Lara & Kelly - Doing (Good) Business (EP. 16)

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Welcome back to Causepods everyone! Today our guests are Lara Heacock, who is a leadership coach with a personal development blog at kindover.com and Kelly Stewart, who is a positive business consultant at the positivebusiness.com who are going to tell us their journey since starting a podcast called Doing (Good) Business. For Lara and Kelly, the podcast is a great way to pass on information and underline the work and lessons that friends and guests can share.

In our conversation we discuss the order of creating a good podcast, the benefits folks who get to work with Lara and Kelly and listen to their show about doing their business better get, ways podcasting has positively impacted people as well as the medium of podcasting and the tips for those considering starting their own. Join us in this episode to learn all about this and much more.

Key Topics:

• The orders for creating the Doing Good Business Podcast. (1:15) • The benefits folks who get to work with you and listen to your show about doing their business better get. (2:38) • Some of the ways that we've seen this translate into positive impact beyond. (4:06) • Why the younger generations are interested in working with companies that are doing good and refusing to do business with companies that won't do good. (5:06) • How to make a company seem genuine when you've been called out for not having altruistic goals. (6:57) • Pearls of wisdom and one of them is that bad news is still good information. (8:36) • Progress is not perfection and it’s not going to happen overnight, when s company is not doing well, have a plan in place and revisit your results because it's much easier to make those changes when you're not in the spotlight, when you're not in crisis mode. (9:18) • Why Lara and Kelly chose podcasting over other mediums. (11:29) • Some of the useful resources Lara and Kelly utilized for setting up and getting started (14:58) • Lara and Kelly’s advice to anyone wanting to start a cause based podcast. (16:08) • A particular organization that Lara and Kelly wants to help promote. (20:08) • How to get involved with Causepods! (22:50)

And much more!

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Transcript

[INTRODUCTION]

[0:00:02.4] MP: Hi and welcome to Causepods. I'm your host Matthew Passy. Here on the podcast, we have one simple mission to highlight the amazing folks who are using podcast as a way to raise awareness for good causes, whether it's a nonprofit they work with, a charity they support, the social justice campaign they’re championing, a medical condition they're battling or someone who's just looking to make a positive impact on their local community, their state and the country or the world. These are podcasters with a positive mission. Along with raising awareness for our guest’s favorite cause, we're also going to see if we can raise some money to support their efforts. So make sure you check out the show notes for each episode at causepods.org to learn more about what they're doing and how to help them achieve their goals.


[INTERVIEW]


[0:00:46.7] MP: Joining me today on CausePods are the co-host of the Doing Good Business Podcast. Lara Heacock is a leadership coach with a personal development blog at kindovermatter.com and Kelly Stewart is a positive business consultant at the positivebusiness.com.


Lara and Kelly, thank you so much for joining me here on Causepods today.


[0:01:06.9] LH: Thanks so much for having us.


[0:01:08.3] KS: We're happy to be here.


[0:01:09.3] MP: So Lara and Kelly, this show is just under a year old it looks like so. Tell us a little bit about what was the order for creating the Doing Good Business Podcast.


[0:01:19.6] LH: Kelly and I met at a networking event in-- so we live about 45 minutes apart and we just instantly hit it off. I like to say that we just very quickly started going steady. I think before we even had lunch. I emailed Kelly and I said, “Have you ever thought about hosting a podcast?” And she said, “I have this microphone that has been in a box for a year.”


[0:01:40.4] KS: So it was meant to be I call it a fearless love relationship. We just ran into it coming across the field going, “Yes, we will podcast together and I think a lot of that was because we saw a great opportunity to really metaphorically marry what we do. Lara talks so much about making the world a better place through personal development and bringing the best of who you are to work. And I have been talking about really taking the best of who you are, and putting it into a business practice. I bring that whole kind of strategy, goals, and objectives, what's the plan is going to be to implement those things. So it seemed like a match made in heaven.


[0:02:17.7Yeah, we talk about being the micro and the macro and this is where I come from the micro perspective of the person and the leader in the business and Kelly brings that macro perspective of the full organization or the organization's impact globally.


[0:02:29.4] MP: So I imagine that by helping folks do business better than obviously they should become more profitable, but it's a little bit more than that for you. So what are some of the benefits of folks who get to work with you and listen to your show about doing their business better? Like where do we see some of that personal growth, personal development and I would say business growth and development?


[0:02:51.1] KS: Sure this is Kelly and we only say that because we've been given a lot of feedback that we sound the same so we try to introduce one another and ourselves but I think that what the listeners really can take away from us is we're taking some really esoteric kind of muddy terms and we're breaking them down into very actionable items. So an example of that is what does it mean to be authentic? So Laura talks about what that means as a person, and how you can be vulnerable and bring your character to work and then I talked about that in terms of what are you trying to accomplish by being authentic at work, there has to be a purpose for that and then what are some of these things that you actually do and part of that is telling stories. Part of that is being seen making decisions that are in line with your character by others. And then we always try to give our listeners resources so that they can follow up and do even if it's just one thing, think differently about how they're doing business or do one good thing in business and kind of step into that.


[0:03:56.4] MP: That probably brings us back to the idea of Causepods is that we're not just looking to make money with our podcast; we're looking to exact positive impact on the world. And so what are some of the ways that we've seen this translate into positive impact beyond as we said earlier, the business's bottom line, do we see companies taking on more social responsibility? Do we see them taking on more charitable causes? Do we see them just wanting to use their business acumen to really make the world a better place?


[0:04:26.1] LH: Yeah. So we Kelly's introduced me to the whole concept or the world of the corporations, which are socially minded, socially responsible corporations. It's an official certification, but we also just see a lot of companies that are intentional second chance employers, companies that have a carbon neutral footprint goal, companies that are really doing things differently in the world and that becomes the thing that attracts people to them. Everybody talks to the market right now about retention and turnover is crazy because the unemployment rate is so low and these companies we find that really know what they stand for and that really have something that they're giving back, they become more marketable and more attractive to people.


[0:05:06.2] MP: Well, I imagine in this world today where the younger population, the younger generations, not only are they interested in working with companies that are doing good, but in some cases, they're flat out refusing to do business with companies that won't do good, that they won’t invest in them, they won't buy from them, they won't support them. It's not even just a positive story. It's a way for your businesses survive story.


[0:05:30.7] LH: Absolutely. And it's what I think separates it from purpose washing and green washing, the companies that are employing some of these strategies as a tactic, let's call it to still serve a singular bottom line, singular pursuit of profit. It doesn't resonate with people and we live in an era where people were informed, were connected and people want transparency and we have those tools available to us that just were not available to us. You think about like business history when stories were killed. It was easier sweep things under the carpet and is much harder to do that now, so that the companies that are specifically and genuinely doing good for people for the planet, and oh, by the way, yes, still earning a profit because they have to be. Otherwise they can't do any good for people or the planet, but they're finding different ways to do that. And then when they are doing good things, they're much more comfortable being transparent about that and that's what's helping them earn the trust of not only their employees, but their clients, their investors, their community, neighbors, it just makes it an easier conversation.


[0:06:38.8] MP: So I mean, you talk about genuineness and transparency and I imagine for a lot of businesses that start out with altruistic mindset, it's a lot easier for them to accomplish this. But what happens if your company that hasn't really pursued this path and either you're thinking about making this change or worse off maybe you've been called out for not having outreached these goals. How do you make that shift and make it seem genuine? How do you do it without people just saying, “Oh, you're just doing that because you got called out for it.”


[0:07:09.5] LH: So I think we've seen that recently in the Philadelphia area, the Starbucks incident that happened in 2018, there was a big question about is this actually authentic, they did some diversity and inclusion training and all their stories after that terrible incident in Philadelphia. And there's still I would say, a lot of question as to whether or not that's authentic and you get people in both camps. But what Kelly and I talked about is it has to be both top down and bottom up. So you have to have your senior leadership genuinely want to participate in a change and in doing something differently, and you have to have your employees buy in. And sometimes that does mean turnover. Sometimes that does mean restructuring. People that no longer buy into the cause that you are now championing as an organization so there are some times changes I think that a lot of times the storm comes before the calm and but you have to have that top down, bottom up buy in to make any sort of large change like that that's ever going to stick and be real.


[0:08:02.2] KS: I agree with Laura, I think too Laura's big fan of this pearl of wisdom, right? It's about progress, not perfection. So you have to start somewhere. And I think as a stakeholder, whether you're a consumer or an investor or an employee, you have to allow some runway for people to say, “Aha, okay, that wasn't working. It was wrong and we want to do better.” And you have to leave them a little bit of runway to do better. And I think another, my father is an old army man, and he's got lots of pearls of wisdom, probably too many to share on the show. But one of them is that bad news is still good information. I think when you see companies, I think it was just recently the Davos summit that Citibank released results of report that found a very substantial I think it was almost 30% pay gap between their male and female executives and their CEO came out and said, “Well, okay, we clearly have some things to change around here.” And then they laid out a couple of points that they're going to be doing, things that they'll be doing differently. So that to me is a case of both of those; my father and Lara. Bad news is still good information. So we have to kind of go out there and take our lumps and say, “Yep, this is not what we want and it's progress, not perfection, it's not going to happen overnight.” But not only does there have to be a plan in place, but then there has to be a revisiting of those results. Like, how do we know those companies are moving forward, once they come out and admit, “Ah, we just found out something that we'd really like to change in our organization.” And I think it's hard and when it's crisis, to your point, Matthew, when it's crisis, it's much harder to do it that way, which is why we advocate for a little pre planning. Do that survey on your own, figure it out on your own because it's much easier to make those changes when you're not in the spotlight, when you're not in crisis mode and I think it's harder for those leaders.


[0:09:58.5] MP: I find it so interesting going back to that idea of the messaging that even bad news is good information.


[0:10:06.5] KS: Yeah, I love that. Thanks..


[0:10:10.2] MP: Yeah, I know I've never heard it expressed like that. There's the idea that's like all press is good press or things like that. But that's such an interesting idea that even we know that so often, and this is especially true in politics today, and in the past that it's rarely the crime, it's always the cover up. And I think that's sort of the same idea that the more you try and fight the problem, it's a lot easier to sort of suck it up, take your lumps, admit to your mistake and move on and start to make that progress than to fight back, hold off and refuse to accept that you made a mistake. I find that fascinating.


[0:10:44.5] KS: Yeah, I think that's great. It's so funny to take it to the micro level because that's what I do, I have a client that I’ll actually see later today who was up for a new position, found out I guess on Friday that started going externally they hired someone internal promotion, but it's bad news and it's good information because now he knows, okay, this is a company that values internal development and they chose to promote internally as opposed to going externally. And while it's bad news for him, it's still good information about that organization and you can apply it to know just a little bit more data about the organization that you're potentially interested in working for.


[0:11:16.5] MP: Right, maybe it means going and taking a lower position so that you can work your way up to the top in different ways. So I know you said that your podcast sort of came out of your distance and the proximity and the convenience of having this microphone in a box. But why was it that you thought that this medium in particular was going to be so effective for getting that message out there and for sharing this wisdom with current and obviously potential clients near and far?


[0:11:41.1] LH: I think Kelly and I both knew before we met each other that we wanted to do a podcast, I knew that I wanted to do it in collaboration or in partnership with somebody, but I didn't-- there wasn't anybody that readily came to mind that I really wanted to co-host with and then just meeting her and we met at a networking event, you do the standard thing where you go back and you check out each other's website and we'd already talked about having lunch and I just started reading her website and her website is the positive business. I talked a lot about bringing kindness into business of the individual level, leaders being kinder to themselves so that they can be better leaders. And I just thought, “My Gosh, what like-minded thinking that we happen to stumble upon each other.” And the more we talk, the more we realize, like, “Oh, we were both at that event on mindfulness and leadership, and we didn't know it.” And we both read that same book. And there was just such a synergy between our work and between the ways that we think in between whom we are as people, it felt like such a natural fit, but it really just came from kind of that checking out each other's websites and seeing the similarities in our belief system.


[0:12:39.0] KS: Absolutely. And for my part, knowing the work that Lara did around kindness, it made me think about the size of the personal development market, which is now like, just under $10 billion, and I've always had, I guess it's empathy or like, just feelings around the fact that there are so many people who are really making a concentrated effort to be better individuals. And I think that it's a great kind of sadness in our business world that most times they have to leave the best of who they are at the door in order to be successful at business. So you've got this like strange juxtaposition of I'm trying to be this really authentic, compassionate, kind person and then I have to go into an environment every day that doesn't value that. And there are so many examples of companies that are doing well and I think I'll speak for both of us. But I think the podcast has helped us reach out to those companies, and then have them on as guests so that people see this is not just figment of Kelly and Lara’s collective imagination, but there are actually companies out there that are doing these really fabulous things. And the podcast format especially gives us that platform to reach out to people. We just spoke with two people who are in California on Friday. So it gives us the opportunity to really kind of reach far and wide and show this is not just something again, like I said, it's not just a figment of our imagination. It's not just happening where we're located outside of Philadelphia. This is happening all over. And for the individuals who are listening to our podcast, we constantly want to give them resources and examples of see it's being done. And you can do it too.


[0:14:17.9] LH: We always say to all of our guests, Kelly and I can pontificate about this stuff all day long. And do like curfew when do we do a fair amount of the time, but we want to bring on guests that are just exemplifying what we believe in and showing that it is possible to have a company that offers no limit on family time. No question around sick time, it's possible to have a company that after five years is maybe going to offer every employee at every level of sabbatical all of these things that you do projects for the local community together and still be a profitable business like we want to highlight those organizations all the bad news and lead to leads and all that mentality. We want to show that all of this is possible, not only that, but it's happening and there are organizations that are doing this.


[0:14:57.7] MP: And do you think that specifically audio is a more effective way of getting that message out there or is it just the sort of lower barrier to entry of the space that makes this more attractive to you?


[0:15:11.5] LH: So I will say that I am a late bloomer. I'm a slow adopter. I say that about everything. I don't Snapchat but I guess it took me a long time to get into podcast and everybody that I knew was telling me and I finally I don't even remember what my first podcast was. But as soon it was like a switch flipped in me. As soon as I started, I was like, “Okay, this is great.” And now I could not tell you the last time I listened to anything but podcasts in my car. And if I don't have any place to go of any consequence, I'm like, “Oh, my Gosh, I'm so behind on my podcast, and what's happening here and what's happening there.” So as soon as I started really consuming the podcast media, I was hooked. And I was like, this is great, and I know it's something that I want to do.


[0:15:53.3] MP: Well, and also, before we started recording, you both mentioned that tech is not necessarily your fortes.


[0:15:59.6] LH: So true.


[0:16:01.6] MP: So for other folks who are hearing this, and they're thinking to themselves, “Yeah, podcasts. That sounds great but it also sounds so daunting.” What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting a podcast for their cause, who might not be tech savvy, and also maybe might not have a huge budget to do so?


[0:16:16.7] LH: So I would say make it easy. I have a couple. I mean, I have three people that I could easily like send a text to, or hop on the boxer app and just say, “Hey, how do I do this?” So I talked to each of them. And I basically did what they told me to do. I said, you tell me what the steps are. What do I use to record? How do we do this? And so we use Audacity to record. We host on Lipson and I do all the editing in Audacity because I knew that I had some resources that I could go to when I did have a tech fumble and when I didn't understand something. So for me, it was just there are tons of Facebook groups. I'm in a Facebook group called She Podcast that is just for women in the podcasting industry.


[0:16:53.6] MP: Quality groups.


[0:16:54.2] LH: Yeah, there are so many great resources out there. And for me, it just made the most sense for us because we're not super awesome attack. Like we're cool, like we can get it done. But it's definitely not something that either one of us feels passionate about. I just wanted to know how to do it, and to follow the steps and now its fine and it's very simple. And I understand everything that we're doing and there would have been options. But at first, it was just like, if you can find a resource or an advocate or an ally, or even somebody on a Facebook group that can help you and say like, “Okay, here's what you do, you record into audacity, and then you upload it into this place, and then you get your feed and here's how you get your feed approved.” We just made it happen and remembering to take one step at a time. Because if I get too far ahead of myself, and everything comes to a screeching halt, just like what's the next step?


[0:17:36.4] KS: And I think having a buddy system in this case was really important for me, as we've already declared, I had my microphone in a box for a year, that’s 12 months, right. So I was thinking about podcasting a lot, but it wasn't until I had a buddy in Lara who came along so we're going to do this and then it didn't seem nearly as scary. Plus also, I think the website technology is so much better. So for people who feel like well then now I want to have like a place to put some of this and more of a permanent online presence there. There's so much you can do now through a lot of the systems like Wix, Weebly and Squarespace. And it's not expensive and they have a lot of templates that are set up for it. So you can have that nice companion piece to it without a lot of effort or cost too.


[0:18:24.7] MP: So and it also sounds like the nice thing of doing it with somebody else is that you have a accountability partner, you have somebody who's going to sort of hold you to it, make sure that you get it done.


[0:18:33.7] KS: Helps you boost your confidence because where I might think like, “Oh, I have no idea what I'm doing here,” we're figuring out together, and there were a couple times we rerecord it. I think it was the first one that we did together ourselves, and then we didn't save it we had to rerecord. So you just move past that and I think if somebody doesn't have a buddy, I would recommend then just do a whole bunch just for yourself that you don't even post anywhere but pretend like you are and just kind of get comfortable with the technology and that I think was made faster when Lara and I worked together.


[0:19:04.4] LH: Yeah I agree and we divide and conquer. I mean it's really nice Kelly manages our Doing Good Business website, I do the social media and editing so like it's nice that component but again to Kelly's point if you're just doing it yourself, there's no law that says you have to release every week like do whatever you want, that's my biggest advice to everyone when it comes to anything in the online world and social media and promotional that like you've got to do what feels good because if you hate Instagram, it's going to come through on every single Instagram post, but if you love Facebook that's also going to come through. So do what feels right to you, release when it feels right to you. record a whole bunch that you throw in the garbage and there's a million resources for podcast startups.


[0:19:41.7] MP: Well this has been fantastic and so we've been talking about the Doing Good Business Podcast you can find that at doinggoodbusiness.com and Lara and Kelly before I let you go I just want to talk a little bit about your charity that you want to raise awareness through with your appearance here on Causepods. Tell me a little bit about year up and what they're hoping to and why this so important to you and for folks listening yearup.org is where you would find more info beyond what Kelly and Lara are about to share. So tell us a little bit more about year up.


[0:20:08.7] KS: Sure, absolutely. Year up is a program for young adults and we know in the work that we do, there are a lot of business leaders, whether they’re business owners or company leaders who developing a pipeline of qualified future employees is very important. There's a lot of shortages in that area. And Lara mentioned earlier that there's an open hiring policy. My point being people are getting more creative about it, and they're expanding their thinking about how they can do that. One of the things that Lara mentioned was open hiring, which is hiring people who have been incarcerated and are now back into the world and looking to learn skills and use them so that’s one area. Year up takes at risk students who may otherwise not have other chances to learn trades and skills and financial annual planning skills and all of the other things that go into being a happy healthy person and it helps them to really move and I think their quotas to move from minimum wage to meaningful careers in just one year. So it's a national program there's opportunities for employers to get involved, for future students to be involved and there is one in Philadelphia as well but they do a really fantastic program that they have there for helping to help individuals develop and help employers by having people that they can then hire and bring into their organization.


[0:21:33.9] MP: Sounds fantastic. Well once again you can find more information about yearup.org and if you want to make a donation on behalf of Lara and Kelly there will be a link to a GoFind Me page for them in the show notes for this episode or at Causepods.org. I just want to take a minute once again to thank Lara Heacock who you can find it kindovermatter.com. Kelly Stewart the positivebusiness.com, their show; doinggoodbusiness com which obviously the name of show being Doing Good Business, and you can find that in all the places where you'd find your podcast. Lara and Kelly, thank you so much for taking some time and joining me here today on Causepods.


[0:22:11.3] LH&KS: Matthew, thank you so much for having us.


[0:22:13.6] MP: All right.


[0:22:14.6] LH: All right, rock and roll.


[END OF INTERVIEW]


[0:22:17.0] MP: Thank you for listening to this episode of Causepods. I want to take a moment and thank the newest team member producer Caroline Quash, who does an amazing job with scheduling of guests, finding particular guests, making sure that everything gets posted properly and making sure that everything -- she just helps to keep the trains moving. I don't know if I can continue to do this project without her. So thank you, Caroline, for everything you do. And again, if you've been inspired by the work of our guests, please check out the show notes in your podcast app or at causepods.org. There you will find links to their work and a special donation link to support the cause.


From there you can also follow and subscribe to the show on Apple Podcast, Google Podcasts or wherever you enjoy your podcast, follow us on social media and join the special Facebook group dedicated to you folks who are producing podcasts for a cause. So if you're already producing some podcasts or if you're thinking about launching one join the group, we have provided some resources, we're going to look to provide even more and hopefully we're going to arrange some special nonprofit pricing of various podcast service vendors to help you with your venture and keep you under budget. And lastly, if you are a cause potter, someone who produces a podcast or a cause and want to join me for an interview, please please check out the form at causepods.org, once approved will schedule you for chat and share the amazing work you do with the CausePods audience. Thanks again and see you next time on Causepods.


[END]