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Blue Leather Chair

Executive Stories


Hashtag Midwest's Executive Story Podcast is a discussion with top technology executives and leaders across the broader Midwest. This podcast is designed to put their work, ideas, and Midwestern work ethic & ingenuity on stage.

Founder of on the Strength of the Midwest

Brian Ardinger, Founder of, The IO Summit, and Head of Innovation at Nelnet offers his unique insight into the strength of the Midwest, why we should encourage entrepreneurship, and why we should connect cities and ecosystems in our region.

Brian ArdingerExecutive Stories EP:107
00:00 / 01:04

Betsy Ziegler

CEO of 1871 in Chicago on the Strength of the Midwest

Betsy Ziegler, CEO of Chicago-based 1871 chats with Jason Montague about the strength of the Midwest.  Learn more about Betsy and 1871 here.

Betsy ZieglerExecutive Stories EP:106
00:00 / 01:04
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Sheldon Cuffie

On Cybersecurity, Leadership Proximity, and Giving Back

Sheldon Cuffie, Chief Information Security Officer of American Family Insurance, updates us on cybersecurity, shares his journey to leadership, and highlights the importance of supporting the community he came from.

Sheldon CuffieExecutive Stories EP:105
00:00 / 01:04

Peter Palermo

Bringing the World to St. Louis, and St. Louis to the World

Peter Palermo, Executive Director of The Sheldon, shares his thoughts on building empathy with the arts, the challenges of bringing emotional performances to an audience in this time of Covid, and giving his kids a Midwestern childhood.

Peter PalermoExecutive Stories EP:104
00:00 / 01:04

Dr. Christina Boyd-Smith

Leadership, Courage and Creating Capacity for Change

Dr. Christina Boyd-Smith, corporate rebel, executive and professional coach</a> teaches us how to create the capacity for change and bring courage to the way we lead. Lessons valuable for both current and emerging leaders.

Dr. Christina Boyd-SmithExecutive Stories EP:103
00:00 / 01:04

James Hischke

Playing to Win: How Collaborative Leaders Compete

James Hischke, Senior Director of Tech Advancement and Outreach at Northwestern Mutual talks you through how his Midwestern upbringing (and getting beaten by your cousins at hoops in the alley) makes you stronger and perfectly suited for leadership.

James HischkeExecutive Stories EP:102
00:00 / 01:04
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Jim Benson

Collaborative Leadership

Jim Benson has built a global brand by helping people and teams in the technology industry deliver better products and feel inspired. We get to know Jim a bit better and discuss his Midwestern roots.

Jim BensonExecutive Stories EP:101
00:00 / 01:04
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