Ep 50: Why Bartenders Make Great Leaders (with Helen Rothberg)

nonprofits are messy

What can a bartender teach us about leadership?

Well, my guest today isn’t just a bartender, but also an acclaimed author, professor, consultant, and leadership trainer. Busy woman!

Using a leadership model conveyed around the acronym ADVICE, Dr. Helen Rothberg, Professor, Marist School of Management and Author of The Perfect Mix: Everything I Know About Leadership I Learned as a Bartender teaches us how leaders can inspire others (hint: it starts by looking inward.)

Based on the lessons she learned from working as a bartender while pursuing degrees in business and behavioral science, Dr. Rothberg identifies leaders by a cocktail of choices they make. We discuss the difference between being a manager and being a leader.

Some of those choices also happen behind a bar; such as how to approach obstacles, the tone set in ones work environment, facilitating groups and connections, managing conflict, adapting to current realities, and much, much more.

I found our conversation helped me look at leadership in a brand new way.

About Helen Rothberg

Helen bartended in New York City throughout her academic career and her unique brand of training is rooted in that experience. Today, she is a leadership trainer at Fortune 500 companies, small technology start-ups, and nonprofit organizations.

Dr. Rothberg has a dual-degree in business and behavioral science, and is professor of strategy at the School of Management at Marist College, senior faculty at the Academy of Competitive Intelligence, and president of consulting firm HNR Associates.

She lives in Orange County, NY, with her husband, dog, cat, and several part-time goats. She still makes a mean cocktail. Not coincidentally, she is the author of The Perfect Mix: Everything I Learned About Leadership I Learned As A Bartender.

In this episode:

  • The “cocktail of leadership”
  • Helen uses the acronym ADVICE to easily remember the key attributes of a great leader. We discuss what that means and how to use it.
  • The ways a bartender’s “barback” is a lot like a nonprofit leadership support staff
  • How the best way to lead others is to first learn how to lead yourself

Episode Links:

Joan Garry
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Joan Garry

Widely known as the "Dear Abby" of nonprofit leadership, Joan works with board and staff as a strategic advisor, crisis manager, change agent and strategic planner. Joan also teaches at the University of Pennsylvania with a focus on nonprofit communications and leadership.
Joan Garry
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