson

2-9: "The Honest Leader" - Mark Thompson

Mark Thompson has been the CEO of the New York Times for the last six years.

For the eight years before that, he was Director General of the BBC.

He acts with intention, values the knowledge that comes from mistakes, and cares passionately about the institutions and the ideals they represent that he is entrusted with.

So, this week’s theme is Courage.

And this week’s episode is called, “The Honest Leader”.