The Discovery Pod is now on Season 7! Douglas Nelson shares what the show has in store with the new Director of Communications at The Discovery Group, Alex Wilson. They give us a sneak peek at episodes featuring leaders in the social profit sector, prominent authors and professors, and tech founders who brought tremendous value to society. They also look back on the lessons from past seasons, emphasizing how The Discovery Pod has become a platform for social impact leaders to grow while changing the world.
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I am thrilled to be joined this season by our new Director of Communications at The Discovery Group, Alex Wilson. Alex, welcome to the show.
Thank you so much, Doug. We are here now on Season Seven, which is so exciting. Now you have a co-pilot.
Podcast co-pilot, here we go.
What I’m really looking forward to is sharing these conversations with our community. We have such a great lineup of guests this season. We’re speaking with leaders working in the social profit sector, but we’re also venturing out a bit and talking to experts who support the sector or work adjacent to it. We have a well-known author and a professor on the show. We have a tech founder who has created an app for social profits. We have founders of a social enterprise, which was born out of a social profit, and many more. These conversations are really meaningful. I’m looking forward for our audience to be able to listen to them and learn from the guests that we’ve been talking to.
It has been great conversations. One of the questions I’m often asked is, “Do you have a favorite episode for Season Seven?” A lot of them stood out to me, but I really enjoyed hearing the story behind the Orange Shirt Day movement. Phyllis Webstad, the Founder, spoke from a place of raw emotion. It was very moving for me, and I think it will be for our audience as well.
I also like the conversation we had with some founders. It’s been interesting to hear how they transition the skills and experience that they got from working in the social profit sector into such a successful social enterprise. I’m also excited that we’ve got a number of guests on this season that are focused on the new Canadian newcomers to Canada, experience, and supporting immigrants to Canada, some great stories, and all around some great perspectives on what leadership and our social profit sector can be, from people who are doing it every single day.
It is not easy to work in a social profit sector. They deal with the messiest and most gnarly issues in and around the society.
Now that we’ve nearly wrapped on this season, what have you learned from the guests over the past seven seasons that you’ve been doing on the show?
I’ve learned a lot, first of all, about asking questions and how to ask better questions and get the best out of the guests. I’m often really bowled over by the authenticity and the candor that our guests share. They’re willing to talk about the mistakes they made, the conversations they wished they’d had with a donor or a staff member, or a member of the board. They’re ceaselessly optimistic about what’s possible in our sector.
The best leaders that we work with through our work at The Discovery Group, our consulting practice, and the guests we have on The Discovery Pod are the leaders who approach the work with that ‘get to’ attitude. They have this idea that this work is not a burden, as complicated and as complex as it is. This work is something that we get to do as leaders in the sector. It comes through in how they talk about their work, their organizations, and their teams. It comes through in the great work that their organizations do. It is not easy to do this work in the social profit sector. It is challenging every single day.
If the problems that our organizations sought to solve and improve were easy, the government and the private sector would have solved them long ago. We deal with the messiest, most gnarly issues around in our society. Through this show and our work with The Discovery Group, we get to hear from everyone about how important they see their work and how they stay optimistic, how they come from a position of abundance and drive scarcity out to the margins.
Those are some great takeaways. What have you learned from our listeners?
It’s really who our listeners are, which is what’s surprising to me. Of course, it started with my mom, the first listener, a long-time listener. She keeps asking when she’s going to be on, and I keep telling her, “Maybe next season.” Our listeners are broken down into three categories, more or less. CEOs and executive directors, people who are in the role in their organization, who are looking for lessons learned and to share some experience and share some fellowship with other CEOs and executive directors who understand the challenges of the work that they do every day. There’s also another group that are people who work in the social private sector, who want to be those executive directors or vice presidents or CEOs of organizations one day. That’s really impressive. Alex, you’ve heard some people use our show as part of their interview process, right?
Yes, absolutely. I’ve heard from quite a few people actually that have used it as their mode of research when they’re going into an interview or if they’re looking at other organizations that they’re interested in potentially joining to find out more about the culture and values and of the leadership of the organization.
I think it’s a good job ad for CEOs and executive directors who are dealing with the talent issue and detracting people and holding onto their people. They should come on the show. It’s a simple part, as what a good solution looks like. The final group are board members. We hear from a lot of board members that are wanting to understand the perspective of CEOs and leadership in the sector, so that they can be better board members, so that they can add more value around their board tables. The questions that get emailed or come through on LinkedIn or directly to me from directors show that there is this curiosity about what motivates leaders and how to support leaders. I think the show answers a lot of those questions for people.
We also have the CEO of ICD later in the season. That will be really interesting for any board members as well to listen to that conversation and to learn more about governance and trends that are happening right now in our sector. Doug, you often end your show by asking our guests what they look forward to. As your co-pilot, I’m going to turn the table on you and ask, Doug, what are you looking forward to?
Alex, I’m looking forward to Season Seven. The Discovery Group just turned five. I had the chance to look back and be grateful and to look at the issues facing our sector now and what we’re looking forward to. That idea of coming to leadership with abundance, getting to work with leaders and board members who are committed to solving the most important issues in our society through the work of the social profit sector, by looking at what we can do, what we get to do, rather than what we have to and focusing on what we can’t do.
The need for resources is ever present in our sector. Saying we don’t have enough to do what we want to do is a truism. The leaders that get the most out of their teams are the ones who serve their teams, and with their teams, are able to paint a picture of a better future. I want this show and our work through The Discovery Group to be a platform for those leaders who are trying to change the world for the better. We say our goal is to help organizations to be exceptional. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to work and talk to more exceptional leaders in the months to come.
There’s much to look forward to, and that includes Season Seven. Everyone, keep an eye out for Season Seven, which we’ll launch at the end of September 2022. Listen to past episodes in the meantime at Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify, and everywhere else where you can find podcasts. Please subscribe and leave a review. We’d love to hear from you.
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