Lead & Follow

Lead & Follow

Lead & Follow offers a personal and provocative discussion of collaboration, teamwork, creativity, and power. Host Sharna Fabiano talks with artists, educators, students, consultants, and everyday working people to explore the subtle yet critical dance between leadership and followership, and how to become excellent in both roles.


March 27, 2023 36 min

I speak with Dr. Yolonda Tonette Sanders, who shares her recent dissertation research on connections between followers' emotional intelligence and their followership styles, and what this means for leaders in organizations of all kinds.

Dr. Sanders is an Ohio native, co-founder of Traction, an organizational change consulting company, and of the Faith and Fellowship Book Festival. She is also the author of six novels,...

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I speak with Grace Wright, board president of the Euclid Hunger Center and  community resource manager at University Settlement, a social service agency serving the Slavic Village neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio.  She has worked in hunger relief services for the last 12 years, managing hunger centers in the Greater Cleveland area. She has an undergraduate degree in social work and nonprofit management and in August of 2022 she comp...

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I speak with Chad Bennett, Director of Technology for Sturgis Public Schools in Michigan and Tech/Production Director for Radiant Life Church.  Chad will complete his Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Leadership from Indiana Wesleyan University in April 2023, and in this episode, he shares his experience in the program learning leadership and followership together, and how that double lens is guiding his current work.


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I speak with Michael Linville and Mark Rennaker about their new textbook, Essentials of Followership: Rethinking the Leadership Paradigm with Purpose, and about the Division of Leadership and Followership Studies at Indiana Wesleyan University. The textbook is an absolute game-changer and every leadership education program in the country needs it!

“Why are we even together as leaders and followers? It’s not for no reason. ...

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I talk with Scott Allen, PhD, professor of management at John Carroll University, on integrating followership into leadership education and training, especially through the Collegiate Leadership Competition, which he co-founded. Scott is also an author and the host of the podcast Phronesis: Practical Wisdom for Leaders, and he regularly leads workshops across industries. 

“There’s a word that we need to come up with that i...

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Henry Sergent is a third year student at Christopher Newport University and a participant in its unique President’s Leadership program, which now includes a whole course on Followership. He shares his experiences putting both leadership and followership into practice organizing the student golf club, in a late-night fraternity meeting, and on a clothing brand photo shoot! This episode is Part 3 of a 3-part series, exploring the lea...

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Lawson Herold is a recent alumni of Christopher Newport University’s unique President's Leadership program which now includes a whole course on Followership. He shares leadership and followership insights from his work as a crew member aboard the Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser at the Disney World Resort in Orlando. This episode is Part 2 of a 3-part series, exploring the learning of followership as an integrated part of the CN...

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Lori Throupe and Lacey Grey Hunter, who are faculty and staff, respectively, at Christopher Newport University, share how they have integrated followership into a pre-existing campus-wide leadership program, work that has culminated into a full followership course. This episode is Part 1 of a 3-part series. In Parts 2 and 3, you'll hear from alumni and current students at Christopher Newport who have taken the followership cou...

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December 12, 2022 35 min

Puppeteer and educator Kelsey Kato shares his observations and insights of leadership and followership in puppetry through his work with Rogue Artists Ensemble, a Los Angeles theater company, and as a performer and guide at Noah’s Ark, an ongoing children’s exhibition at the Skirball Cultural Center.

“It feels very comforting to have a puppeteer who is leading to be giving very clear cues with breath.”

“I like to be i...

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I talk with Pedro Portela, a complex systems thinking coach and a self-described network enthusiast living in Portugal. An engineer by training, Pedro is now a freelance consultant for peace building and conflict transformation. We explore how followership skills play a vital role in peace building initiatives as well as how understanding healthy leading and following dynamics can help us let go of the command-control paradigm so t...

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March 20, 2022 49 min

In this episode, I switch roles with one of my previous guests, Eran Magen, who guest-hosts this week and takes us on a provocative and philosophical journey into the nature of human relationship. We cover a lot of terrain starting from my very first social dance steps to the larger implications of rewriting the conventional script of leading and following roles at work and in society.

“Mostly following, and leading-as-nee...

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March 13, 2022 37 min

Dancer/Choreographer Daniel Burkholder shares his experience with leading and especially following through the improvisational forms of Contact Improvisation and Feldenkrais Method.

Daniel choreographs, improvises, performs, teaches dance and the Feldenkrais Method, and practices mindfulness. His choreographic/improvisational work spans theatrical performances, site-specific events, immersive media, and screendance, and has been pre...

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February 27, 2022 40 min

 Dr. Eran Magen shares his insights around listening as a core followership skill and how the right balance of leading and following helps us form connected, supportive relationships.

Dr. Magen earned his M.A. in education and Ph.D. in psychology from Stanford University, completed post-doctoral training in population health as a Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholar, and served as the research director for the ...

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February 15, 2022 43 min

This episode is a reflective conversation on the creative process with an artist I have long admired, composer and multi-instrumentalist Glover Gill.  Glover and I take a trip down memory lane as we chat about our collaboration on the making of a dance theater piece called Uno back in 2008. Glover also shares insights about leading and following in his collaborations with other musicians and with filmmaker Richard Linklater, emphas...

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January 22, 2022 35 min

Tova Moreno is a theatrical tailor in NYC. She shares her observations of leading and following in her work with her mentor, Artur Allakhverdyan, at Artur & Tailors, Ltd. in New York City.  We explore the role of play and lightness in sustaining healthy working relationships over time, and how she expresses these qualities through both followership and leadership. 

“Play can create richness and depth of connection and ...

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Dr. Carri Dominick is a physical therapist and lifelong athlete. We talk through the dynamics of collaboration on her volleyball team, and how the players lead and follow one another during actual, moment-to-moment game play. Even though players do have formal roles on a competitive team, their actual leading and following actions are fluid based on who has the ball and where it's going next. Strategic verbal communication is ...

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My guest on the podcast this week is Martin Heuschober, a software programmer, blues dancer, and player of table top role-play games, the most famous of which is Dungeons and Dragons. These games are highly improvisational and rely on - you guessed it - highly dynamic leading and following. Martin describes how game master and players engage in collaborative storytelling through continuous exchange of leading and following. I even ...

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November 27, 2021 43 min

Actor/Director Dan Istrate is originally from Romania and graduated from the University of Theatre and Film in Bucharest. He performed at several theaters in Romania and played the lead role in the Romanian feature film, Double Ecstasy, before moving to the US in 2001. Dan describes the organic flow between leading and following as the essence of great performance, and gives inspiring examples of how he has experienced this flow wi...

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October 24, 2021 50 min

Dr. Sara Murdock is a specialist on the people and culture side of organizational sustainability, and a diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging consultant. She’s worked with solo-preneurs and giant multi-nationals, executives and front-line staff, and everything in between. She shares her keen observations of how people and companies are navigating power and leadership at this time of immense upheaval, how to design for product...

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October 9, 2021 49 min

Reflecting on his long career working with with non-profits, Dr. Tom Klaus shares the important difference between “buy-in” and true ownership, how content experts and context experts must lead and follow one another, and what 7th graders taught him about relational trust.  We explore his approach to collective change leadership, examine why leaders must occasionally (or often) step deliberately into the follower role, and consider...

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