The Executive Consult Podcast

Karl Robe

You learn as we learn what executives, leaders and media are facing and how they deal with it. Casual conversations with people you may see but likely never get to meet.

All Episodes

In this episode, show host and brand strategist, Karl Robe, shares his new eBook Branding: Much More Than A Logo. It's Your Northstar!  If you prefer to read it, simply download the free eBook. You access easy-to-read, easy-to-implement guideposts to check your brand alignment or develop your brand from the ground up.  Why Is This Important?Every person, product, place and issue projects a brand. This reputation—real and perceived—determines your fate. Reputation hinges on trust. Trust grows from character, consistency and credibility. In fact, reputation factors into every decision and every perception. Every minute. Every day. Every interaction reinforces or relinquishes reputation.  Personal brands get you hired, fired, followed and admired. Organizations win or lose talent and customers, receive accolades or animosity, attract regulation or ease oversight. Issues get twisted, undermined, persecuted or inspire, mobilize and thrive. Product brands get shared, rated, reviewed and followed by fans and fanatics. Services charge premium pricing or fall into the commodity, soon-to-be automated bin. Brands or reputation drives all of it, for better or worse.

Jan 15

23 min 51 sec

This is our second of a two-part series with Dr. Daniel Schroeder. He is the President and CEO of Organization Development Consultants. He’s also the author of a new book: “All Together Now. Let’s Get Started. Creating a high-performing organization by maximizing the contributions of people!” In this episode, we discuss what a plan for renewal looks like, in terms of preparing an organization to move out of the pandemic or crisis and into organizational renewal following a pandemic. We touch on organizational culture, too, and if you want to hear from a business leader who is all about culture, check out our earlier episode with Brian Fielkow. We also discuss with Dr. Schroeder the three Ps of purpose, partnership and process and the three Cs of customer/constituents, competition and change. And, of course, we discuss communications’ role within all of it.

May 2020

28 min 50 sec

We’re joined in this episode—the first of two episodes—by Daniel A. Schroeder, Ph.D. He’s President and CEO of Organization Development Consultants, Inc. There’s a ton of great material on his website on achieving results within organizations. During the first part of this two-part podcast, we cover a lot of ground on leadership, communications and trust. We mentioned, during the podcast, Edelman’s Trust Barometer, a valuable study of where public trust resides during the coronavirus pandemic. All are relevant topics for executives and managers working through the COVID-19 pandemic. To find out more about Dr. Schroder and his consulting firm, please see below. Make sure you keep an eye for episode two of this two-part podcast, when Dr. Schroeder shifts to what to do following a pandemic or crisis to revive or renew your organization.

May 2020

24 min 29 sec

Nonprofits aren’t immune from the COVID-19 pandemic. In this episode, we caught up with Make-A-Wish Wisconsin executives Patti Gorsky, president and CEO, and Forrest Doolen, director of marketing and communications. They join show host Karl Robe to discuss how Make-A-Wish Wisconsin is adapting in the COVID-19 era to ensure wishes of kids and families continue to come true. How did they pivot when the coronavirus crisis hit just weeks before Make-A-Wish Wisconsin’s biggest annual fundraiser? The Wisconsin chapter of Make-A-Wish is considered to be one of the top chapters in the country. In fact, in 2018, Make-A-Wish America presented the Wisconsin chapter with one of its highest honors – the Power of One Award for making the most significant impact on the entire Make-A-Wish enterprise. They are the only chapter to have one this award twice, with other time being in 2012. Make-A-Wish Wisconsin has more than 420 wishes currently in progress. 90 of those wishes so far have been delayed due to the current coronarvirus health crisis. While a lot of life is on hold right now, critical illnesses do not stop and Make-A-Wish is committed to granting the life-changing wish of every eligible child. To help make wishes come true for kids battling critical illnesses, please donate today at

Apr 2020

27 min 54 sec

Bill is Founder and President of King Innovative, an advanced analytics and data privacy management practice. Bill has been in technology services for over twenty four years and specializes in helping others build better businesses. As a seasoned translator, he’s able to bridge the gap between business and technology by communicating complex issues in simple terms. For our listeners, Bill sent over Fender Guitar’s story of how they used data to better understand the market and drive greater value to the customer. The video is really good too! What’s not mentioned in either, Bill says, is Fender used data to transform, while their competitor, Gibson Guitars, was diversifying into home audio and filing chapter 11 bankruptcy. As Fender gains traction, Gibson loses it and uses diversification to stem the tide. The moral of this story: the future will go to those who are good at leveraging data.

Apr 2020

23 min 34 sec

Jessica McBride is a Senior Journalism Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, an award-winning investigative journalist, and an influential digital journalist, whose work has appeared across the world and across media platforms. Make sure to check out her students’ national, regional, and state award-winning online news site During the podcast, she shares insights on media, politics and storytelling among many others areas of interest to those who want to know more about the changing landscape of communication. 

Jul 2019

1 hr 11 min

This episode’s guest works on matters that often are controversial, high-profile and involve the courtroom of public opinion. Mike Wittenwyler is the lead attorney for Godfrey & Kahn’s Political Law Group. You could say he’s the lawyer to lobbyists and “dark-money” interests. 

Jun 2019

45 min 41 sec

Brian says building business culture is neither costly nor expensive! An entrepreneur and author of “Driving to Perfection: Achieving Business Excellence by Creating a Vibrant Culture,” Brian shares robust, pragmatic experiences and tips for building business culture. After 25 years in business, he’s says forget the happy talk. Forget the signs on the wall. He goes beyond theory and puts culture in context of walking the walk every day. Culture is built on core values that never can be compromised as a leader. Brian discusses treatment, transparency and trust. People don’t leave companies. People leave people. If you destroy trust, all else is lost. As the leader, you must live it and over time others will follow your lead. It’s a never-ending quest that requires constant, clear communications and simple processes teams can follow to ensure the same outcome every time. From hiring to managing to execution, it’s all about culture. 

May 2019

36 min 58 sec

Hansen-Reynolds law partners Tim Hansen and Toby Reynolds guide executives and companies through complex, high-stakes business litigation. They share tips on business risk avoidance, legal marketing and how they grew their firm to include offices in Milwaukee, Chicago, Minneapolis and Madison, Wisconsin. They also share perspectives on how digital advances impact litigation, as well as insights on leadership and the power of storytelling. 

Apr 2019

1 hr 5 min

Jerry Jendusa is the author of “Get Unstuck,” Jerry shares insights for entrepreneurs based on his experience growing EMTEQ from a basement start-up to multi-hundred-million-dollar-company. He co-founded STUCK, a business advising and investment firm, and he also co-chairs Scale Up Milwaukee. He’s an advisory member for the UW-Milwaukee Lubar Center for Entrepreneurship’s Entrepreneurship in Residence Program, and a mogul on Milwaukee’s own TV program, Project Pitch It. New season of Project Pitch It airs February 9 on WISN TV.

Mar 2019

54 min 33 sec

James Wigderson is the conservative media commentator from He discusses digital media, managing the media crisis following his “Little Convicts Commentary,” and why online content is king with skepticism as queen. We discuss tips for growing an audience and podcasting. And, we review who’s doing social media well. (Wendy’s Restaurants, really? President Trump. Maybe. Maybe not. Jonah Goldberg and Ben Shapiro. Definitely.) We even touch on former House Speaker Paul Ryan, when discussing leadership, and if he runs for president.

Mar 2019

1 hr 3 min

Former Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Business Editor Steve Jagler Shares Views on President Trump, Leadership & Career Interviewing Fortune 500 Executives. A veteran business journalist who now directs corporate communications for GRAEF USA, Steve pulls back the newsroom curtain for listeners. He shares insights and stories from decades of covering Fortune 500 executives. He even recounts a conversation with business legend George Dalton, founder of Fiserv. You might be surprised at his perspectives on President Trump and social media. And, we discuss leadership and the craziest exchanges he experienced as a journalist at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee Business Journal and Milwaukee Biz Times.

Mar 2019

47 min 47 sec

Steve Scaffidi is the author of “Six Minutes in August: A Story of Tragedy, Healing and Community,” Steve discusses how he went from small town mayor to leading the nation through a mass shooting in the Milwaukee suburb of Oak Creek, Wisconsin, to hosting the Steve Scaffidi Show on WTMJ Milwaukee radio. We discuss tips for leaders engaging with a radio program. Then we turn to his experience and advice for leading through crisis.

Mar 2019

49 min 22 sec

Co-founder of and Lift Digital Solutions, Jeff talks evolution of digital media over the last 20 years. Who’s doing well with digital media? The NBA, he says. We discuss what’s exciting him in digital from artificial intelligence, chatbots, and surprise: E-MAIL! Don't forget to subscribe to the show!

Mar 2019

34 min 49 sec