The Pivotal Leader

The Pivotal Leader podcast, hosted by Gina Trimarco, Chief Results Officer of Pivot10 Results, features 30-minute interviews with modern and pivotal business leaders who share their experiences and anecdotal success stories to inspire rising leaders to shift their own organizational cultures to higher success.
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The Pivotal Leader




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Now displaying: 2016
Dec 27, 2016

Carey Cranston, the inaugural president for the new American Writers Museum in Chicago shared with us his passion for the written word and his journey to launching the only American Writers Museum in the United States. What resonated the most during this interview was his approach to earning the trust and respect of his newly acquired working board of directors. There’s a vast difference in transitioning from a for-profit academic institution to a non-profit artistic organization. His approach: “I go to them. I’ll even go to their house to meet with them. I want my board to feel appreciated.”

Prior to his new role, Carey most recently served as President of Fox College, a private career college in Chicago, where he spent the last 12 years.

Podcast Topics Include:

  • Adapting as a leader to a new industry
  • Transitioning from a for-profit to NPO environment
  • Creating culture from the ground up in a start-up
  • Engaging and managing governance and working boards of directors
  • Acquiring top talent based “being the right fit” for the company mission
  • Managing team members who may not share the similar core values, such as as “hard work pays off”, respect and openness
  • Best practices for effective communications: in person versus virtual
  • Being a leader who is passionate about the purpose of an organization

Show notes:


Dec 20, 2016

Steve Bernas, President & CEO for the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois, Inc. and the President of the Better Business Bureau Educational Foundation, grew up wanting to be a policer and helping people. When he came to the conclusion that he might have to shoot someone with a gun, he took another direction by joining the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and has been there for the past 29 years, growing in the ranks from the top up “with nowhere left to go internally”. In a different kind of way, he’s still living his dream by policing businesses to protect consumers.

In this episode, the most obvious common denominator for him is trust. “Trust is the currency of today’s marketplace,” he says. Learn more about his leadership style.

Podcast Topics Include:

  • Employee career development for retention
  • Continuous development for CEOs to be effective leaders
  • need to continuously develop themselves to develop others
  • The importance of instilling the values of loyalty and dedication
  • Learning from and learning to love Millennials
  • The “secret sauce” for attracting top talent
  • “Setting the table” to find the right mentors, at all levels in one’s career
  • Steve’s recommended list of books to read and development suggestions

Show notes:

Dec 13, 2016

“Timesheets are a culture killer,” is only one of the many insights that Jody Padar shared with me in this episode. Listen in to hear how this leader is transforming the accounting industry by being “radical”. She recently took over the family practice that her father founded and has changed the way clients are served and how the industry regards her as a change agent.

Podcast Topics Include:

  • How to be “radical” in a conventional industry
  • Changing a business model to adapt with the times and technology
  • Serving clients the way they need and want to be served
  • Becoming a subject matter expert for competitors
  • Recognizing that most non-Millennials want to be Millennials
  • The value of telling employees to “Come back again” with their ideas
  • Succession planning in family owned businesses

Show notes:

Dec 6, 2016

What sets Aleksandra Scepanovic apart from many leaders is her philosophy on how to attract top talent. In this podcast she shared with me, “We decided it was very important to actually hire a human as opposed to a salesman … the best salespeople are people who are people first and then they do sales for a living.”

Aleksandra Scepanovic is Managing Director of Ideal Properties Group, one of the largest, privately owned, independent real estate firms specializing in premier Brooklyn neighborhoods. A full-service firm, Ideal offers pre-development marketing and branding as well as residential, commercial, office and retail services.

Originally from Serbia where she worked as an editor and media analyst, with firsthand experience of reporting from the war zones of the Balkans, Aleksandra came to New York to pursue a degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology. Ironically, her passion for architecture and interiors is evident in her organization. She designed the office space to be transparent from street view. This physical transparency has organically manifested into a company culture of transparency and openness.

Topics include:

  • Seeing company culture as an intricate fabric of everyday commitments and personal resolutions that one makes to themselves and others, resulting in effective teamwork
  • The need to have a creative streak to be successful in disrupting business and staying ahead of the competition
  • How to look at problems from a different perspective to solve them
  • The need for openness and transparency
  • Creating a work environment that’s unusual for its industry where employees are quick to help each other and everyone at all levels of production is considered equal
  • Top pivot strategy all leaders should have in their playbook: pay close attention to your results
  • Additional strategies that leaders need to pivot successfully

Show notes:

Nov 29, 2016

In episode #6 of The Pivotal Leader, CEO Paul Galvin shares his philosophy: “As the CEO, it’s your job to create the conditions for your team to win. And that’s what sports is about. It’s not doing everything yourself. It’s creating an environment for your team where everybody can do the best that they have to offer. And that everybody’s blind spots are protected and covered while the clarity of purpose is that we, as a group, are just much more talented and much more capable than we are as individuals. And so, as the CEO, it’s constantly about trying to make sure that I’m putting myself and my colleagues in the right positions where they can execute.”

If you’ve been to the Container Bar in Austin, Texas or Container Park in downtown Las Vegas, you’ve experienced SG Blocks, Inc. Paul Galvin is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of SG Blocks, Inc., a leading innovator and designer of container-based structures. Founded in 2007, SG Blocks utilizes code-engineered cargo shipping containers to construct and provide safe, strong and green structures and environments.

With his French bulldog “purring” in his lap during our interview, Paul’s affable personality quickly gives you an idea of what it would be like to be on his team … most likely fun and rewarding.

Topics include:

  • How SG Blocks found a way to create a sustainable engineered building system with applications across construction markets
  • Keeping labor overhead low while maintaining the right culture through strategic partnerships
  • Bringing ambitious people with vision together to bring something meaningful to the marketplace by following an unconventional path
  • How Paul has created a culture and purpose that attracts Millennials as potential entrepreneurial customers
  • Helping customers actualize their dreams by reducing or eliminating traditional barriers to financial success
  • The need for flexibility as a leader to be able to pivot with the dynamic forces of the economy and world events

Show notes:

Nov 22, 2016

Robby Hill, Founder & CEO of information technology consulting firm HillSouth, started designing websites in the 7th grade and by the time he was legally old enough to sign contracts in South Carolina (age 17), he signed a lease for his first office space because he was generating enough revenue to do so. Plus, he was tired of running his business out of his parents’ house. Fifteen years later he’s a business role model and a public servant who leads a business culture based on fun.

  • The importance of surrounding oneself with successful people who have also experienced failure
  • Connecting with the right mentors and being a mentee
  • Learning from NOT being the best boss as an early leader
  • Having a fun culture to offset long hours, deadlines and high level work stress
  • The need for transparency and knowledge sharing with employees
  • How working with clients who impact that world creates internal excitement

Show notes:

Nov 15, 2016

When you’re not enjoying the success that you were used to you start to question that a little bit,” said Andy Milovich (Milo), President and General Manager of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. This is a sentiment that many leaders feel at some point in their careers and for pivotal leaders, it’s this type of moment that inspires leaders to leap forward and take risk. And it’s what motivated Andy to take on his current role – to see get out of his comfort zone and take a risk with a new team in a new city. Growing up in South Bend, Indiana, Andy, the son of a little league coach, had a dream to play short stop for the Chicago Cubs. At age 25 he was one of the youngest general managers in baseball who eventually became President and General Manager for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the affiliate team for the Chicago Cubs. In this episode, you will learn his philosophy on how to create a “play it forward” culture for employees, fans and the community based on the core values of fun, family and purpose. Andy will do almost anything to inspire community involvement, including getting a prostrate exam in front of 6,600 people!

Topics Include:

  • Fostering a culture based on the core values of purpose, fun, family and community
  • Being a “community owned baseball stadium” as a way to engage and give back to motivate people to come out and spend time with family and friends.
  • The importance to be willing to put yourself out there as a leader to have some fun … like getting a prostrate exam in front of 6,600 people and broadcasted over the world to raise awareness for prostrate cancer
  • How the Pelicans organically and unintentionally increased attendance by 26% through community investment and involvement
  • Leveraging the brand of the Chicago Cubs to grow the popularity of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans while playing a part in driving tourism from the Midwest
  • Being successful by delivering an experience to fans (customers) in a short amount of time at an affordable price
  • The importance of personal development opportunities for employees from health/wellness programs to personal financial planning resources, plus other perks like free meals and game tickets

Show notes:

Nov 8, 2016

Debbie McArthur, CEO, Integra Fabrics went from being a school teacher and principal to running a manufacturing plant in Loris, SC. Her energy and spunk plus catapulted her to learning business skills on the fly – a true pivotal leader.

Topics Include:

  • Becoming a female CEO in manufacturing
  • Applying the experience of being a school teacher and principal in business
  • Building a happy, autonomous and empowered talent without micromanaging
  • Why committees are better than suggestion boxes for employee engagement
  • The rewards and risks of buying out a partner to take 100% control of a business
  • One of the most important characteristics needed to being an effective leader

For full show notes, visit

Oct 31, 2016

Ron Holt, CEO & Founder of TWO MAIDS & A MOP™ went from managing chemical engineers and scientists to cleaning toilets … literally. His company has been ranked by Inc Magazine as one of the fastest growing cleaning companies in the country, now boasting 31 franchises. His number one pivotal strategy for success is having grit … and not just the grit you clean up. He lives and dies by this philosophy: “When you hit those moments when failure seems imminent, you’ve gotta have grit to fight through it. Money is less important than grit. From the highest level executive in the ivory tower to the lowest level employee, to success in business, you’ve gotta have some grit.” He was attracted to this “unsexy” industry and his reasons and strategy are fascinating.

Topics Include:

  • The strategy to scaling a business in an “unsexy” industry
  • Engaging and motivating a “blue collar” staff
  • Staying focused on company vision in good and bad times
  • Getting employees to care as much about the business as the leaders do
  • Leveraging an employee compensation plan as a selling tool for acquiring new business
  • What grit’s got to do with it

For full show notes, visit:

Oct 31, 2016

Gina Trimarco, Chief Results Officer of Pivot10 Results (P10) is an international speaker, trainer, business strategist, certified sales coach and serial entrepreneur who helps businesses shift from "people problems" to performance results. And now she’s the host and creator of The Pivotal Leader podcast. Gina also founded and owns Carolina Improv Company, an improv comedy school and theater in Myrtle Beach, SC. Her improv training makes her a dynamic show host who flows with her guests.

This weekly podcast will feature interviews with pivotal and diverse leaders of various industries, geographies and sizes who will share their experiences and stories to inspire rising leaders to shift their own organizational cultures to higher success.

Topics Include:

  • The reason for The Pivotal Leader

  • More about future show guests

  • How Gina merged corporate strategy with improv comedy

  • The importance of culture-building

  • More about Pivot10 Results

Learn More About Pivot10 Results:


Oct 31, 2016

Shawn Karol Sandy is a sales leader who hears “try another angle” when someone tells her “no”. She started wearing suits in the third grade because she liked the feeling of power it gave her while she ran “meetings” on the playground. For the record, she doesn’t recall what those meetings were about.  In this podcast episode Shawn defines company culture as “the overwhelming ubiquitous mindset of the people who work there and the result of the actions they take as a result of that mindset” and recommends mastering the use of a machete to forge new paths. Her “thunderstruck” moments will inspire you.

Topics Include:

  • How to lead and influence people to grow and scale through sales and selling
  • Where culture comes from
  • Building an “open ended” business model to pivot quickly
  • The core value of rejecting the status quo
  • What it means to be “learning harder”
  • What it means to be a “wolf” in business