A Call To Lead: Top Leadership Event Becomes A Podcast

Jennifer Morgan

In 2016, we launched A Call to Lead, a world-class leadership summit that began as a tiny networking breakfast for women leaders and has since evolved into the marquee event and unofficial kickoff to the annual SAPPHIRE NOW conference.

A Call to Lead has grown in size and scale every year and has featured luminaries ranging from former U.S. presidents, first ladies, and secretaries of state to business titans from every industry and corner of the globe. The event tackles the questions and challenges of leadership in the 21st century — such as what are the new and different leadership behaviors emerging today, what are the traits that are never going out of style, and what does all this mean for business, industry, and a world awash in change?

All our guests share their incredible stories — the triumphs, hardships, and learnings that made each one the leader they have become. Our attendees leave A Call to Lead feeling inspired, educated, and armed with a different perspective on their own leadership journey. This year’s A Call to Lead event will be no different, and I hope you will consider joining us for it.

But one consistent piece of feedback I received was this: “Jen, the event is one of the best I attend all year, but let’s have this conversation more than once a year.”

So, under the heading of “things I never thought I would do,” we’re doing just that. The team has convinced me to add “podcast host” to my resume, and we’re going to have these discussions more regularly. Usually once a week, I’ll sit down with CEOs, entrepreneurs, thinkers, and leaders for authentic, candid, and unscripted conversations about what it takes to lead in the 21st century.

Why a podcast? The answer is fairly simple. Tomorrow’s leaders are going to be called to lead — in many cases, much earlier in their career. And the person who sits in my chair five or ten years from now is very likely to be younger than I was when I ascended to this job.

Leadership requires intellect, EQ, passion, and wisdom. Wisdom typically comes from time and experience. You can’t manufacture time, but you can share so many different experiences in an authentic and open way. I’m hoping these conversations and stories will give emerging leaders the courage and the confidence to create their own colorful palette of leadership, and that they will gain inspiration and wisdom from the triumphs and mistakes of those who have gone before them.

That’s what this podcast will be all about: Sharing experiences and stories that might play a small role in readying the next generation to take the helm and answer the call to lead. So we’re hoping the podcast has broad appeal and will be particularly appealing to emerging talent and tomorrow’s leaders.

I’m excited to announce that the first episode is live! My first guest is the incredible Arianna Huffington, a serial entrepreneur, Uber board member, author, and leadership expert. Arianna shared her view on a broad range of subjects, from connecting people (she’s a master) to building businesses (she’s created many, including Thrive Global) to understanding the zeitgeist and where we are headed.

Here are the team’s five takeaways from the first episode. I hope you enjoy them!

Five takeaways from Episode 1: “A Call to Lead with Arianna Huffington”

  • If we don’t continue to learn, we’re going to miss where the world is going. The greatest gift of leadership is being able to tap into where the world is going and see the icebergs before they hit the Titanic. [6:20-9:44]
  • To be a risk taker, you can’t be looking over your shoulder for approval. [12:18-13:05]
  • Worshipping top performers creates a very toxic culture. No brilliant jerks should be allowed. [14:30-16:06]
  • Human capital is the most important capital. [26:20-26:44]
  • If you don’t end your day with a bunch of incompletions, your job isn’t challenging or interesting enough. Relentlessly prioritize. [26:56-28:31]

Thank you for joining me and SAP on this journey. I’m excited for you to tune in and you can learn more about the podcast here and on the A Call to Lead website. And be sure to check out next week’s episode featuring the ever-entrepreneurial and always interesting marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk.

I appreciate all of your reactions and feedback. Please rate and review so we can improve the pod as we go! Tweet or DM me with questions or comments: @JenniferBMorgan and #acalltolead.

Where to listen

Subscribe and listen to episodes on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play, and Stitcher.

This article originally appeared on SAP News Center.


Jennifer Morgan

About Jennifer Morgan

Jennifer Morgan is responsible for SAP’s strategy, revenue, and customer success in the Americas and Asia Pacific Japan, regions encompassing more than 43,000 employees and nearly 230,000 customers. Jennifer was appointed to the SAP Executive Board in 2017, and, together with Adaire Fox-Martin, leads SAP’s Global Customer Operations. She is a principal driver of SAP’s growth and innovation strategies and works closely with SAP’s development and support leaders to ensure consistent execution of sales and customer operations in the more than 130 countries in which the company operates. In addition to being a member of the Executive Board, Jennifer serves as president of SAP North America, where she has sharpened the region’s focus on growth and innovation for its more than 155,000 customers, and helps preserve a culture that earned SAP North America its first ever listing on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For. Jennifer was also instrumental in the region securing its place as a leader in the areas of diversity and inclusion through programs like Autism at Work, and particularly the company’s receipt of EDGE certification – a recognition awarded by the World Economic Forum recognizing the company’s commitment to gender equality and equal pay in the workplace.