Tuesdays with Corey interview with Linda Gabbard, Jane Gentry, Mindy Godwin, and Michaela Underdahl
Linda Gabbard with Vistage International is the Vistage Master Chair leading Chief Executive, Senior Executive, and Vistage Inside Peer Groups and coach and trainer for other Vistage Chairs. Vistage is an international membership organization dedicated to improving the effectiveness and enhancing the lives of CEOs and Executives. Vistage Works. Become better leader, make better decisions, achieve better results. She is the President, Framework Initiatives Company, Inc. specializing individual and team leadership development, change management, and executive coaching. She is known for driving positive change, growth, and results in her own ventures and those of her clients. She's worked with mid-sized privately held businesses, large global companies, start-ups, and turnarounds. She leverages 25+ years experience in the manufacturing space, with experience in product marketing, sales, general management, leading international business units, and change management. She has a passion for excellence and learning, and is dedicated to the success and impact of each individual client. She loves bringing a creative strategic approach and a wide diversity of experience and worldview together to resolve complex issues in dynamic environments.
Connect with Linda on LinkedIn.
Jane Gentry with Jane Gentry and Company has had a successful 30-year career in Sales, Sales Management, Consulting, Executive Coaching and Keynoting. Since forming her practice in 1999, Jane has partnered with her clients to improve sales, profitability, client retention, employee retention and leadership capabilities.
The world’s most successful organizations have brought Jane on board, including Assurant, The Home Depot, Milliken, Philips, Coca-Cola, Leidos Healthcare, Mercedes Benz, Stryker and GlaxoSmithKline.
Today, Jane is bringing her expertise to leaders in mid-market organizations and providing them the resources they need to drive growth. She uses rigorous, data driven, validated diagnostics that provide a clear strategy and results and her clients often experience 10x return on their investment.
Jane is also a regular on the speaking platform at high-profile meetings from Canada to the Czech Republic. She addresses topics from Relational Intelligence to Inspirational Leadership to Selling Value. Audiences and clients have described her as “a woman with a vision,” “energetic” and “inspiring”.
Jane holds a BFA from Kent State University and an MFA from The University of Pittsburgh. She also holds a CPI (Certified Professional Innovator) distinction from GA State University. Earlier in her career she was a professional stage actress. Jane lives in Atlanta, GA.
Mindy Godwin is the president of her family owned and operated company, American Reprographics Corporation. ARC opened it's doors in September 1978 when her father Steve Hamburger saw an opportunity in the toner and ink industry when Xerox lost an antitrust suit and had to divulge all of their patents and secrets about toner. At the time Xerox was in control of all of the ink on the market and this gave way to other companies to come in and market Xerox's technology with a private label, saving company's upwards of 40-60% on printer, copier and fax ink. Now this also opened the doors to a lot of inferior products as well and if you know the phrase toner pirate, this is where that came from. Bad products came out, ink that would open in your machines causing damage and it really gave so many companies who were doing the right thing, a bad name. Frankly people were scared to buy toner that wasn't OEM, (Original Equipment Manufacture). Luckily American Reprographics always stayed ahead of the curve and they kept their name free of any bad publicity. Let's face it, talk is cheap so for many years, and even today when they need to, they offer free evaluations on all of their compatible toner cartridges to prove that their word is valid. They not only have compatibles available but all name brands as well. They want companies to save money on ink when they can so ARC always offers an alternative if one is available for their toner. They steer clear from compatible color toner and never suggest buying compatible inkjet cartridges, even more they don't ever suggest buying remanufactured toner unless you're an environmentalist but if you are just wanting to save money, this isn't the way. You'll end up spending more on replacing your printers. They can thank Xerox for all of the printer and copier technology out there. HP, Lexmark, Canon, Brother, you name it, all the technology stems from Xerox.
Michaela Underdahl was born and raised in Prague, Czech Republic and joined Nimble, a social sales and marketing CRM company shortly after moving to the United States three years ago. She started her journey in a customer care department where she gained profound knowledge of the product. She quickly moved onto a new role as a Community Engagement Manager which involves managing all of Nimble’s online communities. She leads Nimble community nurturing by managing the Nimble blog, all editorial content — including extensive advocate, author, and influencer outreach programs.
Connect with Michaela on LinkedIn.
highvelocityradiosandysprings12.12.2017.mp3 Intro: Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, it's time for High Velocity Radio.
Lee Kantor: Lee Kantor here with another episode of High Velocity Radio. And it's my favorite episode of the month. It's the Tuesdays with Corey Show. And we have Corey Rieck from The Long Term Planning Group. He comes on, and then he talks to some of the smartest women in town about all things, women entrepreneurship. Welcome, Corey.
Corey Rieck: Thank you very much, Lee. Today on Tuesdays with Corey, as always, we're talking about the great things that female executives and leaders in our community are doing to contribute to organizations and companies. And today, it's my great distinct pleasure to have Linda Gabbard, who is an Executive Coach and has a great, great story to tell about how she's helped companies grow and be profitable.
Corey Rieck: We have Jane Gentry, who has a lot of experience making companies more effective in sales. And Mindy Godwin, who is the President of American Reprographics. She's got a great family story of a company that's been around for 40 years. And we also have Michaela Underdahl, who is a Community Engagement Leader with a company called Nimble here in the Atlanta area. Welcome, everybody.
Jane Gentry: Thank you.
Linda Gabbard: Thank you.
Lee Kantor: So, Linda, you want to talk a little bit about your practice? How are you serving folks?
Linda Gabbard: So, I have several areas that I work with people on. I'm, first of all, a Vistage chair, which means Vistage is an organization that works with CEOs and business owners to help them be better leaders and get better results in their business. And I also do leadership development coaching both with individuals and teams with the goal of helping increase the organizational capacity for leadership and growth.
Corey Rieck: I've known Linda for five years now. And I know I've spoken to some of your groups, and everybody that has come into contact with you is better for it. And how exactly did you get into Vistage, Linda?
Linda Gabbard: Well, first of all, thank you. That's very kind. It's a bit of a funny story because I had most-
Corey Rieck: We have some time.
Linda Gabbard: All right. My early career was in the corporate world, in the manufacturing space. And at about the age of 40, surprise, surprise, I decided that was not really where I wanted to spend the next part of my life. And I went through a pretty long, I would just call it, career trauma. I tried a lot of different things. And at the end of it, at the end of the trauma, I met someone who is actually a Vistage member, and that he was an entrepreneur, someone who had worked for me in my corporate days, and then started his own business.
Linda Gabbard: And he was telling me about his Vistage experience, and how it impacted him and his company so much for the better in the role of the chair, which is the peer group leader in Vistage. And he was saying, "Linda, I wish you were my chair." And actually, while he was talking about it, I was thinking to myself, this is right up my alley. And so, I connected-
Corey Rieck: Obviously.
Linda Gabbard: Well, I connected with Vistage and asked him what hot coals I had to walk over, and there were some. So, I walked over those and started my group. That was 12 years ago. And so, that was a transition point out of actual, I would say, hands-on executive leadership and into more coaching and development of other people.
Corey Rieck: You mentioned that there was, in your words, a traumatic experience. A lot of people talk about, they did the corporate thing for a period of time, and then they realized there's something that happens or some series of events, and they decide to hang out their own shingle and do that. Would you mind sharing that with us? Because I'm sure there's other folks out there that are maybe experiencing that.
Linda Gabbard: Yeah. Well, in my case, I was really fortunate that I worked for two excellent companies. My early career was with GE. So, that was a great platform for growth. And then, I took a break and got an MBA. And then, I started with a company that's actually based in Cleveland, but they have a huge operation here called Nordson Corporation. They make adhesive applicating system. So, the glue on the cereal box. So, I tell that just to say, in that role, I was working with a lot of people that do very important meaningful work kind of in the bowels of big manufacturing plants.
Linda Gabbard: And I just got tired of it. And I had been in that area for so long, I couldn't see how to make a shift. I couldn't see how to make a shift to a different industry. I felt kind of trapped in the manufacturing space. And I was tired of the corporate environment as well. I wanted more freedom, flexibility. I didn't want to have to drive for 45 minutes to an hour every day, be in the office from 8:00 until 5:00. I wanted to be out and about. And I just sort of decided to take the plunge and make a change.
Corey Rieck: Was it hard to leave behind so much success and so many people that you've impacted? Because I know you did well at those two organizations. I know that from knowing you. Was that hard?
Linda Gabbard: The hardest thing was letting go of the kind of the security of it, to be completely honest, for me. I think lots of people not feel that way. But I had a reputation. I had a network in the industry. I was very well-respected in the company itself. I had worked very hard. I liked the people that I was working with.
Corey Rieck: None of these things are a surprise to me, by the way.
Linda Gabbard: Yeah. Well, thank you, but there was nothing really negative about the people. I just felt that I had my ladder on the wrong tree. And so, I tried very hard to make a change while I was still working there, and I just wasn't able to do it. So, at the end of that, just telling them that I was going to leave. And then, an opportunity came up that was a perfect project for a consultant, and I sort of sold that to them with myself as the lead on a consulting basis. So, they became my first client, and that was my transition out of day-to-day executive work and into a more consulting role.
Corey Rieck: The experience you had at those two companies, how did it help you in coaching executives now?
Linda Gabbard: Well, first of all, having just the management experience, I had a lot of different functional roles and I did a lot of project work on cross-functional teams. I actually believe that that experience helps me a lot in the peer group management because I've, now, had a lead with informal authority versus the formal hierarchical authority. Of course, I had that too, but I enjoyed the project work most.
Linda Gabbard: One of the things in facilitating, I think any kind of facilitation, but especially in a peer group, is being able to pull out the strengths of all the different participants. And that project work that I did, I think, gave me a really good grounding for that. And having an understanding of who brings what into every conversation and making sure that everything works together almost like an orchestra.
Corey Rieck: Yeah, I get that loud and clear. And I know from watching you interact with your groups and the other Vistage chairs, you do a very good job of managing the egos that can sometimes be involved there. And the other thing that I find is that you're very, very even, which is incredibly helpful, I would imagine, in the roles that you're playing. You had a role with Vistage where you were the chair of chairs. Tell us about that.
Linda Gabbard: Okay. Yes, I had from 2010 until just this summer, I decided to step down from that. That role, the Vistage chairs, and this is one of the things I really loved about Vistage when I researched it was, we take our own medicine. So, we have a chair group and the best practice chair is the chair of the chair group. And then, it was also the point person for Vistage here in the area. So, I did a lot of work coaching chairs, interviewing chairs, leading our chair group and doing one to ones with chairs and helping with the overall growth of Vistage in our three-state area of Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama.
Corey Rieck: Now, they're certainly much better for having had that experience.
Linda Gabbard: Thank you.
Corey Rieck: Tell us a little bit about Vistage and the groups that you're coaching.
Linda Gabbard: Well, Vistage is an organization for CEOs and business leaders, primarily privately-held owner-operators, although there's some diversity around that. And the members, technically, they join Vistage, but in reality, they join a chair in a group. Usually, up to 16 non-competing companies. And then, they serve as an advisory board for each other and advise and challenge each other on their key strategic decisions.
Corey Rieck: Who would be a good candidate potentially for Vistage group? Are there different sections, different kinds of groups within Vistage?
Linda Gabbard: Yeah, there's a couple different kinds of groups. So, there's one for larger companies, one for smaller companies, one for professional service providers and one for key executives. So, usually, the chair can help a candidate determine where the best fit would be. We look for people who really want to rock the status quo. I think people who—and I've always had a lot of admiration for people who are able to create something that's working beautifully for them and they don't want to change it. But that's not the kind of person that would be good for Vistage. At Vistage, we look for people who are really striving to continually improve themselves, grow their companies. Lots of times, people who are maybe a little bit new in the CEO role, family businesses where a next generation comes in. People who have grown their company up to a certain level, and then maybe plateau'ed. They've kind of done everything, they know what to do and they're looking for some new and fresh ideas. And people who are dealing with either challenges in the industry, which I think is almost everybody today. And then, also growing pains are some of the challenges and complexities that are experienced with growth. The combination of resources between educational resources through subject matter experts, the one-to-one coaching with the chair and the expertise of the group can really help in all of those areas.
Corey Rieck: If you had to pick two to three things that you liked about your role, you know, coaching, what would you say those were?
Linda Gabbard: Well, in the coaching, one of the primary skills of coaching is curiosity. And I've always—
Corey Rieck: You are curious.
Linda Gabbard: I am curious and I've always been a continuous learner. So, that's selfishly one of the things I really like, is getting to understand a lot of different businesses, a lot of different people and what makes them tick. But probably, more importantly than that, coaching is all about bringing out whatever potential is there in the person. And what I find is, in today's world, people are so busy, myself included and probably most of us here, but we kind of run around and run around and don't have a lot of time to sit back and think and reflect and really challenge in ourselves. And that's one of the things that a really good coach brings, is we open up awareness and choice and it's incredible to see the people really step into transformational change as a result of that.
Corey Rieck: You've obviously had a wealth of experience and for many people, it's several lifetimes. If you could look back and give the younger version of Linda some advice, what would that be?
Linda Gabbard: Follow your heart and your passion, and let everything else take care of itself.
Corey Rieck: And if there are some young ladies out there that maybe are thinking about going out on their own, what advice would you give them?
Linda Gabbard: Well, summon your courage, understand that it takes a little bit of time, really, to get any kind of practice started and off the ground. And if you've got a clarity on what it is that you can offer, like a value you can bring, then there's going to be a group of people who will become your fans.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. Well, there's no question. I'm a fan of yours, Linda. If the listenership wanted to get a hold of you, how would they do that?
Linda Gabbard: Best would probably be email@example.com or my cell number, 404-307-8594.
Corey Rieck: Linda, thank you very much. Continued success and thank you so much for being on the show and us being the benefactor of your success and contributions.
Linda Gabbard: Thank you so much.
Corey Rieck: Next, we have Jane Gentry. Jane has had a successful 30-year career in sales, sales management, consulting and keynoting. Jane, welcome to the show.
Jane Gentry: Thank you. Glad to be here.
Corey Rieck: You have been out on your own since 1999.
Jane Gentry: Yeah. Well, that makes me feel really old, but yes.
Corey Rieck: Well, you know, we're all sort of disadvantaged. I'm not going to use that term.
Jane Gentry: Vintage. I'm going to steal that. Okay.
Corey Rieck: You know, I like to use the phrase, experience.
Jane Gentry: There you go. Okay.
Corey Rieck: Because it's a little more brutal than saying we're old.
Jane Gentry: Yeah.
Corey Rieck: Well, less brutal rather.
Jane Gentry: Yeah.
Corey Rieck: But tell us about how you decided to create your own organization and go out on your own.
Jane Gentry: Yeah. So, frankly, I didn't really decide to do that. I was a professional actor, have a master's degree in acting performance. I was hungry. I was going to get a job for one year to pay down some student loan debt. Ten years later, I was vice president of sales for an event company in Atlanta. You know, working very hard, working crazy hours, as I'm sure most of your listeners do, making a lot of money, and I got sick. I got diagnosed with the first of a couple of autoimmune illnesses that I have.
Corey Rieck: I’m sorry to hear that.
Jane Gentry: Everybody's got something, right? So, you know, my doctor just said, "How long do you want to live? And if you want to live for a long time, you really need to not have this lifestyle." So, I quit and started a practice. I had really no vision of what I could do or should do. I had several very loyal clients who thought I was great. And thankfully. And, you know, 19 years later, the business looks nothing like it did at that first time.
Jane Gentry: And it really is just one of the biggest blessings. And I find that most things like that in life that have happened to me anyway are not because of my brilliance and intelligence, but they're just because an opportunity came about and I had the courage to step into that opportunity. And to Linda's point, be a learner, be a continuous learner.
Corey Rieck: You mentioned that your business now doesn't look anything like it did when you started. Walk us through that.
Jane Gentry: Early on, I was helping clients in their face-to-face marketing programs. And what happened was those companies in that industry, the way that they learned to sell is that they're hired at 100% commission. I've never made a consistent paycheck ever in 30 years. And you're thrown out into the field and you succeed or you fail. It's pretty much that simple. And so, when I started my practice, a lot of those organizations brought me on board to help their sellers be better.
Jane Gentry: And then, they started introducing me to their big enterprise clients. And so, over the years, I started working with more and more bigger and bigger organizations, helping them understand how to sell better, helping them build relationships better, helping them grow their existing business, right? And so, most of the times, when I've ever been called in the query, it's not for something like territory management. It's more about how to get to those customers, how to build those relationships, how to create success for those customers, how to create strategic growth in a company.
Jane Gentry: And so, that's really where it kind of came to until about 18 months ago. And then, you know, there are these little epics that happen in a company if you own a company long enough. And 18 months ago, I had one of those where I sat down with my board of directors, me, myself and I, and really started to think about, what is important to me? Where do I get the most fulfillment? Where do I have the most fun? And I realized in looking back, it's not with enterprise clients. Frankly, I find those companies to be really exhausting anymore.
Jane Gentry: But in the mid-market, in that 200-million to a billion range, where the relationships are deeper and longer and you're there long enough to see that you've impacted an organization, you can really see what you've accomplished. That's fun for me. So, 18 months ago, I moved the direction of the company to focus more on the mid-market, more in Atlanta. I've been really fortunate in that for 18 years. All of my business has been referral. Never had to make a cold call, never had to market, that the downside to that is that you've to chase it all over the world.
Jane Gentry: And so, part of my new strategy was to really focus on my hometown. We have great businesses in Atlanta. There's no reason on earth that I should have to be one of Delta's favorite people. So, we're kind of moving more in that direction. And, you know, also like Linda, she may be done with manufacturing, Linda, I find those kinds of non-sexy companies really fun. You know, everybody wants to work with tech. I think manufacturing is a blast. I think medical is fun, medical device, medical technology. The companies that most people don't think are super sexy are really attractive to me.
Corey Rieck: You've mentioned a few things. For the listenership out there, you know, you mentioned, we're enterprise a couple times. What exactly does that mean? Is that a certain section of companies or-
Jane Gentry: It is. It's the big companies. It's the GE that Linda used to work for, Philips Medical, Coca-Cola, Home Depot, Mercedes Benz. Some of these companies, still great clients of mine, but probably not the future of my organization.
Corey Rieck: You mentioned that early on, when you were helping sales organizations, you helped them with relationships with clients. What does that mean? You helped them with strategy? You helped them with their content? You helped them with their presentations?
Jane Gentry: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Today, I would say the differentiator of my firm is a little bit different than that. That's super important. And a lot of the executive coaching that I do with leaders is really about being intentional about the relationships that they have with their peers and the people that work for them and work around them. But today, where we really focus is leveraging that, but early on, being great at diagnosing why a company isn't growing, why they're not getting the growth that they need. So, answering questions for leaders like, "Do I have the right salespeople in the organization? If I don't, who do I need to let go? Who needs to move into a different role? How are our leaders impacting our sales organization? Where are we missing processes and systems that we need to be consistent in terms of pipeline and forecasting?" And so, the thing that we do really great is that front end piece where we can literally go in in 30 days until a leader, "Here is basically your strategy for the next 12 to 18 months. Here's who needs to stay. Here's who needs to move. Here's the coaching that your leaders need. Here's the coaching specifically", that there's gaps in training for your sellers. And, you know, just building strategic growth. And we can give them a strategy for a year that they can implement on their own. The majority of clients I find don't do that. They allow us the opportunity to kind of walk through that process with them. But I'm still a big relationship person. And you will read a lot—if you follow a lot of social media around sales, you'll read that relationship selling is dead. And I think that's a bunch of crap. I think relationships in selling are different than they were when I started selling 30 years ago—or I should say over 10 years ago, I should never say that, 30, 10-plus years ago, I will say that.
Corey Rieck: Going back to that experience thing.
Jane Gentry: Yeah. But they're different. But still, relationships are a huge part of business. That's not going to go away. So, I push back a lot on people that say, you know, "Relationships aren't that important. Relationships selling is dead." You'll rethink that out of I think the most recent people to write an article about that were the solution—no, no, no. Darn it, people out of CEB.
Corey Rieck: Wasn't the book, The Challenger, saying what-
Jane Gentry: The Challenger. That's exactly it. Thank you. Yeah. They're the latest and greatest people to push back on that. And I think they're wrong.
Corey Rieck: Well, it's interesting. You know, it's an interesting proposition because, you know, to me, relationships matter. But I talked to plenty of people where they said, "Well, they don't matter as much as they used to." And maybe the word that we need to use is if they've evolved.
Jane Gentry: Yes, exactly.
Corey Rieck: Because maybe, too, you know—and I have two nieces that are 24 and 26. And they'll text me and I'll call them and they'll say, "Why would you even call me? I just texted you."
Jane Gentry: Yeah.
Corey Rieck: I said, "Well, I felt maybe we might have a conversation." But, you know, what I'm told is that, you know, relationships matter perhaps less, too, in some cases with younger folks than they do with us more.
Jane Gentry: Interesting that you bring that up. So, I just, I mean-.
Corey Rieck: With us more experienced folks.
Jane Gentry: I'm in the midst of an engagement with a big auto manufacturer in Atlanta who just had to replace two-thirds of their workforce. And guess who they replaced it with? Millennials.
Corey Rieck: You know, experienced people.
Jane Gentry: And a lot of clients, especially in the enterprise space, are struggling with this demographic of their sales organization. And so, we have been in the last-year-and-a-half really kind of digging into this to see, particularly with regard to sellers, young sellers, why are leaders complaining so much about this? Where do we draw the line between myths and biases about millennials and skill gaps that they have that are coachable? And I would say to you that one of the biggest gaps that they have is social intelligence, what you just talked about. And that is going to be a huge problem for sales organizations. But what I tell leaders is the great news is that stuff is coachable. So, less complaining, more coaching will get you a long way with that demographic.
Corey Rieck: So, you've developed a pretty deep section of subject matter expertise in coaching companies on how to deal with millennials. Is that not true?
Jane Gentry: Yeah, we've really invested a lot of time in that in the last 18—to a point where I had so many clients saying to me, "Can you help me fix the millennials?" I was baffled by that, especially the phrasing of that, I found very interesting. And when we get into big companies, what I find is this company I'm just telling you about, right? They asked me to come in and fix the millennials. Well, what we just finished is a big project with their leaders because everywhere you want culture change in a company, it starts with leaders. And so, the work that we've been doing with them is to say you need to shift your mindset first. Yes, down the road, we're going to work with those younger people in the organization. We're going to figure out where their gaps are around skills like social intelligence. We're going to figure out where their self-awareness is lacking, which is also social intelligence, right? But nothing changes without the leaders changing first. And so, no, we don't just jump into companies and start trying to fix millennials. That doesn't work.
Corey Rieck: Well, I'd imagine that it would be important to have conversations with the leadership and the people that are driving the direction of these organizations and coach them about how to interact with the millennial folks.
Jane Gentry: Yes. So, we did a survey before we started this project. And we asked the millennials to self-assess against some items and then, we asked their managers to assess them against those same things. And what we found was the millennials ranked themselves above the 90th percentile in every item. And the managers ranked them usually around the 13th to 20th percentile of those same items. And what I said to the leaders was, you know, "When I showed him this data, they all started to chuckle", kind of like we just did in this room quietly, right? And I said to them, "Don't fall into the trap of thinking to yourself, 'Oh, bless their little hearts. Those young people, they have such a lack of self-awareness' because my question to you is, if you are doing a good job as a leader, why do they still believe that about themselves?"
Corey Rieck: That's a good point.
Jane Gentry: There's not enough feedback happening in your organization. There's not enough coaching happening in your organization. And so, it just always, always starts at the leader level.
Corey Rieck: Yeah, it does in everything.
Jane Gentry: Yes, actually.
Corey Rieck: Did you ever work with organizations on their compensation plans for their salespeople?
Jane Gentry: I don't. We have people that we bring in to help work with stuff like that.
Corey Rieck: Right.
Jane Gentry: Yeah.
Corey Rieck: Well, you've had a lot of experience and a lot of success. And if you had to look back and give the younger Jane some advice, what would that entail? The less-experienced Jane.
Jane Gentry: The less-experienced Jane, I would say risk is not a bad thing in life. Calculated risk is a really awesome thing, actually. And I find that today, a lot of young people are afraid to step out and do something where there's not a lot of security. And when you're young, it is the best time to do that because you have the least to lose.
Corey Rieck: Yeah.
Jane Gentry: So, it's a great time to explore different kinds of things that you think are interesting. So, I would say, don't be afraid of risk. Don't feel like you have to be pigeonholed into what you got your degree in. People say to me, "Didn't you want to go back and act?" "Honey, I act every single day of my life. What are you talking about?" So, the education that I have has really kind of fit my career perfectly. I probably couldn't have been smart enough to combine my education and my business experience into this career that I have today.
Corey Rieck: And if there were some young ladies out there that maybe were thinking about proceeding in a direction that you've obviously been successful in, what would you tell them?
Jane Gentry: If you're talking about sales in particular, I would say more young women need to get into sales. It's a great profession. You drive a lot of your own success in that profession. Statistically speaking, women outperform men in a sales capacity consistently and by a large margin. And we are the future of sales. I think young women need to get out there and jump on the bus.
Corey Rieck: And Jane, if our listenership wanted to get in touch with you, your cell phone, your office phone or your e-mail, how would they best get in touch with you?
Jane Gentry: You could email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, J-A-N-E G-E-N-T-R-Y. You can reach my office at 770-516-7758 and I'm on LinkedIn at Jane M. Gentry or Twitter at Jane Gentry.
Corey Rieck: Very good. Jane, you've been a tremendous guest. We appreciate you sharing your success and all the things that you've contributed to our community. And thanks for being a guest on Tuesdays with Corey.
Jane Gentry: Thanks for having me.
Corey Rieck: Next, we have Mindy Godwin, who is the president of American Reprographics Corporation. Mindy, welcome this morning.
Mindy Godwin: Thank you for having me.
Corey Rieck: So, family business, been very, very successful for 40 years. And you've been in it from probably the get go and now, you're running it. Tell us about that.
Mindy Godwin: Yes. Thank you for having me. It has been awesome. I literally grew up in the business, started the year I was born. I will be 40 in March. And from just a small age, I would watch my father wake up in the morning, Steve Hamburger is his name. 4 AM, he started his day. And he did that so that he would make sure that he was home for my brother and I by the time we got home from school. And he worked so beautifully with my mom, it laid the foundation for Mitch and I, my brother and my husband, who also works with me. And we just do it, thankfully, so well together.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. The organizations had great success and great growth. Tell us exactly what American Reprographics does.
Mindy Godwin: So, quickly, a background on American Reprographics. In September of 1978, Xerox Corporation lost an antitrust suit and they had to divulge all of their patents and secrets on the Inc. market because they were monopolizing it. Slapped their hands for doing their jobs, it opened the door for American Reprographics to come out with a private label cartridge saving companies upwards of 40% to 60% on ink. And we have to thank Xerox for their technology, really for all the technology on printers today, HP, Lexmark, Brother, Canon, it's all backed by Xerox's technology. And so, that opened the door and we were strictly in ink. Then, come the '80s, more and more of our clients were, you know, "What else can you do for us? We love working with you. You save the day. What else can you do with us?" So, we got into the printing, full-service printing like your business cards. And basically, no one can see it on the radio, but everything in this office, from the coffee mugs to the business cards, to the apparel with your logo, we just got into it. And it's evolved so much that now, it used to be that the toner was more than half of our revenue. It's now promotional items, printing. Thankfully, we have a lot to offer, all in the realm of imaging and printing.
Corey Rieck: Yes, the understatement. You've been extremely helpful for me and my business and with your suggestions and so on. And I think that one of the things you've clearly done is you've differentiated yourself and you've diversified, if you will, because you're not just selling toner, right? You're helping folks with printing. You're able to help them with promotional items. And then, really, in my case, gives business owners ideas as to how to nurture and reach out to their clients.
Mindy Godwin: Thank you.
Corey Rieck: So, you work with your family?
Mindy Godwin: I do. I do. And unlike the horror stories that most everybody in this world has heard about family businesses, we are not that statistic. Everybody who knows us personally and professionally will say the same thing. We get along beautifully. We have each other's back. I mean, we hang out after work. We travel together, dinners. I mean, we're best friends, all of us. And I know that is the core of why we have been so successful.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. I get that loud and clear. You know, you don't hear that a lot in family businesses.
Mindy Godwin: Right.
Corey Rieck: So, you know, congratulations on whatever it is you're doing. You're clearly all getting along. Did you set up boundaries about sort of where your brother works, where you work and where your husband works? How did that work?
Mindy Godwin: Of course. So, again, thanks to my father growing up, it was role playing. 9:00 to 5:00, my mom and dad were employees. They were co-workers. You know, although they were lovey dovey, you know, it wasn't mom and dad or husband and wife. It was, you have your role, I have my role. She did all the bookkeeping, the accounting. He was out in sales. And it was really just the two of them for a long time. And so, that taught me how to work with my brother and my husband. We don't take offense. We all make mistakes. We all fix them. And we don't take it personally. And then, at the end of the day, you've got to turn it off. And I'm still learning that. But you do.
Corey Rieck: Well, you know, your family's obviously done a good job of turning it off and establishing boundaries. What are the things that you like best about running your company?
Mindy Godwin: I know I keep saying it, I sound like a broken record, but working with my family. So, my background is in hospitality. And my husband and I in '98 were working at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia, and my dad came to us and said, "Stop busting", excuse me, "your ass for someone else and-"
Corey Rieck: I think we can probably safely assume that we've all heard that before.
Mindy Godwin: Sure. No, kids are listening. "Come learn the family business." And so, Rodney and I, my husband, we like, "Yes, this is a great opportunity." The business was successful. Well, in 2000, my dad was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer. No one has survived this cancer. He was given a very grim outlook. And it's amazing what that did to us. We had basically no choice but to make this business just boom. And it has been my core drive, is to continuously just grow, grow, grow. And in this market, like all of us, it changes every day. He is going into his 18th year of living with this cancer through clinical trials and treatments and daily medications and shots. And I mean, his doctors want him to write a book. He is such a miracle.
Corey Rieck: He should.
Mindy Godwin: And, you know, his reasoning is it's luck, but he is our drive and we kind of think we're his will to live. So, that's the best part of my—the reason I do what I do is to be with the people I love the most.
Corey Rieck: I bet he's derived great satisfaction in seeing you and Rodney get into the business, and make it take off, and make it run, and differentiating it. I mean, you guys have frequent—does he still play a role in the company or-
Mindy Godwin: Luckily, I am just so grateful that when I have to go on that huge sales call at Coca-Cola or call on Delta or make a presentation at a radio show, he is there for me. He gives me advice, "Always, Mindy, be yourself. Be authentic. You know, nobody knows what you're talking about, but you, so you just can't fail." And so, he is there, in my opinion, for the most important aspects of our daily lives.
Corey Rieck: What advantages do you think you had growing up in a business and watching your dad build it for 20 years, and then invite you and your husband into the company? I mean, what did you learn? And walk us through that, if you would.
Mindy Godwin: I do believe that some people are "born to sell" and some aren't. But it definitely comes natural. I really love people and working with people.
Corey Rieck: Gee, I would never have picked up on that.
Mindy Godwin: Yeah. And, you know, some might say, "Oh, you're just a BS-er sometimes." "No, I'm really not. I'm going to find something wonderful about the person no matter what." And I say that because my husband, that's not him at all. He cannot BS to save his life. So, he has strengths in some areas and I have in others. But sales, I learned watching my dad. I mean, everywhere he goes all over Atlanta, people know him. He's not famous. He's Steve Hamburger, he's famous to me, but, you know, he's just somebody that everybody talks to because he smiles. He asks how you are. I learned that growing up, how to be a people person.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. With the boundaries and everything going on today, and you know, you have two sons, right?
Mindy Godwin: Yes.
Corey Rieck: How do you shut it off and how do you make time to, you know, fulfill the roles you spoke about earlier, you know, running the company, salesperson, you know, wife, mom, carpool, you know, a lady? Walk us through that.
Mindy Godwin: I am just every day challenged with those that you just mentioned. I'm not doing that great in my opinion. I have my little cheerleading squad at home, my kids and my husband that say, "Oh, you're doing good, mom." But that's a challenge because I love what I do so much, but I also know my kids are only kids for so long. So, I do my best on weekends to shut it off. Of course, if a client has an emergency, I'm going to be there. But nine times out of 10, they don't. And so, it's just important to, you know, love what you do, but, gosh, love what you come home to.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. Certainly, words to live by. Your organization, you built it by helping folks with toner. It sort of evolved into marketing items, you know, pens, you know, shirts, clothing, apparel and so on. But you help people with their office supplies? Tell us about that.
Mindy Godwin: So I believe part of why we are still in this game is we offer something called inventory control. This is absolutely free. But what we do is we'll go and see our clients, whether it be weekly, biweekly, monthly, just depending on their needs and their size. We go in and we see, okay, they're running low on their business cards or their HP toner or their appointment cards or their letterhead or whatever it is they need or they have a trade show coming up the following weekend. We know enough about the client and their everyday uses that we never let them run out. And we kind of call it that never down, never out program. And again, it's absolutely free. I don't know if I mentioned that, but we ask the client, "Is this something you're interested in?" I've never had someone say no. And that has set us apart from the big box stores that we all go to, I do myself, but those stores don't really care when you run out of your toner and they're not going to come to you, though, they'll ship it to you tomorrow. But what I think is so fabulous is they'll ship it to you tomorrow and then, you'll get that email that it's back-ordered. And you didn't know that.
Corey Rieck: Yeah, that cheers me up.
Mindy Godwin: Yeah, I know. And those are great opportunities for American Reprographics because if I don't have it here in Atlanta, I can pull from warehouses all over the US. And if you don't have it here, you'll have it tomorrow. And you'll know, I mean if it's a national back order, you're going to know it. But that is certainly something that the stores that you walk into, as convenient as they are, they're not going to do for you.
Corey Rieck: Well, certainly, American Reprographics is fortunate to have you running things and having you drive the success. What advice would you give a less experienced Mindy?
Mindy Godwin: Oh, goodness.
Corey Rieck: Notice I didn't say younger.
Mindy Godwin: Right.
Corey Rieck: Because you are young.
Mindy Godwin: Thank you. I would say be confident. You can't hear it enough. And I think women struggle with feeling that they can boast when there's a reason to, that, you know, my particular industry especially, it's male-dominated. And again, there's nothing sexy about toner, but you can find something sexy if you love what you're doing. So, I would just tell the younger me to just chill out. It's going to be okay. It's not life or death. Do your best every day. And I mean, you really can't fail if you're just doing your very best every day.
Corey Rieck: You're 100% right on that. How about if there is a young lady that's thinking about running her dad's company, her parents' company, what would you tell that person?
Mindy Godwin: Personally, I'd say go for it. I mean, the goose that lays the golden egg, I just think she'd be crazy not to go for it no matter the industry. I don't care if it's a supermarket and you can't envision yourself selling groceries or a hair salon and you don't know how to do hair, if you've been given that opportunity, I think you'd be crazy not to take it.
Corey Rieck: Mindy, how do people get a hold of you? How does the listenership get a hold of you if they could use American Reprographics's services and expertise?
Mindy Godwin: Thank you. Yes, please do. You can reach me at my email, which is mindy, MINDY, @arcinatlanta.com. That's M-I-N-D-Y-@-A-R-C-I-N-A-T-L-A-N-T-A, .com. My website, arcinatlanta.com.
Corey Rieck: Okay. Mindy, you've been an excellent guest. We appreciate your contributions to the show and continued success with American Reprographics.
Mindy Godwin: Well, thank you so much, Corey, for having me.
Corey Rieck: Next, we have Michaela Underdahl, who is the community engagement manager with Nimble. Michaela, welcome.
Michaela Underdahl: Hi, Corey. Thank you for having me.
Corey Rieck: Now, you have an interesting history. You did not grow up in the United States.
Michaela Underdahl:I did not. I was born and raised in Prague, Czech Republic.
Corey Rieck: And when did you come to the United States?
Michaela Underdahl: It's going to be five years this Christmas. I never planned on moving that far from home. I was born and raised there. I had all my friends, my family there. But I met a guy and I followed my heart all the way across the world.
Corey Rieck: All right. Obviously, you know, you're better for it. You're in the United States. How did you get connected to Nimble?
Michaela Underdahl: It was a coincidence. At the beginning of my career, I actually had no idea what I wanted to do. I studied-
Corey Rieck: Well, I've never heard that before.
Michaela Underdahl: I actually studied political science. I have bachelor degree in international relations and Eastern European studies. So, I basically focused on Russian history. And I came across this ad on the internet when I was looking for a job back in Los Angeles. This cool startup was looking for somebody that was willing to help their customers to be better at using their product. And they said that they would teach us technology. So, it's like, "That's me."
Corey Rieck: If you could give us an overview of Nimble and tell us what they do for the listenership, what would that be?
Michaela Underdahl: Nimble is a social sales and marketing CRM. It unifies your contacts, calendars and communications into one platform, so you can easily find everything in one place. We enrich your contacts with social and business information, saving you a lot of time on data entry because nobody likes to do that. And additionally-
Corey Rieck: People don't like to enter in data into their CRM, really?
Michaela Underdahl: Surprising, huh?
Corey Rieck: Well, that's news.
Michaela Underdahl: And additionally, we also allow people to take their database with them wherever they work, maybe in their email inbox, on social media or anywhere on the web.
Corey Rieck: So, you're helping people find their desired audience, their desired leads, and as I understand it, you're able to gather information and input it into your CRM quite rightly and quite accurately, more importantly.
Michaela Underdahl: Yes. We basically help individuals and companies to stay in touch with their prospect and customers and businesses, all of our relationships. So, our platform can really help them to stay in touch with them, find the information they need when they're about to email them or going to be meeting with them.
Corey Rieck: Do you have a specific client or customer that you're looking for at Nimble?
Michaela Underdahl: So, Nimble is used by individuals and companies. We can act as your standalone CRM, but we also add value to your existing CRM. So, at this moment, now, we actually integrate with over 90 different cloud applications, helping companies to unify their information because in your personal network, your information about your network is spread across different applications and social media and your email inbox. And even in your business, your information about prospective customers is spread across various different applications, so we tie together, so everybody in your company can easily access the information whenever they need it.
Corey Rieck: Well, I haven't been through, you know, an overview of the Nimble product. It seems to be extremely effective in extracting data. And even if you don't use the Nimble CRM, if you use a different CRM, you can input it in there. And it's very—well, I mean, maybe I missed something, but it seems painless to me.
Michaela Underdahl: It is. Yeah. And we're really proud of our team coming up with our browser extensions because that's where the magic is. Nobody likes to go into their CRM to log the information about their prospects and customers. Well, they just did on their phone call or many times, you connect with somebody on LinkedIn or you have an amazing conversation with somebody. But then, you forget about it.
Corey Rieck: Yeah.
Michaela Underdahl: And you don't follow up. You don't follow through with the relationship. So, the extension allows you to build the information inside of your Nimble database and set up reminders to follow up and follow through straight from where you are.
Corey Rieck: You have a lot of jobs within Nimble. I know your title is community engagement manager, but you're managing the nimble blog. That seems like a big job to me.
Michaela Underdahl: Yeah, I manage all our social media, our blog and our community, which involves bloggers, influencers, ambassadors and our customers, and where many has-
Corey Rieck: And that's not a job for four or five people, it's a job for Michaela?
Michaela Underdahl: It is in big companies. But, you know, I'm eager to learn and I've been enjoying it. I learned so much. Like I said when I started, I didn't know anything. I didn't know anything about relationships.
Corey Rieck: I don't believe you.
Michaela Underdahl: Well, I'm eager to learn. So, now, maybe I knew something, they wouldn't have hired me if I didn't know anything. But now, I know way more.
Corey Rieck: You're probably one of those best athlete types that can pick things up very, very quickly and figure it out on the fly and become very, very effective. That's been my experience with you.
Michaela Underdahl: Thank you.
Corey Rieck: Social media for businesses, why is it important, do you think?
Michaela Underdahl: It's very important. Hopefully, by now, most businesses understand it. It's important-.
Corey Rieck: That's not true, by the way. They don't understand it.
Michaela Underdahl: I know. I know. It's where your prospects and customers are hanging out. That's where they are looking for information. That's where they're looking for advice. If you're not there, your competitors are there.
Corey Rieck: Yeah.
Michaela Underdahl: So, it's good to be swimming in the social river, looking for your customers, asking questions, asking for recommendations and being there as the thought leader in the industry.
Corey Rieck: What advice do you give folks on, you know, what sort of content to put out to further their brand? You know, I mean, you interact with a lot of folks here, you know, advocate, authors, influencers. What advice do you give them in your role to further their brand?
Michaela Underdahl: Don't talk about yourself too much. Focus on-
Corey Rieck: Can you repeat that?
Michaela Underdahl: It's not just about you. If you talk just about yourself, people, they wouldn't be interested. So, my advice is to focus on putting out content that's educational and inspirational, that can help people to be better at what they do, to help them to figure out how to fix whatever they're trying to fix in their business. Most of the content should be educational and not about yourself.
Corey Rieck: Do you have any thoughts on how long blogs should be or does it vary by, you know, the sort of audience that you're targeting? Is it a certain number of words, like 500 or something? What are your thoughts on that?
Michaela Underdahl: I am just going to say right away, I'm not an SEO expert by any means. I have done a lot of research. I don't think there's one answer. I would say, just cover the topic as well as you can. If it's something that you can cover in 500 words, do it. Don't try to make it 1,500 words. But if it's a topic that requires a lot of information, then, yeah, it will be longer.
Corey Rieck: And maybe you break it up into separate blogs, you know. Because it's interesting because, you know, if I get something that comes across my desk and it's long and lengthy, the likelihood of me reading it is slim.
Michaela Underdahl: Yeah.
Corey Rieck:But if it's short and bulleted and to the point, you know, when written in such a way that, "Oh okay, I can I can grab something from that", now, that makes an impact on me personally. What part in your role as community and engagement manager do you like the best with what you're doing at Nimble?
Michaela Underdahl: Connecting with people. We have an amazing community from all around the world. Just last week, I spoke to four people with four people from the UK, three people from Australia and the rest was from the United States. And like I said, when I came here, I didn't know anybody. So, it's been an amazing thing to be growing my network and meeting different people and learning from them.
Corey Rieck: Is the strategy, the input that you give for folks in the UK and back in your home, City of Prague, is it different than what you would tell somebody here in the US?
Michaela Underdahl: As far as how we do our business?
Corey Rieck: Strategy and extending a brand and so on.
Michaela Underdahl: So, I wouldn't say that there's a big difference between the United States and the United Kingdom. There might be a slight difference between if I was giving advice to somebody from back home because I feel like we're not there yet. We're usually a few years behind. So, people don't quite understand the power of personal brand and social media yet, but they're getting there.
Corey Rieck: Well, there's a difference between personal brand and social media for your organization. I mean, would you agree with that?
Michaela Underdahl: Yes. But I believe that everybody in your company should be working in building their personal friends because people like to connect with people. It's you'll see much more success when you go out there and try to talk to people as an individual, provide a profile picture and a name, and hiding behind your company logo on the Twitter account.
Corey Rieck: That's an interesting point. I think you're right about that. I mean, you know, so you're saying that people—you know, companies or prospects need to know you a little bit personal, little bit about you personally, perhaps from your LinkedIn profile or how you've interacted with them as opposed to just knowing what company you work for?
Michaela Underdahl: Absolutely. Yeah. People, we connect on commonalities. So, when people check you out, maybe they find out that you live in the same town, you went to the same college, and you'll have something to talk about.
Corey Rieck: Growing up outside the United States, do you think that that gave you some advantages, you know, of now living in the United States? And if so, what would those be, do you think?
Michaela Underdahl: I was always scared of failure and it was amplified by me moving here because I was usually the only non-American in the room. And I always felt like I had to try harder. Yeah.
Corey Rieck: Well, you have tremendous courage, you know, for having done that and coming here and you clearly succeeded. So, I think that's behind you. But, you know, now, you're really a lot less experienced than me, but if you had to look back 10 or 15 years and give yourself some advice, what would that be?
Michaela Underdahl: I've never regretted decisions that were coming from my heart when I really stood behind it, but I would tell myself, yes, ask other people for advice, more experienced people, but always make decisions that come from your heart when you're really sure that you want to do what you're trying to do, decide to do.
Corey Rieck: If there was a young lady that was thinking about getting into technology and perhaps assimilating into a role that you're in, what would you tell that person?
Michaela Underdahl: Do it. And we were talking about millennials before, I would say, when you first start, just observe and try to learn as much as you can from the more experienced people. And yeah, just be a learner, always.
Corey Rieck: And, Michaela, if the listenership wanted to get a hold of you and talk to you about Nimble and whether or not it would fit in their business, how would they do that?
Michaela Underdahl: They can reach me at email@example.com, M-I-C-H-A-E-L-A or they can find me on LinkedIn, Twitter or anywhere on social media. Michaela Underdahl.
Corey Rieck: Michaela, you've been a great guest here. We appreciate you taking some time to come and visit us on Tuesdays with Corey. Everybody, thank you today. Linda, Michaela, Mindy and Jane. Thanks so much for another great show.
Michaela Underdahl: Thank you.
Mindy Godwin: Thank you.
Lee Kantor: Good stuff, Corey. We couldn't have done it without the support of the long-term planning group. This show exists because of you. Thank you for being part of this. Thank you for being part of the Business RadioX family. This is Lee Kantor. We will see you all next time on High Velocity Radio.