Women and minorities made history in 2018.
From the first Muslim woman elected to Congress to the first openly gay man to win a governor’s race, it was a big year of firsts. Politics aside, we want to know: with so much forward momentum, what comes next? Some companies are embracing progress, but diversity and inclusion needs to be about more than just good PR.
On this episode of Think Tank of Three, our guest Kim Hafley of Foster Swift Collins & Smith talks about diversity and inclusion, successes, misses and how we can all work to get it right.
Julie Holton: Women and minorities made history in 2018. From the first Muslim woman elected to Congress, to the first openly gay man to win a governor’s race. It was a big year of firsts. Politics aside, we want to know with so much forward momentum what comes next. Some companies are embracing progress, but diversity and inclusion needs to be about more than just good PR. Today on Think Tank of Three, we have a special guest to talk about diversity and inclusion, successes, misses and how we can all work to get it right.
Julie Holton: Welcome to Think Tank of Three. I’m Julie Holton here with my cohost Audrea Fink. Today, guest Kim Hafley joins us. Kim is the Director of Marketing and Recruiting at Foster Swift, Collins & Smith where she manages marketing strategy for more than 100 attorneys in six offices. Prior to joining Foster Swift, Kim worked as the VP of Marketing at Two Men and a Truck, and as a Director of Marketing at Michigan State University’s College of Law. Kim, thank you so much for joining us today.
Kim Hafley: Hello. Thanks for having me.
Audrea Fink: This is Audrea here, Kim. I’m so looking forward to this conversation. From one law firm business development manager to another. All three of us have been part of the legal marketing association and so I thought it was fun the connection that you two had and wanted to maybe bring up the side note that there was once some competitive history between you and Julie.
Kim Hafley: Yes. It’s a good story. Before going to MSU College of Law, I worked in another Lansing based law firm, Fraser Trebilcock and so after I departed I still maintain many relationships. I still talk to somebody there at least once a week. My former boss called and said, “Hey, we have this new marketing director. Can you go to lunch?” I said, “Sure.” From there, we became friends and LMA conference buddies and we continue to have … Now we can get rid of the frenemies and just be friends.
Julie Holton: We used to joke that Kim and I were frenemies from the movie Mean Girls, if you’ve seen the movie Mean Girls, but really Kim has one of the most brilliant minds in marketing, big ideas more outside of the box than in. When it comes to diversity and inclusion programs, Kim has a definite edge. Kim, I’m going to dive right in. Part of why this topic came up right now is because in the midterm elections in 2018, we saw one of the most diverse balance in the history of voting. I pulled some numbers. These are not all from memory. The New York Times profiled some candidates who ran for House, Senate, and Governor seats. Here’s some quick stats. 272 of the 964 candidates were women. 216 were black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American or multi multiracial, 26 identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
Audrea Fink: This was a huge shift for minorities and a pretty big win, but it wasn’t just a political movement. Kim, can you give us, as we start talking about this, maybe the definition of diversity inclusion so as we go through the podcast we know where you’re coming from.
Kim Hafley: Absolutely. For us, for Foster Swift, we really focus, it’s a very broad definition. I’m going to just kind of go and read our mission statement because I think that kind of covers it all for us. ‘The mission of Foster Swift’s diversity committee is to cultivate an environment where individuals of diverse race, color, ethnicity, culture, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, expression, religion, nationality, age, height, weight, disability, and marital and parental status may succeed professionally and personally.’ We try to keep it really broad.
Julie Holton: Essentially, everything that makes us unique or different is on that list?
Kim Hafley: It is. We sometimes joke, I think it even goes down to including our extended families, of our friends and our four legged furry friends.
Audrea Fink: We are all about the four legged furry friends here. Can you talk a little bit about some of the trends you saw maybe in the political space and how those trends are maybe gaining momentum as a social movement in the corporate world?
Kim Hafley: Yeah, I think what was exciting about this election was that people were so much more open. I think that really is the first step. I think the other thing that I would hope from the openness is we start to see people listening more. I think it’s great that we have the openness, but key to successful diversity inclusion programs is really about listening and when you’re unsure, asking questions, follow up and developing a level of respect for whomever you’re communicating with. I think it’s great that we have the openness. We see it on Facebook all the time. “I’m unfriending you because you said this and I don’t agree with that,” and just all the drama. I think for us to have maximum advantage of these huge gains we had in this election cycle, we need people to stop. We need people to listen, to ask questions and not just immediately respond, but to think about it and not be judgmental.
Kim Hafley: One of the things that’s so important as we look going forward with diversity and if we look at the four core business competencies, marketing, HR, technology and accounting is that things go so quickly. Accounting is still pretty much the same thing. It goes very routine, month, week, did you pay your bill, did you didn’t pay your bill. The other disciplines have changed so much. The cycle time, you can apply for a job 24/7. HR doesn’t think twice about somebody responding in the middle of the night. You look at technology with how quickly we all want things. You just press a button, right? Well, it’s really not that simple. You go to marketing, well, gee, you should be able to tell me everything about that person because you know, there’s all these now, cookies and bites, we can go and see what time they looked at it and how long they stay. We all want to make that immediate response.
Kim Hafley: I think the most important thing as we look at the political side, as we look at our own businesses is take a moment and think, think about what does this mean? What are the opportunities? Who should be included? If we include somebody, does it exclude somebody else? If so, is there a way to address that so that people understand so that it’s not offensive. I really think for diversity to be successful in any realm, there’s really two important components and that is having an open mind and communication. Sometimes the best thing we can do to communicate is to not communicate anything right then, but to think about it and then respond.
Julie Holton: Such a great point, Kim, when we were talking earlier, we talked about this sense of paralysis that can sometimes happen within an organization and how that paralysis happens when you don’t know how to respond or how to be inclusive or maybe what the right thing is to say. When you’re dealing with your attorneys at your firm or even other community groups that you are a part of, what are some ways that we can be more inclusive and get over that paralysis? What are those first steps?
Kim Hafley: You know, it’s interesting. I’ve asked a lot of people this because we’re all looking for that silver bullet and that one right answer, right? Guess what? There’s not one for this either but what there is, is being authentic and honest and showing care. When you have that situation is saying, “I don’t know how to respond to that legitimate response,” or “I want to make sure my goal here is to be inclusive and to make sure we recognize the diverse categories and I’m not sure. What are your thoughts?” You know?
Julie Holton: Yes, absolutely.
Kim Hafley: It’s turning it back around. What are your expectations? Because so many times, I think even when companies, companies always have the best intentions, nobody starts a diversity program without wanting best intentions. It takes time. It takes money. It takes resources. You want to have something that’s going to be very worthwhile it. That happens, but sometimes you have a lot of fingers in the pot. There’s things that you didn’t think about. It’s a broad topic. No one’s perfect. Again, it goes back to those having an open mind, listening and also being respectful. I think for those, we’ve had some people in our organization, we’re a law firm and so sometimes there’s support staff that maybe do not feel included in things and they feel that they should.
Kim Hafley: We’ve done I think a pretty good job of giving them a few tools to say it’s going to either their attorney or to their supervisor saying, “You know, on this particular project I really think there’d be value I was included and this is why,” or, “Gee, in previous projects I’ve been included, I’m not, is there a particular reason?” Putting it in a way where you’re asking for some feedback and I think that that so much of it, it’s not done in an angry tone. It’s not done in, “Hey, why wasn’t I done that? Why wasn’t I involved?” It’s just very honest, and I think that really helps.
Audrea Fink: I think that such a key point and I want to ruminate on it a little, this idea of if you show up with the goal being we want to be inclusive and then two, you are honest and open in saying like, “I don’t know what the answer is here. Let’s work on this together.” You’re going to get so much further than saying, “This is the thing we’re going to do regardless of whether or not it actually serves the community we’re trying to include.” I love that idea of really being open and honest and asking. What are maybe some things that we can do in our day to day working in our companies to help bolster diversity and inclusion programs that are already in place?
Kim Hafley: I think the number one thing that we can do and that we get too busy to do is to ask the members in our organizations that are in one of the diverse categories, “How are things going? How are we doing?” You know? I think sometimes we all get a lot of SurveyMonkeys and they have a lot of value sometimes, but I also think that it really helps to talk to people one on one in a safe environment. I also think it’s important. I think the other thing too that’s really important and we participated in a local training program that did just a great job and that was creating a safe space for employees so that they know there are a number of safe spaces or safe people that they can go talk to. I think that that’s also really important. Sometimes it is very candidly just a venting session and sometimes that’s okay, but sometimes there’s very legitimate complaints and then you can strategize, okay, I realize that maybe because of this you don’t want to come forward but let’s talk about some ways that we can communicate what the problem is so that we can address it. Because the other thing that’s out there is we can’t address problems that we don’t know about.
Julie Holton: One thing that I want to talk about along those lines, as you talk about creating these safe spaces with the Me Too movement, and not focusing specifically on rape per se, but focusing on the aspect of the movement where we saw a lot of women come forward and talking about this culture that we live in where it has become acceptable to talk to women in a certain way and to behave in a way that’s unacceptable. We heard a lot of stories and continue to hear stories of women who have been subjected to inappropriate touching, inappropriate language, jokes, things. If you really boil it down to things that just make women uncomfortable on the low end, and of course on the other end of the spectrum, things that are criminal and wrong. Focusing on that lower end. I was in an environment when this movement was gaining some momentum where I was in some meetings, community meetings, community based meetings where I found both men and women joking about this and saying, “Oh, I can’t. I’ll be careful what I say to you now because I don’t want it to be taken the wrong way.”
Julie Holton: I found myself thinking, “Wow, is it also part of our culture to then make light of or make fun of something that’s really serious? Is that our way as humans of feeling better about it?” I also found that some of these men and women were making light of it and in a way that just made people around them very uncomfortable. I know I’m getting into a whole other topic here, but I think when it comes to gender and being inclusive of genders, what are some things that we can do when we’re in an environment like that to … I mean, of course I kind of chose my battle and my battle was to not say anything and I walked away and joined a different conversation. I think some of these, when we talk about changing the culture and the environment we’re in, how do we start to address some of these conversations head on?
Kim Hafley: Yeah, that’s a really good question. I’ve wondered that and in one instance I got up a little bit of nerve because it was people I’ve known for a really long time so I know they still love me afterwards. I asked, so in the case, I understand why you’re making light, but there’s so many valid cases here and it is, it is a shame when there is somebody who either is mentally ill or who takes advantage of the system and cries wolf. We all know that, but what are we supposed to do? I think sometimes challenging them and so that gets you to an honest conversation but I do think it has to be with people that you know really well. These are people that I’ve known for decades and like I said, but it was interesting because we did have an interesting conversation after that. That we probably wouldn’t have had but again, I think Julie’s right, sometimes you have to pick your battles.
Audrea Fink: Well, and I think it also depends on how you go into the conversation, right? If we go back to this idea of like Facebook, someone says something on Facebook and now you can’t be friends anymore. That’s no longer dialogue, right? There are people, I think, you know Julie, to your point, people may mock things when they’re a little uncomfortable with them, but I think you could have that conversation if you’d walk in assuming best intent, right? You’re walking in saying, “I disagree with this and I’d love to talk to you about it in a really respectful way. I’d like to hear why you’re mocking this,” or “I’d like to hear why you think what you think.” Maybe don’t start with, I’d like to hear why you’re mocking this, but you know, “I’d love to talk to you about it.”
Audrea Fink: I think that’s one of the things we’re missing today in our social communities and a lot of times in our everyday communities is that ability to say, “You know what, I don’t agree with you or I don’t like what you said and I’d like to respectfully and mutually discuss this so that we understand where we’re coming from. I’d like to assume that you’re a good person and you just said something I don’t like and we can figure out what that means.” Because I think we are all going to disagree on things from time to time. We’re all going to think certain things are funny, certain things aren’t. Everyone has different senses of humor. The Me Too movement has affected different people in very different ways. Some people it is extreme, some people it’s not. We miss that, can we talk about this piece.
Kim Hafley: That’s so important and I think the other thing too is, I think one of the most important things, there’s so many things to do with diversity, but I think one of the most beneficial things any organization can do if they’re going to invest in training is don’t focus on specific diversity training but focus on active listening training.
Julie Holton: Yes.
Kim Hafley: There’s so much benefit to be gained from that and I think once people start actually listening, their emotional intelligence goes up and there’s just so many benefits across the organization.
Audrea Fink: Right, I think a lot of people when they hear diversity and inclusion feel shame, right? “Oh, well, maybe I wasn’t as inclusive or my organization needs this because we don’t do it.” Versus just recognizing that it’s a need. There’s no need to be defensive about it. There’s no need to feel shameful about it. It’s just a matter of this is where you’re at.
Julie Holton: Let’s talk about generational differences because I find this really fascinating. Nearly two-thirds of millennials take interest in an organization’s corporate social responsibility. In other words, they believe that companies have a moral obligation to give back and to create an inclusive environment. In the marketing space, we’re seeing this come out in big ways where CEOs of major companies are actually personally speaking up on issues that we would otherwise consider to be social issues. We get an overwhelming response back from the public that they really liked this, that they think that there needs to be that sense of that corporate responsibility. I don’t think it’s just millennials, the stats talk about millennials, but I think that this is generally across the board.
Julie Holton: When we’re talking about this inclusive environment, Kim, what trends are you seeing as companies have this shift into this corporate social responsibility?
Kim Hafley: I think the great opportunity corporate social responsibility programs offer is an opportunity for people to work together who might not normally work together. My current employers, we tested several corporate social responsibility platforms this year, we’re launching our first formal program in 2018. I think the one thing that we saw was people’s willingness to talk and listen in an environment that wasn’t so work generated and they found common elements. They found things that they both believed in it that they could work towards, that they believed in. I think one of the great advantages of these programs is you get people talking and there’s that old adage, you shouldn’t judge anybody till you walk a mile in their shoes. They’re getting to walk in shoes and they’re helping people along the way and they’re seeing what those people have to walk in and go, “Boy, I’m fortunate.” I think there’s two things. One, there’s an appreciation for their own situation. Two, there is a willingness to realize that, gee, working together we can make a difference. I think that they are two great outcomes of these programs.
Audrea Fink: Do you think there’s ever any problematic backlash or maybe there’s a partnership for social responsibility that’s not done well, that has a backlash?
Kim Hafley: I think, yeah, when people over commit and then you can’t deliver the goods to an organization, I think that happens. That’s one of those things where it’s horrible. It’s well-meaning, somebody who was a coordinator dropped the ball on something or had their own personal situation or there was a miscommunication. That’s the other thing, a lot of times when working on these programs and we had one that we were able to catch, but there’s just a misunderstanding. There’s miscommunications. You’re dealing with people who aren’t used to dealing with corporate departments who want to help them. There’s just some miscommunication. I think the thing when they’re doing any of these programs is one, making sure that everybody understands the details, that you understand the goals, keeping it really simple. I think a lot of times in the beginning everybody has these grand visions and they are, they’re great and you will get there eventually. It’s like first grade, you know, you start reading first grade books, you don’t start reading the whole Harry Potter series.
Audrea Fink: You had me at Harry Potter.
Kim Hafley: Doesn’t everybody?
Audrea Fink: If a company was going to start an inclusion and diversity program, what would the three keys to starting it be so that if our listeners wanted to start up right now or build on a program that’s already in place, where do they begin? What are the top three things to know?
Kim Hafley: First you have to have some commitment from the top so that you can go forward. There has to be some buy-in because you’re going to need money and you’re going to need human capital. You need to get that buy-in and by and large, that’s really pretty easy to do. The second thing is that you have to realize, and I can’t limit it to three, okay? I’m going to apologize right now.
Audrea Fink: Let’s go for it.
Kim Hafley: The other thing is you have to realize that there isn’t a silver bullet, diversity and inclusion or inclusion and diversity. I prefer to inclusion and diversity, because you have to include people first. That is that, you have to realize that there is no perfect journey and based on where your organization is and based on all the individuals that are in your organization, it’s going to be unique to you. Even though I am guilty of this, oh, I want to do this new program, I’m going to Google it, I’m going to find a really good template and then I’m going to go from there. Right? That absolute worst thing to do. You can’t do that with diversity and inclusion or inclusion and diversity. You have to go, okay, let’s think about this. What is a low hanging fruit? Because the other thing, because this can be a really tough project, is you need to pick a project or something that you can start small and have an immediate success.
Kim Hafley: Once you have that success, then the top management goes, “Well, gee, that wasn’t so bad. I think we can do that.” Then you need to celebrate that success even if it’s small, saying, “Hey, we’re just starting and we have this inclusion and diversity program. We decided that we were going to do this active listening training.” Guess what? We did it. Guess what? Because of this we learned about this situation and we were able to deal with it. This was the result which had either this person being successful or making a client successful or making a community organization successful. Then people are like, “Wow, that wasn’t so bad. What else can we do?” I really think that that’s the key is, and I think the other thing too that’s important is really having an open mind. Diversity and inclusion is such a broad topic.
Kim Hafley: You can start small and I think when people get going, the first thing they do is they start looking at all these websites and go, “Oh my gosh, we are so far behind. How are we ever going to catch up? Oh my gosh and I feel overwhelmed.” Then two things happen. They either go, “Okay, we’re not doing anything,” which is horrible or just as bad in some cases they go and try and do 20 things all at once and they aren’t successful at any of them. They’re like, “Well this doesn’t work.” You really have to start small. You have to realize that you’re unique, it’s going to be unique to you and be looking for those opportunities that will be meaningful to your organization.
Julie Holton: Kim, I know you’re working in a law firm, we have listeners from a variety of other industries and no matter what industry you’re in, we’re seeing inclusion and diversity really, really in a strong way creeping in into this competitive environment. When it comes to recruiting, which you are also a major part of at your firm. Kim, how does diversity and inclusion play a role in your recruitment of new attorneys?
Kim Hafley: It’s tough. We are a midsize law firm and so a lot of times diverse candidates have many options and many times those options are higher paying, maybe a more lucrative geographic locations. Sometimes we lose out. It’s unfortunate, but we do. What we really do try to do is when we have diverse candidates is really talk to them about our culture. We have a great retention rate of attorneys, paralegals and support staff. What are they looking for in a culture? We work really hard to talk to them about what’s important to them, what’s important to them, what does success look like for them. It depends. Sometimes for some of these individuals, they may be in a spot where because of student loans and everything else, they’re coming right out of seven years of college. “I’m really interested in you, but hey, I really need to get these loans paid off and so I have to take this other option.”
Kim Hafley: To which we always tell them, please stay in touch. You know, if things don’t work out, if you want to relocate back to the Midwest, if you decide that, you know, we want to stay in touch. We do that and we do a good job of that. I think the other thing that’s so important is we look at alternative ways to recruit people. We’ve done a couple of different things this year and that’s been a little more successful.
Audrea Fink: Can you talk a little bit about what those alternative ways of recruitment are?
Kim Hafley: Sure. We did a couple of different things this year. One is for all those law schools that we recruit at and for the top 50 law schools. We had my intern go in and find the context for all the affinity bar associations and we reached out to all of those individuals and let them know we would welcome them to participate in our summer associate OCI program. I believe, it’s small. We sent out, I believe, well over 300 emails and we had 11 inquiries. However, one of those inquiries will be at 2019 summer associates. He’s from the University of Georgia and that’s not a place we’d be, but you know, University of Georgia was a great law school for him. It a top 25 law school. He’s from Michigan. Also, the challenges of being at a school out of state is, “Hey, where do I go for that internship because I don’t want to live in Georgia forever. I want to come back.” The other thing we do is we really try to find people who are top candidates, who maybe have Michigan connections, and who want to come back to Michigan.
Kim Hafley: One other thing that we did too this year, and I say that because you guys are obviously using technology and that we did some really creative videos that we made available on our website and that we send to all the schools that we did recruiting that really talked about our culture. We had a couple that certainly would fall under the inclusion and diversity category, but we really talked, it was a heartfelt, very authentic. This is the Foster Swift, this is our culture. It was just about us and we received really favorable comments about that from the candidates. We’re really impressed with the number of views that those websites had or those videos had.
Audrea Fink: When we look at recruitment for diversity outside of the law firm, right? I know right now construction is really booming. They have a serious workforce shortage and they’re looking for diversity. Are there hiring tactics that they can use that would increase their inclusion and diversity or maybe the maritime field or the tech field? What are some recruiting best practices for increasing inclusion and diversity?
Kim Hafley: That’s a great question. I’m not sure I’m qualified to speak at that outside of the legal arena, but I would say my favorite quote from one of my MBA professors was, “rethink to outthink”. I would be, depending on the industry would be looking at, okay, where are potential candidates? How might I talk to them? What are they listening to? What are they watching on Facebook? What are some of the things out there? Then other thing that I think especially in the workplace is there’s nothing better than happy employees to go out there. “Employees, we really need to grow. We’re looking for these types of people. Do you have any ideas for us?” I know it sounds, I’m a nerd. Okay. Let’s just acknowledge that. Every year we do one or two SurveyMonkeys, it goes out to everybody in my law firm. There’s a couple of questions where you’re like, “So do you have any ideas on what we can do about this or about that?” There are always just one or two nuggets. You’re like, oh my gosh, the blinding flash of the obvious. How could we have not done that?
Kim Hafley: I think, again, it goes back to the theme for this whole podcast is communication, asking questions and listening to the responses is just so important to the foundation of any of these programs. It makes a difference. People want to know that you’re listening to them. They want to know that you care and they want that communication. They enjoy that. It makes them feel valuable. I also think sometimes I’ve seen stories, Harvard Business Review, the Forbes, the Fortune, you know, putting various incentive programs together for employees. “Hey, you refer somebody that really works out and they’re still here in six months, you get the bonus.” People like that. The other thing too is, is if you have a culture where people care, they’re not going to tell anybody that isn’t going to meet your goals and needs because they don’t want it to reflect poorly on them. They’re worried about protecting their own self.
Audrea Fink: Last question before we wrap up, can you address the issue of retention as far as inclusion and diversity is concerned? I know that retention is a real sticky subject when it comes to inclusion and diversity, in part because retention isn’t what it used to be. Then in part, because it doesn’t matter if you hire them, if you can’t keep them.
Kim Hafley: Yes. I think again, there’s no silver bullet, but it’s about having really a good culture, having good practices in place. I think one of the things too is making sure you go and talk to those individuals that are in those categories that you really want to make sure you retain. Are you happy? What’s going well? What’s not going well? What are your goals? I think the other thing too is on both sides we need to have really good training for asking the tough questions. It’s hard to go into somebody’s office like, “Are you happy here?” Because the first thing is, “Why? Is there a problem? Am I not meeting expectations?” “No, we value you, you’re doing a good job. We’ve made investment in you. We want to make sure you’re happy here.” I think the other thing too is as much as we want to retain people, we have to realize that the workforce culture has really changed. It used to be that, “Oh my gosh, you’re going to go get that job.
Kim Hafley: Maybe if you had two jobs in your career,” you know, but most people stuck with an employer for a long time. The workforce isn’t that way anymore. There’s many people that come out of college and graduate school thinking, “Well, there’s no way I want to work for the same employer my entire career.” Even if that employers themselves, they may have an entrepreneurial bet, they have an idea right there, but that is not what they want to do for the duration of their career. I think one of the things to really think about is keeping that in mind. I think the other thing to keep in mind is that things change. I think it’s so exciting to see so many wonderful alumni programs the organizations have to keep in touch with employees. Maybe the timing is not right right now, but maybe there will be a time in the future when this person will come back. We certainly have had more than our fair share of those people returning to our organization. I think, again, it goes back to building that culture where there’s good communication and people feel respected.
Julie Holton: Kim Hafley, Director of Marketing and Recruiting at Foster Swift, Collins & Smith. Thank you so much for joining us today. This was so insightful. I’m going to just to quickly recap because one of the things you said at the very beginning has stuck with me through this entire podcast and it’s when you read your mission statement to us and remembering that diversity and inclusion isn’t just race, it isn’t just gender, it isn’t just religion, it is all of these things and sexual orientation and disabilities and so many other things that make each of us so uniquely different. Keeping that in mind every single day as we go to our place of employment, as we meet in community groups, as we just interact with family and friends and online and our social posts where we’re friending and unfriending people.
Julie Holton: Kim, the other thing I’m just going to touch on real quickly as you talked about your key takeaways. Listeners, if you are looking to make a difference, whether it’s in your current diversity and inclusion program that you currently have or if you’re looking to get something started, if you’re looking to start a movement where you work, Kim’s tips, get commitment from your leadership. It all starts from the top. Remember that there is no silver bullet. Every program needs to be unique and it needs to be geared towards you and your environment. Start small, start with things that you know can be successful. Don’t go in and do everything all at once and then keep an open mind. These are Kim’s top key takeaways. Kim, thank you so much for sharing this insight with us today.
Kim Hafley: You’re welcome. It’s very fun.
Julie Holton: Before we go, we are collecting advice from successful women in our communities and sharing it in our special Think Tank forum. Kim, number one, rapid fire questions. Is there a lesson that you’ve recently learned that you wish you would’ve learned a little earlier in your career?
Kim Hafley: Yes. As hard as you work, you have to play. Sometimes I work too much and you know what? There will always be work, but you really, really need to have that network of family and friends around you, and they are important. Do not ever underestimate how important they are to you.
Audrea Fink: Awesome. What advice would you offer your younger self, maybe 10 years ago?
Kim Hafley: Don’t worry about what somebody else thinks. Ask them. We do that training. I know it sounds like a joke, but we did that training at work on how to ask some questions. It was just a small group, it was so cool because sometimes, you know, I am an only child, so I tend to be very, worry, I worry a lot. If somebody is acting awry, I’d be like, “Oh my gosh, what did I do wrong?” I worry and I worry. Now I’ve learned to go, “Hey, you seem a little stressed. Is there something? Or by chance, was it something I did?” “They’re like, oh no, no, it’s this or that.” Then I’m like, “Oh, it’s not me.” I think since I’ve learned how to do that about two years ago, I’ve asked that probably a couple hundred times and there’s only two times it’s been me. One, very eyeopening, I’m not nearly as important as I apparently think I am. Two, it just relieves the stress. Three, usually the person you ask feels relief because they got it off their mind.
Julie Holton: I love that, Kim. Okay, last question. What do you think the most important skill to hone for a woman is in today’s professional setting?
Kim Hafley: I think it’s listening skills and then you need to use those skills to use your voice.
Audrea Fink: Kim, can you share with us and our audience the best way to connect with you if they have any additional questions or business interests?
Kim Hafley: Absolutely. Best way to get a hold of me is at email@example.com.
Julie Holton: Kim, thank you so much for joining us today. That is all for this episode of Think Tank of Three. Connect with us and our listeners online, thinktankofthree.com where we blog weekly. Subscribe and you’ll get an email alerting you to when our new podcast or blog is up. You can also find us on social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn. Pick your platform of choice and find us there. Also, be sure to join our private group on Facebook where we can all chat, give advice freely, share content that you find interesting. We love to hear from you. Just look for the group and the community section on our Facebook page. If you liked what you heard in this podcast, please share it. You can find the podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and SoundCloud. As always, if you have questions or topics to discuss, send us a message at ThinkTankofThree@gmail.com.