EIA Founders build their communication skills

September 5, 2022

Imagine that a CEO of a prominent company is being asked about how he is personally coping with the pandemic. He responds by talking about how his company is helping their employees cope with the pandemic. The interviewer reminds him that the question is about him, not his company.

“What do you think happened? What does this say about the CEO’s listening in that situation?” asked Dr. Julie Pham of the Equitable Innovation Accelerator (EIA) Founders at their first in-person leadership development session on Friday, July 29th. 

“He wasn’t listening to the question.”

“He deflected because he didn’t want to talk about himself.”

“He feels he and his company are the same thing, so he instinctively answered as the company.”

“If it were me, anytime I get asked a personal question, I’m going to talk about my company so that I can promote it.”

These were some of the responses from the EIA Founders and this scenario opened up the 3-hr session which focused on listening and asking questions with curiosity, critical leadership skills that are often taken for granted. The wide range of answers reinforces the fact that there is no one reason for why people do what they do.

Dr. Pham took the group of founders through multiple partner exercises to help them increase their self-awareness around how they listen and ask questions currently. She is the Curiosity Director for Find Ventures, CEO of CuriosityBased, and Author of 7 Forms of Respect™.

Many of the founders admitted that they themselves have problems paying attention and being present when there are so many competing priorities. The session also served to strengthen relationships within the cohort of founders.

“So many programs for entrepreneurs focus on technical business skills. We want to make sure that these founders have strong communication skills too,” Dr. Pham said.


Check out the full EIA Curriculum and resources for all Founders on our resources page.

For the full list of our inaugural EIA cohort, check out our startups & founders page.

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