The Learning Leader has a new home.
Since the spring of 2015, Ryan Hawk, of Washington Twp., has interviewed more than 250 leaders in business, sports and other arenas for his podcast, The Learning Leader Show, which can be found at learningleader.com.
The 36-year-old interviews athletes and authors, coaches and chief executives, gleaning from them insights on leadership, inspiring the best in others and excellence in all forms.
With 439 reviews, the show boasts a full five-star rating at the iTunes store.
Hawk has always produced the podcast in addition to his work as an executive with Lexis Nexis/Elsevier — until just recently. Today, he is developing the podcast full-time with business advisory firm Brixey and Meyer, as practice leader of the firm’s leadership advisory work.
“It feels like my life’s work,” Hawk said last week in an interview from Brixey and Meyer’s Newmark Drive offices.
Hawk is a familiar name in the south suburbs and beyond, especially in Centerville. He’s the older brother of NFL linebacker and Super Bowl winner A.J. Hawk, and he played football himself in Centerville from the second grade on.
From Centerville High School, the elder Hawk went to Miami University — at the same time as another collegiate quarterback named Ben Roethlisberger, a 6-5 standout from Lima.
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After that, Hawk followed what he saw then as his best option, heading to Mid-American Conference school Ohio University in Athens.
While he had stints in the Arena Football League’s developmental league and the Canadian Football League, it was a regional sales job at LexisNexis in Miami Twp. that launched his professional path.
Hawk steadily rose to a management position, leaving Lexis Nexis as a vice president.
But early on, it was a conversation with Todd Wagner — partner of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban — that turned Hawk’s head to the possibilities of podcasting.
“Todd shared just great insights and great stories,” Hawk said. “It was incredible. I just wish I had caught it on tape. That kind of was the impetus for me.”
The Learning Leader was born. He has interviewed former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel; Steve Wojciechowsk, head basketball coach at Marquette University; Navy SEAL Jason Redman and many others.
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The show was born of a desire to create a “leadership development” program that could help not only himself but others, Hawk said.
“I started it out of my own curiosity, to seek out mentors, thought leaders, people who I thought could help me develop as a leader much quicker,” he said last week.
Doug Meyer, managing partner and co-founder of Brixey & Meyer, found the podcast compelling.
Before a business meeting one morning, Meyer decided to listen to Hawk’s podcast while working out instead of hard rock music.
That turned out to be a good choice.
”It was pretty impactful,” Meyer remembered. “There were a few takeaways I heard that I was able to take to the group immediately.”
Brixey & Meyer principals like to say their company is more than an accounting firm. Its Dayton area home, with 70 employees, is its largest, but the firm also has offices in Cincinnati and Columbus.
“One of our core values is to treat our client’s business as our very own,” Meyer said. Bringing Hawk on board demonstrates that, he believes.
“Those services continue to evolve over the years,” Meyer said. The firm was born in 2002 and strategic planning, leadership succession planning and other services have been woven into the firm’s offerings, along with tax and accounting work.
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Said Meyer: "Ryan's skill set is a natural fit."
Now that his job and his passion are one, Hawk finds himself in a new place. And he thinks he’s ready.
“It’s not a bad thing,” he said. “I’m thinking about work 24-7 now. I was thinking about this all the time, but I wasn’t doing it all the time.”
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