Tuesdays with Corey interview with Rachel (Johnston) Eisaman, Cheryl Tyler, and Katy Galli
Rachel (Johnston) Eisaman is owner and principle director for Joli Residential. She grew up shadowing her father, a contractor, in his workshop and in and out of houses he was building. It was in these early days that she learned to appreciate the work put behind the walls to make a house a home and developed a keen understanding for the importance of maintaining all elements of a home from foundation to roof and all the systems in between. She moved to Atlanta in 2004 after graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in Forensic Anthropology and took her interest in homes to a new level by pursuing a degree in Interior Design from the Art Institute of Atlanta. Since its beginning in 2009, Rachel has grown Joli Residential, which now has two divisions: Concierge HOME and Concierge MOVE and has built an amazing team of “headache handlers” to tackle diverse homeowner needs. Her client list includes notable philanthropists, CEOs, and professional athletes.Rachel lives in Summerhill (near Grant Park) with her husband and is dedicated to the Atlanta community. When she is not making life easier for her clients, she is giving back to her community through board positions with ArtsATL, Design Collective, and Golf for the Kids.
Cheryl Tyler is an organizational development consultant and the founder and president of Define Consulting, LLC, a management consulting firm offering a holistic, “systems thinking” approach, helping each client define their own unique vision for success. As a former Vice President of Human Resources and Training in the Hospitality Industry and now as an Organizational Development Consultant, Cheryl partners with clients offering a holistic, “systems thinking” approach, helping each client definetheir own unique vision for success.As lead consultant on a yearlong culture and training initiative for the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium located in Atlanta, Georgia, Cheryl partnered with Arthur Blank and his team to ensure that his legacy and vision for core values and service was inculcated into the new stadium. This initiative included needs analysis, design, development, execution, and measurement of service philosophy and culture training for over 7,000 executives, supervisors, team members, and third-party vendors.Cheryl specializes in services such as: Executive Coaching; Culture Transition and Change Management; Succession Planning; Customer-Experience Programs and Initiatives; Communication Skills to include Professional Presence; Facilitation and Presentation Skills; Leadership Development Programs; and Employee Engagement and Performance Management Strategies.Clients represent academia, retail, stadiums and arenas, manufacturing, hospitality, food and beverage, hotel, casino / gaming, rent-to-own, city government, finance, technology, transportation, healthcare, consulting firms, and professional associations.Cheryl has served as Adjunct Faculty for Anne Arundel Community College and Guest Coach / Instructor for both Georgia State University and University of Nevada Las Vegas. Cheryl earned her PHR (Professional in Human Resources) from the Society of Human Resource Management and served as VP of Professional Development for the Las Vegas Chapter of ASTD (American Society for Training and Development). Cheryl is a 20-year member of CHART (Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers).
Katy Galli is a member of the leadership team at the Corporate Business RadioX® studio in Atlanta, and is proud to assist the BRX® team in their pursuit to tell 1 million positive business stories. Katy is an entrepreneur and advocate for the student-athlete. She is the creator, host, and producer of the Keep Moving Forward podcast where she interviews former professional and collegiate athletes about how to make a successful career transition out of the sporting world and into “the real world.” Katy is certified as both a CrossFit-Level 1 trainer and a USA Track and Field coach.
Intro: Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, it's time for Atlanta Business Radio, spotlighting the city's best businesses and the people who lead them.
Katy Galli: Hi, everyone, and welcome to another episode of Atlanta Business Radio. It's Tuesday, so that means it is time for one of our favorite segments, Tuesdays with Corey, brought to you by The Long Term Care Planning Group. Of course, I am joined by our host today, Mr. Corey Rieck. How are you doing, Corey?
Corey Rieck: Good morning, Katy. I'm doing great.
Katy Galli: It's good. So, who did you bring with you today?
Corey Rieck: Welcome to the latest installment of Tuesdays with Corey, where we talk about the many positive contributions that female executives are making to their companies, communities and industries. And today. Katie, we have another great show. And it is my great pleasure to introduce Rachel Eisaman, who is the owner and principal director of Joli Residential. Rachel, welcome.
Rachel Eisaman: Thank you. Thanks for having me, Corey.
Corey Rieck: And also Cheryl Tyler, who is the Founder and President of Define Consulting. Cheryl, welcome.
Cheryl Tyler: Good morning.
Corey Rieck: We will start off by having a conversation with Rachel. And Rachel, you grew up in North Georgia.
Rachel Eisaman: I did. I grew up in a little bitty town called Sati, Georgia, which is not far from Helen. I think that's the landmark that most people are familiar with. And it was a wonderful, bucolic little place to grow up, artist community surrounded by lots of rivers and mountains to run and play on.
Corey Rieck: You went to school at the University of Florida. How did you get from North Georgia to ... I mean, I know how you got it. What was the thinking?
Rachel Eisaman: Well, you know, that was actually a journey in and of itself. I graduated from my tiny little high school and decided I needed big city. I needed to be outside of North Georgia for sure. And I was accepted to George Washington University. So, I went to DC for my freshman year, which was fantastic. But at the end of the day, it just ended up. I had a college fund of a certain amount of money and realized staying at GW was going to erase all of that money in the next semester.
Rachel Eisaman: So, I ended up transferring to the University of Georgia. At that time. I was studying anthropology, and really wanted to work with human bones, and artifacts, and that kind of thing. And once I was at the University of Georgia, I realized the program I really wanted to be in was the Forensic Anthropology Program. So, that was at the University of Florida. So, I sort of jumped north and then worked my way back down south and end up graduating from the University of Florida.
Corey Rieck: How did you enjoy your time at the University of Florida?
Rachel Eisaman: Oh, I loved it. I mean, it's a fun school. I don't know if you've heard about the football team they have there, but-.
Corey Rieck: They have a football program there?
Rachel Eisaman: Yeah, they do have a football team there. It was a great school. And what I was getting to study was so unbelievably fascinating to me. I mean, the lab is the CA Pound Human ID Lab. And so, we're really getting to work on some really important cases. 9/11 happened during the time I was at the University of Florida, and my professors, because they were experts in human ID, all got called away to work 9/11 and the aftermath. So, it was a fascinating time. I was learning so much. Florida was tons of fun. And life changes and things happen. And I'm happy to be in Atlanta now, though.
Corey Rieck: So you're a football fan. Is that safe to say?
Rachel Eisaman: Yes, I am a football fan. And much to the chagrin of most of my Georgia friends, I am still rooting for the Gators.
Corey Rieck: I think that ... wasn't Chris Leak there when you were there.
Rachel Eisaman: He was. Gosh.
Corey Rieck: Maybe that was the beginning.
Rachel Eisaman: That may have been the beginning. Tebow was there when I was there. You heard of him?
Corey Rieck: He's a football player, right?
Rachel Eisaman: Yeah, yeah. Football player.
Corey Rieck: Everybody's heard of Tim Tebow, Rachel. Give me a little bit of credit here, but certainly a tremendous college football player. And I'm sure you enjoyed that. It's always fun when your team is relevant when you're there. And they've certainly been relevant for a long time.
Rachel Eisaman: Yeah, yeah, definitely.
Corey Rieck: What other sports do you enjoy?
Rachel Eisaman: don't know that I'm a huge ... I mean, I like baseball. I like going to watch games. I wouldn't say that I like watching them necessarily on TV. I enjoy hockey, which I think is a fun one. And I played a little bit of soccer in high school. So, having the Atlanta United now has been a ton of fun. And I live not terribly far from the stadium. So, going to see those games is great.
Corey Rieck: That's useful. So, you started very early with an interest in construction.
Rachel Eisaman: I did.
Corey Rieck: Walk the listenership through that.
Rachel Eisaman: Well, my father is a carpenter, and he had his own construction business. And when I was a baby, my mother had a job outside of the home. And so, I was with my dad and his cabinet shop. And pictures of the baby in the carrier sitting up on a shelf somewhere as my dad was building cabinets. And so, for me, the smell of sawdust is childhood. I mean, it's just one of those very natural things. And from there, after my sister was born, when I was about two and a half, my mom became a stay-at-home mom. And then, once my brother was born, a couple years later, I think she just needed to shift a child out of the way at some point. And so, I was often going with my father to some of the home sites he was working on and that kind of thing. So, really, from my very first steps, I was working around homes and within the home building process.
Corey Rieck: Well, must have resonated with you. I mean, you must have enjoyed it. What is it that you enjoyed about that process? Probably being with your dad was part of it.
Rachel Eisaman: Yeah. I mean, the whole daddy's little girl thing, right? I mean, I I still eat crazy amounts of hot sauce on my food because my dad did. I was probably the only 5-year-old who would ask for Tabasco at a restaurant. So, that influence of your father is huge. But I also love the puzzle piece of it. How do things fit together? And how do you design something that works to what the homeowner wants it to ultimately be, but also fits with the way things can actually be built? Because there's, oftentimes, where people will dream up something you could create, "I want it to look like this or be like this or function like this," and then you have to sort of reverse engineer to what do you need to build in order for that to happen.
Corey Rieck: But does your background in anthropology, the forensic anthropology, does that play a role? Is that helpful for your knowledge of construction and application?
Rachel Eisaman: Yes, in the sense that it's all about figuring out the steps involved. So, the human body, there's a certain aspect of the way it's put together. And we all know it looks like this. If you have to identify something on it, you know what the standards are and how that looks. And then, translating that into what you actually see versus what should be there may mean different things and have clues to different things. So, really, it's an interesting parallel. Forensic anthropology is the study of the bones. And once you know the structure and how that fits together, then you can put in the other pieces. A home is all about the framing, the bones, and the systems that are put in. We all see the walls, and the sofas, and the countertops, and the things that are pretty within the home. But really, those bones and those initial systems that make a home what it really is.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. It seems to me that if you don't have that structure, the rest of it may not be relevant if not built-.
Rachel Eisaman: Yeah. Well, I mean, that all goes down to quality as you're only as good as your foundation.
Corey Rieck: You also have training with interior design. Tell us about that.
Rachel Eisaman: So, when I graduated from the University of Florida, I had the degree in forensic anthropology. But it was a weird time in the business. And I had spent about 18 months and wasn't finding work. And so, I decided I needed to figure out something to do with my life. Because of my background with my father, and I'd always been interested in homes, and design, and the creativity and that aspect of it, so I decided to go to design school. I went to the Art Institute right here in Atlanta. And within three months of starting school on this whole other path, I got a call from the GBI that my resumé had been approved, and they wanted me to come in for a job testing and whatnot. I was like, "What are the odds?" right after you start something else? But at that point, I had already made the decision and the life turn.
Corey Rieck: Now, did you have interest in that? That's fascinating to me.
Rachel Eisaman: Yeah, I mean, that's what I had studied - the forensic anthropology. So, it was with the lab. I mean, who knows where that would have gone, right?
Corey Rieck: Yeah.
Rachel Eisaman: But I had been applying to all of these places and hadn't heard anything. And it's a funny moment to me that three months into something else, and I did have a pause like, "Oh, well do I drop this?" But I had already committed, and I was really enjoying it. And so I think I made the right choice.
Corey Rieck: Now, when it rains, it pours.
Rachel Eisaman: Yeah, exactly.
Corey Rieck: So, you have this history of being able, structurally, to understand things. And you clearly, now, have the advantage of having the knowledge of understanding how to decorate, how sort of all things fits together. I'll bet that's a really big advantage for you.
Rachel Eisaman: Well, of course. I mean, with what I'm doing now, it helps the conversations because I understand a little bit of the terminology in all the aspects. And I also understand, sometimes, you get people who stick to their lane in certain areas. For instance, we had a generator that was being installed, and the guys came in, and they were installing the generator, and there was this big gas line that needed to come up 18 inches, go across 18 inches, and go back down 18 inches. So, basically, a big metal pipe square that was going to pop out of the ground from the generator. And I go over when they're trying to install it. And it is just right in the pathway of getting to the air conditioning units.
Rachel Eisaman: So, "Hey, guys, let's just stop and think about." And they're like, "Oh, that's the most direct route to the gas line." And I'm, "I'm sure it is. And I'm sure that makes a lot of sense. But I have to have techs come back here and service these AC units. So, let's find another place to put the gas lines, so we're not tripping people." It's just those my new things of thinking through how everybody because, often, people get too focused on what it is they're doing and what may be most efficient for them without looking at the bigger picture.
Corey Rieck: When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur and have your own business? Was there an event, or series of events, or happenings?
Rachel Eisaman: When I was a little kid, I used to play grocery store, and I would play grocery store where I was the owner of the grocery store. And I just remember at that point thinking, "It's about customer service and we have to make sure." I mean, I remember these thoughts as a little kid, and if you have a good price, and you offer good customer service, then you're gonna be the best grocery store around." So, I think it was always within me. I think it also helped that my father had his own business since I was a little kid. So, there were always kind of conversations about business, and small business, and how those things are operating.
And it wasn't until I got out of school and started working, really, for other people and realizing, "Gosh, I want to tweak that, or I would do this a little bit differently." And the stars aligned, and there was the perfect opportunity for me to go out on my own and see what I could do.
Corey Rieck: So, then you created Joli Residential?
Rachel Eisaman: Yes.
Corey Rieck: Tell us about that company.
Rachel Eisaman: So, Joli Residential is a home concierge's company, specializing in personal project management for all manner of home services. And the way it came about was I was working as an interior designer, and I was working on design projects for clients, and the project would be over, and the calls would keep coming from the client about, "Hey, can you send someone back to seal my tile?" or "When am I supposed to have this done?" and "I need an electrician who can do that. Do you know who?" And so, there were a lot of calls in. And in the design model, that wasn't monetized in any way. There was no real way to facilitate that in the design model. And as Plato says, "Necessity is the mother of invention." So, there was clearly a need that homeowners had for a little bit of extra help, and someone who would be essentially their personal project manager, and Joli was born.
Corey Rieck: It seems like this is an extremely ... first of all, I think it's an excellent idea. It seems like it's very, very unique in its category. And I'm wondering, how do you get the word out?
Rachel Eisaman: Well, it is extremely unique in its category. It may be its own category. There are a couple of other bits and pieces of this, and there are a couple other places in the country that do similar type things. But putting it all together as that personal project management service, I haven't found anyone else who's doing it the same way. And so, getting the word out is tough. I mean, people aren't Googling residential concierge. And half the time, when they have the problem, they don't even know what to look for. So, it's all about education. It's about doing podcasts. It's about talking to people as much as I can. It's about networking and sharing the word, so that the right person will say, "Oh, you know what, you need to talk to this girl I met who has a business that could probably solve your problem."
Corey Rieck: So, if somebody were doing a home or renovation, and they maybe didn't have the knowledge - well, I'm sure they don't have the knowledge that you do - they could hire you to say, "Hey, Rachel, I want to redo my bathroom. I just need you to handle it. Here's how I want it to look," and you would take and run with it.
Rachel Eisaman: Absolutely. We'd go out and project manage the whole thing. So, that's hiring the contractors, subcontractors, and making sure that everybody stays on task, and follows the schedule, and then relaying all that information back to the homeowner. And what that does is it actually create a business-to-business relationship that typically doesn't exist in the contracting and remodeling world, because typically it's business to homeowner. And homeowners have an emotion attached to it, which is absolutely understandable. It's their home. Contractors, not to put contractors under the bus, but, often, contractors and subcontractors don't have the language and the the softer touch in speaking with homeowners. And so, sometimes, that creates conflict, when really there shouldn't be conflict.
And so, having someone in the middle who can have the technical conversation with the contractor knows the questions to ask and where the conversation should go. And then, being able to relay all that information back to the homeowner with the homeowner knowing that Joli is their advocate. We're there for them, and at the end of the day, to make their project the best it can be. So, it's being that buffer.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. I think that a third-party business to business, that makes sense to me. And I think, to me, would be a tremendous advantage to have somebody with your technical expertise at the structural end of things. But also, on the interior design and knowing how it all fits together. That to me, is a very, very big advantage. And I think the many homeowners and folks that do this would value someone else being the bad guy, being the follow-up person, and making sure that stuff is getting done in a timely fashion.
Rachel Eisaman: Oh, absolutely. I mean, they say nobody wants to be the bad guy. But in our case, being the bad guy is actually being the good guy because it's taking the pressure off of the other parties involved. When we do these move projects, a lot of times, the realtor will bring us in, and the realtor may not want to say, "Hey, your seven litter boxes are really stinking up the basement. We got to get rid of them," but we're that outside party that can come in and say, "The seven litter boxes got to go."
Corey Rieck: I'll bet your dad has been a tremendous resource, too. You know, when starting a business.
Rachel Eisaman: Yeah, my dad has been fantastic. And he's so cute because he just thinks ... He's so proud. Like he loves it.
Cheryl Tyler: Of course, he is.
Rachel Eisaman: Every every year at Christmas, I get a new tool of some sort. I think my tool box is bigger than my husband's in our shed. But he's also great because I can pick up the phone at any point and say, "Oh, my gosh, this is happening. What do you recommend, or where should I look, or how do I find the answer to what this problem is?" So, that's nice.
Corey Rieck: One term that comes to mind, and I mean this complimentarily, is you're a headache handler.
Rachel Eisaman: Oh, absolutely. We have clients that say that, we're the aspirin to their home headaches. And I take that as a badge of pride, a huge badge of pride.
Corey Rieck: And you have two divisions in your company now. Am I right?
Rachel Eisaman: We do. So, we have Concierge Home and Concierge Move. And Home is all about those individual personal projects. If it's from contracting general maintenance, like gutter cleaning, and pressure washing, and that sort of stuff to an HVAC installation to something bigger as a remodel, a bathroom remodel, or whatever needs to happen on the property that the homeowner could use a little bit of extra help is where we come in, and we can handle that.
Rachel Eisaman: And then on the Move side, that is really more of a luxury product in that it's the person who understands the value of their time and is not interested in doing it themselves, is happy to pay someone else to handle the chaos of that. Moves are one of the top five most stressful things that anyone goes through. And so, the law of odds is when you're only doing it every couple of years, having someone who does it all the time, we're gonna be more efficient. We're faster. My team is all professional organizers. So, it is incredibly organized and detailed in the packing, the unpacking, and the setup.
Rachel Eisaman: But we like to start with homeowners before they've even listed their home on the market. So, we can come, and and help them get the house ready for sale. Get it picture-ready, we call it. So, that little bit of trim that's rotted away in front of one window, we'll bring in the people who need to get that repaired. If there's any painting that needs to be done, there's the doorknob that's been faulty, but everybody in the house knows how to turn it just so, get all of those things worked out. Make the house look ready for listing.
Rachel Eisaman: And then, once it goes on the market, if there are any amendments to the contract or anything like that that need to happen, we'll bring in those contractors to make sure that stuff happens. And then, holding them through the move, the unpack, and setting them up. And typically in about four to five days, we can have them fully unpacked and set up in their new home with no boxes left in the garage that would sit there for the next four years, and we take the trash away when we go.
Corey Rieck: Well, you have a wealth of specialized knowledge just with those two divisions in your company. When you're moving in that division, do you stage houses too? Did I hear that right?
Rachel Eisaman: Yeah, we'll do the same. Well, with my background in interior design, we can certainly do some staging with what the homeowner already has. We will work with professionals stagers when we need to bring in furniture, because they're the ones that have the furniture that we can bring in. We don't have an inventory of crunch that we keep.
Corey Rieck: Who are your clients, not by name, but like conceptually?
Rachel Eisaman: So, my clients are CEOs, professional athletes, philanthropists, developers. They are usually successful in whatever they've been doing, and they've reached a point in their life where they are happy to not have to do the grunt work anymore.
Corey Rieck: Well, I think that time, that's our currency as business owners.
Rachel Eisaman: Absolutely.
Corey Rieck: [00:20:24] And you have to leverage it accordingly. And I've already heard great things about how you spend your time. And that makes total sense to me that someone would hire you to do a task, whether it's managing a renovation, or managing a move, and just, "Here's what I need done. I just want to know what time it is. I don't want to know how to build a watch." And you're doing this every day. That makes total sense that the people would hire you to do that.
Rachel Eisaman: Thank you, yeah.
Corey Rieck: How are you finding your clients, Rachel?
Rachel Eisaman: Well, everything to this point has been word of mouth. Like I said, it's the network that's so important. People don't know to look for it. So, they don't know to search Google. They don't know to necessarily even ask for that specific service. So, everything has come from someone who knows me, whether it's a client or someone that I have created a business relationship with. And they are passing on names. So, it's a very intimate service. I mean, it's a big deal to be invited into someone's home. And we honor that with the highest respect. And so, I think that when someone has a friend or one of their trusted people in their lives that puts our name in front of them, we want to respect that relationship as well.
Corey Rieck: Sure. Tell us about one of the more unusual projects you've worked on.
Rachel Eisaman: So, this was really fun actually. A couple of years ago, I had a client who was turning 50. And it was shortly after the Fifty Shades of Grey series came out. And she just-
Corey Rieck: This is a family show.
Rachel Eisaman: Yeah, yeah. It's family's, it's family mostly. So, she decided she wanted to have a Fifty Shades of Fun Party. And it was an absolute blast to put together. There were kind of three sections to the night, and we had male models that we hired to escort her guests into the party. Of course, it was almost all women guests by design.
Corey Rieck: I'm sure they hated.
Rachel Eisaman: [00:22:31] By design. Yes. Then, you have these male models escort women into the party. And then, there was this beautiful dinner. And then, the third scene of the night was what was called the play room. And it opens up. And there are shirtless bartenders. And it was just so much fun to put together. And I mean, how often do you get to search things like peacock feathers on Google, and it'd be okay, not a weird search.
Corey Rieck: When you're not building your company in the two divisions of your company and everything else, what do you do with your spare time you do have?
Rachel Eisaman: I try to give back. I mean, I love the Atlanta community. I think that there's so much going on in Atlanta right now. And so, I am on three different boards. I'm on the board of Design Collective, which keeps me involved in the design world. And that's just fantastic because every month, we meet, learn another aspect about the design world, and put people from all of the various industries associated with the design world together.
Rachel Eisaman: And then, I'm also on the board of Golf for the Kids. And Golf for the Kids is an annual golf tournament. And that's coming up October 22nd. If anybody wants to play, or sponsor, or donate. And all of that goes directly back to CHOA, with our main objective each year is to provide another service dog to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. And these service dogs are incredible with what they do and how they can help the kids. So, that's really special to my heart.
Rachel Eisaman: And then, I'm also on the board of ArtsATL, which is an online site that allows anyone ... well, it's online. So anyone, I guess, in the world, but really anyone around the Atlanta area to stay in touch with arts. And it's the arts journalism that a lot of publications of the more standard public publications have reduced their arts journalism. And so, this is where the one stop source is to find the calendar when the guests are coming into town, what's going on around town, where are we taking people, what was the latest review of The Nutcracker, or any of these things that are happening around the Atlanta art scene.
Corey Rieck: What else is important to you?
Rachel Eisaman: My family. My family and cooking. I love to cook. In fact, my husband and I end up doing Thanksgiving for my family every other year, and that's my mom's whole side. So, it ends up being 36 people or something like that, with all the nieces, and nephews, and grandchildren, and everybody's married now, and all that stuff. So, those moments, nothing is better than spending time with the people you love.
Corey Rieck: If you could give the younger version of Rachel some advice, what would you tell her knowing what you know now?
Rachel Eisaman: Believe in yourself a little bit more. When I look back, I feel like I wasn't as confident as I should have been in my 20s. And I think that if I had just really believed my gut instincts, I might be 17 years into this business instead of just seven.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. If there was a young lady that wanted to follow your path, what would you tell her?
Rachel Eisaman: Get out there and experience as many different aspects of the industry as you can. If you're in college, and don't have to have the money, and can intern, intern in a variety of places because it's such an interesting job, but you have to know a little about a lot of things. I would not consider myself an expert in anything. But again, I have just enough knowledge to know which questions to ask. And that's really important. Just diversify your education a little bit.
Corey Rieck: Well, Rachel, you've been a great guest. And congratulations on all of your success. If somebody in our listenership wanted to get a hold of you, how would they do that? Maybe there's a phone number or email address?
Rachel Eisaman: Yeah. My email address is Rachel@joliresidential.com. And that's also the website. So, joliresidential.com.
Corey Rieck: Rachel, you've been a great guest. Thank you for being on the show and continued success.
Rachel Eisaman: Thank you, Corey.
Corey Rieck: Cheryl, welcome.
Cheryl Tyler: Thank you so much. It was so interesting to listen to Rachel. Thank you.
Corey Rieck: It is. Well, Cheryl Tyler is the president and founder of Define Consulting. And if you would, Cheryl, please give the listenership an introduction, so we can get to know you a little bit.
Cheryl Tyler: Sure. Well, let's see how far back do we want to go? I, too, grew up in a small town - similar to Rachel - in Florida. I grew up in Melbourne, Florida. So, southeast directly across from Orlando. When I was growing up. Corey, we used to call it Melbouring, and I couldn't wait to get the heck out of there. So, I wanted to get to see a bit more of the world. And now, I just can't wait to go back and see my family that's there. So, grew up in Melbourne. And then, we'll have lived pretty much all over the country. And I'm back in Atlanta for the second time.
Corey Rieck: Where do you go to school?
Cheryl Tyler: Yeah. So I went to school, so, of course, in Melbourne, Eau Gallie High School. And then, I was in your neck of the woods. I did not go to the University of Florida. I was actually working while I was in school, worked my way through school, and I was attending Anne Arundel Community College, which was right there next to University of Florida with the intention of going to U of F, actually was recruited, at the time - I was in the hospitality industry - into a management position. And so, at that young age, I was like, "Oh, I can just start making some good money now." And that's what I did. I went ahead and got my AA in Journalism, and then took off in the hospitality career, and started my operations career from there.
Corey Rieck: You certainly have. You mentioned that you're on your second tour here in Atlanta.
Cheryl Tyler: Yes.
Corey Rieck: So, when was the first tour?
Cheryl Tyler: Yes. So, I was working in the hospitality industry, in management operations, and mostly in Florida. And then, I was brought up to Atlanta. It was around. I want to ... I think it was 1993. I came up to Atlanta and I was asked to start the training division for a local and corporate organization based here out of Atlanta. And so, that was '93 to '99. And then, I got married during that time. My husband and I, my husband at that time, we then transferred to Louisville, Kentucky.
Corey Rieck: How did you like Louisville?
Cheryl Tyler: I love Louisville. I love Louisville. I love everything about Louisville. One of my dearest friends is there. Know the mayor of Louisville very well. And the Derby, if you've never been to the Kentucky Derby, is by far, I think, the greatest sporting event ever to attend. So, I had the luxury of attending several years of the derby.
Corey Rieck: I've heard that about the derby. Do you like horses?
Cheryl Tyler: I do. I mean, I don't ride horses or anything. It's just the grandeur of everything. I think it's the history. It's beautiful, really beautiful.
Corey Rieck: You like basketball? That's a great place to be also if you like basketball.
Cheryl Tyler: Yeah, yeah. Well, my friend, Lynn, would say, yes, they're very proud of their basketball.
Corey Rieck: So, you have a lot of experience with training, executive coaching. And you've been out on your own for a while, been very successful. Was there one singular instance or event that led you to say, "Hey, I've got to build my own company, I've got to build what is now Define Consulting"?
Cheryl Tyler: I think it was around 2002. So, as I mentioned, I was in the corporate world. I was promoted up through the ranks.
Corey Rieck: That doesn't surprise me.
Cheryl Tyler: Thank you. So, Vice President status at Learning and Development and Human Resources. And then, we transferred, as I said, to Louisville, Kentucky. And I worked for a couple of years in Louisville, alongside my husband, who's vice president of operations. And I started realizing there was just this pull, and I don't know what it was. I was just pulled to be my own boss. And what would that be like? But I think, for a lot of us, starting corporate, and then want to go out on our own, there's also some fear. Financial, there's that financial fear. But fortunately, I was in a position where I was able to take that leap and take that jump around 2002.
Corey Rieck: So, you had your company for 16 years?
Cheryl Tyler: Yes. It was not always called Define. We recently just rebranded actually at the end of last year. So, still, we have not officially launched. It's been a soft launch of Define Consulting. So, really, the company was always under my name, Cheryl Tyler Consulting Group until more recently when we've rebranded.
Corey Rieck: What prompted the rebranding, Cheryl?
Cheryl Tyler: I think a change in the model, my business model. And I think becoming really clear about what we are good at. And so, I have a creative team. I have to give some shout out to my niece, who's very, very creative. And so, she and her team helped me with the rebranding. And so, when I think about what's really important, what do we offer, the word alignment comes to mind. It's around the words DNA. What's in your DNA? So, when we work with an organization, it's all about what's in that organization's deep DNA. And so, it's really about if you think about consulting, consultants or subject matter experts supposedly, and they're always imparting their advice on others. And for us, it's a little bit different. It's, "Now, let us get in there with you. You tell us, what's your vision? What's in your DNA? We'll help you define it." So, that's where the branding came in.
Corey Rieck: How did you know that you needed to change your model or you needed to adjust?
Cheryl Tyler: I think what started happening, in my early years out on my own, I was doing a lot of the work myself. I was in there doing a lot of it myself. And I think for a lot of us that start our own businesses, we don't know how to say no, and we'll take everything. And there came a point about four years ago when I was realizing I cannot do everything myself. How do we begin to leverage what we're doing? And then, I got a couple of really large accounts. And when you take on really large projects and accounts, you cannot do it all yourself. And so, you really what what I've done in my model is surround myself with topnotch subject matter experts, all former executives, regardless of industry, all former executives who are now consultants. And so, when we work with a client, we can bring a solution, a just-in-time, on-demand solution to the table to meet that client's needs. So, the model started changing because the business started really taking off and growing large scale.
Corey Rieck: Well, one of the things that I've seen with folks that I've known over the years is that they experience great difficulty in letting go. So, you’re the name on the door, you're the one that's doing the work. Was there a jumping off point? I mean, obviously, you had a lot of business and more than you could handle. But walk us through how you were able to pass business and not necessarily touch everything yourself.
Cheryl Tyler: That's a really excellent question. And in coaching-
Corey Rieck: Thank you. Every now and then, we have one.
Cheryl Tyler: I love that question. And I think I'm still working through that. It's a journey. One of the things in coaching-
Corey Rieck: We need to talk after the show.
Cheryl Tyler: Yeah, the letting go piece. Actually, in one of the programs that I facilitate, Heart-Centered Leadership, it's one of the principles is letting go. And when we talk about letting go, Corey, it's not about we don't care. It's about detachment, but trust comes with that. And also, I think, for me, I have to remember what I coach. So, the coach needs to be coached often. But letting go is really about what can one not control and what can one influence. So, just really, I think, it's a work in progress for myself. But I have to let go and have to trust. And the other thing is, I have a circle of consultants or a group of consultants. And we're always adding to our portfolio that, again, our experts. They are smarter than I am in their fields. And so, I need to trust.
Corey Rieck: Well, and that lends itself, that sort of model, right? I mean, you obviously don't have any issue catching the fish, so to speak. Sometimes, cleaning them, metaphorically, can be an issue. And so, if you have those people, those technicians, or subject matter experts to do that, that lends itself to bringing in more businesses. Is not accurate in your case?
Cheryl Tyler: I do think it's accurate and it allows me business development, although that's a journey as well. Similar to Rachel. Everything that we've done today really has been through reputation and word of mouth. And I'm picking up the phone, and people have heard about something we've done, or we've worked with somebody, and, "Can you do this?" So, yes, it allows for focus on business development. And that's what I'm working with my coach on, is to make sure that I'm focused on social media and business development. And if you're too down in the weeds in the business, you can't do that. So, that's my next step.
Corey Rieck: You mentioned something else a while back, letting go, alignment model. How do you find your subject matter experts? I mean, I know you have a cadre, but you're probably going to get to the point where you have a lot of business, and you need to find more. So, how do you go about getting more technician's more subject matter experts?
Cheryl Tyler: Yeah. Again, the network is pretty vast nationally right now. So, you have to think. Since the '90s I've been working and in business, and since 2002 had my own business. So, there's a core group that I can pick up the phone and call, whether it's project management, or it's succession planning, or it's an industrial psychologist that's going to help us put competencies in doing organizations, so that they're selecting and hiring the right folks. And what will happen is, then, I'll just ask them. So, if we have a project where, now, we're going to need two industrial psychologists to do the work, they know someone else. The one thing I have learned though is not just anybody will do. There has to be a value fit for what you stand for in an organization. And that's not always the case. So, just because somebody has a lot of experience does not mean that they would be a great fit for what we want to represent amongst our team and to the client.
Corey Rieck: Is there one aspect of your business that you enjoy over another?
Cheryl Tyler: I think what I'm learning, one, autonomy is really big for me. So, I had to learn where my values are and what's important to me.
Corey Rieck: How do you do that?
Cheryl Tyler: I got a great executive coach. Everybody should have a coach. So, we coach as coach, and we also have our coaches. So, what I learned was I was out of my own since 2002. And about 5 years ago, I was invited back into the corporate world. I was in a transition in my life. I was going through divorce, moving from-
Corey Rieck: I'm sorry to hear that.
Cheryl Tyler: We're great friends, moving from Atlanta to ... I mean, from Las Vegas to Atlanta, went into a corporate environment, and just realized something wasn't aligned. And really, then, it was pulled out of me, "You know what? You're super high and autonomy, Cheryl. Even though you've got an executive position, you're making decisions, you have that, you really need to believe that you're in charge of all decisions and of your time, that you are in charge of your own time. And so, I think that. Did that answer your question?
Corey Rieck: It absolutely did. Obviously, you've been successful for a long time in corporate America. You were favorably introduced to the show. Tell us how Define Consulting finds its clients.
Cheryl Tyler: It's interesting. The clients find us. That's interesting.
Corey Rieck: That's a high class problem.
Cheryl Tyler: I don't want to sound ... everything has been passed on. So, for example, I had an RFP. This is the typical process. Last month, a colleague, a good friend who's very successful in the customer service world, in customer service space emails me an RFP. It came across his desk for a very large project out of state. And he said, "Cheryl, this is right up your alley. It's not up ours, but I think it's right up yours." So, I take a look at it. I look at my strategic alliances. Do we want to go to bid on this RFP? Because it's a lot of work, as you may know, and a lot of money to respond to something like that, to not know if you're gonna get the work. Yeah, we're gonna do that. And so, we're in the interview proposal phase for potentially really large project out of state.
So, that's what happens. I get a phone call or something, or, "Cheryl, we've got this opportunity. I don't have anybody in Atlanta that could handle something like that." And so, you asked what I love. I love arranging and bringing it all together. It's not really project manager because I will bring a project manager on, but it's finding the right talent, and it all clicks, and then executing the project.
Corey Rieck: Well, you're the coach and the quarterback, right?
Cheryl Tyler: Yeah.
Corey Rieck: It seems like to me.
Cheryl Tyler: I don't know if everybody would say that. That works with me. Because they'd probably say, "She needs to let go a little bit more," but it all works. It's fun.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. That isn't the first time I've heard that about a successful business executive that maybe they need to let go a little bit more. You seem, to me, like you're very much a boutique firm.
Cheryl Tyler: Yes.
Corey Rieck: And it seems like there would be a lot of advantages for the people that engage your services because of your history. But do tell us about that.
Cheryl Tyler: Well, we are a boutique firm. So, again, we're a consortium of consultants. And I think that the the benefit to any client is we're just in time on demand. So, I'm not carrying a bunch of overhead by having a bunch of employees working for me. What is the need? What's the vision? We'll help you define it. And then, we'll bring the team in. And so, there's a cost benefit to that to not carry the overhead.
Corey Rieck: Well, what just in time, on demand, what does that mean?
Cheryl Tyler: It means that you realize that there's a gap in your business. It's a very simple model, I think, is you've got a current state in your business, perhaps Corey or Rachel and her business. This is today. This is current state. There's a vision for the future. There's a gap. So, how do we close that gap? And so, my firm is around people and performance. And so, whether it's an individual, or a team, or it's a culture, we did a very large project, maybe we'll talk about that here locally in Atlanta that we're very proud of, where we had to make sure that culture was built. Our culture was part of the new, the new business. So, what's the future state vision? What's the current state? And what are we going to need to do to close that gap?
Corey Rieck: So, when a client engages your services, what's the time on when you get to work, and how you kind of figure out what the metrics are of the project or the points? Walk us through that.
Cheryl Tyler: Yeah. So, our model is ... and I have a set model that I use, but the first is actually from vision to results. So, we need to really understand what's the vision because one of the questions we always ask is, "Why this? Why now?" If someone picks up the phone, and there's a reason that they're picking up the phone, whether it's to engage with a coach, with an executive coach, to have one for themselves or for one of their executives, there's a reason that call is coming now, or we want to put a program, we want to put a leadership program into or organization. There's a reason. So, we've got to figure out, "Why this? Why now?" So, there's this define tenet, which is where we're really helping the client define the future state. The scope is going to come out of that. Once we hear what the client is trying to accomplish, then we can look at what's it going to take to reach that future state?
Corey Rieck: Yeah. Just in time and on demand, that seems like it would be a tremendous advantage for you.
Cheryl Tyler: I think so. I mean, it works really well. I think it's an advantage in that I'm not carrying the overhead again nor do I really want to. And for the client, there's very, very large organizations with hundreds of wonderful subject matter experts, but there's a lot of overhead to that, and that cost is gonna be passed on to the client. And then, I think in our case, that's a competitive advantage that we have.
Corey Rieck: Yeah, fluid is a word that comes in and leverage. You mentioned that you help companies define culture. That is a very big deal. Having the right frame of mind, having sort of the right attitudes. And how do you do that for a client?
Cheryl Tyler: Well, it depends. Some clients already had, like what's in their DNA. I keep saying that. Some clients. And in the case of we, we were brought in to help the new Mercedes Benz Stadium open before it ever opened. That was a year prior to opening. And so, I assembled a team and brought that team in. It was very clear what Arthur Blank in his executive team, their culture was very strong. And so, we were not defining culture. We were challenged with how to operationalize an existing very strong, protectively held culture. And how do you operationalize that in a new entity where you've got to ramp up 7000 people in a year, and all of these managers, these supervisors and leaders that are going to really influence the front line associates. They haven't worked in that organization before. So, how do you inculcate very quickly. I call it creating believers. How do you create believers? Not compliance. It's not about compliance. It's about commitment.
So, you have to move. It's not the head. It's the head and the heart. You have to move the heart of the individual and of the teams to buy in, and commitment, and belief. And then, from there, you're guiding coalition is starting to grow, and grow, and grow. There's a lot of other steps that go into that. There's communication, and selection process, and leadership. Accountability is huge. Alignment and accountability. And then, continuous innovation, and improvement, that sort of thing.
Corey Rieck: So, there are 7000 folks that work around the Mercedes Benz Stadium, the employees.
Cheryl Tyler: There's a base. Now, remember, a lot of them are part time or temporary. They're coming or going. So, depending on the event, it could be 3000 to 4000 per event.
Corey Rieck: How did you train 7000-
Cheryl Tyler: It was fun. It was so fun. It's really fun. Yeah. So, we have a model that we're very proud of where we bring in a lot of what we call coach facilitators. So, the first thing that, I believe, is you have to start with leadership. Who's influencing the front line? So, you take a look at how we're going to create the beliefs, the behaviors, the accountability. And I'm talking about supervisors. They might be bank captains or whatever. So, you've got to do all of that first. And so, there was about 500 of those folks that we worked with first.
And then, for the larger masses, we had large spaces. We had tables of eight. I had lots of coach facilitators. We had experiential activities. We have, of course, some skills building activities, those sorts of things. And you have a lot of people, you have a big team. We were doing 500 people at a time for eight hours. But executives are involved. So, for something like that to work, and it did because they were vetted in 2017 as the Voice of the Fan, the NFL's Voice of the Fan is number one in all areas, it worked, but you have to have that buy-in, and that participation, and that engagement from the top and through all levels of the organization. That doesn't happen overnight. It took a year. And thank goodness, they had the foresight and the vision to start on something like this a year out from opening.
Corey Rieck: Yeah, I've been to several games at Mercedes Benz Stadium, and my experience has always been very, very positive with the help, whether it's buying sublime donuts or wherever. And the whole experience has been very, very positive there.
Cheryl Tyler: Yeah, it's a lot of fun. Go, Falcons. Go, united. Yay!
Corey Rieck: So, you have leadership development that you do with your firm and executive coaching. Is there one aspect of that that you enjoy more than the other?
Cheryl Tyler: Oh, I don't know that I enjoy one more than the other. They really go hand in hand. I do believe if you're going to be successful as a leader, whether leader of self, you don't have to have associates that necessarily work for you. We're all leaders of self. We're leaders in our community. We're leaders in our home. I think having a coach, the right coach. And also, we can do executive coaching. We also have a model that we follow for more of the life coaching as well. It really depends on what the individual needs and wants. I really think that that is important. Know thyself. Align yourself first before you ever start to lead teams.
So, I think they go hand-in-hand. And I enjoy it all. We have executive coaches. I have a large local company now that I've worked with for several years, where the vision for the CEO was to build a high potential leadership program in the organization, a future leaders program. And so, we did a blended approach. And there's leadership development based on competencies, and there's executive coaches in there working with that fortunate population that was selected to be part of this high potential team that's been identified to be the future of the organization. So, I don't think I enjoy one more than the other.
Corey Rieck: When you're coaching executives, do you coach them on balance, work/life balance? Is that part of the talk? That's a hot topic.
Cheryl Tyler: It's a hot one. Mindfulness is big, right? We hear that term. It's being thrown around.
Corey Rieck: What does that mean exactly?
Cheryl Tyler: Really, it means presence. And we hear the term balance is about being very, very present. We have to be self-aware. We have to be self-aware first. And I think what happens, myself included, so we can coach this, we can teach this, and we have to come back ourselves as well, is to ... We get on this treadmill. I believe the type A highly successful is I think that we wake up-
Corey Rieck: You think there are type As in this room?
Cheryl Tyler: I think so. I don't know. Maybe Katy over there. She's super chill, but, yeah, no. Even Katy, right? Type A athlete.
Corey Rieck: Make no mistake. She's a Type A.
Cheryl Tyler: Athlete. I know. Successful athlete. I think that we wake up in the morning, and we're not conscious. I mean, we're ready to go, and we get on this treadmill, hypothetical treadmill, and we just go. And we go, and we go, and we go, and we go. And we don't slow down, and we don't stop and think about where we're going, where are we heading because so many times, we have not established what the compelling vision is for ourselves. And so, anyways, balance. And a lot in men these days as well. Think women, we get it, we know it, we don't always know how to get there. I think it's very interesting that these days that more and more men are asking about balance and health. And I've seen some fabulous results when they take the time to slow down, and be present, and start to be really mindful.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. I would agree with that. I think a lot of men struggle with that, turning it on and off. And I think women are better at balancing all of the different aspects of life, at least, in my experience. Balance is a really important thing. Being intentional, that's another thing that came into my-
Cheryl Tyler: I love that term.
Corey Rieck: ... that came into my head. And it sounds like your firm really helps people with the alignment, but also being present and being intentional about whatever it is you're doing.
Cheryl Tyler: [Yes. For example, the CEO that I'm working with that I share the Future Leaders, it was a vision of his to make sure that these high potential folks knew that they were cared about, and that they were respected, and that they were noticed. And that was 15 months of very intentional work with the CEO and his team to ensure that it was done the right way, and that it was aligned with the culture. And so, intentional is a great word. I love it.
Cheryl Tyler: Well, another way to characterize what you just talked about with the CEO, showing that he appreciated these people, and that they were ... "Look, you have a future here. You're a high-performing person. We want you around." I mean, doing those things, is that unique in companies?
Cheryl Tyler: I think it's unique. I think a lot of companies, successful companies, either internal or external, they're focused on leadership development. I don't know how intentional it is. And what I am amazed by is when you have a leader like the group that I'm working with or even at the stadium, when you have someone at the CEO level who is so involved and committed, that is unique. Companies will say they want certain things to happen, but then they are, I believe, not truly committed at the level that they need to be committed. It sounds good. It looks good. Maybe it feels good for the moment. But there's not enough heart in it. So, it's very rewarding when you're able to work with groups that you know that they're there to make a difference, because that's what we want to do as well.
Corey Rieck: I imagine that would be rewarding. Having lived in Atlanta for a period of time, what things about Atlanta do you like, and what you enjoy doing when you're not building your organization?
Cheryl Tyler: Yeah. So, I love the walkability. So, I'm in that Highlands area, kind of the Virginia Highlands, Midtown, and I walk everywhere. We walk everywhere. My fiancee and I love to just get out and about this past weekend with Summer Fest. And we took a four-mile track and went up North Highland. And then, you come back to Summer Fest. We're always on the Beltline. I office over at Ponce City Market, and I walk to work.
Corey Rieck: It's a happening place.
Cheryl Tyler: Yeah, it's super cool, right? We walk into midtown. We walk to dinner in the evenings. And Piedmont Park. He proposed in Piedmont Park. So, we're Piedmont Park folks. So, that's how I'm spending my time when we're not working.
Corey Rieck: What other items or what activities take your time? I mean, do you like sports? Do you work out? Do you do music? Arts?
Cheryl Tyler: Yeah. So, that's great. So, I do work out. I have a trainer. This is something that I know as a coach. So, I have a trainer that I work out with at Lion's Den Fitness. Got to give it out to Ben. And that's about three times a week when I'm in town. I do travel quite a bit out of town. And the walking, that sort of thing. I love to cook like Rachel mentioned. So, I do love to cook. And I'm passionate about animals. While I don't have any pets of my own right now, I just lost my 16-year-old schnauzer-
Corey Rieck: I'm sorry to hear that.
Cheryl Tyler: Yeah, my baby. I do love animals. So, the Atlanta Humane Society is a group that's near and dear to my heart. So, yeah, that's about all I have time for. And Family. I was just in Florida to see my family and hang out.
Corey Rieck: How do you, as a person that's driving the organization, maintain work/life balance?
Cheryl Tyler: You've heard me say journey probably three or four times. It is a journey. I know enough through self-awareness work that I've done over the many years, I know what my mental models are. I know what my belief systems are. I know when I'm defaulting because we all default. We all go back. We're wired. And so, it takes a lot of rewiring. And so, it's just I'll catch myself, and then I have to say, "Okay. Then, what do you need to put into place, Cheryl, to get back to balance?" But I'm not always there. Not always there.
Corey Rieck: That's honest.
Cheryl Tyler: Yeah.
Corey Rieck: Appreciate that. Cheryl, you've had a great deal of success. And if you could look back and give the younger version of Cheryl some advice, what would that entail? And what would you tell her knowing what you know now?
Cheryl Tyler: I think that it would be to leverage the relationships that you have earlier, and to not think that you have to do it all yourself. That you actually ... The synergies ... I remember some advice I first got when I went out on my own from a CEO at the time. He said, "Wow, you're gonna go out on your own. Leverage all that." I didn't really know what that meant. And it's taken quite some years for me to figure out what does that really mean. ecause you're gonna do so much more, and you're gonna build so much more when you leverage all the the brain trust that you have, that you have access to, and the friendships, and the business relationship. So, I think that would be my advice.
Corey Rieck: If there was a young lady that wanted to follow your track and your footsteps, what would you tell her?
Cheryl Tyler: I would tell her to start looking within now and become very clear on who you are and what your core values are. And I would have her do some visioning work because when you do true visioning work for yourself, you can see so clearly that the guiding compelling right is drawing you towards. So, do some work around that because there's so many years, I think, spent in span confusion and a lot of angst over, "I should be doing this," or "I should be doing that." A lot of angst. If we could get clear early on and what it is that we're meant to be doing, and that we're passionate about, and play to those strengths. So, that's, I think, what my advice would be.
Corey Rieck: Cheryl, you've been a great guest, and you've had tremendous success. If part of our listenership wanted to get a hold of you, how would they do so? Maybe there's an email address, or a phone number, or something?
Cheryl Tyler: Yeah, absolutely. So, it's Cheryl@defineconsulting.com. That's my email address. The rebranding means that the website is under construction. So, the team is working on that. But just reach out to me. And then, there's a phone number as well, 770-776-8500. I'd love to hear from you.
Corey Rieck: Well, Cheryl, continued success. You've been a great, great guest. Rachel, thanks again for being such a great guest. Another great show.
Katy Galli: Yeah, it absolutely was. And of course, Tuesdays with Corey would not be made possible without The long Term Care Planning Group. So, Corey, if someone wanted to learn more, where would they do that?
Corey Rieck: They could visit the website at www.thelongtermcareplanninggroup.com. They can email me at email@example.com.
Katy Galli: Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Corey. And thank you, Rachel. And thank you, Cheryl. We will see you all next month on Tuesdays with Corey.