Welcome to the FinLyt by EWA podcast. FinLyt stands for financial literacy spelled L -Y -T with the word catalyst attached to it. Catalyst is a big value add that our firm does for our clients. It’s having tough conversations and making sure that recommendations actually get implemented.
So in this episode, we are joined by Chiara Hughes. Chiara has one of the most amazing stories. And so what we talk about is two components of this podcast. Number one is giving back financial literacy on complicated topics that we deal with with clients.
And the second component is talking to actual clients, hearing their amazing stories. We have the privilege of working with so many amazing people that have done so many great things in their life and had such positive impacts on the world and society.
And so hearing their story and then hearing some of the financial planning that they’ve done and how it has directly impacted their life. So Keata is going to share one of the most amazing stories I’ve ever heard of how she gets to where she is.
Talks about some character traits that she developed that helped her achieve this great success and build wealth. And those would be vulnerability, being her authentic self, overcoming imposter syndrome, and building an incredible network.
And then on the flip side, Keata helped helped a very large tech company, IPO, in the last 10 years. And so, she, like many other executives that we work with, have a very large concentrated stock position, and the company is their given stock options in our SUs.
And Keyata avoided a multi -million dollar mistake by getting out of the stock while it was close to its all -time high, and had she not done that, it would have costed her millions of dollars. So, super excited to share Keyata’s story and how that financial decision then is a catalyst now into what’s gonna be the rest of her life and all of the great she’s gonna do for everybody.
So, thanks for joining us, and hope you find some value in this episode. Well, thanks for joining Keyata. I’m super excited to get through this. You have, in my opinion, one of the most amazing stories, so I can’t wait to share that with people.
So, thanks for joining. No, happy to do it. Happy to not only help you in any way that I can, because I owe you so much, but also happy. No, seriously, I do. And happy to share my story because it’s a crazy one.
And also, I just think that my whole platform is women should own who they are and they should go for it. And so I did. And so if one other human decides to go for it, then this is a good thing. Awesome.
Well, let’s rewind. I kind of just want to progress through your story and life. So let’s think back pre -age of 18, early years of life. What do we need to know about Kiata that helped you become where you’re at today?
I was born actually in the suburb of Pittsburgh, which is ultimately the convoluted way that you and I met. And my younger sister and I were ultimately raised by a single mother and her extended very large, loud and hilarious Italian family.
And my mother met my and married my stepfather when I was eight years old. I have three sisters. We’re all extremely different. I attended Allegheny College in Meadville and I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in polypsy with a minor in Spanish.
I thought I was going to be a lawyer, but my heart was not in that because the two, the options to go were either too boring or too litigious and I didn’t want to do either of those. So yeah, I just had to do what I needed to do to be heard in my loud family.
And then that just became, and we’re from a very matriarchal family, like with seven sisters. My mom was one of seven girls. And so the women kind of control our family. And so that is just how it started.
I just, that’s how it started. So then so thought you’re going to get a law school and then what did you do upon immediately? after graduating college? So, so it, so I, I graduated from college and I was, I was going to go to law school and I was like, I need to take a year off.
Allegheny College, I don’t know if I mean, I think it’s still this way, is extremely difficult to graduate from. It just is. You have to write a comprehensive project. It’s like getting a master’s degree.
It’s crazy. So I was burnout and I needed a break. And so I decided to give my a recruiter reached out to me, Ruth, she said, well, oh, no, before I did that, I decided I couldn’t find out what I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do.
I was working at the GAP. And with Dellen Reed reached out to me to become a financial advisor. And I started, I took my series six and 63 was studying for my series seven. And I was like, Oh, I hate this is so boring.
And so I quit doing it and just was working at the GAP. And this recruiter, Ruth, reached out to me, I’d never even known that recruiting was a thing. She reached out to me and she said, I have a job for an executive assistant to an insurance agent because you have executive assistance experience because I’d help my dad run with his company and I worked at a bank for all my breaks for college and through high school.
And she’s like, and you have your insurance certification. You’re like the perfect fit for this person. And I was like, okay. And they said he has a very strong personality and it’s a lot, but like your personality is strong enough to stand up to him.
So I went to work at Northwestern Mutual Life and became Dave’s insurance assistant and had a great time doing my job, learning my job and poking Dave. And how long were you there? Oh, you know, it’s so long ago now, let’s not date me.
So I think it was there two years. And then how did that like, I know how things were recently, I’m sure, 20 years ago or so is I can guess, but how did that like, how did that experience help you segue into the next thing that you were doing?
Like what do you have any big like lessons learned being within that? Yeah, so here’s the thing. Our office had just gotten email, literally just got an email. Like there was no, we were just using email to like, and I was a huge proponent of that, right?
That’s the first thing. So I’ve always been very tech forward. And then second, there were no women and there were no women agents. It’s very male dominated industry. Male dominated field, no women agents, all of the secretaries and assistants were the women.
And I even remember I was 24 or 23 and I was like, this is BS, like this is like, but like, I didn’t think to just shake the status quo. Like I just was doing my job and I figured I could, I could learn from one of the best, Dave’s like one of the best of the world.
I could learn from one of the best, for the best and if I wanted to do that I had a career path, right? But here’s the thing, I worked really hard. I worked really hard. This particular boss is very demanding and specific.
It’s not just that he requires a high level of execution, he’s very specific in how it has to be executed. So I had to learn how to do my job very well, almost better than everybody else and cater to personality types and to a certain process and I was like, there’s got to be a better way.
And he didn’t treat me like most assistants don’t call and sell policies or work on selling policies, but I could because I had my insurance license, right? So I would call and one of the things I figured out is, so I was like, wait a minute, you have to get an insurance exam for Northwestern like, yes, I was like, But if you have a policy from your dad or your grandfather or your mother or your grandmother, you’re literally grandfathered in.
And if you want to buy more insurance, piggybacked off that policy, you don’t have to go through another exam, right? And Dave’s like, yeah, I go, so I’m going to start calling all the people my age who don’t want to go through an exam due to their lifestyle choices and see if they want insurance.
And that’s what I did. And I was successful doing that to this day, two of my very best friends, I met through doing that. So Dave just appreciated the, hey, why don’t we like, I’ve that’s, that’s actually, if you could like, put a heading above my head for my whole career, when I walk into a room, it’s literally gonna be, hey, I have an idea or hey, why don’t we?
And that’s, that’s it. Like, you know, there’s two types of people in the world, those who think of all the ways to make something work. And then those people who want to shoot down the ways to make something work, I’m of the first half, right?
Like, so anyway, and I had no phone fear. I mean, Dave made me just pick up the phone, like I, and we’re talking about money, like big money people. So I had no fear of the phone. I had no, and you know, Dave’s pushy, like, they’re you successful for a reason.
So I was like, well, if he can do it, and it’s successful, wildly successful, I can do it. And so that’s how. So I got to be very organized, very innovative. I had to be efficient in how my processes work to get everything done.
And I learned to not be afraid. So I think a lot of that translated as we get through this just to like, how you got to where you are today. Do you think that that start is where a lot of those characteristics came from?
Or like, early back on to like, you being like, younger in life, even like, where do you think that all started? Well, so here’s the thing. I, what’s very interesting is I had, I was like an odd kid.
Okay. So I, first of all, I wasn’t very extroverted. I was within my family because we were all like, loud Italian people, like we had to be, but like, I didn’t have a ton of friends in elementary school.
I had a friend. two or three good ones, same as in high school. I was kind of introverted in high school. Again, introverted with my peer group, but extroverted in class. And even at a very young age, I was like, what do I want to do with my life?
Like literally, like I knew I wanted to do fun stuff and make money and travel and do all these crazy things. So I was like, how am I going to do it? So I literally, high school, didn’t care, just the way to get into college.
College didn’t care, just the way to get out into the world. So I was very pragmatic in all of my approaches, even at a really young age. Like I was like, okay, I’m member of the gifted class at my high school, but everybody here is smart.
It was an awesome high school. Everybody’s smart. So how am I going to stand out? So I was the president of the computer club, the president of the Spanish club, the president of the honor society, and also a 4 .2 grade point average, right?
But I, and I was a member of the debate team, the diving team and the basketball team. So, I was like any if I so and I knew I had to take my SATs, right? So it’s like if I’m gonna stand out I’ve got to have great grades and I’ve had I have to have all the extracurriculars and I did plus I was a candy striper at the hospital like I you name it I did it because I was like I’m gonna make it hard to say no to me.
Yeah, and that’s what I did I um and it was also because like my parents my mom owned her own beauty salon my dad owned his own collection agency We were very entrepreneurial in our family and very much like pull yourself up your bootstraps and go So I think it’s same across the country, but I think it’s changed Change now, but when I was younger at age 13 if it was a family owned business you could go to work Legally and get paid.
I Turned 13 went straight to my dad’s office. Wow straight. I started stuffing in the owner collection agency, right? And a repo business I went straight to the phone stuffed envelopes if he said stuff 50 envelopes I stuffed 100 he said do it by 11 I did it by 10 o ‘clock because it’s my dad and he was not the easiest So I think it came from Constantly putting myself in situations where I had to prove myself I had to figure it out Yeah, I had to figure it out I had to figure out not just a way to do my job But I need to figure out a way to do my job that was so excellent that there was never any doubt that it was excellent Yeah, yeah, no, that’s an incredible skill set and like just being able to adopt that mindset is I mean most people never you never do that But let’s think then so I think this is a good segue that you so left the insurance agency And then you just packed your car and drove across country, right?
I did but like so I did but let’s think about how that happened like So yes, I was at the insurance agency and and I have a few mentors in my life, right? And one of them is this person Doug I’ll call him that at the time he worked at Northwestern and he he quit to become, he quit.
And he was quite a character, like, to this day, again, one of the few people that Dave stays in touch with is this person as well, because he was such a character, like this guy is like a case study on like an interesting human.
And Ian and I were really good friends and he left the company and all of a sudden I get a call and he’s like, Hughes, I was like, what’s up? And he said, hey, you should be a tech recruiter. Like, hey, you should just buy a Maserati.
Like at this point, you’re considering going to law school, right? Is that what you wanted? Yeah, I was still, by that time, I’d been at Northwestern for over a year and I was like, nah, I’m not going to law school.
I decided I wasn’t gonna go because I didn’t want to do contract law and I didn’t want to do litigation. And so I was like, there’s gotta be something I can do and I just, nothing was right for me. Like nothing was, so here’s what I did discover at Northwestern, I can sell.
Like I’m a natural born sales person. Like I just by hanging out. How do you do that? I think learning to sell is like if you that translates into so many different aspects of business, like whether you’re selling, if you’re running a company selling your vision, whether you’re selling an employee to become hired, obviously when you’re recruiting, you’re selling and it just sales in like a different aspect.
In my opinion is like the most valuable business, like character, trade or skill set, whatever you want to call it that you can develop. I agree. Do you think Northwest met, you really just learned that from picking up the phone at Northwestern and just calling the pop.
I did. So just getting out and doing it and figuring it out. Well, there’s a blend of it. Yes, doing and figuring it out because I had to, but let’s not forget, it’s one thing to sell in a vacuum, but if you’re sitting six feet away from one of the best salesmen you’ve ever met in your life, Yeah.
You hear what he’s doing and saying. And then also, you can listen to someone do that, but if they’re not successful, you lose heart in it. He was wildly successful. He has been wildly successful for like 50 years.
Like, it’s not just listening to the master, it’s listening to the master make a shit ton of money. Yeah. And have his clients come back and back and back and back. So then I was like, oh, not only here’s how you do it, but here’s how you do it well and it will pay off.
Right? So that was the other thing. I was like, oh, so I go to law school, I get in debt for law school, and then I go and I’m making shit money as a junior associate, and then I’m gonna bill 80 hours a week, stressing myself out.
Like everybody thinks, oh, you go to be a doctor or a lawyer and you make money, especially at the time, that’s what you heard when I was in, it’s like 1992, 1996. And so, but that was not the case. All my friends who went to law school were in debt and miserable.
Yeah. And I was like, oh, that doesn’t sound great. So yeah, but like selling, like even when people ask me today, even I did a… a panel about a month ago for this women’s jumpstart program in Phoenix.
And one of the questions was about segueing into tech. I get that question all the time. And I love to talk about it. And I’m like, okay, okay, if you really love tech and you’re kind of you’re like a nerd and you want to do it, man, do it.
However, if you just think that’s where the money is, don’t do that, go sell something. Yeah. So you can like build if you’re built, you can build a tech but like, then you have to sell out to somebody articulate the value to another person.
Someone has to buy like two different skill sets. Yeah. No, I totally agree. Definitely sell, sell before tech. Yeah. So then so learning to sell and again. Yeah, I got sidetracked. So learning to sell.
But here’s the thing, like, I don’t feel like I’m I sell like I again, you this is now beneficial because you’ve known me now for a while. This personality is who I am no matter who I talk to. Yeah. And since it’s very authentic and very like who I am, I just don’t have time for BS anymore, I just talk and hang out.
And if I authentically think this is a good idea for someone, I will tell them so and here’s why. If I don’t, I don’t. So for me, it was never selling. It was literally providing someone a better option for what they needed to do.
And I feel like everybody wants that. If you’re convicted and you’re solving a problem that they have, it’s not selling. Like you’re bettering the life. Yeah, and I think there’s a fun. Yeah, and I think like intentionality is everything too.
Like you have people that sell things with the wrong intention and that’s what it’s like goes south. But fascinating. And then I, yes, I love the, there’s this book called The Third Door. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it, but you basically like it says like success is like getting into a nightclub.
So the first, you have the first door where like people wait in line and they’ll eventually get in. And you have the second door which is like the VIP entrance. And so in that door, you have the people that are like born into money that are like, you know, walk into a family business and they kind of fast pass that, that first door.
Then you have the third door where it’s like, you just find a way to get in. Maybe you like sneak in the back or like going through the roof or something. And that is literally to a T like assistant, figuring out a way, finding that third door to sell insurance.
And then like just figuring it out. So what I want to, so this guy calls you says, you can check recruiting like. Yep. I got sidetracked. Nothing you went to college for, nothing you went for educated to get educated for.
So like, yeah, how did that happen through this? You still can’t go to college. You still can’t go to college for self for recruiting, by the way. And you still can’t go to college for sales. Which on the one hand, that’s kind of a bummer cause sales makes the world go round.
So you should be able to get a degree in it. But the other reason why, but then you kind of don’t want to, because you don’t want to breed in authenticity. So whatever. But so sales for me comes from knowing a product.
inside and out. Like once you know something inside now, if you know it that well, you must love it. So then it’s easy to talk about it, right? So which gets in a product management center, which is another thing I dig.
But anyway, Doug calls me, he says, Hughes, you should be a tech recruiter. And I was like, Hey, Rando, Captain Rando, I’ll bite. Why would you say that? He’s like, Well, I left to become a technical recruiter.
And I go, How the hell did that happen? And it was very some very savvy person at the company he worked for started recruiting insurance agents because it’s the hardest sell. So if you can sell insurance, you can sell anything.
And I was like, Damn, that’s smart. So anyway, he’s like, You should do this. And I go, Okay, that’s random. Why do you think I should do this? He goes, You’re a born salesperson, like you hustle, you hustle, you hustle.
This requires hustle. It requires you authentically talking to people and wanting them to you’re selling them a job. So you’re not selling them a product, you’re selling them a job like a better life.
Right? He goes, which is in line with your hippie. Oh, I love everybody tendencies. He’s like, and then the third thing is you are directly compensated for the work you put in and something that literal appeals to my ultimate pragmatic sign.
I love two plus two equaling four. Right? I love if you do this, you get that and it’s very clear. I don’t like, hey, the promise of doing something and then not getting it. Like, no, I’m very literal minded when it comes to that.
He said, and then finally it’s in tech. Keata, you were the first person to have a cell phone. You were the first person to use email through the office to send documents. He’s like, tech is your jam.
Go do tech. And he said, now you’re going to be the only woman in the room almost every single time. You got to toughen up, man. You’ve got to be tough. I’m like, dude, I’m tough. He’s like, oh, I know.
I know. And you should try it. I was like, okay. And this was like in like April or May. And I was like, okay, let me think about it. But I and my parents in the meantime had moved to Arizona. They retired and moved Arizona.
And I was like, okay, well, I had gone to visit them in January. It was 70 degrees. I was by the pool. Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, they had to de -ice my plane twice for me to leave. Right. And so I thought about it and thought about it and I just couldn’t.
And then one day I was, it was July or June. It was at Northwestern. And I was like, I’m not going to do this anymore. I either need to become an agent and start making my own money, but that’s this kind of hustle and I don’t want to do cell insurance anymore.
Or I need to make a move. And I literally called my parents and I’ll be out there in a month. I’m not, I don’t have anything with me. I was, I was crashing with a friend at the time. I sold everything else I didn’t own.
I had two big things like one bed and something put it on a friend’s truck who was going to Arizona eventually sold everything, got my Volkswagen Cabrio. and drove to Arizona. Wow. So you just took a leap and just, like what was, what, is that just like, where to go through a couple of other scenarios where you do the same thing?
Like where did that, like, where does that come from? So it’s effort. Just do it. Why not? Like what’s the, here’s the thing. Now we’re gonna get into a conversation later where suddenly there was a little more skin in the game where the decision was a little harder.
But you have to understand, I’m an insurance assistant who technically they hired me to be basically an executive assistant. So I’m making executive assistant dollars. I’ll tell you, my salary was $19 ,000.
As the assistant at the Northwestern. My salary wasn’t 19 an hour, it was $19 ,000. Wow. Can you imagine living off of $19 ,000? No. No. So, and I had to, which is why I was running a room. Yeah. Right?
And don’t forget it Northwestern at the time I had to wear skirts, pantyhose, heels and blouses to work every day. Like that stuff’s not cheap, right? Yeah. And getting into town if you drove your car in $20 a day to park.
Yeah. I couldn’t spend a hundred bucks a week to park. And then you’re around when you’re in there you’re around all these successful, you know, insurance people. Dudes, successful men. Yeah. Who are making gross amounts of money.
Like, but like there were still two clubs and I again, I won’t mention their names, but there are two clubs and Pittsburgh at the time. As a woman, I wasn’t allowed in unless a male escorted me in. Like, are you kidding me?
And even at 23, I was like, this is bullshit. Like, I’m just as smart as these people. I’m just as I know what I’m doing. I’m a kind human. I’ve deserved to be here. I went to an amazing college. Like, no, like, no, right?
So, yeah. So I was sick of it. I was sick of being shut out because I was a girl. I was sick of being shut out of the boys club that was Northwestern at the time. I was sick of I was just sick of just tired of it.
And so finally, and I’ll be frank, I was dating someone at the time I’d been with for a little while. It wasn’t going to go anywhere. He was a musician and I was like, I’m not interested in this lifestyle for myself.
And I was like, I’m out. Do it. I just go. So basically just just being like wanting more and like going against the grain of what other people are trying to instill on you. It was. And here’s the thing, though, I had left Northwestern at that time and I went to work at Mellon Bank on Washington Road in Mount Lebo.
So I was working there at the time. So I tried. Like, I was like, let me try something else. Right. So I became a teller. But then again, this is the thing in a teller. They want you to balance. I balanced every day.
And then I started doing it. And then every time someone. come, I’d sell them a checking account or I’d sell them just by accident. Like then I became the lead teller. I became the person who did the vault every time and I was responsible for the ATM machine and I started doing opening accounts because I just naturally wanted to talk to people and I was like, you know, you’re keeping all this money here.
If you bought this, you would make more money and it isn’t even about the money. It was about, I have this weird, if you’re seeing goodwill hunting or a beautiful mind or a beautiful mind hunting. Yeah.
When they look at the chalkboard and they see like a mathematical problem and the answer glows out. Yeah. That’s how my brain works for a process or a way to accomplish something. Okay. Like I can, I can put a puzzle together like in my, like almost like a weirdly creepy way to do it.
Like I, you can say. We need to do this, this, this and this. And I’ll be like, okay, if we do this by 10 o ‘clock, we can be there by 11, like the logistical planning of my brain. And so for me, I would look at all these people coming in and I’d be like, well, if you do that, you can do this.
You could save $32 a month and then put this much in a CD. That’s just how my brain worked. And so I started getting promoted there too. But then I was like, I do not wanna be a banker. Again, a wildly conservative industry.
So here’s what I did learn. I am not a conservative individual. That’s what I learned. I am socially not conservative. So I could not do a job anymore that required me to dim my light or dim my personality to play the game, especially when that meant doing that to such a degree that I couldn’t accomplish all that I wanted to accomplish for me or for my clients.
How do, so like you said, we’ll talk about when there’s more skin in the game, but like how do you, there’s like, so I think there’s people who make decisions through two lenses. And generally, so the first is like through fear, like everything’s fear based and you fear failure, you fear like you’re driven because you just don’t want to not be successful or you don’t wanna fail.
And then like there’s a mindset shift to like an abundance mentality where you’re not driven by fear. It’s like you just, you have this abundance mindset around decision making. A lot of people in my opinion, in my experience, never try and make that shift.
And so when you’re making like fear based decisions, it’s a lot harder to do the types of things that you’re talking about, like just going off and doing it. It’s like, how did you overcome, and again, totally different stakes, but when you’re younger, there’s like less, like when you’re in your early, there’s less, like you have less, right like, yeah, you’re at zero.
And if you fail, you’re still zero. How did you so like a lot of people don’t adult that how did you overcome like that fear to just do that? Did you ever have the fear? So I have no I have zero. So the other thing that I’ve noticed most people it humans have a fear of change period.
Good or bad. Yeah. I don’t have that. I don’t have that fear. I don’t know why I don’t have it. I honestly, I just changed to me is amazing because the coolest stuff can happen in a change. Yeah. I don’t but I, I know that that’s not common, but there’s like a two part answer your question.
The first one is you have to have leaders and mentors and examples of what good can happen if you make the leap. Okay. Right. Which is why I’ve set I’ve decided that that’s what I’m going to do. I am going to be an example to women of what you can, what you can accomplish if you make the leap.
Right. So I I had Dave, I had my dad. My dad was an orphan. He was orphaned at seven and was working a farm by nine. Like my mother, like didn’t go to college. My father left, I was four, my sister was two and a half.
We were poor. Like you think of the word poor and think of worse than poor and that’s what I was, right? And so I and my mom worked three jobs. She started her beauty shop in our home on purpose because she couldn’t afford daycare.
So she, like we didn’t have money to eat or have shoes at one point. But my mom was so, okay, if you think I’m this, my mom is me times a million. Kind, hilarious, fun. Sorry, I didn’t get that. Oh, could you read?
Sorry, like kind, hilarious, funny, extroverted, little crazy, very bold. And like if I’m a watered down version of my mother. So I saw what you could do when your mind was set to it. So you need an example.
So that’s the thing. Anybody can take a leap. It’s easier to take a leap when you see an example of a person who is doing it and who has shown that if you do it, it will work out. So that’s why. And then the other thing is what you just said.
What do I have to lose? Yeah. I’m making $19 ,000 doing something I don’t love. What’s the worst? I make $19 ,000 or more doing something I might love? Yeah. Yeah. So that’s what it is. I mean, there’s like, it’s not even about fear.
Fear is very directly related. It’s adjacent to risk. And if there’s not really a risk, if you feel like really in your gut and your soul, there’s not a risk, your fear almost goes away. Yeah. Well, it’s so insightful.
So basically, basically from a young age, like you just saw, I mean, running a beauty salon, as I said, in the house with kids, like you just have to figure that. You just, your back skin’s the wall, you just have to do it, like you just figure it out.
That’s what she did. So you just saw that from a young age and just kind of adopted that and just figured it out. Yeah, and she still had a good time. That’s the other thing. She didn’t let it beat her.
She came, it was a crappy hand, my dad, my bio dad, dealt her. She did not, we still had a good time. We still, she, like, even though we were totally poor, like she had to sell her engagement ring to buy a crappy car.
To get us out of the house in the middle of the night, because my bio dad had forged her name and signed over the mortgage of the house and sold it while we were still living in it. We had no idea. Wow.
Well, I’m like, not to get into that side, but I’m telling you how bad it was. She picked us up, got us out of there, moved us into a two bedroom apartment on over a doctor’s office. Like a tiny apartment over a doctor’s office to make them up because that was the only place she could afford.
Like and just did it and didn’t make us feel like it was terrible. Like and it’s not just doing a task or pulling up your bootstraps, it’s doing it and being an example without whining about it. Do you think that created your like you’re very optimistic and very like glass half full?
Like do you think that’s where that comes from? I do. I do. Plus I have an inherent belief that humans are good. Okay, I agree. Yeah, like you have to operate from that. I mean in my last company they put it the best way.
Assume positive intent. Like you know in business situations you get an email that sounds kind of shitty and snarky and you’re like oh and you want to react to that. Yeah. Assume they had a bad day or they didn’t mean it that way.
We’re all in this together. We want to do something together. Assume positive intent and go from there and you find out that if you change your mindset to assume positive intent you’re now not walking up to that person down the hallway in your office wanting to rip them a new one because you thought they were a jerk to you that day.
Yeah, you stop letting little things bother you that like most people will just get it derails their day by a negative belief or thought. Yeah and trust me I have my negative there’s some days where I just can’t do it.
Yeah, like there are. There’s some days and the thing is I give myself permission to have that day. Yeah, that’s so important. Yeah, one thing I just told our team is like if you think doing something like do you think this will be easy?
No. Okay, so it’s going to be hard. Well when we’re stressed now like this is what hard feels like. So to be stressed and feel the pain and it’s like okay now it’s like we just have to get through this to do whatever we want to.
which, yeah, plus I don’t want to set an example for my team or for other people that, yeah, everything’s okay. Like I would walk into my team at my last company and just walk in and we have our Monday afternoon meeting and they’d be like, hey, how’s everybody?
I’m like, dude, I had a shit day. So being authentic and vulnerable. Vulnerability is the gateway to inclusion and psychological safety in the workplace. And when you build a workplace environment of psychological safety for the people who work for you, they want to work for you.
They want to engage. They want to be honest with you. They want to solve problems with you. And then you retain those people. So, yes. Yep. And so you’ve been a lot of leadership positions. Like you think that starts from being a leader.
So this is an interesting, I guess like a paradox on this. You like in a leadership role, you want to be, you want to be all buttoned up and like everything’s perfect. And that actually… may hurt. Do you think that hurts leadership because the more yes, vulnerable you are, then that allows vulnerability and authenticity to the rest of your team.
Totally. And let’s substitute instead of being buttoned up and perfect. Here’s what you really have to be excellent at the job. Yeah, right. So and I tell women this all the time, well, men blah, blah, blah, blah.
No, you just have to be better than everybody man or woman. If you go to work, and we’ll get into this, because I, we kind of got sidetracked from the story of me getting getting to Arizona, and how I got my first recruiting job and how this kicked off my career.
But the point is, they told me to make 100 dials a day. Nah, I made 140. So I’ll be doing more. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. If you if you, you know, if you produce it something, if you if you’re very good at it, it’s hard to be it gives your like surface area of luck is much larger.
You know, it’s hard to be hard to not succeed. And it’s a social and it’s a social and and humanity equalizer. If you’re the best, it doesn’t matter what color, race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, it doesn’t matter.
Yeah, you’re the best. That’s what doesn’t lie. Here’s what’s objective. Numbers. Put up the high numbers. Doesn’t matter. Yeah, your boss does not give a shit what you look like what you talk like what your gender is.
Be excellent. Yeah. That’s it. That’s it. There’s no secret just like so for me, like to go back to the leadership thing, it wasn’t just don’t be buttoned up and be very because I’m not polished. I don’t want I can be if I have to I just don’t choose it.
Yeah, because I think that they’re that sacrifices authenticity there. So I just don’t do it, right? Which means people trust me because they believe that if Kyada is gonna don’t ask Kyada, do I like this shirt?
Because he was like, no, I actually don’t like that shirt. You’re just like you’re honest and authentic. I’m honest and authentic. And it seems brace like jarring sometimes at the time. But people inherently start to internalize that you can trust you can trust me.
Like you can say, Keanu, well, we’re going to do 50 hires by this week and it’s going to be great. I’m like, no, we’re not. And no, it’s not. It’s going to suck to get 30. We’re going to do it. But no, we’re not doing 50.
We’re doing 30 and here’s why. And you’re blunt about it. Like, like that honesty is what does it. But the good to be a good leader, yes, it’s fostering a vibe of psychological safety and by being vulnerable.
But it’s also everybody on my team, I did their job. I didn’t just come in leading arbitrarily. I worked my way up from assistant to junior recruiter to recruiter to senior to blah, blah, blah, to the manager to directly.
I worked my way up. So and there’s times where we would be under the gun and we would need to do some hiring. I’d be on the phones like I’m a junior recruiter. Like, I don’t care. Always willing to just jump in and do the task, whatever it is.
Always, always willing. Why do you think leaders or people are not able like? Why do you think people struggle with vulnerability and authenticity? Do you think it’s like an ego thing or? It’s insecurity.
Insecurity. Yeah. Egos, again, an offshoot of insecurity. But it’s insecurity. You have to be secure with yourself to be able to be vulnerable. Right. And the way to be secure with yourself is to be the best at your job.
Yeah. Don’t worry about what other people are doing. Do what you’re supposed to do and do it very well so that there can be no question. You don’t have to be insecure. There’s no question that you’re the best at it because you made sure of it.
Yeah. Only insecure people fight for territory. And when you fight for territory, you make your team feel like they have to fight for territory and then your vibe communicates to your team. Yeah. So interesting.
Okay. Well, let’s look now. So good airs and you’re working with this company. And I think it’s a segue back. This will circle back to a lot of stuff we just talked about. Yeah. So okay. So it’s actually a crazy, my career path and I’ll do it the way it’s lined up because we might touch on it later and it’s insane.
It’s actually hilarious and it’s like, I can’t make this shit up. So I moved to Arizona. I sleep on my parents and they had a spare room. I sleep in it for, well, so here’s what’s even better. One of the people I worked with at Mellon Bank, he was sick of it at Mellon Bank.
He got a job as an insurance salesperson. He did the same thing, 663, whatever, at like Sun Guard or some other financial place. And they had an opening in Arizona. So I talked to him into moving with me.
And he drove cross country with me and he moved Arizona and slept in the other guest. Wow. Anyway, we’re still friends of this thing. It was funny. Anyway, so. So you convinced him to go across the. Yeah.
Yeah. To this day, my whole career of sales. That’s one of the biggest ones I’ve ever pulled off. But anyway, so we moved to Arizona and I’m like, I’m going to be a tech recruiter. So I realized I looked at all the job ads and the only places that we’re going to hire someone with no experience were the big companies, right?
Robert Haff, Manpower, all the big companies, right? And so Robert Haff called me, like I got an interview. Because I mean, again, I had on my resume, I sold at the Gap, I sold for Waddell and Reed and I sold at Northwestern Mutual.
So I was like a dream sales person. I was only who needed to make 20K, right? Like, and he had no ties to anything. So I was like your dream idiot candidate. So I go there and I was like, I want to be a tech recruiter.
Like, that’s what I want to be. And they’re like, because now I know how ridiculous that is because tech recruiting is a whole career and tech recruiting is a completely different career. So just totally naive to.
Yeah, totally naive. I’m like, I’m going to do tech recruiting. So I do know anything about it? No, but I will learn. I promise you. And they’re like, well, we can’t take the gamble. So you were an assistant and you were a bank teller and you were blah, blah, blah.
Come and work on our office team division. Come and work in higher executive assistants and office managers. And if you do that for a year and you do well, we’ll move you over into tech. I said, do you promise?
They said, yes. I said, OK. And I did it. I hustled like I’ve never hustled before. But here’s what I did learn. Though hustling in Arizona and hustling on the East Coast are very different. Oh my god.
Not to knock my brethren here, but oh my god. Friday here is like non -existent work. Like Friday too, everybody’s gone or golfing or whatever. And I was still dialing, man. Like wow. So taking some of that East Coast hustle, going into, this could be a whole other conversation.
Getting into an environment where it’s like, hey, this can work. And then you just figure it out. Yeah. So I was like, so again, and this is the thing. Here’s what I will say. If anybody who wants to be a recruiter can get their first one or two years at somewhere like Robert Half or one of the big companies, do it.
And here’s why. They teach you the prescriptive formula. 100 dials equals 40 to 60 connects, equals 15 interviews for candidates, equals five final interviews, equals three offers, and two closes. So that’s just back to your like, hey, I do this.
I get this. Like just mapped out. That’s it. So then I’m like, well, OK. So if everybody’s doing 100 dials a day, I’m going to do 150, which means instead of connecting with 40 to 60 people, I’ll connect with 60 to 80.
If you need 15 interviews a week, I’m going to get 20. And like, that’s what I did. And I just didn’t think about it. That was the goal. Yeah. I didn’t leave till I did my 120th dial. didn’t leave. I would get into work.
My friend Alan, who he and I are still friends to this day, we would get we’d fight. We are our contest is who could get in the office earlier. Well, what time did you get in? 7am. 7am. Everybody else got there.
839 I was there at 7am. I was smiling and dialing. If everybody was leaving at four or five, I was leaving at five, 30 or six. Wow. That was it. That was it. Um, so anyway, so I get, I get the job. I, I become rookie of the year.
Highest, highest closes and sales for any office team person in Arizona. It’s my one year to the day. And I go to my, this boss, I’m not going to say her name. I see her. I know her name. I said, Hey, it was my one year.
I’m rookie of the year. We cannot dis and the reason, again, wasn’t I want to be rookie of the year? I had to make it unequivocably obvious that I succeeded so that I could get what I wanted next. And she was like, well, no, we can’t move you over.
So two things she said. We can’t move you over because you’re our best salesperson. So we need you. And second, and at the time I had hair kind of like, not like my Mohawk, but I had it pretty short.
I had a nose piercing and a few other piercings and they were like, and that’s just, that’s not the look we need. So I was like, so just, and I said this, I said, so to be clear, what I look like is more important to you than my productivity.
Dumbass, it was the implied. And two, you’re reneging on your promise. She said, well, you can understand. I go, yes, I completely understand. And I knew they were gonna do it. And I had my letter of resignation typed up already.
And I handed it to her. I go, I’m resigning. And she said, where are you gonna go? I go, remember how I wanted to be a tech recruiter? One of the clients that you wanted me to sell an office administrator to, hires, said he would hire me as a tech recruiter and train me, I’m going to work for him.
Wow. So this is just back, like just literally not worrying, just being your authentic self. And like people are gonna tell you no, people didn’t tell you, a lot of people told you no. Everybody told me no.
And you just stuck to it and kept doing it. And actually, them telling me no was almost as big of a motivator as being told, yes. The only better motivator is the words, Chiata, I believe in you. That’s an awesome motivator.
Any human’s motivated by, I believe in you, I know you can do it. That doesn’t happen that often. More often than not, it’s the reasons why I can’t. And I hate being told, I can’t. Yes, I can. I heard this like substitute, when you say you like, when you say you can’t do something, substitute it for just, like I don’t want to.
And then the mindset just shifts. I can do it, but then you really can focus on like what your priorities are and like everything is achievable or what do I want to do, not like what I can’t do. Well, yeah, it’s like that quote and to this day, I don’t think anybody knows who actually said it.
It’s like, do something you love for your job and you’ll feel like you’re not working, you’re not working a day in your life, right? Yeah. So that’s the thing. I knew that if I could just believe in something and I was excited at something, I would get good at it, really good at it.
Because then I wouldn’t feel like I was going to work. I was just doing something rad, right? Yeah. So I go to work at this company that was an Indian owned firm and they had, the reason why that’s an important distinction is they had candidates on their bench who did a certain skill set.
And it was my job to market those candidates out to clients. But I didn’t know crap about the technology. So in my spare time, I had these guys, the developers, the software developers. telling me what the hell I was selling.
What one question as you’re in this, was this after the like tech boom like 2000 before? This was 1999. So right before. Right before. So you have all this, so you have this tech boom, like internet’s the big thing and you’re like smacking the ball of it.
But not having any idea that that was happening and not knowing how I could even get a part of it. But all of the work, the hustle, just literally the hard work and the grind gave you like you have a higher outcome of being successful.
You get into these type of situations that now you’re like, and this is so fascinating that now where this is gonna lead to, it’s like you’re now in this opportunity. You’re gonna say you did all of the work to put yourself in a chance to be like a higher likelihood of like being lucky.
Yes. But that comes from the hard work. Yes. Yes. And the opportunities that humans give me. Again, how I got that job was, I was selling an office manager to this, I said his name, I know it’s Caprice.
I was selling an office manager to Caprice, who’s still my friend this is this day. And I was like, he’s like, oh, we like your candidate. And I go, well, who else do you have? And he showed me and I go, oh no, your candidate’s better.
No, you should hire her. But you’re trying to sell me this. Yeah, but it’s not the right person. And he’s like, if you’re a thought about being a tech recruiter, I go, funny, you should mention that.
Why do you have an opening? And he goes, I will now. I said, let’s talk about it. And it was because he just responded to who I was and my authenticity and my ability to hustle. That was it, right? So I go to work for him and I do terribly at that job.
I sucked at that job because no one’s job was to train me how to understand tech. And I tried to figure it out, plus like if you wouldn’t know this because you’re not in recruiting, but selling a third party consultant who’s sitting on a bench to companies that might want to spend the premium dollars to hire a third party consultant from India, that’s common now.
This was not common in 1999. Was very difficult. And I started to lose interest, so I started to get crappier and crappier, and I didn’t want to do it. Like I was starting to get shitty. And like, like, here’s what’s hilarious.
The office manager that they hired, Jean became a good friend of mine. She and I are having dinner tonight. We’re friends 20 years later. Well, yeah. So her and her husband are having, we’re all having dinner.
So Jean, but Jean and I got along and I was like, and I watched this one girl, Sandy, who was my mentor. Sadly, she passed. She was the, she. When I was interviewing there, she showed me her paycheck.
She goes, this is what you can make doing this job, right? And she was more outrageous than I am. This crazy African -American woman who had no filter was killing it. And I was like, the number one producer in this office is a female.
She’s black and she’s killing it. And she just, she has zero filter. I’m like, I can do this if she could do it, right? And so she and Jeanne are who kept me going. But then to bring this full circle, Doug, the guy from Northwestern, got a job opportunity to be a manager at Robert Half, moved to Arizona, called me, Oh wow.
Hughes, we need a tech recruiter over on this side. Come back to Robert Half. And I go, and I’ll never forget, I was, I said, okay, it’s gonna cost you. And I left Robert Half at 20K a year. I was like, you’re, and they paid me 32.
Wow. And I came back to Robert Half to work in the tech division as a contract recruiter for contractors. Wow. That’s funny. And this is then like 1999, same timeframe. Yep. Yeah, 2000 probably at this time.
And then how long were you, yeah, with them, what came next? Okay, so I was at Robert Half for just under two years. And here, and then I’m not gonna say names for sure, in this case, two people in particular were doing things that were unethical and I didn’t agree with them.
And those two people happened to be like my bosses, bosses, boss. And I couldn’t do it anymore. And I did have a Jerry Maguire moment. I had one of those. FU, I’m out. You’re full of shit. Like, I mean, I had like that moment that I’m like not proud of.
of to this day, but I did have to get out of there, right? And I did. And but again, I did a training last week for, for this recruiting company. I trained a group of recruiters on sourcing recruiting and the owner was my direct boss at Robert Half at that time, who’s my friend of this day, 24 years later.
So I stayed friends with everybody who was my boss or who I left. So along the way, you didn’t break any relate you maintain the relationships and everybody all of them. Yeah. All of them never burned any bridges.
Never burned any bridges to this day. How how so I want to one thing he said, so just like the getting up and leaving like how why do you think people or what advice would you have for people like I think people get very stuck in just like comfort in a situation and it’s hard to speak up even if something is unethical and go against the grain and do it like what advice would you have to people to be able to do that?
I’ll tell you, it was really scary. It was it was that was the scariest time because I didn’t have a backup plan and I was telling these people who were very famous in our in our organization and in the recruiting world that they were liars to their faces.
Wow. So Me only and that Jerry McGuire who’s coming with me. Nobody was coming with me To this day. It was the scariest. I Don’t do that. I But when your gut is telling you something’s wrong, listen to your guts Do some research find another job that you think ask around and use your network Have a backup plan.
That’s it still leave definitely leave. I don’t regret leaving it You didn’t have a backup plan if I had no backup plan. I didn’t but here’s what I did know I knew I I again was the number one Tied me and this one other guy tied back and forth to be the best recruiter in that office for contract help for contract recruiting And so I knew I could get a job as a tech recruiter.
Yeah, like And even if I didn’t it was still starving was better than being unethical to me So you had this confidence you had so much like Not in a bad way like self -belief of like This doesn’t matter because I know I’m good at what I do and I’ll go find another And even if I’m not I don’t care if I’m good at what I do I cannot support the unethical behavior of this these two people anymore.
Wow. Yeah, it was Opposite of my soul and my spirit and I was not going to do it. Yeah, so you left scariest thing You’ve done and then what would then so well, however Yeah, whatever comes next or everyone to get up to the Company or just that so yeah, I won’t like because it’s it’s so it’s an interesting so then I started applying And I got hired to this recruiting company out of LA who serviced like all those studios, the studios, whatever.
And here’s the other thing. They hired one guy, Ted, who’s my friend of this day, to be the sales guy and me to be the recruiter here in Arizona, starting a satellite office from scratch. Zero, nothing, nothing.
Ted, Kurt did not hear no and I didn’t hear no. And we just went, we were in a 10 by 10 executive suites pounding the phones all the time. Wow. Yeah. So we did, I did that for a while. And then I got recruited out of there because I didn’t want to fly back and forth to LA.
That was getting old. And I got a job offer at a recruiting firm in Arizona, Synergy Seven, who serviced Intel. And here’s what I learned there. So I’ve learned to be a good recruiter and just hustle, hustle, hustle, hustle, hustle, hustle, but I learned two things.
It’s three things at Synergy Seven. First of all, my boss there, Sean. To this day as one of my mentors, I love him. I trust him with my life. Every job I’ve taken since then, I’ve run my compensation and my offer by him.
So I learned what your life can be like when you love and trust. Unequivocally trust your boss. The second thing I learned there was people kept working on the same wrecks because they were easier all the time.
But this one sales guy had these wrecks that were a little harder, but nobody was working on them. So I’m like, well, no one’s working on them. I know they’re harder. I’m just gonna do it. So he and I together killed it because he trusted me and I just serviced his jobs.
And then the third thing I learned there, there was at least one or two people there who had very distinct difficult personalities. And I can get along with everybody. So I softened them up a bit, which made the office run smoother.
Which made the productivity go higher, which made my boss appreciate me even more. So I learned the nuances of managing personalities and how that could better the whole team. And I was not a leader there.
I just learned that there. So then I left Synergy 7 and so while I was at Synergy, I met somebody who was my client who said he was starting an e -commerce search engine like marketing firm. He wanted a tech recruiter to start their own business and he would partner with them and give them leads as long as he put me on retainer to be his, he was my number one client.
I was like, yep, quit my job at Synergy and started my own company by accident with one client on retainer. Wow. And so you said, so that, the walking out of the past company was a scarier move than that.
Yeah. Yeah, cause I was happy at Synergy but he gave me an offer, I couldn’t refuse to start my own company, which I kind of thought I always wanted to do. I had two goals. I wanted to buy my own, a first house by 30 and start my own company by 40.
And how old were you when you started the company? 30. So what year was 2003 or four? Okay. So I was born in 74. 30. So what’s that? 30. Yeah. 30. 30. Okay. So then. And I bought my house at 28. So then how was, yeah, talk about starting a company.
Oh, that’s soft, man. I shouldn’t have done it that way. Like I’m glad I did it because I had this, but I didn’t have, like, you have LinkedIn recruiter now and like all these, you didn’t have that then.
So for me to get candidates for, first of all, he gave me no clients and he gave me no candidates. So I was dialing to get clients. And with having no known name. Nobody knew who I was. So he was just sure I would get up.
It was me by myself every day in my office in my little house and I just called. That’s all I did was I called and then I had a recruiting firm in North Carolina, this woman named Karen, so friends with her to this day.
She needed to outsource some of her searches on the tech side. So I partnered with her and charged her an hourly rate through my company to help her find tech people for some banks on the East Coast.
Yep. And then helped him, the guy who gave me the job offer on some of his gigs and then recruited and started just smiled and dialed. I knew I wanted to recruit in Microsoft technology, which at the time was VB and .NET, the name of the technology.
I would look around the internet, find companies that hired .NET developers and call them and say I could find people. That was it. That was it. Wow. And that was okay. And I had some success. There’s two or three clients of this day where the people I hired are still there 20 years from now, 20 years later.
And they liked me and it worked and I was just honest and I made a few hires, but I wasn’t doing great at it. I realized I needed the energy of people around me. And so it wasn’t great. If you could, okay, so when and how long how long did you have the company?
Two years. Two years. And then was like, did you make it successful? Did it eventually just, you just said this sucks, I’m gonna do something else. No, no, here’s what happened. As usual. So no, I was successful in that I was paying my bills and making money to live and it was fine, but I wasn’t making a lot of money, right?
I was doing fine, but I wasn’t getting to where I wanted to be. And so there’s a company, a Microsoft partner who heard that there was this girl named Piata who was hustling by myself because they were trying to get into the same clients I was and I was getting in even though I’m technically a recruiter, not a salesperson at this point.
But I had to do both sides because there was no one else to do it. They heard about me and they knew that I was hiring .NET developers, Microsoft developers, and I got a call from this guy, Jeremy, who was the head of the, like the director of HR and partner.
He was one of the three owners and he was doing the recruiting aspect of the job and he called me. And by the way, he and I are having lunch today. So he called me and I went in for an interview and he’s like, okay, this is going to be different than anything you’ve done.
You’re going to work for us and you’re going to hire consultants to come work for us and then our sales people are going to sell those consultants out to the world. I was like, yeah, okay. I don’t know.
I was like, how am I getting paid? He said a base plus a commission. I go, now you’re talking. What’s my commission look like? Right? And he gave me a commission number. I go, so the more people I hire that get out, I get paid a percentage of like there’s an hourly fee.
So we paid them an hourly, we build them out. And then that’s the profit, right? That’s the gross margin. I get paid a percentage of that margin. Yes. So if I have 50 contractors out there, I make money on all 50.
Yes, I’m in. And so I went to work. Just packed up, closed the business, went and worked. Most of the business went to work for them. And since it was my own business, I could call. So then I said to this Microsoft partner, okay, so I’m just a recruiter, but what if I bring in business as well?
Can I get compensated on the business I bring in? Yeah, sure, you brought in the business, you gave us the lead. Okay, do I have to turn the lead over to a salesperson or can I keep the lead? I go, what if we have consultants who work for us but they’re on the bench, meaning they’re not out billing?
If I can get them out billing, can I get the salesperson’s commission and the recruiter commission? They should be. Yes. Great, I’ll go ahead and do that. So I did it. Wow. So here I am, I get that, I love that company, I learned again.
And then I brought over as my HR manager, remember when I said I worked for the Indian company, Jean, who I’m having dinner with tonight, she was the office manager there. I brought her in as our HR manager at the Microsoft partner five years later.
Wow. Yeah, and she did a great job for us there. But so I’m there, I’m working at this Microsoft partner, I’m having a great time. I’m starting to get involved with ASU, I’m starting to get involved, I’m starting to blossom a little more.
Had I got pregnant, had my daughter. And then again, there’s a sale, there’s this recruiting firm was trying to get on our vendor list at the Microsoft partner to sell us candidate. It’s like, yeah, I don’t need you.
If I need you, I’m not doing my job, right? But she liked me. So, This job opening came up at IO data centers and one of the partner of the lady who just liked me from this other recruiting firm, they said they needed a corporate recruiting manager who didn’t mind building something from scratch, wanted to do corporate, blah, blah, blah, mostly tech, but also G &A, which is lawyers, accountants and all that crap.
And they called me. They said, would you be interested? And I said, no. And then they called me again and they offered more money. And then they offered a bonus and then they offered an assistant and then they said, and you’re going to work in America, London and Singapore, and we’re hoping to go public.
I said, OK. Sounds great. Sounds great. And I quit the job at the Microsoft partner and went there. And I did that for two years. And then they laid us off. 40% of us got laid off. But here’s a really trippy story.
Yet another trippy story. I was there as a recruit as the recruiting manager. I was fine. This company, Head Farmer, was trying to get on our vendor list. I said, no, we weren’t adding. I didn’t have time as the recruiting manager to consider vendors because I was so slammed.
I was working 80 hours a week. That was the worst job in terms of like, I had no work to home life balance. I was so burnt out. It was terrible because there was, I had to work in Singapore. So the hours.
Oh yeah, yeah. It was terrible. So he said, can we get on your vendor list? I said, no, we’re not looking. And then some, there’s a person who worked at I .O. who called me and said, Keado, you really need to consider him.
And this guy liked no one, but he liked them. He was such a jerk. He liked nobody, but he liked them. He’s like, will you at least meet with them? So I go, okay, since you said so, so I call back Head Farmer.
I go, I will meet with you. It is November, but where I’m so slammed, we’ll meet February 26th, three months, two or three. And we did it. We said it. I got laid off on February 26th at 10 a .m. Wow.
Called the guy from Head Farmer said, I’ll still meet you for chicken and waffles for lunch, but I’m not going to be your best bet right now because I just got laid off. So you probably want to find a different point of contact with an I .O.
He said, okay, I go work there. I go there. He’s like, would you mind meeting my, my partner? No, I that same day, I go meet his partner, end up doing an impromptu interview around the office and they gave me a job offer.
Wow. The same day I got laid off. This is this Head Farmer. Yeah. Wow. Yeah. So I go to work at Head Farmer. They have, they knew they wanted to hire someone to be their managing director of their tech division eventually, but they weren’t ready yet.
But I fell into their laps. They called around about me. They’re like, that’s who you want. And they hired me. And so I started that from scratch, hired my, the girl that was my assistant, who also got laid off at I .O.
Hired her to come with me, met some, this person, Neil through one of my networking groups hired him to be my. recruiter and was a head farmer, basically for two and a half years. I worked for drive time.
Drive time was one of my clients. And then they liked me and they said, they pulled me in for a meeting one day and they said, there’s this company that’s going to start selling cars online. And out of a vending machine, how Karwana do you want to work for them?
I said, sure. Wait, hold on. Before we dive into this. So you literally made it like impossible to fail by just like putting in the work, meeting all these people, creating this network where it’s like, like you just, you can’t, it’s impossible to fail.
Yeah. By staying true to myself and actually being really good at the job by being willing to hustle and I never once, I can honestly say this, honestly, literally say, I never compromised my integrity or my personality, not one time.
Even when I knew people wanted to talk to someone who was less everything I am, just less me, right? I’m sure I made people uncomfortable, especially old school dudes. I’m sure I did. But like, yeah, okay, I make you uncomfortable, but you have me competing against three other recruiters to land these candidates and I’m getting the hire every time.
So I must be doing something right. Yeah. So, like, yeah, so, yeah. And then so then another thought on all of these like opportunities you just jumped into like, so it’s like, like there’s another like paradox between like, you have to like, say no to everything, but stay laser focused on like, what your goal is or what you’re trying to do but at the same time like you say you have to say yes to a lot of things to like, get that to the next expanded surface area of luck.
So like, how did you know what your thoughts are like, how did you navigate that has that changed every time. No, I mean, if you notice the trend through everything I’ve described, every time I left, it wasn’t just because someone gave me an opportunity that I you that because what is awesome is subjective to people right for me what was awesome is truly being a well rounded recruiter like I went from just the recruiter to being a unifying human at an office to being a owning my own firm, which taught me something to being a consultant partner recruiter to being a recruiting manager in a corporate setting globally to being the leader of a startup of a tech recruiting division to my last job.
So I there’s not a way of recruiting that I haven’t done. So every time someone put an opportunity in front of me, it was to do something different to round out my skill set. become close to being a director and become close to taking a company public.
So did you have that end goal in mind throughout all of this? Yeah. You said I want to be a director and take a company public. Yeah, I didn’t care about the director title. What I cared about was being known for being an amazing recruiting leader.
That title was director -cool. Having this long -term goal and vision, doing everything you can to stay hyper -focused on it and then saying yes to an opportunity that helps you get closer to that. Yeah, because I also knew that with success would come the money and with money comes security.
Remember that story about being kicked out when I was four with literally one pair of shoes and nothing to eat? Very fresh in my mind. Never going to do that again. Never going to be in that position again.
And I had a daughter now. Right? So. Um, yeah, I just wanted to be, and it’s not just be the best. I just wanted it to be so obvious that I was good at my job. So you had that underlying like thought of being a four year old, like getting kicked out and.
What, what advice would you give like that four year old, if you were like, look back and talk to that four year old, like, what would you tell them in that moment? It’s all on you. Like you can only rely on you.
Even if it’s not jerky, it’s not like my mother couldn’t help. She was too busy trying to feed us. So like she had other things, bills and food. So I taught my sister how to tie her shoes. I taught my sister how to ride a bike.
I taught my sister how to roller skate. Like you, you’ve got to do it. You, nobody owes you anything. That’s it. No one owes you anything. You got to do it. So you need to decide how hard you’re willing to work to do the next thing.
That’s it. You’re your only cheerleader and you’re your only stopping force. You’ve got to do it. That’s so, so powerful. Um, yeah. Yeah. That’s your mindset on just all of this is just so great. Um, so now you’re at, now we’re at Carvana.
Yeah. So I’m a head farmer and I was, I worked for a bunch of clients, but it just so happened that I happened to be very good at finding people for Carvana. Because you have to understand everything in my life had culminated to this point.
Namely when I was at the Microsoft partner, a lot of the people I hired were dot net developers who then became senior dot net developers who became managers, who became directors, and they got hired at Carvana.
So I had hired them. 10 years prior. Second, Carvana was a Microsoft technology shop. I was known for being a Microsoft technology recruiter. Third, I was doing well for their parent company, which was DriveTime.
And fourth, they had no recruiting team and their only tech recruiter hadn’t been recruiting for more than a year and she wasn’t a tech recruiter. So, their internal recruiting team didn’t stand a chance because I knew everybody.
Like, it’s not that they weren’t great, they were great. It’s just that you can’t substitute for at that point 15 years of experience in Phoenix as a Microsoft recruiter knowing everybody, including their directors who I knew 10 years ago.
So, all of that hustle came to this point that I got a call from the woman who became my VP and my boss at Carvana and she said the CEO and the Chief Product Officer want to meet with you. And I was like, Oh God, like I thought I was gonna yell that I thought they were gonna act like I just yeah, and honestly, the minimum I thought they were gonna ask me for a discount because I was hiring so many people that they want to save money like a volume discount.
Yes, I love this story so keep going. Oh, yeah. So I sit there and I go through I will first it’s Tuesday afternoon. Again, two to four 30 two and a half hours Tuesday afternoon. And they hammered me.
I had brought my commission state I had brought everything to justify this money. I was like, I was so nervous. But I loved these men and they were just great humans. So they asked me, Well, how would you do this?
What would you do this? How would you set this up? How would you do this? And I answered like, Oh, I would do it this way. I would do this. Like I just answered all their questions, went left and told head farmer.
Yeah, that was pretty grilling. They didn’t pull their business though. So I think we’re safe. Like literally it was like, Oh, can you get a no was a job interview? No, it wasn’t no, they didn’t say it was job interview.
They just said they wanted to ask me how I would do stuff. Wow. Right. And so a few days later, I got a call from the woman who became my boss and said we want to offer you a job. I said, As what, you don’t have a job posting, they’re like, for our recruit or technical recruiting leader or whatever.
I go, Yeah, where’s the job description? Well, we don’t have one. Like, Well, what am I gonna do? We don’t know. What’s the team like? Well, you have the one girl that you know that you like there was like, I was like, I don’t know.
I don’t want to do that. And they had 800 employees at the time, right? Yeah. Well, that time it was probably closer to 600 or 700. So still like a big organization, but not that. Yeah. But in corporate, they had maybe 100 people.
Okay. They’re tiny. Yeah. And not public. And we didn’t have a and Carvana didn’t have a presence in Phoenix. We started in the East Coast. So like, so I was joining something that no one had ever heard of.
Like I vividly remember calling software developers. Do you want to come work at Carvana? Who? Who? We’re an online company that sells cars out of vending machine. Ha ha ha, click. Literally, literally, like it was not easy, but the point is I said no.
I said no to their first offer. And not even just no, just like I don’t know. That doesn’t make sense. Like I just needed more information. Plus to be frank, I didn’t know it was a job interview. So I didn’t get to ask my questions.
Yeah. So I had another meeting, right? And that’s the famous meeting that you want to talk about, which is when the Chief Product Officer to this day is one of the humans I value most in my life, said to me, Keata, when someone offers you a seat on a rocket ship, you don’t ask what seat you just get on.
And so just to give people a background on it, that was, so everybody knows Cheryl Sandberg. You know, the founder of Lillian O ‘Rourke and the former CEO of Facebook. She, when she got her job offer from the former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, she, he offered her a job and she said, there’s no business units to manage.
I love Google. I want to take this job, but I don’t know what this job is. And he said to her, Cheryl, two things. First, Cheryl, don’t be an idiot. Second, when someone offered, if you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, get on, don’t ask what seat.
Look for growth. Look for the teams that are growing quickly. Look for the companies that are doing well. Look for a place where you feel like you can have a lot of impact. And I said, okay. You felt that it would in that moment.
So, well, he distilled it to what it comes down to. That was the distillation. This is a rocket ship. We believe it’s a rocket ship. Yeah. They have such as believe so much that it is. Yeah. Plus, let’s not get it twisted.
Stanford grads. Yeah. They’re not dumb dudes. Yeah. And they’ve all started startups before, right? Like, you know, and they were very transparent. Any question I asked that we could even seem intrusive now in an interview, I asked because I literally looked at it, not like these were my bosses.
I looked at it like we are in this together. You are going to succeed if I help you succeed. And they acknowledged that this is the other thing. They didn’t treat recruiting or people operations as a necessary evil.
They treated it like a very valued, important business partner. Because not only does people operations literally staff the company, we set the tone for the culture and the impact of that. And they got that.
So I didn’t join a company feeling like I was going to have to look up to the lofty C suite on high. I feel like you’re on the same level. You’re on the same level and they needed me as much as I needed them.
And that’s the way it was. So we were doing, we were literally, and it’s one of the core values of Carvana. We are all in this together. That was what we were going to do. And they believed in every time from the time I met the CEO and the chief product officer and the COO and the CFO and all these people who to this day, I love me and I love them.
They were always transparent and consistent and real. Authentic and vulnerable and vulnerable and humble. And some of the stuff that they did for their employees and for their customers. So this day isn’t out for the world.
And it was just so humbling and so like, I was going to go to work with people that I admired and who I literally felt were better humans than me. Better people. better humans, gut -seer people, smarter people.
They had this idea and they were gonna sell it and they were gonna put their technology where the idea was and they were gonna do all this in a dynamic innovative way and we were gonna change the way people buy cars.
And I was like, God, I wanna be a part of that. And so I did it. Plus I knew I could do it because I was already doing it successfully without even working there. So now I was gonna have the keys to the kingdom.
Was it an easy decision at the time after you went through this? After that conversation with him, it was up until then it wasn’t because here, again, I’ll be super frank, head farmer, I loved my bosses.
I had earned enough money there in commissions that I could do what I wanted because they knew I could produce. I had tons of flexibility. I could do what I wanted. And I’ll just be frank, my paychecks were in the high six figures, my commission checks.
So it would be a fine, and if you go to work for corporate, agency is where the money is. If you go to work for corporate, you don’t make the money. So it was a little bit of a risk at the time. Yeah, so you did it and then you get on the rocket ship and it literally took off and you were a huge contributor to that because it grew from 800 people to what, 28 ,000, is that right?
24 at its peak. 24 ,000, you were responsible for hiring all these people. All tech and corporate, all the ops, hourly recruiting was under somebody and all the truck drivers and mechanics, that was somebody else.
But if it was tech or corporate or analytics or product or design or brand or quantitative marketing or tech services, that was me and my team. So you wrote, there was like a blog, you wrote a hyper growth.
Tell us about that, what you learned, what you, how you did that. Okay, well, so let me just tell you, and anybody at Carvon, I think would tell you this or in a startup that has crazy, 100% year over year growth, exponential, and very publicly, and a product that people know.
You don’t think about it, you just do it. You actually aren’t thinking about it. You have to do this thing to do this thing. And then this thing comes up, and to scale this, you have to do this. And to get this to do better, you’ve got to do this.
And then the demands from the business get bigger, so you just got to hire more people to meet those demands. You don’t think about it, you just do it. When you think about it, that’s when failure and not believing in yourself and you second guess.
Yeah, you don’t have time, but then I will say though, because you asked me, you said we were going to talk about what I would do differently, I would think about it differently now. So here’s the thing, basically…
What led up to that hyper growth and then what contributed? I say it’s a huge question, right? Yes, we certainly experienced hyper growth. Yes, I wrote a blog article about it because it’s a crazy phenomenon that it’s like this select club of people can live through the club of people that bet their lives on a startup to go public and it did and it was successful.
There’s not that many. No. Right. And I through this sheer force of this crazy career path and luck was on that rocket ship ride, right? So I the company was always in hyper growth, especially if you’re looking at it mathematically or percentage of growth a year.
But the reasons why they we were in hyper growth were always different, but consumer supply and demand always has a lot to do with it, right? So you you I would do it differently in that. Here’s the thing.
We just it would be hard to do that because you don’t know that you’re going to be that successful. You hope but planning for the success of 20 ,000 employees and working to pragmatically get from 800 to 1000 is a very different and you don’t know until you’re on the cusp of it and then you’re like, shit, we have to figure this out.
What a company needs at 800 is totally different than 20 ,000. Right, but here’s what it always needs. If you do think you’re going to scale it needs scalable processes and a consistent strategy for how you’re going to do that.
That’s what I would do differently. How did the did the processes change drastically over time? So here’s what’s funny. Yes and no. Yes for the bigger company in terms of like the people operations part.
I will can honestly say the tech portion where I was over not that much and I I just knew because I’ve been doing this for 15 years. How to do this part right? And I stayed, there were parts, I know that there were times where they were getting pissed at me because I didn’t grow my team as fast as they wanted me to hire people for my team.
But I didn’t believe that throwing recruiters at it was the answer. I believe that it was doing working smarter, not harder. Using inner, I hired, my team was diverse in terms of everything, in terms of skill sets.
I would plug and play to our deficiencies. I made everybody cross -trained on what they could do. I made everybody use automation and processes to be on it in a smooth way. I made sure that we hit our numbers, and then I made sure that they had opportunities for personal growth, right?
And then instead of just hiring more people to throw money at the problem, throw humans at the problem, I turned it back on the engineering leaders and I said, no, just because you’ve decided you’re gonna hire 500 more engineers, that doesn’t mean I’m gonna hire 10 more tech recruiters.
That means you’re going to actually prioritize what you want to work on, prioritize you’re going to hire, and we’re going to do our capacity of this number to hire those people, and we’re going to be on my pace.
So it’s stuck to your, trust in your gut. Yep. Wow. Yeah. But again, that’s me with my ballziness, and that’s me with the engineering leaders trusting that my team could do that. Yeah. So yeah, fascinating.
So when you’re, so you are in a startup, like you said, you’re just like, you bet your life that this company’s going to get public. Yeah. What was that like, like you hear this in startups, like you lose touch with like the outside world almost because you’re like, you’re so focused on this and it’s like, you go to have dinner with your family on Sunday and it’s like, oh, you’re consumed by trying to get something in IPOs.
What was that like? No. So I will be honest, there was a point about two years ago where it wasn’t healthy. Like, like I didn’t have dinner with my family or I would jump up and answer my phone and we were, I was dying and it was like, burnout’s real.
Burnout’s real yo. Like, like I was the definition textbook of burnout. Like I will never do that again. So and I, and I, and I thought, you told me we’re going to talk about this and I thought really long and hard about how I would answer this.
And I had a tie. I actually typed up some notes because there’s things I did not want to miss. And here’s what I would say. I’m very, very fortunate that I did not lose touch with reality because I had these relationships that boy, that buoyed me, like buoyed me up and that I.
I kept putting time and thought into, right? I will say there was a point where the relationships that could have been the most damaged were the relationship between me and my daughter and me and my partner.
Because I was not present because I physically, mentally couldn’t be. If you are 80 hours a week for a company and then you’re done with therapy times when my boyfriend would come for our date at 5 .30 and at 8 .30, I’m still just one more thing, just one more thing, just one more thing.
I haven’t eaten. He’s feeling neglected, right? And my life is feeling neglected and I don’t have the energy to do anything. So when you finish your work day like that, it’s hard to have the energy. So I did, I mitigated that by completely dedicating my weekends to being as holy present as possible and to doing activities that focused on what my daughter wanted to do and my boyfriend wanted to do, right?
Conversely though, my professional relationships actually grew stronger because I was working alongside some of the smartest, most driven, innovative people I’ve ever met in my life. And I was better for knowing them.
So I could nurture those relationships because I wanted to learn. Then I was a leader on a people operations team. So it was inherent in that role to form relationships internally and externally with the community because I was trying to build Carvana’s employer brand as well.
So my professional network grew and it was expanded to include some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. Just because to do my job to the best of my ability, which wasn’t just hiring people for Carvana, it truly was building the brand for Carvana outside as someone you’d want to come work for.
Yeah. Right? So as a result, I took calls that other people wouldn’t take. I went to meetings, I went to networking groups, we had ASU on site. I’d spoken ASU multiple times. I had our software engineering leaders speak to engineering classes at ASU.
We sponsored their women’s hackathon. Like we went to career fairs at Stanford and MIT. Like, and even though when you go to career fairs, normally it’s like the more mid -level recruiters, I went. Right?
We went to the Women Impact Tech Conference in San Francisco. I was a huge part of that. My boss spoke, was a keynote speaker. Like, I was out there, right? I wanted to be synonymous with Carvana. And so I did that.
But here’s the bottom line. If anyone ever asked me if they should join a startup, 99% of the time, I’m going to say, F, yes. Yes. I am. Because you have to do so much. You have to wear so many hats.
You have, since the startups usually small, succeeding or failing is very evident. Because there’s very few of you. So you have to push yourself to be excellent. You have to wear a lot of hats. Everyone is working together to push an idea out there.
So there’s an amazing sense of camaraderie and shared determination. And you feel like you’re one very impactful part of something bigger. It’s the best feeling in the world, right? Like, it’s like, you know, it’s like, it’s the reason why they haze people joining a fraternity.
It is. When the group goes through something stressful together, they bond. That’s it. Yeah. So, you’re very intentional about like keeping the close relationships that you had, making time, doing meaningful things.
Do you think it’s hard to, when you’re doing something like that, like by default, you’re going to have less close personal relationships? Yeah, but I just, again, I think that’s the one thing that we can’t like put up, like we can’t make quantitative in this conversation.
Like, I just mentioned throughout the course of this conversation, so many people that I’m even having lunch with today that I met 20 years ago. No, I personally don’t have a problem doing that. It is in my nature to stay connected.
I love human beings and I think that resonates. There’s a lot of people you talk to who are not in the right job. Yeah, most people are not in the right job. Most people are not in the right job. So not only am I for sure in the right job, I am dedicated to making sure people get in the right job.
And I love that and I feel like everybody would be happier for it and which creates a happier workplace, which creates a more inclusive workplace, which creates more opportunities for women and underrepresented people.
So I feel like everything’s connected. So I don’t have a problem in any relationship just by the nature of my personality. And then again, honestly, I think it all benefits everybody in the long run.
Yeah. OK, we’ll come back to I want to ask you about the network eventually too. But so now it’s so going through your car, I mean, the company is just literally the rocket ship just is just taken off to evolve this.
All this equity compensation tied to this company. So let’s talk about just the psychological standpoint of this. Like you are so invested in financially in this company, you’re spending all of your time, like talk about getting out of that stock position.
What were your thoughts getting through all that? You helped me with that, actually. So, yes, I was emotionally tied. I thought I’m not going to touch my Carvana stock. That’s going to become my retirement.
I’m just not going to do it. I’m emotionally tied to it. And when you first talked to me about diversifying, do you remember what my reaction was, I cried. Yeah. I literally cried. I was like, oh, I can’t.
Like, like, like, I also, I was worried because it was growing like crazy when we talked about it, that I’d be jumping the gun too early. Just like any human investing in any stock. Yeah. Right. So you, however, and the beautiful people at EWA, told me that it’s best to diversify.
Just period. It doesn’t matter how you’re, just it always just is. Like, it doesn’t matter if you started to help with the company or not. Right? So the tough thing to consider though was that at the time, it wasn’t just that I was emotionally tied to Carvana stock.
It was that there weren’t that was obviously worth it to, to leave my, my own stock that was aggressively on the rise to take a risk on a company that I didn’t know the humans who responsible for making it awesome.
At Carvana, I was betting on the stock because I was betting on the humans at Carvana. Yeah. Right? So, I, unless I want to buy stock in somewhere like Amazon, right, where’s a trillion dollars a share.
But I think it’s safe to say that the bottom line is everybody who invests in the stock market, most people have that dream of a unicorn situation where you buy a stock at a ridiculously low price and then through the combined gods of the internet and supply chain and consumer demand, that stock miraculously shoots up.
Right? Everybody wants that. I happen to be a part of that almost by, I want to say by a circumstance, but no, we worked really hard, right? So to get to your question about getting on board with selling it mentally, you nailed it.
It was tough. There was an emotional attachment. It’s often why employers bluntly offer equity to employees, right? So your time is up. And that’s why. It’s a carrot right in front of you that just, you just keep giving stuff that vests and it’s right there and you can’t leave.
Well, and you are literally tied to the success and you see a financial piece of that success. Yeah. Really. Right? So it was tough. So you had to talk me through it at the time. I cried about it. But then the general knowledge of the history of finance and the stock market might innate pragmatism of wanting to provide for me and my daughter prevailed.
For the past 15 years, I had only had those three professional goals for myself. First to be a reliable and valued team member to my coworkers and stakeholders. Second to feel secure that my contributions to a company were so clearly impactful that it couldn’t be doubted.
And third to provide a secure, well -rounded and meaningful life for my daughter. When you consider your future and investment through that lens, it ultimately made sense to diversify. That was it. Wow.
So, it helped to know that this could secure all of these goals. It could. And by the history, even unicorn companies, again, with the exception of the of like Amazon, right? What goes up must come down.
There had to be a time where the stock stopped. I didn’t know where it was gonna stop rising, just because that’s the way it goes. Very few times that go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go. I think the average light, so the S &P 500 company, the average lifespan is 12 years.
So it’s like, when you really think about it, like eventually, like they can’t go up forever. And I was at Carvana for six and a half. Yeah. And working with them for two years prior at the company before.
Interesting. So. Was there, did you feel at the time, like did you feel within the company, like did you, I guess, and maybe people didn’t even know, but like, did you feel like you were like going against the goals of the company by selling it?
No. Not actually never even occurred to me. So you just asked it like no no because I I Can I can say that anybody who is my former Senior leaders and executive leadership at at Purvana if you asked them about me today would tell you that my contribution was obvious and impactful Honestly I Walk away knowing I walked away in a good with every with the love still there So no and everybody has to do what they need to do for their families and that’s different for everybody So no it didn’t occur and that’s what that’s what drew views if I can take care of myself my family and then wow Yep, and then this is a good segue into You just left Yeah company.
Um, yep so Oh What was that like yeah, we’ll start there how was It’s gonna make me cry it was hard it was hard like I Know like so I don’t work there anymore. So this you can say this is like truly Objective right not objective.
It’s highly subjective, but I don’t have to say anything nice, right? Yeah They’re the best people the best people like the smartest kindest Bravest Caring people So and I was there for so long That I did help build it So I didn’t just say goodbye to a company I said goodbye to people I knew for a long time who we were the trenches together Who loved me and trusted me and I felt the same So that decision to this thing you’ve asked me about all these decisions No decision you’ve asked me so far has the answer been it was hard right?
This one was hard. It was harder for me to walk away than it was for me to take the risk. Yeah. So it was hard. It was hard. It was circumstantial, right? The company’s going somewhere in a next stage of evolution where it should.
And I’m going to place it in my life personally where my true and I want to focus where on my family and where my true passions lie. And I left in an extremely positive but emotional way and I love those people but I can truthfully, truthfully say I’m a better human for having worked there.
Yeah. And I worked at a company where men hired me but never wanted me to edit who I was. Not one time was I ever asked to be less or to dial back or to be less emotional or to be less insert adjective here.
Never. They knew that what they needed was big and they needed a big personality to do it and they were on board with who I was from the minute I walked into the minute I left. And I don’t know if you can say that about a lot of places.
They, like you said at the beginning, they said they believed in you. They did, yeah. Sorry. Sorry. So I love, I think this is like just so having the like real self -realization to like, I think that like it’s okay to love somebody or something and realize that like.
Still time to leave. It’s still time to leave. Yeah. I love you. I love this thing, but it’s not, I shouldn’t still be in my life. Yeah. And I think that’s totally okay. And that gives so much peace of mind and like decisions like this.
And although it’s not easy, most people don’t get ever get that self -realization to like make that jump. Yeah. Yeah, I, I’ve had an amazing career. I am so fortunate to have met with and worked with humans who believe in me and who have supported me and who have made it easier for me to take the next leap.
I am humbled and like so, I can’t, so grateful. Like really grateful. But I want to do other stuff now. I have so much, I have so much energy. Like I want to do other things and I want to use the network I’ve built to do something amazing.
And I, I want to be an example for my daughter and example for other women and I want to enjoy my life. I want to travel. I mean, like, you know me by now, I am obsessed with three things other than I’m obsessed with music, traveling cars.
And I want to do all three of those things. things like I’m getting ready to sell the Camaro to get a different car that I want. I’m doing a ton of travel this summer. I need to free up my time and my mental space to do these things because I have another good like 10 years and then I don’t want to do and then I need to just chill and hang out with my boyfriend and go travel and do some cool stuff.
So yeah, I have things I want to do. So what do you think we’ve had a long and depth discussion about this right? But what do you think will be what do you how will that transition into whatever you’re going to do next?
So there’s a lot of things in the works now right? Like I’m consulting, I’m working with projects centered around recruiter training, talent acquisition optimization and just bluntly elevating the I mean you all know everybody’s worked with recruiters for every 10 good ones there’s 90 crap ones right?
I want to standardize do my part to standardize and elevate the recruiting industry. Really? I want to train recruiters to be excellent. I want to train women to be recruited. Here’s the thing about recruiting.
Since we talked earlier, there’s no degree. You can’t go to college for recruiting. You don’t need experience to recruit. So why wouldn’t I take women and people from underrepresented groups who have the attitude and aptitude and train them to do this career well, lucrative?
That’s how I want to give back. So I want to do my part and I’m adamant and vocal about equality and inclusion in the workplace. So not just for women. So I have participated on panels and I would love to do more with that.
Okay. So doing more of what’s meaningful, impactful, really what you find, what your purpose is. Yeah. And again, that’s easier to do when I can say I did it. Yeah. I was the person I’m telling you you can be.
I’m her. Yeah. Well, that’s incredible. Well, anything else to anything else that you wanted to make sure we hit on or added added? No, like what I mean, one thing that you said we were talking about is like, how successful people are mission driven and do things.
You’re right. And like what was my big purpose or mission and like I could say, well, first of all, successful subjective. That means something different to everybody else. But like better opportunities, elevating, you know, there’s an art to it for talent acquisition.
It takes all different types of personality types. I mean, like it can provide an amazing career to like a music nerd and an avoider of law school. Like, I know it’s corny, but my story is unique and I want to share it.
I’ve been given beautiful opportunities and I’ve either had the bravery or the desperation to take advantage of them. And I worked really, really hard. Like I want to be an example of if you work really, really hard, you can do it.
do really, really cool things, right? And you’ve said to me before that I’m confident and charismatic and you asked me how I get like that, I was like, ah, sucker, no. But like, honestly, it’s surprising and flattering, but everything that’s happened has created the person that I am.
Every, just like any human. All my experiences lead up to this person. I like to do a lot, I like to learn a lot. I truly feel like in every situation with every human, there is something for me to learn and it has value.
The other thing that’s I think weird about me, that I’ve known since I was like 14, life is so short. People think you have forever and you don’t. So like, and it’s not just so short, the time where you have the money or the energy, because you can have the money when you’re 80, but you don’t have the energy or the health to do it.
I have a finite amount of time to do all the shit I want to do. Right? Yeah. So I’m going to go for it. I’m going to go for it. I am not, I’m not, I was not put on this earth to half asset. I’m going to do it.
Like, and I just feel like I wish more people would do that. And plus I can, I think I’m one of the least arrogant humans I’ve ever met. Truly. I agree. I am. And that’s not me. Like, see, maybe it was arrogant to even say that, but like ironically, but the point is I genuinely don’t think I’m better than anybody else.
I genuinely don’t think I know more. In fact, every day that I walked into a room at Carvana, which is about, we, we didn’t talk about imposter syndrome, but I would walk into a room at Carvana and like listen to what these people were saying.
And I’m like, holy shit, I’m never going to be the smart in my whole life. Like they’re so smart. Like, so then I can either sit there and freak out about not being smart or I can learn from the people in the room.
And I’ve always opted to learn from the people in the room. You put yourself in positions where you are not the smartest person in the room and then just dove in and learn where a lot of people can’t humble themselves to do that in first place.
Well, see, but again, you say it’s humble myself like I had to think about it. I wasn’t thinking about it. I genuinely felt like I wasn’t the smartest person in the room, but I was okay with that. Yeah.
Right. And that’s, and that’s okay. And then so I do want to do a touch on imposter syndrome because that’s a real freak. Yeah. So sorry. We’re like so much out of time. We’re good. It’s a visit. So here’s what’s funny about it.
And this is this is the first time I ever consciously thought this is like, again, a great story. But I ever thought about imposter syndrome as I was talking on the phone with one of my best friends from college.
He’s an MD PhD CEO of a pharmaceutical company that was developing something. And I want to talk about it that could change like the world, right? And he, we were talking about it. about the stresses of doing these huge things on a daily basis and the pressure and how he’s freaking out.
Now I’m freaking out. And I said something like, right, I get to go to work every day thinking that someone’s going to look around and think, who the heck is this crazy person? Why are we listening to her?
Why do we think she knows what she’s doing? And he’s like, yeah, I know. Every day I think that they’re going to realize that I’m a clown. Basically, it feels like you and I are both pulling a fast one.
That’s what he said. MD, PhD, CEO of a massive pharmaceutical company. And we’re both feeling like we’re the imposter, right? So anyone who doesn’t know it, imposter syndrome is the condition of feeling anxious and not experiencing success internally despite being hyperforming in external objective ways, right?
And everybody has it. So I’ve read a lot about this. I talk about this. I’ve speech. I pontificated about this. There are three main things. To keep in mind when you or anybody is starting to feel like an imposter.
First, everybody feels this way, even if you’re the MD, PhD, CEO of a pharmaceutical company. Man, woman, it doesn’t matter. Everybody feels that way. Two, recognize your skills and achievements. Count them off.
You are good at them. Empirically, think about it. You’re good at it. Especially in a shitty job market. If you weren’t good, you would not have a job. Right? And then third, let go of the idea of perfection.
Nothing is perfect. No one is perfect. No plan is ever going to be executed perfectly. And just like if you’re pushing a product to market, if you wait for it to be perfect, you’re going to lose your edge.
No. Fail fast and iterate. I think that it’s like people want to know, they want to be as informed as possible before making a decision and doing something. So you’ll analyze, try to be perfect, but you don’t fully know until you do it.
So you have to have the experience of doing it to get all the correct information. Yeah. It’s a psychological mind screw. It is. It’s like a chicken or the egg. You don’t want to put it out because if it looks terrible, people will laugh or it won’t work.
But if you don’t put it out and get an idea if it’s going to work or not, you’ll never really know. So then you’re back to the drawing board. It’s best. That’s why in software, there’s version one, two, three, vvvvvv.
Right? So you keep getting your updates on your Apple Watch. You get it out and then you iterate, you fix the bugs, you go on. And that is when you start to feel like an imposter, you don’t have to be perfect.
Get it out there, serve the need, fix it as you go. Honestly. Yeah. That’s, yeah. I mean, everybody, I agree. I mean, you’ve studied it. Everybody has it. And it’s like, you just have to, like, I don’t think you ever lose fear.
It’s just, you just want to, whatever you’re trying to do is more important than the fear that you feel. The reward is greater than the risk. Yeah. Yeah. But anything else with imposter syndrome that you’ve, I mean, you’ve clearly, like, overcome it and like, have done.
Yeah, but that’s like saying you overcome an addiction. You don’t ever actually overcome it. That’s true. That’s true. Just manage it. You just manage it. Again, the number one thing is every human in the room has had it.
And but again, this is where we talked about vulnerability and leadership. If you’re sitting in a room full of these smart, amazing humans, you look up to and you think they can do no wrong. And they tell you in an authentic, real vulnerable moment.
Man, Chiata, yesterday I thought like this job was too big for me. I’m like, Oh, thank God. I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna do it.
I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna God. It wasn’t just me, right? If leaders like the higher up you go that becomes a little harder.
Because if you have too many moments of self doubt, then the people who work for you can start to you have to be have the conviction. You have to steer the shit. Yeah. But you can do that and still have vulnerable moments is what I’m saying.
Yeah. Be vulnerable but still confident that still have that self belief that you know that you can achieve it. Yep. Okay, well, the only other question that we didn’t answer was the network. I think we kind of hit on that.
You just didn’t burn any bridges. You cultivated this network of people, which is incredible. Now you like, yeah, we had talked about before, like you could, you have this network now that you can just easily tap into and go, you just have all these amazing relationships to help spur, you know, whatever you’re going to do next, which is, I think, just amazing.
Well, it is, but like, I think that we need to talk about the people who are a little more introverted, right? Like when you’re extroverted like me, it’s a little easier because it’s your natural social default, but like, it can be a little more difficult.
Like what I will say though, it’s not just the extroverted personality in me that is able me to form amazing relationships. If you’re so consistent and authentic and exactly yourself, people witness that consistency over time and then in their gut and their soul, they inherently trust you, right?
And then once they trust you, they trust you with more in business and in life. And then they tell people that they trust this person more. And then the word spreads that you’re good at what you do and that you can be trusted.
That’s it. You can start small with the three people on your team, right? If they are good and you do things excellently and they trust you, they tell their boss who tells their boss, right? So you can build on the trust and you can do it by systematically executing well on small tasks at work, right?
If you get a reputation for being reliable, you’ll cause your coworkers to trust you and then it’ll build your network that way, right? It is really being authentic and honest and trustworthy that builds a relationship.
It’s not, I could not call you and I could end our professional relationship tomorrow. And I could call you five years from now and you’re probably going to take that call because you remembered that if I’m calling you, it’s for a reason and it’s going to be for a good reason.
I’m not a crap. I’m not gonna steer you wrong. You know what I’m saying? And it’s for that same reason. Why if I call you and say, hey, I have a job for you. People know that I really have a job or I’m not gonna bug people.
Because you’re authentic and therefore they can, so it all starts with authenticity and being yourself. Wow. It really does. And I spent a heart, I mean, I stick to it, man. Like I really do. And it hasn’t always been easy.
You know, especially for women, we’re told we’re a lot. Really, if a man’s doing the same thing, he’s a go -getter. Right, but I’m just a lot. Okay, cool. Do you want less? Quit telling me I’m a lot while simultaneously asking me to do a lot.
Yeah. You want a lot done, I need to be a lot to get a lot done. Really? Yeah, yeah. That’s funny, I love that. No, that’s, yeah. That’s great. Well, anything else to add on your end? No, I’ve talked your ear off, right?
Like, I just want to say, like, you never know where your journey is going to take you. Risk and opportunity are very synonymous. The Chinese culture, they are synonymous. If you don’t know where to go to get a job, tap into your network.
Trust the people who say that you’re good because they see things in you that you don’t. Yeah. Right? And people are willing to help more than you know. Humans want to help other humans. So ask for help.
And then again, I just, I just authenticity. Just I can’t stress it enough. Like, it’s not always easy, but here’s the beautiful part about being authentic. Any job you do is going to be hard. Jobs are hard.
Otherwise people, companies don’t pay you to do them. It’s hard enough to do your job without stressing out about being perfect and what you think people want from you corporate professional. You can’t do that.
We don’t have time. We don’t have time to manage other humans, unrealistic expectations of who we are. So don’t. Just be excellent, be authentic and it will work out. Yeah. That’s so true. Um, while this has been a lot of fun, I think there’s so, so much insight here.
I cannot wait to, you know, share this with everybody. And I think that you have an incredible story and that people will, I think this will touch a lot of people. Honestly, I hope so. I really hope so.
I just, there’s so, there’s more than one way to go about it. It’s not prescriptive like it was when we were younger or I was younger when you were born. It was like, no, it’s just not, there’s not like a formula.
Go to school, go to law school, go to med school, make money, have 2 .2 kids and evolve. It’s just, it’s not that way anymore. It just isn’t. Yeah. Yeah. I couldn’t, could not agree more. Um, well, thank you for, for joining us.
This was, this is great. So anytime. I cannot. Always a pleasure. I enjoy it. Thank you so much. Have a good rest of your day. you