Transcript: How to Design a Remote Company from the Ground Up

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Mitch Simon 0:03
All right. Hello and welcome to another episode of team anywhere. We are so excited to have another three of its leaders in this building to find organizations that

Ginnie Bianca-Mathis 0:23
were in the world operational host.

Mitch Simon 0:29
Interesting, but Mitch Simon just told me to have willory Anyway, what you guys are doing Where Where are you? Where are you looking?

Unknown Speaker 0:39
Yeah, thanks Mitch and Jenny and Bridget for joining. I will say this. I am not a big title guy,

Mitch Simon 0:44
sorry, the company from

Unknown Speaker 0:46
knowing that you would be 100% appropriate, although you’d be the most pretty much anything to do. Design you’re

Unknown Speaker 0:52
pretty much everything that happened inside of willory, physician marketing, accounting to payrolls and sales to

Unknown Speaker 1:01
Guess what other owners and

Mitch Simon 1:03
our products are getting started collini Willard

Unknown Speaker 1:05
but a leading back in 2010 all solutions I found it willory after a journey design company that’s your career journey for that people have worked every outsourced HR and look how they see and I gotta search each employee manual. As it turned out Holly makes a lot of their business that I was doing how the clients was solely in HR and payroll.

Mitch Simon 1:28
Focusing on how I feel quite a bit of generosity

Unknown Speaker 1:31
we did other work at my search firm

Mitch Simon 1:33
self problem but it turned out really really well definitely

Unknown Speaker 1:36
a unique niche anything that human resources and payroll capacity you’re going to love so and and

Mitch Simon 1:41
Bridgette. Long

Unknown Speaker 1:42
story short, my wife had our second child Mallory Miller went to work for run a monthly remote company where he acclimated Berg every day and my wife and I didn’t have a second child. And so now we want to make sure my son will did not throw Mallory in the trash can which he threatened to do once or twice before she arrived. So I work from home for that first, that first week, I actually didn’t do any work, we just kind of acclimated, then I got back to working. And I work from home for a bit. And I found myself to be incredibly productive. and enjoying my time, it was a finite time that I’d have because we had a newborn baby at home and a two year old. And from there, I returned back to my my kind of partnership relationship in my executive search firm, and I felt a void, I miss things, I miss my family. And then one day I told my wife, I said, I, I need to do something different. And that’s something different needs to be me working from home all the time in her, she her eyes lit up. But then she said, Oh my gosh, that means you’re gonna quit your job or start a new business. And it was right at the tail end of the recession as we look back, so it was a tad bit crazy. But I made a promise to my wife, that if it didn’t work out in the first six months, I’d go back and get a corporate sales gig somewhere that was worked from home that I definitely decided to want to do. So I found a willory actually on my birthday 10 years ago and October 25. And we’ll be celebrating 10 years coming up here in a few months. It has been a unique and fun filled ride. I’ve been blessed to have hired some really great people like Bridget, first two people that we hired in the firm, Jamie Myers, and Bob Hawes, they’re both still with the company. And so we’ve done something right in serving the HR and payroll community with our search staff org and consulting services. But also, I think, primarily why I think I’m a guest or guests on this show is that we do remote work really well. And we do it for we do support our clients, mostly virtually pre COVID. And obviously, all virtually now. And we found a formatting that really works and it’s made sense for our clients, for our employees and for the people that we serve.

Mitch Simon 3:54
Great. Thanks, john. So So Bridget, what is what is unique about the the culture Hillary and how are you able to maintain it virtually over the last 10 years? So

Unknown Speaker 4:07
I love that question because I think working for Hillary is totally like working for any other organization I have ever experienced. When I was looking to make a change, I knew I wanted something work for home and I didn’t do enough research and did not realize that Hillary was work from home when I applied. I think that’s the first time john has actually heard that statement. And but once I heard that, I knew that’s what I wanted I because working remotely allowing me to really get it in focus when in an environment that is conducive. So you have that peace and then you have the flexibility. We believe in a family first environment. So that creates a unique culture but also, you know, before I had my daughter, I was much more of a night owl and so also when she was a baby, I would be working at One, two, and holding those emails, but it’s beyond that I think we really have taken the time to develop our core values. And by utilizing and believing in those core values, we’ve created a culture that even when we don’t see each other, every single day, we know the culture. Seeking to understand is really important. And it becomes even more important when you’re in a virtual environment because we all know how complicated email can be without tone. And so sometimes just understanding where that person is coming from helps immensely kind of before you get into trouble without town.

Mitch Simon 5:44
Could you share with me, Rob, Bridgette, what are some of the attributes of the culture that someone who’s used to working like in an office that you guys have as part of your core that are kind of you know, That really engage you as an employee?

Unknown Speaker 6:03
I think one of the biggest things that’s part of our culture that maybe even isn’t stated is a giving attitude. We really kind of it’s always an all hands on deck. Like if someone is going through something, it’s like, how can I help you? How can I take something off your plate, it’s really, truly trying to make everyone successful, and what that looks like in terms of ebbs and flows. And then also, in a sense that, as a team, we have to be open to change, because our world is constantly changing pre COVID. And we don’t have those kind of off the cuff Hallway Conversations for collaboration. So sometimes those changes kind of come in a different way. So just being given and then open to change as well.

Mitch Simon 6:54
It’s great. And then, john, what are some of the ways that you actually do collaborate? Cuz because, again, most people are used to collaborating like in a room with other people around like, how do you create that sense of collaboration? And does it flow throughout your entire company?

Unknown Speaker 7:13
Yeah, so one of the things that we and Bridget maybe left this part out one of the one of the core values within our firm is greatness through accountability. So we went through the entire kind of journey with emotional intelligence and crucial conversations and crucial accountability. And in order for you to be great at what you do, I think you need to be personally accountable and manage to that yourself as well as be open to collaboration and communication from peers, colleagues, clients, the owner, founder in this case. So the collaboration process that we go through at the firm is we have a lot of forced kind of scheduled, brief meetings that are standard across kind of joining departmental meetings so as an example, Bridget Nye just hopped off of a client relations and sales debrief call to where which we have every Tuesday at nine, and we do some outbound calling, and then we get back together at noon and collaborate on how we did. So those that we have a lot of, and when I say a lot, probably about eight ish, eight to nine standing weekly calls of things that are really important to the business, we have a weekly, like firm wide meeting Monday mornings, we do kind of a staffing call Mondays and Thursdays. So we have kind of on the calendar, you can’t kind of get around it and we have a set agenda and everybody’s there and it’s kind of a part of the day and a part of the week. So we can’t get we can’t we’re forced to collaborate because the outlook causes us to and then in addition to that, the business that we’re in, we we typically it starts with a marketing campaign kind of program and kind of a presence. In the community that Brigitte drives, and then that leads into a sales opportunity which our sales team is supporting. And then once we get the client then it works through our client relations team, and then our staffing partners in an uptake, some component of that and then that leads to either a placement or consulting project. So you could have, you know, five different departments intertwined without one particular intertwine within one project within a week’s time. And so, so we, we, the business is innately collaborative, and I am all about communication about making mistakes about you know, as brigitta said, seeking to understand, you know, clarifying points so that you get you get it right for the client, I’m a big, let’s not, let’s not be right, let’s get it right. It’s really important that we figure things out that are best for the client, and then ultimately, then for our employees and then ultimately best thing for the firm. And then And then last but not least within within the COVID times pre COVID, we would have monthly meetings in person. So when I was asked about how do you maintain a culture within a, within a virtual environment, one of the one of the unique parts of that you still have to get together as people, right? Just not everybody working from home and never interacting with one another. So we’ve forced ourselves every other month to get together for Team trainings. And they felt almost like high school reunions like oh my gosh, I haven’t seen you while the kid is going on. Like a lot of fun loving and I have to like corral the group into like a we actually have to work here today. So we did that. And then when that went away, we’ve had we have a monthly lunch. Every second Friday of the month. We have a team lunch, where we get on zoom, and we’re not allowed to talk about work. You just talk about what’s going on in the world. And then we have a every month happy hour about four o’clock random Thursday of the month, where we again, get together And the coolest part about that is by the end of the call, everybody’s ready to roll. But the kids or the spouses end up showing in the back of the zoom. So the, the scenery happens. So it’s it’s, it’s forced collaboration with the scheduled events. And then it’s it’s impromptu collaboration throughout the course of business and some of these some of the social hours that we do. Great.

Ginnie Bianca-Mathis 11:22
What kind of tools do you use, if any, for the workflow itself? So you all are in zoom, you’re talking about this account that accounts going over to this group? Where is it in state stages? Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 11:41
So first off, one of the things I’m most proud of probably one of the best business decisions I made is that we went to Office 365 we were the I think the the one of the first 10 clients, that the Microsoft partner that we used, implemented Microsoft Office 365. That was, I want to say eight years ago. Go. So we’ve been on that platform for a long time. Our data is all in the cloud. So it collaborate through SharePoint for that through Microsoft Office 365. We use all the office platform tools, teams previously Skype to try to communicate with each other. If we have a larger event, when we need something more more stable, we’ll use zoom because we just find it to be a more stable kind of larger platform for us to use. And then we have we have our internal applicant tracking system and CRM is unified. And then Bridgette uses a tool called HubSpot for our digital marketing tools. And they they all they all are interconnected with each other not perfectly interconnected, because we are a small company, but they’re generally interconnected. So the systems help us through that. And I would say probably the main thing, being a technology based consulting firm, we let the tech drive our process as much as we possibly Can’t wait what’s built within it. Within the applicant tracking system, like their sales process is our sales process. So?

Unknown Speaker 13:06
and john, don’t forget about Smartsheet. It’s not.

Unknown Speaker 13:09
Yeah, yeah, you probably better to share that we recently started to use Smartsheet as a kind of project management virtual project management tool, which is become an exceptional tool for the firm. So, yeah, and for people who

Mitch Simon 13:24
don’t know what

Unknown Speaker 13:25
Smartsheet is, it’s kind of a hybrid between

Unknown Speaker 13:29
Trello Excel, and then it has these great dashboard and reporting capabilities that allow you to really understand the health of a project where things are status wise, without having to, you know, constant update emails, but then it also helps us with kind of performance evaluation and that kind of thing.

Ginnie Bianca-Mathis 13:49
Wow, that’s excellent. And one more question along that line. So you decide, hey, we’re all going to use Smartsheet. How do you introduce that? Everyone just goes on and add all right. Let me spend a couple of hours with this and learn it or what?

Unknown Speaker 14:07
Yeah, no, they don’t they don’t do that. That would be super great. But unfortunately, it doesn’t doesn’t work out necessarily for us that way. With smart sheets in particular, we had a one of our colleagues, our Director of people operations, who found the tool, and then started to use it herself. And then actually Bridget was another early adopter of the technology and started to use it for kind of organizing some of her workflow and projects. And then it became so prominent that it actually ended up we use it as our performance management tool. So it allows us to collaborate across all areas and aggregate data. And then now we use it to kind of do dashboarding for our weekly firmwide team updates. So So what ended up happening was we tested it out a couple people became champions of it, and then they became the kind of the advocates for the tool. We put a plan to roll it out to the whole firm. And then people have been we’ve been doing trainings and then you’ve been forced to use Smartsheet. Specifically if you have if you’re involved in various projects.

Ginnie Bianca-Mathis 15:09
Right, right. Yeah, thing that

Unknown Speaker 15:12
that’s how a lot of I think our technology starts as it’s one person really involved in understanding it becoming the expert. And then you there’s a couple more people. And typically on that second level, we do project based, so really something that is going to be implemented and not just, you know, a training exercise, but then something that’s real and used and learning from those projects, learning by doing

Ginnie Bianca-Mathis 15:41
excellent. Thanks. A lot of folks have been speaking to

Mitch Simon 15:46
Yeah, go ahead and ask us when we had our meeting, before, you’d mentioned something which which was really phenomenal. You actually encourage some of your employees to get together. You know, Outside of work, and I that was a really interesting idea for me. And I’m just wondering if you could share some experiences that your employees have taken to get to, to to actually get together and then how you as a as a culture have promoted that?

Unknown Speaker 16:19
Yes, I’ll take a quick lead on that. And then Bridget can share some of her experience because I know that she has them. So we the personal aspect of work to me, as we we look at like, how are you successful? It’s it’s how does a company make you feel? Right? How does the employer make you feel? How do your colleagues make you feel? How does your manager make you feel? How does the purpose of the business make you feel, and when it feels like something that matches up with you, then you’re going to likely give better service to your clients, you’re going to be more productive, you’re going to enjoy your work as opposed to when you feel like it’s a drag and we being in the recruiting space. We unfortunately talked to a lot of people that feel like their employer is a drag at the time. That’s why they’re looking for us to provide that support. And then so the very first intentional way that we did that Mitch and Jenny was really around let’s go to trade show or Association based events together. So this was another kind of unintentional, like really cool thing about the culture. We’re all working from home. But can we all go to a Sherm HR event together, maybe four of us go together we meet we meet at the beginning Say hi, we go do our business as it relates to networking and learning. And then we connect with each other while we’re there, whether you sit together or when the events over so you get a chance to see each other kind of this absence makes the heart grow fonder concept of like, I’m gonna get small snippets to you. And then and then and then what ends up happening is you’ll feel Oh, I have a connection with this person because we have an interest now. Bridget may smile and she can share her stories, but mine is golf. So I love to play golf. So there’s a handful of team members that feel comfortable playing golf. So we’ll we’ll go out occasionally and either plan an event together or I’ll say, hey, on this Friday, is anybody available you want to go play nine holes? And we’ll just get together again, there’s very little of any any work talked about. It’s just kids family, what are you doing this weekend type stuff. And from a cultural standpoint, us being family oriented, we are a family. We are the willory family. So it’s not just all about work. So we want to make sure that we get to know each other in a personal manner.

Mitch Simon 18:26
That’s great. Yeah, I love I love the heart. The absolute space makes the heart grow fonder philosophy and culture and leadership. That’s a great one. So yeah, Bridget, we’re gonna say

Unknown Speaker 18:39
and I think when you know, anytime you work with people, you get to know them and kind of understand who they are as people but when you have the opportunity sometimes to maybe be more around their families, you get to know who they are truly as people what is important to them. And I think any parent, you know, will say Their kids are important, but also like how their parenting style is and how that also in a way shows and their work to me is really fascinating. I know we’ve talked about that. Our director of operations, Christine and I, we live pretty close. I think we’re about a 10 minute drive, which is the closest of any of our team members. And we have kids that are my daughter is 18 months younger than her youngest. And so there’s like an 18 month spread. And, you know, she’s, she gives us, you know, hand me down clothes all the time and meet up like, there’s been a couple times when the kids are out of school, but we’re working where they go, you know, pretty COVID they they go to gymnastics, we sit and have our meeting while they’re in gymnastics. And it’s a really good way to kind of get that balance out of, you know, people and co worker

Ginnie Bianca-Mathis 19:56
and what we have heard is The virtual environment almost makes folks more focused. So for example, I’m going to be more focused about some outside time with this person I like, I’m going to be more focused during a particular meeting, to socialize. Whereas when you’re in the office every day, and you take that off for granted, that all I blow off that Thursday birthday party, right, so a lot of more interaction seems to be happening.

Unknown Speaker 20:34
Yeah, I know. One thing I’ll share to that point, Jenny’s great is that we started recently, probably the last six months when we come to our team meetings to provide our commitment level we have to that meeting. And sometimes that commitment level you you come with baggage, right? You come with issues that are going on at home or in your personal life or that just happened and we’ve created a really unique, safe place. There’s been a lot of great sharing and that in front of the whole team, like, hey, just want to let you go. Know that you know, fill in the blank issues going on at home and I’m here I’m committed to the meeting. But I just want you to know if I have to hop off in an hour. That’s why like I, I had an example that we had a team meeting and my wife, unfortunately, had a really bad migraine. And I was supposed to be presenting on a topic and I said, Guys, I gotta take the kids to the dermatologist. And and I don’t have a choice, right? My wife’s laying in bed. And so I’m committed to the meeting, but I have this distraction. And I guess maybe it’s easier when I’m the owner. People may not question that as much but we totally understand the uniqueness that happened in life. And then within your work, because the most challenging part is your work is your home and your home is your work in some regards, those lines, kind of, you know, they blend in all too often. And you do have to if you’re not focused on it, Jenny, you’re not going to be productive. working from home. You’re really not. You’re gonna you’re gonna be distracted by the Truck trash truck coming in the mail guy or your kids walking outside or I got to do laundry or you go to have lunch real quick. And the next thing you know, it’s two hours later and you’re out there mulching your front yard. Like, there’s a lot of distractions that can come up to and if you’re not focused on getting your work done, then you’ve got some you got some unique challenges in a virtual environment been successful.

Ginnie Bianca-Mathis 22:21
And that’s where the trust and accountability comes in that you mentioned. How did you get turned on to difficult conversations and emotional intelligence and, and that side of things, which is what I am all about, did you read called in consultant and how do you bring people new people on? Who may have not been exposed to it yet?

Unknown Speaker 22:48
Yeah, no, great question. So so I had read in been knowledgeable of EQ through the work that we do in HR, I had not necessarily had as much exposure to the crucial conversation crucial accountability. One of my dear friends and a consultant for our firm had recommended based upon some challenges we had within the business that we do kind of a firm wide kind of read or book book club on EQ, to Dotto and then also on crucial conversations, crucial accountability. So over about an 18 month period, we did a series of readings and then part of the trainings that we did Jenny, were specifically talking about the book, the chapter in the book, what did we learn what did we feel and then we did some role playing. And then we put those actions into those those practices and suggestions into actions when we do have conversations. So you’ll hear a lot of thank you for sharing within. You’ll hear a lot of I’m going to listen I want to understand where you’re coming from, you know, the kind of the self awareness, relationship management, and then for new people. We have a program that we developed To encourage them to read those books as well. And then they’ll they’ll work with that consultant directly, so that they can become knowledgeable and skilled, and use those disciplines in their personal life as well as working in willory.

Ginnie Bianca-Mathis 24:13
Exactly. That’s wonderful.

Mitch Simon 24:15
Great. I wanted to ask him, you know, you’d mentioned a couple minutes ago. Now, one of the qualities that you’re looking for an employee is, you know, being able to not get distracted, and mulch their yards. That I was wondering, you know, in this time, where we in you’ve, you’ve experienced it for 10 years, what are some of the qualities that you’re finding that leaders, you know, need to have, whether the new qualities or they need to dive down deeper, but one would imagine that to be a leader today or manager today, you have to have something that might be a little bit different since you’re always leading from, you know, a broadband pipe?

Unknown Speaker 24:55
You Yeah, sure. I think well, first and foremost, to be a leader within a business in my opinion. Whether you You’re the founder or director, you just so happen to be in a in a production based role, you got to believe you got to believe in what it is that the firm or company does, what its purpose is and the products and services you deliver the community, if you don’t, if you don’t believe that you’re not going to be productive, in my opinion, we’ve seen it all too often, like in sports where a player doesn’t he love he or she loves to play that sport, but they don’t like the team they’re on and then all of a sudden, you hear and suddenly then they’re not on the team anymore. For me as a as a as a leader, especially with the COVID scenarios that I’ve been working really diligently on clarity and specificity around the clarity of things that we’re going to do, which allows us to focus and then allows us to create that that commitment that I think we need to be successful. And then I’d say I’ve probably been I’m not over communicating, but I’ve been more so communicating on the status of where the firm is verbally on our team meetings. And then also in writing to the group. I think I’ve gotten positive feedback from that, that and then we’re using data to make decisions. One of the technologies we talked about Microsoft Office and smart sheets and our bullhorn ATMs and HubSpot, we also use a tool called insight squared that again, aggregates all that data and shows us how people are doing from an activity perspective. So we can see it real time. So if someone is having a bad week, I can record I can see that by Wednesday and reached out to them and say, Hey, what’s going on? I see you haven’t haven’t had as many of your outbound calls or you haven’t as made the meetings that you’re supposed to have are your your billable hours are down? We can use that that that tool to then manage and deal with, oh, gosh, I’m so sorry. I’ve got an issue with one of my family members or my dog’s been sick or you know, I’ve been trying really hard but I have I’m not getting the productivity that I want. So So those would be the the ways by which I think You manage through through that in this day and age and frankly, going forward.

Unknown Speaker 27:04
I think something else that’s important as a leader and kind of today’s society is to be a creative problem solver. I, for a long time have followed the adage, you know, don’t present a problem unless you have an idea for a solution. And I think that’s really important. Because otherwise you’re just it’s pointless criticism. So beyond being creative, problem solving, also being innovative and not always looking at something, as the status quo really changes a lot of perspective, and how you approach situations. And by doing so, you add in a flexibility that I think leaders who are just very regimented, don’t have

Unknown Speaker 27:50
to see.

Mitch Simon 27:51
Great, thank you. Um, it seems like there’s a lot of empathy in your company, your family focused company It seems like you know, you’re even the way you were questioning john when someone was falling behind or like, Hey, is there something going on that that I really need to know? Or is this a time where leaders need to really learn how to be more empathetic? If so, like, how are you? How are you developing the people in your company? To to be more empathetic?

Unknown Speaker 28:25
Yeah, no, I think it’s more Paramount than ever. I mean, right now we’re dealing with many of our employees and staff members considering their options of what to do with their kids when they go back to school. And so we’ve we’ve had intentional communication with them. It empathy I believe as a trait you can learn and in our core value of seek to understand that’s kind of the the main premise of that like, what what are you going through? Why is it happening before I start to pound the desk and say you need to make sales calls, right. Let me help understand where you’re coming from because people appreciate That. And a lot of times if you’re not empathetic to how people are feeling, especially under a uniquely stressful situation, which is COVID balance that with, you know, the social injustice and the protesting that’s going going on it’s maybe highly, maybe more so politicized then maybe people want to have it be. And then you deal with also then my kids and going back to school and the dynamic of that, like there’s a lot of moving parts And oh, by the way, do your job really well. And do it from home without being distracted by all the distractions like you, you generally have to be like, clueless to not realize that there’s a lot there’s a lot of moving parts, and how do we maintain productivity with maintaining the balance for our people to have that harmony between working in their personal life and it’s it’s been really, really hard lately. So we’ve done a lot of listening. We’ve been empathetic. Luckily for us, we’ve been performing well. This This did not. We saw we Saw a change in our business for sure. But we’ve been performing okay in the midst of it and and we’re fine with that right, we’re fine. We’re fine with it. We’re now looking to set like, major records in 2020 for our business and that that’s kind of a reset for us that I think we had to humbly Look at all that was going on.

Mitch Simon 30:18
Great. Bridget, what keeps you at willory? Because again, you’re you’re I see the banner behind you, is that a real banner? Is that just a,

Unknown Speaker 30:27
it is a it is a real banner, the real down is our event backdrop. Okay, and so we had planned to unveil an entirely new booth at an event that was scheduled for March 11 through 13th. And so we did not get to unveil that brand new booth and everything is sitting in my home office and I kept looking at it and I was just so sad that it didn’t get to see the light of day. So I’m like I’m putting it up and now it’s it’s And it’s just you know, it’s it matches my office very well. So I enjoy having it. But to answer the question, What keeps me at willory, I think is the understanding that what I do makes a difference. As an organization, we truly believe in the work that we do and HR and payroll. I do not come from that background, obviously being in marketing. But I believe and how HR professionals can empower the organizations they work for. We all know how important it is to be enthusiastic about where you work, that it changes your entire perspective. We spend at least typically eight hours a day at work, and if you’re unhappy at work, how does that impact the rest of your life you can’t just shut it off. So I believe in what we do, I believe in our purpose to empower people, but then I truly enjoy my co workers. As I think you guys have caught on, because everyone is just unique in their approach, and everyone has these really great stories behind them. And I just, you know, being a team that is small and tight knit, we’re able to get to know people really well. So there’s, you know, the environment in which I work, so the people and the jobs that we’re doing, and then I think also the opportunity to try different things and grow, you know, occasionally fail and skin, my knee but you know, knowing that I have kind of the support of our team and try new initiatives is really important.

Mitch Simon 32:46
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors, Marymount University, Arlington, Virginia School of Business and Technology, innovative solutions upskilling for the what’s next And oyster organizational development dedicated to higher performance, business success and leveraging teams that can be found at oyster And finally, we jungo designing customized talent acquisition solutions at VJUN Gianni have so much experience in in running a virtual company for 10 years, you might consider writing a book. Yes, yeah.

Unknown Speaker 33:31
Funny you might say that Mitch.

Mitch Simon 33:33
Yeah. I just thought, you know, I might say that, john. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So

Unknown Speaker 33:38
turns out actually I’m writing two books. I have Bridget to to give credit to both of that. So this is this is my journey on the book and where we’re going with it. So regretfully, my dad passed away March of this year. And whenever you lose someone as important as he was in my life, especially from a business and golf perspective, my dad had a The major influence on my professional business career, you kind of reconcile, okay, what what what have I done in my life that I’m proud of? What could I be doing better differently? And then what did I not do? That I want to do? And the book was the number one thing on my list professionally that I had not done that I aspired to do. Bridgette had encouraged me a few times to do it. And I would make every excuse in the book to not. So I said, I’m not gonna make the excuse. And so we started writing, I started writing a book called I got it all wrong, which was about the business business success and failure, like what I thought business success was before I started a company, and now what I view business success to be they’re categorically different. And my guess is I’m not the only one that feels that way. And then in that book, The thought of, you know, working in a traditional corporate brick and mortar office setting and how you know, Transitioning over the last 10 years into being 100% virtual office and what I thought business was supposed to be. And I’d be so proud to have a building with Hillary’s name on it and have a corner office with my my name on it. And I don’t want any of those things. So So I started that journey, and I’m maybe about 10 or 15% of the way there. And then I get this epiphany of and our 10th anniversary 10th anniversary is coming up in October. And I’ve been doing this presentation for the HR committee called HR like a boss. So it’s about just being an awesome HR professional, really being a business person first, it just so happens to practice human resources. And it’s about thinking different being different taking action. And so I had this idea that maybe I should be writing that book first that aligns with our 10 year anniversary. And I gave that idea to Bridget. She’s like, yes, please can we do that? So I’m simultaneously writing two books. I’m hoping to have, obviously the one done by end of October. And then I got it all wrong we’ll probably I’m hoping to have done by the beginning of 2021. So that I went from writing notebooks to writing two books and I have a third one in my mind that I want to do next with

Ginnie Bianca-Mathis 36:16
no stopping you. I don’t know if that’s

Unknown Speaker 36:19
true. I’m just like, slightly somewhat. There’s something wrong with me. I think that’s why I keep telling myself

Ginnie Bianca-Mathis 36:24
about your own leadership journey. Right? I think writing these books are probably solidifying yourself is self reflection about, here’s what I stand for. And here’s what I can share and teach others. Mitch knows that my definition or one piece of being a leader, I believe, is being a teacher. And sounds like that’s what you’re you’re doing right now.

Unknown Speaker 36:52
I guess. I guess it’s maybe humility or embarrassment or I don’t know what like i i i feel generally confident in myself and what we’re doing. We’ve done some pretty cool things that willory but I just outside of the semblance of my little ecosystem, does anybody else really care? That’s how I look at it. And I’ve been pushed to say we’ll just put it out there and then see see what they come a big believer in the market, the market will tell me how good of an idea the book was. Because if it sells 10, then it was a good idea to get it off my chest. If I sell a million then oh my gosh, somebody really likes this idea. And there’s something here to it. So

Ginnie Bianca-Mathis 37:30

Mitch Simon 37:32
I want to ask her to ask questions. In Alaska, Britta, first, and we’ll end with john. Yes, you’ve been virtual last 10 years. And we’ve been in a pandemic for the last, let’s say four or five months. Where have you grown? Most, you know, in your leadership over the last four or five months as as you know, we’re going through social unrest and And health pandemics and, and a lot of fear. Where Where have you been contemplating? Where have you grown the most over the last few months? At willory?

Unknown Speaker 38:12
I think one of my areas for growth has been probably developed over the last few years is kind of a business background. I am infamously bad with numbers and math. And you know, over the last two years or so, really kind of dedicated to that those numbers and looking at how all these different things fit together from a business perspective, and making decisions based on that as opposed to just I really like this person, let’s not impact their lives. So that’s one area and then also taking what I know is going on in the world, and where we maybe need to position ourselves on a conversation. Whereas before I would have been quiet like maybe we don’t say anything. Let’s just Not ruffle any feathers, finding that balance between what is going on in the world where we need to say something and sometimes where we don’t need to say something. But also, let’s not be the last person to say something.

Mitch Simon 39:15
Oh, thank you. Thank you, Bridget and john.

Unknown Speaker 39:19
Yeah, I’d say for me most specifically has just been around clarity, right, clarity as the as when I started the firm back, you know, 10 years ago and kind of right around this time. 10 years ago, I had this idea in my head, and I just so happened to join my two kids names together. That came will Mallory became willory, which was a really cool like, at the moment like that seems neat. And then the marketing consultant hired was like, give me names and I rattle the names off and that that’s it, right, that’s the one and so it’s in that family first whole concept and you know, who doesn’t like to cute little kids? But it was just me so like, I would sell the deal. I would go into consulted on the project, I would send out the invoice I would be the AP manager, I would, you know, open the door and close the door, turn the lights on computer IT person. And as as the business grew, right, I still managed myself in the business in that way like, Okay, I’m just doing all this stuff you you all will figure it out and come along. Luckily I hired some people that were generally flexible and thought that I wasn’t as as you know, kind of out of my mind as maybe if you look back I might have been. But the fact that the more that we grow and the more complex our business gets with either more people or new clients or new services, that clarity on like, what are we trying to do our purpose is to empower people, right? That’s what we’re trying to do and everything that we’re trying to do and, and you as an employee, we want to keep to those core values of greatness through accountability and live by the golden rule and seek to understand and do things with enthusiasm, but at the same time, we want If you think of it simply and I just want to make an impact, what kind of impact Are you making on people? And so if I’m, that’s all I just said is sounds simple, but it’s a lot when you get 1012 2040 people into a business. So for me as the owner, creating that clarity, and kind of mission critical, is what we’re doing right now, empowering people. Is it serving our purpose? Is it good for our employees? Is it good for our clients? Is it good for the firm? And if we can do if we answer yes to all four of those things, we’re more than likely going to find a way to do it. If not, we’re going to kind of make it might get tabled for another time. Oh,

Mitch Simon 41:36
great. Well, I really want to thank you, Bridget and john. For this time together, I really am stepping away from understanding that the way a company really works virtually staying really clear on their mission and making sure that it runs through, you know, every aspect of every interaction, every conversation that you guys have. So thank you again, for another episode. Anywhere you We look forward to talking to you soon. Thanks.

Unknown Speaker 42:03
Thank you. Thank you.

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