Nancy Duarte – Founder & CEO of Duarte

Episode 259

Why is storytelling important? And why is it important in building your company's messaging and engagement? Listen to this incredible episode with Nancy Duarte, CEO of Duarte, as she shares her journey and tips on how you too can (and should) tell your stories. On this episode of #TheKaraGoldinShow.

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Kara Goldin 0:00
I am unwilling to give up that I will start over from scratch as many times as it takes to get where I want to be I want to be, you just want to make sure you will get knocked down. But just make sure you don’t get knocked down knocked out. So your only choice should be go focus on what you can control control control. Hi, everyone, and welcome to the Kara Goldin show. Join me each week for inspiring conversations with some of the world’s greatest leaders. We’ll talk with founders, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and really some of the most interesting people of our time. Can’t wait to get started. Let’s go. Let’s go. Hi, everybody, it’s Kara Goldin from the Kara Goldin show. And I’m super, super excited to have my next guest. Here we have Nancy Duarte, who is the CEO, and serial author of many, many incredible books that we’ll talk about. But she is CEO of Duarte, and she’s just this incredible, incredible entrepreneur, leader, storyteller communicator to so many so many great people and company, all over the world. And I think that the key thing that I’ve seen Nancy do is really simplify things for people and really take ideas and create the most powerful tools, people have to be able to get their messages out there. So she has an incredible TED talk as well. So in case you’re not familiar with Nancy, you should definitely listen to that. And as I said, she’s worked with many, many companies and top executives, she’s also worked with Al Gore to on on that incredible talk that he did. And just more than anything, I think she is just a wealth of information on messaging and communication, and highly sought after that. I feel like so lucky that we’re able to have her here today. So welcome, Nancy. It’s so good to see you, Kara. Great to see you, too. So you have such a natural gift for storytelling. Where did this come from? I mean, what, what’s let’s go back to kind of the beginning of of Nancy and kind of your life early on.

Nancy Duarte 2:21
How funny. Yeah, you know, the, the way you aware to the question, so interesting, because my, when I was really little, my mom took a picture, it’s the only picture I have of myself alone, and I’m not really in it, what she took was a picture, I had laid out like a little dish towel, a green dish towel, I’d found little objects around the house, and put them on this dish towel. And then I would arrange them and rearrange them and arrange them and I would just tell stories, I would just like that was my play was this little dish towel with these found objects and my, you know, life is cruel sometimes in some ways. So I, I was raised in this kind of economically and emotionally starved environment, you know, which comes with all that neglect and abuse, you know, mom with mental illness, alcoholism, you know, all that, all that show. And at about at 16. I was 16 years old, and she abandoned us and she’s like, go get the car at the airport, I’ve moved to California and kind of picked up running the household. And the thing about story is they’re messy. Our stories are messy. You know, there’s this likable kid, or likable person. The middle part is the messy middle, we encounter these roadblocks and trials and tests. And then the third act is we’re changed by it all. And I and my child had shaped me in such a significant way. So when I by the time I went to college, I really wanted to get a degree but I didn’t have the emotional stamina to finish it. And my first and only year of college I got a C minus and speech communication in a DNA English and now I write books in English about speech communication. So it was a little bit of Yeah, so I did what I don’t recommend every bright young girl do but it worked for me as I got married at 18. And what was interesting is we got married up in a little town in northern California, Chico, California. And my first job was making $3.15 as a cashier at long strokes. I was in a it was in a time of incredible inflation in early 81. And I couldn’t get a job I couldn’t find a job. And finally, I went back two weeks later and laid my body across the desk of the hiring manager at long strike was like hire me please hire like I was just like, I need a job. So we hired me put you know, made me a cashier and like about three months later, this guy comes through my line. He goes Duarte. Are you related to Leonard Doherty and I’m like, yeah, he goes, You seem too bright to be a cashier here. Will you come and work for me? And he had a office supply and typewriter repair store and he 100 By the way, Leonard’s my father in law, okay, that’s where I get the Duarte and so thank you. And so I this guy named Pete hires mate Pete red Gianelli and I’m 19 He makes me claim he makes me call on customers like if I wasn’t busy he put me out in the car. I was like you go find business. He made me do the sales tax the income tax, he made me fall. The he made me do all the purchase. Like he was just like putting me out there putting it he didn’t mystified entrepreneurism, for me just demystified it for me. And his business quintupled, like in quintupled within 18 months. And so I was like, wow, like, wow, it was such a delight to, to serve Him and be so young and thrown into this. It was difficult, but it was really rewarding. And that’s kind of that’s kind of where this whole genesis of this, you can do anything. Like you just have need to have an idea and some business acumen and you can make anything happen and take risks.

Kara Goldin 6:05
I think so often I talk about this a lot that I I worked for incredible entrepreneurs, including, you know, either directly or indirectly. Ted Turner, I never worked at Apple. But I worked for an idea that was spun out of Apple. That was a Steve Jobs idea doing CD ROM shopping that five guys who worked for Steve, I worked for and then ended up our company got acquired by America Online. And so Steve Case, right. And so,

Nancy Duarte 6:36
Steve, I look amazing entrepreneur. Yeah. Right.

Kara Goldin 6:39
And I look back on those experiences. And when I wanted to start my own company, I, I realized that they were real people. And it sounds like the same experience where, you know, you had the, you were lucky in many ways to be able to go and work for somebody who didn’t make something so impossible or so hard or put up roadblocks. Instead, they needed help. Right. And they needed support. And you were there to support and thrive right and see their business thrive, which is incredible. So where so what was the point when you actually started putting presentations together? That sound? Great question. Yeah, so of everything there.

Nancy Duarte 7:22
Yeah, we bounced down to the Silicon Valley Valley about five years into our marriage, heavy, heavy was gonna go to school. And what happened was, I worked at this office supply store. And then I called on the only tech company in Chico and won that as an account. But then I quit my job and went to work for this tech company up there. So it was easy transition from Chico down here to a kind of an electronics distributor. And my husband worked his butt off one summer to buy a Mac. And you got to understand this was when it was still, you know, jaggy fonts. And they it wasn’t a thing people thought it was a toy. Nobody really knew what a personal computer could do. And he bought one and we’re pitiful poor care. I mean, we’re pitiful, poor and you know, hideous shag carpets, itty bitty one room apartment, but we have a Macintosh. And he starts to get calls like, Hey, can you do this resume? Can you do this newsletter? Well, I get very pregnant with my second kid, my son. And I’m like, not happy. I’m like, you gotta go get yourself a real job. This is a joke. I don’t know what you’re doing. But you’re supposed to be in school, but you’re doing news resumes. And, and you know, there’s a couple times twice in my life, my husband had to get on his knees to get my attention and beg me to do something. That’s like full compassion. I don’t know if you let people confess do confessions like your show. But there it is. And he got my attention. He said, Well, you please read Macworld magazine, just read it cover to cover and tell me if you don’t think this is going to be a big deal. So I read it, I’m like, fine. If I can sell this, you can keep it if I can’t sell it. Here’s your stack of resumes that you put addresses on you know, and sure enough, I made calls in one afternoon and we won NASA tandem, which is now HP and Apple big dubbed a big conference at Apple in one afternoon. And then I was like, we were a business and Apple people don’t realize Apple was the first company to hook up a computer to a projector for a conference like before then there were these little 35 millimeter slides. And and so when Apple had their big layoff in 93, all my apple clients like scattered all across the Bay Area, like little seeds and and people didn’t know how to design slides. The presentation tools were so ugly, so ugly, by default, they were all made by engineers. And that was before UX UI had a real magic to it. And so it took like a hammer and an anvil to make a slide look decent, and we were really good at that. And so it just grew from there. I presentations found me so even though I loved communications and love speechmaking if we hadn’t landed Apple as our first. And we still have them as the clients 34 years now. 30 years, 34 years we’ve had with them. And yeah, if they were not like bleeding edge at presenting, I probably would not be the same company that we are today.

Kara Goldin 10:20
That’s amazing. Well, I love to that. I mean, how old were you at that point?

Nancy Duarte 10:27
I was 24 when we moved down right

Kara Goldin 10:30
to 24 years old. Yeah, hadn’t gone to college, you know, you, you just confessed that, you know, had had taken a communications class, and yet, you are starting a company. And you’re, and you’re doing something that you and your husband were super passionate about. And I think that it starts there, right, that’s the seed, you find the passion, you find something that you really want to be doing. And, and, like, I mean, that’s, it’s such a great story. It’s the entrepreneurial story of really, I think, so many entrepreneurs, great entrepreneurs that are out there. And that’s what I love about, you know, as I’ve looked into everything about Nancy, I mean, that’s the thing that I think is so key. So the first presentations that we were You were you were afraid. I mean, you had no idea, like where to look for guidance to

Nancy Duarte 11:28
Yeah, you know, it’s funny. I had a subscription to Ink Magazine for the business side, and I covered a cover read HBr got a subscription to HBr cover to cover, so I knew what was on the minds of execs. And I read every strategy book that was out then an any new and emerging book, like the all the best selling business books. So when I walked in the room, these executives were so busy, they weren’t as well read as I was, or they were not on top of it as I’ll never once in my entire career. Did anyone not think I had an MBA? Nobody even asked. So it wasn’t until I started to volunteer it, that Cisco adopted me into their a diverse supplier program as a protege. And they petitioned UCLA to count because at that point, the business was super successful for 25 years. So UCLA accepted me building this really successful business as my undergrad. And then I got an executive MBA at UCLA, because Cisco has been an amazing partner and client, you know, made that happen for me. So and they paid for it too, which was really nice, right? Yeah. Nice. When a company makes a bet on their customer like that, it meant a lot to me.

Kara Goldin 12:37
So at what point did presentations really go from, from having too much on the page to the to telling the story? Because I think that that is really what you were known for. I mean, it’s really I think I read somewhere in my research that you talk about, you know, most presentations still talk too much about or spend too much time preparing the slides versus actually telling the stories so that you can create this engagement. So how have presentations really changed over time? And

Nancy Duarte 13:13
yeah, you know, it’s funny, I don’t know why. But in each crisis that happens to us, I make really counterintuitive moves. I don’t know, if that’s how you rolled. But what happened was in the two crash, we kept trying to not be a presentation company, because presentations were reviled, Inconvenient Truth wasn’t out, you know, Ted Talks hadn’t won a Peabody Award. And, and here, we were kind of fighting against the fighting upstream for presentation. So we kept saying, like, oh, well, we’ll do web and print. And we’ll do all these other Bust happens. And the phone keeps ringing for presentations, and everything else falls away, because everyone needs a really great deck in a crisis. And the other thing is Jim Collins book, Good to Great came out. And it has this hedgehog concept that says, if there’s one thing you can do, you could be best in the world that be passionate about and be and be profitable at do just that one thing. So here’s the economy’s crashing around us. And I decided we’re going to shutter the doors on four out of five services and do just presentations. So that was 2000. By 2008, I really did feel like you know what we might be best in the world at this. And that was when a friend of mine like really pressed me to write a book. And that was when my first book came out, which was kind of the defining book, because the default software was still pretty ugly. And it was, you know, it was about thinking before you jump into the tools and it really was the very first book to put design language into business language, or design concepts into business language. And so that was slide ology in 2008. And thank goodness that book came out when it did, because 2008 was the big bust right and the company’s revenue, flattened but it stayed flat and flat was the new growth in 2008. And so it just feels like every little arc of innovation. I just, I think a lot of entrepreneurs happen to have this sense. It was like a fire burning in my belly, I had to get that done. And I went with whichever publisher would get that out on my son’s birthday, which was September 3 2008. And if you look at this Democrat, I was just running around for 18 months, like a fire. And just like, and I went with a publisher who got it, who was known for getting books out quickly. And, and it kind of saved the company. And then I’ve written six books since. And yeah, so that’s kind of how we focused. And by that focus, which is hard, and you have to be brutal about saying no to other things to maintain this focus. And we were and my team, I mean, we work with the top execs in the world, and the top brands help, you know, help what they say, help with their slides, help coach them on the delivery. And, and then what happened was 2008, the book came out, and the phone starts to ring for training. And we don’t have a training REST service business at this point. I’m like, I’m a capitalist, building a training company should be easy. And so it’s had its ups and downs, but it’s mostly been up. And so we add, so now you could work with us or learn from us. So we take all this work we do for all these brilliant, brilliant executives on the service side, and then we codify it into training so everybody in his gorgeous training, anybody can learn from how the most powerful people in the world communicate. So it’s, it’s quite fun. I love what we do love what we do.

Kara Goldin 16:36
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Nancy Duarte 19:03
Yeah, I think it’s lack of empathy. A lot of times, we kind of get the strategy down, we’re under timeline, we, you know, we want to change the world we’re on to these things. And then when it comes time to communicate it, we tend to communicate from our own perspective, instead of considering the audience’s perspective. And so you’ll see in all my books, I tried to create a model each of them has one or two models for empathy in it because of I didn’t really finish the story but with my mom, when you’re a narcissist, you are genetically missing the empathy gene. So here I’m right. And for girls, it’s very important for them to see empathy modeled by their mothers. So here I’m raised by a woman who doesn’t notice me doesn’t raise me doesn’t converse with me never really even learned my kids as names and so clawing it empathy. Like I was like, I am not going to be that person. I’m going to be the antithesis of lacking me. At the end to get there, some of the models were from my own mind and my own mindset so that I could shift to other centric communication instead of Nancy centric communication. So I think it’s like audience, first audience, obsess over the audience and then create your material. I think that’s the biggest thing that that that is the void in how especially exactly, you know, everyone’s serves the exact everyone towel towels to them. And so of course, they think they can just walk on a stage and have it be all about them. And it shouldn’t be, it really shouldn’t be.

Kara Goldin 20:32
So understanding who your audience is, obviously, that is, you know, such a key driver. But one of the things that I read in in an HBR article that you had written was just about, you know, female audiences, if you know, for example, that you’ve got a female audience that is primarily female, like how does that differ for your sound?

Nancy Duarte 20:56
That’s good question, because there’s broad audiences which are a mix, but then there could be biotech, it could be sales audience, it could be a female audience. And you have to map to what’s on their mind. When I’m with a female you and I are in the same nomination only, like female organization of female executive organization. And how I show up there is very different than how I would show up at a biotech company. And I think you have to understand the emotional quotient. The old rhetorical, Olde rhetorical triangle that was first, you know, sketched out by Aristotle said, There’s ethos, pathos, and logos. And that’s like emotional appeal, analytical appeal and your credibility. So if I show up with a biotech audience, which is too much emotional appeal, without having massive amounts of analytical appeal, I will my my credibility falls, if I show up, you know, so I can show up a little bit more with more emotional appeal to a female audience, because our stories align, and we’re more communal. In nature, women tend to be more communal. So you have to adapt to who you’re talking to, with biotech, I would do you know, 99% analytics with a small percent of emotional appeal. There’s a great story and resonate, though, there’s a Stanford professor who wanted to raise money for his lab. And what he did, he was in this big competition, that he’d get $2 million if he did a good job. And so he kind of came to our course, I haven’t had a whole conversation with him. So when he did this, presented his research to try to get this funding, he was competing with other people. And he chose to add just a little bit about how humans would flourish if they funded his research. So everyone else was like science, science, science, science. And he did the whole science thing with this fine sugarcoat of human flourishing. He’s like, I don’t think my day was the best, but he, he was the one who got it. So it’s a trick to how thick that how much emotion you can put into the audience. And that has to do with knowing who you’re talking to and adapting to them.

Kara Goldin 23:04
So if you’re speaking to your team, as you, you know, touched on your urine exact, and you get up and you’re doing a keynote, for example, you know, obviously taking into account the the industry, but do you? Like, do you talk to them like you’re their boss? Or do you talk to them? Like you’re, you’re in the same circle? Right? I think it’s an important question that I think many executives have.

Nancy Duarte 23:30
Yeah, you know, but nobody’s ever asked me this question. And presenting to my own team is the most difficult talk I do ever, ever. And it’s because when I stand up in front of them, that you know, I’m going to be asking them to change or asking them to work differently or asking them to, you know, reach a goal is so different. Whereas if I travel as a public speaker, they’re like, Oh, my God, you’re Nancy. And my team doesn’t love when I, you know, have to get well they do love when I get up, but I changed a lot during COVID and how I communicate to during COVID, I started to do these really gorgeous video memos where I was, I was appealing to where everyone was that emotionally, but I was there in solidarity. We were all in it together. But we do an annual kickoff we do our annual kickoff we it’s called shop week. It’s either shop week or shop day, it’s usually during MLK week, because he that’s our dream. We do our our vision and dream casting in that week. And it’s really funny because there’s always questions when you’re asking people, Hey, here’s our vision, jump in, jump in with us, and jump in and help make it happen all in a year. And the team, you know, some years it’s not been easy, and we’re still just trying to convince them to jump in and it’s June and we’re supposed to be halfway done with these initiatives. Well, we did the January 2020 launch this is just pre COVID It was so good Kara, we worked so hard on getting people to really see we really did a good job walking in their shoes and, and getting them really excited about this a bit longer goal. I mean, a Glee Club formed to sing about how excited they were for this, we were going to kind of do a moonshot goal. And even through it all through COVID, through everything, that vision and that goal kept everyone going. What’s been so as a public speaker, as the CEO, people are like, well, you must have nailed Nancy, because you’re a public speaker. And I even need to improve. So one of the things that we did for that particular session was, I was always bummed, because we always do a recap of the previous year. And I felt like we’d had a glorious year. And so I was sharing like, outcomes in all the previous years, but I thought they were amazing. And nobody would clap. Like, it was like, in so my coach, worked with me, I said, Why doesn’t anyone clap? And because my coach is in the audience, she’s one of my brilliant executive coaches. And she’s like, Well, the answer, you never take a breath, you don’t even stop or pause or do anything. So what we did is I worked with her and she just all she did as flip certain sentences and had me pause so that it caused this kind of rise of tension, and then release of it, which is a great story tactic. And there was so much applause at that vision meeting, it went 10 minutes over the time, which was amazing, same exact freaking content. But just having the coach massaged it and move it and have me pause. It was really amazing. And I work harder on my own internal talks, than any talk I do. Because the stakes are higher. The stakes are really high internally, when you can’t rally the team to do really brilliant work. So it’s been a good couple of years. Ever since that kind of visioning. Exercise went really well.

Kara Goldin 26:54
Well, I think also what you’re talking about too, is just being vulnerable, has a leader. And I think more people are talking about that, too, that, you know, you showing, creating that bridge to show how you’re like them, you have different stories than them. But here’s your stories, and so that people understand how real you are you are just an incredible example of that for sure. So let’s talk about your TED Talk, which is absolutely incredible. How many years ago did you do this?

Nancy Duarte 27:24
It’s 2011. We just had the 10 year anniversary. There’s another hidden what version of it on Vimeo that has a million views too. So it just hit it hit 3 million, like over the last holiday. So there’s really 4 million views, but I’m maintaining the three Yeah, it’s good.

Kara Goldin 27:39
Can you share, like the key things that came out of that? I mean, obviously, you talk about the best pieces of storytelling and, and but I’d love to hear it from you. Yeah, people share that.

Nancy Duarte 27:52
Yeah, delivering a TED talk is hard, like, and I’m the presentation lady. And literally at the 18 minute mark, they give you a hook. Or if it’s three, or six, or nine or 18, whatever is the length, I mean, they will walk up and pull you off if you don’t nail it. And that was hard. I spent 35 hours just rehearsing. And I had a coach who was like, okay, you know what, that’s this part right here isn’t the most important part. So shave six seconds off of that, and use your six seconds over here. I mean, it was like surgery surgical, to make sure it had the right kind of arc and make sure that I finished on time. So I’ll never forget, I like take a bow at the end. And I look up and I had six seconds left on the clock, I could see the gal in the front row kind of stirring to start to get. And it was just really intimidating. And that book is based on resonate. And and I didn’t know I was a researcher or writer. I mean, obviously, I think I told myself I was not that or could not be that based on my education. But I knew that a great speech had a rhythm or a cadence to it something about it kind of pulsed and it kept you engaged. And then maybe you would wane a bit and then you’d lean in again, it would keep you engaged. So it had this rise and fall this cathartic rise and fall to it. And I knew it and I felt it but nobody had ever really defined it. And so I went on a three year journey through story. I was up at 5am until 11. And I just I just read everything read about story structures read about literature, cinema, just everything. It was so fun. And I knew the answer would be found there. And I remember just I had a book called the 100 greatest speeches of all time. And so I kept reading the speeches reading the speeches, and then one day, I was like, I just need to go in my office because I knew that that was the day that the shape of a great talk was going to be born. I don’t know how I just went in my office and I drew this shape. And what it is, is it’s this sparkline where you where the greatest speeches contrasted the gap between what is what could be what is what could be what is you know is status quo what is broken, what is has a problem or what is the current realities. And then when you contrast the hope of an alternate future by stating, but here’s what could be, here’s what could be, here’s what could be people start to see they’re like, Oh, my current state is not okay. And I need to move into this much more desirable place so we can accomplish these great things in the future. And so then I went and analyzed a bunch of speeches in the book. And then I pulled out Steve Jobs his iPhone launch quickly. soffit did, then, weirdly, it sounds so melodramatic, but I fell on my knees and cried, because I thought should I publish this because it could be used for good, or it can be used for evil. So then the next thing I did is I took out some of Goebbels speeches, he was the minister of media for Hitler. And I pulled out his speeches, and I wept as I figured out every single one of his talks followed the form and almost perfect cadence created a sparkline. And then I decided, I felt so dramatic. And it actually kind of was a very defining moment for me. But I decided, there’s got to be more good people in the world than evil. And then I would publish this work. And so that’s kind of the genesis of the whole thing. And then then I unpack it a bit about the story insights and my TED Talk. And then I analyze the two, I analyze Steve Jobs and Dr. King, but I’ve analyzed about 100, since it was so fun to do that talk. And then I tweeted about I’d done the talk, it went up on YouTube. And then I tweeted about five months later that it had 50,000 views and I tagged TED talks, because it was a TEDx talk, and they picked it up the following Tuesday, it was on And they promoted it, which Wow, yeah, it’s everyone’s dream to get something like that. Right. But it wasn’t on Till I pointed them to it on a tweet.

Kara Goldin 31:47
Well, no. And it’s incredible. Because even if you’re not a public speaker, or a CEO, who’s giving talks to huge teams, I mean, all of the key elements there. And I think what I grabbed out of it most was something that you talked about just a minute ago with the what could be, because I think that that is the promise that’s the hook or the province. All right. It keeps people interested and engaged and helps them start thinking about their own situation, what could be or how they would handle something in your story, or anyway, I think it’s so good. If you haven’t seen it, definitely check it out. Nancy Doherty’s TED Talk, for sure. And her books, but I always ask this question of all of our guests, and I hope that that you will participate here, Nancy as well, but their challenge or failure that you’ve encountered along the way, you’ve built this incredible company, how many people probably have this totally different perspective of you, like, you know, Nancy just was born this way, she just went and built this giant companies working for, you know, everybody from Salesforce to Apple to Al Gore to, you know, Cisco, HP, all of these incredible things. And, you know, incredible, but maybe there’s something in there where you had a big challenge, and you learned a lot about yourself, or about how, maybe something that you should do better going forward. And I would love to hear it from you.

Nancy Duarte 33:31
I love that you asked that. Because I and I think a good leader would be honest about that question. And I think back in about 2014. Well, it was right after my TED Talk. 2011 two. So it’s about 2012 to 14, the company was just growing like just, it just made it explode, which was the result of people finding out we worked on Inconvenient Truth and people find finding my TED Talk. And it was like, so I went from being CEO to also public speaker. So I was kind of like that man behind the curtain making us look powerful to being oz having to step out from the curtain and deal with what I what I was. So what happened was, is I was on the road for 30 weeks a year like mommy wasn’t home a lot. And I was on the road 30 weeks a year it was exploding. All of that made hay made the company grow. And that happened for three and a half, three and a half years. So I was away. I had a president that was operationally doing all the right things. But the spirit of the play, I had not wired, hardwired our values in tight enough and done a whole lot of work. The company actually stalled 2015 stalled and actually started to decline culturally financially went into a massive state of decay. And that was really, really hard. And what happened was I wasn’t present I didn’t have the energy and what happened when I came back and actually started to try to reengage I had this poll like be on the road, be well lit on a stage be this big deal was more appealing to me than coming back and cleaning up this infection like there was this infection in the culture. And that infection right when I was coming back in was about to go septic and systemic. And I didn’t have the energy, I did not have the energy, I didn’t think I had the skills to turn it around. So there’s a scene in Lord of the Rings, where Frodo has been kind of stung in the heart by that spider. And he’s mummified in a cocoon, his face is white, his eyes are bulging, and he’s dead. Like he’s like, they think he’s actually dead. That’s how I felt I was also on deadline for my last book, too. I mean, it was all like cluster might, I did lose a lot of weight, which is always kind of nice. But my hair was falling, I was just terrible. I didn’t want to face think I didn’t have the skills to deal with it. So it was overwhelming to know, to cut out this infection, I was going to have to have some good cells come out with it. Like it was like you had to scoop it out. And you always accidentally sacrifice some healthy cells in the process. So I was like, I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to do it. It’s just too hard. I’ve got people who have worked for me almost 30 years, 28 years, like it’s non trivial. And I brought in a CEO.

For one week, like, one week, I watched him and the way of working and the employees were experienced cultural whiplash. So here’s this infection. Now they’re getting whiplash, because he was such a different. I’m a heart I guy lead people first we have like, people over profit, we have reputation over revenue, and it grated against our values. So you know, as for Tuesday, there a second day, he leans in a meeting, puts his elbow on his knee and leans in, and he’s like, if you even think I’m going to ask myself, What would Nancy do, those days are over. And I was just like, that made me this, the antithesis of of the opposite pneus of what, what was going to happen under someone else’s care, and made me rise up, it made me get the resolve, I was like, if this is what it’s going to take to turn around, I can do that better. In my own culture. So I kind of shook off those grave clothes, like Frodo had, right, and just transformed the company and myself, and everything is different today. It’s breathtaking. But we did have to pull out some affection, I put in a rocking way aligned exec team, that’s how we can have this hope, this moonshot, if I hadn’t done all of this, and none of it would have happened. If I hadn’t brought in massively effective HR people first leader made me brave made me strong was like this is the right thing, you know, kept backing me up and kept in a really winsome way we let a lot of people go. And so I remember reading in Howard Schultz his book onward that the most difficult part for a CEO of him is when these people who were the right people to get them here aren’t the right people to get them there. And he said that he would weep or, you know, and it was hard for him. And, and that was that moment of separating, separating and renewal. That was that I didn’t think I could do. And I have to say, I do think the last few years have been my finest hour. I didn’t do anything, right by any means. But to go from this almost near, I was like, at near death as the leader to rising, getting the resolve to make all the changes that needed to happen. And I’m really proud of my team, really, really proud of my team for that. And I failed, like you can’t step away, in in the short term to we’ve renewed our values made them very, very clear, have a really strong vision and all those things. They’re non trivial. So here we are, company, this is what we do for other people. And it wasn’t clear, within my own, you know, the boundaries of my own property, you know, in my own firm, and it was a real moment for me, well, that’s

Kara Goldin 39:02
incredible that you faced it, and that you really showed up for it, too. So that’s a that’s a great story and lots of learnings in there, too. So, so incredible to speak with you. And thank you for sharing all of your wisdom and insights. I mean, no, just so so good. And you’re truly are an inspiration to me and so many others. And just the way that you’ve been able to not only help us understand more about how to build a business as you’ve done, but also so many other people that you’ve helped and companies that you’ve helped and consumers that you’ve helped really understand how they can benefit as well from so many companies that have you’ve worked with over the years to it’s really, really awesome. So where can my listeners find out more about Duarte, you talked about a lot of your services that you guys are doing it’s not just for senior executives, you’ve actually got programs. So where’s the best place for people to learn about those?

Nancy Duarte 40:05
That’s awesome. So And then there’s this special place I made for people on podcasts, which is And then I’m pretty active on LinkedIn like you are, it’s a great place to, to have business content. And so I’m up there and Twitter at Nancy Duarte, and also at Duarte is the company to follow up there.

Kara Goldin 40:27
So great. Well, everybody, definitely follow Nancy. And thanks, everybody, for listening to this episode. Don’t forget to subscribe to us. And we have amazing amazing guests who are telling all kinds of stories and lessons of hard stuff and things that maybe you think you’re going through on your own. But if you tune in, you will hear that you are not alone. So definitely give this episode five stars and really helps the algorithm when you do that, by the way, and I can be found on all platforms that Kara Goldin if you haven’t already, I pick up a copy of my book. Undaunted, please do that. It’s also on Audible. And as Nancy mentioned, she has incredible books that you should definitely have a look at Amazon or anywhere else to get her books on Duarte site, I’m sure as well. And we’re here every Monday, Wednesday, and now Friday as well. We just added another day. So thank you, everyone for listening. Have a great rest of the week. Thanks, Nancy. Before we sign off, I want to talk to you about fear. People like to talk about fearless leaders. But achieving big goals isn’t about fearlessness. Successful leaders recognize their fears and decide to deal with them head on in order to move forward. This is where my new book undaunted comes in. This book is designed for anyone who wants to succeed in the face of fear, overcome doubts and live a little undaunted. Order your copy today at undaunted, the and learn how to look your doubts and doubters in the eye and achieve your dreams. For a limited time. You’ll also receive a free case of hint water. Do you have a question for me or want to nominate an innovator to spotlight send me a tweet at Kara Goldin and let me know. And if you liked what you heard, please leave me a review on Apple podcasts. You can also follow along with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn at Kara Goldin. Thanks for listening