My Thoughts

EP18 – Success means being right most of the time with only 40% of the information

While considered a success in her career, Alyssa Atkins had ended a long term relationship and witnessed some of the people, women in particular, in her life going through challenges with regards to getting pregnant and having kids. What she was witnessing triggered her thoughts and desire to one day have kids, all while not “in the perfect situation” with the right partner, the right job, the right house… She decided to at least start her own process with a fertility test.

And that’s where it all fell apart.

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Delays. Waiting. Complex information and results. It’s a gong show of a process for women and couples trying to navigate it all. So, like many good entrepreneurs do, Alyssa set out to solve her own problem, but not just for herself… Also for women and couples en mass, and with that Lilia was born (no pun intended… well, maybe).

As I speak to Alyssa about her foray into entrepreneurship, she shares so many incredible and valuable tips that anyone can apply to their work, whether as an entrepreneur or someone working in a small, medium or large organization, at any level. One area of discussion focused on the fact that entrepreneurs are constantly making decisions with about 40% of the information available. Of course we all wish we had 100%, but often, if we were to wait we would miss opportunities and ultimately risk success. And so the job of Alyssa and anyone in business is to make good decisions with imperfect information. You just have to try to be right most of the time. A few other basic tips include;

  • “Just give people what they want”
  • “Listen to your users, no really, REALLY listen to them”
  • “Don’t assume you know who your investors or your customers will be”
  • “Avoid your inner saboteur”

Alyssa is also full of really simple and tactical tips like committing to non-zero days. You don’t have to accomplish everything in a day, so focus on a couple of things and just move the needle forward. Maybe one day it is just sending an important email, as long as it can be considered progress, consider it a success.  One other tip is the rule of three things. Just put down three things on a “Post-it” note each day, just make sure they are the highest value things you can achieve. If you complete those things they should move your business forward. Sounds simple.

When you are done this episode, then listen to the rest of my podcast and let me know what you think about it by subscribing to my email list. I hope you enjoy listening. If you have any ideas for other interviews or topics, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

EP17 – Plumbing in the cloud

It doesn’t matter whether the drain in your kitchen sink gets clogged, the toilet backs up, or the shower stops working: any plumbing problem brings with it a state of high urgency. For most people, the first course of action is to quickly look up the contact details of their local plumber, assuming of course they can navigate the complexity of choices and options shown with every Google search. Then the question is, can you get a service provider to come and resolve your issue quickly?

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As the leading North American plumbing and water cleanup service, Roto-Rooter has been a household name for many of us for decades. However, over the years it became increasingly important for Roto-Rooter to modernize their website and digital platforms so that they could continue to provide the best customer experience, both online and offline.

The company’s platform had to understand the location of the customer in relation to the nearest service technician. It has to load quickly and make it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for, otherwise they will search elsewhere.

Roto-Rooter engaged with Microsoft and Architech, a Toronto based company who are experts in software development and digital transformation to take on the project. What they built was a new cloud-based solution that not only improved the customer experience, but also boosted the site’s overall SEO, cut page load speeds, and allowed Roto-Rooter to scale reliably into the future. In fact, this solution was recognized by Microsoft on the global stage, winning the Global Partner of the Year Award for open-source solutions on Azure in 2020.

Listen in as Sally Bayer, Vice-President of Marketing for Roto-Rooter, David Suydam, CEO & Founder of Architech, and Stephen Tanaka, GM Microsoft Partners, Microsoft Canada, discuss the state of digital transformation and the project that helped Roto-Rooter become even more capable of maintaining their market position as a leader in their industry.

When you are done this episode, then listen to the rest of my podcast and let me know what you think about it by subscribing to my email list. I hope you enjoy listening. If you have any ideas for other interviews or topics, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

EP16 – The best brands have a crystallized point of view

The best brands in the world ultimately have a crystallized point of view. They know why they exist, whether you call it purpose or experience, it doesn’t really matter. The point is that, whatever you call it, there is consistency. It is recognizable and it is explainable. Inside an organization, somebody has to be the keeper and the ambassador of the brand and to keep it top of mind across all initiatives and endeavors. Ultimately, everybody in the organization should own it. That is what Livia Zufferli, Partner, Customer Marketing & CMO Program Leader for Deloitte defines as the B to E to C model. In her model, the business has to engage and empower the employees to then pass that brand message and experience (or purpose) down to the customer so that everyone is aligned. The best brands must first make sense of and resonate the experience with their employees, to then be able to resonate it with their consumers. That means no matter who is standing there representing the brand, an employee, the CEO, even the brand’s agency, everybody should be an equal owner in the story with a crystallized view.

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In this episode, Livia joins me to discuss this and other important aspects of what makes a brand relevant in the age of digital and performance marketing. Livia brings her experience from both agencies and organizations where she has held such roles as SVP Brand for Rogers Communications and VP, Head of Marketing for Target Canada where she lived the incredibly fast rise and fall of that iconic brand in the Canadian market. She might just talk a little bit about that experience and what every marketer should know when it comes to being able to have all departments in an organization take accountability for the brand’s success.

When you are done this episode, then listen to the rest of my podcast and let me know what you think about it by subscribing to my email list. I hope you enjoy listening. If you have any ideas for other interviews or topics, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

EP15 – ExecThread, a bias free disruption of the $50b executive search industry

ExecThread isn’t a recruiting firm. It is a platform, a community, a marketplace, trying to do something that’s paradigm-shifting in the executive recruiting market by using a unique crowdsourced approach to bring much-needed transparency to the ‘hidden job market’. ExecThread has amassed ~15,000 retained executive searches to-date, and made them available on the platform to their members.

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When Joe Meyer decided to test the waters for a new executive-level role after his time spent at Apple following the acquisition of his last start-up, he found the process excruciatingly inefficient. A large part of that frustration lies in the fact that the vast majority of executive-level job opportunities that you often want to pursue aren’t publicly-posted, and hence are hard (if not impossible) to access.

These are often the confidential job opportunities worked on by retained executive search firms, though the only chance you have of finding out about them is if you’re directly approached by the recruiter, or someone in your network tells you about them.

And the chances of that happening are pretty slim. Even if you are well-pursued by executive recruiters, you’re still only finding out about a sliver, a microscopic sliver of the opportunities out there. So Joe decided to solve that problem by bringing more transparency to these much sought-after opportunities.

What he built was ExecThread, a close-knit exclusive network where members help each other by sharing career opportunities, vetting other applicants for membership, and breaking down the traditional barriers of the executive search ecosystem

What also came out of the build-out of this highly curated network was another remarkable outcome.

Nearly half of ExecThread’s 50,000 members come from underrepresented groups (which over-indexes the national average at the executive-level by over 2x), an unintentional outcome driven by ExecThread’s underlying value-proposition of bringing much-needed transparency & access to confidential exec-level jobs. Not only is ExecThread breaking down the $40-50 Billion executive search industry, but is doing it with inherent bias’ removed as well, and as a result is leveling the playing field.

Oh, and did I say that all member referrals are automatically granted access. So, let me know if you want in by sending me an email through the form on my website, or apply on your own at ExecThread with this link.

EP14 – What do Denny’s, Sandman Hotels and The NHL’s Dallas Stars have in common?

Every once in a while I come across  an organization that I had no idea existed, you know, we’ve all had that experience where we’re looking up a stock symbol, we’re watching a financial news show, we find out one of our friends or colleagues or neighbors work somewhere. We ask them what they do, and it’s like, what the heck is that? I didn’t even really know that existed!

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Well, last year I was in Vancouver and I was speaking at a session for one of my favorite technology companies, Adobe, and I had an opportunity to meet an individual, Manoj Jasra, who was exactly in one of those situations, working for an organization in this really cool role that I seriously had no idea existed. The company is Northland Properties, and I had never heard of them.

What I did know were all of the brands and assets that roll up into it. So it was just this weird, interesting conversation. And so I asked Manoj to join me on the podcast to talk a little bit about himself, a little bit about his really interesting role and a little bit about his really interesting company, Northland Properties.

Recognized throughout Canada as one of the most trusted names in hotels, restaurants, sports, and construction, Northland Properties Corporation is the force behind such brands as Sandman Hotel Group, The Sutton Place Hotels, Moxie’s Grill & Bar, Chop Steakhouse & Bar, Denny’s Restaurants, the Dallas Stars, and Northland Asset Management Company. Proud to be 100% Canadian-owned and operated, with over 50 hotels across Canada, the UK, Ireland and the USA, they have head offices in both Calgary and Vancouver, and employ over 12,000 talented individuals across the world.

In the role of Chief Digital Officer and Chief Marketing Officer, Manoj is tasked with transforming this legacy business, building out internal marketing agency and digital capabilities, while growing revenues and enhancing the customer experience across all of their properties and brands.

Listen in to Manoj Jasra as he shares his stories and opinions as an authority on how to transform organizations, build internal agency capabilities and redefine the role of the CDO and CMO. Then, listen to the rest of my podcast and let me know what you think about it by subscribing to my email list. I hope you enjoy listening. If you have any ideas for other interviews or topics, please don’t hesitate to let me know.