(Photo courtesy of Tierney)
How does a leader get to become a leader, really? It’s not always a linear path.
Communications, public relations and branding agency Tierney launched the first season of its new podcast focused on telling the career stories and advice of local industry leaders earlier this month.
The show is dubbed “29 Stories,” a nod to Tierny’s Philly office which sits on the 29th floor of 1700 Market St, and is hosted by Chief Growth Officer Tracy Santilli.
Santilli told Technical.ly that the project is her first forte into podcasting, and hopes the episodes will give a peek into the realistic trajectory of business leaders.
“People, including me, think that these leaders start at point A, and have a direct path to point B,” Santilli said. “But that is not always the case. Sometimes they spend time in careers or jobs that aren’t aligned with what they’re doing today, and I think that’s important to know. Like, ‘If you think it’s a straight line to get to CEO, you’re sorely mistaken.'”
In the first season of the show, Santilli spoke with Gina Clark, EVP and chief communications and administration officer at AmerisourceBergen; Mary Dougherty of Nicole Miller; Kim Fraites-Dow, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania; and Trish Wellenbach, president and CEO of the Please Touch Museum.
Wellenbach’s previous career as a labor and delivery nurse comes into play while running the Please Touch Museum, she explained during her episode’s interview, and she often wonders if the families coming in to the museum are families she’s helped in the delivery room.
On her career transition, Wellenbach told Santilli, “I have this knack of being able to convince myself and whosever hiring me that I’m a good bet to make.”
And not having perfectly matching experience for a role shouldn’t deter you, she said: “I think that if you don’t [have the exact qualifications] and there’s parts of your new opportunity that are appealing to you, you will dig into yourself and find resources and ways to learn new things.”
Along with discussing their career trajectories, guests talk with Santilli about the skills they use in their day-to-day roles as leaders.
Fraites-Dow told Santilli that she’s leaned on mentors in various stages of her life, and that being a CEO can be a lonely endeavor at times.
“It can get a little lonely at the top,” she said. “People assume that things have to be perfect before engaging in conversation with you.”
She said that to combat that idea, she often holds open problem-solving meetings with folks at various levels.
Santilli said she sometimes guests how they balance parenthood and family responsibilities with executive work, too.
“Because my career has always been rooted in my passions, when I go to work, it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice,” Fraites-Dow told her.
The first season of the podcast, which contains four interviews around 20 minutes each, dropped on Oct. 9. Santilli said season two is coming sometime in early 2020 and will be longer— likely around six to eight episodes — and will continue with topics relating to professional development and the perceptions and realities of business leadership.
While the series is produced by Tierney, Santilli said it was intentionally placed on outside streaming platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music, with the goal of bringing access to top-tier professionals to a wide range of folks, not just its own clients and employees.
“It was a really great first-time opportunity,” Santilli said. “The women were incredibly open, it was nice to be able to have the dialogue minus the business discussion, and to be able to give that access to others.”
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