Meet The Leader

World Economic Forum

Biweekly one-on-one conversations where the world's top leaders, change-makers and experts share the projects that excite them and the habits they can’t work without, all from the World Economic Forum.

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All Episodes

In this special episode inspired by the COP26 summit, Meet The Leader compiles the habits and mindsets top leaders say we’ll need to stay on track to meet climate goals, such as: accepting imperfect compromises, forging partnerships, building leadership incentives and more. This episode includes insights from top global leaders (Barack Obama, Christiana Figueres), climate activists (Elizabeth Wathuti) and top C-Suite leaders (Vattenfall’s CEO Anna Borg; Yara’s CEO Svein Holsether; Russell Reynolds’ CEO Clarke Murphy; CEO Mahendra Singhi Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited and IKEA’s CDO Barbara Martin Coppola). See for privacy and opt-out information.

Nov 17

18 min 50 sec

Jane Goodall is one of the world's best known primatologists and activists for animal welfare and the environment. The founder of the Jane Goodall Institute shares how to advocate for change and the strategies she's used over the decades to connect with compassion. She also shares a critical message about hope -- both how it propels her and how we can use it as a tool for action as leaders gather to discuss climate change at COP26. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Nov 2

37 min 55 sec

This management consulting firm’s CEO discusses the company's research on disruption and how leaders can both anticipate change and better manage it, making decisions quickly and effectively. He also shares personal lessons learned from early roles, like his days working as an apprentice for his father’s boat building business. Classic people skills like listening with curiosity and respect can anchor any leader in ever-changing times. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Oct 19

37 min 54 sec

As Unilever's Chief Human Resource Officer, Nair is the first female, first Asian and the youngest ever person to hold that post at the company. As a result, she knows a little something about pioneering and she talked to Meet The Leader about the future of work as Unilever tests new models such as 4-day work weeks and other new programs rethinking the classic 9 to 5. Our new work future will also take a mastery of soft skills - of vulnerability, transparency and the type of empathy that ensures everyone can truly have a voice and adapt their workplaces to meet the needs of the years ahead. Nair shares how she models these traits, the dramatic moment that shaped how she leads, and why mastering soft skills will be the hardest task of all. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Oct 5

32 min 36 sec

Protecting people and the planet is the biggest challenge of our lifetime and one that will require a new type of leadership. CEO Clarke Murphy understands this more than most. His firm Russell Reynolds Associates has just released a first-of-its-kind report, digging into what the new generation of leaders will need to meet sustainability goals in the decades to come. Clarke talked to Meet The Leader about the findings, from what 'spooked' him and inspired him to what gave him pause. He also shared steps leaders can take to bridge 'say/do' divides, rethink incentives and transform company culture. His practical advice paired with the report's surprising findings help leaders better tap the most important sustainability resource already in their organization: their people. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Sep 21

35 min

Africa's largest computer science non-profit looks to reshape opportunity in Africa by teaching kids to code and creating a pipeline of tech leaders and entrepreneurs. Matlali built this organisation from scratch, with bootstrapping and cold calls, as she worked to transform mindsets and curriculums, and bridge equity gaps. She talks to Meet the Leader about how tech training and entrepreneurship can reshape Africa. She also discusses the power of humility in making collaboration and making change happen and the lessons she's learned from her own mentor, Google’s Marian Croak, about being present. Those lessons can help anyone be a better mentor to a new generation. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Sep 7

36 min 59 sec

After the Paris Climate agreement of 2015, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Yara shifted gears. The milestone event - held just a few months after he started at Yara - sharpened his understanding of the critical role his company could play in decarbonising food value chains. The shifts that resulted have meant new priorities and a new way of working for him and his teams at the fertiliser and food solutions company as it looks to both feed the world and protect the planet. It has also lead to an exploration of innovative ways to produce 'green ammonia' that could lead to fossil free fertiliser and help decarbonise long-range shipping. Such new solutions require collaboration and trust. That trust, says Holsether, will be play a bigger role than miracle tech in making progress for the climate. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Aug 24

34 min 6 sec

This former NBA basketball player changed course after his athletic career to earn a PhD in psychology and found a psychological business consultancy that leverages science, research and evidence-backed insights into human behaviour. He talks to Meet The Leader about how looking inward can help top execs recognize leaders throughout an organisation and how everyday choices and commitments can shape success. He also shares how bias conversations must change in workplaces and insights from his latest leadership book: 'The Promises of Giants.' See for privacy and opt-out information.

Aug 10

25 min 55 sec

CEO John Pearson shares the strategies this shipping and logistics company uses to simplify and focus a complex business – methods that have helped it navigate major upheavals including the COVID-19 pandemic. Special training programs - including one featuring a small red passport each staffer carries – are a special source of pride and one of several important ways the company keeps communication clear and thousands of employees aligned in one of the most global companies in the world.  See for privacy and opt-out information.

Jul 27

33 min 26 sec

During the COVID-19 crisis, those in critical infrastructure joined doctors and nurses in the pandemic’s front line as temporary hospitals and isolation rooms were needed nearly overnight. Chairman and CEO George Oliver shared how practice and routine helped the company weather the crisis and how building technologies can help tackle other complex problems such as climate mitigation. Oliver also shared how routine can drive innovation and the habits this early riser depends on in his own life. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Jul 13

30 min 46 sec

When most of IKEA’s global retail locations closed temporarily during the pandemic, e-commerce became the cornerstone of the business. This near overnight shift was possible, in part, thanks to a digital transition that was already several years underway, one of the biggest in the company’s 78-year-history. Barbara Martin Coppola, an alum of Google and Samsung, was hired in 2018 as the company’s first-ever Chief Digital Officer to lead this transition, using data and technology to modernize everything from IKEA’s supply chains, to its stores to the way its staffers work. In this episode, Coppola shares the leadership lessons she’s learned and why she believes in resilience and “stubborn optimism.” She also shares and the experiences that have prepared her to tackle big challenges including early music studies.  See for privacy and opt-out information.

Jul 6

33 min 47 sec

To meet big climate goals, consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble is redesigning both products and supply chains. In this effort, P&G Europe is pioneering many sustainable products and helping consumers build better habits for the planet. P&G Europe’s president Loic Tassel shares how his teams are helping to rethink everything from how we buy our shampoo to the temperature with which we wash our laundry. He talks to Meet The Leader about the upcoming European Green Deal, how being a father of five drives him, and what he’s learned in his near 33 years at the company. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Jun 25

36 min 13 sec

The Chief Sustainability Officer of Morgan Stanley hails from policy and journalism and helped invent her current role. She’ll explain why unique backgrounds are key to tackling sustainability, what drove the firm to dive into sustainable investing after the last recession and how finance can play a key role in addressing some of the biggest challenges of our day. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Jun 11

38 min 25 sec

The Chief Technology Officer of Volvo Group discusses tech’s role in transport’s decarbonisation. He’ll also explain the role creativity and accountability will play in that transition and how leaders will need to change how they interact with everyone from teams to rivals. See for privacy and opt-out information.

May 27

35 min 46 sec

The CEO discusses leadership lessons from three decades at the firm, the signals that prompt teams to tackle big challenges - and what’s really needed to make progress on the climate. See for privacy and opt-out information.

May 14

35 min 30 sec

The CEO of quantitative investment firm WorldQuant talks experimentation, the principles he lives by and why he founded a not-for-profit online university to modernize talent pools and bridge opportunity gaps. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Apr 29

20 min 59 sec

The CEO of Verizon shares why he charts his time, the questions he asks world leaders and why he's dedicated his life to bridging connectivity gaps. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Apr 9

36 min 31 sec

To mark the 6-month anniversary of Meet The Leader, this compilation episode collects favourite tips, mindsets and approaches from past episodes as well as insights from World Economic Forum events like the Annual Meeting in Davos. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Mar 19

23 min 57 sec

This global lighting company achieved carbon neutrality last fall. Its CEO will share the changes it made - and its lessons learned. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Mar 4

22 min 28 sec

The CEO will share how new programs are helping the firm train future leaders in tech and sustainability and even create jobs to tackle neurodiversity. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Feb 18

25 min 46 sec

The CEO of one of the world’s largest brewing companies explains how tech like blockchain and fintech are helping retailers and smallholder farmers around the world and how such investments are strengthening communities in developing economies more resilient have kept the company humming during the pandemic. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Feb 4

29 min 21 sec

Polly Courtice, the Founder Director of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) shares why business survival depends on taking action on sustainability, what sometimes holds leaders back and the role of corporate boards in putting planet over profit. This episode will also include insights from top leaders ahead of January’s Davos Agenda Week. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Jan 21

29 min 12 sec

David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-executive chairman of The Carlyle Group, explains the role courage plays in making change happen, and what leaders must do to push through the resistance that they face. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Jan 6

30 min 41 sec

How will you play the hand you’re dealt? This shape-your-own-destiny approach helped Deloitte’s Global CEO forge his own unique path in life and is helping the company tackle big challenges such as climate change and expanding opportunity for millions. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Dec 2020

32 min 49 sec

Tackling long-term challenges requires leaders committed to making big change happen. Moritz will share how the leaders of tomorrow can truly drive progress and make an impact. He’ll also share how PwC is helping to upskill the next generation of workers, and how a set of non-financial metrics can better measure how companies are doing right by society. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Dec 2020

26 min 11 sec

This special training program for staff at banks and credit unions didn’t just help tackle the multi-billion-dollar problem of financial exploitation. It built motivation and empathy among thousands of front line staffers to help protect seniors’ retirement savings.  See for privacy and opt-out information.

Nov 2020

24 min 18 sec

The co-founder of Orbs, Israel’s largest blockchain group, explains what drove her to found a non-profit using blockchain to tackle some of the world’s biggest humanitarian problems. She’ll explain how she leverages patience and persistence in her work and the importance of looking for “the doers” to make things happen. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Nov 2020

27 min 16 sec

How can public companies help solve some of the world’s biggest problems? The CEO of Bank of America, Brian Moynihan, explains how a special set of metrics can help companies better measure and disclose how they’re doing well for society on environmental, social and governance issues. He’ll also talk about staying focused for the long term, his reliance on curiosity, and the importance of looking “out-in” as a leader.  See for privacy and opt-out information.

Oct 2020

21 min 41 sec

What if the world’s top scientists can help us prevent future crises, all with the best technology at their fingertips? The Director of IBM Research explains the need for a Science Readiness Reserves and the supercomputer project that inspired it. He also shares what he’s learned about what makes great collaborations tick and why he listens to Bach (loudly) on the way into work. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Oct 2020

25 min 40 sec