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Small Giants Community

July 24, 2020

Growing with Purpose Podcast: "Leading with the Heart First" with Jay Wilkinson

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Note: This interview was recorded at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

On this episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman talks with Jay Wilkinson, founder and CEO of Firespring, an inside-out marketing agency and Nebraska's first B Corp. Firespring is also a 2020 Forbes Small Giant.

With a team of more than 200 employees, Jay spends most of his time working on the culture at Firespring and helping leaders in other companies become purpose-driven. But in the early 2000s, Jay experienced a pivotal moment in his life and career when he was fired as CEO of his own company. In the wake of the September 11th attacks and the economic decline that followed, his board of directors wanted him to fire more than half of their staff. When Jay refused, they fired him from the very company that he built.

In this episode, hear how Jay recovered from that experience and managed to buy out the venture capitalists on his board and rebuild the company. Plus, hear Paul and Jay discuss how to care for introverts on your team, starting from the very first interview.

Tune in to Jay's story below.


jay-21Show Notes: 

[6:22] Getting Fired From Your Own Company
[12:46] Love in the Workplace
[16:06] The Two Worst Reasons to Promote Someone
[20:24] How to Care for Introverts
[26:58] Scaling Great Culture
[34:31] Modeling Heart-First Leadership


Book that Influenced Jay's Leadership:

                                            The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey


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About Small Giants Community

Our Purpose is to identify, connect and develop purpose-driven leaders. The Small Giants Community is a designated L3C organization, a hybrid between a for-profit and a nonprofit entity that prioritizes mission and social purpose. Passionate, purposeful business leaders from around the world come to us to train and develop future leaders in their organizations, connect with like-hearted peers, and learn how to run a values-driven business. Whether you’re a budding leader who wants to grow or a founder/CEO looking for new business best friends, there’s a place for you here.