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Anatomy of a Leader

#66 Develop a Winning Mindset: Tips from Olympic Champion Grace Prendergast

In episode 65, Maria speaks to Grace Prendergast, a former sweep rower and Olympic gold medallist, about the importance of trial and error before specialising, learning how your specific brain works, winning the Olympics, and getting your team to be the best.

#65 Building a CEO mindset with Sarah Crook former CEO of Dundas, Christopher Kane & Stella McCartney

In episode 65, Maria revisits her chat with Sarah Crook, former CEO of Dundas, where they talk about becoming a CEO to a creative founder for the first time, fear of failure, challenges she has faced when building a dream team, and three words she would use to describe true leadership.

#64 Bill Bailey - Behind the Comedy

In episode 64, Maria revisits her chat with Bill Bailey, a stand-up comedian, actor, and winner of Strictly Come Dancing, where they discuss living hand to mouth, taking risks, experiencing grief, and learning to control your emotions in an uncontrollable world.

#63 Breaking Free from Overthinking: Insights from Dr. Sam Bunting

In episode 63, Maria revisits her chat with Dr Sam Bunting, a renowned British dermatologist, YouTuber, and entrepreneur, where they talk about pursuing success in favour of your own needs, dealing with anxiety, breaking patterns of overthinking, and helping young people to know themselves better.

#62 Art, AI and the Visual Diet: Interview with Marine Tanguy founder of MTArt

In episode 62, Maria speaks to Marine Tanguy, the founder of MTArt, about the need to challenge inequalities in the art world, the impact of constant visual consumption and AI on our minds, and nurturing imagination in children amidst constant technological distractions.

#60 Building a Global Sisterhood of Empowered Mothers w/ Monique Hodgson founder of Mumble Forum

In Episode 60, Maria speaks to Monique Hodgson, founder of Mumble Forum about the challenges faced by working mothers, redefining the perception of motherhood, and the importance of building your tribe and investing in sisterhood.

#61 Creating Your Own Role: Podcast Industry Leader Valentina Kaledina's Insights

In episode 61, Maria speaks to Valentina Kaledina, Director of Business Development at Castbox about career changes, creating your own role, and all things podcast; from how to monetise your podcast to the future of the industry.

#59 Save Your Mind, Body and Heart: Insights from Cardiologist Jonathan Fisher

In Episode 59, Maria speaks with Jonathan Fisher, a cardiologist otherwise known as the Happy Heart MD about how the stress of contemporary life affects your mental wellbeing and your heart health, burnout in high-pressure jobs, and how we can understand and manage anger through empathy and kindness.

#58 From Reality TV to Sustainable Fashion: Eliza Batten on Co-Founding The Cirkel

In Episode 58, Maria speaks with Eliza Batten the IT girl from Made In Chelsea about co-founding The Cirkel - a circular fashion startup, living in front of the camera and learning how to step up as a leader.

#57 All Saints: How Stuart Trevor's Bold Idea Transformed British Fashion

In Episode 57, Maria speaks with Stuart Trevor - founder of All Saints about finding fashion as a career, impressing Paul Smith and David Reiss, the start of All Saint's meteoric rise and why he sold his business.

#56 Inside Feelunique: Aaron Chatterley's Secrets to Building a Global Beauty Brand

In Episode 56, Maria speaks with Aaron Chatterley, co-founder of Feelunique about co-founder challenges, selling the business to Private Equity, prioritising physical & mental health and the birth of Indy - a beauty brand for teenagers.

#55 Unleashing Leadership Potential: A Journey Of Empowerment & Growth, Silvana Bonello, CEO Oceansapart

In Episode 55, Maria speaks with Silvana Bonello, ex-COO of Superdry and a seasoned executive from Nike and Vans. We explore her unique approach to leadership, her experiences navigating male-dominated power structures, and insights on fostering inclusivity and achieving work-life harmony.

#54 How Ocean Bottle is Turning the Tide on Plastic Pollution

In Episode 54, Maria speaks with the founders of Ocean Bottle, Nick Doman and Will Pearson. They delve deeply into the fight against ocean plastic pollution and share their lessons from building an impact business.

#53 Cracking the Code to Inclusive Workplaces: Author of ‘Think Big’ Dr. Grace Lordan Reveals the Secrets

In Episode 53 Maria speaks with Dr. Grace Lordan, Associate Professor at LSE and the the Founding Director of The Inclusion Initiative. They discuss inclusive leadership, women's progress in the workplace, and tips on career success.

#52 From Outsider to Business Innovator: How Venetia Archer Built The Ruuby App

In Episode 52 Maria speaks with Venetia Archer, founder of Ruuby app, as she shares her story of success, confidence, and leading through uncertainty. Tune in for actionable wisdom and embrace your own unique journey.

#51, What Should You Know About Running a Business in 2023 from 10 Female Founders IWD2023

In honour of International Women’s Day, in Episode 51 Maria selects the best bits from Season 4 interviews with female founders.

#50, Unplugged - Digital Detox for Your Mind and Body - What Every Founder Needs - w/ Hector Hughes

In Episode 50 Maria speaks with Hector Hughes, co-founder of They talk about our inability to stop, tech addiction, burnout, benefits of slowing down, and challenges of an ambitious startup.

#49, Coping with grief with Giorgia Granata - co-founder of Wype

In Episode 49 Maria speaks with Giorgia Granata, co-founder of Wype. They talk about coping with death, becoming your most authentic self, dealing with rejection, and losing your filter. 

#48, Hire with your Head: Secrets of Successful Recruiting
w/ Lou Adler

In Episode 48 Maria speaks with Lou Adler, author of “Hire With Your Head” and creator of the Performance-Based Hiring model. They talk about skills of successful recruiters, how to hire your core C-suite team as a founder, culture fit and how to use Chat GPT for hiring.

#47, How masking her identity led 26 year old Shana Gujral to start inclusion focused startups

In Episode 47 Maria speaks with Shana Gujral, a young entrepreneur, investor, radio presenter & DJ. They talk about masking your identity,  raising funds, managing burnout, and finally accepting yourself.

#46, The Female Founder, The Metaverse & The xydrobe
w/ Nell Lloyd-Malcolm

In Episode 46 Maria speaks with Nell Lloyd-Malcolm, co-founder of xydrobe - the world's first luxury reality shopping universe. They talk about building a business of this scale, the metaverse, & the perils of being a female founder.

#45, Childcare System is Broken: Rachel Carrell, Founder of Koru Kids

In Episode 45 Maria speaks with Rachel Carrell founder of Koru Kids. They talk about why the UK childcare system is broken, creating a new system, and making childcare a career to be proud of.

#44, Dr Sam Bunting: Launching Her Skincare Brand

In Episode 44 Maria speaks with Dr Sam Bunting a renowned dermatologist with a practice on 41 Harley Street. They talk about  launching her own brand Dr Sam’s, her hyper independence, learning to control repetitive thoughts inside your head and finding confidence.

#43, Open AI Chat GPT interview New Year’s Special 2023

Maria’s first guest of 2023 is not a CEO or a founder or even a human. She speaks to ChatGPT as animated by her own AI generated avatar. They ‘discuss’ if AI is friend or foe, why humans make New Year’s resolutions, best leadership qualities and how to decide whether to stay or quit your job.

#42, Bill Bailey Christmas Special Interview

For a Christmas special, Maria speaks with none other than Bill Bailey - a British comedian, actor and musical genius. They discuss the role of humour in society, dealing with nerves, happiness at Christmas, working with Robin Williams, depression, grief, and his Strictly Come Dancing experience.

#41, The Broken CEO author Chris Pearse on Stress, Vulnerability & Emotions of Leaders in the Boardroom

In Episode 41, Maria speaks with Chris Pearse, author of “The Broken CEO" about mind / body duality, the relationship between stress and illness, leadership as a gardening metaphor, vulnerability in the boardroom and using your most powerful tool - imagination.

#40, Start a Workstyle Revolution: Why flexible working isn’t working w/ Lizzie Penny & Alex Hirst

In Episode 40, Maria speaks with Lizzie Penny and Alex Hirst authors of Workstyle Revolution. They discuss why flexible working is their nemesis, the perils of presenteeism, diversity and inclusion, the dark side of autonomy and why 9 to 5 is broken.

#39, Health is Wealth w/ Rhian Stephenson, Founder of Artah and former CEO of Psycle

In Episode 39, Maria speaks with Rhian Stephenson founder of ARTAH and former CEO of Psycle. They talk about Rhian’s own personal health journey, what inspired her nutritional supplements brand, the exclusion diet, cycle synching and how our health impacts everything.

#38 Neuroplasticity, Longevity & Failure: Dan Murray-Serter Secret Leaders host & Co-Founder of Heights

In Episode 38, Maria speaks with Dan Murray-Serter, podcast host of Secret Leaders and Co-Founder of Heights. They talk about neuroplasticity of the brain, consumerism, never having enough, ageing, being a father, running a business with full transparency and much more.

#37 Shivani Pau Podcast Host of A Millennial Mind on Marriage, Confidence and Being Authentically You

In Episode 37, Maria speaks with Shivani Pau the host of A Millennial Mind podcast about perfectionism, being judged on your looks, and quitting your day job to pursue entrepreneurial dreams.

#36 Turning Down a Dragon on Dragon’s Den:
Dr Rhona Eskander, Co-Founder of PÄRLA 'toothpaste'

In Episode 36, Maria speaks with Dr Rhona Eskander about fighting stereotypes, being told not to look ‘too glamorous’ and how she and her co-founder Simon Chard turned down investment from a dragon on Dragon’s Den.

#35 Flexible Working: Anna Whitehouse aka Mother Pukka and Founder of Flex Appeal Campaign

In Episode 35, Maria speaks with Anna Whitehouse aka Mother Pukka and founder of Flex Appeal campaign fighting for flexible working for all. They talk about the gender pay gap, how having children is not a choice and how our mothers impacted how we view work now.

#34 Fashion & Metaverse w/ Matthew Drinkwater, Head of Innovation Agency, London College of Fashion

In Episode 34, Maria speaks with Matthew Drinkwater, Head of Innovation Agency, London College of Fashion about AR, VR, fashion tech and the Metaverse. They discuss how to get fashion brands to keep up and how to support young talent that will change the future of fashion.

#33 Four Crucial Factors To Success - Ruth Gotian, Chief Learning Officer & Author of Success Factor

In Episode 33, Maria speaks with Ruth Gotian, Chief Learning Officer & author of “The Success Factor” about what high-achievers like Nobel Prize laureates, Olympic medalists and astronauts have in common. And how you can apply her findings to become a high-achiever too.

#32 Stop The Bias Against Working Mothers - Elizabeth Cowper, Founder & CEO of WoMo & Ludo

In Episode 32, Maria speaks with Elizabeth Cowper -  former VP of HR & Head of Wellbeing at the Tapestry group about her new venture Ludo - which is tech platform helping to support women in the workforce. They talk about authentic leadership, the bias that exists against working mothers and how Elizabeth wishes to change that.

#31, 4 Types of Regret w/ Daniel Pink: Author of The Power of Regret & How To Make Them Work For You NOW

In Episode 31, Maria speaks with Daniel Pink - author of “The Power of Regret”, “To Sell is Human”, “Drive”, “When” and many others. They discuss how 4 most common types of regret can drive you forward. They talk about self-compassion, awkwardness, small-talk and Daniel's career regrets.

#30 Success is not a TechCrunch Title: Hannah Russell, Founder of Mags Creative - a podcast production agency

In Episode 30, Maria speaks with Hannah Russell - founder of Mags Creative - a podcast production company. They discuss fear, failure and the concept of success. How VC funding isn’t always the right path for a startup and podcasting tips.

#29 How To Deal With Being Surrounded By Idiots At Work And In Life - Thomas Erikson, Author of Surrounded by Idiots

In Episode 29 Maria speaks with Thomas Erikson - a communications expert and bestselling author of “Surrounded by Idiots”. They discuss how to spot each personality at a party, why there are still bad bosses, and how if there was a perfect leader, it would probably be a woman.

#28 Hybrid Working is the Worst of Both Worlds - Bruce Daisley, Author of The Joy of Work & Workplace Culture Expert

In Episode 28, Maria speaks with Bruce Daisley - workplace culture expert and Sunday Times bestselling author of the Joy of Work. They discuss the 4 hour work week, toxic environments, what makes workplaces thrive, resilience and how hybrid working is the worst of both worlds.

#27 Saying 'No' To Investors Even When You Have No Money Isn’t Always A Mistake: Hasna Kourda, Founder Save Your Wardrobe

In Episode 27, which launches Season 3 - Maria speaks with Hasna Kourda the founder of Save My Wardrobe. They talk about how walking away from funds even when you are short of cash isn’t always a mistake and what female founders have to do to circumvent the gender bias. 

#26 How to be CEO to a Creative Founder - Sarah Crook, ex-CEO Christopher Kane, Dundas & Stella McCartney

In Episode 26, which concludes Season 2 - Maria speaks with Sarah Crook - a brand builder who has worked with Stella McCartney, Christopher Kane and Peter Dundas. They discuss what first time CEOs should be thinking about when working with creatives especially if they are the founders, building trust and honing that gut instinct. 

#25 Improve Your Memory with Mnemonic Techniques from 8x Memory Champion - Boris Nikolai Konrad

In Episode 25 - Maria speaks with Boris Nikolai Konrad, memory expert, neuroscientist, author, award winning international keynote speakers and 8x world memory champion who is listed 4 times in the Guinness Book of Records, about memory, mnemonic techniques, and how you too can improve your memory. 

#24 Your Customer Service Sucks: The Lost Art of Selling in Retail w/ Martin Newman

In Episode 24 - Maria speaks with Martin Newman, The Customer Champion about what companies do wrong when it comes to customer service, what consumer centricity is and how using tech isn’t always the best strategy. 

#23 How to Hire the Best, Top 10 Tips by a Headhunter

In this solo episode - Maria outlines 10 steps to hiring the best people. She talks about envisioning your company culture, getting candidates to say ‘yes’, interview techniques, how to future proof your talent pool and much more. The top mistakes companies make are discussed in steps 6, 8 and 9.

#22 The Great Resignation, Rage Quitting & Secrets to Happiness at Work w/ Dr. Tracy Brower

Are you about to RAGE QUIT your job? STOP! Listen to this first. In Episode #22 Maria talks with Dr. Tracy Brower author of “Secrets to Happiness at Work”. They talk about why we work, why we should expect to be happy at work, what are the conditions for happiness at work, and how to decide whether to leave a job or not.

#21 What you Should Know about Leadership:
Advice from Female Founders

In Episode #21 Maria highlights the lessons learnt from speaking with female founders: Eva Alexandridis, Vanessa Jacobs, Grace Fodor, Miriam Lahage, Millie Kendall MBE, Ceanne Fernandes-Wong, and Whitney Hawkings. 

#20 How to Think Your Best at Work: Trust, Curiosity & Philosophy at Work w/ Dr Brennan Jacoby

“Be the philosopher in the room.”

In Episode #20 Maria speaks with Dr Brennan Jacoby Founder of Philosophy at Work about curiosity, trust and how we can apply thousands of years of philosophy to "think our best" in business.

#19 Don't assume big brands on a CV will equal business success w/Eva Alexandridis Founder 111SKIN

“Once the person earns your trust, let them shine. No brands are built by one person.”

In Episode #19 Maria speaks with Eva Alexandridis, Founder of 111SKIN about her upbringing in Bulgaria, creating 111SKIN with her plastic surgeon husband Yannis, the two sides of trust, being burnt and so much more.

#18 Leading with Your Conscience, Crying at Work, Who is Most Valuable in a Team w/ Simon Whitehouse - CEO, Eco-Age

“The chain is as strong as its weakest link”

In Episode #18 Maria speaks with Simon Whitehouse, the CEO of Eco-Age, who was also the first CEO of JW Anderson (we may have had something to do with that). 


They talked about being and acting yourself, parents as role models, empathy, taking a moral path, fairness, men crying at home and at work, leading with your conscience, the most valuable function in a team, being a first time CEO, the dynamic of being a CEO to a Creative Founder and the different paths to being a CEO.

#17 Turning a Side “Mummy Hustle” into a Full On Startup w/ Vanessa Jacobs

Once I commit myself, I'm really all in. And I'm, as I said, a bit of a masochist about it.

Vanessa Jacobs is all about action, grabbing the tiger by the tail and taking that first step. After a career in investment banking and consulting, she started what she calls her side ‘mummy hustle’. Little did she know that this would turn into a full on successful startup The Restory - a leading luxury aftercare company providing services for the likes of Harrods, Harvey Nichols and most recently Manolo Blahnik.

In Episode 17 Maria dives into the story behind The Restory, lessons learnt about starting a side hustle, taking the leap from consulting to startup, burnout and everything in between.

#16 What Retailers Got Wrong About E-Commerce w/ Steve Dennis

The main reason I wrote the book was for that retailer who is slowly sinking into oblivion, and thinking that a slightly better version of mediocre is enough to win.

Steve Dennis is a retail industry veteran, keynote speaker on retail innovation, podcast host, and has recently revised his bestselling book “Remarkable Retail - How to Win & Keep Customers in The Age of Disruption”.

In Episode 16 Maria talks to Steve about the current retail environment, fostering a culture of experimentation, mapping out the customer journey and, of course, how to be remarkable.

#15 Ageism & Beauty in the Workplace w/ Grace Fodor
Focus on yourself. Compete against yourself.


In Episode 15 Maria speaks with Grace Fodor, an Age Warrior, Brand Strategist, and Founder of Studio 10. Grace is a leader in the pro-age revolution. In this time of ageism, she inspires, empowers and encourages women across the globe to appreciate their unique blend of beauty, experience and vibrance.

They have a heart-to-heart about struggles, perceptions and decisions of midlife women in the workplace.

#14 The Dark Side of Your Strengths w/ Nicolai Chen Nielsen

“Ambition is a desire and drive to reach a future state that's different from today, challenging to get to, and personally meaningful.”

In Episode #14 Maria speaks with Nicolai Chen Nielsen, co-author of Return on Ambition about what ambition is, how to see yourself as an investment, how to work out your return on ambition, the dark side of our strengths (in his book he calls them the 7 Frenemies) and how wellbeing and growth are inextricably linked to achievement.

#13 Leading with Your Heart w/ Miriam Lahage

“Never take a job you know you can do.“

In Episode #13 Maria speaks with Miriam Lahage, an entrepreneur, advisor to early stage companies and co-Founder of Aequip (previously at eBay, Figleaves, navabi, TJX and NET-A-PORTER).

They discuss what it's like to be a female CEO, how you should never take a job you know you can do and the power of power of leading with your heart.

#12 On Patriarchal Superiority w/ Millie Kendall MBE

“Surround yourself with experts. You'll never be an expert in everything.”


In Episode #12 Maria speaks with Millie Kendall MBE, CEO British Beauty Council, founder of a PR agency Brandstand Communications and Millie of the beauty Brand Ruby & Millie.

They talk about her frustrations with the beauty industry, her inspiring survivor grandmother and the fun stories about her life - including receiving an MBE from Her Majesty The Queen.

#11 On Recognising Your Accomplishments w/ Ceanne Fernandes-Wong

“The adoption of circular business models, widespread by the industry, has to happen.”

In this episode, Maria speaks with Ceanne Fernandes-Wong, the CEO & co-founder of Cocoon, a luxury handbag subscription service.


They talk about doing impossible things like leading the way in creating circularity in fashion, starting a business just before a pandemic and securing a powerful investor like Kering - a global luxury giant.


They discuss vulnerability in leadership, having great advisors that open your mind and the differences in hiring between established companies like Net-a-Porter and startups.

#10 On Having Audacity w/ Riccardo Sciutto

"Think heritage, play digital"

In this episode, Maria speaks with Riccardo Sciutto, the CEO of Sergio Rossi, which has recently been acquired by Fosun Fashion Group, about how to act in a crisis, how to surround yourself with intrapreneurs even in big organisations, and the secret sauce to making a heritage brand modern. 


They talked about having audacity, making big moves as well as big mistakes and the double job of securing investment whilst running a company.

#9 On Just Listening w/ Dr. Mark Goulston

"Here is what you need to know. Investors when they smile, it's not a 'yes'" 

In this episode, Maria speaks with Dr. Mark Goulston, psychiatrist for over 40 years, Marshall Goldsmith 100 top coaches and author of many books including "Just Listen" about becoming a first-class noticer, how to tune in to what other people are Listening FOR and how to turn tables when pitching to investors.

#8 On Failing Fast w/ Whitney Hawkings

"Fail fast is advice I would give my former self" 

Whitney Hawkings founded FLOWERBX with the mission to to deliver fresh, quality flowers with the same consistent service as a top luxury brand. Whitney is determined, head strong and laser focused.  

In this Episode Maria talks to her about lacking confidence but discovering that he is the best CEO of her company, what it’s like to be a woman in business, her role models and what she learnt from working with Tom Ford for 18 years.

#7 On Being Indistractable w/ Nir Eyal

"One of the biggest problems we have in management and leadership is leaders almost no have no idea what their staff is doing. And they're too afraid to ask because they don't want to micromanage them."

Nir Eyal the bestselling author of “Hooked” and “Indistractable” is a force, with incredible insights and practical tips on how to get into flow and break bad habits.

In this Episode Maria discusses email management, time-boxing, most toxic work environments, and the 3 things that make organisations productive.

#6 On Nurturing Creativity w/ Andrea Baldo

"Creativity and innovation doesn't come based on how much money you put in"


Andrea Baldo, the CEO of Ganni, is one of the most incredible CEOs I know in fashion. He truly understands the most important aspect of being a partner to a creative - Nurturing Creativity.

In this Episode, Maria talking to him about going against popular opinion, failure (as in don’t fail twice on the same thing) and the importance of family in your success.

They talk about building creative ecosystems, safeguarding creatives and what he learnt from Renzo Rosso - founder of Diesel.


#5 On Wearing Confidence w/Lucy Aylen

Maria chats with Lucy Aylen, Founder of Never Fully Dressed about her leadership journey from market trader to running a thriving, in-demand womenswear business. 

"We still keep our ethos that confidence is the best thing a woman can wear."

#4 On Personal Growth w/ Sarah Curran-Usher

In this episode, Maria interviews Sarah Curran-Usher, MBE - MD EMEA, True Fit.

"It's the negative experiences - if you take the lessons from them, that drive personal growth."

#3 On Outsmarting Obstacles w/ Sherrille Riley

In this episode, Maria interviews Sherrille Riley, Founder and CEO of Nails & Brows Mayfair

"When you're setting up a business, you have a million obstacles to overcome. So the last thing you need is somebody trying to hold you back.

#2 On Entrepreneurial Patience w/ Jessica Blackler

In this episode, Maria interviews Jessica Blackler, Founder of Jecca Blac cosmetics.

Maria asks Jessica about times when she has been overlooked because of her young age.   

They also discuss the inspiration behind her beauty brand and how to have structure and routine as a creative.    

#1 On Toughest Shareholders w/ Peter Williams


In this episode, Maria interviews Peter Williams, Chairman of Superdry and Sophia Webster and former CEO of Selfridges

"You have to be very clear as a chair that you're their to run the board not the business. The situations that can occur where it's not clear who's doing what is quite dangerous for the business and value creation within the business."

Are you searching for your next CEO, C-Suite leader or functional head?

Anatomy of a Leader

Are you looking for inspiration? Want to learn from your role models and peers? Want to feel like you are not alone in the mistakes and failures you've made in your business?


Join our Founder Maria Hvorostovsky in Anatomy of a Leader podcast talking with entrepreneurs, founders, CEOs, investors, authors, leaders from all walks of life.

Here you will discover what makes a great leader; the skills they have, what drives them and what it takes to get to the very top. 

Watch the episodes below. You can also listen on all major listening platforms including Apple and Spotify. 

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