The artisan podcast taps into creativity, inspiration and the determination it takes to be an artisan. Guests share stories of lessons learned along their creative journey. Created for artisans, by artisans. This podcast is brought to you by artisan creative, a staffing and recruitment agency focused on creative, digital and marketing roles. Tune in to hear creators, designers, artists, and innovators share their story and inspire. artisancreative.com
S3 | E2 | the artisan podcast | rachel cooke | elevating the employee experience
Rachel Cooke | Lead Above Noise | Modern Mentor Podcast
Katty: Today, I have the pleasure of welcoming Rachel Cooke to our session here today and talking about the employee experience and why it is so impactful for both engagement as well as retention in our companies. Welcome, Rachel. So happy to have you here. I’m excited to talk to you about this incredibly impactful journey that our employees go through and that we go through as business owners and as managers of our teams.
Katty: I had the pleasure of hearing and meeting Rachel at the Association of Talent Development Conference in San Diego. We've been talking about having her on here so that we can talk about the WHY of this amazing initiative, as well as the road trip that Rachel refers to when she talks about the employee experience. Why don't we start there? Let's talk about this journey, this road trip that we're on.
Rachel: That's awesome. You have such a good memory, Katty. I do love a good metaphor when I talk about these things. I use the road trip metaphor, you could pick many, but I think sometimes, something like the employee experience can feel kind of cloudy and ethereal and nobody quite knows how to wrap their hands around it. And so, I like to say that the employee experience is a journey and I think about it as a road trip and it has these three core elements.
To take a successful road trip, you need a destination; you need to understand where you are going, you need a road map; you need some turn-by-turn directions, and then hopefully you've got some fuel in the tank, and if you're lucky, some snacks and a playlist, but something to sort of fuel you or give momentum to your journey. That's how I like to think about it.
Katty: I love that. Can we start at the beginning of that employee experience? We're in the recruitment space here at Artisan Creative and I sometimes get the impression that the employee experience for some companies starts after the onboarding. But we see the employee experience, the candidate experience if you will, even before being hired. You know how the interviews are conducted, how they're being responded to during that whole application process. So maybe it's the pre-journey of the journey, right, the conversation, and that state. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Rachel: Yeah, I see your pre-candidate experience and I would say it goes back even further than that which is the experience that your existing employees are having within your organization, such that they are going to be ambassadors of and successful recruiters of that talent to whom you want to deliver that amazing candidate experience. I do think it is always ongoing and continuous.
I think fundamentally for me, what stands out about the employee experience and where a lot of well-intentioned companies are getting it wrong, is that I think companies tend to think about the work that we're doing and then the employee experience, that we think about later when we have free time. Which spoiler, we never have free time. I believe that a real powerful employee experience fuels rather than follows the work.
I think employee experience is not about free food, foosball tables, and sort of fancy cocktail parties. It begins with how we enable our employees to deliver the work that we have hired them to do.
I think that resonates even in the interview process. Even in the recruitment process, I see organizations posting roles and then running these potential candidates through the wringer with really complex application processes. You've got applicant tracking systems, you've got recruiters that have this as #17 on the priority list and people are interviewing with 27 different people and then waiting months and months and frankly, in a buyers' market, which we may not be in right now but we will be in again it's an off-putting experience for somebody to have.
For me, the fundamental first question is what can we be doing as organizations to streamline and s
S3 | E1 | the artisan podcast | desmond lomax | humanizing connection | equity, diversity, inclusion & belonging
Desmond Lomax is a Senior Consultant, Master Facilitator, and Implementation Leader in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion work at the Arbinger Institute.
Find Desmond on Linkedin
Arbinger books: Anatomy of Peace | The Outward Mindset | Leadership and Self-Deception
What I especially appreciated was how you were able to take this topic that is top of mind and many people out there are talking about it, but you were able to humanize it and you were able to allow the audience to be able to connect from a human to human level. That obviously is so important in every environment, every circle that we’re in.
For our conversation, I wanted to bring that into the workplace, specifically hiring and integrating new people into the mix. But before we get into that, I'd love to just know how you get involved in this line of work.
Desmond: I started in the prison system. I was a therapist for the prison system and it was my first introduction to marginalized people struggling to make it in society, outside of my personal experiences.
I can't think of too many things more difficult than coming out of a prison system and returning as a citizen of the society and not feeling that you have the capacity or the resources to be able to do that successfully.
So I went from a therapist to a manager, to a state director where I was in charge of all the programming outside of the prison in the state of Utah. From there, I started teaching courses in Forensic Social Work at the University of Utah. I'm a Licensed Clinical Therapist, so it all came together.
I started doing many podcasts and videos about the things I've learned, and then my son passed away. I lost a child, he was a freshman in college. He committed suicide. I found myself in this unique position where I was like okay, Dezzy, you’ve been through some stuff now, you know what it's like to lose a child to something horrific. What can you do differently in society to create a greater sense of inclusion and belonging?
I think that's what motivates me. My son seemed isolated and alone, even though we talked every day. We had a lot of communication and people cared about him, but there just wasn't a sense of belonging for him. I wanted to do something about that. I just took all of this background and my knowledge and as I was working with Arbinger, I joined their design team, and we created the curriculum called Outward Inclusion and I spent the last few years sharing the message of what it looks like in your organization and in your space where we can, 1) see the humanity of another person, and then 2) understand our impact on that humanity.
As simple as that sounds, there are things that we all have that interfere with our ability to do those two basic things. I've been working all over this country, all over internationally, just doing the work, being motivated by the loss I've experienced and the knowledge that I've gained.
Katty: Thank you for sharing that and heartfelt condolences. I don't know how long ago that was, but it's always fresh in the heart of anyone who's lost someone. Thank you for sharing that with us. I appreciate that you took something so devastating and you were able to turn it around and then bring positive impact to others from it.
Desmond: Yes, I hope so. What I've learned is that loss is energy. It's bonafide energy and either you do something with it, or it does something with you. I would like to say there are all these other options, but either that is the same energy that is just really hard. I've seen both of them in my life so I'm not trying to say I'm on one side or the other. But loss is a lot of energy that you need to transform into something or else that loss will transform you. That's what I've learned and that's what I'm trying to do.
Katty: Thank you for doing that and thank you for including us in that conversation. Let's go back to the two-pointers that you mentioned. The first one was seeing the humanity in each other and the second on
ep29 | Suzan Oslin | Creative Technologist | AR/VR
Suzan is an independent XR creator with a focus on persistent, geo-spatially located AR. She uses immersive technology to build aspirational futures that reflect her own wonder and awe for the beauty of life–at the same time revealing ugly truths that endanger our very existence. Using her mastery of experience design, she crafts interactions intended to engender empathy and motivate positive action.
Where are you? It's beautiful where you're sitting.
I’m at the AR House here in Los Angeles, and it's a co-working, co-living space run by Aidan Wolf and Lucas Rizzotto. Every month, they bring in ten new artists, where we live and collaborate together for four weeks. And it's in a beautiful house in the hills of Hollywood. We have a pool and a sauna and we invite people in from the public to be a part of the community and it's just a really amazing place for artists and creators to be inspired, build relationships, and build cool stuff.
What a beautiful idea for collaboration. All AR projects?
Not necessarily but it's pretty much AR/VR as far as I know. Some artists come in and they're not necessarily developers, they're designers or illustrators, but they're pretty passionate about the AR/VR space, and they'll work usually with one of the devs to build stuff.
Okay, let's step backwards just in case there are some people in the audience who may not be familiar with AR/VR. Can you just give us a quick little rundown of augmented reality/ virtual reality and then we'll start with how you got started in this.
There's sometimes a lot of confusion about that. Virtual reality is when you're completely immersed within a digital or virtual world, and that's usually through a headset, and there's no relationship to the outside world at all. You're completely in a created and fabricated world.
Augmented reality is when you are in the real world and your real world is being augmented by digital or virtual objects. So it's a layer over top of the real world, and usually that's done with your phone, or augmented reality glasses. There used to be a distinction of mixed reality. Mixed reality and augmented reality are kind of coming together into one thing and people talk less about mixed reality. I think it pretty much put it all together with augmented reality.
And how does that play into where your career started from, which is in the UX space and what was the trajectory for you and the transition for you from traditional UX into what you're doing now?
Well, my career actually didn't start in UX. So when you and I met, my UX career was starting. I actually have a background in visual effects and animation and I've worked in the film industry for a number of years, so the 3D world is not a stranger to me. I had been doing UX for about 12 years.
I don't think I wrote a single line of code in that whole time and my background is very much in technical art. To be honest, I was getting a little bit bored with user experience design and wasn't challenged in the way that technology really challenges you. I was in a space where I was looking for my next evolution of my career. That's when I started to see, around 2018, and I started to see a lot of posts on LinkedIn and whatnot about augmented reality and virtual reality. It was more virtual reality at that time. To me, it seems like a no brainer to kind of go back to my roots, but also bring with me, my user experience design and hope to make an impact in terms of a new technology and bring in those concepts of user experience design. So often when a new technology is being created, a lot of the applications and experiences are created by the developers. And I know it makes sense because they're the ones figuring out the technology. So those are the ones that get built first and so I really wanted to have a presence of user experience in
ep28 | daniel sieberg | storyteller, entrepreneur
Co-Founder, Chief Content Officer: GoodTrust
Director, Innovation Marketing, Moody's
Author: The Digital Diet (2011); Digital Legacy (2020, w/ Rikard Steiber)
Welcome to the artisan podcast as we welcome Daniel Seiberg as our next guest. Daniel is the Co-founder and Chief Content Officer of Good Trust and the Director of Innovation Marketing at Moody’s. But above all, Daniel is a storyteller. Throughout his career he has told stories of brands and stories of people as a journalist, as an author, as an entrepreneur. He has traveled to over 70 countries and has worked in marketing, communications, product, and partnerships at many well known companies including Google as well as many news outlets. I’m so excited to have Daniel here so that we can talk about storytelling and how that impacts interviewing and how we can show up as our authentic selves, not only to an interview but any role that we start. So, with that, let’s welcome Daniel.
Hi, Katty. It’s wonderful to be with you and dwell in possibilities as the sign over your shoulder reads and talk about storytelling. Probably one of my favorite subjects.
Yeah, thank you. I was fascinated when we had met a few weeks ago just to talk about the concept of storytelling and wanted to bring that to the audience here. Obviously, the audience who listens here are all storytellers… whether they're visual storytellers, or writers, or marketers. But this concept of storytelling is so important, and as we are recording this, the gardeners have come. So for the audience, just giving you a little warning if you're hearing noise, it’s out of my control.
This is all part of our story right now.
This is the story of working from home.
It is what it is.
Yep, life in 2022.
Yep, we will speak loudly to overcome that. So, Daniel, how did you get started on this path? Let’s go there first.
Yeah, absolutely and I will keep my origin story relatively tight. I would just say that my father spent his career as an engineering electronics technician working with oceanographers who went to the North Pole to study climate change. So I was exposed to the “how does anything work” kinds of questions from an early age. My family believes in service and my sister is a nurse practitioner. So that's a little bit of my orientation in the world.
And then coupled with that, my maternal grandmother died of complications from Alzheimer's and I can distinctly remember what it was like to see her at her 75th birthday party, and as an awkward 14-year-old walk up to her with a present and for her to say, “Oh, this is lovely, dear, thank you, and who are you?” And for the two of us to sort of die in front of each other in that moment. So what struck me is the value of our stories and how we pass them on. How we convey them. They're sort of the storytelling or how we do that. There’s the tools that we use to tell those stories, there's the subject matter, that people, and everything wrapped up in what it means to tell a story and of course to listen, to receive, or to watch. So that, I think, is what ultimately pushed me into a career of being a journalist. In my case, it was science and technology. I did a master's degree in journalism with a focus of technology at The University of British Columbia…. a long time ago.
The arc of my career went through working at CNN, covering those subjects including space and environment, and on to CBS News, and ABC and then I pivoted away from being a practicing journalist, if you will, to focusing on technology and I would say helping others use technology to tell stories. So I spent several years at Google and helped to create a couple of teams in service of empowering newsrooms to use technology to tell stories in new ways with data through d
ep27 | the artisan podcast | dr. heidi hanna | creativity & tools for stress mastery
Dr. Heidi Hanna is a best-selling author of 7 books, is an authority on stress mastery and brain-based health and performance.
Very nice to have you here. And you and I have worked together several times through the Entrepreneurs Organization and I was on your podcast for stress mastery. I would just really love to have a conversation about stress and specifically as it pertains to creativity since the audience that we are speaking to is primarily on the creative side, both writers as well as designers and marketers.
Let's talk about stress. But let’s before that talk about how did you fall into this field?
Heidi: Well, I'll give you the shorter version of the story. So we don't take up all of our time. But I really struggled with stress from an early age, so much so that I ended up fainting and losing consciousness and went to a lot of different doctors. This is around the age of 11 to 12 years old, went to a bunch of doctors, they couldn't figure out what was going on. I was diagnosed with a lot of different confusing things.
But ultimately, at the end of the day, they said it's probably just stress. And so that word meant a lot to me at a very early age and I couldn't understand it. Of course, my parents did the best they could to try to teach me how to cope with that. But it's just something we're not really taught. We're not really taught what stress is or how to cope effectively with it. I think we're talking about it more now. But it still seems like it's this big, bad beast that's out there that we're fighting against. Instead of the way I like to look at it ,it's a relationship we have with the circumstances of our lives, based on our demand versus capacity.
And so it can be physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, or social. Creative people certainly have a lot of unique challenges in the stress space, which I know we'll talk a little bit more about. And a lot of us who are creative are also highly sensitive to stress. So we can get moved by stress in either direction, positively or negatively. And I think that that was me even though I didn't see myself as a creative person as a child. I was very influenced by the emotion and the energy around me. And so stress became really kind of debilitating in some ways and led me down this path to understand it. So I studied nutrition, exercise, physiology, psychology, neuroscience, everything to kind of come to a better understanding of what's actually happening when we say that we're feeling stressed.
Katty: What is actually happening?
Heidi: I do think that the first thing again, to keep in mind is that it's a relationship that each of us has, and so it's very much based on a perception of this gap between demand and capacity. So if we believe that we have the resources that we need to cope with those demands, then we have a very different stress reaction pattern that's more like acute stress.
So if there's actually an emergency and we have to do something, we have the production of adrenaline. We have that kind of fight or flight feeling, but that's for a short period of time. That's only if something's about 30 minutes or less. If we experienced more chronic stress or we don't think that we have the resources to deal with what's being asked of us, then it moves into more of a chronic state, primarily fueled by cortisol, which is a more long-term survival hormone. And this is where we start seeing immune function go down, brain function go down, memory attention and we see the more toxic side of the stress reaction pattern which estimates are that stress like that is responsible for about 75 to 90% of medical visits.
So we know that stress has this toxic side. But I would also remind us all that if we didn't care about something, we wouldn't feel stressed. So stress can also be an indication of
ep26 | the artisan podcast | finnian kelly | intentionality coach & entrepreneur
Our guest today is Finnian Kelly. Finnian has 12 years of entrepreneurship experience. He’s started 7 companies and has had 3 successful exits, 2 acquisitions, 2 failures, and 2 he’s still busy with and running. He has won multiple awards for being an impact-driven leader. He’s here today to talk to us about the power of intentionality and what it means to go inwards and really feel your way through your intentions as you plan your career, your next step, your job, or your next freelance opportunity. Enjoy.
You can find Finnian Kelly at:
Finnian: So I like to think of all freelancers, really, they're all entrepreneurs. Every entrepreneur in some regard started as a freelancer, like, let's face it, we were all offering something. And then we managed to realize that perhaps our skill sets were great at bringing other people involved into the vision, and then we grew into something bigger.
So even just having that mindset that there's potentially something more available to you, is part of the intentionality process. When I think about intentionality, I define it as it's all about defining how you want to feel, and then taking deliberate action towards it. That combination of vision plus action.
Now freelancers were intentional to make the decision to become a freelancer. There was a reason you were like, I want to feel free. I want to feel like I have a choice. I want to feel liberated from not having to work in a corporate day job. So there was a vision. And then they took some action. They went well, “I'm going to stop putting myself up for some services or some jobs. I'm going to promote myself a little bit. I've had to like quit my day job and move into this realm.”
Now then what happens is sometimes what worked for us then is what holds us back. So we're getting into this place. And now to keep that vision going, we start focusing on “I've got to do this, I've got to do that.” And we forget about the bigger vision. What's the next vision from that? And we can get stuck into the minutiae and feeling like well, I've got to get this next job to be able to pay for these needs and we feel constricted so the freelancer suddenly becomes constricted from the life that they've created for themselves.
So we need to step back and go back to that moment that you did when you decided to move from the corporate world perhaps it was corporate world or another small business into a freelancer. You had a vision and this needs to be a continuous process and go “Alright, where I'm at right now… Yes, it was my original vision. But is this still my vision? Or is this something more? Perhaps I'm not working with the clients that I really want to be working with. Perhaps I'm I don't have as much freedom as I thought I'm actually working nonstop, and I'm always just catching my tail.”
So getting connected to that big picture would be really, really wonderful, and I talk about that it's not just a vision of materialistic objects, it's all about feelings. Get connected to those feelings. That's the fundamental thing of intentionality is how do you want to feel?
And with the new year coming up, it's a great time whenever this is shared, it's going to be in the new year. And having that awareness of stepping back and going, “Okay, I'm where I'm at right now. What is it that I really want to be feeling? Perhaps I want to feel more inspiration with my work, perhaps I want to feel more proud. Perhaps I want to feel more fulfilled.” And get connected to those feelings and then start going, “Okay, I want those feelings, what are some potential pathways that I need to take in order to get there and that will help me line up the action that I need to take throughout that year.” So that's where I'd be starting.
Katty: I've heard you say intentionality and really focusing on the end part, the inne