Posts tagged #podcast

Bill Cole on Career Pivots, Working with Ambiguity, and "Collaborative Decisionomics"

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One of the most beneficial practices I’ve used as a professional is talking to (or reading about) and learning from successful people who have a different perspective or background than I do. I met with Bill Cole in Kansas City a couple months ago at the recommendation of my husband, who has worked with Bill for a number of years through his consulting work. After an energizing conversation with Bill about his career pivots, creating structure from ambiguity, and his approach to making decisions, I was excited to finish up the seventh episode of The Savvy Young Professional podcast and not only share it with you but also listen to it to hear Bill’s ideas again. Along with a preview of our conversation below, you can listen here, on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or Spotify. And, if you have not already, please leave a review either in your listening app or via the comments below. Thank you!

Bill has had an unconventional career, starting as a teacher and coach, migrating to the utilities industry, and becoming one of the most senior leaders at a large engineering and construction company (with no formal background in engineering, construction, or business) as a result of an opportunity that tapped into his love for teaching others. Bill currently runs his own consulting business along with investing in small businesses. His story showed me the endless possibilities available with respect to your career path when you combine natural talent, sacrifice, and hard work. Over and over, Bill has been excited to learn something new and get out of his comfort zone rather than continue on with an easier, comfortable path. This mindset required him to put in the time and sacrifice to learn all the time and travel quite a bit, as well as risk potentially failing.

One piece of advice I appreciated from Bill was his recommendation to “prepare for the things that are done to you”. Other people and their decisions or actions are out of our control, and the only things we can really control or prepare for is ourselves and our reaction to the situations we find ourselves in.

Bill is also writing a book which will include his approach to decision making that he calls “collaborative decisionomics” . His approach looks at the vectors that are part of the decision process and helps one reason and rationalize making a decision. For example, let’s say you are originally from St. Louis, attend school at the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO and receive an amazing job offer to go to New York. It sounds fantastic, but you are hesitating at accepting the offer. Why? While your career, money, and a New York lifestyle may be enticing factors or “vectors” in your decision, returning home to your family in St. Louis may be a more enticing vector that you value more than the job in New York. The point of the exercise, which goes deeper than this example, is to examine our values and motivators, and make logical decisions based on the criteria most important to us and our goals.

I hope you enjoy this episode!

Dr. Megan Gerhardt on "Gentelligence, Leadership, and the Truth about Millennials"

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A few years ago, I was preparing for a recruiting trip at my alma mater, Miami University (Ohio), and had the opportunity to connect with Dr. Megan Gerhardt, one of the leadership professors in the business school. After exchanging emails, we met in person and had the first of many conversations about leadership, navigating generational differences in the workforce, and why Millennials have gotten such a bad reputation. She has also provided leadership training to a number of my colleagues through her consultancy, The Gerhardt Group, and I always learn a lot when I talk to her. Today, we dive into a lot, including what it means to be “Gentelligent” - a movement that Megan started, how different generations view leadership, the positive side of Millennials, and what Generation Z has in store for us. You can listen here, on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or Spotify. And, if you have not already, please leave a review either in your listening app or via the comments below. Thank you!

Key Takeaways from our Conversation:

On being “Gentelligent”.  With the recent college graduations of the first Gen Z’s, we now have five unique generations in the workforce: Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Baby Boomers, and Traditionalists.  These five generations bring diversity of perspective and talent to the work environment, but their intentions can often be misinterpreted by others. Dr. Gerhardt founded the concept of “gentelligence” which is helping organizations and people to understand why each generation behaves the way it does and to appreciate the diversity that a multi-generational workforce brings.   

On Millennials.  While Millennials have been at the forefront of negative stories and commentary for years, Dr. Gerhardt noted that Millennials bring a number of positive traits as well, including their tech savviness and ability to deliver a high quality project quickly.  She also shared that while Millennials can come across as entitled to other generations, she has learned through conversations and research with hundreds of students that they view behavior others might perceive as entitled as normal behavior based on the environment they were raised in - both through their families and the macro culture.

On leading people in other generations.  As Millennials comprise 20 percent of leadership roles compared to 18 percent of Baby Boomers today, there are going to be situations where someone in a younger generation is leading someone in an older generation.  Dr. Gerhardt’s leadership advice for Millennials is to follow principles that stand the test of time for all generations: understand the unique value that each person brings to the team, respect them and their experience (particularly Baby Boomers), ask questions, and show humility and vulnerability to others.

On her predictions for Gen Z. As Gen Z enters the workforce, Megan highlighted the opportunity for Millennials to welcome them and create a more positive environment than the one created for Millennials. She also noted that Gen Z represents a shift in what people are looking for in a “career”, with a portion of the generation looking for a conservative, traditional job in response to experiencing the recession as a child whereas others are pursuing the gig economy with multiple jobs, freelance work, and nontraditional careers (e.g. a social media influencer or a gamer). How Gen Z approaches their careers could have a major impact on work and careers in the future.

About Dr. Megan Gerhardt

Dr. Megan Gerhardt is a Professor of Leadership and Development at Miami University (Ohio) as well as the Director of Leadership Development for the Farmer School of Business, Co-Director at the Isaac and Oxley Center for Business Leadership, Founder of the Gerhardt Group, and a Gallup Certified Strengths Leadership Coach. SHe has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Iowa and a PhD in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management from the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business. Along with her teaching, program leadership, and research work at Miami University, she provides leadership and Gentelligence consulting for business across the county through the Gerhardt Group.

Dr. Elizabeth Piontek on "Finding her path, personal branding, and the business of medicine"


I had the pleasure of spending a Saturday morning with Dr. Piontek, (who goes by Libby) a friend of mine in Kansas City to talk to her about her career, how she developed a personal brand, and what she has learned about the business side of medicine. While her experience is focused on practicing medicine, her recommendations are applicable to young professionals across industries and professions. You can listen to our entire conversation here, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or Spotify under “The Savvy Young Professional” podcast. Also, check out five takeaways from our conversation below.

On finding your career path. During high school, Libby initially wanted to go into veterinary medicine and spent time shadowing and working with a vet. Through this experience, along with a foreign study in marine biology, she realized that being a veterinarian was not the path for her, and she decided to go to medical school instead after completing a similar shadowing experience with a few physicians. During her residency, one of her mentors, who was a urologist, encouraged her to pursue this path instead of infectious disease, citing her natural talent. By spending time shadowing different career paths and taking advice from mentors, she found a career that she loves and that gives her purpose.

On discipline. Completing fourteen years of school and residency sets an extreme bar for discipline and delayed gratification. Her trick to getting through it? Focusing on the next goal or milestone only rather than thinking years down the line. This helped her compartmentalize semesters of school and rounds of residency into manageable efforts.

On promoting yourself. As a physician in private practice, Libby has had to find ways to build relationships with general practitioners for referrals and build a reputation in the community. She cites her success at spending time building relationships with other physicians in person to invest in trust and credibility, and taking opportunities to be promoted as an expert in her field. While she does not advocate the use of social media in medicine, she has found personal ways to build relationships which have helped her establish a reputation and a customer base. For non-physician young professionals, this is comparable to in-person networking.

On always learning. While medical residents put in some of the longest work weeks of any profession, taking the extra time to learn during this time is critical. The “80 hour rule” was already in place when Libby started residency (which states that residents cannot work more than 80 hours in a week for safety reasons), she, like many doctors, resist following this protocol when there is so much to learn and observe. For Libby, it was about equipping herself with the most experience and knowledge possible so that she would excel when she was operating on her down. While most other professionals are not in a life or death situation, it is still valuable to observe, learn, and train as much as possible early in your career so that you can pull these tools out of your toolbox and lead on your own when the time comes. Taking these opportunities, even if they require extra time at the office, more work, or travel can be both personally rewarding and professionally valuable in the future.

On balancing work and family. As a mom with a young son, Libby experiences the challenges of balancing her busy workload and spending time with her husband and son, as well as taking care of herself. To maximize the amount of time she has to spend with family, she asks others for help and delegates and outsources work to her nanny. Libby also emphasized the importance of having a supportive spouse who can step in to help, especially on days where she has limited flexibility.

About Dr. Piontek

Dr. Piontek was born and raised in a suburb of Kansas City and still lives in the area today.  After attending Furman University where she studied biology and graduated with honors, she earned her MD from the University of Missouri. She interned and completed her residency in Urology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, NE.  Dr. Piontek is Board Certified by the American Board of Urology and is a member of the American Urological Association. Along with being in private practice she serves on the Editorial Board of the Missouri State Medical Association.  You can read her most recent paper in the January/February issue. Her schedule covering three clinics, two hospitals, and two surgery centers keeps her busy, along with being a wife and mom to a 18 month old boy.

Charity Balee on "Adversity, Taking Risks, and Finding Purpose in her Work"

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I had the opportunity to spend time with Charity Balee, a colleague and friend, learning more about the challenges she faced early in her career, how she was able to transition from real estate to healthcare, and her secret to implementing change. Charity has contagious energy and enthusiasm, and I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did. Along with a summary of our conversation, the full audio version is available here, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or Spotify under “The Savvy Young Professional”.

Takeaways from our Conversation

Take risks - Growing up with a single mom, Charity saw her mom work hard and take risks to start businesses and support their family. Her mom’s example has inspired Charity to be more comfortable taking risks in her own career, knowing that hard work will pay off.

Keep going in the face of adversity - After the housing crisis ended her career in finance and real estate, Charity transitioned to healthcare sales. Despite high performance, she found herself without a job twice, both times after moving for her job and after receiving performance awards and sales commendations. While frustrating and discouraging, she never let the layoffs discourage her from finding an even better next opportunity.

Find your purpose - Charity studied real estate and finance in undergrad and originally started in the mortgage industry because she loved being part of the process of finding people homes for their family. After the housing crisis in 2008, she knew she needed to find another industry that could bring her the same level of purpose. While she is on the business rather than the medical side of healthcare, her role in supporting caregivers so they can focus on patient care has given her a tremendous degree of purpose.

Learn from others - In Charity’s current role, she is often charged with leading complex and sensitive change with physicians and nurses on medical supplies and equipment. Rather than focusing on the future state and what needs to change, Charity goes into each conversation with caregivers with one goal: to learn something. By listening and learning, she is able to empathize, find creative solutions, and balance the need for fiscal responsibility with patient care.

Be intentional with your family - Over the past five years, Charity has traveled full-time for work, with her husband and two sons living at their home base in St. Louis. While she is on the road during the week, Charity is intentional about connecting with her family via Face Time every night for bedtime, and spending dedicated time with them on the weekend. She has found that this structure works for her and her family, and has fostered a great level of appreciation for the time they have together.

About Charity Balee:

With over 14 years of account executive experience, 10 within healthcare, Charity specializes in leading cost reduction strategies, developing and fostering effective collaborations with executives and physicians, and developing long and short-term business strategies. 

Charity worked for a variety of organizations before joining The Resource Group and has an educational background in business with a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Memphis and a Master of Business Administration from Webster University.