Strivin & Thrivin
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Strivin & ThrivinOct 11, 2023
Strivin & Thrivin EP63. Brooke Tierney - Dad Knows Best
In the latest episode of the Strivin & Thrivin podcast we catch up with Brooke Tierney, Founder and Managing Director of The Sister. Packed full of inspiring stories and solid dad advice (because, really, they know best), we definitely recommend setting aside some time to give this one a full listen.
Strivin & Thrivin EP64. Alex Lennon - Head of Talent
In our latest episode, we got to chat with Alex Lennon, Talent & Investor Relations at Black Nova and owner of TalentBox, about how he accidentally discovered his passion and how the world of recruitment has become the Wild West post pandemic.
Strivin & Thrivin EP1. Samantha George & Lee Shorter - How To Build An Award-Winning Recruitment Team
In the latest episode of the Strivin & Thrivin podcast we got to do things a little differently. This week’s conversation was led by Samantha George, Design Principal Consultant at The Drive Group. Sam had a chat with good friend, former colleague and Practice Manager of Aquent, Lee Shorter, about his humble beginnings and how the global recruitment agency has managed to build such a solid team.
Strivin & Thrivin EP62. Genevieve Gorin - People & Culture
For the latest episode of the Strivin & Thrivin podcast we had a chat with Genevieve Gorin, People and Culture Manager at hipages Group, about her HR journey through the Big Apple and the importance of embracing your curiosity.
Strivin & Thrivin EP61. Chloe Spillane - Talent Acquisition Leader & Career Coach
This week on the Strivin and Thrivin podcast, we chat with Chloe Spillane, Founder of Chloe Spillane Consulting, about how she went from doing an acting degree to owning her own business and the importance of people in your journey.
Strivin & Thrivin EP60. Jessica Gibson-Jones - Talent Acquisition & Sourcing Leader
In the latest episode of the Strivin & Thrivin podcast, we sat down for a chat with Jessica Gibson-Jones, Head of Talent Acquisition & Global Sourcing Leader at Toll, about her interesting journey in the HR world and why she still has a passion for people after 18 years in the industry.
Strivin & Thrivin EP.59. Samuel Williamson - Master of MySpace & Marketing
Strivin and Thrivin is the career development podcast inspiring you to make some bold changes. Each week, we speak to Marketing professionals at different stages of their journey to understand what it takes to successfully manage your career.
In our latest episode, we got to chat with Samuel Williamson, global marketing consultant and startup investor, about MySpace, Master Mouse Patrol magazine and what happens when your Dad starts giving you deadlines.
Strivin & Thrivin EP58. Samantha George - Advertising to Recruitment
In our latest episode of the Strivin & Thrivin podcast we talked with Samantha George, Principal Recruitment Consultant at The Drive Group, about how she went from having a passion for advertising to recruitment and her top tips for surviving the roles' ups and downs.
Strivin & Thrivin EP57. Sam Garven - A non conventional path to people & culture
In our latest episode of the Strivin & Thrivin podcast we got the chance to sit down and chat with Sam Garven, Head of People & Culture at Bound, about her wild ride into the world of people & culture. Let’s just say, this is one you don’t want to skip.
We talk Gorillas, Wallabies and Recruitment - if you’re looking for a truly inspiring, unconventional path to the world of P&C, you have to hear Sam’s story.
Strivin & Thrivin EP56. Sally Read - People Leader
In our latest episode of the Strivin and Thrivin Podcast we had an inspiring and advice-filled chat with Sally Read, Fractional Events and Community Manager at Strivin and Director of Sourcingly, all about her unique journey from chef to recruitment connoisseur.
Want to hear all the advice Sally had to share - check out our latest episode now.
Strivin & Thrivin Ep 55. Rhea Shyamka- HR Leader
Thinking of changing careers but nervous about making the big leap? Sounds like our latest episode of the Strivin and Thrivin podcast is what you need.
We caught up with Rhea Shyamkant and had a chat about how she found the courage to make the unconventional move from finance to HR.
Want to hear our full conversation with Rhea listen in now.
Moving from TA to P&C - Ep6. Michael Delaney
To quote that catchy Paul Kelly song we probably all remember from that one superannuation commercial, from little things, big things grow.
And what is often the catalyst for that growth? People. At least that’s what Michael Delaney, Head of People and Culture at Preezie will certainly tell you.
After spending eight years in the agency world, Michael jumped over to talent acquisition and found his passion for taking little known startups and gearing them up to take on the big boys. His journey started in 2007 at a company who may have heard of called Salesforce. While they’re certainly no longer a small fish in the sea (they are now a 40 billion dollar business), it was here Michael discovered his undeniable passion for helping things find their fullest potential and his love for P&C.
We sat down and had a chat with Michael as part of our Moving from Talent Acquisition to People & Culture podcast series. We got the lowdown on his journey from TA to P&C in the startup world, the power of good storytelling and why people are at the heart of it all.
Listen to his episode now.
Moving from TA to P&C - Ep5. Anita Thompson
When life chucks over a chance, you grab it (with both hands, ideally). Failure is always an option, yes, but what’s the alternative?
Anything, really. But growing stale in a role, organisation or industry is a distinct possibility
Anita Thompson, Head of Business Operations at legal services firm LOD, is the complete antithesis of that (slightly scary) scenario. She’s jumped at every opportunity, crossed into other industries and markets - and learned a whole lot along the way.
Anita spent 4 years at Deloitte during the heyday of big budgets and grad-grabbing (FUN), then leaped into legal land. While she first worked in a graduate recruitment role at Deacons, she soon ended up in HR. Throw in some time overseas with Ashurst in London, yet more experience and a baby…and before long, Anita was back in Sydney doing HR (including people & culture) for start-up AdventBalance Lawyers.
When that company merged with LOD, she put her hand up for a marketing & comms role. Not yet as exhausted as those reading this (😅), Anita made the move to her current role in business operations in May 2022.
So you certainly won’t wonder why we brought her along for our Moving from Talent Acquisition to People & Culture podcast. Clearly, she knows how to keep a career varied, interesting and invigorating!
Anita gave us her POV on embracing opportunities, changing careers and why a background in TA is a huge plus.
Check out her episode now.
Moving from TA to P&C - Ep4. Lianne Vineberg
Some people cause problems. Others sit back watching those problems get worse. And then there’s Lianne Vineberg.
She’s been solving sticky situations since she began her career in marketing a few years back. Soon enough, she realised recruiting would suit her proactive nature a bit better.
6 years later (and with a plethora of P&C experiences under her belt), Lianne went in-house. And what do you know? Yet more problems to solve! (Let’s just say, expensive, underpar support for teams did not sit well with this go-getter).
This prompted Lianne and her partner to launch T6 Talent Partners, a Toronto-based firm offering recruitment, HR advisory and training.
She’s done a lot. So we talked a lot. About why listening is everything in HR, how to advise (not baby) managers and where to start if you want to pitch into P&C.
This episode is chock-full of tips, tricks and advice from talented people just like Lianne - check it out now!
Emerging trends in the world of emerging talent - Ep6. Samantha Nuttall
There’s nothing new about neurodivergence. And the world would indeed be a duller place without the likes (and legacies) of famously-neurodivergent thinkers like Tim Burton, Lewis Carroll and Steve Jobs.
But what’s oh-so-refreshing about today’s landscape is our changing attitude towards those individuals who…simply see things a little differently. Workplaces (and the world in general) are waking up to the wonders of neurodivergence. And, may we say, not a moment too soon.
Samantha Nuttal, founder of The Neurodivergent Coach and a 20 year veteran of graduate recruitment, knows this topic inside out. She lives with dyscalculia (the numerical version of dyslexia), coaches neurodiverse people to thrive in their careers and educates organisations on workplace inclusion. Oh, and she also keeps her foot in the early careers door with a part time gig at Sydney University.
In other words, the perfect candidate for our final Emerging Trends in the World of Emerging Talent podcast. In fact, Samantha gave us the jolt we probably all needed when it comes to inclusive practices.
She gave her unique insights into why organisations are crazy not to consider neurodiverse candidates, how to discover those people in the first place and what we can all do to be truly inclusive.
Check out her episode now!
Emerging trends in the world of emerging talent - Ep5. Elyssa Goodman
Elyssa Goodman, Atlassian’s Campus Recruitment Manager, is all about changing it up. Throughout her career, she’s covered most industries: legal, finance, consulting and government - and, of course, tech. And, even though she began her days as a lawyer and policy analyst, she’s spent more than 17 years in early talent.
So as if we weren’t going to pull her in for our latest podcast series, Emerging Trends in the World of Emerging Talent.
As always, we had a good ol’ yarn. Elyssa told us what she’s seeing in new grads, how organisations can support them post-pandemic and why connection matters more than ever.
Check out her episode now!
Emerging trends in the world of emerging talent - Ep4. Elena Holland
You probably know why you need relationships with universities (a smorgasbord of savvy students, for starters!). And if that’s already a big push in your graduate recruitment strategy, you’ll know all about the benefits.
But many organisations don’t actually know what industry engagement is.
And we get it. Because even if you’re across the whole idea, where do you actually start? So many departments, courses, campuses and students.
That’s why Elena Holland from UNSW is here to help. As part of the Career Accelerator team at UNSW’s Business School (AGSM), she’s been happily engaging with industry for 5 years. Before that, Elena spent many years in agency recruitment, where she found her passion for employability and getting people into jobs.
Elena laid it all out for us: how organisations can engage with universities, why going with the flow helps and what you can do to grab students’ attention.
Emerging trends in the world of emerging talent - Ep3. Elliott Cirkovic
Let’s face it: it’s a candidate’s market out there today. So getting high-quality grads over the line takes a bit (just who are we kidding here? A lot) of time, effort and investment.
Enter one of GradAustralia’s Graduate Attraction Consultants, Elliot Cirkovic. He’s been at the organisation since 2020, supporting companies to attract top-notch grads from universities across Australia. Before that, he held roles in both agency and internal recruitment, including 4 years in the graduate space. And, having previously been a State / National soccer referee, he knows how to tell it how it is!
That’s why we brought Elliott in for this episode of Emerging Trends in the World of Emerging Talent podcast. He told us why organisations need to know (and communicate) their offering, how clever job ads can get you noticed and why authenticity matters.
Emerging trends in the world of emerging talent - Ep2. Kelly Pfeffer
When you spend more than 25 years in the early career space, you learn a lot about grad recruitment, training and development programs. A grad guru, some would say (we do. We say it).
That’s exactly why we teed up a chat with Suncorp’s Kelly Pfeffer for our latest podcast series, Emerging Trends in the World of Emerging Talent.
Kelly is currently doing her second stint at Suncorp (she previously spent 6 years looking after the organisation’s grad program), in an Early Careers Specialist role. Before that, Kelly spent 20 years working in HR generalist and grad management positions in various Queensland government departments, as well as in the IT/engineering industry.
Oh, and along the way she created Grad Hero Hub - an online community for graduate recruitment and development professionals.
Thankfully, Kelly still found time to sit down with us!
We loved picking her brain about managing this generation of grads, how Covid has changed the landscape and why it’s up to every organisation to do their bit for upskilling up the workforce.
Emerging trends in the world of emerging talent - Ep1. Lou Zoanetti
Organisations are finalising realising graduate recruitment and training programmes are more than simply a way to get top talent through the door.
Who better, then, to talk us through this HR hot spot than Brightworks founder, Lou Zoanetti? Despite calling herself a ‘geriatric millennial’, Lou’s insights are as fresh, interesting and unique as the grads she supports every day.
Lou started her career in PR and marketing at NAB, but was quickly pulled into the bank’s newly-formed grad program. Before long, she was heading up that program and, with some serious experience under her belt, then moved to Monash University. She spent several years setting up and running the university’s internship function before establishing Brightworks in 2021.
And Lou’s passion and knowledge was exactly what we needed for our latest podcast series, Emerging Trends in the World of Emerging Talent.
Moving from TA to P&C - Ep3. Rebecca Powell
Rebecca Powell was made redundant from her TA role early on in the pandemic. But, before you could say ‘toilet paper shortage’, she’d donned a mask and jumped into the people & culture world.
After getting a taste for P&C at Payright, she then moved to IntelligenceBank, where she now heads up People & Culture.
Rebecca agreed to chat with us for our Moving from Talent Acquisition to People & Culture podcast (she’s generous; we’re persistent) and we’re so glad she did.
She gave us all the juice: what it’s like moving from TA to P&C, why you can never ask too many questions and how making a career change in your 40s can be just what you need.
Check out her episode now!
Moving from TA to P&C - Ep2. Natalie Firth
What happens when you graduate with a comms degree, have visions of being an investigative journalist - but aren’t sure what’s next?
You go backpacking across Europe…and start working in recruitment.
That was Natalie Firth’s experience, anyway. Since finding herself in a northern English recruitment agency more than 15 years ago, she’s held various talent acquisition roles, batted her way into Cricket Australia and run her own recruitment agency. These days, she’s Global Head of Talent at Aussie tech company, Envato.
As part of our Moving from Talent Acquisition to People & Culture podcast series, we sat down with Natalie to get the juice on her journey from TA to P&C, what her career advice is and how you can prime yourself for a P&C role, too.
Check her episode out now.
Moving from TA to P&C - Ep1. Emer McCann
How do you transition into P&C? Can anyone do it? Is liking people enough?
We wondered, too. Then we stopped wondering and rounded up 6 gurus who’ve actually made the move from TA into P&C and are positively crammed with career advice (which they’re happy to share).
First in the podcast chair was Emer McCann. She boldly bounced from TA into P&C a few years back and, after honing her craft at software startup, Deputy, now manages the people and talent function at Simply Wall St.
She talked us through her transition, what she’s learnt along the way and how you can pivot into P&C, too.
High performing teams require a lot more than talent
Talent, is the first step in creating a high performing team. As leadership coach, Jon Osborne reminds us, people aren’t building blocks to be stacked up neatly into a well-adjusted, working wall.
“Many people assume that if they bring high performing individuals together…then they will naturally have a high performing team,” Jon says. “But that’s quite a mechanistic model…and of course, it doesn’t work like that with people.”
So, how does it work? Can you actually hone a high performing team? And, as a new leader, what’s your role in all of this?
In our 5th and final New Leader podcast, we delve into all the detail you need to take your talented team from working to wow.
Conversation is currency
Most of us are pretty decent conversationalists. We’ve had plenty of great (and not so great 🥱) chats in our time, so we generally know how it all works.
As a new leader, though, conversations take on more meaning. They have more riding on them, a wider circle hears you and your speaking skills (or lack thereof) really start to matter.
It’s the currency you’re dealing with - and it’s worth a lot.
Thankfully, leadership whizz, Jon Osborne, knows what a good yarn sounds like and why leadership is actually a conversational activity.
In our 4th podcast chat with Jon, he gave us the lowdown on conversation as a currency, how to trade in it and why practicing (and mastering) it will make you a better leader.
Listen up, new leadership league: it’s time to talk…talk tactics.
It’s not about you, and no-one cares
It’s harsh. It’s humbling. Oh, and btw - it’s true.
Becoming a leader really isn’t about you.
The truth is, leadership is about your team and taking them somewhere they want to go. If you’re a leader who’s all about numero uno, you could be in for a lonely old time.
Jon Osborne, our go-to people and leadership expert, gave us his take on storytelling (without the ego) in this episode. His interesting insights will give you everything you need to create your own engaging story that’s uniquely yours - but still keeps your team centrestage.
Why your expertise doesn’t matter
You’ve worked your tail off to earn a leadership role and now your expertise is irrelevant?
Look. Knowing your stuff matters. Of course it does. But, as a new leader, you DO need to shift your thinking somewhat. Look at things from a lens and be, well, a leader.
It’s not always an easy or natural step for us to take, which is why – as part of our 5-part podcast series – we devoted an entire chat to it.
Continuing our New Leaders series, we picked the brains of leadership expert, Jon Osborne. And, as ever, he’s given us some meaty bites of helpful info to guide you through this part of leading.
You can listen to the entire podcast episode now. It’ll get you on the right road for leadership, so you can be the driving force your team needs.
Leadership & management (and where you fit in)
For any new leader navigating the choppy waters of people and project management, times can get a little turbulent.
That’s why we’re kicking on with our new New leaders series - 5 things you should know as a new leader - with this episode taking a deep dive into leadership & management - how it works, and why your ability to listen, learn and love yourself matters!
Strivin & Thrivin Ep 45. Rob Line - Head of Talent
Strivin & Thrivin Ep 45. Mitch King - Head of Talent Acquisition
This week on Strivin & Thrivin, we speak with Mitch King, Head of Talent Acquisition at Linktree.
After leaving school, Mitch had no idea what he wanted to do, and went from dishwashing to admin. From there, he found recruitment and ended up recruiting in the marketing and advertising space. After 12 years though, it was time to move on.
“12 years was too long. I started there as a Junior Admin Consultant and left as essentially, the Managing Director for the last three months, which I didn't enjoy. I made the decision to do what I really wanted to do - I really liked the tech space. I really liked more of the hands-on recruitment side.”
Now, Mitch is at Linktree and has been for just over two years. But after a solid 14 years in the recruitment space we had to know what it was like working his way up from the bottom of the ladder.
“I would say I was a really typical junior consultant. It was just scraps thrown at me, I was trying to learn the ropes…I think one thing I learned from it was not to chase the greener pastures.”
After working his way up, being put in charge of the freelance desk to managing a couple of people, Mitch put his hand up to run his own office around the 8-9 year mark. But by year 12, there was no enjoyment left in the job.
“It affected my mental health quite badly towards the end and I made a decision that this has to change. This is the thing that's ruining my mental health, so I'm going to change this thing and then figure it out. It took a while to make the decision - we've got two kids, a mortgage, that sort of stuff, leaving a job without a job. But it’s probably the best decision that I've made career wise.”
Obviously, going from agency to an internal TA role is a bit of a step, so why did it interest Mitch?
“There's so much more diversity of thought, you get to speak to someone and go, "Hey, what do you think about this from a non-TA and non-recruitment perspective?," that in a recruitment agency you’re all just sitting around talking about the perspective of recruiters. So there were a few of those things that I was chasing - a combination of tech being inside the company and not being transactional.”
Now, if you can relate to imposter syndrome when it comes to your career, so can Mitch.
“Every day, my internal voice continually tells me how shit I am. And it's only at an older age that I've sort of learned to balance that with the facts…I spoke to some graduates at the start of the year or end of last year. And the piece of advice I gave them was, 99% of people are trying to figure it out on the fly.”
Strivin & Thrivin Ep 44. Jordan Divertie - Senior Tech Recruiter
Strivin & Thrivin Ep 43. Mitchell Parkins - Marketing Leader
This week on Strivin & Thrivin, we speak with Mitchell Parkins, founder and MD of Build Brand Equity.
Mitch has worked in wagering for pretty much his whole career, starting out at Centrebet, then hopping over to Sportsbet, then to GVC Group and is now the founder of Build Brand Equity.
As for his first role, Mitch says it found him.
“I was the type of kid that didn't want to go to uni. I deliberately chose to go to College because I was very independent, and I didn't feel like I had it in me at the time to do three or four years of study to work out what I wanted to do. I was like, "Mate, I love sport. I know that. Macleay are doing an advanced diploma in sports management and marketing." I was like, "That's me. I'll figure out the rest later.”
Like many of us, Mitch decided to do his own thing during the pandemic, and why not?!
“It is a gamble…it is addictive. Backing yourself in, taking risks. I don't think that's ever not going to be a part of my DNA. Sitting there at the start of that lockdown, just going, "What I'm doing now. I like it. It's good, but it's not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life."
We wanted to hear what lights Mitch up, and he told us about recently connecting with his Indigenous heritage.
“Obviously the Build Brand Equity piece. I am serving as drop-in GM and marketing roles. And helping essentially fill gaps in the market at the moment because there's literally a lot of them.
That's keeping me busy with the intention that in roughly 15 months' time... my wife and my son and myself will hit the road for a full year to connect with the Indigenous culture of Australia.
Without giving you an entire life story, because they're boring, I discovered my Indigenous heritage about three years ago....
I want to spend, I'm saying a year, because I think my wife needs an end date. An indefinite period of time travelling, eating, learning, listening, just immersing myself in the culture. And hopefully, just providing a bit of an insight into essentially what Australia at a macro level is missing. And how and why we need to start championing indigenous agriculture.”
As for mentoring, Mitch sees it as helping to get out of your bubble. For him, having spent a really long time in one category meant he felt he needed mentoring from outside the category to become a bit more rounded.
“You can get mentored from anyone if you're open to it.”
Strivin & Thrivin Ep 42. Caro Caluwé - Head of People
Strivin & Thrivin Ep 41. Joel Broughton - TA Leader
This week on Strivin & Thrivin, we speak with Joel Broughton, Talent Solutions Manager at Paxus.
Joel whole career has been in the people space so we wanted to know what it is about recruitment & TA that Joel loves so much! And he had the perfect answer for us.
“I think the best part about my job and the best part about any recruiter's job in my view is the opportunity to impact someone's life. So you're either impacting their life by providing them with the opportunity to be promoted, to earn more money, put more food on a table, buy a nicer car, buy a better house, move to a better suburb, basically impact their life that way.”
Joel also shared what skills are needed to be a good recruiter, and one of them is active listening.
“Active listening is really important and being able to interpret what's being said and to reflect that back in a way that is doable and workable. Every hiring manager, every client has their wishlist.”
Now, when it comes to what we can do better collectively to make sure people stick around in recruitment and HR roles, Joel says it’s all about networking and learning development.
“I think if organisations had those established career paths with some learning development milestones along the way, like invest back in that learning and development piece in their own people. They'll not only hang on to people a lot longer, but the people that are there are going to be better and the whole industry will be better as a result. We'll have better recruiters. The industry will have a much, much better reputation and it's just going to be better all around because again, you get back to that impacting lives space.”
For anyone in the TA and HR space, we found out how Joel stays up-to-date on what’s happening in the industry.
“For me, it's all about networking. It really is. Well, there's a couple of things. So it's not just all. So when I say it's all about networking, it's not all about networking, but that's really important. So I'm a huge proponent of lifelong learning. So I was looking at my formal education. Kind of every 10 years or so I've gone back and upgraded and upgraded and upgraded. So that's been really important to me and that's something that I'm really, really proud of.”
Strivin & Thrivin Ep 40. Matt Woodard - TA Leader
This week on Strivin & Thrivin, we speak with Matt Woodard, TA Leader.
Matt’s has been with Slalom Build for two years when we recorded the podcast and has been in recruitment for 15, starting his career in a small boutique agency in Wellington, New Zealand after immigrating from the UK.
In his own words, Matt revealed he’s always been someone who really likes people and has seen it as one of his biggest strengths since his first job at 18-years-old. He’s also admitted that the ability to relate and engage people is half the battle with recruitment. At Slalom, he’s identified other key areas that are imperative when introducing yourself to a market who doesn’t know you.
“I think resilience and hard work are the other key things. And as much as I love dealing with people, sometimes that adds huge levels of complexity and challenge. So, I think the ability to sort of grin and bear things sometimes is a pretty important element as well.”
Matt’s had some experience at some large companies getting in on a ground level and building them up. So, we wanted to know what it is about that build piece that he loves so much.
“I can find myself getting bored easily in roles, so I think the fact that I can get challenges that are longer-term, the fact there is a chance to actually help build and create and influence, and positively direct the future home for a company, I think is a big risk responsibility, but it's also a fantastic challenge.”
Now, if you’re looking at moving from agency to in-house, Matt shared some advice for you.
“I would say if there's a desire to do it, I think it's a great career move, but I think it's just understanding what it is, why it is you're wanting to do that…it's really important that you continue to bring your best, then that you are delivering the best kind of quality candidates.”
Finally, we asked how Matt switches off and unplugs from a job where there’s a huge amount of growth going on.
“I think it's making sure that you sort of draw a line under it at the end of the day, that you switch off. When my kids get home, right about six o'clock, now, that's it. Work's done for the day, and whatever's left, depending how urgent it is, can get done later or can get done tomorrow. There's a line you have to draw. And I think making sure that you are disciplined, and you set time for yourself, for breaks, for your mental health, that you keep yourself balanced, you keep yourself healthy, I think are the key things. It's easy to fall into a trap of just continuing to work because it's there and because it's right next to you at home.”
Strivin & Thrivin Ep 39. John Dawson - Talent & Tech Advocate
This week on Strivin & Thrivin, we speak with John Dawson, Global Director of Talent Intelligence at Ceredian.
John has worked in recruitment agencies, corporate recruitment and he's led talent acquisition teams. He says his first role in recruitment was the same story as everybody: falling into it backwards.
“Nobody grows up and says, ''I really want to be a recruiter”, but it’s an awesome industry. It’s an awesome space and you get to impact people every single day and hear amazing stories. So it is an amazing opportunity.”
A friend of John’s was doing exceptionally well working at one of the big agencies, and he dove into it! After that, he went to a boutique agency in hope to have an impact in intimate relationships with customers. But decided it wasn’t for him after a while.
“It doesn’t work in today's market anymore. And so I think I felt the ripples of that early on and saw that if I really wanted to be successful in recruiting and actually build a profile in talent acquisition, I was going to need to understand the mechanics, not only behind how to find candidates, but how do organisations actually decide when to hire who to hire and what process to put them through? And so when I was given the opportunity to leave agency and go lead talent acquisition at a mid-size company, I jumped at it because I didn't know what was behind the scenes.”
John oozes confidence, and it’s something we wanted to know more about - where does it come from and is it something we can try to adopt ourselves?
“I always like to fail forward. So, you know, I'm not falling back on something. I'm failing, I'm tripping. I've fallen on my face a million times and made more mistakes than I would ever admit to. But through each of those comes a learning, right? And so from that learning, I just learned not to do it again.”
With someone so deep in the recruiting game, how does he switch off?!
“I definitely set time apart or aside for things like friends, family, socialisation. I love spending time trying new foods, restaurants, you know, part of being in this social world that we live in, especially from a startup space and having travelled the globe, is the experiences I gain, right? And so I love going and trying new foods or reminding me of times I was in different countries because it grounds me, right? I think we work in a global workforce, and then too many people are too siloed.”
Strivin & Thrivin Ep 38. Sandra Lim - Global TA Leader
Strivin & Thrivin Ep 37. Lucy Wilson - HR Leader
This week on Strivin & Thrivin, we speak with Lucy Wilson, HR leader and founder of That People and Culture Company.
Lucy started her own business That People and Culture Co after 16+ years working in HR, she decided it was time to throw everything she knows together and create a company, which creates incredible people and culture experiences.
We chatted to Lucy about what her first role was and how she got to where she is now.
“I was probably about 19, maybe 20. I had just lost my mum and I was at the Gold Coast driving around in this little red car, and a guy ran a red light and it ended up wrapping my car around the pole..... so I ended up smashing the car and crashing and going to hospital”.
Lucy was unable to walk too well after the accident and she couldn't continue to work in her current role. A friend then managed to put her in touch with someone who had a role in HR going and as they say the rest is history. With a range of jobs in Sydney following that, Lucy has recently made her way back to Brisbane.
“I transferred back to Brisbane and took a Chief People Officer role with another scale-up, which was fun for the time that it lasted. But I think there was a bit of a values mismatch for me, probably for the first time in my career in a long time. So, I was faced with this decision personally, where like, "Is this something I can stay in? Or is it something I need to walk away from?" So, I walked away and did my time, finished up end of last year. And here I am.”
Lucy has had such a full career, and it keeps on going! We had to know what advice she’d give someone looking to follow in her footsteps, as well as the best advice she’s received.
“I think the best career advice I've ever had is to genuinely be yourself and be very clear on what your purposes and what your values are. And if it is not a match, do not go. If you have the option in your life and you get to choose, choose. Take the choice.”
Strivin & Thrivin Ep 36. Alex Conomos - Senior Marketing Manager
This week on Strivin & Thrivin, we spoke with Alex Conomos, Senior Manager for Content Marketing and Social Media at Audible.
Alex spent a lot of time in the media and entertainment industries, with a focus on food. It all started in food magazines, which then saw her move from editorial to advertising, before realising that the place for her was in marketing.
Next up was food and lifestyle TV at Foxtel, then Alex launched Australia’s first food channel, SBS Food. But if there’s one thing that was consistent with every one of those marketing roles, it was working with storytellers.
“Working with my internal content teams, executive producers, writers and chefs, I would help mould their ideas and their content into something really fantastic that audiences would love. And work out the right way to shape it, brand it and package it all up so that audiences would really, really engage with it.”
That leads us to Alex’s current role at Audible (which surprisingly, isn’t food related!), with a focus on their Audible Originals - audio storytelling that’s created to be listened to.
Alex already has an impressive resume, and has only added to it by working on projects with Eric Bana (yes, THE Eric Bana), Sarah Wilson (author of I Quit Sugar) and, Audible has recently announced a collaboration with another iconic Aussie, Cate Blanchett!
With big names signing on to create original audio projects tells us one thing, audio is here to stay.
“So now is the time to be working in audio. It's having a resurgence, there's so much flex in the medium and because we're quite a small and nimble team, I'm able to work really closely with our content creators. Whether it's the writers, the hosts, the narrators - many who are coming in from film and screen and stage - and work with them on packaging up these Audible Originals into something fantastic that we can take to our members and to our prospects as well. And it's becoming a much bigger focus of the business globally. So a really exciting time to be working at Audible.”
While there are so many exciting things happening on the work front, a question we often ask our guests is how they carve out a work-life balance. For Alex, she’s seen the benefits in running as a mood changer (we wish we could relate!).
“I might try and pop in a run at lunchtime, or in winter when it would get dark early, I might run at four o’clock, come back and then continue on with my workday. But making time for me would just pay off in spades afterwards.”
Strivin & Thrivin Ep 35. Lorna Hegarty - Head of Brand and Content
This week on Strivin & Thrivin, we spoke with Lorna Hegarty, Brand and Communications Manager at Squiz.
Lorna has listened to the podcast quite a bit and told us that she’s recognised that a lot of people talk about falling into her career. “I definitely didn’t”, she said when referencing studying public relations.
“But I think obviously my career has taken a different path as I’ve gone along and it’s evolved. But then I was thinking back even further, and it was quite a semi-conscious effort when I even studied PR.”
Lorna started out in PR and spent a number of years in agency, and did a stint in a Deloitte press office in London before moving to Australia where she continued in agency PR. She then moved to New Zealand and took an in-house role with Xref, and is now working for Squiz.
With a role that has a broader comms focus, Lorna has seen PR agencies take this approach as well. It was the move to Xref that gave her her first look into a broader comms and brand aspect…but she admits she didn’t really know what she was doing.
“Last year, I did the Marketing Week Mini MBA in brand management and that was a real turning point for me. I knew I wanted to understand it better, and so doing that course was like this kind of make or break, and it was absolutely make. It just ignited something in me from a brand perspective and I realised I absolutely loved it.”
There’s no doubt the PR landscape has dramatically changed in the last 10 years, and anyone who has been in the game for a while will agree with that. Lorna remembers it being all about having a little black book when she first started, and now it’s even harder with the introduction of content creators and influencers over the years.
“I think the pure PR agency model has changed so much, and PR agencies now have to think a lot more broadly about how they position their clients and how they really get that traction with the audiences that they need to…you can’t rely on having a good list of emails anymore.”
With all the experience Lorna has had in her career, we loved what her response was to, “what’s one thing you wish you knew at the start of your career that you know now?”
Lorna said, “You really don’t need to sweat the small stuff. And actually, the stuff that you’re worrying about now, you’ll look back on in a few years and be like, ‘why was I worried about that now that I’ve got to think about this?’”
Strivin & Thrivin Ep 34. Laura Scholey - Marketing Consultant
This week on Strivin & Thrivin, we speak with Laura Scholey, freelance marketing consultant.
Laura accidentally fell into marketing when she finished uni, when she was thankfully offered a market research job in the middle of a recession. Then, a move to Australia saw her end up in sales, where she spent a couple of years before moving back to marketing.
“I started to get involved in digital marketing and I started to champion within the team the marketing automation side of things for the sales guys and that's what then ended up drawing me back into marketing.”
Sales just wasn’t for her, and thinks it takes a certain type of person that loves sales and resetting. But ending a month and going back to zero? Laura couldn’t stand it. It was getting back to that familiar place with marketing and speaking in a common language that made her feel comfortable. Laura actually credits sales for her understanding of communication and sales psychology. It wasn’t all bad!
Laura then went down the path of digital marketing, demand gen, lead generation, marketing automation and pretty much anything digital. Now, she’s going out on her own and doing contract work with the plan to balance it with consulting.
While some people focus on specialising, moving into different parts of marketing was great for Laura.
“I recommend to anybody, if you've got the opportunity to work with really smart people, then go out and do it. I think that really helped set a foundation of knowledge and probably critical thinking as well in some things I was doing in marketing.”
As for the worst piece of advice she’s received? It’s a quote you might be familiar with. “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have”. To be frank, Laura calls BS on that!
On the back of that, we loved what Laura had to say about authenticity and the importance of a personal brand.
“I think your personal brand is important. But even as we talk about branding in businesses, your brand has to be genuine. You can't create a brand that you're not living and breathing. So, it's like this idea of personal brand, I think people think that they have to create something.”
Strivin & Thrivin Ep 33. Rebecca Zeitunian - Head of Brand and B2B Growth
This week on Strivin & Thrivin, we speak with Rebecca Zeitunian, Head of Brand and Growth at ResDiary.
Coming from a working class family who expected her to get married and have kids, Rebecca’s life couldn’t have been any different.
Starting out in tele-sales and working her way through operations and account management, Rebecca later joined Woolworths for a role in buying and marketing, which saw her work in the meat industry. Let’s just say, she can pick a good steak!
But thankfully, picking a good steak isn’t all Rebecca can do well (although much appreciated). With a thirst for some education, she fell into an opportunity to do an Advanced Diploma in Business Marketing at TAFE. From here, Rebecca fell into a marketing role and stayed there for a few years before jumping ship to Optus, and being the first content person that they ever appointed.
When it comes to what’s shifted for her in her career, she says getting out of a specialist skill and wanting to go more general has been at the top of her list.
“As I look at my career, I'd love to stay at this more general but broader role as I progress. And specialising in those disciplines, I could almost predict there would be a ceiling and I don't like being restricted. And so really looking for those other avenues to go, okay, well how do I continue to progress my career?”
Rebecca has quite the resume, it’s really shown the power non-traditional career advancement has had and it’s given her the tools to mentor up-and-comers.
“I look at how I’m going to take more of that leadership role and really mentor up and coming marketers in probably a non-traditional way without that full certification of tertiary education, and using more hands-on real life experience.
I think there's different ways to look at it, and if you're hungry for something, there's always a way to find opportunities to develop and get that experience.”
So what is the best advice Rebecca has received in her 15-plus years in the biz? “Control your controllables”
Strivin & Thrivin Ep 32. Siobhan Carlson - Marketing Manager
This week on Strivin & Thrivin, we speak to Siobhan Carlson, B2B marketing enthusiast and Marketing Manager at MYOB.
Siobhan initially went to uni for a science degree, she wanted to be a pharmacist but realised it wasn’t for her within 12 months, and ended up realising her true passion was in graphic design.
Not sure that her parent would approve of a pure Graphic Design degree Siobhan ended up adding marketing to her degree, which turned out pretty well because she fell in love with it!
After a three-day holiday in Melbourne, Siobhan and her partner decided to move down from Queensland, where she landed in recruitment which then led her into Sales and Marketing and finally to where she is now, at MYOB, where she was recently promoted to lead the marketing acquisition team!
With Siobhan, her career trajectory was more of a side-stepping journey, which isn’t something to be ashamed of.
“It hasn't been deliberate at all. I feel like a lot of it has been quite accidental and a case of, "Oh my goodness, I've landed on my feet again." That's half of life, right? It’s just chance.
Siobhan credits a really smart GM as some of the best advice she’s received, which was about telling your own narrative and story. It then evolved to creating your own luck.
“You’re the person who puts it out into the world and says, “This is what I want. This is what I’m driving for”. That’s how you’re able to control those side steps a little bit more, instead of being on a roller coaster and just chasing dollars all the time. But being able to hone in on what you’re interested in, what sparks your interests, what gets you up in the morning definitely helps you create that story as well.”
As for what Siobhan thinks has been the key to her success along the way…well, she put it quite frankly. “I think the one thing is probably the sense of getting stuck in and getting shit done.” - We have to love her for it.
Strivin & Thrivin Ep31. Lynne Johnston - CEO @ Mayday Recruitment
This week on Strivin & Thrivin, we speak with Lynne Johnston, CEO of MAYDAY Recruitment Group.
Lynne has been in the recruitment industry for 14 years and is originally from Northern Ireland, and started her career there before she travelled around Australia, building up her little black book of industry contacts.
Lynne was then sponsored by a recruitment agency in Sydney, progressing through the business and ended up being with them for five years. She then jumped ship after being offered a role at American Express managing corporate clients.
“I just learned loads in that job. It was so different from what I'd done before.”
With no experience in finance, there was a lot to learn. Luckily, Lynne’s transferable skills - such as relationship building, problem solving, holding a conversation, relating to them, understanding their business problem and coming up with solutions - really helped Lynne level-up and take on a new role within the company in business development.
After her stint at AMEX, Lynne joined MAYDAY, a recruitment company three of her best friends started, and that saw her move back into recruitment. But due to two of her friends going on maternity leave, Lynne had to step up and knew she had to work hard, as there was a real boom coming after making good traction with a lot of companies.
Now, Lynne is the CEO of MAYDAY, working on the overall development of the team, as well as being the key account manager. Lynne is also the director of the Wellness Committee, making sure people are healthy and happy at work and love what they do.
“If I can do that, then I’m doing a good job.”
When Covid hit in March 2020, there was a huge shift and change in the business, which saw their usual 50% temporary revenue and 50% permanent revenue wiped out. Permanent fell off the planet, everything went on hold, everything was paused, jobs were cancelled and even start dates were cancelled for people who had already placed in roles.
Thankfully, they won some business off the back of businesses who were busy because of Covid, so their temporary numbers remained steady and actually grew throughout the pandemic.
So, what has Lynne learned about herself over the years? She credits one of her biggest lessons as realising you don’t have to be the strict boss.
“You don’t have to try and emulate some other manager that you had because you think that’s how you need to manage. You need to be relatable. You need to show that level of vulnerability I think as a leader so that your people know that it's okay to come to you and that it's okay to tell when they're not okay. Or when they are struggling with something they know that you're approachable.”
When it comes to balancing work and life, Lynne is all about looking after her mental health as well as physical health.
“I think that's really key, and that's something I bring to the business here. I love that I can bring my philosophy and all of that to people, and our team now love it.”
To hear more from Lynne, including what she wished she knew back then as a rookie, listen to the latest episode of Strivin and Thrivin now!
Strivin & Thrivin - Ep30. Jennifer Hankin - Head of Marketing
This week on Strivin & Thrivin, we speak with Jennifer Hankin, Head of Marketing at RecordPoint.
For some people, they might say their career started by stumbling upon something or seeing it in a movie and loving the idea of having a job like that. But for Jen, it started with a vodka bottle. Absolut Vodka to be precise.
Jen found herself sprawling through magazines at a young age and being really drawn to the Absolut ads. This then led her to getting her degree in marketing and advertising, and her first job as a product marketing manager in a publishing company. Jen then made the decision to go to business school to get her MBA.
“For me, going back to business school was about rounding out my management and leadership experience. I was very focused on marketing, but I wanted to understand the other facets of business that I felt would help me as I moved through the leadership journey as a marketer.”
When it comes to marketing, Jen relates to being a marketing generalist rather than a specialist and reassures us it’s not a dirty word! Point being, you really CAN accelerate your career by being a generalist. Being a ‘jack of all trades’ might just be essential to your success, so don’t cancel it out just yet!
Recommended reading: Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialised World - David Esptein.
“I guess what I feel like I bring in is that I bring that like the overarching strategy. I can see how all the bits of pieces pull together and then how marketing influences the rest of the business, and work really closely with those cross-functional stakeholders….I really own the marketing generalist.”
Jen clearly has the experience and drive to start her own business, but is it something she’s keen on doing herself? Not really. But the ideas are there! She jokes her Mum used to tell her that she always got up on her ‘soapbox’ due to her opinionated nature. But Jen credits that to her success - challenging the status quo. Not the worst trait to have as a ‘marketing generalist’ now, is it?!
So, what advice does Jen have for the next keen marketer? Well, it all starts with a mentor - something Jen wishes she had done early on in her career.
“The advice that I've gotten is the advice that I've sought out myself and that I've read. And that's something that I wish I could go back and say to myself, ‘Go get a mentor earlier, go seek those relationships.’ Don't ever stop learning.”
To hear more from Jennifer, including what advice she would say to her younger self , listen to the latest episode of Strivin and Thrivin now!
Strivin & Thrivin - Sponsored by Tech Life Sydney - Ep3. Maria Kojevnikova
Prospa’s Maria Kojevnikova talks to Laura Johnson from Strivin and Neil Gunning from Tech Life Sydney about her career story and lessons learned along the way in this episode of Strivin & Thrivin.
“If I could give my younger self advice, I would tell her not to force herself to continue to operate in an environment that she knows is what she’s naturally excited about or drawn to…”
She started her career in recruitment in fashion and retail on the agency side and transitioned into in-house resourcing roles from there.
What attracted Maria to shift inhouse was a combination of two things:
- Her desire to build longer-standing relationships with candidates once she’s placed them - enjoying the opportunity to, for example, catch up with them during random watercooler chats or celebrating their internal promotions.
- Her instinct to solve strategic business problems using her people-focused lens.
Off the back of this shift, Maria gained more in-depth experience in collaborating with hiring managers and guiding them to help design and deliver a great candidate experience. This is a real opportunity for partnership, explains Maria… As internal talent acquisition, you can perform a much deeper analysis of your hiring manager’s needs. It’s an opportunity to identify what skills gaps exist in the larger team, for example. Partnering with your hiring manager(s) enables talent acquisition to become a trusted partner that can help drive the business objectives - focusing on adding value, rather than just getting a bum on a seat.
A key theme that stands out in this episode with Maria is the value of having a strong network. Maria reminisces, for example, about how she got into the tech industry through a loose connection she had with the husband of a client she was recruiting for. This contact was someone influential in the tech industry, helping her become more familiar with the landscape.
Another example of this is the exposure Maria got to HR through her mother, who was studying HR when Maria was young.
She also reflects on the best advice she’s ever received:
“...people don't remember what you say or what you do, and I think it's a Maya Angelou quote, but it's really how you make them feel…”
Strivin & Thrivin - Sponsored by Tech Life Sydney - Ep2. Jessica Morris
Today, Laura and Neil are joined by Jessica Morris, Head of People and Culture at Reckon.
Jessica is a driven HR professional and genuine people person who has thrived by throwing herself headfirst into every opportunity. Jess discusses her career progression from studying business to becoming the Head of People and Culture at Reckon, highlighting that throughout her journey, people are what make a company amazing.
Jess started her journey at university where she majored in Business Law and HR. Her initial vision was to be a lawyer, identifying a desire to help people but through a limited prism where she didn’t know the scope of different career options. However, after interning, Jess discovered her love for business and changed the trajectory of her path.
Transitioning from academia into the real world of HR, Jess explains the shift from a focus on psychology to placing importance on wellbeing. This change forced Jess to essentially reconsider what she had learnt at university, harbouring the fundamentals while placing more emphasis on being a “really good people person”.
Jess discusses the benefits of opening up a conversation about mental health in the HR space, explaining that it gave her the ability to “bring her whole self to work”. This shift came with a realisation for Jess in terms of her relationship with HR: people trusted her more when she was being authentically herself in the work space.
“I think you should really get to know everyone in a company to succeed.”
Jess’ clarity regarding getting to know people in the workplace informed her decision not to work within agencies. From her first role at Groupon she moved onto an HR Administrator role at IGT and was promoted to HR Business Partner within the year. Here, she worked with a network of people who motivated and mentored her.
The knowledge and confidence Jess gained at IGT inspired her to embrace an unexpected opportunity at her next company when her manager resigned, effectively promoting Jess to HR Advisor. While also discovering her own capability in this role, Jess learnt how to say no to get the most out of herself.
Finally, six years ago, Jess found herself at Reckon. Talking about the transformative journey that Reckon has undergone in this time, she is proud of the upwards trajectory it has taken and her own personal growth.
“My favourite saying is ‘love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life’.”
To hear more from Jess, including her definition of an organic mentor and the tools she uses to grow personally and professionally, listen to the full episode of Strivin and Thrivin.
Strivin & Thrivin - Sponsored by Tech Life Sydney - Ep1. Jamie Finnegan
In his current role, Jamie Finnegan, Finder’s Global Head of Talent, is responsible for the growth of Finder's team while also designing and driving business initiatives to further enhance Finder's unique culture.
This week’s episode of Strivin and Thrivin covers Jamie’s career journey from England to Australia and beyond. Together with Strivin’s Laura Johnson and Tech Life Sydney’s Neil Gunning, Jamie reminisces about starting his career as a recruiter and then moving into the people function.
“I've been very fortunate that the growth has come in many different forms and directions.”
From Jamie’s interview, though, it is clear that this “growth” is not something that simply landed on Jamie’s lap. Instead, it’s something he worked for - often requiring long hours working with different timezones and actively pursuing opportunities for learning.
“Just be a sponge. Just soak up as much as information as you can. Learn from everyone, everyone's going to have a different perspective.”
According to Jamie, these learning opportunities are everywhere. He names numerous people that have been instrumental in his career (and learnings) and talks about the course he is currently participating in, called Redefining HR.
Strivin & Thrivin Ep29. Scott Crowe - Lead Recruiter @ Canva
Today, Laura Johnson is joined by Scott Crowe, Lead Recruiter at Canva.
Scott studied Psychology at university, specialising in Organisational Psychology and Emotional Intelligence, unknowingly laying the foundations for his future career in recruitment. After graduating, Scott travelled for five years before he met the founder of a recruitment agency who got him his first job in recruitment.
Falling into the role, Scott was able to apply his psychology communication skills to recruitment, discovering that his strength lies in storytelling as opposed to sales. Straying away from the transactional side of recruitment, Scott then moved onto an internal position at a new company. Scott differentiates between agency and in-house recruitment by the frank nature of the conversations you can have in-house. By this, he explains that there is no room for over-inflation or to misrepresent a role to a candidate.
“When you're an agency, you place somebody and you don't have to see them at lunch […] in-house you do.”
In 2015, Scott was able to apply this mindset further when he moved to (then) startup company, Canva. Here, Scott saw an opportunity to challenge the status quo and push the boundaries. Commending this notion, he stresses the importance of finding a perfect balance between not being too comfortable and feeling safe enough to try new things. A start-up environment provided this for Scott, allowing him to thrive while maintaining the humility to admit when something didn’t work.
Scott explains how recruiting in-house requires a higher level of engagement and is often a longer lead. Scott checks back in with candidates six months to a year later with new developments and opportunities and even maintains relationships with individuals who did not land the role but may have been suitable from a cultural perspective. This long term focus is something that has helped Scott to thrive in this industry.
“Relationship building is critical to the long term career”.
The career advice that Scott offers links to his attitude towards the importance of a psychological safety net at work, as well as building relationships. Rather than seeking hero status at work, he encourages people to find satisfaction in teamwork.
“People who are successful don't tend to do it by themselves. They tend to do it in a team.”
To hear more from Scott, including his use of the baby analogy and acknowledging when you’re in a role that doesn’t suit your skillset, listen to the latest episode of Strivin and Thrivin now!
Strivin & Thrivin Ep28. Andrew Sully - Co-Founder & Co-CEO at Talenza.
Today, Laura Johnson is joined by Andew Sully, Co-Founder & Co-CEO at Talenza.
Andrew is an experienced recruiter and business leader with an entrepreneurial attitude that has got him to where he is today. Championing change and going against the grain, Andrew explains how a rich career, working across multiple industries, has allowed him to perfect his customer service-centric business model.
Andrew’s proactive, entrepreneurial flair was clear from his time at university, 20 years ago. Identifying an opportunity, Andrew and a friend set up a painting and decorating business to assist their landlord while they were at university. This is where Andrew’s entrepreneurial drive and ability to evolve in the professional world began.
Andrew’s natural confidence with people led him to consider a range of careers from the police force to sales. Moving from Newport, Wales to Australia, Andrew secured a position at recruitment agency, SThree. Here, he was thrown in head first and exposed to invaluable experience, learning as he went along. As his time working at SThree drew to a close, Andrew admits that he knew he had to do something for himself, having learnt from the good, the bad and the ugly at this global business.
“They just lost their way around customer experience and what made them successful in the first place. They just didn't change and pivot the business model enough.”
Andrew is a firm believer of evolving in business, continually stressing the importance of learning and growing. Rejecting the notion that revenue should prevent internal evaluation, he explains how he has learnt to prioritise customer satisfaction in order to help his own business, Talenza, thrive.
Setting up Talenza in 2016, Andrew pledged to place customer satisfaction, teamwork and values at the center of his business model. Andrew candidly explains how he was forced to reevaluate and analyse whether Talenza was staying true to these values when Covid-19 hit. Adopting a refreshingly optimistic take, he admits that this crisis allowed him to pivot and evolve.
“If you're not learning, and you're not growing and you're not driving some sort of change in yourself, then you'll never stay at the top of the game.”
To hear more from Andrew, including how he manages to escape from work, listen to the latest episode of Strivin and Thrivin now!