Founder & Executive Director Rawkstars Inc.
Today’s guest is Jonathan Jacobs, the founder of Rawkstars, a non-profit that provides free music education programs and instruments to kids and young adults. His vision is that music education should not be a luxury, because music education provides great life skills.
This belief comes from Jonathan’s own journey. He had an amazing career: he toured the world as a live sound engineer for many years, then spent 20 years in technology, and now he is a leader in the Global Philantropy Group at Hasbro.
In our conversation you will hear how his passion for music gave Jonathan a focus and helped him find confidence in his own skills, and how all the lessons he learned while working in music helped him become a better leader in a corporate environment. He founded Rawkstars many years ago to start giving back. The expertise he built and the success he had with Rawkstars helped him ultimately transition from technology to philanthropy within Hasbro, so we talked about how to make big career shift within an organization.
A lot of our conversation revolves around purpose and vision: how to find your own purpose, what purpose can do for an organization, and the power of finding ways to have people experience the vision rather than just talking about it.
[03:17] – Jonathan, it’s great to have you here. Let’s start by telling our listeners your story.
[04:30] – Through participation in music, I really found myself. I can literally point to a lightbulb moment.
[05:21] – It turned me from kind of uninspired, aimless, directionless, lazy kid; into a very focused, career orientated, organized, and driven person.
[08:54] – What are the key skills and key habits that you learned while doing the job, then you brought into the rest of your career?
[12:12] – What are some of the lessons you have learned, in terms of building and developing relationships and working in the context where ultimately you are responsible for an outcome but you need people to help you with that outcome and sometimes you may not have authority over those people?
[14:26] – Basically need to have people experience the vision, so they can get excited to dive into the details to bring it to life.
[15:11] – What were some of the key moments that you realized you actually enjoyed and were good at managing people? What were some of the key lessons that you used from your past and brought into that?
[17:47] – What are some of the challenges you faced and how did you work through them?
[20:27] – Were there moments where you were overcorrected to try and fit in or were those ah-ha moments?
[22:50] ] – How did you go about making that shift? If there are people who are thinking about attempting a similar shift in their company or organization, what is some of the advice you would give them?
[25:57] – Why don’t you tell us a little bit about what Rawkstar was, what you did, and then if and how that played actually into your ability to get your current position?
[26:22] – Let’s take a second to tell our listeners what Rawkstar is.
[28:50] – What were some of the lessons that you bought from playing that role and making things up in that world and then how have those lessons impacted your ability to work with people where you are now?
[30:48] – We have talked about the vulnerable moments when you opened up yourself within your corporate environment, in terms of sharing your passions. How does that translate into stepping into the role that you’re in now?
[33:15] – What are the challenges of advocating for a non-profit activities or for philanthropy activities within the context of a big corporation and how does one go about solving them?
[36:20] – What would you say to
somebody right now who is starting their career journey and maybe they are a little stressed because they haven’t found their purpose yet?
[38:57] – What is a passion outside of work that you have and how has that impacted your professional life?
[40:50] – What is the business expression that drives you crazy?
[42:35] – Food for the body or food for the soul?
[44:24] – Thank you and closing remarks
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Authentic Leadership For Everyday People / Dino Cattaneo
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