When Julie Goodman, CEO of Indy Arts Council, reflected on the great leaders she’s had in the past—the ones that have made a lasting effect on her career and life—she realized one thing: They all cultivated great cultures.

In this episode, Julie shares how her early experience leading her marching band taught her the value of team and fostering community and why she’s cultivated those principles ever since. Listen in to hear about the importance of building a positive workplace culture, understanding your responsibilities as a leader, and being in alignment with the work that you do.

After You Listen:

Key Takeaways:

  • Cast a vision and then make sure you’re creating the conditions that allow your team to realize it
  • Remember how you impact your employee’s outside their work; your workplace culture affects their physical and mental health
  • Being aligned with the work that you do is crucial to being the CEO

Things to listen for:

  • [1:13] Lightning round with Julie
  • [8:23] Seeing the potential in others before they see it themselves
  • [13:48] The value of creating a sense of team
  • [16:58] Realizing how your work impacts your employees lives
  • [18:00] Finding work that fuels you
  • [19:03] Julie‘s advice for her younger self
  • [21:20] Craig’s takeaways

Julie’s Transcript:

[00:00:00] Craig P: One day I walked into the office to a poster on my wall that said winner costume contest, GenCon. No one was supposed to even realize that I went to GenCon.

Welcome to Executive Evolution. I’m Craig Anderson. I’m an accidental leader who found himself with a 20 plus year career in corporate America and ever-growing leadership roles, and I learned a lot of lessons the hard way, and I created this podcast so that you don’t have to.

For a long time in my business life, I kept my business life and my personal life very separated and one of the reasons why was I was a geek. Before it was cool. Before it was more socially acceptable and we had Marvel superhero movies and all the things and. Big lover of the comic books and board games.

And here where I’m based in Indianapolis, we have one of the largest gaming conventions in the world. And it was right down the street from my office, so I started to go, but I didn’t tell anybody about it because that was a personal part of my life and I was a little embarrassed to talk about it in a big Fortune 500 company.

So I didn’t make it a big deal. So I just quietly took a couple of days off. Well, unbeknownst to me, some of my colleagues had seen me go in, Resulting in my best costume contest award, I was mortified. But after that, I just learned to accept it. And that’s something that’s very important that Julie Goodman, who is the president of the Arts Council of Indie will talk about in her interview with the Executive Evolution Podcast, the idea of giving yourself permission to approve aspects of your personal style of who you are and incorporating that into your leadership.

So, let’s jump into today’s interview with Julie Goodman.

Julie, welcome to the Executive Evolution Podcast. I’m so glad you could be with us today.

[00:01:48] Julie Goodman: Well, thank you Craig. I’m so happy to be with you.

[00:01:51] Craig P: I’m always excited when I can get not-for-profit leaders on because there’s such an opportunity for them to talk about leadership. So, to have you here. And maybe before we jump into the lightning round, can you tell us about the Arts Council of Indiana where you’re the C E O?

[00:02:04] Julie Goodman: I would love to. So the Indie Arts Council is the leading arts, advocacy and services agency supporting the creative economy here in central Indiana. So I describe us as kind of like the Chamber of commerce. For arts and culture in the region.

[00:02:20] Craig P: I love it. That sounds great. All right, well, are you ready for the lightning round?

[00:02:25] Julie Goodman: I’m ready.

[00:02:26] Craig P: All right, we’ll jump right in. What is your favorite leadership book?

[00:02:30] Julie Goodman: I’m gonna have to say it’s Brene Brown. Dare to lead right now. I mean, I have a favorite leadership book. Like every other week I feel like, cuz I’m, I’m a learner and input is my number two strength and StrengthFinder. So I’m pretty avid consumer of this.

But I think I go back dare to lead and I go back to her work series of books, but that one in particular the most often right now and her podcast and just Appreciating her voice in advocating and empowering, you know, around vulnerability and authenticity and brave, courageous leadership. think as a. woman leader. As a female leader, that especially resonates for me and, and millions of others. So I think that’s gotta be it for me right now.

[00:03:17] Craig P: I was introduced to her just by that TED Talk. I’ve never read the books,

ideas, I’ve seen a lot of different videos and interviews and just those ideas. You know, 10 years ago we weren’t even talking about vulnerability and leadership for. much less men. And now that is such after what we’ve been through the last several years, such a huge thing for all of us to think about is where can we be authentic?

Where can we be vulnerable as leaders? So how did you see yourself changing through that influence from

[00:03:42] Julie Goodman: I think the fact that she approaches really tough topics and comes to vulnerability a place of humility, a place of learning, a place of openness, but also like, acceptance, but she’s funny.

She’s raw. . I just really connected with that in her work and I think it gave me permission in a lot of ways to maybe appreciate some of those aspects of my style and my personality and my approach in. Feeling like maybe, maybe those were strengths and I hadn’t made fully appreciated them as strengths.

yeah. I think we think leaders just have it all figured out and you know, they’re not stressed and they’re not losing sleep at night. And the reality is, yes, we are all the time. right.

[00:04:28] Craig P: the freedom to show that is kind of a game changer. And then balancing that with saying, yes, I feel it too, here’s the hope.

[00:04:35] Julie Goodman: and acknowledging that reactively and proactively. So I think sitting with her work has helped me and trying to model this for my team. something doesn’t go right, I don’t feel good about a conversation. I actually just had a conversation last Friday that I thought about, I reflected on over the weekend and I went back to my two colleagues this morning and I said, you know what, I don’t, I don’t feel great about where we left that conversation.

I wanna reopen it let’s talk about it. And I wanna acknowledge that I wasn’t bringing my best self to that conversation. I was distracted, I was irritated about other things, I wasn’t present enough in that conversation. And I think her work and just in particular has.

Helped me appreciate whether it’s leading my team, interacting with partners, parenting my kids. it’s okay to say like, you know what, that wasn’t my best. and I wanna acknowledge that and I’m, sorry, and let’s, to where we need to get with that conversation. And so that’s like, you know, retrospectively, but also I think the awareness.

Of knowing where you are and either helping to sharpen your focus to get present and get right in those conversations, or some days if I know I’m just not in the right space. , I’ll take a pause. it’s been helpful to have that awareness proactively too, and so just trying to practice that myself, but also help give my team support and awareness and permission, it’s okay to have a bad day.

Like we all have them and it’s okay to say not my best day, anyway, I just really appreciate that about her work. There’s many other dimensions to it, but that’s something that has been really helpful.

[00:06:24] Craig P: Oh yeah, that’s a huge, just all that self-awareness is so helpful. So, okay, question number two.

Who is your leadership crush?

[00:06:33] Julie Goodman: I had a birthday last week and my birthday twin is one of my first bosses and his name is Dan Pinger, and he would’ve been 93 this year on his birthday. He passed away two years ago and he’s my leadership crush because when I think about who. I aspire to be.

as a leader. And there, I have many amazing examples, but he was my formative leader. An example, the first, decade of my career, I think at Stan Pinger. He was a, a former journalist, city editor of the Cincinnati Enquire entrepreneur. Started a PR firm. I was employee number seven. Of this regional public relations firm, and when I left 10 years later, we had 50 people and we were one of the leading firms in the Midwest and, had a lot of national work as well.

[00:07:25] Craig P: what’s the one way he really, you can say he really influenced your leadership style?

[00:07:30] Julie Goodman: He had a way Finding the very best in every person on our team and nurturing those strengths and doing it in such a personal, kind supportive way. he was always a step ahead of me. He always was encouraging me to take that next opportunity, that next leadership step, the next promotion, every single time for 10 years.

He was doing this before I ever felt ready, myself and his. Belief in me and his confidence in me and trust and support. I think it just unlocked potential in me and gave me the confidence to try and grow and stretch in ways that I never, I never would’ve imagined.

And he did it through, through being this very humble. Funny, kind, very unassuming former city editor. He was a storyteller. but he saw the story in each of us and then supported us to realize that it’s just was, it’s been one of the most amazing. Experiences of my life with him.

[00:08:39] Craig P: yeah, I find it so powerful when leaders can help us see something in ourselves, a potential in ourselves that we don’t even see. And then they nurture that for us help us get to that next level that we didn’t even think we could do. It’s huge, and honor to do as a leader.

[00:08:55] Julie Goodman: It is such an honor cuz I was a music major when I started school. I was a music major, voice and piano, thought I was gonna be a music educator. Found journalism and public relations through friends at, school changed my major. But I always had thisam I in the right lane?

Is this the right work? And I think being under his leadership Really helped me understand like I’m in the, right space. This advocacy empowerment space of public relations of being a support to the, clients and partners and organizations that we worked with. But through his particular style. So it was amazing.

[00:09:35] Craig P: Okay. Well, given everything you’ve already told us so far, I can’t wait to hear your answer to this third lightning round question. How would you define leadership in 10 words or less?

[00:09:45] Julie Goodman: for me, leadership is setting the vision, casting the vision, and then creating the conditions. to realize that vision among a team or a community or a city for me it’s that combination of vision and then our role as leaders of nurturing and creating the conditions to realize it.

[00:10:08] Craig P: Excellent. Okay, now let’s dive in a little bit to your leadership story. Julie, tell me what was your very first role?

[00:10:17] Julie Goodman: I think it was in high school I was the captain of our flag corps of our like in marching band was a junior. yeah, my junior and senior year I was the captain of the FLAG Corps, and that was my first, and then the second was I, think I was asked to be vice president of our show choir.

And then I was kind of like, in this VP role college and in the organizations that I was a part of, my sorority, I was always like, good, really good number two. so it even like manifested in my career, like as, as I look at the positions I’ve had throughout my career, I was really good.

Number two,

[00:10:52] Craig P: Yeah. Well, everybody needs a good one. So, I resonate, my first leadership role was president of the band. I was a petty tyrant, but I was president of the band. It was great. So when you think about those early leadership roles, what comes to mind? was for you?

[00:11:06] Julie Goodman: I think I received it as that, as a responsibility. I think it was probably a little awkward to have responsibility of my peers, right. And my friends. balancing. those leadership dynamics, right? dynamics of having positional power influence responsibility, but with people who are also your peers and colleagues and friends.

And then, you know, I think, creating that sense of team, of like having that sense of identity and connection and pride, but within a small, a small group within a big group, right? A flag corps within a, a big marching band.

Creating that sense of community and support I think was was a part of it early on too.

[00:11:52] Craig P: you were tapping into culture before we thought about tapping into culture but what a lesson to take away in leadership, especially as we look at leadership today. When you think about building a sense of team identity and pride and what better way to do it than within something that’s sort tied around school spirit and marching band and those kinds of things. Just nerd out about school spirit but then when you think about one, some of the things we talk about with culture in leadership today, those are huge things that you learned at a very early age, and how do you value those now when you think about them?

[00:12:23] Julie Goodman: all of those formative experiences from going back to that to my time, you know, at Dan Pinger I’ve been so lucky. I’ve worked for some really incredible leaders in my career in every single case, , I think it really came back to culture.

I had always been a number two or part of a senior leadership team. Never the CEO or president. But the reason I wanted to try was really. To almost pay it forward for all of those experiences I had and appreciating the opportunity to bring those cumulative lessons together to impact people’s lives.

I mean, it is about the work and the mission, but it’s also the impact. that work has on individual lives. and I really try to think about that every day, that how somebody’s experience at work affects their health, their mental health, their family, their community, their kids.

Right? and we don’t have responsibility for all of that as leaders. Like we have individual responsibility for that too, but creating. , an environment, a culture opportunities where there are more days where somebody leaves with that, momentum and confidence and they’ve made a difference in a way that has a ripple effect into their community and into their lives.

[00:13:45] Craig P: and you think about how we do that and I tie that back to what you were talking about with Brene Brown before, right? when we look at leadership as not only, you know, driving an entity forward into its mission and into all those things, but when we look about, how we’re impacting our employees’ lives the story you told, right? Oh, I wanted to go back and say, I didn’t handle that well last week. I want to come back do that. And then what’s that downstream effect? From them having that and how does that change them? that’s one of the privileges we have as leaders is, and you don’t think about it, impacting people every day with the things that we’re doing and how we show up.

[00:14:15] Julie Goodman: I’d really appreciated just thinking about this and going all the way back and thinking about the, kind of the connective tissue in my career. But there’s something about being in, public relations, in communications The discipline of looking at everything through a lens of all of the audiences that are affected,

my work has always been centering employees, internal stakeholders, external stakeholders, all the dimensions of that. So I think there was, there was a level of empathy andcommunication just baked into the work and then having, Just incredible leaders and mentors in thatit’s almost like a reflex, and having that, wiring to be able to look at things through, through those different lenses, I think has, helpful in ways I’ve probably never even said out loud

[00:15:05] Craig P: in that way until I was preparing for this conversation.

[00:15:08] Julie Goodman: So I appreciate that

[00:15:09] Craig P: Oh no, absolutely. It’swhen you really think about it, It’s an amazing thing. And, for you going from that kind of number two role, that leadership

person, right? The person who was always right in there, you know, helping the leader succeed. Now you’re the leader now, you. What surprised you the most when you sat down in that chair and said, wow, I’m the c E O.

[00:15:30] Julie Goodman: I never had to experience being the one to deliver that message, to be the one, to be the voice, the definitive voice. And I think just the weight of responsibility is you can intellectually.

Prepare and tell yourself you know what it’s gonna be like, but until you’re there it’s hard to comprehend. I think for me it was just the, full weight of responsibility that comes with the role was a surprise.

You don’t see it from the outside because it’s almost something you have to experience to appreciate.

I have a great support system. I have a wonderful staff. I have very supportive board. I’m empowered to, align resources the way, but people ask, you know, like, you able. To turn it off. And I think that’s the thing, like yes.

I mean, I manage my energy, I manage my presence with my family and,there’s always a part of my brain is thinking about the responsibility that I have. .

[00:16:24] Craig P: all on you at the end. There’s tons of people doing tons of work and lots of effort, but at the end of the day, everything flows to you and through you and the decisions that you’re making and just. How you show up matters. It’s just such a, terrible privilege. it’s a privilege, but it’s also a responsibility. And until you’re really sitting in those chairs, you don’t know what it’s like.

[00:16:44] Julie Goodman: Yeah, I’m well suited for this particular privilege and responsibility because it’s a service agency and so that centering service to and arts organizations, to the audiences, the communities that we serve that’s a strong alignment for me. So again, I think it’s easier to sit in that responsibility and the weight of it when it’s, it’s aligned with your values, with how, and where you wanna be in relationship with, you know, your community. It’s made the privilege side of that I think more centered for me than it otherwise might be.

[00:17:21] Craig P: lots of rewards to being a leader as if that weight, being that role in an area where it’s so aligned with how you feel about things and something missional for you makes a huge difference on how you carry it.

[00:17:32] Julie Goodman: I knew I was in the right role a couple of years ago. we were just coming out of the height of the pandemic and I was starting to get back out and attend events, and that’s, part of the. Role is to be present and to participate. But I had a, a colleague come up in the parking lot.

I was at a event for Asante Art Institute out at Connor Prairie. It was a Sunday afternoon, and this colleague zips over in his car. I was getting into my car and he said, you’re always out at events like, aren’t you exhausted? I remember this so clearly.

I said, you know, what this isn’t work for me. This is why we do the work, know, and I get energy and that’s the fuel, Just, again, just at peace with it. I feel really fortunate to be in this work at this time. And when you have moments like that that are just good checks, Cuz it can be a lot. But also there are when I’m, I can busy doing something every night of the week, but there are other weeks where I’m like, you know what I need to feed my introverted side of myself. I need some quiet time. I need to, focus on my family, my kids, my, you know, I need to take a walk.

I need to be with my dog. You know? So I think it’s just the range and the permission to acknowledge that range. ButIt was validating to realize in that brief interaction, like, no, it’s really, it really is. why we do the work. It’s fuel for me.

[00:18:51] Craig P: Yeah, I love that. so now the last question.

[00:18:55] Julie Goodman: everything you know today about leadership, what is the one thing you would go back and tell yourself in those early leadership roles would have made you more comfortable, more successful?

I would’ve told myself to just relax and not, be so intense about it all and, you know, back to Brene Brown, just the vulnerability of knowing like, you’re not gonna get it all right? you’re gonna make mistakes. You’re gonna learn from the mistakes. It’s going to be okay,

and pace yourself. , I definitely have some of the isms, you know, the perfectionism has definitely had some workaholic tendencies I respect, some of my younger colleagues today, and even my kids, you know, my 21 year old son who just has a. work. They work hard, they work really hard, but there is a sense of balance and perspective,

thank God, I’ve think I’ve figured that out better. It’s a work in progress, but And I feel a responsibility to model that right. it’s culture and so getting past some of my own bad habits, my own bad behaviors, and earlier in my career and just enjoy it.

I’ve been so fortunate to be in roles in organizations and certainly including this one where, every day I’m interacting with inspiring, interesting people who are, doing good work, changing our city so I think just being able to take a breath and appreciate.

What’s good and what’s working and pace yourself. So, you can enjoy the ride

[00:20:33] Craig P: Pace yourself so you can enjoy the ride. That is great advice right there. Julie, if people wanna follow you or connect with you, what are the best ways for them to find you online?

[00:20:44] Julie Goodman: So, please follow us@indiearts.org and all of our socials are on there. But we are always promoting. Arts and culture and artist engagements all over central Indiana and Indianapolis. I’m a small part of an amazing team and an amazing, really community of creatives here are doing this work.

So invite you all in.

[00:21:10] Craig P: Thanks for being on Julie and sharing all your wisdom and insight. Thanks so much for being part of the podcast.

[00:21:15] Julie Goodman: Thank you.

[00:21:16] Craig P: I was so excited to have Julian. We used to work together. She now has a very different role. I now have a very different role. She’s doing great work here in the city of Indianapolis. With the Arts Council of Indie, and I was so excited really to have someone on from the not-for-profit side. That’s, I believe, our first interview with the Not-for-Profit leader, which brings a unique perspective on leadership

Today. Here are my key takeaways from our interview with Julie, and I always like to present those key takeaways in three key leadership areas of confidence, competence and calm in the area of confidence. I loved how Julie talked about finding the best in her people, that reminds me of a re

A meeting rule that I had about presuming positive intent. When we are confident in ourselves and when we are secure in our leadership style, we can begin to assume both the best for ourselves and the best of the people around us. That we’re all working towards a common goal, and that builds our confidence in the team’s confidence.

So a great lesson for us there in the area of confidence, setting the vision, and creating the condition for the team to realize it is how Julie portrayed this in our interview today. And when we have something that everyone can work around and in sometimes in the not-for-profit world, that mission vision piece is really easy to latch onto and grab a hold of.

But that works too in the private sector space for your business. What is the mission and vision? What is the change your business is driving in the world? And when you can find that and pull your team together. That gives everyone a sense of competence in what it is they’re trying to do. It helps them to frame their job in, the picture of a larger goal, which really builds on their competence in executing on that goal.

And then finally, I love the story she told where one of her coworkers or a colleague said, you know, wow, this, this is a lot of work being out on a Sunday. And she said, this isn’t the work. This is why we do the work. Remembering the why. Why are we taking on the challenges and burdens and opportunities of being a leader?

It’s a lot of responsibility. Not everybody wants to do it, but it helps when we remember why we do the work. So thanks for listening to another episode of the Executive Evolution podcast. As always, you can find us here every other week. If you would like to get in touch with me and talk about how you can become the leader you aspire to be, reach out to me on LinkedIn.

You’ll find the link in the show notes and reach out via Messenger there. Let’s talk about how you can start to execute on some of your goals more effectively. Remember, leaders are not born, they’re made. You can go from being an accidental leader to the greatest of all time leaders. It just takes confidence, confidence and calm.

See you next time.