Environmental Leadership Through Film

Leadership is often about influencing behavior. Nowhere is leadership felt in this way than in the discussion around the environment.

Companies around the world are faced with how to address issues of sustainability to ensure competitive advantage, as well as attract talent. In addition, company valuations are often linked to the relative positioning organizations take in their long-range planning (LRP) processes. This work is most widely visible to people through corporate sustainability reports and initiatives.

Ana Garcia Doyle, Director of One Earth Film Festival

Ana Garcia Doyle, Director of One Earth Film Festival

Meanwhile, as young people are engaging with the workforce and trying to make decisions on the kinds of organizational cultures they want to be affiliated with, a company’s position on issues like climate change, environmental justice and sustainability can be quite influential.

We recently had the great fortune speaking with Ana Garcia Doyle, Director of One Earth Film Festival in the Chicago area for the OVP Leadership Podcast. One Earth Film Festival is one of the nation’s premiere environmentally focused film festivals. Organizers work to create opportunities and spaces for filmmakers to contribute to the conversation about climate change, sustainability and the power of human involvement in finding solutions to these issues.

One Earth Film Festival’s mission is to educate, raise awareness, and inspire the adoption of solution-oriented sustainable actions through sustainability-themed films and facilitated discussion

One Earth Film Festival

One Earth Film Festival

A founding member of the festival, Ana shared her introduction to environmental justice work and how filmmaking can impact the global discussions around climate change and sustainability. During our chat she also makes a special point to talk about the role young filmmakers can play in the field.

To learn more about the festival, you can go to www.oneearthfilmfest.org or follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or SnapChat.

Leadership Culture in a Startup

All entrepreneurs understand that running a startup operation is one of the most challenging circumstances anyone can find themselves in business or in the non-profit space. The proverbial "building the plane while you're flying it" phrase is often thrown out there to describe the frenetic pace at which entrepreneurs are expected to operate, successfully.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20 percent of startup companies fail within the first year. Meanwhile, 50 percent of startups fail in their fifth year. Those are pretty daunting figures for entrepreneurs seeking to “cut the cord” and build their own companies. And not surprisingly, one of the top three reasons why startups fail is related to poor management. More specifically, many of these firms that fail do so because their cultures are broken.

We had a chance to sit down with two serial entrepreneurs on the OVP Leadership Podcast this summer to get a sense of how they apply their leadership talents to building a new team of collaborators in a startup environment. Shoaib Shafquat is founder and CEO of QCheque Corp. in Sterling Heights, Michigan. Al Pacha is the company's Chief Technology Officer. They shared important lessons about being an effective leader in newly established cultures that are changing daily.

Shoaib Shafquat, Founder & CEO of QCheque Corp.

Shoaib Shafquat, Founder & CEO of QCheque Corp.

Often times, people that have great ideas believe that their ideas will develop into operating companies. But the reality is that having a great idea is merely the first step. If you an entrepreneur is looking to sustain his or her business beyond the five-year mark, they have to be very deliberate about the culture they are building. Being so intentional about one’s culture - beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s management and employees interact - is one of the most obvious ways outside stakeholders can assess the value and potential sustainability of a company, often for the purposes investment.

Both men have started companies on their own, and have been asked to participate in other startup ventures in the past. With QCheque both men are bringing their expertise in banking and information technology, respectively, to offer a new fintech product that they hope will revolutionize the payments segment of the financial services market.


Leader Lessons: Telling Authentic Stories

Distinguishing your offerings in a marketplace can be a difficult undertaking when you see how many options for consumers. The areas of advertising and marketing are notorious for coming up with tried and true ideas that often look very familiar.

But finding your lane is one of the most satisfying feelings any business person can experience. It's the kind of gift you wish upon anyone that is trying to make it as an entrepreneur.

Jerald “Jaz” McBride, Founder & Creative Director of Adwater Media.

Jerald “Jaz” McBride, Founder & Creative Director of Adwater Media.

Jerald "Jaz" McBride, Founder & Creative Director of Adwater Media in Detroit has found his lane. His company has been around for a decade and is working with some significant brands around the world. We spoke with Mr. McBride on the OVP Leadership Podcast about his journey, what his goals are and how his authentic story as a young business owner has led him on a path of success.

Adwater Media’s client list is a formidable one. Whether his team is on location in London or working with a major automaker in Detroit, McBride’s focus is on delivering for his customers. And to deliver effectively, he has to be able to tell the right stories for the brands he is charged with representing. And making sure that your team is on the same page can sometimes be a challenge.

But McBride’s philosophy of leadership is to be consistent with employees and customers. He stresses the importance of communicating in the language that people prefer, without having to compromise his own authenticity as a creator and curator of experiences.

“Treating every single client the same… is really important,” McBride said. “You want to make sure your consistent with all of your clients.”

Adwater Media photo_logo.png

Riding the Wave of a Blue-Ocean Strategy

Healthy living and exercise are good business. But in today’s marketplace differentiation in the physical fitness arena is a significant challenge.

Crossfit, as a movement and business model, has developed a Blue Ocean Strategy to create a widely successful exercise trend that has been difficult to duplicate or compete against over the last decade.

According to internationally acclaimed business professors and authors W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, a Blue Ocean Strategy is the simultaneous pursuit of differentiation and low cost to open up a new market space and create new demand. It is about creating and capturing uncontested market space, thereby making the competition irrelevant. Locally run affiliates have popped up around the world with varying degrees of success. But, one unique leadership niche within that Crossfit marketplace has been the role of women owners, trainers and coaches.

Recently, we sat down to talk about entrepreneurialism and leadership with Hillary Herring owner of CrossFit InnerStallion in Southfield, MI. On this edition of the OVP Leadership Podcast, Hillary shares her perspective on being an African-American business owner, a leader and role model for other aspiring female business owners to grow an idea into a successful operation. Listen, comment and subscribe!

CF Inner Stallion owner & entrepreneur Hillary Herring.

CF Inner Stallion owner & entrepreneur Hillary Herring.

CF Inner Stallion Headquarters in Southfield, Michigan

CF Inner Stallion Headquarters in Southfield, Michigan