• Meet Advance Awards Life Sciences Category Finalist, Dr Sandro Demaio.

    A public health advocate and sustainable food architect, Dr Alessandro (Sandro) Demaio founded his career using nutrition as a platform for social change. As a recognised global expert and now CEO of VicHealth, Sandro speaks to the three biggest threats for Australians: climate change, obesity and chronic disease. Amplifying the science of his medical background with an art for public presence, Sandro has become a popular figure across broadcast TV, online editorial, news commentary forums and even a cookbook publication. Whether working alongside the Victorian Government at VicHealth, advising the World Health Organisation, co-authoring global reports with UNICEF, co-founding the social movement NCDFREE to engage young leaders from across the world, or founding the biennial festival21, a free event celebrating food and ideas, Sandro is as passionate as he is pragmatic.

    A former World Health Organization medical officer who trained and worked at Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital, Dr Sandro Demaio’s international perspective has been informed by a decade working across the globe. During his time as CEO of Oslo-based EAT Foundation, he oversaw the launch of the EAT-Lancet Commission; a scientific commission that led to a global conversation around healthy and sustainable diets, including launch events at the United Nations Headquarters in New York and more than 40 other global locations. This report became one of the most discussed pieces of science globally in 2019. Sandro led the Lancet Series on Nutrition and was a central architect in the formation of the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition. During the COVID-19 crisis, Sandro has been seconded to assist the COVID-19 Department Incident Management Team as the (part-time) Deputy Public Health Commander.

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  • Not only has Dr Rossa Chiu won numerous international awards including the Advance Asia Impact Award 2020, she also has over 485 patents to her name. A specialist in molecular signatures as a chemical pathologist, Rossa moved to Hong Kong immediately after graduating from the University of Queensland to work in her dream job - researching non-invasive prenatal testing procedures, detecting any abnormalities in unborn babies. 

    Today, Dr Rossa Chiu is a professor in the department of chemical pathology and Associate Dean for Development at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.  Rossa is determined to detect early cancer, saying "Very often people only learn about their cancer when they start to become unwell". Rossa and her team have translated their learnings from prenatal detection to bring forward the diagnostic timeline for cancer detection in order to save lives via a simple blood test. At any one time, among every one thousand individuals, there are two persons with known cancer, and only fifty percent of cancer patients survive beyond ten years.

    How does Australia's leading cancer researcher keep an eye on IP opportunities while changing diagnostic practices? And why does she consider raising her kids to be the most difficult research project yet?

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  • Two preeminent female professors discuss careers in science and leadership in #STEMM reflecting on what the world needs today. Thanks to #COVID there has never been a better time to be talking about the relevance of research, diversity in science, and the interconnectedness of public health microbial health and climate science. The qualities of resilience and integrity come through strongly and both Professors advocate passionately for ways to see more women leading organisations in #STEMM. 

    Meet Professor Karen Day – the Advanced Life Sciences Award winner in 2015.

    Professor Karen Day is an infectious disease epidemiologist dedicated to improving global public health.  She is a microbe hunter describing the diversity of malaria parasites globally to improve disease surveillance and control. She has extensive international experience leading field programmes in malaria endemic areas of East, West and Southern Africa, India, Southeast Asia, Papua New Guinea and South America. She is a founder of the scientific discipline of malaria genomic epidemiology.  She has a strong track record of mentoring junior scientists.  

    Professor Day is also an experienced educator and academic administrator in medicine and science having held senior leadership posts in universities in the UK, US and Australia. Highlights include being recruited to University of Oxford in 1993 where she was soon promoted to Professor for her scholarship and leadership. She is an Emeritus Fellow of Hertford College, having been one of the first women science “dons” at that College.  

    From 2004-13, Professor Day led the development of interdisciplinary global public health programs as Director of the Institute of Urban and Global Health at New York University. Most recently she has been the Dean of Science at University of Melbourne. Her profile as a manager is a change agent, building new enterprises and restructuring to improve organizational achievement. She now continues her malaria epidemiology research at the University of Melbourne.

    Meet Professor Jill Banfield, the Advance Life Sciences 2020 Award Winner.

    A mineralogist-turned-microbiologist, Professor Jill Banfield has made outstanding contributions to our knowledge of the structure of microbial communities in natural environments and the human body. 

    Her pioneering work created the platform to explore the role of gut bacteria in health and disease in humans. 

    Her contributions to geosciences are also significant, culminating with her recognition by the American Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society and Australian Academy of Science. 

    In addition to being a brilliant and distinguished scientist, Jill is a wise and generous mentor. 

    She has trained many of the up-and-coming stars of her field and has strongly supported their career advancement.

    Born in Armidale, Jill Banfield was educated at the Australian National University where she completed her bachelor's and master's degree, before gaining a PhD in Earth and Planetary Sciences from Johns Hopkins University. 

    Jill was a faculty member between 1990 – 2001 at University of Wisconsin - Madison and University of Tokyo.

    Since 2001, she has been a researcher and professor at the University of California Berkeley with an appointment in the earth and environmental sciences at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 

    Jill leads the Microbial Research initiative within the Innovative Genomics Institute, is affiliated with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and has a position at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

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  • Yong In Cho is a fintech expert, specialising in the payments industry, with deep knowledge of the financial technology market across Asia. Currently the Head of eCommerce for the world’s largest payment service company, @Fiserv, Yong In most recently initiated and managed development of a solution allowing Korean tourists and Korean students to enjoy fee-free credit card transactions in Australia. Yong In is a strong promoter of the ‘Australia’ brand, Yong In credits his post-school education at Sydney TAFE, where he gained a diploma in drafting / CAD design, with preparing him for the fast-paced and ever-changing financial technology industry. He also gives a nod to the Australian #sports culture which allowed him to learn about teamwork and make friendships throughout a broader community. 

    Discussing the social implications for a #cashless economy, Yong In is a generous source of intelligence around fintech policy and regulations, and is passionate about the role trust plays in payment solutions.

    A Korean-born Australian, Yong In Cho has built his financial technology expertise over the last 16 years. Yong In is an active contributor to AustCham Korea, as a Board Member and Mentor for the past seven years. His practical approach to challenges has enabled him to succeed in new product development and implement solutions in new markets.


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  • Professor Bryan Gaensler has stars in his eyes. Literally. Internationally recognised for his groundbreaking work on dying stars, interstellar magnets and cosmic explosions,  it's hard not to rediscover the wonderment of the galactic sky listening to Bryan. Living in Toronto with a  wife who forgives his midnight scribblings and constant curiosity for the magnetism of the universe, Bryan reflects on success, hard work and serendipity. 

    Bryan realised at five that there were questions even his parents didn't know the answers to, and decided to become an Astronomer. He worked hard to back up his choice, but he now recognises that others work just as hard and are not afforded such choice. Bryan believes diversity of minds is critical to understanding the universe, and he is rethinking the way we select, support and skill up underrepresented scientists. Are you intentional in 'becoming the network' for those who need you? Find out more about this lively Australian committed to asking the big questions of the world around us.

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  • Where can a career in big data take you and how do you hold on to the stories that big data can hide? Professor Jenni Evans has leveraged her learnings to tackle some of the world's biggest problems, merging fields of research to find new solutions at the point where disaster threatens to hit. Just as Cyclone Tracey hit Darwin, a love of tropical cyclones hit Professor Jenni Evans when she realised she could bring her skill in mathematics, and a sense of social justice together. 

    Professor Evans says the way we communicate science can remove people from the consequences rather than drive action. The way we communicate catastrophe so often disempowers action. Professor speaks eloquently about bringing people and communities into the science of decisions affecting their lives and homes. And strives to find creative ways to make science approachable for kids, parents, teachers and policy-makers. We hope you enjoy Professor Jenni Evans, a meteorologist and a storm-chaser who brings the science to story, and the story to science.

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  • Dr Susan Graham is intent on tackling the biggest challenges of our day. Learn how her young team of audacious problem-solvers maintain an attitude of persistent positivity while staring down our planet's dramatic loss of biodiversity, and two billion hectares of degraded land. Dr Graham sees this mass degradation as an enormous opportunity. She is intent on solving for the mismatch of scale when it comes to rate of degradation to rate of restoration.

    An entrepreneur from a young age, Susan has learnt to balance urgent action with deep thinking. Studying both medicine and engineering, she says "I wanted to scale beyond my hands." Where engineering has enabled scalable impact – Dendra became not only the first company to ever plant trees with drones, but as well, to dare to undertake species level analytics of complex biodiverse ecosystems –  Australian directness means the team get to the nub of the matter really quickly. There is a compelling tenacity to Susan's confidence to ask 'What's next? How can we change carbon markets?' for example.

    We hope you enjoy this conversation with Dr Susan Graham, and clearly hear her call to action to know that today is our day. Now is the time. The need for each of us to play our best game is urgent.

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  • This week, on our launch episode of the #bornglobal Coffee Pods series, we are joined by NASA's Dr Abigail Allwood as she lands the Perseverance Rover on Mars in real-time. Come behind-the-scenes in a personal interview with this Australian trailblazer.

    Dr Abigail Allwood is not only the first Australian but the first female to lead a Mars mission! As the principal investigator of the most complex mission NASA has ever sent to the Red Planet, Perseverance is specifically tasked with answering the question of whether life ever existed on a planet other than Earth.

    As an @Advance Award winner, Abigail is driven by a passion for science. From her home in California, she wonders how 'thinking like a scientist' can open our minds and reduce our biased worldview right now? Abigail also ponders what we can do to get more girls to imagine having a global (or interplanetary) career in STEM?

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  • Marta Dusseldorp finds it impossible to live in a small world. From an early age she was able to look around corners and see beneath stories. This gutsy and wonderful #coffeepod conversation ranges from self-discipline and dedication to the bravery of sitting in one’s true, authentic self. Underpinning Marta’s learnings is an incredible sense of the responsibility she feels for her work. Marta builds the awareness that we are given a voice to advocate for ourselves and for each other. She notes that the way to bring people along with you is to show why we are driven in our work, rather than filling up conversations with the what.

    As a UNHCR ambassador, Marta lends her stories and her voice to people suffering from global causes in a similar way to the challenging characters she loves to play. Currently, Marta is rehearsing the ground-breaking work exploring domestic violence by Melbourne playwright Angus Cerini. Under her new production label Archipelago Productions, Marta talks about her passion for producing, and the need to amplify conversations and characters that are hidden. ‘The Bleeding Tree’ will be not only a stage show, but with an ABC live screening, a panel discussion, helplines throughout the stream and a safe space for further discussion after the show.

    In giving oneself wholly to one’s work, Marta discusses the need to seperate technology from the rehearsal space. In an interesting parallel for workplaces today, she notes that the absence of technology, increases people’s ability to concentrate, to tap into creativity and imagination. Download, subscribe, hit play and get into a world where change is not only possible, but joyous, daring and rewarding.

    Marta both articulates and embodies the idea that within the coexistence of vulnerability and confidentiality, sits the power of relatability.

    Checkout Marta's latest work here: https://www.theatreroyal.com.au/shows/bleeding-tree

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  • Landing as a refugee in the upperclass Victorian suburb of Brighton from war-torn Somalia, Mariam Issa shares her thoughts on life, love, community and resilience. Take a moment over coffee to see your world through the eyes of an outsider. You may well be surprised at how the trivial becomes pivotal and conversely, how what we see as critical, can be rendered somewhat absurd.

    Mariam interrogates the narratives we tell ourselves and questions who authors our story? She emphasises the tools we need to take back the mastery of our own identity. In looking at the plot lines of the developed world’s women, versus the narrative of the developing world’s women, Mariam wonders about the destruction of Western culture, veiled behind accumulation of material possessions. She suggests the less apparent truth - the loss of communal culture. At a time where harnessing the collective holds great value for workplaces, political movements and community wellbeing, Mariam’s lessons of individual contribution are a rare find.

    While Western culture can be quick to dismiss traditions and rituals from abroad, Mariam argues that each of us must improve our listening skills and retain a childlike curiosity. She argues this place of wonder is what activates our ability to tell stories, and therefore to connect humanity. Mariam says, “If you can host someone in your heart, you can host them in your home.” She believes it is the act of listening that gives the power to the story teller. So activate your ear(pod)s, open up your willingness to learn and enjoy a raw CoffeePod from a phenomenal story-teller.

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  • Life is about choices. Michael Crossland was born fighting for his life and is living proof that adversity is not about what happens to us, but how we deal with it. Still striving for quality of life everyday, Michael is pursued globally to speak to the highest level of leaders, amongst sport, business and education, to empower people to start creating the world they want to live in, today.

    A businessman and elite sportsman, Michael asks, are you a passenger or a pilot? He points out, ‘because there are people in this world that would do anything to have your bad day’. After releasing his first autobiography in 2016, he is now a number 1 bestselling author across 6 different countries. We ask Michael, how do you go about building your resilience, like a muscle, day in and day out?

    Hit play to be inspired. In this utterly compelling coffee conversation, Michael opens up his wealth of knowledge to listeners with the aim helping leaders push through their own barriers to the next level of positive impact. Despite growing up being told only what he could not do, Michael continually shows the world everything that can be achieved if you can just believe that everything’s going to be okay.

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  • Growing up, Genevieve Clay-Smith had a feeling of ‘otherness’ that has fuelled a sense of destiny and driven her to align her creative talent with social justice. Leveraging her experience in acting and directing, Gen pursued the film industry as a force for good, making a decision that instead of striving for recognition as an actress herself, she would work to give people living with disability the opportunity to achieve their (socially invisible) dreams. Winning Australia’s iconic short-film festival, Tropfest, with “Be My Brother”, Gen made headlines, challenging the status quo and smashing stigmas by giving people with disability an alternative to the tragic narrative lens they are too often see through.

    A true game-changer, Gen’s work has been showcased at the United Nations as well as over 200 film festivals and events world-wide. Genevieve is the 2019 National Telstra Business Women's Award, Emerging Leader winner, the 2015 NSW Young Australian of the year and winner of the 2014 100 Women of Influence, Young Leader award. She also took out B&T's 2015 Women in Media award for creative, and won the 2015 Women's Weekly Women of the Future Awards. Needless to say, she is a mover and a shaker and as a part of the team at Taste has developed a new model of ‘creative inclusion’. We hope you enjoy this rare and delightful opportunity to have a coffee date with someone truly transforming lives, industries and audiences. 

    This #coffeepod proves that working inclusively doesn’t slow us down or compromise on quality. In fact, the transformation journey requires diverse inputs to change the narrative and therefore change the system. The operating model of so many creative journeys is founded on uncertainty. Uncertainty in terms of finance, acceptance, sustainability… we explore what it takes to suspend belief in transformation… and emerge successful. Come on the creative journey as we ask Gen how she overcame the loneliness of fighting for a more inclusive culture in the film industry. How long was she able to run her startup ‘Bus Stop Films on passion? And how did she successfully build alliances both in terms of social impact community and corporate supporters to bring her vision of inclusion to life?

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  • Mond Qu is designing a better future through insatiable curiosity. How? It’s not just his ability to blend art and science, or to combine functionality with beauty, Mond Qu is a creative crusader, challenging the processes we live by and revealing the architecture of our choices. The interplay between the digital, the physical and the human.

    Founder of United Make, Mond Qu wears many hats as a designer, narrative animator, and digital craftsman. What happens when a trained architect starts challenges digital architecture? When a designer refuses to use virgin materials and instead makes objects that reduce waste, decrease pollution and repurpose what would otherwise thrown out?

    How can we all embrace our creativity - one of the most sought after skills in the current age? Mond Qu says being creative is not about painting or drawing. It’s about problem-solving in a different way and collaborating with diversity to achieve a new outcome.

    This #coffeepod is infused with tips on being a better collaborator, design-thinker, communicator, and intentional creativity. Come explore the interplay between the digital, the physical and the human. And of course, expect a fair hit of being the change you want to see in the world.

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  • It’s a double shot this week as founders of Project Rockit (www.projectrockit.com.au), sisters Lucy and Rosie Thomas, talk mobilising change, challenging self doubt and creating open-minded global citizens. Rockit is a project and a platform designed to fuel a world for young people where kindness and respect thrive over bullying, hate and prejudice. Lucy and Rosie created the business soon after leaving high school, the idea grew from a strong desire to impact the way we treat each other - online and off - and instigate the formative conversations that seem to be missing from the education system.

    Having both received Order of Australia medals, been named by UNICEF among 12 Digital Champions for Children’s Rights in the Digital Age and sitting on a range of boards including Facebook’s Global Safety Board, the synergy between Lucy and Rosie is matched by the synergy between strategy and creation inherent in Project Rockit. Crystal clear on purpose and focused on the For-Profit Social Enterprise model as key to self-evaluation, market research and relevance, the sisters take the view that young people are experts and have worked with hundreds of thousands of Aussie kids through their school workshops – with no preaching lecturing or judging, just real talk.

    So how are two young entrepreneurs navigating the journey of taking a grass roots social movement to a sustainable, scalable, accountable social enterprise? Over the last 12 years, Project Rockit has become a global business and with it, the ambition to break open the echo chamber and have better conversations around conflicting views only increases. In between growing a team, gathering capability and taking care of each other, staying in close contact with school kids remains paramount. The sisters draw strength from these students “who are sick and tired of bullying and prejudice and want to make their voices heard against it”.

    In this #coffeepod special we cover so much ground with humility, courage and humanity. I’m left feeling utterly elated at the world our young people are striving to create for us all. Listen and learn.

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  • In an honest and vulnerable discussion, Jules takes us back to his roots as a year 9 kid sitting up the back of class, heckling teachers, when one day a future mentor acknowledged him and changed his life forever. Now CEO of TRIBE, the fastest growing self-serving marketplace, Jules is moving from control to intention, perfectionism to purpose and is figuring out how to balance the desire to create something amazing, with the instinct to spend more time with those you love.

    A hit of inspiration and a coffee date for anyone who is wanting to take on the world while nurturing the world inside themselves, Jules uses wise-cracks to crack open powerful truths. As an advocate and contributor of Reach Foundation, Jules learned the value of vulnerability early. Beyond merely talking authentic leadership, Jules moves through the actions he takes everyday to return to a vulnerable place and get clarity and cut through as a leader. There are so many takeaways in this ripper #coffeepod.

    Drink up the sheer determination, dedication and empowerment Jules brings to the table and start designing your life, today…. Oh and checkout an Ikigai map while you’re at it ;)

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  • Grab a #coffeepod on the go with ONTHEGO Sports founder, the dynamic Mick Spencer. Are you ready for action? Mick discusses how as a leader he constantly reinvents himself. He talks passionately about how to get the right people onboard both as investors and employees - and retain them! His advice to leaders wanting to make change is simply to get started, because every single day counts.

    Mick breaks it down: look at what you need to do today but don’t want to do, look at what you want to do but that can wait until tomorrow and finally, look at what is growth related and can make you money. Now go!

    In a world where the biggest barrier to entrepreneurs succeeding is ‘not asking the questions’ - what is the craziest thing you’ve ever asked for? Take a hit of insp today and hear Mick recount his supercharged rise to stardom with all the down-to-earth advice of a startup veteran!

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  • Many of us have a strong sense of our why but struggle with our how. Tami Roos addresses the most powerful how - how to be the best possible version of ourselves. PHD, Best Selling Author, Speaker, Meditation Teacher and Intuitive Healer, Tami Roos was a key catalyst for the mindfulness movement in Australia and correlates science with meditation to enable high performance cultures. When we are all looking for an edge, how are we addressing our own thoughts? Tami Roos talks data as fluidly as feelings.

    By 2020 the biggest issue for governments, world wide, is going to be mental health. We are expecting ourselves to be ‘on’ 24/7 and many of us reach for our phones in the morning before taking a moment to appreciate our partners, our kids, or ourselves. Has digitisation and social media made us more connected? Tami says yes - to our devices. Not to each other. And the result is increased stress and anxiety. How can we start our day as fully charged as our mobile phones? Which habits destroy our wellbeing and what are those that we should we build in to be a better version of ourselves?

    Over this #coffeepod we talk mental state, performance, knowing our inner selves, surrendering to our emotions and being comfortable with constant change. We discuss how showing up and being truly present changes not only the way you react to people, but the way the world reacts to you. In a society obsessed with an idea of perfection, how does honesty affect our personal relationships? When we constantly compare ourselves to others, how can we step out of judgement and into understanding?

    Tami is a renowned thinker, meditation coach and influencer of high performance culture. Grab a coffee with Tami and I, and then take 3 mins afterwards, to experience the compound inourselves...”terest micro moments of stillness can create!

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  • Seeing the world as a kid gave Lucinda Hartley a unique perspective on community, diversity and equality. In today’s coffee date, we hear lessons from a phenomenal entrepreneur driven to be the change she is longing to see in the world. Lucinda talks business model complexity, the evolution of mentors, the reality of whole-of-self and growing a social analytics platform to do justice to the vibrance and power of local community.

    With many business insights to take away, Lucinda dives into creating places for people. What elements must be present for us to structure and create an optimal community in our neighbourhoods, our workplaces, our cities? Lucinda believes that in urban planning, it is critical to acknowledge the existing local community has a lived experience - and therefore expertise - to leverage in change. Learn how we can better uses data to recognise local leadership and inherent behaviours, as well as the ethics and danger of technology if the right voices are not brought to the table.

    Neighbourlytics is one of Australia’s fastest growing urban-tech companies, having now created data for more than 500 neighbourhoods in 10+ countries around the world, as well as being deployed by city-makers to influence major urban development projects - from parks to shopping centres. Lucinda Hartley is a Westpac Scholar and a Myer Fellow and together with co-founder Jessica Christiansen-Franks is leading the conversation on urban innovation globally for more than a decade. Grab your coffee and listen in!

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  • Growing up in the wilds of Patagonia, Gus has always resisted being tamed by the world around him. Gus Balbontin is a true driver of better questions, and holds a healthy disrespect for authority. He has honoured this mindset through landing his dream job as Executive Director and CTO of Lonely Planet.

    These days Gus is dedicated to giving leaders a fresh perspective on problem solving - resisting the inclination to go broad and instead defining challenges as narrowly as possible. Gus is on the board of Startup Victoria and is Director of Above All Human. He currently runs Creative Studio and Innovation agency Roshambo, is the co-founder and partner at Atessa and is the Entrepreneur in Residence and Executive Director of VU Innovations at Victoria University.

    In this episode of Coffee Pods, Gus shares lessons on counter-intuitive leadership, innovation driven by common sense and the importance of knowing that your own truth is incomplete. These valuable learnings can be applied to all business contexts and especially to individuals striving to keep up with the relentless pace of technology.

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  • Paul Roos is a former AFL player and senior coach renowned for breaking with command and control style leadership. Instead, he builds mindfulness, empathy and self-awareness in teams. Paul shares the secrets to success as they apply to the business world, focussing on behaviour rather than outcome, alignment rather than exertion.

    How did a superstar footballer dodge the masculine stereotype to breathe balance and empathy into footy culture? What does he see as the lesson for all leaders in the high pressure 3-4 minute walk from coaching box to change room at the end of the game? And what does he ask of those in a position to impact the lives of others in terms of role modeling?

    In this Coffee Pod conversation, Paul moves beyond talking culture and dives into the day-to-day habits that supercharge action. Share in his vision for future leadership and get ready to show up differently.

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