Wrestling with the pressures of success – Charles Thornburgh – Part Two



Today we continue our conversation with Charles Thornburgh, the CEO of Civitas Learning. Civitas Learning partners with higher education leaders to bring together the best of new leading-edge technology, design thinking and data science on a mission to help a million more students. It’s a huge mission that we talked about in detail in the last episode – make sure you listen to part one.

In this episode, we wrestle with the issues that growth causes. Charles is quick to point out that what many times looks like a finish line, is usually just another starting line.

Civitas Learning has been fortunate enough to raise a large amount of money, recently raising $60 million.

Fundraising brings added pressure on the business, as you are now working with others’ money. From a CEO’s perspective, you are now responsible for fulfilling many more promises. The pressure is tough, but Charles shares how he copes with a growing company, investors and a family in this episode.

Today’s Topics Include:

  • How do you deal with raising a lot of money? How do you focus with extra responsibility?
  • Charles is recognizing what looks like the finish line from a distance is actually another starting line.
  • To help carry the load, Charles talks about he works with coaches and mentors. They help contribute perspective and see around corners.
  • Running Civitas Learning, his title hasn’t changed, but his role has changed many times.
  • The biggest way he sets priorities is blowing up his calendar. He shares how he has to decide how he spends his time to make the business the best it can be.
  • The role of meditation and mindfulness can plan in a busy life.
  • The missing variable in work-life balance is spending time on yourself.
  • As stresses get bigger, time needs to be spent on yourself. You need to focus on sleep, exercise, and diet to keep stress levels down and be able to cope.
  • To truly be force multiplier, you need to take care of yourself.
  • The analogy of a racehorse.

Links and Resources:


“The image of a force multiplier effect happens when you have experienced incredible leadership” – Kirk Dando

“When you help the first member of the family not only to go to college but to complete it that creates a ripple effect” Charles Thornburgh

“What many times looks like the finish line is actually just another starting line” Charles Thornburgh

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