LEAD WITH WE, with host Simon Mainwaring, is the podcast that reveals how brands survive in a crisis, thrive in a fast-changing market, and accelerate growth in a challenging future.

Discover how the world’s top companies and entrepreneurs are driving growth and impact that employees and customers now demand. What worked, what didn’t and what you need to do to get everyone to build your business.

Whether you’re a start-up, high growth company or large corporation, you’ll learn how to build your reputation, increase employee productivity, and inspire customers to promote your brand. Engaging, entertaining and actionable, this is your chance to listen in and learn a lot about how business does well and does good.


Simon Mainwaring is a brand futurist, global keynote speaker, and bestselling author. He is best known as the author of We First: How Brands and Consumers Use Social Media to Build a Better World and the Founder and CEO of We First, a strategic consultancy that works with brands to define their business strategy, company culture, and brand communications.


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Season 1

Reflecting On 2020: What It Really Means To Lead With We


How would you describe 2020? Wait, don’t answer that question. I think it’s safe to say that we could all use a bit of a break, as well as a chance to reflect. Personally, as we wrap up 2020 and head into a new year, I’ve been looking back and appreciating my conversations with purposeful business leaders in our first season. So with this episode, I’ll take you through some of my favorite moments from the show, key takeaways and give a little peek into my own story.

Satori Capital’s Sunny Vanderbeck Explains The Move Toward ‘Conscious Capitalism’


Sunny Vanderbeck launched his investment firm, Satori Capital, in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis. At the time, it was a difficult sell met with resistance within the institutional investment community: he wanted to invest in business as a force for good.

In this episode, Sunny explains how he puts conscious capitalism into practice, from investing with longer time horizons to transforming the employee experience at the company-level, to going above and beyond minimum environmental standards. At this time of great uncertainty and instability, I’m excited to share Sunny’s refreshing take on how the world is moving toward a more sustainable version of capitalism.

Modern Meadow CEO Andras Forgacs Is Transforming Consumer Products With Lab-Grown Materials


Andras Forgacs went from venture investor to entrepreneur when he co-founded two biotech companies with his father, Organovo and Modern Meadow, in a quest to bring about a more sustainable world. In this episode, Andras takes me through his journey, from pioneering lab-grown human tissues technology at Organovo for pharmaceutical testing, to applying that same technology to consumer products at Modern Meadow. With Modern Meadow’s lab-grown leather about to hit the market, I couldn’t be more excited to share my conversation with Andras.

Why Warby Parker’s Dave Gilboa Took A Stand on Voting in 2020


Warby Parker first disrupted the optical industry by offering direct-to-consumer glasses at an affordable price, but now the company is also shaking things up in the social arena. In this episode I speak with the company’s Founder and co-CEO, Dave Gilboa, about how the company has embraced access to voting in 2020 and partnered with other businesses to spread their message far and wide. We also discuss what’s next for this ten-year-old brand, the possibility of going public and choosing purpose-driven investors in the next stage of growth.

How Allbirds’ Tim Brown Is Innovating And Sharing To Solve For Climate Change


Allbirds quickly gained a cult following after launching a simple and sustainable sneaker in 2016. In this episode of Lead With We, Allbirds CEO Tim Brown talks about how he and his team are working to reduce their carbon footprint and bringing the rest of the world along with them. From partnerships with “the competition,” to award-winning innovations and inventing a universal metric for carbon, Tim shares his many insights on how business can be a force for positive, rapid change.

Mammut CEO Oliver Pabst On Reinvigorating A Legacy Brand With Purpose


Founded in 1862, Mammut built its reputation amongst outdoor enthusiasts by creating the strongest mountaineering ropes out there. Now, as they look to the future, my dear friend Oliver Pabst is leading the company with a new purpose: to create a world moved by mountains. Listen to my conversation with Oliver to learn how the company is leaning on their purpose to reach a diverse set of global consumers, how they partner with other companies on sustainability, and more.

How Charity Water’s Scott Harrison Gets People Hooked On Generosity


My friend Scott Harrison has had quite the personal journey. Scott was a nightclub promoter in New York City living the late night life, before he did a 180 with an intent to make an impact. After spending two years volunteering as a photojournalist in West Africa, he founded charity: water, which builds clean water sources for people in developing countries. Learn how Scott built one of the fastest growing non-profits in America. We discuss everything from how he views relationships with those who give to his organization, to how he set up a radically transparent model for tracking donations, to how he marries emotional storytelling with the latest technology to grow his global community.

Prima’s Christopher Gavigan On Building Consumer Trust Through Education


Christopher Gavigan is a scientist-turned-entreprenuer who co-founded The Honest Company with actress Jessica Alba before going on to start one of the leading CBD brands, Prima. In each venture, he laid the foundation for success through education, by sharing his knowledge of how chemicals in everyday products affect our health. In this episode, Chris shares with me his passion for building deep trust with consumers and creating a better future through business.

Ben & Jerry’s Jay Curley On Why Delicious Ice Cream And Social Justice Go Hand-in-Hand


Before becoming the Global Head of Integrated Marketing for Ben & Jerry’s, Jay Curley dreamt of working for the famous ice cream brand that has taken bold stances on key social justice issues, from marriage equality to ending mass incarceration and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. So how does a company like Ben & Jerry’s manage to keep growing and earning loyal employees and customers while speaking out on such controversial issues? In this episode of Lead With We, Jay Curley gives me an insider perspective based on his twelve years inside one of the most socially conscious and beloved brands out there.

Kara Goldin On Why Consumers Want Purposeful Products More Than Ever


When you look up ‘disrupter’, I’m pretty sure Kara Goldin’s name is listed. Kara is the founder and CEO of Hint, Inc., and she completely disrupted the bottled water industry with her best known product, Hint water. As she was about to welcome her fourth child, Kara’s idea to help her lead a more healthy life, along with her bold, scrappy approach, led to the creation of top-selling flavored waters without artificial flavors in an incredibly crowded category. Kara also discusses her political activism around access to clean water in America and how she doesn’t let her own fear get the best of her, a core theme in her new book, Undaunted.

From Climate Scientist To Entrepreneur: How Adam Lowry Disrupts Crowded Consumer Categories


Adam Lowry thought he would make a difference as a climate scientist, but instead, he’s changed the world through disruptive startups like Method, which makes eco-friendly cleaning products, and Ripple Foods, which uses technology to make high-protein dairy replacements that actually taste good. And he’s got another killer product on the way. Listen to this episode to hear how Adam has persevered in the face of industry attacks, how he approaches branding, and why he helped found the B-corp movement.

Bombas’ David Heath On Tackling Homelessness Through Socks


Like many of the leading consumer brands in today’s marketplace, David Heath built a cult following around the mission of his sock company, Bombas. Bombas donates a pair of high quality, high performance socks to the homeless community for every pair they sell.

ThriveWorx’s Mike Mannina On Channeling Philanthropy Through Your Supply Chain


Have you ever wondered how to get all your stakeholders on board when it comes to building a business model that benefits everyone? ThriveWorx has figured it out. Joining us this week is Mike Mannina the Co-Founder and CEO of ThriveWorx, a non-profit platform empowering companies to turn their supply chains into forces of community transformation. Mike and I have a great discussion on why business is the most effective tool for community development, in addition to learning how purposefully channeling philanthropic dollars to the people in your supply chain actually reduces business risk by strengthening relationships.

The North Face’s Arne Arens Gets Candid About Boycotting Facebook and Sustainable Growth


The North Face is known for its outdoor apparel, but in July 2020 the company became known for being the first major brand to speak out about against hate speech on Facebook as part of the #StopHateforProfit campaign. Join me in conversation with Global Brand President Arne Arens as he takes us inside that bold decision, and how it connects directly to the mission of The North Face brand, and how ultimately making long-lasting clothing that’s meant to be recycled makes for great business.

OMAZE’s Matthew Pohlson On His Near Death Experience And Disrupting Charity


If you are looking to be inspired by how a change of mindset can unlock joy and success in the entrepreneur journey, listen to this episode. Matthew Pohlson, Co-founder and CEO of Omaze joins me for an in-depth conversation about how his for-profit model is disrupting the non-profit space, the personal reasons behind his work, and a near death experience that forever changed his life, and his company.

Doug Palladini of VANS On Choosing Integrity Over Ubiquity


In this episode, I have a great conversation with Doug Palladini, Global Brand President of VANS on how to build a purposeful brand by really listening to your customers and being truly authentic. Doug discusses how the company’s approach translated into their unique response to COVID 19 and more.

BlackRock’s Frank Cooper On Retooling Capitalism & How Sustainability Drives Growth

SEASON 1, EPISODE 11 | AUGUST 25, 2020

In this episode, I have a great conversation with Frank Cooper, Senior Managing Director, Global Chief Marketing Officer of BlackRock, the world’s largest hedge fund. Frank gets candid about the challenge climate change poses to business, what needs to change about capitalism, and how sustainability and purpose have become driving forces behind innovation. Frank also tells me why we should be optimistic about what we can achieve together through business.

CEO Blair Kellison Discusses How Traditional Medicinals Competes On Purpose

SEASON 1, EPISODE 10 | AUGUST 18, 2020

This week it was a pleasure to welcome Blair Kellison to the podcast, the President of herbal medicine company Traditional Medicinals. Blair offers insights on how his company has thrived since 1974 through long term decision-making, a holistic understanding of sustainability, and a carefully crafted company culture. He also shares his belief that the highest purpose of business is to address climate change and income inequality.

Joey Bergstein, CEO of Seventh Generation, On Building Products for People and Planet


Thrilled to have Joey Bergstein, CEO of Seventh Generation join me on the podcast this week. We talk about the Iroquois philosophy which inspired the formation of this eco-friendly home products company over 30 years ago, and how it has grown into one of the most profitable and purpose-driven pieces of Unilever’s portfolio. Joey shares information that any brand can learn from around building a virtuous cycle between creating products with integrity, advocacy and the bottom line.

VF Corporation’s Steve Rendle on “Balancing Purpose and Performance”


In this episode, I have a great conversation with Steve Rendle, the Chairman, President, and CEO of VF Corporation, who shares how a global enterprise pivots to purpose with a portfolio of twelve leading activity-based brands. Steve discusses how he mobilized that portfolio and its employees around issues like COVID-19 and what the future of leadership looks like to the benefit of all stakeholders in our future. 


How Harry’s leverages its capital and culture to address men’s mental health

SEASON 1, EPISODE 7 | JULY 28, 2020

In this episode, I have a great conversation with Maggie Hureau, Head of Social Impact at Harry’s. She talks about how Harry’s aims to get more men access to mental health care through its philanthropic efforts and partnerships with nonprofits. Its partners offer mental health resources to men across a number of demographics, including those who identify as LGBTQ, veterans, those facing homelessness and more.

Jeni’s Ice Cream’s 20-year journey to becoming a community-centered, impact-focused business leader

SEASON 1, EPISODE 6 | JULY 21, 2020

This week I welcomed Jeni Britton, founder of Jeni’s Ice Cream to the podcast. If you don’t know Jeni’s – you should. We had a great discussion about their ingrained sense of community with a team of 800+ employees, her journey to becoming a true impact leader, and how critical it is to have business show up in social discussions. Jeni’s Ice Cream is a purpose-driven leader, a trailblazer in the industry and a company business can learn from. Enjoy!

Thrive Farmers mission to stabilize coffee pricing to support small farmers in Central America

SEASON 1, EPISODE 5 | JULY 14, 2020

Michael Jones talks about how THRIVE Farmers has designed a revolutionary new business model that for the first time in history decouples coffee from the toxic connection to volatile commodities markets, thereby aligning the interests of farmers with those who are buying and consuming their coffee. Thrive’s revenue sharing model creates stable and predictable long-term pricing for farmers, providing true economic sustainability, and transforming families and communities that produce coffee.

Greenbar Distillery’s Unexpected Journey To Become A Sustainability and Impact Leader

SEASON 1, EPISODE 4 | JULY 7, 2020

This is a fascinating episode with Melkon Khosrovian, the Co-Founder and Spiritsmaker at Greenbar Distillery. Melkon reveals the obstacles he had to overcome to be a truly impact-focused business, how they partnered with growers to launch some of the most carbon negative products and how they adapted to the COVID-19 crisis. Greenbar Distillery is a shining example of how business can be a force for good and drive growth by solving the pressing problems of today.

How SanMar Delivered High Growth, Sustainability and PPE Equipment for COVID-19

SEASON 1, EPISODE 3 | JUNE 30, 2020

A conversation with Jeremy Lott, Owner and President of Seattle based SanMar, on aligning economic strategies with a purpose-driven company.

A Conversation with TOMS on Transforming Lives, Scaling Impact and Redefining Business

SEASON 1, EPISODE 2 | JUNE 23, 2020

In this episode, I had a great conversation with Amy Smith, Chief Strategy and Impact Officer at TOMS. We talked about how TOMS is evolving how it turns business into a force for good and she gives great insights into the strategies and tactics they use to engage consumers so they can grow their business and its impact at the same time. This is something every brand must do to meet the new demands of their employees and customers, and there’s no better leader to learn from than Amy. 

How IBM, Call for Code and Developers Worldwide are Tackling COVID-19

SEASON 1, EPISODE 1 | JUNE 16, 2020

In this episode, Bob Lord, Senior Vice-President of Cognitive Applications and Developer Ecosystems at IBM, inspires us with breakthrough innovations created by IBM, developers worldwide and its partners. He shares the strategies and tactics of true entrepreneurship that not only solve for today’s greatest challenges like the climate crisis and COVID-19, but also unlocks new and expansive opportunities for business. This is the power of technology, collaboration and impact at its best!