EPISODE 5: Elijah May
Synthesis is a Root + River hosted webcast featuring nonconformist leaders whose ideas make them — and us — see the world differently.
Our fifth episode of Synthesis featured our visit with The Experience Company co-founder, Elijah May. A breath of fresh air, a paradox, a success story, Elijah is exactly what we try to bring to Synthesis: different.
As managing partner, Elijah leads the charge on convincing companies to create remarkable experiences for their customers. By connecting his experience creators with organizations looking to do remarkable things, he believes it can be proven that the greatest ROI comes from investing in people.
In his career, Elijah has negotiated with Hollywood studios, coordinated with the United States Secret Service, managed celebrity events, facilitated CEO roundtables, lectured at colleges and universities, testified as an expert witness on branding, served on city boards and committees, moderated numerous conferences, created a ground-breaking fast-pitch event for social innovators, and piloted a public speaking program for an international corporation. What did he learn? You have to believe in people, in purpose, and in possibilities.
Some of our favorite takeaways from our visit with Elijah:
- “Face your fears. They’re not nearly as bad as you think.” – inspired by a story of 12-year old Elijah’s overactive imagination.
- Elijah’s riveting story of leaving a cabin in the backwoods of North Carolina at 18 years old and ending up at the University of Southern California.
- How Elijah’s willingness to do the dirty work (often literally) lead to more and more opportunities – including becoming the go-to guy at USC for the film industry. Which is where a parking attendant taught him an important lesson about customer experience.
- A lively discussion on how tolerating (and often promoting!) toxicity from high performers kills a culture.
- A message from Millennials: “This system is bullshit and we’re not playing.” And how what most older generations are calling lazy is actually not understanding what motivates Millennials.
Emily Soccorsy + Justin Foster are cofounders of the intrinsic branding practice known as Root + River. Together with their defiantly different clients, they uncover then articulate the foundational elements of the brand. Then, they provide brand strategy and brand coaching as the brand is rolled out internally and externally. Obsessive about language and differentiation, Emily + Justin are also authors and speakers. Follow @rootandriver @fosterthinking and @emilyatlarge.