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Episode 115: Stacey Mason is Leading Through Improvisation Here in Northwest Arkansas

Spread the Ozark love

IANWA - Stacey Mason (edited)

IANWA Open [0:11] It's time for another episode of I am Northwest Arkansas, the podcast covering the intersection of business, culture, entrepreneurship and life in general here in the Ozarks. Whether you are considering a move to this area or trying to learn more about the place you call home, we've got something special for you. Here's our host, Randy Wilburn.

Randy Wilburn [0:42] Hey folks, and welcome to another episode of I am Northwest Arkansas. I'm your host, Randy Wilburn. I’m excited to be here today, and more so because of the guest that I have that I'm looking at right now. Of course, you know, as I do these podcasts, I’m typically looking at somebody. If I'm not physically in front of them, then it's done virtually. And it's either done through zoom or another program that I use called Squadcast. Today is special because I'm joined by Stacey Mason from the Improv lab. Stacey is in Bentonville, Arkansas, and she's actually somebody that I connected with a couple of years ago and I just kept hunting her down. We have mutual friends, and I think she's a good friend of one of my best friends, Mark Zweig. She's also good friends with Anthony Sumlin. Big shout out to Anthony, a big shout out to Mark, two very important people in my life here. Anthony is a new friend, Mark is an old friend, and those two individuals are also connected with Stacey. So, there's always that six degrees or two degrees of separation in the world. You never know who you're connected with. But without further ado, Stacey Mason, welcome to I am Northwest Arkansas. I'm so glad to have you on the podcast.

Stacey Mason [1:55] Good morning. Yes, this is a long time coming. Finally,

Randy Wilburn [1:58] It is and I'm excited to do this. Just to give some perspective to the listeners of I am Northwest Arkansas. One of the reasons why I wanted to have Stacey on is because she runs the Improv Lab. She has spent some time working with a small company named Walmart and doing some other things. She's also done a lot of leadership work. She and I have a very similar track in the type of work that we do. We may not work in the same industries, but we talk about a lot of the same things. And so, I thought it would be fun to bring her on the podcast. I also felt that I wanted to give a big shout out to the Improv Lab because I know that for me as a public speaker, just being able to speak extemporaneously, being comfortable in my skin, and being able to share my thoughts and words, a lot of that really became cemented and became crystallized for me when I went through Improv years ago. I know I don't look that old, but I am 51, so I've been doing this for a while. I did some improv work back when I lived in California in my 20s. And so, I got a chance and a taste of it back then. I said it was really a game-changer for me. It actually flipped how I looked at and viewed people and dealt with situations that I was in. And so, I said, I should have Stacey come on to talk about the Improv Lab. So that's a shameless plug for her organization to talk about the importance of what improvisation can do for an individual. So, it's not just, this will make you better at your job; it actually will make you a better person, I believe. That's a long-winded story of why I wanted to bring Stacey on, aside from the fact, she's just a great person. And Stacey, I would love for you just to tell the I am Northwest Arkansas audience a little bit about yourself. And as I told you, before we started, I want to know your superhero origin story. So, whatever it looks like for you when you put on your cape and go out and do amazing things. How did you get to where you are today?

Stacey Mason [4:00] I would like to pin it on a few things, but I think it is everyone else; it's a combination of things. I grew up with a bipolar parent, and so early on, I learned to pay close attention to behavior. I became fascinated with personality, behavioral science, how people are wired, why you do what you do, and I didn't know that that was happening, but I think it was happening in the back of my mind. And so, when I got old enough to deploy that thinking in the work that I did, it snowballed. It became apparent that this leadership development space will help people understand how they're wired in unique ways and where I knew my career would end. It just took me a little bit longer to get here than I had anticipated, as it does with most people.

Randy Wilburn [5:03] It's so funny. I keep having this conversation with folks, especially people that are in their mid-life. Of course, I'm not going to ask you your age, but I tell people who are between their 40s and 60s that this is primetime. This is the chance for you to do some things with the idea, because of technology because of healthcare and everything else, the chances of us living a long life nowadays are much better than even what our parents could look forward to, or our grandparents for that matter. So, I think that there are a lot of upsides and a lot of things that can be done. So, you found your groove, especially with Improv Lab. You started this in 2018, but you've been doing improv for a lot longer than that, right?

Stacey Mason [5:44] I stumbled upon it purely by accident. I retired from Walmart in 2008, after almost 20 years, and I was just working on things, either on my bucket list or things that I thought sounded exciting or interesting, or vastly different. I randomly took an Improv class in Fayetteville through Theater Squared and it was the most stressful thing I think I've ever done. And it was hard and horrible actually until it wasn't. It was so interesting, super structured and super disciplined. I have a methodical sort of process in which I approach everything. And improv, as you all know, it's not any of those things. And so, every class, every exercise, everything was just painful. It was so painful—a true story. First-class, we are going along, and it's hard. It's difficult. We go to break, get a drink of water, check your electronics, whatever it is you need to do. I went to the restroom, and I'm standing in the restroom looking at the window going, I think I can crawl out that window and disappear and no one will know I've been here. But then I thought, you know what, my purse and keys are in the other room. But literally, if I'd have had my purse with me, I'd have been through the window and gone. It was the hardest thing I've ever done.

Randy Wilburn [7:19] I don't know that I had that same experience, but I was very nervous, even though I was always a free-wheeling person when it came to speaking and things of that nature. But improv brought something out of me that I didn't know was in me. And there was a creative animal in me that was looking to come out. I think we all have something lying right below the surface. For some of us, it never comes out and that's the sad part about it. Some people never come to this realization that you've experienced in that you've taken a lot of your students through. And I know, that's some of the stuff that Anthony said was really a benefit to him going through your improv lab training. And, a big shout out, not just to him, but to the training itself. Because I know one time I came and spent an evening with you guys at the Black Apple, which is the cidery in Springdale, and you guys brought me up on stage. I was comfortable with it because I've done stuff like that before, but it just reminded me of how electric it can be when you are taken out of your normal, everyday routine and thrown into something. And you don't really know what to expect. But I got through it. It was perfectly fine, and it was so much fun. I can't tell you how exhilarating it was on that drive home after that improv session. It was a lot of fun.

Stacey Mason [8:41] Well, first of all, Anthony is an outstanding human being. We were so lucky to find him and add him to the troupe. He's amazing and so good. But it's a unique feeling to be standing on stage with your teammates or audience volunteers, and you have nothing to go off on except the audience suggestion. And it is still astounding to me to this day, through just standing side by side with someone in a mirror audience suggesting what you can do with that for 5, 10, 20, 30, 60 minutes. It still amazes me to this day.

Randy Wilburn [9:23] It literally is the embodiment of creating something from nothing.

Stacey Mason [9:28] Exactly.

Randy Wilburn [9:32] So, tell me, how do you mate the leadership stuff together because you have Mason on leadership? So, you do leadership consultancy and then the improv lab? How do those two dovetails together for you?

Stacey Mason [9:44] It's interesting. What I have are two vastly different sides of who I am. I have Mason on leadership, which basically focuses on executive coaching. One-on-one conversations with individuals trying to leverage what they're extremely good at and trying to minimize a few rough edges here and there. Usually, that's done in conjunction with behavioral assessment, so behavioral science. Again, going back to how I grew up and what I'm fascinated with, those two pieces of the puzzle fit really nicely together. It's very heavy work. It's very intellectual, very strategic, very thoughtful, and I am drawn to that type of interaction. On the other side of the scale, you have applied improvisation and that's what we do at the Improv Lab. What that has allowed is sort of an innovative platform to have all of these leadership development conversations you want to have; you’re just doing it through a different lens. If you think of every conversation that would require some sort of development in a personal or business construct, think in terms of better communication, collaboration, innovation, problem-solving, executive presence, being faster on your feet, agility, all of the competencies that we want, either people or organizations to have. We are getting to those conversations through improv. So, we're using improv as a tool to tee us up to these other things that we want to experience. We're just doing it through a different medium.

Randy Wilburn [11:26] And that makes perfect sense. Sometimes, it may even be a more comfortable way to develop the leader within you, which you didn't know is there. I think we all have a leader in us. Sometimes it needs to come to the surface, and improvisation can help you bring that inner leader to the surface.

Stacey Mason [11:50] Well, here's the interesting thing. What we're doing in improv, and I try to minimize this word to some degree because I don't want it to think that it's fluffy. But we do play. We do a little bit of play. And what happens when people play, they forget to self-monitor and when you forget to self-monitor, I see the truest version of who you are. That's the version we need to see because that's the version you're going to show to lead either yourself, your people, or the organization. We need to get to the truest part of who you are and figure out how it works to your benefit. It sort of seamlessly happens without saying, okay, now we're going to look at you.

Randy Wilburn [12:34] It's so funny as you mentioned this and you mentioned the coaching piece of it. I know that for the longest time, I didn't necessarily relegate the importance of coaching. I didn't put it in its proper place. Now, years later, I see coaching in a different light. We almost all need coaches, but what would you say to people that have heard about coaches and said, well, that's probably not for me because I'm not an executive or I'm not a leader in my organization? How do you share that information about the importance of coaching and what it brings to light for an individual?

Stacey Mason [13:13] Here's the problem with the word coaching. It used to have a bad connotation, particularly in a Walmart frame. Years and years ago, old history coaching meant you were in trouble; you had done something that needed to be corrected. It was punitive. And then, you know, the world changed and coaching became terminology that meant we're proactively developing you for greater things. And so that's how I use coaching terminology now. It shouldn't be reactive; it should be proactive. It should be setting you up for success and eliminating hurdles before you get to them and they derail you. Years ago, I heard someone say this, and I thought it was absolutely brilliant. Counseling is archaeology, but coaching is architecture. I thought that was a really nice way for people to understand the difference because people come in and they will go, do I need to lay on the couch? And I'm like, no, I don't think that's what we're going to do here. And so that's counseling; we’re digging up the past and examining those kinds of things. That's a different avenue to go down. Coaching is all about nuance; it is so much architecture and nuance.

Randy Wilburn [14:31] I'm not a big archaeological guy when it comes to the counseling piece of it. But I like the coaching aspect of encouraging others to be the best version of themselves and how they get there. One of the things I think people tend to do is dwell on the past and dwell on the things that may have caused them challenges previously. That actually impairs or hampers their ability to step out of their own shadow and do something amazing. But like you said, I resonate with how coaching is architecture because when I think about architecture, I think about building something, something from scratch almost. As I think about this period that we're in, at the recording of this, we are still dealing with the pandemic. A lot of people have had to pivot in their careers, in life and do different things. Maybe the job they had is no longer there, the industry they were in is slowly dying, so, suddenly, people have to think about new ways to do what they were doing. And that, to me, is where a really good coach is valuable or invaluable, if you will, in terms of helping you navigate those waters and figure out what the next step is. Not to worry about what has already happened. Yes, you lost your job, or they're doing downsizing, or the pandemic has messed a lot of us up, but the reality is what the future can hold based on what your potential is, and a good coach can help ferret out some of that potential.

Stacey Mason [16:05] Well, it's perspective. You're sitting across the table talking to someone who has a different perspective from you.

Randy Wilburn [16:11] And so I would imagine that you interact a lot with not just people from Walmart, but other businesses locally. What would you say are some of the biggest hang-ups that people struggle with right now that you're seeing? What is the one constant theme that you wish if people just could figure this out, they wouldn't even need your services; they could just work it out themselves? Not that I want you to shut down your coaching business. I'm just saying, what are some of the telltale signs that you see over and over again?

Stacey Mason [16:44] And these are in no particular order. A lot of the conversations are rooted in the same thing. As you might imagine, there are trends. I would say understanding emotional intelligence. I would say, and you can call this anything you want, but it's crucial conversations. How to have a conversation that might be conflictual in some way. So, it's either a direct conversation, a hard conversation, just something you're not looking forward to. People put those off, and the very fact that you put them off and never do them means you never developed a skill. If you’ve never developed the skill, you're never going to get better at that challenge. So, that's a lot of it. I would say there is the number one conversation that I have. It's called leadership transitions, and this is the number one thing that stumps people is understanding that every time you change roles, that the new seat that you sit in the landscape is different. And so, what's expected of you is different. Where you spend your time and what you think about is different, but I don't think those conversations are normally occurring in the world. The reality is we promote people that are exceptional doers, then they move to the next seat, and they do what they did before harder and faster. What the new seat requires from you is not what you did before, but it's something different. And so again, every time you change seats, you have to reevaluate what that looks like as you make that progression. And I would tell you, overwhelmingly, that conversation is absent from organizations. We're just not preparing people in those terms.

Randy Wilburn [18:25] Why do you think that is? Do you think it is because companies feel comfortable keeping people in a particular place, and too much focus on what the future holds will limit the ability for that company to get the most out of that individual at the current state of affairs?

Stacey Mason [18:41] I wouldn't say it that way. I would say two things. It takes a lot of time to lead people and it takes a lot of effort and everybody in the organization is stretched. And so, I shortchange people with my time and my leadership, getting them prepared for whatever, but whoever above me is shortchanging me as well. And so, the cycle continues and very few people break the cycle and say, just because what I'm not getting from my boss doesn't mean I should do that to my people. And you have to stop the madness to know I'm going to do for my people what should be done, and that is rare to see. Again, it takes an enormous amount of effort, an enormous amount of time to lead and train and develop people, and that's what is in short supply. The interesting thing is that as you get to the highest levels of the house, the top of the house looks different, but with the lowest and middle levels of leadership, you're just repeating the cycle.

Randy Wilburn [19:40] I would concur with exactly what you're finding. Even in the industry that I work in primarily, which is the design industry with engineers and architects, one of the things that I tell design professionals is I give them a license to be a leader and one of the things I say to them is that being a leader means ultimately working yourself out of a job. Meaning that you create an opportunity for somebody else to step into what you're doing so that you can then go on and do something else, and it might be different than what you're currently doing. Unfortunately, a lot of people hold on to something so tight because they don't want to let it go. They don't want to relinquish their responsibility. But real leadership is creating an opportunity for somebody to step into your role so that you can go and do something else. And I would venture to say that in every person that I ever pressed whenever I share that statement, it's like a light bulb goes off and it's that aha moment, like, I never looked at it that way. I just felt like I was just doing my job and I need to continue to do it this way. But no, there's something I really want to do, but I can't do that if I create a vacuum by moving out of my current position into something else. And the way you avoid that vacuum being created is by creating an opportunity for somebody below you to step into that because that might be their opportunity that they're really looking forward to.

Stacey Mason [21:00] I totally agree. It's the permission, and now it's the skill set to actually do it. The skillset looks very different. If I'm just leading myself as an individual contributor, that's one thing. When I get promoted, and now I'm leading people, that's a different skill set. Then the next seat, I'm leading multiple people who are leading people and that's a different skill set. And then the next chair, I'm leading an entire function of an organization. You have to extrapolate what that means as you change chairs. Most of these folks are quite capable of doing it; they just never thought of it in those terms. And so, the discussion that sets that in motion is generally what the coaching brings to the table.

Randy Wilburn [21:46] It makes perfect sense to think that way. You have to be intentional about that thought process; otherwise, it will never happen. When I say intentionality, I use that word a lot; it has to happen from the top down. Because if the C-suite isn't intentional about bringing about that change and seeing the progression happen, then it will never happen. It's a challenge. You have been here for a while; you've been here a lot longer than I have. I got here in 2014, so I'm a young head when it comes to living in Northwest Arkansas. What do you think about the progression? The change here in Northwest Arkansas, because you have seen it? You're not originally from here, right?

Stacey Mason [22:29] We moved here in ‘98.

Randy Wilburn [22:32] Okay, so you've got almost 23 years. I've got six years, so my perspective is much different than yours. You've seen Bentonville change overnight from a small town to what it is now into what it's about to be in the next few years when this new campus is built? What do you think about Northwest Arkansas as a whole?

Stacey Mason [22:53] It's interesting. When we moved here, it was just a sleepy town. Walmart was a big name, but Walmart wasn't sexy and sophisticated back then, not with what they hung their hat on. They were old school, true to their roots, and it’s fascinating today to see the change. At some point, we're probably going to lead in innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship. We're probably going to lead the nation at some point. I don't know when that's going to happen. We are drawing here, the thinkers interested in looking at the world in a vastly different way.

Randy Wilburn [23:47] I could not agree with you more. I've seen it. Again, I've got a short time here, so I'm not a lifer. I haven't been a lifer and I don't know if I will live here for the rest of my life, but I like it, and I enjoy it. One of the things that I have seen is that the people here are trying to do things resoundingly. It's not like they're here, but they also want to be in Silicon Valley, or they're here and they also want to be in LA. They want to do what they want to do right here in this backyard of the Ozarks, and I get excited when I talk to people like Charu Thomas; they just changed their name recently. When I think of these guys, and they're like a startup, they work to make your whole online shopping experience much more enjoyable, especially for personal shoppers that go into these different stores. They have the most efficient pathway. If you put in an order for food, they know how to go through Whole Foods and they know exactly the most efficient way to get the 32 items you want. These guys created the technology to do that to walk them through. They map the stores and do all that great stuff. It was called Oculogx and now it's called Ox. But Charu Thomas and Tanner green, and some of those folks over there are really doing some amazing things. But their story when I had them on the podcast helped me realize that this area is in a state of change and it's a real positive change because you have young people, they're like, I'm going to hang out here. I could go to San Francisco, but I'm going to hang out here. They understand that they've got to do business on both coasts, but this is a good place to start something that could really become huge.

Stacey Mason [25:48] We are starting to draw some really interesting people to the area. That was one of the reasons why I finally chose to open space downtown on Main Street, which is nearly unheard of, which is phenomenal. We started using sexy terminology, like innovation and collaboration. We started saying that we will have a footprint that's more interesting than we've had before. And that was really the catalyst to say maybe this town is ready for what I do. If we just talk about applied improvisation, perhaps only a couple of 100 people across the US do this. There are probably less than 500 in the world that does this exact work. And, to say that I can do that here, fill classes, fill sessions and have people begin to understand what this work is about is a real testament that we're not old school anymore.

Randy Wilburn [26:56] And I think this area is going to continue to grow. It may be able to even support another improv troupe at some point in time because of the size of the area and all the opportunities that exist here, but you're absolutely right. You have some folks that have been here all their lives, and they don't necessarily like the growth and the advancement that we've experienced. They like the slow time aspect of things, which I totally get, and that's one of the things coming from being a northeasterner coming here. Things are a lot slower to me, but it's still moving fast enough to see where the opportunities lie. I get excited when I talk to people about what the future holds, even just in the next ten years, let alone in the next 20 years when they say we will probably double our population size to almost 900,000 people. It wasn't 900,000 people here when you moved here in 98. So, tell me, when you're not changing people's lives through leadership, coaching and improvisational work that you do around the community, what do you do to have fun here in Northwest Arkansas? What do you enjoy doing?

Stacey Mason [28:15] That's a good question because I love to be home. I'm a homebody. But what would I be doing if I were not at home? Is that the question?

Randy Wilburn [28:26] And it wasn't a pandemic?

Stacey Mason [28:30] Well, I would be at Rick's Bakery eating just about anything that they have. I would be at Wright’s Barbecue; it’s the closest barbecue to Texas barbecue. I lived in Texas for ten years, and Texas barbecue is like a thing; it’s a cult, so I'm into that. I probably would be at some flea market, antique shop, looking at stuff, nothing that I need, but it clears my brain, it clears it from this other stuff that I'm doing and I just dawdle. I would be at City Supply in Fayetteville; the same thing. They have a book selection that I just love. Oh, I'm a big reader, but I like unique books.

Stacey Mason [29:21] What was the last good, unique book that you read?

Stacey Mason [29:25] I’ve read so many. That is a tough question. Well, I've read a lot of Brene Brown lately, but Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book about Talking to Strangers was phenomenal. I think I underlined most of it.

Stacey Mason [29:47] You're one of those book readers?

Stacey Mason [29:52] I’m writing in the margins. I'm highlighting.

Randy Wilburn [29:58] That's good. I love good books, and I think Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly, was excellent. I thought that was a really good book and her podcast, which if people are listening to this because you love my podcast and you like listening to podcasts, you should definitely check out Brene Brown’s podcast that comes out once or twice a week. She's had some amazing people on and definitely worth listening to. Now, Malcolm Gladwell also has a podcast, which is really interesting, too. He's a unique character. Outliers was my favorite book that I read by him and Blink was also good. He has written several great books, so we probably have read some of the same books. I love sitting down to a really good book. My wife and I were talking because recently, she told the kids how many books she read in a year. They were like, oh, my gosh, that was insane to them. You know how kids are; reading is such a chore to them. But my wife said to them, I did not grow up being a voracious reader. It's actually something I developed as an adult, and it has been a game-changer for me. I never thought I would be reading 25, 30 books a year, and now I am. There's something to be said for that.

Stacey Mason [31:20] It's funny with the pandemic, I read 119 books last year.

Randy Wilburn [31:25] Okay, you got me beat. I thought I was doing something.

Stacey Mason [31:28] Some of them were pure escape and fantasy. I actually learned how to read for escapism. I had never done that before. Nine times out of ten, I'm going to read a memoir. There's something about someone's story and understanding how that plays out connects you differently to people.

Randy Wilburn [31:50]. Have you read Chernow’s Grant?

Stacey Mason [31:54] I have not.

Randy Wilburn [31:55] You’ve got to read that. Ulysses Grant by Ron Chernow;’ it’s amazing. And another good book I will give you which I think you would really like and maybe you've read it. It’s Doris Kearns Goodwin's, Leadership: In Turbulent Times.

Stacey Mason [32:07] I haven't read that. There are so many books.

Randy Wilburn [32:11] I know. I’m just throwing it out there. I like books now and what it has done for me. I actually look at books a lot differently than I did even when I was 25 or 30. I really enjoy books because I just enjoy reading them and that's just the thing that resonates for me. And I take something away from them now, way more than I did when I was younger. And I think as you get older and you gain a different perspective, it works differently. So, it's exciting.

Stacey Mason [32:49] Here's the other thing about reading: it teaches you how to write. For those of us that are in this space, we spend a lot of time writing for publication, journals, and it's an astoundingly brilliant platform. If you read enough and understand how voice plays out and how you can use your voice to have a conversation, it will help you immensely to be a better writer. That's what it has done for me.

Randy Wilburn [33:21] I'm with you 100 percent. It has helped me tremendously. I really like getting into books because it has helped me. I wrote a lot in college and I didn't write nearly as well as I do now. So, there's hope for us all. If there's a 20 something listening to this, who says I'm such a poor writer, trust me. I'm here to tell you, listen to what I'm saying. You can be a good writer, just read more, and it will eventually come together. I highly recommend that. Well, Stacey, this has been simply marvelous. I knew this would be a great episode, and I could go on and on and talk with you more about improvisation and all that. But for people who want to learn more about what you're doing, both on the coaching side and from a leadership perspective with Improv Lab, what's the best way for them to get in contact with you?

Stacey Mason [34:14] The best way would be to email me, which is But if you want to just see how I'm wired, what I'm about, there are two websites: and Both of those will give you insights into the work that I do and how I approach the craft.

Randy Wilburn [34:39] Okay, well, that's good. We are going to put all this in the Show Notes and I think I sent you a form to fill out too and so you will put all your social media contacts in there, so people know how to reach out and connect with you for those of you that want to check out an improv class.

Stacey Mason [35:09] Yes, I'm doing classes now. Every month, I have an open enrollment class on Tuesday evenings, so each month is a different concept or class curriculum. We have just modified it with headcount to be more thoughtful. We still do Third Thursday improv, third Thursday of every month. Random people gather and we play, build a community, laugh, giggle, whatever it is that you do. I'm still doing customized sessions for clients. Nothing has changed. We are just more thoughtful about how we do it and create more space in the room.

Randy Wilburn [35:47] There you go. I will make sure that people have all your contact information and your website to go there and check it out. Maybe somebody wants to hire you to come into their company, or they just want to go and spend time, one night, going through the improv program. That would be awesome. Thank you so much for joining us on I am Northwest Arkansas. We really appreciate it and appreciate all that you're doing here in this community. So, keep up the great work and let us know if there's ever anything we can do for you.

Stacey Mason [36:21] Well, thanks, Randy. I'm sorry it took us so long to get this together finally, but it was worth the wait. You have just been delightful, and I knew this would be amazing.

Randy Wilburn [36:30] Thank you. Well, folks, that's another episode of the I am Northwest Arkansas podcast. To learn more about us or to read or download the Show Notes from today's episode, visit You can listen to this podcast and sign up for our free newsletter to keep up with us and all things NWA. Sign up today. You can subscribe to the I am Northwest Arkansas podcast wherever you listen to it, and please consider rating and reviewing us on Apple podcast. Our podcasts come out every Monday. I'm your host Randy Wilburn. We will see you back here next week for a new episode of the I Am Northwest Arkansas podcast. Peace.

IANWA Open [37:13] We hope you enjoyed this episode of I am Northwest Arkansas. Check us out each and every week available anywhere that great podcasts can be found. For Show Notes or more information on becoming a guest, visit We will see you next week on I am Northwest Arkansas.

About the Show: 

We recently sat down with Stacey Mason and had a full-ranging conversation on Leadership Coaching to Improvisation and everything in between. Stacey dropped so many nuggets of wisdom including the smart decision to locate her improv studio, The Improv Lab, in Downtown Bentonville. Stacey shared her perspective on the difference between counseling and coaching. 

“Counseling is Archaeology, and Coaching is Architecture!” 

Stacey Mason

Learn why you should consider adding applied improvisation to your tool belt of abilities. All of this and more on this episode of the I am Northwest Arkansas podcast. 

Important Links and Mentions on the Show*:

This episode is sponsored by*:

The Exclusive Real Estate Group – Serving all of Northwest Arkansas from Dickson St. to Bentonville Square, Broker Chris Dinwiddie, and his agents are ready to provide first-class representation for any of your real estate needs. 

Chris’ team has expanded to include in-house designers and architects.  They can facilitate everything from design services to turnkey new construction.  Click Here to contact them, and be sure to mention that you heard about them from IANWA. 

Or, if you need to move quickly, call Chris directly on his cell at 479-305-0468 and mention that you heard about him here on the podcast. 

Build Your Perfect Business with Next Level 7 – If you’ve ever thought about starting your own business or giving your current business a real tune-up, you need to check out Next Level 7 and take some lessons from the master, Brian Clark. Brian has built not one but two 8-figure businesses from scratch – and sold them! 

We use Brian’s training here at I am Northwest Arkansas, and it has transformed how we do business.  Get the FREE Course today! Or visit

Be a part of the Entrepreneurial Movement here in the Ozarks. 

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