Balancing cognitive and emotional culture for a harmonious employee experience

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About the episode

Simpplr Podcast Ep 35 with Laila Tarraf, author of Strong Like Water

This episode features an interview with Laila Tarraf, author of Strong Like Water. After losing her parents and husband, Laila learned that compassion was essential in her personal and professional life. Prior to writing her book, Laila served as the Chief People Officer for Allbirds and Peet’s Coffee, and was the Vice President of HR for

In this episode, Amanda sits down with Laila to discuss leading with love, harmony between company values and felt experience, and psychological safety.

01:52 Laila’s background
05:58 Segment: Story Time
06:14 Laila discusses her book Strong Like Water 
17:17 Laila’s advice for leading with courage and love
27:49 Segment: Ripped From The Headlines
28:29 Skills leaders need to have to guide employees through challenging times
31:24 Segment: Asking For a Friend 
31:49 What future changes in leadership Laila expects 

Guest information

Laila Tarraf 

Laila Tarraf is a talent management and leadership development executive with over 25 years of experience building teams and advising companies across many industries and stages of growth. She was a founding member of at the height of the first internet bubble, and the Chief People Officer at Peet’s Coffee and Tea as it was redefining its values as a national brand. She then spent seven years working in private equity as the Director of Human Capital at GI Partners and a Human Capital Advisor with Altamont Capital. Most recently, as Chief People Officer for AllBirds, Laila led the transition from a founder-led start-up to a public company run by an established executive leadership team.

Over the years, through professional achievements and personal accomplishments alongside professional setbacks and personal tragedies, Laila has evolved her leadership and life philosophy into one that embraces the inherent duality of life — balancing courage with compassion, integrating head with heart, infusing power with tenderness. Her journey and hard-won insights are what she shares in her debut book, Strong Like Water™. Laila is a graduate of the Berkeley Haas School of Business, and is also a guest lecturer at Berkeley Law School. She is Lebanese and American, an avid traveler and world explorer, and a proud mom to her teenage daughter, Nadia and her 8-pound Yorkie, Max.

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