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Episode 004 – Saxum Founder and CEO Renzi Stone

Posted on Sep 15, 2016 by in Podcast Episode | 2 comments



Former OU basketball player turned entrepreneur Renzi Stone joins us to talk company values, importance of team, and doing that one thing today that’s most important.

Bio:

Renzi Stone is a former University of Oklahoma basketball player turned entrepreneur, whose integrated marketing communications company has been on Inc. magazine’s fastest growing companies multiple times.  He has served as president for the Americas for a global network of independent marketing and PR firms.  And in the spring of 2015, Renzi was appointed by Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin to the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents.

Interview:

  • Okay Renzi first things first, Olympics are wrapping up. What are your thoughts on what we’ve seen?
    1. Great to watch athletes meet their moment when they have trained so long, fought through injuries and challenges.
    2. Brings country together during a divided time.
  • I hit a few highlights about you in the introduction, but give us a little backstory and what your journey has looked like to get where you are today.
    1. Wrote down things good at in one column and things not good at in the other
      1. Have to be honest with yourself
      2. Ask people;
    2. Get mentors
      1. Best way to get a mentor: ask them about them and how they did something
      2. Know the answer to the question before you ask
    3. Oprah’s CEO Eric Logan: for every 15 minutes he was going to spend with Oprah, he would prepare for an hour
    4. Put a team around you to balance out your weaknesses
    5. Long hours in the early years; takes time and there’s no magic bullet
    6. Couldn’t be built on just his capability; had to build a team
      1. He’s been the leading scorer at SAXUM since he founded it, but knows the company will only be great when that is no longer the case
  • I remember sitting with you in your first house talking about what you wanted to do and how to go about starting a new company. We may have aspiring entrepreneurs here right now who are in the same place you were.  Can you tell the story of how Saxum got started, and give some advice to those of us thinking about or just starting a new venture?
    1. You can’t ask for permission
    2. If it’s disruptive, there will be naysayers
    3. You have to be honest with yourself about the opportunity
      1. Underserved market
      2. Applied what he was best at against that market
      3. Caught a wave in OKC
    4. Deciding what the most important thing TODAY to get business going
      1. GET A CLIENT!
      2. Especially if it’s something you’re not good at – figure it out!
  • My observation is you have built a great team of people at Saxum over the years.  And you have grown relatively quickly. How would you describe the culture of your company, and how do you go about implementing and maintaining it along with the growth?
    1. Business is about clients and people
    2. Clients come and go, but people can be forever
    3. Values based on B-O-L-D
      1. Brave
      2. Original
      3. Lively
      4. Driven
      5. Values like integrity aren’t unique for a company worth anything; price of admissions
      6. If your value words are uniquely tied to your company’s value proposition, you haven’t thought of them very closely
  • How can those of us who are in entry or mid-level roles in our organizations influence those above us? e. How can we lead up?
    1. We take a tour here where Renzi interviews me (bear with us!!)
    2. Best thing to build a team is help them know/understand themselves
      1. Talk less, smile more – lesson from Burr to Hamilton in “Hamilton”
  • You’ve been around great leaders much of your life. What have you learned about leadership from some of them?
    1. Three great lessons from Kelvin Sampson
      1. Touch the line
      2. Diversity uniting around a common goal
      3. Resilience, commitment, grit, determination to overcome challenges
  • What habits have been key to your success?
    • Balance – tough to find
    • Committed to being great husband/father
    • Community and church – results in making less money, but it’s more important
  • You have a beautiful family. Your wife LeeAnne is a dear friend of ours.  Your boys Jackson and Walker are incredible.  And yet in 2010 you lost your middle son, Isaiah, to epilepsy when he was just 11 months old.  As a parent I cannot even begin to imagine what that was like, and what it is like even today.  But in response to that loss you and LeeAnne launched the Isaiah Stone Foundation, and I want to give you an opportunity to tell us about that organization, who it serves, and how we can help.
    1. Epilepsy research
    2. Help for underprivileged kids dealing with seizures
    3. isaiahstonefoundation.com (Daniel and Adrienne Hare will match gifts from the audience up to $500!  Just enter “All-Star” in front of your name when you make the donation.
    4. cureepilepsy.org

Thank Yous/Acknowledgements:

  1. Antioch Live/Clear Day Media Group – music
    1. More here.
  2. Jonathan Davis – production
  3. Clint Musslewhite – voice over

2 Comments

  1. I am so proud of you two guys!!! So well done, so helpful and informative. Thankful I was blessed to know you both.

    • Thanks Bob! Always great to hear from you! Yea Baby!!

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