Thoughts on Leadership, Accountability, and Building a Network That Spans a Lifetime

Guest: Carl Neisser Drew's Father,

Carl Neisser starts every new year with a list of learning goals. Last year, he aimed to master texting with his children and grandchildren. Throughout his lifetime of over 90 years, Drew’s father Carl has collected important lessons about everything from teamwork, to leadership, to continually building a personal network. Above all, he never stops learning and never stops caring about his relationships.

On this special 100th episode of the Renegade Thinkers Unite podcast, Drew and his Dad discuss the Neisser family legacy in marketing and business, and chat about why putting people first is the first idea that any Renegade marketer needs to understand. For Carl, listening is important, but retaining that information is even more crucial in becoming the player that your team can rely on. In an inspiring “like father, like son” fashion, Drew and his father will walk you through the steps to becoming a lifelong learner in marketing and beyond.

Listen here to celebrate 100 episodes of Renegade thinking.

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What You’ll Learn

Life lessons on how to build a network of relationships across the span of a lifetime

Great relationships with people from all walks of life should be an aspiration for people across the world – not just in B2B marketing. How can you begin to build a network of close friends and colleagues? Drew and Carl explain that it starts with simply taking the initiative to connect with them on a regular basis. Carl meets with dozens of people every month and always takes an interest in their businesses, ideas, passions, and families. This deep knowledge people allows him to make meaningful connections among people in his network – adding value to the lives of nearly everyone he meets.

Leadership, accountability, and the power of a great team

Leadership, while often complex and detailed, really comes down to a few simple strategies. Carl outlines his best advice for leadership all on this episode. For example,

  • Be honest, upfront, and supportive in your communication
  • Hold your team accountable in order to help them grow
  • Remember what people tell you, and make connecting with them a priority
  • Encourage authentic teamwork within your organization

Carl also learned how to keep a close eye on his competitors from the great Abraham Lincoln. By understanding the way they think, lead, and act, your organization can be better prepared to compete against them in your industry.

You can’t avoid failure, so learning from past mistakes is crucial

Everyone has known deep and painful failure, both in their professional and personal lives. The difference lies in whether or not you learn from your mistakes and move past them, or continue to dwell in the past. By approaching every day with Carl’s mindset of “every day is a learning day,” you can start to view mistakes as simply opportunity for growth. He encourages all Renegade marketers to stay humble, stay curious, and never stop learning.


  • [0:29] Drew’s guest for this episode is his father, Carl Neisser
  • [5:50] Key leadership and teamwork lessons from Abraham Lincoln
  • [10:50] Teamwork is essential in many contexts, from sports to marketing
  • [15:30] Learning how to build and maintain a lifetime’s worth of connections
  • [22:17] The way you connect with people is important
  • [25:22] Treating failure as an opportunity for growth

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Drew

Meet the Guest

You’ll be pleased to know that if you’re looking to be enlightened by a Renaissance man, Carl Neisser single-handedly fits the bill.  As a scholar and athlete, Carl’s knowledge is far ranging and chances are, whatever your interests, whether the Middle Ages, crime fiction or linguistics, Carl’s read something on the subject and has some questions for you.  Into his ninth decade, Carl cites his favorite hobby as learning and still pursues it nonstop.  

Carl grew up in Highland Park, Illinois, earning top grades in high school while starring on the tennis and basketball teams.  He then enlisted in the Navy and served as a radio technician in the Philippines before attending Yale University and graduating in 1950 with a degree in Industrial Relations.  Heading out to Los Angeles to get married, he hired in with a young electronics firm, Beckman Instruments.  In 24 years with Beckman, Carl honed his marketing skills and definitely helped put a man on the moon by selling CO2 analyzers to NASA in the 1960s.  Since then, Carl has run his own consulting firm, helping many businesses boost their marketing. He and his wife, Pat, who died in 2014, raised three sons and have four adult grandchildren. 

Carl’s sense of civic duty echoes John Adams’ dictum, “To be good and to do good is all we have to do.” Local art museums, the repertory theater and child care organizations owe much to Carl’s leadership over the years. Carl lives in Newport Beach, California. 

Quotes from Carl Neisser

  • Every single day is a learning day.
  • The five letter word "trust" is still the key thing in business.
  • What really makes the person, in my mind, is having gone through tough situations and fighting out of them successfully.

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