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: 2017
May 2, 2017

In this episode of The Pivotal Leader, Gina Trimarco interviewed Michael Amini, CEO and Founder of Amini Furniture. Amini Furniture is one of the largest furniture companies in the world known for original, high quality and intricately designed home furnishings.

Originally from Iran, Michael Amini has lived all over the world, spending most of his life outside of his home country. With an education and short career in engineering, Michael discovered his passion for fashion and entrepreneurship. When he realized how challenging the fashion design world was to fund, he got a job as a furniture salesperson. It's then that he realized his true love for designing furniture to help people create sanctuaries in their homes and to exemplify their personalities.

In this episode of The Pivotal Leader you’ll learn about his passion to connect people to culture through furniture, to turn furniture into a passion versus a commodity, and much more …

Subscribe to the podcast on: iTunes | Stitcher

Podcast Topics Include:

  • The challenge of designing furniture for a global marketplace
  • Managing employees all over the world
  • Attracting talent by becoming “well-known and successful”
  • Hiring people for their talent before you actually need them
  • Changing the product because you can’t change the people
  • Finding inspiration in EVERYTHING to develop new products
  • Being well traveled to be successful as a global company
  • Leadership Must-Haves: Respect for others, taking risks and moving quickly

Full Show Notes:

Apr 25, 2017

In this episode of The Pivotal Leader, Gina Trimarco interviewed Ambar Januel, acclaimed contemporary artist, creative director, and the co-founder of Januel+Johnson.

Her well-documented travels and unique perspective on life has led to an illustrious career. During her childhood she traveled often with her family, moving from place to place like artistic hippie nomads. From the jungles of Mexico to the frozen mountains of Vermont, Ambar embarked on journey after journey that would leave a lasting-mark on her artistic sensibilities. Her eclectic style presents a reflective growth of the adventures where she shifted between art and fashion, utilizing her intuitive mindset and artistic skills to help various fashion startups develop their vision.

Now, Ambar continues to grow her artistic catalogue and provide creative strategies for brands and professionals through her business.

Subscribe to the podcast on: iTunes | Stitcher

Podcast Topics Include:

  • How travel experiences and exposure to cultures can shape businesses
  • Managing a team of creative artists
  • Creating systems and processes to figure out and avoid “time wasters”
  • How the fashion industry impacts marketing trends
  • Attracting clients through speaking and networking instead of traditional advertising
  • The power journalists have on brands
  • Selling services that cannot promise ROI
  • The need for sales teams, beyond marketing

Full Show Notes:

Apr 18, 2017

“As a growth company, what you were doing yesterday is not what you’re going to be doing today and what you’re doing today is not going to work tomorrow. – Keith Walters, President, Axiometrics

In this episode of The Pivotal Leader, Gina Trimarco interviewed Keith Walters, President of Axiometrics, a high-growth provider of apartment market and student housing research and analysis.

Keith has grown Axiometrics from approximately 30 employees to more than 110, largely attributable to the core strategies and corporate values he implemented.  He has spent more than 25 years successfully growing businesses with an entrepreneurial focus. At Axiometrics, he is responsible for guiding the company in a rapid growth path and overseeing the daily activities that strengthen the company’s vision. 

 With his help, Axiometrics attracts the brightest talent focused on continuous quality improvement for data-driven products and services.


Podcast Topics Include:

  • What it means to be a “culture first” organization
  • The difference between core values and core behaviors, why it matters and how to apply them to scale growth
  • Having an “open wall” policy
  • Hiring right for growth
  • Transitioning an entrepreneurial, lifestyle company into a fast growth company
  • Why it’s important to learn how to “let go” to grow
  • Where to connect with other leaders, advisors and mentors

Books you should be reading: eMyth, Rocket Fuel, Rockefeller Habits


Full Show Notes:


Apr 11, 2017

"It’s not practice that makes the difference – it’s perfect practice that does." – Justin Irizarry

Justin Irizarry, CFO of OrthoNow is NOT the stereotypical CFO. His innovative ability to start the nation's only franchised orthopedic urgent care center is supported by his belief that employees are the biggest asset on the balance sheet.

In this episode of The Pivotal Leader, Gina Trimarco interviews this dynamic entrepreneur, who started as an investment banker on Wall Street and was recently named CFO of the Year and 40 under 40 by the South Florida Business Journal. A Wharton MBA, he partnered with Dr. Alejandro Badia to create the OrthoNOW business model. The concept achieves the industry’s quadruple aim - lower cost, better outcomes, improved patient experiences and enhanced provider outcomes in the 42 billion dollar orthopedic care industry.

Podcast Topics Include:

  • How OrthoNow came to fruition
  • Taking an idea to concept testing to franchise model
  • Breaking the status quo in the patient care business model
  • Taking advantage of market demand to change behavior for patient care
  • Disrupting an industry where consumers aren’t the ones paying the for services rendered and providers don’t know what they’re getting paid for those services
  • Creating good will that leads to referrals in an industry where a high percentage of customers don’t pay.
  • Attracting top talent by being interesting instead of hiring just to fill a position
  • Creating a fun culture that impacts patients AND employees
  • Raw vs Emotional Intelligence


Full Show Notes:

Apr 4, 2017

“There are times when you need to reposition conflict in a way that may not feel as comfortable in your business relationship but the outcome at the end of the day is going to be stronger.” – Julie Smith, President, Homewatch CareGivers

In this episode of The Pivotal Leader, Gina Trimarco interviewed Leann Reynolds, CEO, and Julie Smith, President and COO, of The Homewatch CareGivers franchise network, the premier provider of home care worldwide. Together, Leann and Julie share their story about how a family business, turned franchise, has grown to the next level by bringing in a new leader (Julie) from the “outside”. Listen in to learn ….

Podcast Topics Include:

  • Mistakes made and successes achieved in business growth
  • Scaling a franchise model that started as a family business
  • Passing the power from a family owner to a non-family member
  • The importance of company mission to attract talent
  • Best practices for leadership transition plans
  • Being mindful and purposeful in making decisions for what employees and franchisees need and want
  • Balancing opportunities while not making sudden changes
  • The need to ask every employee and franchisee “What have we done well and not so well?”
  • The difference between being a “support” versus “growth” partner as a franchisor
  • “Who” is in your database when it’s time to grow and hire?
  • Involving everyone in your organization in the hiring process
  • The importance of bringing on people who have been where you want to go, not where you have been


Full Show Notes:

Mar 28, 2017

Gina Trimarco spoke with Tahaji Felder, CEO of the Goose & Gander Brand. From an accounting career to social entrepreneur, Tahaji will inspire you with her passion for purpose and remind some of you more tenured entrepreneurs why you do what you do!

Tahaji Felder had no plans on becoming a social entrepreneur.  Equipped with a Master's Degree in International Business from Nova Southeastern University under her arm, and a love of fashion, she made a conscious decision to go beyond the status quo, say yes to her dream, & launch Goose & Gander Brand in September 2015. 

Goose & Gander Brand is a lifestyle brand that exists to inspire others to pursue their passion.  She knew she wanted to create a bigger impact but was held back by fear.  She launched the brand after a long career in finance, and getting laid off from her corporate job as an accountant. 

Subscribe to the podcast on: iTunes | Stitcher

Podcast Topics Include:

  • Fear is the #1 dream killer
  • What it takes to be a start-up business
  • How “Corporate America” could do a better job with employee retention
  • How to turn employees into fans of your company by putting the employee “first, first”
  • Why “big box” stores are suffering
  • The rise of “pop up shops” for customer connection
  • Selling “movements” and purposes
  • Having a “give back” strategy like the EmpowerYOU Series with One Page Closer


Full Show Notes:…er-tahaji-felder/

Mar 21, 2017

Gina Trimarco spoke with CJ Johnson, CEO and founder of the LA-based, award-winning digital agency, Januel+Johnson (J+J). A true creative who started out as a filmmaker, CJ is also an influencer who uses the power of story and narrative to shape his company’s culture and the cultures of the brands he serves at his boutique agency, that he doesn’t really like to call an agency; his agency is more of a “collective think tank” that helps builds brands throughout the world.

Among other accolades, CJ has been featured in publications such as Huffington Post, Fast Company, Forbes, Vice … and now The Pivotal Leader!

Subscribe to the podcast on: iTunes | Stitcher

 Podcast Topics Include:

  • Knowing what you stand for to help your clients succeed
  • The power of creative narrative in marketing
  • Utilizing mystery and allure to attract a specific clientele
  • How Hollywood and the fashion world can teach you how to negotiate, stretch a budget and compete in a world of judgmental people
  • Having a strategy in marketing, including the need to niche
  • Being a “taste maker” and trend setter
  • Today’s political climate, boycotts and the fleeting strategy of being “mean spirited”
  • Finding success by being outspoken


Full Show Notes:

Mar 14, 2017

Gina Trimarco had a lively conversation with Paul Jarrett, CEO of Bulu Box, a “discovery e-commerce” product. Bulu Box is a pioneer in their industry; Paul started out in the ad agency world (think “Mad Men”) and is a pioneer in the subscription box industry; one of the first in a market of 5,000+ subscription boxes. Subscription boxes have grown 3000% since 2012. You might be surprised by what he inspired him to enter this industry!

One of Paul’s core values is “Fire the assholes” – a key learning from his time in the ad world. Even more pivotal is his perspective on how to retroactively change a negative company culture. Hint: It starts with you, the leader.

 “If you want to change the culture, it starts with self-awareness.”

– Paul Jarrett, CEO, Bulu Box

 Podcast Topics Include:

  • The fast growth of the subscription box industry
  • The importance of data acquisition to scale businesses
  • What causes negative company cultures
  • How to retroactively build a better company culture
  • The danger of perfectionism in business
  • Having an “Athletic Recruiting” mentality for talent acquisition
  • Managing frustrations with “The One-On-One Vent Session”

Full Show Notes:


Mar 7, 2017

Gina Trimarco spoke with her “business girl crush” Charlie Fusco, CEO and Creative Mastermind of Synergixx, a full service direct response agency, a company she founded, nearly lost and grew to success in the past 17 years (while being a mom and wife).  Her success can be attributed to her philosophy of “You can be a little bit of a hot mess, as long as the results are there.”

Named a Top SmartCeo by Brava, Top CEO Under 40, and known as a major business influencer for entrepreneurs in her region, Charlie Fusco provides business coaching and advice to her growing followers on, her social media channels, and her CEO Powercast Radio Show.

Charlie has authored four books including her latest Brains, Boobs, & Balls: Life Lessons Any Female Entrepreneur Can Follow. The title alone is what got Gina interested in interviewing her.

In this episode, they discuss customer and employee acquisition, excel spread sheets, orgasms and overcoming F words.

Podcast Topics Include:

  • “Fly By The Seat Of Your Pants” Culture and why it works
  • The two most important questions you should be asking your clients AND employees
  • How to become a company where clients say, “How do we get to work with you?”
  • Creating a “voice” around the company
  • Setting up your own “Access To Resources” to scale a business
  • The difference between flat squirrels and fat squirrels – aim to be FAT!
  • Why waiting to write perfection job descriptions will cost you top talent
  • Introducing employees for their next jobs and bosses
  • The importance of orgasms and excel spread sheets to be a successful CEO
  • Marketing lessons for writing a book






Feb 27, 2017

From soda bottle recycling entrepreneur at the age of six to senior executive leader responsible for billions of dollars for the Coca Cola Company, Terence Chatmon has served in senior executive leadership roles with Johnson & Johnson, Citibank and Coca Cola. Terence is a transformational leader amongst senior executives and CEOs. He is a successful entrepreneur and has served as President and CEO of global non-profit organizations. 

He now serves as President and CEO of Fellowship of Companies for Christ International, (FCCI) a fellowship of executive leaders in 92 countries. In his role, he is leading unprecedented efforts to equip and encourage leaders in small, medium and large size companies. FCCI is known around the world for their global platform, world class annual international conference, rich library of business leadership resources and their transformational Kingdom Leader and Kingdom Company model.

In addition to his leadership at FCCI, Terence has recently written and published his first book, “Do Your Children Believe? Becoming Intentional about your Family’s Faith and Spiritual Legacy,” available now from Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Podcast Topics Include:

  • What he learned about leadership from Johnson & Johnson CEO James Burke during the Tylenol crisis of 1982
  • Why wearing burgundy and powder blue suits wasn’t a good idea at Arthur Andersen during the 80s – learning how to “dress the part”
  • The importance of taking personal time to invest in people
  • Whether or not it’s possible for leaders to teach work ethic
  • The five phases of an organizational life cycle
  • Biblical principles in the workplace
  • The power of parenting that shapes leaders


Show Notes:…-terence-chatmon/

Feb 21, 2017

Jim Cavale is an entrepreneur who starts, invests in and leads disruptive brands, with a passion for social impact. When I first met Jim, he was President and partner of Iron Tribe Fitness, a national fitness brand with more than 40 gyms from Seattle to Miami, and in between. He sold his ownership in Iron Tribe and stepped down in September 2016 to work with multiple brands and begin building a new company in the sports world again. 

At the time of our interview, Jim continues to serve as Entrepreneur-In-Residence for the Velocity Accelerator Fund, a $3mm accelerator fund that helps startup CEOs in Birmingham, Alabama.

In this episode, we talked about his passion for starting and scaling businesses, customer acquisition and the importance of supporting Gen Y professionals, like him, in making things happen.

Podcast Topics Include:

  • How to be a legacy brand
  • Creating systems to represent a company’s vision for growth
  • Purpose and Mission as boundaries to build a culture
  • “Having a baby and giving it to someone else to raise” - the hurdles of franchising
  • Customer & Employee Acquisition Strategies
  • The importance of “story” in business and how to leverage it
  • Relational Capital vs Transactional Interactions
  • Building success by knowing what’s next and what’s most important
  • What most investors want to know about your company
  • How Gen Y / Millennials will transform businesses

Jim’s involvement in helping entrepreneurs launch in Birmingham



Feb 14, 2017

Kevin Garber is the CEO and Co-founder of – a product that layers a set of search, filtering, sorting and follow tools on top of your Twitter account. In this episode, I talked to Kevin about customer acquisition, employee retention and business growth.

A great reminder he provided is that “You’re not Google, Facebook or Twitter – you still have to do marketing to raise awareness about your business”. And when it comes to employees in his tech world, Kevin believes that “tech people are highly intelligent and motivated by challenging problems to solve.”

Kevin is also the co-host of the weekly Podcast that talks to thought leaders in the tech and entrepreneurship world. Kevin is obsessed with avocado and the TV series Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Podcast Topics Include:

  • Mastering the “art of being a CEO”
  • Avoiding “gimmicks” in your employee retention strategy
  • “Casting a wider net” to find the best team
  • The benefits and necessity of highly diverse teams
  • The REAL reason why you’re micromanaging everyone
  • The best marketing tool
  • What you need to prepare for company growth
  • The upcoming launch of (and how to get in on their alpha test)

Show Notes:


Feb 7, 2017

“You need a great brand to propagate a culture. It’s hard to keep everything aligned without a strong brand,” says Mario Natarelli, managing partner of MBLM, the brand intimacy agency which is brands and technology. In this episode, Mario and I talked about the power of brand intimacy to create emotional connections with customers and how great brands build great cultures. According to MBLM’s Brand Intimacy 2017 Report, which is the largest study of brands based on emotions, top ranked intimate brands continued to outperform the S&P and Fortune 500 indices in revenue and profit over the past 10 years.

Mario’s career started as an architect where he learned how to balance art with science. In his perspective, in architecture you need a strong theory, focus and belief system and this parallels what it takes to be a great brand and culture.

Podcast Topics Include:

  • The definition of brand intimacy and why it matters
  • Building stronger bonds with customers
  • The role emotions play in ranking brands
  • The top ranking brands based on brand intimacy
  • The brand that ranks highest with Millennials
  • What takes priority? A strong culture or a strong brand?
  • How the short term “fix” can hurt your brand and culture
  • The partnership model for leading a multidisciplinary, multicultural and multigenerational team looking to expertly solve problems

Show Notes:




Jan 31, 2017

Before becoming a certified hypnotherapist with a PhD in Clinical Psychology, Dr. Elizabeth Bonet was a yoga teacher and founder of Yogafairy Prenatal Yoga. She won the 2014 Top 100 Leading Moms In Business Award, grew an international community of mothers and ran the company for 15 years before selling it to focus on her psychology practice. And before all of that, she worked in tech as a project manager where she launched the first website to do online trading of international securities.

Podcast Topics Include:

  • The number one thing that your business needs to succeed
  • Knowledge is power: How to find out what your customers really want
  • Strategies for overcoming “jerk leaders” or becoming one
  • How to recognize and manage employee anxiety to improve productivity
  • Culture-based employee manuals
  • Attracting talent that fits your culture and leadership style

Show notes:



Jan 24, 2017

Cathey Petkash, is a Franchise Specialist who assists people identify and research franchise models that meet their personal and business goals and objectives. She joined FranNet after 18 years in the “corporate world” of Hewlett-Packard.  Her professional consulting career at HP involved building strategic relationships with HP customers by implementing IT solutions to meet their business goals and objectives. Cathey also is a seasoned business owner.  She achieved her “business ownership” dream with the purchase a floral business.  Cathey applied the business principle of “absentee ownership,” executing the business end of the business, while her Floral Designer ran the everyday floral shop activity. She successfully grew the business for over four years, and then profitably sold the business. From control freak and directive to relaxed and collaborative, Cathey’s transition from “Corporate America” resulted in her being a leader who prides herself on listening and thinking more.

Podcast Topics Include:

  • The secret to being a successful business. Hint: Your Employees
  • Knowing how to interact with people and knowing your management style
  • How to avoid the loneliness of being the boss
  • The Passion Factor: why you need to be more passionate about running a business more than being passionate about the “what” of your business
  • Understanding what motivates people
  • The advice Cathey would give to struggling businesses, including HP

Show notes:


Jan 17, 2017

Michael Schein always wanted to be a rock star, as in a real, musician rock star. A true creative and artist, who admittingly hates making cold calls, he turned his talents into a business that elevates the statuses of other business people.Michael is CEO of MicroFame Media, a marketing agency that turns consultants into celebrities in their fields when they don't have the time to do it themselves. He has created or facilitated the production of content for companies such as eBay, Linkedin, Avectra, TESLA, Inc., SEER Interactive, The Medici Group, Arise Virtual Solutions, Interiors by Steven G., and Citrix. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with Honors and got his start at Spin the Bottle, Inc., the production company behind VH1 hit show Pop Up Video. He is an Inc columnist, the leader and moderator of New York Technology Council's (NYTECH) Interactive Marketing Panel Series, and the author of Teenage Roadhogs (MacMillan).

Podcast Topics Include:

  • Michael’s journey from blogging to writing for Inc. to turning consultants into celebrities
  • Harnessing and encouraging creativity to fulfill purpose for employees
  • Being a niche thought leader
  • Using content effectively in the “Google Wilderness”
  • Following a process to eliminate fear
  • Understanding the core principles of Hype & Connection in business
  • Knowing what you stand for

Show notes:


Jan 10, 2017

Greg Marcus, CEO of The Marcus Corporation, is a charismatic leader (and secret agent) that not only earned accounting and law degrees but went to film school before returning to the family business, his grandfather started in 1935. Also known as Agent BB, Greg has led the company to its newest entertainment ventures – Safe House Chicago and Escape House. In this podcast he narrates the company’s journey “From The Sopranos to the Game Of Thrones” and shares his pivotal moments as leader of a publicly traded lodging and entertainment organization that is considered one of Forbes Magazine's Most Trustworthy Companies, Listen in to find out why he believes that “Make sure you stop and look around” is a great metaphor for great leadership.

Podcast Topics Include:

  • Family sayings as core values to live by
  • Scaling a business through diversification
  • The importance of debt control to leverage opportunities
  • Creating first class experiences at coach seating prices
  • Treating employees like family
  • Pivotal strategies for leaders
  • The “high class problem” of making good people great
  • The history of The Marcus Corporation

Show notes:

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