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CWJJ Episode 98: Joshua Lentz & David Love
January 20, 2022
CWJJ Episode 100: The 100th Episode
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CWJJ Episode 99: Ashley Knight


Thursday, January 27- Ashley Knight with Southern Star joins Jim and James this week and talks all things HR, building a culture, and putting people first. Ashley shares about how these things have thrived during a pandemic and things are evolving in the workplace and culture in our industry.

Quick Links:

Ashley Knight on Linkedin

Episode Transcript

 [0:00] background music] [0:00] [0:24]

Jim Schauer:  Good morning, everyone. Welcome to this week’s episode of Coffee with Jim and James. Audience members, I have to say something. When I looked at my calendar invite this morning and I saw to two DPs of a HR on there, I started saying, “What did I do? Did I do something wrong?” I, you know. Come on. I had, I had to, I had to throw that at you guys, because… [0:00] [0:47]

James Cross:  What a terrible day to joke that is. [0:00] [0:49]

Ashley Knight:  Yeah. James, and I don’t appreciate that joke. [0:00]

James:  [0:52] No. We’re, we’re not going to normalize that. Ashley, how have you been? It’s been, you know, months now since we ran into your last. But how are you? [0:00]

Ashley:  [1:03] I am great. Yes, and it has been some time and it, unfortunately took me longer than I expected to recover. That was my first conference that I saw you all at for the year, and I realize that I’m not in conference shape. [0:00]

James:  [1:19] I heard that about how many times. [0:00]

Jim:  [1:21] None of us. [0:00]

James:  [1:22] I’m still sore. [0:00]

Ashley:  [1:24] Exactly. So yeah, so I think I’m recovered now and trying to get in shape for next year, which will hopefully, until, much, much more travel and people. [0:00]

Jim:  [1:36] Yes. [0:00]

James:  [1:36] It, it seems like it. It seems like it’s loading up to, if all the stars align, we’re all going to need to get in conference shape. And we’re going to have to figure out how to do business, again, while we go to all these conferences and do all this work. [0:00] [1:52] We’ve been talking about that is the end of the year, kind of, you know, getting ready for ’22. That’s something that a lot of us are talking about. [0:00] [2:00] All right. Well, it’s been like two years since we really traveled hard. [0:00]

Jim:  [2:04] Truly. [0:00]

James:  [2:05] How everyone pull this off. All right, so should be interesting. Ashley, for those that don’t know you. I’m going to let you introduce yourself. Do us a favor and let everybody know who you’re with and what you do there. And then also tell us how you got here. [0:00]

Ashley:  [2:23] Sure. Absolutely. Awesome. Well, first of all, thank you for having me. I am a definitely a Newbie to the industry, especially, whenever I, whenever in conversations either conferences, or either just around our own organization. We come from a pretty incredibly tenured organization. [0:00] [2:43] And so, I’ve been with Southern Star for almost three years now. I am the, I get the best job in the organization, which is focusing on our people strategy. And it has been, as everyone can appreciate, of those three years here [laughs] the last two of them has been a whirlwind, but in an exciting way. [0:00] [3:07] Because we have, from HR perspective, we have really got, been able to step in because good or bad, the pandemic that we’ve been living in and continue to live in, has forced the people strategy at the forefront. [0:00] [3:24] And so while I can adamantly say, that’s where it always should be and should have been, it is there now. And so it is so refreshing to be able to now be having these conversations on a much broader scope, when you’re talking about how our industry excels through the people lens. And I’m sure we’ll get into more of that later. [0:00]

James:  [3:45] I’m sure. I bet it comes up. [0:00] [0:00] [

Ashley:  [3:48] laughs] [0:00]

James:  [3:48] I would guess. I would guess. For sure. People are so important. We’re, we’re seeing it and, Ashley, like you, I, so…my title is actually BP of brand, but HR is a department that reports to me. So, and my first teen, my first 18 months on the job over HR, well, my entire tenure has been in a pandemic and transitioning through that, you know. And so, I feel you. [0:00] [4:19] It’s, it has become quite the catalyst for a lot of different new, not new to maybe HR professionals, but new to industries and new to some generations and other folks. Conversations that we’ve never really had a great chance to, to engage with folks on. So it’s, it’s nice to have a little bit of reception there and, and sit in it. [laughs] [0:00] [4:43]

Ashely:  [xx] is abundantly apparent now, right? And so while we’ve tried to push into those conversations and bring more of that thought leadership around our future people strategy, we don’t have to spend all of the time defending it anymore. And and bringing the business case and the rationale as to why we need to think differently, it’s all been laid out for us. [0:00] [5:07] So that’s been very helpful in accelerating the…at least the planning and the vision and the strategy of what it looks like. [0:00]

James:  [5:15] Ashley, I’m…And Jim that’s where I’m fonna let you go. [0:00] [5:18]

Jim:  No, no. You guys. This is your… [0:00]

James:  [5:20] No. Well, you knew how this was gonna go. [0:00] [[5:22] crosstalk] [0:00]

James:  [5:22] We’ve been talking about valves ultrasonic… [0:00] [[5:27] crosstalk] [0:00]

Jim:  [5:27] I love it. I love it. [0:00] [0:00] …

James:  [5:29] in two weeks. [0:00]

Jim:  [5:29] I have a, I have a thought thought in second. After you’re done, I have a thought. [0:00]

James:  [5:32] Well, you might have to do it. I might have lost it. But, actually, I did. Goodness gracious. It’s like we’re, it’s our first…Go ahead, Jim. Go. [0:00]

Jim:  [5:41] Are you sure? [0:00]

James:  [5:41] Yeah, jump in. I’ll think [xx] . [0:00]

Jim:  [5:44] I forgot mine, too. I’m just kidding. [0:00]

James:  [5:46] Oh, my goodness. [0:00]

Jim:  [5:47] Ashley, it’s great to see you again. I just have to say a few things, one, you know, we really got to know each other at SGA. And one thing about that, we did mention that our award speech was given by your CEO, Jimmy Statin. And so all of a sudden we’re right, right? [0:00]

James:  [6:05] Yep. That’s correct. [0:00]

Jim:  [6:07] Yep. So we’re at SGA and we’re all kind of, you know, getting to know people and all this whole thing. And the one thing that I noticed was, organically, as a fly on the wall, you and James, your passions, your purpose, your discussions about what you we’re just talking about were people, culture, everything that we’re all dealing with in the pandemic. [0:00] [6:30] You know, what’s the future of culture? Where we are. Where we were. Where the pandemic has brought us. And a lot of things are very negative about the pandemic, but there’s so many positive things about it too. [0:00] [6:41] And I was really enamored though, listening to you both talk at SGA about this, because again, when people have passions and purpose like that it really shows. And you know, good things are going to happen. So I’m going to put you on the spot here. [0:00] [6:54] If you had a crystal ball and you were to look into the future as to culture in our workplace, culture in our industry, culture, how it is evolving. What do you see in our future for the very, sometimes, underused or overused word culture? And I want to get some… [0:00]

James:  [7:16] Look at that. Look at her smirk. She’s about to go off on taking down that. [0:00] [0:00] [

Ashley:  [7:20] laughs] [0:00]

Jim:  [7:21] You go at it. [0:00]

Ashley:  [7:22] I know. Unfortunately I don’t get to copy write this, but I absolutely love this. As, you know, we’ve heard, to your point, we’ve heard a lot of negativity around, you know, people not wanting to work anymore and the great resignation. [0:00] [7:37] And, and, and that tends to plague a lot of frustrations around businesses, but you’ve also, perhaps, seeing a shift that it’s not the great resignation, it’s the great awakening. And this is the time for companies to be more focused on, as, as I mentioned earlier about people first. [0:00] [7:57] And my crystal ball is, is for saying that we’ve spent, myself included, have been, has been guilty of working to live. And I see a shift that we all are able to operate in this amazing way where we’re, where we’re, where we are actually living, and then, and working. And it can all happen in a synchronous way and, and everyone has an appreciation for what’s happening at life. [0:00] [8:31] You know, because I was one, you know, 15 years ago coming into the HR world it was, “You need to leave your personal life at the door. Leave it at the gate.” You know, you’ve got to come in and you’ve got to reset and you got to leave that baggage behind. [0:00]

James:  [8:46] Now, we have a baggage claim at each store. [0:00]

Ashley:  [8:49] Yes. Absolutely. I love that. And so I mean, that is, that is, that was the expectation. And now, we’re saying, “Bring it all in. Check it, bring it and bring your whole self and and let’s embrace each other for who we are, where we are, where we’ve been.” And that is going to be the…to use your word, James, it is the catalyst for people feeling a lot less stress. [0:00] [9:19] I think, the mental health, the physical wellbeing. I think we all become a healthier society, and businesses thrive. [0:00] [[9:26] crosstalk] [0:00]

James:  [9:28] And honestly, I know we can’t talk specifics, but, but, you know, we talk about the great resignation or, you know, the great awakening, whatever you want to call it. I’m, our retention is high over here. You know, like we, we provide a fantastic place to work. [0:00] [9:47] We are, are, we definitely have a people strategy and we’re, you know…We were working on that before this, so it was a catalyst for us, and honestly, we’re not, I get it. [0:00] [9:58] We’re trying to hire into it and we realize that talent is everything in the, you know, right now and in the future, but honestly, we’re retaining people because we do have a strategy to, to keep people in our building and take care of them and do the right things, right? [0:00] [0:00] [

Ashley:  [10:14] xx] [0:00]

James:  [10:14] It seems so simple, treat them, like people. Ashely… [0:00] [0:00] [

Ashley:  [10:17] xx] James. Everyone is, we’re having convers‑, as recent as yesterday. And to your point, Jim, about the culture piece. The most difficult thing, I think, for us, at least at Southern Star where we’re having conversations about within our strategy, and our focus for ’22, is around getting comfortable that we all, we’re so proud of our culture and Southern Star. [0:00] [10:41] And, you know, we’ve been built on this culture of fun and being together. And, and we all, we sincerely, you can talk to anyone at Southern Star and I, and I feel confident that they would echo those sentiments. But now, it’s, and we’ve spent many years building that, and finally got to a place where we felt we were, never arrived, but we were there. [0:00]

James:  [11:01] Yeah. [0:00]

Ashley:  [11:02] And now, we’ve got to reset. And what people have grown to love… [0:00] [[11:06] crosstalk] [0:00]

James:  [11:07] Dumped it all on its head. [0:00] [0:00] …

Ashley:  [11:06] and expect. Yes. For many years now, the expectation is different. And so that’s going to make people, and make us, really uncomfortable that what we’ve done to get here, it’s old adage. Right? [0:00]

James:  [11:18] Won’t get us there. [0:00] [11:20]

Ashely:  What we’ve done to get here is not gonna get us there. And we have to rethink how we connect, how we collaborate, how we engage? [0:00]

Jim:  [11:26] Yes. [0:00]

Ashley:  [11:27] It’s not the same anymore. And that, that’s going to be tough for a lot of organizations to figure out how to adapt to. [0:00]

Jim:  [11:33] Just one quick, I just want to throw this in knowing my generation of age. I worked for companies way in the past where we were told, “Leave your baggage at the door.” You know, like shut it off. Come to work and then you can… [0:00] [[11:49] crosstalk] [0:00]

James:  [11:49] We all did. [0:00]

Jim:  [11:51] It sounds good. Well at least, at least, I mean I could tell you, I mean, and some of these were Fortune 500 companies or like… [0:00]

James:  [11:58] People do right now. I mean, there’s a lot of people probably listening right now that, that are in those situations. It’s not, you know, it’s crazy to say It’s relatively new, but it’s relatively new. [laughs] [0:00]

Ashley:  [12:13] Which is scary, right? It’s scary, you know, as from a business perspective to open the doors to all of that because it makes people, it could make people uncomfortable. It could cause strife, it could, you know, We don’t talk about religion or politics or differences… [0:00] [[12:27] crosstalk] [0:00]

James:  [12:27] Nascar. [0:00] [0:00] …

Ashley:  [12:28] now it’s like let’s go. Yes, all of the, all the things. We’re encouraging people to, let’s have conversations. And that’s, it’s a bit scary. It’s scary, from HR perspective. It’s scary from just a leadership perspective of how you best facilitate and encourage those conversations. [0:00]

James:  [12:49] Yeah. I think it reminds me of something that I heard. Actually, I think it was Jason Dorsey was speaking about generations, and he said something that really struck a chord with me that I, and especially in HR and culture just thinking about, you know, how do we always make it better is people, it’s only new two people if they knew what it was like before. [0:00] [13:12] So we hired, you know, a ton of people this year that now their baseline is exactly how they walked in the door. And so you can’t go back and say, ” [xx] , you remember two years ago when we were, you know, terrible at this?: And they’re like, “No, I was not here.” [0:00] [13:31] You know, so it’s, it’s, it’s a, it’s a continuous improvement. You know, mindset for sure, too, cultures a journey for sure. [0:00]

Jim:  [13:39] It is. [0:00]

James:  [13:39] It’s not, not a destination. Ashley, this kind of, you know, talking, we mentioned about the baggage and leaving at out the door and things like that. I think, it kind of leads into another really important topic that I believe the pandemic was a catalyst for, and that’s really the mental health discussion, you know. [0:00] [13:58] And we’ve always been beating the drum. Maybe not as loudly as we should have. Maybe not as consistently. But how important and what have you see, kind of, and, and I would, I’ll qualify it further down into our industry. What are, what are you saying unfold in that area? [0:00]

Ashley:  [14:17] Gosh. Wow, we don’t have enough time today, James, to talk about that because it’s, it’s still evolving. And you know, we’ve, as an, as an organization, you know, we, I felt very confident pre‑pandemic that we had an incredibly robust support service for whatever people needed, for whatever they were going through in life that we could, we could tap them into a resource. [0:00] [14:42] The tough part is as, as you all, I’m sure have probably experienced and hopefully didn’t experience too much, but at least read a lot of statistics about, or people it, it all, kind of, during the pandemic it was always, “It’s fine. It’s fine. We’re good.” Like, “I’m running.” You know, it was all happening so fast that we never had time to really stop and feel or realize the impact. And it felt like that happened from like March to about October, November of 20, like… [0:00]

James:  [15:13] 20. [0:00]

Ashley:  [15:13] Yeah. [laughs] Yeah, thank you. 2020. And then it seemed like we got, about a year ago, everyone, kind of, realized, what, what was, what the toll was taking on their lives. And it was an amazing, from a business, from an economic perspective, businesses were generally booming, right? But it was at a cost. [0:00] [15:34] And we’re not talking about that enough. It was at a cost of our people. Our people were not thriving, businesses were, but our people were deteriorating as a result of it. And so, we’re still, I think a year after that realization and people realizing it, they’re still asking and raising their hand. [0:00] [15:54] And we had a listening session, what is today, Tuesday, just two days ago of, of still people not sure how to find the balance. They were trying to still do it all and run, run in those parallel paths that we always have, and it is it is wearing on people and people are retreating to other forms of recreation to help pacify what they’re what they’ve been feeling and to cope. [0:00] [16:22] And so, I know I’m not giving you a definitive answer, James, but it is messy. And it is heavy. And at now we have a onus more than ever as organizations to provide solutions because it’s not, “Here’s a provider. Here’s a mental health coach. Here’s Legal Services. Here’s the best…” You know, “We’re going to buy everybody a Peloton bike. [0:00] [16:44] Like those aren’t the things anymore of what it’s going to take. We really have to be thoughtful about how we’re, how we’re encouraging and facilitating and leading people through their work every day and what the expectations are. We’ve had conversations about this dot anxiety. [0:00] [17:02] We’re and MS Word teams organization, and there’s all this anxiety about, you know, if my dot is yellow too long, and we actually…I was listening to a podcast just last week that this is a real thing that people are anxious about their availability or the lack of their availability while they’re trying to live in these dual worlds. And so… [0:00] [[17:24] crosstalk] [0:00]

James:  [17:24] I, I read something, Ashley, I read something or a podcast, who knows what it was, but they were talking about how we’re not built to stare at ourselves all day, you know. And how it’s [laughs] the mental health toll that that takes of constantly, you know, the vanity behind it. And you know, “Am I looking OK. Am I looking engaged?” [0:00] [17:48] Like you said, the dot keeping your dot active? And you know, we all have that. And it’s so big and so small. I think you can’t throw a blanket over, you know, the answer for everyone. That’s, that’s why it’s so messy and so tricky is, you know, we’re trying to just strip things back and say, “Be present.” You know, like to our leadership. Just whatever that means in that moment. [0:00] [18:13] Like quit, put me in proud of how busy you are and how long, you know, your hours or whatever because everyone’s watching and it could be something as simple as saying. “I don’t expect an answer after hours ever.” You know, like I’ve recently reached out to my teams and said, “If I send an email at 2:00 in the morning, it’s because I’m up.” [0:00] [18:34] And it’s, I’m not looking for an answer or, you know, I never want that to feel like that. If it’s six o’clock at night and you’re at the dinner table and you see a slack message or a team message come through, it’s more so I don’t forget. You know, but not even saying that people, you start building, culture builds itself by your actions or inactions. And… [0:00]

Ashley:  [18:56] We’ve always heard about the shadow of the leader. Right? And it is, it is, it is hardly even a shadow anymore. It is there. And so, those actions, James, and it’s tough because I hear a lot of leaders say the same thing, but there’s a lot of people who don’t trust that, “Well, yeah, she says, she doesn’t really want a response tonight, but she hugged and so should I be? [0:00] [19:16] And so, I’ve tried to even go the extra mile to say, “Hey, I am plugged 3:30 today to get to get to my girls soccer practice and I’m, I know I’m gonna plug back in later to wrap up the day. And that’s, so don’t have that worry that, “Oh my gosh. It’s nine o’clock and Ashley’s still working. She must have been working for the last 15 hours.” [0:00] [19:37] No, I’ve been a soccer practice, cooked dinner, been, done homework and got everybody in bed. And now it’s back to my time. That is flexibility. That’s what leaders have to model more of and be very intentional about. [0:00] [19:50]

Jim:  Absolutely, and I hate to regress. But you said something before where people are feeling stressed and they’re looking for a recreational, you used a term in there. And I assume that you might be talking people that might be looking at either drugs or alcohol or something like that. And I’m very vocal about it. I’m blessed to be 10 years sober right now and I’m a leader at a recovery church. [0:00]

James:  [20:12] Awesome. [0:00]

Jim:  [20:12] And a lot of people don’t realize that before the pandemic, 1 in 11 Americans suffer with some sort of substance issue. And we say that, it could be everything from the one extreme to the other, and the one extreme could be, “I just don’t feel comfortable after I have a glass of wine.” One glass of wine. And if you don’t feel comfortable with it, that’s something. [0:00] [20:35] And our concern at the recovery church has been during the pandemic, what do, you know, we’ve seen when people finally come to the point where they want to get help or want an ally, or to be able to spend time talking about it, that number has really increased. [0:00] [20:52] And it, just when I go to meetings and I, let’s say I’m at a meeting somewhere and I look at 20 people and I say to myself, “Wow, there could be two people right here that are struggling with something,” and you would never know it though. You look at them and they have the facade and everything’s fine. [0:00] [21:08] It’s kind of, its kind of humbling. It’s kind of a little bit eye opening, so I just wanted to share that. [0:00]

Ashley:  [21:13] Thank you. [0:00]

James:  [21:14] Ashley, you said something when we started on this particular, you know, topic that, you know, we don’t have enough time for it. We actually just started a series, I think we have a couple in to it, on mental health… [0:00]

Jim:  [21:28] Yes. [0:00]

James:  [21:28] …for for this podcast. And so, we do want to have you back, you know, to talk about, you know, maybe some things and some programs that y’all are doing or, you know, just nerd out on some, some mental health stuff, but… [0:00]

Jim:  [21:42] I’d be great. [0:00]

James:  [21:43] it’s big topic and, and we’d love to see other folks out there, you know, living it and doing it. I know you’re doing great things over there. [0:00]

Ashley:  [21:51] Because I don’t know it, to your point, kudos to you all for doing that. Because much like a lot of things right now, I don’t know that there’s a company who has it figured out perfectly and can roll out their road map and say, “This is exactly how you do it.” We’re building it in the water. We’re building the boat in the water right now. [0:00] [22:06] And so, I think anytime organizations and thought leaders can come and share what they’re doing, that’s, that’s awesome. So, thank you for facilitating. [0:00]

James:  [22:14] And I don’t want to just, I mean, three episodes after this one, but we’re also going to be kicking off an HR series. [0:00]

Ashley:  [22:22] Ooh, yeah. [0:00]

James:  [22:24] And I know we talked a little bit about it… [0:00]

Jim:  [22:27] Am I included in this? [0:00]

James:  [22:28] Yeah, we’re gonna, we’re gonna make you an honorary member. [0:00]

Jim:  [22:31] OK. [0:00]

James:  [22:32] It’s gonna be enlightening for you. But Ashley is going to do in this again you know, a wealth of knowledge, but I just wanted to chime in that we have tons of time to talk about that one day. [0:00]

Ashley:  [22:41] Awesome. [0:00]

Jim:  [22:42] You guys, OK. I got to get a word in edgewise. You two are just nerding and geeking out. Can I use those terms these days? But anyways, you guys are having fun. Let me, let me a few things that I heard and we talked about a little bit in the pre‑show, you know, Energy Worldnet, our core is innovation. [0:00] [22:58] Everything that we do, whatever it is, whether it’s our technology, or our people, innovation, And I know Southern, so I’ve known Southern Star for, I hate to say, for a long time, but being an ex Midstream pipeline guy I’m very well versed with it. [0:00] [23:12] One thing that I absolutely admire about Southern Star is thought leadership, and we do to. At Energy Worldnet our thought leadership pillar is very important to us. In the pregame show, you know, when we’re just talking, and you mentioned a term, you know, about people having a seat at the table. You mentioned the the phrase, you know, getting involved. [0:00] [23:37] You also talked about industry awakening. Can we unpack some of those things, a little bit for our audience? Just, you know, enlighten a little bit as to what those actually mean and how they are, how they’re, I guess, carried out or whatever the right term would be. [0:00]

Ashley:  [23:55] Sure. Absolutely. I think you hit the nail on the head with a focus on Innovation. Because that is, that as, you know, from my, from a SGA perspective, Jimmy, our CEO was the chair of SGA, or is the chair of SGA this year and that was his theme. [0:00] [24:11] About innovating to a clean energy future and that’s not just about what people, I think, when you hear that, people think more about, you know, renewables and introducing hydrogen into the equation. And you know, we all love, love that vision and excited to get there. But can you do it, if you don’t have a culture that’s innovative? [0:00] [24:33] And so what do you need to do to embed innovation into the culture of your people? And what do you do to encourage? It comes back to that conversation that we had, also have had separately about inclusion and diversity. [0:00] [24:45] And that’s why, that’s why it is so important to us because absent, having an inclusive environment and bringing diversity to the table to have unique conversations and unique perspectives. Are we really going to be as innovative as we need to be to ensure that our industry, not only sustains itself, but grows and thrives. [0:00] [25:09] And so it’s all part of the future energy equation is it all comes back to culture. It all comes back to our people and what we’re doing to equip them to help dream that up, because it all starts with a person. Somebody’s idea is what it takes to propel where we need to go as as an industry. [0:00] [25:29] So I think while we’re putting in a lot of work groups and partnering with industry, with other partners around the industry to focus on the output of industry, or sorry, the output of innovation and how our industry becomes innovative. If you’re not looking internally at what you’re doing to ensure your people are equipped to be innovative, then I don’t think you get there? [0:00]

James:  [25:56] Thank you. That was, that was solid. [0:00] [[25:59] crosstalk] [0:00]

James:  [26:00] We have a product, we have a product innovation department. So I’m, I feel like they all just stood up and clapped. [0:00] [0:00] [

Ashley:  [26:07] laughs] [0:00]

Jim:  [26:08] They did. [0:00]

James:  [26:09] Yeah, it is one of our… [0:00] [[26:10] crosstalk] [0:00] [0:00] [

Jim:  [26:10] xx] messages now. [0:00]

James:  [26:11] Yeah, they, they heard that from there now. [xx] know it’s very important and, you know, and I’m going to bring up something, the thing I forgot earlier because I think it supports this is, one thing, I think, that’s really neat, Ashley, I’m sure you all experience the same thing over there is, used to, I was the one running around beating the culture drum and that we’ve got. [0:00] [26:33] And now I go to meetings and I don’t have to say a word, like people are saying it. But you know, but our culture is and, you know, that doesn’t align with our culture or you know, we gotta and I’m like, “What is happening?” You know, and you finally start seeing people get it and when you talk about that innovation being at that course, it’s the same thing. It’s so contagious. [0:00] [26:56] When you see an idea that you know came because your public with it and transparent, I mean, like, man, so we’re going to lean into this and that turns into a product or a solution, or whatever it might be. Whether it’s public or internal, it’s such a big moment and celebrating those moments and creating that kind of energy and that vibe is so important. So important. [0:00]

Ashley:  [27:18] Yep. And it’s, it’s such a proud moment. I’m sure you just want to sit back at your chair and just feel like a proud dad for a minute. [0:00]

James:  [27:24] They call me the, they call me the brand Daddy [0:00]

Jim:  [27:27] Yeah. [0:00]

Ashley:  [27:27] Yes. Absolo‑, rightfully so. But, but again, it’s, you know, you, you laid that, that the, the steps. Many, a long time ago, and it’s, the pandemic has accelerated everyone’s awakening to where we are. So, so congratulations to you. [0:00]

James:  [27:44] You too. How about you, Jimmy? [0:00] [[27:47] crosstalk] [0:00]

Ashley:  [27:47] you’re feeling around your organization because it’s, that’s not something you can just put on your checklist for the day and do it. [0:00]

James:  [27:54] It’s such a long game, yeah, and people don’t understand that part. It’s there’s no. I mean there’s milestones and, you know, things like that along the way, but it’s something that you may be waiting 18 months to even know if it’s bad. [laughs] [0:00]

Ashley:  [28:08] Yep. [0:00]

James:  [28:09] You know, like it’s just a hard thing to explain. [0:00]

Ashley:  [28:12] Yep. There’s no, there’s no scorecard or checklist or things that you look for in that way. It’s, it’s tough. [0:00]

Jim:  [28:17] And you’re, and you never there, right? Because if you ever say you’re there, then you’ve lost. [0:00] [[28:21] crosstalk] [0:00] [0:00] [

Ashley:  [28:22] laughs] You have to [xx] . [0:00]

James:  [28:27] Ashley, before we sign off today. We always give people kind of the floor a little bit to share, maybe, anything. Something that you’re passionate about. Something that you learned along the way, anything. Our industry, whatever, your, you know, your boss. No, I’m just kidding. [0:00] [0:00] [

Ashley:  [28:46] laughs] [0:00]

Ashley:  [28:47] But is there anything you’d like to share with our audience? [0:00]

Ashley:  [28:52] Thank you. I know we’ve talked a lot just about the pivot that’s necessary. And I know that’s a overly used word right now, but I think that’s my biggest…it concerns me and excites me all at the same time is just for all of us to be more thoughtful about where we’re going and how we’re going to get there. [0:00] [29:14] And don’t be so quick to retreat to the way we’ve always done things, because we were successful. Why do we need to change? It’s easy to do that. So I just, I really, I’m really hopeful that this is exactly, this is a great awakening. [0:00] [29:29] And that every, leaders, everyone in the organizations are looking around and taking the paws and being intentional and thoughtful about what we need to do better. Because it’s necessary. I think the conversations are happening around, you know, the world right now, but our industry, it is so critical for our industry. I would love for our industry to lead through this. [0:00] [29:54] And that’s that would be my, that’s my biggest piece that keeps me up at night… [0:00]

James:  [30:00] That’s, that’s our challenge. [0:00]

Ashley:  [30:01] And that I would encourage everyone to think about. Yep. Absolutely. [0:00]

James:  [30:03] She just threw that on the gauntlet. [0:00]

Ashley:  [30:04] Yep. [laughs] [0:00]

James:  [30:05] She says, “Step up to the table, there’s seats available. Let’s, let’s get people moving.” Well, I’m hopeful for the future as well because of people out there working, just like you, Ashley. So, thank you for what you’re doing and being at those tables and helping bring this industry along. Jimmy? [0:00]

Jim:  [30:24] Well, let me say something. I’ll say it to our audience. I know we have a lot of associations that follow us and watch us. These two people right here, get them. Let’s put them on a panel with another person. These people right here, Ashley and James. You, you, the passion that is, that you both have would be great at future conferences and events. [0:00] [30:46] So I’m right now volunteering these… [0:00]

James:  [30:48] Now booking. [0:00] [0:00] [

Ashley:  [30:49] laughs] [0:00] [0:00] …

Jim:  [30:50] two people to be at, at conferences. OK? I’m serious. [0:00] [[30:52] crosstalk] [0:00]

Ashley:  [30:53] Yeah, let us get more in conference shape before then, but… [0:00] [[30:55] crosstalk] [0:00]

Jim:  [30:56] I’m serious. This is message that needs to get out and keep seeing to begin her and understood and, and embodied. So I, again, I’m going to be a proponent of that in 2022 getting you two on some sort of panel. I will help with that. [0:00] [31:10] Secondly, please tell Jimmy that we said, “Hi.” [0:00]

Ashley:  [31:13] I will. [0:00]

Jim:  [31:13] As well as a whole Southern Star Team. Tell me, we said, “Hi.” For our audience members, please, if you’re on the LinkedIn profile connect with Ashley. Follow Southern Star. See all the great things they’re doing. Get involved. Ask some questions. If you have anything about this, James and Ashley are the ones that would welcome questions. [0:00] [31:32] If it’s some little tip or trick they’ll be happy to help you. Ashley, thank you so much for joining us today. [0:00]

Ashley:  [31:37] Thank you. [0:00]

Jim:  [31:38] It’s been our absolute pleasure. Audience, until next week on “Coffee with Jim and James,” as I always say, please stay safe. And we’ll see you next week. Take care, everybody. [0:00]

Ashley:  [31:48] Thank you. [0:00]

Jim:  [31:48] Have a good day. Wait, James, is this where you dance to the music… [0:00]

James:  [31:51] Yeah. It comes round about this point. Ashley, we’re gonna have a… [0:00] [0:00] [

Ashley:  [31:55] xx] [laughs] [0:00]

James:  [31:56] I don’t, I don’t…Yeah, that’s better. [0:00]

Ashley:  [31:57] Fist pump. [laughs] [0:00] [[31:58] crosstalk] [0:00]

Ashley:  [31:59] Techno. [laughs] [0:00]

Jim:  [32:00] Bye‑bye everybody. Have a great week. Thanks Ashley. [0:00]

Ashley:  [32:06] Thank you. [0:00]

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