The top 25 heart-led leaders challenging & shifting my thinking, now and over the past 18 months
The shift to love from fear-based leadership is happening - honest!
I was shocked by images of incarcerated people in some of the worst conditions I have seen since pictures from WWII. How could leadership stand for such inhuman policies and actions?
Talking to peers - currently absent from work through stress - it is clear that conditions like having to work on 7 concurrent IT projects promised to shareholders overrides individual wellbeing and health considerations.
How can leadership stand for such inconsiderate ways to treat their own people?Both elements - political and corporate leadership - cause me to reflect on the experiences I have had with human-centric leaders in my network (to both share their philosophies and my appreciation of them)
I've used this infographic so that you may learn from and be inspired by those people who are leading in a more vulnerable, values-lead way.
Garry Ridge - CEO, WD-40
Garry is one of THE most impressive heart-led leaders that I have had the pleasure to meet, and that was thanks to my connection with WorldBlu.
Garry not ony leads his 'tribe' at WD-40 with care, purpose, integrity and authenticity, he is the author of books including Helping People Win At Work and teaches at San Diego university.
The financial results of WD-40 under his 30-year tenure, a tenure of which he takes an intentional long-term view both on the business and his people, are equally impressive.
If you wish to hear from Garry, he kindly joined me on Ep 50 of the Value through Vulnerability podcast which can be accessed here.
Traci Fenton - CEO, WorldBlu
Traci is the founder of WorldBlu, an organisation created to serve one billion people to live, love and lead with freedom.
My good friend Perry Timms introduced me to Traci & WorldBlu's work back in April 2017 when I personally became the hotseat guest during a Power Question workshop helping people deal with their fears. Since that experience of dealing with my fears head-on, I have not looked back and I am pleased to be part of Traci's mission to serve 1bn people.
Considering that Traci started her mission 20 years ago, I truly believe that her and WorldBlu's time is now with a range of coaching, freedom-centered leadership programmes and organisational design support. offered to the world.
Perry Timms, founder PTHR
Perry is an exceptional character that I had the pleasure to meet for the first time around 3 years ago by pure chance in Liverpool, UK.
Perry is founder of PTHR, one of the most innovative and creative people I know in the people space, author of the book Transformational HR and is curently working on his 2nd book.
A giver, supporter and advocate for anybody that wishes to try and make work more humane, I am personally grateful to Perry for so much, not least his unwavering commitment to advance the agility and impact of the people profession.
He joined me all the way back on Ep 2 of the Value through Vulnerability podcast in case of interest to you.
Nilofer Merchant, Innovation Expert
I first became aware of Nilofer's work, an ex Apple executive and innovation expert, when she presented at the HRD Summit in the UK during Feb 2018.
As the author of multiple books, her most recent Onlyness: Make your wild ideas mighty enough to dent the world, has had a deeply profound effect on me personally and many others that I know. In fact I wrote about this in a blog previously.
Nilofer does not shy away from the conservations that need to happen to help equalise our often deeply dysfunctional work and societal paradigms.
Nilofer kindly joined me on the Value through Vulnerability podcast recently and continues to inspire me into action personally.
Scott Santens, UBI Advocate
I first learned about Scott's work around Unconditional Basic Income when he joined the awesome Laurie Reuttimann on her Lets Fix Work podcast previously.
UBI is a topic that I am still learning about, but intuitively it feels like a very important conversation as the financial systems continue to create rapid inequalities in our society. I read an article previously that half of the world's monetary wealth is held by just 8 human beings!
I was grateful to receive an education around UBI from Scott back on Ep 17 of the Value through Vulnerability podcast.
Dr Jessica Eaton, Victim Focus
I have been following Dr Eaton on social media for about the past 12 months and wow, this human steps into her power.
As founder of Victim Focus, Jessica leads the conversation around victim shaming & blaming of women through impactful writing, speaking, teaching and research in forensic psychology, feminism & mental health.
Jessica is leading the conversation, publicly via her work but also publicly via social media, which results in often disgusting trolling, yet she continues to speak her truth impressivley.
She also kindly offers a free online development course to help those care for themselves after experiencing sexual violence.
Bob Chapman - CEO, Barry-Wehmiller
Bob Chapman, like Garry Ridge, is an incredibly heart-centered leader as evidenced through the way that his organisation, Barry-Wehmiller, seeks to keep all staff when they acquire a new company.
Unlike the majority who look to reduce and cut 'headcount,' Bob takes a holistic and distinctly humane approach to his leadership which puts BW at the centre of their community and not 'just' as an employer.
One famous quote of Bob is "do we really need the ROI on caring" for our people!?
One of my other inspirations cited in this infographic, Kevin Monroe, recently had Bob on his Higher Purpose podcast.
Barry Wehiller has it's own inspiring podcast called Truly Human Leadership should you wish to learn more about Bob, BW and their partners work and he also co-authored a book that reduced me to tears, Everybody Matters, with Raj Sisodia.
Rebecca-Monique Williams, Head of People
Rebecca-Monique is a relatively new inspiration in my life after I first met her after her deeply inspring Disrupt HR talk in Mar 2019.
Rebecca-Monique is head of people at a tech startup, a very good photgrapher and owner of a challenging coming of age story that she publicly shares to evidence that your past does not need to define you.
This deep vulnerability, her passion to create humane work environments where people can actualise and her energy to make a difference bigger than herself really does energise me.
Rebecca also kindly joined me on the Value through Vulnerability podcast.
Mike Vacanti/Kevin Monroe #HumansFirst
In March 2019 another energetic shift occured when I gratefully met Mike and Kevin.
Mike is the founder of the #HumansFirst movement, a crowd sourced collection of passionate human beings that share the belief that everybody belongs and to coin Barry-Wehmiller, that everybody matters.
Kevin regularly facilitates a Friday #HumansFirst call at 5pm UK time where anybody, literally anybody, can join the call and dive deeper into topics such as connection, vulnerability, empathy etc in a safe environment and without judgement.
Debra Ruh, CEO Ruh Global Impact
Debra is an incredibly bright light in the inclusion space having written a book, Inclusion Branding, that has deeply impacted my understanding and ability to empathise with the disability inclusion agenda.
Debra supports global brands, has spoken at UN conferences on the topic of disability inclusion and uses her voice/network via her Human Potential At Work podcast to help amplify the conversations that need to happen around intentionally designing workplaces and society to be more disability inclusive.
More recently I was humbled that Debra hosted me on her podcast where I shared more of my own vulnerability & courage journey.
I still have a lot more to learn about disability inclusion but learning that 1 in 7 of us have or will have a disability during our lifetime means we all need to better understand Debra's great work.
I first came across Richard Gerver and his work when I bought his book Change a few years ago which was an incredibly accessible read. and really opened me up to the topic of change in a way that I had not been before.
Since leading the cultural transformation of a school that he used to lead, Richard has stood on the stage with the likes of Barack Obama, traveled the world sharing his story and has recently released an incredible body of work called Education: A Manifesto For Change.
Richard is a shining light on a mission to rehumanise education and indeed his latest book could sit on any business shelf as easily as it sits on the educational shelf as the messages are so relevant and aligned for both.
Richard kindly joined me as an expert guest on the previous Have Courage summit where he shared a huge a-ha moment for me from his conversation with Barack Obama in that "despite my aides coming to me with technical challenges, all of the solutions were human."
Richard Gerver, international speaker & author
Jane Adshead-Grant, master coach, teacher & facilitator
Jane is a certified master coach, Thinking Environment trainer and facilitar c/o Nancy Kline and the sole representative of Barry Wehmillers Truly Human Leadership in Europe.
Jane's deep presence, care and empathetic approach to leadership development, coaching and unleashing human potential is seond to none.
I was very grateful that Jane joined me on a podcast to support the previous Have Courage summit.
Jane will be leading a range of open events in Europe to introduce Barry Wehmiller's Truly Human Leadership with myself attending the Nov 18th event in London in case of any interest to you? You can apply here
Denise Sanderson-Escourt, Head of People
Denise and I have been connected on social media for the past couple of years and I have always been inspired by her openness, values-based decision making and passion for helping workplaces be more inclusive and connected.
I loved the values and purpose based conversation that Denise and I had back on Ep 39 of the Value through Vulnerability podcast.
It is easy to talk about purpose, meaning and values, however Denise really role models this not only at work, but in her personal life as part of her volunteering work.
I was recently very humbled to be part of a team of facilitators that supported bringing Denise's vision to life as she created the first leadership event of its kind at the Royal College Physicians, an organisation that itself is truly evolving the importance of human-centric working.
Mark C Crowley, Author & Podcast of 'Lead from the Heart'
I came across Mark's great work by coming across his podcast, Lead from the Heart on social media.
Mark has a wonderful, eclectic mix of guests on to his podcast such as Patty McCord ex CEO of Netflix, LBS Professor and Author Dan Cable & more.
I learned more about Mark's personal journey directly, which includes a fascianting story about him overcoming other peoples fears to push on with what he believed in, when he kindly joined me on Ep 46 of the Value through Vulnerability podcast.
I will have the opportunity to meet Mark in real life shortly due to the kind generosity of another heart-led leader Jamie Marsden.
Kelly Swingler, Founder & Rule-Breaker at Chrysalis Crew
Kelly Swingler is a force of nature and is someone that anyone viewing this infographic should be connected with.
Kelly not only has a vision as to how much better and more humane the world of work could be, she is actively invovled 'in the weeds' helping bring that to life through a range of events, courses and consultancy.
I in fact paid for 6-hours of personal coaching with Kelly back in Feb 2018 which was, honestly, the catalyst for my last 18-months personal growth.
Kelly is supportive, emptahetic and caring, yet is honest, constructive and driven to help everyone she engages be the best version of themselves.
Raj Sisodia, professor & co-founder Conscious Capitalism
Raj is the co-founder of the inspirational conscious capitalism movement and author of multiple books including Firms of Endearment, Conscious Capitalism, Shakti Leadership and Everybody Matters which he co-authored with Bob Chapman.
Raj's new book that comes out in Sept 2019 and is one that I have pre-ordered, called The Healing Organization.
Co-authored with the superb Michael Gelb who recently joined the Value through Vulnerability podcast, I sense this could be one of the most important books in some time, especially based on the micro and macro economic environments that we find ourselves within.
I was grateful to speak with Raj back on Ep 24 of the Value through Vulnerability podcast, at which time he offered the heads-up that The Healing Organzisation was on it's way.
Kimberly Davis, author of Brave Leadership
Kimberly Davis is a brilliant person to have in your world. As an internationally acclaimed author for her book Brave Leadership, she blends wonderfully her artistic background with leadership development as part of her company OnStage Leadership.
She is an active contributor on social media and a founding member of the #HumansFirst movement with Mike Vacanti.
I was very grateful that Kimberly joined me previously as one of my experts on the Have Courage summit where we discussed at length the importance, yet challenges, of living as a brave or courageous leader today.
Charlie Kim / Meghan Messenger Tarun Gidoomal / Kevin McCoy
Have you read the book An Everyone Culture? If not, may I strongly recommend that you do. NextJump are one of three organisations case studied within this book and wow, this organisation is an exceptional example of what humane, stretched, collaborative, meaningful, human-centric workplaces can look like.
The business has scaled from $250m to over $2bn over 10 years, but not without it's own challenges which it speaks openly and transparently about.
They provide online benefit services to fortune 1000 companies, however alongside this, they have an incredible human-centric culture that is continuously being iterated, provides the safe space for its people to practice and fail and they even let in other interested humans like us via their culture tours to observe and ask questions about their unique culture. If you are interested in such a tour please do contact me and I will connect you to the relevant people, certainly c/o the UK office at least.
I was also very grateful to be selected for their recent feedback 101 leadership academy which meant spending 3 days at their London, UK office going deep into the topic of feedback which was much harder than one might expect, but full of growth and collaboration opportunities.
I share here my blog on Paradox to offer some context and cannot thank Tarun / Kevin (UK Co-MDs) & Charlie / Meghan (Co-CEOs) enough for the opportunity to go deep into their culture and to take learning away that I have already applied to positive effect with other work organisations.
Dawna Jones, Complex Systems Expert
I was grateful to come across Dawna's fascinating work after a connection via WorldBlu. Dawna is the author of Decision-Making for Dummies, co-author of Hierarchy to High Performance and contributor to The Intelligence of the Cosmos.
During our initial conversations, I was absolutely blown away by her vulnerability to share that she was homeless for 9 years and I was equally hooked on her big systems thinking after reading her contributon to the intelligence of the cosmos. Combined, I was opened to a whole new world of thinking and indeed connection.
Dawna shares a very powerful video from one of the sessions that she delivered a few years ago where she cites HeartMaths work that the heart is 5000X more powerful than the brain.
I was super grateful to have Dawna on the Value through Vulnerability podcast where we dived deep into connection, work and indeed spirituality.
Jenny Andersson, We Activate The Future
Jenny is, for me, one of the most powerful examples of a heart-led leader. Her work and vision go beyond the workplace into societal and macro environments as she seeks to support individuals, leaders and teams with developing regenerative practices.
This is an area in which I am personally curious, yet still relatively undereducated and as such I am so grateful to Jenny for her leadership and energy to develop regenerative practices and cultures, sharing her wisdom as she goes.
I learned more about Jenny and her multi-cultural upbringing when she joined me on Ep 11 of the Value through Vulnerability podcast previously.
Piers Thurston, Quality of Mind
In Aug 2018 something profound happened that would shift how I viewed the world forever ...seriously!
That something was attending a 3 day Quality of Mind retreat with Piers Thurston from Making Change Work.
Piers works from a deeply intuitive place and helps 'point' people back to their innate wellbeing and innate brilliance before their thinking kicks in.
Is this spiritual? Yes. Is it accessible? Yes. The 3 principles of mind, consciousness & thought that Piers points us back to is truly transformational when we give ourselves permission to look in this direction.
It was so profound for me that I found I had approx 1/3rd of my life back after the retreat and you can learn more about this, if interested, as I joined Piers on his podcast to chat more about this.
What is very interesting on relfection is that Piers joined me all the way back on Ep 3 of the Value through Vulnerability podcast to challenge my interpretation of what self-awareness meant, which was, alongide a recommendation from my peer Matt O Neill, the catalyst to jump in.
I strongly recommend that you connect with Piers and learn more about this transformational understaning.
Guilaine Kinouani, Psychologist & Activist
Guilaine is another powerhouse who is on a mission to bring the conversation around racism to the fore.
As a colleague of the great Binna Kandola who himself has written a great book called Racism at Work: The Danger of Indifference, at the consultancy Pearn Kandola, Guilaine educates us, if we are open, via her Twitter account as to the challenges faced by people of colour and/or minorities in a patriarchial world.
I love her confidence, her depth and her knowing that this conversation needs to happen and I for one am grateful for the education and energy that she has to help us learn / challenge our own thinking.
Claude Silver, Chief Heart Officer
When somebody has the title Chief Heart Officer, you just know they are going to an intentional, heart-led human being and that is exactly what Claude Silver is.
As CHO at Vayner Media, Claude spends all of her time ensuring that their 800 employees feel seen, have the opportunity to grow and ensures that they create the space for downtime.
Claude is very active on social media, is accessible and participative in her interactions and really models what being a CHO could and should look like.
I was very lucky in Feb 2019 that Claude agreed to join me on the Have Courage summit as an expert guest, the day after we meet in real life at the Reward Gateway event in London.
Alongside Mike, Kevin and Kimberly mentioned above, Claude is part of the #HumansFirst movement and continues to shine her heart-led light for the betterment of us all.
Rich Cooper, Job-Crafter & Coach
I have known Rich for only the past 9-12 months, yet his impact on me has been significant over that short time.
Rich is a deep thinker, ferocious learner and role models the value of job-crafting through intentionally blending a deeply technical role at the insurance company where he works with a deep-seated passion for coaching and helping people break through their limiting beliefs.
Rich was recently nominated at a women's leadership event, he has helped countless people clarify their purpose & work through fears and all of this on the side of his technical day job.
Rich is a great example, I feel, as to the value that all organsiations could unleash if they could lead with more heart and see the individual and not just the job spec.
I have a lot to thank Helen for!
Helen is the person that introduced me to social media and the power of learning & sharing over it just 4 years ago, when my network was 99% inward facing within my work sector compared to today, which is now the opposite - 99%+ outside of my work sector, just 4 years later.
Helen heads up her own people practice, Wild Fig Solutions, where she offers a range of services including coaching, workshops and facilitation.
I can vouch for the quality of her work after commissioning her services for an in-house L&D program some years ago within my work organisation and through being a regular attendee at her Learn Connect Do events, which are always thought-provoking and help fuel my personal growth.
Helen was kindly my very first ever guest on the Value through Vulnerability podcast, back in May 2018. What we spoke about back then has very likely shifted due to her having the same experience as myself around the 3 principles, but it is still well worth a listen as Helen offers some great insight.