Episode 14

Published on:

21st Mar 2023

Ann Kowal Smith | Building Human Connections: One Story at a Time

On today's episode of the The Happiness Squad, Ashish and Anil sit down with Ann Kowal Smith, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Reflection Point, a training and coaching firm that Professional Training and Coaching that uses shared stories and deep dialogue to help teams and organizations become more inclusive, innovative and collaborative. They discuss

Prior to founding Reflection Point, Ann served as project manager for EducationWorks, a philanthropically-supported learning initiative. She has also served as Principal with Heidrick & Struggles International and as an expert with McKinsey & Company. Prior to joining McKinsey, Ann practiced corporate and securities law in private practice with Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, LLP and Benesch LLP and in corporate practice with KeyCorp, where she served as Vice President and Senior Counsel. She is a Research Fellow at EPS@Weatherhead, a practitioner-scholar research community at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). She has also served as Adjunct Professor and Director of Praxis in Weatherhead’s Doctor of Management (D.M.) Program. Ann serves as an Advisory Board Member at CWRU’s Baker Nord Center for the Humanities and a Fellow at the Center for Evidence-Based Management..

They discuss the use of short stories to strengthen skills such as listening with humility, asking great questions, challenging assumptions, disagreeing with respect, and widening the circle of empathy.

During the episode, Ann explains what happiness means to her, and the importance of looking at happiness at the micro level - the small details in our lives that really bring happiness.

She offers some thoughts on her passion for the Humanities and why she believes it's really the study of the human conversation.

Ann also explains how Reflection Point uses stories to engage people in conversation, as well as the reasons why stories have become part of the common language of teams.

Join Ashish, Anil and Ann for this fascinating discussion.

What You’ll Learn in this Show:

  • How short stories can help build bridges, flip perspectives and deepen shared understanding within an organization.
  • The inspiration behind Reflection Point and what drove Ann to make the pivot necessary to bring it to life.
  • Why learning requires that you ask the right kinds of questions.
  • Why Reflection Point is NOT a 'book club.'
  • And so much more...


Reflection Point

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Ashish Kothari LinkedIn

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Happiness Squad Youtube Channel


Hardwired for Happiness: 9 Proven Practices to Overcome Stress and Live Your Best Life

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About the Podcast

The Happiness Squad
Welcome to Happiness Squad.

This is the podcast dedicated to helping you unlock your full potential by mastering the art and science of happiness.

We bring on the best leading experts on these topics to help you unlock your true potential and live with more joy, health, love, and meaning in your life.

Your host is no other than Ashish Kothari who is on a mission to provide you with an unfair advantage to be the masters of your experience and leaders in your industry.

Get ready to be moved, challenged, and enlightened on this podcast. It may change your life.

Thanks for being here and joining the squad!
Learn more: https://happinesssquad.com/

About your hosts

Ashish Kothari

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Ashish Kothari is the founder and CEO of Happiness Squad, a company focused on democratizing happiness and touching a billion+ lives over the next 20 years and helping them live with more joy, health, love, and meaning.

Prior to founding Happiness Squad and writing his best-selling book “Hardwired for happiness”, Ashish spent 25 years in consulting, including the last 17 at McKinsey and Co, a premier management consulting firm, helping thousands of clients and their organizations achieve breakthrough performance by building new mindsets and capabilities.

Ashish is a trained ontological coach and a lifelong student of human thriving.

Ashish Kothari

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Anil Ramjiani is an experienced senior leader at Nike, Inc., most recently as the Commercial Director managing key athlete partnerships and business with Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe, and Marcus Rashford.

Anil's passion is grounded in empowering people, unlocking potential, and driving performance. He has worked in consulting and corporate across the US, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia acquiring over 20 years of experience in strategy, brand, and general management at IBM, Adidas, and Nike.

He created the podcast and platform Live. Breathe. Believe., to enable reflection, motivation, and inspiration for his peers. #Knowyoutobeyou!