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Episode 10: The Pivotal Leader – Carey Cranston

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Carey Cranston, the inaugural president for the new American Writers Museum in Chicago shared with us his passion for the written word and his journey to launching the only American Writers Museum in the United States. What resonated the most during this interview was his approach to earning the trust and respect of his newly acquired working board of directors. There’s a vast difference in transitioning from a for-profit academic institution to a non-profit artistic organization. His approach: “I go to them. I’ll even go to their house to meet with them. I want my board to feel appreciated.”

Prior to his new role, Carey most recently served as President of Fox College, a private career college in Chicago, where he spent the last 12 years.

Podcast Topics Include:

  • Adapting as a leader to a new industry
  • Transitioning from a for-profit to NPO environment
  • Creating culture from the ground up in a start-up
  • Engaging and managing governance and working boards of directors
  • Acquiring top talent based “being the right fit” for the company mission
  • Managing team members who may not share the similar core values, such as as “hard work pays off”, respect and openness
  • Best practices for effective communications: in person versus virtual
  • Being a leader who is passionate about the purpose of an organization

More About Carey Cranston

Prior roles included being Vice President at Hill & Knowlton, a well-known global public relations firm. While there, Cranston managed digital and web services for several major clients. He also previously served as Director of Technology and E-commerce at Kemper Lesnik Communications, another recognized Chicago public relations agency and as Director of Education at the International Academy of Merchandising & Design.

Carey earned his B.A. in English from DePaul University, where he also served as Editor of The DePaul Student Literary Journal and Chief Reporter for The DePaulia, in addition to earning an M.A. in English from University of Illinois at Chicago, and an M.S. in Library and Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Early in his career, he also taught English at DePaul University and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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