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From Therapist to Tech Startup (Ft. Suzanne Masino of Matchwell) – Ep. 10 Rocket IT Podcast

         
EP10

From Therapist to Tech Startup (Ft. Suzanne Masino of Matchwell) – Ep. 10 Rocket IT Podcast

         

In this episode of the Rocket IT Business Podcast, we have the honor of interviewing Suzanne Masino, occupational therapist turned tech entrepreneur. During her 25-year tenure in the healthcare field, Suzanne has served as a therapist, recruiter, leader, and business owner. With her recent launch of healthcare tech startup, Matchwell, Suzanne is breaking new ground not just in her own life, but possibly in an entire industry.

In This Episode, You’ll Hear More About…

  • How to raise capital for a new project
  • How to attract, engage and retain talent
  • The importance of diversity in the workforce
  • Making the move from employee to business owner
  • The steps to launch a wide-scale cloud-based platform
  • Steps to succeed as an entrepreneur with no safety net
  • Successfully balancing parental and business management duties
  • How to make the transition into a technical position with a non-technical background

Suzanne Masino Contact Information

smasino@wematchwell.com

wematchwell.com

Resources Mentioned

Moment of Lift

Traction

Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Good to Great

Blitzscaling

Crucial Conversations

How I Built This

Masters of Scale

Like What You Heard? Give Us Some Feedback!

podcasts@rocketit.com

Show Transcript

Matt (00:00:00):
Hello and welcome to the 10th installment of the Rocket IT podcast. I’m your host Matt Hyatt. And today we have the honor of interviewing Suzanne Masino, occupational therapist, turned tech entrepreneur

Intro (00:00:12):
[Music Plays].

Matt (00:00:27):
During her 25 year tenure in the healthcare field, Suzanne has served as a therapist, a recruiter, a leader and business owner with a recent launch of healthcare tech startup. Matchwell. Suzanne is breaking new ground, not just in her own life, but possibly in an entire industry. Now, without further ado, I’d like to welcome Suzanne to the show. Suzanne, it’s a pleasure to have you here. Thanks for having me. Thank you. And you know what? You and I would start right off the bat here. We know each other, right? We’re friends, we’ve known each other for a number of years now. And so it’s been a pleasure spending time with you and your husband, Nick. Our families have spent time together and so it’s been a lot of fun. And one of the things I think is really cool is that early on and I fact that it gives, the very first time that you and I met was at a an event that was here in town. Your husband, Nick said to, Hey, you should talk to Suzanne. She’s really interested in entrepreneurship and you and I sat down right there at the party and we hung out, bro. Do you remember that? We were talking about your aspirations or owning a business someday and spending more time in sort of the entrepreneurial field. And at the time you were working for somebody else, right? It was something completely different. And now look at you.

Matt (00:01:44):
That is so awesome. So I went through and preparation for our podcast conversation. I was looking through your LinkedIn background and kind of trying to catch up with what you’ve done and what you’ve accomplished over the years. And you’ve had a long career in the healthcare space. And most of that’s really been in the recruiting space, specifically healthcare. Right? But I would like to kind of go back to the beginning because you were formal training occupational therapist, right? Yeah. So tell me about that. You thought you were interested in healthcare and actually practicing medicine, right. What do we call that? Right. And it seemed like early on within the first year or two, you found yourself in a leadership role.

Suzanne (00:02:28):
That’s right. Yeah. well, yeah, tobacco it up. Yeah. I wanted to be an occupational therapist. I was one of those rare kids that knew what I wanted to do by the age of 12 personal experience. A good friend of mine it’s kind of a fairy tale story, but was in a motorcycle accident and head injury ended up in a coma and I would go to visit her and worked with a therapist on getting her healed. She ended up full recovery. She’s a mom of three children now. So yeah, it worked out really well, but I was 12 and three kids. Right. That would be crazy. Who would ever do that? But yeah, I just enjoyed it as a kid watching the scene, the house. I was just excited about the whole hospital. It didn’t scare me. I was just intrigued by all of it, especially the therapists working to kind of get her back on her feet and recovered and so they would teach me ways to work with her and she responded well to me because we were friends and I remember clearly overhearing a therapist tell my mom while I was working with her.

Suzanne (00:03:28):
Like some days she’d make a really great occupational therapist, impressionable age 12 I’m like, I’m not sure what that is, but I’m all over it. So yes, I was attracted to healthcare from a very early age. So one of the things that I love about you is you’re very much a people person. It’s very obvious from the first time that you meet you that you are really sort of driven by helping others. So sounds like the perfect career. Yeah, absolutely. How did you make the transition though from, okay, I’m the one practicing, right? The therapy to now I’m leading others. That’s right. Yeah. It just happened quickly I think at a young age. Yes, early twenties. I was working, started off at a big hospital in Columbus, and then as we moved here to Georgia, worked for a nursing home out in Monroe and found that there was some need for leadership.

Suzanne (00:04:20):
So, and it was a disconnect between, you know, the leader, the higher level leadership down to the communication at the facility level. And so, yeah. I guess early on because I identified a problem, they were like, Hey, yeah, why don’t you take that lead role in the rest was history. So yeah, it was just by chance. It wasn’t intentional to get into management side of it, but ended up loving it and felt like I could make a better impact on the whole rehab department as opposed to just occupational therapy. So ended up quickly getting into a leadership roles where I managed, I don’t know, 15, 20 nursing homes throughout the state of Georgia and the departments correct. At the ripe old age of 20 something. Yeah, it was. Right. Yeah. So I’m going to guess you correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m willing to guess that a lot of the people reported to you at that time were older than Tony, correct?

Suzanne (00:05:07):
Yes. Yeah. That was tricky. Yeah. Talk about the people side of me. It was intimidating. And so yeah, early on, not by reading much or having much knowledge of leadership, but realized I was getting further faster by connecting and listening to their ideas and trying to implement, you know, their thoughts into strategies that they thought were important. Wow. Yeah. I learned a lot from them as well. And so I, I guess just early on took a sort of a humble leadership type approach because it worked. That’s a very mature approach. I’ll tell you what I, you know, I wish, I wish that I had, you know, had come naturally to me at that age.

Suzanne (00:05:51):
You have to figure it out along the way. And as anyone on my team will tell you another 20 years, I’m going to have figured out good job. I know I don’t have it figured out for sure. But yeah, it was amazing. Yeah. So how did, how did the transition from managing to recruiting happen as it just how, you know what, I’m a leader role and I need people, so I need to go recruit some folks. Is that how it happened or what’s different? No, that’s a really interesting story as well. So I was enjoying sort of the leadership side of things and had been promoted a couple of times and truthfully got pregnant with our first child and had all intentions of going back to work. I was going to take a nice long maternity leave and get right back at it because I enjoyed my job and I was in a good position and, but until they handed her to me, every changed.

Suzanne (00:06:42):
Yes. So this is a funny story. So I took my three months maternity leave and was supposed to figure out a plan daycare or a nanny or something and didn’t, so in a bit of denial. And as I went back, I just brought her with me, literally popped her in the car seat. I take her to nursing homes and you know, I’m like, who does it like a new baby? And Nick was like, how, what’s your plan? I’m like, I didn’t have one other than I’m not leaving her ever, so she’s just going to be my sidekick as long as I could drag her along. All these remote areas of Georgia to these nursing homes. And then my boss eventually, you know, I bring her to meetings. I literally, it was kind of a crazy plan, but I had zero plan other than, I don’t know.

Suzanne (00:07:27):
I’d love to hear how that conversation went. So Suzanne, you brought her to eight meetings. What’s the plan? But isn’t she adorable? Wow. Yeah. So they can, I had a heart to heart. I think he sat me down and was like, yeah, this is not a sustainable plan you got going here. So what, what are we going to do? And we had decided that, you know, I only felt like I had two options to leave her in daycare at the time. I was like, I was like ripping my heart out. There’s no way I could do that. I’m sorry, I will sell my car and ride my bike to the grocery store if we have to, but I am not leaving her. And so he totally supported that and that was the plan. I was just, I thought I had two options, continue work and put her in daycare, which that instinctively felt right to me or leave the career.

Suzanne (00:08:08):
And so that was the decision I made until miraculously I get this call about a week before I was going to tell my boss and they said, Oh my gosh, we’re exploding. We need recruiters. And you’ve pretty much recruited for yourself, for all your positions. That was your boss? This is, yeah, this was, yeah, I think I heard about it through, through my boss that they were adding to the recruiting team and she said, just, just so you know, those positions are remote. And I’m like, you could’ve told me I’m like stuffing envelopes the rest of my life, but it’s remote. I’m like, I don’t care. I mean, I will shovel out a horse barn if I need to to be home with her. And so I call corporate and said, Hey, I hear there’s a recruiting position and it moved so quickly. Within 48 hours, they offered me a position and I’m like, I’m a recruiter now and I can talk, my goodness.

Suzanne (00:08:53):
So it was a complete miracle because I didn’t understand really, I didn’t even think at the time, you know, this is just when home computers were getting, you know, it was 20 years ago. So, you know, they still car phones, but they were in the big diaper bag and you know, people just didn’t really work remote very often and legit roles sold Avon and you know, stuff like that, but not legitimate careers from home. So there’s this third option just landed in my lap and it was a small miracle and I thought, honestly took it thinking I’ll do it until whatever I need to do so I don’t have to leave her until she gets older and then I’ll get back into the clinical track. But I ended up loving recruiting. Wow. And not that they’re very good at it from what I understand. I think so.

Suzanne (00:09:34):
I think, well, truthfully I, I, not to toot my own horn, but I do think I really did knock it out of the park, you know, more so than the other recruiters and I think it was, I understood what those open positions translated to what that would feel like if you, you know, there was a patient that has a need and there’s nobody to treat that patient, so the patient either suffers or is rushed through their treatment. And so I felt it like I could see the scenarios more so than people that are recruiters that aren’t clinicians. So I had a, I guess an instinct of motivating factor that they didn’t because I understood what those open positions on paper translated to in real life. That sounds like it worked out great. It was great for awhile. I did, I did. What, what sparked that entrepreneurial bug?

Suzanne (00:10:19):
I honestly felt like I could do more because I feel like when we have that conversation, you were a principal, sort of the tail end of it. That’s it. That’s exactly it. That was the exact time I’m beginning to think about, I was something different. Yeah. I just felt like there was more I had to offer, I’d kind of climbed the ladder in the recruiting side as well. Ended up, I was over the entire South for a large company, a division of large company called kindred healthcare. They’re huge and was in a management role in, and that was still remote. It was still remote, traveled to their corporate headquarters and things like that, but based on a home. Sure. but yeah I believe that I just felt like there was more I could offer. I had more in my brain and just more that I felt like I could accomplish.

Suzanne (00:11:05):
So probably when I met you, I was kind of mapping out a business plan, you know didn’t really know that this, what it was called, but thought, how do I hang up my own shingle and try to do this on my own? Right. And so, yeah, I had a really supportive boss. This is just a funny little side note story I went to tell him, I had think I’d been there eight years and it was nervous, you know, I had been thinking about it, talking to people I trusted in the community for probably a year and had it really well laid out and had made the decision I was going to venture this off on my own. So I went and talked to my boss and I’ll, I’ll never forget he left. I’m glad to like talking to mile a minute cause I was super nervous just to give the news that I’m leaving and I’m going to try this on my own.

Suzanne (00:11:47):
And he sat and listened so patiently and I stopped talking and he said no, I got two questions for you. It was like October. He goes, number one, will you stay until the end of the year? Number two, can we be your first client? Oh really? And I thought, yes and yes. Check, check. Yeah. So that was a nice session. Went really well. Totally did. So what a nice segue into entrepreneurship. It was a pretty safe bet. A gigantic clients. And he sort of took my ID and expanded. He’s, he’s kind of the one, I didn’t really think about it at the time of consulting. I thought it would be more retained search type model, but he took the consulting side, like we needed another vantage point, somebody sort of raised out of the day to day and help advise us on some strategic initiatives. So yeah, that was a great, nice segue into the entrepreneurship.

Matt (00:12:37):
So that company was called, it was called

Suzanne (00:12:39):
Hindrance staffing innovations. Oh, the company I had, yes. Staffing innovations. Yep. Fantastic. And so that led to, Hey, I’ve got one customer, a sort of a base. Yes. Yeah. How does that work? Yes. So I, I think a lot of it has to do with luck. Truthfully. It was, I would love to say that I was just thinking all these things through. But after that first client, which was easy because I knew the players and knew the dynamics I did have to sort of switch into sales mode. So it was my first dip and entrepreneurship in a bit of a wide awakening. There’s nobody to go to but yourself to like every aspect of the business. I’m like, okay, I need new clients. I got to sell if I need this, I got to deliver. So yeah, I started to get I believe a friend of mine called and I got a referral to another company who was backed by a VC venture capitalist, private equity type conglomeration.

Suzanne (00:13:33):
And what was wonderful, and again, I, this would’ve been a really strategic Mo move, but that’s not how it happened. But I got tucked done or these private equity companies that had big portfolios of companies in similar aspects, a lot of them healthcare. And so for years I just got to kind of bounce around into companies under their portfolio as a consultant. I do a three month stint for a healthcare staffing company that they owned that they were having trouble recruiting and retaining therapists or clinicians finish that and they’d say, Hey, you know what? We have this other client over here. Can you help us? Same thing with that one. So yeah, I didn’t really have to sell truthfully. I had, I had a little tiny website, but nobody ever went to it. And it was just by word of mouth that I got my next client.

Matt (00:14:17):
Well, you know, I think you’re being very humble to say that, you know, it was lucky. You know, we’ve, we make our own luck many times. And as I said earlier, it’s clear that you care about people and when you care about people, opportunities coming your way because people want to do business with people they like and their trust. And so kudos to you, frankly, that, that’s pretty amazing. I can certainly relate, you know the terms of the, sort of that solo entrepreneur you know, for those that don’t know my background, I ran Rocket IT as a solo entrepreneur for years out of my house. Same thing, you know, little kids at and you want to be home when the kids are home and be around them and you don’t want to miss their first steps in a lot of those things.

Matt (00:14:57):
So being able to run a business out of my house and be close to the kids when they were small was a big benefit, you know, to, to run that solo entrepreneur. But I used to joke with people, people would call me, you know, you get a cold call or something like that and they’re trying to sell something and they think you’re a business. And so they say, well, how many employees you have? I would tell him, I have three. There’s me, myself and I. Right, exactly. And you ended up doing everything. It’s nice salesperson, you’re the, you know, the technician, you’re the person taking out the trash and everything in between and it’s, it can be tough, right. And stretches us to, to call our new things and find new skillsets. It’s really cool. So I know that beyond child number one, there was a number two and a number of three if all that happen. And during staffing innovations. Wow.

Suzanne (00:15:46):
Yeah. So, well actually that happened with Kendra, the first where I got to work from home. So all three of those self. It was after the third child that I then went into my own business. Yeah, it is really nice.

Matt (00:15:59):
Absolutely. To be able to be home. Kids are growing up, especially when they’re small and can’t talk back too much.

Suzanne (00:16:05):
Right, right. It was great. It was, I, I really, it was important for me to be there for them and we ended up having, you know, help of course with the three kids. But I had some quirky rules. Remember the nanny, I was trying to explain to her like, okay, so when the baby wakes up, even if I’m on a conference call, I can mute and I want to be the first face, the ABC.

Matt (00:16:28):
It’s interesting how when you wake up from a nap, it’s a level heavier, you know, go like, and then I’ll pass them on. Okay. How about that? I just think I did for many, many years. I was just trying to trick the kids and I’m like, no, no, no. I’m a complete stay at home mom. That’s pretty funny. I can imagine you, you’re on a conference call, you’re on mute and you come back, you’re like, okay, what was the question again? Exactly where you left off. That’s fantastic. Yeah. Well, did you find did you find that there were any particular challenges around trying to balance that? Running a business and be a mom and, you know, you, I know Nick is a big help around the house because he’s told me so. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And so I asked him about it too when he was in here interviewed for a podcast a while back is how do you balance that? It’s tough. And the other thing about both of you is you’re both, you are not sit around and watch TV kind of parents totally involved in your kids’ lives, going to sporting events, they’re all active kids. And how does, how do you balance on that?

Suzanne (00:17:31):
I’m still feel like I’m in the middle of it figuring it out too. But yeah, it is. It is 1000% a balancing act and you know, it’s through the years. Especially when I first started working from home, that just wasn’t really common place then. Now it’s definitely more, you know, the remote workforce is definitely more popular and, but the time, there were several struggles. One was, you know, having people understand that I literally, it was a legit career from home. I wasn’t just dabbling in something that, you know, it was a legit job for home. So just I guess, you know, other moms, you know, I didn’t quite fit in either category. I wasn’t in the group of moms that were home and I wasn’t the executive mom leaving at 6:00 AM either. So it was kind of uncharted territory and difficult finding people that were in similar situations.

Suzanne (00:18:18):
But I remember through the years, you know, it was so important to me to physically be present for the children. You know, I wanted to have this, this gift work really, really well. I wanted to be able to be there for them. But there were many hard times where I remember thinking, I kinda, I’m not succeeding. And either I felt like if I had to grade myself, I was like a C in the mom category and a C in the business that I wasn’t really able to, you know, exceed the way I wanted to in either. So that was difficult for me to sort of just be okay with being just okay. That’s just not my style. And the times where I was like killing it at work, I would have rated myself a D at home and the times that I was not so killing it at work, I was mother of the year, like a tricky balance to get just right.

Matt (00:19:11):
That is, I can totally see that you and I, you know, we share that we want to win, right. Win. And I imagine it’s really tough to be the all-star mom and the all star entrepreneur at the same time. Some of the same issues with, you know, you want to be there for all your kids stuff you want to go to every game you want to go to every play or whatever you want to be home when they get home from school and present, not distracted or stressed out or exhausted. It is a balancing act in the South. It sounds like you managed it well. Nice. Nice job. Let’s talk a little bit about, kind of touch on something you mentioned earlier about suddenly you’re running this business and you have to sell. Was it scary to go from a, Hey, you know what, I have a job. There’s security in that seems like, you know, there’s probably benefits and healthcare and all that stuff too. Hey, that’s me, this kind of work. It’s on my shoulders. I gotta look in the mirror and kind of figure that out. Was that, was that a scary process? Lately

Suzanne (00:20:15):
I don’t have entrepreneurs in my family. I think a lot of entrepreneurs have seen that in their family and so they’ve seen that be successful. That really, that wasn’t part of my immediate circle of influence. So yeah, it was terrifying. I mean, some things that made it a little bit easier truthfully was that I have still to this day have my license as an occupational therapist. I haven’t practiced in 20 some years, but in the back of my head I’m like, you know what your plan B plan F or G, but it’s that helped, you know, through the years. So like I, I don’t, I don’t have a horrible backup plan that would be amazing. And there’s a huge need and a huge shortage of therapists. So I knew I already had that. And then of course the supportive Nick has been having a nice secure job. I don’t, I think it’d be harder if he wasn’t supportive of that and knew it was a risk and knew I was walking away from really, you know, great, solid, consistent opportunity and I had his support, which is great.

Matt (00:21:13):
That’s awesome. Okay, so let’s, let’s kind of move on from there. One of the things that I think is really fascinating is how you built this business around recruiting and working with people that are looking for jobs or working with prospective employers that are looking for team members. And that’s all going really well. But then somebody, you’ve got a phone call one day and somebody wants to sell their business. Is that how it works? Is

Suzanne (00:21:41):
Sorta you got involved in mergers and acquisitions? I did. I didn’t know about that world. And yes, I did. And so again, the fascinating turn of events, it was really, was that, how did that all work? Again, it was a relationship I had built with a company and had helped them as a consultant many times over, which was awesome. A lot of my clients I had were repeat, they use me and then, you know, call me back in a year and it was almost like a checkup or another issue they wanted my thoughts on. So it was really a unique privilege because I could get up to speed quicker and, and yeah, it actually happened twice where there was some smaller businesses that I kind of knew and had some relationships with. And on the other side had some, you know, private equity firms that were looking to acquire companies in that space.

Suzanne (00:22:29):
And so, you know, made some introductions as another way around it. I get that wrong. And it’s actually the VC firm as, that says hey, do you know anybody it was, yes, they led the way that I knew what type of companies they were trying to add to their portfolio. And they knew of the relationships I had and sort of asked for. And I had helped them as a consultant before in many areas, so they knew and trusted me and just basically threw it out there. This is what we’re after and this is the type of companies we’re looking for. Wow. Do you know, the areas they were looking to diversify sort of across the U S and so there were some pockets that they wanted companies and it just so happened that I had some relationships with some companies in those areas. And the rest was history. That was a unique experience almost. Sounds like it.

Matt (00:23:14):
I mean, an amazing opportunity. So what was that like when you, when you’re trying to bridge the gap between, okay, I have a central buyer and I have a potential seller. I know both of them have relationships with both of them. How do you bring them together and make that work?

Suzanne (00:23:31):
Yeah, so my loyalty definitely felt on the side of the company, not a company that was wanting to acquire them because there was a protection, I think, you know, a concern that would they be able to keep their culture and keep the, that were important to them. And so, especially the first one especially, I felt a big connection and sort of a loyalty there to them. And I didn’t want to advise them in the wrong direction were or convinced them to do something they weren’t comfortable with. So it was a tricky balance. And really for myself it was more of a, you know, let’s feel this out together and let’s look at the pros and cons together even though it will tell us it really is that you do with my decision. But, but yeah, it was a really unique experience to be a part of.

Suzanne (00:24:18):
Sure. How did you go about learning the skills necessary to even know what to ask? You know, because this, this is, you know, people that build their whole career, right? M and a, I know entire organizations around venture capital. How does a person like me or you kind of sit down and say, okay, I need to learn how to broker a deal between two companies. Great question. I am really good at using my resources around me. And so there were some people in our world that Nick and I knew that had, that was their career and I had them literally on speed dial. I remember. And one scenario, no joke, calling them from the woman’s restroom. And I’m like, okay, there’s using words. I don’t understand the, you know, tell me what they mean. What questions should I be asking? You know, make me look smart essentially.

Suzanne (00:25:06):
How did it help me get through this? And so I had some really great supporters from behind the scenes. Sort of guiding me along the way is fantastic. Yeah. That deal ended up being the first of the two of them. Wow. So did that kind of make you feel like, Hey, you know what, I’m going to start another business around him and a few, I was like, I can’t believe people do this full time. This is a blast, this is a real job. This is a real thing. And so learned a lot it, you know, just like you, it’s, I think once you get the bog of learning and trying to solve problems, it’s, you just can’t, it’s, you know, a hunger you can’t satisfy. It’s, and so yes, just learning, I didn’t, I didn’t really understand that that world existed and that there were people that that is truly their careers.

Suzanne (00:25:52):
And it was very, very exciting. And the person that was helping me was really funny. He was so excited in such a great, you know, support to me. And he was like, you know, listen, this is so exciting. I just, I I, you know, Oh, I need you to know that there’s like a 1% chance this’ll go through. Oh really? Like one person. Like I was so excited and then when it did, so we took him out to dinner and we tiered to the 1% so I know when it happened again. I’m like, so like lightning striking twice. Yeah. That was amazing. So at this point you’ve been running and staffing innovations for a number of years, a good long time. You worked in a lot of different companies work with venture capital side, you broker to M and a deals, which was just amazing. A lot of people could have just said, you know what? Life’s good. I’m just going to keep on doing this

Matt (00:26:44):
For the rest of my life. Yeah, something changed because I know there’s another venture that you’re involved in now. It’s really your main thing. So what, what happened that made you shift your attention and kind of want to continue and try and get another new thing?

Suzanne (00:27:00):
That’s right. Yeah. So yeah, that’s a, it’s an interesting story. So as I mentioned, I use my resources and stay connected to the people that are important to me. Whether they kind of like it or not. So yeah. But yes, there was a, a a gentleman that I had met he was actually a vendor for Kendrick when I worked there. His company was a staffing company and we met and then through the years he lives in Durham and has, he would come through Atlanta, we’d grab coffee just to stay connected. It was mostly me I think driving that, you know, connection keeping that because I, it was very bright guy and smart, had really great ideas and solutions. And so this was several years before, you know anything to do on paper with Matchwell. But you know, he started to talk about things that were bothering him and the industry that, you know, almost hinting that he felt like he was on the wrong team.

Suzanne (00:27:54):
That the staffing industry and the staffing the way the model has been for 27 years, you know, they, their merchants were continuing to skyrocket. Meanwhile, it wasn’t really going back to the pockets of the clinicians and it was killing facilities. They helped some, you know, sort of the America safety net hospitals and you know, sort of a light bulb moment for him was sitting in sort of a audacious gala that his company had sponsored and hearing talk after talk of people. You know, we’ve saved 0.01 cent on a, you know, injector needle cap or something. You know, every way they could save money. And meanwhile his company, you know, it’s just the nature of, you know, right or wrong. They were filling needs in the staffing and helping them are, you know, no doubt about it, but started to think that, you know, maybe there’s a better way to directly connect facilities with their needs to help save costs. Right. Are those expensive?

Matt (00:28:52):
Recruiters I think in any field certainly is in the it field to the extent that we can figure out our own recruiting, we want to do that because anytime we bring in a third party to help with recruiting, there’s a massive expense on the front end. And there’s still a lot of risk tied to that too because often the recruiter doesn’t know the culture of your organization and where that comes from. So I can see how that could play out in the healthcare field also. So he was, he was in the recruitment field and seeing where, Hey, you know what, we’re making good money, but maybe there’s a better way to do things.

Suzanne (00:29:25):
That’s right. He had an idea basically. And so probably for a good year as he would come through town or you know, he’d bounce the idea off me and sort of, you know, literally back a napkin map, map out what he was thinking of, how to directly connect these two parties, you know, without having to go through a middleman, the staffing agency and, you know, I was there just to, as a friend essentially to listen and with my knowledge, poke holes in it, you know, the best I could and you know, help him think through his idea until I remember it was over a weekend and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It’s like it had become more clear to him where he was going and what idea and it was becoming more real that he was ready to sort of take this leap himself that he was missing a part of the puzzle, which was the recruiting side.

Suzanne (00:30:12):
And he had mentioned it to me like, you know, I need your help looking for somebody. He kind of understood the facility, the hospital, that side, but needed somebody on the clinician recruiting side. And I thought about it all weekend. And truthfully, I remember the moment I’m like, this is not just grabbed my attention, it’s grabbed my heart. Oh wow. And so I called him back and said, listen, I’m interested myself in this. Not sure whether he would be interested in me. And yeah. Then went and met with the chairman of the board that we had already he had already aligned himself with and that helped us sort of raise the funds and the rest is history. So yeah, he asked me to be the cofounder and off to the races we went. How long ago was that? That was the end of 2017.

Suzanne (00:30:58):
Yeah, we took, we raised the money much quicker than we thought, just based on an idea. And I think it’s because it’s healthcare and everybody knows there’s a huge critical, massive shortage of clinicians. So that’s always a nice topic for investors if you have an idea around healthcare and a disruptor in the staffing. And so, yeah, we thought it would take months and months to raise the money we were after. And we raised it really quickly, which allowed us to kind of get off to the races a little bit quicker. So we took 2008 18 partnered with a technology company out of San Francisco and started mapping out the technology. So it took that year to build it essentially and build some ideas and processes around it. Hired the team in January of 2019 and flip the switch to on with the technology in April.

Matt (00:31:45):
Wow, that’s amazing. Okay. So tell us what is Matchwell? What’s, what’s your value proposition? You know, not put you on the spot here for a little bit of a pitch, but I just want to know a little bit about what the company does and what’s unique about it.

Suzanne (00:31:58):
Yes, the unique part of our company is that our technology directly connects healthcare facilities with clinicians and what they’re looking for. And the reason we’re called Matchwell. So we use technology and algorithms in the background to help based on what their skill sets are and what they’re looking for directly expose them to opportunities that match what they’re looking for. Okay. Hence Matchwell. Exactly.

Matt (00:32:26):
My understanding is is that there’s a little bit of a tweak here because there are, there are recruiting platforms out there that are more general in a sense. And I know in my field there was one that was very popular for a long time and may still be dice.com as sort of a recruiting platform for it folks. Is the differentiator for Matchwell that it’s specific to healthcare or are there other aspects that are unique and different?

Suzanne (00:32:50):
Awesome. Yeah, that’s a, that’s a great question. We are specific to healthcare. So we’ve leveraged the years of healthcare staffing that he has and, and, and I have and really honed in on just healthcare. The technology would work for other sectors, but that is where we’re focusing is healthcare.

Matt (00:33:08):
So you mentioned when you got started working from home years ago that that was still a pretty unique idea. You know, that a lot of people doing that technology obviously has advanced a lot. And now, not only do we have lots of people that are able to work from home, even our team, if there’s a snow day or something like that, we work from home on a temporary basis and in many fields, people work from home all the time. But there’s also this whole gig economy. It’s people, you know, whether it’s Hooper or some of these other platforms where they’re working BRBO, Airbnb and so on. Is there an aspect of that too? Is it, or is it more of a traditional employment arrangement? Once we connect a clinician with a potential employer?

Suzanne (00:33:52):
Oh, that’s a great question. So we’re really focused. Our passion is flex work and that is for several reasons. Due to the clinician shortage, a lot of clinicians, you know, when they get into a facility, they’re mandated to work many, many hours and over time. And what we have found is that there’s clinicians that keep their license and nurse that are stay at home moms or retired, and there are options for them to work sort of here and there as they choose today. But it’s very transactional. They would go to hospital a and tell them where they want to work. They manage the schedules themselves and then would reapply to another facility to find those types of flex work. So our platform allows a clinician to broadly see all their flexible opportunities in one spot. They can house their credentials, almost like a credentialing portfolio or wallets where they can house all their things there and not have to continually.

Suzanne (00:34:47):
And there’s a lot for clinicians, a lot of credentials and competencies that they have to Oh yes. Many, many. So they can house all those. They basically snap a picture and upload it into the platform and it houses it there. So it’s very easy for them to see many opportunities and apply too many options at once. Wow. And really, yeah. Are our big focuses, flex work, where we can tap into those moms that may want to work a little bit of a flexible schedule or the retirees that want to scale back don’t want to work the rigorous 12 hour shifts and you know, all of that. But they want to keep their foot but they want the empowerment and the control of, of their schedule. That’s really cool. Yeah. And then also the millennials, like you said, the gig economy, you know, we wanted work life balance but they’re demanding it. So it’s really, you know, reentry to them whether they’re picking up a little bit of extra work on top of their full time job or they just want to work really, really hard for, you know, 12, 13 weeks and then take a month off and travel. And this platform allows them to sort of control when and how they want to work.

Matt (00:35:47):
That is really awesome. I’m curious, is that part of your contribution to this conversation or was that a, in terms of what, what Nashville does and this focus of doing, cause that’s kind of unique. I think it’s really cool. Or is that something that was kind of part of the plan from the beginning?

Suzanne (00:36:01):
It was part of the plan from the beginning. Yeah. Yep.

Matt (00:36:04):
Yeah. I love it. You’re right there. That is something that all of us want for sure. Flexibility, the control in our destiny and so forth. So that is awesome. When you go look online, you look at some of these organizations like the Ubers and the Airbnbs, do you find that that’s an inspiration for some of what you’re doing? Is there a model that’s out there that you kind of said, okay, here’s what we’ve done here. Where do you feel like it’s a whole brave new world and I kind of gotta figure it out myself?

Suzanne (00:36:35):
Yeah, it’s a little of both. I mean, I think some of those types of technologies are very, very high tech but not very high touch. And so far I think with healthcare, that’s where the differences lie. We consider ourselves both. And of course, you know, driving somebody from point a to point B, although there are competencies and you know, things that that go along with, it’s, it’s very complex in healthcare. You have to have the right skillset, you have to keep competencies. So if you’re working a flexible schedule you know, one week can you wait two months before you go back and work there again or will there have been some changes? So aligning the competencies with what the requirements are for patient care at this hospital and, and even more so just under the umbrella of a hospital, there’s differences per department. So the mother and baby unit may have different competencies, competency requirements, then, you know, the emergency room or things like that. So it’s very complex more so than some of the others. But we do certainly watch, you know other marketplace technologies like Uber and Airbnb for, you know, guidance and how do you make something so complex, simple. And that’s been a challenge. Yeah.

Matt (00:37:48):
Well, I don’t think that’s, that’s always a big part of the challenge, right? We make complicated things simple. It’s hard to do. It’s very hard to do. Well. Speaking of complicated things made simple, how in the world did you become such a technical person? I mean you, let’s listen to this. So you’ve got this idea along with your cofounder about, Hey, I want to build this platform. You know, you and I, we know each other. I don’t remember there being a huge background in software development and hiring remote teams to work on a building a platform. How in the world did you it got adapt?

Suzanne (00:38:20):
Yeah. Well that they, my team would probably argue that I’m not, there’s the founder does, I think you might say the same is that no, we are, neither one of us are technical people. But I think what we have both learned and done a very good job of is hiring the best and the brightest. We have a team of incredibly smart people. So it is certainly, you know, very much and our thumbprints are all over the concept and the idea and how we want it to work based on our knowledge from our previous careers. But the actual components of the technology are largely done by, you know, the professionals.

Matt (00:39:01):
Do I understand correctly that most of that development team, if not the entire development team is based outside of Georgia?

Suzanne (00:39:08):
Correct? Yes. We have a couple of, we are growing more internally to handle those things. We have we hired somebody right away in technology to, to help guide us and be that liaison and that voice. Someone that understood the language far more than Rob and I did as they were talking. So helping to manage that partnership and drive those changes that we want to see in a way that they the developers could understand. It’s almost going to translate. That’s right. Exactly. And she’s phenomenal. So she’s a great listener and can hear what we’re saying and what we would try to want to accomplish and she’s great immediately. She’s like, yeah, that sounds really simple, but that is months to do. And then things that seem like too complex to even ask for, she’s like, Oh no, no, no. That’s a quick, easy change. So she’s really helpful in that way and she listens intently on what we’re trying to accomplish and then she helps to organize it and make it happen.

Matt (00:39:59):
So as you might imagine at Rocket IT, we sometimes get pulled into various scenarios where people are looking to either build a line of business application or in some cases they’re looking to expand its capacity or capability. And so we get drawn into those conversations. We don’t do software development here inside our organization, but we often work with other software developers and there’s sort of a recurring theme that I think I’ve identified as very sophisticated. Stuff’s really expensive and usually it’s costs a lot more than the business owners and the people driving the projects. Imagine, have you found that?

Suzanne (00:40:35):
Yeah. Early on some of our board members who have had experience with technology warned us and of course we were just shiny eyed and I’m a little naive in a, in a way that they said, you know, it’s going to take you longer and it’s going to cost you more. And we’re like, no, no, no, no. We’ve got a good plan. And yeah, it took us longer and it costs us a little more

Matt (00:40:53):
And it’s probably not, it always has to be developed,

Suzanne (00:40:58):
Iterate on, right. Yeah. But that’s the exciting part. It really is. Yes. You know, I’m learning from our early users. We had some early adopters, both on the hospital side of the facility side and on the clinician side, and you know, to be in listening mode and, you know, try to make it more intuitive, try to make it easier, less clicks. How do they get from point a to point B? What made sense to us may not make sense to the actual users in real life. So it we’re, you know, enlisting mode and I don’t think that’ll ever end.

Matt (00:41:25):
Yeah. Well that’s good. That’s good. It could be right. Yeah. Good way to build your business. So you launched your product officially, I think you said in April of this year. How many clients would you study? I don’t know how that works on April 10th. I’m going to turn this on and then just, we’re gonna stand back and watch all the people. How did that happen?

Suzanne (00:41:43):
Yeah, that was we had the luxury of having a wait list. So before April we had a talk to many clinicians. And so we had a bit of a nice groundswell, all one, albeit of the on the clinician side of folks on the waitlist that were just interested in, you know, getting into the technology when it was ready. So that helped. And then on the facility side, we had two facilities agreed to be what we called alpha facilities test phase. So yeah, they they helped us really more than tests as along as a proof of concept. Proof of concept. Exactly. Yeah. And we also, we are early, early on we had a handful maybe, I don’t know, less than a hundred alpha clinicians to using not the real platform you know, staging type information. But, but yeah, it’s when we flipped the switch on, we had a couple of clients that were willing to be patient with us and, and let us try it. Yes, it was. It was great.

Matt (00:42:40):
So what’s it been like, I mean, I imagine it’s been amazing, right? Tell me how, how has that all unfolded?

Suzanne (00:42:48):
Yeah, so it has been incredible. I think for us, we knew all along just from the staffing industry side that this concept would ring true to the facilities. It’s cost savings, it’s direct access to clinicians that they need. It’s a whole new model of, of helping, you know, with the deficit of clinicians, aligning them. And so we knew that we, we pretty much knew that’s gonna that is gonna sell well, the wildcard for us, I think, or for me more importantly, was on the clinician side because there’s, they’re heavily sought after. There’s a huge demand there. You know, they’re emailed, they’re sent messages, they’re cold called constantly for recruiting because there’s, I think 500,000 clinicians short across America. So they are used to being sought after, always have been.

Matt (00:43:33):
Well, I hadn’t even thought about that. So yeah, you’ve got all these amazing facilities that have signed up and if there are no clinicians, they’re ready to do that.

Suzanne (00:43:40):
That’s right. Yeah. We talk a lot, a lot about chicken and eggs with us because you get too many clinicians in the platform with not much for them to do. That’s not good. Or you get facilities in there with not enough clinicians. That’s not good either. So you know, it’s, it’s definitely a balance trying to get that flywheel spinning of clinic, the right amount of clinicians and facilities. Yeah. So it’s been a challenge. So what do you do to keep them coming back? That’s a great question. We our mission is to exceed expectations every way we can. So we allow, which is super unique as well, access to the clinicians on the facility side. However they want. If they find a clinician and they want that clinician full time and that the clinician wants to work there full time, we don’t hold them back for that. They’re allowed, you know, to use the clinicians however they they choose. And just a lot of flexibility, a lot of flexibility. And so they love that. Yeah, I’ve seen, are you

Matt (00:44:32):
Finding that the clinicians are able to kind of keep their credentials up to date in the system?

Suzanne (00:44:37):
Yeah. Yeah. And so one of our earliest hires of ahead of the whole team was a nurse practitioner who had done a lot of credentialing and monitoring of credentials for a large hospital. And so she was very aware of, of that component of it. And so, you know, making sure that the clinicians not only have uploaded the appropriate credentials, but that they’re valid and they’re UpToDate. But our system will ping a clinician if something’s about to expire or something along those lines. Yeah. but, but yeah, the clinicians have given us great feedback on, on the value they’re seeing in that. And yeah. The more clients we get, the more exciting it is to partner with facilities to tell the clinicians, you know, pop back in there, there’s more opportunities for you.

Matt (00:45:22):
That’s really exciting. I’m super impressed with what you’ve accomplished. You and your team. It’s been incredible. So tell me now. You really are, I mean, 25 plus years at this point. You’re a seasoned that in the healthcare space and the staffing space, you’re an awesome mom, you’re super involved in your kids. And I know, you know, our kids are roughly the same age. He’s still got a one going through school at home and she’d got a couple of going to college now. That’s awesome. And now you’re doing all this work with a venture capitalist firms and you’re in this tech space. You’re a cofounder of this amazing new tech startup. It’s all really cool. Any surprises as you’ve kind of gone through that path and, and the people that you’ve worked with how has that worked out?

Suzanne (00:46:09):
Yeah, it’s interesting. I recently, from the encouragement of the chairman of my board, he’s a great guy and encouraged me to read Melinda Gates book, the moment of lift, which was a great book. And it’s interesting reading through it. I could relate to a lot of the concepts that she was referring to in Indiana through the years. It would never have labeled myself a feminist or anything even along those lines. But I will say several years ago, basically with staffing innovations and as I got connected to VC firms or as a consultant, I immediately had a seat at the c-level. I mean, they were like, here’s all our dirty laundry and here’s our, you know, like help us basically. But I got an immediate seat there and, and many times invited to board meetings as a guest, you know, and it really was sort of this epiphany like where all the females, this is, it was, it sort of, I remember it just sort of slowly like hitting me that I am, I don’t see that gender diversity. You know, like I thought and in a lot of the clients were healthcare, which was even more I guess of a perplexing thought that 90 some percent of clinicians are female. And is that right? Yes. Wow. Yeah, that’s a very heavily,

Matt (00:47:19):
I think Chris and I should go be clinicians and then we’ll start a whole thing about getting more men in the workforce.

Suzanne (00:47:25):
Thank you. Yeah, I’ll help you with that. Find a little bit, but

Matt (00:47:30):
The truth is, is I, you know, and I’m not an expert in this, but I’ll go to the doctor. I go to the dentist and to me it just seems like there’s no unusual imbalance that seems like

Suzanne (00:47:42):
It’s more so on nurses. I think you’ve seen that. Certainly,

Matt (00:47:47):
You know, it was, it was kind of unusual to find a male nurse. Now these days it’s less, it’s not as unusual. You still see that.

Suzanne (00:47:55):
Yeah. Yeah. There’s, they’re making a difference, but yeah. But, but that I think was a surprise to me.

Matt (00:48:00):
Well that is fascinating. So yeah, you’ve made it so you’re kind of left of the, you know, the proverbial floor of the tactile hospital. Right. I moved into the board room and all of a sudden, right. The second is all guys around here. Any thoughts on why, why that is or what’s, what’s the challenge or why aren’t there more women in that? That

Suzanne (00:48:18):
I don’t know. And it’s funny, I’m just kind of early in this sort of epiphany and I think it’s, you know, it’s been around and there’s resources out there and tons of literature about it. But I guess for myself personally, it hasn’t been until the last, you know, five, 10 years that I’m noticing it more and more. And what was really interesting about this recent book, and I, I’m really impressed the way the chairman of my board handled it because it, you know, somewhere tucked in the book and the book is, you know, it’s just a fascinating story, but she mentions that, you know, it’s not only females that need to, you know, I guess make it known that this is something they’re interested in and, and sort of empower mid for women but also for men too. You know, intentionally tried to layer in diversity, gender diversity, or any diversity as they can.

Suzanne (00:49:04):
And he, he was moved by that and just recently it was a sponsored a dinner where he, that was really the main goal of the dinner was to get both male and female entrepreneurs and executives in a room together for a nice dinner to do nothing other than meet each other and collaborate. And so it impressive that, you know, he was not only moved by it but took action and started to think how in his position in his tenure and career, how can I help bridge this gap that he has seen as well. I think it’s, you know, it is an intentionality that needs to be layered in.

Matt (00:49:42):
Well, you know, I I do think it’s interesting and I think it’s really cool that both you and your co founder or robber are interested in that and doing something about it. That’s, that’s admirable. I will say for my personal experience early in the days of hiring employees, so are first starting to build Rocket IT. You know, from, you know, being the three of us, me and myself and I, and we’re going to hire a first actual bonafide other person. And then another and another. It was really tough, at least in my field, and maybe it’s my personality, maybe it’s our field, other not as many female techs for example, there are not as many women that are fascinating by fascinated by computers as men for some reason. But I found it very difficult early on, you know, when we’re five, 10 employees, somebody had to be the first woman to join the team. Right? And and that can be probably uncomfortable for a lot of reasons. When you come in and there’s eight guys and you’re the first female Hey, you know what? There might be some unknowns about that. You don’t know how you’re going to be treated. How are you going to be perceived? And so it was scary for that person. I imagine.

Suzanne (00:50:53):
It’s definitely, yeah. I have learned a lot about myself and how I’m wired and I think early, Oh, this is different for men or women. But early in the career you almost, you’re trying to adopt a different style that isn’t really true to yourself because you feel like that’s the way to be. And so I found myself migrating to things like that. But as I’ve gotten more and more involved and comfortable with, you know, being on the executive team and I, I don’t make progress that way. I have to be true to myself. I’ve got to, you know, leverage my strengths and, and you know, not an outsource and get help on my weaknesses. And it’s always continued to sort of evolve and try to sharpen my saw. But being true to what I’m good at and my true self has really helped lend I think a better, you know, we make more progress that way.

Suzanne (00:51:41):
I have, this is just a funny side note. I I have literally, I say I’ve started a book, I have like one page of an outline of a funny, funny, just epiphany story that I’m like, this is someday in my retirement I’m going to write a book about this because there’s so much to unpack about this. Funny story, a difference in, in a pithany I think at the perfect time of, of why you need men and women in leadership, whether that’s on a board or executive team. But, so this was years ago and it’s still stuck in my head, literally 15, 20 years ago. And it’s this crazy hot day August. And in our cul-de-sac you’ve seen where we live there was a dog loose, a crazy dog, like a big dog wreaking havoc, like ripping up people’s, you know, flower beds and scaring children.

Suzanne (00:52:30):
And so my husband and about four other men set out to take care of the situation, like put the women and children inside. We’re going to take care of this and they’re running around and all I hear is like, Whoa, wild West. Yeah. And they were like, we’ve got the dog trapped over here and you know, course they get to the dog and the dog would take off running and you know, they were trying to surround the dog and like sliding all over the grass and like, just like, ah, we’re gonna get the sock and you might see my name or just, you know, kind of look around, see what the situation was. She goes inside and I thought, okay. And a couple of minutes later she comes back out, she’d open the garage door and walk to the top of the driveway and just stand at the top of the driveway and whistles like with that dark and you see the dog and the ears prick up and the dogs tail starts whining and she starts the dog just like right to her and she just backs up the dogs following her, gets the dog into the garage, hits close to God, problem solved.

Suzanne (00:53:33):
And I remember thinking, this is why you need both men and women because we just, we look at things so differently. We solve problems differently. And you know, not to like say men or, you know, but I’m like, this is why, I mean it’s just, and I see this in leadership and I see this all the time. It’s the, you know, even Rob and I, you know, building a company from nothing other than an idea and we think about things so, so drastically differently. But I think there’s such value there. And, and, and that sort of diversity in the way people think and go about trying to solve problems. Big ones.

Matt (00:54:09):
Boy, you just said there’s just so great hearing that story. You just encapsulated what I think many of us believe and think about what’s true. And so many of these things are true for both men and women. You know, being the best version of yourself, being true to yourself and who you are and really setting aside any preconceived notions of who we’re supposed to be and really allow you to take some courage, right? To say, okay

Suzanne (00:54:36):
And confidence, right? Cause they, like, this is me and I’m thought, and I’m not perfect, but this is me really what

Matt (00:54:42):
We want. When, when, you know, when you’re building your team, when I’m building my team at Rocket IT, we don’t, we’re not hiring folks that are built to be robots and think just like we do, we’re looking for folks that do bring some of their own personality and their beliefs and their background and so forth to the team. And I can tell you, speaking from my own experience once we started adding women to the team, you know, we up won and eventually we find another one brave soul, come join the team. And then eventually, you know, we’re still not completely balanced. I don’t know exactly what the number is, but it’s probably something like 30% women and something like that, 25%. Maybe there’s benefit to having that different perspective. You know, you want that different perspective and we seek it out and we look for it.

Matt (00:55:28):
And so even as I’m growing my leadership team, we just announced this morning, we’re expanding our leadership team, excited about bringing a couple of members of our team that that were hired and, and more junior roles that arising into a leadership role. And for me, a very important one, man, one woman. And so we’re adding to that team because we want that different perspective. We’re just batter when we have multiple perspectives and backgrounds and the way we think. And I think that’s true of any kind of diversity, really not limited to the male, female age, socioeconomic background could be a color of skin. All of those things are where we’re from a, there’s benefit when you get those different perspectives in a room and we’re working collaboratively together to get something done. So angry. How awesome is that? So I would love to hear, you know, I was teasing you a little bit earlier before we started recording about your LinkedIn says a chief people officer, which I love that title, but you may, maybe I’ll have to get what a copy of your job description at some point.

Matt (00:56:31):
I like, I love anytime you add the word chief to something, it sounds really boring, but I am curious a year you’ve built this platform and you’ve got a great way of connecting your facilities with clinicians, but you still got a job to do recruiting inside your own organization. Right? I’m going to guess with your background everybody on the team wants you to lead that up because you’re probably really good at it. How do you do that? How do you go about attracting people to this? Hey, Hey, you know what, come join our team. We started in April. It’s going to be amazing. Kind of how do you do?

Suzanne (00:57:04):
Right. Yeah, it’s really tricky. I think clearly understanding what we need and like you said, intentionally layering in that diversity is important to us, especially in the early, cause you can get stuck in a rut before you know it and you look around and you’re like, Ugh, you know, I didn’t get that right. So listening exactly what we need. And I think too, it’s exciting to be part of something new. And so I, I’m really, I don’t want to call it stalking, but I will find what I’m looking for. And just, I think the energy and the excitement that goes along with it and it makes it a little bit easier to attract the attention of people that it is a risk. I mean, we don’t hide that fact. This is a startup, you know, this is, this is, you know, exhausting and exhilarating all in one and but, but yeah, it’s, we are growing and we’re growing quickly and layering in that right. And so far we have done a phenomenal job of really hiring the best and the brightest and then trying our best to, you know, get out of their way and empower them and you know, let them help us build this into what we’ve, what we’ve envisioned.

Matt (00:58:04):
That is really cool. So tell me a little bit about once you’ve sort of attracted the team member and then brought them on board. And by the way, Kara, let us in on the secret of how you’re finding those people. Is it word of mouth or are you getting

Suzanne (00:58:18):
Yeah, yeah. Once, I mean, once you’ve hired those rock stars, then I look for referrals from them because like people like, like minded people, you know, they, they know if they’re, if they’re high achievers, they’re gonna know other high achievers and they’re not gonna, you know, surround them some self with somebody that, you know, wouldn’t hold that up. So referrals are important even internally of a small company. But those first few hires, it’s LinkedIn, it’s hours and hours and hours of scrubbing through LinkedIn. And, and my favorites are early four or five hires weren’t people that were looking, Oh really? We’ve distracted them from something. They were happily, you know, already employed. So finding the skill sets we were looking for drilling down, I, I’ll spend hours and hours on LinkedIn and drill it down and then staffing begins.

Matt (00:59:04):
I may have to go brush off my a LinkedIn profile cases. It thing doesn’t work. I have some other options. Right. That is awesome. So you know, one last thing on, on that topic, I liked the approach of asking your team for referrals. We do the same thing. And that in itself can be a retention. Hey, you know what I’ve got this job and it’s awesome and everything. But my buddy Bob or Janet right works right next to me and I brought him or her on and you know, probably going to be an even more, more sticky relationship or we want folks to stick around because they contributed to building the team.

Suzanne (00:59:40):
And, and also, you know, it’s friends, you know, you think especially in the early days, it’s how you make a lot of friends. So yeah, you people want to work together and yeah, it’s a great retention strategy.

Matt (00:59:49):
I love it. Alright, so we’re on going to go to our lightning round. This is something we do with every podcast guest. Okay. I’d love to hear a little bit about what are your plans moving forward as you look ahead five, 10 years down the road, where, where are you going? Where’s Matchwell?

Suzanne (01:00:04):
We’ve got big goals. Yes, it’s really exciting. So we use the entrepreneur operating system from the book traction, which is EOS yes. So we started with that right out of the Gates, which was awesome. So we’ve got that vision traction organizer that helps lay out our three year goals and our one year goal. And we just finished that exercise for 2020 and currently breaking out those important, I know, right? Yes. Well we learned the hard way that the, this year was a whirlwind and so there were several quarters that we were a bit behind getting those quarterly. We wanted to get ahead of it and I’m still tweaking it a bit, but that’s been a huge, huge help to lay that out to. So we have our guiding star. This is where we’re trying to head this sort of trying to head. So, you know, we’ve got lofty, lofty goals for growth. I’m into right now. We’re currently just in Atlanta, but other markets and so lots of goals on the facility side.

Matt (01:00:53):
Wow. We’re ready to, it’s awesome. You know what? I am teasing a little bit. It is tough to get day in a groove on planning, right? I was just having a conversation. I was in a meeting yesterday where a bunch of entrepreneurs were getting together or talking about the importance of not just strategic planning, but having a cadence of strategic planning. And many times when we’ve gone through our planning process or that’s budgeting or our strategic plans, it’s really easy for time to just pass. And especially most people are doing this in December. And guess what happens in December? You got a lot of people that want to spend time with family and be away and working through that and trying to do big things about planning can be tough. And so there have been many times when I’m skidding into the second or third week of January, I’m still trying to finish the plan that literally started three weeks ago.

Suzanne (01:01:46):
Yeah. It’s hard because you want to get that right because you know, you’ve got to have these goals aligned and everybody’s sort of in agreement. And and what I love about the EOS is then, you know, breaking those down and we’re just sort of at the, the point now that we’re dividing it out a bit more so far, it’s just been sort of the executive team and you know, everybody else. And now we’re dividing out into more department level and it’s really exciting to have those goals and make sure that we’re, we’re breaking those down into quarterly bite sized chunks so that we can try to attain these lofty, I love it.

Matt (01:02:13):
So you mentioned the Melinda Gates book. Are you an avid reader?

Suzanne (01:02:24):
Do you read books like that? Okay, I’ll say read. I am an avid audible listener. I’m a listener. It is game changing. I went from maybe truthfully one or two books a year and it could’ve just been the stage of life with little kids, but I plow through a ton of books through audible. Yeah. Oh, well what I’ll tell you, I’m forced, I’m really proud of this. And so I’ll, I’ll, I’ll say this. Early on we asked our employees what was important to them for an organization and they really wanted it to be a learning type organization. So we started a book club early on. So first year with all employees, we’ve read four books, we read five dysfunctions of the team, good to great scaling. And the last one was crucial conversations. So three out of those four, other than blitz scaling, I had read 15 years ago.

Suzanne (01:03:14):
Yes. You know, good to great. I mean, that was 2007. I don’t know when that book first came out, but Reddit, you know, early in my career, but reading it again with my team was a game changer. So I thought, Oh, I’ll just do this. You know, I’ve already read these. I already have all these, you know, foundational books out under my belt. But it was a really I guess unexpected thing for me that I got, I think even more out of them this time than I did the last time I read it. So yeah,

Matt (01:03:43):
I hadn’t thought about that. You know, a lot of times we will read a book and just like you said, you kind of check it off the list. Yeah. People mentioned some of those big ones, you know, like good to great. And for me one that played a big important role in my life was Robert Kiyosaki’s books on rich dad poor dad and all that stuff. I had not thought about, you know, it was probably important to go back and reread those from time to time. And you know, we change as a, as we grow in our professional careers and just a age, we have different perspectives. So

Suzanne (01:04:14):
Yeah, that’s fine. Yeah. Especially, especially if I have or yeah, five dysfunctions of the team. When I read it, I, I could relate to others on the team. This time I read it, I could relate to the CEO in her stepping under, but the, it’s a fable essentially, but her stepping in and I’m like, wow, that’s, I didn’t, I, it was like, she was just like a sidebar to the story when I read it 15 years ago. But so yeah, you’re living that life practically. That’s a little bit different. You did podcasts? I do. I have a couple of favorites. I like how I built this.

Matt (01:04:46):
Oh yeah, that’s a really popular NPR.

Suzanne (01:04:47):
Yes. NPR and whatever the Harvard business review one is called, but yeah, the masters of scale. I think it’s called both Reid Reid Hoffman’s, I love his podcasts.

Matt (01:05:01):
Fantastic. I don’t think I’ve heard of that second one. I’ll have to check that out. Masters of scale. It’s masters of scale. All right, good. Well I’ll check that out. Thanks so much. Okay. Suzanne, how can our listeners that are interested in Matchwell learn more

Suzanne (01:05:16):
Absolutely. Well our a good place to start, wematchwell.com but if they wanted to

Matt (01:05:20):
W E Matchwell dot com, correct.

Suzanne (01:05:24):
Yeah. If they want to reach me, connect through email. It’s Smasino@wematchwell.com.

Matt (01:05:30):
Awesome. Suzanne, it’s been great having you on here. I think. On that note, it’s time for us to wrap things up. Thank you Suzanne, for myself and our listeners. Thank you for joining us today. I I’ve enjoyed our time together. To our listeners. Thank you for tuning in to the Rocket IT podcast. We hope you found today’s episode, both inspiring and intriguing. Should you have any suggestions on future topics, we’d love to hear from you. Email us at podcasts@rocketit.com and finally a quick plug for Rocket IT. We work with businesses, nonprofits, and municipalities in the areas of it, support, information security and strategic planning. To learn more about Rocket IT, and its services. Visit rocketit.com. Thank you.