I AM CEO PODCASTSocial Entrepreneurship

IAM1709 – Strategic Advisor Invests in Solutions to Climate Change by Converging Technology and Energy

Podcast interview with Walter L. Schindler

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”: Dr. Schindler brought together technology and energy to make a difference.  He's been an investor and also made a transformation and is even a pioneer in the space. It's so important to have the awareness that sometimes innovations come by merging or converging different industries or even technologies.

I AM CEO Handbook Volume 3 is HERE and it's FREE. Get your copy here: http://cbnation.co/iamceo3. Get the 100+ things that you can learn from 1600 business podcasts we recorded. Hear Gresh's story, learn the 16 business pillars from the podcast, find out about CBNation Architects and why you might be one and so much more. Did we mention it was FREE? Download it today! 

Previous Episode: https://iamceo.co/2019/04/24/iam254-strategic-advisor-invests-in-solutions-to-climate-change-by-converging-technology-and-energy/


The full transcription is only available to CBNation Library Members. Sign up today!

Walter L. Schindler Teaser 00:00

Organizations to have doers who actually do things. So that's part of the secret sauce. The second part of the secret sauce is what I call the art of listening.

Intro 00:13

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs, without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of.

This is the I AM CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:38

Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I appreciate you listening to this episode. If you've been listening this year, you know that we hit 1600 episodes at the beginning of this year. We're doing something a little bit different where we are repurposing our favorite episodes around certain categories or as I like to call them, business pillars that we think are going to be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, and business owners, and what I like to call the CB nation architects who are looking to level up their organizations.

This month we are focused on technology. We're a technology company that does dot, dot, dot. Technology is no longer an afterthought or something that you might do and is actually a core part of your business. If you are a real estate investor, you're using it. If you're a financial firm, if you're a cleaning company, an author, or speaker, you are using technology. If you are in any business, you are using technology, and if you're not, then you are probably going to be disrupted by an organization that is.

So this month we are going to look into purposing episodes that are around technology, whether that be firms or organizations that are actually using and investing in technology as a core part of their products and services, or potentially those individuals that are using and leveraging CEO hacks and CEO nuggets that center around technology and sharing ways that we can leverage it as well. Remember that you are a technology company that does dot, dot, dot. Sit back and enjoy this special episode of the I am CEO podcast.

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today if Walter Schindler of walterschindler.com. Walter, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Walter L. Schindler 02:08

Thank you, Gresham.

Gresham Harkless 02:09

No problem. And I wanted to read a little bit more about Walter so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing.

Dr. Walter Schindler is a Ph.D. and a JD and has over 38 years of legal experience. He's an attorney specializing in corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, and public offerings of securities, including 19 years of Gibson Dunn and Crutcher, where he was a partner for 12 years, including serving as the managing partner of the Orange County office.

He is the founder of Sail Capital Partners, LLC, an Early US pioneer and sustainable investment. Dr. Schindler is now focused on his latest venture Transformation LLC – a strategic advisory firm that focuses on the convergence of technology and energy across the entire spectrum of energy and power from oil and gas to solar and wind.

Dr. Walter, are you ready to speak to the I am CEO community?

Walter L. Schindler 02:59

Yes, I am. Thank you, Gresham.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 03:01

No problem. Thank you. And the first question I had was to hear a little bit more about what I call your CEO story and what led you to start your business.

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Walter L. Schindler 03:07

I became concerned very early as a result of my friendship with Ralph Cicerone, who was then chancellor of the University of California Irvine. I became concerned about climate change, and the reason is Ralph was on the team that won the Nobel Prize for discovering the whole in the ozone layer above Antarctica resulting from unrestricted use of chlorofluorocarbons, mainly in hairspray and deodorant. So as a result of that, Ralph and I became friends. I helped him plan what is now called University Research Park. And in the course of spending time with Ralph, he shared with me all of the scientific proof for climate change.

He showed me some 80-something slides that ultimately became his lecture at the Princeton Environmental Institute, and I saw them very early. I saw all of the scientific proof for the increase in CO2 since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. I saw the proof of the increasing amount of global warming that was taking place, particularly in the oceans and the Arctic. So I decided that I would switch from practicing law to investing in solutions to climate change and pollution. I did some research on pollution and discovered how much pollution is in the air we breathe every day, even on a clear day. There are some 30 plus carcinogens in the air that are invisible and that result from industrialization.

So as a result of all this, I started investing in solutions and I felt I was doing something important for the future of the world. Then I decided that even though I was having an impact, that I could have a greater impact if I moved over to transformation, which would focus on larger companies the size of Floor Vector, and IBM and focus on persuading them. To improve their environmental input and act as a strategic advisor to these large companies on how to do that. So that's what I've been doing for the last couple of years.

Gresham Harkless 05:27

Awesome, awesome, awesome. You might have already touched on this, but I usually ask for what I call your secret sauce. This could be for you or for your organization, but what do you feel sets you apart and makes you unique?

Walter L. Schindler 05:35

Well, first of all, I have a very capable chief of staff in Victoria Brodsky, who's sitting here with me and she helps me actually implement and put into action a lot of things that would just remain ideas. So it's very important in your organization to have doers who actually do things. So that's part of the secret sauce.

The second part of the secret sauce is what I call the art of listening. I find that if all I ever did was just talk at people and tell them about the problems, I find that very few people today actually listen to what you're saying because their minds are so overwhelmed with mobile device information and laptops and everything. So in order to get people to focus, I've found that first, you have to listen to them and ask them, what is it about the world situation today that bothers you? And then let them talk a little bit and see where their minds are at, and then find a way to show a relationship between their concerns and solutions to the concerns. So I think that the art of listening is becoming a lost part, and I think that's part of it.

Then the third and last sort of part is that I've gone out of my way to give speeches at places where influential people might be and to alert them to the situation. So nobody pays me to do that, but I've spoken a fair amount at Yale University's School of Management. I've talked about solutions to climate change, been a guest of the British royal family in London, and talked about sustainability in water and how we can achieve it. And so I go out of my way this June, I'll be speaking in Geneva at a Summit being called by several influential people. So I go out of my way to try to reach influential people about the situation, the problem, and the solution.

And I do that in part because I myself was just born into a very normal family where my parents were government employees. And so I rise to a point where I really appreciate how important it is when you have the ear of influential people.

Gresham Harkless 07:59

Yeah. That makes perfect sense, to be able to, for one get awareness by connecting with influential people and being able to let them know about what's going on so that they're aware, but also the ability to be able to communicate to a person and understand exactly what might be their pain points and show how this might affect and does affect them on a day-to-day basis, is how you start to get more awareness and it starts to become something that a lot of people are aware of.

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Walter L. Schindler 08:23

That's exactly right. A lot of people don't realize that even in places like Dallas where everybody thinks the air is clean, the actual level of pollution in the air in Dallas is about 44 times what is tolerable by a healthy human being.

Gresham Harkless 08:39


Walter L. Schindler 08:40

Even in what we think are clean cities, a lot of these people all of a sudden one day come down with cancer or emphysema and they think it's genetic and it's really not. It's, environmentally caused.

Gresham Harkles 08:54

Absolutely. I wanted to switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. This might be an app, a book, or a habit that you have, but it's something that you feel makes you more effective and efficient.

Walter L. Schindler 09:05

Well, I have to say that the greatest wisdom I've ever received from anyone in terms of being an effective CEO, is from a little book by Peter Drucker called The Effective Executive. You can buy that book on Amazon for 10 bucks, it's only a hundred pages, but it's filled with wisdom about how to be an effective executive or CEO. And the absence of wisdom is to start every day by focusing on our top priorities from a strategic point of view. All of us have urges that we respond to, we have to return a book, we have to pay somebody a loan. We always have these little urgencies in our life.

What Peter Drucker teaches us, is that we have to get up in the morning and think long term about what are the three things we can do today that will have the largest effect long term on what we want to accomplish. So from a strategic planning point of view, We rank our priorities at the beginning of every day. So I start every day thinking about what are the one or two or three things I can do that are gonna change the result five years from now. It's a great book. I highly recommend it. Peter Drucker, The Effective Executive.

Gresham Harkless 10:36

I appreciate you for sharing that. Now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget, and this is a word of wisdom or a piece of advice, or if you could hop into a time machine, what would you tell your younger business self?

Walter L. Schindler 10:47

Well, that's a great question. I think that right now the main lesson I learned in the last 20 years is to be very careful in hiring people. Create a team that functions as a team and that you can't evaluate people in isolation just on the basis of their resume. You have to see, is this person a team player? Is this person gonna contribute to teamwork? If I had to redo some of the mistakes, it would all be around how I hired people that individually had great resumes, but together as a team, didn't work well.

And so that would be the thing I would caution, a younger version of me, is to always think about not only the qualifications of a person but how do they function as a team? For example, Victoria is a great team player. We work well as a team and so, that counts for more than half the battle.

Gresham Harkless 11:53

Yeah, absolutely. Because whether they say success is a team sport, you have star individuals that won't necessarily help you and help the mission of the organization move forward, but to be able to have people that understand and are able to be a part of the team, know how to communicate, do all those kinds of soft skills sometimes that definitely can help move the needle forward. I love that CEO Nugget.

Walter L. Schindler 00:12:14

Well, thank you. You can see in action in the New Orleans Saints,

Gresham Harkless 12:19


Walter L. Schindler 12:19

The New Orleans is a football team, is of course an incredible example of great leadership in Drew Brees. But every time they interview Drew Brees, he talks about his team. Every time they interview the team, they talk about each other. So the New Orleans Saints is a good example of effective teamwork and it shows you that you can have both a great team and a great leader. So I very much look to them as a model of the kind of teamwork that should be in every organization.

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Gresham Harkless 12:48

Yeah, it's funny that you said that because I was actually gonna say that often it's hard to win sometimes when you just have one-star performer. Unless you have somebody like Will Chamberlain who can score a hundred points and then you can sometimes get away with that. But still, you need a good team in order to be successful, whether it be like you mentioned in sports or in business or really in life for that matter. So thank you for reminding us that.

Now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO and we're hoping to have different quote and quote, CEOs on this show. So, Walter I wants to ask you, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Walter L. Schindler 13:20

Well, number one, the word executive and being the chief executive means you're the top of the executive. The word executive is related to the word execute, and that means execution has two components, decisiveness and action. And I think a great CEO is someone who makes decisions and then puts those decisions into action.

Weak CEOs spend an endless amount of time having meetings and revisiting their decisions and having panel discussions and memos and everything, and they never do anything. One of the things I find that makes, I think, in the essence really of being a CEO, is that you're not just a leader that people follow. Of course, you have to be a leader, but you have to actually make decisions and execute on them. And you have to risk being wrong.

Gresham Harkless 14:21


Walter L. Schindler 14:22

A lot, of people, have trouble with that these days.

Gresham Harkless 14:25

Yeah, absolutely. A lot of times, that's part of the risk of being the quote and quote CEO, is making those decisions and you have to understand that when they're right, you can be celebrated and the team could be celebrated when you're wrong. Sometimes you take the brunt of it and you have to understand that. But the action does mount to all of that. So I love that definition.

Dr. Walter I truly appreciate you for taking some time out. What I want to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you want to let our readers and our listeners know, and then of course, how they can find out about you and all the awesome things that you're doing.

Walter L. Schindler 14:54

Well, thank you. We have a business website at transformationholdings.com. That's the current business website. My personal website is walterschindler.com and my advisor on technology said I needed a personal website just because my bio's unusual and a lot of people have trouble understanding what I do unless I just make it plain and public.

So I've just tried to become transparent. And then the venture firm I founded has a website at sailcapital.com and I'm proud to say that we won more international awards than any other firm focused on sustainable investment. We were in it too early in some respects, but we've become recognized as a pioneer and I'm grateful for that and I really appreciate the opportunity to have your audience and participate live. That's exciting so I appreciate that.

Gresham Harkless 15:59

No problem. I appreciate you for the time that you took today. I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Walter L. Schindler 16:04

Yeah, you too. Have a great day. Thank you.

Outro 16:07

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast, powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co. I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts. Subscribe and leave us a five-Star. Grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless.

Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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