Leadership Insights Podcast

Are you a leader or an aspiring leader who truly cares about your organization, people and culture? Then this podcast is for you! We bring you educational, enlightening interviews with today’s most innovative, inspirational leaders. Each episode is filled with inspiring stories, new perspectives and invaluable tools to help you communicate, innovate and lead even more successfully!
RSS Feed
Leadership Insights Podcast






All Episodes
Now displaying: 2017
Oct 10, 2017

“Beginning with the end in mind is always the key.”

If you want to meet a modern Renaissance man, you must hear Jim Kenefick’s interview! Somehow he simultaneously embodies a brilliant entrepreneurial mind, save-the-world convictions, relentlessly adventurous spirit and heart-centered mindfulness. Jim is passionate about his company’s capacity to make a difference - through its socially responsible orientation, client services and internal culture. He collects experiences, reads voraciously, ideates continuously and learns unceasingly from everything that crosses his path. It’s such a dynamic, inspiring conversation, you don’t want to miss it! 

What you'll learn

  • How growing up in New England with a "wooden spoon" shaped Jim’s character
  • What life experiences helped him develop emotional IQ through childhood and college
  • How witnessing his father get laid off from his job ignited Jim’s entrepreneurial spirit
  • Why the seventy days he spent in nature with a college friend were among the top five experiences of his life
  • What Jim learned about running a business from his first venture as a college painter
  • How studying diverse authors from Stephen Covey on goals to Miguel Ruiz on authenticity shaped his thinking and being
  • Jim’s philosophy about not taking things personally and dealing with disappointment with grace, patience and surrender
  • What it means to Jim to be a "B Corp" from transparency to diversity to how you treat your employees
  • Great advice for listeners about hiring people with the right attitudes and mindsets
  • And so much more!

Links & Resources 

  • BetterWorld Telecom – Jim’s “Committed to Tech for Good” company
  • Sparrow Mobile – provider Jim referenced that donates service to someone in need every time you purchase one!
  • Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – classic business book by Stephen Covey Jim referenced in his interview
  • The Four Agreements – another must-read by Don Miguel Ruiz we discuss in the interview
  • Jim Rohn – renowned business and sales expert Jim referenced in his interview
  • B Corporation – website that explains the corporate entity designation BetterWorld has chosen that focuses on the triple bottom line

About Jim Kenefick

Focused primarily in the technology, media and telecom sectors, Jim put his strategic investment and entrepreneurial leadership skills to use serving as managing partner, CEO, Director and impact investor.

  • Completed $250+ million worth of transactions for 8 technology companies in past 5 years
  • Led 3 companies from start-ups to revenue growth of $15, $30 and $70 million, and raised more than $750 million in capital to create companies worth over $750 million in market capital
  • Babson College and MIT Program grad
  • Inc. 500/ Inc. 5000 recipient (multiple years)
  • Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist (twice)
  • Extensive board governance and team-building experience
  • EO (Entrepreneurs Organization) and YPO - international leadership positions for social and environmental enterprises

Specialties: CEO, Strategic Corporate Adviser, Board member, Mentor, Coach. Experienced High Growth Leader

Long Standing Licensed Amateur Radio Operator  


Young President’s Organization (YPO): Past Chairman of the YPO Social Enterprise Network (SEN) – Real Leaders Making a Difference. Created YPO’s International Sustainability Awards / Hall of Frame. Former Chair of YPO International Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) network. Past Washington, DC Chapter Chair and longstanding YPO member.


Aug 15, 2017

“Being a trumpet player in an orchestra taught me what moves and inspires people.”

Michael Sapienza was a world-class orchestra musician traveling and performing around the globe when he discovered that his mom had colon cancer. Not even knowing at first where a colon was located, he dived into research and realized that few resources were available to families affected by this terrible disease.

Incredibly, he decided to channel his grief into action, leaving a successful music career to launch a colon cancer foundation! And, as it turned out, many of the skills Michael acquired in his music career – and supporting his family through his mom’s illness - have helped him tune in (pun intended) as a leader. You must listen to this amazing, inspiring interview!

What you'll learn

  • The amazing story of how a professional world-class orchestra musician touring in Europe and globe-wide ended up running a cancer foundation
  • About a call from his parents that ultimately transformed his life and life mission
  • How Michael launched the Colon Cancer Alliance and asked for his first "big" donation (only to find out he should have asked for more)
  • Fascinating parallels Michael draws between being a musician with having business and non-profit management acumen
  • How to message and draw support for something that's hard to talk about - cancer - to a broader audience
  • Clever and informative ways his organization gets the word out about colon cancer (hint: get screened beginning 45-50 or sooner if you have history of colon cancer in your family)
  • How Michael copes with ongoing exposure to death and supporting others through sickness and grief
  • What Michael learned about building trust, "storming" phase of group development and his growing edges through their merger
  • And so much more!

Links & Resources

About Michael Sapienza 

Michael Sapienza, Chief Executive Officer of The Colon Cancer Alliance, lost his mother to the disease in May of 2009 and served as President and Founder of The Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation from 2010-2015. He has turned his profound grief into action, inspiring and challenging the colorectal cancer community, family, friends and professional associates to follow his lead and dedicate themselves to this cause and the Colon Cancer Alliance mission.

Michael was an integral member of the team that led the effort to merge the Colon Cancer Alliance, and the Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation creating the nation’s largest colon cancer specific nonprofit. Michael is a member of The Ruesch Center for the Cure of GI Cancer’s Advisory board at Georgetown University. In 2014, Michael received three prestigious industry awards; the David Jagelman, MD Award for advocacy in Colorectal Cancer Awareness by the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, the Public Service Award from the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, and the Champion Award from Preventing Colorectal Cancer. He regularly appears on TV, and radio programs throughout the United States to promote the importance of increased funding for colorectal cancer research, and early detection.

Michael holds degrees from both Northwestern University and Rice University and currently resides in the District of Columbia.


Jun 12, 2017

“My North Star is helping people who work with me to become even better than when they started.”

Richard Bynum believes there is nothing better than working in a place that’s completely aligned with your values. As a leader he is passionate about supporting and mentoring others to determine their own values (and value) so they can follow their “North Star”. 

As the new President of the PNC Bank Richard brings a fresh perspective to his organization and industry at a critical time in history. In this dynamic, informative interview Richard shares what it’s been like to undergo this transition; his views on a diverse, inclusive workplace; being one of the first African American bank presidents in the banking community and so much more!

What you'll learn

  • How constantly moving as a child influenced Richard's belief in diversity of perspectives
  • Why it's crucial to explain your "why" as a leader and how to help people get engaged with it
  • That Richard's "North Star" as a leader is to help develop other leaders
  • Importance of helping emerging leaders find their own true North, even when it's not aligned with your own
  • Strategies for handling difficult conversations with people we lead
  • How to make sure you have the right support systems mentoring and challenging you along the way
  • How Richard has successfully transitioned into his role with support by his legendary predecessor Mike Harreld
  • Richard's perspective on a diverse, inclusive workplace and being one of the first African American bank presidents in the banking community
  • Importance of making company values tangible and actionable and authentically present in company decision making
  • How Richard equates importance of diversifying organizations similarly to the common wisdom of diversifying an investment portfolio
  • How to get back on-course with our North Star even when we meander off

Links & Resources

  • PNC – the bank Richard leads
  • Simon Sinek video – amazing TED talk by renowned author and thought leader articulating the importance of beginning any endeavor with our “why”
  • Doug Fruehling interview – previous Leadership Insights episode we referenced

About Richard Bynum 

Richard was named regional president of PNC Bank (Greater Washington) in early 2017. Prior to his current role, he was a member of PNC’s retail executive leadership team leading its small business division. Before that he served as the greater Washington Retail Market Executive from 2010-14. He was responsible for consumer & small business sales within the greater Washington area including nearly 200 store locations and more than 1,000 employees. 

Prior to coming to Washington, Richard was the Chief Operating Officer for the small business banking group where led the sales force operating platform for hundreds of small business bankers across the 18 markets where PNC has an active retail presence. He began his career with PNC in 2005 in their Executive Leadership Program. During that time at PNC, Richard played key roles in launching businesses and initiatives focused on revenue growth, strengthening the brand, increasing the engagement of employees and fostering innovation throughout PNC.

Prior to joining PNC, Richard had a 12-year career as a senior manager for the American Red Cross. His last role with the organization was as the managing director for disaster response & emergency communications at the Chicago chapter. During his career, he was an operations director for the Kosovo Refugee Operation as well as the September 11th effort in New York.

Richard has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at the Northwestern University and an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Florida State University. He is also a graduate of the Consumers Bankers Association Graduate School of Retail Bank Management.

Richard is currently a member of 100 Black Men of Washington DC. Prior to moving into the area, he served as a board member for the Mattress Factory Art Museum and the Thelma Lovette YMCA branch; both in Pittsburgh, PA as well as Youth Service Project, a small not-for-profit in Chicago, IL. He and his wife, Evelyn, live in Springfield, VA with their two children.


May 8, 2017

“As leaders we have to examine ourselves, our own beliefs, and those structures and systems that perpetuate racial inequity”

Tamara Copeland is a powerhouse of a leader who courageously and tirelessly uses her voice and professional platform to tackle one of the most challenging and charged social issues today - racism!

Tamara’s commitment to racial equity surged when Trayvon Martin was killed. Her son AJ was roughly his age; he could have been Trayvon! In this incredibly powerful, informative conversation Tamara shares her passion for racial equity and offers sage advice for how each of us can become more educated, stronger allies and advocates in this crucial social movement!

What you'll learn

  • Stories about Tamara’s upbringing and traits she inherited from her parents
  • Lessons in compassion and social system functions (and lack thereof!) Tamara learned from her first job as a food stamp technician
  • Why mentoring in social services is so crucial for young professionals to enhance their skills and sense of empathy
  • Why Tamara doesn't like defining her sector as "nonprofit" and how thinking of it as "social profit" better acknowledges its value to society
  • Poignant examples of structural racism and unconscious bias and their impact on individuals and communities, including the philanthropic
  • How tragic deaths of Travon Martin and Freddy Gray – and Tamara’s reflections about her own son - inspired WRAG’s body of work "Putting Racism on the Table"
  • How Meyer Foundation's Nicky Goren helped shape the conversation by quoting John Gardner "first step in leadership is not action, it's understanding"
  • Ways leaders can begin to use our power and voices – in whatever communities we live and lead - to create more inclusive environments and help overcome bias
  • Importance to take time to read, learn, study and try to understand "others" that we may not have had exposure to in our past lives
  • And so much more!

Links & Resources

About Tamara Copeland

Tamara joined the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers in September 2006.  In this position, she leads a staff committed to promoting and supporting effective and responsible philanthropy across Northern Virginia, suburban Maryland and the District of Columbia.  Over the course of this time, Tamara has become one of the key spokespeople for philanthropy with her blog, A Voice from Philanthropy.  Currently, the organization is leading three major initiatives, Our Region, Your Investment focused on ensuring more affordable housing in the region; the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility in partnership with Johns Hopkins University and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation; and a dynamic exploration of race called “Putting Racism on the Table.”  An op ed that she authored on why she feels this is not a post-racial America was featured in the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Before this position, she served as the President of Voices for America’s Children for almost 10 years.  Many believe that her vision and leadership were instrumental in transforming what was the National Association of Child Advocates, an association focused solely on supporting state and locally based child advocacy organizations into Voices for America’s Children, a national advocacy organization with member groups in almost every state in the country.

Prior to joining Voices, Tamara was Director of the National Health & Education Consortium. She also worked on Capitol Hill for Congressman Bobby Scott as Legislative Director and chief advisor on health, human services and education issues. Before that she was the Director of the Southern Regional Project on Infant Mortality, an initiative of the Southern Governors' Association and the Southern Legislative Conference. She also understands state government, having been Director of the Office of Prevention of the Virginia Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services and Deputy Director of the Virginia Division for Children.  Tamara serves on several boards and is a member of the 2004 class of Leadership Greater Washington.

She received her B.A. in Sociology from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia and her M.S.W. from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.


Apr 17, 2017

“You can either fight characteristics millennials bring to the workplace or you can harness and direct them”

Sam started her leadership journey early in life when she was elected to be a mayor of a fictional town in a high school program. A testament to her wisdom and brilliance from the start, Sam struggled with and over time learned what it takes to build alliances and support networks, make unpopular decisions and empower others to want to follow.

In this incredibly dynamic, informative episode Sam shares specific tips and strategies on how to lead a high functioning, connected, happy workplace; build a strong culture based on authentic expression of values; and naturally harness the talents, strengths and tendencies of the newest and fastest-growing generation of workers, the millennials!

What you'll learn

  • How Sam's small town upbringing has influenced her personality and perspective
  • How being elected as a mayor of a fictional city in high school shaped her thinking about leadership and her identity as a leader
  • Importance of connecting with like minded and like hearted leaders and ones who are completely different and stretch our thinking
  • Crucial elements of building a happy, connected, high-performance organizational culture
  • Importance of articulating and intentionally living organizational values and empowering employees to take the lead
  • Four questions to assess alignment with organizational values: do you hire for them; fire for them; make decisions based on them; are they expressed in your space?
  • How to avoid "cultural waterboarding" in your organization (and what that means so you definitely don’t do it!)
  • Characteristics of millennials and how to harness and direct them as a leader
  • How to help channel millennials’ intelligence and drive to benefit the company and the individual employees
  • Tips and strategies for helping to grow employees in environments with modest budgets and resources
  • How to help employees fulfill their professional destiny by being honest about their strengths and weaknesses from the beginning
  • What we can learn about firing people from a nun (really, it’s a great story!)
  • And so much more!

Links & Resources

  • Social Tables – Sam’s awesome company
  • Motley Fool – Sam’s former company known for its great organizational culture
  • Delivering Happiness – fantastic book about developing value-centered organizational culture by Zappos founder Tony Hsieh
  • The Alliance – book Sam recommended about managing talent
  • Leadership Greater Washington – incredible networking organization for leaders in the D.C. area Sam and I belong to (and yes, you have heard it referenced in another episode or 10 ;)

About Sam Cicotello

Sam Cicotello is an expert in organizational development and corporate culture. She is currently Vice President of People Operations at Social Tables, a DC incubated startup and was previously at The Motley Fool for more than a decade. She speaks frequently on the topics of corporate culture and the importance of happy employees.

Sam’s career began as an intern at The White House in 1996 (where she is grateful not to have had access to the West Wing).  She cut her teeth in business working as a non-profit fundraising consultant with Adams Hussey & Associates where she served several large national clients and developed expertise in marketing, analytics and membership retention.

In 2003, Sam was recruited by The Motley Fool as a marketing manager. During her tenure, she was asked to lead several different teams within the company to maximize collaboration and data-driven results. Given her broad business background, she was ultimately surprised to find herself working on the HR/People team as the Chief Learning Officer. It was in this role that she began to see the deep business value of investing in organizational excellence.

As the CLO, she identified the needs of individuals to develop top talent for the future success of the organization. She was responsible for facilitating learning throughout the company and led the fellowship program to develop dozens of high-potential employees identified as future leaders. While in this role she was able to meet with and learn from some of the most amazing business leaders in the country including Jack Welch, Steve Wynn, Elon Musk, Tony Hsieh, Ari Weinzweig, Jeff Weiner, and John Mackey.

Sam was added to The Motley Fool’s innovative approach to culture development including core values, performance management, compensation, recruiting and onboarding and was fortunate to be surrounded by innovative coworkers that helped her get to “yes” on people ideas.

In 2015, she went to Social Tables to expand her expertise. Over the past two years, she has helped to more than double the size of the business (in both headcount and revenue) and is managing a workforce composed of young and energetic employees (over 90% millennials). She currently manages all aspects of Human Resources.

Sam has been recognized with awards from the Washington Business Journal (Women Who Mean Business) and SmartCEO (Corporate Executive) and has been quoted in The Washington Post, HR Magazine, USA Today, Human Resources IQ, SmartCEO, and the Washington Business Journal.  She has also appeared on CNN and CNBC and presented a much-acclaimed TED talk on Reinventing the Workplace.

Originally from Tennessee, Sam attended Vanderbilt University and now resides in Washington, DC with her husband and two energetic children.


Mar 28, 2017

“We train young people to recognize their power and advocate for themselves.”

Adam Levner mission is to do nothing short of creating a new generation of social advocates and leaders! Growing up feeling excluded from his community Adam has created a movement to inspire, empower and train young people to advocate for themselves and their communities through photography.     

In this dynamic, insightful interview Adam shares incredible stories of how even the youngest leaders have helped transform their communities and strategies for how all of us can become even more effective in creating social, systemic and institutional change!

What you'll learn

  • How Adam transformed a childhood experience of exclusion – and a bit of a Napoleon complex - into a career centered on helping and empowering others
  • What he learned about self-advocacy from forgoing an AmeriCorps opportunity
  • What compelled Adam and his co-founder to launch Critical Exposure
  • How Adam’s students’ very first campaign generated additional $100 million in school funding
  • Strategies for cultivating change agents and civic leaders at any age
  • How stories can be told and shared in a way that help transform communities and movements
  • Short and long-term, locally and nationally focused strategies for advocacy efforts
  • Why it's important for individuals and organizations to collaborate and pool strengths for the greatest social impact
  • How we can sometimes empower others by saying "I don't know the answers"
  • And so much more!

Links & Resources

  • Critical Exposure – amazing nonprofit Adam co-founded to cultivate a new generation of civic leaders through photography.
  • Lisa LaFontaine episode referenced in this interview.
  • Article about the Critical Exposure student Adam references whose incredible photojournalistic efforts have been recognized by national media. 

About Adam Levner

Adam co-founded Critical Exposure in 2004. Previously, Adam worked as a fifth grade teacher in Virginia, a community organizer in Prince George's County, MD, an education consultant for the Center for Community Change, and a freelance photographer. Adam attended Tufts University and received a Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate from Georgetown University. He is member of Leadership Greater Washington and a founding board member of Morganizing for Change. Adam is a frequent presenter on topics related to nonprofit management and gave a TED talk titled, "Stories Aren't Enough: Connecting Youth Voices to Action" at TEDxFoggyBottom. 


Feb 15, 2017

“Don't ever think that your biggest adversity can't be turned into your greatest gift”

When Lisa says that anyone can do *anything* she knows this to be true from personal experiences. After a horrific car accident she was told she’d never walk again or have children. Through sheer determination and months of hard work Lisa managed to heal her body and defy her doctor’s dire predictions!

Then in her late 30s, as a successful communications executive, Lisa’s life (and career) path took another sudden turn. Her young daughter was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome that seriously affected her daily functions, including sleep. An unexpected healer came to the rescue, persnickety Merlin-the-cat. Witnessing her daughter’s life transform thanks to this incredible bond, Lisa left her corporate job and became an evangelist for helping animals!

In this amazing interview you’ll get to know a leader who has conquered extraordinary adversities with grace, grit and determination to become an incredible force for good in the world! You do not want to miss this moving, inspiring episode!

What you’ll learn

  • How Lisa went from not even owning a pet until her late 30s to running a leading animal rescue organization
  • Fantastic story of how she fought for her first dream job and won
  • How Lisa’s father’s support and guidance has helped shape her character and leadership path
  • Incredible story of how her quirky cat Merlin helped her daughter cope with Tourette’s Syndrome
  • What being in a debilitating car accident and bedridden for three months taught Lisa about life and the power of determination
  • How Lisa affirms and instills the sense of power and empowerment in her staff
  • Tips for creating an organizational culture that balances growth an new programs with ability to pivot in emergencies
  • Strategies for ensuring a successful organizational merger
  • And so much more!

Links & Resources 

About Lisa LaFontaine

Lisa LaFontaine is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Humane Rescue Alliance (HRA), this area’s premier animal welfare organization. HRA was created when two iconic predecessors—the Washington Humane Society (WHS) and the Washington Animal Rescue League (WARL)—came together to form a single more powerful voice for animals. With this historic union, Washington, DC, becomes the only major urban area in the country that has all of its animal protection programs and services—from medical services and adoptions to animal control and humane law enforcement—unified in one organization.

Lisa’s experience and accomplishments in the animal welfare field are a testament to her compassion and commitment and have prepared her well for the challenge of heading up such a unique organization. She left a successful career in publishing after having what she describes as a personal epiphany. Her young daughter, who was diagnosed with Turrets syndrome, had trouble sleeping at night. A counselor advised having one of the family cats, to whom Lisa’s daughter was very attached, sleep with her. This cat, who had never been interested in sleeping on anyone’s bed, willingly curled up with her, helping bring her the sense of calm she needed to sleep. Lisa recalls thinking first that there had never been an animal like this cat and then that perhaps other people felt the same sense of connection with their companion animals. Her commitment to animals and their well-being was born.

As CEO of New Hampshire’s Monadnock Humane Society, Lisa spearheaded a successful capital campaign that resulted in construction of a new, state-of-the-art animal welfare facility and an expanded endowment fund for the organization. In 2007 she was hired as President and CEO by the Washington Humane Society, where she significantly increased the live release rate for animals from one of the lowest to one of the highest in the country. She also advocated for greater animal protection through innovative programs and changes in law and built critical relationships with DC’s diverse interests and communities on behalf of animals in need.

Lisa worked closely with the senior staff and Boards of Directors of both WHS and WARL to lay the groundwork for a new, combined organization that would not just be larger but would also be more powerful, one that could accomplish more for both animals and people. The Humane Rescue Alliance is the result of that collaboration.    

Given her personal and professional devotion to animals, Lisa is dedicated to the vision of a community where there is a loving home for every unwanted animal, affordable medical care for every sick and injured animal, an end to animal abuse and cruelty, and stronger bonds between animals and people through education and training. She believes that the Humane Rescue Alliance can bring that vision to fruition.

When not advocating for the animal community at large, Lisa shares her life and home with her husband, Matt Kayhoe; Sazzy, their pit bull; cats Crystal, Gregory Xavier Pibb, and Harold; and an ever-rotating and always welcomed family of foster animals. She serves as Vice Chairman of the DC Board of Veterinary Examiners and is a proud member of SAWA (the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators).



Feb 1, 2017

If you want to witness a leader’s passion and authentic expression at its fullest, you must hear Nicole Quiroga’s interview! A daughter of Latino immigrants, Nicole grew up in a warm, affectionate, emotive household and built her career at a company that helps her stay connected to her roots. Her leadership style is a beautiful blend of passion, kindness, creativity and a dash of Latin flare!

In this super dynamic, energizing, candid interview Nicole shares what it can be like for kids from bilingual, bicultural homes to transition to the “real world”; tips for leaders managing multicultural workplaces; guidance for social change organizations on how to partner with the media; and so much more!

What you’ll learn:

  • What it was like for Nicole to grow up in loving, passionate, protective Latino immigrant family
  • How she navigates the line between warmth and affection of her culture and professional boundaries of standard workplaces
  • How Nicole has worked to overcome being "too nice"
  • What it's like to balance emotions and intellect as a leader when you lean more naturally towards emotions
  • Strategies Nicole employs to sharpen her organization, focus and planning skills
  • Who are the leaders she most admires and what she learns from them
  • What Nicole considers her mission and greatest responsibility to the Latino community as the leader of Telemundo
  • Recommendations for hiring and working with the Hispanic market
  • Specific strategies for nonprofits to reach out and gain media support and partnership
  • Moving stories of how Telemundo has impacted causes and organizations serving women

Links & Resources

About Nicole Quiroga 

Nicole Quiroga, a native of Washington DC, is the General Manager of Telemundo WZDC-25 in Washington D.C. and Telemundo WZTD-45 in Richmond, VA.  In her position, Ms. Quiroga predicts market trends, sets budgets and performance expectations, ensures station compliance with FCC requirements and has overall responsibility for maintaining and growing the profitability of both stations.

Ms. Quiroga is a television broadcaster with expertise in media sales, journalism, multi-cultural marketing, and strategic planning.   She is deeply passionate about educating and empowering Washington DC’s Latino community and, over her 15 years at Telemundo, has forged strategic partnerships with community and corporate organizations which allow her to execute outreach campaigns that provide Hispanic families access to critical information and resources.

Ms. Quiroga is highly experienced in the planning, financing and executing of local and national campaigns that focus on the advancement of Latinos in the U.S., to include Hispanic-targeted trade shows, grassroots events and over-the-air initiatives. Her most recent success was the launch of Agenda, a local public affairs television program produced in partnership with ABC7/News Channel 8.

A sales trainer and speaker, Nicole is frequently invited to speak on topics such as selling to the Hispanic market, increasing sales through cross-cultural communications, and harnessing the power of Latinos now and in the future.

Ms. Quiroga mentors young women on their journey to becoming executives in the fields of media, communications and journalism.  She works with the National Hispana Leadership Institute and the Latino Student Fund to provide one-on-one coaching and tutoring sessions to young girls and women between the ages of 12-25.

Nicole holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Marketing from the University of Maryland. She is a graduate of the Leadership Greater Washington Executive Program, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government Leadership Program and the National Hispana Leadership Institute. She holds leadership positions at the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Latino Student Fund and the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy.  In 2014, Ms. Quiroga received Governor Martin O’Malley’s Outstanding Media Award, the Women Who Mean Business Award from the Washington Business Journal and the Public Service Leadership Award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation.


Jan 11, 2017

“If you're the smartest person in the room you're in the wrong room” - Catherine Meloy

Catherine Meloy firmly believes that if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room! She was a successful broadcasting executive when she got the call (literally) to serve as the fearless leader of Good Will. That call - along with her brilliance, commitment and passion - has helped transform countless lives in the greater Washington community and beyond. And in the debate of whether the heart or the head should prevail, Catherine uncompromisingly choses to lead with both!

In this inspiring interview Catherine shares wonderful stories of her parents instilling in her the values of discipline, love and faith. You’ll learn why she refuses to ever be the smartest person in the room and empowers her staff to help translate her lofty 5-year vision into reality. And the ways she strives to learn and grow as a leader, manager and businessperson despite being on top of her game (just read her incredible bio!)

I know you’ll find Catherine’s interview riveting and inspiring!

What you’ll learn:

  • How growing up with a disciplinarian Marine dad and unconditionally loving mom shaped Catherine's identity
  • Why Catherine considers discipline to be the number one attribute in business and the daily habits that help her maintain discipline and focus
  • Catherine's approach to email and boundaries that help her and her team reset weekly
  • How asking "What was really important a year ago?” or “What did I lose sleep over a month ago?" can help stay focused on a bigger picture perspective
  • Fantastic story of why and how she made the leap from broadcasting to leading Good Will
  • Why having a strong brand for any organization is so crucial
  • Advice for mission-oriented leaders on learning important business skills and how to make the time for the learning and professional development
  • How Catherine's spiritual faith informs her leadership style and even culture of Good Will
  • How declaring your values and priorities as a leader creates greater accountability for yourself
  • What Catherine considers to be her growing edges
  • And so much more! 

Links & Resources

  • Good Will – Catherine’s incredible organization whose mission is to transform lives and communities through the power of education and employment.
  • Greater Washington Board of Trade – networking and organization in the D.C. area Catherine recommends for their great educational programs. Having been a member I agree!
  • Global Leadership Summit – “Fresh, actionable and inspiring leadership content” conference Catherine raved about
  • Leadership Greater Washington – amazing D.C. area networking and educational organization Catherine and I are both love and support. PSA: LGW is accepting applications for the next signature program class due in early April 2017.

About Catherine Meloy 

Catherine Meloy is the President and CEO of Goodwill of Greater Washington (Goodwill). Catherine Meloy serves as President and CEO of Goodwill of Greater Washington and the Goodwill Excel Center. She was selected in 2003 by the Goodwill Board of Trustees as a proven business leader who could dramatically extend the reach and vitality of the organization and enable it to serve an even broader segment of the disabled and disadvantaged community.

Prior to joining Goodwill of Greater Washington, Catherine had a successful 20 year management career in the radio industry.

With Catherine’s leadership, Goodwill has grown to over 800 associates; 15 retail stores; annual revenues of $42M, which include nine government janitorial contracts. In further serving and expanding the mission of Goodwill, the first adult diploma charter high school has been granted by the DC Public Charter School Board to Goodwill to open in the fall of 2016 under the title of the Goodwill Excel Center.

Catherine’s involvement in the greater Washington community includes:

  • Board of Directors, Greater Washington Board of Trade
  • Board of Directors, Federal City Council
  • Board of Directors, DC Chamber of Commerce
  • Board of Directors of MedStar Health
  • Board of Directors of SourceAmerica
  • Member of the DC Workforce Investment Council
  • Member of the Northern Virginia Workforce Investment Board
  • In January 2016, Catherine was elected to the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

Catherine is a recipient of the Greater Washington Board of Trade’s “Leader of the Years Award“; was honored by Washingtonian Magazine as “Washingtonian of the Year“; was inducted into the American Marketing Association-DC Chapter Hall of Fame and was highlighted as a Most Admired CEO by Smart CEO Magazine for her successful organizational turnaround of Goodwill of Greater Washington.

She and her husband, David, who is President of Merit Hotels, live in Annapolis, Maryland and have three grown children.