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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Mar 25, 2018

“The more comfortable people are with themselves and the more clear they are about who they are, the more everyone respects them.”

– Mark Fisher

In this episode of The Pivotal Leader, Gina Trimarco interviewed Mark Fisher, co-founder of Mark Fisher Fitness and Business For Unicorns, in addition to being an in-demand international speaker, consultant, and entrepreneur. His core expertise is helping business owners achieve financial success and personal freedom through community building, leadership development, and creating healthy organizational cultures. He's also excellent at playing with puppies.

Mark and his “non-sexual life partner” Michael created Business for Unicorns in 2016 and have since worked with clients like Sony Music, Sylvan Learning, and the ACLU, as well as many of the leading fitness studios across the US and UK. They are also proud alumni speakers of TEDx Broadway.

In addition to their consulting and teaching through Business for Unicorns, Mark and Michael also co-founded Mark Fisher Fitness, one of the most successful gyms in the history of the fitness industry. MFF has two physical locations in Manhattan and was recognized as #312 on the 2015 Inc. 500 fastest growing companies in America, as well as one of Men's Health's "Top 20 Gyms in America."

Podcast Topics Include:

  • Creating a talent pipeline
  • Giving the team veto power in the hiring process
  • When clients become team members
  • “Interning” new employees to test fit
  • Irreverent and escalation marketing strategies
  • How to be successful by being authentically kind and crass at the same time
  • Combining artistry and fitness to create a business that becomes a marketing vehicle for other revenue streams
  • Whether or not to franchise your business
  • Becoming a “conscious business” as a force for social change
  • Advice for speakers and why business owners need to be speakers
  • The power of unicorns, rainbows, profanity and naked men with wings
  • Lots of book recommendations!

Full Show Notes including book list:

Mar 8, 2018

The biggest leading indicator to any success are the people.”

– Jason Williford

In this episode of The Pivotal Leader, Gina Trimarco interviewed Jason Williford, a professional business speaker and executive consultant focused on all human decisions, where he works with domestic and international organizations of all shapes and sizes. He also is a licensee and consultant for Culture Index.

Culture Index is a strategic advisory firm that works exclusively with visionary entrepreneurs, CEOs, business leaders, and management to scale and transform organizations using applied analytical traits. And if you’ve never taken the Culture Index profile assessment, it is like no other personality assessment you’ve ever taken.

Podcast Topics Include:

  • The history, process and benefits of the Culture Index
  • Studying, interpreting and mobilizing the 7 personality traits (Autonomy, Social Ability, Pace or Patience, Conformity, Energy Units or Mental Stamina, Logic, Ingenuity)
  • Getting people on the right bus in the right seats, mathematically
  • Keeping A players (harder to do than finding them)
  • Psychometrics = Psychology + Math to acquire valid assessments
  • Overcoming disengaged (70%) employees
  • Analysis of Gina Trimarco’s personality

Full Show Notes:

Feb 28, 2018


“I can teach you everything, but I can’t teach you ambition”– Nezha Alaoui

In this episode of The Pivotal Leader, Gina Trimarco interviewed Nezha Alaoui, Founder and President of Mayshad Foundation. Nezha is a global advocate for change. She is an international entrepreneur working in sustainability, philanthropy, wellness, business, media and fashion. She backs her “Be Who You Want To Be” philosophy with action and tireless advocacy.

Nezha is also the Creative Director of her luxury handbag brand Maison Mayshad, where she designs limited collections of handbags using recognized processes of the art world, including serial numbers, limited production, and auction sales.

At age 29 she created an import/export business simultaneously with a foundation, when many discouraged her goals to create a company with a positive message that also has a philanthropic mission. She is an only child from aristocratic family in Morocco who, despite many opposing factors, proves you can “be who you want to be”. Starting her career in the hotel industry, she traveled the world where she experienced different cultures and learned that we all have common values.

Podcast Topics Include:

  • The challenge of making innovative choices
  • Building a company with soul
  • Attracting talent through purpose; starting employees at 20% less for first three months
  • Hiring for ambition
  • Creating customer experiences, using all five senses
  • Story of the deaf frog and not letting people “should on you”
  • Sexual harassment and the media

Full Show Notes:

Feb 24, 2018

“I’ve tasted my own ignorance. It’s horrible. It’s bitter. And it’s so expensive.” [on the importance of learning]

– Carlos Vaz

In this episode of The Pivotal Leader, Gina Trimarco interviewed Carlos Vaz, CEO and co-founder of Texas-based Conti Organization, a thriving commercial and multifamily real estate investment company whose portfolio is valued at more than $400 million. Carlos’ passion, discipline and creativity coupled with his extensive real estate experience have yielded a portfolio of over 1,400 units his first year in the multifamily business. He is passionate about building a solid vertically integrated company with strong core values, proven systems and an adept team. Carlos directs strategy, team building, investment sourcing and capital origination.

The second-youngest of nine children and one of six boys, Carlos came to the United States in 2000 from his home country of Brazil with just $300 in his pocket. He began working at the age of seven at the family farm and his father’s butcher shop. He eventually entered a federally-funded law school in Brazil but became frustrated with professors routinely going on strike. This motivated him to secure an apprenticeship at a Boston law firm.  As the internship was unpaid, Carlos worked multiple jobs while interning and taking classes through Harvard’s extension program. After his internship ended, he started working in construction and ultimately built a construction company. He then started working in the mortgage industry, while maintaining his construction company and buying and flipping houses. By 2007 he purchased his first apartment complex and then formed Conti, named in honor of his mother Neusa Conti. Since its inception, Conti has closed deals involving more than 5,000 units and $400 million in value.

At the time of this interview Carlos had just completed Harvard Business School OPM Program.

Podcast Topics Include:

  • Building a business based on core values
  • The pursuit of knowledge and constant learning
  • The importance of integrity, trust, commitment, family and respect
  • Employee Retention – hiring people that fit the culture
  • Strategies for scaling a business: Combining EOS with Culture Index (Combining an operating system with personality assessments) – Listen to future episode when Gina has her Culture Index report reviewed by Jason Williford
  • Why it’s okay to be as “boring” as “vanilla yogurt” in business
  • Best conferences for CEOs to attend
  • Advice for rising CEOs & COOs
  • Recommended Books: Get A Grip, Profit From The Core, The Five Dysfunctions Of A Team

Full Show Notes:

Feb 19, 2018


“In order to manage your growth, you have to manage people.”

– Chris Power

In this episode of The Pivotal Leader, Gina Trimarco interviewed Chris Power, founder and CEO of Power Consulting Group, Inc., a New York IT Managed Services firm with a focus on technology for financial, legal, non-profit and education sectors. 

Chris is passionate about fostering customer trust through direct one-on-one communication. As CEO, he is responsible for driving Power Consulting’s “Technology is for People” vision. He believes in hiring team members with strong personal values and great communications skills. He has created a company in which engineering talent and outstanding interpersonal abilities go hand-in-hand. 

His training in philosophy has informed his distinctive leadership style. Twenty-five years after founding Power Consulting, his core conviction about IT services remain the same: the purpose of technology is to help people and organizations achieve their goals. 

Chris starts by sharing his 9/11 story, as a business owner and resident of Manhattan. He was there when it happened and recalls going to the hospital to see how he could help, waiting for ambulances that never arrived. It was a pivotal time in the country and in his business. It was the tipping point for what was a “lifestyle” business for him.

Podcast Topics Include:

  • Moving out of a “lifestyle” business
  • Attracting talent that are excellent customer service focused engineer show like people; asking customer service related questions in interviews
  • Having the will power to not compromise in hiring
  • Applying the Kaizen Method of “continuous improvement”
  • Customer Service Commandments
  • Email Policies – tips on when and how to use email effectively
  • The Three Pillars: People, Process & Purpose
  • EO vs BNI – going beyond sales and referrals to run a business with the best support

Full Show Notes:

Feb 8, 2018


The things that set us back propel us forward.”

– David Blu, Retired Professional Athlete

On this episode of The Pivotal Leader, Gina Trimarco interviewed David Blu, a retired, world class athlete, who played internationally at the highest level of professional basketball and now works in the insurance industry. David has continued to stay active in basketball by working with young athletes on the mentality and skills needed to reach a higher level of player development. He speaks around the country and in Israel about his life, goals, challenges and successes. David is also the brand ambassador for a new, Israeli, startup tech company and continues to stay involved with Maccabi in Israel. 

Subscribe to the podcast on: iTunes | Stitcher

Podcast Topics Include:

  • Ego Management
  • Business as it relates to sports and having an athlete mentality
  • Practicing patience and compassion
  • Intrinsic & Extrinsic Motivation
  • Doing charitable work
  • Learning from children about taking risks and being playful
  • The impact of birthday cakes at the office
  • Strengthening resilience through tragedy
  • The power of Passive/Active Listening & Empathy Skills

Full Show Notes: 

Jan 29, 2018

You can’t differentiate yourself in the marketplace on smarts. You need to differentiate yourself on team health.”

– John Fulwider

On this episode of The Pivotal Leader, Gina Trimarco interviewed John Fulwider, CEO, gear80. John helps entrepreneurial leadership teams get everything they want from their businesses. He implements a complete, proven system with a set of simple, practical tools that helps businesses get vision, traction, and healthy.

John founded his fourth company, gear80, when two clients of his third business—an executive coaching firm with clients nationwide—said the same thing to him in the same week: “John, I need tools.” For both clients’ companies, the vision was clear, and their teams were healthy and cohesive. But accountability, discipline, and execution to link the two were absent. John went looking for tools and found the Entrepreneurial Operating System in the book Traction, and he’s never looked back.

While he charges a lot for his other services, his advice on eating out is always free and he gives some great foodie recommendations!

Podcast Topics Include:

  • What is EOS (Entrepreneur Operating System)
  • Ensuring your company has vision, traction and health
  • Where to find 90% of the answers to your problems
  • The new ROI: Return On Intelligence
  • Top pain points and how to overcome them: People, Profitability, Control & Solutions
  • Defining Culture by having 3 to 7 expected core behaviors
  • Why being smart isn’t good enough for success; hint: smart already exists
  • Knowing how to Hire, Fire, Review, Reward & Recognize People

Full Show Notes:

Jan 17, 2018

You have to think about it [talent acquisition] almost in terms of like an NFL draft or major league baseball. You’re all going after the same talent. What’s going to make you look better?”

– Ali Schwanke

On this episode of The Pivotal Leader, Gina Trimarco interviewed Ali Schwanke, CEO and founder of Simple Strat, the marketing agency for companies that are serious about growth. Through digital marketing and thought leadership, Simple Strat helps companies own their category, generate more leads and close more sales. Simple Strat is also a Wistia video partner. Ali sits on the National Practitioner’s Council for the American Marketing Association, the National Marketing Week Live Event team and was recently named one of 32 Young Professionals to Watch in the Midwest. A self-professed podcast junkie, Ali has more shows than songs on her Apple iPhone. She also has a weekly podcast called "Bar Napkin Business" where she and her cohost, Matt, grab some craft beer and talk with business owners about running and growing their small business. 

Ali originally wanted to be a doctor because she loved solving problems. Ah, but there was all that schooling. Her passion for photography led her into her career as a marketing director. And it was her creation of a fitness app that put her on the entrepreneurship path as founder of Simple Strat. As most entrepreneurs do, she fell into her business and figured it out along the way.

Podcast Topics Include:

  • Establishing company core values that go beyond the cliché “honesty and integrity”
  • Ways to build an active pipeline of future talent
  • Strategies for thought leadership positioning
  • Creating marketing content
  • Social media marketing
  • Identifying activities that negatively impact culture and profitability
  • Business “crushes”
  • Ali’s favorite podcasts

Full Show Notes:

Jan 11, 2018

When companies innovate, all of our lives are better.

– Dr. Kumar Mehta


In this episode of The Pivotal Leader, Gina Trimarco interviewed Dr. Kumar Mehta, author of the new book THE INNOVATION BIOME:  A Sustained Business Environment Where Innovation Thrives. He has been at the forefront of innovation, research and data analytics for over 25 years. Dr. Mehta founded Bridges Insight, an innovation think tank committed to researching innovation and helping organizations accelerate their rate of innovation. Kumar has studied innovation before innovation was a buzzword, basing his 1990 Ph.D. dissertation on the diffusion of innovations. Since then he has applied many innovation frameworks in his 14 years at Microsoft and throughout his tenure building out innovative companies. Just as Kumar built a successful enterprise with a vision around the institutionalization of data analytics a decade ago, today he is embarking on a journey to institutionalize innovation science.

Subscribe to the podcast on: iTunes | Stitcher

Podcast Topics Include:

  • Building a sustainable environment where innovation thrives
  • Becoming more innovative
  • Understanding the meaning of biome
  • Types of creativity and characteristics of innovative people
  • The correlation between intelligence and creativity
  • Harvard study on Brainstorming vs Individual Thinking and understanding why brainstorming creates an unwelcome setting for creativity
  • How to attract and retain innovative employees
  • Why employees leave and become entrepreneurs (and take their talent with them)
  • Creating a culture of innovations in every single area of a business (product, packaging, marketing and more).

Full Show Notes

Jan 4, 2018

We give other people the pen to our story. This is your life. Take the pen back.

– Aaron Davis

This very lively conversation is sure to set the tone to kick off your new year because it’s all about having the attitude of a champion and peak performer. Gina Trimarco and Aaron Davis share their thoughts on attitude, training, speaking and being catalysts for change and sustainability in life and business.

In this episode of The Pivotal Leader, Gina Trimarco interviewed Aaron Davis, speaker, author, thought leader, former National Champion Football player and noted authority on peak performance. Known as "The Enthusiator" because of his contagious enthusiasm to equip others to perform like champions, Aaron’s powerful and high-energy presentations are interactive, fresh and yet simple so that anyone can use his tips & techniques to attain greater success professionally and personally!

Podcast Topics Include:

  • Characteristics of a champion or peak performer 
  • Overcoming negative attitudes and dealing with the “Negative Nancys” & “Negative Nathans” of the world.
  • The gift of having the choice to DECIDE
  • Stopping others from writing your story
  • Teaching attitude – start with children and equip people with tools!
  • The fallacy behind not achieving due to a dysfunctional childhood or life
  • Performing “attitude background checks” in the workplace
  • The difference between “being lucky” and “taking risks”
  • Changing behavior, training and long-term development in the workplace; it starts with the leadership
  • The quick and cheap fix: wanting G5 results on a Crop Duster budget – it doesn’t work!
  • Being a “twinkie speaker” or a catalyst for sustainability

Full Show Notes:

Oct 26, 2017

“Create your dreams. Crave your dreams. 

Cultivate your dreams.”

- Frances Prado

In this episode of The Pivotal Leader, Gina Trimarco interviewed Frances Prado, CEO of Ageless Beautiful Clever Creations and inventor of Hanging Secrets, the world's first and only patented bra and lingerie organizer. HANGING SECRETS has identified and filled a previously unmet need for the storage of women's intimate apparel in a convenient and practical way.

Her grit, determination and work ethic are fueled by her journey as the daughter of Mexican immigrants who began their lives in the United States in 1963 as field workers and her career path with Costco. She worked alongside her parents in the fields picking produce in Bakersfield. At the time, she did not realize the great impact working in dirt with her parents would have on her. Her father always made sure they were the first ones in the fields and the last ones to leave. At Costco, she’s earned multiple positions. She’s most proud of being the first Latina woman to be Assistant General Manager of CWI Packaging.

These experiences have greatly influenced the person she is today and helped provide her with the necessary skills for success as an inventor, entrepreneur and U.S. patent holder. To date, only 7% of U.S. patents are issued to sole female inventors in the United States. And only 0.3% of those are Latinas. Frances is one of them!

Frances is passionate about her business because it has allowed her the satisfaction of contributing to both the U.S. economy and to women’s charitable causes, which, for her, is the true meaning of living the American Dream.

Podcast Topics Include:

  • Becoming an inventor, patent holder, CEO and “side launcher” … and as a woman
  • Living the “American Dream” as a daughter of immigrants
  • Learning work ethic at an early age
  • Understanding the need to do market analysis to determine who your customers really are beyond your assumptions
  • Being on the Home Shopping Network “American Dream Fast Track”
  • Leveraging management experience from Costco
  • The Costco Culture: running departments like entrepreneurial businesses
  • Understanding that “You’re only as good as your vendors”
  • The power of professional development and training

Full Show Notes at:

Oct 18, 2017

“Authenticity opens the door to conversations that are important.” – Brandon Black

In this episode of The Pivotal Leader, Gina Trimarco interviewed Brandon Black, co-author of EGO FREE LEADERSHIP: Ending The Unconscious Habits That Hijack Your Business.

Brandon retired as the CEO and Director of Encore Capital Group in 2013.  During his nine years as President and CEO, the company built significant cost and operational advantages, expanded into new asset classes, and made acquisitions that established Encore as the industry’s leading debt management and recovery solutions provider. 

Podcast Topics Include:

  • Workplace politics
  • How our brains confirm our own biases
  • How our behavior manifests and causes reactions in others
  • The ego’s role in creating negative distractions
  • The dollar cost of ego in a business
  • The pursuit of culture and a noble goal
  • Authenticity as an entry into important conversations
  • Transitioning from blaming to co-responsibility and from dysfunctional to productive
  • When the leader is the problem
  • Difficult and necessary conversations around gender, race and others who are different from you

Full Show Notes:

Oct 11, 2017

“I want our employees to look forward to Monday.” Jay Feitlinger

In this episode of The Pivotal Leader, Gina Trimarco interviewed Jay Feitlinger, serial entrepreneur, and the founder and CEO of StringCan Interactive, a strategic online marketing agency in Scottsdale, Arizona with a regional office in Paris, France. Since StringCan’s launch in 2010, Jay oversees strategy and vision with a mission of building a culture that makes going into work something his team looks forward to. He’s also responsible for recruiting additional team members to help exceed client goals, leading the team and allocating where StringCan invests time and money. One of Jay’s proudest accomplishments is earning Phoenix’s Best Places To Work award, on two occasions, recognizing StringCan for its dedication to its staff personal and professional development.

Practicing what he preaches around helping companies stay focused, Jay has positioned StringCan to work with multi-location, family oriented companies (such as swim schools or gymnastics schools) with their inbound marketing and online advertising needs. This focus has allowed StringCan to position itself as a leading authority in addressing the complex structure around multi-location online marketing needs, especially with local Internet search. This commitment has earned multi-year contracts with companies such as The Little Gym with over 250 locations and GameTruck with over 175 locations.


Podcast Topics Include:

  • Maintaining culture and values in multiple locations internationally
  • Managing client pace differences in different countries
  • How to be a “Best” company to work for
  • Hiring for fit, specifically for fast changing environments and passionate mindsets
  • Creating ideal employee avatars for recruiting and marketing to top talent
  • Phone screening interviews based on culture before skill
  • Personality and skills assessments
  • Employee surveys and feedback (Tiny Pulse)
  • Group interview approach
  • When company core values can come back to bite you
  • Managing family life like a business and having work/life balance
  • Investing in yourself as an entrepreneur and company owner

Full Show Notes:

Oct 5, 2017


“Fat lions don’t hunt. Stay hungry.“ – Justin Zastrow

In this episode of The Pivotal Leader, Gina Trimarco interviewed, a very lively and energetic Justin Zastrow, CEO of Smart Armor. Smart Armor started last year and didn't officially launch until September. Since then they’ve generated more than $1M in sales and counting. He’s also been offered at least $20M to sell his company! Justin has an extremely diverse business development background that highlights his strengths within concept creation, software integration and corporate execution. He has built, sold, and licensed several companies throughout his career, and his entrepreneurial and business management education has helped his ventures to build platforms, engage partnerships, and forge syndication.

Podcast Topics Include:

  • Building a company based on a basic life need
  • Becoming an overnight success in four years
  • Creating a culture of treating others well
  • Hiring “friends” instead of “hiring blindly”
  • Staffing a company with existing entrepreneurs
  • Giving away equity to get skin in the game – “Bring on the talent and give them a piece”

Full Show Notes:

Sep 27, 2017

“If you have enough of the right people, you have an immune system against the wrong people.”

– Steven Benson, CEO,

In this episode of The Pivotal Leader, Gina Trimarco interviewed, Steven Benson, CEO of After receiving his MBA from Stanford, Steven worked in Sales at IBM, HP and Google where he was Google Enterprise's Top Sales Executive in 2009. In 2012, Steven founded Badger Maps, the #1 Sales App in the Apple App Store, which helps Field Sales People be more successful. 

Badger Maps provides automatic territory management for Field Sales Reps and helps them take action on their customer data by visualizing it on a map. Reps use it to optimize schedules and routes to get more meetings and sales.

Podcast Topics Include:

  • Turning a sales challenge into a business
  • Getting a company off the ground and building a team
  • Leveraging “zero value deals”
  • How fear can kill a sale
  • Finding the right people and getting rid of the wrong people
  • The reality of not recognizing culture problems
  • Creating a culture where people thrive
  • The “Badger Of The Week” culture builder concept everyone should be doing!
  • Try out Badger Maps by mentioning this episode!

Full Show Notes

Sep 19, 2017

Culture isn’t just put some core values on the wall and call it a day. It has to be infused in absolutely everything you do.” – Felena Hanson

In this episode of The Pivotal Leader, Gina Trimarco interviewed Felena Hanson, a long-time entrepreneur and marketing maven. Her latest venture, Hera Hub, is a spa-inspired shared workspace and business accelerator for female entrepreneurs. This as-needed, flexible work and meeting space provides a productive environment for growing businesses. Hera Hub members have access to a professional space to meet with clients and to connect and collaborate with like-minded business owners, thus giving them the support they need to be prosperous.

She has three company owned locations in San Diego and licensed locations in Phoenix, DC, and Sweden, with more cities launching soon. She’s on a mission to support over 20,000 women in the launch and growth of their businesses by 2020.

Felena and Hera Hub have been featured in Inc Magazine, the BBC News, Forbes, and the New York Times.  She also is the author of “Flight Club – Rebel, Reinvent, and Thrive: How to Launch Your Dream Business”.

Podcast Topics Include:

  • Fast growth of the entrepreneurial businesses, especially women-owned businesses
  • How Hera Hub, Hera Angels & Hera Labs was started and funded
  • The difference between angel investors and venture capitalists and the growth of female angels
  • Commercial real estate challenges; negotiating leases as a new business concept
  • Licensing vs franchising and culture adaptation with licensed locations
  • Figuring out formulas to make a business profitable

Full show notes:

Sep 14, 2017

“Culture is up to us. We need to be the thermostat for culture. Not just a thermometer.“ – Rick Coplin, Former VP, Rev1


Podcast Topics Include:

  • Entrepreneurial drive
  • The passion of sales people
  • Pitching for customer and concept validation before funding
  • The type of talent to look for
  • When culture matters the most and how to set it
  • Retrofitting a culture in trouble
  • Employee empowerment
  • Successful and consistent communication as a strategy

Full Show Notes:

Sep 7, 2017

“If you are transparent and honest 100% of the time, you are open not just to asking questions but also open to advice and suggestions, [and] people are going to respect you more.” – Russell Tuchman, CEO, BashPros

In this episode of The Pivotal Leader, Gina Trimarco interviewed Russell Tuchman, entrepreneur, world traveler, personal trainer, cinephile, adventure seeker, and Founder & CEO of BashPros.

As co-founder of his first startup, Buddytruk, Russell oversaw various aspects of the company including operations, fundraising, sales, insurance, HR, and business development. He left Buddytruk in order to start up BashPros, after recognizing an opportunity to aggregate the event industry. The goal of the BashPros platform is to make events more accessible, affordable, transparent, and streamlined for the masses and helps people find the perfect event professionals for their needs.

Podcast Topics Include:

  • Helping clients have and create unique experiences
  • Building a double-sided market place
  • Managing Type A personalities
  • Family member leadership role models
  • Setting standards for yourself and others to follow
  • Balancing work and personal in relationships
  • Being a transparent leader
  • Being a no-ego business to do what’s best for the business
  • Leadership advice for startups

Full show notes at:

Aug 27, 2017

“You can’t pull together a team without putting a priority on understanding what everyone’s background and culture is.“ – Peter Gasca

In this episode of The Pivotal Leader, Gina Trimarco interviewed Peter Gasca in person in the studio, where they bantered about being an entrepreneur, adapting to cultures, the differences between Gen X and Gen Y and so much more.

Peter Gasca is an experienced business executive and entrepreneur, with a background in multiple business disciplines across several industries. He is a management consultant, coach, speaker, business writer, startup advisor/mentor, co-author of One Million Frogs and a regular contributor to and

Peter also works with Coastal Carolina University as the Director of the Community and Business Engagement (CoBE) Institute, a student-led management consulting organization with a focus of pairing high achieving students in real world business projects. He also serves as an Assistant Professor. 

Podcast Topics Include:

  • Working in Russia as an American
  • Establishing credibility when you don’t know company AND country cultures
  • The importance of knowing how talk, listen, empathize and pivot
  • Leveraging your personal strengths
  • Acceptance vs Agreement (and other improv philosophies)
  • Social media story filtering and information disparity
  • Income inequality
  • “Niche is the new big” in business and the marketing behind niche businesses
  • How to be a successful start-up
  • Why traction is more important than ideas
  • Differentiating yourself and your business
  • Trends in employee retention and how to let go of star performers
  • Why Millennials (“The Choice Generation”) jump jobs
  • References to Justin Irizarry (OrthoNow), Charlie Fusco, (Brains, Boobs & Balls), Paul Singh (500 Startups)

Full Show Notes at:

Aug 23, 2017

“Outward success is an inside job.“ – Bobby Albert

In this episode of The Pivotal Leader, Gina Trimarco interviewed Bobby Albert, CEO of Values-Driven Leadership LLC, an Institute focused upon teaching others the growth enabling potential of building foundational values into company culture. These values affect how employees treat one another and how they serve the company's customers. When the right values are in place, employees become empowered to make decisions they believe in and that allows leaders to gain the leverage they need to grow revenue and profit.

Bobby, a Wichita Falls, Texas native, took over the family moving business when his father died unexpectedly. He transformed his father’s five-person business into a fast growth company, eventually employing 150 people before The Albert Group of Companies was approached by a strategic acquirer.  Rather than simply accept their first acquisition offer, Bobby patiently negotiated the offer up by more than 100% before he agreed to a deal.  


Podcast Topics Include:

  • Creating a “people first” culture based on respect
  • How to build a culture
  • Why culture is like the wind
  • Delighting versus Satisfying the customer
  • The Triple E philosophy (Experience that Exceeds Expectations)
  • Having a participative leadership style
  • Core values that everyone can authentically live by (versus aspire to live by)
  • Being a values-driven organization instead of results-driven
  • Ways to get buy-in for core values and fostering culture

Full Show Notes:

Aug 15, 2017

“If they’re just not the right fit for you, it’s toxic to your company and it’s toxic to your growth. As hard as it is to walk away from a revenue stream, it has to be done.” – Karla Jobling, COO, BeecherMadden

In this episode of The Pivotal Leader, Gina Trimarco interviewed Karla Jobling, COO and Owner of BeecherMadden, a recruitment firm with offices in London and New York. Their expertise is in the attraction of senior global talent and subject matter experts, with a specialty in technology solutions. Company culture has been very important to the growth of the business and keeping that culture through the past 5 years, has not always been easy for them. Karla notes that they can tie periods of poor performance back to a shift in the company culture. They have also had to balance keeping people who are toxic to the culture, when they are high performers.

Podcast Topics Include:

  • Managing cultures in different parts of the world, including employees and clients
  • The first few months of onboarding new employees
  • Managing without micromanaging
  • Having a “family” company culture
  • The core value of honesty
  • The secret sauce to attracting the right talent: asking questions that align with your company core values; “Have you ever told a lie?” as an interview question
  • Managing top performers as well as underperformers who don’t fit the culture
  • Eliminating toxic people
  • The U.S. “Hire or Fire” Culture vs the U.K.’s mandate of giving employees one to three months to improve before termination
  • Meritocracy
  • Getting business by being confident enough to ask for it
  • Being open minded about potential job candidates that might not fit your “profile”

Full Show Notes:


Aug 9, 2017

In this episode of The Pivotal Leader Gina Trimarco interviewed Alex Moen, San Diego California native and lifelong entrepreneur. Alex has had multiple Fortune100 corporate partners in his career, gone from zero to 30 employees in less than 3 months, and has run businesses with home offices in multiple states AND countries. The companies being both online and offline in nature.  Currently he is running two subscription box, automated online businesses, which include and (men’s fashion accessories). 

Podcast Topics Include:

  • Being a serial start up business entrepreneur
  • The Subscription Box business model and industry
  • Finding employees with the “right” attitudes versus the “right” resumes
  • How to avoid a mass employee exodus during fast growth
  • Employee handbooks with core values that don’t match reality
  • The Half Ass, Quarter Ass Theory
  • Getting to know your employees personally while separating personal from business
  • Choosing natural and organic growth over fast growth
  • The three types of mentors that every leader needs
  • Best conference for CEOs to attend for networking: CEO Space

Full Show Notes:



Aug 2, 2017

“When you think of the CEO’s job, if you have very talented people around you, hopefully should make yourself irrelevant 99% of the time because all the day-to-day stuff is being handled by people who are better at their jobs than you are.” – Jonathan Frankel, CEO, Nucleus

In this episode of The Pivotal Leader, Gina Trimarco interviewed Jonathan Frankel, Founder and CEO of Nucleus – a startup on a mission to fundamentally redefine the home intercom system and help people stay closer to loved ones.

One of the coolest things about Jonathan is hearing his story about having an idea to make life better for families and with no real knowledge of technology, hardware, manufacturing and managing people, he had enough desire and passion to find the right team members and venture capital to innovate a new product!

Nucleus is a home intercom device that launched in August 2016 to transform the way families communicate in and away from the home. Its lightweight intercom can be mounted or propped anywhere in the home (or between homes) to create instant points of audio and HD video communication between rooms, homes, or mobile-to-home with its smartphone app.

Within one day of its launch, Nucleus sold out completely. And in one month, Nucleus hit sales in 50 states – major traction for mainstream adoption of smart home technology.

Podcast Topics Include:

  • How to be the antithesis of the typical tech start up
  • Building a company based on the core values of being family friendly, kind, nice, easy going and respectful
  • How to find talent: let them find you
  • Starting a business from an idea, raising capital and producing a product that sells out on the first day
  • Raising capital through traction and connection
  • What to do when you’re not a natural connector
  • The theory of “lines, not dots” in the VC world
  • Managing fast growth = Managing cash flow
  • Leadership based on logic and rational thinking
  • CEO responsibilities

Full Show Notes:

Jul 27, 2017


In this episode of The Pivotal Leader, Gina Trimarco interviewed Trevor Longino, an American marketer with 20 years of experience in the industry, focused mostly on strategic, digital and event marketing, and he has been a consultant at Disney's Yellowshoes Interactive, Universal Studios, Stratosphere Casino, Cox Communications, CD Projekt, and many more companies. He has taken 4 different startups from newly launched to #1 in their industries.


Podcast Topics Include:

  • Having an open and honest culture
  • When leaders “screw up” - Making and learning from mistakes (and how companies give lip service to this)
  • Being a leader vs a manager
  • “Why” starts with leaders and employees fill in the “how”
  • The difference in between Gen X & Gen Y in problem solving
  • The leadership approaches of Steve Jobs, Elon Musk & Google
  • Understanding personalities and having emotional intelligence
  • Getting extraordinary talent at less cost
  • Explaining your leadership style and sharing expectations when hiring team members
  • Balancing your craft/expertise with being a leader

Full Show Notes at

Jul 18, 2017

“Approachable is not about being your best friend or even that nice. The question [about a leader] is ‘Is this person someone you feel safe coming to?’”

- Phillip B. Wilson

In this episode of The Pivotal Leader, Gina Trimarco interviewed Phillip B. Wilson, Founder and Chief Evangelist of Approachable Leadership, a leadership consulting firm.

For over two decades as a labor expert, Phil has helped thousands of companies survive – and triumph over – life-or-death employee relations disasters. Over and over, he’s been an eyewitness to leadership train wrecks.  Over years of watching what doesn’t work (including a lot of traditional leadership advice) he’s stumbled upon what he calls “the One Ring of leadership,” approachability. Yeah, he’s also a self-proclaimed nerd.

Like all business owners, Phil is a leader too. He is an Entrepreneur's Organization board member and owner of an Inc. 5000 consulting business. Before that, he was a labor lawyer and HR Director of a riverboat casino (really!) – he has struggled through the same leadership challenges each of us face every day.

Podcast Topics Include:

  • Going from broken to positive leadership
  • The employment relationship – a different kind of marriage
  • Leveraging leadership to turn things around
  • The “one ring” of leadership philosophy
  • Understanding leadership styles
  • Focusing on connection and approachability
  • The 3 most important questions a leader should ask
  • “Power Distance” – a leadership failure
  • The “Stop, Listen & Confirm” approach
  • Strategies for leadership training consultants

Full Show Notes:

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