S5 Ep 19: Survivors

Mark Wales & Samantha Gash

During this episode of The WarriorU podcast, host Bram Connolly speaks with Mark Wales, former Special Operations Officer and associate at McKinsey & Company, and his wife Samantha Gash, professional endurance athlete, social entrepreneur and motivational speaker. They discuss leading teams remotely, Mark’s time in Special Operations, how to lead in uncertainty, and techniques for self-support and health. They also talk about strategic vulnerability.

Episode Highlights:

  • Mark talks about why products for his business are manufactured in the United States instead of Australia.
  • Sam talks about some of the large runs/expeditions and extreme races she has done recently.
  • Sam talks about how she is interested in helping children access quality education and how she supports this cause through her running.
  • Is it the issues getting you through the run or is running itself the drive?
  • Samantha believes that connection to our cause brings out our potential.
  • Motivation or consistency, which one is more important to be successful?
  • Sam and Mark talk about their reasons for going on Survivor.
  • What are your thoughts on leading teams remotely, especially recently?
  • Are you surprised how little some companies invest in leadership?
  • Samantha also sees an issue with the lack of skill-set diversity within leadership teams.
  • Mark found that, in war, there was a deep level of human connection in the teams.
  • Mark talks about some mental health techniques he learned after leaving the military.
  • Mark talks about the damage that constant stress can have on your entire body.
  • With your business, do you do more planning together or away from each other?
  • Is a high performing culture the result of the leaders or is there some other factor?
  • Samantha talks about mistakes she has made in her expeditions.
  • Samantha and Mark talk about their experience with Eco-Challenge.
  • Before Covid-19, many businesses had never considered what it would look like if all work had to be done remotely.
  • Do you still both train every day?
  • Samantha talks about how she feels different now that she has had a child, but still just as strong if not stronger.
  • What do you both have coming up for the rest of 2020?
  • Mark is working on prototypes for new products for his business that he hopes to have ready in the next year.

3 Key Points:

  1. Trust is a key element of leading a remote team.
  2. Showing a more vulnerable side of yourself can help bring out the best in other people.
  3. People are stronger in a team than they are individually.

Tweetable Quotes:

  • “I think we need to find what we’re going to be wired and connected to in order to bring that potential out in us.” -Samantha Gash
  • “Humans who are leaders are emotional by default. That’s probably the primary sense of being. Our emotions drive us.” -Samantha Gash
  • “You get the right team together and individually you surpass what your own limits are.” -Samantha Gash

Resources Mentioned:


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