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Ep 051: A Chat With The Queen of Remote Work with Molood Ceccarelli
Episode 5114th December 2021 • Dissecting Success • Theresa Lambert and Blair Kaplan Venables
00:00:00 00:38:11

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This week our hosts Blair and Theresa welcome the founder and CEO of Remote Forever™, Molood Ceccarelli. Molood shares her story about growing up always thinking logically and as a high-achiever, not caring about the win but instead focusing on what’s next. This has put her in a mindset of resourcefulness and on her journey she discovered that success is really about self- discovery and being your new self. Listen as Molood shares her future plans for remote working and providing an experience through a conference unlike others to deepen human connection remotely.

“Be kind to yourself, stay consistent, keep it simple, use your imagination, and create a vision of your success and who you need to be to become that person.” – Molood Ceccarelli

About the Guest

Molood Ceccarelli is the founder and CEO of Remote Forever™, a company that provides training, workshops and consulting on remote agile operations. She personally consults as a remote work strategist and agile coach. She helps entrepreneurs of distributed companies to create future-proof scalable and agile businesses that empower remote employees to collaborate effectively in people-centric workplaces. Her work has been published in places such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Inc as well as Scrum Alliance and Shiftup. She is often referred to as the queen of remote work. Molood founded Remote Forever Summit in 2016, a yearly online conference that was the first of its kind and to this day has remained the largest online summit about remote work in agile and attracts over 10k attendees from around the world every year.

About the Hosts:

Blair Kaplan Venables is an expert in social media marketing and the president of Blair Kaplan Communications, a British Columbia-based PR agency. As a pioneer in the industry, she brings more than a decade of experience to her clients, which includes global wellness, entertainment, and lifestyle brands. Blair has helped her customers grow their followers into the tens of thousands in just one month, win integrative marketing awards, and more. She has spoken on national stages and her expertise has been featured in media outlets including CBC Radio, CEOWORLD Magazine, She Owns It, and Thrive Global. Blair is also the #1 best-selling author of Pulsing Through My Veins: Raw and Real Stories from an Entrepreneur. When she’s not working on the board for her local chamber of commerce, you can find Blair growing the “I Am Resilient Project,” an online community where users share their stories of overcoming life’s most difficult moments.

https://www.blairkaplan.ca/ 

Theresa Lambert is an Online Business Strategy Coach with an impressive hotelier background in luxury Hospitality in the #1 Ski Resort in North America. Her mission is “ To make business easy so that your life can be more FULL!”. Theresa supports ambitious Women Entrepreneurs and Coaches to redefine success with elegance and create the Impact, Income and Freedom they desire in Business and in Life. In 2020 Theresa became the Bestselling Author of her book Achieve with Grace: A guide to elegance and effectiveness in intense workplaces. She is also a Speaker and the Podcast co-host of Dissecting Success. Theresa has been recognized as a business leader in Whistler’s Profiles of Excellence, and is being featured in publications such as Hotelier Magazine, Thrive Global and Authority Magazine.

https://www.theresalambertcoaching.com

 

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Transcripts

Blair Kaplan-Venables:

Ever wonder what success actually means?

Theresa Lambert:

How do you get

Blair Kaplan-Venables:

it? And how do you keep it?

Theresa Lambert:

We all want it yet sometimes it feels only some of us get to have it.

Blair Kaplan-Venables:

Hi, Teresa Blair here we are two badass entrepreneurs, best selling authors, coaches and business mentors, who have had success, felt success, questioned our own success and reclaimed it. Let's be real for a hot minute. 2020 has been a roller coaster ride. And many of us have started to wonder if the loser things that made them successful. So we got curious, Ron real about what success is truly about?

Theresa Lambert:

Can you put it in a box?

Blair Kaplan-Venables:

How can you get it?

Theresa Lambert:

Can people take it away? Or are you the one with the power?

Blair Kaplan-Venables:

Does it mean the same to all of us? Or are we the ones that create it?

Theresa Lambert:

From PGA golf pros to doctors, CEOs, entrepreneurs and spiritual mentors. We get together to meet with successful people from around the globe to dissect success for vibrant conversations and interviews. Make sure you click the subscribe button on the app store because each week we will drop a new episode to bust through the myths around success and dissect its true meaning. Who's ready for the most badass and massive uplevel in their business? It is back what's back momentum bland Teresa's signature six month business and mentorship accelerator is now open for enrollment

Blair Kaplan-Venables:

10 entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to join us exclusive experience that kicks off December 15. This VIP program includes two to one coaching, monthly masterminds and training sessions plus unlimited access to get your questions answered in real time.

Theresa Lambert:

Imagine where you can take your business and the six months that we will work together.

Blair Kaplan-Venables:

Ready to give your business the momentum you desire. Head to Teresa Lambert coaching comm backslash momentum to secure your covenant spot welcome back we have another episode of dissecting success. I'm so excited because today with this success scalpel is Salud sesor le I met her over a year ago and our friendship and work friendship work work friendship work relationship has blossomed into something beautiful and I'm so honored she took the time to join us today. Molood Ceccarelli is the founder and CEO of remote forever a company that provides training, workshops and consulting on remote agile operations. She personally consults as a remote work strategist and Agile coach. She helps entrepreneurs of distributed companies to create future proof scalable and agile businesses that empower remote employees to collaborate effectively and people centric workplaces. This probably sounds very, very recent because everyone now is in the remote work revolution. Her work has been published in places such as Forbes, entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Inc, and Scrum Alliance and shift up. Wow, she's just so accomplished. She's often referred to as the Queen of remote work. And I could not agree more Molood founded remote forever summit in 2016. It's a yearly conference that was the first of its kind, and to this day has remained the largest online summit about remote work and agile and attracts over 10,000 attendees from around the world every year. And we're going to talk about that a bit later. Because Molood here, not only she a friend, she's an avid guard, she's a pioneer. She's an innovator, and I'm so honored that we're able to connect here on dissecting success. Salud. Hello, welcome.

Molood Ceccarelli:

Hello, and thank you for having me.

Blair Kaplan-Venables:

So let's just dive right in. Here's the scalpel. Let's dissect it. What does success mean to you?

Unknown:

Thank you for sending me that question beforehand. So I had some time to think about it. I am a person who got introduced to the world of emotions really late in life, I was grown up as a very, very, very logical person. So thinking about this question, I thought, What is success logically, and what is success emotionally? So this is what I came up with. I think that success on an emotional level is feeling fulfillment and content. And on a logical level, it's that feeling of always growing and contributing. I'm like, when I think about it, I thought like success is leveling up in your personality in your PA, as in like, I've seen some people who feel successful that they finally like have financial freedom and they can retire and they can do basically nothing but it doesn't last that long. They want to be growing, they want to be contributing when they when they reached that phase in life. So I thought there is a process to success, but there's also these points in time that we call success. So when it comes to that, I think this to make it Really simple to me that would be success is the consequence of stepping. Or let me rephrase that success is the consequence or their sequence of stopping being our old self. And starting being the new self, the new being that we want to be.

Theresa Lambert:

Wow, stop being our old self and start being our new self. I love that definition of success. And I love that you got death through your way of logical thinking. Which is amazing. And I love that you shared that because I feel, you know, sometimes we lean into one way or the other. But what I am so curious about is how has that transition from the old self to the new self been for you

Unknown:

have expanded many, many phases over the years. So as I said, I grew up very logically, if you want to know a little bit of my background, like my childhood background, just do a psycho analysis here. So my childhood background is that I was an overachiever kid, I was that person who was winning competitions left and right, whether it was sports, or science or anything, I didn't even like make extra effort, but I was winning. And that did not ever mean success to me ever. The process of going for the next thing was the fulfillment that I was getting. So I never really cared about even gathering my gold medal in, you know, kiddie competition or whatever. But that that emotion of okay, this is done, what is next that was always driving me. But this has evolved so much throughout the years, because obviously, Life is real, and shit happens. And lots of things have happened in life. So the way that it has helped me is understanding that changing how I do something can take me only so far, by changing who I am being, it changes my entire perspective, it has changed my character. So when I accepted and acknowledged and became that new person, that was when things started to become a little slow, they started to roll a little more, more smoothly, and they became a little easier to tackle. And it has also put me in, in a mindset of resourcefulness. So, for example, I don't remember as single time in my entire life, that I was looking for someone to play. Like this was not part of my upbringing at all. But later in life, I realized that this is where people usually go to something goes wrong. And the first question that they go to is, whose fault it is who made it happen. So for me like that, becoming early on, has given me unfair advantages. And this not understanding how emotions actually evolve has also given me an unfair advantage. But later on I well Blair knows this because we've talked about this before in our friendship, but I had to learn how to reconnect with my emotions. So we can explore that a little bit further, if you want to, as well.

Theresa Lambert:

Thank you for sharing that salute. I feel well, I certainly can resonate, but I also feel like a lot of our listeners can resonate, to, you know, what you were sharing and understanding that, you know, when we start, and I think this is very key, and I want to like draw this out and put this into the emotional context. But when we're starting to be who we really are, he said that everything changes because you realize that how you do things, and even changing how you do things can only take you so far, and I find there's so much power in that right? Like who we are being every single day, through every single thing we do determines the quality of what goes out and the quality of what comes in. So in terms of receiving and giving and, and having this you know, building, building wealth and experience abundance in our life. That's really the center point of it. It requires you to be who you really are, in order for everything else to fall into place. And emotionally. And I would love to tie that in that I have found that that was huge. Because I also like I grew up with the you know, early bird catches the worm mentality if you want to succeed you got to work hard, keep your emotions at the doorstep like you know, so I've always been someone who's like emotions like they have no place like in you know, my career and my work but what I've realized is that like it was holding back, right? So tell me how you're navigating being who you are doing all that you do, and allowing yourself to be the emotional being that we all love, because we're human beings.

Unknown:

I mean, it's such a wonderful question. That actually what while you were talking about this, it reminded me of a conversation I had just a couple of days ago with my husband, he was checking in with me emotionally. He said, How are you doing honey? I said, I'm doing fine. And he said, But how are you really doing about this thing that happened in your business and like, I think I'm handling it, I'm doing well. And then it goes, you know, I know that you sometimes post process your emotions, I don't want you to wait for two weeks until your process it. You have to, like, you know, do it now. And like, I think I've done that. So I think at right now, at this point in life, I feel that I am at a point that I can logically remind myself to process my emotions, while in the past, it was a lot more passive. So I would shove them aside, and I would wait until they kicked in. And oftentimes, especially for negative events in life, it was, it was much, much later. I remember my sister's best friend, she killed herself when they were 18. I was older. And this This friend of hers was like a third sister to us. So she was always in our house. And she was always like communicating with us. And I loved her just like I love my sister. And I had already moved out when this happened. And I heard the news, I went to the funeral, I didn't feel that thing. I would just like observing the what was happening around. And it was about two months later that I was sobbing, I could not control my tears. And this, this was really, really painful. I was already in my 20s when this happened. So when I told you I started reconnecting with emotions really late in life, it was really, really late in life I was already like in my early 20s. But what has happened afterwards, is that like I've I've tried to get closer and closer and closer to put names and words on those emotions. And I actually found a hack as well on the way I shared with you, for those of you who might have a similar challenge of not being able to name your emotion, and therefore how do you know how to feel it if you can't name it, right. So my heck as I am, I am a very imaginative person. And my imaginations are usually full of colors full of scents and sounds. So I start describing the scene that I'm feeling. So instead of saying, you know, I'm feeling sad, if sad is not the right word, I would describe the scenery and say, you know, I see an ocean, and the waves are really high. And it sounds like the waves are clashing against each other. And I hear the birds like running, like the seagulls are running, and I hear them their sound. So by describing that scene, at least I'm able to talk about it. And usually people who hear it, they may be able to help me label that emotion. And even if they don't, they at least understand me. And well, we all know that one of the highest needs of human beings is feeling understood, right?

Blair Kaplan-Venables:

Oh, that's so good. First of all, thank you so much for sharing, and I'm so sorry for that loss. You know, the emotions that come with losing someone that you care about and that you love, are like the most painful undescribable feelings unless you've gone through them, you don't really understand. And the fact that you know, it hit you two, two months later, is amazing that it hit you because some people don't even let those you know, feelings or emotions process. And they show up years later in other ways or, you know, they come on as addiction or mental health, you know, struggles. And you know, it's it's really interesting that you have this technique on how to identify the feeling and put a name on it. What happens once you put that a name on it, like how do you move through it?

Unknown:

Well, here's the thing. I've learned to trust. I've grown up with having that problem of trusting people, but I have learned to trust and there are very few people that I trust in the world. Blair you're one of them. When when this happens is I go to those people that I trust and I say I feel something and I need to explore it. Can you help me? Like I literally ask for help. And usually it's my husband because he is the first first person in my life who actually helped me to develop this technique and be able to talk about it. But it's usually me going to someone that I trust and just asking for help and allowing them to listen to me talk and help them By asking questions to explore those emotions.

Blair Kaplan-Venables:

That's great. Asking for help is so important. And I think, you know, people feel like a loss of pride when they have to ask for help. But that's not the case. In fact, it's the complete opposite. Like it's very braziers, It's very brave to ask for help. And we're not meant to do this alone. Like, you know, we're not meant to be in our own personal silo. That's what you know, community is unity, like, uniting coming together. And I think that's great that you, you know, you have your husband and that you have people you trust. You know, something we talked about the beginning of the interview was your remote forever Summit. And before we started recording, we started talking about what the future has had in store for it, you know, because you are an innovator, and you're able to see a need before the rest of the world's you know, like the remote forever Summit, you were the first of its kind, the biggest of its kind, you know, but now everyone's on Zoom, everyone's on video. Everyone's at, you know, virtual conferences. So, tell us what is the what is the future have in store for remote forever?

Unknown:

So I've been trying to answer that for several months. And it was only in August of 2021, that it hit me what was coming next. And it's, it's may not come as a surprise to you guys, because you've been exploring in this space for a while. But what I think people need is human connection. Is that true connection that we all need to feel that possibilities of being together like that togetherness that was taken away in 2020. With a pandemic, we started connecting well, you and I met online, we have never met each other in person, right? But I just said that you are one of the people I trusted most in this world. How is that possible? Like, how could we build such a connection across continents over the Internet? It's possible, right? And I know how to do this. And because of like all the things that we shared about about my unique upbringing, and my unique abilities to be able to analyze emotions, logic and see like, different types of people different ways that people process all of these. I think what I have in store, is the is an experience that would allow people to actually build those very deep, intimate connections with each other through a conference that is different from normal conferences that we've seen in the last couple of years. I call it a breakthrough experience. I wanted to show people that it's not only about working remotely, but actually connecting remotely.

Theresa Lambert:

Oh, powerful and Aleut are so good. And I like you know, every word is like music to my ears. Because I agree, I think that everybody at this point in time is craving, that togetherness that you get, and that feeling that you get from. In the person events, there was something really special when people are gathering in person, and there was a different focus. And there's a different connection that you feel. And you know, one of the things that's so, so interesting is that we're all like zoom pals, I guess, the three of us because bland, I have known each of the previous to us, connecting and starting to podcasts and starting our like group program momentum that's coming up again and like, but we literally our friendship and our business partnership started through this pandemic, and through zoom, and like I think in all of 2020, even though we live 20 minutes from each other, I think we saw each other two or maybe three times in that entire year. That included a meeting pre pandemic, and January sometime. So I love that salute. I love that you are doing that. So tell me, you've been obviously these were virtual before. And now you're planning this, what's going through your mind as you're heading into planning something that is going to be human to human real life touchable passen versus our beloved zoom screen.

Unknown:

That's a very good one. So I have explored a lot of different technology to see if we're ready to experience you know, that next level that technology brings to us unfortunately, at the time that we're recording this in 2021 We're not there yet. Virtual reality is not advanced enough to give us that experience. So we have to tap into our internal being that is how we actually operate as human beings across the screen. So right now We are used to not seeing that we're wearing yoga pants, you know, colorful yoga pants, because we only see the top part of each other. Some people have no idea how tall their colleagues are because their colleagues are hired during the pandemic. So what is going through my mind is that there is going to be a lot of resistance to accept this idea of remote working still, especially after the vaccine rollout in a lot of countries, many leaders are calling their employees back to the office, because they don't want to accept the reality. And that has been true for our entire history. You know, people didn't want to install phones into our homes when phones became ubiquitous, but they had no way of escaping that they couldn't continue to use telegram anymore. Everybody was using telephones at some point. And this, this is like the technology coming into our lives and finding its way into our lives. Social media is another example. Like some people were like, I'm never going to use social media. That was like back when it was, what's it called? The word space comes to mind. What was it called? The social media with the word space there? Thank you. I never installed MySpace. So yeah, there was Myspace, there was Facebook, there was Orkut. I remember that, like there was so there was so much resistance stories, it but now like there is Instagram and almost everyone you know is on Instagram, almost everyone you know, has tried Tik Tok, it's very interesting to see how technology finds its way to our lives. So what I'm thinking is, despite all the resistance that is happening in corporations in small businesses, and that craving for getting that connection back, because we assume, and this assumption is wrong, we assume that collaboration is absolutely better. If we can see each other and touch each other and smell each other. What I want to show people is that you don't actually need to be able to smell your colleague to connect with them. Like your heart can connect to someone else's heart across the world without being able to know how they smell like. And if you're really curious, you can ask them to send you a t shirt that they have worked or been getting gross a little bit.

Blair Kaplan-Venables:

Oh my God, you have me hauling. Okay, so we're recording this. And because of the time difference, we're in Canada, she's in Sweden, it's 7am. For me, I'm holding at my desk here on mute. Like, please send me your dirty socks. I want to know what you smell like.

Unknown:

I've thought about this a lot blur for fun about like, what is it that we can experience remotely? What is that that aspect of our togetherness that we can't experience a lot of people say you can see like visual cues of people the way that they communicate their body language, you can do that you can see them you can be standing and how they feel on cameras and see each other. That's not the solution, though. But the only aspect that I figured we still can't really communicate that was the smell. And that was a funny way of saying you actually don't need to be in person.

Blair Kaplan-Venables:

So like we need to create like a smell Graham, like an app where you can like, put your smell in.

Theresa Lambert:

Please don't. Please don't you know,

Blair Kaplan-Venables:

I smell good. Teresa.

Theresa Lambert:

I love that you said that mood. And the funny thing here is I will tell you this VB funny story or something about me that probably very, very few people know is that used to be a hotel general manager and I would hire a lot of people. And it was of course always in person because in hospitality and in the hotel industry. I mean, you know, haven't gone to a virtual hotel yet. Maybe one day, it's actually going to happen. Who knows. But there was always this thing with smells. And I actually find that something like and they say right before the pass an open stem mouth. You by cent have already decided if you are connecting with them or not, which is crazy. Okay, this is crazy. But I remember that sat in interviews people had I don't know what it was like certain perfumes or like certain creams that reminded me. And it was very like, and I would be like so distracted in the process. And I was like show the icon let des sent the chairman whether they go into get that job, right. But it's interesting because you take when you take that away, you really get to know people very differently. And it's almost like you have to, you know, you ask more thorough questions, you actually try and connect differently. And I think when it comes to remote work, Surely that is such a key piece because when you're hiring people virtually and you're creating these remote teams, there's got to be an extra level of effort to get to know that person on the other side. If the screen because you don't know what they smell like, you don't know, but yoga pants colors, and if you like the color of the yoga pants, right, like, it's just some fun things, but all these little pieces tie in. And so what I've actually found is that it makes us be more curious about the other person and almost more open minded in terms of who they are. And for people that may be introverts that aren't so outgoing, that that you know, aren't so comfortable, we get to, to get to know them on such a different level. Anyways, just just came through. However, that

Unknown:

was a good story. Two things came to my mind as I listened to you. The first one was a business idea that I had, they wrote it down in my business idea book, which is kind of like ideas that I can't implement. So if any of you guys listening to this want to go ahead and implement this idea of being my guest, the idea was brain sensors like like some like a headband that you can wear, you know that there are headphones nowadays that can help your brain to calm down when you meditate, and they listen to the waves from your brain. I'm also a nerd disclaimer, I do have a background in software engineering and AI. So I do understand that world a little bit. So there are this headphones right now that helped with a meditation and call them and they are those that help you when you listen to music, for example, to give you to give your body vape so that you can feel the music a little better and a little more in your entire body. So my idea related to the sense that we were just talking about was one of those headbands that would have the smell codified in terms of neuro vapours, so that your brain can actually feel the smell. And I thought, Wouldn't that be awesome to be able to buy perfume that way, like go to a perfume store online, and you choose to perfume and you're wearing the headset, and you actually can feel the smell of the perfume before you purchase it. That would be a really cool, cool thing to do. That's awesome. Yeah. So the second thing that came to my mind was probably more relevant to the conversation. And that was the idea of inclusion. When we when we have that craving to connect with people, and you talked about like, maybe some people are more introverted, one of the main one of the main parts of the operations consulting work that I do is to help people to create inclusive cultures in their remote organizations. Nowadays, when, when you can hire from any country. Oftentimes, these people did not have English as their first language, but English is usually the official language of the company. And it creates a really big barrier to entry for people who, who may have like a thick accent from having English as a third language, fourth language. And introversion extroversion is one aspect. Language is another one, there are many different areas that we need to be proactively inviting people to the table. And one of the things that I do is teach people how to design their processes, how to design the organizational culture so that these things happen naturally. And they don't have to, like make an extra effort to say, Hey, Teresa, what do you think about this idea that we're discussing, but rather, the process itself is driving to extract everyone's idea equally?

Blair Kaplan-Venables:

allude for President of the World. Oh, you, you're dealing beyond a remote work queen. Like, you're just you're such a forward thinker. Like any organization to work with you, is just so lucky. Like I just everything you say to me is just so could be revolutionary, and the way you think, is like five steps ahead of everyone else. So I think that's amazing. I think that's amazing. If someone wants to work with you, like so you weren't, you know, companies bring you in as a coach, or they, you know, whatever it might be like, what, how can they get ahold of you? What is What what are you looking for? What type of clients do you want?

Unknown:

That's a good one. So right now, I mostly work with organizations that are growing. So they usually find that growth, pain and they're like, Oh, my God, what do we do? Let's bring a remote work coach or a remote work consultant to help us with this growth, pain. And sometimes they they're in denial. They're like, Oh, we just need to be agile and responsive. But we also have people all around the world. So let's work with my ideal client is a client that actually realizes they are going to have growth pain before they they are in that stage. And that would be smaller businesses with a small team. Usually entrepreneurs listening to this podcast, for example, if you're starting to have a team and your team is remote, obviously because that's how we work. Nowadays, it's very rare to find a small team that all that are all in the same city that all go to go to the same office. That is the phase where you need to start thinking about creating processes that are sustainable, that are responsive, aka, are agile, and that you also have your operations set up for scaling remotely. If you start that early, the cost is so much lower. But the impact is so much larger, you can grow much, much faster than the competition. When companies hire me right now. That is the most common case, that is like a company has grown from 200 to 400 people and like we are growing so fast, we don't know how to control this, we're creating chaos. So they have like a lot of different tools, maybe just that Zoom, right? So I've had clients that they wanted to have an interview with a new candidate, and the candidate was waiting and zoom. But the interviewer was waiting in Microsoft Teams, and they were pissed off frustrated that a candidate was not showing up. They you know, the tool mess up the tool. Chaos is one thing their process chaos is another before this interview, you asked me can you send me my your bio? And I just said, Sure, here it is. Right. That's a process that has happened so many times like that question I have gotten in so many times that I have a process for it. It's automatic. And that's what I teach companies and entrepreneurs to to have like that thinking of templatized everything, making sure that your processes are designed for scaling. That's the kind of work that I do. I also do workshops. And that means when you want to make a decision about a new product, for example, or developing a new service, I usually go in, I design a workshop, a collaborative workshop. Oftentimes people when thinking about the workshops, they think it means people come to the Zoom Room or to a physical room, and they spend an entire day together are several hours together and they brainstorm. They prioritize, they collaborate and they make a decision. The way I design workshops are a little bit differently. As Blair said, I'm usually a few steps ahead of the game, I already predict that they're going to be frustrated to be seated in front of their square screen and staring at that square for three hours or eight hours a day. So I break it up, I make sure that I understand the outcome that we're expecting the purpose of why we're inviting people to this collaboration. And I've designed the majority of the process to be done asynchronously, so that people can just do the contribution to the process to the product that is going to be created at their own time. So it can take a little longer than one day. But the result is usually so much better. And the meeting time, the Zoom meeting time is usually a lot shorter than eight hours, which means people are happier to contribute because they do that in their own time. And when they come together. It's to the point effective and really fun.

Theresa Lambert:

All the loot so many golden golden nuggets that you shared. If anybody's out there listening, make sure that you find Maloo Maloo where should they go? What's the best place to connect with you before we sort of start wrapping up this interview I want to make

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