10,000 Swamp Leaders

10,000 Swamp Leaders

10,000 Swamp Leaders is a podcast that wades into muddy Swamp in search of people who have built social impact movements.The world needs 10,000 more people in the next five years who are willing to lead on issues like climate change, income inequality, peace building, and gender equality. If you are one of these people, you have found a home. Rick Torseth and his guests will unpack lessons learned, why small wins matter more than breakthroughs and how failure is our wisest teacher. We continue to confuse leading with authority. Leading is not a role or a position. It begins when you raise your hand and intervene in a heated environment that matters to you. Our conversations will dig into what is at stake when the heat is high and the only way forward is wadding into swampy conditions. These are human stories that don’t always have hero endings. We want to understand how these leaders’ lives are turning out differently because they chose to lead. What are the rewards for all this exposure and risk? Each episode will be a little different, as each guest will be different. Hit subscribe so you can prepare to lead.


July 3, 2024 42 mins

Eva Grosman joins me in the swamp to share how her “life factory setting” which is based on hope and courage, has guided her in building the Centre for Democracy and Peacebuilding as well as a community of peacebuilders around the world. Listen close because Eva offers a multitude of specific, actionable moves each of us can take to lead on difficult challenges. Eva’s life work and impact is a model for the potency of personal agen...

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Nick Ellem comes to the Swamp to share a comprehensive exploration of Adaptive Leadership as well as his journey to teach and help people building adaptive capacity. Nick speaks directly to the reasons why many leadership development programs fall short of expectations. He then  introduces his antidote: The Leadership Learning Cycle which is built on four elements:  

  • Academy 
  • Lab
  • Podium
  • Temple 

The leadership learning cycle off...

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Joanne Murphy, Professor of Inclusive Leadership at Birmingham Business School comes to the swamp and discusses how we can lead inside volatile environments.  She brings a lifetime of lived experience on this topic.  Joanne was raised in Northern Ireland during the “troubles.” She learned first hand what is required to lead in volatile environments. Joanne is an academic, author and teacher who is committed to helping individuals a...

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Ethan Schutz, President and CEO of The Schutz Company pays a visit to the swamp and shares the history and the work that is The Human Element. Ethan takes us back to when his father, Will Schutz developed his thinking and motivation for helping people develop greater self-awareness, aliveness and candor through telling more truth. Will developed FIRO Theory which has become a fundamental philosophy that has influenced many people i...

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Jill Hufnagel comes to the swamp and shares her perspective and experience helping people develop leadership capacity. Jill served as guest faculty on the Harvard Kennedy School’s Art & Practice of Adaptive Leadership program and as a senior associate with Cambridge Leadership Associates, along with running her own consultancy JHC&C. In our conversation, Jill discusses the importance of having a clear purpose for leading, h...

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April 10, 2024 57 mins

Geoff Mead returns to the Swamp to discuss narrative leadership. Often acts of leading begin as a conversation.  A conversation that might be internal or conversations with other people. It is important for people who choose to lead, to understand how to craft and use narrative to mobilize people to take action. Geoff helps us understand how to do this work  in this episode. 

Geoff is the founding director of Narrative Leadership As...

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March 25, 2024 56 mins

Geoff Mead joins us in the Swamp to explore the significance of the stories we tell ourselves, the narratives we use to guide our life and how they shape our identity.

Geoff is the founding director of Narrative Leadership Associates, a consultancy focused on the use of storytelling for sustainable leadership. He is a master guide in the emerging field of narrative leadership and storytelling in organizations. He will share some sto...

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060_Janie Ekberg comes to the Swamp to share her stories of leading across multiple social impact projects. Her story is personal for me because she found a way to mobilize me and get me involved in Camp Siberia and in so doing, change my life and perspective on what it takes to lead without authority.  Janie has also changed the trajectory of  hundreds of other people in her community and around the world. She comes to share her s...

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Natalie Trotta comes to the Swamp to share her decision to alter her career trajectory and lead herself in the pursuit of building a wellness community. Natalie’s journey is important because she highlights that leading is always a choice and it can come from anyone and at any time. Natalie models  that leading has nothing to do with age or “life experience.” She has made a commitment to use herself to help others while she figures...

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Maxime Fern and Michael Johnstone are at the forefront of taking Adaptive Leadership out of academia and into boardrooms and learning spaces around the world. They come to the swamp to share their great book Provocation as Leadership: A roadmap for Adaptation and Change. Maxime and Michael have been working in family and organizational systems for most of their careers. They believe provocations are both necessary and helpful to bu...

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Lianne Morgan comes to the Swamp and shares her thoughts on the value of following a mindfulness practice. Lianne is a role model for us all. She has a long history of navigating life as a corporate leader. Long enough to know when it’s time to depart and how to make that transition. Today Lianne is a mindfulness coach. She offers wisdom in this episode on how to design a practice of mindfulness, the value of following that practic...

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Ellen Schall of New York University comes to the Swamp and shares her wisdom on how to develop a leadership reflective practice. Ellen’s journey began when she worked in New York City starting as a Legal Aid Society attorney. She moved to New York University in 1992 and it is still her home. She taught the Leadership course: Reflective Practice: Learning from Work.

 Ellen shares her thoughts on the importance of distinguishing role ...

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Tracey Camilleri and Samatha Rockey come to the Swamp and bring a treasure trove of research based thinking that leverages both the art and science necessary for building successful groups. They share their recommendations from their new book: The Social Brain: The Psychology of Successful Groups. We discuss  the Dunbar Number, the value creation that comes from investing time and energy in  fostering belonging and forming bonds th...

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Martin Thomas and Mick Yates, two friends I admire, come to the Swamp to share their encore stories and second acts. Both men returned to university late in their professional careers and that decision changed the trajectory of their lives, the focus of their commitments and how they have chosen to make a difference as they conjure up second acts and most likely, third and forth acts.  All of us will learn a few things about how to...

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Episode 053_  Nick Conigrave brings to the swamp his marriage of deep leadership study with the pragmatism needed to help people build their capacity to lead for greater impact. You will hear Nick’s passion for helping people as he shares the range of approaches he uses to construct leadership programmes and coaching strategies that are useful to all. Nick is a true  bricolage of leadership development.

Nick’s Links

LinkedIn profile


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Episode 052_ Joanne Flinn visits the swamp to discuss how company directors can integrate the environmental, social and governance agenda inside their organization and thrive. Joanne is the Chair of ESG Institute and the author of Greensight: The Sustainability Guide for Company Directors. She discusses the challenges of the ESG agenda as well as ideas for implementation. 

Joanne’s Links



ESG Institute

Thanks for liste...

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Episode 051_ Tom Tyner comes to the swamp to share his decision to help preserve public lands for future generations. He shares his decision to leave his position as legal counsel to a global bank, move his family from San Francisco to the Seattle area and dedicate his time and expertise to secure parklands, forests, range land and wilderness for future generations. Tom’s a humorist guy so he holds our interest as he shares his les...

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Anne-Fleur Goll joins me to share her story of a call to action on climate change that started small and then suddenly it was big and global. Anne-Fleur balances being a climate consultant on the Deloitte Sustainability team with her climate activism. She has learned a few things on how to create and sustain a movement as well as how to manage and balance these dual roles and take care of herself. 

Anne's Links


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Karin Zastrow comes to the Swamp and she arrives with over twenty years of first hand experience working as a leader. Our conversation starts when Karin is tasked with designing her organization’s leadership development strategy. Without a budget. Immediately we come to understand that her unique combination of persistence, curiosity, and action is ideally suited for this challenge. Her hard work leads to the development of Direct ...

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September 13, 2023 48 mins

Joe Badman joins me in the swamp to share his passion for working with public service individuals and teams. Joe discovered early in his career that he was quite good at helping teams collaborate and solve messy problems. Through this work, he unearthed his passion to help improve people’s  lives. We all rely on our local governments to deliver high quality services.  Joe and his team help organizations build the capacity to both p...

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