Tuesdays with Corey interview with Jane Reid
Jane Reid is CEO of Can You Imagine? Since coaching and mentoring individuals and teams are a part of her DNA, Jane is passionate about making sure the Can You Imagine? team members are ready to take the company to the next level of success. Together they are exploring all facets of the company to find ways to improve processes which will support their ability to align, connect and drive rewarding outcomes.
Connect with Jane on LinkedIn.
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.
Sanjay Toure: Welcome back to another very special edition of Atlanta Business Radio. It's time for Tuesday's with Corey, brought to you by our good friends at The Long-Term Care Planning Group. Now, here's your host, Corey Rieck.
Corey Rieck: Sanjay, thank you very much. And today, we have another great guest on the Tuesdays with Corey show. Jane Reid is the CEO of Can You Imagine? And that organization, it provides personalized residential gift solutions. Jane has been an outstanding leader since her days as the captain of the UGA Tennis Team back in the mid-90's and has also led multiple companies here in the Atlanta area as their CEO. Jane, welcome.
Jane Reid: Hi. Thank you for having me.
Corey Rieck: I am very excited to share all of your successes with the listenership here, Jane. To start us off, just tell us a little bit about you, and so we can introduce you further.
Jane Reid: Okay. Well, thank you, Corey. It's great to be here. I am a native of Atlanta. Grew up-
Corey Rieck: When was the last time anybody heard that?
Jane Reid: I know, I know. And I'm proud to say that. I am a mother of four boys, and I get to have the pleasure of juggling that every day, as well as the pleasure of running a company called Can You Imagine? Apartment Gift Solutions, providing really great custom and unique gifts to welcome residents, as well as to provide those really great touch points to connect with residents throughout their entire living experience. And so, that's what I'm doing now. And so, thanks for having me.
Corey Rieck: How old are your boys?
Jane Reid: I have four boys - 12,11, and my twins are 10.
Corey Rieck: Twins?
Jane Reid: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Corey Rieck: Yes. So, you don't really have any free time. I guess we can scrap that part of the segment.
Jane Reid: I saw that.
Corey Rieck: Running a company and helping out four boys. What sorts of activities are they in?
Jane Reid: So, they're also different. They keep me on my toes, but they're big sports kids, and one that's more into music and one that's into research and STEM. So, they're going in a bunch of different directions.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. And I'm sure you're keeping them between the posts, and helping shuttle them to and from, and giving them the proper coaching and advice.
Jane Reid: I try. Keeping them busy is doing things that they love, you know. And if I can try and discover some things that they're passionate about, and help keep them busy, and pursuing those to achieve doing things that they love, I mean, it can't get better than that. And it's okay if they don't play tennis.
Corey Rieck: Well, passion is great word. It's a word that we're very fond of at our organization. And early on, you had a passion for tennis. How did you acquire that? And tell us a little bit about how that unfolded.
Jane Reid: Well, I think as long as I can remember, I had a tennis racket in my hand, wooden Bancroft probably as far back as my memory goes when I was just a toddler following my mom.
Corey Rieck: We are really dating ourselves now.
Jane Reid: But I owe this to my mom. Sure, she was committed to keeping us busy and involved, and she had a love for tennis, and I followed her. And after she would play, I would play, and that's where it started. And so, not only did it start with a love, but it started with, "I think I can play this, and maybe do well," and I kind of am wired to drive and achieve, especially with things that I'm passionate about.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. Well, your drive and your success with tennis led you to UGA, and you were a member there, and you were the captain, and there's a lot of things that you achieved there. And I think of all the things that I'm impressed with. I think, the fact that you were able to do well scholastically, and also be captain, and do all the things that you did at UGA, how do you do all that?
Jane Reid: I think I am just wired that way too. I'm just driven. I want to achieve, and I want to just be busy, and it's kind of hard to say. But the opportunities that were given at UGA, I took advantage of that, and I seized these opportunities.
Corey Rieck: Clearly.
Jane Reid: And they're not only opportunities to participate but to create additional opportunities that would open doors to position myself as an intern, let's say for Coach Dooley, that was first time ever, and I was so grateful for that, and spearheaded a lot of things that I wasn't afraid to step outside the box. And I think they fostered that there.
Corey Rieck: You were captain of the team too, right?
Jane Reid: I was.
Corey Rieck: What year was that?
Jane Reid: I think that was '96, '96-'97 year.
Corey Rieck: And you would have been what year in school?
Jane Reid: Sophomore? Sophomore, yes.
Corey Rieck: Why do you think that that happened so early on with you? Isn't that something that's sort of reserved for mostly seniors? Maybe the occasional junior?
Jane Reid: Sure. I guess so. And each year is such a unique situation that coaches -- the dynamic of eight girls on a team, the coach takes it. Jeff would take it one year at a time. And there's not just one set way that he chooses or a captain surfaces, but it was an opportunity. I was just a natural leader, and I wasn't the best on the team, but I did try hard, and I worked hard. And perhaps I was able to contribute more so maybe in a leadership capacity than in a playing capacity.
Corey Rieck: Well, that's pretty strong. I think that, certainly, a captain has to set the example. They have to set the work ethic. And didn't you win a couple of national championships as a team in Georgia while you were there?
Jane Reid: So, we won one national championship, the international championships.
Corey Rieck: What was that like?
Jane Reid: That was probably the highlight of my tennis career and to be able to share that with a team. My doubles partner, Lisa, is still one of my best friends today. And to be able to share that, and it actually came down to our match. And she was such an incredible leader. And I was a freshman, she was a senior. And so, it was an experience I am so grateful for. It was one that I can't believe we got through, but it's extremely vivid, and we relive it every year together on Facebook.
Corey Rieck: Does your team have reunions and get-togethers? Do you get together at the football games or anything like that?
Jane Reid: We do, we do. And Georgia tennis in Athens is just such the mecca of college tennis. And the facilities are incredible, and the traditions are incredible. And so, yes, every year there are gatherings at tailgating, and especially when tennis is held at NCW championship. Tennis championships are held in Athens. We all go.
Corey Rieck: Well, it sounds like the team, there was great camaraderie and a great spirit. Don't you think that that's required if you're going to do anything team-wise that there be a chemistry and that people all sort of be moving in the right direction?
Jane Reid: Absolutely. And that's probably one of the greatest gifts that I learned from my coach, Jeff Wallace, at Georgia, was his ability to build winning teams. And as a leader, that is just an incredible quality. And so, I aspired to be like that as a leader, whether I was an employee starting out, but to be able to really form a team that is aligned, and everyone has their role, very clear role, and that common goal, that's an extraordinary thing to be able to do.
Corey Rieck: Well, it seems like everybody recognizes their place from conversations that I've had with you. I think, to me, it speaks volumes that Coach Wallace wanted you to be the captain when you were a sophomore. I mean, so, obviously, early on the leadership, all those things were there. And it doesn't surprise me that you've done what you've done given that start.
Jane Reid: Thank you.
Corey Rieck: So, how many hours a day did you practice when you were at UGA roughly?
Jane Reid: Right. We were -- gosh, we'd have morning workouts, afternoon workouts. We'd have volunteer workouts. But it was usually probably two to three hours.
Corey Rieck: The volunteer had the air quotes in it.
Jane Reid: Okay, yeah. But it was a great balance. It was definitely our primary reason. That's the reason I went to Georgia was to play for Jeff, and to be a Bulldog, and it was just an amazing experience that I'll forever be grateful for.
Corey Rieck: How did you decide to go to UGA?
Jane Reid: I think that being from Atlanta, I got to see other girls from Atlanta that went on to play at Georgia, and they were always -- I always idolized them, the MacArthur twins especially. And so, it was just always a goal of mine to be able to earn a scholarship and play for UGA. I had the opportunity of looking at some other places, but my heart was always here. And when that opportunity was given, I took it.
Corey Rieck: That's really cool that you were able to capitalize on that. Now, we don't have time to talk about all the awards and everything that you did at UGA, but one thing that really stood out to me was you won the Arthur Ashe Sportsmanship Award. And Arthur Ashe is somebody that I think a great deal of. Tell us about that.
Jane Reid: The Arthur Ashe, goodness, it was so long ago. It was, I believe, an award that was given for those that demonstrate the leadership, the sportsmanship. And, again, it's an opportunity to recognize individuals that may not be the best, may not be number one on the team, but it does truly represent someone that contributes and is as important as any other teammate. And so, being able to step up from that sportsmanship, and being a leader, and a teammate all-encompassing, so to speak, it was a great honor.
Corey Rieck: What do you think your experience as an athlete, what do you think it's taught you? And how does it translate to business?
Jane Reid: The list, gosh, it's an endless list that being an athlete has taught me and has easily, easily transcends into the business world. One thing that sticks out, again, is my desire to build winning teams. I love that sense of achievement. And sharing in that success with all of my teammates, also known as employees, and realizing that every single person in an organization and on a team contributes in very meaningful ways.
And if you don't embrace that, and you don't encourage that, and you don't embody sort of that in your culture, it can create silos and people aren't on the same page in trying to strive towards achieving that common goal. So, it also has -- being an athlete, you learn how to lose, and rebound, and recover. And when you make mistakes, you have to, at some point in time in your life, realize that it is okay to make mistakes.
Corey Rieck: You've got to have a short memory.
Jane Reid: You do, and you have to let it go. And that mental toughness capacity, that skill set, that emotional intelligence, the ability to learn from those opportunities because someone once told me it's not a mistake unless you don't learn from it. So, the list could go on and on, but I think I've also realized more and more that maybe there's a hard wiring in me that, sometimes, doesn't settle and maybe doesn't allow myself to appreciate some of the victories that maybe I should pause and appreciate more, that being my hardest critic.
And that is something that as a coach, I want to help my teammates and my colleagues realize that you're going to stumble, and be vulnerable, and take chances, and take risks, but as long as you leave everything out on the court, as long as you've given your best, it's okay. I will say one more thing, and that is, really, in athletics and sports, you can't control the winning and losing. And that is a valuable lesson that I learned, and I use in the workplace today. You can only control the process and your efforts of what you put into it each and every day. So, for someone who is a bit on the control side of things-
Corey Rieck: No, this just-
Jane Reid: ... I have to be extremely mindful of that. But it's exciting to roll that out into the workplace.
Corey Rieck: What I've heard from you and what I've seen is that you strike me as a play-to-win person, aggressively pursuing the next victory, aggressively pursuing the next game; as opposed to I see a lot of teams, and I see a lot of people play not to lose. And that's a dangerous, dangerous place to be. And so, would you say that's a fair characterization?
Jane Reid: Absolutely fair. And that's the thing. Especially, that surfaces when you are -- maybe you're winning, and maybe you are in a little bit of a -- you've got to lead, or you've had a series of successes. Keeping that edge and keeping that sense of urgency and intensity that be grateful for exactly where you are in your lead but realize that the competition is nipping at your heels. And so, when I would play, my coach would often tell me, even if you're up for one, pretend you're down. Actually, pretend. And just tell yourself, "They are going to come back." And then, it keeps you on your toes, so that you don't let up because it can take one shot, one miss, and it can turn the momentum. And so, yes, that fear. And when that changes, you start playing in fear of not losing, instead of staying positive and keeping that momentum and energy towards playing to win.
Corey Rieck: Knowing you, I see there is, at least, two turning points early on at UGA that maybe had a big hand in shaping you. One is playing in the deciding game in the national championship. And, certainly, you won. And that, I think, has its own way of doing things. Had it turned out differently, that could also have its own sort of shaping. But do you think being captain, being named captain early on at such an early age, do you think that that was a turning point for you?
Jane Reid: I think it was from a sense of others believing in me. I struggled with sort of that self-confidence, which is why I think I worked so hard to try, and win, and achieve, as sometimes you would identify -- and it is not the greatest thing to do is to identify yourself with your achievements. That's not who you are. It's not who I am today. It has shaped me. But I think, -- yeah, I think it's all great, great experience, and that it has shaped me in who I am.
Corey Rieck: Well, you've certainly capitalized on it.
Jane Reid: Yeah.
Corey Rieck: And you did well scholastically while you were there, which is also unique. So, while we're on the subject of tennis, and I'm very interested and fascinated by it, I have to ask you a couple of questions related to the pros. One is, is Serena Williams the best tennis player ever, in your opinion?
Jane Reid: Not in my opinion. I think she could be definitely, definitely known as the greatest female tennis player of all time. There is no doubt. But in my definition, it's a little bit different. I still think Steffi Graf is probably. She had it all. While she wasn't necessarily a powerhouse and dominating, to me, she had it all. She had the poise. She had the grace. She had that emotional intelligence piece. She wouldn't get rattled. Not to mention countless grand slam titles. So, to me, in my definition of the greatest tennis players, is sort of more all encompassing versus just defined by how many titles you win.
Corey Rieck: How about on the men's side, who do you think will be the greatest men's player ever when it's all said and done?
Jane Reid: Federer, hands down. Federer. Yep, probably for the same reasons, quite frankly, as Steffi Graf. He’s got the composure, the mental toughness. And not to mention, their generous hearts because on and off the court, they're doing great things.
Corey Rieck: We certainly played in an era where there is some serious competition with Nadal and Djokovic, and, now, some of these other folks coming on. So, obviously, we could talk for a long time about all that. So, you get out of UGA, you have this great career, you have all these achievements. Then, you get out in the working world. How was that transition for you?
Jane Reid: It was very humbling.
Corey Rieck: How so?
Jane Reid: It was very humbling. I think there is this sort of you're looking through maybe some rose-colored glasses a little bit that, "Oh, you're leaving Georgia, and you had some great, great success there. That is just going to naturally transition into the real world.".
And I was so excited about the first opportunity I had, which was in fundraising consulting in a fundraising firm here downtown. And they would partner with mostly nonprofit organizations to help them with capital campaigns. Well, I thought, "Oh, well, my passion for fundraising," and we started the efforts to raise money for a new women's tennis facility. And it was an amazing experience. That would just transition into, "I'd be in the consulting role." Yeah, not so much. You're starting at the bottom and working your way up. And so, I quickly realized that I needed to pivot in order for me to really feel fulfilled in my career. So, with my passion for health care, selling, and solving problems really, I knew sales was for me. And so, I, then, set forth towards in the pharmaceutical and medical.
Corey Rieck: Well, you had a job with Pfizer. Tell us about your experience with them. And I mean, obviously, a great company, great training, great products. They've really helped a lot of people.
Jane Reid: Hands down. Probably the best experience career-wise from a training leadership development. And I was there just under two years. And I'm so grateful for that experience. Again, I think it's just in my nature to kind of see what opportunities might be in front of me to sort of move the ball down the field, so to speak. And there is an opportunity to go into medical devices, which I was so passionate about because my junior year, actually, I took a red shirt, and I had back surgery. And right after school, they ended up discovering I had a deformity, so I had a two-level spine fusion. And it just so happens that I ended up working for a distributor that sold J&J, Johnson & Johnson-
Corey Rieck: Great company.
Jane Reid: .. spinal implants.
Corey Rieck: Another great company.
Jane Reid: Amazing. And I was selling actually the implants that were in my spine. So, again, I was able to pair that-
Corey Rieck: So, you had zero credibility with your clients, right?
Jane Reid: I know, right? And it was really neat to be able to kind of pair my passion for health care and wellness and do what I was doing each and every day - selling and making a career.
Corey Rieck: How was selling for Pfizer different than selling for J&J?
Jane Reid: Well, I would say that when you are -- the financial model was very different, you're on base salary plus bonus. When I was with J&J in medical devices, straight commission, 100% commission. So, that mindset was very, very different, off the bat when it comes to your day to day. However, the intensity and the expectations were all very similar. Not as much creative freedom in how you build relationships and sell day to day, much more sort of creative leadership in the medical device side, but it was absolutely exactly what I needed at that point in my life. And I still use so much of what I learned today.
Corey Rieck: Well, they sound like they're very different, and they each had a big hand in shaping your history and your background. I know that having been in pharmaceutical sales and implantable medical devices, they do provide a lot of great, great training. Training from a standpoint of product and how to interact with people on how to build your day, all things that will translate probably to the things that you're doing now.
Jane Reid: Without a doubt. And the best experience, I think, I had was absolutely being thrown to the wolves in covering spine cases with neurosurgeons, orthopedic spine surgeons. And the best thing that I ever learned was to always be prepared with three different contingency plans. You have your plan A. And if surgeon gets in, and he says, "Uh-oh, we got to take a different approach," you got your plan B, and then a plan C that is most likely going to be able to help that surgeon do the best job he can for his patient. So, I learned that from a colleague of mine. And I'll be, again, forever grateful from learning from those.
Corey Rieck: Great advice there.
Jane Reid: Yeah, always be prepared, and that's what we do. And always have a fallback position. Always have a rollback. Especially with technology this day and age, and of innovating, turning off one system and turning on another is a bit scary. So, I've learned a lot about always sort of innovate, but yet you have your fallback position, so you don't disrupt your business.
Corey Rieck: And as a leader, you have to be able to say "Okay, if we're going to take this attack, but if that doesn't go the way that we think it does, what's the next step? How do we pivot?" And having two or three contingencies, I concur 100% with that. From Johnson & Johnson, you ended up going to Square 1 Art.
Jane Reid: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Corey Rieck: Tell us about that organization, and your multiple roles there, and what they do.
Jane Reid: Sure. I was so blessed with the opportunity to have entrepreneurs as parents. I watched from a very, very young age the incredible work ethic of my parents. My mother, a teacher, often working a couple of additional jobs from creating her own drapery business and jewelry business to help, again, provide and give my brother and I the experiences that we were given. My dad traveling, having also a couple of businesses that he had ownership in. That didn't work out for him, but he and my mom seized an opportunity, to create an opportunity, and absolutely tackled it, and that was to live that dream of being a business owner. And for, gosh, almost 20 years now, that's where Square 1 Art started. And it's still thriving today. And after I had about, I guess, 10 years in my own career, give or take, it made a lot of sense for me that I could contribute in some pretty meaningful ways from a sales standpoint, leadership standpoint, and came in to Square 1, and ended up running the company.
Corey Rieck: That's not surprising either. Tell us about what exactly does Square 1 Art do.
Jane Reid: Yeah, it's a fabulous company. Basically, they partner with elementary school art educators or PTO/PTA presidents-
Corey Rieck: Cool.
Jane Reid: ... who are wanting to, not only promote the visual arts, but also to help raise money and fund raise. So, what would happen is the children would create their own little masterpiece. It would be that Square 1 Art would then digitize that, put that into a personalized catalog with a free set of stickers for the kiddos, that would go home to mom and dad. They'd think, "Oh my goodness, the best gifts ever." Mugs for grandpa. And then, about a third of whatever the parents ordered went right back to the school. So, it was keepsakes that parents can cherish forever but, also, meaningful dollars that go to support the visual arts, which is desperately needed.
Corey Rieck: Very, very clever. How did your mom and dad get the idea to do that?
Jane Reid: There was already an existing similar business model out there. However, my mom and dad knew that they could do it in a much better way, easier way for those art teachers. And my mom being an art teacher, she knew the day-to-day grind, and that it's got to be simple, it's got to be straightforward, and it's got to be quality. So, yeah. I did my best to come in, and my mom was an incredible role model and instilled a lot of me, and my dad too. So, I, for, gosh, 12 years, had the ability to contribute I think in really meaningful ways until it was time to go.
Corey Rieck: It seems like -- do you think that your mom's history of playing tennis, and being entrepreneurial, and a work ethic, multiple jobs -- I mean, it seems that there is a lot of similarities between the two of you. Would that be fair to say?
Jane Reid: Absolutely, yes. Yeah.
Corey Rieck: And it seems like you've benefited tremendously by that.
Jane Reid: Definitely. Very grateful for those characteristics and in ways that I've -- what she's instilled in me and my dad too.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. Well, it sounds like you guys spent a lot of time together either competing tennis,, building something. It sounds like you came by this entrepreneurial thing kind of naturally.
Jane Reid: Yeah.
Corey Rieck: But was there a jumping off point where you decided, "Hey, I have to run a company?" or "I have to do something entrepreneurial?" Was there some turning point that you can point to that led you here?
Jane Reid: I don't think that there was just one aha moment that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I think my parents really instilled in me almost that work ethic and that passion for being an entrepreneur of like even if I'm an employee of a company, I'm going to take ownership of my role, and contribute at the highest level possible, and see where that not only takes the team, the company, but also creates additional opportunities for myself to elevate in my career. And that just seemed to be a pattern for me. And especially, creating something really special, and achieving greatness, and sharing that with the team is just something that I knew I needed a new challenge. And the opportunity with Can You Imagine? was just an absolute perfect place for me to land after a very difficult decision of leaving the family business.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. Well, it seems like you had a lot of great experiences that -- well, to say it differently, there was a lot of opportunities, and you capitalized on them. I mean, many people get led to the door, but they don't walk through it. I don't see that that's ever happened with you where you didn't walk through the door of an opportunity that was presented. So, tell us about Can You Imagine? and kind of what you're doing, and tell us about that experience now.
Jane Reid: Sure. I am in my first year as CEO at Can You Imagine? And this is a pretty remarkable company that does great things.
Corey Rieck: It seems so.
Jane Reid: It is such a feel-good company. And hats off to the founder and owner, Jennifer Verdecchia. As 24 years ago, you talk about just the quintessential entrepreneur, she absolutely went for it at a very young age, right out of college. And together, she and her husband, over the past 24 years, have really created something special. And she is also a mother of four boys and wanted to create some balance. And so, she wanted to elevate herself. And it was time to really set the stage for Can You Imagine? to go to the next level. And investing in a position like mine and in me, I am so grateful for. And this opportunity is the sky's the limit. And we've already done some amazing things. The team, the people are fantastic, but it's exciting.
Corey Rieck: Are there similarities from the last business?
Jane Reid: It's definitely in the creative space. I mean, gift-giving is something that not only makes the recipient happy and feel cared about but the person who is giving the gift.
Corey Rieck: Yes.
Jane Reid: That sense of pride, and that we created this opportunity to make this person feel special, whether it was with a ham turkey on a mug made by a kindergartner or the intent behind taking care of our greatest asset, which is our people and our residents that our clients that we primarily serve in the property management space, that is their very critical mission of their day-to-day operations is making sure that their residents have that living experience at their community that is second to none. And so, how do you enhance that, strengthen those connections with your residents? Gifts are just an amazing way to do that.
Corey Rieck: Well, I always wondered when I happened upon those -- excuse me -- those gift baskets, I always wondered where they came from, sort of what goes into doing it. And it seems like it's obviously a great business for you.
Jane Reid: It's a great business. And not only can we go deeper and wider within the multi-family industry but there's certainly other channels that we look forward to tapping into. But I'm a big believer in let's really stick to what we know best, and perfect that the best we can, and then scale and grow. And so, with that being said, it's such an exciting time for this company. And I'm just grateful for the opportunity to lead the way.
Corey Rieck: You mentioned a couple of words - scalable, growth. What plans and how do you scale a business like Can You Imagine? Because do you do just residential related work or I mean do you go into corporate America and buy executive gifts for folks? I mean, is that of interest to your organization?
Jane Reid: Absolutely. All of the above. There is a very easy-
Corey Rieck: Easy is good.
Jane Reid: Our solution that we provide business leaders and their teams, it truly is a B2B service. And really, any business leader, or team leader, or property manager who really values building and strengthening connections with their clients and/or residents, people who refer business to them, a token of appreciation, welcoming them properly, all of that can just -- it builds really meaningful connections. And we all know that when you have a strong connection and a strong relationship, regardless of whether it's a client or a spouse, good things happen. And so, you can build upon that, and that's what we do. We're in the business of making people happy through affordable handcrafted gifts that truly speak "I care about you and I hope this makes you feel good."
Corey Rieck: I think that's very, very important. I'm going to make the assumption that you can provide counsel on whoever is thinking about using your services to send a corporate gift of some sort. You will be able to say, "Hey, here's some ideas for a referral. Thank you," or "Here's an idea for referral that comes from a client." Can you speak to any of that and what your perspective is there?
Jane Reid: Definitely. We have our team of gifting consultants, if you will. Have been on our team over 20 years at Can You Imagine? So, the amount of experience and the creative design to make and offer a custom gifting solution for your particular company is what we do, whether that's a combination of drinkware that is branded with your company's logo on it, or not including any branded items because we do feel that a gift still needs to be a gift. And there is an appropriate level of branded items that were there to-
Corey Rieck: I would deal with that.
Jane Reid: ... highlight your brand, highlight and strengthen your brand, and the experience you're trying to give, and be recognized for, that brand recognition in the community, and among the apartment community, branded items are paramount. It's an incredible tool to be able to do that. At the same time, a nice balance of both within a gift, a personalized gift, is what we try to achieve for our clients.
Corey Rieck: I would agree that there is certainly a fine line in there about branding and in giving a gift. I mean because, ultimately, whoever you give the gift to, they're going to know who it came from, they're going to know why you sent. I mean, am I wrong? Have I missed something here?
Jane Reid: No. And you know what?
Corey Rieck: Oh, good. I've been right. Mark this down, Sanjay. I'm right once today.
Sanjay Toure: I got you.
Jane Reid: It's not necessarily about us making our mark on the gifts that we give. There's a little bit of that, but we are in the business of making our clients look good, and make it easy, and streamlined to give great gifts. So often, we hear time and time again that property managers and business leaders, they have their do-it-yourself gifts. Well, our sort of kind of response to that is, why DIY when you can CYI? And Can You Imagine, CYI is here to. . .
Corey Rieck: Very good.
Jane Reid: It's really there to relieve that administrative burden of procuring the best branded items that are appropriate for your community or your business but, also, with a great variety that complement the branded items with true gifts. So, we're sort of that one-stop shop for -- we're in the business of giving gifts and promotional items that make sense.
Corey Rieck: What role, if any, does technology play in marketing and getting the word out about your organization now?
Jane Reid: The role of technology in getting the word out about our organization, social media and definitely technology in the form of user-friendly CRMs, and one of my favorites is Salesforce or HubSpot. It transformed our business where I previously came from. I mean, the ability to do more and create more with less on our side of the business from systems and processes to really hone in on offering that consistent, timely, awesome customer experience that we're so committed to delivering on. If you don't have the technical tools to do that, you're just going to have to continue to throw more man hours and bodies at the solution, and we all know what that can do. It introduces errors, it introduces delays, things like that. But that's an evolution, that's a process.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. Yeah. So, social media it seems like it does play a role in your organization in terms of branding and getting the word out. What do you think -- what gives you the most satisfaction in your current role?
Jane Reid: I mean, the first thing that comes to my mind, and I'm a straight shooter here, is our people, and sharing in that success, and building upon the amazing 24 years that Can You Imagine? has already -- the history that they have is amazing. But together, our teams are so committed to that next version of Can You Imagine? and being able to do that together, everyone playing a role. And we've had some really great wins so far. And so, even in a short time, that's why it's so easy to say that our people are truly are my greatest asset within our company. And so, I guess we walk our talk.
Corey Rieck: Well, you must be doing some things right if you've had people there for 15, or 20 years, or more. I mean, that's a really, really important factor. Would you agree having the longevity in the-
Jane Reid: I would, I would. And it's something that my business owner has really put on my mind. And so, each day, I'm very intentional about honoring the legacy, honoring the old, if you will, the older ways.
Corey Rieck: Careful, some of us are old.
Jane Reid: No, I know. And when I say old, I mean the previous processes, and systems, and respecting the hard work that has gotten the company to where it is today. And then, sitting in that, learning, truly understanding all of the whys as to how we do things, the way we do them and why, and then building upon that. And I think that might be why we've managed through some pretty good change so far. And not a lot of people like change, especially who have been there a long, long time. Change is not always easy. It's kind of a four-letter word to some people. And I'm here, and my promise and my commitment is that it's not going to be. It's going to be fantastic and appropriate pace, if you will.
Corey Rieck: What do you suppose is Can You Imagine's? biggest challenge?
Jane Reid: I don't know that I think it's the same challenge, if you will, or opportunity, really, as any other growing business. I mean, we're growing fast. And so, that can come with some challenges. Keeping up with the technology, making sure that it's current, so that at the end of the day, we can always deliver on that customer experience that Jennifer and her husband have worked so hard to create these past couple of decades. So, it's kind of like as your company is growing, your plane is in the air, and it's like trying to replace the engine while it's in the air. It's like giving it a new paint job while it's in the air. It's hard to do.
Corey Rieck: And not crashing.
Jane Reid: And not crash. So, it's managing change.
Corey Rieck: Not crashing would be optimal.
Jane Reid: Truly. I mean, it's just so true that managing change, and especially improving your systems and processes, whether you need to rip and replace certain things, it's really about managing those projects with the least amount of business disruption. And so, having that true strategic plan ironed out, and everybody aligned towards that's our goal is to achieve that strategic plan, then all the decisions we make on a daily basis, whenever we need help making a decision, that our north is "Okay, does this decision, if we do this, does this help us get closer to our mission of achieving our strategic plan?"
Corey Rieck: It seems to me the culture, you've done a very good job of continuing the culture that's been set forth in Can You Imagine? What are your thoughts on it? It seems one of the takeaways that I have from listening to you is that the people that work there are empowered. Is that fair?
Jane Reid: It absolutely is, and I hope so, and I hope they feel that way. I really believe in feedback and checking in. But I also know that in my role, you're not always going to hear the truth. Sometimes, people are going to tell you what you want to hear sometimes. And I realize that. So, I really, really take pride in my leadership style of being a real inclusionary leader, present, real, vulnerable. I own my mistakes. I ask for help. What do you recommend?
And that real collaboration across the entire organizational chart, I think, by nature, empowers people because I do want to know what they think, what they recommend when it comes to, "Look, you use this system, or you own this process, how could we make this better?" The answers are within our team. And when you can pull that out and make it safe for them to contribute in ways that maybe they've never been asked to, I think great things, special things happen. And that's how you create a real special family and bond. And I think that's what Jennifer and Drew have done so well. And I hope I can continue that for the future.
Corey Rieck: It seems like you've used your team experience from your UGA days, and it seems to have served you very, very well in maybe, not necessarily taking your ideas to do things, but taking the best ideas no matter who it comes from. Do you think that's a fair assessment?
Jane Reid: Absolutely. If you're in the business of being wanting to be right all the time, you're not in the right role. And it's certainly not going to be a fit for my team. And so, yeah, that mindset around truly, truly allowing people to contribute in ways that are natural, authentic. And I just want them to feel cared about, so that they want to contribute and go the extra mile because I will do it for them. And so, I think that helps be able to live our day-to-day mission each day.
Corey Rieck: Authentic is another way that I would use to describe you as well. I think that's invaluable to have as a leader or being a part of a team. Even if you're not the best player on the team, part of being authentic could be being the best prepared, or the one that plays the hardest, or the one that shows up the earliest. What is the ideal client for your organization? I mean, if somebody were to say "Gee, what a great idea. I'd like to send to somebody. I'd like to send her a client," what would it look like?
Jane Reid: Sure. Our primary niche and who we serve is in the multi-family industry. And-
Corey Rieck: Is there a certain size or?
Jane Reid: So, really no. Property management companies, whether they own hundreds of apartment communities or 10. We work with property management companies and property managers on a one-on-one basis or on a corporate level. We have some pretty incredible services, and solutions, and value to contribute when it comes to providing a comprehensive gifting solution to truly drive that living experience they want for their residents. So, our ideal client is truly property managers, leaders within those organizations that already believe in the value of gifting, that they do believe in appreciating their employees, and appreciating their residents, making them feel cared about.
And if they are -- primarily, we partner with their marketing teams. We become an extension to their staff. We're sort of that concierge all-in-one providing gifting solutions but also the promotional branded items in very low quantities, very low minimums, which is of great benefit for our clients because, then, they don't have to order a year's worth of pens or promotional items.
Corey Rieck: And it's all online and-
Jane Reid: Yes. And so, yeah, everyone can go to our website, canyouimagine.com, and see what we do. But we're much more than the gifts. We're much more than just a branded logo'd pen or a coffee cup. Our partnership, and our experience, and our creativity can truly help make your gifting opportunities one of a kind and exclusive to your companies and to your communities.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. Clearly, your organization is not like others, and you're not like anybody else leading it. You're on the Tuesdays with Corey Show here. We endeavor to get female executives and leaders that are giving back to their communities, that are having success. And everybody on here is vetted pretty heavily, and everyone on here is very successful that we have. Otherwise, they don't make it on the show. And one of the things I always ask everybody is, what sets you apart? And tell the listenership, what sets Jane Reid apart?
Jane Reid: What sets me apart, perhaps, as a leader in my organization is that the path you're wanting me to go down, or what sets me apart is that I am real, I am as authentic as it gets, and I truly care like no other leader. And I want my teams to always feel that each and every day. And so, whether that sets me apart, I don't know. I just know that that's who I am, and I think it's working for me. And the ability to kind of be vulnerable and real to build those strong connections, so that, truly, the foundation of winning teams is connection.
And I do think that my passion for making sure that we are -- Stu Thorn was, I believe, the CEO of South Wire, and he's not there anymore, but I heard him speak one time. And he said something very, very -- it just hit home, that as a business leader and as a business, we should take advantage of the opportunity to, not only serve our internal customers and our employees, but serve our community.
And so, having a balance and a mission of both serving, offering that client experience, but also contributing to our community experience as well. And what that has done to our culture in my previous company, as well as what it is going to do and is already taking shape doing, it's transformational to people, by helping others who can't help themselves and coming together and doing that. So, to me, again, I don't know if that sets me apart. It just helps further define kind of who I am. And so-
Corey Rieck: So, said differently, it seems that it's very, very important for you to not only certainly help your clients and derive the revenue from that but also to give back, to take a portion of that and give back with your time to the community to various things that resonate with you.
Jane Reid: Yes.
Corey Rieck: And what charities or organizations resonate with you and with Can You Imagine?
Jane Reid: Sure. I appreciate you asking that question because for me, personally, my oldest son has high-functioning autism, and it's been a journey. And so, the autism community and giving back, especially to Children's Health Care of Atlanta, the Marcus Autism Center.
Corey Rieck: Great organization.
Jane Reid: When I am able to give, I am going to give. And to that organization, I do in ways that I can. But it's not just of money, it's time, it's resources of others. And so, the autism community is very near and dear to me, but also a recent -- I serve on the board for Special Pops Tennis, and it is-
Corey Rieck: What is that?
Jane Reid: An absolute phenomenal organization here in Atlanta, founded by Jim Hamm, and who simply has a love for tennis and a passion for helping individuals with differences, intellectual differences, many on the autism spectrum, the opportunity to sort of have their grand slam moment, training moments through tennis. And Special Pops Tennis, they offer training facilities -- training facilities, let me correct that. There's practices at facilities that offer and donate the use of their balls and their courts all over Atlanta. And so, it is just an amazing organization.
My boys and I, we volunteered for the main tournament in September, which is coming up. And the joy it brought my family, myself, and to see my boys contribute and helping others. They were ball boys. And so, they would help these individuals, whether they were in a wheelchair or some sort of difference that didn't -- where they could use some help. And I've never seen such a look of fulfillment on my boys. And I just knew that this was an organization I needed to be a part of. So, I've joined their board. And, obviously, tennis is a passion of mine, individuals with special needs are as well, and pairing this together is a perfect fit.
Corey Rieck: Well, there is something that happens I think within someone when you give something, whether it's your time, whether it's resources, money to less fortunate folks. I think there is something to that. If you could give the younger version of Jane some advice and some insight, what would that be?
Jane Reid: The younger version of Jane, if I were to go back, I think, I would, number one, pat myself on the back a little bit more.
Corey Rieck: Do you have enough time for that?
Jane Reid: Well-
Corey Rieck: Because you did a lot when you were younger.
Jane Reid: I think. And, really, what I mean by that is, sometimes, even some of my accomplishments were never good enough. And so, I think I would go back, and I would pat myself on the back in a way that, "Jane, good job," and kind of empowering and encouraging myself versus not allowing myself to embrace some of the victories that really are pretty significant. And I would also just say that as far as if I were to believe, just truly believe in yourself at a young age as much as you can, I wish I had more so earlier on. But you know what, that's the beauty of parents, that's the beauty of coaches, and that's the beauty of bosses is that, sometimes, they just know when to believe in you more than you do to bring out the best in you. So, maybe I wouldn't do anything different.
Corey Rieck: And hindsight is 20/20, of course. If there was a young lady that wanted to follow in your footsteps, what would you tell her?
Jane Reid: Goodness. Gravitate towards those who you want to emulate, who inspire you, find mentors, become a mentor as you're growing in your career. I tell you, being a mentor for some of the students at KSU over the past few years, I think, I truly gained more from mentoring them and their inspiration to me than maybe they did from me. But I have a few people in my life that are lifelong mentors that have really helped shape who I am today.
Corey Rieck: Well, that's really, really great advice. Jane, you've been a great guest. It's been a great time to talk about all of your successes. If one of the listeners or if the listenership wanted to get a hold of you or your company to talk further about how you might help them, how would they do that?
Jane Reid: Absolutely. My cell phone is 404-668-4040. My e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. And you can always just go to our website or follow us on Facebook or LinkedIn. I'm just all about helping others achieve their mission of giving that perfect gift within the budget that makes sense for them. And it would be an absolute honor to help any of our listeners. So, please feel free to contact me personally, and our team will take great care of them.
Corey Rieck: Well, Jane, you've been a great guest. It's been fun to get to know you and to have you on the show. Congratulations on your past success and continued success going forward. Thanks again.
Jane Reid: Thank you.