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Leadership School

Leadership School

By Kyla Cofer
Conversations from around the world inspiring you to lead with balance & integrity. Leadership training includes conflict resolution, boundaries, self care, purpose and courage.
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Ep. 17 How to turn things around with Dilip Ramachandran

Leadership School

Episode 23: Empathy in a digital world with McKenna Sweazey
McKenna Sweazey is a remote and hybrid management work expert, focusing on Digital Empathy. With a career spent working in global organizations, from corporates to start-ups, managing remote teams around the world, she’s refined her communication skills to be as effective in person as from 6,000 miles away. She’s also currently the VP of Marketing at a data start-up in Silicon Valley. Find her on LinkedIn or at
March 24, 2022
Ep. 22 Leadership Competencies and Creating Resiliency with Dr. Steve Yacovelli
Dr. Steve Yacovelli (a.k.a. “The Gay Leadership DudeTM”) is Owner & Principal of TopDog Learning Group, LLC, a leadership, change management, and diversity and inclusion consulting firm based in Orlando, Florida, USA but with affiliates (“TopDoggers”) throughout the globe. Steve and TopDog provide guidance and solutions in leadership and organizational development, change management, diversity and inclusion consulting, instructional design, and custom e-learning creation. Whether it be through providing keynotes and facilitating leadership development programs for Fortune 500 companies like The Walt Disney Company, Bayer AG, or accenture, to providing one-on-one coaching experiences for groups like IBM, Covestro, and The Public Library Association, or creating engaging, effective training solutions for various delivery formats for folks like Tupperware Brands Corporation, The Ohio State University, and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Steve is passionate about helping others be their best selves, in and out of the workplace.  Steve holds a B.S. in Public Relations from Millersville University of Pennsylvania, an M.A. in Educational Policy & Leadership Development from The Ohio State University, and an Ed.D. in Instructional Technology & Distance Education from Nova Southeastern University.  A published author, Steve has written books and articles on a variety of topics: from how adults learn and communicate using technology to how to design effective training solutions for the modern, adult learner in the 21st century workplace to the impact of unconscious bias within organizations and how it can undermine organizational effectiveness. His current, award-winning and critically acclaimed book, “Pride Leadership: Strategies for LGBTQ+ Professionals to be the King or Queen of their Jungle” “came out” in June 2019.  Steve is passionate about workplace equality, and specifically how leaders can be more “consciously inclusive” to foster a feeling of inclusion and belonging for all team members. His signature keynote, “Being a Consciously Inclusive Leader,” has won praise for its engaging, approachable, and memorable way to think about unconscious bias in the workplace. But don't think he’s just an academic nerd: Steve is a rare breed of professional that understands the power of using academic theory, his experience in a variety of public and private settings and applying this knowledge to the client’s workplace to achieve better results. (Oh, and he’s pretty good with dogs, too!).  Here's the link to that MOP+SAM Training we mentioned in the episode!
March 10, 2022
Ep. 21 Take Action with Zachary Hoffman
Zach Hoffman is an Italian/American dual citizen, effective leadership developer, award winning author, and former professional American football player. Originally from a small, rural town in Western Pennsylvania (USA), he spent his twenties living in 6 different countries while playing and coaching American football. During his time abroad, he developed the SWALeadership concept based on his many thrilling and eye-opening experiences within various leadership roles across cultures. Linkedin: Book: Ebook: Instagram: Brainz Magazine Articles: Blog:
February 11, 2022
Ep. 20 Being a Champion with Gaby Geiculescu
Champion gymmast Gaby Geiculescu talks leadership in sports, using her experience as an elite Romanian gymnast, business owner and coach. In 1979, Gaby earned her Master in Gymnastics (Maestru al Sportului in Gimnastica) in Romania at the age of 13. She ranked 63rd best gymnast in the world and the 10th best  gymnast in Romania. When Gaby was 7 years old, she was selected from a school playground. She trained with Rodica Apateanu at C.S.S. Triumf in Bucharest. In 1978 she was then selected by Petru Ioan to as part of an exclusive group to begin training for the 1980 Olympic Games. In 1979 at the National Junior Championships, Gaby won Bars and the All-Around. Immedaitely after, she joined the National Olympic Team at Deva where she was coached by the infamous Bela Karolyi and his wife Martha Karolyi. Some of her teammates include 5-time Olympic Gold medalist Nadia Comaneci, 1980 Olympic Silver medalist Emilia Eberle, 1984 Olympic Gold medalist Lavinia Agache, 1980 Olympic Silver medalist Melita Ruhn, 4-time Olympic Gold medalist Ecaterina Szabo, 1980 Olympic Silver medalist Rodica Dunca, 1980 Olympic Silver medalist Dumitrita Turner, Marilena Neacsu and Marilena Vladarau.  As a former Romanian National Team Member, she competed internationally as a Junior Elite between 1975-1980 in Germany, Bulgaria, China, Hungary, Soviet Union, Poland, Checkoslovakia (XV Spartakiada), Israel (11th International Games of Hapoel in May 1979), London (Coca-Cola in December 1979), Moskow News (March 1980), and was training to represent Romania in the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. An injury ended her Elite career early but she has brought her experience to the United States for all her students to share at Gaby's Gymnastics.
December 22, 2021
Ep. 19 Leadership through Music with Paula S. White
Paula S. White has an unwavering passion for music that she applies in order to bring new perspectives and open new possibilities for leaders. Her one-of-a-kind, forward-thinking approach starts with a foundation of heart and mind. A globally recognized sales leader, Paula has leveraged her talents to scale Inside Sales Teams into multi-million stand-alone sales channels. She has helped organizations achieve 8% - 10% yearly compounded growth, demonstrating success in a wide variety of industries to include travel and tourism, investments, veterinary and healthcare distribution. Paula has served as a member of the AA-ISP Advisory Board and previously honored as a Top 25 Most Influential Sales Leader recipient for three consecutive years by AA-ISP. Paula was the award winner of Excellence in Execution in 2017. Passion for education and leadership is a driving force behind Paula’s success. She has a true desire to see the success of others and transforms their ambitions into her own! She has been listed in Ambitions’ “Top 100 Coaches to Watch” for two consecutive years, 2017-2018 and served as President of the AA-ISP Columbus Ohio Chapter from 2015 - 2018. Currently, Paula is a mentor for #GirlsClub, and focuses on fostering the wonderful talents of the next generation. Music is a passion for Paula in and out of work. Outside of her work, Paula is an avid concert goer and has found joy as both a lyricist and a co-producer on six songs. She details the transformative power of this in her book, The B Side. Paula’s passion for life radiates through all those who work with her. She is a one-of-a-kind teacher who draws in the most powerful forces from both halves of the brain and inspires those around her to become truly remarkable in their own ways.
December 10, 2021
Ep. 18 Telling the right story with Dr. Michael Gerharz
Dr. Michael Gerharz coaches leaders to get the impact and influence they deserve. He is the author of the blog “The Art of Communicating” and publishes the “Leaders Light the Path” podcast. His book “The Aha Effect” (available in German) teaches us why we shouldn’t stop at wowing our audience but need to take them to a profound aha effect. His clients include Fortune 500 companies such as Johnson & Johnsons, Siemens et al. as well as hidden champions, start-ups, and entrepreneurs. Dr.  Gerharz has a Ph.D. in Communication Systems and he is a passionate guitarist. At the intersection of highly structured thinking and the pure joy for creative expression he makes you separate the signal from the noise and express it in a way that’s true to who you are. At Fraunhofer, he pioneered the marketing of innovative research before he became an entrepreneur who founded three businesses. He lives near Cologne, Germany together with his wife, three children and a dog. At the end of this episode, Dr. Gerharz mentioned a free offer just for listeners of this podcast. You can find that here:
November 24, 2021
Ep. 17 How to turn things around with Dilip Ramachandran
Dilip Ramachandran is an experienced product leader and entrepreneur with 15+ years of experience leading teams, shipping delightful and highly successful enterprise software products in MarTech and FinTech at companies like Walmart, Experian and Marqeta. Currently, Dilip is Chief Product Therapist at Nimi, a transformative product development agency focused on matching high growth FinTech startups in the US with highly reliable and skilled experts in Sri Lanka. Dilip's current book is called "Gangsta PM" and it is exploring the intersection of finding personal purpose and growing in your product management career and breaking into a senior leadership. A lot of us hit our glass ceiling due to a variety of reasons ranging from environment, ethnicity, imposed or presumed limitations that hold us back from achieving our true potential. The book is the one he wished he had so many years ago and intends to provide #productherapy and the mindset shift required to help a future leader #unleashyourself. Dilip has a Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and resides in Oakland, California with his partner Alla, daughter Ariadna and son Wiley (a papillon-sheltie rescue). The family occasionally travels to Colombo, Sri Lanka for his work with Nimi.
October 28, 2021
Ep. 16 "Less Support, More Challenge" with Terry McDougall
Terry Boyle McDougall is an Executive & Career Coach and CEO of Terry B. McDougall Coaching. She helps high-achieving professionals remove obstacles that keep them stuck so they can enjoy more success and satisfaction in their lives and careers. Before becoming a coach, Terry was a long-time corporate marketing executive where she led teams, developed strategies and advised senior leaders to drive business results. She is the author of Winning the Game of Work: Career Happiness and Success on Your Own Terms. She is also the host of the Marketing Mambo podcast. Website: LinkedIn: Facebook: Instagram: Book: Podcast:
October 08, 2021
Ep. 15 Mentorship, failure and knowing yourself, with Guest Amber Palmer - Halma
This episode is in loving memory of Margery Bernbaum. Amber Palmer-Halma tells us the lessons she's learned through decades of leadership experience, and why knowing yourself makes you a better leader.  Amber spent 18 years in Washington, D.C. before moving to Nashville in May 2020. Currently, she is director of communications for a public school charter network, an adjunct professor with Belmont University’s PR department and a mom to two young boys. Over more than 20 years, Amber has served on change management and communications teams at George Washington University, Southwest Airlines, in government contracting, advocacy and in other nonprofit, private and public sector jobs. She spent one year teaching English language and culture to Chinese university professors in Shandong, China and six years recruiting students to study abroad through the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities and the British Council. Amber is originally from Amarillo, Texas and has a goal of seeing as much of the world as possible. She graduated from Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington, with a BA in American studies and earned her Masters in communication from the Johns Hopkins University.
August 26, 2021
Ep. 14 Leading People First with Chris Lin
Chris Lin is an employee advocate who loves to talk about putting people first. So much, that he has an entire podcast dedicated to it! Lin is the host of the Leading People First Podcast.  His passion for seeing people in their humanity and making people feel safe has led him to be a leader in educating teams, companies and business owners on the values of putting people first. Chris Lin's passion for people has put him at the forefront of conversations on diversity, equity and inclusion as one of the co-founders L.E.A.D. - Leaders for Equity, Allyship, and Diversity.  Listen in as we continue the People First conversation and change the way we lead businesses forever.
August 10, 2021
Ep. 13 People First with Amy Lafko, MSPT, MBA
Amy Lafko, founder of Cairn Consulting Solutions, is a leadership and organizational design expert, mainstage speaker, author, and advisor. Formerly a leader in healthcare operations, she brings real-world lessons and inspirational ideas to a variety of industries to help organizations grow their people so they can grow their business. Visit for more information. Visit to sign up for the newsletter and pre-order the book which is available on August 24 through all major online bookstores.
July 23, 2021
Ep. 12 Life lessons with Dr. Rich Gathro
"Risk taking reminds us that we are alive. Don’t be afraid of the fact that failure is always “on the table” when you take risks. We are truly alive when we live a bit outside of our comfort zone. And, don’t be afraid to take responsibility for failures." - Dr. Rich Gathro.  I am delighted to introduce to you my former boss and now friend, Richard L. Gathro, Ed.D. Dr. Gathro has over 40 years of leadership experience that’s impossible to summarize in just a short paragraph. Dr. Gathro’s expertise is in higher education and nonprofit consulting, which has taken him all over the globe, engaging students and building relationships. He has served on numerous nonprofit boards in the United States, Russia and the United Kingdom and is currently serving on the Board of Directors at The Culture Connection, the Hodos Institute for Leadership Development and Research, and the Special Father’s Network. He has built several small businesses. The Gathro Group, a Nonprofit Consulting Company, being his most recent venture. Dr. Gathro is a scholar, mentor, leader, husband, father and friend. He lives in Florida with his wife, Kathy, and son William. In this interview, we are gifted with the wisdom Dr. Gathro gleaned from 40 years of leading.  If you'd like to read the Nonprofit Board Guidelines he designed, you can do so here. 
June 25, 2021
Ep. 11 Communication
Tune in to hear about my big communication failure while sailing with my family, and what I learned through it! 
June 03, 2021
Ep. 10 with Special Guest, Elaine Williams
After meeting Elaine through the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, I just KNEW I had to interview her.  Elaine Williams is founder of and owner of Construction Depot Solutions in Nashville. She is a natural networker, connector and researcher with remarkable insight. Elaine is a delight, and full of leadership tips and wisdom, accompanied by the perfect stories for every situation. You won't want to miss this episode.
May 19, 2021
Ep. 9 It's always about the people
Are we so focused on achieving goals that we miss opportunities right in front of us?
May 09, 2021
Ep. 8: Balancing Act: Life balance and self care
Have you heard of a Life Wheel? I'll explain what it is & how to use it. You'll also gain access to free tools for monitoring your current life satisfaction, and how to make adjustments if you want to. 
April 24, 2021
Ep.7 Community & Mentorship
How do the most successful people become successful? They ask for help. Here's why and how to surround yourself with the right people.
April 13, 2021
Ep.6 Listen up, Leaders!
Active Listening changes the game in your leadership. Here's not only why, but how to listen in a way that makes things happen.
March 26, 2021
Ep.5 Be the boss of your fears
If fear has stopped you from being the leader you want to be - you have to listen to this episode. You'll understand how to move through any fears that are stopping you from success, and how to use fear to your advantage.
March 19, 2021
Ep.4 Success Toolkit: Failing with style
If you want success, be prepared to fail first. It's helpful to have a few unique tools in your toolbox for when failure happens. This episode showcases several tools for moving through failures, including a 5-step method for how to create an apology that builds trust.
March 13, 2021
Ep.3 Integrity
Are you a leader with integrity? How do you do that? What does a person of integrity act like? 
March 05, 2021
Ep.2 Igniting Your Purpose
Instead of tossing the word 'purpose' around like a football, let's lean into it and allow it to be a tool for leading with integrity. This episode gets you clear on what purpose means to you and your leadership. Find the Personal Mission Statement e-book here. 
February 26, 2021
Ep.1 Introduction: Fundamentals of Leadership
Introduction to the Leadership School Podcast. What is leadership? Fundamentals of leadership, and what you can expect from this Podcast.
February 19, 2021