Rodney Williams

How often are you using your stories to help lead your team? A great leadership story narrative can inspire others to follow and commit.

Rodney Williams, President and CEO of Belvedere Vodka, knows what it takes to tell a great leadership story, and he shares them in his interview on The CEO Sessions. You don't need fancy words -- all you need is a good understanding of the core concepts of storytelling theory plus some practical tips on how to develop your own stories. And, with those two things in place, anyone can be an effective leader who inspires people around them.

Rodney was named global head of the world’s first super-premium vodka in 2017. He encourages consumers to understand Belvedere's origins, ingredients and craft in order to understand the unique taste and character of Belvedere Vodka. This is the story of Polish rye and purified water, distilled by fire.

He was most recently the CMO for Moet Hennessy USA's storied portfolio of iconic luxury champagne, wines and spirits brands. Rodney's tenure at Moet Hennessy began as Senior Vice President for Hennessy, where he led the brand out of decline and into record growth with a groundbreaking new strategic campaign. 

Prior to that he was in the wine business where, as SVP of Classics Brands, Jackson Family Wines, he launched the most successful new product in the company’s history; and as SVP of Robert Mondavi, Constellation Brands, oversaw the turnaround of Woodbridge.

Rodney's LinkedIn profile

WHAT YOU WILL DISCOVER FROM THIS EPISODE:

  • Going to Dot Com to Dot Bomb to Robert Mondavi.
  • His surprising story of mistaken identity with Robert Mondavi.
  • The cocktail you can make to impress any business guest.
  • How you can describe vodka like a fine wine.
  • How the spirits industry was challenged most during the pandemic.
  • The BIG pandemic pivot he led Belvedere through that boosted sales.
  • Increasing cocktails with no bartender?
  • How to use storytelling as a leader.
  • Advice for storytellers who want amp up their game.
  • Belvedere Vodka's Amazing Story.
  • Starting your story with humor.
  • The pros and cons of being a Determined Optimist!
  • Where optimism comes from.
  • Discovering an empathetic perspective.
  • Staying connected as a remote team.
  • Belvedere’s innovative approach to clean energy!
  • The true passion that drives his career... problem-solving.
  • How he led the charge on Batman and OnStar!
  • How they are approaching the cost of employee turnover.
  • How they leverage executive coaching to reduce turnover.
  • A humorous story of his first week at Moet-Hennessy!

QUOTES:

“The fodder for great stories is already there.”

“Storytelling is less about invention and more about excavation.”

“The best story telling is authentic and real.”

“If you are really passion-led, you will find a path.”

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