Standing at the intersection of 5 living generations, a global pandemic, and endless technologies bombarding us with information all the time, it is challenging to meaningfully connect with those around us. Connection is a central tenant of being human, however, so Barbara Randell created Future Image Group to address the isolation pandemic of our modern era. Listen in as she shares the secrets of building meaningful human relationships in our lives. Episode notes and bio found at uncoverthehuman.wearesiamo.com
Credits: Raechel Sherwood for Original Score Composition.
YouTube Channel: Uncover The Human
Alex: Welcome to Uncover the Human, where every conversation revolves around enhancing all the connections in our lives.
Cristina: Whether that's with our families, co-workers, or even ourselves.
Alex: When we can be our authentic selves, magic happens.
Cristina: This is Cristina Amigoni.
Alex: And this is Alex Cullimore.
Cristina: Let's dive in.
Alex: Let’s dive in.
Authenticity means freedom.
Authenticity means going with your gut.
Authenticity is bringing 100% of yourself. Not just the parts you think people want to see but all of you.
Being authentic means that you have integrity to yourself.
It's the way our intuition is whispering something deep rooted and true.
Authenticity is when you truly know yourself. You remember and connect to who you were before others told you who you should be.
It's transparency, relatability, no frills, no makeup, just being.
Alex: Well, welcome back to this episode of Uncover the Human. This week, we are joined by Barbara Randell or just Randell for shorts. Barbara has started a company called Future Image Group. She's here to talk a little bit about that, the work she does there. Welcome to the podcast, Randell.
Barbara: Thank you so much. I'm just delighted to be here. Thanks for the invitation.
Alex: We're really excited to have you. So let's dive right into a little bit of what you do with Future Image group. How did you get into this work?
Barbara: I was a legal recruiter, a legal headhunter for 15 years, and I worked with giant national firms and small regional firms, and I ended up owning my own shop. It was great. It was awesome. I was good at it. I've got a very strong psychology background, strong sociology background, strong corporate background, strong board background. I mean, I've got sort of all of these components. Then 2015 happened, which turned out to be a really great year, but it was challenging to go through. I got divorced, we ended up in trial, and then my back broke.
Cristina: That's a tough one.
Barbara: I was 50 at the time, so I looked at it as a very clear message from my universe to sit down, and let's think about what we actually want to be when we grow up. Headhunting was fun. It was great. Like I said, it was very lucrative and very wonderful. The one thing I really didn't love about it was talking people out of trees when they were miserable in their employment. Again, I was good at stroking people, good at managing that but it just – I was sort of burnt out from it.
Actually, when I got off my happy pills from my back surgery, I actually started thinking about what advice I used to give to my candidates, which is do what you love. What I love is relationships. I love humans. It's why I love your work so much. I just – It is absolutely the bedrock and the most fundamental piece of being human is how do we interact with other humans? So I started thinking back over the 15 years that I had done this, and the thread that I just kept going back to was the boomers complaining about, excuse my language, the goddamn millennials and the millennials complaining about the goddamn ancient boomers. I was curious about it because I was just interested.
What I found after a ton of research was that we have right now uniquely five generations all working together at the same time for the first time in history, and each one of these generations speak a different language. They came up with a different worldview. They came up with a different standard of living. They came up with a different standard of work. They came up with different socio-economic situations. They came up with – I mean, it was just so vastly different, and one thing that was absolutely clear was that each generation wasn't talking to each other, and that's a problem. The younger folks came up in a way with all of this inner technology and all of these other ways of communicating. The older folks, they don't text much.
But at the end of the day, everybody's talking different languages, and that was interesting to me. What I found was that the two youngest generations, the millennials and the Zs, are actually – actually, it's starting to drool into the Xers and the boomers-, they're actually losing the ability to develop, maintain, sustain, and nurture actual face-to-face relationships, which comes with it a variety of pretty alarming consequences. One is isolationism is up 40%. Suicide rates are up 15%. Suicide rates for people under the age of 18 are up 70, 7-0 percent. You can draw a direct parallel to that with people not actually having the skills, the words, the language to actually, again, develop, maintain, and sustain actual human-to-human relationships.
The other interesting piece about all of this is that we have evolved into this society of immediate gratification, and we've evolved into this society of the expectation of perfection, which has been populated largely by social media and all of that. So the younger folks, they feel like if I can't be perfect, if I have a zit, I'm not going to go out, right? Then they also don't have the language to actually maintain these sorts of relationships. They sort of cut their teeth on social media. I've got 8,000 friends. Well, no, you have 8,000 people that check the like button but not a real friend.
I listened to KBCO, and they did a really funny five o'clock commuter comedy where the host was saying or the comedian was saying, “You don’t have 8,000 friends, even though Facebook says you do. If you want to know how you can tell who your real friends are, call somebody up and say you need a ride to the airport at three o'clock in the morning.”
Cristina: That's a great way to look at it.
Barbara: Yeah. But the concept of, okay, so, yeah, you meet somebody, but then you have to follow up. Do it again. Then you've actually got to be vulnerable and then you've got to open up and then you've got to do all that kind of stuff. It’s just – That's not immediate, right? So we've been sort of hypnotized into thinking that these immediate connections are, in fact, connections when, in fact, they are simply not.
Anyway, I did all of this research and I thought, “Well, that's interesting.” I wonder if anybody's actually doing anything about it because I have a personal philosophy that you don't get to complain about something unless you're willing to do something about it. So get all these people out there complaining about everything and all these other others. I hired a marketing group, and we did a nationwide search to see if anybody was actually doing something about this void. We couldn't find anybody in the United States that was actually addressing this relationship issue. I thought, “Well, maybe that's my thing.”
So Future Image Group was born, and basically I wrote a curriculum, which teases apart all of the actual components. What are the steps? What are the fears? What are the obstacles that people face when they are trying to develop these relationships? We all know that business is done through relationships. You and I would not have met had we not had a mutual connection. Then all of a sudden, wow, we've got all this stuff in common. This is so cool. That's how business gets done, and we have 170 million millennials and Zs who are our next generation of leadership. If they don't know how to develop relationships, we're a world hurt.
Alex: Yeah. That's a rip on it.
Barbara: As I sort of began this journey, I really found out that this was kind of ubiquitous amongst all of the generations, not just the young ones, my generation, the Xs, and the boomers. Even to some extent, the traditionalists are all actually forgetting to talk, and they are forgetting language, and they are forgetting the words, and they are forgetting how to perpetuate these sorts of relationships. This is a real problem. I mean, when was the last board meeting you were at, and half the people on the board were texting or doing something else, instead of actually engaging and paying attention and giving people that common courtesy? There's this whole sort of societal and sociological net effect of not actually being able to do this thing, and we're all human.
Speaking as a former headhunter, I know that it costs between $170,000 and $250,000 dollars to replace each employee. That's a hefty hit. So, I mean, it does affect the bottom line. That was FIG’s story. I don’t know if you want me to tell the story of FIG JAM and how that happened.
Alex: I think it's entertaining.
Cristina: I think it's great.
Alex: So FIG is Future Image Group, just so people know.
Barbara: A friend of mine owns a family law practice, and she wanted to up her game. I tend to run with some pretty big dogs, and she said, “Can you invite me to one of these events, networking events that you go to?” I said, “Absolutely.” So I brought her and I saw her talking to a particular judge, who has an ordinarily high opinion of himself. We went out for a glass of wine afterwards, and I said, “I saw you talking to judge so-and-so. What do you think?” She was like, “Oh, my God. Totally FIGJAM.” I said, “FIGJAM? What is this FIGJAM?” She said, “Fuck I'm great, just ask me.” We thought that was really hilarious. I thought it was really hilarious, and so we had another glass of wine. She called me on the way home and she said, “I have the name of your company.” I was like, “What?” She said, “Future Image Group, with the tagline Join, Act, Motivate.”
Cristina: FIG JAM.
Barbara: On the back of every one of my business cards, just because it makes me smile every time I look at it.
Cristina: You've got a great logo.
Barbara: It’s a great logo. Yeah. There’s a jam named after it. A really good jam named after it. That's a great story.
Alex: I love the idea of just doing work on human relationships, basically, being more of a relationship management consultant, being able to understand and encourage people to understand how to connect, how to have better relationships. What does that work like in the day-to-day practice, as a practice, as FIGJAM?
Barbara: There's zero that is unique or special in any topic in my curriculum. We talk about things like boundaries. We talked about things like being intentional. We talk about things like slowing down. We talk about things like multitasking. We talk about things like fear, wardrobing. I worked in the fashion industry a million years ago in New York. Before COVID, the wardrobing talk that I would give was my most requested talk. I'm like, “Really? Because there's just so much more meaty stuff in what I do.”
Cristina: But that's the surface stuff that people dare to look at.
Barbara: Right. But the wardrobing thing, I mean, you think about all of the different professions, all of the different standards, all of the different uniforms that we have to employ out. The funny story, there's – I have a friend who's a partner at one of the big national firms here in town. We were out to lunch one day, and he was going off on, “The goddamn millennials in torn jeans, and a blazer, and they think that that's casual Friday, and who do they think they're representing.” Blah, blah, blah. I said, “Oh, my.” I said, “Mike, who's your biggest client?” He said, “You know it’s Amazon.” I said, “Right. And you don't think that if that lawyer did walk into Amazon, he wouldn't be paint balled if he came in in a three-piece suit?” It's because you're really thinking about understanding “how do you want to present, how do you want to be perceived?”
Alex: Yeah. That’s a good way to tie in with the generational conflicts too, since the move has definitely been more towards casual, towards jeans, towards that laid back office. That's more of – At least the tech scene, for sure, is very much leaning into that and a lot of the more creative spaces. That's definitely a good starting point if you're going to talk about intergenerational conflicts too because there's the immediacy of texting, immediacy of how we dress.
Barbara: Sure. Then that also goes into communication. How is management indicating that maybe torn jeans and a blazer, maybe that's not appropriate? Maybe just jeans and a blazer would be appropriate. Who knows? But so much of this is the older folks tend to assume that the younger folks came up the same way that they did. They came up with the same standards. They came up with the same social protocols. They came up – They didn't, and so they have to be educated, right?
I was – One of my clients, it was one of my younger ones, RTD hired me to work with her. Her boss called me up and said, “She is stealing from the company. She is patting her timecard. She is –” I’m like, “Wait, wait, wait, wait. Slow down. Let me ask. Let me figure this out.” I talked to her and I said, “There's this 10-hour-a-week discrepancy on your timecard, and they think that you might be patting your timecard.” I said, “Can you tell me about it?” She said, “Well, yeah. When I get in my car to drive to work, I logged that hour as working time. When I drive home, I log that hour,” because in her view, it was she was going to work and she was coming home from work. It was work.
Alex: That seemed that was well received.
Barbara: She got it. She was like, “Oh, really? I don't get paid for that part? Oh, okay.” She was finally getting it. But that could have been this huge blow up. She could have gotten fired, and that would have been on her record forever. So much of this is really being intentional with what is the message you want to convey, what is the intention behind what you're trying to help somebody. There's also this sort of almost savage comeuppance of the older folks saying, “Well, nobody told me how to do it, so why should I help them? They can die figuring it out. They can figure it out.”
Right. But you didn't come up with smartphones, you didn't come up with social media, and you didn't come up – When you had a question, you had to ask somebody with those questions. You had to talk to people. You got to go to the library. You had to ask a librarian. You had to ask a parent. That's simply not the case, which also goes back to the expectation of perfection. The younger folks think like, “I should know this.” But you don't know what you don't know, right? If you don't know what questions to ask, then you don’t know what questions to ask, right?
Cristina: Well, and everybody else expects them to know, so how many times do we actually hear that, “I have a question,” and the answer is, “Well, you should know.”? Well, if I knew, I wouldn't be asking. So can we drop the should and can we drop the shame and can you actually give me the answer?
Barbara: Well, and then that goes into the fear piece, right? I don't want to look like an idiot. I don't want –I mean, we all felt that when we were coming up looking like an idiot.
Alex: She hadn't thought of that in terms of asking for help. But the earlier generations, the younger generations that came up with Google, that is where you go to ask for help. You don't have to have shame for not knowing any of it because you just type it into a search engine. But I had never thought of that as a means of actual communication too in terms of developing relationships because you miss out on an opportunity to communicate with somebody else, right? You don't actually ask anybody, you don't have the experience of letting somebody know that you don't know, and you don't have to. You go ask the world's experts through a search bar.
Barbara: Right. The other unintended consequence of that is you lose the ability to hear somebody else's perspective, somebody else's opinion, maybe somebody, a different way of thinking about things. Being able to – So we've become this very sort of narrow, “Oh, I have a question. Google it. Great. Oh, okay, I've got this medical symptom. Okay, I'm going to go to WebMD. Oh, okay.” Right? Then we can extrapolate that into further societal issues, which are we then become absolutely married to whatever it is that we happen to believe in. God forbid, we actually talk to somebody with maybe a differing opinion or viewpoint. What that does is it just shuts down actual communication and actual relationship building.
I love talking to people that don't agree with my particular political or social or whatever agree – I mean, it's fascinating to me. When I’ll shut it down is when it starts getting, “You don't know what you're talking about,” and that goes back to your shame. But it's really, I mean, when you sort of go down this rabbit hole, it's really pretty systemic and it's really pretty alarming, frankly, because, again, we're human. We need this. As a species, we require interpersonal relationships.
Cristina: We definitely do. I love the concept of it's not just you meet once or you get introduced and you have that initial contact. Then like, boom, I have a relationship. No, you don't, and relationships don't just automatically continue if we don't maintain them. That maintenance, it takes time and it takes effort. It’s not okay to ghost someone or ignore them or expect them to just know that you're there for them when you make no effort.
Barbara: You're hitting it spot on. But that also goes to the lack of intentionality. The three of us met a while ago, and I'm like, “Let’s have – Let’s go out for happy hour,” right? Then we're doing this, and this relationship will continue. But it does require some effort. It doesn't happen automatically. Unfortunately, you guys are stuck with me now. I’m like gum on your shoe because I will stick with you. We will maintain this, but it requires putting a tickler on your calendar. “Oh, yeah. We haven't caught up in three months. Oh, yeah.” That's just not intuitive anymore for all the generations, frankly. Thinking more broadly, it’s becoming less of a skill and, frankly, a lost art. The interesting piece is that it is so easy to stand out.
Cristina: All you have to do is reach out every once in a while.
Alex: That’s true.
Cristina: It's that easy. Send a text saying, “Hi. Let’s get together. How's it going?”
Barbara: Right. In the professional environment, talk to younger people. Talk to the older people. They’re there for a reason. They have achieved a certain level of success for a reason. Talk to them about it. Learn from them and the same with the older folks. Each generation brings such an extraordinarily unique view vis-à-vis work, vis-à-vis life, vis-à-vis social life. Talk to each other, ask.
Alex: It does make sense to do these things, and it definitely feels like those are definitely items that if you practice, it gets a lot easier, right? If you get used to sending a text message that says, “Hey, let's get together,” or sending out an invite for happy hour or whatever it is, it gets easier. You then know like, “Well, I didn't die reaching out on that one,” and it’s much easier to then start doing that again. Eventually, it just becomes more habitual. But for people who aren't used to it, have you found good ways to communicate that to them? How do you tell people, “Here are some things to focus on.”?
[00:19:48] Barbara: I just tell them. My marketing manager is awesome. She's a millennial. She's fabulous. She's brilliant. She does all the things that I really can't do, nor have any inclination of learning how to do. One time, we had this little kerfuffle with technology. She figured it out. One morning at 7:30, she started texting me and she sent me seven texts in rapid succession, talking about a language that I don't understand. She knows I don't understand it. She knows I don't track very well with technological stuff. After the sixth one, I called her up and I was like, “Pick up the effing phone.” But if I texted that back, she would have thought I was really mad at her, right? But by calling her and just saying, “Come on,” she was like, “All right.” The whole matter was resolved in three minutes, as opposed to back and forth with texting and doing all that kind of stuff.
About a month ago, she called me and she also manages rock bands, which is cool. She called me up and she said, “You're not going to believe this.” I said, “Tell me.” She said, “I've been calling people, and you would not believe how much I'm getting done.” She said, “Yeah, most people hate it, but I get stuff done because it's not the endless back and forth with emails and texts. It’s just, pick up the phone.”
[00:21:16] Alex: I like what you said, that you called her and you were like, “Just pick up the phone.” If you texted that, that definitely would have come up harsh, probably. That’s something I hadn't thought of. When you go over text, you get very used to explicitly stating a lot of manners, right? I mean, if you get used to the text-based communication on a lot of emails and a lot of texts, you know you have to over indulge in a different kind of language, where you're essentially using overly polite language because you want to make sure it doesn't come across the wrong way. I hadn't thought of that before. But then when you try and translate that into the real world, that probably adds to the fear of just having general communication because if you have something hard to say, we're not super trained to do that, especially over text. You have to be explicitly nice.
[00:22:01] Barbara: But that also goes back to the ghosting thing and, “Oh, this is going to be hard. I don't want to have the conversation, so then let’s avoid it.” But, in fact, I'm of the belief. Almost every day, you can pretty much say anything to anybody if you use the right tone, if you do it at the right time, if you do it with the right intention, and if you choose the right words. But that requires forethought and that requires being intentional about, “Okay, what do I want to say? Who am I saying it to? How is it likely going to be received? What do I want the takeaway to be? What do I want the resolution to be?” Right?
But that requires time, and we live in an immediate gratification society, and I just want to puke it all out because it's scary and uncomfortable, and I don't want to do it. So I'm just going to word vomit. Then generally, it's not received well. Text and email, great, wonderful, terrific additional form of communication, but it lacks nuance. We're always going to overlay the mood that we are in when we are reading anything. So if somebody is saying something that bristles, all of a sudden, it's – That could blow stuff up. That's not the point of communication. The point of communication is finding resolution or finding a common ground.
[00:23:24] Cristina: Creating the relationship. We had one of – Our first episode we recorded was just Alex and I. We talked about hard conversations because they're avoided so often and because the avoidance is what ruins relationships, not that having them. It's one of my biggest pet peeves, coming from a society and a country that has the hard conversations. People will sit in a room and yell at each other for two hours. Then kiss each other and love each other and make sure that we're seeing each other again in 12 hours for pizza. So we talked about that, and one of the things that we said is like if you focus on the relationship, instead of what you're afraid of saying, then you prioritize the relationship.
As you said, you can say anything with the right tone and the right words and just the fact that you're seeing it, when you need to say it. Not six months later when you got caught in hiding information. You can say anything. Honestly, even six months later, you could still probably save the relationship that way because it's better than silence.
[00:24:28] Barbaba: Absolutely. If it's a difficult situation that involves anger or hurt or frustration or any of those things, which by the way, all boil down to fear, understanding that that's part of being human, and, yes, it's a not so pleasant part of it, but it is part of it, and embracing that piece of it. Feeling the feelings, letting them naturally come out, and then calm down, and then think about your words, and then think about how you're going to deliver a message that may be uncomfortable. But what happens organically is when you remove the emotional piece out of it.
I talk all the time about teasing the emotion out of the reality, being able to separate the two. They're all a part of us, right? They're just part of being human. If you can recognize the emotion, if you can recognize the feelings that are behind the emotion, if you can honor those feelings and what could be reactions, tease it out, and then think, “Okay, what am I trying to accomplish? What do I want to accomplish from this exchange?” But, again, that requires time and that requires slowing down and that requires actually creating space for yourself to do that.
[00:25:45] Alex: We've talked a little bit about how silence can be very uncomfortable, and that's one of the reasons that it's sometimes hard to slow down, especially in the middle of the conversation. If you're having a conversation, especially as it gets heated or if there's more intensity to it, it's harder to take that breath and space, even though that's often like you're seconds away from having an entirely different reaction. If you just allow for that, like the gap, but it's uncomfortable. It’s hard to start that, until you get more used to it.
[00:26:11] Barbara: You're talking about something really important, which is practice. These are skills. It’s like you don't go to the gym and start lifting 50-pound weight, right? You go and you start by two and a half pounds. It does require practice and it does require intention and it does require a consciousness of effort. We're losing practice and we're losing skills. So the more you avoid having a difficult conversation and the more you avoid even having any conversation or reaching out to anybody, the harder it's going to be the next time. To your point, Cristina, it's practice.
[00:26:45] Cristina: It never gets easy. You just get used to it. You get used to knowing that it's not the end of the world, and you can survive.
[00:26:51] Barbara: It does get easy, after you've been practicing for a while. I mean, I was in a meeting this morning with a bunch of board members, and some of them were pretty intense, tense conversations. One of them got going, and I literally shut her down. I literally asked her a question. She was complaining about something, and I said, “Well, why are you still doing it?” But, again, I did it very nicely. I did it with a big smile on my face. I’m like, “Explain this to me. Help me understand this.” That’s just very natural because it's absolutely authentic. It's absolutely genuine. I'm genuinely curious about why she's putting herself in this situation.
[00:27:30] Cristina: The company Alex and I used to work at, that was a rule that I had at least tried to establish for support tickets. It was like, “If you can't figure out where the problem is and have a clear solution in mind that you're providing to the client within the second back and forth email exchange, pick up the phone because you're not going to figure it out, and it's going to drag on, and you're going to make assumptions, and then you're going to go fix something that has nothing to do with our problem because you never listened.”
[00:27:59] Alex: But on the plus side, people will be angrier.
[00:28:01] Cristina: Yes.
[00:28:02] Alex: Practice by default means you're going to be making some mistakes there. I mean, it's going to be imperfect. In our world of perfection, our world of wanting to get it right and being asked to get it right from the get go, it can become then not worth trying if you can't get it right the first time.
[00:28:20] Barbara: Yeah. I mean, that's exactly right. I mean, I tell the story before COVID when I was speaking. But when I was little, my dad used to send me down to the corner store to buy him cigarettes, right? I was like 10 and I would walk down there by myself and I would have to talk to the store clerk, “Hi, here’s the note from my dad. My dad wants me to buy these things.” Invariably, somebody would push back on, and I'm like, “Right. Okay, which you can call him.” I had to learn how to have those kinds of conversations, right? Was I great at it? No. I was 10, but that's when I started practicing. I had to shake hands and look people in the eye when I was – I hate sounding like this because back in the day. But none of that exists anymore. You can avoid anything that is basically interactive communication. You can really pretty much avoid it if you want to. I had no choice. I got a lot of practice. I had to stand up when grownups came into the room. I had to shake them and look them in the eye, and I had to do scary things, all of these things. That's how you get good.
[00:29:28] Cristina: It kind of reminds me of what you said earlier around the baby boomers complaining, “Nobody taught me.” I'm like, “Well, actually they did.” Society taught you that you had to dress up a certain way and you had to stand up and you had to shake hands and you had to pick up the phone. You didn't just – You weren't born with that knowledge from nowhere.
[00:29:45] Barbara: It's a great point. It's a great point. Yes, we did. It also taught how to have a conversation and it taught us how to bridge those uncomfortable silences. It also taught us how to pivot if the conversation was going in a direction that we were comfortable going in and moving the conversation that way. But that was all done because of practice and because of modeling that behavior, right?
[00:30:11] Alex: We do it for long enough. It feels like we just take it for granted. I mean, it's like learning to walk. None of us like now think about it. We just walk. You learn conversations well enough, you eventually just start to do it, and you forget that you didn't know at some point. I think that takes some level of empathy, especially when you meet people who just don't have X skill yet. It can just be any skill. It can be conversations. It could be really any workplace skill that it takes some amount of empathy to be like, right? At some point, none of us knew what any of this was, and we all had to learn from somewhere, even if it feels very ingrained.
[00:30:41] Barbara: So when you're growing new behaviors and new skills, you're essentially growing new neural pathways. Those come together closer and closer, until they actually connect, but they're still pretty unstable. Then there's this stuff called myelin, which I always think of like adhesive tape, and it sort of goes around that connection. The more you practice something, the more you actually do something, the stronger that connection gets, and the more comfortable you get with it. So I use “driving a car”. I mean, I remember my first driving lesson. I was sweating. Teacher was telling me, “You know how to do that. No, stop.” It was terrifying. Now, you get in the car. You don’t even think. It’s just, do it. But it's exactly what you were just talking about Alex. It’s getting comfortable with, but that requires a little bit of discomfort at the beginning.
[00:31:35] Alex: It’s a good point and a great neuroscience reminder for why habits can be so helpful or so powerful anyway, but you get that smooth feeling of just, “Okay, now I can just do this. These things feel just more natural.” But on the flip side, we can also – Wait. I mean, the brains work in the same way, making the same connections with things we're less comfortable with and finding ways to avoid things. We can find very comfortable habits around the things we don't like to do.
[00:31:58] Barbara: It's spot on. That's exactly right and that's just the converse. But that's a damaging converse I think. That’s what keeps us from actually getting out of our comfort zones and actually doing stuff that isn't comfortable and so forth because we can. I mean, that's the beauty and the curse of all this technology. We can. We don't have to ask anybody what something means. We Google it, right?
[00:32:22] Cristina: See how that works out long term, not short term.
[00:32:26] Alex: As you say, it's embarrassing to admit. But into my 20s for a while, I did not really like talking on the phone particularly at all. At some point, I think like late teens into early 20s, I had what I felt like a giant epiphany at the time, which was that when you get on the phone, you actually just have to say the things you need to say. You don't have to build it up into something. It took me a lot longer than I'd like to admit to realize that that's all you actually had to do. If you want to call and make a reservation at a restaurant, you can actually just call and ask for a reservation and there's not like – I don't know what I expected.
[00:33:00] Barbara: When I was little, my best friend's name is Elizabeth Saltzman. We used to talk multiple times every single day on the phone and so forth. But when I wanted to talk to her, I called her house and I had to talk to scary Mr. Saltzman, who really didn't have a lot of patience with me because I called all the time. But the thing was I really wanted to talk to Elizabeth. Hi, Mr. Saltzman. It’s Barbara Randell. Is Elizabeth around? He would sometimes hang up on me and he would sometimes get Elizabeth. That was a scary conversation because Mr. Saltzman was scary.
[00:33:34] Cristina: I remember those days of calling. Then you know you've made it when you don't even have to finish the sentence. As soon as they say hello, you say, “Hey, Cristina,” and they're like, “Yeah, getting her.”
[00:33:45] Barbara: Yeah, exactly. But if you think about it, my son's 26, and he has spoken to parents because he's my son, and I made him. But he's never had to actually call the house. That goes to manners. That goes to courtesy. That goes to how you address a senior person? How do you – All of those and those are all neurotransmitters that we’re all developing and growing.
[00:34:11] Cristina: It reminds me of the fact that in Italy, in Italian, we have the formal way of talking to people and the informal way of talking to people, the you and the he and she. I grew up. I'm old enough that I had to use the form for anyone, regardless of age that I didn't know, unless they were younger than me. So I grew up with that, I still have it, and it's really hard for me right now when I travel back to Italy. I'll walk into a shop, and somebody who's younger than me or even my age uses the informal to address me. I have this like irk, “You don't know me. I don't care that we’re the same age.” I'm like, “You still don't know me, and I'm a customer, and you are the sales clerk. No, you don't get to say you. You get to say “she” to me.”
[00:35:02] Barbara: I like the fact that my sons would call me by Randell, and I like that. I never wanted the Mrs. or whatever, anything else. But I agree with you. I feel the same way when somebody comes up and says, “Hey, you.” It’s like, “I don't know you. What are you talking about?”
[00:35:15] Cristina: Well, also because back when I grew up, Italy is all about relationships. I mean, the whole concept of business is done through a relationship. That's where it all comes together. There is no other way to survive or do business without relationships there. When you got to, as a young person, address an older person, whether it was a shop owner or somebody’s parents or whatever whoever was with the informal way, that's when you know the relationship was deep. That's when I get priority when I go to the shoe shop in my hometown because I get to walk in and say, “Ciao, Enrico,” instead of saying buongiorno. He will drop whatever he's doing and go get shoes for me, no matter how many people are in front of me.
[00:35:58] Barbara: You always raised a really important point because those are nonverbal, unspoken social cues that indicate the level of your relationship, right? Those are also nuances within relationships that are really being kind of lost. It's sort of ubiquitously casual.
[00:36:20] Alex: Yeah. Actually, Cristina. I think this podcast on how language shapes how we think about the world. Like in Russian, they have a lot of different words for shades of blue. So as a people, Russian people are better at discerning shades of blue because they have to describe them in much more nuanced fashions, and there's lots of different examples of those. There’s people that don't use left and right. They use north and south. That's it. Everything is directionally based on even wherever you're standing. It's all north, south, east, west.
I was thinking that when you're talking about Italian and having a more formal version and a less formal. The language itself, we're trained to think of how well we know about people, how will we know somebody in how we talk to them. That's an interesting – It’s not a nuance that we really have in English. We have you and then we use it differently. Like you were saying, Randell, if you say, “Hey, you,” and that might feel a little informal and feel a little bit like we don't know each other that well. But we don't have a different word that a lot of the romantic languages have.
[00:37:17] Barbara: My mentor who I lost last year, she was my mentor for 40 years. She is one of the first female psychiatrists. She trained in Vienna with Anna Freud. I mean, she is like that person but she told me once, and I'll never forget it. She said, “What separates us as human beings as a species is we have the gift of English language. We have the ability to actually articulate exactly what we mean to articulate but we've gotten so lazy and we've gotten so out of practice from actually slowing down, thinking, “Okay, what do I want to say?”
You know this, Alex, as a writer. You know what I mean. I write but I always write with a thesaurus open, just because I want to get exactly the right tone. I want to get exactly the right nuance in the words that I choose. I get this commentary you do too. I get this comment all the time, “You've got such a great vocabulary.” I do, I have a thesaurus, and I also know what it is that I want to say or what are the words that I want to use in order to say it to convey exactly what I'm trying to articulate.
[00:38:27] Alex: It's a good time, how technology helps us communicate too. You can get to a thesaurus anywhere you can get to Google. When you know what you want to say, the thesaurus is helping you get there. You can use technology, and that's why a lot of people wanted to for a while there. I think it's less popular now. Just blanket paint all social media and texting is just a very, very bad thing. There's nothing that will be gained to this, but there's ways to use these things to enhance just regular human interaction.
[00:38:52] Barbara: It's a fine point as it's like with anything else. Some of our most wonderful qualities, some of the most wonderful tools that we have, can also provide the most vulnerability and can be very damaging, right? So it's like anything else. It’s finding the balance. When is it better to pick up the phone or, God forbid, actually go and talk to somebody? If you're trying to memorialize a conversation or if you're trying to document the process of conversation or how we got to this particular outcome, email is great, and technology is miraculous. It's absolutely miraculous. Where it starts getting scary is like with the social dilemma. Yeah, I was looking at a necklace on Tiffany's website about a month ago. All of a sudden, Tiffany ads keep popping up on my Facebook. I mean, it's –
[00:39:44] Alex: One thing I'm curious about, I mean, practice is such a great term. You have to practice these things for practicing relationships, practicing conversations. Have you found good techniques that you'd like to recommend to people or just ways that you suggest starting practice for people that want to practice more?
[00:40:01] Barbara: I think number one is recognizing you're avoiding having a conversation, when you're avoiding doing something, the first step is to understand “why are you avoiding it, right?” But that requires some introspection and that requires some self-awareness. So I always, always default to why. It's probably my favorite word in the English language. It is “why are you doing something? Why are you behaving this way? Why is your stomach ready to jump out of out of your body because you're so fearful and you want to throw up?”
Okay, well, then if you can understand why, then you can formulate a plan to get around, and I always talk about how you have to know where you want to be. Then you can backtrack and figure out how you want to get there. But you have to know where you want to be. If you know where you want to be, and all of a sudden you can't pick up the phone or you can't do it, then that's a great opportunity to sort of say why. Recognizing the fear or recognizing the avoidance, recognizing why am I scared. Is it because I don't want to look like an idiot? Is it because I think this person's going to judge me? Is it because I am not feeling good in my skin right now? Nine times out of 10, all of the things boil back down to us.
[00:41:20] Cristina: Where do you want to be? You understand that. Good. Now, let's backtrack on how we get there. Yes, it is a journey. You can't just jump ahead and teleport yourself to the future or expect your employees to teleport themselves to the future.
[00:41:35] Barbara: Right. Or mind read. If you have employees – There’s this funny story. I went to visit my aunt and uncle in California a million years ago. She was running around. She was a pest because her cleaning lady had made some mistake and didn't clean right. I said, “But, Liz, did you ever walk her through and show her exactly how you wanted your house to be cleaned and your laundry done?” She said, “No. She should just know that.” I’m like, “Right. But this is your house, and you may have different ideas about how you want your house cleaned and all of her other clients.” So you're going to remove that irritation and obstacle because she's not doing it right by educating her, and that's setting expectations.”
It’s the same thing with humans, right? If we can set that expectation of honesty, openness, candor, vulnerability, and all of that kind of stuff, then it becomes pretty intuitive in terms of executing those things.
[00:42:32] Alex: That's a great example. I love the idea of just having to explain yourself and just be – Honestly, a lot of it sounds like a lot of the advice that you get when you go through like mindfulness, and you try to understand more of that. It's a lot about taking the time to understand why I am reacting this way. I liked your terminology earlier. You said teasing the emotion out of the reality, and there's so much of like, “I'm definitely having an emotional reaction.” It’s not about shutting that off and pretending like it wasn't there because that's not going to help. It's about knowing it's there and understanding how to differentiate that between that. I love the idea of starting with intention. Where do you want to be? What's your WHY in this situation?
It actually reminded me of that comment, what you're talking about like calling up your friend on the phone and having to go through her dad. You have the why. You know what you want to get out of getting on the phone and you're willing to go through some of the obstacles to get there. I don't know if it's a great idea to slow down enough to know where you are trying to go in the first place.
[00:43:24] Barbara: But that's also a skill, is being able to – I mean, I can – I do it really, really quickly and very naturally now. I didn't always. There's a great saying or meme or something that I saw somewhere, which is just because it only takes me 10 minutes to do something doesn't mean that it didn't take me 10 years to learn how to do it.
[00:43:41] Alex: I saw that in relation to – It was Usain. They’re talking about Usain Bolt. They're like, “Yeah, he won the gold medal in, what, nine seconds running the 100 meter dash.” That race happened in nine seconds, but it happened over 20 years.
[00:43:56] Cristina: He didn't just get there. It reminds me of something that came up before a workshop that I facilitated this morning on leadership. My co-facilitator actually said, “Hey, this organization that I'm sending a proposal really wants to see results. Their complaint is that they keep doing these one-day presentations or even two-hour or one-hour presentations, and then people don't walk away and practice what they learned in the one-hour presentation.” She's like, “How do I explain that to them on why that's happening?” All I could think of was like, “Well, you know what? I can go to Wimbledon and watch Federer play tennis once for four hours. That doesn't mean I'm going to play tennis when I come home.”
[00:44:41] Barbara: That's part of the reason that my sweet spot with FIG is doing one-on-one training because I can go and I can talk a blue streak. I can talk about all these things in FIG for six days. It doesn't mean it's not going to sink in, right? They're going to say, “Oh, good. I listen to that. Check.” Then they're going to go up and they're going to go do whatever it is that they've always been doing. But with the one-on-one, it's really interesting. You become accountable to it and you have to practice it. I'm a very safe person to practice it with because I don't judge. I am a third-party independent observer with no skin in the game, except to help you be more rich and more full and more satisfied and all of that kind of stuff.
Just the other day, I had a young person that I'm working with. She was like, “But it's hard, Randell. It's hard.” I said, “Yes. Hard is hard. Hard is not just a word. Hard, the action, is hard, and it's going to require a little bit of discomfort, and it's going to require a little bit of feeling like a cat in water and yeah. But once you own it, you're going to own it, and then it's not hard anymore.”
[00:45:56] Cristina: That's the beauty. You can't really go back. It's like awareness. You can’t unknow. You can pretend to, then you can try to, and then you're not going to sleep at night because –
[00:46:06] Barbara: Well, like it’s a pure denial. I mean, it’s just people choose not to.
[00:46:11] Alex: There’s an interesting thing about the concept of hard because you can go the hard path and you can learn these things through practice and falling over. Or you cannot learn them, and it will theoretically seem easier. But you're going to be experiencing death by a thousand paper cuts as little tiny hard incidents start to pack up over time because you haven't done the hard push.
[00:46:30] Barbara: Right. The universe has this amazing ability to keep giving you the lessons that you need to learn. You're going to get another lesson, and there's no judgment. They're not saying you're a terrible person because you didn't get it. It's just, “Okay. Let's try again.”
[00:46:50] Alex: Those are some of the worst mental blocks.
[00:46:50] Cristina: Let’s make it a little bit different this time. Yeah. I think Oprah actually talked about that in one of her podcasts. I think I heard it on. It's like the universe will just kind of like slowly tap you on the shoulder. Then if you ignore the tap, it'll be – Again, they're kind of talking your ear and you don’t talk — it keeps going until a brick wall smacks you across the head.
[00:47:14] Barbara: Right. A 2 by 4.
[00:47:17] Cristina: Yeah. You're going to get it. Yeah. Just –
[00:47:21] Barbara: I love thinking about it that way because it's kind of benevolent, right? It's not critical. It's not judgmental. It's just, “Nope. Yup. Yup, we got some more work to do. Okay, here's another try.”
[00:47:32] Alex: Yeah. I'm sure we've all been in those moments where like, “Oh, yeah, I didn't really learn until now. Yeah, the brick wall just hit me hard, and now getting up is harder.”
[00:47:44] Barbara: It gets your attention. I mean, I talk about the five stages of change, which goes back to your question, Alex, about what are actual specific things that you can do. The first stage is you don't even know you're doing anything that other people might find odious or off or – So you're just sort of skipping along doing your life. Then all of a sudden you get your first tap on the shoulder, and it's like, “Oh, my God. I do that?” So the second phase is awareness. The third phase is you catch yourself right after you exhibited the behavior again, and it's like, “God, dammit. I did it again.”
Then the fourth phase is you're able to catch yourself before you do it. The fifth stage is you don't even think about it anymore. But the point is that it is a process, and that's the practice, right? That's the self-awareness that you have to have. It's, “Oh, God. I'm doing this awful behavior that I don't really want to have the part of me catching yourself.”
[00:48:49] Alex: It's a good reminder that it's normal to not get that one. It sounds like you’ve learned it one day and you're like, “Oh, my God. I do that? Well, I'll never do that again.” Done and done. No, it's a process and it can help defuse some of the shame that would otherwise come because there is definitely that feeling of like, “Oh, crap. I did it again.” You can either go more self-punishing at that point or you can be like, “Okay. Well, I recognize it. I got to be able to step and move forward.” You can de-stigmatize it to yourself a little bit too and then allow it to be okay because nobody gets that just off the bat perfectly.
[00:49:20] Barbara: Absolutely. That goes back to delivering a message with time, tone, intention, and words. The words you speak to yourself are just as important as words that you speak to other people. If you've got the tapes running in your head that you're a terrible person and you’re, “Oh, God. You did it again. You idiot.” All that does is it's just self-defeating, right? It's demoralizing. Nine times out of 10, our worst critics are ourselves, right?
[00:49:49] Cristina: On having the grace for others too. I mean, like avoiding that like, “Well, you should know because I've told you twice already.” You’re like, “Oh, thanks for the shame again, and I wouldn't ask if I didn't know. So can we just move forward to the answer?”
[00:50:05] Barbara: I personally think the word should ought to be removed from the English language.
[00:50:09] Cristina: Thank you. It is completely removed and taboo as part of our company. SHOULD and JUST are not allowed words.
[00:50:20] Barbara: I love that. It is. It's inherently shameful. It’s inherently demeaning and belittling.
[00:50:28] Alex: I think even in the TED Talk on language, they're talking about how the English language can be pretty oriented towards blame. Somebody knocking over a vase or something and breaking it, it can be something where in a lot of other languages it becomes like the vase broke. Whereas in English we’re like, “She broke the vase.” We have the direction. We have the should. We have the implied. There was another path that should have been taken. There's blame to be had essentially, and it becomes something that kind of helps inform us a little bit probably more than we think that maybe the world isn't just full of intention and action and blame and shame as we'd like to infuse a lot of our conversation with.
[00:51:03] Barbara: It's really interesting and it makes me think of – Because all shame is when you're throwing shade or when you're blaming somebody else, all you're doing is absolving yourself from any responsibility. So much of that is, “I can't be wrong,” as opposed to, “Oh, dammit. I broke the vase,” right?
[00:51:23] Cristina: It's so true.
[00:51:24] Barbara: But being wrong is part of growth.
[00:51:26] Cristina : If we shamed every toddler that is learning how to walk –
[00:51:31] Barbara: Nobody would walk.
[00:51:31] Cristina: After their first stumble, nobody would be walking. So why is it that we can shame adults if they have to ask the same question three times?
[00:51:40] Barbara: It's exactly right.
[00:51:41] Alex: Because you should know by now.
[00:51:43] Cristina: You should know because it's just that easy.
[00:51:43] Barbara: It's just that easy. Clearly, you are thick if you can't figure it out.
[00:51:53] Alex: So stop asking or keep appearing thick.
[00:51:55] Cristina: Yeah. Because it can possibly be that I didn't explain it well enough.
[00:51:59] Alex: It never happened in my life. Perfect explanations every time.
[00:52:03] Cristina: Of course. So it gave you the exact information that I knew you were going to need.
[00:52:08] Alex: Or probably your personal lens on the world and found out exactly where this would hit your ears.
[00:52:15] Cristina: Yeah. By osmosis, I also gave you all my skills that you didn't have to understand the context to begin with.
[00:52:23] Alex: That’d be nice.
[00:52:24] Cristina: We just resolved all the world’s problems with that. Well, this was a wonderful conversation, which I'm sure it could go on for many, many, many, many hours and weeks.
[00:52:33] Alex: I think we have lots of other topics.
[00:52:35] Barbara: I mean, I love talking with you two. I love finding kindred spirits and people who sort of swim in the same swimming pool as FIG does, so I'm grateful to both of you. Thank you.
[00:52:46] Cristina: We're grateful for you.
[00:52:48] Alex: We're glad to find other people. We love expanding the circle. It's always fun to meet people. It's great.
[00:52:54] Cristina: Well, definitely another happy hour.
[00:52:56] Barbara: Definitely.
[00:52:57] Alex: A couple things before we wrap up. First of all, what does authenticity mean to you?
[00:53:01] Barbara: To me, it really boils down to sort of stripping away other people's opinions and finding what's important to you. When we're young, we don't have the ability to self-evaluate. We don't have the ability to determine. We don't know. We're young. We don't have anything to gauge any kind of behavior off of. So we pay attention to our parents and we pay attention to the grown-ups. They're telling us, “Hey, you should be doing this or you shouldn't be doing this,” and that's all great.
Then as you start to grow, if you're interested in finding authenticity, you start to issue some of the things that maybe don't exactly jive with the way you see the world and maybe don't comport with the way that you want to conduct yourself. I think authenticity is having the courage, frankly, to be able to step away from other people's expectations and shoulds.
I grew up in a very narrow world, right? It was, “This is how we do things. This is how you're expected to do things.” I am the black sheep. I am the apple that fell and rolled away from the tree. But it was because this is how we've always done things. It just never satisfied me, and so I did. I struck out on my own, and I started watching other people and seeing how they interacted and what felt good to me and what felt terrible to me. Who did I respect, and who was really kind of an awful human being and all that?
From all of those different pieces – Sorry to bring this back to me, but it's the best way I can use it that I can describe it. But I was able to sort of piece together all of these different types of characteristics from a huge myriad of people who influenced my life, good and bad, because I say that every single human being, every single experience, every single situation is a teacher. If you choose to extract the lessons from that teacher, good or bad, all you can do is continue to grow. I like to think that I have been able to extract different characteristics, different ways of thinking differently – What felt good? Did it feel good when my aunt Maryland said, “Hi, Barbara. It's so good to see you.” Yeah, that made me feel good, and so I sort of wanted to adopt that warmth, right?
Yeah, and I'm old. I mean, I'm going to be 57, so I've been doing this for a long time. But what I realized is that I have pieced together all of these different characteristics and attitudes and strengths and weaknesses and all of that. I have, I believe I have, or at least I'm very well on my way to finding my authentic self to actually being actualized. But it was conscious. When I saw behavior that I thought was terrible, I said, “I’m never going to do that or I'm going to try never to do that.” If I saw things that I really loved and made me feel good, I tried to adopt those things.
My son, he is my pride and joy because I made a commitment the day I delivered him, which was I'm going to break the chain of dysfunction and all this other eek that was going on, and I did. The way I did that was by not being judgmental, recognizing that he is a small human and does not know how to do things, being empathetic when I needed to be, redirecting him when he needed it without shame, without guilt, without anything else. I tell people all the time that I've lost my mind with my son, exactly four times in his life. He can tell you every single one of the reasons that I lost my mind.
But four times in 26 years, I used to get beaten daily. You know what I mean? But the point is that I reinforced him as a human, as a person, as his own person. I didn't tell him “No, don't think like that.” It's “Oh, wow. That's really interesting. Talk to me more about that?” Did he go through what every male goes through between the ages of 18 and 24? Yes, he lost his ever loving mind because he's a male, young adult. That's what happens with male young adults. I liked him very much back then, and he knows that. But he had to go through that. He had to do that in order to break away. I understood that it was hard as a mom, but he's out on the other side and he's a good man. That's what authenticity is, it’s “are you a good person to yourself?”
[00:57:29] Cristina: I love that definition.
[00:57:31] Alex: That's fantastic. I really love several aspects of it. I love the intentional aspect of it, talking about practicing and seeing what works and doesn't work and understanding lessons, good or bad, as just constantly being available to you. I also really love the addition of the word courage. I think that is something that's huge in trying to live more authentically, be more yourself to issue other people's opinions. That takes a lot of courage, and there's a lot of work and time that goes into that. One word that I do want to mention because you brought it up in your blog is you called it the process of authenticating, and I love that. That's a great term.
[00:58:05] Barbara: Thank you.
[00:58:06] Alex: And that leads us to our other question for you. Where can people find you and where can they find all your work?
[00:58:11] Barbara: Futureimagegroup.com, all one word. The blogs are under the Resources tab. It sort of gives a nice overview of what we do and why we do it and why it's important because it's important. We’re people. We’re humans.
[00:58:25] Alex: Yes. I was commenting on somebody's LinkedIn post today on the difference between – You don’t call them hard skills. They’re technical skills and they’re not soft skills. They’re people skills. Then he went on to explain something, elaborate on that. My comment was like, “Yes, and people skills are essential. They're not optional, unless you are a person that has zero interactions with other humans because you live alone on Mars.”
[00:58:52] Barbara: I sometimes refer to it as the technology of being human. It’s always this sort of a head snap for people? They're like, “Wait, what?”
[00:59:01] Alex: I like that term.
[00:59:02] Cristina: Yeah, I do too. It allows you to be human. Can't skip it.
[00:59:08] Barbara: This was so great, you guys. Thank you so much.
[00:59:10] Cristina: Thank you.
[00:59:11] Alex: Thank you so much for joining, Randell. Thank you everybody for listening.
[00:59:15] Cristina: Thank you for listening to Uncover the Human, a Siamo podcast.
[00:59:19] Alex: Special thanks to our podcast operations wizard, Jake Lara, and our score creator, Rachel Sherwood.
[00:59:25] Cristina: If you have enjoyed this episode, please share, review, and subscribe. You can find our episodes wherever you listen to podcasts.
[00:59:32] Alex: We would love to hear from you with feedback, topic ideas, or questions. You can reach us at email@example.com or at our website, wearesiamo.com, LinkedIn, Instagram, or Facebook. We Are Siamo is spelled W-E A-R-E S-I-A-M-O.
[00:59:51] Cristina: Until next time, listen to yourself, listen to others, and always uncover the human.
© 2021 Uncover the Human
Founder & President at Future Image Group
Barbara Randell moved to Denver from New York City in 1992, where she worked in the fashion industry for 10 years. Window design, producing fashion shows, design, store development, marketing, merchandising etc. we’re all great in NYC, but not very marketable in Denver.
Once in Denver she secured a position in the marketing department of a local oil company, rebranding a line of products and participating in developing an ad campaign (1998 - 2001).
In 2001, she was then recruited by a regional legal headhunting firm in their marketing department (2001 - 2004). She didn’t know the difference between litigation and transactional law, so faced a STEEP learning curve. She learned how to speak ‘legal’, grew a book of business and was recruited by the largest recruiting outfit in the world to grow their legal division. When she started in 2004, they had 2 recruiters, when she left in 2007, they had 6.
In 2007, she opened her own legal ‘headhunting ‘ business in 2007, Randell Bartlett & Benu and owned it until 2016.
In November, 2017, Future Image Group was born, offering a curriculum geared towards - but not exclusive to - millennials in the workforce. After noticing an alarming trend of younger professionals - and sadly now more senior members of the workforce - loosing the ability to develop, cultivate and maintain relationships with their clients, co-workers, superiors and subordinates. She wanted to learn if anyone in the country was addressing this profound issue. They were unable to identify even 1 organization focused on teaching this group HOW to develop professional relationships; so FIG was created to address this void.
Barbara Randell holds the following volunteer positions:
- Member of the Colorado Judicial Institute since 2010, Chair of Development, 2015 - 2017, Chair of the Board 2017 - present
- Faculty of the Young Lawyers Division of the CO Bar, ‘Marketing Bootcamp Series’ 2017 - present
- Member of the Marcia Brady Tucker Foundation - 1980 - present, multiple positions, currently President
Barbara Randell and Future Image Group can be found at the following links:
- Future Image Group Website: www.futureimagegroup.com
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/barbara-randell-7085607