Pfeffer on Power

This is the Pfeffer on Power, a podcast about accelerating your career, with your host, Stanford Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer. Every other week, we talk to someone who has used Pfeffer’s principles of power to accelerate their career, to get out of their own way and to accomplish amazing things. Upcoming guests in the first season of Pfeffer on Power include Deb Liu, CEO of; Jon Levy, the world’s greatest networker-- author of You’re Invited; Jason Calacanis, the Silicon Valley guru; and many more successful business leaders from around the world who share how they got started and how they broke through using my 7 Rules of Power.

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5 days ago

Learn more about Jeffrey Pfeffer and where you can buy or listen to his
Episode 17 – Robin Lumsden, Founder & Managing Partner, Lumsden & Partners
Today, we meet Dr. Robert Lumsden, who has gone from a tennis player to the Special Forces, to law, to business, and now to owning a sports franchise. He is always paying attention to building his brand, getting out of his comfort zone, and thinking about what he can do for other people to build the relationships that will, in turn, make him successful.
Topics discussed:
The principles of 7 Rules of Power he uses to build his career
The jobs Robin held before attending Stanford, beginning at age seven
What it is like to be an adversary for some of the most famous lawyers in the U.S.
Three of his most significant deals and why he didn’t get a Porsche in one of them
Why he came to GSB and what he learned there
Why his goal at GSB was to know the successful professors and business people
How he got into Condoleezza Rice and Eric Schmidt’s classes
How he used his time at Stanford to build his brand in Austria
His motive behind building a fantastic media presence
The importance of delivering considerable value to your peers
Overcoming certain cultural barriers
The varying roles of showing up authentically
Using specific times of day to your advantage
The power of getting out of your own way
Where mentors can lead you
The power of pictures
What’s next in Robin’s career
Dr. Robin L. Lumsden MSx (Stanford) MA Economics (Stanford) LL.M. (Berkeley)
Robin is the founder and managing partner of M&A law firm Lumsden & Partners, one of the most successful boutique law firms in Austria, founded in recent years. Robin, who is a member of the bar in Austria, New York and Washington D.C. spent more than 15 years as a corporate lawyer and advised clients such as Volkswagen on its €3.9 billion acquisition of Porsche and General Electric on its sale of its plastics division to Sabic for US $11.6 billion.
Whilst conducting his studies at Stanford (MSx & MA in economics) he worked on a digital asset fund with Sebastian Schwarzenegger, invested in blockchain and crypto businesses. He sits on various boards of trusts of high-net-worth individuals. He further was an advisor to Palantir & personally to its CEO Alex Karp, GE, Google and the Schwarzenegger family. Robin is also an officer with the Austrian Special Forces (equivalent to the Navy Seals). His military experience has shaped his character and made him appreciate teamwork.
Previously, as a junior Robin was a professional tennis athlete, playing inter alia at Wimbledon. Recently, Robin acquired the majority of the American Football Franchise, “Vienna Vikings” in Austria, a team that won the EuroBowl (equivalent to the Super Bowl in Europe) in 2022 against Hamburg.
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Tuesday Mar 14, 2023

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Episode 16 – Dr. Laura Esserman, Professor of Surgery and Radiology UCSF, Director of the UCSF Breast Care Clinic
Dr. Laura Esserman is a leading figure in the transformation of American medicine. Named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, Laura is dedicated to increasing the speed at which we learn about new cancer drugs and treatments. She discusses her transformation into becoming a more effective version of herself through storytelling and cultivating empathy with opponents.
Join us and learn about:
Adjustments in her behavior that make her extraordinarily effective
The importance of knowing what you want to accomplish over being likable
Realizing to become successful, she needed to get out of her way
The listening and give-and-take skills that enable effectiveness
Allowing the space for people to think differently than yourself
Finding common ground to accomplish shared goals
How fear of criticism can impede problem-solving
Patient-centered care with a ‘no risk, no change’ philosophy
Going to the mat and doing things for others
The principles she lives on
Her lesson with running a mammogram van in San Francisco
How empathy and understanding aid negotiations
Using the press and publicity to make change happen
Why storytelling is paramount for learning
Her goal of bringing personalized medicine to trials and patients
The unique skills she brings to her patients that will surprise you
Dr. Laura Esserman is Professor of Surgery and Radiology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and director of the UCSF Breast Care Clinic. Her work in breast cancer spans the spectrum from basic science to public policy issues, and the impact of both on the delivery of clinical care. Dr. Esserman is recognized as a thought leader in cancer screening and over-diagnosis, as well as innovative clinical trial design. She led the creation of the University of California-wide Athena Breast Health Network, a learning system designed to integrate clinical care and research as it follows 150,000 women from screening through treatment and outcomes. The Athena Network launched the PCORI-funded Wisdom Study, which tests a personalized approach to breast cancer screening in 100,000 women. She is also a leader of the innovative I-SPY TRIAL model, designed to accelerate the identification and approval of effective new agents for women with high-risk breast cancers.  In 2020, she got FDA approval for an I-SPY COVID trial, designed to rapidly screen and confirm high-impact treatments to reduce mortality and time on ventilators.
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Tuesday Feb 28, 2023

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Episode 15 – Phillip Mohabir, Co-Founder & CEO Vivo Surgery
Phillip Mohabir is an executive with IMAX and is the Co-Founder and CEO of Vivo Surgery. He shares how he has used my power materials to accelerate his career, along with the lessons learned from his experience coaching graduate school students and how these lessons are helpful to you.
Topics in this episode: 
The Rules of Power used to accelerate his career inside IMAX
What he learned from his coaching experience that can be helpful to you
What facilitated his move from operations to investor relations
Vivo Surgery, his virtual classroom start-up with a waitlist of 900 medical students
The pursuit of his MBA
The value of increasing visibility to people in positions of power and influence
Redefining employee evaluation criteria toward the goal of achieving a perfect score
Why sponsors may be more important than mentors
Retooling the DCF model learned at Stanford
Learnings from being a course coach and the impact on careers
The three most common obstacles to overcome in order to move a career forward
How to help others overcome impostor syndrome, conflict avoidance, and to become more agentic toward their career
The importance of self-promotion
Phillip built his corporate career at IMAX, ascending to various Operations roles, before successfully navigating into Investor Relations and FP&A. He graduated as a Bregman Scholar, for highest academic standing, when completing his Executive MBA at University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. Since 2018, he has also been a course facilitator for several programs across Stanford GSB, including the online iteration of Professor Pfeffer’s Power course. More recently, he co-founded Vivo Surgery: an online surgical education and training startup that has been increasing access for medical students to learn from surgeons in live operating rooms.
Connect with Phillip on LinkedIn:
Check out Vivo Surgery:
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Tuesday Feb 14, 2023

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EPISODE 14 – Marcelo Miranda, CEO, Consolis Tecnyconta
Marcelo Miranda is CEO of Consolis Tecnyconta, a leading provider of precast concrete solutions in Spain. He shares how he implements the rules of power to build brand and relationships and harnesses power for overall good by using technology to create more sustainable, affordable, and humanized construction for the people. Also, understand how he built an amazing reputation and image by delivering results and being open to working with people in the media.
During our conversation, you’ll learn:
The benefits of building relationships with human resource associations in Brazil
How he built his visibility within the executive marketplace in Brazil and then Spain
How creating a positive image aids advancement and positive results
Why he was willing to be the face of his organization
The type of person everyone likes to work with and how to work with challenging personalities
The story and results behind being on the cover of a major Brazilian business magazine
The value of having an effective public relations strategy
Why he pursued an international career
The lessons used from Dr. Pfeffer’s class and books used in building his career
The most important lesson for him regarding power
Working with technology to develop a more sustainable construction sector
Why, if you want to start something that will make a difference, somehow you have to break the rules
How perception becomes a reality and the importance of storytelling
The importance of staying authentic
Marcelo Miranda is a Senior General Manager with skills in structuring complex businesses, investments, turnarounds, start-ups, and M&A. Evaluation and development of new businesses and products. Strong skills in innovation and sustainability management. Recognized for people leadership and development of high-performance teams. Strong international exposure.Member of the Board of Start-ups and Associations.Honored by Forbes Magazine in Brazil´s list of 10 top CEOs under 40, 2016.Elected by Korn Ferry, Você SA, and FIA as “one of the CEO’s of the Future” in 2007.Honored by EY as one of the 3 Sustainable Executives of 2015, Entrepreneur of the Year Prize.Elected by Encontro Magazine as the Executive of the Year 2015.
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Tuesday Jan 31, 2023

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EPISODE 13 – Christina Troitino, Director of Strategy and Operations at Morning Brew
Meet Christina Troitino, the director of strategy and operations for the startup Morning Brew. Christina tells her story about shamelessness, breaking the rules, agency, and surmounting her background prior to attending Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
How her Hispanic background and witnessing her family living under the Hugo Chavez regime gave her context to understand how unfair the world can be
That being aware of power constructs, especially in “unfair” spaces
How her job at Amazon showed what happens when employees are not treated their best to move forward goals effectively
The value in accepting the “rules of the road” within power dynamics
The shameless way she secured having dinner with Martha Stewart at the Sundance Film Festival
Her writing experience as a Forbes contributor on the food business
What percentage just asking plays in creating new opportunities
How breaking the rules serves her career
The two Stanford GSB events she helped create at the start of the pandemic
How Paths to Power techniques enabled her to move from her first to her current job
How she leveraged her role internally consulting for executives at YouTube to accelerate her career
The importance of being willing to promote yourself, being boldly confident in yourself, and visualizing outcomes
Christina Troitino is a media strategy and tech professional and the Director of Strategy and Operations at Morning Brew. Prior to her current role, Christina worked as a Strategy & Operations Lead at YouTube, where she served Google and YouTube c-suite members in strategic annual planning and operations amid the rise of TikTok. Christina also draws experience from her positions at Meta, General Assembly, and Amazon.When Christina is not thinking about the future of media, she is thinking about food: She made it to the Top 100 home cooks on MasterChef Season 6 (ranking against 44,000 entrants), she was the subject of an ABC Family pilot about professional women who cook, she was a contributor of 60+ articles and interviews (including: Rene Redzepi, Nathan Myhrvold, Jennifer Garner, RZA, etc) and she founded food site Pâté Smith, aimed at inspiring young people to cook (2.7MM PVs 2015 - 2017).Christina has an MBA from Stanford's Graduate School of Business, and a BA from New York University. She is originally from Albany, NY. by The

Tuesday Jan 17, 2023

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EPISODE 12 – Lucinda Stewart, Partner, Spencer Stuart
Lucinda Stewart shares the inspiring ways, throughout her career and life, that she has successfully made her way in traditionally male-dominated fields like sports, business, and the Bering Sea. A true example of a business person who embodies the 7 Rules of Power, Lucinda shows how getting others to want to help you on your career journey is integral to success.
Lucinda shares insights on:
Formative experiences of often being the only woman in certain situations
The impact her father’s attitude toward her limitless abilities has on her
Climbing Mount Constance at age 13
Working on a fishing boat in the Bering Sea
How the fishing boat got her an instant hire position at Morgan Stanley
Why we are all capable of doing way more than we think we can do
The person she befriended for protection in a dangerous situation
Tips on getting people to help and support you
Why developing other people is the favorite part of her job
How she got into the Northwestern MBA program after being turned down
Pushing the envelope and pushing through
Her successful initiative to bring more women on boards in Seattle
Her push-up contest with Jeff Bezos
The credibility of brand
Being fearless for a cause or good reason
Her logic behind training for her first half Ironman
As a spouse and mother, setting examples and boundaries to balance work
The interesting story behind marrying her husband
Lucinda Stewart is based in Seattle and is a member of the Private Equity, Healthcare and TMT practices. Lucinda works with many leading Private Equity firms and focuses exclusively on private equity backed executive searches. She specializes in healthcare services and healthcare IT, and the majority of her work is placing CEO and CFOs in leading platforms for her clients. Lucinda brings a career of experience as a PE backed multi-site operator at National Surgery Centers where she ran Corporate Development, a Private Equity investor for a top Healthcare PE firm, Frazier Healthcare, and an investment banker in Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette’s healthcare M&A group.
Lucinda was named “40 Under Forty” by Puget Sound Business Journal, has served on the Mercy Corp Venture Board, and is currently on the Investment Committee of SpringRock, a HCIT venture capital fund. She earned her M.B.A. from The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and her B.A. from University of Puget Sound, where she was recruited to play soccer.
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Tuesday Jan 03, 2023

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Join Vivas Kumar, CEO, and Co-Founder of Mitra Chem, as we discuss why power and influence are essential topics for people doing their own startups. This episode packs an incredible set of actionable insights from a leader in the race to end climate change. Vivas explains how he used and will continue to use the concepts learned in my The Paths to Power class at Stanford GSB.
In this episode, you will learn:
The motivation for Vivas’ family to move to the U.S. from Singapore 20 years ago
His realization that education goes well beyond just books
Why just putting your head down and working hard to be successful is not true
Who plays by a different set of rules, and the results gained
Acquiring power and influence to enact positive change in the world
Mitra Chem’s mission to solve climate change and how it got funded
What he learned from working for Elon Musk
Why IQ and EQ have certain limits while relationships have none
Transforming relationships into resources
The learned skills of speaking and acting with power and confidence
Joining Toastmasters to get out of his own way and a critical skill learned
Going beyond the fear of failure and failing with integrity
Vivas’ ability to create resources and activate his network
Marrying confidence with urgency to solve a global problem
How he built an identity associated with solving the problem of batteries
Why in-person meetings build credibility and gravitas
The ultimate two resources
What to do rather than ask someone for an investment
Vivas Kumar is the CEO and Co-Founder of Mitra Chem. He was previously at Tesla as a senior manager responsible for the global battery supply chain, and a Principal at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. He earned a BS in electrical engineering from Rice University, and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
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Tuesday Dec 20, 2022

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Laura Chau shares how her story of origin, along with some of the 7 Rules of Power, like getting out of her own way and building a powerful brand, enable her to lean into the power she has cultivated in her career as a General Partner at Canaan.
In this episode, we discuss the following:
The role conscious brand building plays in achieving and maintaining power
How to best work within current constructs of the world to create effective change
The importance of a defined brand and voice as tools to achieve goals
Why ambition as a personality dimension predicts success
How culture and upbringing can contain scripts that are not useful
The avenues she used to build power: a podcast, panel events, conferences, a Clubhouse show, Substack, Medium
Getting maximum mileage out of everything she does because time is limited
The value in making sure people remember you
Why your personal style is a reflection of more than fashion
Staying top-of-mind to ensure you don’t miss opportunities
How Laura gains new clients
GUEST BIO w/ social links:
Laura Chau is a General Partner at Canaan, an early-stage venture capital firm, where she leads the consumer technology investment practice and serves on numerous boards.
Laura was one of the first employees at Kabam, one of Canaan’s portfolio companies that was acquired by Netmarble in 2017. She has also worked at Branch Metrics and Greenhouse in sales and marketing functions, in addition to working closely with Marie Kondo, Netflix star and author ofThe Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, to help launch her venture-backed e-commerce business.
Laura holds a B.S. in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University, an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, and is a Forbes 30 Under 30 alum.
Laura's LinkedIn:'s Substack:'s Twitter:
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Tuesday Dec 06, 2022

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Daryn Dodson is the founder and managing director of Illumen Capital and is an African American who is changing the world of investable assets so that more women and people of color have a more significant role in investing the multiple trillions of dollars. Daryn shares his personal history along with business philosophies inspired by The 7 Rules of Power.
In Episode 9 you’ll learn:
How Daryn’s family history of integrating Washington, D.C., informs his mission of working for justice, equity, and inclusion
The impact of applied education
The program he built to rebuild lives and businesses after Hurricane Katrina
His work to ensure entrepreneurs of color and women-led firms have access to capital
The value of working on biases toward women and people of color
What counterintuitively happens when implicit bias is removed
A guiding principle learned from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Fiduciary duty and the experiment he conducted with asset allocators
Why publishing findings encourage boards of pension funds, university endowments, and investment committees to go after the often overlooked and underestimated market of people of color and women
How he has used Rules of Power to: Get out of your own way / Build a brand / Break the rules
How bias increases during periods of high stress
GUEST BIO w/ social links:
Daryn is a passionate advocate of social and economic justice, especially for disadvantaged and marginalized groups. His work with impact investors, private equity funds, Fortune 100 companies, universities, and foundations has been viewed through the lens of addressing the world’s most pressing social and environmental problems.
Daryn previously led the Special Equities Program as a consultant to the Board of the Calvert Funds, a $12 billion pioneer of the impact investing field. Through this vehicle, Calvert maintains a portfolio of more than 40 funds on five continents, representing over 350 underlying portfolio companies. Prior to serving as a consultant to Calvert, Daryn served as Director of University and Corporate Partnership for The Idea Village, where he created a platform engaging leading private equity firms, business schools, and Fortune 500 companies to invest over 100,000 hours and $2 million into more than 1,000 New Orleans entrepreneurs post-Hurricane Katrina.
Mr. Dodson currently serves on the Board of Directors for Ben and Jerry’s. He earned his M.B.A. from Stanford, where he serves on the Dean’s Management Board, and his A.B. from Duke University.
Daryn's LinkedIn: Capital:
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Tuesday Nov 22, 2022

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Valerie Shen is Partner and Chief Operating Officer at G2 Venture Partners, overseeing all operational aspects of the firm, which has almost one billion dollars under management. Valerie exemplifies many of the principles within the book 7 Rules of Power and speaks with us about how she began (yes, began) her career as a Chief Operating Officer for a venture capital firm.
In this episode:
Valerie’s background before attending business school
Her pivotal internship
How she landed her job as a Chief Operating Officer
Why she accepted the position
How she met her mentor by sending a cold email
The importance of choosing a focus within the company’s roles
The importance of differentiating yourself
What a COO does in a venture fund
The rules of power used to get such a high-level role so early in her career
Taking a position that matches your natural skillsets and what you enjoy
Crafting a job that plays to your abilities
How she got her job as COO at G2 Venture Partners
A provocative take on her experience of being an Asian woman in tech
The danger in highlighting differences
The issue of cognitive load
Advice on having the willingness and ability to self-promote
GUEST BIO w/ social links:
Valerie Shen is Partner and Chief Operating Officer at G2 Venture Partners. She oversees all operational aspects of the firm and fund, including fundraising / LP relations, recruiting / HR, fund administration, impact reporting, legal, compliance, and marketing.
Prior to business school, Valerie was an analyst at Kleiner Perkins’ $1B Green Growth Fund, where she helped the team found G2. Before that, Valerie was a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, where she worked across four continents, primarily on energy projects. She has also held positions at the U.S. Senate, X (Google’s “moonshot factory”), Goldman Sachs, Jane Street Capital, and The Wilderness Society.
Valerie holds a B.A. degree summa cum laude in Environmental Science & Public Policy and Earth & Planetary Sciences from Harvard University. She holds an M.B.A. and M.S. in Environment and Resources from Stanford University, where she was a Siebel Scholar and an Arjay Miller Scholar.
Website: by The


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