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Entrepreneur Martin Fretwell – a CEO who leads Like a Leader

The world is full of emerging leaders, both analyzing and actively pursuing what it takes to be considered successful in life. Entrepreneur and CEO Martin Fretwell embodies many of these qualities that it takes to be a leader and has dedicated the past two and a half years of his life to detailing and inspiring the successes of others.

Fretwell first launched his company Like a Leader LLC in January of 2016 and has been reaching audiences worldwide ever since. Initially, he started up Like a Leader as a blog aimed at filling its readers minds with stories of career growth and empowerment. Fretwell would interview senior professionals about their career path, ultimately gaining knowledge from the data collected in order to determine trends and strategies that could be implemented in any career in order to promote growth. “The idea would be to empower those that felt lost going to work every day. Ultimately, it’s a war on workplace stress,” Fretwell described. Rather than using the knowledge he’s gained in conducting such interviews to benefit only himself, Fretwell has divulged his framework of knowledge to his listeners. This empty niche in the blogging industry mixed well with Fretwell’s urge to be a moving storyteller and is one of the many reasons why he is so valuable to each and every type of working industry.

Over the years Fretwell has interviewed Jana Brown, Senior Vice President and Chief Opperating Officer at TIAA, Tom Lokar, Chief Human Resources officer for Mitel, Scott Kelly, Chief Human Resources Officer for Hitachi Data Systems, and David Richter, the current Chief Technology Officer for Petco, to name a few. From these experts he’s crafted excellent, public articles that are jam-packed with lessons and firsthand experiences of what it means to represent leadership. Currently, he is in the process of interviewing Patrick Stewart, the former Chief Marketing Officer for Sears Holdings.

“My favorite bit about doing these interviews is the level of retrospection that comes from the candidates themselves,” Fretwell said. “They don’t often get the opportunity to delve into their past and you can hear how excited they get in their voice. Many have said how therapeutic it is to review their entire career.”

Since its birth Fretwell managed Like a Leader LLC all on his own, only recently expanding the business to employ support staff. His passion for his work has made gathering attendees for his events, conducting research, finding interview candidates, and handling all of the accounting on his own a journey he enjoys. In other words, he’s a CEO who does it all and relishes in the adventure of doing so.

When asked what the term ‘career empowerment’ means to him and why people fall short of having it, Fretwell answered, “Career empowerment is the difference between believing that success is in your hands or whether it’s in someone else’s. Most people fall short based on three ideas.” Fretwell went on to explain these three ideas in a nutshell. More often than not, he’s found that people either discount themselves before trying it, suffer from a fear of following their dreams, or make sacrifices for others that end up implicating themselves.

Fretwell took this as a sign of a second empty niche that needed filling and thus implemented a series of networking events in which he named Parley by Like a Leader.

Where most typical conferences run 2-5 days in length, Parley by Like a Leader conferences are aimed at allowing senior executives an opportunity to develop and expand their network with a more minimal time investment, while still achieving the same results. Said events are each uniquely designed for IT, HR, finance, and marketing executives.

Andrea Smith, the Senior Manager of Demand Generation at YouEarnedIt described working with Fretwell on regonal sales events as, “Easy! Martin handles all event outreach, planning, and execution thoroughly with great attention to detail, making regional events very easy for my company to accomplish.”

Fretwell’s success with his current partnerships like IMPACT Group have led to numerous opportunities with others. Linda Caponigro, the Vice President of People Operations for IMPACT Group, said, “IMPACT Group engaged Martin in partnership to participate in Like a Leader dinner event in Dallas, Texas. The event was a success resulting in the need to engage his services for future dinner events in the US and the UK. We will not only continue to partner with Martin, but we have recommended his services to other organizations as well.”

Fretwell’s events don’t contain the expected macro-level speeches full of marketing excess. Instead, he creates an environment that’s less intense, and provides a space where industry professionals can share their challenges and objectives over dinner, while receiving a bit of actionable help and making new friends in doing so. “I wanted to create an environment that was functional enough to be valuable but casual enough to embrace introverted people, and that’s exactly what happened,” Fretwell described. Prior to his events, Fretwell also takes the time to speak with each attendee in order to specifically cater the evening to those who plan to come.

“No event coordinators I have met in the past have ever asked me about my professional needs,” Jeannie Santiago, Director of Talent at New York Life said in response to Fretwell’s attentive method of preparation. “During the interview process, Martin digs deep to learn about any HR or Recruiting concerns. I attend networking events, symposiums, and other professional social activities many times throughout the year, and I have never experienced anything like Martin’s socials. He pays attention to detail and hand selects individuals with relevant fields, and these strategically coordinated events result in fun but rewarding networking experiences,” Santiago added.

Like a Leader’s most recent development will be the launch of Fretwell’s new podcast, Ask a Leader. “The aim of the podcast is to bring interviews to a live setting,” the CEO stated. While Fretwell’s original plan was to take the live interviews to YouTube, the podcast eventually became the better option. Fretwell elaborated upon this thought process of his, explaining, “When I lived in LA I had to do a 45-minute commute to the office and then a minimum of a 90-minute commute home, but I made it work for me by utilizing audiobooks, podcasts, and even implemented my affirmations into that environment. So, I thought it would be great if I could convey my message during other people’s commutes and, hopefully, inspire them to approach their day with passion.”

Listeners can expect the first podcast to launch on July 1, 2018.

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Follow Like a Leader on Twitter: @likealeaderclub

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