Leadership Luminaries

Corporate Leaders and Thought Leaders share their personal stories of challenge and success and bring their particular areas of wisdom and knowledge to bear on what’s relevant now.

In this podcast series PeopleSmart is proud to provide a platform for Corporate Leaders and Thought Leaders who are able to inspire, encourage and provide insights to you by bringing their particular areas of wisdom, knowledge and personal experiences to bear on what’s relevant now!

PeopleSmart provides innovative learning solutions to organizations in many countries, cultures and languages, focusing on leadership and people development in the context of digital transformation, change management, culture change and the increasing need for Emotional Intelligence.

Episode 27:

'Choosing your Best Future with Sonal Bahl

Guest: Sonal Bahl is a wise and powerful thinker and speaker. She talks about the connection between Purpose and Impact, the Joy of Contribution, and how we are either Contracting or Expanding.

In this interview Sonal invites you to ask a few profound questions to help you guide your career and job choices:

“Will I give another year of my life to these people?” This question puts you back in the driver’s seat so YOU make the choice about your future and can free yourself from being in reactive auto-pilot mode. It reminds you that you have a choice.

When you are considering your next career step ask yourself “Does this position I’m being offered help me get one step closer to where I want to be?” Is it a SPRINGBOARD to my future success?

“If you love what you do you will do it for free!”

If you say “I can’t wait until the weekend” you may be in trouble.

“Do you Love Mondays?” If yes, you are in good shape!

Join our host Michael Banks and guest Sonal Bahl, a wise and powerful thinker and speaker, as they explore profound questions about career and job choices.


Sonal is an experienced HR Director and Founder of SuperCharge, a career strategy and coaching firm with clients In North & South America, Europe, Middle East and Africa. She speaks English, Spanish, French, Hindi and basic Dutch.

In a career spanning nearly two decades in senior HR positions, Sonal has lived and worked in Chile, Belgium, France, India and Uruguay. Screening over 250,000 resumes and conducting over 5000 interviews in 3 continents - she has helped recruit, build and evolve highly talented teams for large companies like GE & PwC, midsize family owned firms and startups.

Sonal holds an MBA from INSEAD and also serves on the Belgium Steering Committee member of INSEAD Women in Business. Sonal is recognised as a “Sheroes Champion”, one of just 150 selected globally for this role. Sheroes is a women only platform to inspire future leaders, with over 15 million women as members.

Episode 26:

Spiritual Leadership with Dra. Lynne Sedgmore

Guest: Lynne Sedgmore is an executive coach, a non-executive board member, leadership advisor and author of ‘Goddess Luminary Leadership Wheel: A Post Patriarchal Paradigm’. She was awarded the CBE in 2004, was named one of Debrett's 500 most influential educators in the UK in 2015.
Can business and spirituality actually coexist?

Join our host Michael Banks and guest Dra Lynne Sedgmore, a bold and courageous disrupter, as they delve into the intrigue and complexities of integrating spirituality into business and leadership.

In her new book ‘Goddess Luminary Leadership Wheel: A Post Patriarchal Paradigm’ she explores how the ‘sacred feminine’ can inform business leadership.

As a former CEO, advisor to the UK government, and board director of over twenty five organisations, Lynne Sedgmore has lived the challenges of integrating spirituality into business and leadership. She tells the story of trying to introduce love as a value into a business school twenty years ago and how that concluded. Lynne also discusses the value of exploring one’s ‘shadow’, and the ‘intersectionality’ of pressures were under, in order to grow as a leader


Spirituality and business are two words you rarely see in the same sentence. On the surface, the two seem at odds with each other. However, this is not some New Age, airy-fairy concept but a journey into the future of leadership described by someone who has had a long career of success and getting things done in the real world.

Are you curious as to how you can incorporate spirituality into your business practice?

Listen this episode with Dra Lynne Sedgmore where she shares how spirituality can be a powerful management concept for leadership that the planet urgently needs.


Lynne is an executive coach, a non-executive board member, leadership advisor and author of ‘Goddess Luminary Leadership Wheel: A Post Patriarchal Paradigm’. She was awarded the CBE in 2004, was named one of Debrett's 500 most influential educators in the UK in 2015. Her organisations have won numerous national and international awards, including the International Spirit at Work Award. Lynne held 3 Chief Executive roles within Further Education in the UK over 17 years. She is an experienced board member - having held 25 non-executive posts. She was a member of the UK Prime Minister’s national review of public sector leadership and advisor to the 11 UK Leadership Academies. Lynne has chaired and sat on numerous national, academic and Ministerial public sector committees and advisory groups.

Lynne’s previous leadership roles include Chief Executive of the157 National Policy Think-tank, Chief Executive of the Centre for Excellence in Leadership (CEL), Principal of Guildford College and Head of Croydon Business School. CEL developed over 40,000 leaders.

She is also a published poet, an ordained interfaith Minister and Priestess.

Episode 25:

Honesty, transparency, participation and 'green funerals'...

Guest: Rupert Callender, founder of the Green Funeral Company, TED X speaker, Author and 'The best undertakers of all time by a country mile’.
In this truly fascinating interview Rupert Callender, founder of the Green Funeral Company, shares how he has applied the lessons and spirit of raves and punk to funerals. As a pioneer in the field, and breaking from tradition, Rupert began a new approach to funerals twenty years ago when he was inspired by the natural death movement which came on the heels of the earlier natural birth movement.

Ru calls himself an undertaker (versus a funeral director) in that he undertakes to accompany and empower families to hold the most meaningful and personal of ceremonies and rituals.

Towards the end Rupert makes the connection between the qualities and skills required of an undertaker and modern business leadership. Active listening, empathy, service to others vs self, “letting go of control”, trust and authenticity. “People are hungry for authenticity” says Rupert. And as he says, “Around death bullshit goes.”

Rupert Callender set up The Green Funeral Company in 1999 in response to his own experiences around bereavement and ran it with his partner Claire up until the beginning of this year, 2021, when she left the business to take a break from death.

They both brought their experiences within the rave and punk subcultures to their work, as well as some more unusual influences like the crop circle scene. They pioneered a strip backed and immersive way of working which threw away the formality and faux Victoriana of the modern traditional funeral. Their watchwords are honesty, transparency and participation, and this they bring to every funeral they do.

Ru edited Writing on Death, and co-wrote the fifth edition of The Natural Death Handbook available directly from the Natural Death Centre, deliberately avoiding Amazon. They both did a TED X talk entitled Death, Grief, Ritual and Radical funerals, and are partners in an art memorialisation project with former KLF members Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty to build a 23 ft high pyramid in Toxteth with each brick containing cremated human remains. They have been described as “The best undertakers of all time by a country mile.” by The Good Funeral Guide.

Episode 24:

Being Vulnerable and why it’s important

Guest: Andy Lopata, Author, Relationships Strategist and a ‘true master of networking’
In this second interview with Andy Lopata, author of ‘Connected Leadership’ and ‘Just Ask’, we home in on why being vulnerable is so important in the context of contemporary leadership and the massive disruption we’re all experiencing.

As a leader it is important to let other people help you. This is the emerging model of leadership that is required for these trying times - inclusive, authentic, open and transparent.

What does this mean in real behavioral terms? Andy shares stories that illustrate the role of courage in asking for help and how not to be offended when you are turned down. Leaders should not try to ‘gut it out’ on their own but realize it’s a sign of strength and resilience to reach out to others. Don’t assume people will be reluctant to help you. In fact 97% of the population will be flattered if you ask them for assistance and more than happy to contribute.

In short, this conversation is about being your best with the help of others.

Episode 23:

The Case for Diverse Boards

Guest: Monique Choudhuri, MA, ChartMCIPD and NED for EDI (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion) at Brentford FC
In this super stimulating interview packed with nuggets of wisdom from the 'front line' Monique Choudhuri explains clearly and passionately the benefits of a board level focus on Diversity and Inclusion.

Monique is a Non-Executive Director for Brentford FC where she is board champion for EDI (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion) and has spearheaded their quest to become the most inclusive club in English football.

She tells the story of how a professional sports business, Brentford FC, a Premier League football club based in London, has employed cutting edge leadership practices to create a massive and frankly unlikely success story. This success has been based on the use of data.

As Monique says: "Everyone has bias and to stay humble you have to challenge your bias. We use data to challenge our own assumptions to make better decisions. This takes the bias out of decision making."

We discuss Brentford's success factors including "humility and togetherness on and off the field", "inclusivity" and "doing something they never thought we could do". Also that the "culture is set by the board" (not the CEO and his/her team). In addition, Monique explains the role of "discretionary gold dust" and "pre-mortems" at the club.

All this has application to businesses across the board.

Please explore and enjoy!

Episode 22:

Psychosynthesis Leadership Coaching

Guest: Aubyn Howard, APECS Accredited Executive Coach, Author and Psychosynthesis Coaching Supervisor
Please enjoy this dialog between two master coaches with a combined 70 years of experience between them! The topic is psychosynthesis coaching which differs greatly from what can be the overly formulaic coaching techniques available from many contemporary coaching certification courses.

Aubyn Howard explains how psychosynthesis coaching covers both outer behavioral changes and the inner psychological world that includes the spiritual aspect of leadership development. Opening the heart and being open hearted is at the core of this holistic approach to coaching. Aubyn makes the case that this kind of integrated, 'whole person' approach is more important than ever in this new world of increased polarization, isolation and the inner crisis of meaning and identity especially prevalent among young people, our future leaders. This is why we need a Psychology of Being for this Time of Crisis!

Aubyn holds an MA in Psychosynthesis Psychology with the London Institute of Psychosynthesis and an MSc in Change Agent Skills and Strategies with the HPRG? at Surrey University. He draws upon more than 30 years’ experience as an organisational consultant, facilitator, educator and coach, supporting transformational change and leadership development with leaders of all sizes of organisation, across many different sectors and national cultures. Aubyn is an APECS Accredited Executive Coach and a Psychosynthesis Coaching Supervisor. He is the Author of Psychosynthesis Leadership Coaching: a Psychology of Being for a Time of Crisis (2020). Aubyn lives with his wife Diana in France

Episode 21:

Creativity can liberate Business!

Guest: Annemie Ress, CEO and Founder of PurpleBeach
In this stimulating, fun and eclectic interview Annemie Ress shares with host Michael Banks how creativity can unlock peoples’ innovative potential to produce accelerated business growth. Annemie’s philosophy is “CONNECT and then see what happens!”

We cover the early days at Skype when Annemie was working with the original founders and they were pioneers in the field, her podcast for Afrikaans speakers around the world, how her company, ‘Purple Beach’, is willing to just TRY something (like a TV Box set and an on demand radio station) and then listen and learn from the responses coming back.

Annemie talks about how she uses a NASA astronaut to teach creative leadership, Yoga nidra sessions for organizations coming out of lockdown, and an innovative approach to attracting young talent to very traditional companies.

Finally we discuss how ‘People Innovation’ done well leads to product and service innovation, and how the corporates can partner with startups to accelerate their growth in the networked companies of the future.

Annemie Ress has wide-ranging experience in designing and implementing significant organisational change and transformation in multi-national businesses. She draws extensively from her experience as Global HR Director at Skype, Global Head of People Innovation at eBay, and Senior HR Director at eBay & PayPal Europe.

Annemie is known for approaching organisational, leadership and strategic challenges from a very different and unique perspective and results-driven perspective. She has extensive executive leadership and board-level experience in a wide range of technology businesses at all stages of maturity.

Annemie currently co-leads the development of a diversified €350m energy innovation and technology investment portfolio for a large German multinational including sourcing, evaluating and managing investment opportunities in the UK, Israel, Germany and the United States. She has a vast direct network of personal relationships in the technology sector covering C-suite executives, hardware and software experts and thought leaders.

Episode 20:

Connected Leadership

Guest: Andy Lopato, Author, Relationships Strategist and a ‘true master of networking’
According to Forbes.com Andy Lopata is ‘a true master of networking’. Andy calls it ‘building strong professional relationships’ and in this interview shares the many reasons that this is such a vital business skill. He talks about ‘how to work a room’ as being all about ‘not being attached to the outcome’ and taking the long term approach versus trying to ‘win’ in the short term.

For Andy, empathy and authenticity are crucial factors in successful networking. Way more so now in the world of virtual gatherings. Leadership can be a lonely experience, especially in light of social distancing, and it is even more important now to build a strong support network. Other topics we discuss include ‘cognitive diversity’ in networking, how to protect your reputation, and the answer to the question “How social should we be in our professional lives?”

Andy Lopata is an acclaimed professional relationships strategist, with global clients including Paypal, GlaxoSmithKline and Brother.

He has written four books on networking and often been quoted in the media, including The Sunday Times, The Financial Times and Inc. In fact, the FT called Andy ‘one of Europe’s leading business networking strategists’ and both Forbes.com and The Independent called him ‘a true master of networking’.

Andy holds the PSAE award – that’s the UK’s top award designed to recognise excellence in professional speaking. He is a Board Member and Director of the Fellow’s Community of the Professional Speaking Association (PSA) UK and Ireland and a member of the Global Speakers Federation (GSF). He’s also a Fellow of the Learning and Performance Institute (LPI), and a Master of the Institute of Sales Management.
Episode 19:

Transformational and Inclusive Coaching

Guest: Robert Stephenson, Trainer, Mentor, Speaker and Director of 'Animas Centre of Coaching'
Robert Stephenson works at the 'leading edge' in his field. He is passionate, thoughtful, eloquent and insightful in sharing his lived experience of practicing transformational and existential coaching. Robert explains how this approach focuses on the person, not just the performance, and answers the question, "What is the difference between life coaching and executive coaching?" We also discuss how he is exploring diversity and inclusion in the world of coaching and what he is doing to encourage a compassionate focus on that through his leadership of the Animas Center for Coaching in London.

Robert Stephenson is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC), Trainer, Mentor, Speaker and the Centre Director of Animas, one of the largest coaching schools in the UK and Europe. In his role as Centre Director Robert’s his work is centred around supporting the 3,000 and growing alumni that make up the Animas community. Robert’s true love in coaching is using the multi-sensory and multi-dimensional process of narrative coaching to allow new stories to emerge within a client’s world. When he’s not developing new and exciting training courses, he is imparting his insights around coaching, diversity, and inclusion, leadership and beyond as host of the Animas podcast Coaching Uncaged.
Episode 18:

Learning Collides with Culture at CERN

Guest: Pascale Goy, Head of Learning & Development at CERN
Pascale Goy takes us into the world of CERN and the Large Hadron Collider! She talks about the challenges of enrolling and engaging highly technical and academic populations into the ‘soft skill’ learning journeys that are not typically their main focus and priority. We hear how Pascale successfully built a learning community that involves everyone and not just L&D. This is about shifting the culture to a more human centric, relational one while still dealing with the science based reality that has always been the emphasis at CERN. Central to her success has been the powerful strategy of engaging as partners with the scientists and engineers to create ‘conversational events’ versus formal training programs and curricula. By listening to their stories and gathering data Pascale and her colleagues were able to ‘meet them where they were’ and build programs around their worlds. Fascinating stuff!

Pascale Goy is an accomplished professional with 35+ years wide-ranging leadership and human resources management experience in international organizations. Before working at CERN, Pascale fulfilled several executive roles in other international organizations, such as the International Trade Centre (UN System) and the World Trade Organization. She is a certified executive coach and regularly delivers keynote speeches in international HR conferences.

Despite her 25 years of substantial experience in international organizations, starting at CERN was a major wake-up call. Indeed, with a long history of great discoveries (such as the World Wide Web), CERN was daunting in many ways and propelled her into a professional venture as complex and thrilling as searching for the mysteries of the universe. Being responsible for shaping multi-year development programmes to support the HR vision and develop the professional potential of all, she was bold enough to advocate the concept of a life-long learning culture at CERN. She leveraged the existing leadership culture to fast track her belief in learning communities through creative approaches. With energy and curiosity Pascale, to use her own words “collided my L&D vision with the reality of this Organization!”
Episode 17:

Leaders who create and regenerate

Guest: Dr. Jim Garrison, founder and president of Ubiquity University and the convener of Humanity Rising
In this inspiring episode Dr Jim Garrison draws upon his many years and stories of working with some of the world's most historic and influential leaders (such as Mikhail Gorbachev, Jane Goodall, Muhammed Yunus and Mother Theresa) to share his views on the kind of leadership required to successfully deal with 'hyper-complexity' through 'regenerative leadership'. Leaders now need to employ 'ruthless realism', to facilitate the 'collective' in a 'synergistic and multi-disciplinary way', 'interact with diversity', and cultivate 'imagination'. Jim was there in person with the Politburo and the Government when the Soviet Union collapsed through a 'lack of creative leadership' and learned that it is vital now and in the future to 'shapeshift organizationally'. So much insight here into a new model of leadership, a model that serves humanity while generating profit not depletes it.

Dr Jim Garrison is the founder and president of Ubiquity University and the convener of Humanity Rising. He came to this having served as president of Wisdom University which he led from 2005 – 2012, after which he led its transition into Ubiquity University, established in 2012. Jim has spent his entire professional life in executive leadership, including as co-founder and president of the Gorbachev Foundation/USA (1992 – 1995) and State of the World Forum (1995 – 2004) with Mikhail Gorbachev serving as convening chairman. Jim received his B.A in History from the University of Santa Clara, an MA in History of Religion from Harvard University, and a PhD in Philosophical Theology from Cambridge University. He has written numerous books, including The Plutonium Culture, America as Empire, The Darkness of God: Theology after Hiroshima, Citizen Diplomacy, and Civilization and the Transformation of Power. He lectures regularly on comparative philosophy and religion, world history and politics, and the implications of global warming.
Episode 16:

What it takes to lead into the future

Guest: Vikas Shah, Serial-entrepreneur, philanthropist and Visiting Professor at MIT Sloan
Vikas Shah MBE is a serial entrepreneur, investor and business leader who has had to make some tough decisions over the past year and has some powerful leadership advice that we can all benefit from. In this inspirational interview Vikas talks about how he started his first business at the age of 14 through to his new book ThoughtEconomics, which is based on a fascinating series of interviews he has conducted with some of the world’s leading and most influential thinkers. The main theme and context for this interview is ‘Leading into the Future’ and adaptable leadership. What are the different kinds of leadership that these times call for? Vikas addresses questions like “What is and will be different about the leadership requirements of today tomorrow?” “What role does culture play in unifying leadership and organizations?” and “How can you adapt your leadership to lead through a crisis?

Vikas Sha MBE is an entrepreneur, philanthropist and investor. He is Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship (The Lisbon MBA with MIT Sloan) and an honorary professor at the Alliance Manchester Business School. He is Chair of the international NGO In Place of War and a trustee of Mustard Tree. Shah is an advisor to the British Council, a member of the UK government's Industrial Development Advisory Board (IDAB), a board advisor to a range of businesses, and was awarded an MBE in 2017 for services to business and the economy.
Episode 15:

Regenerative Business

Guest: Marcello Palazzi, entrepreneur for human progress
How can companies prioritize and balance the higher purpose of making the world a better place with the profit imperative? As the Founder of the B Corp global movement, a community of leaders who use ‘business as a force for good’, these are the questions that have driven Marcello Palazzi throughout his career as an “entrepreneur for human progress”. In this inspiring interview we cover topics such as ‘life-enhancing enterprise’, ‘for-benefit corporations’, ‘eudomonia (well being economy)’, and ‘stakeholder capitalism’! Find out more about the B Corps movement and how it is pointing to a more enlightened and ‘reverent’ way of doing business. A must listen for leaders and emerging entrepreneurs!

Marcello Palazzi, BSc MSc MBA is an entrepreneur for human progress, co-founder through his foundation, Progressio, Rotterdam, of over 30 entrepreneurial ventures for public benefit. Palazzi was born in Milan, educated in Switzerland, the UK, the USA and The Netherlands. His latest activities have been to found the B Corp Movement in Europe and NOW.Partners, an accelerator of the regenerative economy. He is a Harvard and Stanford alumnus, graduated in economics from LSE and Erasmus University.
Episode 14:

A Coaching Culture for the Remote Workplace

Guest: Ozlem Sarioglu, PCC & 'ICF Young Leader Award' winner 2019
Ozlem shares her wealth of knowledge and experience around how to create a 'coaching culture' in today's largely virtual environment, and how to overcome the challenges of embedding coaching in any organization. Listen to her cutting edge wisdom beyond the more traditional model of coaching.

Ozlem presents present and future coaching practices that facilitate and empower coachees at scale, are economical, incorporate digitization and AI, and suit the needs and interests of the emerging younger workforce of today and tomorrow.

Ozlem Sarioglu, PCC is a professional coach working with leaders, teams and organizations and is also the co-founder of SparkUs Digital Coaching Platform, one of the 400 start-ups invited to the World Economic Forum. As the managing partner responsible for coaching in Sparkus, she has vast experience in how to adopt coaching services to the digitalization agenda of the corporate HR and L&D teams. She is also the author of the book “World Voices” which focuses on de-polarization of teams, organisations and larger systems. In 2019, Ozlem was recognized by the International Coach Federation (ICF) with the “ICF Young Leader Award” as one of the six people to carry the coaching profession into the future.
Episode 13:

Leading & Learning through COVID | A view from AstraZeneca’s Global Head of Learning

Guest: Brian Murphy
In this enlightening and inspiring interview AstraZeneca’s Head of Global Learning and Development, Brian Murphy, shares the progressive practices that have helped his company through 2020.

He talks about how being a ‘full human at work’ and being ‘comfortable with being uncomfortable’ engenders trust, connection and productive relationships. Regarding Learning Agility, Brian describes the ‘virtual hackathons’ and the company's successful, in house science based experiment designed to build good habits. He calls AstraZeneca a ‘live learning laboratory’. And then he discusses the importance of leading with empathy and vulnerability and ‘getting out of the way’. The emerging leader at AstraZeneca is encouraged to be curious, transparent, open and brave. All this and more as Brian Murphy lifts the curtain on what has enabled AstraZeneca to be one of the success stories of 2020.

Brian is the Global Head of Learning & Enterprise Capabilities at AstraZeneca. He is based in Cambridge in the UK where he is tasked with leading a multi-year change programme to transform how learning happens at the company. Apart from building a new Enterprise Learning team, he is also focused on developing learning agility, a culture of life-long learning, and future skills and capabilities to support the business strategy. This work is critical for the company to deliver on its mission to push the boundaries of science to deliver life-changing medicines.

Previously Brian was the Head of Learning and Leadership Development for CitiBank in Europe, Middle East and Africa where he led global efforts to develop a culture of workplace learning across Citi’s 200,000 employees in over 100 countries.

Brian believes passionately that the L&D profession is at a historical crossroads. It can choose a traditional approach which is increasingly irrelevant to the ‘real work’, or it can become a key enabler for business performance, innovation and culture change.
Episode 12:

When the Void meets the Infinite - Leading change today

Guest: Ram Ramanathan
Ram Ramanathan shares his journey of going from a highly successful, autocratic corporate CEO who ruled by fear to an empathic listener who coaches people to become authentic leaders of change. Referencing ancient Vedic and Buddhist teachings, quantum physics, and ‘giants’ such as Jung, Bohm and Rogers, he describes the profile of the kind of leader who can successfully lead change today and in the future. Ram’s wisdom has profound application to our current world where coaching and mentoring can play such a major role in helping people, especially the young, become self-actualized.

Ram S Ramanathan, is an accredited master coach with ICF, EMCC and BCC, and in 2012 co-founded Coacharya, a global alliance of like minded, highly qualified coaches engaged in leadership development, with the objective of helping people discover their better self. Ram has had long CEO & serial entrepreneur stints over 4 decades. Ram has deep interest in cross cultural spirituality. His passion is to integrate Eastern wisdom with Western sciences to coach corporate leaders in their transformational leadership journey of ‘Mindless Barefoot Leadership’. Ram and his wife are Singapore citizens with permanent residence in Bangalore, India with their rescue dog, spending part year with their grandchildren in the USA.
Episode 11:

YOUth Can Change the World

Guest: Leah Black
Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders As true global citizens they hold the world in their hands. Yet they feel a great pressure on their shoulders. Leaders of today have a responsibility to ensure young people can navigate our ever changing fast-paced world. A world that the older generations have built, but seem to have forgotten to hand down the navigational guidebook and instructions to the younger generations. This brings many issues as well as wide ranging opportunities to the future of leadership. So, what challenges are young people facing and what can they bring to the world of tomorrow? What can current leaders do to bridge the needs gap for our aspiring future leaders and help them to tackle these challenges? What can you do to make a positive difference in the lives of youth to help create better leaders for tomorrow?

Leah Black, is a professionally-qualified youth and community practitioner and coach, who is dedicated to inspiring and empowering the next generations through mentoring, coaching, informal education and training. She has over 15 years’ experience working with communities and 11-25+ year olds in the UK, Ecuador, Zambia, Kenya, Uganda and virtually across the globe. Leah has worked in the charitable, mental health and education sectors and has gained a lot of experience working with young people from all kinds of backgrounds in a variety of roles and locations. She is the founder of ‘The Youth Mentor Coach’ (theyouthmentorcoach.com) and currently leads a number of youth programs.

Leah strongly believes that core life and social skills should be integrated into global mainstream education to help young people in their personal and professional development. She aspires for excellent coaching and mentoring to be available to all, without borders and barriers. Leah strives to prepare future generations to be the best they can be for themselves, others and the world; enabling young people to feel that they belong, can lead and be heard, succeed, thrive and “be the change they wish to see in the world” - Gandhi.
Episode 10:

Can the Bullying Leader be Redeemed?

Guest: Animah Kosai
Bullying comes in many forms and most of the time goes unreported. We've all experienced bullying in our working lives at some point or another. This conversation begins with some truly stunning statistics about the endemic nature of bullying in organizations. We then discuss the effects of this bullying and the toll it takes on individuals, businesses and organizational cultures before moving on to explore what can be done about the bully leader. Can they be redeemed or indeed redeem themselves and how? Animah Kosai tells her own journey from being a bully boss to 'seeing the light' and changing her ways.

Animah Kosai is Founder & Director, Speak Up At Work Limited, and Co-founder, Speak Up Academy.

Animah speaks, writes and advises on workplace harassment, corporate wrongdoing and toxic work cultures. She is Malaysian, based in London and practiced law for 9 years in Malaysia, before joining the oil and gas industry as corporate counsel for 14 years.

Animah has given talks and trainings in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Singapore and London, as well as media interviews, on topics ranging from corruption and #MeToo, to global corporate scandals.

Animah co-founded the Speak Up Academy, a community of thought leaders and experts in the compliance world to explore solutions on speaking up and whistleblowing on critical issues as well as building safe and open organisational cultures. A certified coach, she co-facilitates weekly circles on the Speak Up Academy covering workplace harassment, speaking up and leadership.

Episode 9:

What is a 'Personal Brand' and why is it so important?

Guest: Sonal Bahl
In a year in which so many peoples’ jobs and career trajectories have been adversely affected Sonal Bahl explains how to distinguish yourself in an increasingly crowded job marketplace and how to supercharge your career! Her career boosting strategies give people the competitive edge to land their dream job, get promoted and lead a richer, happier & more purposeful life.

In this lively conversation Sonal shares her practical advice and tips for how to build your reputation using social media, especially LinkedIn. She says that personal branding is "the art of effectively differentiating yourself". She explains how to do this and why it leads to people being attracted to you rather than you trying to impress to get a new job or a pay raise.

Sonal is an experienced HR Director and Founder of SuperCharge, a career strategy and coaching firm with clients In North & South America, Europe, Middle East and Africa. She speaks English, Spanish, French, Hindi and basic Dutch.

In a career spanning nearly two decades in senior HR positions, Sonal has lived and worked in Chile, Belgium, France, India and Uruguay. Screening over 250,000 resumes and conducting over 5000 interviews in 3 continents - she has helped recruit, build and evolve highly talented teams for large companies like GE & PwC, midsize family owned firms and startups.

Sonal holds an MBA from INSEAD and also serves on the Belgium Steering Committee member of INSEAD Women in Business. Sonal is recognised as a “Sheroes Champion”, one of just 150 selected globally for this role. Sheroes is a women only platform to inspire future leaders, with over 15 million women as members.

Episode 8:

Emotional intelligence: game changing for business, life changing for people

Guest: Dr Ben Palmer
Our guest in this interview is Dr Ben Palmer, founder and CEO of GENOS International and one of the world's leading experts on EI. Ben answers the question “What IS emotional intelligence and why the tag line “Game Changing for Business, Life Changing for People”? Ben addresses other questions like, "What are organisations using emotional intelligence for and what outcomes are they getting from it?", "What are the specific skills of it and which is your favourite and why?" and "How do you develop emotional intelligence?", In a rich and wide ranging conversation Ben and I explore the six competencies of the GENOS Model of EI - self-awareness, awareness of others/empathy, authenticity, emotional reasoning, self-management, positive influence what part they each play in business and life in general.

Ben has a PhD in psychology from Swinburne University where he developed the first Australian model and measure of emotional intelligence. Together with Swinburne University’s commercialization arm, Ben founded Genos International to bring his model and measure of emotional intelligence to the market. Today Genos is a national Australian export success story. Genos has operations in Australia, North America and Europe, and distribution partners servicing clients in India, China, South Africa, South East Asia, the UAE and New Zealand. Companies from Walmart in the United States, to Accor Hotels based in Paris, to Qantas in Australia, have used the Genos model and measure of emotional intelligence to improve leadership, resilience, customer service, sales and teamwork.
Episode 7:

How do you develop and lead a high-performing team in a virtual world?

Guest: Sabine Weishaupt
How do you create a close knit high performance team and a micro culture that supports it in these very challenging times? Sabine Weishaupt has been leading a global virtual team for the past five years and has broad and deep experience of what it takes to do this successfully. In this interview Sabine shares her best practices for how to lead virtual teams in the extremely different business environment of 2020 and beyond.

Sabine Weishaupt heads up Deutsche Telekom’s global team of internal leadership development, learning and transformation consultants. With her team - a diverse and international group spread over 10 countries - she develops large scale development programs as well as short learning interventions with an experimental and progressive approach whilst pushing the digitization strategy of the company. The team’s mission is all about accelerating a human centered digital transformation.
Episode 6:

Female Leaders are better at handling Crises so why aren't there more of them?!

Guest: Sylvia Smetana
In this fascinating interview Sylvia Smetana talks about the qualities that enable women to deal with crises so well whether as Prime Minister or as corporate leader. Female leaders seem to do a better job of leading in critical times so what are the values and behaviors they apply to their leadership? Sylvia explains clearly why women often find it so hard to get to the top and the very practical steps that can be taken to get more women on to Boards and into C level roles.

Sylvia Smetana is a Co-Founder of Divershefy and a Partner at Angaros Group.

For more than 25 years Sylvia has held leading roles such as entrepreneur, CFO and board member in organizations in Europe and the US. She has worked with value driven CEOs and business owners to build diverse high performing business cultures and empower women to reach the top.

With an MBA from the University of Vienna (Austria), started her career with KPMG and has many years of experience as a Change Leadership expert.

Sylvia’s passion for helping women to become top leaders and enabling more diversity in leadership lead her to co-found Divershefy in 2018 with the mission of bringing women into Board rooms and C-suites.
Episode 5:

Speak Like a Leader – in a virtual world!

Guest: Esther Stanhope
Sit back and listen to this high energy, funny and fascinating interview with Esther Stanhope. Enjoy her stories of working with people like George Clooney, Noel Gallagher and Joanna Lumley, and learn from Esther’s many quirky tips on how to speak like a leader in any scenario!

Her book – Goodbye Glossophobia – banish your fear of public speaking has just won the highly commended award at the British Business Book Awards 2020.

All her tips apply to speaking on camera and on Zoom and are ideal for anyone who wants to improve their presence, charisma and impact!

Esther is an international speaker, ‘personal impact’ expert and former senior BBC producer who’s helped Hollywood stars, politicians and business leaders radiate charisma live on air.

She now helps professionals to Speak like a leader from ….FTSE 100 Firms (Barclays, JPMorgan and Deloitte) as well as MPs at the House of Commons.
Episode 4:

Pivoting from Fear to Confidence; your KOKODA

Guest: Carrie Benedet
In this episode Australian Carrie Benedet tells the story, in graphic detail, of how she walked the Kokoda Trail, a “mammoth” and gruelling military trek 152kms from Owen’s Corner, across Owen Stanley Ranges up the Imita Ridge 2,190 metres (7,185 ft) to Kokoda. This heroic journey and its many life challenges and lessons was the catalyst for starting her business ‘Thriving Matters’

Carries believes we all have our ‘everyday’ Kokodas, our daily challenges, especially during this time of Covid 19. She shares with great passion and energy her wise advice for dealing with these challenges as she digs into such relevant topics as Resilience, Choice, Emotional Intelligence, Gratitude, Community and most important, Love!

Nowadays Carrie takes groups of leaders to stay with ingenious tribes or ‘first people’ like the Yoingu in Arnhem Land where they learn how to bring their hearts to the table and provide ‘conscious leadership’ to the communities in which they find themselves.

Carrie Benedet has 24 years of industry experience in creating and leading leadership experiences, programs and courses. She ‘walks the talk’ by hosting transformative global leadership experiences through the lens of purpose, culture, performance and growth. Carrie has a global conference presence and a podcast series called Thriving Matters. She is an Education Specialist who focuses on personal and professional growth mindset with aspiring and experienced Leaders and Teams in Education Systems, Government and Business. Carrie is a global leadership coach, dynamic facilitator and Keynote speaker with a passion for developing future leaders.
Episode 3:

The Power and Practice of Purposeful Leadership

Guest: Zach Mercurio, Ph.D.
To survive, we need a will to survive, a reason for being. That "will" is your purpose - the contribution you and your organization makes through what you do. Research finds that focusing on your contribution is linked to increased resilience, motivation, and sustainable organizational thriving. In this lively, high energy and stimulating episode, researcher and bestselling author Zach Mercurio, Ph.D. provides practical insight into how leaders can put purpose into practice.

Dr Zach Mercurio is the bestselling author of "The Invisible Leader: Transform Your Life, Work, and Organization with the Power of Authentic Purpose." He specializes in purposeful leadership, meaningful work, and designing positive organizational cultures. Zach advises leaders in global companies, non-profits, K-12 schools, and universities around the world. His work has been featured in Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Psychology Today, and The Huffington Post. Zach is currently an instructor, researcher, and honorary fellow of psychology in the Center for Meaning and Purpose at Colorado State University, USA.
Episode 2:

Leadership for a chaotic future

Guest: Professor David Clutterbuck
The Covid 19 virus is forcing leaders and HR professionals to rethink what they do and why. Our assumptions about the roles of leaders and HR will not work in a possible CV world Leadership is too important to be left to leaders, talent management and HR. Professor Clutterbuck explores the opportunities now arising to take advantage of the new understanding of how to survive and thrive inn a VUCA environment.

Professor David Clutterbuck is the Co-Founder and Special Ambassador of the EMCC (European Mentoring & Coaching Council). He is a prolific author (over 50 books) and visiting professor at four UK universities. David is also a distinguished Fellow at the Conference Board. He specialises in mentoring and coaching, and currently has a strong focus on team coaching.
Episode 1:

Reframe Your Mindset for 2020 (and self isolation!)

Guest: Paul Corke
In the context of finding ourselves in a world of pandemic coronavirus, self-Isolation, and uncertainty about the future, Paul talks about how we can reframe our mindset for greater success. He discusses how you can use this period of time as an opportunity to reframe your mindset to see things in new ways, become more agile, discover coping mechanisms, and help you build emotional resilience at this difficult time. Paul also shares his 'Mindset Equation' from his latest book 'Reframe Your Mindset: Redefine Your Success' and the four elements in his 'Resilience Backpack'. And Paul also finds time to talk about how the experiences of being at the Hillsborough disaster and his father's funeral both influenced the work he does today.

Paul is a Leadership & Mindset expert who builds leadership capability to enhance the culture and productivity of organizations. He is also an engaging and inspirational speaker delivering keynotes and facilitation on leadership and mindset for events, conferences and organizations. Paul previously worked in the financial industry for over twenty years developing leaders in such companies as Lloyds Bank and MBNA. Paul has published three books on mindset with the latest being his best-selling 'Reframe Your Mindset: Redefine Your Success'.
Michael Banks

Our Leadership Luminaries podcast series is hosted by Michael Banks
leadership coach, writer, story teller, podcaster and Principal Consultant @PeopleSmart

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