ON LEADING PODCAST • Episode #20 • April 10, 2024

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Episode #20

Steven Olikara

On Uniting America Through Storytelling

By Lori Brewer Collins

At the intersection of entertainment, democracy, and jazz

On this episode of On Leading, Steven Olikara, president of Bridge Entertainment Labs, delves into the dynamic intersection of entertainment and technology, illuminating its transformative role in shaping societal discourse and fostering a more robust democracy. With a keen eye on cultural currents, he elucidates groundbreaking projects and underscores the pivotal role of narrative in reshaping our collective consciousness through mediums like television, film, and beyond. Drawing from his rich tapestry of experiences collaborating with creative minds in the entertainment industry, Steven advocates for a symbiotic relationship between bridge builders and storytellers, echoing the sentiment that innovation thrives at the nexus of diverse perspectives.

Reflecting on his multifaceted journey, Steven shares insights into his foray into politics, underscoring the essence of purpose-driven leadership and the indispensable support of a cohesive team. Beyond conventional wisdom, he explores the nuanced practice of harnessing intuition and mindfulness to inform executive decision-making, revealing a pathway to transformative leadership.

In navigating the intricacies of the media and entertainment landscape, he champions authenticity and vulnerability as indispensable traits for effective leadership, citing his own experiences as a jazz musician as a source of inspiration. Drawing from the wisdom of mentors, he underscores the importance of aligning personal purpose with professional endeavors, advocating for the courage to embrace uncertainty and pursue meaningful ventures.

Ultimately, Olikara emphasizes the transformative power of surrounding oneself with a supportive community, echoing the adage that one’s trajectory is often shaped by the company they keep. Through his discourse, he not only illuminates the convergence of entertainment and democracy but also offers a roadmap for aspiring leaders to navigate the complexities of their respective industries with integrity and purpose.

Key Moments

  • Embrace the ethos of jazz. Jazz musicians epitomize adept listening skills and thrive in open spaces. Jazz embodies an invitation to unfettered expression, where individuality is not only welcomed but cherished. Immersing oneself in jazz reaffirms diverse facets of the mind, providing a unique perspective on the world, akin to the experience of the music itself.
  • Surround yourself with people who propel you. Remember, we are the culmination of the five individuals closest to us. Let that sink in…
  • If you think somebody should do something, that person is probably you. This sage wisdom, passed down from one of Steven’s mentors, resonates deeply with him. It’s a call to action: if you see something, do something.

Steven Olikara

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