Learning to Lead Episode #7: John Stahl-Wert

This year, I’ve started a new leadership podcast and a newsletter called, “Learning to Lead”. In the podcast, I will be interviewing leaders as well as sharing what I have been learning about leadership. My hope is that through these resources, you will grow both as a person and as a leader. If you would like to subscribe to this podcast through iTunes, click here!

Past Episodes include interviews with: Mike Steidel (Director of Admission at CMU), Josh Dziabiak (CEO of Showclix), Penny Semaia (Assistant Athletic Director of Student Life at the University of Pittsburgh) , and Chaz Kellem (Manager of Diversity Initiatives with the Pittsburgh Pirates), and Len Petrancosta, former President of Sysco Foods Service, and Luke Skurman, CEO of College Prowler. To listen to these podcasts, go to my podcast page.

If you listen to podcasts, I’d highly recommend downloading the app: Downcast for the iPhone. It allows you to stream podcasts instead of downloading them. You can also adjust the speed you play the podcast at. It’s one of the most useful apps I have ever owned!

In addition to the monthly interview podcast, I will be teaching one leadership lesson as well as sending out a e-newsletter. The newsletter will be published 1-2 times a month with new leadership content not found on my blog, leadership quotes, leadership resources, and interviews with leaders. Subscribe to the Newsletter Now!

Learning to Lead Episode #7: John Stahl-Wert


Dr. John Stahl-Wert addresses the challenges of life and leadership with an authority of understanding that quickly connects him to the minds and hearts of his audiences. John’s presence in the room – his generous heart and passionate intelligence – raises sights and lifts spirits. Whether reflecting on matters of leadership, human engagement, trust, or personal and professional growth, those who encounter John come away knowing that he deeply grasps the daily human challenge of leading and living well.

John is President and CEO of Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation/Serving Leaders, Founder of The Ship Company and Author of The Serving Leader .  He teaches in the graduate leadership programs of Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pa. and Bakke Graduate University in Seattle, Wash. and Hong Kong, serves on the Mennonite Education Agency Board, and consults on the subject of Serving Leadership in numerous business, non-profit organizations, universities and hospitals. John is a member of the National Speakers Association.

John is a recognized expert in ethical leadership, human performance, and social entrepreneurship. A gifted storyteller, John is author of Milk and Honey and With: A True Story , coauthor of Welcoming New Christians (Jane Hoober Peifer), The Serving Leader (Ken Jennings), Ten Thousand Horses (Ken Jennings), and The Serving Leader for the People of God (Elizabeth Wourms). Total book sales are over 100,000 copies.

A social entrepreneur, John has founded Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience (PULSE) , Houses of Worship, Amachi Pittsburgh, City as Parish, Stahl-Wert LLC, and The SHIP Company; and co-founded Serving Leaders, Union Project , Pittsburgh Servant Leaders and The Leaders Collaborative.

He earned a bachelor degree from Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va., a master’s degree in Theological Studies from Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkton, Ind. and a doctorate of ministry from Eastern Baptist Seminary in Philadelphia, Pa.

John and his wife Milonica have two daughters, Emma and Clara, and love living in the city of Pittsburgh. He enjoys fiction, carpentry, film and old houses. Find him tweeting at @stahlwert and sharing news at facebook.com/stahlwert.


Tell us about yourself, your family, your passions, and Serving Leaders.

Personal Leadership:

Walk us through your leadership journey . . . did you always aspire to be a leader wherever you were? How did you learn leadership? Did someone teach you?

Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Maybe some one who has been a mentor to you? Why and how did this person impact your life?

What leadership experiences have you had that have shaped you as a leader outside of the work world?

What are you doing and what have you done to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?

Could you talk about one or two of your greatest leadership failures? What did you learn from them?

What advice would you give to leaders when it comes to failure and making mistakes?

You’re an executive with a family, how did you balance life and work?

Serving Leaders

* Through serving leaders, you’re constantly around high level leaders, what have you learned from that experience?
* What have you learned from them?
* What have you learned about them?
* Do they all have similar attributes?

* What have you found to be the biggest challenges that executives face?

* How do you intentionally grow leaders through Serving Leaders?

* What are some of the keys to creating a community that thrives together? (Serving Leader cohorts)

* What questions am I not asking about serving leaders that I should be?


You’ve written four books and endless articles . . . for those of us who want to become authors, what advice do you have?

What disciplines have you implemented in your life that have been necessary for you to become an author?

What have you done to intentionally grow as a writer?


You’re an internationally known speaker, what are some things you have learned about the speaking industry?

What disciplines have you implemented in your life that have been necessary for you to become an author?

What advice would you give to people who want to be speakers?

What have you done to intentionally grow as a speaker?

You’re a member of NSA, how has that benefited you?


What advice would you give young leaders when it comes to picking the “right” career?

What are your thoughts on doing something that you love verses doing something for the money?

What can young leaders do to set themselves apart in their organizations?

Organizational Leadership:

What were and are the most important decisions you make as a leader of your organization?

What qualities do you look for in up and coming leaders?

In your leadership experience, what have you learned about building a great team?

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?

What is one mistake you witness leaders making more frequently than others?

What is the one behavior or trait that you have seen derail leaders’ careers?

Closing Questions:

What do you want your legacy to be?

What books have you read that have made a great impact on you that you would recommend?

Who are some other great local leaders that would be worth our time to meet and get to know?

Where is John Stahl-Wert in 15 years?

Any closing advice for young leaders?

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