Insights From the Next Generation of CEOs

by Dora Wang on Feb 22, 2016 11:00:00 AM


What will the future of leadership look like?

We had the chance to answer that question last week when the TINYpulse office hosted a gathering of some of the best and brightest up-and-coming leaders in today's workplace. This Next-Gen CEO event was a fantastic opportunity to bring together progressive and innovative leaders from a variety of companies and industries to share insights and learn from one another.

The evening began with a TINYtalk from author and CEO Teri Citterman on what it takes to be a next-generation leader. After that, attendees moved to breakout sessions to engage with one another on two questions that drilled down to the heart of leadership.


Here are some of the results from this meeting of the minds:


"Besides integrity, what’s the one behavior or trait you think every leader must have in order to be great?"

There was no limit to the insightful answers attendees gave to this question.

Getting Through the Tough Times
  • "Self-confidence" was the answer given by Stephanie Camp, VP of Marketing at Limeade.
  • "Resilience" was the answer given by Carolyn Thayer, Senior Account Director at ADURO.
  • Jena Miller of Gravity Payments chose resilience too, saying, "As a CEO or business owner, you have a lot happening ... You need to just keep going, and it's sometimes lonely."
  • Zac Mesmer, Partner Sales Manager at Avalara, answered, "Grit."
Inspiring Others
  • Arne Klubberud, VP of Sales at ProKarma, and John Karwoski, Chief Marketing Officer at Octout, both chose passion. "Passion is what bridges all other problems you run into: burnout, exhaustion, etc.," said Karwoski. He also noted the effect it had on employees, "Enough passion from the top spills down and fills crevices below."
  • That idea echoes the response of speaker and author Ava Waits, who chose, "Leading by example."
  • "Accountability" was the choice of Chris Canavan, Partner at Facet Advisors.
Taking Time to Take Care
  • Dave Rigotti, Head of Marketing at Bizible, chose empathy, saying, "For a lot of my employees, it's their first job, and you can forget what it's like to be young and fresh out of school. Empathy is big for culture and for your customers." He advises, "You don't want to get too caught up with running the business and team," and forget about this quality.


A couple of answers given by attendees who chose to remain anonymous included:

  • "Fun. When times get tough, you need to have fun or just go in the corner and cry."
  • "Humility. As great as you think you may be, there are always opportunities to learn and improve."


"Have you served as a mentor to a future leader? If so, what do you think are the most important things you have imparted?"

Here is some of the wisdom our attendees have given young leaders.

  • Michelle Flandreau, Producer at KING 5, shared, "Being an intentional leader: thinking about how you are mentoring those people and communicating the process and investing in them. In news, being decisive is very important," so she also advised, "making a decision and sticking to it."
  • Dave Rigotti's advice was, "You don't have to have a huge budget to drive change." He also pointed out that "future leader" might not be the right term to use. "I feel like anyone can be a leader," he explained.
  • Carolyn Thayer shared, "Self-awareness, knowing your strengths and weaknesses."
  • Stephanie Camp advised, "Self-advocacy."
  • Along the same lines, Ava Waits recommended being mindful of your own boundaries. "Be aware of the time you spend between work and home."
  • Chris Carnavan gave this advice: "Sit in your own fear."
  • Alison Doyle, HR Manager at Ankrom Moisan Architects, spoke of patience. "Knowing when to let things go and when to push things. Really knowing which battles are worth fighting for. Finding the balance between taking things personally and not."
  • Jena Miller's advice was to remember, "You're never done, and the key is to always be learning."
  • John Karwoski's philosophy is simple but admirable: "I never ask anyone to do anything that I wouldn't do myself."

We're grateful to all the Next-Gen CEO attendees for sharing their time and insights with us. We're excited to see how they shape the future of leadership!



New Call-to-action

author avatar

This post was written by Dora Wang

Dora is an employee engagement researcher for TINYpulse and managing editor of TINYinstitute. Having grown up in Texas, she is now firmly settled in Seattle, where she spends her free time reading comic books, wrangling her three cats, and (of course) rooting for the Seahawks.

Connect with Dora