Unleashing Passion in 2024: Key Insights from Courageous Minds Only October 2023 | The Garage Group

Unleashing Passion in 2024: Key Insights from Courageous Minds Only October 2023

Get ready to ignite your leadership journey in 2024! The Garage Group, in collaboration with 1871, brought together an extraordinary assembly of leaders at our Courageous Minds Only Event in Chicago.

🌟 Alan Kleinerman – Vice President, Head of Disruption at The Kraft Heinz Company
🌟 Jen Akhter – Global Head of Strategic Initiatives, Aon
🌟 Daniel Vera – Vice President R&D Product Technical Performance for Cookies & Mainstream Chocolate, Ferrero North America
🌟 Marcelo De Santis – Chief Digital Officer, Thoughtworks
🌟 Jason Hauer – Co-founder, The Garage Group

The panel delved into the profound significance of cultivating courage within ourselves and our teams. In a work environment that is constantly evolving, mere management of systems and processes is not enough- it takes a unique bravery to lead and empower individuals to shine. The discussion unveiled the stories of these courageous leaders, detailing their deliberate career pivots and their motivations to create change in their lives.

Let these stories be a powerful reminder that embracing risks, initiating change, and above all, facing failure is not just acceptable but integral to our growth. Let’s dive into some of the key insights and quotes, to stoke the fires of courage in you!

1. Igniting Passion

Daniel Vera, Vice President R&D at Ferrero North America, touched on a leader’s role in igniting passion within their teams. He said, “Sometimes it’s helping our team members to find their passion so they can shine…we shine through them because we are unlocking their potential to succeed.” The key takeaway here is that as leaders, our success shines through the accomplishments of our team.

Alan Kleinerman, Vice President, Head of Disruption at The Kraft Heinz Company, expanded on this, pointing out that passion isn’t always immediately apparent. “The honest answer is for most people you don’t just know your passion immediately”, he said. He urged us all to step out of our comfort zones and be open to new experiences both professionally and personally.

2. Innovation is Key to Survival

Echoing the importance of constant evolution, Alan highlighted that “It’s more important to innovate today than any other time”. In an era defined by change, our ability to innovate and differentiate is a deciding factor in our survival and success.

3. Leadership Sets the Tone

Marcelo De Santis, Chief Digital Officer at ThoughtWorks, shared insights on the role of leadership in times of uncertainty. “We need to remove fear from the organization…leaders create a new reality”. Leaders have the responsibility of shaping the reality for their teams, creating an environment where they can thrive despite external factors.

4. Passion Drives Impact

Lastly, Jen Akhter, Global Head of Strategic Initiatives at Aon, brought the discussion full circle by connecting passion to impact. “What helps drive some of this is my passion around helping not only our company grow to create solutions for challenges, but also being comfortable with helping teams develop those in a way is impactful and meaningful.” This poignant reminder underscores the fact that our passions fuel not only our own success but also that of those around us.


In summary, the key message from our Courageous Minds Only panel was clear: ignite your passion, embrace innovation, lead with courage, and drive for impact. Armed with these insights, we’re ready to take on whatever comes our way. Let’s get out there and shine!

If you want to hear the full conversation, here’s the link.

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