Manage episode 306451561 series 1437296
Edited highlights of our full conversation.
This week’s guest is Umber Ahmad - the founder of the rapidly growing bakery, Mah Ze Dahr. Her journey from banker to baker has been told before by everyone from Martha Stewart to Buzzfeed to Time magazine. Umber was a guest in the early days of this podcast in June of 2017.
Over the last few years, I’ve come to know Umber well and in full disclosure I’ve worked with her both formally and informally as she launched and began to grow her business.
When the pandemic hit us all like a tidal wave in March of 2020, I wondered how Umber would keep Mah Ze Dahr afloat.
A business that depended hugely on a single brick and mortar location in Greenwich village didn’t seem to have much future as her customers fled New York and the city turned into a post apocalyptic landscape of deserted streets and shuttered storefronts.
Twenty months later, Mah Ze Dahr hasn’t just survived it has thrived. That single location has turned into four and her online business has doubled.
The leadership instincts on which the business is growing were honed in Umber at an early age.
It is too easy to think of leadership as an abstract, intellectual, and even academic construct.
It is not.
Leadership is the most powerful change agent on the planet - this one or any of the others that we attempt to occupy in years and generations to come.
Leadership is most visible when we are confronted by the twists and turns that life brings us.
Coronavirus has been a series of hair-pin bends on the side of a mountain and many so-called leaders have climbed into the back seat and clung on for dear life.
When faced with these moments we quickly discover whether we are a leader in name only, or whether we are willing to confront the challenges of whatever lies ahead.
Whether we hit the brakes and stop, or whether we accelerate through the curve and head for the future.