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!
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Now displaying: February, 2017
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.