Title: Board Member

Learnings 2 with David Sable

Learnings 2 with David Sable


“Think about the job you’ve been given and how to get it done.” – @DavidSable #Insights [Click to Tweet]

David Sable gained valuable #Insights from his mentor Edward on the importance of working in an open office. [Click to Tweet]

Read everything you can. Not just what interests you or supports your biased; read the other side too. #Insights [Click to Tweet]

David Sable: I was very un-corporate.  I had been living on a kibbutz for about a year.  I was really totally and completely in a different head set. I had come to work with this buttoned-up guy who started the American Revolution background, fifth generation Dartmouth corporate wasp.   You can’t even imagine.  He is like this crazy Jewish kid who walks in with long hair.  He was also Republican but very – the old kind of Republican, social-liberal.  He was very social-liberal, physically concerned.

David Sable: I walked in like this – a nutcase, leftwing kind of hippie, whatever.  He became a mentor until the day he died.  He became a mentor.

David Sable: Wherever me and my wife went in the world, he visited us. He came to be with us.  I had a problem on anything, I called Edward.  He was my man.  He was my go-to for everything.  He was amazing.

David Sable: What did Edward teach me?  He taught me a lot of things. He taught me discipline. He taught me how to write better.  He taught me a lot of things like that.

David Sable: But the most important things he taught me were – as I started my corporate career – he sat me down once and said, “David, look you’re going to work at Y&R.  You’re going to work with people who lust for the corner office.” He said, “It’s irrelevant.  Don’t ever sell yourself for an office.  Don’t ever change your job for money. Always think about the job or the task you’ve been given, the job you’ve been given and how you get it done.  So, you don’t need a corner office to get it done.”

David Sable: Which is why today, I sit literally outside on a big open desk. It was so easy for me to do.  It was what Edward taught me throughout my whole career.  It’s irrelevant how big your office is, where it is so long as you can work.

David Sable: In fact, he taught me about the Boiler Room because he came out of that political environment.  He did a lot of work for the Republican Party.  If you know, even back then they were the first open offices.  It wasn’t Silicon Valley.

David Sable: That whole open office, Boiler Room kind of thing was financial and politics because in politics you need everybody in a big room.  That’s how they work – Boiler Room style.  He was working open office long before anybody ever thought about that.

David Sable: That was Edward.  He was amazing and I was blessed to have him.

David Sable: My other two mentors, one is Howard Burson who founded Burston- Marsteller.  Howard is 96.  He goes to work every day.  He’s one of the smartest men that I have ever met and learned a ton from him about corporate relations, about speech writing, about dealing in the C-suite.

David Sable: How do you talk to a CEO? This was when I was a kid.  How do you talk to a CEO?  How do you think?

David Sable: To this day, I share this to everybody here.  Read everything that you’re hands-on.  Don’t just read the things that are of interest to you where it might support the bias that you have.  Read everything about the other side, too. Make sure you understand.

Leadership with Liza Landsman

Leadership with Liza Landsman


Liza Landsman discusses the qualities of #leadership to look for when building your team #Insights [Click to Tweet]

“You can get anything done in this world as long as you don’t care who gets the credit” – Liza Landsman #teambuilding [Click to Tweet]

Look for people who are comfortable in their own skin. Security breeds great #leadership. #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Dave Carvajal: As you’ve built teams over time what are the leadership qualities that you admire the most, that you respect, that you look for in people as you build your teams and have led your teams?

Liza Landsman: When I think about building teams the leadership qualities I really look for are the following, One, I really like people who are insatiably intellectually curious. To me that’s sort of a signal of lifelong learners and people who will be open to learning from each other and learning from their own teams.

Liza Landsman: It’s really valuable in leaders for them to recognize they actually don’t know everything and that there’s a huge opportunity for them to learn from the people who are supporting them.

Liza Landsman: Second, I really look for people who recognize the truth that you can get anything done in this world as long as you don’t care who gets the credit. That to me particularly when working in large organizations is fundamental. It’s kind of that servant leadership that I think is really valuable.

Liza Landsman: And third I look for people who are really comfortable in their own skin. I think security breeds great leadership, it allows you to let other people’s light flourish and it also allows you to get over the fear of failure that is often the thing between a team and greatness.

Challenges with David Sable

Challenges with David Sable


@DavidSable believes in looking deep inside oneself to realize your mistakes and learn from them #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Learn to look deep, fix your problems & pick yourself back up again #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Too many people write off adversity as issues out of their control instead of looking to themselves to improve [Click to Tweet]

David Sable: What lessons do you learn from adversity?  Well, so many. So many. At the end of the day we all have faced adverse situations and we’ve all failed.

David Sable: I’ve lost clients. I’ve lost pitches. I had a business and a partner in ’96 that I thought was going to be the greatest in the world.  We were early in the internet and we went boom bust.  It happens.

David Sable: And so the question, “What do you learn from it?”. I think that the biggest learning comes back to what we were saying before about leadership and self-awareness.  If we don’t have self-awareness, we can’t learn from an adverse situation. You have to really deep down inside yourself.  You have to look deep down inside of what happened and be able to say, “Okay what did I do wrong?  What didn’t I do right?  What did I miss?” Sometimes it’s not you did it wrong, sometimes you missed something.

David Sable: Sometimes by the way, it is political. What is serendipity?  What is pre-determined?  All kinds but not always. I’ve had those issues in my life and those hurt when you can’t learn anything because you just look at it and say, “Wow, I got screwed.”  It happens but it doesn’t happen every time.

David Sable: The problem is too many people will just take that view every time instead of looking deep and saying, “What did I do wrong? What didn’t I do right?  What more could I have done?”

David Sable: Frankly, I have had that. I’ve seen it happen to myself. I’ve seen it happen to other people. What do you learn? You learn to a) make sure you never do that again.  Maybe you didn’t pay enough attention.  Maybe you didn’t listen correctly or you didn’t “hear”, it’s probably more to the point. You didn’t hear what was being said. You weren’t sensitive enough to the whole picture.  Maybe you were just focused on what you were doing. You didn’t sit in the shoes of your client or whoever it is you’re trying to be successful with.

David Sable: Maybe you didn’t deliver.  Maybe you just didn’t work hard enough.  You thought you had two more weeks to do it and they didn’t have that time.  Maybe you took the order and they didn’t really want you to take the order, they wanted you to recommend more and you didn’t pay attention. It happens. What do you learn?  You learn first of all to look deep, second of all obviously you need to fix those things and make sure you don’t do that again.  But I think the biggest thing is you just got to learn to pick yourself up.

Learnings 2 with Steve Johnson

Learnings 2 with Steve Johnson


The ABC’s of Life = “Always Be Curious” #Insights [Click to Tweet]

“If there’s something you’re doing and it’s not working, go deep quick, and pull the plug quick.” – @steve1johnson [Click to Tweet]

Be curious, ask questions, learn & don’t act like you know it all cause there’s no need to. #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Steve Johnson: I would be much more aware that you don’t have to know it all. And that is completely fine to ask lots and lots of questions and get advice early. I didn’t do that early enough.

Steve Johnson: Going back to the mentor question, I wish I had gotten mentors really earlier and I wish I’ve asked a lot more questions. And I felt that I was expected to know everything.  I’m hired for this role. Act like you know it.

Steve Johnson: Well, the reality is most people don’t know exactly everything about that role. If I could go back in time tell my 10-year old self, I’m like, “Just constantly be looking.”

Steve Johnson: One of the things I tell my daughter, “The ABCs of life were ‘always be curious’. Just be curious. Ask questions. Learn and don’t act like you know it all because there’s no need for it.”

Steve Johnson: Some of the best people, I mentioned Dave Goldberg earlier, I mean, he was always asking questions. And some of the best execs that I have worked with and found are similar. They are the most humble of people and are always interested in finding out a different way; learning a different way and understanding how some things are changing; what’s going on. So that would be my advice.

Steve Johnson: Everyone has failures and I always say, “Fail fast.” Over the years, there are tons of things that you look back, “Oh, man! That didn’t work.” I’m trying to give a very specific one.

Steve Johnson: I probably don’t want to do something from my most recent company but I know one in the past. We had a partner program. It was a different software company targeting a specific group of partners and we went at it, went at it and went too long, we should have shut it down quicker.

Steve Johnson: It’s not really very specific example. But the learning I took away from it was if there’s something you’re doing and it’s not working, you really should go deep on it quick and pull the plug quick because we went and spent a couple of years just – I don’t want to say wasting time. But fail fast, get through it.

Steve Johnson: In some cases, you don’t know. Some things take a long time to incubate. I understand that. So if you know that it’s something that takes more time, that’s different. That’s probably my biggest learning from that particular failure, and there are others that I have different lessons, but that was really… Don’t spend more time on it than it’s worth. Tried it, failed, move on, get to the next opportunity or try something else out.

Success with Liza Landsman

Success with Liza Landsman


[email protected] exec Liza Landsman knows first-hand what it takes to lead international teams [Click to Tweet]

7 weeks into its launch, @Jet had 1 million customers #success #womenleaders [Click to Tweet]

Liza Landsman’s coach at @Citi taught her to view her career as a portfolio #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Dave Carvajal: So we’re here this morning Liza, thank you so much for joining us this morning, it’s great to have you. I wanted to get started, you know let’s talk a little bit about: who you are, how you got here, some of your greatest accomplishments and achievements?

Liza Landsman: I’m the chief customer officer at Jet. It’s cheating if you ask a mom what things she’s most proud of, by default I must say my two children. But professionally, I think really what we’ve accomplished at Jet over the last 13 months, since launch, is quite astonishing and certainly something I’m extremely proud of. So, a million customers by 7 weeks out, I think that puts us right between instagram and spotify in terms of speed to that number. Over $1 billion run rate in GMV by 10 months, 5 million customers at the 13 month mark, with 61 NPS score.  It’s not just that we’re growing fast and growing big, we’re also growing with love, which is a great place to be.

Dave Carvajal: And maybe we can take some time, Liza, and walk us through how you got to this place.  What was the mindset, what was the thinking, as you made decisions to move on in your career and progress to where you are today?

Liza Landsman: I was really fortunate fairly early in my career, I had a coach when I was at Citi Group who gave me an invaluable insight and frame for thinking about my career, which is to actually think about it like many people in finance think about the rest of the world – as if I were managing a portfolio. Think about the skill sets I wanted to acquire, the experiences I wanted to have, and what my non negotiables are, and to stop thinking about what job I want next or what role I want next. Just think about how I can make myself sort of more fit for purpose.

Liza Landsman: For me leading up to this role I’m really thinking about profound understanding of consumer, that’s been sort of a through line for a lot of the work that I’ve done, thinking about always the question of ‘in service of what?’ that is, “What greater good are we serving? But also what business purpose are the tasks in front of us?’

Liza Landsman: And, I think a lot of the work in finance and tech, which is really about the smart use of data, kind of all culminated in this role at Jet, which is such a marriage of where is the consumer now, and how do you extract insights from data to really deploy your capital from a marketing and operations perspective smartly.

Leadership 2 with Steve Johnson

Leadership 2 with Steve Johnson


“You have to move with speed, you have to be strategic, and you have to be open to new things” – @steve1johnson #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Purpose drives passion #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Companies get so caught up in numbers that they end up with employees that don’t align with their values #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Choose attitude over aptitude when hiring to get the most passionate people on your team #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Steve Johnson: So for hiring the right people I look at, this is not new but we look at the four quadrant; values on one quadrant and results on another. So your top right is high values high results.  And making sure as you’re hiring somebody, do they have the values that align with your company? And would you hire them on that?

Steve Johnson: And also conversely, if somebody was in the bottom left quadrant, low results low values, would you fire them? But they also then lead you to the next question. Do you have your values? Are they clear enough that you could hire and fire based on them?

Steve Johnson: And I think that’s what I see a lot of times in companies that you get so caught up in just trying to make the day to day payroll numbers survive that you forget that then you end up with people that don’t really align with what you want the company to be about. I was looking, life is too short to spend time with people that don’t have the right – if you’re not lined up in the same way and have the same values.

Steve Johnson: Then, that’s the other thing I would say – one of the biggest things I’ve seen with companies that don’t make it or have challenges is that they’re just not open. They think they know it all. They’re not open.

Steve Johnson: I mean, I’m constantly listening to people and learning. It’s just there’s always a different way and the world is changing. What used to be right 10 years ago is not right.

Steve Johnson: Enterprise software in the field is more into online sales and revenue that’s driven in a different way; constantly asking questions, constantly digging in, learning what’s new. It’s like, call it the SSO. You have to move with speed; you have to be strategic and you got to be open constantly to new things. Anyway, that’s what I look in hiring talent. 

Steve Johnson: The other thing aside on talent, I would say, is I choose aptitude, sorry, I had to choose attitude over aptitude. Ideally you want both but I found over and over and over some of the best people we had, the people in the early days that were super passionate about social, they have a much better chance of success than somebody that maybe had been this greater broader experience but they don’t really care about social, if it’s a Hootsuite world or pick the space, have someone that aligns that’s really, really passionate about you’re doing.

Steve Johnson: I think again, going back, I think purpose will help drive that passion.  If it’s a really clear purpose and what you guys are doing and what everybody is doing makes a difference. But yeah, can’t say enough about that.

Leadership 1 with David Sable

Leadership 1 with David Sable


“Surround yourself with people who are better than you in the things you don’t do well.” @DavidSable #Insights [Click to Tweet]

When there’s glory, lead from the back. When there’s adversity, lead from the front #Insights [Click to Tweet]

“What can I do today that’s bigger & more important than I did yesterday?” @DavidSable #Insights [Click to Tweet]

David Sable: To me, leadership progression in your career are based on a number of things.

David Sable: First is I think you just have to have total self-awareness. You have to be aware of what you do well and what you don’t do well. I think you have to have confidence in the abilities that you have to do things well, to surround yourself with people who are better than you in the things that you don’t do well.  Don’t be afraid of it.

David Sable: Don’t be afraid to find people who are smarter than you in some area, who know more than you in another area, have more experience in something.  It’s okay.  It’s really okay. And then, your contribution is to be able to hold the whole thing together.

David Sable: This advice was given to me earlier in my career. I think it’s an absolute brilliant fact. I can honestly tell you when I left Y&R after a year, so I’ve been in the training for almost 21 – and I’m 22.  I go to Wells Rich Greene.

David Sable: They just won a piece of business. They thought I came from the training program in Y&R. I didn’t know anything but they figured, “What the hell.” I must know a lot. So, they said, “You got to hire 15 people.”  I said, “What? Hire?  What does that mean?  How do you hire somebody?” I had no clue.

David Sable: Today there’s a whole system, there’s a process. Back then it wasn’t quite that organized and particularly we were a small company at that time.  It wasn’t that well-organized.  They said, “Let’s go hire them. Don’t worry, somebody will help you.”

David Sable: What did I do?  I called the smartest person I knew. She worked at Y&R.  She was the head. She was already working in the system. I said, “Sue, here’s an opportunity. You got to come. I need your help. This is great.”

David Sable: I paid her more than I was getting paid. She didn’t know that but I thought I had to, just in case it ever came up and I wanted her to know which I never told her until a couple of years ago. Here’s the joke. Thirty years later, we are still connected and we still work together.

David Sable: I brought in somebody who knew way more.  She was more buttoned up than I was.  Her expertise in particular areas were bigger than mine.  I was more creative.  She was more foundational, analytical.  It was awesome.  It was fabulous. She helped me hire all these other people and we were very successful.

David Sable: I think that’s the thing. You can’t be scared. That’s number one.

David Sable: Number two, you got to be an entrepreneur. Always every day is an entrepreneurship. You have to consistently think, “What else can I do? Where else can I go?”  Personally and with your clients, whatever it is that you’re working on. I think it’s really, really important.

David Sable: I have a motto, “Do it big or stay in bed.” If you can’t come up with an idea every day that’s bigger than the one you had than the day before, then don’t even bother. Sleep the rest of the day.

David Sable: I wake up every morning and I try to think about, “What can I do today that’s different and bigger and more important than I did yesterday?”  I think that’s really critical.

David Sable: Always lead by example.  It’s critical. There are times you lead from the front and there are times you lead from the back. You lead from the front whenever there’s an adversity. I learned this in the army. I was in the Israeli army.  Always lead from the front. You don’t yell, “Charge!” And point to the front and everybody runs ahead and you’re standing back with your sword. You got to be the one leading the charge when there’s adversity.

David Sable: When there’s something, when there’s stuff to share, when there’s glory, you lead from the back.

Leadership 1 with Thilo Semmelbauer

Leadership 1 with Thilo Semmelbauer


Building a great product is important; but building relationships with people really creates value #Insights [Click to Tweet]

An essential part of being a #Leader is getting to know and motivate the people around you #Insights [Click to Tweet]

“#Leadership starts with a vision. It can come from great inspiration or hard analytical work.” @ThiloSemm #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Thilo Semmelbauer: Well, I think leadership always starts with a vision, a plan, I think. It can come from great inspiration or it can come from hard analytical and strategic work but it always starts with clarity of vision.

Thilo Semmelbauer: And I think the second part is getting other people on board. And that ultimately, I think, great leaders have a way of getting to know the people around them and motivating them.

Thilo Semmelbauer: You can’t motivate people who are all motivated by different things unless you get to know them, which requires listening, learning, observing, communicating–all those things to really connect so you can’t do it by yourself.

Thilo Semmelbauer: So I think it’s that combination of knowing where you want to go and being able to, at the end of the day, get others to follow. I think that’s what leadership is all about.

Thilo Semmelbauer: There’s a deeper thing perhaps underlying leadership that I didn’t mention and you’re making me think about it now. I think it’s kind of at the basic level of caring. So what does that mean?

Thilo Semmelbauer: I mean, caring about people. The people are going to help you. The people, together, are going to make it happen. And if you don’t care about them, it’s not going to work as well. It’s only going to work for a short time period.

Thilo Semmelbauer: So there’s something I don’t know quite to how to put words around it. But the teams that I have built and the people I’ve worked with, it’s like a relationship. I care about them, I want them to succeed, they want me to succeed, and there’s a bond there, I think, that makes it special and sometimes makes it work and you can build magic together.

Dave Carvajal: And it’s amazing how that leadership, Thilo, has inspired so many people in their own leadership growth and how they choose to lead and the active decision that they make in understanding how to be a better leader, creating value in the world.

Thilo Semmelbauer: I hope so. There’s a lot of people that I’ve worked with over the years that I’m still in touch with that are in leadership positions and they call me and ask for advice and I give them what I can.

Thilo Semmelbauer: Most of it is within them and they maybe need some help bringing it out. And that’s very gratifying, to see people move on and do amazing things. That’s part of the fun for me.

Thilo Semmelbauer: Yeah, it’s building great products and having impact on people’s lives but it’s also the relationships with the people you work with that is very gratifying.

Learnings 1 with Aditi Javeri Gokhale

Learnings 1 with Aditi Javeri Gokhale


After stumbling upon the @USIEF, Aditi Javeri Gokhale applied to the top US universities #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Aiming high and applying to top schools could land you a world of new opportunities #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Over 5 years, Aditi was the only Indian accepted to @MIT on a 4 year scholarship #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: My mom worked right beside the United States Education Foundation and my mom’s office used to have amazing food in the cafeteria. So anytime I had a holiday I would try to go to her office just to eat the free food, that’s what happened.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: As I was passing by I saw the U.S. flag and I saw this United States Education Foundation and I said, okay let me check what this is. I walk in and there’s a guidance counselor there and I kept talking to her and I talked to her about what I’ve done, and what I want to do, and my grades. She said, “You know what you got a really good shot at some of the top universities.”

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: We looked at about five schools I asked for the application, I didn’t want my parents to spend because they didn’t know about it so I actually asked for a fee waiver so that my entire application was for free, and that’s how I applied to MIT. Took my first flight to Boston so I hadn’t actually taken an international flight ever in my life. But the whole application process with MIT as you probably know you’re required to do an interview.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: Your grades have to be stellar of course, but the fact that I aimed high so to speak was the only Indian after five years to get admitted on a four year scholarship. I think that was one of the biggest achievements at that point. I came to this country with 200 bucks in my pocket and you know did my undergrad in three instead of four years I think was probably something that I’m really proud of.

Learnings 1 with David Sable

Learnings 1 with David Sable


Through working at companies like @YoungRubicam & @B_M @DavidSable has gained valuable #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Work experience is starting early, especially for high schools that immerse senior students in work programs #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Writing copy in high school to running global advertising at @YoungRubicam @DavidSable #Insights [Click to Tweet]

David Sable: How did I get here to be a CEO at a company like Young & Rubicam? I began actually in advertising when I was in high school.  I started writing copy.

David Sable: How I started writing copy as a senior in high school, I went to a very progressive high school and they figured by the time January rolled around you’re already in college, you got accepted.  The rest of the year was a bit of a waste so they had a work program.

David Sable: I went to work for friends of my dad’s at a local, in New York City, advertising which at the time was very, very well-known.  Small but very, very large in terms of their media output, in terms of the work that they produce and I went to work for them.

David Sable: I just had a knack for it and I started selling copy. All through school I sold copy and designed ads. I learned how to do production. I used to buy time at Channel 9 WOR New York, the smallest television station in the market and I would go 2:00 in the morning and pay whatever the low in the union rate was because they had studios open and do little commercials for people and things. Mostly for non-profits but I started doing a lot of work with.

David Sable: I had an opportunity to work for a company called New York Tel.  They were Young & Rubicam’s largest client at the time. They were beginning before the whole Bell system blew up. They were one of the largest. Worked for them, had an amazing time, amazing experience for me. I was writing and designing and doing stuff.  It just gave me tremendous opportunity in the summer.

David Sable: Then they said, “You got to work in Y&R,” and so I did. They helped me get a job there in 1976.  I was in the training program. I left there right after I graduated the training program. I got four times my salary which was probably about $8.

David Sable: At my next job I went to work at wells rich greene.  It was also an exciting opportunity. I had an opportunity to go to Israel. I went to Israel and founded a company in 1979-1980 with somebody who became my partner and still my older brother after all these years.  He was an Israeli.  He was a graphic designer, graphic artist, brilliant and done mostly B2B.   Somebody partnered us and it was the beginning of the high tech industry in Israeli which today is probably the most famous in the world but we were there at the very, very beginning of it.  And so, it was amazing.

David Sable: We learned how to do everything. The ads were obvious but we learned how to do annual reports and how to create booths for credible trade exhibitions, global ones and create the collateral for it. It was an amazing experience.

David Sable: I came back to the US and worked at Burson-Marsteller which is sort of a natural progression. It was something I didn’t know. I always wanted to do something I didn’t know, which we can talk about later. I went from there to run global accounts at Young & Rubicam because I had this global experience back in 1985 and not many people did. I was travelling the world in ’85.

David Sable: We didn’t have cellphones. There was no email. You got on a plane, you were gone for two weeks. Couldn’t always call back home.