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Diversity Certification & Sourcing Diverse Suppliers with Heather Cox
Episode 12130th November 2022 • This Shit Works • Julie Brown
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Did you know that there are a number of different certifications available to companies - certifications based on race, ethnicity, disability, identifying as LGBTQ?. There are a ton - but where to start? 

And if your company doesn’t qualify for a certification, have you struggled with diversifying your consultant or supplier base?


Listen in as I talk with Heather Cox, the  President and Co-Founder of Certify My Company which is a company that not only helps simplify the certification process, but they also assist corporations in diversifying their supplier base. 


Drink of the week:The Tightrope

 

If you liked what you heard today, please leave a review and subscribe to the podcast. Also, please remember to share the podcast to help it reach a larger audience.


Julie Brown:

Website

Instagram

LinkedIn

Youtube


Heather Cox

Website

Instagram

LinkedIn 

Facebook


Transcripts

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What do acro gymnastics, tightrope walking and juggling have to do

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with certifying your company or sourcing from a diverse supply chain?

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Absolutely fucking nothing except that Our guest today does all of that.

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Welcome to episode 1 21.

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This shit works.

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I'm your host, Julie Brown, and today I am joined by Heather Cox,

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president and co-founder of Certify My company, a company that not only helps

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simplify the certification process for companies, they assist corporations

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in diversifying their supplier base.

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All good stuff.

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Welcome to this Shit Works Your Weekly No Nonsense Guide to Networking your Way

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to More friends, more adventures, and way more success with your host, Julie Brown.

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Here we go.

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Did you know that there are a number of different certifications

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available to companies, certifications based on race, ethnicity,

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disability, identifying as lgbtq?

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There are a ton, but where to start?

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I thought about getting my company certified as a women's business

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enterprise, but I honestly haven't had the time to even think about

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where to start that process.

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And if you're a company doesn't qualify for a certification, have

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you struggled with diversifying your consultant or supplier base?

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I know a number of my clients have.

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Good thing for us.

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Heather Cox is here another guest where simply talking about what she

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does for a living would be burying the lead on how fucking cool she is.

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Heather serves on the national and regional forums for Women's Business

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Enterprise Council West, as well as the chair of disability in Nevada,

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and has held leadership roles with women's president's educational

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organization, women's Business Enterprise National Council, and

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the gay and lesbian chapter of.

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Also the National Association of Women Business Owners and the

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Advisory Board for Super Bowl.

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I don't know Roman Nus.

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Nobody.

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Nobody does.

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is XL one 11.

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So without further ado, New York, New Jersey.

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That one . Without further ado, let's get this conversation started.

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Heather, welcome to the podcast.

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Thank you so much fun we're gonna have here today.

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This is gonna be fun.

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I'm excited.

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I failed to mention that when you are not kicking ass and taking names,

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you enjoy weightlifting, wine tasting and baking cookies and cheese cake.

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Well, I actually have been retired from the baking of my house now,

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thank God, because my oldest daughter decided that she loves to bake.

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So thank God I don't have to do that part anymore because I

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tended to eat more than I baked.

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Yeah, the batter is always better than the final product to me.

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Yep, yep.

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So we're able to outsource that to a different child, . Okay.

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So right outta the gate, let's talk about what being certified

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means and what the benefits are.

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Perfect.

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So being certified simply means that your company is owned, operated, and

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controlled by a person or people within one of those five categories that you

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mentioned, women ethnic minorities, L G B T, veteran or disability owned and

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veteran can be veteran that's not service disabled or service disabled, or it can

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be a veteran with just a disability.

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So it means that you have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that that one of

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those demographics owns, operates, and controls the way your business is.

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Okay.

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And then the benefits of it are numerous.

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For starters, people always understand the business development part.

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It's access to opportunities, to new opportunities.

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It's also access to your current clients that can help you grow the

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business you already have with them, because now they have an extra reason

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to try to get you more business.

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And there's actually people inside all these organizations called

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Supplier Diversity Managers.

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Their goal, their role is to increase opportunities and business with

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qualified, capable, certified, diverse.

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Let's say you are already doing business with Johnson and Johnson.

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Well now you are certified and you can be like, Hey Robin, I'd love to do more work.

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I think I could really do a bunch of work for this division of Johnson and Johnson.

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And she's gonna be like, you know what?

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You've done such a great job with this so far.

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Let me introduce you to those people.

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Okay.

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Hello, warm introduction.

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Amazing, right?

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So how does the company determine whether they qualify for a certification?

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The ownership is pretty clear.

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Cut.

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51% or more, do you own it or not?

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Now it could be one person, two people, et cetera.

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So if you own, it's like I own the company 50%.

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I have a female business partner, the other 50%.

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So we are a hundred percent let own.

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But let's say for example, you own the company, but you're

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like, I don't wanna work.

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I just wanna own stuff.

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I don't wanna work.

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So you could be like, Hey Heather, will you run my company for me?

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Totally fine.

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Cause you own the company a hundred percent.

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You're at least 51%, right?

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And then that you hired me to run the company.

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And as a female, as a woman, that means that we are now meeting that second

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eligible requirement, which is operation.

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Does a female or do females run the company on a daily basis?

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And do they have the highest ranking title in the company

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per the governing documents?

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Oh, now that part gets a little tricky sometimes because I'm

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gonna give you a little quiz.

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I love to give this quiz and I do webinars.

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Is in a corporation.

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Okay.

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That not an llc, but a corporation.

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Yep.

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I'm an S corp.

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So for, you're an S corp.

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Okay.

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So that's actually a tax designation, not a legal designation.

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Okay.

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But per your corporation in the majority, 98% of templated bylaws, what

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is the highest title in the company?

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What would you say?

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Uh, founder or president?

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So no one's ever said found it before.

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That's interesting.

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It's actually president.

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You're correct.

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Okay.

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But most people actually say ceo.

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Okay.

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Most people throw out ceo.

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Cause that's like colloquially.

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We think of that as like the head honcho in a company.

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Yeah.

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But the majority of template and bylaws, and I don't care if you

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spent $6 or $600 an hour on attorney, they use the same templates.

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Okay.

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So they have, so president is the highest ranking title.

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So a female would have the highest ranking title.

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Okay.

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The next.

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Control per those same governing documents.

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Do female have ultimate control of the voting?

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Now, that's when it gets to the board of directors and how decisions are made.

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Okay, so now replace female for any of the other demographics we talked about,

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and if you're qualified and or if you even think you're qualified, right?

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Yeah.

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Then you should reach out because sometimes it's just

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a matter of understanding the legalities of your documentation.

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Okay?

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What is the cost to getting certifi?

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It's actually the cost.

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If you go directly to the certified organizations, which people do mm-hmm.

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, the cost is negligible.

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It's, if you're under a million dollars, it's $350.

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If you're one to 5 million, it's 5 50, 5 to 10 million, seven 50 and

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above 10 million is around 1200.

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Okay.

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That's give or take, you know, $50 per, depending on the organization that where

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you're located, but it's not a lot at all.

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And is that every year you pay that every year to maintain that, that certification.

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For most of them.

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There's a couple, um, the L G B T one and the, and I'm just talking

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about the private sector right now.

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State certifications are a different animal and they often do not have a, uh,

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application fee associated with them.

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And that's one of the first things we do with most, with every client.

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Which certification is going to be the best for you?

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There are a plethora of options out there.

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Oh, okay.

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You could spend your whole life and your whole bank account getting certified.

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I don't recommend it.

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It's not the best tactic.

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It's not strategic.

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Yeah.

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So let's figure out the best certification for you based on who your current clients

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are and who your target clients are.

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Okay, gotcha.

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Didn't even think about national versus state.

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Okay.

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Yeah, so there's definitely different certification.

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It's like saying, I need some tissues.

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Well, do you.

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The cotton.

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Now, do you want the The Johnson.

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The Johnson?

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What brand do you want of that product?

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Okay, so for corporations who don't fit into this certification

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requirement for, you know, they don't fill their requirements.

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Okay.

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They're not a diverse own business, you're saying.

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Right.

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What are the benefits to them creating a supplier diversity program?

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There's a couple ways that you could do it, right?

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So you can either create, you can also partner with

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diverse own businesses, right?

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Because a lot of times companies can't fulfill an entire contractual

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need for big organization.

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Exactly.

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You're taken on partners anyways.

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Why not partner with a diverse business?

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Yeah.

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Cause then you get, as long as they're truly a partner to you and

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not just a pastor, like they're truly.

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Some of the work with you mm-hmm.

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, then they can hold the agreement, which then gives you more access.

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That can make you more beneficial to the, the final, the clients.

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Mm-hmm.

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. But if they, let's say they're a larger organization, they're 20

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million, 30 million, 40 million or billion in revenue, then a supply

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diversity program is good business practice because it's going to, it's

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like, it's kinda like any other relat.

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You wanna find as many similarities as you can with, with the person

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in your relationship with.

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So let's say like a construction company has a contract with, let's say cvs, right?

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Yep.

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Okay.

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Diversity is very important to cvs.

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They have a fantastic supplier diversity program.

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Everyone in the company knows about it.

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So if you wanna court them, It's a great opportunity to say,

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we realize cvs, that it's very important to you, supplier diversity.

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It's also really important to us that we created a supplier diversity program.

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Cause we know it's very important to you and we wanna make sure

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that we are the best partner to you that we can possibly be.

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Yeah.

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Not just a transactional vendor.

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We wanna be a partner to your clients.

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And so it's going to give you acc but the, you know, the standard benefits that

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we talk about all the time, markets new.

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Companies don't think about changing their vendors, their suppliers, if they

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don't feel like something's broken.

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Right?

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Like, and I always give the analogy of the gym, like people don't just

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when they wake up and go, I think I'm gonna start going to the gym today.

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I feel like getting hot and sweaty and sore, that seems like a really good idea.

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Most of the time they start because someone has said, The doctor's

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like, oh, your cholesterol, your blood pressure's a little too high.

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We really gotta work on that.

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Or they're saying, yes.

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They put on their pants and they're like, well, these fit last year and they

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don't fit this year, whatever it is.

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Or they're trying to play with their kids and they can't, they're trying to

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walk with their dog and they're like, wow, I'm really pooped and my dog is

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like dragging me along, whatever it is.

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Usually they're like, wow, now I really gotta think about my diet and exercise.

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Yeah, so that's when they joined the gym, but give it two.

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Give it two months, and they're like, wow, I actually feel better actually.

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Wow.

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I'm actually excited to go to the gym three times a week, whatever it is, right?

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But they would've never done it, and there wasn't like a

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push to make it happen, right?

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Mm-hmm.

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. So once they start going though, they're like, wow, this is amazing.

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I feel so much better.

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Mm-hmm.

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. But they needed that thing.

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So that's kinda how supply procurement people are.

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They don't always think about something's broken.

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If it doesn't feel like there's nothing wrong with it, why are

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you gonna search for a new.

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A new one.

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And so by having these programs, it encourages people in your company to look

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for new ideas, new vendors that could really change up the way things are done.

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Yeah.

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So say a company wants to diversify their supply chain.

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In the beginning of our conversation, you mentioned you work with

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supply diversity managers.

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Do you help companies fill that role?

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Like if they're like, we need to have an internal role, do you help companies

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fill an internal role to manage that?

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Yes.

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We actually created a whole division of the company called, let's Talk

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about partnering with, I partnered with two other certified diverse

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business owners who had different core competencies than I did.

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Mm-hmm.

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, the three of us together have a holistic offering.

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I couldn't do myself.

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Not, not well as well at least.

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Right.

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It's called Supplier Diversity in a box.

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Oh.

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It's for companies that don't have a full desk to dedicate to creating

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a supplier diversity program.

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So we create one.

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We give them like the consulting part of it, the data part of it, and the

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certification understanding part of it.

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Yes.

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Perfect.

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What's funny is I always like to have stories.

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With who I'm interviewing and you, in your guest prep form, filled

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out a couple of stories that I was like, I wanna know more about that.

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And one of them was, you said stories, you have a former client, I don't know if

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I'm gonna pronounce her name correctly.

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Jaque, is that right, Jackie?

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Yeah.

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Oh, is it that how, okay.

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So that's how you pronounce it.

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Okay, perfect.

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Jackie.

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Yeah.

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Yeah, Jackie.

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So you said she watched the movie War Dogs and then got a

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$5 million contact with the.

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That wasn't exactly like the timeline for it, but yeah.

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Okay.

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So she like she watch the movie and then the contract rolled

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it, but it was pretty close.

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Right.

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So she's actually a really funny story because she's one of those people who

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was like, I don't need certification.

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No one's ever asked me for it.

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Why should I get it?

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I don't want it.

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And she'd been in a company for 20 years doing, she created, um, you know, when

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you go to like a large apartment store and they have like their own brands?

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Yes.

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She makes those clothing for them.

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Oh, ok.

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So they're like in-house brands.

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Right.

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Okay.

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And the pandemic.

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And you know, there was not a whole lot of people ordering more clothes.

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The stores were closing.

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Like she had to close a bunch.

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She had to lay off a bunch of people, but she still had her relationships

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with some of her factories.

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Yeah.

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So she started making PPE products, different versions of PPE products.

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Mm-hmm.

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and Scrubs and all these different like medical stuff

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that people were really needing.

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Mm-hmm.

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. And so Charter, she got a contract with Charter Communications and they

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set for ppe and they were like, Hey, we wanna get you diversity certified.

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You're a woman owned company.

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And she.

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I mean, I guess I'll do it.

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No one's ever really mentioned it before.

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Like, do I, I guess I'll do it cause you're asking for it.

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They're like, yeah, we'd really like you to do it.

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So she called.

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So we worked with her, we got her certified and we did at the same time,

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she was doing her women own certification.

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We did the W O sb, which is the federal government Women Owned

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Small Business certification.

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Okay.

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You can do it the same time that you do your W B E and I'm gonna throw

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out a ton of acronyms, so if you need me to translate, just let me know.

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I use them like they're a whole different language.

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Most of the people who listen to this podcast.

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Understand.

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M B E W B E, DBE E.

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Okay.

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So Women Business Enterprise and, yeah, minority Business Enterprise.

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So yeah, we submitted her application.

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Everything's good to go.

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So in the meantime, she's watching War Dogs as her brand new husband, and she's

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like, I should start selling arms in the government with my WSB certification.

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She's like joking around and she thinks she's hysterical.

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She's cracking herself up.

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Her new husband's.

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All right, Jackie Whatev, right?

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We think we're so funny.

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Right?

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And then she goes to work and she tells her coo, Hey, they were starts selling

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guns, arms to the government for my wsb.

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And he was like, actually, maybe not arms, but what about clothing or uniforms?

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Mm-hmm.

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. So she was like, yeah.

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So she goes on to Sam do gov and she finds that they're having, Marines

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are looking for practice uniforms.

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A 5 million contract later for a certification she didn't

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even wanna get to begin with.

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Right?

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Yeah.

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So she came to Vegas.

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I made her buy all the drinks.

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Yes, I the contract and drinks are spending in

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Vegas, , there's events in Vegas.

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I'm like, these are on you Jackie . That's amazing.

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Right.

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So that just goes to show, you might not even think, what is

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a certification gonna do to me?

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Yeah.

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For me, I wanna talk about another story that you teased

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about a client, Allison, you.

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Your client, Allison, like she sold 10, seven figure companies

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so she knows what she's doing.

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But you say she overlooked the one thing that launched her current company that

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she hadn't even thought about doing in the other companies that she sold.

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Yeah, so Allison runs an amazing organization called

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Pinnacle Global Network.

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They're a mastermind, they're a business coaching group for, you know,

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most of the business coaching are for startups, like brand new companies.

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Yes.

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Hers is for people who wanna go from six to seven figures or

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seven to eight figures, et cetera.

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Yeah.

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So she's works with larger.

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More like solidified companies, I guess you can say.

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Mm-hmm.

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. Right.

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So she, um, had always, you know, she was a very successful business history mm-hmm.

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, and people kept saying to her, Allison, you should get certified.

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And she was like, I don't sell to corporations, I don't sell to them.

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Like, why should I get certified?

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And we're like, and everyone kept saying to her, but what

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about the other business owners?

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She was like, Ugh, I don't know.

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Like I don't sell the corporations.

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I'm like, we get that.

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But what about the 20,000 certified business women and business

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owners that are in WeBank?

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So she happened, there happened to be a local, a regional

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event near where she was.

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So her friend and mentee named Robin invited her to come.

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She's like, just come it's hour of your night.

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Just come.

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Yeah.

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She came and she's like, I'm an idiot.

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. I was like, what?

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She said to herself, yeah, she's looking around.

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She's like, everybody in this room was a potential client for me.

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Yeah.

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And she did, and her numbers skyrocketed.

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And then, She really worked the WeBank system and now she runs

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their podcast, women Who Own It.

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Mm-hmm.

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and she interviews, so she gets to market herself on a weekly basis or monthly

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basis when they do the women who own IT podcasts and talk about what she does.

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Yeah.

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And Right.

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That's an unbelievable platform.

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You're in front of Uber successful women business owners and everybody

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else who finds that podcast.

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Yeah.

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So many little things.

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So many . You have to work it.

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You have to know what to do.

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That's the problem.

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That's the problem is you have to know what to do.

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Is that once you get certified, people are like, I'm certified.

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Where's my radi?

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Where are the contracts not radiating from the sky?

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Right.

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You have to, it's not a magic wand.

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It's a tool.

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It's not a magic wand.

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It's a tool.

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That's a great, is that an analogy?

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Is that a metaphor?

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I don't know.

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I don't know my words.

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I don't know what that is.

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It's a, it's a, this, none of that.

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I don't know what it was.

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Analogy, metaphors like most people who have a domain name.

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I bought my domain name through godad.

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Yeah.

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And you said you have a story about mine.

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Go Daddy and Mommy.

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Oh, I see.

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I know what you're saying.

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I'm like, wait, wait, what?

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Oh, so yeah, so Go Daddy.

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During the pandemic, they interviewed me, they were interviewed, somebody

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who knew me and they said to her, we need an entrepreneur that's

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dealing with working home with kids.

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And she's like, oh, I got one for yo, I got one.

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Because I have five kids, they're now age 13 to five.

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At the time, the youngest, their twins were three and my

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oldest was, whatever, two 11.

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I do the math in my head there.

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And so we were doing this interview about what it's like

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and if I have tips and trick.

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Like I was the expert in this, but I was like, as of those things, right?

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Yeah.

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Fake it until you make it with your kids.

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. Like here's the schedule, we're gonna do whatever it is.

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And there, and so he asked me and I was so disappointed actually, that

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this didn't make the final cut.

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Cause I thought it was like the best thing I said in the entire interview.

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But they said, um, so were you like sitting on the floor a lot more now

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with your kids playing games and I.

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Not really that kind of mommy . I'm more of like the, but I, but I tell you

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what I did do with my kids, my oldest daughter never really seen me work.

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Cause I always go to an office or she was at school when I was working

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at home at the time she was 11.

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Right.

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And she loves mommy's help being mommy's helper, babysitting.

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Yeah.

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And she saw me on the phone calling people, like hustling.

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That was, we do as business owners.

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Mm-hmm.

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Ands, sh.

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Mm-hmm.

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and she.

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Picking up her phone and calling all of her clients and texting 'em,

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saying, this is when I'm available.

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I got CPR certified.

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This is my rate.

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Let me know when you'd like me to babysit for you.

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And I was like, oh my goodness.

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Like she really saw how I was running the company and she picked up on it

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and she started doing that for her own.

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And so she'll do that now.

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She'll be like, I need to make a flyer to post on the women's group.

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Can you post it so that they can go in there and whatever it is.

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So she really saw the hustling part of it.

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Yeah, and I was like so proud of her.

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I was like so proud of myself that that's what I, so I don't sit

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on the ground and play Barbie's.

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I'm sorry I'm not that kind of mom, but I gave a lot of really good life skills.

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. Yeah, no, I, it's funny how the pandemic just opened up, just all these different

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conversations about what we do and how we do it and understanding, you know,

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there's the Bring your daughter to Workday was every single day during the pandemic.

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Exactly, exactly.

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Right.

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She just saw like a different side of things and she saw how I interacted

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with clients and before she had really only heard me telling stories about it.

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Yeah.

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But at the dinner table or whatever it is.

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Yeah.

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But now she saw it.

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Mm-hmm.

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, which was a completely different experience for her.

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Yeah.

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I love that.

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She was like, I'm CPR certified, this is my rate.

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It's more expensive.

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Differentiator.

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There are differentiators out there.

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Exactly.

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Totally.

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I know baby Heim like, like I would, like, I would've put all that on it.

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. I know.

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It was so impressive.

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I was like, yes, now my job is done here.

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Thank you.

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Next onto the next kid to fix them . I know.

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Let me figure out the next one.

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Yeah.

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I just wanna talk about the acro gymnastics, the tightrope

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wagging, the juggling.

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Like how is that in your history and in like, Were you in the circus?

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I saw, I did.

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I was in the circus.

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I actually put that on my bio because I'm always like, it tells me two things.

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One, it's a good conversation starter with people, and also it tells

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me if they actually read the bio.

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So they don't ask me about it.

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I'm like, they didn't read it.

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Yeah.

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There's no way they read that.

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They have no questions about that.

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Right.

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So I grew up in a little tiny town in southern California called Redlands.

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It's the place you stop in to pee on the way to all the cool

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places in Southern California.

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And so, In Redlands though, there was, um, a youth circus.

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It'd been there for years.

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It's probably been like 60 years now, but it was years since I was

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there, when I was even part of it.

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And when we moved to Redlands, I was four, my sister was two.

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And when we were like five and four or five and three, my parents took us to

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the circus and I was like, this amazing.

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And it was kids, it was a youth circus.

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It was kids.

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Yeah.

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It wasn't just like the profe, right.

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It was all these kids.

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And I was like, those costumes are sparked.

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Yeah.

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They have beautiful makeup on.

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I wanna do it right.

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So my parents were like, what?

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My dad's like, my dad's an engineer, super like engineer square brain, right?

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And he was like, you wanna be in the circus?

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I'm like, yeah, I do.

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So he like signed us up and I did it till I was 18 years old,

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until I graduated high school.

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I did everything from like tightrope to un cycle, to juggling, to exercise.

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And I'm telling you though, it really did change how I work with people

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because I was always the base of pyramid.

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You do not have a pyramid if I don't show up.

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We always did a lot of passing and juggling.

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There's nobody to pass to if I don't show up.

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Right.

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So it really did help with like understanding how you can't just be about

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you, it has to be for the whole team.

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And so there was a lot of that involved in it.

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And just understanding that you have to kinda get outta your own way.

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I, I cried every single practice for one of the classes I was in.

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It was an aerial act and I do not love heights.

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It's not my favorite.

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Mm-hmm.

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. I don't like heights at all.

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And.

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My mom, this is where I got my non nurturing gene from, is my mother.

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Cause they, at the time, this was before everybody gets an award, right?

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Yeah.

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They were like, well, she's gonna have to do the tricks or she's out,

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we're cutting her and she's not gonna be part of this, this performance.

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My mom's like, you better get up there and do it if you wanna be in the show.

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Right.

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There's no like goling.

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No.

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She was like, better get your shit together or you're

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not gonna be in the show.

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. And I did, and I was in the show.

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Somehow I've magically got over my fear just to be able to do the performance,

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but Right, we get in our own way.

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A lot of things, I think, whether it be we don't wanna outsource our

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certification process or whether.

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Be like, like we're too afraid to put something out there.

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One thing that Allison told the story about her, she says a lot,

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which I've kind of taken heart.

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She says, you're not embarrassed by the first, um, like

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version of what you put out.

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You didn't put it out soon enough.

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Yeah.

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Because we oftentimes wait so long to make it perfect that we're in our own way.

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Yeah.

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And we just got it out there.

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People might have feedback for us.

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Yeah.

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But we're never gonna get it Perfect anyway.

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So just put it out there.

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Yeah.

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Right.

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And do what you can do with it.

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See what they think about it.

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Yeah.

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Perfection is the enemy of done.

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I've heard.

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Before, cause we do wait and that's a coping mechanism because if we put

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it out there, then we have to own it and then we have to take action on it.

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So the coping mechanism is to procrastinate and say you're not ready.

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And it's not perfect yet, so.

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Right.

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Yeah.

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I'm pretty sure there's a lot of people listening right now who are like, yes, I

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want all of the benefits of certification.

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Yes.

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I need someone to help me work, walk through this process.

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What is the process for working with you?

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Well, first I just wanna mention that we only talked about the

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business development benefits.

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We didn't even talk about the company, our leadership development benefits.

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Oh, okay.

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Which are, in my mind some of the greatest benefits of being certified.

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So I'll give you an example that through my disability in, so we're

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dual certified as women owned and disability owned business enterprise.

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Okay.

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Which is the one that is the most unknown.

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And so we can go into that if we have time.

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Yeah.

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Nope, we have time.

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What falls under disability owned.

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So that's where, so that's what gives people, like people forget about it.

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So women owned is obviously your women ethnic minority is black,

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Hispanic, Asian Indian, Asian Pacific, and Native American.

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Mm-hmm.

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veteran means that you have a DD two 14 that says you're officially an,

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um, an other than honorable or is cannot be dishonorable discharged.

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Okay.

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Right.

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And so some of 'em like.

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Not the Coast Guard, but like the reserves, it's like 20 years.

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Like there's some different caveats to that, but Okay.

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And then there's lgbt.

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You have to be a member of the LGBTQ community.

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Okay.

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And then the last is disability.

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You know, this is the one that's most unknown.

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It's for if people have a diagnosis that the a d has identified as a

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disability and if it is not managed correctly, can infringe on your

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ability to run your business.

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So what do I mean by that?

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So the ADA has, has identified everything.

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Thyroid conditions to sleep apnea, to diabetes, to asthma, okay.

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To adhd, anxiety, depression.

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Anything though, why do I, what do I mean by manage this?

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Right?

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So if you have a sleep apnea, you have to sleep with a C Pap machine.

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Yes.

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Cause if you don't, you can't function the next day cuz you haven't slept, you

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don't have enough oxygen in your system.

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Okay?

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If you have a thyroid condition and you don't take your medication by day three.

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You are lethargic.

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Yep.

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And you get sick.

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All these things happen to you, which means it very much

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harder to run your business.

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Yeah.

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The people will say, And I've had people with one arm who are like, it doesn't

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hinder me from running my business.

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I'm like, I understand that.

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That's why you're a successful entrepreneur cuz you didn't let it.

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Yeah.

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But nonetheless, you have one arm which does make things like typing slower.

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Right?

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It's whatever else you're doing.

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Right.

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And so that is the disability owned business enterprise certification.

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And it's one of my favorites.

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I get a ton out of it.

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One of them being this Toyota mentorship program that I, I

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applied for and I was selected for.

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So they match you up with one of their executives.

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So I was.

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Step with the CIO of Toyota North America.

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Now, first of all, if you sell to the Fortune 100, having access to the

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C-suite is an invaluable opportunity to get their feedback on stuff, right?

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Mm-hmm.

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. You can't even hire somebody that's currently in this needs

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probably to consult with you.

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They don't have the time to bandwidth or you can afford it, whatever it is.

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And so her feedback and her working with me was so mind blowing on like stuff

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that she probably thought was so simple.

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Now, she did say to me, I'm not an entrepreneur, Heather, I cannot

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tell you how to run your company.

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Mm-hmm.

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like, you can teach me that all day, but I can't teach you that what I

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can teach you or things that I'm good at, process is a good thing

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for her, which I struggled with.

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Yeah.

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And so she was able to help me kind of walk through the process and when to.

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Like how much things cost us so we can make sure we're

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spend costing things correctly.

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But then she also said, I would say to her, I was like, Holly

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companies will tell me all the time, Heather, you're so amazing.

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You're so, so fantastic.

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I mean, we're not gonna hire you, but you're fantastic.

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I'm like, okay, Holly, where's the gap there?

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Like, yeah, somebody's missing.

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I'm like, what?

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I'm saying what they need to hear.

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And so we worked on my messaging.

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We created a whole video just for my corporate clients to send to them.

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Wow.

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That she said, and she.

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That wouldn't speak to me.

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What the first one I did.

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Right.

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She's like, you need to tell me this.

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I'm like, you need to know that I, that's so simple.

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She's like, for you, for you.

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We don't know that and so you need to, and I was like, oh my goodness.

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It was like such simple things, but it was mind blowing in a sense that it changed.

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It changed the trajectory of our work with corporate America.

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Mm-hmm.

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. That to me is just as valuable as the business development

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benefits of a company.

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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Right.

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Or just I was able to take part in.

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The Tuck Business School, which is the Dartmouth Business School.

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Okay.

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They, um, I got a scholarship through one of my certifications to go.

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It's a $5,000 class and I got a scholarship to go.

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I actually got two scholarships.

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I'm just waiting for the second one to be able to do it when they back in person,

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which it just started back in person, so I have to apply for the second one.

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Mm-hmm.

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because like, but not to me like get an executive MBA and

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having someone else pay for it.

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Yes.

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Like those are unbelievable benefits that so many people just don't talk.

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And you can help people unearth, understand that and find those benefits.

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Okay.

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Yes.

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So once you're certified, so first of all, our other company, diversity Masterminds,

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which is the second logo back here.

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Mm-hmm.

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, we aggregate a lot of those opportunities so people sign up for

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that listserv, that that's whatever, they'll get those sent to them as well.

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But yeah, we help them understand that exactly how they can take

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advantage of the certification.

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Because there's other things besides just getting business.

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Totally.

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There's so many things, right?

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There's even like partnerships, like how I found my partners for, for both Diversity

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Masterminds and Supplier Diversity in a Box was from the conferences for my

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other certified diverse businesses.

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I mean, just think about the resources that you have access

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to once you're certified.

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I know once I had an issue with the corporate procurement, And we

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didn't mess up, but it was like a miscommunication thing necessarily.

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But I like called a resource of mine, another supply diversity manager

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and like, help me, help me fix this.

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I don't wanna lose this contract.

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Right.

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And they did.

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They helped me with the verbiage I needed and I saved the contract.

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And five years later, they're one of our biggest accounts.

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Yeah.

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Okay.

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So how many different offerings does your company have?

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So, certify, my company does certifications.

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Yeah.

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But now that could.

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Private sector, it could be the public sector, it could

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be a lot of different options.

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The only ones we don't do are eight A and hub them.

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Okay.

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We have partners we can send you over to people like that that know how to do that,

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but we also do like those registrations.

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So once you're certified, you have to fill out the registration portals.

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So we offer a service for registration portals.

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We do re-certifications annually for our clients.

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And we do consulting about supplier diversity programming.

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Okay.

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And training.

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We do a lot of training for corporations.

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So the majority of our work is corporations actually hiring us

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to work with their suppliers that are already in their supply chain.

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Okay.

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To make sure that anyone who should be certified is, but then we also have,

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you know, we do educational programming, speaking at events about the different

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benefits of certification, mostly for entrepreneurial organizations.

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Mm.

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We'll do internal trainings cuz sometimes like the supplier diversity manager's,

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like I've told my team so many times, like I don't know why they're not listening.

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And I always equate it to like, if I tell my husband something,

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he's like that stuff, whatever.

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So when also the same idea, he's like, you know, mark had the most genius idea ever.

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I'm like, oh that sounds so familiar.

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That idea.

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It's funny cuz I get hired by major corporations who have business

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developers in place, but they're like, we just need an outside voice because

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they don't listen to us anymore.

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It's so crazy.

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Right?

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But it's the same thing, right?

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Mm-hmm.

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. So what we'll do now, and they'll be like, I said that, I'm like, I'm sure

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you said it verbatim, if not even better than I said it, but mm-hmm.

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I'm an outside voice.

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I'm not, there's nothing for me, nothing in it for me.

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Yep.

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For them to do better.

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Yep.

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So that way they think it's a genius idea.

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And then the Diversity Mastermind is also something that you offer.

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Yes.

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Diversity Masterminds teaches you how to leverage that

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powerful tool of certification.

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Okay.

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And I kept hearing people going like, I'm not gonna re-certify.

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I got nothing out of it.

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And I was like, what?

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How is that possible?

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Right.

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And then I'm like, did you do this?

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Did you do that?

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No, I didn't know I could.

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I didn't know I should.

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I was like, all right, there's another gap here of what you think

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you can do, or what you should do versus what you actually should do.

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And so we created a course and one, we have an OnDemand version.

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It's just videos, and we have a live cohort.

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Okay.

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That we do quarterly and people can sign up and we can teach them

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how to use their certification.

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Time after time, people will tell us they learned more in the first

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hour of the course than they did in, in five years of being certified.

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Do you have to be certified in order to take the Mastermind?

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Yes.

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You do.

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Okay.

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Because you won't, you won't get anything out of it.

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You can watch the videos, but then you're not gonna log into the

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different portals to see different things that we're telling you to do.

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Pull information out.

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Okay, perfect.

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But you don't have to be the owner.

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You can be the salesperson in the company to take it.

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Okay.

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And so how can people find.

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You and get in touch with you.

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So we go to certify my company.com.

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Mm-hmm emails, Heather certify my company.com.

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And just let us know that you wanna reach out and either myself or someone on my

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team will let you, will get back to you.

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Um, usually it's me, their initial call.

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Cause I wanna make sure you're getting the right certification, as I mentioned.

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Mm-hmm.

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people will call and be like, I want the state of New Jersey.

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I'm like, why?

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They're like, cause I wanna sell the target.

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I'm like, target doesn't care about the state of New Jersey.

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That gives you WeBank or our NMSDC certified, whatever it is.

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Right.

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Okay, perfect.

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So I'm gonna put a link to that.

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Can I put a link to your email, the notes as well, or all over,

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like social media as well?

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Instagram is probably the preferred.

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Instagram, LinkedIn, which is just at Certify my co.

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Okay.

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That's all the social handles, but we put like in information out there.

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Like congratulatory messages out there.

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We like to put products out there, like Screwball was just, screwball is one of

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our clients, screwball whiskey, and they just on the Today Show, I love Screwball.

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That's a peanut butter, right?

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The WeBank and Disability and certified?

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No, they're peanut butter.

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Peanut butter whiskey.

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I love them more.

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Yeah, whiskey.

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I know.

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Yeah, that's my go-to in the winter.

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My husband prefers just.

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Like whiskey, and I'm like, no, I need the peanut butter one.

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. What's good in coffee?

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We use like col, we use it like in coffee and stuff.

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Yep.

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But I have a great woman owned Burman company.

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If you're a whiskey person.

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Yes.

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And she's in Boston.

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Where, what is it?

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Is it?

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It's called Boston Harbor Distillery.

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Boston Harbor Distillers, yes.

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I've been there a number of times.

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I love Rhonda.

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She's amazing.

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Yeah.

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Rhonda is my friend, Frances.

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One of my friend Francesca's best friends.

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Oh yeah.

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Amazing.

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Yeah, I love her.

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I met her at a Woman of the Mind and Spirit event.

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We were like kindred spirits.

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I love her.

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Cuz she'll like, it's a good day for whiskey.

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I'm like, isn't every day.

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Every day is a good way.

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It's . So her, her backstory was, she was part of Sam Adams.

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Sam Adams, right.

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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No, that's funny that you know Rhonda.

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Yeah, I've, I've met her a handful of times.

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Yeah, yeah.

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No.

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So there's so many amazing, amazing products out there that

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people just don't know about.

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And it's really funny cuz like whenever we go to Target with the kids, Who's

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buying the women own logo, right?

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So you're like, we're all running around Target trying to make

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a game out it looking for it.

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So it's been really fun to do that.

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Yeah.

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And there's no excuse to not look for, for women owned business, disability

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owned business, minority owned business, like again, You have to look for 'em.

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You have to know who they are.

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So yeah, that's great.

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Well, and the truth is, like I, you know, WeBank did something really smart.

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Let me see if I have this one here.

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So you can see on this product right here, can you see the Women Own logo?

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It's on there.

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Yep.

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Oh, yes, yes, yes.

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I can see that.

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Yep.

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Nope, I can see it.

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Yeah, so that's the one that was created with Walmart and WeBank together.

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And the reason they did it, and you might know this so I apologize if I'm telling

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something you already know, but they did a study about seven years ago and they.

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Walmart knew that women control about 83 to 85% of all consumer decisions.

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Exactly.

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And they know that women control like one point something or no, maybe

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it's like $5 trillion in domestic.

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Cuz it's a big number.

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I think it's like 5 trillion, 3 trillion.

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It's a lot of money.

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It's a lot of trillions.

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It's a lot of trillions.

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So, and so, I'm paraphrasing, so don't Google these exact words,

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but they were like, we want more of that money in our pocket.

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How are we gonna get it?

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And so they were asked a bunch of their customers, like they

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asked like Nationwide, you know, some, a lot of questions.

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And one of the questions was if you went in to buy shampoo, for example,

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again paraphrasing, but you were more likely to buy one if you could

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easily identify it as women owned.

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Okay.

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And I will let you guess what percentage said they'd be more likely to buy it.

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A hundred.

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It was 90%, but pretty close.

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Yeah.

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So they were like, what that, A lot of money.

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So they helped create this logo.

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So that's a reasonable logo.

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And just to let you know, there's a, a magazine called

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Wine UM Intelligence Magazine.

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Okay.

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And you've heard about this study.

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So did you know that this is pre pandemic?

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So it's probably gone up since then, but 70% of all wine purchases

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are made by women in the us.

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I can a hundred percent believe that.

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I think it's more now post, you know, as we're like moving on a pandemic.

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I think that went up a lot over the last two years.

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Wine intelligence wanted to know if the same statistic

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held true for wine drinkers.

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They asked the women wine drinkers like, if you wanted to buy a bottle of wine,

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would you be more likely to buy it?

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If you could tell it was women owned.

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And so what percentage do you think said yes?

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90% ? 90%?

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Yeah.

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You know, there's a retail logo and so there's just like understand

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now the other organizations have.

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Not done retail logos, but a lot of times they'll say things like,

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there's a chip company called Nana's Chips out here in the southwest.

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Mm-hmm.

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, they're the best tortilla chips you'll ever have in your life, by the way.

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So if, if that's your trigger, don't buy them.

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Cause you'll eat the whole bag.

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They're so good.

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But they're minority owned.

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They're Nmsdc certified.

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Yeah.

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So they don't have the logo in there, but it does say we're

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a minority-owned company.

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Yes.

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On their brand.

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So you can look around, but you can definitely find them.

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But you know, it's.

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We all wanna know money's going, has that logo on it.

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So, um, Senor, who's it?

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El Jo.

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Oh, there's a great women owned one too, in Chicago.

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Okay.

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In Spra tequila in, oh my god.

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It is truly sip bowl just on ice.

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Yeah.

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That's how I like it.

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With a, yeah, with a squeeze of line.

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Yeah.

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It's amazing.

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But it's truly a sip of buzz, fear and tequila.

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Okay.

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I'm gonna look that up.

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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So good.

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I know people are always like, do you have other products that aren't booze, Heather?

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I'm like, I do.

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I promise.

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I promise.

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I have other products that are not booze, but they just happen to.

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But resonates with a lot of people . Right.

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Especially during the pandemic.

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So you can go and you're spending your money.

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Like we wanna know what are we doing with our money?

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We've all heard the, if you buy from a large company, just

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buy the CEO a second house.

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Yeah.

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But I'll tell you like my kids are like, no, I get to go to dance lessons

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cuz people are hiring my mommy more.

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Right?

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Yeah.

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Like you really, it really does impact your community.

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It so it really does.

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You can be shopping or you can shop intentionally.

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Yes.

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Which one are you gonna do?

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Yep.

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Mm-hmm.

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, I'm writing this down cuz that is a great way to.

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I'm gonna put it back in my wrap up.

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So I'm gonna put links to everything.

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I'm gonna wrap this up with all the amazing things that you've said.

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This was so much fun.

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Thank you for being here.

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I'm so glad we got to connect and you have to tell me how you know about in spirit.

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Tequila.

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I think you're gonna like it.

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I'm gonna have to find it and I, and you know me.

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I will find it.

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thank you again.

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My pleasure.

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Thank you.

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So, two tracks of thought here as I wrap up this amazing interview.

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First, If you're eligible for a certification, get it.

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If you don't know if you're eligible for a certification, reach out to

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Heather and work with her to see what is available to you and what you qualify for.

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Here's no downside to that.

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Second, diversifying your supplier chain doesn't mean just diversifying the color

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or the kind of people you work with.

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It means diversifying your thought.

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A diverse way of looking at problem solving, a diverse way of

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thinking about your business and how you can serve your clients.

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There is no downside to this either.

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I know a lot of you who listen to this podcast are eligible for a certification

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in one form or another, so if you have been thinking about it, maybe now is the

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time to jump in and take action on it.

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Like the stories Heather told you have no idea what that certification

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could do for your business growth.

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To tip our hat to Heather's love of the circus and her

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tight rope walking abilities.

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The drink of the week is drum roll, please.

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The tight rope.

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Here's what you're gonna need.

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One and a half ounce of mezcal, one and a half ounce of rye,

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one quarter ounce F tomorrow.

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No.

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One quarter ounce of cinnamon syrup, homemade.

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You know how to make this.

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You make the simple syrup and you put some cinnamon sticks in it and you steep

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it and then you take cinnamon sticks out and then fall you got cinnamon syrup,

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uh, couple dashes of chocolate bidders and a couple dashes of Angus store vs.

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And if you have it spreads of grape for oil, what you're gonna do is you're

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going to put everything into a cocktail.

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You know, one of those crafts, you're with ice, you're gonna stir it, stir it, stir.

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So this one's gonna shake.

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You're gonna stir, stir, stir, stir, stir, stir, stir until it all comes together.

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And then you're gonna strain that over one of those big rocks in an

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old fashioned glass, and then garnish with that spritz of grape float oil.

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All right, friends, that's it for this week.

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If you like what you heard today, please leave, review

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and subscribe to the podcast.

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Also, remember, you can find me on LinkedIn, Julie Brown bd.

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Just shoot me a note and let me know where you found me.

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You can also find me on Instagram, Julie Brown bd, and that's it.

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Until next week.

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Teams.

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Hey, thanks for taking the time to listen.

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Be sure to subscribe to the podcast so you never miss a tip.

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And remember, you can unapologetically be who you authentically are

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and still be wildly successful.

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That's a fact.

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