Leadersurf in the news

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Brian Formato Teaches Leadership Through Surfing

July 4, 2019, Fun With Failure

Brian Formato shares one of the best failure stories ever. He’s the founder and principal at Groove Management, a human capital consulting firm focusing on organizational and talent development. He also created LeaderSurf, a professional development program that teaches leadership through surfing. 

Discussion topics and key ideas:

  • What one question grew his business more than any other 

  • The difference between leadership and management

  • How surfing taught him respect

  • The similarities between surfing and leadership

  • The value of articulating what you learn every day

  • Why business teams get more from surfing than playing golf

  • Where fear comes from and what F.E.A.R. stands for

SHRM Today

Riding the Waves Is a Lesson in Leadership

January 11, 2019, SHRM Today

What does learning to "hang 10" have to do with leadership?
On a remote beach resort in Playa Santana, Nicaragua—3,567 miles from her organization's headquarters in Alexandria, Va.—Denise Coursey was finding out. She was among the participants in LeaderSurf, an immersive training program designed for people in senior management positions and above.
To surf, you have to know where the surf breaks, position your board just so to catch the waves early, and shift your body to control your board and maintain balance. 

Always Better Than Yesterday with Ryan Hartley

January 5, 2019, Facebook Live

Ep 27 of the Always Better than Yesterday Interview Sessions was with Brian Formato founder of LeaderSurf. I loved hearing about Brian’s leadership retreat concept and how powerful an experiential learning environment is for developing leaders.There was so much value in this conversation that’s it’s hard to pick my favourite parts. I loved two parts of the leadersurf programme. The self discovery and personal growth through reflection and surfing. Secondly, the humanitarian work to help leaders experience the power of servant leadership
I am definitely going to experience this programme one day.
Head over to Facebook | YouTube | iTunes or Spotify Podcast to check out the full interview.
Much love
Ryan 💙


4 Things I Learned By Skipping Work to Surf

December 3, 2018, CFID Blog

Last month, I played hooky from work to surf in Costa Rica.

Well, actually I attended a leadership development program where I learned to surf, sort of. I also learned a lot about myself as a leader and an entrepreneur in the process.

Work Rocks Podcast: Learning to Surf (and lead a business) with Brian Formato from LeaderSurf

September 24, 2018, Work Rocks Podcast

What do the world's most successful business leaders have in common with surfers from around the globe? More than you might think.  Brian Formato of Groove Management and Leadersurf talks about his novel approach to leadership development that takes executives out of the office and drops them into the ocean to learn how to ride waves of change.

June 14, 2018, PR Newswire

CHARLOTTE, N.C., June 14, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --LeaderSurf announced today that it will expand to include program offerings in Folly Beach, S.C. and Nosara, Costa Rica. The internationally-recognized leadership development program has operated in Nicaragua for the past two years, combining daily surfing lessons and humanitarian aid work with traditional leadership coaching and assessments.


#Loeries2018: Suhana Gordhan's advertising journey (Part 2)

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June 14, 2018, BizCommunity

When Suhana Gordhan thinks back to her LeaderSurf experience, Gordhan thinks it’s strange that she had never tried to learn how to surf having grown up in Durban. “Well firstly, Indians just didn’t do it. It was a thing, you didn’t surf. But also, my dad was very protective and he’d take me to the ocean, hold me in the water, and as soon as a wave would come, he’d lift me up onto his shoulders. So, I never had that feeling of being thrown into the deep-end, and when I think about it, I think it’s because of the time that we lived in, our circumstances. Maybe that’s what brown people had to do, we had to be protective.”

#Loeries2018: Suhana Gordhan's advertising journey (Part 1)

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June 12, 2018, BizCommunity

Loeries chair aunty and creative director at FCB Africa, Suhana Gordhan shared her thoughts on the power of creative thinking, what creativity means to her and lessons in leadership she's learnt along her journey in advertising from the boys' locker room to the beaches of Nicaragua.

BrandBuilders Podcast- LeaderSurf

April 20, 2018 The Dunstan Group

The Dunstan Group is LeaderSurf's supplier of program logo gear and apparel. Recently Scott Dunstan and Brian Young hosted LeaderSurf's founder Brian Formato on their BrandBuilders Podcast to learn more about the LeaderSurf program.

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9 Of The Coolest Charlotte Side Hustles

April 11, 2018, Charlottefive.

The Charlottefive highlighted nine of the coolest side hustles by Charlotte business leaders.  Included is LeaderSurf. Brian Formato, 47, works his day job as a human capital consultant. As a side gig, he focuses on his role as a leadership development guide and surf instructor with LeaderSurf. 

Paddle. Catch a Wave. Stand. Surf

March 12, 2018, BizCommunity.

Loyiso 'The Victor' Twala, an FCB creative was sent to LeaderSurf as part of FCB Joburg's skills transfer and training programme. Here, he gives feedback on what he experienced and how it has changed him forever...


Real-Life Leadership Development: Are You Ready To Jump In?

February 2, 2018, Chief Executive Magazine.

Effective leadership development can lead to better business outcomes—and yet, only 25% of all organizations know how to do it. Both CEOs and CHROs should be concerned about it: compared to highly mature companies, less mature organizations reported 37% lower revenue per employee and 9% lower gross profit margin. What is the problem with creating better leadership programs, and how to solve for it?

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LeaderSurf - Leadership Development Done Differently - Announces 2018 Experiential Leadership Development Dates

November 9, 2017, PRnewswire. -CHARLOTTE, N.C., Nov. 9, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- LeaderSurf is shaking up the leadership development industry with its experiential approach to developing leaders.  By combining international travel, humanitarian aid, executive coaching, leadership assessments, learning modules, mindfulness and daily surfing lessons, the LeaderSurf program immerses participants in a highly experiential week of learning and development.


Experiential Leadership Development

September 29, 2017, Bersin by Deloitte.

Some organizations take the term “experiential leadership development” a step further. With the aim of exposing leaders and high-potential talent to a completely unfamiliar context, or encouraging them to unplug from their busy work-lives altogether, some providers offer development experiences that are designed to be as close to life as can be. We took a closer look at some of the leadership development offerings out there, though there are also others to consider. LeaderSurf offers a diverse learning community in an exotic surrounding: during a six day leadership development retreat hosted in Playa Santana, Nicaragua, the program is designed to help build leadership capability while teaching participants how to surf.

Business Challenge Session at LeaderSurf

LeaderSurf Approaches Leadership Development as a Field Trip for Business Executives

September 13, 2017, PRnewswire.CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept. 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- LeaderSurf's tagline for their leadership development program is, leadership development done differently.  The program's unique approach to developing business executives has caught the eye of industry leaders.  LeaderSurf is a week-long leadership development program for experienced business executives.  The program combines leadership development, executive coaching, psychometric assessments, humanitarian aid, business challenges, teambuilding, mindfulness and physical activity through daily surfing lessons

LeaderSurf Charleston, SC Pitch- Pitchbreakfast

August 30, 2017, Pitchbreakfast Charleston. LeaderSurf recently had the priveledge of presenting our unique leadership development program to the Charleston, SC startup community.  We shared the business model, the problem we are solving for and included a live  testimonial from past participant. See the full video here

This Surf Retreat Is An Actual  "Field Trip" for Business Execs- The Inertia

August 24, 2017, The Inertia. What do you get when you combine ten successful business executives with the challenge of learning how to surf in one week? A shift in perspective. Powerful and successful people experiencing vulnerability. Personal growth. Read the full article here


Wave Rider- From the boardroom to the surfboard - American University Magazine

July 2017, American University Magazine. American University Magazine featured this article about Brian Formato and the LeaderSurf program.  The article was written by NY Times Best Selling Author Michael Blanding and highlights the learnings associated with the LeaderSurf leadership development program. Read the full article here


Diane Peacock LeaderSurf business challenge

Learning Paradise: Reflections on LeaderSurf- Blue Lollipop Road

June 26, 2017, Blue Lollipop Road. Diane Peacock, president of Blue Lolllipop Road reflects on her learnings and experience at LeaderSurf.  Diane attended the June 2017 LeaderSurf program and has incorporated her learnings into her business and her life. Read the full article here



Suhana Gordhan LeaderSurf lessons

Learning To Fall and Paddle Riding The Waves Of Your Career- Business Day South Africa

March 2, 2017, Business Day South Africa.  Insights and lessons learned by Suhana Gordhan, Creative Director for FCB Globla South Africa from her LeaderSurf experience. Suhana absorbed many leadership lessons from her LeaderSurf experience and captured them in this article. Read the Full article here


LeaderSurf Pitch- Charlotte PitchBreakfast

September 21, 2016, Pitch Breakfast Charlotte. PitchBreakfast is about providing startups a chance to practice their most crucial pitch in a challenging but supportive environment. LeaderSurf pitched their unique approach to leadership development in front of 100 business leaders and entrepreneurs.  View the video here


LeaderSurf Launch Press Release- May 17, 2016

May 17, 2016, PR Web. – Introducing LeaderSurf LLC, a leadership development program like no other.  Developing leadership capability is core to an organization’s long term success.  While there is a sea of programs that claim to develop leadership competency, LeaderSurf takes a new approach. Read the full release here