Brain Chatter

Derek Conrad Brown

In Brain Chatter, we interview organizational leaders across the US in diverse industries and roles. Each offers insights into how they effectively lead themselves, their teams, and their organizations through all the ‘daily noise.’ What works and what doesn’t? What are key questions to ask? What leadership skills are most vital? What are the most valuable lessons they’ve learned?Brain Chatter is a production of Ken Chapman and Associates, Inc. www.LeadersCode.com For episode notes visit www.BrainChatterPodcast.com read less

Are Students Prepared for the Workforce? Insights from a School Principal
30-12-2022
Are Students Prepared for the Workforce? Insights from a School Principal
How are current high school students being prepared for the US workforce at a time when employers are desperate for qualified workers? What are the students' pathways and options? Are schools getting the input from local industry about what those companies need most in foundational skills as well as developed skillsets? Do schools want involvement from local employers? This episode takes an in-depth look at current high school education and workforce preparation with someone on the front lines. Grayson Lawrence is principal of Winterboro High School in rural Talladega County, Alabama. Grayson explains what College and Career Readiness means on a practical, measurable level and what it looks like for the students, educators, and future employers. Winterboro High has been a recipient of of the "National School Change Award", presented to six or fewer schools nationwide annually as a joint program of the National Principals Leadership Institute and The School Superintendents Association. It recognizes schools that have significantly improved, such as Winterboro, which has raised graduation rates from around 60% to close to 100%, among numerous other gains. And, 100% of Winterboro graduates leave school with a personalized career plan mapping out what steps to take to achieve their personal goals.  EPISODE RESOURCES: > Winterboro High School website >Grayson Lawrence on Twitter >Winterboro High on TwitterBrain Chatter, a podcast where we listen past the daily noise and explore topics at the intersection of leadership, workplace culture, profit, and sustainability.
Sustainability & Pivoting Required to Last 100 Years as an Organization
12-11-2022
Sustainability & Pivoting Required to Last 100 Years as an Organization
What does it take to last 100 years? Nancy Meadows, CEO of BridgeWays, shares her insights on how and why her organization has lasted almost a century. She discusses necessary organizational pivots of mission, programs, branding, and more that BridgeWays has made over the decades. So, how do you know what or which pivots to make (or not make)? What's the appropriate timeline for successful pivots? Should the process be fast or slow? What types of data and analysis is useful when it comes to decisions about large and small changes? How do you select the right people to surround yourself with in order to accomplish successful pivots?   Nancy also discusses their organizational role in bridging "where youth are" and "where they can be" as it relates to life and career preparation. She explains BridgeWays focus on Social and Emotional Learning, including interpersonal skills building, goal setting skills, exposure to healthy teamwork, conflict resolution skills, and other skillsets sometimes illogically termed 'soft skills' that, in reality, are often deemed as "critical skills" by employers. This episode also includes discussions about “Hindsight Bias,” alternately called “Knew-It-All-Along Phenomenon,” as it relates to the perception that successful pivots in the past were much more obvious than they actually were in real time.RESOURCES:>BridgeWays website>Nancy Meadows' Bio>BridgeWays Facebook Page>Pauline Fletcher's Story>Camp Fletcher   Brain Chatter, a podcast where we listen past the daily noise and explore topics at the intersection of leadership, workplace culture, profit, and sustainability.
Recipe for a Company Growth Culture: The Taziki’s and Greek Street Story
18-03-2022
Recipe for a Company Growth Culture: The Taziki’s and Greek Street Story
Keith Richards explores the importance of a strong company culture and purpose in building a strong restaurant and franchise business with unusually high team member retention. He and his wife Amy founded fresh-casual restaurant Taziki's in 1998, which now has 90 locations in 15 US states. More recently, they have started a second restaurant business, Greek Street. Keith served as President from May 1998 until December 2012, and then served as the Chief Franchise Officer from June 2012 till 2017. Keith has returned to manage the flagship market in Birmingham, AL, and continues to lead their culinary R+D and the HOPE project, Taziki's signature charity. Before creating Taziki’s, Keith Richards worked under the direction of Frank Stitt at Highlands Bar and Grill- which won the elusive 2018 James Beard Foundation Award for the most outstanding restaurant in America. Today, Keith and Amy and their two sets of twins live in Birmingham, AL, where Keith serves on the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce Board and advances the cause of employing special needs students in metro Birmingham and across the country. EPISODE RESOURCES:Taziki's websiteGreek Street websiteTaziki's HOPE ProjectKeith's bioConnect with Keith on LinkedInTaziki's FranchisingBrain Chatter, a podcast where we listen past the daily noise and explore topics at the intersection of leadership, workplace culture, profit, and sustainability.
Through The Looking Glass
14-01-2021
Through The Looking Glass
Dr. Ken Chapman discusses the imperative of accurate self-reflection in organizational leadership and success. In fact, at the heart of almost every leadership issue in an organization, is the lack of accurate self-reflection on the individual level. What is practical self-reflection? Why is it important?  What are best practices? What tools and strategies are helpful? How do you self-reflect accurately without doing so neurotically? How can one help a leader who is unaware of their own deficit or avoidance of self-reflection? How often is failure at self-reflection by leaders tied to failure in overall business success? Dr. Ken Chapman founded Ken Chapman & Associates, Inc. (producer of this podcast) almost 40 years ago. He has since worked on 4 continents in over 500 electric generating stations, foundries, manufacturing facilities, corporate headquarters, banks, nonprofits, and more. He is the author of 5 books, the mostly widely distributed of which is The Leader's Code. He is a graduate of Emory University and Colombia University. EPISODE RESOURCES:Dr. Chapman's bioThe Leader's Code bookThe Hero With A Thousand Faces, Joseph CampbellWe'd love to hear your feedback on the podcast, as well as topics you'd like us to explore in a future episode. Email podcast@leaderscode.com Brain Chatter, a podcast where we listen past the daily noise and explore topics at the intersection of leadership, workplace culture, profit, and sustainability.
The Power of Thankfulness
25-11-2020
The Power of Thankfulness
Dr. Isabel Scarinci, Associate Director at O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center, psychologist, and polio survivor, discusses The Power of Thankfulness. How powerful is a genuine sense of thankfulness in our daily lives with co-workers, friends, and family? How does expressing thankfulness change our relationships with others? How can we make authentic thankfulness habitual? What is the science behind gratitude? And how does daily meditation on thankfulness impact our sleep?This episode is a conversation with Dr. Isabel Scarinci who survived polio as a child in Brazil. That experience led her into a life of service to others. As a child, between surgeries she went door-to-door with her mother encouraging complete strangers to vaccinate their children against polio. Her efforts prevented untold other children from suffering.  Now she works as an administrator and psychologist in cancer prevention with one of the world's leading cancer centers. She is a leader in an effort between the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center, Rotary International, and the Health Ministry of Sri Lanka to eradicate any type of cancer (in this case cervical cancer) from an entire country for the first time in human history. EPISODE RESOURCES:O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer CenterIsabel's BioConnect with Isabel on LinkedInRotary International's END POLIO NOW CampaignSri Lanka Cervical Cancer Eradication EffortMaya Angelou Quote referenced by Isabel (Forbes article)Honorary Consul of Brazil for Alabama article"How to Cultivate Gratitude, Compassion, and Pride on Your Team" Harvard Business Review article We'd love to hear your feedback on the podcast, as well as topics you'd like us to explore in a future episode. Email podcast@leaderscode.com Brain Chatter, a podcast where we listen past the daily noise and explore topics at the intersection of leadership, workplace culture, profit, and sustainability.
Remote Team Leadership in the Zoom Era
24-07-2020
Remote Team Leadership in the Zoom Era
Cherri Lee, Director of Human Resources at Automation Personnel Services, Inc., shares takeaways from years of working with and leading remote teams. Automation is an industrial staffing company with thousands of team members based out of over 30 locations across the US from the Atlantic to the Pacific. How directly accessible should a director or manager be to team members on the front lines, remotely or otherwise? Why is trust in an organization important to making problems less expensive and more quickly addressable? How do you build trust at different locations? How do you have conversations with team members about how to maintain a high behavioral standard, no matter what the other person says or does, and not "give back what they may have gotten"? How can you help your team avoid taking work issues personally, "like a punch in the nose"? How do you effectively pause and evaluate whether your team members, far and wide, are in the right role for their strengths? How is Automation adjusting in the short-term with more remote team development using Zoom and other tools? What's Automation's long-term expectation and desire related to virtual vs in-person? How does Cherri maintain balance between stressful work days and personal life? Resources: >Connect with Cherri Lee on LinkedIn>Automation Personnel Services, Inc. >Books Recommended by Cherri:Traction, by Gino WickmanLeader's Eat Last, by Simon SinekBrain Chatter, a podcast where we listen past the daily noise and explore topics at the intersection of leadership, workplace culture, profit, and sustainability.