A podcast for progressive leaders and teams

Learn from the best and become a better leader

The Teams at Work podcast will help you discover cutting-edge best practices for how to build a high-performance team. We feature leaders at hyper-growth companies and discuss the future of work, remote practices, leadership, and culture.

In this week’s episode, our co-founder Anthony chatted with Richard Newman. Richard is the Founder & CEO of Body Talk, the global leader in evidence-based courses on the psychology of communication, helping more than 10,000 organizations and individuals every year to discover the power of storytelling, conflict resolution, and presentation skills. From learning to understand the Tibetan monks to discovering the true power of communication, Richard shared how his company started from a free haircut he got. He also shared why he was resistant to the idea of leadership at first, and how he ultimately learned the 3 pillars of leadership to drive his company forward.

Things you’ll learn in this episode:

  • What children can teach adults about good communication and why you should read your business report like a children's storybook
  • How better communication can win you a billion-dollar deal
  • Why your ideas don’t speak for themselves - and you have to do it instead

In this week’s episode, our co-founder Anthony chatted with Chris Schembra. Through stories and lessons learned, Chris shared how he started his career in theater and video production, ultimately discovering the power of gratitude and the role it plays in leadership and building teams. He is the founder and Chief Question Asker of 7:47, an advisory firm that helps companies create meaningful connections through its 7:47 Gratitude Experience, an evidence-based framework that helps leaders build a community and strengthen relationships.

Things you’ll learn in this episode:

  • How gratitude can help you get through hard times
  • Why community-focused leadership is the key to thriving through uncertain and challenging times
  • How Chris went from daily struggle to discovering his true purpose, and how Italian food helped him on that journey

In this week’s episode, we chatted with Louie Bacaj, who shared his journey from starting his career as an engineer in big tech to ultimately becoming an engineering leader at companies like Jet, Walmart, and Bank of America, where he has built teams and lead teams through massive growth, crisis, and various transitions.

Transitioning from the corporate world, Louie is now pursuing his passion as an entrepreneur, building Nines, and a creator, mentoring companies and individuals, and helping engineers navigate and succeed in their careers.

Things you’ll learn in this episode:

  • How a learner mindset can enable you to pursue any passion despite the risks
  • What could be the future of big tech and what are the skills you need to acquire to succeed in it
  • The principles of building lasting team relationships based on trust and transparency

This week we chatted with Steve Tauber. Steve is a CTO in residence at madewithlove, where he has worked with more than 45 startups, helping them establish scale-proof processes, and build strong, high-performing teams.

Steve also recently co-authored a book called “Freerange Management” that helps leaders create an environment where people are truly happy and free to do their best work.

Things you’ll learn in this episode:

  • Steve’s new book on free-range management, and what free-range chickens and engineering teams have in common
  • Why leaders need to step back to allow their teams to step up
  • What to look for in candidates to create knowledge-first organizations
  • What you need on your roadmap to succeed in 2023

In this episode, we chatted with Ozioma Egwuonwu, the founder of BurnBright International LLC. Ozioma works with Fortune 500 companies, non-profit organizations, and business owners, to help them transform their businesses and make them future-proof with key frameworks like Visionary Future-Making.

She is Expert Faculty at Singularity University, graduated from the Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell, and even developed a Masters-level course taught at Columbia University. 

Things you’ll learn in this episode:

  • How to use the Visionary Future-Making framework to access high-order vision and bring it forward into reality
  • The importance of storytelling in solving problems and inspiring your team, your customers… and yourself!
  • What different generations need from the workplace, and how that is pushing organizations to find more impactful, forward-thinking solutions for everyone

In this episode we sat down with Christain Rebernik, a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, mentor, and father of 3. Christian is the former CEO and Co-Founder at Vivy, former CTO and MD at N26, and former CTO at Parship, and created award-winning apps like ShareTheMeal for the UN World Food Programme. His current mission is to educate and empower the changemakers of tomorrow as CEO and Co-Founder at Germany’s first virtual university, Tomorrow University of Applied Sciences.

Things you’ll learn in this episode:

  • Why Christian as an engineer hated Sales at the start of his journey and why he loves it now (and how it creates value)
  • How Christian dealt with failure in his career and what encouraged him to keep going (and how you can do the same)
  • Why Christian believes he was not a good leader at first and what he has learned and improved on since
  • His biggest success secret and what love’s gotta do with it!

In this episode we sat down with Julius Bachmann, a founder coach whose mission is to make the future of venture more human. He started his career as an investor, then founded a personal growth startup, and now provides a holistic support structure for founders, entrepreneurs and leaders. He shared insights and actionable advice about setting up the building blocks of optimal performance, taking the next tiny step to accomplishing your goals, and guiding your team (esp. co-founder team) out of a conflict.

Things you’ll learn in this episode:

  • How to balance rational, emotional, and body-level intelligence to support optimal performance, and two easy exercises you can do any time
  • How to break down your 3-month goals into weekly and daily actions, and the motivating questions that will help you take the next step
  • How to get back to a good routine after it slipped, when you know exactly what to do but can’t make yourself do it

Jossie Haines is an executive and engineering leadership coach focused on empowering high-performing leadership through empathy and compassion. Her mission is to retain women in tech and break the statistic that 56% of women leave tech after 10-20 years by empowering engineering leaders with the effective and fair management practices and principles needed to finally move the needle.

Jossie is an avid public speaker, having given over 100 talks, workshops, and podcasts on retaining women in tech, engineering leadership, DEI, and various technologies.

Things you’ll learn in this episode:

  • What it was like in Silicon Valley of the 90ies and how Zynga casually took on Facebook and built a social network in 2 weeks
  • How to ask for feedback so that you get the advice you need to grow
  • How inclusion is interlinked with productivity and performance

This episode’s guest is Sonia Joseph, CTO & co-founder at Alexandria Labs, a web3 library. Sonia is also a machine learning & neuroscience researcher at Mila - Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute. Sonia and her co-founder are on a mission to bring ebooks to blockchain for readers and authors and we had a super interesting conversation spanning everything from startup life to the future of humanity. Enjoy!

Things you’ll learn in this episode:

  • How to keep up to date with an ever faster evolving space around tech overall, and especially web3
  • The importance of “exceptional” narratives and how they can help you find your way in your tech career
  • What startups and science have in common and how to succeed in both
  • Why and how women have a larger decision-making space in society and what the consequences of that are
  • Why a library on the blockchain makes perfect sense

Today we chatted with Constanze Buchheim, founder of the executive search consultancy i-potentials. For 15 years, she has been building and transforming teams in the German and European Startup ecosystem. She’s been named one of the 50 most influential women in German business by the Boston Consulting Group and Manager Magazin, and in 2020 was selected by Focus magazine as one of the 100 Women of the Year.

Things you’ll learn in this episode:

  • How to manage the difference between expectations and consistently delight your customers and your team
  • Tips on exploring your own goals, motivations, and roadblocks so that you can be more authentic and transparent with your team
  • What are Specialists, Managers, and Leaders, what’s the difference and how each of them contributes to a successful organization

In this chat we interviewed Kieran Flanagan, Senior Vice President of Marketing at HubSpot. He is an experienced startup advisor and investor, and has spent the past decade building and leading marketing teams. He also has his own podcast, the GrowthTLDR, and has shared tons of actionable advice on how to build and scale effective teams with us.

Things you’ll learn in this episode:

  • The difference between a good leader and a good manager, and the ingredients for inspiring your team while giving them the operational support they need
  • How to leverage growth at any stage by balancing three types of roles: builders, creators and operators
  • What everyone can learn from product managers about identifying problems and motivating teams to solve them
  • How to hire for core skills, mindset, and coachability, and the 100-day onboarding plan to give your new team members clarity, accountability, and purpose

In this episode we sit down with Noor van Boven, investor, global people executive, and co-founder at Invested. She has worked and led people teams at Soundcloud, N26, and Deloitte, and is also a board member to numerous startups. With Noor, we reflect on high-context culture and how to design a context for your team to perform autonomously at their highest level. Plus, she told us her strategy for setting expectations and has some great advice for giving feedback in a way that helps your team learn and thrive.

Things you’ll learn in this episode:

  • How to set “guard rails” so that your team can operate with autonomy, which leads to more efficiency and less confusion
  • The best way to frame feedback so you can support your report’s perspective while staying realistic about the solution and what can and can’t be changed
  • How to define and align with your organization’s cultural dynamics, so that you and your team can have the strongest impact

We really benefited from hearing Noor’s expert perspective on keeping goals crystal clear and realistic, balanced with her advice to be kind, do your best, and learn from your mistakes. We hope this inspires you too!

Our guest today is Anand Safi. He started his career as an engineer with a strong interest in leadership, then found opportunities to learn and contribute as a coach and mentor at MentorCruise, Plato, BestPracticer, and First Round Fast Track. Over the past ten years, he has worked at eBay, Intent, Insurity, and is an executive contributor to Brainz Magazine. He is now Director of Engineering at Mark43. In this episode, we talk about Anand’s leadership journey from individual contributor to manager and coach.

Things you’ll learn in this episode:

  • What makes a team sustainable, and how to manage your time so that you can be both productive and available
  • How to get buy-in from your team and stakeholders by approaching presentations as conversations
  • Why it’s important to stay vulnerable and open when starting a new role, even when you feel like you have to impress and strive for perfection… and how to do it

We found it really inspiring to hear how Anand has balanced his deep interest in leadership with a realistic perspective about what’s actually possible in the day-to-day. 

Our guest today is Ömer Karisman, ex-Mobile, and UX Lead and Getir, and now a Product Management Lead at Calm, and entrepreneur.

Ömer thinks that when it comes to top-performing employees, mindset overpowers expertise. Yet, he acknowledges that even for folks with a strong growth mindset, it will take a few months to train them and realize their full potential.

In this episode, you will learn more about Ömer's leadership journey, and why he thinks the top performers on teams are made, rather than hired. And how can you as a manager and leader onboard and train new hires so that they become top performers.

Ömer draws on his long years of experience in Getir, Calm and other companies.

Things you’ll learn in this episode:

  • How product-lead growth strategy can help you create a successful business, and build a product that users will truly value
  • Why the key to success is not necessarily domain expertise, but learning agility and being comfortable with making mistakes
  • The differences between leading a well-established team, or being a leader to build the team and product from scratch

Our guest today is Jen Phan, the Co-Founder, and CEO of Passionfroot, Angel Investor, ex-Company Builder for Deloitte, and a Content Creator.

In this episode, we explored Jen's leadership and creator journey, from starting her career in venture building to discovering the potential of the creator economy first-hand and using the parks of Berlin as the perfect environment to connect with the future co-founders of Passionfroot.

We also discussed the steps you can take to manage your energy level throughout the day, and balance energy-generating and energy-draining tasks in your day-to-day. Jen also shared insights on how to combine product development with content development to find the audience-market fit for your company to take the lead in the competitive creator economy market.

Things you’ll learn in this episode:

  • How to find PMF not only for your product, but also for your team and co-founders
  • Tips and tricks to survive and thrive in insecurity moments
  • Why you need to be constantly observing and learning from others to become a better leader yourself

Our guest today is Eyal Lasker, the Founder of Flexspace, ex-Product and Growth leader at Uber and WeWork, and an experienced leader building global teams.

In this episode, we explored Eyal's journey from basketball team captain - one of his first exposures to leadership - to top Product Lead at some of the world’s best companies, to now a Founder. We also discussed the essential role of difficult times in a leader’s growth journey, and how building a team differs in remote vs. in-person environments.

Eyal shares his perspective on the importance of leading by example and sharing the big picture with the team on a continuous basis. As well as how being persistent can help aspiring, first-time founders succeed in the new leadership role!

Things you’ll learn in this episode:

  • Why true growth happens during challenging times
  • How being persistent with your entrepreneurial vision can help you succeed as a leader without authority
  • How communication and transparency can help you get through uncertain times
  • Why one of the keys to successful leadership is setting an example and focusing on the big picture

Our guest today is Åsa Lidén, ex-Spotify executive, experienced tech leader, and now the COO of Pitch.

In this episode, we explored Åsa's journey from her first leadership experience as a volleyball coach, then starting off as a QA engineer, to pursuing her passion in tech and becoming the VP of engineering at Spotify, ultimately making a career transition and joining Pitch’s Operations team. We also discussed the unique aspects of building and scaling remote-first culture, and what it is truly like to be the female leader in today’s settings while advocating for what you truly believe in.

Things you’ll learn in this episode:

  • How to land career opportunities that matter
  • How to balance being your authentic self at work with cultural differences, creating a mutual understanding
  • How to be a good leader even if you are not an expert in the room
  • Why the key to being a good leader is extreme ownership and willingness to take responsibility both when things are in and outside of your control
  • The importance of courage and taking action to get things done

Our guest today is James McClure, ex-Airbnb & Google executive, coach and angel investor, and an overall expert in leadership development.

In this episode, we explored James's journey from selling non-veggie snacks in school when he was younger to his transition from operator to coach. We also discussed the importance of removing bias in the recruiting process, self-coaching, and how to balance parenthood and your career.

Through personal stories, laughs, and decades of experience, James shares his perspective on what leadership truly is, how your leadership journey progresses over time, and how you can adopt a global, open-minded perspective when learning to be a better employee, leader, coach, and person.

Things you’ll learn in this episode:

  • What it means to be a true leader
  • How leadership progresses with time and experience
  • The importance of diversity, keeping an open mind and acknowledging psychological biases in decision-making and perspective-taking

Our guest today is Kate Leo, a consultant & coach for product teams at both disruptive startups and Fortune 500 companies whose 25-year career has included product leadership roles at Yahoo and Moo.com. She’s also written a book on hiring product managers based on “EQ”.

In this episode, we dive deep into Kate’s journey from a product manager, to head of product, to a consultant and then a coach, and the most important lessons she learned along the way.

She shares her thoughts on the importance of understanding the emotional and human side of work, recognizing and overcoming imposter syndrome, and how to approach “change” in a team or across an entire organization by identifying “micro risks”.

Things you’ll learn in this episode:

  • How to identify and overcome your “limiting beliefs”
  • A systematic approach to creating change with mini-experiments
  • The meaning of ‘human skills’ why they’re more important than technical skills

Our guest today is David Noël, ex-SoundCloud VP turned leadership coach.

In this episode, we had one of the most authentic, honest conversations about taking non-traditional paths to find your passion, admitting when it’s time to leave your job, and remembering what is really important in life.

David reflects on starting his leadership journey from a young age as a boy scout, how the transition from manager to leader isn’t always easy and gives actionable advice on what it means to be a leader.

Things you learn in this episode:

  • How communication, leadership & culture hold everything together
  • Walking away from great opportunities to find out who you’re meant to be
  • The courage it takes to be a leader
  • Disconnecting yourself from a title and role and applying your skills elsewhere to create new value
  • Being true to your principles & living by them (even if it might go wrong)
  • Integrating life and work experiences to avoid ranking work and career progression as something more important

Our guest today is Ryan Donovan, an experienced and passionate people leader and CTO of Hootsuite, one of the most popular social media management tools & a high-growth tech company, currently employing over 1000 team members all over the world.

In this episode, Ryan looks back on important leadership moments that defined his career. He reflects on the role of listening as a leader and shares successful tactics he deploys to improve collaboration between engineers, product people, and the rest of the organization. 

This episode holds many important & valuable lessons for engineering managers or anyone who is interested in learning what it takes to build successful tech and product teams.

Things you'll learn in this episode:

  • How to build relationships at work that help your team (s) grow
  • Best Practices on Managing Product and Tech Debt - Hood open syndrome explained 
  • Hands-on tips on how to help your team member grow 
  • How to make sure people are moving into leadership for the right reasons
  • How to become a really good listener


Disclaimer: Due to technical issues, the recording quality in this episode is not as top-notch as we like it to be. We believe the content however is very valuable and hope that you can bear with the from time to time challenging audio.

Our guest today is Steve Schlafman, an expert in leadership development and the Founder and Coach at High Output.

In this episode, we explored Steve’s decision to leave behind a $7.5 million angel fund to take a step back and focus on the things that truly matter. We zoomed in on the importance of taking breaks to recharge our batteries and the long-term benefit of doing so.

Steve gives actionable advice on how to strengthen the co-founder relationship and the role of impeccable agreements on being able to fully reveal yourself and being comfortable sharing your experiences.

Things you learn in this episode:

  • What it means to leave behind what doesn’t feel right
  • Using daily architectures to structure your day and include downtime 
  • The importance of investing in your co-founder relationship
  • The VC - founder relationship versus the Coach - founder relationship

Our guest today is Olivier Bonnet—though he’ll also accept “Oliver”—currently CTO of BlaBlaCar in Paris. Getting his hands dirty with engineering work first and then moving onto leadership roles, Olivier jumped into his tech career at Apple and then spent 12 years there in the US soaking up some of the world’s best engineering secrets. 


This is a rich episode where Olivier shares what it’s like to work in a variety of environments—from the USA to Europe, or large companies like Apple vs. high-growth scale-ups like BlaBlaCar. 

We dug into his personal leadership style, which is a great example of the classic principle “lead by example.” Olivier is a master of “walking the talk” so we’re excited to share his highly actionable leadership advice with you!

Things you learn in this episode:

  • What’s it's like to work in high-performance tech environments in both the US and Europe
  • What are the tactical day-to-day differences between large companies and high-growth, scale-up ones
  • How to lead a 200+ people engineering team
  • How teamwork and collaboration have impact in a fast-changing world

Our guest today is Ellen Wong, an expert in managing people and the Director of Engineering at Calm.

In this episode, we explored Ellen’s management path from senior engineer to managing director. We also discussed what it really means to lead by influence—something people talk about a lot but don’t really explain.

Ellen breaks down several of her recommendations to leading folks senior to her, how she builds trust with a new team, and what leading by influence means to her.

Connect with Ellen on LinkedIn to discuss her ideas further.

Become a better leader in 2 minutes a day with BUNCH, the AI Leadership Coach. Download it free on the App Store by searching “bunch coach.”

Follow BUNCH on Twitter: @bunch_HQ or subscribe to our newsletter The Weekly Briefing on Substack for more frameworks and resources

Things you learn in this episode:

  • What it means to truly lead by influence
  • How to lead people more senior than you
  • Using vulnerability to inspire others
  • How to enable and empower others to lead, too!

Our guest today is Mathias Meyer, a very successful executive leadership coach that loves to stretch technical founders and CTOs and he is also the co-author of the book “The Intentional Organization.”

In this episode we dove into Mathias’s journey from an impatient engineer to a founder, a CTO and a patient human that leads by influence.

We also discovered how important it is involving engineers early on in the product development process and talked about the right time to do that.

Connect with Mathias on Twitter: @roidrage or Linkedin. Check out what Mathias is currently working on & his forthcoming book here: https://intentionalorganization.com/

Become a better leader in 2 minutes a day with BUNCH, the AI Leadership Coach. Download it free here.

Follow BUNCH on Twitter: @bunch_HQ or subscribe to our newsletter The Weekly Briefing on Substack for more frameworks and resources

Things you learn in this episode:

  • How to become a patient engineer
  • Why seniority diversity on the dev team is important
  • What it means to be a high-performance team
  • How to grow from “what could be possible” to “High performance”
  • Why engineers should be involved earlier in the product development process

Our guest today is Pat Kua, a CTO/Tech advisor, Coach, and Mentor, who worked for companies like Thoughtworks, N26, and is on a mission to accelerate the growth of technical leaders through coaching, mentoring, and training.

In this episode, we dove into what makes the leap into management so challenging for engineers and what they can do to succeed. Pat also shared tons of useful insights around anti-patterns that hold engineering leaders back and how to tackle those.

We also discovered how tech leaders are the shepherds of systems thinking in organizations and how to ship quality at speed while scaling.

Connect with Pat on Twitter: @patkua or check out his website.

Become a better leader in 2 minutes a day with BUNCH, the AI Leadership Coach. Download it free here.

Follow BUNCH on Twitter: @bunch_HQ or subscribe to our newsletter The Weekly Briefing on Substack for more frameworks and resources

Things you learn in this episode:

  • How to succeed as a new engineer manager
  • The anti-patterns that prevent leaders engineers to grow
  • What to avoid when transitioning to management
  • Why engineers are the shepherds of systems thinking in organizations
  • The importance of quality when scaling

As Founder of House of Wise, CMO of Teal, and mother to 3, Amanda Goetz knows how to get sh*t done. Thankfully, she shares just how to do that with us all in this episode where we celebrate female entrepreneurship and discuss work done right.

Check out The Code of the Extraordinary mind - recommended by Amanda during the episode: https://www.vishen.com/codex

Veteran software developer and engineer James Trunk has had a long and notable career, starting at the tender age of 19 in his first internship, up until now, where he currently works as Head of Engineering at Znipe, while also transitioning into a new leg in his career as VP of Engineering at Griffin.

Join Darja and Anthony as they chat with James and discuss about the most notable parts of his career, sharing anecdotes and important insights in his journey that took him from software development, to his first gig as an inexperienced team leader, and eventually to his current role, where he uses his unique approach to management to build effective engineering teams to tackle any challenge.

Jan Hase started his career as a coder and now finds himself as co-founder and CEO of Wunderflats. 

His company is on a mission to make housing more accessible and less discriminatory all while building a diverse team that serves a diverse market. 

In this episode of lessons learned, Jan shares the fuckups and aha moments from building a diverse tech team. Tune in to hear how you can leverage similar tactics to build more diversity into your team, too!

Renita Kalhorn is an Executive Performance Coach who has been coaching leaders for the last 14 years. She's a mental trainer for the Navy Seals RDAC, has an MBA from INSEAD, and mentors startup founders and corporate executives alike. We talked about the new leadership landscape, the VUCA world we're living in, and what it takes to succeed in this environment - so you won't become anyone's bad boss story.

Things you'll learn in this episode:

  • Overcome volatility by making things concrete

  • Counter uncertainty with daily rituals

  • Unravel complexity with common sense

  • Give ambiguity the boot with clear de-briefs

Karl Alomar is Managing Partner at M13, a US-based VC that's invested in companies like Lyft, Pinterest, Daily Harvest and Capsule. A 2-time founder himself, Karl has worked with many young tech companies and helped build Digital Ocean from the ground up as COO - ultimately reaching 500+ employees and $200M in revenue. In this episode, Karl shares stories and learnings from leading companies through 2 different economic crises in 2000 and 2008, and shines some hope and optimism on the current global crisis.

Things you'll learn in this episode:

  • How to communicate tough decisions and motivate your team
  • Why it's important to see both play both "offense and defense" in a crisis situation
  • The impact of the current global crisis on startups

Alex Weber is Chief Growth Officer at N26, the unicorn digital bank with an ambition to change the way banking is done around the world. In this episode, Alex reflects on his 6 year journey at N26, and the lessons learned while going from an Entrepreneur in Residence at a tiny startup to a C-level executive at a 1500 person company.

Things you'll learn in this episode:

  • The keys to creating a successful team

  • How to grow fast enough as an individual to keep pace with a hyper-growth company

  • Why being able "unplug" makes you more effective

Liz Daldalian is Head of Business Operations at Truffle Suite, a 100% remote team building "sweet tools for smart contracts". In this episode, Liz shares practical tips for how to overcome those usual challenges that tend to get amplified when you're running remote: from building trust and connection in the team, to coordinating work, and navigating tough conversations. Running a remote team yourself?

Things you learn in this episode:

  • Rituals to help remote team members feel included
  • Quick tips for how to communicate better on Slack
  • How to coordinate work effectively with a remote team

Dizzy Smith, VP Engineering of Packet, shares his amazing insights from his 15+ year career in engineering about culture building, communication structures and diverse leadership in distributed teams. 

Things you learn in this episode:

  • How to set up a great structure of communication to ensure great collaboration
  • How to build a diverse organization by picking a diverse leadership team
  • How to decide between an engineering specialist or management role

Raffaela Rein, the founder of WildWildVentures, Vitalute, and CareerFoundry, was named amongst the Top 50 Women in Tech by Forbes. In this episode, she shared her insights on building and scaling successful teams and cultures.

Things you learn in this episode:

  • Why building a culture entirely free of management does not necessarily create the best outcomes
  • How to build team culture the design way
  • How to create a cohesive culture in remote-first teams

Together with Mark Frein, the former CPO at InVision and now CPO at Lamda School, the host Darja Gutnick (Co-founder and CEO at Bunch) uncovers behaviors that make leaders successful in 2019.

Things you learn in this episode:

  • What makes leaders successful today in comparison to the previous decade
  • Which behaviors make leaders successful in the fast-paced, ever-changing technology sector
  • Which leadership behaviors matter in distributed companies and teams

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