Today marks the end of my second full year of dedicating 100% of my professional time to building the Learning Leader business and the Leadership Advisory practice at Brixey & Meyer.
When I left my job as VP of North American Sales at a multibillion-dollar international company, I had no idea what was in store; but with a lot of work and your support, I feel even better about the decision than I did two years ago. My vision for the Learning Leader business has evolved beyond the podcast to include leadership circles, keynote speeches, workshops, one-on-one advising, a McGraw-Hill published book, and an online learning academy.
This article is my way of reflecting publicly about what we’ve accomplished together, my excitement about the trajectory of the business, and my continued gratitude for you. As you read below and reflect on your aspirations for 2020 (and beyond), I urge you to think about and publish your own accomplishments and goals. Your deep reflection will provide mental clarity that will help you to prioritize and stay on track. Sharing it publicly will create accountability and provide your network with insights on how you can work together.
This year, I published 53 episodes of The Learning Leader Show, which was listened to millions of times in 156 countries. These are some of my favorite production moments:
- Meeting with one of my artistic heroes, Brian Koppelman, in the NYC office where he creates the TV show Billions, and then recording a podcast with him.
- Interviewing legendary coach John Calipari and three time Super Bowl Champion, Michael Lombardi on stage in front of 150 collegiate athletic directors and coaches as part of Jason Belzer’s Coaching Consortium at the NCAA Final Four.
- Seeing Apple Podcasts list The Learning Leader Show as one of the “All Time Best-Sellers” in the Management category.
- To be listed alongside some of my podcasting/leadership heroes (Pat Lencioni, Reid Hoffman, Michael Hyatt) certainly qualifies as a cool moment.
- Recording an hour-long conversation with the lead singer of O.A.R, Marc Roberge. Marc is one of my favorite musicians and after meeting with me backstage before a concert in Austin, Texas, he introduced me to the entire band and invited me to watch them prepare for the show.
- Sitting before 140 of our closest friends, family, and clients and recording a conversation with the founders of Brixey & Meyer, Dave Brixey & Doug Meyer. I was in my element, drawing out gripping storytelling, packed with the emotion of a 17-year successful partnership.
Over the last 12 months, I have given 42 keynote speeches across 10 states (including Alaska!). Keynote speaking was the biggest revenue driver of my business in 2019. Additionally, honoring one of Brixey & Meyer’s core values: giving back to the communities in which we serve, I enjoyed presenting 11 free keynotes for Brixey & Meyer events (like our Future Leaders Day), rotary clubs, and high school/collegiate athletic teams. I’ve learned that keynote speaking (like most things in life) is a “reps” game. The more you do it, the better you become. I intend to continue to grow in this capacity in 2020.
LEARNING LEADER CIRCLES
I led two Learning Leader Circles in 2019. Each group met 17 times over the course of the year, learning about leadership topics, building committed teams, and fostering friendships for life.
My initial Learning Leader Circle group has renewed for a third year! The members of that original circle hold a special place in my heart because they were the first to take a leap of faith in me. Their commitment has made us all much stronger.
Our third Leadership Circle starts meeting in January, and I’m ecstatic about the caliber of people who applied and were accepted. I can’t wait to begin!
PERSONAL EXCELLENCE WORKSHOP
I hosted a two-day workshop in Brixey & Meyer’s Dayton office for 31 people, including the members of my first Leadership Circle and additional leaders from across the country. Grueling event-planning paid off, as powerful connecting, learning, and teaching produced incredible personal bonds and growth, making the event one of the most rewarding activities of the year.
WRITING A BOOK
In December of 2018, I agreed to a book deal with McGraw-Hill, and then proceeded to write 70,000+ words to complete the book this past spring. After five years, 350+ interviews, and an immense amount of vulnerability, WELCOME TO MANAGEMENT comes out January 28, 2020! Check out all of the pre-order bonuses we have for you HERE.
I hired my first, full-time business partner, Lizzie Merritt. Lizzie is a talented culture builder, teacher, and listener. After a cold email from her three years ago, she became a member of my second Leadership Circle, and our working relationship blossomed from there. She has already proven to be a valuable member of my team and the Brixey & Meyer team as a whole.
THE LEARNING LEADER ACADEMY
I just finished filming 30 hours of footage for The Learning Leader Academy. As my online training platform, this new program will offer you the opportunity to become a Certified Learning Leader, with a self-paced curriculum and opportunities to participate in live Q&As.
Without a doubt, the best part of putting this together was having my greatest role model, my dad, teaching alongside me. The Academy will launch in early 2020, and I am beyond excited to share it with you!
All of this started with the podcast–my flywheel that makes everything go. Having a long-form conversation with an intelligent, thoughtful person remains my favorite activity in the world. And receiving feedback from all of you that it has positively impacted your life fuels me even more. What a thrill and reward it is to have a profitable business that aligns my passion in life with listeners who seek out and benefit from the same insights.
As Jonas Salk said, “The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more.” Because my work resonates with you, I get to keep doing it! Thank YOU for the privilege!
Based on number of listeners and volume of email feedback I received, I pulled the most popular episodes of 2019. Here they are:
#293: Brent Beshore – How to Get Rich Slow & Live an Optimal Life
#300: Keith Hawk & AJ Hawk – How to Instill Work Ethic & Curiosity in Your Children
#303: General Stanley McChrystal – The New Definition of Leadership
#307: Carly Fiorina – Why You Should Run Towards the Fire
#310: David Epstein – Why Generalists Will Rule the World
#314: John Calipari & Michael Lombardi – Building & Sustaining A Culture of Excellence
#317: Susan Cain – The Power of Introverts in A World That Can’t Stop Talking
#325: Ron Ullery – Demanding Excellence, Delayed Gratification, & Winning Titles
#331: Ryan Holiday – How Will You Choose to Respond?
#338: Jason Fried – How to Build the Ideal Company Culture
#341: Behind the Scenes of The Learning Leader Show with Jay Acunzo
Wishing you all a happy and prosperous 2020!