Work and Life with Stew Friedman


Ep 208. Jason Harris: The Soulful Art of Persuasian

Jason Harrisis is CEO of the creative agency Mekanism, which has been named to Ad Age's Agency A-list and twice to their Best Places to Work. He’s the author of a recent book called The Soulful Art of Persuasion. Jason works closely with brands using a blend of soul and science to create provocative campaigns that engage audiences. Those iconic brands include Peloton, Ben & Jerry's, MillerCoors, HBO, and the United Nations. He’s been named in the Top 10 Most Influential Social Impact Leaders, as well as the 4A's list of "100 People Who Make Advertising Great." His methods are studied in cases at Harvard Business School.In this episode, Stew talks with Jason about building a trusting workplace culture and strengthening your reputation and your market power through persuasion, though Jason’s take on persuasion is not what most people think about when they picture what it means to be persuasive. He demonstrates with enlightening examples how the ability to persuade -- which we need in all parts of our lives -- results from being original, generous, empathetic, and soulful. And he provides super-practical tips for how to cultivate these qualities.Here then is an invitation for you, a challenge, after you’ve had a chance to listen to this episode: What might you try to say or do that would reveal more of yourself to others, whether at work or in some other part of your life, and thereby build greater trust in your world? Share your reactions and your suggestions for future episodes with Stew by writing to him at or via LinkedIn.

Ep 207. Liya Shuster-Bier: Alula is Making Cancer Less Lonely

Liya Shuster-Bier is the founder and CEO of Alula, a radically honest platform for cancer patients, caregivers, and survivors. She is a cancer survivor herself. Prior to Alula, Liya built a career in community development and impact investing, partnering with mayors and governors across the country to create innovative financing solutions that improved community outcomes. She started her career at Goldman Sachs, on the corporate currency derivatives team. In addition to receiving her MBA in Entrepreneurial Management from The Wharton School, where she was a student in Stew’s Total Leadership course, Liya is a proud Dartmouth alum, a native of Queens, NY, and an immigrant.In this episode, Stew talks with Liya about the story of her experience as a caregiver during her mother’s fight against cancer and about her own journey from the discovery of her own cancer to her current life as a survivor. With compelling examples, Liya vividly describes the trials and tribulations -- the physical, social, economic, and emotional challenges -- of living with cancer and how she realized, because she felt lost, the need for a resource that could help people with cancer and their caregivers deal with the realities of the world beyond hospitals. Liya talks about Alula’s mission, it’s fast-growing number of partnerships with product and service providers as well as investors, and how her company’s culture is focused on sustaining the real lives of all its stakeholders. Hers is an inspiring leadership story of how you can transmute an excruciating pain in your life into something of value to others.Here then in an invitation for you, if you or someone you care about is struggling with how to treat and survive cancer: Explore and find help.Share your reactions and suggestions for future episodes with Stew by writing to him at or via LinkedIn.

Ep 206. Erica Dhawan: Digital Body Language

Erica Dhawan is author of Digital Body Language: How to Build Trust and Connection No Matter the Distance. She is also the Founder and CEO of Cotential, a global organization that helps companies, leaders, and managers leverage 21st century collaboration skills and behaviors to improve performance. She’s also co-author of the bestselling Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence. She was named by Thinkers50 as “The Oprah of Management Ideas” and featured as one of the Top 20 Management Experts around the world by GlobalGurus. She has degrees from Harvard University, MIT Sloan, and The Wharton School, where she took Stew’s Total Leadership course. (And when he wasn’t able to receive in person the Thinkers50 award for distinguished achievement in the field of talent, he asked Erica to do so on his behalf -- they’ve been friends for a long time.)In this episode, Stew talks with Erica about her latest book, written before the pandemic but even more important now that so many are working almost entirely in the virtual world. She shares lots of practical advice on such matters as when to write in all caps, with whom to use emojis, how to negotiate ambiguous time-to-respond issues, how to respond to passive aggressive emails, a method for analyzing your digital body language style, and more.Here then, is an invitation, a challenge, for you, once you’ve listened to the conversation: Pause after drafting your next email, before you send it, and think for a moment about the emotional reaction you expect from the recipient. Does this suggest a change in what you wrote? Share your reactions to this idea, this episode, and suggestions for future episodes with Stew by writing to him at or via LinkedIn.

Ep 205. Katy Milkman: The Science of How to Change

Katy Milkman is an award-winning behavioral scientist and the James G. Dinan Professor at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She hosts Charles Schwab’s popular behavioral economics podcast Choiceology and is the co-founder and co-director of The Behavior Change for Good Initiative, a research center at the University of Pennsylvania with the mission of advancing the science of lasting behavior change. This work is being chronicled by Freakonomics Radio. Katy has worked with or advised dozens of organizations on how to spur positive change, including Google, the U.S. Department of Defense, the American Red Cross, 24 Hour Fitness, Walmart and Morningstar.In this episode, Stew talks with Katy about her new book, How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. Katy shares her very practical advice about how to craft a way to get things done that is tailored to your own particular stumbling blocks whether it is failure to launch, impulsivity, procrastination, forgetfulness, laziness, lack of self-confidence, or a desire to conform to expectations. Katy describes some of her book’s evidence-based strategies for overcoming these obstacles to change -- strategies such as temptation-bundling, commitment devices, and cues -- and when and how to use them to increase your chances of successfully implementing change in your life.Here then, is an invitation, a challenge, for you, once you’ve listened to the conversation. Think of something you’d like to change but haven’t yet and come up with a temporal link to your actually doing so by defining your starting time as a fresh start or reset in the creation of a new definition of who you are. Share your reactions to this idea, this episode, and suggestions for future episodes with Stew by writing to him at or via LinkedIn.

Ep 204. Jordan Shapiro: How to Be a Feminist Dad

Jordan Shapiro is the author of Father Figure: How to Be a Feminist Dad. He is a senior fellow for the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and Nonresident Fellow in the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution. His previous book, The New Childhood: Raising Kids To Thrive in a Connected World, focused on parenting and screen time. During the week, you can find him in the classroom at Temple University, where he teaches in the Intellectual Heritage Program and developed the online version of the university's core curriculum.In this episode, Stew talks with Jordan about fatherhood in the modern world and the dilemmas fathers face at work and at home, stigmas that undermine divorced fathers, why patriarchy is harmful to men and to women, the importance of being a feminist, and what it takes to become a feminist dad -- critical consciousness, responsive fathering, removing locker-room gender essentialism, and rigorous inclusivity. Jordan offers practical advice on how fathers can adopt these principles in their lives, thereby liberating themselves and giving their children the love, support, and guidance their children need to thrive.Here then, fathers, is an invitation, a challenge, just for you, once you’ve listened to the conversation. What can you do to demonstrate to your children a commitment to rigorous inclusivity and what, if you did so, would you expect to be the result for your children’s lives? Share your reactions to this episode and ideas for future episodes with Stew by writing to him at or via LinkedIn.

Ep 203. Joann Lublin: How Executive Mothers Navigate Work and Life

Joann Lublin was management news editor for The Wall Street Journal until she retired in April 2018, and she is still a regular Journal contributor. She shared a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for stories about corporate scandals and was awarded the 2018 Lifetime Achievement from the Loeb Awards, the highest accolade in business journalism. Her new book -- Power Moms: How Executive Mothers Navigate Work and Life -- explores the emotional and professional challenges women face as they try to move forward in their careers while raising a family. She’s also the author of Earning It: Hard-Won Lessons from Trailblazing Women at the Top of the Business World.In this episode, Stew talks with Joann about what she learned about what it takes to find harmony among the different parts of life from her own personal experience and from interviewing trailblazing women in her own cohort (Boomers, that is), their daughters, and executives who are mothers now. She describes the profound shifts that have occurred across the generations -- in technology, gender roles, and workplace expectations -- and how they have created new pathways for men and women. They discuss practical ideas for how to overcome the guilt that still hurts working mothers, the critical skills mothers develop that are of real value to their business and career success, and how a marriage contract can be a boon to a more egalitarian world.Here then is an invitation, a challenge, for you, once you’ve listened to the conversation. What small step can you take to reduce the guilt that a working mother in your life -- perhaps it’s you -- currently feels about her choices? Share your reactions to this episode and ideas for future episodes with Stew by writing to him at or via LinkedIn.

Ep 201. Tsedal Neeley: Remote Work Revolution

Tsedal Neeley is the Naylor Fitzhugh Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, an accomplished scholar and author, and award-winning teacher. Her new book, Remote Work Revolution: Succeeding from Anywhere, could not have arrived at a more auspicious moment. Her previous book, The Language of Global Success: How a Common Tongue Transforms Multinational Organizations, chronicles the behind-the-scenes globalization process of a company over the course of five years. Tsedal has also published extensively in leading scholarly and practitioner-oriented outlets about virtual work and large scale change. Her HBS case, “Managing a Global Team: Greg James at Sun Microsystems”, is one of the most used cases worldwide on the subject of virtual work.In this episode, Stew talks with Tsedal about the pros and cons of remote work -- for performance, well-being, and relationships in all parts of our lives -- and what we’ve learned about these pushes and pulls during the disorienting world of the pandemic. Drawing on research evidence across a number of fields, Tsedal describes tools any organization or individual can use to learn to thrive in remote work and offers insights about what the future of work will look like. Stew and Tsedal both talked about the great Richard Hackman’s profound influence on their research and teaching.Here then is an invitation, a challenge, for you, once you’ve listened to the conversation. How can you use relaunching as a tool for improving the effectiveness of a team with which you are involved? Share your reactions to this episode and ideas for future episodes with Stew by writing to him at or via LinkedIn.

Ep 200. Darby Saxbe: What Happens to Us When We Become Parents?

Darby Saxbe is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Southern California’s David and Dana Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Darby has two principle, interrelated lines of research: the impact of family environments and family transitions on parents and the impact of family environments on children. Her ongoing Hormones Across the Transition to Childrearing (HATCH) study, funded in 2016 by a five-year CAREER award from the National Science Foundation, follows first-time expectant parents from pregnancy across the first year postpartum in order to understand the factors that predict successful adjustment to parenthood. She has a bachelor’s degree in English and Psychology from Yale University, and a PhD in Clinical Psychology from UCLA.In this episode, Stew talks with Darby about the implications of her research on what happens to men and women when they become parents, how the quality of marital relationships affect children, the importance of social support for new parents, how the pandemic has affected parents, the tendency for American mothers to assume they must shoulder rather than share burdens, and more.Here then is an invitation, a challenge, for you, once you’ve listened to the conversation. What can you do to provide support for a new parent in your life? And how, by doing so, would you be enriching yourself? Share your reactions to this episode and ideas for future episodes with Stew by writing to him at or via LinkedIn.