Our guest today is Chief Operating Officer Dr. Dana Knight-Reyes.
Knight Nicastro MacKay, LLC, is a litigation-focused law firm. From their regional offices in Colorado, Missouri, Montana, and Illinois, they have represented businesses, including transportation entities, public employers, and insurers throughout the United States.
For 24 months, Dana has assisted the Board of Managers in developing, planning, and executing the vision and business plan of the almost 4-year-old law firm. Dana manages the administrative operations of the Firm, including supervising all non-attorney personnel, managing the operating and information systems, overseeing the finance functions, assisting in the marketing of the legal services, and evaluating, managing, and supervising the facilities of this 20-million-dollar fast-paced law Firm.
Dana holds a doctorate in Organizational Development and Leadership and brings diverse work experiences serving high-performing organizations as a Professional Development Coach and Organizational Development Consultant, primarily in the education world. Dana is also a mother of 2 boys and a sister of 4 brothers.
In This Conversation We Discuss:
- The trust between the partners of the firm and how to separate business relationships from their personal relationships
- How Dana slows down the team to help them cater to and understand the importance of the human element
- Breaking the silos and bridging the gap between leadership and the employees
- How Dana identifies growth-minded individuals in the hiring process
- The lessons learned and the transition from teaching children to managing a law firm
Connect with Dr. Dana Knight-Reyes: LinkedIn
Knight Nicastro MacKay â€“ https://www.knightnicastro.com
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The postÂ Ep. 151 â€“ Knight Nicastro MacKay, LLC COO, Dr. Dana Knight-ReyesÂ appeared first onÂ COO Alliance.
Before we jump into this episode, you need to know about two important ways that we can help you and your company grow. Number one, check out the COO Alliance. It’s for COOs, presidents, VP Ops, or whoever your company’s second-in-command to the CEO is. The COO Alliance is the world’s leading community for the second-in-command. It gives COOs the tools and connections to grow themselves and the company. Head over to COOAlliance.com to learn more about our members, the results, the program, and our 10X guarantee. If you qualify for membership, you can set up a complimentary call with our team to discuss if it’s right for you. I’ll tell you about number two in a bit. First, let’s start this episode.
Our guest is the Chief Operating Officer of Knight Nicastro MacKay LLC, Dr. Dana Knight-Reyes. Knight Nicastro MacKay LLC is a litigation-focused law firm. From their regional offices in Colorado, Missouri, Montana, and Illinois, they’ve represented businesses including transportation entities, public employers, and insurers throughout the United States.
For 24 months, Dana has assisted the board of managers in developing, planning, and executing the vision and business plan of the almost four-year-old law firm. Dana manages the firm’s administrative operations, including supervising all non-attorney personnel, managing the operation and information systems, overseeing the finance functions, assisting in the marketing and legal services, and evaluating, managing, and supervising the facilities of this $20 million fast-paced law firm.
Dana holds a doctorate in Organizational Development and Leadership and brings diverse work experiences serving high-performing organizations as a professional development coach and organizational development consultant, primarily in the education world. Dana’s also a mother of two boys and a sister of four brothers.
Dana, welcome to the show.
Thank you. It is my pleasure.
Tell me about your journey. How did you end up as the COO of a law firm? As we were getting started, you told me you’re not a lawyer.
I am not from a legal background. I’m an educator for many years in that business. I have done everything from teaching a school to my own classroom. I managed to get into administration, which is my second Master’s because I thought the only thing to do in education was to be a principal. I decided I didn’t want to be a principal, so I taught for a little longer. I then created space for myself in the last school that I was in. It was at recess. All of a sudden, I realized it would be easier. We’d been looking for a special education teacher for a couple of years. I was watching and becoming more sad and frustrated at the lack of being able to find someone who would fit the culture as well to have the skillset.
It was a recess and the leader came out and said, â€œIt would be easier to find a fourth-grade teacher than to find someone with your skillset. Would you be interested in taking on the special education department in the elementary?â€ I hadn’t thought of it but was interested. All I had to do was go take a test and ace the test. The next thing I know, I am leading the special education department.
Fortunately, they let me go. Autonomy’s important to my success. I decided to create a school within a school, not just be a special education teacher. I was able to try on the business side of education. I did create a school within a school called the Center for Cognitive Diversity. That came out of a passion and a need that I saw in education to get away from stigma and to retrain the brain of teachers that the student is not the flexor. The teacher is the flexor. The teacher needs to be the teacher that the person in front of them needs to be. I developed that. That was super fun. I got to do all the organizational hiring, budget, and all that.
They asked me to extend that past the sixth grade and go into middle school. I spent a year working on that for them and decided that I might not be the right person for that seat. At first, I counted it as a failure, but what I realized is in that process, I got to exercise the observation skills of, â€œI have taken this as far as I can go. There’s somebody on staff who can take it to the next step. It’s time for me to say goodbye.â€
Probably that same week that I had that epiphany, one of my brothers and I do dinner once a month and we shared our things and what was going on. Chad Knight is sharing with me the growth of the law firm. He wants to practice law. That’s what he’s good at. The three other guys on the board were the same thing. They were like, â€œWe’re going to need to hire somebody to do this admin stuff.â€ There was this awkward pause.
I finished my doctorate in organizational development. We looked at each other and he said, â€œMaybe? Do you think?â€ On the way home, I was like, â€œAre you serious? Do you want me to try this on?â€ They did say, â€œYeah. You could do this.â€ I said, â€œIâ€™m going to go through the interview process. I need to talk to the other guys on the board,â€ and did all that. We decided collectively that it would be a good fit for them.
What was the size of the law firm when you joined them?
About 25 employees and 15 attorneys.
What would the size be now?
We have 65 employees and 37 attorneys. We were at the $5 million when I came on and we’re at the $20 million.
Has it been easy with your brother?Â
I will say yes, and that was one of the reasons why I did say yes. Itâ€™s because we are both very good at compartmentalizing. We have those conversations. If there is a difference in their own opinion, if a mistake is made, or if we’re going in a direction that was different than the other person thought, we’re going to have that conversation another time. When it is family time, which is very important to all of us, it was a little weird because we would talk about business. I then started to get lost in the relationship myself. I said, â€œWe’re not talking about that right now, but I will tell you I need to talk to you about this,â€ and then we’ll go on to family stuff. It seeds on both sides.
You’ve had the discussions and kept them apart. The trust is so strong between the two of you. That’s probably a core because one of the core things that I’ve noticed with good COOs is they have to have a good core trust with that CEO team or, in your case, the managing board. Has it gotten in the way of working with the other three partners at all?
I don’t think so. I do believe that we purposely kept it out in front. There is no elephant in the room. I am Chad’s sister. However, that’s not who you’re talking to when we’re conducting business. Confidence is confidence. He doesn’t get to know anything that I hold in confidence with employees. With decisions, typically, he pulls himself out of those that involve me, whether it’s compensation or any business decision that’s put on my plate that the board needs to discuss a ton. They’re very good. They have their own meetings. I do attend all board meetings and have a voice in that room. You’re right. There was an established trust between Chad and me.
It sounds like that’s transferred over to the rest of the managing board then as well.
Their relationship with each other is amazing to watch. They’re so diverse, but it works. It’s so cool to watch. By default, I had their trust initially, but I do know that they have articulated that I have earned it at this point. That makes me feel good, too.
That works out well. You’ve gotten into the legal space. Youâ€™ve got your doctorate in organizational development. What did you think you brought with you from your educational background into your COO role then?Â
There is so much. It’s human behavior. My educator comes out when we are trying to develop systems, protocols, and policies. I bring the human element to it. I challenge them. Iâ€™m like, â€œDid you say that to them or did you give them the why?â€ That was an adventure to get them to understand that people need the why and that’s where you get the buy-in. They know the what, and then we have to talk about the why. That’s where the rubber meets the road. People follow one step if it’s the right fit. I have spent probably the second year focused on combining the attention to internal growth with external growth, which has been phenomenal.
It is establishing a growth and review process and making sure that the underscored board is the growth part. There should be no surprises in that meeting. We have one-on-ones every week or quarter, depending on the workgroup. We have a mentoring program that wasn’t there. We have a stellar onboarding program that wasn’t there with ongoing training. Itâ€™s not just, â€œHere you go. Best of luck to you.â€ The employee experience here is important because that is one of the difference makers in the firm.
Iâ€™m being able to help them pause and remember the human element of it sometimes in this firm, and maybe it’s in every firm. I’m not sure. It’s fast-paced. Itâ€™s to get to the end product that sometimes we forget that we’re dealing with humans in the interaction. It’s not a means to an end. Weâ€™re like, â€œThis person that’s helping me with this is a teammate and a team member.â€ This doesn’t happen without the legal assistant, paralegal, and attorney in the communication piece. That is what I bring to the organization piece.
Itâ€™s interesting because you’re right. I don’t think it is there in a lot of companies or in all companies, for sure. Once that leadership team evolves, it gets there to understand that it is about the employees first. If you build that strong relationship with the employees, they’ll go through brick walls for you. I posted a video on LinkedIn about that, saying that anytime a company feels it’s about the customer first, the employees, all of a sudden, feel like theyâ€™re second class. It can go in the wrong direction. How do you slow them down to get them to consider the human element or the human impact?Â
It’s a lot of modeling. It’s a lot of me telling them about conversations that I have with employees. I do a quarterly survey. It was difficult at first. One of the challenges was to get them to stop and understand that what I was about to tell them was valuable. Itâ€™s not that they didn’t value me or the material, but they are so programmed to know or think, â€œTime is money.â€ If I have a 30-minute meeting, instantly, it’s how much that meeting cost. Itâ€™s billable hours. They’ve done such a great job realizing that we slow down and pay attention to the human element that the ROI is measurable, too.
What’s their age?
The oldest one is 51. With the youngest, I’m not going to quote this correctly, but in his 30s.
They’re Gen X, the very late or earliest Gen Y. They are more human-centric and a little bit more inclusive than the Baby Boomers were. Do they still carry with them the ego that the Baby Boomer lawyer generation had where it’s, â€œMy way or the highway in the corner office,â€ and, â€œYou’re a paralegal or whatever, but I’m a lawyer.â€ Is that still, or have they broken through that?
In a word, yes. They’ve broken through that. When I first came, that was prevalent. It impressed me so much in my interview that that was an actual question. Derek said, â€œHow do you handle big egos?â€ To which I replied, â€œYou do remember that I’m Chad’s sister?â€ Everybody laughed. It’s real. I also bring to the table the ability to read people, assess a situation, and understand communication styles in the way that I need to address the same issue but with a different board member. I feel I have been very successful with that. I set up meetings with them individually as well as collectively so that I can speak to where it matters for them.
It is an interesting time we’re in. I’ve coached three different dental chains that are quite large dental groups or medium-sized dental groups. In all three cases, I got the dentists to stop having the employees call them doctor so-and-so and call them by their first names. Iâ€™m like, â€œWe’re not addressing any of our employees by Mr., Ms., or Mrs., so why are we addressing you with your title? Get over yourself. I’m glad you got your eight years of education. Suck it up. It’s hurting you.â€
As soon as they let go of the title, all of a sudden, they started to have more of a connection with their employees. It was no longer a me and trying to get them to do my stuff. It was more a we situation. It was interesting to watch. I’m curious whether that’s happening. It sounds like it is almost happening now in the law firm.
It’s an intentional effort because they love what they do. I’ve asked them and they’ve come out of their office. Chad says, â€œI keep my door open. As long as the door is open, you can come in at any time,â€ but they had to see it to believe it. He comes out of his office more. Derek’s good about meeting with the individual. He’s in our Kansas City office. He’s been ruled intentional. Jenna in Missoula is fabulous at connecting with employees. Anthony, one of the four member-owners, is in Billings. He’s HR-ish. He’s joined alongside me. It was a new thing that happened at the end of 2020. We decided that there needed to be a managing partner, and that has been a gift to me.
I’ve talked to lots of execs about how a great salesperson can go from one industry to another. It takes them a few months to learn the product, service, or industry and their sales skills transfer over. You clearly have leadership skills and executive competencies. How long did it take you to understand enough about your area of law or the area that you guys practice to not be sitting there going, â€œI have no idea what they’re talking about.â€
I’ll be honest. I’m still not there. I was tuning in to this show on the way to work. You were interviewing a CEO in a law firm that does data collection. I recognized some of the jargon. I get the general gist of what they do. If there’s an issue, they collect data and do research. They have medical records to summarize all the depositions and that type of thing. There, I do have a very solid line. When we do our onboarding and I meet with the new employee, I say, â€œIf it has to do with the practice of law or the process of running a case, you go to your practice managers that know it. If you have a question about how we do things here, what the KNM way is, payroll, situational, or how you do your job on the business side, that’s me.â€
It’s interesting. It’s very similar to how I coach. I work with so many different organizations globally. I’ve coached companies in 26 countries and know nothing about my clients’ industries. I coach a law firm that’s got about 400 lawyers called George Sink Law and their personal injury law firm in South Carolina. I don’t know anything about law. I studied it. I did my undergraduate degree in law, so I understand enough, but I’m not a lawyer. I don’t understand the US system, but you don’t need to because there are so many other parts of the business that we need to focus on.
I note that to be true. I am in the process of saying that many times to attorneys because it’s not readily there.
That was going to be my question. When did they come to that understanding? You and I get it, but when did they get it?
As is true, we have different paces for people to get it. There is a big handful of attorneys who engage in one-on-ones and coaching sessions with me. That was one of the big things that Chad wanted me to do when I came here, although I had some things the day before I could get to that. The board gets it, which is great. The practice management gets it. There are attorneys that come on board that have to get acclimated before they get it.
I say it often, â€œI do not need to know the practice of law to help you be a better lawyer or grow into the type of attorney you want to be. I can help you get the vision out of your head and push you in the right direction. Iâ€™ll hold a mirror in front of you and ask you questions because I believe you have it in you. It’s leaning there somewhere in your brain. We need to figure out what you want as an attorney and what your practice looks like in your head so that we can attach you to the resources that we have, which are vast within you.â€
What have you been working on, then? You got in your transition. What’s the next phase for you?
The next phase would be to continue. I’ve asked them in jest, â€œCould we wait six months before we onboard any new offices?â€ because that is very time-consuming. I want to focus on that employee experience. There are more people coming on board doing the one-on-ones. Our growth and review process is fantastic and shows ROI.
Itâ€™s my third year. I’m going to solidify a lot of the practices that we’ve input. With COVID, we have had to learn how to do the remote intentionally. We always had a remote work policy at the flex. If somebody needs to work because they have their washer and dryer broken or whatever, they can. We didn’t have to change anything in that. Everybody has their own PC and they can do their work from anywhere. It is bringing the internal, connecting people, continuing to be intentional around communication, and continuing to help people understand the value of having conversations.
Bringing those trial teams together is one of the things that I’m going to push. Itâ€™s that initial meeting so that you can, eyeball to eyeball, say, â€œWhen this happens, this is what we’re going to do. You’re the one who’s going to take on this part of the case. If you can’t get me, this is what I want you to do.â€ Itâ€™s establishing those communication pathways.
I want them to see how when they set things up in the beginning without assumptions of, â€œThis is how we’ve always done it,â€ it’s going to be more effective. Theyâ€™ll get further faster. In the appointing of Anthony as the managing partner, that’s what I kept saying. I was like, â€œWe’ll get further faster. If we shorten that decision tree and cut off a few branches, then we can get to where we need to go in a more efficient way.â€
You talked about the leadership or some of the skills training that you’re giving some of the team internally. What are you working with them on?
Generally, Iâ€™m pulling things out of their heads. I want to know their individual experiences and give them a safe place to say these things out loud. It’s the coaching moment where they go, â€œI need to do blah,â€ or, â€œI need to stop doing this.â€ If I ask them, â€œWhat have you done so far to go towards this goal?â€ They’ll realize, â€œI’m working hard getting there,â€ or, â€œI could be doing more in this direction. I need to let go of those distractions and focus on this.â€
Mostly, it is, â€œTell me what it is like for you to be in Knight Nicastro MacKay. Where do you see yourself plugging in past your job description?â€ In the hiring, that’s another thing that we’ve spent a lot of time working on. We want to hire people that have that growth mindset who want to learn it and be the best to become the expert in the room.
You donâ€™t have to force it.Â
There’s a balance between hiring someone who loves being a legal assistant that wants to grow and develop within that role and someone who wants to become a legal assistant so that they can then progress to a paralegal. Maybe they do want to go to law school. I don’t know.
We had that discussion at one of our COO Alliance events we were talking about. I was saying that a leader’s core job is to grow people and theyâ€™re always looking for opportunities to grow people. One of the COOs in the group put their hand up and said, â€œWouldn’t it be better if we hired growth-oriented people who wanted to grow themselves?â€ I’m like, â€œThat would be amazing.â€
It’s interesting as a behavioral trait to look for. It’s the education system that the learner controls the environment. If the learner’s not ready to learn, it doesn’t matter how good the teacher is. You need to get them ready to learn. What do you look for in the hiring process to find people that are growth-minded or want to grow their skills?
I like to hear vision in people’s explanations of where they’ve been and where they’re going. For instance, I was interviewing someone for the legal assistant role. They were talking about how they were already in a paralegal program. They weren’t sure that that’s where they wanted to go, but that felt like something that would feed them.â€ I go, â€œFeeding yourself is good.â€ That’s one of the questions that I ask people in my coaching session. Iâ€™m like, â€œWhat are you doing to feed yourself?â€ We want to provide the opportunity as an organization for our employees to grow, but it’s not just on us. I want to know, â€œWhat are you doing right now? Where can I visualize you plugging in to move us forward?â€
Who’s doing the interviews internally? Is HR doing them or are the managing partners doing their own interviews? Does it depend?
Adam is a non-equity member in Missoula who, in another firm, was a hiring partner. He seemed like the right person to grab. He and I have created our hiring committee, how we are doing our protocols, and that type of thing. He and I lead that. We have a legal assistant who handles the administrative part of it, but we create it at the front end. We have a conversation about, â€œWhat are we looking for with a member of that particular office? Help us understand to get a good idea.â€ We then create the team and go over what we’re looking for with the team. We have a list of criteria.
In some of the interviews, I assign certain questions to people because they would be the expert in that area and be able to follow up with questions. I am never going to be able to do that. I don’t need to be in that space. There are plenty of people who have that skillset. We have that after-work talk and have a chat afterward. We talk about culture fit, skillset, and whether we need a writing sample and all that type of thing.
Do you train your team? Do you train the managers and the partners on how to do interviews?
What’s your thought about that? How are you going to train them? Itâ€™s one of the core skills that boggles my mind. I was part of a company called College Pro Painters, where we had to quote and hire 8,000 people every year. We trained our 800 franchisees on how to do interviews and onboarding because otherwise, there was no way we were ever going to succeed. It boggles my mind how 99% of companies have never trained their managers on how to do a job interview. Yet, they hire people all the time. It’s scary.
That’s an observable need in that process. That’ll be something I’ll put on my list for 2021. Some of the education comes from plugging them into the process we’ve created. It’s not just, â€œI like you. You are a friend of mine. Come on over.â€ Let’s find out who they are, ask the right questions, and notice body language. The thing that I was surprised about is not talking about what we wanted so that we were all on the same page during that interview. You’re starting then with the core of what exactly are we looking for in that candidate. What are their behavioral traits? What are their skills? You’re then building your process on finding that. First, as long as everyone’s on the same page regarding what you’re looking for, that’s at least better than saying I like them.
Youâ€™re inviting part of the hiring team to be the actual mentor. They need to be in the room. Have you read the book Who?
I have not.
It is by Geoff Smart. Take a look. His dad’s from Boulder. Brad Smart wrote Topgrading. His son wrote Who. It’s more of an entrepreneurial version of some of the best interviewing and hiring systems that exist. It might be an interesting one for you to look at because it lines up with exactly what your thoughts are in the beginning, with that end in mind and working backward. Tell me about what you brought with you from the education system when you were running a school within a school. What have you brought with you in terms of those skills that you’re utilizing?
I would say that it’s cynical. With the why circle or the golden circle, I came to know that. I used that as I was developing the people that I was hiring to work with the children. I was intentional about how I cannot expect them to do something, know something, and believe in something if I’m not communicative about it. I realized I needed to share the vision of where we needed to go and be patient, which is not readily available in my makeup.
I was starting and being intentional about the communication, where we’re going to go, why this is important, why weâ€™re even here, and how this might be different from youâ€™ve done things in the past. It worked. They loved it. The feedback was, â€œI’ve never understood why we do this. Now, it makes sense.â€ That’s one of the strongest messages I feel like I am conveying in my role. We do a lot of things intuitively, which is good, bad, or ugly, weâ€™re like, â€œLet’s stop and find out why we’re doing this and if it’s the best way.â€
We had a lot of conversation around, â€œWhen you first started and you had twelve employees, this was fine.â€ It was Jack of trades. Everybody needed to do everything. You cannot do that. You have to have people designated to do these certain things. You have to tell, which is a skill that is not often taught and that I’m working on.
What I brought over mostly is to make sure that people understand where to plug in, why they’re plugging in there, and to speak plainly. Be really elementary about how we’re going to do things and why we’re doing them. If somebody thinks about a different way or we do it for a while this way, but it’s not quite working and I don’t notice first, I want somebody else to notice and say, â€œThis is great now, but it’s not so great here and this is why.â€ Itâ€™s having those conversations.
I love that you’re seeing that what got us here won’t get us there. Itâ€™s not because we’ve always done it that it means we always have to do it. Simon was on our board at 1-800-GOT-JUNK? about five years before he wrote his book, Start with WHY. It was originally a cone shape. If you looked at them from the top down, his golden circles were the three circles with the why, how, and what. If you looked at them from the side, it was a cone and it was the CEO at the top with the VPs, etc. I flipped that the other way where I have the CEO at the bottom of the org chart supporting the VPs, managers, and customers, and then everyone’s seeing that vivid vision or the core purpose, etc. as well. Itâ€™s critical that people understand why we do what we do and how they fit into it as well.
The other thing that comes to mind is I had the opportunity on a small scale to do what I’m doing. I was the visionary, architect, and builder for the Center for Cognitive Diversity. It is not what I expected. I got a nod already here to do it at a much larger scale, but I didn’t anticipate that that’s what I was going to get to do. To answer the question that you sometimes ask of, â€œWhat do you wish you had known when you first got here?â€ It is I wish I would’ve realized because I would’ve been more patient with myself to try to understand what exists, what doesn’t exist, and where I need to plug in initially all the textbooks of, â€œYou listen. You don’t go in there and change a bunch of stuff.â€
Who’s harder to lead? Children or adults?
Adults, by far.
Why? What is it?Â
It’s aligned or misaligned expectations. When we are teaching or working with adults, we have this whole bunch of assumptions and expectations like, â€œI should.â€ I keep telling people, â€œStop should-ing on people.â€ There are a whole bunch of shoulds. When we have that attitude, we can come across as very condescending. We get frustrated easily.
We forget parts of a conversation that we should have with folks. We forget the why when we’re dealing with adults and understand that we still have to assess that adult learners’ mindset, disposition, personality, learning style, and how they communicate. There are so many things that are already developed in an adult learner or an adult employee. Their whys are very different. We got to meet them where they are, and that takes a little bit of paying attention.
What do you think is going to change for the organization? You’ve gone from 25 to 30 up to 65. You’ve doubled in two years. You’re probably going to double again. There’s that question. What do you think is going to be changing? What’s it like working with these four offices? Was that part of the intention, or did it evolve into that?
Working with the four members, do you mean?
No. With having offices in four cities, was that the intention originally?
Yes, and it still is. Another one of the difference makers for Knight Nicastro MacKay is that clients afforded that small firm attention, skill, and expertise in a large firm where we have multiple resources. If a client originally needs representation in Colorado, let’s say, with transportation and then they need representation in Missouri, that’s an easy transition for us. Regionally, we’re going to go towards Seattle-ish in the next growth spurt, which I’ve asked them to give me a little time. Itâ€™s likely not going to happen. I know that.
It is intentional at the beginning. Like a lot of startups, you gather and the growth is phenomenal. We love we’re doing things right. Things are going great. They have amazing intuition. They have done a lot of things right by the seat of their pants and it’s worked out. At the size and with the growth, it’s more intentional. I’m speaking for them and I could be wrong, but it might be easier to say no this time than it might have been in the past.
That’s interesting. What about the whole having to deal with COVID and the transitions? How are you operating? Are they working from offices?
Both of our Chicago and Peoria offices are still working remotely. It’s a very different situation over there, particularly in Chicago. The rest of the firm went home for about six weeks, and then we all returned. There are some people, because of school shutting down, that have a hybrid work schedule. The ask is simply communication. If we’re not working with people next to us all the time, for instance, a trial team could have the attorney in Boulder, a paralegal could be in Kansas City, and then the legal assistant is both. We call it Attorneys Without Borders. That set us up.
Nothing changed. That was weird. That’s survival guilt where I’m looking at and hearing about all the hardship that everybody or lots of people are going through. It didn’t happen. In fact, it was the opposite. We kept growing. I attribute that to a lot of the way the firm was originally set up. It was in the Cloud and high-tech. We have communication video. We had a lot of systems set up for that.
It also speaks to maybe the age and mindset of the five of you as well, which is a little more inclusive and a little less of the, â€œIt’s my way or the highway.â€ The reality is as long as the employees are doing their work and communicating with us, it doesn’t matter where they are. We used to think it did, but it doesn’t. Will you go back to the offices?
We are going to try in one of our offices to do that hybrid where people have rotating schedules and see how that feels and works out. There’s no reason why it wouldn’t work. It does provide the flexibility for that particular office there at the point where we would be looking for a different office for size reasons and the end of the lease.
We moved to our Boulder office from Pearl Street over here to Walnut. It is a couple of blocks over. The conversation had to be had. It was like, â€œDo we want a brick-and-mortar, or is it time to try things on?â€ We decided that in this phase, we wanted the in-office time to collaborate, build culture, and establish more of the Boulder office within the firm. That’s worked out well. The office is beautiful and it’s been super fun. It could go either way.
Is Pearl Street about two blocks over from the main shopping area of Boulder?
Pearl Street is the main shopping. You have all the shops and restaurants. It’s so cute.
If you were to go back to your 21-year-old self and you had to give Dana some advice, what’s the advice you’d give yourself?
I feel like because I grew up as a Military brat, my worldview is big. When I look back, I didn’t look past education when I was in my main career. I loved what I did and I didn’t look past that. I would say, â€œYou listen to your voice the loudest.â€ I looked to other people to guide me more than maybe I allowed myself to put my own voice in the room, so to speak. The other thing I would say is that I am a calculated risk-taker and have been that forever. I wish that I would take a little bit more chances on myself. Everything has worked out. I enjoyed everything. I don’t have any regrets, but maybe going out to the karaoke bar would’ve been fun. Who knows?
Thanks very much. I love that, â€œListen to your own voice the loudest,â€ as well. That’s a cool thought there, too. I’m exactly the same. I need to let my little kid out to play a lot more as well. Thank you so much for sharing with us on the show. I appreciate the time.