Published on:

28th Mar 2023

Carroll Goggin and Keri Laine Interview

Empowering women to excel in business with Carroll Goggin's Blueprint for success.

Keri Laine Interviews Carroll Goggin, VP & CFO DBG Promotions, Rollins College Board of Trustees.


Carol, welcome to the inroads podcast, I am so excited to have you here. You are the founder

and owner of DBG promotions. And we're going to get into that as well as all of the other

wonderful ways that you impact the community. I think one of the things that I find most special

about you being on here is not only are you a powerhouse female, you are at the inroads very

first female leader. And I'm excited to talk a little bit about that, as well as your journey there. So


Thank you, Carrie. Glad to be here. So

let's start back, Carol, as a little girl, go back to five years old, and look at yourself. Now if you

were driving in a car, and you were to look back at your five year old self. And if she were to say

to you, this is how I feel about what you're doing now, what would she say?

She'd be blown away? Yeah, because I I was an insecure five year old. I was a five year old

who didn't play well with my peers. I was the young one in the group. Okay, I was the August

birthday. And so the group in my class were extremely competitive, and I became more of a

wallflower than anything else. So to see where I am, I often think of my father passed away

about six years ago. He used to say it just blows me away. I always knew you had it in you, but

you did not. And at five, I struggled. What what is it?

If you were to describe yourself, if he were to describe you now? And what those traits or

attributes are? What would what would they be?

Oh, I think it's clearly a lifelong learner, I just a seeker, I want to learn about whoever's in front of

me, what makes them tick. That's a huge thing. I'm passionate. I mean, I was always passionate

about things as a young person, but they didn't always mesh with my peers. You know, when I

was the math major, I was, you know, in a group of men, I was the one or two females in the

classroom. And I think those things, that passion of the things that bring me joy, and that need to

continue to learn every day in all sorts of ways. I think he saw those portions of myself. And I

think he also saw himself in me, I think he probably also struggled as a young person became a

dynamic business leader, and a thought leader. And I think that came along later in his life, as it

has in mind, how

much do you think him being a thought leader and a business leader has inspired that in you,

because you are very much as well that for a lot of people?

Well, I had great examples. And not only had it not only my father, but my grandfather on my

mother's side was a huge philanthropist. He made it possible in his community to make sure

that the hospital thrived by providing housing for young doctors. I mean, he had a passion and a

drive and a charitable side. He was very smart. He worked hard. He was the CEO of a big

company in New York. And when he retired, he took that passion and he made it philanthropic

my father similar. He, along his work career, gave back to community initiatives and things that

he was passionate about. So I had great examples right at home, and I had great exposure. I

might have been insecure at the time. But I really when you put it all together, I don't think it

comes as a huge surprise to those who was my parents are say, maybe more of a surprise to

me, because I didn't see what they could see back then

do you in the roles that you play now? And in the relationships that you have? You're very much

a connector and supporter of others. And I can see almost the way you describe your father and

your grandfather, I see the I would describe you that way, the same way that you did them.

Where do you think your confidence level shifted? And then I want to get into the wallflower

piece. But over the course of your career, was it or just life in general? Was it something that

happened? Or was it an evolution? Or was it coming into your own? Like, where do you think

that confidence changed?

Total evolution? I think slowly, I became willing to say yes to opportunities that were outside of

my wheelhouse. Think that starting with the smallest ask from a community board, it was I think

around athletics at Rollins. Okay. Would you get involved in the anchor club? Sure. Yeah, I met

Thursdays. It was a group of people. I wasn't really I was though non, you know, I didn't do

athletics in college. I was athletic. I was really the fans in the group. And that was out of my

wheelhouse. But I showed up each time and I thought I participated in ways to bring you know,

the spirit into the athletics at Rollins ways to promote scholarships for athletes, things like that.

But it was a Yes, years ago. Yeah, that just was an opportunity. I thought, well, you know, I'd like

to participate. Don't know where to start. I better say yes, somewhere. And that has led, at least

in my my work with Rollins, that was the first step and what became very many at this point as I

sit on the Board of Trustees.

And so as you're saying yes to oppurtunities, would you say that that has been one of the secret

weapons to being able to open door after door that trait? And if you were to describe the

attributes that follow that, because people could say yes, but they could do it and either not

show up or they could do it, it could be the wrong. Yes. How do you define your Yes?

Well, you have to show up if you're going to say, yes, you have to be willing to fail at something.

I mean, I think it's as simple as that. Do I think I could do it, I was offered an opportunity to serve

on a Presidential Search Committee for Rollins, which brought in our current President Grant

Cornwell. And I've never done anything like that I represented the alumni. I said, Yes, it was a

heavy hitting group of people, different constituencies, reading 40 Page resumes and talking to

these leaders of colleges and institutions around the country. It was fascinating. Yeah. But I was

willing to show up and do the homework to be sitting at the table to ask the questions or hear

the answers. Yeah, out of that I ended up speaking in front of a large crowd at present

Cornwall's inauguration. Never have I thought I would stand on fate stage and represent a

whole constituency, welcoming a new president to a college again, another yes, that I was

totally out of my wheelhouse. I was I wouldn't say I was an extrovert. At that time, I would say

most would say I'm now more extroverted than I used to be. And again, I found that I could

speak from the heart.

Do you? Do you feel like the values or the attributes that you've had? Because you've

mentioned that your parents would have described you that way, but you've seen certain

segments of your personality, accentuated or come out different ways? Do you think the

attributes that make somebody a strong leader or a strong female leader change over time? Or

do you think that it is one that each experience teaches you?

For me, it's been one experience after the other and there's been kind of a pathway of doors

that open. And I don't think I did everything perfectly, but I think I did enough where my passion

about the subject matter my passionate about the people I was serving with the feeling that we

are all responsible to give back to the communities we live in. I believe that mean even in the

smallest sharing your talents, treasures, and time, is kind of the mindset that to me, nurtured this

part of me I didn't know existed. So those yeses, gave me opportunities that I did things I didn't

think I could do, which led to more opportunities that led to me to be a part of more thought

leaders and a part of more things. And as we've discussed, my I have my work life I have, I've

raised a family there, I'm an empty nester, I have this philanthropic, I don't even it's just areas

I'm passionate about, that have great synergy. I'm very particular about the things that I do. And

when I find something that I can get really excited about. I'm all in both feet.

And I hear you saying passion. And I think a lot of times there is it takes courage to follow that

it's easy to get distracted, it's easy to be told that you should be doing something else or that

people project out there. So maybe a mentor along the way may have tried to deter you from it

or just maybe not have been supportive when you are looking at the passions that you have.

How did you stay so true to the core of that without either distractions or without anybody

overstepping your boundaries? Or? Or how did you hold your own as you as you nurture those


I had to say no to some opportunities, because I can't I only have 24 hours in a day, although it

seems like maybe I cram in a little bit more than than I need to in some of those times. But, you

know, I think whatever I have chosen to do, and early on, it might have been being a class

parent for one of my children's classes, or the lacrosse mom had mom, you know, whatever I

did, I was willing to make sure I had the time to do it. And if it was something that I enjoyed, and

I was excited about, I love supporting my children and the things they did. So those were easy,

yeses. And now of course, it's not taking on too much where I would limit how well I can do in

the things that I'm a part of. I think it's time management and, and following the doors that open

in a way that nurture my insights. I think more than anything else,

I think one of the things I love most about you is you do have this confidence about you. And I

know that you know maybe that was evolutionary, but you have blazed paths you have owned

who you are, you have helped others own who they are. You've been you've been really

inspiring in that way. But I almost think that you don't know that you've been that inspiring and

that it might have been part of your intention to take care of people and serve people in the

communities and that's your way of doing it. But you've really made a significant impact. When

you when you look at the yeses that you've said that opened doors for you and you've been

around some of these tables and been a part of some of these movements. Do you ever feel

Like you have impostor syndrome?

Totally. I mean, I always say, it's so funny because I, the biggest thing that's come in the last

probably 10 years, is I really, truly believe in my core that I'm not here by accident. Yeah. But for

a long time, I'm like, if they only knew, you know, and because I didn't have the experience to go

with some of the yeses I made, but I found that we're all even the most talented people are, you

know, have a life to live and, you know, there's, there's always something to connect with

another with. So yeah, I've certainly had it. And, you know, my husband was always quite good

at saying, you know, you're not there by accident. And, and I believe that today, I'm not afraid or

fearful. But again, it's that part of being willing to take the risk. Maybe I end up at a table that I

move, you know, just it's over my head, then I, you know, I can deal with that. That's okay. Right.

Okay. It's worse, that's gonna happen. Well, it's a learning experience. Yeah. And that lifelong

learner purse, I just may be there for some other reason.

So one of the things that I would if I'm in somebody's shoes, that's either an emerging female

entrepreneur or somebody that is looking up to you right now, or somebody that's looking to for

inspiration, regardless where they're at in their life, and I'm listening to this part of me is thinking,

you have a quest for learning, you are going to show up and you're going to do the part you're

going to do the homework, but you also don't seem like you're afraid to fail. Right? Where does

that come from?

Well, I just can be real. I mean, I think, I think obviously, I have some fear to fail. I've found

though, that when I put my attentions in a way, and I and I truly am authentic about what I'm

passionate about, it's never a fail. It might be a misstep, or a path that takes me a little astray.

But But there's always an opportunity attached to it, that opens up yet another door. So it's just

it's from experience, what I what I say to the women that I speak to, that might be in college

today is, you know, make sure you you can allocate your time appropriately, you don't want to

step into a yes, that you that so far out of your time frame, there are certain opportunities that

come that will be that way. Because you want to be able to do the best you can to give

authentically of yourself and whatever you say yes to because then what happens can be quite


I remember when I was the co chair of the Alumni Board, and you were a part of the alumni

community. And I remember when I had to make the decision to step back, I was embarrassed.

And I was afraid to say it, I was newly married, I was going to have a baby, I was still trying to

get my Master's I was, you know, still in the community of China just make life a new career. But

you made in a way, a safe place. And even when we talk about it now, and we look back, I think

about how when you talk to people on the board about my situation, you say it was such pride

that it encourages me to almost borrow that confidence where otherwise, I think a lot of females

that are either trying to start families or have to put up boundaries to time and say no, I think that

we all we don't want to fail other people. We don't want to disappoint other people. And so we

let them in more or we take on more than we otherwise should. And so I've always appreciated

that you've had that ability to own it with pride, and know your place and know your time. Like

you know you at this point in life, empty nester, you've got more time. And you can own that

differently. And I think knowing in our lives, that it's it's everything is evolving. And it's not as

linear as we sometimes believe it is. Right, exactly.

Well, I thought, great case in point with you stepping off of the alumni board when you did it

made sense to me because of what was your priorities and what should have been your

priorities at that time didn't mean that you weren't a terrific alumni that you wouldn't cycle back

through at some point. I knew you had a gift that would be nurtured and available when the time

permitted. But you can't We can't be everything that I think I sometimes feel that people expect

women particularly to be able to just do it all Yeah, and we have to make decisions that are right

for our families for our job for you know that work life and play portion of things you have to have

the whole well being Yeah, intact in order to do well the things that we choose to do. And that

is a great point. I love that because we are whole people. And a lot of times people will consider

okay, this is my title and this is my identity, my brand here now that I'm the mom here or that I'm

a wife here. I think that we can compartmentalize who we are but what I think makes in your

case, especially to again, it was a great role model example for me is you are a whole person

and it's life integrated. It may not be life balanced all the time. Sometimes you may work more

you may you know focus more into lean into the motherhood part or whatever it may be. But you

have had this ability to You allow every aspect of your life to support and flourish the rest of

them. So all the pieces fit together. And it's almost as fascinating because the same way, you

see the connectedness in the community and all the initiatives, you've been able to do that

within yourself in a way that I think a lot of people would really want to figure out how to do that.

So how do you think you do that so easily? or so? Well? No, I

think I have a group of friends who I have an intimate relationship with, where they know who I

am on my insides. I can run these things by them. i A lot of times don't make decisions just

arbitrarily on my own. I'll say, here's what I've been offered. Here's what I'm doing. You know,

knowing me, yeah. Do you think this is something I can take on? Or am I going to drive myself?

With this? Yes, you know, having that, that friendship group, beyond family, obviously, having a

solid family is important. But I think having been aware that I struggled as a kid, you know, I had

struggles that have required having a group around me to support me emotionally, mentally,

spiritually, all those things have made me better at the things I say yes to.

And you you're allowed to say no, but mask, when you say struggles as a kid,

I just was insecure. My parents got divorced. When I was eight, I was the oldest I was dyslexic.

And that was in a time in the 70s, where dyslexia isn't as so known as today. So in sixth grade, I

had a first grade reading level, and I was considered careless, not dyslexic, because that was

not something that was normal. So I had some struggles that contributed to having an inside

that was insecure, feeling less than and things like that. And yet, I still went to college and got a

good education. And I certainly was employable. But I think some of those, those inside parts of

me, took some time to work out, work their way through so that I could be the best solid person,

yeah, taking towards my children, or my family. And then of course, towards my job, and the

things now that are, I'm very aware of who I am inside and out. And when I can be when I'm not

authentic, I can feel it. And I'm aware of it. And so I want to be in anything that I do authentic to

my belief system, willing to say the uncomfortable thing. It's very difficult, particularly in this day

and age that's so polarized and political, to sit, you know, to really talk about how do we

advance an initiative that keeps everybody under the tent belonging, yeah, when there's such

division. And I can say those uncomfortable things. I don't have to agree with everything around

me. But I don't have to disrespect you, or feel that your view is is somehow less than mine. So

consensus building, it's it. I think it comes from having struggled comes from having nurtured my

insides and having a good spiritual feeling that the world is much bigger than just little me.

i They so it's funny, you mentioned belonging. So as you were describing yourself, I'm imagining

you at those very pivotal ages, where your self esteem, your self confidence, your reflection of

self sense of self as being developed not just from a perspective of the outside world looking in,

but also just the brain development where you were at at that point. And the very first word that

came to mind was belonging, I, if I put myself in your shoes, I would feel like I would be asking,

Where do I belong? Where do I fit it was so fascinating is that full circle, now you are helping

people belong and you are helping them fit and you're doing it at a massive scale. And it's not

even because you're intending to go out and be, don't think you're intentionally like saying, This

is my goal, I want to be on all of these boards. And I want to, you know, you are doing it out of

sheer authenticity for your passions. And I think that we've talked a lot about finding that core.

And when you live with that core, you're pulled more to do something than being pushed and it

ignites something in you that others pick up and catch up. Like they get they catch fire with you

about those same things. How do you you know, you said you can feel it if you're not being

authentic with yourself. somebody were to start the journey of trying to connect more with

themselves in that authentic way. Sometimes there are barriers, sometimes there are things we

don't want to admit about ourselves. Sometimes there's things we have to process and pain

that's there that blocks that how, what would you say to somebody to help them become more

aligned with their authentic self?

You have to practice? I think you have to be willing. And I think this is where particularly females

are great. And when I find a male leader that does this, I'm like, yes, yeah, this is great. You

have to be willing to put your emotional self felt there, in a way, it's been vulnerable. It's, I don't

know, it's subtle, I'm willing to be vulnerable and tell you how it feels, you know, in any given

situation. And to me, I can speak from the heart and therefore, that's authentic. Yeah, we'll feel

it. I mean, when you can tell in a conversation where somebody goes, Yeah, I'm like, you know,

I'm down, you know, I'm down a rocky road, I'm obviously not speaking from my core. You know,

it's, it's picking up on those social cues of others, I think slowly, I've practiced, I've also become

okay, with age, as I'm approaching 60. This year, I've become comfortable in my own skin when

I used to not be and so then I can communicate in a different way. But I've been comfortable in

my own skin for quite some time, I wouldn't be functioning in the groups that I'm functioning in

taking those risks without having some comfort.

Yeah, I think if you look at the people that you've connected to, and the network that you've built,

but you also mentioned, the friends that you have close, that are very supportive, trusting out for

your best interests, so to where you can feel safe enough to be your authentic self, when you're

trying things on for size, right, and trying to figure out what the risk is, you are supporting one

another. And I think in when you're female, and you're trying to find your road and your path, a

lot of times females don't support other females, or they're threatened by them, or they're

jealous of them, or they want to rise to the top first. And I hear that females and I've experienced

in some instances growing up, females are hard to get along with yet here we are friends years

later, how for somebody that is looking for advice on how to connect with other females, and

how to build that network of support around them in the same way that you have. How would

you recommend they go about doing that? Well, I

think if you're open to it, you find those people, I don't get lost in the personalities. Yeah, it's like

the principle of the conversation is more important than the personality sitting in front of me.

And, and I've found that it's that intuitive self. It's like when somebody calls and says, I really

want you to come and have lunch, I want to introduce you to somebody, I never know what that

might lead to. And I've found that that I'm led to those that think similarly then that approach the

world in the same way. And I was wanted to just tap back to what you said, you know, that friend

group tells me the truth, they're willing to tell me the thing I don't want to hear. And I'm willing to

hear it. And so that opens up of places safety. And I think you don't always find that with friends.

And you don't always find that, I find that I I am attracted to people who behave that way and

who integrate and work in those ways. And then there's so much more growth when that

happens, you know, so I kind of tie that into all of it in one way or another.

And I think your leadership in that, even in the friendship dynamic alone, what you just said is

they are willing to give it to you, but you are willing to hear it. And sometimes people are too

afraid of hurting other people's feelings. And a lot of times it's either projection, or it's because

they have gone down that road. And they have heard that friend's feelings before and

everything just shuts down. Right. And so the communication about that, but the ownership of

I'm going to own me, you own you what you think and feel is okay, but that's your opinion, I may

or may not agree, but I want to hear it anyway. Because I want to grow and develop and it's that

natural curiosity and learning sense that you said from the beginning, which is so interesting

how it all ties together. So you raised a company, you raised a marriage, you raised kids, you

raised a community all at the same time. Talk to me about that work life balance piece talk to me

about what that was like and you know, some of maybe the harder times that other people might

be going through now and what was that feeling like for you?

It you know, I kind of sit back and I look at it and I feel so blessed that I've had all these

opportunities I in looking as my children got older, I was aware that the time was coming where I

won't be on the lacrosse field every weekend and I there's there's a gaping hole that comes

from being a really involved parent, even a working parent. You know, I knew that time was

coming. And as things kind of transpired, I knew that my identity wasn't just wrapped up in being

Jack and Chris's mommy in our mother or whatever, you know that I was I was going to need to

nurture other areas of my life in a way that's balanced so even during the years when like Jack

was approaching college just about the time I started on the Alumni Board and perfect timing he

ended up going to work again So it was great. And but those kinds of things just kind of naturally

evolved. And I became really focused on finding joy in my life so that I didn't kind of feel the loss

of not having children at home, I have, I have friends that I know who have gone into like

decline. It's like now what am I going to be or who and I thought how blessed I am, that I've had

the opportunity to find other things beyond just being a mom or a business owner. I don't know if

that even follows along with what you're saying. But it really my big focus is I want the next 10

years. So from 60 to 70, I'm telling you my age, from 60 to 70 be the most amazing 10 years, I'm

having the opportunity at this point now to do what I couldn't do in my 20s. When I didn't have a

family. Yeah, I'm getting to explore the world. When I have time, I'm getting to go to conferences

on topics that are interesting to me, or spiritual retreats, or, you know, I want this next 10 years

to be a joyful period of time where I'm engaged in all levels as I age. So that I want to be one of

those rocking out at the Mayflower. I'm saving my dollars right now to be you know, there's some

great thinkers over there some amazing women at the Mayflower who have lead interesting

lives, I want to be in that same group at 80. And it's going to take involvement and following my

passions in the next 10 years to be there.

And that still goes to the long game, it goes back to the you staying true to the view, right. And

then you knowing who that is, and you not budging off of what that is. And there are things that

you probably could have done differently with your life that would have been off the passion path

could have, you know, maybe wanting to move somewhere or it could have been about a

paycheck or title, but it hasn't been about any of that for you. So how do you define success?

I sleep well at night. Yeah, okay. I go to bed, reviewing my day, knowing where I might need to

make an amends or fix something that I might have missed up earlier in the day. I'm willing to do

that. And I go to bed, comfortable in my own skin and I sleep. I don't know, it seems so silly and

minor. But you know, it just to me, I approach each day in the awe of what might happen. I'm

really a glass overflowing pipe. But really I think about when I'm asked to like meet somebody

for lunch, I think we talked about this a week or so ago, I was asked by a friend who I was

worked with at Rollins. She was in development at Rollins and she wanted me to meet these

two gals and one of them has started a organization that helps Dyslexics now she didn't know I

was dyslexic, she didn't know that I had a child that struggled with dyslexia. And she didn't know

the journey that I had with that child and the lengths to which I went to make sure I leveled the

playing field for him so that he could achieve whoever he was going to be. Because I knew it

was a struggle for me. She didn't know any of that. And one of my thought processes with that

was that when I was in that frame with my son was how do people who can afford to seek these

services? help a child? Yeah. And I thought, well, you know, that would be a great thing. Well,

this woman had a child like mine, and she taken it one step further, she'd put together an

organization that's that's actually training teachers in the Orange County Public School System

in a manner of teaching or thumb Gillingham, which really helps phonetic learning. It really helps

all students, but particularly those that have dyslexic tendency. And she's taken that thought I

had years ago, and is taking it one step further. I walked out of that lunch, like, God really put

me in a place that she didn't know she was meeting somebody who had all the same

experience and fears around our child. I go about each day looking for those opportunities that

I'm that that maybe I'll be of service for somebody else. Or maybe somebody else has been put

in my path to somehow be of service in my life. I just never know. It's the thing that keeps me

joyful and in awe. And it kind of circles back to that saying yes and being willing to be open. It's

a little bit on the spiritual side. It's you know, it's warm and fuzzy. But but it's not right way to live

it. Think about this, the amount of times that you've listened to your yes or accepted something

unknown, to be curious to follow your passion. How many times has that worked out for you?

Almost every single time so

it's not actually the soft stuff. It actually is legitimately in your favor every time so you have a

trend of facts and data behind you that say this work. And so I think I think certain people are

either open to following the signs or they're not. They're open to appreciating them and

accepting them. We laughing earlier calling it Woo.

Woo. Like earlier today, we're eating lunch out there. And I've been talking to you about other

women I want you to meet. And probably the top one on my list I serve on she's the CEO of the

Winter Park chamber. And I serve on her board. And she is amazing what she's done in Winter

Park for commerce and for the businesses, and her advocacy work in Tallahassee for arts and

culture, which connects to my Florida council on the arts and culture. And there she was. And I

thought, well, there you go. Yeah, there's another sample that it that's what, but that's what

happens to me all the time. But I'm really open to it right?

And how many times do you think if you were somewhere that is successful? How are you

define that, but you're in the right place at the right time, and you look back at what had to

connect, to make that moment happen, or make that meeting happen? I mean, even think about

this, we had planned this three weeks ago, scheduled allow, then we had one shift, because

one person wanted to be here live. Now we're here today, that happened four days ago. And

she was here the same time you were here, it's everywhere. And I call them the silver lining

moments, when you look at how life's blueprint unfolds around you. And if you to me it, what's

interesting is if you follow it, it takes you to a certain place. And it always elote seems to elevate

what your purpose is, and who you're supposed to be deep down. And I think listening to that is

also really important.

And I think it takes practice to listen to that, because I think it's available for everyone. It's not

like, you know, a Tyler Henry, you know, medium experience that's not so what it is an intuitive

kind of situation that happens. But I also think it for me, it gives me great comfort in times of

struggle, because I mean, life is life. I mean, we don't all go through life without challenges and

heartbreak and grief and loss and joy, you know, so I think of those things is as it to me, helps

me in the times of struggle, and it brings it I can be in a time of struggle today and still have joy

in your life. And that's a really nice place to be able to navigate the world,

it's I think the recognition of some of those silver lining moments and tying that to gratitude.

Even when you're in times of struggle, it gives you hope, because you will take anything that is a

signal, like I remember going through some of my own challenging times, and a neighbor would

drop off, you know, cupcakes at the door, or somebody would just text and say, Hey, I'm thinking

of you, okay? And I said to myself, hang on to these, these are the things that if you can attach

gratitude for it will pull you for it. And I might not have known my way, I might not have known

what the next day was gonna bring some days, I might not have thought I could get out of bed.

But if I focused on those little connector points of people showing up or little signs that there's

life ahead, just keep going. Just keep going. It was it was it's really powerful when you think

about it that way. So when you think about women leadership and how you've crafted created

her life and inspired others, how would you advise an emerging young female who may want to

be an entrepreneur, community leader, influencer, network or connector? How? What advice

would you give for her this day to be the best and put herself in the position to be you when

she's almost 60? When at certain point down the line, because I'm sure there's many people

that would look and say, I want everything that you've done the way you've done it? What would

you say,

look for the networks that you can be a part of immediately, I think of rollin students in the alumni

network there there, there are mentors that are up for other alumni think of one of our board

members whose works in fashion in New York and mentors, student after student in your

experience, whether it be an institution, or an athletic group, or whatever, their networks there,

and there's activators that can help you in the early days, I speak to math, female math majors,

you know, when the when a professor says, Can I bring them over? I said, please do. Because I

don't think I could have orchestrated all these things. Nor did I know, what was out there for me.

I wasn't going to graduate school. I wasn't going to be an engineer. And you know, but I was a

math major. And I understood, you know, before computers. Before there were personal

computers. I should have been born 10 years later. But anyway, that's another story. It would

have been a totally different life. But you know, I think look for the network that you have look for

the mentors, don't be afraid to ask somebody for help. You know, I was thinking that I was

mentored on the Rollins board by our former chair who sadly passed away of cancer and we

have a new board chair who you've spoken to. And he's my new mentor, and because he has

so much experience and wealth of knowledge, and we as chair of nominating in the the board

that I'm on he's the chair and I'm the chair of nominating. So there's great synergy there and I'm

not afraid to look to Him for guidance for experience. Oh, I don't know at all. Yeah, I don't begin

to profess that I know it and you don't? It doesn't seem like you feel you have to I don't know, I

don't. And I really want to learn, right? I mean, I got so much from connecting with our former

chair who was really into the academics and governance, that's probably why I'm in nominating

and governance chair at this point. You know, that connection put me in a way of going to

conferences, around college issues, which, because I'm that lifelong learner, yeah, I'm the one

that wants to go to the, you know, conference and sit through enrollment and marketing and

development and, and, you know, risk management for colleges. It's not my job, but that you

know, what I mean, that's the fun, that brings back that education, she nurtured that now, our

new chair, Rick is going to be a totally different experience that I have no idea which direction

will take me, but you're open to it. But I'm open to it today as I had to be along the way. And so

for a younger person, I would say, look to the networks that you're participating and look for the

person that you can say, hey, you know, I'd love to have coffee, you know, it doesn't, you know,

I'd love to just pick your brain about the direction I'm headed or, you know, don't be afraid to ask

for, for entrance into their circle of influence, particularly if you found the right person to connect

with, you can't go everywhere and go, I want to, you know, I want to be in your circle of

influence. And you know, you have to kind of look amongst your networks of people. Maybe it's

your best friend's parents that might be able to be of a guiding force, it can come in all sorts of

different places.

I think if you listen to that intuition, we have ebbed and flowed for must be 20 years.

I think it's longer than that you were one of my first employees.

I didn't know that. Yeah.

I mean, you were really early on, I had just brought in a few salespeople from from a larger firm.

And I was looking for a sales assistant for one of the high producers that I'd brought on staff,

and you were that person. So we were young, and I was yours. You know, there, I

just had one of those lightbulb gut moments. I wasn't I wasn't necessarily going to talk about

this. But I'm gonna I'm gonna talk about it now, because I'm going to take it back to where we

are today. So I worked for you. One of the things that we I was, as you said, the sales assistant,

and I'm not very detail oriented, and I just wasn't born to be an assistant. Right. So the only time

I've ever been let go, was maybe sitting across the table.

Clearly I was wrong is not working on. At that time, it was the right decision for my business.

Yeah, it was the right decision for you. Yep.

And what I remember about that was how you handled that. And what's serendipitous to me is

my career, I didn't know that it was going to go into HR, how many people I would have to let go.

But I distinctly remember that my very first termination or some of the harder ones that I was

most afraid of like single mom that wasn't performing, you have to do we have to do right and,

and I remember the way that you carried our conversation and how that stuck with me. And so I

was never mad. And I hated more that I felt like I let you down in some ways. But I think I always

have respect. And I always knew that it was the right decision, then you brought it forward in

such a way that I think shaped me instead of abandoned me. Right. So then you fast forward to

us coming together at the Rollins board. What like a decade later. And I remember thinking to

myself, Oh, that's that's Carol, I should be I should be afraid because what if what she's seeing

me Come on the board? What if she tells people that I'm not detail oriented or whatever. But I

felt like I wasn't afraid. I actually felt like I had an advocate, somebody that would help me

always tell me the truth. Let me know when I wasn't, wasn't pulling my weight, what I could do

better what I couldn't, I almost felt like more of a kinship and a trust factor. Then we go back and

forth through a couple more years. You know, you're one of the first people I called when I

opened my business. Because I'd always look up to you and doing your own thing, being a mom

running it. And when we reconnected for one of those lunches last year, like whenever it was a

year ago, probably it was it was that I wanted to seek and absorb and far more of your

confidence and understand more of what you went through. And I was not afraid to say I might

be lost. I don't know what I'm doing. And what did you go through? If you remember I was

asking you that I said did you feel? How did you ask for business? And how did you go out and

start selling yourself and you just your stories and your responses were so fascinating, but I find

it so amazing that we've been on this journey. And I thank you for it. By the way, it really has

meant a lot to me. But I think that your example of what other women should do is you've lived

it. It is authentic. It is it is who you are and it is a living example of what that looks like.

I think it's hard when you have to let somebody go particularly for you. You like the person you

know, I mean you have to make decisions that are right for the business. Bottom line. I would

love to carry along everybody you know particularly Particularly those and I think we sometimes

make decisions, we take longer to make these decisions because of the way we feel as people.

I know when you got to the alumni board, I think I was on there. And I was actually rolling up to

the trustees pretty shortly thereafter words, I remember just being excited to see who you were

at that time because I was 19. And I would not want to query any of the people I work to work

for in my 20s. Because I, I just was all over the place, I was just, I just didn't, I hadn't matured

enough to be a good employee, I It wasn't my goal to be the best. It just I hadn't matured. And

so for me, I completely understood a young person in their early years, not fitting a certain role.

But I think it's, it's been really interesting, because then I have that midpoint where I saw you at

that point, and you rolled off and I agreed with your decision, it was the right thing for you and

your family and the things that you were doing. And I was pretty impressed that you were going

for this added degree and all that. I mean, I thought whoa, what a powerhouse. I was like, oh,

you know what I mean? It's like it's kind of exciting. And then to have you circle back a year

later, I think we had an hour lunch that went three hours. Yeah. Because it was like, Oh, my

gosh, you know, because there is when you find another soul that you can connect to on these

on a human from the heart side, particularly when we're in business. And we're women, and

we're out there in the competitive field and things like that an hour lunch can never be an hour

lunch that and so to me, it's been great, a joyful thing to reconnect with you. Well,

I am wanting to just tell you, you have seen things in me that I may not have seen much like you

said, your parents, did you and so thank you for that, because I've had to clean to them in

certain cases. And in a lot of ways, had you not seen them the way that you did, I don't know

that I ever would have found them. But I don't know that I'd be here doing what I'm doing right

now. So I want to thank you for that. You're welcome. I want to close with actually talking about

this women's collaborative that we're working on. So from your perspective, tell us a little bit

about what that is and what you're most looking forward to.

I'm not sure what it's going to be and that's kind of part of that all part. I think when you get two

or three women who have a circle of influence or people other that they know other women like

the one like Betsy we ran into out there, you know, she's one and then that day that we sat

down and talked I'd had that lunch with or breakfast. I guess that was another three hour

conversation with the head of the Reid charitable foundation. I thought well, there's another

female, I don't know exactly. Except to bring kind of have a think tank of like minded or even not

always like minded but but passionate innovators thought disruptors bringing that group

together, I'm not sure where it will lead, but I'm really excited to be a part of it.

And from your perspective, why is it important that it's also focused on the female side, it's like

no boys allowed but we are going for a group that is going to pick some initiative going we don't

know what yet to make some difference on a scale that is full of synergy and a greater whether

it's the Orlando, Florida, either whatever, whatever ends up to be, we're looking for something

that we can do as a unit that makes a difference. And so why why females specifically,

I think we're nurturers, I think we have a component that differs from our male counterparts. And

I love working with men and women. So I'm not like a militant female. But there's a nurturing

side to us that I think when brought into business, can be quite electric. It's very people centric,

it's and I look at financials all day long. So there's always a part of that, but I think it the greater

good happens when we're focused on nurturing people. Yeah. And I see that in a group of

women, at least every single one that I I'm in my circle, and then meeting ones that you've

engaged with, I'm like, there's, there's a purpose here to move something forward and connect

some dots amongst different industries, different people, different experiences, from the

entrepreneur to the C suite, female to the association, CEO to the philanthropist, mean, we don't

all have to have the same story to really find something passionate about and lift up a group of

people and maybe I would hope mentor a generation behind this too. I think mentoring is really

important. Yeah, I

agree. I think that's I can't wait to see where that goes. For all of us. It's gonna be really exciting.

And maybe maybe we'll be able to have them on and we can hear about their stories here. And

then we can also talk about whatever initiative we decide what that was like to make that

difference, whatever it is, but thank you again for making a difference for me and for so many

other people. And thank you for being on the show. Thanks

for having me.

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About the Podcast

Hosted by: Keri Laine
A series of conversations with the elite of the eliteā€¦. diving into the heart of their journey, with the hopes that others seeking to pave their way will be inspired by their stories.

KERI LAINE EXECUTIVE SOLUTIONS: Helping private equity and venture capital firms maximize profits by developing strong leaders, building efficient teams, and creating frameworks for success.

About your host

Profile picture for Keri Laine

Keri Laine

Keri has held C-level roles in various size organizations, public and private. In the past fifteen years, she has specialized in helping technology, manufacturing, and engineering companies disrupt their sector with entrepreneurial, innovative success across the globe. Keri has led organizations through employee growth of 100 to 4,000, both public and private with revenue stages from $40m to $5.6b.

She has facilitated 27 mergers and acquisitions globally, spearheading the talent and human capital perspective as well as business integration, strategic planning, internal communication, and change management.

She is a former global Chief level Executive that has taken three organizations public.

She is also certified in Change Management and is a Certified Executive Leadership Development Coach who has coached more than 200 top executives and entrepreneurs.