CXperts: A Rebel with a Cause!

CXperts Video Podcast: Ramon Icasiano meets with Colleen McCreary, an innovative leader to discuss how key strategic people decisions enabled success throughout the pandemic and what she’s doing now to help continue those wins in the future.

Last updated on: 
August 11, 2023
Josh Witty
Josh Witty
February 17, 2022
27 min read

CXperts is a video podcast hosted by our Chief Customer Officer Ramon Icasiano, who is a former CX leader at Earnin, Netflix, Zynga, and Verizon. In each episode, Ramon dives into hot topics around customer experience with a guest industry thought leader.

This week’s episode: Ramon Icasiano meets with  Colleen McCreary, Chief People, Places, & Publicity Officer at Credit Karma, to discuss strategies to expand your team’s potential impact and uplevel people’s capabilities, especially during unpredictable market conditions.

Colleen is the Chief People, Places, & Publicity Officer at Credit Karma; a free financial tool that provides financial progress and resources to millions.  Colleen has 20+ years of experience leading HR and People at companies like Vevo, Twilio, Zynga, and was an advisor on HBO’s “Silicon Valley”.

Watch on YouTube or listen on Spotify or Apple Podcast.


Ramon Icasiano 00:28
Welcome to the next episode of the CXperts podcast. I am so excited to have our next guest Colleen McCreary who's currently chief of people, places, and publicity officer at Credit Karma, which is a service I love and rely on as well. So really excited in so many ways. Before we get started, I am really excited about this podcast because it allows me as a practitioner to interact with people like Colleen and some other industry folks, and this podcast is really for operators by operators. And what I mean by that is based on my experience at Verizon, I was there for seven years. I ran a huge contact center ranging from sales, service, workforce management, control desk, communications, consumer relations, and then really got my teeth sunk into kind of the whole delivery and that translated really well for me at my five years at Netflix and helping them scale from 293,000 members to over five million in the five years I was there. Built some amazing tools and systems around a lot of data and culture was really exciting.

And then, Colleen, you and I shared some pretty awesome years at Zynga. I was there four years. Everything was fine and then Farmville hit. So at the peak, I think we were supporting 320 million monthly unique players. I was the VP of global player advocacy and support. Total about 5,000 outsourced people globally, plus about 500 or so at corporate. And then shifted to FinTech at Earnin, four years there and that's where we purchased a tool called Pathlight. Yeah. Amazingly and I loved it so much and I'm here now as the Chief Customer Officer at Pathlight. So with that, I'd like to kind of go over your amazing background. Truly amazing. I mean, I see that you graduated at Columbia University with your master's degree. Wow. That's just a testament to how smart you are and probably really organized, right?

Colleen McCreary 02:44
That's a good way to phrase it. I think people who sort of make it through certain schools or to get there, organized is a really good word for it. You just sort of stay on top of it I think is what you would like to say. Although, the interesting thing about my time at Columbia related to sort of the work that I do and that you've done is that my master's degree is actually in adult education. So how adults learn and grow and scale, which I never knew I was going to end up, you'll talk about it further in HR, but it became very useful in a practical sort of set of skills and sort of an educational framework to have later in my career.

Ramon Icasiano 03:24
Amazing. I love to dig into that for sure. And then right from school, it looks like you got your teeth sunk into Microsoft. Senior technical recruiter and technical support manager. And then moving forward, you really dug into kind of the HR talent with your role at Electronic Arts. Director of global university relations and then corporate HR diversity director. And then from there, you and I met at Zynga.

You were almost there five years. I remember. And I never really thought how amazing your work was until after, when I helped other companies try to scale. And with that, I just want, on this podcast, to say thank you. I think that we had to solve some huge problems and really as a business partner of yours, I needed the capacity and capability via hiring the best people to achieve that. And I feel like I did my best work there as well. And I think your team was a huge part of that. So thank you.

Colleen McCreary 04:32
Yeah. You were saying you did your best work there. I always say I don't think I'll ever go through a personal growth experience like I did during those years. And for people who are listening, Ramon and I are talking about I joined Zynga as their first chief people officer and we were 130 employees when I started.

And then we were 600 employees after my first year, we were 1500 employees after my second year, and my third year we grew to 4,000 people and we IPOed. And at that time, it was like the biggest IPO since Google. So it was like, I mean, just a pressure cooker of attention.Inside, outside, all around the world.

I mean, just massive, massive scale from an employee population and from a brand population and from a customer, member, player experience too. I mean, hundreds of millions of people playing your games and still to this day. It's kind of fun to watch what happened to that, but to go through that experience, it's just insane. I mean, most people never get that chance. And so I talk a lot about how much I just learned, but you're right Ramon, like the teams we built there, the quality of talent that we had and attracted and were able to be a part of and some of the people from your group I actually get to work with still today at Credit Karma which is really fun, and his first day I saw him in the hallway and was like Brian?  What?

And that's a very sort of life in Silicon Valley in particular, but also I think in a lot of companies that's when you work with great people you want to work with them again. But that company in particular, I mean, just two of the executives I partnered with just this week, I called it the tale of two Dave's. One Dave who had been our COO just sold his second startup and became the co-CEO of a very popular consumer app. The other Dave went from being our CFO to the CFO at a very, very large consumer company and had a horrible day on the market.  More money and market cap than anybody had ever done in history. I have this text thread, some of those executives are still my closest friends and we have this text thread: The tale of two Dave's in one day. So anyway. But Zynga was sort of a foundational experience and anybody who has to go through that, you either embrace it and love it and look back on it like, "Oh my gosh. I just was crazy and that's amazing." Or you look back on it in fear and you were running from it the whole time. So I'm glad to hear you embraced it as well.

Ramon Icasiano 07:21
Yeah. I remember actually talking to you one day about Zynga, for me, was an exercise in being present because I think if you kind of consume what you actually had to do, what was ahead of you and the things that were going to come down the pipe, you would just shake in a corner and just freeze. But really to be present and just control what you really can control and just deliver at the moment and trust that doing that will get you to exactly where you need to be and it really gave me confidence and by doing that, you actually get to where you need to be a lot sooner.

Colleen McCreary 07:57
Yeah. I think that's a great framing for it that when you are in that rapid form of growth, whether it be employees or customers or product and like that's where you want to be. I mean, I talk about that a lot in general at every company, which is, if you are lucky enough to be in growth, you're lucky enough to be adding chairs on the deck versus taking the chairs off of the deck.

It's a way better proposition. So you just want to, strap in, hold on, and ideally you're in that role because you're trusted to make decisions that you can make it through right now and then are going to be setting you up for whatever the next set of decisions you have to make later.

Ramon Icasiano 08:40
Yeah. That's right. So just to finish up, I want to just give total acknowledgement to the amazing body of work here. So you were then chief people officer at Climate Corp and then spent some time as the chief people officer at Twilio. Amazing company as well. And then chief people officer at Vivo.

And just really amazing. And then now you're at Credit Karma, which I said, I love the app. I rely on it weekly. I love the alerts and kind of what you guys are doing there. So in looking kind of back at your experience, what sticks out for you? I know we talked about Zynga. That's kind of my perspective, but what would stick out to you in terms of wanting to share with the team here?

Colleen McCreary 09:29
Well I think everybody in their journey, you can probably look back at each role you've had and the people that surrounded you in that role and what did you learn from them? What did you gain from them? Zynga was, like I said earlier, like by far the most amount of professional growth I'd ever had.

And I don't think I'll ever be able to match that again anywhere. It just was all encompassing, but then also there was a lot of personal life trade offs that I made during that time that are hard and I don't think I want to do that necessarily again either. So you sort of learn on both sides. But I give a lot of credit to the job I had before Zynga, which is when I worked at Electronic Arts, EA, the video game company and I had been hired there to start up their university recruiting program, which is what I had spent the majority of my time at Microsoft prior to doing and they had never done that at scale across the company and I reported to the head of recruiting who reported to the chief human resources officer.

And she did a skip level with me and said, "I think you need to take a path in HR." And I kind of looked at her like, "She's insane." Like I was like, "What are you talking about? Like I don't like rules. I don't like policies. Like I don't like any of those." Going to HR to me was like the worst thing on the planet. I was like, "What are you talking about?" And she really kind of pushed on me to say like, "Hey, I think that that's your impression. It doesn't have to be that way. I think that there are these other things that you can do," and it would've been a promotion. I would've reported directly to her. So one of the big life lessons there was like, "Okay. If someone's really offering you this, you should just take it just for the experience."

And I just assumed if I didn't like it they would just move me back into something else or I could move around. But I ended up really liking it and then I got an opportunity. EA just acquired a company that had a big presence in India and I got an opportunity to do an expat assignment with my family and move over to Hyderabad and help integrate that team into the company and I learned so much. It was just a six month assignment, but I just learned so much culturally about acquisition integrations and India in general and I had hired people before and I had a lot of experience in working at companies that had presence in India, but to actually live there and be a part of it and understand it so much more, which really all of those skills together when I came back from India I actually left and that's when I went to Zynga. And then we ended up building quite a large presence in Bangalore, but I just learned so much that I wouldn't have gotten to do if someone hadn't given me that chance in so many different ways.

So I foundationally have to go back to I was very grateful and that head of HR, I mean, we had an amazing set of HR leaders that it was a little bit of it's like an HR mafia in Silicon Valley. I mean, seriously. They came out of EA, like the first head of HR at LinkedIn, the former head of recruiting at Apple who then onto Tesla when they were in their big growth mode. The head of HR, she went to Living Social and then a number of other kind of big companies at the time. And we just have this Twitter, this history of people who just came out of those jobs and went on to that. So there's something to be said for when you find these pockets of talent who do a really good job and she was one of those people.

Ramon Icasiano 13:05
Yeah. I love this example because on the surface when you look at your journey, people think, "Wow. It was a very deliberate, well planned kind of move." And same with my situation, right? To me, it's more like being on a sailboat. It's you know generally you want to work with people, you like helping and supporting people, but that's pretty broad, right?

I think when you decided to accept that new challenge of being in HR, I think mentally you said, "I can just undo it." Right? But when did it become like, "Wow. They were right. I'm glad I kind of got out of my own way here." But when did you decide? Like for me, Verizon was, "This is it." CX is like where I want to be. Where was it for you at? Was it right away or was it your next role after that? Because it's clear looking at your LinkedIn, you went down this road and stuck to it, which is amazing.

Colleen McCreary 14:16
Yeah. It's interesting. I took the Zynga job with sort of the same bit of like, "Well, it's a 130 person startup." When I joined Zynga they were still making games for MySpace. That was the primary focus. So for those of you who've never heard of MySpace, that was predated Facebook for the rest of you. And we switched to Facebook like two months into my journey there and said, "We're going to go all in on Facebook instead." And then like a couple months after that is when we acquired a team to build Farmville since no one was interested in building it, which was also kind of funny. So I took that same job with like, "Worst thing that could happen if this doesn't work out, somebody will take me back. I'm not too worried about it." And I took that job after having declined it six months earlier to go to India, to take that India assignment.

So I had actually been offered the job when they were much smaller and their CEO Mark Pincus, he stayed in touch with me that whole time. Now knowing Mark, the only times he ever emailed me is when like some disaster was happening and he was like, "Where is that HR lady I talked to? Maybe we could bring her in."

Ramon Icasiano 15:35
Same with support, by the way.

Colleen McCreary 15:36
Yeah. They're like, "Where is that person?" And so I think that really solidified like I love this idea of helping leaders see their business and figure out how their talent can help sort of grow or frankly the other side of it, which is like one of the lessons I've learned is like you can't just convince people to do things that you want them to do. So a lot of times, like kids, they have to feel pain before they actually will trust you or believe you or take advantage of the great advice or tools that you're offering them. So I learned a lot of lessons there around like, "Hey. How do I influence? How can I coach people through these things?"

And then the value of trusted partners in general. Like who are the people who are going to support you and care about the thing that you care about and just doubling down on those folks and then just being able to say like, "Hey. If these other leaders don't really care about my advice or they're not going to take my advice or they don't care about these programs or tools that we're offering them, like I don't want to waste any time there. Like "there's just no point."

And I think that that lesson sort of carried through with me and I ended up loving that work and it opened, and I think probably like yourself, it opened a lot of doors and I say, in general, I think people have jobs or the choices you're going to make, especially when you are in the privileged position of being in sort of these less hourly, more likely managerial or sort of more traditionally white collar jobs, right? These technology industry, these industries where you're not using your hands as much as you have to your powers in your thought process. And when you have that luxury, your choices are a three-legged stool. And if you're lucky, you'll get two of those three legs. And one leg is certainly the easiest one for people to talk about, which is compensation. Like you could potentially get very high compensation. People tend to like that. But that's one leg. Then I think you have this other leg that is like high ownership. And so like decision making and you're in control of something.

And usually what happens is like the bigger the company gets, the smaller that true ownership and decision making happens. So you have to trade off on that in a lot of cases. Like do you want that? Is that important to you or is it not? And then I think the third leg of the stool is a little bit of like what I call pride in the workplace. Like I'm proud of where I'm working. I'm proud of the products we're building. I'm proud of what we're doing. And like I said, I think if you're lucky you get to pick two out of three on those three big dimensions. Some people get one, some people don't get any.

But I think that that changes for people through their lives and what they care about. And I always say like I can't make those decisions for you. I can only be a good steward of telling you what those things are in the place that I'm working. And then I think each individual has to make those choices on their own. And for me, the sort of pride in where I work and being able to say like, "I'm really proud." And that's part of the role that I'm in, right? The culture that I'm building, the things that I'm doing really became more important.

And then the ownership. Like I wanted to be a team leader. I wanted to be able to own the outcome. I wanted to be sort of the person who, for good or for bad, is on the line for certain things and finding companies and I think HR and the talent and people space is very similar to sort of customer, member support in a lot of ways because everybody wants to tell you how to do your job because they know it better and everybody wants to put their hands in the cookie jar a little bit and I want to be somewhere where you're going to be like, "No. I'm the person who gets to make that call."

Like "We are going to make it together. I understand it has an impact on your business. I get that. But you've hired me because I have this expertise. Now let me actually use this expertise." And one other point I would make is one of the things that I've gotten to do the last four years at Credit Karma is that I've gotten to expand outside of just the HR space and I think that growth of feeling like you get to own more things and influence most things. So workplace services and real estate and that type stuff. That makes a lot of sense. A lot of HR teams.

A couple years ago, I took over, we call my group the three P's, which is why it's publicity, but it's sort of our PR, our internal and external comms, our social media strategy as the company all came under my umbrella and the idea was really that your internal and external narrative really needs match or else you end up with a lot of issues in general between ... we refer to our customers as members, but the story for your members and for your employees and potentially your partners, all those things need to really have a similar thread and be connected. So that was something that we tucked under.

Ramon Icasiano 20:51
That's very insightful because I think the successful companies are realizing an amazing employee experience also translates to an amazing customer experience and vice versa and start that cycle. So let's transition a little bit. So in the last, let's say, 12 months even, what's gone really well for you, that you want to share here.

Colleen McCreary 21:15
Yeah. I think to understand where Credit Karma is at, you have to back up probably 12 months before that to really appreciate. We've had an amazing 2021 and going into 2022. As a company we've had our highest revenue we've ever had, highest member engagement sort of massive headcount growth. We are fortunate that we're actually seeing very low attrition relative to the rest of the world in the great resignation and those kinds of things. But the context of that of why it's so significant in our world is because of the 12 months that happened before that.

And so to walk people a little bit through why you can appreciate why we were so proud of 2021 is that in 2020, like everybody else, we all dealt with COVID. I actually remember sending the first company wide email in January of 2020 saying like, "Hey. There's this thing. If you've been traveling here or there, don't come into the office. If you live in these areas, don't come into the office.” Like this thing. But what was actually going on in the backdrop for us is that on February 24th we announced that we were going to be acquired by Intuit. But we also knew, so February 24th, 2020, we made this big company wide announcement, which actually was held pretty tightly. It didn't leak until, this was a Monday, and it leaked to the Wall Street Journal the Saturday night before.

But we also knew we were going to have a pretty long road with the Department of Justice and an antitrust review. So we knew that actually wasn't certain to happen. So we announced this acquisition. Early March we send people home. We were not a big remote workplace. We were very much an in office culture. Send everybody home to go work remotely and within two weeks our revenue cratered by about 75% as a company. Because to understand that it was really that the credit markets had tightened and sort of all the products on Credit Karma are free, but the way we get paid is when you take a product off of Credit Karma and you actually go through all of the process with the partner.

The partner will basically pay us like a referral fee to some extent. It's the easiest way to explain it. And so what happens when your revenue craters by 75%, you're in the middle of a pandemic, you have no line of sight as to when this thing is going to end, and we're pending this acquisition, which we have no idea what to do. So you can imagine, if you have been at companies before, how terrifying all of these things are and what you probably think would happen if those things happen to you and what our board wanted to do, who is sitting on cash and not wanting to burn through it because that's money that they would get at the end of a deal.

Not sure if that deal's even going to happen. And I'm really proud of the steps that we took. Our company's mission is about helping people make financial progress. I had this three plans in partnership with our CFO of like, "Okay. Here are the three plans we could do. Here are the three paths we could go down." And one of them was the obvious one. Like you do layoffs, you cut all your costs, you shut everything down, you take away everything.

One of them was sort of a half and half, like, "Okay. Just do some layoffs. But maybe we pull back in these other areas. Just shut down marketing." We did a bunch of stuff. And the third path was this like, "Hey. We could do pay cuts, shut down marketing, and here are the other things." So we went down the take pay cuts. Everybody takes a pay cut route instead of laying anybody off. The groups that we shut down, like we stopped recruiting right away, we stopped doing these paid marketing channels, those kinds of things. We actually moved those people into other jobs in the company.

So instead of laying them all off because we weren't using them, we moved them around. And so we put them in places like member support was a great place for recruiters to go. We put people in business development, we moved people into like legal operations, we moved some people into product management.

Kind of getting a chance to do things that they probably would never have gotten to do before. And that was a pretty terrifying moment and thankfully by October of 2020 we had line of sight. We were able to bring pay back. About two months later we actually closed the deal with Intuit in December of 2020 and we were able to sort of turn recruiting back on. And then you have to rebuild all those teams though too because you've given away.

One of the other things we did is we did what we call an off the bus package where if you decided like, "Hey. This isn't for me. I don't think I can go through this. I don't want to be here." I was like, "We'll just incent you to quit now," versus having this like drip of people quitting over time during all of that ambiguity that was going on. So we had done that too. So then we had to like build recruiting back, build marketing back. And some of those people didn't want to come back. They liked the jobs that they were in. They made a great transition. It was actually really fun. But then we also learned people learned a lot from each other. We, as a company, built a relief roadmap for our members so that they could go find, if they were on unemployment or sort of these various plans that were set up to give them funding, how to do it, where to go.

And we also built a, this was in 2020. So we built a voter roadmap to help people register to vote and get notifications of like, "Here's your polling place. This is where to show up." Those kinds of things. So we were sort of trying to engage as best we can. We moved people out of projects that were not monetizing and moved them on to some big bets that were very poorly resourced. We like over resourced some of those teams, which ended up paying off a lot in 2021. So we did all of these things, which were very member friendly. So doing what's best for our members. We're very employee friendly and then very partner friendly. So we were kind of ready to go when our partners were ready to go again. And so all of those things ended up having a really great effect on 2021 and we do operate independently from Intuit. So that there's this lingering, for employees like, "What do you do? Is Intuit coming in? Are we changing anything?" And we weren't changing anything. So we're very much structured like kind of LinkedIn and Microsoft are for people who are familiar.

But there's still some complexities there around stock and how those things happen and what you can and can't do. And then even in the member journey of who are we and what products do we offer versus who they are and what happens. So, yeah. I mean-

There are some choices we made as a company that I think really helped us and one of the things I started doing right when the pandemic hit is I started sending an email to the whole company every Sunday. It was called a Sunday email. And it's something that I still do. So now I've written like 100 of these and it's a way of communicating strategy, messaging, what's going on, fun stuff. I usually have like some, "What am I watching? What am I reading? What's going on?" What we're doing in the company, how to get involved, how to stay engaged. So as they were going through this there was like this touch point of information that they knew it was going to come out and then our company now, so if we talk about like, "Wow. What am I talking about? What am I thinking about? What am I thinking about for the future?" Like-

A third of our employees have been with us for less than one year at this point. So we think a lot about, we've got people who haven't really been to an office yet. They haven't really had a lot of the culture pieces that we had. We're moving to a flexible workforce. So we didn't want to have to dictate how many days you came in a week into the office, but we do want people coming back into the office. We've been very clear about that.

But that's going to look different for every team and so that's going to be new for everybody. I say that my job went from being a school principal to the school nurse. Like that's kind of what I am the last two years on safety and we did do a vaccination mandate. And so going through all of that with people and getting through to the other side of that and how do you create a workforce that is inclusive of everybody's needs and what's going on and how do they manage that?

And I spent a lot more time thinking about some of those things and I obviously ever had to think about before and what benefits can we provide and what services can we provide to give that comfort, that sort of mental and physical comfort. So I spend a lot of time thinking about those kinds of things. And then additionally, it's the how do we, even though we've gone through this acquisition, like we've been growing so much both in headcount and members and the experiences and services we're providing, how do we keep that energy going and that velocity of what we were doing because when you're in crisis mode, all that adrenaline kicks in and you sort of work through it. And then we were so excited because we were seeing all these wins coming out of like, "What's the next thing that comes on that, how do you maintain that? How do you develop that? And how do you spread that as we bring on people?" So that's what I spend a lot of time with right now.

Ramon Icasiano 30:47
Yeah. I mean, that's a great point. A third of your employees, maybe this is their first kind of corporate exposure and they were anticipating an office environment and kind of the face to face, one-on-ones and coaching and kind of engagement. It is a challenge. I don't even know what the answer's going to be, but I think maybe what the last two years have done in terms of my perspective is I don't think there will ever be a situation where it'll be 100% in office.

So kind of this acceptance that we're going to be at least hybrid is really forcing people to ... we've gone through the change, now we're really going through a transition in terms of really what that means for people at like at an emotional level. You said what kind of benefits? I mean, having a great break room is no longer kind of a thing people look for.

Colleen McCreary 31:42
Well I think there's an “and” frankly in that statement. I think they do want a great break room because when they do come into the office. They want this great collaborative space that they're going to be in and we're very fortunate in that we were already ... fortunate or not fortunate, I don't think my workplace services team really thought they were fortunate when they were packing up an old building and moving into a new one. A brand new building that we had already picked out that sort of that transition was happening during all of this time. And in some of our other geographies, we were already getting new real estate and stuff like that, but it made it easier to be rethinking about like more open spaces for people to gather, but also a little spaced out in case that is a necessary thing. More coffee bar scenarios of people just kind of hanging out and chattering and coming together. Like how do you use that space?

It's interesting. It's like our member support team, we have a large fraud team obviously because we have a banking product and those teams are desperate to come back together because the amount of problem solving that is great on Slack or chat or whatever you can do that they're realizing that like, "Oh," but there's some value in this physical being able to be like, "Hey. Is anybody else working on this?" And the same thing we're seeing in product in some of these other groups where I think in the next six months, this is my prediction. Who knows. Could not be. Could happen, could not, but like knock on wood with where we're at, that there's a camp of people who are like all remote all the time. It's all they can. I mean, it's very aggressive around that.

And I think that there's going to be a lot more people who are kind of in this middle zone, which is the like I actually really like human contact, I want human contact, and there are some parts of my job that it's helpful when I have that. And what that looks like and how to do it is still sort of up in the air because people are figuring that out. But I do think that there is this loss of connection and problem solving that people are finding out that actually there are some times that coming together physically really make that work.

And we actually talk about it as a company that it is those relationships that we built before the pandemic that really carried people through in a lot of ways and rebuilding those relationships and bringing in everybody else into those relationships and how we have those conversations, how we come together. I'm fresh out of like having gone to one of our Charlotte North Carolina office, we had like a goodbye gathering because we're moving into a new building the other day and I had no idea how many people would show up because you don't have to be there right now still and that's optional. And we had over 100 people show up. So about a quarter of the workforce in that office showed up. And for some of them it really was their first and only time it will ever be in that one physical office space. And they were just like, "I was really scared. I wasn't ready to go, but I'm so glad I did."

We're in a really great spot of everybody's vaccinated. We've mandated boosters. We have a health check before you get there. There's a lot of things we have that sort of give people a little bit of that extra security and it was still a choice, but the glue was really important. That fist bump or if they were comfortable, that hug, that first sort of like interaction again, and the ability to grow because you have these partnerships and relationships that are trusted is really important.

Ramon Icasiano 35:24
That's awesome. I mean, it was probably such a, like you said, it's such a great surprise to see so many people placing the importance of being there in person. Right? And how that's going to help relieve their future Zoom calls and kind of their interactions that are happening virtually. So yeah. Six months. I'm going to ask you the last question here. What do you think are you going to be working on from like 12 to 18 months from now to close this out?

Colleen McCreary 35:50
Yeah. Well, I mean, I would like to move out of school nurse. That would be an amazing gift. It'd be great not to be such a public health expert anymore. I never realized how much I could learn very quickly and how many pieces of information I can have on the science and public health side. Actually it's been fascinating, but I would like to step back out of that. It's so funny to me because I always joke I'm like, "I'm the old HR lady. I'm in tech now 25 years. It's fine. There's not a lot that sort of ruffles me." But the one thing that I will say that I will spend the next probably six to 18 months on is this that there's no generational gap.

There's no, this generation wants that generation. People just want to be respected, they want to be valued, they want to be heard and trusted. And it is at the end of the day, we always say this, it's the manager that defines that experience. And I always say that becoming a manager is like having a baby. Like you can read as many books as you want. You can take as many classes as you want, but until you actually do it, like have it, it doesn't really matter and you have to just go through those practices. And it sounds a little like boring and trite, but we're really working on this two sided coin, which is how do we help our managers have these conversations especially with these emotional needs that they didn't really always talk about before or know how to appreciate and do that.

But also as an employee, how do I have that conversation, not just with my manager, but with each other because I think this screen scenario has really desensitized sometimes people to have some of those conversations that you used to, on the playground in third grade, when you two people aren't getting along and you'd like run to the teacher and she's like, "No. You all need to work it out.

We're still working and reworking those skills again in the workplace and I think the screen has made it harder to have those conversations. So we're spending a lot of time thinking about that and talking about that and how do we bring that out? Because if you truly want to have trust and respect and ownership of decision making and inclusiveness, everybody has to be able to have those conversations or else it's just not going to happen.

The downside of that is that people end up just leaving because they're like, "I just can't deal with this anymore." And instead of working on those skills to get better at that and vocalize what they need and have managers being able to respond to that, you're just kind of pushing the problem to the side.

Ramon Icasiano 38:39
And I'm sure when you had the choice of the three paths and that you're going down this path as well, that you'll look back at it and say, "I'm glad we did that," because as the complexity changes and the reliance of leaders making everyone around them successful, you're going to build scale and kind of that smarts in your organization. So, Colleen, thank you so much. If it's okay with you, I'd love to open up your contact info on LinkedIn. Please reach out to Colleen if you want to work for a great person, great leader. She's the one. And then also I hear like there's a lot of great experience around just running teams, managing teams. So from an HR perspective, we'll include her LinkedIn profile as well. So feel free to reach out to her or myself, but Colleen, great seeing you. I will be part of your journey and then just looking forward to great things from you and your company there.

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