[Podcast] Panel | Can’t Miss Strategies for Executive Search Success in 2024: Insights from Jen Meyer, Govig & Associates, and Lindsay Brightwell, Boaz Partners

The full desk experience - search strategies for executive search success in 2020.

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Show notes

In this episode, we’ll explore the evolving landscape of executive search with Jen Meyer, the senior VP and general manager of Govig and Associates, a firm renowned for not just their recruitment acumen but also their strategic partnerships and in-depth market insights. Alongside Jen, we have Lindsay Brightwell from Boaz Partners, who brings a wealth of knowledge from the specialty chemicals, animal health, and advanced materials sectors.

Our guests will share how they’ve adapted to industry slowdowns and the increased integration of technology, like AI, in their processes, all while emphasizing the irreplaceable value of human connections. Jen and Lindsay will discuss the significance of maintaining candidate relationships through regular touchpoints and the critical need for keeping engagement human and personal.

Expect to learn about their team-centric approach to recruitment, the consultative value they provide to clients regardless of economic conditions, and the industry-tested strategies they’re employing to drive business in 2024. You’ll hear how a tight focus on discipline, industry, and geography—DIG—helps narrow down market focus effectively, and why data management and clean databases are more crucial than ever.

Join us as we touch on topics like the power of high call volumes, the use of technology in enhancing recruiter efficiency, and the strategic advantages of retained business. From the practicalities of running a successful executive search firm to unpacking the layers of the short game and long game in recruitment strategy, we’re covering it all.

Don’t miss this deep dive into the intersection of technology, strategy, and the human touch in the modern world of executive hiring. It’s all here on “The Full Desk Experience.” Stay tuned!

Featured Links:

Jen Meyer:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/jmeyergovig/

Lindsay Brightwell: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lschaaf/


Jen Meyer [00:00:00]:
We’ve gotten more business off of referrals by the kindness of what we’ve done for clients interviewing their kids. They’re getting out of college to prep them on where they should go. I mean, just stepping a little bit above and beyond that, they can genuinely, authentically feel that we are in it. To make the world a better place. Call one action at a time has gone a long way for us.

Kortney Harmon [00:00:23]:
Hi, I’m Kortney Harmon director of industry relations at Crelate. Over the past decade, I’ve trained thousands of frontline recruiters and have worked with hundreds of business owners and executives to help their firms and agencies grow. This is the full desk Experience, a crelate original podcast where we will be talking about growth blockers across your people, processes and technologies. Welcome to another episode of the full Desk Experience welcome back to another episode of the full Desk Experience podcast. We have two fantastic guests today from the executive search and recruiting world. Jen Meyer is senior VP and general manager of Govig and associates and Lindsay Brightwell, she’s the associate partner and director of research at Boaz Partners. These guys are leading offices that you want to hear from what they’re doing and what their strategies are. So with that being said, let me dive a little bit into each of our guests so you have a good background of who they are.

Kortney Harmon [00:01:28]:
Jen, I’m pleased to welcome. Thank you so much for joining us again. Jen is a senior VP and general manager of Govig. She’s an award winning executive. They are an award winning executive search firm headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona. She has over 25 years of recruiting experience and previously co founded her own firm focused on building product space, generally has received countless and numerous industry honors. I think if I read it right, you’ve been named Pace setter for 14 years in a row or 14 years total MRI hall of Fame inductee MRI Top Gun designee Govig and really leads the industry for key verticals like construction and tax while having a specialized team of recruiters. So Jen, thank you so much for joining us.

Kortney Harmon [00:02:18]:
What did I miss in your intro and what Govig does? Because you guys do it all. Sure.

Jen Meyer [00:02:22]:
And thank you, Kortney, it’s good to see you again and I’m honored to be here with you, Lindsay and I’ve never met you before, but I’m interested as well to hear what you have to day Govig as a whole. So as you mentioned, Kortney in the business for over almost 30 years now. I started when I was ten, have been through all of the so started as a fulfillment recruiter to business, moved to running a team, moved to owning an office, and then for the last eight years have been here at Govig. So Govig is a pretty large organization, large, small boutique. We have about 75 people, half of which are recruiters, executive recruiters, and we have really three main divisions, if you will, or business units. So, yes, I oversaw and I have moved into a new role come 2024. So we can talk about that. But I was of late overseeing the local practice as well as construction, where we heavily are in finance and accounting and building products.

Jen Meyer [00:03:19]:
And then I have had two counterparts that oversee our healthcare and our biopharma divisions. I’ve moved into, like I said, a new role lately.

Kortney Harmon [00:03:29]:
What’s that new role? Give us insight real quick.

Jen Meyer [00:03:31]:
My new title is senior vice president of strategic partnerships. So I’m moving into a role where my sales manager took over my position and then I am driving new business development for the whole company across all the verticals.

Kortney Harmon [00:03:46]:
That’s amazing. How exciting. And congratulations. Thanks.

Jen Meyer [00:03:50]:
Yeah, exciting.

Kortney Harmon [00:03:51]:
I love it. Well, on to Lindsay. I’m sure we’ll get more into your background. Jen. Lindsay, obviously, second guest here, deep expertise in chemicals and material recruiting. I believe Lindsay is an associate partner and director of research at Boaz. There are specifically a firm in those industries. I think you’re based in Atlanta, is that correct, Lindsay?

Lindsay Brightwell [00:04:12]:
Well, we like to joke our worldwide headquarters, our brick and mortar is in Atlanta, but we have people scattered all throughout. I personally sit in northwest Arkansas, but we have people in Buffalo. We have people in North Carolina, Florida, all over Georgia. So we’re a little bit scattered.

Kortney Harmon [00:04:25]:
Amazing. And Lindsay’s been with Boaz for over eight years, being named managing director award recipient multiple times. Director of research. She over really sees the candidate identification market. Intelligence supports delivery to clients ranging from private equity companies to global chemical manufacturers. Lindsay’s background is diverse and we are so lucky to also have her in here as well. So, Lindsay, what did I miss in your intro? And what did I miss that Boaz does? Because again, all the things, of course.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:04:56]:
I’m really excited to be here with both you and Jen. This is a great opportunity to showcase kind of some of the things that Boaz does and just to help anybody who’s looking for a little bit of strategy as well. So, yeah, Boaz Partners, we’re an executive search firm. We provide top tier talent in the specialty chemicals, animal health and advanced materials industry. The practice really started in 2018, but then West Washington, or a fearless leader started Boaz in 2015. And since then, my role has evolved from just doing sourcing. Now, I have four ladies that work with me on the research side, and I really do a lot more of the director of kind of operations research. On the candidate side, I help with new business development, any kind of marketing.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:05:36]:
So anything that any of our internal recruiters need to do their jobs better.

Jen Meyer [00:05:40]:
I kind of help with.

Kortney Harmon [00:05:41]:
I love that. I am so excited for today’s conversation. Obviously, executive search being near and dear to my heart, both of you ladies bring a wealth of experience to share. So we’ll be talking about trends. We’re going to be talking about challenges, opportunities in today’s market, innovative strategies when it comes to sales and sourcing and recruiting, communicating values with your teams and so much more. So it’s a critical time for talent. So we’re going to dive in and you’re going to hear straight from the experts. So with that being said, are you ladies ready?

Jen Meyer [00:06:12]:
Oh, yeah.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:06:12]:

Jen Meyer [00:06:12]:
Bring it.

Kortney Harmon [00:06:13]:
All right, Jen, I’m going to start with you on this one. So, new strategies, are there any new going into 2024 that maybe you’re looking at to drive new business and or expand business? For 2024? Sales has been a big topic of conversation. It’s a muscle we’ve had to reflex.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:06:31]:
What are you doing differently this year.

Kortney Harmon [00:06:33]:
Than you’ve done in the past?

Jen Meyer [00:06:34]:
It’s different for us, but I’m sure that it’ll be common in other organizations. But we are still really heavy retained. Right. So we work pretty high level across our organization, vp, c suite level with all of the organizations that we’re with, and all of our business is 100% retained. Now, where we got away from because we didn’t need to was the whole idea of an impact player, MPC marketing, bringing talent to whether they’re existing clients, new clients, what have you. So we’ve kind of had to dial it back a little bit and get back to the basics of how we all started in the business 20 whatever years ago, which is a muscle we haven’t flexed in a long time, to be honest. So it was breaking people way out of their comfort zone, because here you go after the market and you’re like, hey, we can be of value to you at so many levels and you have your pitch and you can say it in your sleep and everything, and now all of a sudden you’re going back to, do you want to talk to this person? And so again, muscle. We hadn’t flexed in a long time, but it was the only way to understand, like, hey, we got our long game and our long game hasn’t changed, and this is who we want to be, and this is what we’re going to do.

Jen Meyer [00:07:41]:
And if we’re going to deploy a search, we’re still going to deploy a team on a retained basis. However, we do have these outlier opportunities where things just, we have people in top of mind or in hand. And so it’s changing the narrative a little bit to our clients to understand the different services, different solutions that we can provide for them. But then just like really just being willing to go outside of your comfort zone and try. Right. So that saved us in a lot of cases in our organization through this challenge, and it’s opened some really nice doors to future business.

Kortney Harmon [00:08:15]:
I love how you said the short game and the long game. It’s really the difference. You’re not necessarily changing your overall strategy, but you’re playing both sides of the field. You’re having an approach to both.

Jen Meyer [00:08:25]:

Kortney Harmon [00:08:26]:
I recently did a podcast with Sharon Holtz. You may or may not know that name. We talked about retained, and obviously she’s a retained office. My question to you is, how do you talk to your clients about, hey, I know we do retained business, but this is of value to you whenever, like, okay, this is how I’m normally working, but this is something different. Is that a different conversation or a different strategy, or are you using it just for prospects? Kind of enlighten me on what that strategy might be.

Jen Meyer [00:08:51]:
Yeah, so, I mean, when you look at the compounded knowledge that we have in these businesses, it’s incredible. And Sharon, too, I mean, she’s played in that space for an unbelievable amount of time and has looked at as a subject matter expert to a lot of the companies that she works with. My narrative and the way that we go about it is really more. Again, there are going to be off times where, based on our knowledge, our compounded knowledge of the industry, we do have connections with people. They take our call. They understand who we are, and we just know who is open to exploring opportunities, whether it’s on a passive or proactive basis. And so there are those one off times when we do hear of needs that clients may have, that we just have that person top of mind. Now, what that doesn’t give them is the opportunity to compare it to a market analysis.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:09:38]:
So when we go out and deploy.

Jen Meyer [00:09:39]:
A team, we are throwing that net out and we are boiling the ocean, and we can come back to them with market insights to allow them to make a conscious decision on whether or not that is the right person or what the right solution is going to be. So the only caveat I tell them is like, look, if we have person in hand, you cannot judge me that if you don’t like that person, that I am a sucky recruiter. Right. Because you didn’t give me enough the opportunity to show you my strengths and to approach the market. So I do it with a smile and maybe a little bit of a giggle. I mean, not bobblehead giggle, right? But just to show them, enlighten the conversation. But it’s really just about like, I have this person top of mind and in hand, but I can’t guarantee you, based on culture, tactical, like the ins and outs, that it’s going to be the right person for you. But if it is great, and if it’s not, then maybe we move to a different strategy of deploying a full team, and in that case, it would be fully retained.

Jen Meyer [00:10:34]:
I can’t do it on a contingency basis. I just have an infrastructure that I can’t support it that way.

Kortney Harmon [00:10:38]:
That makes complete sense. Thank you for elaborating on that. Lindsay, I’m going to switch to you. You can elaborate on anything Jen said, but look at your approach to 2023 when it comes to driving new business. Are you doing anything new? Are you diving deeper into those accounts that you have today to expand your accounts? Give me what is your strategy for 2024 maybe different than what it was in 2023?

Lindsay Brightwell [00:11:02]:
It’s a little bit of everything. So same as Jen. We do mostly retained because we can’t do the level of service that we want to provide to the marketplace on a contingency basis. Like she said, we’re not going to deploy our entire team on a contingency basis to be able to do what we would call a dedicated search. One of our big strategies is hiring for ourselves is always on our mind, especially to allow us to dedicate a player in a new target market. So I think I misspoke a little bit earlier. And our practice started in 2008, not 2018. But specialty chemicals was kind of the first thing that we did, and then we brought somebody on board who had a background in animal health and pharmaceuticals and biotech.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:11:41]:
So she went and kind of built that market out. It’s still under the umbrella of specialty chemicals, but we dedicated a player in the market to that. We very recently started an advanced materials, still kind of on that chemical spin, but deployed somebody into the marketplace to really target that. We’re one full year into a reorg that has allowed us to serve our primary markets better we take a team centric approach that eliminates confusion and overlap and allows us to be targeted enough to go. What you were talking about, Kortney, both deeper and wider into that marketplace, making sure we know all of the decision makers inside of our clients, not just one point of contact. If that person happens to leave, then we have other places that we can go and continue that relationship, and then we can follow that other person on as well into wherever they might land next. From there, we do develop a touch plan. New business development has always been at the forefront of our executives from day to day.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:12:36]:
And our intake call process, which is free for our clients to go through, is really a big selling point to us. It shows the in depth and the questions that we ask and is kind of like an audition for us with our clients. Judge us on the questions that we ask. We’re probably not going to tell a client anything different than another recruiter is going to say. So we really want to show them what the difference is and what our value can be and that we’re asking the right questions. And if we leave the call thinking, wow, these guys don’t know what they’re talking about at all, don’t use us. But we find that to be a pretty valuable tool in our toolbox to show them this is the level of detail that we’re going to go just to learn the kind of person that you want. Think about what we’re going to do with the candidates that we’re trying to attract to your organization.

Kortney Harmon [00:13:23]:
I love, there’s a lot of detail on both of the things that you’re saying. Lindsay, is anything different? Is your focus any different this year than last year? Because it sounds like this has kind of been the boaz way of doing things. Is anything different this year?

Lindsay Brightwell [00:13:36]:
The biggest difference is that we’re now kind of on solid ground with that team centric approach, whereas before it was a little bit more, just go after them, go get them. And now that we have a specific roles and each of those responsibilities has a specific purpose, that team centric approach really allows us to divide and conquer the places that we want to go and have dedicated resources in those industries.

Jen Meyer [00:14:01]:
I love it.

Kortney Harmon [00:14:02]:
Great first question. All right, Lindsay, I’m going to go back to you. We’ll switch it up first and second, obviously, hiring has possibly slowed down in some sectors due to economic concerns. That could be a discussion in itself. How are you guys positioning your executive search firm as a strategic partner to clients? You talked a little bit about the value that you did with your intake forms. Is there anything other value that you’re emphasizing that really goes beyond merely filling open jobs?

Jen Meyer [00:14:31]:

Lindsay Brightwell [00:14:32]:
So we have a pretty strong tenure of our individuals in that niche. And when Wes started this practice, staying in that specialty chemicals has allowed us to not kind of deviate from that. So the years that we’ve had leading up to it, we’ve really just ingrained ourselves, but seeded ourselves as market masters. So that’s one benefit that we can provide. We’re not going to be all things to all people if we don’t feel comfortable that we’re going to be able to fill that role because it’s not in our wheelhouse or what we would consider our fill. We’re probably going to rather let you down now before maybe not be able to provide the service that we want to bring in this business, timing is everything, both candidates and clients alike. Things change quickly. So we do position ourselves as a resource.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:15:16]:
We’re going to be there when you need us. Again, talking about that periodic touch point, if the timing is not right now, we’re going to keep in touch with you. So we’re at forefront of your mind when the timing is right, even if it’s just to give insight about the market, what we’re seeing. We can also offer help with determining salary ranges because we’ve stayed in our industry. We have a database of over 160,000 people that are not far and wide. They’re still in those core industries. So if we can pull that data and provide some ranges on whether they’re doing too much, too little, are they providing the right value to the offers that they’re making, help them through? Oh, we’ve had three offers and none of them were accepted. We can kind of help peel back the onion a little bit and give them some insight as to why it might not be happening.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:16:02]:
We kind of joke around there’s three people you don’t want to need, but when you do need one, you want a good one, and you want them to know you, not the doctor, a lawyer and a recruiter. And so if you find yourself in need of talent unexpectedly from a resignation, we’re going to be there. If you’re a candidate that finds yourself in a downturn from the recession and you need a new opportunity, we’re going to be there.

Kortney Harmon [00:16:26]:
So we talked about, is there any part of your business that maybe has been impacted due to the slowdown, maybe that you’re seeing? Have you seen a slowdown in any of your portions of your markets?

Lindsay Brightwell [00:16:34]:
There’s been a little bit of a slowdown that I think across the chemical industry saw last year. 2022 was a banner year. If you were in the chemical industry, everyone was doing very well. There was a slight dip last year, but we’re also very hyper aware of the demographic conditions in the country right now. 10,000 baby boomers are retiring every single day. So there’s going to be pressure to hire for those. And so if there’s a downturn in the market, we’re still going to be here. We’ve been here.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:17:03]:
We’ve gone through a recession back in 2008, and we are still here. So our longevity in our tenure, I think, provides a level of stability and comfort to our clients that we’re not a flash in the pan, kind of a recruiter. We’re both as partners for a reason. We want to partner with your company and with our candidates to be able to be here for the long term.

Kortney Harmon [00:17:24]:
Love it. Jen, a are you seeing a slowdown in any of your industries, and what are they? And then we can go into value, but let’s start there.

Jen Meyer [00:17:31]:
The biggest slowdown that we’ve seen is in life sciences, and I think that there’s a lot of that. I’ve networked with a lot of my peers in the marketplace that are in that market, and I think it’s across the board. So they’re unfortunately, probably the ones that got hit the hardest. The other ones were down a little, but not to a level that it was catastrophic or anything like that. We had to pivot and shift a little bit. But to Lindsay’s point, we always had our core competency. We didn’t try to be a jack of all trades and master of none. And so we tried not to deviate too far off of ancillary businesses of our core competency and really looked at what things would be transferable across so that as the market comes back up again, all of the rest of this inventory or these other areas that we were kind of spinning off, either spin off and have a whole business unit around it, or we’re able to use those candidates back into our core competencies.

Jen Meyer [00:18:32]:
So we’ve been very intentional with what we’re willing to take on, what we’re willing to not. And again, to Lindsay’s point, we walk away from a lot of business for good reason. It was funny that you said that, Lindsay, about the whole, like, you need three people. I didn’t even think of a doctor, which is good. I used to say banker, lawyer, and so. But I like the doctor. Yeah. Yeah.

Jen Meyer [00:18:51]:
Better for your health, just to kind of go along those same lines, Kortney, in the sense of just what have we done a little bit differently? I think we’ve taken a little bit of a different approach in trying to be as consultative as we can to help them solve their problems today without it being about what are you going to pay us? So there could be things like we have gotten involved a lot with speaking at conferences, becoming the subject matter expert. So there’s a lot of our team that travel to conferences and not for the purpose of getting business right there and marketing our services, but more from a business of how can we add value to the knowledge base to help you run your business as effectively and efficiently and meet your goals. I think that we’ve done a lot where I’ve helped, especially current clients, build out job descriptions, interview internal candidates that they want to promote into a role just to make sure that they’re making the right decision. And I don’t get paid anything for that at that moment, but I know it’s going to come back. When they need somebody, they’re going to remember the kindness of that. We’ve been talking a lot over the last few years, and it’s, I think, paid off a little bit more this year or 2023 was that we really tried to move our value prop and messaging away from the fact that we are here to place people. It’s really about shifting it to be about the solution in its entirety in a holistic view versus being a people trafficker. Right.

Jen Meyer [00:20:15]:
So we try to have that solution be about, look, you are bringing us on board to get you to the right decision for your organization. Whether it’s hiring somebody that we can identify or we play a part in, whatever that solution may be, it’s shifted to that. And we saw a lot of it. I mean, there’s not many years you can get $140,000 fee and not place the person right. And that’s really where we want to be, is that we’re just being paid for our efforts and our market insights and knowledge versus it being about, like, we place John Smith into that role and we move on to the next transaction.

Kortney Harmon [00:20:52]:
I love what both of you said. You’ve both talked about, and a lot of organizations do this. They talk about having a consultative approach, but their actions don’t go along with that. They’re like, well, you need a guy, I got a guy. But they’re not helping write job descriptions. They’re not going back to meet at conferences. They’re not hosting user groups for candidates or whatever that might be they’re not going above and beyond in that different way. And I think that really speaks volumes to who you guys are as organizations and how you’re taking that consultative approach.

Jen Meyer [00:21:20]:
I mean, reality is. And what I try to share with clients is like, look, if we come together and we all do our part, it’s going to become a better world, right? So whatever that place is, and there has to be kind of a philanthropic, empathetic viewpoint to it, because I do feel it’s not that people, recruiters that are all about the check. I mean, look, I’m not a nonprofit organization. Let me be clear. Right? Like it is about what we get paid, but it’s going to come around in some way. And we’ve gotten more business off of referrals by the kindness of what we’ve done for clients, interviewing their kids. They’re getting out of college to prep them on where they should go. I mean, just stepping a little bit above and beyond that, they can genuinely, authentically feel that we are in it to make the world a better place.

Jen Meyer [00:22:02]:
Call one action at a time has gone a long way for us.

Kortney Harmon [00:22:06]:
That’s amazing. Lindsay, we talked sourcing earlier, so I’m going to throw this one to you. Talent is hard to find. Obviously, we’re in a generation of needing to upskill and reskill. You talked about how many boomers are retiring at record rates, right? So talk to me about maybe some innovative sourcing strategies you guys are doing to find qualified candidates or what you’re doing differently this year than the past few years.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:22:30]:
I’m not really sure if this is innovative, but we really do believe in the power of people and relationships. We’re big on tracking KPIs and data, and one of those is our source. Where are our candidates coming from? Where we find our candidates. One of our big and most growing categories is actually our internal database. So those are existing relationships that we’ve built since our inception, as well as asking for referrals. It’s a birds of a feather mentality. So we’re really trying to talk to people who could be a fit for that role, who have done that role, who could be a step up for that role, and then trying to educate our clients on take a chance on this person, or why might this person might want to take a step back and then asking the people for referrals, asking them, not just assuming they’ll give them to us if they know about that person. It is not uncommon for us to place an individual.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:23:18]:
We’ve been talking to for five or more years. And it just happened that we found that right role for them at this time. But we’ve maintained that relationship with them also. How we’ve been able to gain new clients by maintaining and nurturing that relationship that we work so hard to connect with them on. Similar to our intake call, or what we call our internal interview is another way that’s kind of a commercial on this is what I’m going to do for your candidates. And if they’re in a hiring position, that’s the best commercial we can possibly have. About every single candidate that comes to you is going to go through this exact same process. We made the move to Creelite back in 22, and the tag functionality has actually allowed us to access the right people faster.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:24:01]:
Out of 160,000 candidates, there’s impossible to know every single one of them. So being able to pull out the right people at the right time and quickly is huge and has allowed that source of our internal database to go up. Do we still use LinkedIn?

Jen Meyer [00:24:16]:
Yes, we do.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:24:17]:
Do we use other resources? Of course we do. But we’re really employing the full functionality of our database and the strengths of our recruiters to really connect and build those relationships and earn that trust that they’re going to want to refer their previous coworker, their brother in law, their sister, their aunt, whoever that might be, their son who just graduated college with the chemical engineering degree that’s having a hard time. So that referral and then internal database and using our network, not necessarily innovative, but it’s also not the easiest thing to do to maintain a relationship with someone for five years. And Jen, like what you were saying, it’s not about the paycheck. Can you help me?

Jen Meyer [00:24:54]:

Kortney Harmon [00:24:54]:

Lindsay Brightwell [00:24:54]:
And then hang up. Building that relationship over five years until you have that thing, knowing that their kids are in high school and they’re graduating, and now that they can move, they want to move back to wherever they were from. And we know we can call them back at that time because we have taken the time to get to know them and nurture that relationship.

Kortney Harmon [00:25:13]:
Both of you ladies said referrals in the past. Last statement of what you said, and it is by far I see the most underutilized thing. Easiest thing to ask for when you’ve earned it. It is so true. And Lindsay, I did not pay you to say crate or finding yourself in your database. I just want to make that clear. But it is true. And oftentimes in organizations that are so transactional, they think you need a guy.

Kortney Harmon [00:25:39]:
I got a guy, I got to go to a job board. They don’t think about the investment that they’ve already paid for the job boards that they’ve been paying for for years now that candidate’s already in the system. And how many times do they actually go back? They find the candidate, but it was in their system all along. They just didn’t look there first because they couldn’t find it.

Jen Meyer [00:25:54]:
At ease.

Kortney Harmon [00:25:55]:
Okay, Jen, I’m going to switch gears. I’m going to go to a different question for you. Good AI is a big conversation for us. Obviously, AI at staffing world last year, someone said it’s not artificial intelligence, it’s ambient intelligence. Like it’s there all the time, like an ambient light. It’s only increasing by the day with AI tools that are coming in. But I think it comes down to when you’re reaching out to people and you’re finding new clients or you’re trying to get in touch with more people. How do you cut through the noise, make meaningful connections, and really have better engagement and quality with your candidates and clients? With the rise of all these other robots that are creating messaging to sound better and bigger than you do, you.

Jen Meyer [00:26:37]:
Have to, or the world is going to pass you by. Right. It’s in there. Personally, we have not had any backlash or pushback on hearing that noise. So it was interesting when you and I got the idea of what this was going to be about, I was like, that’s really interesting because I’ve never had that. Now, we have talked about how it can be a competitiveness to how people could be competing against us. Right. And how do you.

Jen Meyer [00:27:09]:
The first reaction of some of my team members was like, I’ve been 20 years in this business. Now somebody’s going to come in and they’re three months. And what is my competitive advantage? I think at some level, even though AI can be super smart and much smarter than me, at the end of the day, it’s not a person, and that’s where the phone comes in. Right. Because you got to cut through it by actually having a conversation and being human. And no matter how much these robots can do, there never will be a full human aspect to it. So I do think that there’s things that you could utilize it to your advantage, and we definitely have, but I think because we are still pretty old fashioned in the sense that we’re still picking up the phone, we’re still having those phone calls. Obviously, we use different platforms to engage them into a conversation, but we know our people, right.

Jen Meyer [00:28:09]:
And they know us. And so we just haven’t had a negative noise come at us about us getting beat out by AI or cheapening our value to a client because there’s all of these AI tools or platforms out there.

Kortney Harmon [00:28:27]:
There’s a time and a place for it, for sure. I think I see it a lot more like on LinkedIn and messaging. You can see the paragraphs that are written, but it comes down to that. Jen, I know. I think I asked you this. On the last podcast that we did, you said picking up the phone is huge. How many calls do you still require out of your people a day?

Jen Meyer [00:28:44]:
Yeah, that’s a big, I mean, it’s a big topic of conversation. We try to break it up into. I really try to break it up into the idea that you can make up a day with a week. You can make up a week with a month. Right. So it’s like we try not to measure it on a daily basis. It’s more. And at the end of the day, it’s about the results.

Jen Meyer [00:29:03]:
And frankly, if people have the results, I don’t care how they get there. Right. So if they don’t have the results is when they force me to break down those metrics. And you and I talked about that. Right. So I try to help them to organize their day in four call blocks with the idea that there’s 20 calls per call block knowing. And I created that because there’s no way you could sit me in a chair and have me make 80 calls in a row. I am so ADHD.

Jen Meyer [00:29:29]:
There’s just no way. Right. I’d be buying shoes on DSW before I would ever do that. So you have to break it up so that you have little chunks of the day, of goals. Since we’ve done that, people are better at it. And usually if they’re not hitting their goals, it’s because they’re engaged in a lot of really good conversations. So our goal and our hope is that people are still at kind of that 50, 60 call range. I mean, years ago it was 80 to 100.

Jen Meyer [00:29:56]:
I don’t think we can expect that anymore. Although I have rookies in my office that do make between 100 and 140 calls a day. And I will tell you, I have a woman in my office that she’s 21 years old. She started us two years ago. She was 19 when she started with us. And she tried so hard, right. She got four retained searches last year at 21 years old. And it wasn’t because she was any smarter or any more knowledgeable or anything.

Jen Meyer [00:30:28]:
It was the fact that she had, on average, 120 to 140 calls a day. And that was in addition to her LinkedIn messages and her emails. And it was not in lieu of, and it was a combination. She was in the right place at the right time. I don’t think a ten year person has to do that and shouldn’t have to do that. I mean, you should see some progression, but there’s got to still be a volume there that makes sense for your business. It can’t be three to five calls a day. I mean, there’s just no way.

Kortney Harmon [00:30:53]:
And AI, you’re right, is never going to replace us. I’m sure everybody’s heard the whole concept. AI is not going to replace a recruiter, but a recruiter using AI will replace someone. It helps you move faster. It helps you to determine and analyze data faster. I mean, the list goes on. We have a podcast for that if anyone hasn’t listened to it. Lindsay, I’m coming to you.

Kortney Harmon [00:31:11]:
Same question to you, obviously. How do you cut through the noise? Where are you using it? Like good, bad and ugly.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:31:17]:
Ours is very similar to what Jen said. You got to pick up the phone. It is really hard to develop a relationship strictly over email and text. You have to talk to someone. We have kind of the same metrics that 60 to 80 calls a day. We definitely have people that do 100. Volume will overcome skill in a lot of instances, especially if you are rookie and timing is everything. You will catch somebody who is going to talk to you at the right time.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:31:43]:
If you make enough phone calls to me, AI is still TBD. Do we use it? Absolutely. It’s the same kind of thing I think about when they said LinkedIn was going to replace recruiters, guess what? We’re all still here. AI is not going to replace recruiters. It’s going to augment and help our tasks. It’s going to help get things a little bit done faster. But the heart and soul of our business is still the connections. We have the means to communicate with people without talking to them right now.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:32:11]:
And if you could make a bunch of placements doing that, there would be a lot more recruiters and everyone would be doing it. So it’s the people that are still going to pick up the phone and have those conversations and have that volume. Another metric that we track is around 240 minutes or 4 hours of phone call a day. And so if you don’t have the volume, that means you are having a lot of those really great conversations. So you should have those 20 hours a week and similar to what Jen said, if you have a bad day, the week can make up for that day. A month can make up for that week. So it’s not on a day to day basis that you have to really kind of make those metrics.

Kortney Harmon [00:32:45]:
I love it. I agree with everything both of you wonderful ladies are saying. All right, Lindsay, I’m coming back to you. New question, and it might be our last question before Katie. Beats me, so we’ll keep that in mind. Obviously, an executive search is about timing. So how do you go about building and maintaining relationships with potential candidates? You talked about having someone in the queue for five years. So what is your strategy? What is your best practice when it comes to, hey, I don’t have anything for you right now, but you’re amazing.

Kortney Harmon [00:33:12]:
How do you stay on top of that so it doesn’t get lost in your hundreds of thousands of candidates? What strategies do you guys employ? And maybe is there a best practice that you guys kind of use?

Lindsay Brightwell [00:33:22]:
First and foremost, we believe in the mentality of lead people better than when you found them. If you made an impact on them, you will have no problem continuing that relationship and utilizing your database and tasks to keep up with them on a certain amount of touch plan. So maybe we didn’t place that person, but our process and our conversations would have made them think about what they really wanted in the next career move. Maybe it was us asking questions that most people are not used to answering.

Kortney Harmon [00:33:46]:
On a daily basis.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:33:48]:
Like, what are you looking for in a company culture? What kind of management style do you like in a boss? Do you even want to stay in this industry? Do you even want to stay in sales or r and D or marketing? Or do you want to make a shift to something different? Hopefully during the conversations that we’re having, it’s helping them think about what it is that’s right for them and that hopefully they’ll come back to us. We can’t always hope for that. So we do have our database that is, again, our lifeblood, that we tag with certain things. If they were an NPC, we’re having them on a touch plan. We’re touching base with them periodically. Capturing our data is critical to allow us to quickly access those people. And the people is really who we value the most. And hopefully the people that we have as candidates will become our future clients as well.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:34:32]:
I’m going to mention that task function again in our database. It will remind you on any time that you need to reach back out to that person. Based off of anything that I’m going to touch back with you in six weeks. You set the task, make sure and then follow through. Actually do it. Pick up the phone and talk to them, not just send them an email. Hey, you still good? You still looking? Are you not still looking? Where did you land? Making sure that you’re having those continual conversations.

Kortney Harmon [00:34:56]:
Do you have a rule of thumb that you can’t let a candidate go x number of time without touching them?

Lindsay Brightwell [00:35:01]:
Probably at the most, we’re looking at six weeks.

Jen Meyer [00:35:04]:

Kortney Harmon [00:35:04]:
I love it. It gives good insight because I was on a call today and they’re like, oh, there’s this many records in our system. We haven’t touched people in over three years by this many of those records. And it’s almost very eye opening to do that data analysis to say, oh my gosh, we need to touch those people or heck, do an end of the year campaign. Anybody who hasn’t been touched in six months, send out a holiday message or whatever. Jen, I want to steal any thunder, anything from you, obviously, to keep people in the loop. Do you guys do anything specific? Do you guys have any secrets in your bag to kind of keep in touch with these people, to keep them loyal to your brand?

Jen Meyer [00:35:42]:
Having a tight dig, it helps it, right? Because you’re just in that market all the time and so there is that reason.

Kortney Harmon [00:35:49]:
Not everyone in this world right here is an MRI office. So explain what a dig is for our listeners.

Jen Meyer [00:35:54]:
I probably need to explain it to my own office. Okay. Dig is just like, what is your world? Right? So d discipline, what roles are you placing? I industry. What industry are you working in? In geography. And it can be as tight or as loose as you need it to be, right, in order to have it make sense. But when you live in that world, it helps. I think with Lindsay we’re very team driven. So we have multiple people in any given market.

Jen Meyer [00:36:19]:
So you have multiple people touching. I think it’s a lot of organization, of touch plan and just realizing that you’re only going to place 1% of the people that you talk to. So you don’t have to keep in touch with absolutely everybody, but you do need to keep in touch with the people that are important on a regular basis and then obviously we’re freelate users as well. I 100% agree with Lindsay in regards to tags. I mean, if I wasn’t live, I’d curse. But what you put in is what you can get out. I’ll keep it clean. You got to know that that database can work on your behalf or against you.

Jen Meyer [00:36:52]:
And so if you’re going to take the time to put it in, have it work on your behalf.

Kortney Harmon [00:36:56]:
Do you guys have any campaigns you do like to clean up data? I remember back whenever I was at MRI, we would suggest people that don’t have an email address at the end of the year, they would run a campaign for that. Anybody who doesn’t have a phone number that’s in the system, how many times do you put in and you don’t grab a phone number. There was, the researchers were able to pull that information. Do you guys have any rule of thumb things that you guys do annually or biannually to try to clean up your data?

Jen Meyer [00:37:23]:
So for us, it’s locked that you can’t save a record if it doesn’t have the data. So it has to be in there when you first put it in. Or we would have just a bunch of junk in there. And we run it monthly. So at the end of every month, we run a data report of if there are candidates that are missing certain things that maybe aren’t a locked category, but we need it in order to find that person, then it’s up to the recruiter to clean it up at the end of the month. And when we know we’re checking, it slows down. I do think we do have a sourcing department as well. They’re much better at it than recruiters are, certainly.

Jen Meyer [00:37:55]:
So I’m all for having people stick in their strengths, and that helps.

Kortney Harmon [00:38:00]:
I love that we have what we.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:38:02]:
Call a stop the bleeding project, lovingly stop the bleeding. So every month I run a search for the candidates that don’t have tags and don’t have certain contact information, and so I’m filling those out on a month to month basis. And I am the director of research, so I do lead the sourcing department. And so the girls and the ladies that work on my team, we all run that. And there’s another thing that we also run, that we don’t have a LinkedIn recruiter account for all of our recruiters. Only our researchers have that. So sometimes a recruiter link will get in there on the LinkedIn and we’ll have to clean that up. So we have saved searches in creolate.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:38:34]:
So I just run those every single month, and they’re literally labeled stop the bleeding. So that will run that every month and clean those things up. As far as the yearly, sometimes we’ll go in and look at who has not been touched in three years. Maybe it’s time to look at those. And more often than not. We’re like, why haven’t we talked to that person in three years? They look great. We could probably place that person tomorrow. So we will archive some people that might have moved on to and we’ll use candidate statuses as well for people that have retired.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:39:04]:
We don’t want to take them out of our database because we don’t want to risk putting them back in, especially if we know that information. But we’ll use candidate statuses as well.

Kortney Harmon [00:39:12]:
All great advice. Katie, I think has given me a look from the other side of this camera. I see she’s coming on. She’s here. We’re obviously to the ask me anything portion and we have a lot of wonderful people that I don’t have to answer all the questions for. So I’m going to sit back. But do we have any questions from any of our audience members?

Jen Meyer [00:39:30]:
We do. So, Lindsay, the first one is a little bit on what you were just touching on and it’s kind of diving in deeper. You say that you reach out and touch these people hypothetically every six weeks or no longer than every six weeks. What kind of things do you talk about every six weeks in order to keep them like a warm lead as.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:39:49]:
Opposed to cold lead, as Jen mentioned? Also, we’re not talking to all 150,000 of those people every six weeks. So it’s a select group of individuals. It might just be a touch base just to say, hi, we are still here going back on our notes. Last time we talked you were going into budget season. How did that turn out? What is your hiring looking like? Last time we talked, you were kind of debating between two offers. Did you need any help with that? Is there anything that we can provide to you? It’s really just as simple as that. You don’t have to have a whole big thing that you’re going to talk to them about just to know that you care. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be a phone call every six weeks, might be a text message referencing something you had talked about in your last conversation.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:40:35]:
Maybe you saw something on the news about their particular company that is just merged. Hey, how is that going to affect you really staying on the pulse of your industry and knowing when to reach out to certain people and then being able to find them when you do need to. So utilizing your database, infusing those tasks and if they, you know, I don’t need to talk to you for three months. Respecting that as well.

Kortney Harmon [00:40:58]:
I was just going to switch that to Jen. Obviously that was mentioned to candidates. Jen talk to us about clients, because obviously there’s clients, they don’t have time. Do you have any best practices? Do you go visit so frequently? Do you have reoccurring touches? How do you continue to expand those accounts into key accounts? Any good advice on how frequently you touch them?

Jen Meyer [00:41:18]:
Yeah, I mean, I think you have to make the best judgment in regards to sooner than later. Based on the last conversation, I think that it never goes, I mean, if it’s somebody that I really want to keep in my wheelhouse, it never really goes beyond six weeks either. And that is the hardest thing because the hardest call to make is the checking in call, and it’s a waste of time. I mean, nobody has time for that. So I really try to go, this is where you can use AI, right? You can copy and paste your last conversation notes into AI and say, hey, can you give me an idea of what I should be talking about next time? And if you have an avatar built, then it’ll speak in your language. So I’ll use that a lot of times of just like give me a topic or I’ll find an article. Like Lindsay said earlier about the whole, like 10,000, 12,000 retirees of baby boomers retiring every day. Well, there’s another statistic that just came out by Forbes that said, I think it’s 12,000 people are turning 65 this year.

Jen Meyer [00:42:11]:
It’s not even about retiring a day. 12,000 people a day are turning 65 this year. And so succession planning comes big. And I think it’s just changing the verbiage a little bit because a lot of them have heard about the baby boomers retiring. They’re like, yeah, we get it. We know we don’t know what to do about it. Right. And people aren’t retiring at 65, but when are they retiring? And so it’s the same concept that Lindsay said.

Jen Meyer [00:42:35]:
I mean, exactly on the same track. But maybe you’re just changing it up a little bit just to sound a little different. And that’s what’s getting them engaged into wanting to. They’ll pick up the phone the next time. Jen, this next question that came in actually hits on something that you just briefly touched on. You’ve mentioned using AI in your processes. You both have, Jen, what kind of, outside of that, dropping your notes into your avatar example, what other processes are using AI to assist you and your teams with? We use a lot internally. It’s as simple as, I mean, none of us took writing classes.

Jen Meyer [00:43:07]:
Right. And I think what the change in recruiting is that we’re expected to be everything. So we’re expected to know how to source. If we don’t have beautiful people like Lindsay, we’re expected to know how to communicate verbally, written wise, and we’re expected to be our own marketing team. So it’s like all of a sudden our world broadened. And where I use AI and where I love it is the idea that I don’t have to think about how to do it anymore. It’s my cheat sheet internally now. I still will go through and make sure that it sounds like me, right? So I will use it as a simple email.

Jen Meyer [00:43:45]:
Like if I just want to sound really concise to my hiring a manager, I’ll type an email out and just say like, hey, can you rewrite this for me? But it still sounds like me. So it’s marketing. What can we do from a marketing perspective? You can go on there and find who the major competition is out there and the clients that you’re working with. I mean, it is unlimited resources as to what you can do, but I use it as a cheat sheet and a starting point and then I’ll clean it up to myself. I also use it like we do a lot of candidate write ups that Lindsay, I don’t know if you guys do this, but we use it for that. We have a prompt that we can put things in there and it will formulate the candidate write up with our own notes and what we’re saying. And so from a time perspective, it’s a better use of time templating for. Yeah, yeah.

Kortney Harmon [00:44:34]:
Lindsay, anything else from your perspective, do you guys use AI any different way?

Jen Meyer [00:44:38]:
It’s a lot of the same stuff.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:44:40]:
We’ll help it. We send out a newsletter monthly.

Jen Meyer [00:44:42]:
That’s another way that we touch base.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:44:43]:
With anybody that we have connected with. And we also have a section on our website that people can sign up for our newsletter and we use to help it with Chat GPT to help us. We also, like Jen said, we have to clean it up, make it sound like us as well because half the time you put it in you’re like, I would never send an email that sounds quite that formal. So you clean it up and make it sound a little bit like your language. Candidate write ups, newsletter, job descriptions, even just for our own internal posting purposes or as a service for our clients as well, all similar things.

Jen Meyer [00:45:16]:
We have another question from the audience. This comes in from Kristen. And Kristen is asking, how do you keep your business development and recruitment communications organized? When running a full desk, does she mean like in regards to just throughout the day, how do we structure our day or how do we keep it all? I think we might be playing Lindsay into what you were saying earlier about the way that you guys are tagging. And then, Lindsay, I know through previous conversations that you guys might time block because you guys have a lot of full desk recruiters. So it would be like they time block and they do half the day as one, half the day as other. So I don’t know if you guys want to talk about that.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:45:55]:
Yeah, it’s all of that time blocking for sure, on having a call block. And we have some recruiters that say, I’m going to spend an hour on this job, or they say I’m going to make 20 calls and I’m not going to stop until I get those 20 calls. It’s a personal preference for their organization. I know for myself, I like to time block on when I’m going to be looking for candidates for recruiting purposes and then I’m going to be looking for potential new clients. And I try to flip flop that from what my recruiters are doing. If they’re calling candidates in the morning, I’m going to do that in the night before, they’re calling hiring managers in the afternoon, I’m going to do that in the morning so that I’m following them or they’re calling me. And then time blocking. I have calendar that’s color coded so everyone knows what I’m doing when I’m doing it.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:46:36]:
And we also have a lot of prioritization, inter team calls they’re calling on this job. So I need to make sure that I have to have enough names in there for them to call on that if I’m adding names to a role they’re not calling on, it’s a waste of everybody’s time.

Jen Meyer [00:46:50]:
The two pieces of advice I would give is that we’re asking people to plan and they’re usually not planners. Right. Because again, we’re all type a personalities, so it does take some self control. But the two things I would say is, be true to who you are as a person. When I first came in and they would say, you need to make cold calls, business development cold calls at 08:00 in the morning. And I’m like, I am not a morning person whatsoever. I mean, you’re lucky if I can even grunt out a word at 08:00 in the morning. So you have to be true to who you are and at times.

Jen Meyer [00:47:21]:
So for me, I set times up in the morning of like I do candidate interviews first thing in the morning because they’re warm and I can get into the game. I may market from eleven to two because that’s when I’m at my best. Right. So just be true to who you are. And I think also really get the most out of every call. So we do almost. You talked about referrals earlier, Kortney. A lot of our search assignments come from the candidate side, so I think a lot of people separate it out.

Jen Meyer [00:47:51]:
Like, oh, I’m doing my business development and, oh, I’m doing my recruiting. But then they get so tunnel vision done, too. That is what they need to accomplish during that block versus really maximizing the conversations from a 360 perspective. That helped us a lot. It’s just like, look, these are the people that you need to call, but you should be trying to get everything out of them that you can in every direction because nobody has enough time.

Kortney Harmon [00:48:14]:
To do all of it.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:48:15]:
Multiple outcomes on every call. 100%.

Jen Meyer [00:48:18]:

Kortney Harmon [00:48:18]:
I always like to say is, you’re not closing to a placement. You’re closing to the next objective. What is your next objective? What is, like the next chess move? The placement is not the end game. There are so many options. It’s choose your own adventure.

Jen Meyer [00:48:30]:
I say that to people. I’m like, look, they say the best day in this business is the day you make a placement. I’m like, no, the best day in the business was the day you found the know. The placement is just a result of that day. Right? So, yeah, you’re absolutely right. I think it also kind of goes back to what you guys are both saying about just keeping really great notes in your system, too. Lindsay, your team may not know if your system didn’t take the record of it. They might not know that you just called so and so yesterday and someone else is calling them again today.

Jen Meyer [00:49:00]:
I think that having a good system in place that helps you manage all of those tasks is really key in all of this.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:49:07]:

Kortney Harmon [00:49:08]:
One more question. In the chat. I was just keeping you on.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:49:11]:
She’s keeping me on time. Look at her.

Jen Meyer [00:49:14]:
She’s type a. I’m not. Can you tell Nikki is asking, are you offering a product or added value in those retained fees, for example, solving a problem or pain point if they don’t have a job order? And how are you marketing or asking for that retainer if no role is Eddie right now? Yes and no. I think that if they don’t have a search right then, then it’s going to be really hard to get a retainer now. I certainly have gotten consulting fees. That is just a flat fee for time. But I have found that usually, so time is invested if done right in that other thing that they end up hiring you for the search. Right.

Jen Meyer [00:49:59]:
And that’s really where the money is. So there’s more often than not, yeah. Again, I’ve gotten paid for one off type of ancillary type of projects or whatever that people have. But a majority of our business is attached to that. There is a need within that organization or they are getting themselves positioned to hire a certain person or get to a certain resolve from a problem. And we get paid for that process in its entirety.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:50:25]:
Ours is pretty much the exact same. We’ve had gotten consulting fees to do things they have wanted a little bit of market insight, so we’ll run a process on the background of that. But you’re right, most of it is going to be putting in that time. Like I mentioned earlier, our intake call that is free. So all that’s going to cost you is your time. And we might not get that search right there because they might figure, you know, we’re actually going to hire internally and promote from within and train that guy who might not be quite ready right now. But when they do need us, a lot of times they will come back to us. And the retainer and the engagement fee is really, as Jen mentioned earlier, to deploy our time to put forth a dedicated team towards it.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:51:06]:
We’re too thorough. We do too much to do it on a contingency basis.

Kortney Harmon [00:51:10]:
And honestly, I hear this so frequently with the retained offices. You’re still paying the fee. You’re just actually paying the fee in three separate pieces and it’s still coming out. It’s just how you’re paying it. Three separate pnls, like Sharon likes to say, guys, thank you so much. I know we’re at time. I’m going to wrap really quick, obviously. This is amazing.

Kortney Harmon [00:51:29]:
Ladies, thank you so much for joining us. Huge thank you to you, Jen and Lindsay for being here. We covered so much ground on executive search. I know it was only a few questions, but we really got a feel of some best practices, your cultures, of your teams, AI positioning your firms as a talent advisor and really kind of how you’re charting these uncertain economics. So I encourage all of our listeners to check out Govig and Boaz partners, learn more. We’ll put your links to your websites and you personally in the show notes. So we’ll be back soon with more of these panels with recruiting and sales leaders. So if you’re interested in joining or want to hear more about a specific topic, please email us at [email protected] and for everyone and all of our listeners, thank you for taking the time to be with us today.

Kortney Harmon [00:52:18]:
It was a pleasure and we can’t wait to see you again soon.

Lindsay Brightwell [00:52:20]:
Thank you, guys. Thank you so much.

Jen Meyer [00:52:23]:

Kortney Harmon [00:52:26]:
I’m Kortney Harmon with Crelate. Thanks for joining the full desk experience. Please feel free to submit any questions for next session to [email protected] or ask us live next session if you enjoyed our show. Be sure to subscribe to our podcast wherever you listen, and sign up to attend future events that happen once a month.

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