1. Navigating the Unknown: Leadership Lessons from GlaxoSmithKline, Ecolab, J&J and The Appalachian Trail with Cris Howard Ken Schmitt 47:11

This week, you’re invited to venture beyond the boardroom into the wilderness, daring to challenge the very essence of comfort zones. Join Ken and our distinguished guest, the true trailblazer Cris Howard, as they navigate uncharted territories, embrace discomfort, and uncover the striking parallels between success in leadership and the courage to confront the unknown. 

Join us on a captivating exploration of Cris’s illustrious three-decade career, where she honed leadership skills in Fortune 500 companies like J&J, GlaxoSmithKline, and Ecolab. Mastering the art of building and managing global teams, Cris shares real-world experiences, emphasizing that leadership is more about asking the right questions than having all the answers. 

But the adventure doesn’t stop there. Cris’s narrative takes an unexpected turn as she leaves her prestigious position at Ecolab. Experience the awe-inspiring tale of Resilience and determination, where someone with zero hiking experience embarks on a 2200-mile odyssey through the Appalachian Trail—14 states, 5 months, and a profound journey into the unknown. Cris’s transition from the boardroom to the trail becomes a testament to universal leadership principles, showcasing how Resilience, adaptability, and strategic thinking prove indispensable in both worlds. 

In this thought-provoking discussion, Cris leaves us with a powerful takeaway: leadership thrives when you push beyond your comfort zone. It’s about asking the right questions, not having all the answers. Cris challenges the conventional notion of failure, presenting it as an ongoing narrative rather than a final chapter. She advocates for viewing challenges as opportunities for personal and professional growth, highlighting the importance of perseverance and continuous problem-solving.  

Join us for an episode that challenges norms, inspires change, and proves that true leadership happens when you step into the unknown. 

About Cris Howard:

Cris Howard is a seasoned clinical operations executive with 30 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. As the Global Head of Project Delivery at Labcorp Drug Development, she led a team of 300 professionals across 24 countries and 29 locations, delivering operational excellence and strategic innovation for drug development projects. Cris is passionate about transforming the clinical research landscape through agile and patient-centric solutions. She created and scaled the PM Academy, a pioneering initiative that optimized project team performance and achieved $11.7M in savings ahead of schedule. She also inspired employee loyalty and retention, winning the HERO’s Award and being selected for the ELEVATE Women’s Executive Leadership program. Cris is a globally recognized speaker, educator, and board member in the field of project management, and holds multiple degrees and certifications. She is also an avid hiker and a retired elite triathlete, who founded the Women for Tri Foundation and completed 12 IRONMAN competitions.

Ken Schmitt Podcaster, Author, and CEO

Ken Schmitt has been recruiting for 26 years. A San Diego native, he grew up in an entrepreneurial household with a father who was a Jack in the Box franchisee for 25 years and a mother who left the accounting world to become a real estate agent.

In 1998, Ken answered an ad in the newspaper for a recruiting job and never looked back. After spending 9 years working for a local boutique firm, a large regional firm, and one of the world’s largest Executive Search firms, Heidrick & Struggles, he launched TurningPoint Executive Search in 2007 and now employs 7 professionals in a 100% remote work environment.

In 2023, Ken published “The Practical Optimist: An Entrepreneurial Journey Through Life’s TurningPoints” through Advantage Publishing. He also launched a new podcast of the same name, highlighting everyday people who are making an extraordinary impact on their families, their business, and their community.