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'Leading the Way' Podcast: Jim Keyes, Chairman of Wild Oats Marketplace

Jim Keyes, who currently serves as the Chairman for the popular organic line, Wild Oats Marketplace, shares with us a unique perspective on how blending entrepreneurial spirit with a non-conformity corporate leadership style has led to his many career successes--including, as the former CEO, taking 7-Eleven from bankruptcy into the thriving business it is today. 

Keyes was also the CEO of Blockbuster, and in this edition of Leading the Way we take a behind-the-scenes look at what really occurred that resulted in the decline of the neighborhood movie store chain. 

Keyes sees the next generation as being highly equipped for success and explains the key to fostering collaboration is to put people in roles outside of their comfort zones and knock down the traditional “silos” naturally built from past practices.

In addition to enjoying Jim’s success stories and an update on his innovative project with NASA, you’ll hear about his “Education is Freedom” initiative that encourages corporations to partner with public schools as an effort to cultivate future talent and build stronger communities.  An interview like no other, this bold and astute corporate entrepreneur is known for taking risks, embracing change, and not being afraid to fail. His confidence and perseverance will inspire you; his creative power and strategic-thinking will motivate you to tap into the potential most people only dare to explore. Certainly, a progressive leader with an empowering, yet simple, message for us all…to fearlessly lead with confidence.  

Key Soundbites

  • On adversity – “Adversity is actually a strength. You can view challenges as either an excuse or you can see it as an opportunity to build a greater hunger and appetite for success.”      
  • On leadership – “A leader must possess the ability to embrace change and lead through the most difficult times. Secondly, confidence, to take risks and make tough decisions. Third, simplicity; the hardest thing for the most intelligent people is to break complex issues down into the simplest terms. If you can’t explain your strategy, you certainly can’t get people to lead.”
  • On learning and development – “Education is freedom. Learning is a life-long practice, it also leads to an incredible richness of life that never stops.”      
  • On talent acquisition – “We need to look at students as future employees, helping them with that pathway so the company will benefit from an informed workforce. The public school system is the best source for talent if we look at it as ‘growing our own within the community’.”      
  • On creativity and innovation – “It goes back to when we are three years old. I encourage all business people to pursue art and hobbies, to think creatively, and create a thirst for something new and different, to use their right brain for creating solutions.”

About Leading the Way

Leading the Way is a weekly radio show and podcast series that highlights influential business leaders and leading people practices from i4cp. Co-hosted by Emmy award-winning television anchor and radio host, Scott Murray, and i4cp’s Angel Carlton, the show features interviews with respected business leaders from the world of business, sports, entertainment, healthcare and philanthropy.  

The show airs live every Sunday at 4 pm CT on KLIF 570 in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, the global audience is invited to listen live on www.klif.com  and the weekly podcast debuts on iTunes or Google Play and the i4cp website the following week.