Together Digital Power Lounge, Women in Digital with Power to Share

Business Success Through Kindness | Lynn Yeldell | Power Lounge S2 E33

December 06, 2023 Chief Empowerment Officer, Amy Vaughan Season 2 Episode 33
Together Digital Power Lounge, Women in Digital with Power to Share
Business Success Through Kindness | Lynn Yeldell | Power Lounge S2 E33
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Amidst loss and uncertainty, with a great team and clients, we found strength in kindness and each other.

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THIS WEEK'S TOPIC: 

Engage with us in a spirit-lifting dialogue with the incredible Lynn Yeldell, serving as the Chief Vibe Officer of Seventh Scout, a digital marketing venture situated in Austin. Lynn's compelling journey from being a contractor to the sole owner of her business, rising above the devastating loss of her business partner to cancer, will have you hooked. This episode will offer you a refreshing perspective on the power of kindness in business and leadership realms, including marketing, advertising, entrepreneurship, and personal branding.

Together, we traverse through the path of kindness in entrepreneurship and personal branding, sharing experiences and insights as accidental entrepreneurs. We explore the transformative power of vulnerability, self-care, and the courage to embrace our unique leadership style. Get ready to delve into the importance of kindness in marketing and advertising, as we address the broken and ego-driven aspects of the industry.

As we move forward, we venture into serious discussions on inclusivity, diversity, and the challenges encountered by female entrepreneurs in the professional world. Lynn, being a prominent member of the LGBTQIA+ community and a female leader, shares her invaluable insights. The need for organizations to prioritize diversity, the power of representation, and the importance of kindness as a tool for success in professional lives are some of the critical topics discussed. Don't miss out on this opportunity to learn and see business through a new, compassionate lens.

LINKS:
Lynn's LinkedIn
Lynn's X
Seventh Scout
Dimensional Personality Test

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Speaker 1:

Welcome to our weekly Power Lounge, your place to hear authentic conversations from those who have power to share. My name is Amy Vaughn and I am the owner and Chief Empowerment Officer of Together Digital, a diverse and collaborative community of women who work in digital and choose to share their knowledge, power and connections. Join the movement at wwwtogetherindigitalcom. Let's get started. Today. I would love for you all to meet Lynn Yandel. She is the inspiring Chief Vibe Officer of Seventh Scout, an Austin-based digital marketing company, and a proud top 20 grad from the University of Alabama. She forgot to leave Austin after Hurricane Katrina and she is so glad that she stayed. Lynn is the current board chair for KUT KUX and infuses fun and good vibes into the Seventh Scout's motto be nice, make better. Her journey is a mix of brains, resilience and spreading good vibes in the Austin community and beyond. Welcome, lynn. We're so glad to have you here to talk about business and kindness.

Speaker 2:

Thank you so much. I appreciate this. I went on a little bit of kind of a journaling journey this summer and I was talking about kind of how I came to Seventh Scout, how I came to be the sole owner and I was posting on LinkedIn and Deb from your board together digital saw the post we used to work together at Bizarre Voice and she said I really want you to get to know this organization. So first I want to thank Together Digital for finding me and I have so enjoyed becoming a member and all the resources that you guys have. Yeah, my summer was talking about some of the journaling of kind of what my path to Seventh Scout. I started off here. A friend of mine brought in just to do some contracting on an RFP and we quickly realized we had been dear friends for quite a while and we realized that the way that we thought he was kind of a classically trained web developer had a background in counseling and teaching and I was my background was in finance and really about structures of business and strategy and so forth, and realized we made a great one to punch. So I bought in to half of the agency we were working out of WeWork. We decided expand. We hired people and signed a lease on March, in March of 2020, and was you know? Actually Mayor Adler was shutting down South by Southwest, right as the ink was drying, and it's a three year lease, and we were just like, well, this will probably be the most painful thing that Seventh Scout ever goes through. And so we had to move furniture in and, because of the pandemic, they couldn't build out the offices and we went to Home Depot and we bought tool drawers, we bought everything at IKEA, we put it together ourselves and he because he was just this wonderful, fabulous gay man found a 1940s phone booth and he wanted to put it in the office, but his back had been hurting and so I brought my partner and her son and his husband came along and we were moving the phone booth in and this was May by now and I noticed he had been dropping weight and he's like I just don't have an appetite, I hurt. And he said do you mind if I ask Dr Girlfriend the question? And that's what they call my partner. She heads up how you'd have care over at Baylor College of Medicine and I said, sure, talk to her. And they have this fun repartee and they're talk, talk, talking and then all of a sudden I realized her face kind of went blank and they got very serious and she said I want you to come in to you know my clinic and we found it very quickly. He actually didn't have a back problem, it was stage four pancreatic cancer and we lost him within a year and that was just. I was like I thought the pandemic was the easiest part of that whole year and that's what I started talking about the you know what we went through in the isolation and so forth and kind of trying to find a path forward. So that was a little bit of how I got to know you all and how I've really found a community of women maybe a little bit older I'm 55, who are business owners but are looking for a way to run and manage their business. You know, I've got my MBA. I know all of that part of business. No one teaches you like how do you hold on after a partner dies and how do you, how do you really have those conversations with clients and so forth? So it's kind of become my, my passion.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, and I love it because what a legacy that you're kind of leaving and, like his memory and his honor, that lesson that you've learned, a very hard, difficult lesson. You know, I'm curious, like you know gosh so many things, but I have my questions in front of me, so I'll try to do that. Um, obviously I think your story is so phenomenal and I think it's such a vulnerable tale to tell and I love that you share it so frequently and so openly and honestly, because it was a hard and difficult time. But I'd love to hear more about your journey thus far. Kind of, you know, you mentioned the background and finance. So kind of, how did you get to where you are today? And then we're going to keep exploring more of these topics on kindness.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely. It was interesting because I started in in business and was actually so. I was living in New Orleans. Her cane Katrina happened, my job relocated to Shreveport and that's like, if I can't go home to New Orleans, I'm not staying in Shreveport no offense, shreveport. So I went back to Austin and and really entrepreneurship found me. I was a money manager at UBS. I was sitting for my CFP, made it all through the you know, the financial downturn of 2012 and I got called by a startup and I thought I'd love to work in startups right, because I'm in financial services and clearly I'm just way too cool and there's way too many rules in financial services, and so I hopped over and I just loved what I was doing, but then I realized there weren't enough rules, and I think that that's what I've enjoyed about my path into the agency is that I wasn't classically trained. I brought more of that business background and Seven Scout is a you know, woman owned, gay owned agency. We have 10 clients at any one time and we only have five full timers, and so that was something that we get really deep with the work that we do with with our clients, and I think that's also why the kindness really comes in is because we don't have a pitch team and then a work team. You know we are the team. Yeah, we really need to get the trust and the collaboration I learned in managing money. If people don't feel comfortable and and with you, they won't tell you a lot about their personal situations and financial status, you know they will sit there and give you the answers that they think that you want to hear, and I feel the same. That's just human nature, right? The same thing happens when, when we're working in agencies, marketing and so forth, it's like no, let's, we need the real conversations because if not, we can't help you yes, and more to come on, that for sure as well, especially as business owners, it's very essential.

Speaker 1:

You mentioned that you're an accidental entrepreneur. I definitely relate to that, but I came from the creative side. Coming from the creative side, I was told that creatives couldn't run companies, and so I think for anybody out there who's even kind of tinkering with a notion of studying your own business, understand that there is no prerequisite for what it takes to be an entrepreneur, because it's it's so many skills, it's a passion, it's an idea, it's a problem you're going to go out into the world and solve with the business, and the fact that, like, somebody from finance can run a creative agency if both can be true, like these can be true. So I absolutely love that. I also love how business owners can be. Our titles can become so much more about what we do versus, and less about what we do, I'm sorry and more about what we bring to the organization. So, for example, another thing we share in common are unique titles. Mine is chief empowerment officer and yours is cheap vibe, so tell us a little bit more about how you got this cool vibe officer title.

Speaker 2:

I know I just had my coffee mug around me too. It's this past May. My team, for my birthday, gave me a coffee cup and on it it says chief vibe officer of 7 Scout. And I just was so giddy. And again, I've always been like growing up in, growing up love that, growing up kind of in the professional field. Right, we are tight, we are tied to titles. You're, are you account manager? You the account rep? Are you the sales manager? If you're a manager, are you managing people? You know, there's just so many nuances to titles. They make me giggle. At this point in my life and with my team I'm like y'all give yourselves your own title, because what the title is can convey a bit. But I feel they're so limiting they're like. They're like the abbreviated version of the resume, like I'm the owner of 7 Scout what no-transcript? What does that mean? And so the Chief Vibe Officer. Not only was it the best title I've ever been given, because I do believe that's my strength that I bring to the agency and getting us through those really tough times, but then also it's my reminder, as we're sitting in client meetings and working through Asana and doing this other stuff, that I think we, as owners and leaders, can default to a bit of micromanaging, a bit of getting out of our lane into other people's lanes. And it's my reminder that my team is really good at what they do. They don't need me to do their jobs as well, they just need me to clear, make space and allow everybody to work in the best environment possible.

Speaker 1:

I love it, that's great. I mean, how excruciatingly long would all of our titles be if it actually described what we do? Okay, why are we so tied to these shortened abbreviations, definitions not even definitions, but words that encapsulate all that we bring and all that we do? It's just too much. You can only just imagine how excruciating along those titles would be. Their signatures would be the entire email. But I think another thing too that occurred to me as you were speaking was that it re-emphasizes your personal brand which, as a business owner as much as we might not love it like you, are so much a part of your business, as a face of if you're facing your clients and thought leadership and things like that, and so having kind of that title sort of helps define in shape, like you said, what you kind of bring into every bit of the process you dug in deep with that, with Carrie from that clear bomb leadership that was.

Speaker 2:

I giggled the whole time listening to that. She's fabulous. That was a great power lounge.

Speaker 1:

She is wonderful. Yeah, we'll get the link up to the podcast that she's referring to with a glitter bomb leadership and Carrie, that was a good one. She and again she just exudes all of that as well and again, I think it's fun, it's having fun and getting creative with what you're describing and how you're describing it. Even her just calling it glitter bomb leadership, it just makes it that much more enticing to the audience that you know you want to reach right Another aspect of a personal brand. All right, let's start to foray into the aspect of kindness, which I'm super excited about. In the past, what were some instances where cultivating kindness, starting with yourself, as you've kind of stated in some past conversations played a key role in your entrepreneurial endeavors?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I go back and I think it was. There's little parts that have probably speckled throughout my life. Right, I think that working in financial services, I did better by trying to be open and vulnerable and are Texan, you know Brunet Brown and all that good stuff, but it kind of came naturally. But I will tell you, the rug really was pulled out from under me when roads passed away and I alluded to it before, like I know how to run a business, I know how to do that structurally, but there's really nothing out there and the messages that I was getting from you know, the outside and from looking for support was well, you're just gonna have to work harder now. Right, there's two of you, now there's just one. You're gonna have to double down on this, that and the other. And it just felt so overwhelming I was like why do we give those messages during the time of really profound disruption that our society goes out and goes well, go more, work, harder work later, work into the weekend. And I realized you know I had bought into the agency the majority of clients were ones that had personal connection with roads. I also come from a strategic planning and financial background. I'm not a web developer or the classically trained marketer. Would anybody still want to stay with us? Does my team want to stay with us? And Seventh Scout is going to look profoundly different. And so, and then the one caveat that the pandemic added. You know, I've been around, as we all have different people that have been diagnosed with cancer, and the first thing when you tell someone like you know, well, I've got cancer, the first question they ask is, oh well, what kind Right. And then the second one they go like, oh, I'm so sorry. And you can kind of see this. Look, when you tell someone that someone has stage four pancreatic cancer, that look that comes across their face is neither supportive, which is what was needed, and or is it optimistic. And so he chose, during his you know treatments, he would go down to MD Anderson. He never missed a Zoom call. So the pandemic gave him an amazing job to sit back and still be a part of the agency, and so no one ever got to tell him that he wouldn't make it. No one ever got to give him pity. But also no one knew. You know, no one knew what was going on. And so the kindness I think comes in to the fact that it was, it was the. It was what felt right to me, but it was the scariest decision that I ever did. And what we did is when, with May, when May came around, I personally called all of my coworkers and they knew right, because they had been part of roads. Then the scariest part is I had to call each and every client. I had to tell them, and not a single one of them knew that he was sick and not a single one of them knew that he was going through treatment. And so I immediately said contracts go out the window. This is a fundamentally different organization and I will let you make whatever decision that you want to do. Moving forward and I think that that was one of the smartest decisions at that point to have made was because I put them in that position of choice, and it was like I'm not going to sue someone or hold someone to a contract If the person that they most identified with I don't. I can't make them happy. And then I said oh, by the way, we're shutting the agency down. We'll be gone for the entire week of 4th of July, not just like me stepping out. I mean, everybody on my team is having a restorative week we will not be checking emails, we will not be having client meetings, we will not be working on your account, we will not be doing anything else other than healing. And you got that out to clients that you have on a monthly retainer right and you feel super scared and every single client came back and said that is the best decision and either if they could made something like that in their own agency or organization, and also it got tremendous loyalty from them. So I think that that's kind of like the kindness of what is right for your clients, what is right for your team, what is right for your mental health. And also I have to correct myself, I have to stop saying mental health. It's health right. It's like your spirit and your mind are suffering. Why do we call that? I don't call it arm health. If I broke my arm right, you know, it's like it's-.

Speaker 1:

I agree, 100% agree. I think one of the things I was thinking of is just our un. That I want to point out is just our unhealthy relationship as Americans with grief, why that we feel like we have to just move right on right away and not give ourselves and those around us the time and space to pause through that time, to actually allow for those feelings and emotions, and we just like, oh, keep working and work harder. I think that's just so ridiculous and I think it was so very brave and vulnerable at the same time with what you did, and clearly the brave and vulnerable approach paid it off you know, and so many ways, because you and the team got, hopefully, the rest recovery. You know time to heal that you needed, but then also you kind of set a standard and a bar for your clients, and now you know even more so that the clients that you're serving are the kinds of clients that align with your values, and isn't that what we all want at the end of the day?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, our motto, the be nice, make better, is something that we go back to and that was being nice and it did make us better. And when we are on board new clients now, that wasn't a one off In his memory. Every single year we shut the agency down for a year, yeah, and we I also realized we had little things that we set out and I wanted him to be a little part of it. But here's Rose. Yeah, all of his favorite things from Tito's vodka, blowpops and fabulous glasses.

Speaker 1:

So I love it. I dig it for those of you who can't see it because you're on the podcast now.

Speaker 2:

I love it.

Speaker 1:

I want to get a picture and post them up with the notes too. I love that. On that note of being nice and make better, can you share the story of how this motto was created within the agency, but also how has it impacted like the broader community?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it is. When I first heard it it honestly was like kind of broke. My, my brain is like is that grammatically correct? And like I'm not really sure that that's a proper sentence. But then I went back and I was like it's such, it's, it's so unbelievably simple and and of course we have a little because we're an agency and you can't see on the podcast, but we have a little be nice, make better placard that we keep here in the office and it is something that just about every roadblock that we encounter, we can go back to that saying and say you know, are we being nice right now? Like who talks about being nice in business? I think we get the luxury of it because you know we tell people we may not be for everybody, but we might be for you, and also I think it gives us the latitude or something to measure by of. You know, it's kind of scary out there in the world, particularly in marketing, with budgets being slashed and you know really hard to attract and retain really good clients. We are often tempted to go like, oh, somebody came to us and and they've got some work that'd be nice, it'll pay the bills, but take a step back. Can we make better. Is this the right thing for the long term for us to be working on? And so I think that it. The make better part is part of choosing the right clients, making sure that our services of doing digital marketing building websites, paid ads, social media, creating content Can we do better than what the existing clients doing for themselves. And that's not always the case and sometimes it's scary and it's nice to take a client, but it has been a good value for us because it retains clients for us longer, because it is very expensive to onboard and go out and attract new business.

Speaker 1:

Sure is, sure is. I think a lot of those who are listening right now totally feel all of what you just said On the, on the note of kind of the marketing and advertising world. It's pretty full of ego. There is a lot to compete with. You know, having been a product of the child of that industry for so many years I mean even from the very beginning it was never something I had jived with. I remember when I was in college I put the word humble as like a one of three words to describe me on my resume, and my creative director at the time advisor, mentor, whatever you call him was like take that off. And I thought what, why? And so I'm kind of curious for you, since you're putting that out in the world, maybe nice make better. How does this idea of putting kindness first come across when you're talking to potential new clients, other agencies or potential talent?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's a great question and you know that whole running of a business I think that the marketing and a, specifically the agency world is one of the most bizarre has really really odd things to it, and I will say this is kind of they're correlated with kindness, I mean, first, it's like you know, there are, there are companies out there that need assistance and help and there are agencies that can go out and help them. That's not broken, that's universal and that's stuff that will continue to do. But I think it's the structure and you talk about the ego that really is is broken for me and I think two examples just off the top of my head are RFPs and building building. There's nothing more ego and broken and unkind than both of those, and I would argue to say, not just to the agency but to the clients as well. You know, if you break down an RFP, first thing that has to happen is that client has to sit down, know that something is wrong, be able to project and guess what they need to solve it, put a timeframe and a budget to it before ever consulting an expert or a person that actually does that for a living Right. What a horrible waste of time and what a narrow way of thinking of your business Like. If there's anything unkind, it's having to put together an RFP on the client side, and the most unkind part about it in the ego part about it is that that client then goes out and says for free agency, offline, Look at my problem, solve it in the way that I've asked you to. Please don't bring any of your experience or extra things that you may have learned from other clients that are similar to me that could help solve this problem in a faster, more efficient but different way. Then go out and give me your pitch. Then we'll come back and bring you to the table several times, ask you lots of questions, will make, make you wait. We'll never let you know exactly how we'll felt, felt, and then we'll pick the lowest person and we'll give them the rest. What's that name? One industry that pulls that off, right? I just think that that is. That is just. If there's any way, that kind of encapsulate the most like detach from the humanity of both sides of the business. Yeah, the kindness that we really need to do of being able to say I'm here to help, I'm here to be nice, better, like it breaks every tenant that, and we've only competed for one rfp. We were asked to compete for it, we want it and it will never do it again, even though it was successful Like no, thank you.

Speaker 1:

Right. Well, good for you guys for doing that. I think that could be like a whole nother podcast episode, and conversation about the RMP with an agency is just having been in that space. You know, I would get pulled into a lot of those and I got to see a lot behind the curtain as to what an amount of time, money and resources we would put behind these things, only to be led completely astray and things worked out for eons and to be told at the end of the day that this was like moving forward and it was like to the impact of not just dollars but people's jobs, sometimes as well, which is just absolutely infuriating. So, yeah, it totally be a whole.

Speaker 2:

And for now, tack on hourly billing. Right, how many hours is going to take you to do this? It has no respect for yeah, either side of the, so I can't wait to listen, right.

Speaker 1:

I feel like I could get like a whole panel of people for that one out of. There's any one person out there? I mean, there's so many of us that obviously feel that pain and how part of the process is really broken and, like you said, it's it's it's not nice and it's not making better. I think that's like the big problem. It's like it's not actually making better work, more effective work. It's broken, so why aren't we figuring out about how to fix it? But that, for, is nicely into our next question, which is that in you, some of her name a little bit earlier, clear as kind, obviously a community favorite of ours, author, researcher and, for you, fellow Texas resident, brene Brown, is often quoted saying that as a business owner, you're dealing with a lot of serious twists and turns, as you have shared in your story. How do you approach fostering these genuine conversations with your team and your clients, because it's not an easy feat? How has it helped to influence the success of seventh Scout?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's interesting, on the Slack channel someone was asking for help with getting access to the disc profile and yeah, on the together digital has this great Slack. I'm such a fan girl but it's such a great community of the, you know, ask a question, give advice, so forth. And someone was asking for help with with, with, with disk right, and I think about the all of the things that we've done, the anagrams that you know, disk and Myers Briggs and so forth, and it always makes me think is, you know, clear, is kind, and that kindness really does rule what we do. But I think that what, what we've done, with seven scout and really trying to hone in on this, and I think it's, it's applicable to small teams and small agencies is. But what does that kindness mean to you, Amy? Right, how do you receive kindness? How do you give kindness? And so our small team has used, I think, two tools in order to be clear and then in order to be kind. And in order to be kind, I need to know better from my team. We've got 20 something, 30 something, 40 something, 50 something. We are just, you know, we've got men, women, ethnic diversity. We don't have a cisgendered white male, and so when people say they need to help me with the EIS, that that's what I need. But every one of us are very, very different in our approach and so we actually all use an app called dimensional. You know it's one of those that kind of it's free, you know you can use your phone, you get to take lots of buzzfeed type like questions and it comes out with you know a lot of the like. I know this is a surprise, but I'm extroverted, I'm dominating, I'm kind of in between thinking and feeling and sensing and judging and and that stuff. I already know about myself and I'm trying to be kind. I need to know what my team member, how they go on that spectrum and not everybody can can get that openness and that trust to have everyone on your team. Try to take that test. But I highly encourage for everyone who's trying to lead, even you know or even connect with their clients, when you're thinking about kindness and you're thinking about what you're delivering and that's that's only. It's so much better to start with is how can someone receive that message? Yeah, yeah. So I think that that tool has been incredibly helpful to us. And then we also we also have to run a business and have to get work done. We don't do anything on hourly basis, right, but we run a tight ship on a sauna, you know, any task tracker and, and I think that you you can't just be the sparkle unicorn, let's all be kind, you know, you have to show how that productivity has really helped out. I think the and then the final thing is is you know, treat the business as as it's a human. And I think that was something that really was helpful about my financial services background and, and that was you know so many people, when they put together their businesses, they think about like, how do we dissolve the business, right, what happens if things don't work out? And I think it is. If you're with a smaller, you know company and you have partnerships, you know, when I was managing money, I would tell couples I was like I can predict with 100% accuracy what's going to happen in your relationship, and they were like, oh, really. And I was like, yes, I was like you're either going to break up or die. Yeah, Well, that was, that was a little bold, but yes, and and early on, we had that opportunity in seventh scout to sit there and do some of those, those, those clear conversations, and it's very hard to talk about. You know, if something happened to me and Rhodes had the agency, he doesn't want to run seventh out with a palliative care doctor.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

But you, but you talk about that grief and we walk away from that. But we really do need to think about what is best for the agency, the person that you're working with, the clients, the team you know. Without having those clear, kind conversations, we could have blown up the agency.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, and I'm the other thing that just occurred to me too. It's like we need to start having the hard conversations before it's actually hard. Yeah, that makes everything so much easier later on down the line. I mean, it's the same thing when you're planning for your business or for the future of your, your family, life and valuables, and you know all of that. Easier to have those hard conversations for it gets hard. There's something else I was going to make mentioned to you. Oh, we were going to look up the app dimensional app link in the chat and in the show notes because I'm sure people are super excited about it. It was called dimensional right Dimensional.

Speaker 2:

And one caveat do not do not add someone as a close connection if you don't want to see how your compatibility is in the love area.

Speaker 1:

So that was one other thing I wanted to mention. I worked at a company once and I thought it was fascinating. I loved it because they introduced me to the Enneagram. I hadn't heard of it yet. I knew Myers-Briggs, I knew Desk, so adding it into the mix was wonderful. But another thing that I found fascinating that really re-emphasizes the point you just made about understanding how others receive it was the love languages. And so they want to know, like, what are your love languages? Because they want to know and understand. In which ways do you receive appreciation? Not love, is it like the non-plotonic kind, but like how do you receive accolades, appreciation, gratitude? Because you know, if I'm a words of affirmation gal and my boss never does anything but give me an annual bonus because he's a gifts and money guy, I'm like never going to feel appreciated. And why he doesn't, you know, appreciate me or, you know, care about what I do. It's like, oh, he does. It's just the way he shows it is different. So again, love languages. I mean it shouldn't totally be off the table. You can make it non-plotonic, it's all right.

Speaker 2:

That's perfect, yeah. And the part I don't know if I did say it, but to slow down very quickly the part about dementia is not only are you, you see who you are, you can see the other person, how they rated on all of the. I mean all of these, there's like 80 traits, but then you can look at, compare and you can say, you know, with each one individual person I was like, oh, I had no idea they were so introverted, oh, I had no idea. Like you know, I love to go out and have lunches and I love client meetings and so forth. And so our shorthand and seventh scout is respect your dots where your dots are. If you really shouldn't be in a meeting, or if you really should respect your dots and speak up to that and make space for yourself.

Speaker 1:

Yes, I think that helps a lot with creating psychological safety and boundaries for people, which a lot of us, you know, who are marginalized, tend to struggle with. So that's fantastic. The link is up in the chat, ladies, and so you can check that out and then, like I said, we'll include it in the show notes as well. Co-hatch is a new kind of shared work, social and family space built on community. Members get access to workspace amenities like rock walls and sports simulators and more to live a fully integrated life that balances work, family, well being, community and giving back. Co-hatch has 31 locations open or under construction nationwide, throughout Ohio, indiana, florida, pennsylvania, North Carolina, georgia and Tennessee. Visit wwwcohatchcom for more information. Let's talk a little bit about your journey and trip to Austin. I think that was kind of interesting and pivotal in your career. After Hurricane Katrina, you relocated to Austin and as you stayed, you forgot to leave. Have this unexpected journey shape your perspective on resilience, both personally and professionally.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, hurricane Katrina was born and raised in New Orleans. I lived uptown, I lived in the French Quarter. It's such a wonderful, dynamic and amazing city and we have hurricane season from June-ish all the way through to October-ish. And the year Katrina came in it was a late August storm and, as a native, what that means to us is we probably already evacuated or were threatened to have to evacuate a few times already. And that weekend I was actually not in New Orleans, I was at. We had a house on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and I was there with some of my college friends because it was the very last weekend that we could get together before everybody's kids went back to school. And when the, my mother called. So we all went and we were tracking it and it was one of those that just intensified. And my mother said are y'all watching the storm? I said no, ma'am, we're drinking margaritas and sitting by the pool like we do on a girls weekend. And the next morning she called and she said what are y'all doing? And I was like well, I'm cleaning a house. You know, I'm making sure that we set the house back up and thank you for letting me use it. And she said two words, that my mother, who always wants to make sure we're responsible and taking care of the house. She said get out. And I was like she's, like it's bad. And we motored out that Sunday and so I evacuated while on vacation, so I had my best flip flops and didn't have the work papers and so forth, and because I was so distracted during the weekend, I left the evacuation plans to my mother, who's not a big traveler, not a big you know tech geek like me and Googling and so forth, and this is back in 2005. And so she made us a reservation that the closest place she could find, which was in Shreveport, at kind of a you know fine place that accepted dogs, which is where we thought we'd be for the weekend, and we ended up staying there, for I stayed in Shreveport for almost three months. We lost the home in Mississippi and I laughed that I was staying there, you know, pushing myself to make sure all the beds were made in the linens and we don't know where the house is now. Wow, we, my house uptown they call it the sliver by the river because it's been there, was 150 years old, was fine and my parents had about three feet of water in in their house and you know immediately you're like I want to get home, I want to go see my things, I want to go grab stuff, and so for those of us who were in, evacuating is a privilege, you know. I want to make sure to say that you have to have money in your hands to go have a place to stay, you have to have a vehicle or a transportation that will get you out of there when something happens at the end of the month, and people who live paycheck to paycheck don't have resources on a good part of the month and have even less at that time. So for those of us who were outside and did have the privilege of evacuating, we could not get back in, we were mandatorily evacuated. So it was six weeks before I could get back to my house and for those who could not get out or were displaced, it was just, it was a mess, and I think the biggest thing I learned about this was we always like to say you know I live every day to the fullest and I know I'm not in control. I am not in control and you know your life can turn in a single day and we lost so many things that were monetarily insignificant and emotionally very significant handwritten recipes. You know things that you just don't think about and you realize it's. You know, like I say, that I'd like to think that I continue to be this way, but that if something happened and people walked in and said I'm gonna take your house, I'm gonna take your cars, I'm gonna take your whatever you know your stuff, I'd be like, well, that was a fun run. It just doesn't. You know. That's not who I am. Who I am, I can take with me.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, exactly that's a great point. That's a very difficult but, I think, amazing lesson to take from a very difficult situation.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, it's interesting because it was before the days of texting and you wanna talk about, you know, learning how to communicate and so forth. It was when we all had flip phones, if you were that lucky, and it was like you'd have to hit 11121 and like use the keypad. It was fascinating. Yeah, fading myself, oh goodness.

Speaker 1:

All right, let's talk about some of the high points in your career. Yeah, those are just as valuable, but I love that we talk about the difficulties too, because I think that success without strife is such utter BS. I love like digging deep and talking about these. You know more challenging things and how we grow from them, but you have also recognized as one of the top 20 women in the University of Alabama's history, and that's super remarkable. How has this recognition influenced your leadership style and your commitment to empowering other women in the workplace?

Speaker 2:

Thank you. It was very humbling. So University of Alabama had, I recognize, was honoring 100 years of women to go to the university and the list was pretty amazing. Harper Lee from Tequila Mockingbird went to Alabama and she was on the list, you know, really, really amazing. And we got to go back and really celebrate it and I realized I'm such a different person today and I think the lessons I learned about being a female leader as the first woman that they elected student body president at the University of Alabama, and what I learned from that was I enjoy putting myself into places where I'm not expected and I didn't know better at first and I really. But by also by doing so, I disrupted a flow that every other SGA leader had gone into some type of Alabama politics. And here I was. I was not a pre-law major, I wasn't a man, wasn't in a fraternity and they didn't really know what to do with me and I would say it helped my confidence in so much in getting that role. But I would also say it was very difficult for me to find that next step forward because recruiting for jobs being pulled through in that system wasn't available for me like they were for everybody else and I didn't really realize that until much later. My election was contested, it made a lot of different kind of news and so forth, because they didn't really. I don't think they really wanted me there and I think it just it gave me the confidence to show up and to try. Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Well, I didn't know that those things that you did and I love that I wrote that down and I'm gonna save that for later Showing up in places that you're not expected by doing those things. It may take a while, but somehow when you do that and you make that effort and you step out on that limb, it comes back. It comes back at some point.

Speaker 2:

Well, and I wanna thank the group that did it. I appreciate it. I think it was significant that it was the first time that the student body had elected a female to be president, but I think even more brave was the committee in Alabama, at a very conservative university, because, as who I am today, I'm very public about my ideals of who I am and who I support and what I believe in supporting marriage, equality and women's reproductive rights and being a member of the LGBTQIA plus community. There was some bravery from the women who put that on to invite me to the stage and to tell my story, and I think that that's something else that needs to happen is we kind of need to remember to. There's the Walker rule which says, whenever someone is interviewing, to make sure to include there's a woman, a person of color or a person from the LGBT community, and I think that should apply not just to hiring, but I think it should be doing to all recognition. Just making sure, just invite them to the table Doesn't mean you have to hire them, it doesn't mean that you have to give them award, but it's like did we look a little bit outside of the norm just to see if we can show representation in this group of 20 people over a hundred years.

Speaker 1:

I love it. That's fantastic. I think that leads nicely into our next question as well. You serve on the board a couple of different boards like KUT and KUTX, and you bring a unique perspective there, Obviously. How do you advocate for inclusivity and gender diversity and leadership roles, and what advice do you have for women who are navigating this in their professional lives?

Speaker 2:

This is. It's easier as I'm later on in my career, but I do. I feel like there is some balance between I talk to people about, well, why don't you have any people of color on your team, why don't you have any this on your team, and they're like people don't apply, right. I'm like, well, let's go look at your website and figure out why, right, like, what signals are you giving out to people? I think, like with the work that we do on the KUT board it's our local NPR station we have almost the reverse problem that they have almost too much representation within their four walls. I don't know how to show that in a way that's authentic and NPR-y right, and so I think that it is a delicate balance in both ways. One of the things that you asked about what advice do I have in women navigating their professional life? I was on one of the peer groups that together digital sets up and was with a couple of other women yesterday and they were talking about and I get it they were sole practitioners during the pandemic and now trying to get back into the broader workforce and they're like my resume isn't fitting what recruiters are looking for because I was contracting, I was doing my own business and so forth, and they want someone who doesn't have gaps, and I do think that looking for jobs is a lot like dating, right? I really believe that there are organizations out there that we need to be more strategic about supporting them in our applications, and I had alluded before the Walker rule, so organization, I'll have to find it and send it to you all. But, yeah, there's a group of companies that have taken the diversity pledge and they're the ones who said that they will look for, every time they hire, make sure a woman, make sure of this, and I think that it's really important, like, why aren't we starting with those lists first? Right, why aren't we starting with the organizations that have prioritized women in the workplace? I think the human rights campaign has the equality index and to this day, I will not go to Exxon because they stripped mobile's domestic partner rights away, and I'll go and support Shell. I just think that we can very easily feel powerless and that when we slow down, like women rule, you know, like we rule in money, we rule leadership, and we need to continue to go out, support each other. That's incredibly. I don't know. I watch men do this so easily sometimes. It's not sexist, it's generalizing, right, there's exceptions to every rule. But, like, we need to ask each other for help more often and we need to go out and find those organizations that have said we're looking to prioritize female leadership and if they happen to be hiring at the same time, gosh, what a trifecta. But don't start on LinkedIn with like, let's really shove our resources, our time, treasure and talent and really support those companies that are going out and ask a force to do so.

Speaker 1:

I agree. Yeah, it's one of those things that's really interesting. It's almost like the projection that is called quiet quitting. When companies don't hold up a certain culture, create psychological safety or flexibility that either women or other marginalized communities need, it is a you problem. If you don't have people of diverse backgrounds even reaching out to work for your company, then clearly you're not doing the things that you need to do to attract them, like you said, through your website, through your job descriptions, through your analysis of their resumes, like stop the gap discrimination already. I think it's such an utter BS in this current workforce and climate with the gig economy, like it is just the way it is and, honestly, like holding that against people is so antiquated. It really gets me fired up, as you can tell, because it is. It's a form of discrimination. You're basically not allowing people to have had the lives in between work and I feel like certain people are held to a higher standard women when it comes to looking at those gaps, well, you know, and women have to pick up those gaps more often.

Speaker 2:

Yes, because the gaps have to do with children, with parents, with health and caring for a partner.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, absolutely Well. We've got just a few minutes left and I've got two questions left, but I want to just open it up to our live listening audience as well and let you all know that you absolutely have the chance to chime in through the chat and let us know if you have a question, and then we're going to. I'm going to go ahead and get through my last few questions. Sure, don't be shy, drop them in, ladies, and if you don't have one, we'll. We'll wrap it All right, lynn. Actually, I have one more question. Oh my gosh, the pressure's on live listeners. Give us a question. No, it's okay. Oh, actually, I do have one bonus question in mind, too. Good, just in case somebody doesn't come around. In your experience, how can I think we've got a lot of women entrepreneurs listening right now, but how can us female entrepreneurs leverage their unique perspectives and strengths to create a supportive environment to, oh my goodness, empowering a place culture? Because you have done that so brilliantly, what are some tips that you have for them?

Speaker 2:

Oh, I, you know, I think it's almost one of those like use your gender, but also don't be limited by it, and that sounds so simplistic, but it's like we're entrepreneurs, right? You know like it is. I think about the struggle with people that were talking about gay marriage and I'm like you know, I'm getting married in February, but I'm not getting gay married. I'm getting married. I don't gay part or gay work or gay this. You know, I think sometimes I've like reducing that stigma off of you and just say like I, I'm going to put myself in first, a group of women entrepreneurs, such like this, with together digital, and talk about it. But then, you know, yesterday somebody was talking about in the peer groups like, but I'm going to put on, I'm going to put my cloak on right now and I'm going to walk out and I'm going to be just an entrepreneur. I am just going to go out and and really, you know, leave anything at the door. I think that's helpful for people and for me. I take the perspective and it may sound simplistic, but I think business. Business is about relationships and we talk so much about relationships in that personal and romantic way and I think it'd be really, it's really important for us to think about relationships, of who we're doing business in, in that similar way as well. You know, like, really, it's like I want to show up for my partner, I want to show up for my business, I want to. You know, the honeymoon period when you're interviewing with someone. I think we give like that RFP complaint that I have. I think we give so much to ourself of like, hire me, hire me, hire me. Like it shouldn't be that hard, like we're fueling that system right, and I get that. You know it's very difficult to get a job and you know we, you have some great podcasts about managing time and so forth. So whatever precious time you have and whatever way that you can manage that time, like, like if it's sitting there and it's not serving you and you were trying so hard to get recognized like you wouldn't do that to walk into a place and and trying to meet a potential romantic partner and just begging them right. But please date me because I'm really cool and like my friends, like me and my past people say I do good work and I really want you to have me. Like we need to break that, that system as well.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, I agree with you. You're just kind of adding to that mental load. You're increasing that burden before you even walk in the door by putting so much pressure on yourself. I was listening to a hidden brain podcast. I think I've referred to another episode that talked about healing through narrative psychology and really understanding the impact of the stories we tell ourselves and how it how it affects us physically and mentally, both. All right, we didn't get any questions, which is totally fine. You all now. You know Lynn is on our together digital Slack. She's joined us as a member, which we're super excited about, so you can always directly message her if you'd like to, or maybe head out for a covertural coffee chat. I did have one last question for you, and I'm kind of curious if you've ever been asked something like this. I think it's like this whole like idea of the shrewd business person you know. So this is the shrewd business. Amy asking Lynn what is the ROI of kindness? How would you define that or what have you seen as the ROI of kindness?

Speaker 2:

I think that is such such a great question and the answer is happiness over productivity. Divide now ROI, you know, I think for me, I look at our day to day productivity are we getting stuff done? And I look at our turnover right of the people that's on our team and the clients that we work with, and I really believe that that's our happiness and kindness factor, because burnout leads to people quitting quiet. Quitting it leads to bad work, with clients leaving. You know, clients leave all the time to take work in house and you're not good. I don't want jinx myself, but we haven't lost work to another agency. That's right and that that, to me, is a huge, a huge factor. And if someone builds up their team and takes our work in house, like that's awesome, don't pay us, and so for that I just I think that ROI is, is, is really is making every day more significant with the team that you have and that the clients show up for more, because you really do make. You know, like, who wants to sit and meet with their agency for an hour every two weeks. Our clients do, and if they want to sit and meet with their clients every two weeks for an hour, our team does. You know? It's like and I think that is that kind of that chief vibe officer when they said that I was like God, that is the coolest thing for them to say to me. But like time is precious and for someone to want to work at seven scout and stay here for as long as they have, and then they're like I'm going to get to sit there and go through the pandemic and threats of recession and all this upheaval and have the confidence that we're we're a good agency and that we're we're easy to work with and we have their best interest at heart.

Speaker 1:

I love you. You know what reputation you cannot put a price on that. You have to put a price on reputation and then the cost to acquire new talent and new clients to this day and age Absolutely insane. So love it, love it, love it, love it. Lynn, we are at time. I'm sure we can keep chatting, but I'm excited you're in the communities that we're going to keep chatting more. It's been such a pleasure, you know, just spending this hour with you and our listeners. I hope all of you feel encouraged and inspired to go out there and use some kindness and use it to, you know, everyone's benefit. So thanks again for joining us, lynn.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. Thank you for the opportunity and thank you, deb, for introducing me to the Saucer Group.

Speaker 1:

Awesome, all right, everyone Thanks a lot.

Building a Business With Kindness
Navigating Entrepreneurship and Personal Branding
Kindness in Business Conversations
Resilience and Personal Growth
Inclusivity and Empowering Female Entrepreneurs
Value of Reputation and Kindness