CEO Today - March 2022

David Galowich Founder of Terra Firma Leadership We sat down with David Galowich, Founder of Terra Firma Leadership, Chairman of 2 Vistage Advisory Boards for Chief Executives and Business Owners, and a Leadership Coach for high performing leaders and teams with Bravanti. Tell us about yourself and your mission. I really enjoy seeing the people around me succeed. As someone who enjoyed participating in sports, but never did excel at individual sports, I had to learn to be a valuable contributor to a team to experience success myself. What I learned in my early years is that succeeding jointly, as part of a team, is incredibly rewarding. My first real taste of this came when I was a freshman coxswain on a university rowing teamwhere my boat contributed to our university winning the Ten Eck (overall) trophy at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association championships. I was fortunate to have an incredible coaching staff that mentored me on the art of leading the rowers in my shell. As a coxswain, it was not my strength pulling on the oar and powering the vessel, my job was to steer, monitor and adjust the stroke rate (think RPM of an engine) of the rowers so that by the time we crossed the finish line 2,000 metres later each team member had used every ounce of energy in their bodies. I would later learn how important my coaches were in developing not just myself and my crew, but each one of our crews, so that the combination would lead to a national championship. The lesson I learned from them I call cascading leadership, they did more than just lead, they taught the coxswains to lead who were then expected to develop leaders within each one of our crews. I have learned since then that in the highest performing organisations, leadership can come from any level when you empower people to act. In those days “Leadership Coaching” was not an undergraduate curriculum that was offered anywhere that I was aware of. It was those early interactions on the crew team that steered me toward crafting my own curriculum by double majoring in Psychology and Communication Arts. The economy when I graduated was not job-friendly for recent graduates (interest rates in the high teens and record unemployment), so I continued to graduate school, obtaining a Juris Doctor degree and practicing law. Less than two years into the practice of law I started my entrepreneurial journey, founding my own law firm, and about 10 years later migrating to running multiple successful businesses. After a few successful exits from those experiences, I decided to dedicate myself to helping create the next generation of high-performing leaders. To shift gears from an executive role to leadership development I enrolled in Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership in 2014 and founded Terra Firma Leadership in 2016. All along my journey, I was fortunate to have great team members who mutually wanted to succeed in a cooperative way. Keep in mind that what I call team members are not necessarily employees or direct reports. On my “team” were mentors, vendors, customers, friends, family and sometimes even competitors. I am grateful for all that I interacted with and the lessons they taught me along the way. You believe that in order to be the best leaders they can be CEOs need to lean into who they really are. Can you elaborate on this? I named my firm Terra Firma Leadership because the most What’s the Connection Between Being Grounded and Being a Great CEO? 31 EXECUTIVE COACHING

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