EP 4 | Building Exceptional Leaders with Wally Schmader

Written by on September 6, 2022

Sometimes, a surprise layoff can be the best thing to happen to your career… and exactly what you need in order to start thinking bigger and shifting out loud.

My guest Wally Schmader is the co-founder of Exceptional Leaders Lab, author of Full Contact Leadership, and co-author of multiple books, including What Exceptional Leaders Know and Leadership is a Verb. Wally and I met and developed our friendship and professional relationship while working in a corporate environment. When a round of layoffs claimed both our jobs, we needed to figure out what we really wanted, make some big decisions — and take a leap of faith.

In this episode, you will get a behind-the-scenes look at the development and operations of Exceptional Leaders Lab, as well as the shifts that sparked our determination to think and play bigger!

Ready to play bigger? Listen now to discover:

  • The dramatic shift that led to the creation of Exceptional Leaders Lab and how we’ve evolved since 2020
  • The biggest shifts and trends in corporate America during the pandemic
  • The qualities that make Wally an exceptional leader and business partner


Guest bio: Wally Schmader is a highly sought-after leadership coach, thought leader, trainer, and facilitator based in Norfolk, Virginia. He‘s developed programs and content that have influenced thousands of leaders worldwide. Wally’s innovative strategies, ideas, and recommendations have been featured in dozens of publications and media outlets. He‘s coached and advised hundreds of top executives.


01:48  Intro

03:02  Meet Wally Schmader

04:44  Growing up in business

08:38  Imagining the shift

10:39  Wally’s goal-setting

12:39  The big shift

17:43  Reacting to the shift

20:18  Know what you want (& what to charge)

22:55  Being a good boss & partner

26:47  Pandemic shift

30:43  Big shifts in corporate America

35:18  Leveling Up: How Managers Become Leaders

36:18  Shifts to come


Wally Schmader

Twitter: @leaderstweets

Full Contact Leadership: Dynamic New Ideas and Techniques for Today’s Leaders