Reboot Podcast Episode #77 – Knowing You’re Not Alone: The Magic of Peer Groups – with Christine Carrilo, Al Doan, Keeley Tillotson & Bryan Birsic

The Reboot podcast showcases the heart and soul, the wins and losses, the ups and downs of startup leadership. On the show, Entrepreneurs, CEO’s, and Startup Leaders discuss with Jerry Colonna the emotional and psychological challenges they face daily as leaders.

Episode 77 // February 8, 2018


Christine Carrillo

Christine Carrillo


Al Doan

Al Doan

founder of Missouri Star Quilt Company

Keeley Tillotson

Keeley Tillotson

CEO of Wild Friends Foods

Bryan Birsic

Bryan Birsic

founder and CEO of Wunder

Episode Description

What is it like to be part of a group of peers, who meet regularly, to discuss your most vulnerable challenges that may or may not be related to your business? What does that interaction do for you and your leadership? How does that affect your organizations?

In this latest episode, Al Doan (founder of Missouri Star Quilt Company), Christine Carrillo (CEO of JOANY), Keeley Tillotson (CEO of Wild Friends Foods), and Bryan Birsic (CEO of Wunder) come together to talk with Jerry Colonna about how important their peer groups have been for their personal and professional lives. They talk about the bonds that form and connections made beyond company size and title to a shared humanity, and the importance of space to speak honestly about fears and concerns and struggles, as well as wins. They also touch on how supportive conversations and deep listening fosters accountability at one’s growth edges, self-discovery, and a practice of vulnerability that ripples out into their companies, families, and friendships at large. And, how through their peer groups, they arrive at better versions of themselves and better leaders in their own organizations.

Reboot Circles |Christine Carrillo on Twitter | Al Doan on Twitter  | Keeley Tillotson on Twitter | Bryan Birsic on Twitter

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Show Highlights

Top Quotes:

“It’s such a different perspective for me to get on what I’m doing.” – Christine Carrillo

“It was honestly the first time I didn’t feel like I was alone in this.” – Christine Carrillo

“Being able to get on this video call with a solid group of people that I always know show up for me, and we count on each other for that, has been pretty incredible. I feel really safe with them.” – Christine Carrillo

“I hope that I keep doing it for 16 years.” – Christine Carrillo

“I felt so supported by them throughout the whole conversation, and thinking of them gave me so much support afterwards.” – Keeley Tillotson

“The commonalities that we all have, almost irrespective of stage and company type was something that I found just remarkable and shocking when I first joined the group. How many of my fears and concerns and sensitive spots were incredibly similar to other folks going through this experience.” – Bryan Birsic

“As a founder, maybe particularly as a CEO, there aren’t that many spaces where you can be open and free with your real concerns about your own business.” – Bryan Birsic

“It’s empowered me to be vulnerable.” – Al Doan

“Over time you start to find parallels in everybody’s story that you can connect with and identify with.” – Al Doan

“A lot of times when I show up to a circle, it’s not my business that’s got me cloudy that day.” – Al Doan

“I have this continual evolution where I’m being more aware of what’s there.” – Al Doan

“I can see their growth as well and my growth when I’m with them listening to other things that they’re going through.” – Christine Carrillo

“What I care about is this notion of expansion of ‘what does it mean to be a leader?’” – Jerry Colonna

“I’ve been observing what an artful job the facilitators do at asking really good questions they actually care about knowing the answers to, and bringing that to my one on ones with employees…trying to be the facilitator of these conversations and experiences within our company.” – Keeley Tillotson

“The leader as facilitator, the CEO as facilitator: facilitator of their own growth, facilitator of the growth within the organization.” – Jerry Colonna

“If effect, if I lean into fix you, I’m implicitly saying to you, “You’re broken.””
– Jerry Colonna

“That’s the magic of these circles. It’s not just five friends getting together. Somebody’s thinking of what good questions can we use to discover what we need as a group.” – Al Doan

“Every time I come out of a Circle I’m like, “Holy sh*t. This is what’s holding back my business. This is the area that I need to go work on.” – Christine Carrillo

“Our emotional tools that we had a year ago probably aren’t gonna be the ones that will fix our problems today, and we need to be developing those.” – Al Doan