February 5, 2021
(updated February 21, 2021)
Published by Dennis Velco
In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with AJ Mizes a career coach, leadership coach, and HR consultant.
A.J. is a talent and human potential aficionado with over a decade of experience within Career Coaching and Human Resources–and has been featured in NBC, CBS, FOX, The International Business Times, and Yahoo! News. Most recently, though, AJ left Facebook as a Global HR Leader where he supported an international team and launched many innovative leadership programs under his guidance–that are still in full swing at Facebook today. He’s supported global teams of over 3,000 people and currently serves as the CEO of The Human Reach–a human potential institute guiding high-achieving professionals to land their dream careers in record time and coaching silicon valley leaders to be thoughtful, effective leaders. His career stems from a foundation in training and development at KSL Capital, where he coached leaders on how to select, coach, and retain top talent at some of the world’s most prestigious luxury resort properties. A.J. also served as a leader @ Premier Staffing where he worked alongside well-known tech giants in organizing talent strategy and recruiting tactics. Before Facebook, AJ was the Vice President of Talent and Engagement at Sungevity—the world’s leading platform technology for residential solar—where he led an HR team that spanned across the United States.
Join me and AJ on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, allies and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality focused benefits, policies, and business practices. https://www.OutBuro.com
June 23, 2020
(updated February 21, 2021)
Published by Dennis Velco
In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with Steve Yacovelli: Developing LGBT Leaders with The Gay Leadership Dude.
As an out, LGBT entrepreneur business owner Steve Yacovelli has dealt with many facets of growing and sustaining a business. Focusing on what he is passionate about he drives education and growth for individuals and organizations in an authoritative yet approachable way. Leveraging his 25+ years of experience as a leadership, change management, and diversity and inclusion consultant to cultivating our collective leadership awesomeness. His book, “Pride Leadership,” is one of the first to focus on developing leadership talent specifically for the LGBTQ+ Community and its Allies. It’s time to channel those qualities into being a more effective and consciously inclusive leader within the workplace and beyond.
He realized that there was no focus on specifically developing LGBTQ+ Leaders within the corporate world beyond some a patchwork of effort and not necessarily a cohesive focus or movement.
So, “The Gay Leadership Dude” was born. It’s his way to give back to the LGBTQ+ Community: to start a movement to grow LGBTQ+ Leaders to be even more effective, in a consistent, thoughtful, and mindful manner. He is especially focused on those up-and-coming Leaders within the broader movement for equality and fairness for all LGBTQ+ people and well beyond.
Pride Leadership: Strategies for the LGBTQ+ Leader to be the King or Queen of their Jungle
Critically-acclaimed and award-winning book for LGBTQ+ Leaders and Allies to help expand their leadership skills to better explore what’s working and reflect on what could be improved upon. “Pride Leadership” provides the strategies and tools to build a network of leadership support. It’s the start of an “LGBTQ+ Leadership Movement” to cultivate and grow leadership competencies.
The L.I.O.N.S. Program – A Leaders Immersive Opportunity to Nurture Strength
A 6-month learning experience that leverages online learning tools along with face-to-face virtual classroom sessions and self-paced learning. The program takes Leaders on a deep- dive into 6 related areas of competency ✦ Having Authenticity ✦ Leadership Courage ✦ Leveraging Empathy ✦ Effective Communication ✦ Building Relationships ✦ Shaping Culture
Over the course of the 6-month program, participants have the opportunity to explore each topic in a way that deepens their understanding and application of the leadership skills, apply the skill, and hone its effectiveness in their workplace. www.PrideLeadership.com
We Help Humans Succeed
TopDog Learning Group provides guidance and solutions in leadership & organizational development, change management, diversity and inclusion consulting, and workplace learning strategies.
To connect with Steve find him on OutBüro here. https://outburo.com/profile/syacovelli/
Join me and Steve on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, allies and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality focused benefits, policies, and business practices. https://www.OutBuro.com
Would you like to be featured like this? Contact the host Dennis Velco. https://outburo.com/profile/dennisvelco/
The below was created through voice to text recognition. We will strive to edit for accuracy as time permits. It may not be perfect. It is being provided for the hearing impaired to still enjoy the interview.
Unknown Speaker 0:01 Hello, this is Dennis Velco with OutBüro that is your LGBT community online where you belong and your voice matters. Welcome to the OutBüro Voices series where we are interviewing and I guess when I say we that’s a royal sense, right? Because I’m an entrepreneur of one. So, huh, it’s me whenever I’m interviewing LGBT entrepreneurs, professionals and community leaders, and thank you so much for tuning in. We are you might be viewing this on the OutBüro website or on YouTube. If you are on YouTube, please take a moment right now and hit that subscribe button, as well as hit the bell that bell is going to ensure that when we are producing there I go again, when I we, geez, I can’t you know, it’s all about perception is reality when you’re in business, it’s grow, grow, grow. So I’ll continue Whenever we produce additional and new content, it’s going to ensure that it gets you alerted of it so that you come back because I’m trying to produce as much of these as possible to get the visibility out for our LGBT community, so that our young folks and everyone out there can have great mentors to look to when they’re considering their business. And one of those is Steven. Steven is the leadership dude. And welcome to the show. Thank you, Dennis. It’s great to be here. Awesome. Thank you so much for being here. And I get deep. I knew for a fact because we’ve chatted before that I didn’t have to do one of these for you because I knew Stephens already gonna have his little corner of his office all set up and branded, so wonderful. Thank you. So, Steven, tell us a little bit about yourself. And maybe just a little brief overview of your background.
Unknown Speaker 2:08 Sure. I’m accent doctor see doc LA, owner and principal top dog learning group, also known as the gay leadership dude. at top dog, we focus on learning and development, leadership, change management and diversity consulting. And that kind of leads to what I’ve been doing pretty much my whole career has been in something in the shape of leadership and diversity and inclusion. So whether that has been internal to the Walt Disney Company, I was an IBM er for a while. I was a professor for like a hot minute, as in the full time academia realm, but really started my own business about 12 years ago full time and that’s really the the space that I’ve been playing in ever since.
Unknown Speaker 2:46 Okay, well, awesome. I’ve been a little all over the board and you’re in Orlando, Florida. So there is the Disney reasoning. Correct. Huge employer. Central Florida. Yes.
Unknown Speaker 3:02 The largest private employer in Central Florida. And it might even be the state Actually, I would think so.
Unknown Speaker 3:11 Yeah. So did your leadership kind of
Unknown Speaker 3:18 did you do HR and leadership in Disney? Was that one of your functions there?
Unknown Speaker 3:24 Yeah, I actually it’s kind of funny story. I worked at Disney twice. So after undergrad I grew up in the Philadelphia area. I went to a small state school in Pennsylvania, and studied public relations and speech communications. And so my dream was to be a PR person at Disney. So after undergrad I packed up my little Ford Escort I think I had at the time and just drove right down. I 95 to Orlando without a job. And I got one I worked in the central reservations office, which were the kids at home. That’s pre internet. It’s actually pre windows. We were a DOS based kind of thing and I actually had a job Yeah, I remember I had a job on the 407 w Disney line, which was the main place to get any sort of information about your family fun time at Walt Disney World and everything. And these are true calls, we would get me and 499 other folks sitting in a call center. And people would call from the park because it was payphones pre pre cell phone. And they’d be like, Where’s the nearest bathroom? And you actually had a load database, you could say, oh, you’re at this, this phone, turn to your left and you’ll see a door and like we had to direct them that way because people are you kind of lose their mind without holiday. Or and I swear, this is a real story to a question we get the people will call up and say What time’s the three o’clock parade. And you know, and we no lie, and we had our we type in data and we get the official official script. And the official script was always 245. So one you did make the person feel kind of silly, and then second actually got them in line or in their spot earlier so that they could kind of do the park so I did that for like three months was a horrible experience for me. Just wasn’t a very good fit, but I ended up coming back to Disney several years later at a more professional capacity I was a leadership and organizational consultant for Disney Cruise Line so I worked short side in the in the Orlando office the celebration office but I would travel on the at the time the two ships quite often so it was a kind of a sweet gig. It’s a sweet gig I gotta
Unknown Speaker 5:21 say. Good and you know getting as you mentioned right out of college you know, one getting that job at Disney, I mean nowadays that’s it well, with COVID it’s really hard. But will for a long time one of my aunts worked in HR at nice, the Disney and you know, not an easy place to get on board. Yeah. And you know, so many people from the area you know, looking for, you know, the jobs they’re one little tidbit one little thing we have in common I too. worked at a call center for a while. It was 1991. And my ex of my 20s and I, we met in the military in Germany. He was still in, we knew each other from you know, going out in Frankfurt, and in Germany, and we were both in the military when we first met. And then I got out of the military and helped form the very first technology calling center for fifth quarter military, so it was where all the US military from from Frankfurt and South Germany would call in when their printers were broken. Whatever, but that was just three of us. That actually man that that call center, it was when we returned back to where he lived in Columbus, Ohio. And for those that don’t know, Columbus, Ohio is quite the fashion capital. So with Lane Bryant, Abercrombie, Fitch, Victoria’s Secret, all of that headquartered there, and he and I actually work to the call center at Victoria’s Secret. know at that time I was 22 or 23 years old, taking phone calls from ladies and men helping them place their Victoria’s Secret catalog orders and helping, you know, taking the talking them into the new bra that was
Unknown Speaker 7:37 Yeah, that was pretty interesting. So,
Unknown Speaker 7:40 you know, I lived in Columbus as well.
Unknown Speaker 7:42 Oh, yeah.
Unknown Speaker 7:44 Yeah, I went to Ohio State from my master’s degree.
Unknown Speaker 7:47 Oh, wonderful. I went to I state as well.
Unknown Speaker 7:54 I wasn’t in this. I got to tell people. I wasn’t into the football.
Unknown Speaker 8:00 But but but you know it’s it is a boy columbus ohio and their their football I mean it is it is truly a see that yeah if you’ve never experienced that kind of just almost power that that the the football culture in columbus ohio has it is some
Unknown Speaker 8:24 even the gay guy even the gay guys have tailgating party
Unknown Speaker 8:29 parties we go to if we didn’t have tickets we go to the local gay bar and Union Station and you know watch the game there
Unknown Speaker 8:37 absolutely absolutely. So cool beans So tell us a little bit more about the the leadership dude I know you and I have talked about your your book a little bit but help our viewers and listeners get a good sense.
Unknown Speaker 8:57 Yeah, so I’m about Two years ago, I was at my first mg LCC conference, the National Gay Lesbian Chamber conference, fantastic group. And I was kind of sorting my business cards before a session and there was a woman next to me doing something very similar. And we just struck up a conversation and she’s like, what do you do? I’m like, oh, in consulting, blah, blah, blah. And I said, How about you? She’s like, well, I’m a publisher. I say, you know what, there’s a book in my head that needs to come out, you know, I’ve written you know, I published my dissertation and which I think my my mom is the one who bought that, but that’s fine. And then I did an ebook called overcoming poopy elearning, which was self published in my doctorates in instructional technology and distance education. And I had mixed mixed positive and negative vibes for doing this self publishing thing. It was it wasn’t a great experience for me. But I’m talking to Jen grace, publisher preppers price. And I’m like, you know what, let’s chat. And so flash forward. My book price leadership came out, which I happen to always keep on the desk. Um, and so it was it was a really great explain And I was going to write kind of a generic leadership book. And the more when I first started down the path in organizing some of my thoughts and, and I was doing a lot of advocacy work in the LGBTQ community, with our peeps, and I’m kind of starting to observe some of the leaders around doing, you know, different volunteer organizations and things. And then my inner Carrie Bradshaw kicked in, like, I couldn’t help but wonder, and I couldn’t help but wonder, you know, I’m watching these awesome queer leaders do their thing. And I’m wondering, is there something about our shared collective experience that does make us a little bit more reticent for the leadership competencies that I’ve seen really work out in in the general field as a leadership consultant, and that’s kind of what I write about in private leadership. And so I found what I thought were the top six you always have my swag, a little mousepad but these are the the top six competencies I talked about pride leadership, Authenticity, courage, empathy, communication, relationships, and then shaping culture. And that’s the the framework of the book. But it’s through the lens of being a member of our community.
Unknown Speaker 11:04 Okay. And so,
Unknown Speaker 11:10 you know, again, as we’ve talked in the past, but you know, for our listeners this, this is a, you also have an accompany workbook.
Unknown Speaker 11:20 I do Where’s it? It’s right here. You’re right. So so the idea behind the books and the fancy book workbook, which is also out there, but the whole goal of the book wasn’t the book. I mean, if there’s anyone here watching or listening, you know, authors aren’t typically unless you’re like Oprah caliber out there to make a gob of money. You’re there to kind of get your story out. And my story is really to help start an LGBTQ pollution movement and focus our collective energy in that arena. And so my endgame has always been a training experience. You know, as an educator, that’s kind of what I do as a company, but I really wanted to create that. So a couple steps back was the book. Then the workbook came And now we have an eight week online leadership program that’s really starting to take off. You know, oddly enough, it was in the midst pre global pandemic, but it’s always online. It was always modular approach. And so now we’re getting folks are like, hey, I want to use this time to develop myself. And so that’s where where the end game was, which I’m so excited for.
Unknown Speaker 12:19 Awesome. Yes. So I’m kind of just thinking, you know, out loud here is so, so looking at leadership that’s really from a very open perspective, correct? No, it’s so so this is could be for anyone. Someone in college looking to a to learn leadership skills, someone in their career, who’s looking to get to that next level in their career, or maybe even someone who’s, who’s a volunteer. Yeah. And looking to hone your leadership skills as it relates to perhaps serving in their local community.
Unknown Speaker 13:06 Exactly. One of the things I do in the very beginning of leadership is I define what is a leader. And to me a leader is anyone who has influenced within the workplace, that could be that entry level person who’s kind of influencing the people around you, that could be all the way up to the C suite. and everyone in between I, I’ve worked with clients who define leader as leader of people. And I think that’s kind of shenanigans, because you have that indirect influence over folks if you don’t have that direct. And that’s actually even a more tricky leadership position to be in, because you don’t have the formal authority. So you have to leverage different skills and tools in order to help folks move in the direction with which you’re trying to get them to move. And so I think it’s, I think it’s silly when I have I tried to dissuade some clients to say no, let’s let’s think about this a little bit more broadly. And just like you said, Dennis, it could be a whole bunch of folks really want to focus on being better within their leadership skills.
Unknown Speaker 13:57 Yeah, it’s, I find You know, when it you know, when you’re looking at leadership, when you’re looking at business, when you’re looking at your relationships, when you’re looking at almost every facet of your life, you’re always, always and you’re typically in a position of attempting to influence that might even just be Friday night and outside of the COVID era, trying to influence your significant other on where you’re going to go to eat that night. Yep, yep. Okay. So, and within, you know, and so there’s lots of different examples even within a friend, Friendship Circle. So, you know, a leadership skills are definitely not only for the work environment number one, and definitely not only for once you have achieve a quote unquote leadership title that now you have people report to you, it’s like, well, you definitely need the assistance then. But, but really, it’s to your point in self development and just saying, you know, as striving to be a better person, and that, again, could be in real in your own personal relationships. It could be in your work, and when and again, I’ll get back to, you know, community service, working with, you know, local nonprofits of any sort. So it’s, it’s very pertinent to, you know, all kind of a good portion of your life if you recognize it, and I think that’s the key point is being open to recognizing it because so many people kind of go through the motions of their days in there. weeks and not even realize that they are marketing themselves and they are positioning themselves effectively or poorly as a leader.
Unknown Speaker 16:12 Yeah, one of the things I talked about quite early on in the book is no, and this is part of the the lions program is the name of the eight week program, which stands for leaders immersive opportunity to nurture strengths, because, you know, former Disney, I had to have some cute, cute little acronym, you know, that goes with the branding lion. Right? But, but in the AV program, as well as in the workbook in the book, one of the very first things that we talked about is, is what’s called what I call drone perspective, which is having that self awareness, you kind of like you imagine, you get your drone, this drone zooms up. And it’s kind of looking at the situation that you’re in, in the moment. You know, in LA Times, this is referred to as like mindfulness, mindful meditation, that kind of stuff. But being able to get out of your own head is the concept. And that takes a lot of skill and have that self awareness to say, ooh, you know what, I maybe am Not super good at this XYZ competency or the situation and having that that thoughtfulness to do something about it. And that’s, that’s, to me one of the biggest leadership opportunities is to be humble enough to know where I’m really awesome but we’re not so awesome and do something about it to get more awesome in that respect.
Unknown Speaker 17:23 Absolutely. And when a and you know, in the entrepreneur space where that comes in is no no your strengths, know your weaknesses and as soon as possible as soon as income allows, hire other people to do the jobs that that you frickin suck at. Doing. Absolutely. But, but yeah, so in the
Unknown Speaker 17:55 so in the space, definitely
Unknown Speaker 17:59 taking Taking that moment and kind of realizing that, you know, sometimes we have, we’re forced into situations and or being a bootstrap startup where we have to do everything. And, you know, it’s something that I always strive to do personally is, you know, I, I have a vision for where I want to go. And you know, I’ve had technical issues I’ve had so many different things go on, just within out, you’re alone. But one of my, one of my traits and what I’m trying to bring to the table to the community is my own personal development. And that is every single day, I learned something. Excellent. And whether that’s listening to podcasts on entrepreneurial ism, I absolutely adore Jay Abraham. is an absolutely eloquent, masterful individual. If you don’t know that that person, folks out there, look him up just an amazing person, not LGBT.
Unknown Speaker 19:16 We still like some straight friends. I’m sorry. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 19:18 And you’re probably occasionally going to have to Google some words to use. I mean, I like to use some, you know, fun vocabulary, you know, here and there. But, Holy moly, occasionally, he just dropped some words. It’s like, even if you’re like, what?
Unknown Speaker 19:36 Just mean?
Unknown Speaker 19:38 Very, very neat. So, but it’s also like right now doing these, doing these, you know, that’s been on my radar. I’m a product manager. I used to be a software product manager. And so I I’m what’s called a scrum master.
Unknown Speaker 19:56 I just learned what that meant, like one of my participants in the lions program is a programmer and she was sharing a story about her Scrum Master. I’m like, why is that and so I just learned that last week.
Unknown Speaker 20:08 Okay, it’s a it could sound highs I’m a scrum and the scrum master. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 20:16 Well I for those that that aren’t aware of google it but
Unknown Speaker 20:23 you know to me it’s you manage to a lot of post it notes and journal I have a huge amount of documents and on my wall for set for quite a while had been you know, content, user content, community content and so forth. And you know, whether that has been doing interviews like this, but a technical issues and being overwhelmed and finally got over that so that employee ORS can sign up. So employees out there you may go to our bureau at o ut duro.com. Be an anonymous leader and reach your current or recent past employer but part of the the getting back to you know kind of doing this was all right you know I had some some things I had to get over it just like you know your hope everyone’s career right you whatever those hurdles are in your career and in your job and so forth but but it’s part of being a good leader is about being persistent and consistent and and striving for becoming better. And so you know, like right now doing these, you know, YouTube videos, it’s every day. I there are certain people now that I pay attention to and I’m seeing the results and now Now granted how does that relate is like When you it’s about self education, and about, you know, taking responsibility for yourself in educating yourself and then what you do with that. So kind of walk us through in that self education for your book and your workbook. Maybe some of the highlights of that. You brought up the cue card, which I love. Oh, there’s no
Unknown Speaker 22:25 it’s actually my it’s a mousepad. Like I’ve a sweatshop. Look. I’ve got mugs. Hey, so if
Unknown Speaker 22:32 you leave that with your customers or your clients,
Unknown Speaker 22:37 graduates, graduates of
Unknown Speaker 22:38 the program, graduates god, yes. So. So what kind of what kind of folks now? Have you seen or, you know, what have you seen people use? Use your tools, use your information, and kind of get out of it and take away from it and you know, has there been Any kind of success stories that you’re able to share? And sorry, because I asked up on the slides.
Unknown Speaker 23:06 Oh, that’s great. That’s great. So one of my participants, and she’s, she’s still in the program, but she actually was an early adopter of the concept. So she’s with a large pharmaceutical company, and she’s actually an ally, but she’s within, in the LGBT employee resource group, an ally in that, but really wanted to develop her own skills. She’s, I think, a project manager for the company. And so, you know, I’ll use my thing, you know, she’s, she’s thinking about what, what, out of these six competencies, she really wants to focus her energy first. So one of the one of the tools, of course, is is self analysis, like, you know, where, where am I at when it comes to these particular competencies or skills. And so for her, she said, You know what, I’m going to focus on the communication part. So that’s kind of the fourth module down there, little green green strip. And so when she said communication, and she’s like, specifically, it’s providing feedback. And so one of the things I talked about in the book, you know, there’s a simple model, there’s a lot of models out there for feedback. There’s one I’ve used in the leadership programs that I’ve taught, and it has pretty easy success. It’s called ECC. You know, you share with people the example the effect, and then either what you want to change or continue, which is where the C come in. So, you know, Dennis, when you lead our interdepartmental meeting the other day, there’s the example. You You missed one of the agenda items, and therefore, we now have to loop back with the other department and kind of get some stuff. So that’s the effect. So it next time, can you make sure that you get all the items on that or that agenda so that we kind of don’t have to do double work? That’s the change. Or hey, Dennis, when you lead the meeting the other day with with the whole interdepartmental. Folks, you did such a great job you got through the agenda real fast. We attendance left people ask some great questions. So that’s the effect so can keep up the good work. That was really great. So there’s the continue to be good behavior. simple model when I’ve taught for a while there’s other ones out there, and she’s like that one alone. really helped me relate to my team just to kind of organize the feedback and thoughts. And then I talked about the example of providing feedback, it should be balanced. You know, you don’t want to work with some organizations where someone comes up to you and says, Hey, I have feedback. And I was like, What is it, you know, because feedback is a bad word. And so feedback, feedback should be a neutral or a good word, if it’s being utilized in a balanced sort of way in your organizational culture, whether that be you or your clients or big group. So that’s a kind of one example. Another one that one of the participants. So in the in the program, you get three, one on one executive coaching sessions, kind of at the beginning, middle, and then two months after that you kind of leave the program, and during one of the conversations the other week, or for fairly early on, you know, we go through the authenticity chapter fairly early. And and the one of the activities in that is to look at your own personal value system. And some folks have done that in their careers, some have not. So there’s a quick activity in the workbook to actually Find out what are your personal top five values? And one of my participants said, You know, I never did that before, I never really thought about what are the things that are so important to me that I value. And then you put that lens through, what are you doing at work. So if you’re in a job that never touches your personal values, you’re gonna have a problem at some point. Or if all the work that you’re doing doesn’t feed those values in some way, shape, or form, that’s going to feel icky. And it’s you stop and have a conversation with yourself and kind of get in that drone and take a look around. And he said, you know, thank you for that, because it just made me put things a little bit more perspective on where I want to go both in my current job, but also outside of of my job and make sure that those values are being, you know, using Steve’s term fed. And that was another good example of some of the tips that that people are actually applying stuff that I’ve had, like, yeah, it’s working. So that’s kind of exciting to see.
Unknown Speaker 26:54 Oh, Barry Barry. And so um, so you say that Meeting originally about the book was, if I’m not mistaken about two years ago,
Unknown Speaker 27:08 correct? Yeah. Um, so this this, this August will have been two years. So, after that meeting I got about a month later, I started kind of formulating the book. And I knew I wanted it to come out pun intended. As a gay leadership book. I wanted it to come out June in pride month of 2019. But to make that deadline, I had to have a final man or a first draft manuscript to my publisher by like, New Year’s Day of 2019. And so I said, from basically Labor Day, until Christmas, just doing nothing but writing obviously trying to make a living with clients and things like that, but you’re really trying to kind of get through organizing my thoughts, you know, figuring it out, you know, initially I whittled it down to six, I had 29, or something like that competencies that I was trying to figure out where the white ones and then My thinking partner slash sister, Wes, come in who does similar work to me. And so that was kind of that that process and then you go through all the iterations, the editing. And that took us until, until the very end of April, to kind of get through all those drafts. And my book is 356 pages. So it’s a bit of a lot, much bigger than I expected, I kind of was targeting 200. So yay, for both Steve. But you get through that process. And of course, it’s the things like, you know, picking the the cover and writing the back and getting the testimonials inside and all that other stuff that you never really think about. You just say, I got to write, but no, there’s all the other stuff that goes along with it. And then, of course, the marketing piece of it. And so it was, it was a really fascinating experience. It was I will say, Dennis, that writing the book was easier than marketing the book. That’s the biggest challenge of and you know, just because you think I’m going to write it and then you put on Amazon and Yay, everyone’s gonna love it and you got to tell people it’s there and so I That’s always a continuous opportunity. And then I knew the audio book had to happen. So actually, I just lost the audiobook like two weeks ago. Yeah, so so that’s, that’s out there as well. And I put put the link under my name, you can actually get a free book. We’re doing a free plus shipping during this COVID time. So there’s a top dog click for slash free ship. And you’ll you’ll get to a website and you just have to pay for shipping and handling. So there’s that but the audio book was really, really weird into that experience. I don’t know if you’ve ever, ever thought about like, how does someone make an audiobook and I’d never thought about it, you know, just kind of grabbed him on on Audible, whatever. Right? But so I, I was working with another producer. So my publisher doesn’t do audiobooks, but she has a referral. So I went to this woman, and she’s like, Okay, the first question who’s reading it? I’m like, I don’t know who is reading my book. Well, that’s up to you. We talked through that and she’s like, you can do it. All you can do it all professional, you do hybrid. And then the more I thought about it, I’m like, Okay, I have a whole chapter on authenticity. So if I’m not going to be the one reading it that’s kind of not very authentic of me. It’s, I figured, okay, it’s gonna be me. Well, in the age of COVID-19, internet traffic is crazy high, of course, because everyone’s at home. Right? Well, I got on the very first call. So it was myself and this, this audio producer, and and basically, we log into this super secret software that he has, and we just do the recording there. Well, the internet traffic was so high that and audio files are very sensitive, I guess, to traffic and things they can drop. So so we kept dropping words. And we tried it a couple times. I’m sitting literally under my router. And he’s like, I don’t know what to tell you, Steve. You know, you might have to just do this on your own and I have some experience doing like radio voiceovers and stuff back in college, you know, W ix q news at my millersville University. And so I set up by computer and then we’re like, okay, where’s the quietest place in my house? Of course it’s it’s in our our walking closet in the bedroom. So I’m literally reading my gay leadership book in the closet during COVID-19 for 65 plus hours and that’s kind of the story of coming out of the closet again, just to kind of make my audiobook happen.
Unknown Speaker 31:18 Yeah, yeah, yes. Yeah, it’s it’s not it’s not as easy as it sounds. I’ve actually gone through professional voiceover training myself. Nice. And yeah, if you if you search me on SoundCloud, I’ve done a few commercials and some different things. And yes, I can go into kind of that voice.
Unknown Speaker 31:48 Sound.
Unknown Speaker 31:50 And,
Unknown Speaker 31:52 as I as I told family members, because I’ve had people that since I was very young, I’ve had people go Oh, my gosh, your voices, you know And I feel I use that now and I definitely use it when I’m on the phone. Yeah, because yes, when you are voice overing when you are reading a book like that, it’s very important to pay attention to the Annunciation. The pauses, your plural motives, which and your
Unknown Speaker 32:27 T’s, your keys and your
Unknown Speaker 32:30 office.
Unknown Speaker 32:31 It’s, it’s very technical. And, you know, yeah, people don’t always think about that. And then yes, your, the quality of your sound is and crazily, you know, the closet and the end are folks out there and you know, the reason is is because the your blank walls, and so for sound bounces off of that, and so you need a lot of software. Or you need a treated space say that your, your, your, your,
Unknown Speaker 33:06 your good mic which I’m not using I’m using
Unknown Speaker 33:10 a good mic will pick up that and you’ll get reverb
Unknown Speaker 33:15 is very,
Unknown Speaker 33:16 very funny though. It was funny though, because when we’re
Unknown Speaker 33:21 in there and we’re doing the test for the with the audio guy, so you can say okay, yeah, you’re good to go. He’s like, there’s just something you know, because obviously there’s no clothes on the ceiling. So I took my dog’s dog bed and kind of looped it over my head and he’s like, that’s perfect. It’s just I have a picture of it. I just look ridiculous with the food or the all the clothes everywhere a dog bed over my head, my microphone and I’m like, yeah, and of course there’s no air conditioning in the closet. So and it’s Florida. It’s just like, oh my god.
Unknown Speaker 33:53 But it worked. It worked.
Unknown Speaker 33:54 You’re a hot mess in the CLI was a hot mess in the closet.
Unknown Speaker 34:00 You know, you really should put a photo of that up on your website
Unknown Speaker 34:04 or write a blog about it. I did.
Unknown Speaker 34:07 Yeah, I did do a social media post, but I probably need to revive that again. It’s
Unknown Speaker 34:12 Yeah. to, to funny. Funny. So, very neat, very neat. So just, you know, how are you so let’s get kind of on the business side of things. You know, you’re, well, thanks for coming on, did you This is partly marketing, your, your, your book and your, your coaching sessions. So how, as a business owner, you know, you did touch on that that’s, you know, as an author, as a coach, you’re, you are a business. And so talk about maybe for just a few moments, some of the opportunities, the challenges, opportunities and ways in which you have kind of overcome that getting the word out because you Every business, you know, is always is has that on their mind? How do they get the word out about their, their business? And so give us a little bit of insight about some of the opportunities and things that you’ve been doing?
Unknown Speaker 35:15 Yes. So COVID-19 has really hit a blow to so many of us entrepreneurs and small business owners. For me, one of the main revenue streams was stand up training at clients, well, that’s not happening anymore. And so in in, in March, we launched so we I’ve three big fortune 500 that we do all of their leadership training, and I say we because it’s actually not the Royal we actually have consultants who
Unknown Speaker 35:41 work for me as
Unknown Speaker 35:43 I do some of it, but I had them do most of that kind of stuff. So I can do more the business development and product development. And so all three clients came back and said, Nope, we’re not doing anything anymore. So I lost a massive six figures of revenue coming in. So it’s like rats. What We do now. And I have a fairly upbeat glass kind of full glass full half full kind of guy. And so it’s like, Okay, so what do we do next? And, you know, I knew the lions program was was just starting. So I’m like, okay, there’s that we can focus some energy there. And then, you know, a new deal. And the audiobook was another product. So I’m like, Okay, well, I’ll focus my energy there. But I’m lucky enough to have a an infrastructure to pivot and do virtual things. You know, we’re doing zoom. Right now, I’ve been using zoom for three years for online trainings from a distance learning thing from executive coaching session. So that wasn’t hard for me. A couple years ago, I created a webinar on how to do webinars for a client, and I dusted that off. And I’ve been doing that kind of for, for folks. And just really trying to to leverage the technology that I’m comfortable with and see how I can take that. So I’m actually seeing working with some folks because they’re not comfortable in this space, and this isn’t going to go away. So They’re like, Steve, can you help me like think about what’s behind me and the lighting and and how I use this medium? Like I would have done it in a face to face? Of course, that’s one things we do. So I’ve been seeing that and how am I getting the word out there. It’s social media. It’s growing my email list, which I’m not very good at, I’ll be the first to acknowledge in skills skill, the book came out, I never had to market I mean, top dog was always word of mouth, I get a couple clients, and they tell two friends and they tell two friends and you know, etc, etc. And that was great. But once I knew the book was coming out, now, I’m not going up to B, I’m going B to C. And so now I’m going right to the consumer and to do that I need to market and so that’s, you know, been the social media thing, growing my email list. And then really just just trying to partner with folks to get the word out for different things I have for the lines program. I have an affiliate marketing program that’s slowly kind of getting out there where you know, I give some money back to somebody who refers a new new participant. And then and then also doing things like this A lot of podcasts, I’ve been doing a lot of free webinars in the age of code, because you know, Intel, people get totally saturated. I have 25 years plus of content on my hard drive that I can dust off and kind of share. And some of that is things that are like I used to teach, or I do teach a class on being resilient in times of change. Well, this is a very appropriate time for that. So I dusted that off. And I’ve been doing that as a webinar and, and I actually have been selling them as virtual keynotes. for clients wanting to do those. I have one tomorrow for a group in London. And so they’re there, end of day, my beginning of and they are going through a lot of changes, like so many folks, I’m like, hey, let me talk walk you through the three strategies to help you be more resilient times of change, like perfect. So those types of things are pretty cool. I did a virtual keynote yesterday for another pharmaceutical company for their pride group, because they wanted the gay leadership dude to talk pride things because all their pride stuff went away from what it was. And they’re like, well, let’s do virtual stuff. And so that’s been kind of nice to still engage, especially with our community. is in during pride month but but while we’re all social distancing as well.
Unknown Speaker 39:06 Okay, well awesome. That sounds like you have turned it into pivoted and continuing to be active and busy so that’s awesome. Yeah, well cool well jeez it’s been great catching up with you and so much appreciate you taking time out of your sounds like very busy week, which is a good thing. And we’ll make sure that we have all the show notes and links to the leadership dude. Here on the show on the on the episode page, which again you all of you will find act out bureau.com that is O ut buro.com. You will click up on the top it says podcast might be changing that the episodes we’ll see but at some point because of the The videos now, but also, all of these shows get turned into podcasts. And you’re able to find out Bureau and outro Voices Podcast on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, and a total currently have 13 podcast apps and growing. So make sure that you subscribe to our bureau on whichever platform that you desire most. And coming up here on the screen in just a moment. Be sure to click the subscribe to be notified again of when new shows come up and hit that bell to ensure that you are notified. Thank you so much for tuning in. This is Dennis belko without euro and Steve the leadership, dude, hot dog consulting. Thank you so much. Thanks, Dennis. And thanks for all that you