Prioritizing happiness over success allows Great Work to be way of life

Do Great Work. 

What does that really mean? 

Dr. Amanda Crowell calls it work that matters the most to you. 

I believe it is also about doing work that will matter to others.  

Crowell says it might involve building a business, inciting a movement, creating breathtaking art, writing world-changing books, or helping other people to heal and grow into their potential. 

She also says what matters most is to get YOUR Great Work out into the world, where it belongs.

It is vital you Show UP, but first you need to sign up and suit up.

You must have the right mindset and then you have to do the work needed!  

According to Amanda Crowell’s website, there are 3 steps we can all follow to do our Great Work:

  1. Read Great Work
    • “Great Work is 50% insight, 50% on-the-ground tactics. I’ll help you figure out what your Great Work is, and then help you do it without overwhelm or sacrifice.”
  2. Master the Strategies
    • “Nothing changes if nothing changes. But, change how you spend the days and moments of your life and watch your life transform.”
  3. Leave a Legacy
    • “Great Work isn’t about productivity hacking. It’s a way of life.  From your commitment to Great Work, you will leave the world a little better than you found it. And you’ll love doing it.”

Dr. Crowell was on #ShowUP with GailNow LIVE recently and we definitely agreed on the power of showing up to do … Great Work! 

Crowell is a cognitive psychologist.  “I study and think about how people learn. So how do we go from people who don’t know things …to people who do know how to do those things? Like what is required? How do you have to change? Who do you need to know? What are the skills? So that’s been my area of expertise for a very long time, decades.”

And I became a coach about 10 years ago, when I realized that a lot of these cognitive skills, particularly the kind that we use in schools, could be applied to help people do what they most wanted to do. So depending on the person that could start a business, it could finally begin to write their book or start painting again, or, get into a different kind of career. “

And it doesn’t mean diving into “hustle culture”. 

“The problem comes when hustle is the rule instead of the exception to the rule. Great work is usually work that involves creativity, innovation, problem-solving, collaboration.  All of those skills are 21st century skills, those are the skills of the innovation economy.  If you don’t have them, you will struggle. If you have them, though, you can be wildly successful.”

Crowell says the undercurrent of all of those skills is resilience. You can’t be successful  when you’re exhausted and burned out, she says. 

“I think we have enough mediocrity in the world because everyone’s exhausted. So instead, what I really want is for people to be strategic about their lives, and create an environment where rest and recovery is built in. And I know that first of all, you’ll just be happier.

 But I have found that people have a very difficult time kind of prioritizing their happiness over their success. So what I’m here to tell you is you will be more successful. It  is more efficient to give yourself a chance to recover so that you can actually bring the juice to your great work and be the one with the new ideas.  Be the one who sparks innovation, be the one people  can hand off big problems to and you can make it happen. “

In manufacturing, change and stress are inevitable – so it is vital to protect your greatest resource (people) and also take time to reflect, assess and review that question: What is your great work? 

Great Work also requires a process! 

Crowell references “accessible aspiration” which is where others have done it before and can kind of tell you how to do it. There’s no guarantee that you’ll succeed, but you are familiar with it enough to take it on. 

Then you start to map out 90 day plans, monthly plans, daily and then eventually even hourly plans.

“Not everybody’s great work involves inventing the iPhone, but everybody’s great work can make you feel better about your own life. You will also be more innovative and resilient,” Crowell says. 

Manufacturers often work behind the scenes on great projects – making tools and parts for the cars we drive, the phones we rely on, the planes we step into, the medical devices that save lives. In moldmaking and automation, we often say we are the people who make things that make things.  

And yet, even with all this great work, too many are not talking about it! 

They are not celebrating their wins or even just explaining what it takes for us to have so many products so necessary to our lives. 

Crowell says Great Work is often already close at hand.

“It really isn’t about letting me teach you how to do this Great Work. It’s more about letting me help you realize that it’s in you already: you have the skills and the interest; you have the curiosity. All you need to do is just turn the lens and look at your work differently. And then it is getting that action plan.”

The Action Plan

That is also vital to bringing great work to life!


I met Amanda at Heroic Public Speaking – and we have continued to stay in touch and even attended an event in Toronto in 2019.

As you can see doing Great Work also requires having fun too!! 


TRANSCRIPT –  From Otter.AI   

(Direct transcription – non-edited version) 


work, people, book, hustle, talk, amanda, life, story, manufacturing, skills, podcast, great, idea, curiosity, important, world, year, person, helped, find


Hello, Happy Wednesday, and welcome to show up with GailNow Live.  As you know, we talk a lot about stories, the power of stories, and today we’re going to be getting into the power of stories to help you do your great work. My name is Gail Robertson and I am Chief curiosity officer with GailNow, I help manufacturers tell and share their story. Often they find this difficult because they sometimes don’t even recognize their great stories. So I use a three step process signup, suit up and show up. And the tool to help you work through those steps, curiosity. 

And each week on my show, I like to have guests that come on that can help not just manufacturers but others as well, to be able to find ways to celebrate their stories and own their power and show up. Because when you show up, that’s where the magic can happen. I want to welcome our next guest who I have known and met through something called heroic public speaking. We’re going to talk a little bit about this because attending that was really more than just learning about public speaking, it was also doing a deep dive into so many issues.

 And I’m sure our next guests will talk about what impact that had on her life. And she certainly has had a tremendous impact on my life and the work that I’m doing. And interestingly, the topic that we’re going to be talking about is great work.

 Dr. Amanda is someone who can help others find and celebrate and pull out their great work and find ways to do it. I would like to welcome to the stage duncton Anna, Dr. Amanda Crowell is in the house. Amanda, let’s start with you are a newly minted new book out you have a new book out. I love the title. And I’m going to put this up because I have it here and then you can show us the book to just find it with that. Let’s see. We got what I did. 

Here we are, the title of your book is great work. Do what matters most. without sacrificing everything counts. That’s right. Okay. Now there’s a lot to talk about Amanda with what you do you hear the dog barking dogs sitting right now. So Willie is here. Oh, there we are. He wants to do great work for you. Does he? Oh, yeah, there we go. There we go. He’s got the Do you know what I’ve been dogs in a couple days. And I just think he never bought here early. I’m a barks. Except when you go live. That’s what. So let’s talk about what you do. Let’s give a little synopsis about who you are your introduction in your words.


Yeah. So I’m a cognitive psychologist, which is not a therapist, although lots of people think I’m a therapist. I really study and think about how people learn. So how do we go from people who don’t know things like how to do things, in particular, to people who do know how to do those things? Like what is required? How do you have to change? Who do you need to know? What are the skills? So that’s been my area of expertise for a very long time, decades. And I became a coach about 10 years ago, when I realized that a lot of these cognitive skills, particularly the kind that we use in schools, could be applied to help people do what they most wanted to do. 

So depending on the person that could start a business, it could finally begin to write their book or start painting again, or can be like, you know, get into a different kind of career. Often, it’s helping people build an expert services practice, like how to serve clients? Like how do we get into that kind of stuff?

 And in the last two years, I’ve been focusing on bringing kind of those two things together, how do what are the skills and the insights that make it possible for people to do what they’ve always wanted to do, which is the phenomenon I call great work, the work that’s calling you from the inside, that might feel like your purpose, your passion, your reason for being lots and lots and lots of people have silenced that voice pushed that work to the side, don’t give themselves the time or the space to do it. 

And for many, many, many of them, it feels like they had no choice in the matter. And so this book is here to sort of incite the revolution, that smaller changes than you think can actually get you into your great work and how truly sort of illuminating and invigorating it can be when you start to


As I mentioned at the start, we met at heroic public speaking and I remember some early discussions when you said about curiosity and and sometimes you know, other people see things that we don’t see about ourselves as well. And one of the things I’ve always found really amazing about you is your ability to get in there and like this, you can zero in and help pull out for people what the great work is. And you’re also very direct which I love. I love that about you that you know you have a lot of power and you spoke about this I know in I think it was in a podcast where you said not everybody will like your style as well. Right? And so in terms of some of the bumps along the way, do you want to talk about anything that as you were doing this because you talk about you know, we live in a hustle culture. How dare you say people shouldn’t maybe hustle because you know, it’s about drive do more work harder, you know? And we celebrate almost like Oh, I’m busy and it’s like this busy get the PGA


Oh,  I’m busier than you are. Well, I am the busiest No, I am a bit Yes, yeah, it’s like this badge of honor. Yeah. Yeah, I, I do speak out against that. And I get a lot of pushback, because there’s a lot of evidence in the world, a lot of the most successful people, when you ask them, How did you get here? What they say is I worked harder than anyone I showed up earlier, I stayed later. And I don’t deny, as a, you know, recovering perfectionist and overworking myself that that is a way that you can be successful. It is. But my question is, at what cost? So, and when we move out depends on what you’re hoping to accomplish. Because if what you’re hoping to accomplish is doing a lot, then hustle is a successful strategy, like you’re dead on the side of the road, but your To Do lists are all checked off. But is that what we really want, because if you’re really seeking to do great work, which is the work that matters the most to you, that’s calling you from the inside, it’s a different set of skills that are required. And sometimes hustling needs to be brought off the bench, right? Like, I’m going to be on Shark Tank next week. That’s not I’m not, I’m just saying, 

I can’t imagine that you’re gonna be on Shark Tank next week. And you need to prepare. And like you just, you’re just, you just need to, okay, hustle, if you must, right, I got you to give my stamp of approval. But the problem becomes one hustle is the rule instead of the exception to the rule. And that’s a spirits hustle as a way of life is especially detrimental to great work, because great work is usually work that involves creativity, innovation, problem solving, collaboration. And those skills are, first of all, ask, like any researcher or anybody on the National Chamber of Commerce, those are the 21st century skills, those are the skills of the innovation economy, you don’t have them, you will struggle. If you have them, though, you can be wildly successful. But the undercurrent of all of those skills is resilience. You can’t like when you’re exhausted and burned out. And just trying to finish your brain physiologically is not even going to give you a chance to be innovative or creative because it is taking the path of least resistance to be done. And then that means that the work that you do is tap of least resistance work, which sometimes is okay. But often at the heart of your great work, you want to different kinds of contribution, you want to be the one with the new ideas, you want to be the one who sees the connection, nobody else sees you want to be the one who’s got the new idea that’s going to change the Syrah that change the focus of things. And that requires that you not be utterly exhausted. So really, the truth is, people are like, you are just this. Maybe my favorite people get mad at about this one all the time. My favorite accusation was that I was a champion of the mediocre. You just want people to be mediocre, balanced, right? I’m like, oh, no, no, I think we have enough mediocre in the world because everyone’s exhausted. So instead, what I really want is for people to be strategic about their lives, and create an environment where rest and recovery is built in. And I know that first of all, you’ll just be happier. But I have found that people have a very difficult time kind of prioritizing their happiness over their success. So what I’m here to tell you is you will be more successful, it is more efficient, your ideas will be


all of this to say the most efficient, most effective, most like strategic thing you can do the secret is to give yourself a chance to recover so that you can actually bring the juice to your great work and be the one with the new ideas be the one who sparks innovation be the one you can hand off big problems to and you can make it happen.


You know that is? It’s interesting because just today  I tagged you in a text and there’s Dan Bigger who I know through manufacturing.  He’s been in sales and he is someone who is driven he’s on socially he would show up    But he posted today something that I think was very telling about maybe this tide shifting and I thought it was interesting that we’d be talking to you about this how out of find that more of that balance, because if you’re driven all the time, that’s when health issues come up. And I remember my last job that I worked at, as a marketing manager.  My boss said, I want you to just take time to think … don’t always be going. When I do take time,  go for a bike ride,  stop, do something that’s not work related. That’s when the most ideas come in. And yet, we fight against that often, we are just, I’ll spend one more hour, one more hour doing it. So do you think there is something like this book coming out? Now? Do you think this is like, there is a tide turning that people are like this? Do you think it’s anything to do with the pandemic? Do you think people have had an awakening or having one? It’s a


good question. I think that awakening began as the sort of way of life of not to be too like, I don’t know scholarly about it. But sort of what’s as the tide of the Industrial Revolution kind of went back out, right, where the needs in the workforce shifted, and the resources shifted with it, right. So there weren’t as many jobs very few, in fact, jobs where you were really just required to be a cog in the wheel, right, like that kind of contribution wasn’t as needed. And I think that that was when hustle and productivity in the idea of being sort of a, the next big thing became the pathway to prosperity and, and success and freedom. And so that was sort of the upturn. And then I think we reached the point where we realized a few things like this are actually interesting, because it sort of parallels my own personal story, which is okay. Should I just maybe tell that because it might help? Yeah,


Yeah, let’s get that because we met, I think, like, when you were going through a lot.  So I’ve seen this, like, wow, I’m seeing like, a change that, which is why I wanted you on the show, because I think a lot of people may be going through something, especially around health issues. I think people are so driven that they then start having Yes, mic issues, neck issues, headache,


And autoimmune problems. I had a sort of two stage awakening to this whole thing. The first was that I got into a job that just require a lot of hustle, it was a or at least I thought at the time, I thought the only way through this hustle, the only way that I can be the kind of perfectionist and contributor that I want it to be meant that I needed to work every night and every weekend period.

 So that was my first sort of introduction to how, you know, hustle gone wrong, because previously, I was just maybe in positions where the workload was just distributed differently or something, I was still working really hard. But I didn’t feel this like attack on my wellness that I felt when I was in consulting. 

And so anyways, while I was in consulting, I was in that role for like, I think three and a half years and the first like 767 months, I was just getting my feet underneath me. And then there was like a year where I was just trying to do it perfectly. And by the end of that year, I was super stressed out like it was spring in this was a consulting company that worked with schools and schools are famous for taking on a project in the fall, not doing anything on it until January and then freaking out until it has to be done by the end of the school year. So this is  April, May, right. And every single project was just hitting on all cylinders. 

And I was just really maxed to the max. I hadn’t taken a weekend or a night off for months, and I woke up one Saturday morning, and I was like, My chest hurts. I have a headache, I’m stressed. And I ended up actually going to the hospital because I thought it was having a heart attack. And I was like, I think I was 37 at the time, something like that. 

So it’s processed very quickly, as happens if you think you’re having a heart attack that young and they said no, it’s not a heart attack. It’s a panic attack. And I remember like, I just remember like yesterday walking outside and realizing Wait a second. It’s a beautiful day. And my kids were there singing Spongebob Squarepants theme songs and my husband was worried about me and it’s like I woke back up from a terrible dream in my life. I was like what is yes, dog that’s right really

So I kind of woke back up to my life, which was the first kind of wake up call. So what happened then is I did what people do in the world of productivity, I went and got things done, which, of course, is David Allen’s famous book, which was very helpful. And I became the most efficient person I knew, I was suddenly much less stressed, I knew how to manage my workflow, I had systems, structures, processes, everything, like I was so efficient. And I was getting things done. And my boss was happy, and my clients were happy, and I thought I was happy to. And then when you’re efficient, you create a little space in your life. 

And you think that like, as a normal person, I will use that time to like, rest. And I don’t know, do macrame projects on this? No, what I did was start a business. I then built this coaching practice, on the side of consulting that I changed my job to move into another one. And built this business alongside having a full time job. And I got extremely efficient, like, I use those skills, man, I rocked those skills. I was like, nonetheless, there comes a point where no matter how efficient you are, you run out of time. 

And that’s what happened to me.

 When we met. Actually. What had happened was, not only was I working full time and doing he wrote public speaking, which is an amazing, very intense program. I also had been offered a book deal. So I was coaching, working, doing my own public speaking and trying to write what I wrote, I did in fact, write a book proposal. And you were there you actually I think, you know, copy edited was one two weeks. …


So I will actually take this time while Amanda is getting some water. I’m going to share a couple of photos here. I have one photo here. Let me just find it so.

 So Amanda and I made it her public speaking which was so much more than public speaking and when a man is telling her story. 

For those of you in manufacturing, what this really means is that I want to win a man because back to we’ll talk more about that, how does this apply in your world? 

So for manufacturers, sometimes we get so busy doing so many things that we don’t really start to focus on the most important projects … our great work. 

So whether it’s Amanda’s story is more individual. But this applies to you could be working in a new role at a company, whether a sales role, a marketing role, or even an operations role, and you get into trying to do so many things. And I know I’m in it. That’s what I do when I was in a role …  felt so weird to not be working all the time. 

Andwhile you’re drinking water and catching up. I want to show something. Hold on This is a little flashback and then we’ll come back to your story. Let me just find Ah, did here. Here we go. This lets me find it. Okay. Remember this? Yes. And there is Miss Melissa at the far right now Melissa has gone on to have a child and reason I wanted to bring this up is she’s I’ve been following her journey and as a new mom and how that has changed her perspective on the world because as you know, to she was there it still is driven but now has been able to see life a little differently. 

And I just think that picture of the three of us is you know a lot. There’s our snapshot in time where we were at. And then let’s do one other. 

Let’s show this just a little fun interlude here Toronto member that I do have air so this is about finding time to have fun in the midst of all chaos. Okay, so now you’ve had some water, we come back and take a little commercial break. Wait, before we go on. There’s a couple. Let me see if there’s any new comments, please. We mostly have some back. Oh, we do have Valerie that’s joined in? Well, we have a couple of new people. So Valerie is from Faulkner, New York. Do you know where that is? Is that you? Do you know? Do you know Valerie? She’s in New York.

Welcome Valerie and then James Kugel, also though we know each other through networking and manufacturing. And what’s really interesting with this show is the diversity of have people that come out and you know, because at the end of the day, we all have some interest in, you know, a lot of people that come out, as you can find, are really interested in how they can, you know, do things differently, look at the world differently. They’re very, they’re, they’re, I think, fellow curiosity seekers as well. So, back to your story, where do we leave off? You’ve got one.


Let me set the stage… I was working, writing my speech. And then I was writing this book proposal. And when I, after it, like, it was almost immediate, as soon as I sent the book proposal off, and it was like with the publishers or whatever, my knee swelled up. And I was like, well, that’s weird. I had, I was like, Oh, I must have banged it. But then the other ones swelled up, and then my shoulders got really sore. And then my ankles got really sore. And then my elbow got really, really sore. And I was like, what is happening? And what was happening was my body was retaliating against this craziness. So I think there are no stages to it, there’s like, you’re working too hard. And then you get like, you know, and then you lose way back here, way, way back here. You lose innovation, creativity, the ability to collaborate, well, your resilience, your happiness, right? All those things that don’t matter, you lose those ways back here. And then somewhere around here, you start getting headaches and back pains. And you know, we’re all like not paying attention to it. Weaknesses for the dead or whatever. And then eventually, my experience has been, in my experience talking to many other people is that eventually you, it’s your body, that will just take you down, just No, no more of this. 

And that’s what happened to me. I had a, no one was able to name it. 

Unfortunately, I was able to beat it back by really stopping him dead in my tracks and saying, What have I done? And what am I? This was the most important part, because Preet my previous realization was about, here’s what I have to do, how can I do it? And I learned a lot. Right? productivity tips can take you a long way. 

This was the moment where I really learned the value of stopping and saying, What do I want to do? Why am I here? What am I? What am I really after? And what am I willing to let go of, so that I can have that instead. And it was a process of and that’s really where great work kind of came in as a concept in my life where I was like, I know for sure like you’re only on this planet for a while. The other thing that happens when you have an autoimmune freak out, is you realize like, oh, you know how everyone says that humans die? They were talking about me like I am going today? Not? Yeah, my grandmother, you know, likes it, but literally me? And if that’s true, which sadly, it seems like it might be? What am I going to do with my one wild and precious life? And it was probably what I realized was I was giving all of myself over to meetings, and emails and other people’s priorities and other people’s expectations and that I needed a massive restructuring of my thoughts. Now did it require that I massively restructure my life? Actually, what it required was that I massively restructure my thoughts, and then make different choices.


Okay, I’m gonna stop there, because that is so key. 

And in my three step process, which is sign up, suit up and show up, the first step is sign up. And it’s all about mindset, because you can’t do the other two until you get your mind and your thoughts and this is something that people skip over. And they don’t often realize how powerful the voices in our head are that what we tell ourselves and how it can have such an impact on you know, and going back to the theme here, which is great work.

 And I do want to skip over Nancy, because your story is really powerful. The reason I want you to tell it is because I’m sure there’s people including Catherine Joining us now. I don’t know if Katherine says I was joining this to speak to me, thank you for sharing that. Kathy. I think it’s really good when people can just like what happened sharing what Dan Biggar shared is that you know, to be able to say, yeah, that is me and and what’s key is sometimes your justice before it gets worse as well. Right? That’s really, really key and going back again. So because we want to get into some tips for especially for those in manufacturing, that may be maybe they’re not writing a book, maybe they’re not looking at starting as side business, but they may be managing a team, they may be wanting to to start a new project, they may be coming into a new job. And great work for everybody listening, one of the things I’ve learned from Amanda is that great work can depend on your situation. So your great work may be about writing a book, your great work could be that you want to go paint, your great work could be launching a new product in your plant, like great work can be whatever, that also gives you joy in it. Like for me, I find great work when I went out and talked to women in aerospace. And the week before though, I was having tremendous doubts like, Oh, my God, what have I done? What have I set up for this?” And then I did a rehearsal. And it was, everything fell apart, I missed apart everything. And it’s almost like the dress rehearsal right for the theater. Yeah. And I went out there. And I realized how many people, men and women that came up to me, and were, were holding back on doing their great work and on showing up. And I think that’s where what you’re doing, what I’m doing is showing up the great work, and when I talked about too, is that you have a duty to yourself and to others to show up. So let’s talk about now your book and your journal, because I’d like to switch over a little bit to okay, we know that if you’re for people that are listening, they’re going, Ah, okay, I’m either there, or I’m on the road to my body, you know, not working as well. And that’s both physically, spiritually mentally. There’s so many aspects of what happens when your body starts. Yeah, it gives you signs. Oh, yeah. Let’s get into some more tangible tips, recommendations, obviously, by your book by the journal, but you had to pick a couple of things. And I do, I would like you to drop them, because I think there’s people that may be interested. And so we’ll drop that into the comments. But what are some things if they do nothing else, but they tuned in right now? And they’re like, where do I start? It’s all well and good. Amanda’s told her story, but she’s like a rock star. So she knows what she was doing. What do you tell people that are sitting there going? I don’t know where to begin?

32:24 AMANDA 

Yeah, it’s a good question. And it depends a little bit on what the person is struggling with. Right. So some, I find that people sort of show up at my doorstep struggling with one of two things. One is like, I don’t know what my great work is. Or, I do know what my great work is. And I cannot get to it, because I have a family and a sick mother and three kids. And, and and and. And so if the problem is that you’re not sure what your great work is, or you feel like some people have great work, but I’m just not one of those people, I think there’s, I would say that the real solution to that. One is to believe in your great work, that there is something inside of you that you are being called to do like not necessarily called by an outside person, but called from inside of you the thing that captivates you, and it isn’t what you were pointing out like, it doesn’t have to be a creative work, it doesn’t have to be a I don’t know, like a massive accomplishment doesn’t have to be a New York Times bestseller, or a Broadway show that sells out or even at the corner office for the CEO. Instead, it’s about what lights you up, and makes you feel excited and makes you feel like, Oh, this is cool. I could do this, this is for me. So believe in that. Because I know for sure that it’s there. I’ve never had a conversation. I’ve had many people tell me they don’t have it. And then we have some conversations and there might be crying. And then they’re like, yes, you’re right I do. Now, just because you know what your great work is doesn’t necessarily mean that you know how to do it. So in doing great work, I think that here’s what I think is like a starting point for anybody thinking about doing great work. It’s a little bit about understanding the levels of the ideas that you might have. So let’s say like if you’re in manufacturing, and you want to I actually don’t know enough about manufacturing to think of a good example, like,


it could be launching a new product, like if you have a new product, and you’re really excited that you think you have a solution to a problem in the industry. That could be


right and you want your company to greenlight your project, right?


Okay, you have an idea and you’re bringing it to the senior executive say, okay,

34:43 AMANDA 

so, in your mind when you’re like in the shower, going on that run or I can whatever, you have these sort of images of like you at the company, you know, annual meeting, getting the award for best idea of the year or whatever, right and that is valuable, because that fits at the level that I would call and lots of everybody calls really vision. So if you think of ideas as sort of this upside down, triangle, the very top level of it is vision. And vision is like, what gets you out of bed, right? It’s like it’s the, it’s the gap between where you are and where you want to be, it gets you excited. And the only thing that you need to do with vision is to amp it up, like really go all in and imagine what you would say in your speech. Imagine the look on your wife’s face, whatever, there you are vision, but don’t try to work towards a vision all by itself. This is one of the things that I think makes people feel the most like they have failed at their goals. Because they’re like, I have an hour, you know, done all the rest of my work, I do have this hour at the end of my workday, like how do I get to have the best idea of the year in an hour. So there’s all this space in between the vision that gets you excited and gets you out of bed and what you can do in an hour. So that’s the space we need to fill in. So in the next, you know, year, let’s say you want somebody to greenlight your project, I don’t know what the timelines are in manufacturing, but let’s just say like somebody said, it’ll take about a year to get some approval or whatever. Okay. So that’s what I would call the accessible aspiration, people have done it before people can kind of tell you how to do it, there’s no guarantee that you’ll succeed. But you kind of know what it is you’re doing right? Now we’re in a more concrete like goal related space. Underneath that is what can I do in the next 90 days? Right? So we’re like, Okay, once a month to approve it, and about a year. So what can I do in the next 90 days is probably something like a combination of I need to find out what the process is, find out who the people are, and get my hands on a couple sample proposals. That’s right. So if that’s what we’re gonna do in the next 90 days, and we’ve got 490 day cycles, you can imagine how the next cycle is, like you’re putting together your proposal, the one after that you’re getting feedback and fixing it, and the one after that someone approves it, right? I don’t know if that sounds reasonable. So that’s the 90 day goal. And we want that 90 Day goal to feel like in the literal next three months, what could I make the space for? Then this week? How can I get a little closer to my 90 Day goal? So I am going to talk to the one person I know who has gotten one of these projects approved. And so what am I going to do today, I’m gonna go remember what I know about that guy, I’m gonna like, go look at his LinkedIn, see what kind of jobs he’s had before talk to a few people prepare for the, for the outreach, because maybe he’s an important person, right? Like, if you’ve got one of these projects approved, you probably need to know who he is, and what he’s up to his history a little bit. So you want to do a little research. So now you have an hour to somehow get closer to having the number one idea of the year, you know what to do with it. And that is how you start to feel both calm enough to get started like I am not asking man to curl is not asking you to quit your job and immerse yourself in an intensive program. And like no, you don’t have to pivot, you don’t have to go crazy. All you have to do is really understand where you’re at, and then start chipping away at it. How do you chip away at it? So a 90 Day goal that makes some sense to somebody doesn’t have to be right, just get started and set something I can do this week. And the great news is that the guy you talk to this week, assuming he says yes, he either says yes. Or he says no talk to Joe instead, right? Like you’re on the path, you’re in the flow. And now all the rest of the work all the rest of the skills that have great work, of which there are a few and nobody has my birth. Now you can learn them. Because the truth is you can’t learn how to do great work until you’re doing it. So you can’t succeed in advance. You have to get it and then ride the wave of it.

39:07 GAIL 

Now you also have a podcast so I think I’ve been listening to your podcasts and I would highly recommend let’s put a link in there because if you know a podcast you can also listen to instead of you know take an hour out of your Netflix watching time listen to podcasts when I find podcasts now I do sometimes when I’m doing dishes because I need to order new dishwasher lots of stories so I thought washing the distance you know what people say oh, it’s gonna be very you know, like, you can visualize do this and I do not find it that way. I do not find this piece that comes with washing my dishes. So I’m  okay, because I wanted to see how long can I get away without now I need a dishwasher. But right now when I do actually this is I listen to a podcast and when I’m making dinner, listen to a podcast. So check out Amanda’s podcast because I know you have some guests. And there’s so many people I could mention. I know we just talked about Darcy Webb. Darcy is amazing. Darcy is a voice coach but DARS She’s also a how do we describe Garza? She’s like, she inspires her, she helps you use your voice. But again, it’s more than just that. It’s yeah. It’s about how, like a lot of voice coaches, you just talk about your voice right here and here. And she is whole. It’s a transformational experience. Yes, yes. Great. I have to say Darcy is one of those people you meet in life that you just, you just want to. She sparkles like there’s a guy who is just kind of being around or all these like, I’m always in awe, because she will. She will work with someone and you just watch just by their, how they move their shoulders or their back and how all of a sudden their voice and their empowerment changes. So that’s Darcy, another person, AJ Harper, let’s talk about AJ because, yeah. AJ is also someone who’s doing great work out front, but also behind the scenes, she works with so many people. So let’s do a little bit of a shout out to AJ and why it’s important to have people like that in your life to help you do great work.

41:09 AMANDA 

Yeah. Well, that’s, well, AJ is amazing. She’s actually the person who gave me the structure in the process to finally get the book written. The truth is that that book that I got sick of doing, went to a publishing house, and then that whole thing fell apart. And I was like, a tragedy. And then I was like, how now I’ve got this book idea, like, what am I going to do with it, so I will write it myself. And that is about as far as I got, because I didn’t know how to write a book. So AJ is actually the person I would credit with giving me a structure and a system away from writing the book. And if she did do a developmental edit on my book as well, and helped it go from like, pretty good to like, I think really, really good. So it is amazing. And you know, AJ, Mike, good. Nino Darcy Webb, you, you’ve been on podcast, everybody who’s been on my podcast is there because they’ve done great work. And it’s not something it’s a little counterculture, actually, to say that everybody has great work in them, more than one person has sent me a sort of out of the side of their mouth email informing me that, yeah, some people have great work. And it’s, I’m glad that you do, but not everyone does. And I’m like, I just disagree with you. And not everybody’s great work involves inventing the iPhone, but everybody’s great work, you can feel better about your life, by just doing the work that makes you feel good. And, you’ll be more innovative and resilient. And whatever, like that kind of stuff happens to make you happier, you’re better, you get more money, you get more more promotions, like that is just the truth. And you need people around you that can inspire you and remind you and not drag you back down into the way that the world kind of holds, you know, the coal mines version of working where you just sort of trudged through it. And when you’re talking about it, you complain. And we’re not all doing that. And if you can find the people who are even doing, maybe not the job they want to do, but if you hold it in a different way, it can feel so much better. And that really is also the pathway to the work that does feel better is doing the work you have now in a more, you know, whatever, like better collaboration, better communication, more innovation, more insight, more creativity.

43:37 GAIL 

And, you know, interesting what you said about the reason I wanted to bring up people like Doris in ages that it’s also important to reach out and get help and ask for help. And a lot of people are very reluctant to do that. I guess, because I was a reporter for so many years, like, my job was to go find other people that had answers. So I would call up people’s ahead. And so I carried that’s a transferable skill that I carried over because I can’t do this alone. And I think some people think it’s almost like that hustle and resilience that I’ll just, you know, power through by myself. And it’s really important that you go because AJ also helped me when I was doing my speaker reel on narrowing. She could you know, when you get stuck, because I always say, just like you talked about great work. I talked about the power of story and sharing books and telling your story. So I do a lot of social media, digital and, and in manufacturing, so many people in manufacturing, they’re doing great work. But they’re not talking about it. They’re not sharing it. They’re not telling their story. And then what happens is it looks like Oh, only a few people have asked us to do that instead of like, No, you can have that as well. But you’re going to have to do what you need to plan and I think that’s what your journal talks about too. Right? Is that you We’re breaking it down into bite sized pieces, as opposed to saying, I want to create this item. And then because you can spend a whole year thinking about it, and


end up in the same place that you started


it up in the same place. So I also want to just do that. What is the importance of doing that you still need to hustle, you’re not saying not do it, it’s just, well, 12 months a year, like if you’re always on?

45:24 AMANDA 

Well, and maybe I find Gail, like, I’m shocked to report this, me from five years ago would be shocked to hear me today saying this, I actually don’t think you have to hustle very much at all. And I know that that sounds, I’ll get all kinds of emails about this, like the truth, like I find that if you’re strategic about your life, and you are making good choices, and you’re organizing yourself so that you know you’re making progress on things. Still, some things will happen because other people aren’t great at managing themselves and they have a crisis. And then you get pulled into their crisis. Because as part of that kind of stuff, so happens, of course, but you can actually if you know how to do this, you can be a grounding force, even on that project. So that now it becomes more like processing more systems, like, here’s what we need to do, here’s how we can do it, maybe push that timeline back that voice of, you know, there’s a way to do what we want to do, let’s make strategic choices about it, which is really what I kind of in general advocate for whether you’re the manager of a team, be that voice for your team, we can do this much. And I will protect you from having the maelstrom of downward pressure. That’s what ‘s really in literature and in my experience is what makes a great manager: they sort of protect their people like an umbrella, right? And then they give you that if you’re able to do that your team loves you. And if you’re able to do that, you are quickly moved up the ranks and corporate because there’s not a lot of people who can pull back and see the bigger sort of forces of what’s happening and the bigger strategy and like, actually force the conversation about what are we really hoping to accomplish? What are our priorities? Here’s how I see this impacting the timeline. People who are able to surface those kinds of conversations and navigate them well, are quickly moved up in organizations and get bigger and bigger teams because it’s such a rare skill. So yes, yes, you will, you need to keep that hustle ability, sort of in your back pocket for when you need it. But really, this has a massive calming effect on your organization, on your life, on your family, on your health. It really impacts every part of your life. And of course, it’s different for as you mentioned, I think it’s the beginning. It’s different for different people, what’s going to work for you depends on who you are. And in the book, my favorite chapter, actually is chapter five, which is discovering how you specifically do great work. It was one of my nemesis or Nemesis Nemesis is MSI is like this dogmatic commitment to high performance productivity tips. Because it gives you like, not just one, but hundreds of ways to fail. You’re like, well, I didn’t, I didn’t. How can you eat the frog and ease into your day? Like, how can you do great work? And to be a good networker is so deep work and to be a good networker. Yeah. And I have taken to seeing all of these great people with their wonderful ideas. I really love all the people with the ideas as my research and development arm for my own productivity. Tell me what has worked for you. And I will try it. And I will put together my own magic elixir of what works for me. And then I’ll share with others about what works for me. And then if we all hold it a little more loosely, we can land in a place where we can do amazing things. People will be looking at you with amazement in their eyes. How do you do so much, which is the way they look at me? Right? And I say by doing that by being clear about what I’m doing. So a lot of things, getting busy staying in action, accepting that failure is part of it. Always. You and I share a love for the growth mindset. And really the core of the growth mindset is effort over time with help, what does it take to learn something effort over time with help? So if you just rock those three things, I’ll just keep working on it. I’ll give it the time required for me to get better over time and I will ask for help when I need it. You can do things that people will tell you all day long. You don’t have time for that. That’s not a good thing to innovate. If you don’t know how to do it, you should just give up. No, just do it differently. That’s what I say.

49:41 Gail 

I love that. I’m just but I’ve run out of time. I need to redo some of my banners because I have so many that it says oh you’ve reached I really want to put this one though. Let me see I’ve managed over time with Help. Yes. Those are the three here for overtime with help. That is so key and that with help. I cannot say enough about how important that is. And that. I mean, I think we get into this whole lone wolf idea too. It’s like, Yeah, but they’ve usually still often there’s a pack, like, have the bigger picture at times. So I do want to go back. There was a comment here that I think is really important. She says, You can’t do great work until you do the work.


Yes, exactly. The difference between people who want to be doing great work, and the people who are doing great work. Isn’t the people who are doing great work, are doing great work.

50:39 GAIL

Yeah. And you said something, you know, important too, because I know what you’ve said, Me, oh, you know, you’re everywhere. You do so many things. But I’m doing things I love. An interesting sort of today I just and I’m doing a shout out to Electrozad, , which is a company here in Windsor, let me just take this down here. And they haven’t barbecued today. So I was getting ready. I actually rode my bike for an early morning meeting today. And then I did a few things that I thought I should prepare for the show. But I thought, well, I’m talking Oh, man, I’ve already done my preparation. So I was like, I really wanted to go to this, you know, barbecue, and that. So I decided, You know what, I’m okay to go. Because I can give myself that grace, do it. And you know what it was the best thing. I ended up seeing three people. I knew it was a great experience, made a couple of more connections and still made it back home to do the show. And it’s all about finding that you know what works for you. Because some people don’t like doing that. And if they could get out of going to that event they wouldn’t. Whereas I’m like, I love that that’s and it’s just Sure enough, you know what, it gives me energy to do that. And as long as I can still get my other work done. And it’s and I think that’s a really good lesson from what I’ve picked up from, what you’re doing. And what great work is that? Number one, we’re all different. Number two, we all have great work, we all have that in us. And then number three is finding a way to get to do that, to take care of yourself and your health. And I guess when I said hustle and I think it’s how you describe it because there’s at times you gotta you know, pull it all the stops. And of course, and get her to like you have to just dive in and do that hard work. So whether you call him hustle or hurt or whatever you want to call that. Yeah, like we’re not saying just sit back on your lounge chair all the time. It’s just, I mean, sometimes only so magic. No, and you need to do that. Yeah, the magic fairies are gonna come in, I have to say this. The magic fairies don’t come in at night and check your Google Analytics. You got to do that.


Yes, they’ve never checked my Google Analytics.

52:55 GAIL

Well, okay, so we’ve talked about transferable skills. Certainly you have used many transferable skills, I think in your life to bring you to this book and have an impact on the world. I know that from listen to your podcast, it is having an impact because even just being on your show to that you ask great questions. So thank you for that. Thanks for being curious. You’re definitely someone who is that’s what we always have really liked about each other, too, is that, you know, we want to dig deep. Showing up you are showing up on a podcast and a book and sharing your story. I would also recommend I mentioned on LinkedIn that you have done a TEDx. Yeah. Or another one.


I don’t know. I’m Yes, I’m getting ready to do one on great work. Yeah.


Okay. So I do recommend that you have over a million views on your TEDx. That’s like, that’s a big flippin deal. Thank you. That is not that’s like, wow.

53:58 AMANDA 

Well, and I think the reason is because people really struggle with procrastination and they make it about them. They’re like, what’s wrong with me? Why do I suck so much? And it’s like, I think this idea that oh, you can you could do something about it and and really do what you say you will do and rebuild trust with yourself is so it’s so basic to my like DNA. And yet I find that people are like, it’s through the very first person who’s given me permission to like, like myself while I’m figuring this out. And I think yeah, this had it resonated a lot. And you know, Gail, I don’t know if you know, this next week, your episode is

54:36 GAIL

oh, I didn’t know that. You heard it here first. Okay. Well, this is a lot to watch for. You’ll be hearing more from Amanda nine next week. So well, you know, I’ll push that out on social media because I do also want more people to come in and really dig into doing that great work. I think it’s so valuable and it ties it exactly to, you know, the keynote talks I do about showing up. And yeah, I didn’t think I thought much. I think you’ve talked about this in the podcast like, well, people know how to do this, right? You know how to do this like, and no, they don’t and that’s where for me the signups suit up and show up. And I, when I broke that down for people, they were like, oh, Willie agrees they were in. They came up to me afterwards to talk about each of the stories and how they were going to show up going forward.

55:25 AMANDA 

Yeah, really, what I like, show up is it and great work, like what I like about the synergy of our work is that it isn’t really about like, let me teach you how to do it’s more like let me help you realize that it’s in you already, you have the skills that you have the interest, you have the curiosity that, all you need to do is just turn the lens like you’re at the eye doctor, like better with and better to turn the lens, look at it differently, and then get into action. And you will be one of the remarkable ones before you know and


and you will fail. I asked that when I gave this talk. I said how many people here have failed all the hands?


And I said, well, one who didn’t have his hand? It was a liar.


Yeah. Because everybody else is right. Yeah. To wrap up, I usually like to ask everybody, how do you exercise your curious mind? Is there a way to stimulate? Or to encourage it or maintain it? And?

56:24 AMANDA 

Yeah, that’s such a good question. I love to do things I’ve never done before. So like, you know, I hadn’t written a book. So I wrote a book and I, there’s nothing There’s no place I found in the world with more rabbit holes to fall down into than the book writing publishing industry. And, you know, I never had a podcast.

 And you know, I wanted to figure that out. So I actually self produced my own podcast for the first few episodes before I took on a company. So I really like to figure things out, it makes me feel what I like to figure things out. And it helps me understand how things are done in the world. 

And I think that part of my work is helping other people demystify, like, how are amazing things done? Oh, every single time. There is no, what did you call them, like leprechauns, or whatever, come in and bury them. No, magic fairies are magical, doing things like different things across industries, but always like, there’s so much commonality in them. So anything you want to do is doable. A

and sometimes we sort of get in a weird headspace where we’re like, those people must be superheroes. They’re not. And so I really like to prove to myself again and again, by doing things that I’ve never done before. 

Currently, I’m working on a graphic novel, which is totally unexpected, because it’s like, I don’t have to draw, thank goodness. But you know, writing fiction is really different from writing in the middle grades. It was a return to my education roots. But, you know, that’s my current situation. Next Big Thing that I’m excited about.

57:57 GAIL

That is great. I love to hear that. Because, again, it’s you know, it’s about exploring, being curious can mean different things and it can be trying. Yeah, things that are new to us. I often say I don’t like heights. So what I did was I decided to go do Yeah, I did the ziplining. But let me show you a photo from I have a photo of this was also from let me just put this on, I think remember this, we were up at the CN Tower, the one on the left. And then the young man in the middle who we connected a link out of the blue sent me a message on LinkedIn. Both of us were afraid to walk on that glass floor thing. And I remember you took a video and we both went on it and jumped on it. And we just had so many laughs and he was visiting. He was visiting from India. Yep. 

And yeah, it was. It was quite fun ever since then, I went to the Grand Canyon and walked on the skywalk thing so and you know what, each time I’ve done that now the sky walk I was like this. I just tell them because I said Oh, when I was in the CN Tower I was so each time you try something new, it does get easier. 

And I’m, I know we both know about that. So well. Thank you so much Willie says thank you as well. He’s in the background. I think he probably is like okay, are we going for a walk man?

59:28 GAIL

Thank you. If you can, you have a few minutes to wait one minute. And I’ll see you in the greenroom and thank you again, Amanda. And we’ll put some links in LinkedIn so people can find all your stuff. Great. All right. Thank you. Thanks, everyone, for coming out. I want to thank Willie, who I’m dog sitting with. You may have heard a few dog barks in the background. So you know, Amanda is someone that while doesn’t specialize necessarily manufacturing, I think there’s so much in The manufacturing world we can learn when we’re talking about how to maybe look at the world differently, how to use a growth mindset, how to get curious, and how to meet people that are, you know, doing things that can help. Those of us in manufacturing also do great work. But not just do the great work, but then tell and share the stories. It’s so vital that we get out there and we share with the world the great things that we’re doing that we own our power, and that we sign up, suit up and show up. If you would like to reach out to me, you can find me here on LinkedIn. I’m also on Twitter as Gail Now Instagram as Gail now one and on tick tock as Gail now and we’re actually starting a manufacturing tic tock group. So stay tuned. And what’s interesting is that we’re all doing something a bit different. And that’s what makes it exciting is that we can start sharing whatever stories we can introduce ourselves as a keynote speaker, you know, people that may want to book me to come in and provide some motivation around how to both tell and share stories, and talk about how it might help your team sign up, suit up and show up. 

Because that’s where the magic happens.

October 2022
October 2022
October 2022
October 2022
October 2022

You can overcome limiting beliefs: Take the damn cold shower

What are the limits that hold you back?

Merriem-Webster Dictionary defines a “limit” as something that bounds, restrains, or confines.

So are we responsible for these limits?  How can we tap into our infinite potential?  

Recently I was invited as a keynote speaker at Women in Aerospace Conference put on by the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance or PNAA Their  theme  Beyond all Limits hit home for so many.  

It was an honor to start the day off with my  keynote address, entitled “Is the sky really your limit?”. 

We hear the sky’s the limit and I wanted to explore that idea – it sounds so easy until we get met with roadblocks:  societal pressures, judgment from others, side comments and pushback when we do try to own our power.

The foundation of my work centres around curiosity and my three step process:  Sign up, Suit up, Show Up

People need – and must – tell and share their stories.   

As a recovering journalist I can bear witness to the fact that everyone has a story worth sharing.  And it is how we can start to explore limits and how they can too often hold us back. 

Limiting beliefs- from others AND from within our own heads-  destroy so many good ideas.  These limits can inhibit us and prevent us from achieving goals, taking risks and living our best life IF we allow them.   

I gave examples of how we can all   exercise our curious brains.  I cycle,  listen to podcasts (a favourite(Hidden Brain)) and strive to listen to people  I may not always agree with.  

During one podcast with Jeffrey Shaw  – on his former Creative Warriors Podcast now called Self-Employed Life,  I heard  Paresh Shah of Lifter Leadership speak about the benefits of taking cold showers. Hearing this inspired me to do some research, learn more about it and start my very own cold shower journey! (more about that later!)   Paresh was also featured on my #ShowUP with GailNow LIVE show. 

If we aren’t curious it is also harder to be tenacious and we can give up way too soon! 

The author of  the book series, “Chicken Soup for the Soul”, Jack Canfield almost never became an author! His  books almost never saw the light of day because he sent them to 144 publishers, who all proceeded to reject his pitch! However, he didn’t give up and eventually did get published. One of the principles in another book of his, “The Success Principles”, is Transcend your Limiting Beliefs. Jack calls those beliefs false conceptions and even said that limiting beliefs are all bullshit!

I also shared about other men who we have revered and celebrated, but initially failed:

  • Thomas Edison, who invented the lightbulb after failing 999 times
  • John Grisham, whose first book was rejected 28 times 
  • Henry Ford, whose first two automobile companies before establishing the Ford Company that we all know about now!

Many of us have failed at something, even multiple things, but are still standing, right?

So what does “The sky is the limit!”mean”? 

According to Collins Dictionary, it means the following: there is nothing to prevent someone or something from being very successful.

In my opinion, being successful means showing up to the fullest extent. In my work in manufacturing, I help companies tell and share their story (show up) by embracing curiosity to ask questions and use my three step process, sign up, suit up and show up!

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines sign up as follows:

to sign one’s name (as to a contract) in order to obtain, do, or join something 

The same dictionary defines suit up as follows:

to put on a uniform or special clothing

I define show up to mean stepping into the position that you have created by signing up and suiting up because all this has prepared you to take your place with confidence and to show up when called into the spotlight!

In speaking to women (and men) in Aerospace, I did share  stories of various women who overcame the limits that they and others placed on them.  By not giving in to societal pressure, they did  flourish and become successful in their own rights.

One Wonderful female role model named Margaret Anne Bulkley  took on a male persona (Dr. James Barry) in order to study medicine in a time when women weren’t permitted to do so. She went on to reach the rank of Inspector General in the British Military and stationed in Cape Town, South Africa and also a pioneer in her field of medicine (she was the first doctor to successfully perform a cesarean section and both mother and baby lived). Yet, she went to her death with her secret that was discovered when a post-mortem was performed.

Another woman,  Bessie Coleman was the first African American, woman pilot! She made a name for herself as a pilot who performed flying tricks and was called “Brave Bessie,” “Queen Bess,” and “The Only Race Aviatrix in the World.” She made it her goal to encourage women and African Americans to reach their dreams. Unfortunately, her career ended with a tragic plane crash, but her life continues to inspire people around the world to this very day!

Mary Riddle was another woman who made a name for herself! She was a member of the Satsop and Clatsop tribes, born Nannie Riddell in Bridgeport, Washington. She also inherited property from her wealthy grandfather on the Quinalt reservation, and often introduced herself as Quinalt. She and her two brothers were treated as orphans after the death of her mother in 1905. They were enrolled in Chemewa Indian School, a federally run boarding school in Salem. In 1911, all three siblings were transferred away from the Indian School. Nannie Riddell transferred to a Catholic boarding school in Beaverton, where her schoolmates described her as a funny, adventurous girl.

Throughout the 1920s, Riddell lived a lifestyle filled with freedom, enabled by her inheritance from her wealthy grandfather. She loved her motorcycle and was involved in racing. She decided to become a pilot after witnessing a woman crash her plane, because she wanted to prove everyone wrong who said that women couldn’t fly! 

A modern-day woman that I spoke of is Emily Calandrelli. She grew up in Morgantown, West Virginia and attended West Virginia University. As a student, she won numerous academic awards. She became a Truman Scholar and even attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where she obtained an M.S. degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics, as well an M.S. degree in Technology and Policy in 2013. 

In 2011, Calandrelli was awarded the René Miller Prize in Systems Engineering. As a Harvard NASA Tournament Lab visiting scholar, she assisted organizations in using crowdsourcing to solve technical challenges.

After initially thinking it would be unladylike, she became a host of Xploration Outer Space in Fox‘s Xploration Station educational block in 2014. In April 2017, she made several appearances on Netflix episodes of Bill Nye Saves the World

Then, on August 25, 2020 Calandrelli’s educational Netflix series titled Emily’s Wonder Lab debuted. Calandrelli filmed the series while 9 months pregnant.

Calandrelli almost let limiting beliefs stop her.  Thankfully she didn’t! 

Emily Calandrelli –  aka The Space Gal- embraced curiosity to show up, not only for herself, but for others.

She has built a great following!

Just recently she was in the news for definitely showing up to make change! 

As a woman who breastfed and who used a breast pump, I want to celebrate Emily for showing up for breastfeeding moms!

Emily took a trip after she recently had a baby.  She packed her pump, her empty bottles and some gel ice packs. 

She went through security and a TSA agent stopped her – and said she had to get rid of the partially frozen gel packs. Then he proceeded to ask where her baby was!

What a great example of someone NOT exercising curiosity!

If you have ever pumped milk you will understand why Emily took a stand.

Without those gel packs, even if she could pump, her milk would spoil before she got home to her baby.

She posted online about this, took it down and then decided to repost it.   She showed up. 

Soon she was getting interviewed by media like  Fox News,  CNN and even got the attention of a senator.  And now it has become an even larger advocacy story

She, like MANY before her (including Dr. James Barry, Bessie Coleman and Mary Riddle), made a decision to show up, not only for herself, but others!

Curiosity is my superpower. 

It can be your superpower too! 

Showing up can be daunting; channeling curiosity can make it easier. 

Our minds are very powerful and too often we blame inaction on lack of motivation, procrastination, fear, imposter syndrome. 

That cold shower idea from Paresh Shah-  I now call it the  “cold shower principle”.  That principle is  part of my  Sign Up, Suit Up and Show UP process.

There is science behind taking a cold shower – and in my keynote I talk about why those in aerospace and in manufacturing canlearn about the power of our minds to  show up in real life and online for networking and sales!

The Cold Shower principle applies  to networking, social media posting and video.  

Taking a short cold shower or jumping in a cold lake or ocean first thing in the morning isn’t easy but doing it consistently over time will make it easier.  It is about consistency and commitment.   Ditto for networking and sales. 

It gets easier because you start to see the benefits.

So, take a cold shower; make that phone call; show up on video and remind yourself that limiting beliefs are all “BULLSHIT”! 

As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “I think at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.”

My gift to you: 

Sign up!

Tell yourself a different story – one in which you are the hero!

Ask more questions: Be curious, not judgemental! 

SHOW UP, for yourself and others!

And ask yourself this: 

Is YOUR sky really a limit?

Selfies as cultural phenomenon have powerful storytelling value

My SELFIE with Women of Aerospace at Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance in Seattle in May 2022 where I was a Keynote Speaker talking about Sign Up. Suit Up. Show UP and the value of showing up not just for ourselves but others!
Celebrating and connecting!

Selfie – Selfie -Everywhere a selfie! 

We think they are new, but there is actually a longer history to them and a reason why they may not always be as narcissistic as one might think. 

June 21 is National Selfie Day – so let’s look at the role they play in marketing tool and connecting.   

But first, some historical context: 

People took self-portraits way before Facebook and smartphones were even thought of. American photographer  Robert Cornelius took a self-portrait daguerreotype (the first practical process of photography) of himself in 1839 and this image is also thought to be one of the earliest photographs of a person.

Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna (aged 13) took a self-portrait in 1914 using a Kodak Brownie box camera (which was invented in 1900) and sent the photograph to a friend with the following note, “I took this picture of myself looking at the mirror. It was very hard as my hands were trembling.” Historically, she appears to have been the first teenager to take a selfie!

The modern-day selfie was invented when a group of Australians created a website and uploaded the first digital self-portraits onto the internet in September 2001. 

The first broadcasted use of the term “selfie” to describe a self-portrait photograph, occurred on the Australian internet forum (ABC Online) on September 13, 2002. The anonymous poster wrote the following, along with posting a selfie of himself:

“Um, drunk at a mate’s 21st, I tripped over and landed lip-first (with front teeth coming a very close second) on a set of steps. I had a hole about 1cm long right through my bottom lip. And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.”

A Hollywood cameraman named Lester Wisbrod claims he is the first person to take celebrity selfies, (a self-taken photo of himself and a celebrity) and has been doing so since 1981.

And now in 2022, selfies are a part of brands.  They are the foundation of Instagram and maybe even TikTok – and to a lesser extent, Twitter.  

And when used to also shine a light on others and even Great Work you are doing – to reference Dr. Amanda Crowell– there is much potential in them! They can help build community, showcase others, and celebrate people doing great things.  As keynote speaker my goal is to help businesses, organization and individuals Show UP using a simple three-step process:  Sign Up.  Suit Up. and Show UP using curiosity as a tool and certainly selfies can also provide a way to help you do just that. 

According to Wikipedia, a selfie is defined as follows:

“… a self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a digital camera or smartphone, which may be held in the hand or supported by a selfie stick. Selfies are often shared on social media, via social networking services such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram.”

A fellow livestreamer and social media rockstar Russ Hedge is a Marketing Coach and may love selfies as much as I do.  He  has his own hashtag related to selfies (#Russselfie) because he takes so many of them! He loves taking them so much because he seeks to inspire others to connect.

My friend and leadership mentor  Nathalie Gregg – the founder of the #LeadLoudly movement and author of a book entitled “Leading in Stilettos”, also started taking selfies recently because she believes it helps her connect with her tribe.

“The #selfie is a powerful #marketing tool! It invokes the power of storytelling through visuals,” says Gregg. She says it also creates a unique opportunity to:

  1. Share a branded experience
  2. Increase engagement on the platform
  3. Improve likability that leads to conversion
  4. Makes user generated content soar!

“My goal was to catapult the 3 V’s of personal branding through selfies for the #LeadLoudly Movement! My goal was to accelerate my #voice, #value, and #visibility!”

After completing the #niche assessment with Maiko, Gregg was completely shocked she wasn’t the archetype she had expected.   She thought she was Community Builder (which she does well) BUT in fact her main archetype is New Content Creator!! 

“So, I had to show up differently! It was now time to execute!”

She contacted the Selfie Queen, Rebekah Tozer and they went to work!!! 

“Rebekah has an incredible selfie system for personal brands that I paired with her Sound Check System!”

Gregg says as  a leader her level of development, engagement, and connection will always set the bar for what is expected.  “I have leveraged selfies to celebrate my teams’ success. It serves as a constant reminder of our vision and standard of excellence! When challenges occur, I reminded  them to remember the celebration selfie when we exceeded our goals!!!” Gregg also  leveraged selfies as a networking tool to break the ice in person and online.

“In person, I will ask the person their name and for a selfie to commentate our conversation. I usually post it on Twitter.

Online, to curate conversation, my selfies celebrate #women owned businesses while featuring their product. This has started a conversation with other female entrepreneurs about creating content that converts.”

And so, now you SEE the Queen of Leadership showing up online with some selfies that also celebrate others, support businesses and pull back the curtain to her personal life – including the amazing Buster who lives with Nathalie’s mom, but is definitely very attached to Nathalie! 

Gregg does love her Starbucks, as well as some local coffee shops.  And she is now shifting from a Twitter Chat to Twitter Spaces, so don’t miss it Thursdays at 7 p.m. EST



 Rebekah Tozer, is a Brand Strategist who teaches a workshop called “Selfie Systems Guide” where she helps her clients Debunk Selfie Myths and shares the secret to using them effectively as a marketing tool for your personal brand. She also shows you how to create a month’s worth of branded content in less than HALF the time (less than 10 min a day!) and position you so your ideal clients see you as the perfect solution to their problem. This includes 30 days of posts/video prompts to start turning your selfies into sales TODAY!

“Selfies are not dead,” says Tozer.  “In fact they are a powerful marketing tool for personal brands. Selfies are free and fast and long gone are the days of just the typical look cute cheerleader selfie. Your  audience needs to see your face. Our brains are hardwired to see and notice faces. A face will stop the scroll. Thank you science.

“ Your brain also loves variety. So variations in your selfies are important for visual interest.  When your selfie and your messaging can match, that can create a vibe for your brand!” 

Tozer says every personal brand needs a power pose selfie on a regular basis. 

“Power Pose tends to be a pose that evokes confidence. directness, and “I got this” attitude. A power pose means taking up space  with a tall posture showing  confidence. 

Oftentimes I ask people how do you posture to show power whether you’re a parent, a coach, an online salesman.

 If you can’t strike a power pose for yourself then who will believe your power pose with your selfie? 

Tozer says it’s important to match your selfie to your message.

 “If you’re taking an inspirational message or an encouraging message or an authority message, be sure and take a selfie or use a selfie that matches the  presentation,” she says. 

 “When it comes to your brand, you have your voice, your brand voice, the visuals of your brand and the vibe of your brand. The essence of a selfie can represent all of  those. And when a good selfie is matched with the right message, your message becomes that much more impactful.” 

Look at your selfie like a marketer. Think  of your selfie as a product versus just a picture of you. “There are many types of selfies, but before I share the types of selfies, let’s talk about taking a good selfie. We already talked about the power pose. The next thing you should be aware of are the angles of your body…  Think about your body, your arms, your legs, how can they extend from the body in an angled position? Think triangles with your arms and the legs and check your arms and legs to expand away from the body into triangles. You can also cross arms and legs across the midline of the body. This creates visual interest in composition.”

Best tip:  Your selfie doesn’t need to be perfect! 

Instead, it needs to be larger than life:  channel and leverage your inner character, the characteristic that you’re trying to share in the selfie. 

“Think about emojis. Channel the emojis and get really good at stepping into being the feeling the emotion that you want to share in your selfie. Your audience will reflect that back.” 



Tozer also has Selfie Systems! 

“Using a selfie with your messaging system will help you  create content that is quick, resonates with the audience and helps you be paid because it’s not enough to just be seen.

Myth number one: selfies are all about me. 

“I don’t want to shamelessly self promote,” says Tozer.   “Selfies are not all about you. They’re in fact about your audience if used intentionally. 

“Selfies can be about your ideal client when used to mirror your clients emotions or experiences. Use your selfie to show the story, the voice or the vibe of your brand. And let your message tell the story or the voice or the vibe of your brand. 

Tozer says when  you use both together your message is more impactful. When creating a content plan, you want to include your visual which is your selfie, or other photos or graphics.

Myth 2:  You must create new and exciting content every day. “Good  content is actually repetitive content,” says Tozer. “Your overall brand message should not change. And the real secret behind this is making content systems work with a strong brand message AND your selfie. “

Tozer offers  10 ways you can use your selfie and your content:

  • social media posts 
  • carousel posts 
  • email header 
  • email signature
  • branded gif  
  • sticker cover photo.
  • reel or TikTok 
  • YouTube thumbnail
  • your profile picture 
  • social media ad

These are 10 different selfie types every personal brand needs in their marketing plan:

  • the critic,
  • the entertainer
  • the VIP
  • the teacher
  • the influencer,
  • the host 
  • the sage
  •  the emoji 
  • the expert
  • the cheerleader

Tozer’s selfie systems help you take those 10 Selfie types and use them with 30 prompts that match each selfie type to quickly have a month’s worth of content using your selfie! 


Cosmopolitan featured an article that lists the following as 5 Flawless Tips to Taking Your Best Selfie:

  1. Look up toward the camera. 
  2. Extend your head away from your neck. 
  3. Instead of holding your phone in front of you, hold it to the side for a flawless angle.
  4. Relax your mouth, and exhale, blowing air through your lips. 
  5. In your selfie-ready position, slowly spin until you find your best light. Then, snap away!

One of the best ways I have used selfies is to also meet cool people and then keep in touch via posting a selfie on social media!

One of my favorite stories is about meeting Ron Tite. When working as the Advertising and Promotions Manager at Cypher Systems Group, my co-worker Natasha Vandenbroucke and I attended an event with the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and Ron was the keynote speaker.  I saw him before his talk, grabbed a selfie and then was blown away by his talk.  That selfie was the beginning of a great friendship and he played a big part in me attending Heroic Public Speaking.  

He was also a guest on my #ShowUP with GailNow LIVE recently and our selfie was part of that show, too! It is the selfie that tells a great story and certainly showcases our personalities.  

I have many more stories about selfies – including impromptu selfie lessons and just starting conversations with people at events over a selfie!  I love to include others and celebrate them – often people who need to be the spotlight by shy away for showing up alone!   

Selfies are part of a cultural phenomenon and people often use them, like myself, to be part of a group, make others more comfortable while being in a photo, celebrate participation in an event, and quite frankly, it’s become a way to celebrate my 3 step process: Sign Up, Suit Up and Show Up. It is OK to own our power and celebrate some of the great things we are doing. We need to show up, not just for ourselves, but for others, as well. Taking part in photos and posting them are all part of celebrating some of the great things we may be doing, which in turn will help others to join in as well. 

Of course there are stats to further explain the Selfie Trend! 

Key Selfie Stats – Editor’s Choice

  • 92 million selfies are taken every day, accounting for 4% of all the photos taken (2.3 billion) daily.
  • Over 50% of millennials have published a selfie at least once. Over 95% of young adults have taken a selfie.
  • Individuals spend 54 hours a year (or 7 minutes a day) taking selfies.
  • People smile in 60% of selfies.
  • An average “selfie-taker” is 24 years old.
  • Women take 1.5 times more selfies than men.

My favorite stat is 52% of adults have never taken a selfie, 4% take it daily

I fall somewhere in between; not daily, but certainly weekly.  And they are a great way to meet people!

I did some social media ambassador work recently for an event at Wolfhead Distillery with the #SimplyQueen tribute band and I did a selfie-style video at the end of the show.   

People loved it and were so happy to take part. 

We need to build connections and selfies can help. 

Selfies have been steadily gaining in popularity since they came into existence in 2010. We can expect selfies to affect related industries in the future even more. For example, smartphone manufacturers already leverage the use of selfies in their ads and promote new devices by incorporating ever-improving selfie cameras.

Photo editing apps and filters will keep improving and become easier to use. Developers will base the apps on artificial intelligence to automate photo editing, which will make creating beautiful selfies accessible to everyone.


Happy National selfie Day – not just on June 21 but EVERYDAY! 



Journey of Discovery – Powerful key to success at Trade Shows

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Trade shows are BIG business!

They can also lead to results if you are ready to Sign up.  Suit Up.   And #ShowUP!

Here are a few facts pertaining to trade shows according to the Quality Logo Products Blog:

  • 90% of participants go to trade shows to find new products and services
  • Businesses in the US took part in 6.4 national events in 2021 
  • The typical trade show visitor spends 8.3 hours looking at exhibits

(According to an article published in January 2022, on, the trade show planning business in the US is expected to be worth $18.2 billion US in 2022.)

As I said on a previous LinkedIn post, “Digital is more targeted, but when you walk a trade show floor, you never know what you might “discover”. As much as I value social media and digital, I do know how powerful in-person meeting and events can be!”

Curiosity has always been a very big part of who I am and it led me to journalism which in turn has provided me an eye for a good story – and how to make sure a booth stands out in a crowd. 

My background and ability to show up online also  garnered me an invite to be part of the Champions Circle (ambassadors) for Plastics Technology Expo 2022 or  PTXPO.

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This was a dynamic trade show created for decision makers paving the way for plastics processing throughout the entire North American supply chain. I was joined in this circle by Rich Oles, Amanda Wiriya, Tony Demakis and Gregory Boston.This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 3AE0E760-C0A6-4E44-80CD-2C8EEE8A6189_1_105_c.jpeg


Trade Shows are a big part of the Manufacturing Industry. Not everyone grasps it, but attending trade shows as an exhibitor contributes greatly to a business’ marketing strategy, whether they’re a multimillion-dollar corporation or a startup, just trying to get their foot in the door.

According to vFairs, there are many reasons why attending trade shows are important. Attending a trade show helps you:

  1. Assess your position in the industry

    • No matter what industry or market you are working in, it is important to know where you stand. You need to know what direction you are heading in. It is also important to understand what works and what doesn’t work for your brand.

  2. Expand your customer base

    • One of the best reasons regarding why exhibit at a trade show is the lead generation and sales opportunities it provides. Exhibiting at trade shows is expensive but if you walk away with a larger customer base, it’s worth the investment. 
  3. Establish brand recognition
    • Few things are more important in business than branding. This is especially important in markets that depend on reliability, reputation, and brand loyalty. Exhibiting at a trade show will give off the impression to your audience that you are reliable and serious about your business. Being able to afford a presence at things such as events and conferences is something well-established businesses do, so doing that will put you in that league.
  4. Access important prospects
    • If you’ve been trying to generate sales in the traditional method of using the telephone, direct mail, or even e-mail, you often know how it goes. Some people don’t appreciate direct marketing, as it interferes with their daily schedules and routine. A lot of people also get tired of the in-your-face approach. This is not a problem at trade shows.

In a blog featured on the Building Products Ecosystem Unboxed site, they highlight that it’s important not to just attend a trade show, but have a strategy (leading up to attending, during attendance, as well as after attending). Attending trade shows definitely costs companies money, as well as the time and energy of their employees. A strategy also helps someone return from attending a trade show without feeling exhausted and wondering what the point of attending the trade show was.

While digital and virtual are important, there is nothing quite like the power of showing up in person and it is a whole other experience altogether! This is also very meta – since I attended Plastics Technology Expo 2022 (PTXPO) in-person and also posted on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and even Tiktok. (Attending this trade show in person allowed me to observe so much more than through a screen and there is so much to be said about the energy one feels while walking a trade show floor!)

I also did two Live shows at PTXPO, plus a few video interviews.  I managed a quick live interview with Ray Ziganto show who “showed up” at PTXPO.    

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You can catch that interview here and from the trade show floor I interviewed Dan Sweatt. Marketing Manager  with Gardner Business Media,  Glenn Starkey, President of Progressive Components, Brian Bendig of Cavalier Tool and freelance writer Cynthia Kustush 

My time at PTXPO included many connections with people from Gardner Business Media. 

Let’s just say I’m also on a journey of discovery!

That is what Allison Kline referenced in a pre-show interview on #ShowUP with GailNow LIVE.

So yes, I also conducted pre-show prep.

In a recent networking event I attended, my friend Chuck Coxhead said that when he recently attended a trade show, he said.. .”what would Gail do?”  So he decided to do live hits at a trade show!  wondered what I would do and decided to do live hits.

I also picked up trade show tips from people like my friends, Jake Hall and Chris Luecke, as well as from this quote by Alyssa Mertes (a promo expert who has had work published for the Promotional Products Association International and the Advertising Specialty Institute):

“Trade shows have been around for hundreds of years, and for good reason. There’s something about meeting people face to face that can really encourage you to try something new. You can think of trade shows like the professional version of Comic Con. It’s the chance for people in the same industry to mix, mingle, and see what’s new and exciting.”

Few people know just how amazing trade shows really are, so let’s dive into some of the most fascinating stats. You might just be ready to try this marketing strategy for your own business!

Some stats of interest: 

  1. 46% of trade show attendees are in executive or upper management roles. (Source: Lincoln West)
  2. 52% of attendees are more likely to enter an exhibit if they’re offering some kind of giveaway or freebie. (Source:  Princeton Marketing)
  3. 82% of trade show attendees have buying authority. (Source: Excalibur Exhibits)
  4. 74% of attendees believe engaging with the exhibitors makes them more likely to actually buy the products/services on display. (Source: Hill & Partners)
  5. 79% of attendees believe going to a trade show helps them decide what to buy. (Source: Graphicolor Exhibits)
  6. 49% of trade show attendees plan to buy at least one of the products or services on display. (Source: Excalibur Exhibits)
  7. 77% of executive attendees find at least one new supplier at a trade show. (Source: Sage World)
  8. 74% of consumers are more likely to buy a product later after seeing it at a trade show. (Source: Highway 85 Creative)
  9. Trade show attendees will tell more than 6 people about their experience at the event. (Source: Graphicolor Exhibits)
  10. 38% of attendees will visit a company’s website after visiting their booth at a trade show (Source: Event Marketer)
  11. 30% of attendees will wear or use the swag item they received at a trade show (Source: Event Marketer)
  12. 34% of attendees in the United States are “very satisfied” with their experience. (Source: Hill & Partners)

Final Thoughts

Trade shows, exhibitions, and events bring in about $13.2 billion US every year, and it’s an industry that continues to grow. If you’re an exhibitor, you want to come up with a plan so you can really make an impression and wow prospective clients. It also doesn’t hurt to have promotional giveaway items to hand out to everyone who comes to visit your display

Who knows? Maybe you’ll be another success story to add to the numbers!


Guttman, A. (2018, May 30). U.S. and Global Trade Show Marketing – Statistics & Facts. Retrieved from,

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About Me: 

I began my professional career as a journalist at the Toronto Star, then moving on to the Windsor Star, where I used her innate curiosity to delve deep into news, features, entertainment and human interest stories. It was in the fast-paced world of journalism that I developed the ability to not just ask any questions, but the right ones!  And when it comes to trade shows you also must ask the right questions! 

This (recovering) journalist knows how to use curiosity to celebrate innovation – and turn obstacles into opportunities by helping to transform businesses for extraordinary results.

Curiosity is also the foundation of my 3 step process: Sign Up, Suit Up and #ShowUP!

I now use storytelling (developed as a journalist), in my manufacturing world as a social media strategist and Keynote Speaker, helping others to #ShowUP,  tell their story and exercise their Curious Brain!

I connect my curiosity to transferable skills and also to jumping into the world of moldmaking and now Plastic Injection Molding.



TRANSCRIPT FROM #ShowUp with GailNow Live show with Allison Kline-Miller and Madeline Kline. 

*Transcribed by Otter so some verbiage may not be 100 % accurate.

Listen to show here.



So let’s start right out of the gate with the exciting news. That is next week. PT Expo is starting. So Alison, let’s Why don’t you talk about your title. And give us a bit of a snapshot of this exciting trade show because this is kind of a big deal for trade shows in the plastics world. So

Allison  7:12  

So yeah, you know, we launched PT Expo, less than a year ago, actually, we started the launch of it last May. And it was really after research into the industry and talking with attendees and exhibitors. And there was just an obvious desire for plastics processing event in in the Midwest, that was more often and then once every three years with NP II. So that’s why we we launched it, it was it was definitely a demand from the market. And we very intentionally are going two years on and then we’ll skip NP and have the Amira mold event, which is another gardener event that we’re that we’re really proud of. And then two years on one year off. So we’ll be on that cycle and have a really great partnership with the plastics industry association, who will be at Pt Expo and are supporting us in this in this event.

Unknown Speaker  8:22  

So a miracle will still be happening.

Allison  8:25  

America will be happening. Yeah, on off PT Expo years. So that’s our plan, we still feel like it’s really important to connect that tool and dye industry in a very, you know, unique way in that industry is is so fraternal, and we want to still provide that that opportunity. So we have the American Pavilion at Pt Expo. But it’s a very different thing than the American Old kind of standalone event. So we do want to still provide that opportunity.

Unknown Speaker  8:55  

That is great. Well, let’s talk about an air mold. And over to you, Madeline because a lot of this all started I bumped into you and your dad, Rick as I was going in one day, and I didn’t know who your dad was. And I think I said something the effect of hey, you’re a big deal. became our friendship.

Madeline 9:16  

No, I remember it. Well. It was first thing in the morning. I know we took some pictures. Our publisher for plastics technology, Brian Delahunty was there. But it’s been great being connected with you. And I’m really excited to be here and talk about Gartner and PT Expo. This is really exciting.


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Unknown Speaker  9:32  

Well, let’s talk about we’ve heard from Allison talking about the event. Now you were more in the sales side. So can you talk a little bit about your role and maybe a little bit about trade publications because we also were discussing pre show about you know, people think oh, print is dead and everything’s digital and my background I came from a print world but it transitioned into more digital social media. But I think there’s room for what I call the pie. You know, we want the whole pie and not just individual slices. So can you talk about your role and trade publications?

Madeline 10:04  

Yeah, absolutely. So I joined onboard with Gartner in the summer of 2020. I was my background was in sales and account management, I was selling research advisory services. So I really didn’t have any experience selling advertising. But I also I remember, I watched your chat with Christina and talking about you know, every industry, if you look closely enough, has trade publications and a huge industry around it and media supporting it. So I absolutely think prints an important piece of the pie. I’m personally a huge fan of print, I’d get magazines delivered to my house, I love a paper book. But it’s been really great, you know, working with advertisers and understanding their marketing campaigns, and how we can leverage different types of mediums like social media and email, digital, I think prints a really important piece of that, too.

Gail 10:57  

Yeah, and that’s great that you mentioned because I did have Christina on the show previously. And, you know, we both come from, you know, we’re print was that’s all there was, but where I think the magic happens when you can marry the two of using print using digital using social using trade shows, and then start bringing all of that together. And, and that’s where it comes to where you were saying, Alison, maybe if you could just explain a little bit more about your role in the trade show your of your official role and what you do. And let’s put some context to trade shows, because PDS was like this is this is a big item for Gardner to take this on, because it’s so massive. Why don’t you talk a little bit about your role in trade shows and how beyond PT Expo, what you’ve done and trade shows, and maybe some tips for people that are listening, because we have a range of people I know in the audience that are, you know, from marketing, but some people outside marketing, you talk about the value of trade shows.

Allison 11:57  

Yeah, just real quick to piggyback what what Madeline was just saying, we always describe print media is one of the few places where discovery can still happen, where you find something that and I think trade shows would fall into that category to where you find something that you weren’t necessarily looking for. Right, you may be perusing through the magazine and you discover something that’s, that’s new or a new innovation that obviously we are super into content and the value of quality content. But our writers are writing about things that people are discovering as but but when you go online, you have to specifically look for topics you have to already know about it right. But in print medium, you you discover things that you that you may not know and I think trade shows are similar in that vein, where you know, you’re walking through the hall and you stumble upon, you know, a new a new product or service that might help your business. So yeah, so back to me. So I’m the chief events officer at Gartner. And I started I actually studied at Ohio University. And I studied organizational communications and Spanish but the Spanish was really, because I wanted to study abroad, I studied in Mexico, and I studied in Spain, and just wanted to have that experience in college. But Orbcomm was very specific because I wanted to be part of our family business. So gardener Business Media was was launched established in 1928. With modern machine shop, magazine, I’m part of the fourth generation generation Madeline’s part of the fifth. So we’re really proud to be part of a family business that’s lasted that long, because so many of them fail in the second and third generations. And Madeline and two of her brothers are part of our fifth generation. So that’s, that’s pretty exciting for us. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker  13:44  

That is, and you know what, I think now’s a good time, I’m going to put this up because this is probably a good quote to reflect on. And then we can talk about this because this goes back to 1928. So let’s put this up on the screen. We have Don Gardner who said, time passes, conditions change, the world progresses, and those who are found keeping pace with the new order of things are those who are young enough in mind and spirit to recognize the value of the new and to make themselves a part of it.

Allison  14:17  

Yeah, Gail that that quote was in the first modern machine shop magazine that was ever published. And when we found that it just resonated so much with with our internal DNA as a company and who we are we have it up on the wall in the lobby of our organization and pretty much any major presentation that we put together that that quotes a part of it because it really does embody who we are so I love that you that you have that and brought that up. Thank you.

Unknown Speaker  14:44  

Well, when I saw it, it certainly did resonate because everybody I’ve met connected with a miracle connected with PDF so so far is that there is that sense even if they’re not you know Gartner DNA they are like a Christina Ryan, there is this sense of that you just have this culture of family. And a lot of times people talk about that. But you know, I would say, Are you walking the walk as well. So Madeline as sort of the younger generation as well coming up, can you talk a little bit about what that meant to you and be part of a family business because some people choose not to be part of a family business. So what made you decide you wanted to be part of this one

Unknown Speaker  15:28  

I am so happy to be working for my family’s business. But honestly, it wasn’t something that really crossed my mind or that I really knew I wanted to do necessarily an opportunity presented itself to manage the East Coast territory. I was kind of at a point in my career at my previous company where I was needed to make a decision, if I was going to stay there. If I was going to interview if I was going to stay kind of in like the tech world where I started my career. And when this opportunity came up, it seemed it’s perfect. It’s amazing to be supporting my family’s business, it’s an outside sales role. So I get to really meet my customers and get to know the industry. The people have just been so wonderful. And I love that quote, I think it’s so relevant. And especially being in the plastics industry, where there’s so much innovation and change, being a part of that new order of things. Just feels like a really important part of being in the industry.

Unknown Speaker  16:31  

Yeah, and I just put up that that you’re currently they’re currently members of the third, fourth and fifth generation of Don Gardner’s family actively working there, which is, that is very powerful. You know, I just want to think about that, that family, a family business that can withstand the test of pi two is is quite remarkable. And that, that is, quote, really pointed is something that you’re living today, one of the things again, that I’ve noticed, and it started with Christina is when I started seeing her on Twitter and doing videos and doing posts and she just, she’s so she jumped in there and did it. And that’s how you, that’s how you have success, you have to be willing to take those risks. And I know, there’s people we’re gonna hit to the comments in a few minutes again, because I know there are people that there’s a great quote from, and I’ll see if he’s in the comments. And David Pustaka taught me this one, you want to be the red m&m in the bowl of green, which means you want to stand out sometimes, and some people find that difficult to do. But when you show up, which is what I talked about, it’s so powerful and, and like I said, even bumping into your mom and your dad and talking to you and saying, Hey, can I grab a selfie? And I used to get teased about selfies now I own myself, met people, and then I post them later. And I mean, people did they do love it. I’ve shown up at events and they go, Oh, are you gonna take a selfie? So I’m like, okay, so

Allison  17:58  

it’s hard though Gail to get out of your comfort zone, right? Like we were, we’ve all got our things that we’re used to and that we’re conditioned to and to break free like Ryan and I, for PT Expo started doing these, these video updates. And that is not a comfort zone place for me. I was really uncomfortable when we first started doing it and you get more and more accustomed to it. But I think it’s such a great medium to talk about the show and talk about what we’re doing and you know, quick especially with COVID That’s really what it was born out of. There are so many questions about what was what changes are happening so fast and the man that COVID mandates and restrictions were changing so fast that video it wasn’t was the most efficient way to get those messages across. But it’s hard to get out of your comfort zone.

Unknown Speaker  18:48  

It is and you met anger was it I know anger is in the comments in anger, hated video. Now she has a live show. She does video she’s and it has changed. I know she’s talks about that on her show. She does a weekly show about networking and how she’s met incredible people through videos. So and I know she’s I think doing a video challenge. So anybody listening might want to go follow along and Ingor also does some LinkedIn coaching as well. So

Unknown Speaker  19:15  

yeah, I have to give a compliment to you to Gail because I feel like you do some you do some things I guess well, you’re I’m so excited video where you’re dancing and lip syncing. And it’s great, right? Like but but that’s, that’s something that’s hard for most people to be brave enough to do. And you do it and you do it well, and I think people people respond to it. So I appreciate your you know, willingness to kind of put yourself out there.

Unknown Speaker  19:38  

And you know, I also tell people I’m worth needs to because I’m more comfortable with it. So I will do the Tick Tock videos and you don’t have to start there. So I don’t feel you have to go that’s my personality and more and more I started I used to sort of go oh, you really should be professional and someone said Yeah, you should be used so that’s me because if you saw me if my friends would like if you Meet me. It’s not like I’m going to do one thing here. And then when you meet me, I’m different. Like, I’m pretty much the same. Wherever I am, it’s a good place. Yeah, and I think it’s that’s Ellison. I’m so glad you said that because people may hear that. It isn’t easy. And it takes sometimes you know, stepping out and my son has even said that to me, says Mom, you’re more Gen Zed than I am because I do more social media. I do more video I do more Tik Tok, but he understands the algorithm and how Tik Tok works. You really get fun and yeah, that’s a whole I’ve done a workshop with him on that. And it’s fascinating because yeah,

Unknown Speaker  20:39  

was he in the opening video? Was that your saw?

Unknown Speaker  20:42  

He wasn’t but he created that opening video he did. And when he created a crisis, I don’t know my I might be I don’t know if it’s gonna be me. I don’t think and I go let me see it. I would laughing because you can’t afford it yourself. Right?

Unknown Speaker  20:57  

I thought it looked like a like a son. Like I roll like Who invited this?

Unknown Speaker  21:02  

He’s actually a famous YouTuber and his name justice escapes me at the moment….. It’s Cody Ko 

Unknown Speaker  21:12  

no idea for like kids. Probably no, but I don’t know.

Unknown Speaker  21:15  

We have I can’t believe I’m watching the comments blow up so but you guys are so great. So we’ll get everyone that comments. I’m gonna come back over there. But I do want to ask Madeleine about social media and because you being of the younger generation, but also I do recognize it’s not not everybody uses it in the same way. And how do you find watching Social Media obviously, if you know Cody ko you, I know you must be on YouTube and using YouTube and are aware of the power to because Cody Ko is a YouTuber. So

Madeline  21:45  

yeah, I’m not I know his name. I’m not super familiar with his work, but I definitely recognize him. I don’t know. Social media is so complicated. Because I’m definitely an observer, I think I probably could be a little bit more active. But I love I find that a lot of really interesting people and companies and businesses. I think LinkedIn is a really interesting social platform, because, you know, people are using it for their work. But there’s also a lot of people writing like essays. And really, it’s just an interesting place to watch people kind of communicate. But yeah, I would say I’m more of an observer on social media. I’m trying to be more active. I’m definitely very thoughtful and considerate about what I put on social media because, you know, it’s it is so important to have a strong personal brand. And but no, I love it. I think it’s fun.

Unknown Speaker  22:41  

That’s great. And, you know, that is a really good point. Because even on LinkedIn, I think there’s been only like, it might have gone up but one to 5% of people are posting the rest of the people are lurking and watching. So you think people aren’t at Oh, yeah, they’re watching and I discovered that with tick tock early on because he would say I remember I was doing a meeting with someone they said, You know, I follow you and tick tock and I was like, oh, because I kind of thought it was some little hidden play. I’ll just go over there. Do some fun stuff. And then I realized, oh, there’s a lot of lurkers. So now even though I

Unknown Speaker  23:11  

follow you on tick tock, right.

Unknown Speaker  23:12  

I just want to ask like, what do you do on tick tock? Because I’m not into tick tock at all. I gotta be honest. And so how are you using it? Or are you doing it professionally? Or is that more personally

Unknown Speaker  23:22  

to me? There is no I don’t have a big divide between my first Okay, Russia, like to me, it’s like deal now is who’s who is my brand. So it’s, but I do have fun with it. I’ve done some lip syncs. I promoted the show today on that where I just did a fun with a green screen. I’ve done a whole mix of things so you can find it on Tik Tok. It’s Gale. Now you can find me pretty much everyone’s deal now. And I just have fun and and sometimes I share things sometimes i I’ve done dances, I’ve done trending dances, I’m probably going to be doing some in PT Expo. So stay tuned, I’m, I’m going to launch a few things. I think try it on too. And you know what the thing is, is more and more, it’s really important to take those risks and try things right. I’ve tried things on, you know, even on my live show, right? And that’s the best way to learn. And sometimes you Oops, that was a mistake or that didn’t work. But you can’t really do too much. Well, no, you can’t do some things wrong. You still have to use your common sense and and thanks. So

Unknown Speaker  24:19  

let it live forever. It does. It does live forever. So we do and I will invite

Unknown Speaker  24:23  

you the next time I have my son on when I do my tic tock work because I’ve done a couple of workshops with him and we’ve had some fun doing it and he tells the story of the thirst trap. So anybody that’s watched the show knows what both my story about that and his we have a lot of fun. My son he’s 19 and I just he’s definitely enjoyed my life and he’s a great video editor. If he wasn’t so busy, I’d have him editing more videos. So okay, let’s go over to Congress because like last time I saw there’s 23 comments. Some of them are chatter back and forth. So we will go through all the voting studio audience now. And we have because I know I left off with a Kristina Harrington is in the house. So Christina, if you haven’t met Alison Madeline, please connect with them. Christina does a lot of work. I know we crossed paths through the ERP world. And I’ll tell you I started an ERP networking. Barely I’m still just learning what the heck that world is like. We did have Sarah scatter Audrey’s new topic all about plastics because she could go to packaging and aisle for anybody you might want to go back and watch the show I interviewed with her she was phenomenal explain plastics in a way that everybody could understand. And then oak Katie’s that whatever group today mountain must be awesome. Yes, they are. Oh, now I know. You know this next guest is Cynthia.

Unknown Speaker  25:40  

Hi Cindy. How are you?

Unknown Speaker  25:43  

Love Cynthia. She’s amazing. I’m doing some work with her. She’s done some writing. Just amazing. She knows she knows moldmaking too. Yes. We have Bob Hawke. Like someone maybe you know, yeah. works for us. Yeah. And Cynthia says how are you? Oh, we have Okay, so shout out to our customer DME who will be okay. Christina, I will have to connect with her on that and make sure I check them out. So now that I know they’re connected to you. We’ll have to chat. Elizabeth is here. Local Elizabeth is also the queen of networking. She does a more local marketing here she has Perko marketing amazing person that knows how to use LinkedIn so well. And we have Christina Hello, lovely bait. Hello, Christina. waving to you. Great.

Unknown Speaker  26:34  

I watched your your video with Christina Fuges was that three weeks ago?

Unknown Speaker  26:39  

Yes, I think yeah, it was really good. Yeah, she’s I mean, we could have talked for hours she we have lots of chatter back and forth. Hello,  Then we have Okay, so Taurus is such a great quote. So that was the Don Gardner quote Yes. We have also Elizabeth passing Good afternoon. We have a shout out from love our culture I would guess that so Marcus is always great experience working with Gartner businessman had been in a couple of times center over the years exhibitor and they were always able to accommodate yea, Marcus. Yes, he’s, yep, we have that you always treat its customers well, and be where your market spends your time. So this was we were discussing about where to be at and Ray definitely gets that. He’s, yeah, we’ll have to all connect up and do a big group selfie when he shows up it.

Unknown Speaker  27:37  

We’ve got at Pt Expo, we’ve got big 3d pt Expo letters in the lobby. That’s our selfie station. So make sure you take some selfies in front of that and help us promote the show. Just for you. Just for you. You’re gonna call Dale selfie station.

Unknown Speaker  27:57  

Yeah, I can do some selfie lessons. Because a lot of people I said they’ll come along to No, no, no, I got this. I said, my right arm though is I think going to be longer than the last one. Just so Euston people, how do you do that as it takes a while. Experience takes a lot of selfies. So we have a long quote here from Mike. So what do you say Garner views the undersea as partners that have been very supportive industry associations such as cam and BA through the year they have gone above and beyond for all the support of cam numerous times. Used to do your mold and Frankford sending her directories would cost can possibly $1,000 Garner at a booth at the show with several other publications. They ship the cam directories to their booth, no charge. Oh, I do know when when I was working with a miracle doing work with kavaler tool who’s another great local company here that shows up? Our guys were amazing. We needed to get a why should we get that? Because maybe they won’t do this therapy. But because you were just very helpful. I’ll just leave it at that. Thank you want to say that everybody will be sitting down for us because I know it’s very difficult especially to get closer to a show. It’s only so much. You have and yes, I think there’ll be lots of this countdown to hugging you next week. Oh, yeah. And Christina says, it’s so hard to get uncomfortable. Yes, it is. But I want to refer back to anger for anybody that wants to know how to get outside your comfort zone. She is a perfect example. Because when I when we first met she hated the like, and she did these video challenges. We had to do video every day if our days and she would say some that she took a whole day to work out to doing the video and posting it so it’s yeah,

Unknown Speaker  29:36  

I just want to give a shout out to Mike too. He made that nice comment about Gardiner, but to thank him he brought to our attention just a few days ago that I’m sure you know Gail that Canada has lifted the need for the COVID tests as of April 1. So to all of our Canadian friends if you want to come to PT Expo and stay through April 1 There’s no need to get To get tested to re enter the country. So I appreciate Mike giving us a heads up about that. So we can get the word out there, he keeps

Transcribed by

Build brands, create opportunities- embrace digital world with open arms

Showing up online can unlock opportunities for anyone, regardless of who you are or your station in life! 

So, what does it mean to show up?

If you look up the phrase, you will find the following: to show up means to be conspicuous or clearly visible.

A few years ago, Rachel Wilkerson Miller, a journalist-turned-self-help-author wrote a book about showing up. According to her book, “The Art of Showing Up – How to be there for yourself and your people”, showing up is defined as the following:

“Showing up is what turns the people you know into your people. It’s at the core of creating and maintaining strong, meaningful bonds with friends, family, co-workers and inter­net pals. Showing up is the act of bearing witness to people’s joy, pain and true selves; validating their experiences; easing their load; and communicating that they are not alone in this life. It’s a concept that I experience on such a deep-rooted emotional level, I sometimes struggle to describe it. I know it when I see it, and I’m betting you do, too.” 

It is therefore safe to say that showing up online is the act of creating and maintaining strong meaningful bonds with people with whom you build relationships with and meet online.

It is vital we Sign Up.  Suit Up.  And #ShowUP

A recent guest on my live show (#ShowUp with GailNow), Mitch Jackson is an awesome example of someone who truly shows up online! He and I met through the Speed Networking segment at a Social Media Event that had nothing to do with manufacturing or law (the sectors in which we both work)!

Lawyer and digital star Mitch Jackson

He is a disruptor; he applies  his 35 years of practicing law to help and add value to consumers and clients who are doing the digital dance at the intersection of law, business and technology, including the Metaverse and Web3.

This award-winning trial lawyer has been described as the one of the best in the world at using social media! He has spoken at various events, including the Tony Robbins Business Mastery event several times and appeared as a guest or shared expert commentary on shows with Katie Couric, Anderson Cooper, Seth Godin, Peter Diamandis, and Gary Vaynerchuk.

Mitch is a consulting expert to the book, “Shame Nation,” written by Sue Scheff with the foreword by Monica Lewinsky and, a contributing author to the California Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB)  “Effective Introduction of Evidence in California- Chapter 54 Electronic and Social Media Evidence.

  During the show, something that came to the fore is that Mitch is truly a champion for sharing one’s story. Here is an excerpt from our discussion:

“…when the internet rolled out, we put up our first website around 1995. And about eight months later, and by the way, doing so allowed us to be one of the first law firms not only in California, but across the country that actually had a website where we are interacting with clients, we’re doing what back then they were called bulletin boards. And within about eight months, a million dollar case came into our law firm from that website. And once again, I’m like, okay, maybe there’s something to this internet thing. I love people. I love having conversations. I love storytelling. That’s why you and I connected. I think we have very similar personalities.”

Mitch believes that it is pertinent to show up online and having a digital footprint is something we should do!

“… digital has changed my life. It’s changed the trajectory of our law firm, and I don’t care what you’re producing, manufacturing, selling or buying. Having a digital footprint in today’s global economy is just such a smart way to spend your day.”

So, what is a digital footprint? According to Wikipedia, a Digital footprint or digital shadow refers to one’s unique set of traceable digital activities, actions, contributions and communications manifested on the Internet or digital devices.

During our discussion, Mitch mentioned that showing up online and developing a digital footprint has opened up so many business opportunities for him and his firm. He also mentioned that it allowed them to expand their brand, from local to global and for them to meet fascinating people from all over the world.

Mitch even listed a few different things that happened to him as a result of his digital footprint:

  • 8 months after putting up their first website in 1995, his firm landed a million dollar client through the website. 
  • He was invited to participate on the first live video platform called Spreecastand as a result, found himself  on shows with Katy Couric, Anderson Cooper, Peter Diamandis and Gary Vaynerchuk.
  • His experience on Spreecast also allowed him to meet one of the founders, Jeff Fluhr, who is also the co-founder of StubHub, which is a major American ticket resale company.

As Mitch said, “I think what matters is the ability to make new relationships and build our brands, and create new opportunities, you know, by wrapping our digital arms around these digital platforms.”

Tradition, especially in the law, means a great deal.

Traditions bind us to people and ideas that came before us. They can attach meaning to the things we say and do. Unfortunately, tradition can also hold us back from addressing decisions that need rethinking. It’s acceptable to begin anew every once in a while.

Most people start law school intending to end up as a “traditional lawyer.” Whether they envision themselves attending to cases in court, drafting contracts, or otherwise serving the needs of the inadequately represented, they imagine reading, writing, and standing up for their future clients.

Most law schools also plan for you to end up as a “traditional lawyer.” 

Mitch is anything but a traditional lawyer! 

Although he practices law, he also truly shows up for himself and others online. As previously mentioned, he helps and adds value to his clients through the Metaverse and Web3, which is definitely not mainstream at all. 

Mitch Jackson knows how to show up in person, on social media and now… the metaverse!

According to an article on, these are two terms that are generating a great deal of hype and excitement in the world of business technology today.  

Here are the definitions provided:

In simple terms, web3 is the decentralized internet – built on distributed technologies like blockchain and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO) rather than centralized on servers owned by individuals or corporations.

The idea is that this will create a more democratized Internet. No single entity will control the flow of information or “pull the plug” and kill a network, simply because they can as they own the hardware it’s running on.

The metaverse (or just “metaverse”), on the other hand, is really, at the moment, a shorthand for virtual worlds, where users can interact with each other and engage with apps and services in a far more immersive way. The term “metaverse” first appeared in Neal Stephenson’s sci-fi novel Snow Crash, where it described a virtual reality world.

When asked why he approached serving his clients in this very non-traditional way, Mitch responded as follows”

“Number one, I’m doing it because the consumers that are tapping in and watching the show or listening to the podcast, or watching this presentation in the metaverse, they’re getting a kick out of this new information and what they’re watching happen in real time. And then they’re gonna know that we’re actually good, genuine human beings who care about our community that care about our country. And I think from that comes the business from that comes to sales. from that comes the relationships and the new opportunities that just aren’t there. For people and companies that go through life with these binders on where it’s all about me, it’s all about me, it’s all about me, that’s great. But I don’t think that’s the formula or recipe for a life full of tasty biscuits. I just don’t think that’s the way to roll.”

He also shared an important story about how he started Hang gliding:

“So I grew up in Tucson, Arizona. During my high school football senior year, I was at a practice in August. It was probably 115 degrees and I was wearing full pads. This is back in the day where the coaches didn’t really let us drink water because it was making us tougher, you know. Next to my school was a mountain. I looked up during practice and saw these hang gliders. This is back in 1974/75. Watching these hang gliders fly off of a mountain in the cool desert breeze and thinking to myself, “That looks so cool; It’s like they’re flying around like eagles! This was just a few years into the sport. A buddy of mine remarked, “You know what? That could be us. We need to take hang gliding lessons!” We asked our moms and dads and they probably didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into, but they said it’s fine. And so the following week, we found ourselves down at a place called summit hut in Tucson, Arizona, that taught hang gliding lessons, and it was called Ground School. We did four weeks of evening ground school and we started to learn what hang gliding was all about. 

Fast forward to about a month later, we were down in southern Arizona running down these big grass hills, with these hang gliders on our backs. All of a sudden, our feet were in the air and we’re not touching the ground anymore!

That was pretty cool!

Fast forward about a year after that and we were flying all over Arizona and California, and had acquired our expert hang gliding ratings. We were flying for hours at a time, miles above the ground. 

Looking back, it was one of those situations where it was something I would’ve liked to do, but never thought I’d be able to. It would never have happened if I hadn’t taken those first steps! I don’t need to be an expert hang glider pilot, but I’m glad I got to taste the sport and see if it was for me. 

What I learned from that is this: oftentimes, it’s just a matter of taking short, easy to digest steps. One step at a time, not really knowing where it’s going to take you, but you’re enjoying the journey and you’re having fun while you’re doing it. I think that’s super important!”

I think that’s a good reason to learn anything or to show up: it’s a matter of taking small steps and learning as you go! You don’t need to be an expert, but you can explore and learn something new. As we all know, growth doesn’t happen in your comfort zone!

So next time you find yourself thinking about showing up online: don’t agonize too much! 

Instead, just start telling your story. Stay in your comfort zone at first, then talk about what you know. You may be surprised at how easy it can be to attract people when you are just being you because you know more than you realize!

We all have potential to be great, but we have to start! We have to be curious AND we must #ShowUP!!!

Manufacturers win big with Curiosity as a Superpower

Ben Baker knows about branding – and podcasts – and life as keynote speaker.

As a recovering journalist the table was turned for Ben to interview me.

You can listen to the podcast here – read the transcript below – and then make sure to reach out to Ben and listen to some of his other shows.   Personal branding is so vital in this new digital world.  As a curiosity seeker I love podcasts, I love learning and most of all I love to share stories!

So this blog has a few more of my stories but also I reference some key people in my manufacturing life and their links are at the end.   All well worth connecting with.

Ben did all of the heavy lifting to set up a pre-interview, do the research, conduct the main interview (below) and then do the trancript, Tweetable highlights, links to people I mentioned and then packaged it all up to help push out on social media.

He is indeed a top notch Podcast Host for Hire.   I am grateful he had me as guest and so this is also a very meta blog to go with our podcast. 

So here goes… over to Ben!

Ben Baker: [00:00:25] In this episode, I’ve got a real firebrand for you. Gail Robertson is joining me. We’re going to talk about curiosity as a superpower. I’m going to bring it right on. We are going to have a phenomenal conversation. Gail, welcome to the show.

Gail Robertson, GailNow:  [00:00:43] Thank you. I’m so happy to be here. I’m pumping up and ready to talk about curiosity as a superpower indeed.

Ben: [00:00:53] I’m going to do some shout-outs to Curt AndersonDan Bigger, the Manufacturing Happy Hour and everybody who is part of that. You and I met through the manufacturing community, which is an incredible community. They are so tight-knit. They help each other out. There is so much phenomenal stuff going on. I sat there and went, “I’ve got to talk to Gail.” Here we are. I’ve been looking forward to this for a while. Let’s have a conversation. First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself. Where did you come from? Where are you now? We’ll then get to where we’re going together.

Gail: [00:01:35] I help manufacturers tell their stories. As a recovering journalist, I also use curiosity as part of my three-step process, which is to sign up, suit up and show up. Those are the things that I work with the manufacturers. It’s to help get them out of their comfort zone and start stepping into using social media and into this new digital age. It’s not that new but in the manufacturing world, it is seen as something that they’re not always comfortable participating in. You were talking about all of these exciting things that are happening in manufacturing, except a lot of people don’t know about it.

Ben: [00:02:18] It’s a great kept secret. I’ll tell you that much.

Gail : [00:02:20] Curt Anderson says, “Stop being the best-kept secret.” I take it from there and say, “I got you, Curt.” The next thing is, how do we do that? It’s a couple of things. One is we have to start pulling those stories out. Since I don’t come from manufacturing, I’ve been able to see things that they may not always see. There’s a term we talk about in the world that I’m in, which is mostly in mold-making, automation and plastic injection world. It’s the people that make things that make things.

When we hear manufacturing, we often think of the end product. People think about the cars rolling off and they see that. There are so many steps leading up to that final product. It’s exciting to see from the tools being made how much steel is needed. We’re facing the issues of the supply chain, but the supply chain is going to be an ongoing issue. How do we start getting more people to understand what that means?

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When we’re talking about issues at the border, that impacts all of us. It’s not just the people waiting to get the products crossing the border. It will mean a delay in getting the products on our shelves, getting cars. I ordered a new vehicle in the summer of 2021. It was supposed to come in November 2021, and it’s not coming in until February 2022. I got a note that it’s ready at the end of February. That’s where we’re seeing things behind the scenes. I can understand why that delay is happening.

Ben: [00:04:09] When I was younger, I dated the niece of the Rear-Admiral of the West Coast Fleet. We used to talk about the Sea King helicopters. They were known as 10,000 parts flying in close formation. We need to think that everything we make is made up of parts. There are very few things that we make and consume that are one true part.

A car has brakes, tires, wheels and seats. It has different levels of computers. Each one of those pieces has to be manufactured. They then all have to be brought to a certain location for assembly, and the car needs to be assembled. If one part, let’s say that chipset, is not available or if all of a sudden there’s a shortage of chipsets, all those cars can’t go off the assembly line. The 99.9% of the parts could be available but if that one thing is not there, the cars don’t roll.

Manufacturing and logistics are so intertwined. They always have been, but it has come to a head. It’s amazing that so few people understand what it takes to make anything. How do you get that story out of people with curiosity? If we don’t tell that story and get people to appreciate what the challenges and opportunities are, nothing gets done.

Gail: [00:05:49] You’re right about the parts behind the scenes and also the role of plastics. This is another area that I’m very focused on. We hear about the banning of plastics when people don’t understand that issue. It’s about the disposal of plastics, not that we want to ban plastics. Plastic is part of medical devices. It’s part of everything that we’re using all the time. That’s one issue that sparked my curiosity because before getting into this industry, I might have thought, “Ban some plastic.”

This is where curiosity is vital. We need to ask more questions and look around corners. This is a bit cliché but in any business, you have to look at things differently. I’m sitting on the board of the Canadian Association Of Mold Makers, which I chuckle at when I tell some of my friends. They’re like, “How did you get on that board?”

Here is a shoutout to Ben – He can be a podcast host for you!  

It has been the best learning experience. What I bring to that board is the outside perspective. This is where curiosity comes in because I spend a lot of time working with clients, sometimes trying to get them out of their own way because they are so close to the story and the world they’re in. They don’t think anyone will care about some of their stories or they think, “That’s too simple.”

LBL Gail Robertson | Curiosity


Curiosity: You need to tell the simple stories of your industry and explain what is happening.

When it comes to looking at how decisions are made from a sales perspective, it’s not only the engineer at the end of the process that may be searching and reading up about your company. It could be someone in marketing, someone in finance or even one of the owners or the owner’s children searching. You need to tell people the simple stories of your industry and explain what is happening.

The biggest problem at times with people in manufacturing is they don’t think they have a story. That’s the biggest roadblock. That is where I come in because I bring that new perspective. I bring to manufacturing a new and exciting approach to how we can tell stories. We still have to tell the stories differently and think about the different kinds of audience. It may now be politicians. It’s people making decisions about whether they’re going to open the border or not, and what is considered an essential worker?

That was a whole topic that when I was sitting on the board, we had a lot of discussions and did a lot of advocacy work. These people behind the scenes in manufacturing are essential workers. If you don’t have the tools to make the plastic products to get the items on the trucks and on our store shelves, we have a problem. It’s connecting the dots.

Ben: [00:08:57] That’s a big thing. It’s connecting the dots because the manufacturers themselves either feel they don’t have a story to tell, which they do, or they assume that everybody understands their story, which they don’t. We all know what we do very well. We’re in it every day. We’re sitting in the pocket. We’re doing what we’re doing. We get it. We have this horrible assumption that if we understand what we do, everybody understands what we do. Most people don’t understand the nuance of what other people do or why they should care.

It’s the big thing about, “Why I should care? How is what you do helping me achieve my goals?” If we can’t paint it in that picture and if we can’t enable people to sit there and say, “I have a problem. I’m listening to this person’s story. They can solve my problem because they’ve seen that problem before. I need to pick up a phone, send them an email, or get in touch with them to be able to sit there and say, Can you help me?” If we don’t tell those stories in ways that people can listen to understand and value, nobody’s going to come.

Gail: [00:10:20] This ties into also telling more of those people’s stories. When it comes to the world I’m in which is mold-making and making a tool, it’s like, “Here’s the metal and how the tool is made,” but the people behind the scenes are the problem solvers. What we all need to do is look at what the problem is and how we can provide a solution.

Part of providing that solution is telling the story of the people behind the scenes. It’s going to be the mold designers and the program managers that have had experience at a tryout and seeing what works and what doesn’t work. It’s going to be the sales team that also has their handle on the client and what they need. This can apply to so many different industries. I’m focused on manufacturing, but I’ve also worked in insurance and technology. The same rules apply.

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I was at a trade show working for travel insurance. Even though I wasn’t a broker and didn’t know a lot about all the details, I knew the questions to ask because we were a company that would work with home and auto insurance brokers. We would be able to sell travel insurance for them without them worrying about us stealing their lunch.

I would ask a question like, “Do you have problems sometimes with people being concerned about preexisting conditions?” They would stop and go, “Yes.” That would start a conversation, and I would hand them over to the broker who knew more of the background. Sometimes it’s the simplest thing. The people in that industry would have never maybe thought to ask that question because they thought, “Everybody knows about that.” I prove to them that maybe they didn’t.

They haven’t looked at it in that particular way.

It’s all about how you look at it. When you know too much, you can’t sometimes see how much people may need to learn from you. You have to break it down to basics. Twitter, for example. I know Twitter. I can help people with Twitter, but Madalyn Sklar also knows it. There’s enough room for all of us. She has a lot of expertise in that area, but I can also work on Twitter. It’s not that I have to say, “I can’t do it because Madalyn is doing it.”

It was from one of the guests in your show that I heard that we have to get away from this idea of worrying about our competition all the time. What we need to work on is our own strengths and what we can bring to the table. How can we bring our strengths, step up to the plate and show up? My three steps are sign up, suit up and show up.

When I show up, at times, it’s the easiest or the most difficult. It’s in your preparation. I’ve shown up even if I have not always felt ready. That’s where you need the curiosity to ask questions. In high school, I was asked to cover Junior B Hockey. I was taking a Journalism class. I knew nothing about hockey. I didn’t even have brothers and they want me to go cover hockey. This wasn’t even the little type. This was Junior B and it was a big deal in the town I grew up in. I said, “I’ll go cover it.” It’s amazing how I ask questions and soon, I was writing about hockey and covering those hockey games every Sunday night.

Ben: [00:14:11] You said something interesting about it being a people thing. Every company, customer, and vendor of yours is made out of people. When we can tell stories that affect and touch other human beings, that show them how you care about them and how you could help them, all of a sudden, they’re going to pay attention.

LBL Gail Robertson | Curiosity


Curiosity: The biggest problem with people in manufacturing is they don’t think they have a story.

People have challenges and issues. They are scared, frustrated and need solutions. If you can tell a story that says, “It’s not about me and not about this widget that I create, but these are the wonderful people that I work with in my organization, and how they work to be able to help you achieve your goals,” all of a sudden, we’re at a human-to-human basis.

Unless you’re curious, you’re never going to be able to touch those stories and touch people’s souls. When you’re dealing with a new client and you’ve never met them before, whether it’s hockey, manufacturing or anything, how do you go about getting them to open up effectively and draw those stories out of them? It’s challenging.

Gail: [0015:35] Like anything, it does take time. It takes building up those relationships and trust. What I do is go back to what your goals and objectives are. You have first to start looking at what you want to accomplish. It’s not a matter of just telling stories for the sake of, “That’s a good story,” or having a good laugh. It’s about what the goals and objectives are.

When building out those stories, you can always connect them back to their goal. If their goal is to look at developing their brand and they want to get their name out there, it’s maybe about telling some stories about the company. Who’s behind the company? How can you personalize it more so it’s not just ABC company? It’s the people behind the name.

One of my great clients is Cavalier Tool & Manufacturing. They have nailed it in terms of understanding the power of the story. Brian Bendig is the son of one of the original owners. He has taken the company down the road of doing things differently and changing how mold-making is seen. He also has people in place on his team to continue to tell those stories as well.

They are willing to go out and do things a bit differently. They have taken some direction from me when they’ve done trade shows where it’s less about putting the product on the floor and more about what will draw people into the booth and how you can talk to people and communicate. They did one show in Germany. They were the only Canadian company so we did a whole Canadian hockey theme. People were coming into the booth. We had some Canadian beer there.

It was less about the tools and how to make tools and more about the people. All the staff were wearing hockey jerseys. It started these conversations and it got them noticed. With manufacturing, that’s where they can do something different. They stepped outside what may seem as the norm. It may not work for all companies. When I go in, I try to get a vibe on the personality of the company and what they’re willing to share because that may not work for everyone. That’s a key issue. There’s no cookie-cutter to this. It’s not like going to them and saying, “You should do this because it has worked at another company.” It’s about asking the right questions. If they weren’t comfortable doing that, it’s not going to work.

Sign Up! Suit Up! Show Up!CLICK TO TWEET

Being able to tell your story, you want to tell it in a way that you’re comfortable with that. My job is to help pull those stories out and put them in the context of their goals and objectives. Not all the stories should be about selling and what they want to sell. It’s about what does your audience need and what are their problems that you can solve? That comes down to how you can tell a story to show that you can help them with their problems.

Ben: [00:18:46] I love that you’re saying that there is no cookie-cutter approach. If there were a cookie-cutter approach, every company would look and be marketed the same. Every company would tell the same story, and they’re not. Every company is authentic unto themselves. We need to differentiate them. You talked about red M&M’s in a bowl of greens. I love the fact that there’s one red M&M’s in a bowl of greens. I’m going to let you talk about that.

Gail: [00:19:17] I first heard that story, the red M&M’s and the bowl of green, from Damon Pistulka, who I cherish and crossed paths with. He talks about how you can stand out even if you may feel it’s uncomfortable and difficult. If it were easy, everybody would be doing it. All you have to do is look at how many people are producers and consumers.

Most people are consuming content. If you want to just blend in and be like everybody else in manufacturing in particular, then just sit back, consume, and wonder why your competition is going to get ahead of you. This red M&M’s idea is that you want to stand out. If you’re going to go on social media, you have to be willing to step out and do something different.

That has been something that I’ve used in a few areas of talks that I give because I hope people can understand the why. That goes back to what your goal is. If your goal is to go on social and produce a checklist, I am not a checklist person. For people that want to work with me, it’s very individual. It’s also very much about, “Are we going to have success working together?”

If I don’t feel we can have success working together, then it’s not the right client for me. If you think social media and using digital is not going to work, we’re not going to have the best fit. I don’t know how else you can share your story without using the tools of the trade that are required to get your word out to a broader audience.

Ben: [00:21:11] It’s interesting that you said the majority of people are consumers of content. Somebody told me that less than 5% of people on social media create original content in any way, shape or form. That includes people that put out one piece of new and unique content a year. It is dramatic that the people who are putting ongoing, consistent and value-added content out there that speaks to an audience are probably less than 2% if you look at it.

LBL Gail Robertson | Curiosity


Curiosity: If we don’t tell those stories in ways that people can listen to understand and value, nobody’s going to come.

A lot of that comes down to the fact that people are not curious enough about their audience on their social platform to have real conversations with them and push the boundaries to sit there and say, “You’ll assume that you’re going to keep doing what you’ve always done, but you’re going to get what you always got if you’re lucky,” or, “Have you thought of things this way?” When we can push those boundaries and enable our customers to be curious and question how they’ve originally done things where maybe there’s a better way, we can have better conversations.

How do you help your customers who are not comfortable with social media? Most manufacturers are not. Let’s be fair about it. How do you help and take them by the hand and say, “This isn’t so scary, and here’s how you can dip your foot in the pond in a way that gets you comfortable first before we start getting you uncomfortable?”

Gail: [00:22:58] I don’t necessarily look at taking on all comers because they have to be willing to recognize that they need and want help. That’s why my three steps are sign up, suit up and show up. The first step is to sign up. That’s the first discussion.

Ben: [00:23:18] They have to raise their hand and say, “Gail, I need help.”

Gail: [00:23:22] The next is to be willing to change how they have been doing things. That’s the suit up. That’s where curiosity comes in. I can come in with the research and show you how you can increase your numbers. I’m able to do that using Google Analytics and various social media metrics to show them that when you’re putting content out, you’re going to get more attention and develop your brand recognition. Your name will get out there.

The next question I get is, “How does this turn into selling my tools and product?” It is overtime. It is a bit like search engine optimization. It’s not something that you’re going to turn on a switch and within 1 or 2 weeks, it will magically happen. It’s going to be a layering process, but it’s like sales in real life. You have to get out there, talk to people and do some networking.

I usually encourage them to take part in various networking events, show up at webinars, and have conversations in the comments section. Some of that, I do help with to encourage them. I also saw something on LinkedIn. There was a discussion. I don’t know whose page it was but Greg Mischio commented as well. It’s about the idea of rejection. No one likes rejection. That ties into the whole fear idea. People think, “If I post something, what if someone doesn’t like it? What if they’re going to push back? What if they don’t like me?” It may happen but it’s also as in real life. If you don’t take a stand and let people know what your position is, then you’ll just blend in. You’re that vanilla.

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The best compliment I had was when someone said, “Gail, you’re not vanilla.” As my client once said to me, “It’s important to speak truth to power.” That’s something that I do well. I’ve been very blessed with having amazing bosses who encourage that. It taught me a good lesson that I want to work with clients who will accept that I’m not probably just going to say, “I’ll do whatever you tell me to do.” I will push back and I’m going to give another perspective. At the end of the day, they’re paying the bills so they can make the final choice. I get that. I’m not going to get into an argument with them. It’s important to recognize that I’m not everybody’s cup of tea, but I may be your shot of tequila.

That is something that I like to promote if someone is looking to get help to tell their story. They may even be listening and go, “We do not want that attitude. We do not need her energy.” There may be someone that goes, “I want someone who will tell me the truth, come to the table with a different way of looking at things, and be able to feel comfortable speaking up.”

I had this one boss one time. He was great. He knew me to be pushing back. I said, “Fine.” He says, “What do you mean by fine?” He was all worked up because I said fine. I said, “Here’s what I mean. I don’t agree with your decision on this, but it’s not something that I’m going to make a big deal about. I said fine because I’m going to do it. We’re not going to agree on everything. You’ll know if I really disagree, I wouldn’t say fine and go ahead. I was also not going to say, ‘That’s a great idea,’ when I don’t think it’s a great idea. I’m going to tell you what I believe.” It’s having that open discussion that’s so important.

That’s where I’ve been able to niche with my business and work with people. I will say, “I’ll go to the wild for you.” I am very excited about working in manufacturing and with people who want to embrace curiosity and my version of curiosity. If I’m not clear on something, they’re going to come back and ask those questions. I’m not going to run off and spend two weeks on something only to find out that that’s not what you’re looking for.

I’ve also used this with a young woman I was mentoring with. I said, “It’s a sign of strength to say I don’t know and I need help.” That’s what I don’t mind doing. When I was a manager of staff, I also encouraged them. I said, “Always know that I will see you as a much stronger dynamic part of the team if you come and ask me the question and not go and assume that you understand.”

Ben:  [00:28:22] You and I both want clients that not only think that we are the red M&M’s or the tequila, but they want to be the red M&M’s and the tequila. There are 7.5 billion people in this world and 99.9% of them will never know I exist. I could care less. If I could deal with 1/10 of 1% of humanity and get those people to understand the value I provide and have a conversation, I could be a billionaire.

The reality is that there are so many people and opportunities out there. We need to find the ones that resonate with our message. To the people who are scared about being curious and putting content out there that may be a little challenging or provocative, realize that the people who push back are your greatest assets. Those are the people that you’re going to learn from. You’re going to say, “I hadn’t thought of that perspective before. That’s great.” You want to engage those people and say, “I love the fact that you’re challenging me on this. What did you mean by that, and how can we make this better?”

LBL Gail Robertson | Curiosity


Curiosity: Part of providing that solution is telling the story of the people behind the scenes.

That’s where we get back to the curiosity. It’s that we need to care about our customers. We need to take a look, sit there and go, “What do they care about? What’s important to them? What do they need? What’s going to make their lives better? How can we do that?” You and I do this for the different clients that we support, but it’s up to them to turn around, push the mirror in the other direction, and be able to take a look, sit there and be curious about their customers. I love that.

Gail:  [00:30:15] To anybody reading, I strongly encourage you to go back and read some of these earlier episodes. You have some amazing guests. I’ve learned so much. I feel extremely privileged to be one of your guests. There is so much to go around. It comes down to, “Do you believe that there is enough or do you believe that you have competition?” You can sit back and say, “There’s someone else. They’re going to do this work,” but no one can bring to the table your own specific energy, personality, drive and interest.

The next step is, “What is it that the audience finds important?” That’s something we both do. It’s not the stories we want to tell. It’s not what I think is important. It’s what does the end reader care about. That started in high school. When I was covering hockey, I had to think about the readers out there. I learned from some great mentors, including the publishers and editors of that paper, that it’s not only the hockey experts reading this. It will be some general public. It’s going to be the parents and people who may not know a lot about hockey as well.

Often when making decisions, sometimes people who are sitting around the table want to tell the stories they care about. I try not to say this in a rude way, but it’s not what you care about or how you are reading the article. It’s who is reading this. This is where Google Analytics and looking at your stats as to who’s coming to your website. Who are the people that may be interested in learning about your brand? It could be future employees, engineers or someone working in HR and marketing. There are so many different people that are looking at this.

It comes down to making sure you’re sharing the stories that will resonate. It’s also going back to your goal of telling those stories. It’s not just a vanity project. It’s not, “We have this new piece of equipment. Let’s talk about how great it is.” I’m always saying, “Why will the customer care? You’re telling me it works great and this is a great machine. I see that it’s going to reduce the amount of time.” Now you can get their product out to them.

You can get that tool made to go to the molder, who can then get it to market by a week or two earlier, which can make a big difference. Now, this equipment starts to make sense. It’s not just that it’s shiny and bright, and it goes at whatever RPMs. That’s nice if you’re out and you care about that piece of equipment, but most of the customers will want to know, “Why are you sharing it? Why did I stop to read this? Why am I on YouTube watching this video? What’s in it for me?” Meaning what’s in it for them because that’s what they care about.

Ben: [00:33:44] Let’s land this. You and I could talk about this for another hour. First of all, what’s the best way for people to get in touch with you? If they’re in the manufacturing industry and looking to tell their story better, they know how to get in touch with you.

When you know too much, you can’t sometimes see how much people may need to learn from you.CLICK TO TWEET

Gail: [00:34:03] Go to my LinkedIn. I do a weekly LinkedIn live show. It’s ShowUP with GailNow Live. It’s every Wednesday at 1:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. I interview people in manufacturing and also people outside of manufacturing who show up. We can sometimes learn from other people that are not in our own industry. That is the best way sometimes to learn.

My website is If you google GailNow, you will find me in a few places. Twitter is another place where I’m fairly active. I’m also on TikTok, mostly for learning about the short-form video. I always like to know a little bit about all the platforms because of the world I’m in, but I don’t recommend my clients to be everywhere. Sometimes you have to choose your best focus. I do have all my previous shows on YouTube as well.

Ben: [00:35:13] Here’s the question I ask, and I ask this to everybody as they walk out the door. When you leave a meeting, get in your car and drive away way, what’s the one thing you want people to think about you when you’re not in the room?

Gail: [00:35:31] I am someone who is a force to be reckoned with. I once was told that I could come in guns blazing. You’re either going to love that about me or not. I want them to think we need guns blazing. We need someone who is like the Gail force that will come in here and help us change how we’re doing things. She’s going to help us tell her stories. She is going to not only talk about her three-step process but also live, eat and breathe it along with us.

Ben: [00:36:06] Gail, thanks for being the red M&M’s and the shot of tequila. You have been a joy to talk to. I’m sure people are going to get a lot out of this interview. Thank you for your time and your energy.

Gail: [00:36:19] Thank you.

Important Links:

Christina Fuges: Storytelling with punch in new digital world

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Christina Fuges on #ShowUP with GailNow. She has 28 years of experience in trade publishing and has been the Editorial Director of Moldmaking Technology Magazine for 23 of those years. She was a founding partner of Communication Technologies, Inc. (CTI), which launched the publication and its annual trade show, the MoldMaking Expo (now Amerimold expo) where she is the Technical Conference Director.

She and I initially met on Twitter and through online tweeting back and forth, we kind of did the Twitter dance; liking and sharing things. Lo and behold, we found we had things in common and we eventually met in person at the Amerimold Expo in 2021.

She is someone who truly understands the power of building and sharing stories, especially in this new digital world. Recently, there has been a lot of disruption when it comes to how these stories are being told in various industries, but especially in manufacturing. The companies and the individuals that know how to use social media, as well as still connect with trade shows and meet in person, are the ones that are really rocking it!

She and I touched on many subjects, but mainly focused on her background and transferable skills, shifting to digital, as well as the Power of Telling your Story.

Christina received her bachelor’s degree in telecommunications from Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. After that she ended up at a local company that was a tradeshow management company that put on quilting shows. They also had a quilting conference, as well as a quilting newsletter at the time. She was involved in creating content, helping with conference development and setting up trade shows with quilting. Through this experience, Christina learned that anything in the trade business (an object or even a process) has a trade publication. 

From there, she went on to editing; eventually starting with partners. Before she first started at MMT, she had no idea what moldmaking was, but used her curiosity to gain some knowledge on the topic. Throughout her career, she has, like most of us, has built up her transferable skills and uses them in her current role, even in changing her approach during the pandemic.

“So, it’s that was a favorable experience and it didn’t take me too much when you talk about transferable skills, like I like to think about my organizational skills, my communication skills, relationship building skills, listening creativity, when you’re writing an article, pretty much the same skills in order to get that content to share it. 

Leaders have many functions and one of them is to influence others, including their subordinates, their stakeholders, and their company’s customers.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the word influence is defined as “the power to have an effect on people or things, or a person or thing that is able to do this”.

There are many avenues through which they are able to assert their influence, but no matter how it’s delivered, influence doesn‘t happen through conveying information or reciting facts and figures listed in a presentation.

Leaders achieve influence when they reach people in ways that enable them to understand, remember, and inspire them to take action. Influence is about changing ideas, as well as changing behavior and it enables learning to be sustainable. 

One of the best ways to influence is through storytelling!

According to an article in Harvard Business Publishing, telling their story helps leaders to influence, teach and inspire others in a very powerful way. 

Forbes says that most businesses are known only by their name or logo. Large organizations or highly recognised ones with big public relations and big marketing budgets, can get away with this strategy. For new brands with small marketing budgets, the most powerful public relations strategy is to tell the personal, and sometimes vulnerable, story behind their brand.

Here are a few reasons why telling your story is SO important as per an article found on Ginger Leadership Communications’ website:

  • Stories draw upon the universal human need for connection; in some rudimentary sense, we need stories.
  • One of the most compelling ways of inspiring others is to use the one tool you have that no one else has – your personal story. Your individual experience of the world is the most valuable asset you possess!
  • Despite what we may think about business, character trumps credentials at this present moment.
  • Telling your story – including all its challenges, mistakes, failures, pain, setbacks as well as its joys, successes and victories – says something about what it means to be human. Telling your story can even inspire others to take the first step on their own path to becoming a public speaker!

Storytelling is immensely effective for learning according to Harvard Business.  Here’s why:

  • Storytelling establishes connections among people, and also between people and ideas. 
  • Stories tell the culture, history, and values that unite people. 
  • When it comes to our countries, our communities, and our families, we understand instinctively that the stories we hold in common are an important part of the ties that bind us to each other. 
  • This understanding is also true in the business world, where an organization’s stories, and the stories told by its leaders, help strengthen relationships in a way that factual statements summarized in bullet points or numbers don’t.

Christina and I found that stories are now being told differently. Now, people no longer need to wait for print and stories can be shared instantly. Read this excerpt to learn about Christina’s experience with the change, especially in the last while.

“When COVID hit, everything was just accelerated and I took that as an opportunity. Not everybody’s comfortable, we can get into that, too; but, it was just so exciting back in February, March 2020. Not only did it give me an opportunity to go back to what I went to school for, for my current job and deliver content to a community right in need of it, but at a time also when they needed to share their stories because this community of mold building and molding, almost saving the day during this pandemic, in terms of the equipment and the components that were needed. It was an opportunity to shine light on and you couldn’t really wait for print, right? There’s noway you can wait for a story to come out. We turned to video, to social media; this helped us amp up the activity that we were already doing… So transferring that to video content or digital content, social, it was pretty seamless for me. I am not a technical person; something goes wrong with a computer, I am one of those people that freaks out. So, being able to do this and being comfortable with yourself and delivering content in a new way; if I can do it, I think anybody can and should do it.”

When it comes to video content, Christina feels that we all struggle with wanting to put out the best, but getting the content done and out there is more important than striving for perfection. It also helps the guest if the host is more real.

“Yeah, just real, right? Don’t overthink. That was the struggle when I started doing the MMT chat, some people wanted to make them better. First of all, I could do it by myself, so it was a timely thing; let’s just get this done. To me, the important part was the connection, getting it done quickly to get these COVID-related stories, these positive stories out quickly. So I’m doing it. And then it was like, you know, it doesn’t need to be better. First of all, that’s subjective and I like the down and dirty. I’m just being real and it comes. I think sometimes that makes the guest more comfortable when you just don’t over-produce it. Now there are other times when, depending on what the subject matter is, it calls for that, but I agree with you most on social media; it doesn’t just get it out there.”

Lastly, she shared some tips that can be applied by us all:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. 
  • Build that community and lean on that community to help them get better. 
  • Do your part by sharing a story or even convincing someone that they have a story to share.

If we embrace these, they can help us to show up, connect, engage, appeal to others; teaching, inspiring and motivating them as we go, especially when we share our own story.

Paulo Coelho once said it so well:

“Tell your story: yes, tell your story! Give your example. Tell everyone that it’s possible, and other people will then have the courage to face their own mountains.”

Hear full interview on YouTube:

How can curiosity help your business be its best?

When wanting to know more  about people, it helps to know their stories. Channel the power of curiosity to create rewarding relationships and earn business.

 By James L Katzaman

(Posted from with permission.  Guest blog) 

Stories are the heart of every person’s hopes and dreams

When wanting to know more — call it curious — about people, it helps to know their stories.

“I had a bed and breakfast where the biscuits became a big part of my brand and marketing,” said Gail Robertson. “It was more than the biscuits. It was all about the story and how it resonated for people around emotion.”

From that she learned how to channel the power of curiosity to create unexpected and rewarding relationships.

Magical Vistas Sparkle In the Light of Quality over Quantity

People are naturally curious about how other people carry

Robertson describes herself as a recovering journalist who does research, an offshoot of curiosity.

“In times of uncertainty, curiosity helps us adapt,” Robertson said. “People credit curiosity as highly valuable, but a sign of not being experienced enough at work.

“Yet, a curious mindset leads to innovation,” she said.

Talking with leadership and performance coach Nathalie Gregg, Robertson looked at how to encourage this trait.

“Curiosity is good for business,” Robertson said. “It encourages new ideas and helps overcome fear.

“Research by Harvard professor Francesca Gino has shown curiosity leads to more creative ideas, better team performance, conflict resolution and broadening of networking,” Robertson said.

A Canadian bank study looked at curiosity as a trait.

“That was valuable because curious people were found to be more successful,” Robertson said. “They are better at networking and collaboration. They perform better at their jobs.”

Photo by François Verbeeck on Unsplash

Willing to Take Risks

Following through on curiosity takes a bit of courage.

“Curiosity means we ask questions even when we fear it may make us look like we don’t know something,” Robertson said. “Curious people are willing to take risks. That is what leads to innovation. Tell me no, and I want to find a workaround.

“Curiosity also helps us connect to others because we ask questions,” she said. “We listen, and we love stories.”

Gregg liked the idea that curiosity increases risk taking.

Asking the Right Questions Will Help You Grow Your Community

Brands will benefit from taking the initiative for

With curiosity, leaders admit they don’t know everything, which opens their minds to new ideas and recognizing the people who offered them.

Robertson encourages people to ask questions, listen and be open to ideas:

  • Be curious, not judgmental. Assume less.
  • Staff worry about being judged, which can lead to “learned helplessness.”
  • Be careful about absolutes.
  • Banish the word never.
  • Be aware of your body language.

“You can’t be curious and judgemental,” Robertson said. “If ever I start to judge, I know I need to stop and be more curious and ask myself, what might I not see right now.

“There is a lot of judgment in the world and society right now,” she said. “We may need to reflect on that, too.”

Curiosity questions the status quo, which makes you less susceptible to accept obstacles and peer around the corner for a better way to reach your goal.

Observe and Ask

Robertson said that when faced with a problem, step back, observe and then ask these questions:

  • What if we tried xxx?
  • How could we do xxx differently?
  • What other options are there?
  • Who else can we ask?

“Exercise your curious brain all the time so you are ready for a crisis,” Robertson said. “With a pandemic, we had to move online. It meant change.

“When curious, you look for solutions: more engaging online panels and using video to a greater degree,” she said.

Be true to your group

Loyal community members are the best people to learn

Robertson noted that mold manufacturer Cavalier created a virtual tour so people could still see inside the plant.

“When you are always growing and learning, you also expand your network,” Robertson said. “Then if you have an obstacle, you have people to call on to help.

“I have called on people — skills I learned as a journalist,” she said. “It is very freeing to not have to know everything.”

Business owners would be particularly interested in how curiosity can help them tell better stories that convert into income.

Robertson recommends asking questions and then following her three-step process:

  • Sign up.
  • Suit Up.
  • Show Up.

“You can find your story,” Robertson said. “Then share it and build relationships leading to business. Stories will convert to business over time because they help you build relationships.

“We need to reflect on our stories,” she said. “There is research about memory and how a story changes over time.”

Brain Food

For her inspiration, Robertson listens to the Hidden Brain podcast.

“It feeds my curious brain,” she said. “It’s why I truly work on being curious, not judgemental. “

Curiosity makes you bored with your present comfortable circumstances. Aching for something different gives you the motivation to cast old ways aside.

Tap into fear for strength

Honor and understand how to channel prevailing

“You overcome fear when you learn and develop new habits,” Robertson said. “It may not always be easy but that comfort zone will expand.

“I knew nothing about manufacturing, but now I can hold my own in many conversations,” she said. “I had to work that curiosity muscle to learn and grow.”

One benefit might be that curiosity keeps you focused and less prone to suffer critics.

“When you use curiosity, you can also overcome your fear of being judged,” Robertson said. “You can find others who also are curious — not judgemental.

“Asking questions also leads to positive outcomes too,” she said. “Studies show people like people who are interested, engaged and ask questions.”

A collateral effect is being more trusted and liked.

“People may even be flattered when you ask them questions,” Robertson said.

You are your biggest barrier to expanding your curiosity. Fear of the unknown takes over.

“Judgment is a huge barrier,” Robertson said. “We are afraid people will judge us. So, we don’t speak up or ask questions. Curiosity drops off after age 4 — age 4. Fear is the biggest barrier.

“Our education also focuses more on cookie-cutter learning and not critical thinking,” she said. “In some ways, education can be a barrier.”

Not Necessarily the Brightest

People who think they are the font of wisdom go through life with closed minds.

“Often, the brightest among us struggle because they often think they have the answers already,” Robertson said.

“Sometimes getting outside your comfort zone also means admitting you don’t know everything,” she said. “You realize that maybe there is another way to look at a problem.”

Supercharged marketing starts with a story

Perspectives change through back-and-forth

In business terms, curiosity can transform a company so it can attain extraordinary results.

“People will be attracted to you through your story,” Robertson said. “They will then want to give you business because people do business with people they know, like and trust.

“Curiosity helps build relationships,” she said. “So, hire for curiosity. Encourage it. Support it.”

The results will burnish your brand.

“You will have greater innovation and stand out in a crowd,” Robertson said. “You will learn more and then grow exponentially.

“Add learning goals to your business plan and staff development,” she said “Add a different area of study. Add art, music and fitness to work.”

Research by Francesca Gino backs this up.

“She has done the legwork to prove what I have known most of my life,” Robertson said. “It’s good to have her research. Now so many things make sense: We need stories.”


About The Author

Jim Katzaman is a manager at Largo Financial Services and worked in public affairs for the Air Force and federal government. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Dynamic. Powerful. Memorable. Brand stands test of time , impacts economy


To give a toast to the Immortal Memory of “Rabbie Burns” was an  honour, but also a tremendous growing experience, both personally and professionally.

Burns is renowned for writing Auld Lang Syne, as well as the impact he had on the Scottish economy .

An impact of about 200 million pounds, which is about $390 Million Canadian Dollars.

The Branding of the Bard is BIG Business!

In preparing to give the speech at the Scottish Club in Windsor, I  figured I would be talking to many people who knew a lot more about the great Robert Burns than I did. So, as a former journalist, I started my research.

Enter Professor Murray Pittock – a Scottish historian and  VP at the Burns Centre at the University of Glasgow and well, a Burns aficionado!


The power of branding is personified in this poet who lived a few centuries ago, but his legacy continues.

Professor Pittock is not only a Burns expert, but also the lead author of the Pittock Report, on the value of the Burns Brand to the Scottish Economy.

A brand that generates £200 million + for the Scottish economy each year; from festivals, tours, tourism and the Robbie Burns Cottage.

Growing up in a household with a mother who worked in a butcher job and a Scottish father, things like haggis, liver and cow tongue were all considered quite normal dinner fare.

‘The Grace’ at the Burns supper brought back memories!  While My father wasn’t a religious man, when we did say grace, it was ‘Some Hae Meat and canna eat’ and some … and more than a prayer, it was a performance!

Ironically, my father never attended a Robbie Burns Supper when I was growing up.  In the small town I grew up in, the Burns Suppers were held at the Presbyterian Church – so a dry event. My father said, “It’s nae a true Burns event if you canna have a wee dram!”

So, instead I went each year with my mom, an Englishwoman .

My father was a big Robbie Burns fan, though. He came to Canada from Motherwell, Scotland in the 1950’s.

He came with few belongings: less than a hundred dollars, the clothes on his back and his trusted Robbie Burns book of poems. Some carry a bible; for my father it was the Bard’s book.

I realize now how symbolic that book of poems was!

My father lived in a tenement apartment; one of five children, he worked on the docks at age 13, no formal education, but self-taught and well-read.

Symbolic in his connection to Burns; the working man.

So a few things about Robert Burns:

  • He was born in Alloway, Scotland, on January 25, 1759 and died at age 37
  • He had six siblings and lived on a tenant farm
  • He had little formal schooling, but was educated by his father and tutors
  • He started writing poetry and song lyrics at the age of fifteen
  • And He had 12 children by 4 women

Frankly I wonder how he had time to write over 700 poems and songs.

He was indeed a man for all that.

With a bar at the Scottish Club of Windsor Burns Dinner –  even my father would be happy.

There was another person I was most proud to have by my side that night; my son Aidan.   Aidan Robertson.


Yes, he will carry on my family name.

And the power that a name holds is likely something many people are aware of and keeps us connected to our heritage.

I work with companies and people on how to build and develop their brand.

Burns indeed has a brand that has stood the test of time!

Brands like Coca Cola, or Harley Davidson and personal brands, like Oprah or even Elvis – are household names.

Robert Burns has name recognition in Scotland and some parts of the world, but his name is lesser-known internationally.

However, he has poems that are widely celebrated; in particular Auld Lang Syne, or My Love is Like a Red Red Rose.

Robert Burns and his work is part of a  brilliant brand – dynamic, powerful and memorable!

A brand that has some well-known current day fans:

In 2004 Kofi Anan, Secretary General to the UN, called Burns a humanitarian.

Bob Dylan, the infamous American singer-songwriter said Burns was his greatest creative inspiration.

And renowned American poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelo said Burns’ spirit was humanitarian. He was able to love human beings and his imagination was vast.  She even traveled to Scotland for his 250th birthday celebration.

Then, I became more curious!

How has the Burns brand stood the test of time – almost 300 years later?

  • First, he had amazing Content – and no one one has outpaced him.
    • He wrote 700 poems.
    • He wrote in English and Scottish dialect.
    • His writing was of a quality few can match.
    • He wrote satire like: Holy Willie’s Prayer.
    • He wrote humour and chaos like Tam O’Shanter.
    • And he wrote To a Mouse – a Scots language poem- from which John Steinbeck took the title of his 1937 novel ‘Of Mice and Men’ from a line from this poem.

English version:

But Mouse, you are not alone,

In proving foresight may be vain:

The best laid schemes of mice and men

Go often askew

And leave us nothing but grief and pain,

For promised Joy.

Second, He also was a consummate networker – a man after my own heart.

  • Burns travelled from Alloway to Edinburgh – a city then, and now, known for its, shall we say, ’more highbrow lifestyle’.
  • He had poems published and was known for both the quality and quantity of his work.
  • He was a good-looking heartthrob, so women adored him and he adored them, and yet he didn’t alienate men.
  • He had the gift of the gab – he was charming – and most important he was relatable.
  • He travelled in all the right circles and attended parties with the who’s who of his day.  He attended parties held by a woman known as the “it” girl of the time; Allison Rutherford.
    • Her parties gathered together great minds over food, dance and debate and we all know that us Scots love a good debate!
  • Burns was often the centre of attention and he could work a crowd with his charm and his increasing popularity.

Third, he was brilliant at self-promotion and it didn’t happen by chance.

  • It was part of his own self-conscious development of it – something extremely unusual In the 18th century.
  • He is a pioneer in the art of self-promotion, according to Professor Pittock.
  • Here we had a man who became quite well-educated, very popular, left his farming days to wine and dine with some fairly well-known names of the time and was actually quite well off, relatively speaking. He could even afford to have not one portrait done, but quite a few. He was also a massive celebrity of his era!

And here is where we see the cleverness that is classic Burns.

  • At every party and in every portrait, he wore farmer’s boots and work clothes.
  • He reckoned he could sell himself as a penniless man of the soil – a man of the people; a working-class man of nature – and no one put 2 and 2 together.

And often we still don’t, according to Pittock.

And finally, Burns excelled at impact.

  • To quote Maya Angelou – people may forget what you did, forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel.

Burns is the supreme poet of feeling.

Rather than bold ideas, he didn’t really say too much to offend, Pittock told me.  He conjured up feelings instead:


Auld Lang Syne:

Nostalgia for past

Lamenting friends lost

Hope for future

Tam O Shanter 

An epic poem with humour, pathos, horror and definitely just a very colourful tale of the drinking class in ayr

Red Red Rose 

A love poem

A poem comparing love to a rose

A story of love and separation

Even if we can’t recite his work, or even understand much of it, we know how we feel when we hear his work.

And people like Anan, Angelou, Dylan, celebrated him and certainly, people like my father did.

My brother, not one to show his romantic side publicly, recited ‘Red Red Rose’ at his wedding.

Oh my Luve is like a red, red rose

That’s newly sprung in June;

O my Luve is like the melody

That’s sweetly played in tune.

So fair art thou, my bonnie lass,

So deep in luve am I;

And I will luve thee still, my dear,

Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,

And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;

I will love thee still, my dear,

While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only luve!

And fare thee weel awhile!

And I will come again, my luve,

Though it were ten thousand mile.

It still gives my sister in law goosebumps!

Robbie Burns was prolific, connected, confident.  He was complex.  A mass of contradictions.

His life was messy.  He wrote poems that touched our hearts, and even our souls.

Burns is well-deserving of his place in history, his place today in many of our hearts,

and certainly for this annual Immortal Memory.

He lived. He loved and he was imperfect.

Maybe he was a boy who just liked “shagging” as one poet said, or maybe he wanted to do something remarkable, beautiful, special.

And maybe we love him because he didn’t present himself as all that precious and instead, was just like us.

Maybe that’s where magic happens.

And that indeed, he is more like us than we may even realize!

So now, please join me as I pay homage to my father, George Baillie Robertson.  My son Aidan James Robertson.

And to Robbie Burns:  to his Immortal Memory.

Check out speech on YouTube 

Listen to November 2021 interview with Murray Pittock on #ShowUP with GailNow LIVE