Louis Zezeran, Leadership Instructor

I am Australian, have lived in Estonia for over 15 years and I was the founder of “Comedy Estonia”, the group who established the now thriving art-form of Stand Up Comedy in this country. Over that time we grew the group into a full live event production and Talent Management agency and those artists are now recognized as the Stand Up stars nation wide.

After growing the group for the first 5 years, I was starting to feel overwhelmed by the growth and requirements of running such a team. Like any Startup founder can attest, the challenges never end and while leadership is something I had some intuitive ability in, I was coming to the limits of of how far I could wing this with my skills.

Around this time I discovered the “Jocko Podcast” run by former Navy Seal and author Jocko Willink. He gave a lot of practical steps one could take to help their leadership. While I started out by listening to this podcast while exercising, I quickly had to come up with a new way to consume it because I was constantly stopping to write down another good idea I got from each episode. I was then able to turn around and directly test these ideas with my admin team and my team of comedians. Bit by bit, I was able to test and refine these on a daily basis and I was able to witness that these ideas applied both to knowledge workers in the office and creative artists attempting to better themselves.

I found the military examples interesting because they seemed so clear to me. I live half in the world of startups and half in the work of creativity and I feel a sort of allergy to typical “business talk”. It tends to wash right over me and sound very general. Jocko’s examples from military leadership came across so clear, I was able to see the principle and then use my own reasoning to see how this would apply to business and creativity. I was forced to adapt and figure out different ways of presenting these principles because while the admin staff will have some acceptance of leadership talk, artists will very quickly zone out. Having to come up with new perspectives on these principles deeply convinced me they can be helpful to everyone in business, in life and in looking after yourself.

In addition to running the Comedy Estonia agency, I am also an event host and public speaker. I met Remo and Aleksandr from Combat Ready at sTARTUp Day 2023 as they were giving a keynote and I was the stage host. When I discovered that there was a group of switched on leaders teaching this material in Estonia, I knew I wanted my next mission to be joining this team.

My goal as an Instructor in Combat Ready courses is to present the military examples, the ones which helped me see these Leadership principles so clearly, and then guide you along the path of making the connection to business and life. Once you learn these principles you start to see them everywhere, at your work, in your community, in your family and inside of yourself.

Louis Zezeran
Combat Ready Instructor