Episode 48

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Published on:

3rd Apr 2024

48: Veteran Employment in Manufacturing- with Retired LtCol Kathy Lowrey Gallowitz

Meet Retired LtCol Kathy Lowrey Gallowitz

Retired LtCol Kathy Lowrey Gallowitz is an award-winning businesswoman with first-hand experience hiring Veterans who coaches employers how to boost productivity and reduce turnover by hiring and retaining Veterans. She helps companies become “Veteran-Ready” through the creation of a Veteran Talent Strategy. Her “Veteran Talent Academy” equips employers to find, hire and leverage Veterans’ skillsets. She is the Founder & CEO of Vanguard Veteran, LLC, author of “Beyond ‘Thank You For your Service,’ The Veteran Champion Handbook” for Civilians and has Masters degrees in Nursing and Political Science. She grew up as a Navy ‘brat,’ served nearly 30 years as an Air Force Officer and is married to an Army combat Veteran. Kathy also equips volunteer faith community leaders to build Military Ministries to cultivate mutual support, a sense of belonging and spiritual resiliency for military-connected people

Why are veterans particularly well suited to work in manufacturing? Well, Kris, you're probably can answer this just as well since you've spent your entire career there. Still, I think top of the list is quality assurance, quality control, safety mindset, and operational discipline. Those are the attributes that align most beautifully within the manufacturing setting But then beyond that is our love for small unit integrity. And with that integrity comes teamwork, leadership, and camaraderie. In the military, we're broken up into small groups and into bigger groups. And it facilitates problem solving, critical thinking, chain of command. And all that stuff mirrors the manufacturing industry, because everybody's got to know their job. You got to do your job right the first time to create that product to meet mission. 

Then there are other attributes I've heard employers describe military people's anchors. They're anchors because we're used to managing stressful conditions, high ops tempo, and potential conflict. And so we're pretty good problem solvers, critical thinkers, and calm under pressure, so that anchoring has it's ripples throughout the organization and really makes a difference. The other key attributes that I should have introduced way up front are technical skills and aptitudes. 

Now we may not have the exact training on the exact piece of equipment, but one thing we do do is train, train, train, and train some more. And more often than not, it's technical. Now that wasn't my career. I was in nursing and public affairs and I'm not very technical, but most military people who are interested in manufacturing probably have some sort of technical aptitude that they can bring.

And so hiring for character and hiring for aptitude and training is in a manufacturer's best interest because you will get a return on investment by hiring that veteran that may have a different resume than you want. Take a chance, train them. You won't be disappointed.

Where do manufacturing employers find veterans?

That's one of the biggest complaints employers typically have because they feel confused and lost about how to connect with veteran talent. That's one of the things I do best. First of all, American job centers are all over the country and they give priority to military candidates. So that's a good place to go look.

And, as I understand it, most of those job seekers are unemployed. There are also local and national nonprofits that connect employers to veterans and or vice versa, and or prepare veteran job seekers. One of those is Hiring Our Heroes. One of those is 50 Strong. 

But you can go look in your local community and look at how you can find veteran talent. They are around certainly there is varying quality, but you could go talk to your Department of Veteran Services (VA). They should have some general understanding of where to find those kinds of services. Of course, if you have a military base, a guard, or a reserve base near you, knock on that door. You knock on that door until somebody listens. And you do have to be persistent, because they're looking for good companies with good wages, with good cultures.

And sometimes it's hard to get in the door. We had Hiring Our Heroes at Luke Air Force Base for a hiring event and partnered with their Transition Assistance Program (TAP). And not every employer could get it. And then there's tons of job boards out there.

Recruit Military is another big nationwide recruiting. They do job fairs and have a directory of job boards with job fairs. Firms that do this work, they're out there, but you got to roll up your sleeves and go find them. 

And it's confusing for people to know how to do it. The theme is develop trusting relationships with that source of veteran talent so that they know you're serious. The squeaky wheel gets the grease and keeps in touch with them monthly, offering to support them and otherwise. Let's see. The Guard, the Marines, Army Reserve. I'm not so familiar Wounded Warrior. They all sort of have their own specific job service program. And so that's why I do what I do. I love meeting these people and connecting employers to them.

And so much more… 


Connect with Kathy!

LinkedIn

Facebook

Instagram

VanguardVeteran.com

Vanguard Veteran Overview

Veteran Talent Academy

Complimentary Veteran-Ready assessment

Vanguard Veteran's Employer Consulting and Training

O*Net Online Military Crosswalk Search

Invite Vanguard Veteran to Speak

“Beyond ‘Thank you For Your Service:’ the Veteran Champion handbook for civilians”


Connect with the broads!

Connect with Erin on LinkedIn for web-based solutions to your complex business problems!

Connect with Lori on LinkedIn and visit www.keystoneclick.com for your strategic digital marketing needs!  

Connect with Kris on LinkedIn and visit www.genalpha.com for OEM and aftermarket digital solutions!

Transcript
[:

And it's Walter Isaacson who wrote the Steve Jobs biography is a writer of it. And he's a fantastic writer.

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[00:00:26] Lori Highby: It's so interesting to just like get the backstory about this crazy smart, insane man from his perspective, but also like people that have been in his life in different stages of his life.

But what do you read it right now, Kris?

[:

I'm reading The Covenant of Water. I'm right in the middle. It's a really big novel. It's a fictional novel. But it's whining stories of all of these different characters, and it's quite beautiful, but I'm not complete yet. It's on Oprah's Book Club, and I am a non fictional reader and listener all the time, but this particular one just kept calling to me, and I'm like, okay, I'm gonna read it. And It's turning out to be great. What about you, Erin?

[:

And it's like a historical fiction about a Atlantic Crossing that went totally haywire in the 1700s, and it's about the history of basically maritime warfare between Britain and Spain. And when they didn't have enough sailors, they would just go and grab these guys off the street. They would kidnap them. Fellas, just, you know, having a beer or whatever in a pub, they'd descend to this group called the Press Gang and they'd grab them and they'd throw them on the ship and they'd be like, adios, family. That was how they staffed their ships.

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[00:02:17] Erin Courtenay: Things have changed. Yeah. A lot.

[:

And it's 10 percent is based on our circumstances, which are always fleeting, right? 50% are based on our genetics and makeup. And I think the rest of it is choice.

And so yeah, it's it's brilliant. It's fascinating to really kind of think about what is happiness and how do we get there and how do we keep it?

[:

[00:03:05] Kris Harrington: Yeah, and I think I've heard a speaker that's a professor at a university that studies happiness, and it's very similar to what you just shared. It's like 50 percent is within our control, but 50 percent is part of our makeup. And he has some ideas for how you can control the 50 percent. I'll have to bring that to another discussion someday because I took notes but it's spending time with faith and family. It's having a purpose.

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[00:03:42] Kris Harrington: Well, for our guests that are listening today, this is retired Lieutenant Colonel Kathy Lowrey Galowitz, who's been sharing her information with us. So thank you for sharing your book and joining our banter. I want to introduce you before we start asking some questions, but Kathy Lowrey Galowitz is an award winning business woman with firsthand experience hiring veterans who coaches employers how to boost productivity and reduce turnover by hiring and retaining veterans. She helps companies become veteran ready through the creation of a veteran talent strategy. Her Veteran Talent Academy equips employers to find, hire, and leverage veterans skill sets. She is the founder and CEO of Vanguard Veteran LLC, author of Beyond Veterans: Thank you for your service, the veteran champion handbook for civilians and has master's degrees in nursing and political science. She grew up as a Navy brat, served nearly 30 years as an Air Force officer, and is married to an Army combat veteran. Kathy also equips volunteer faith community leaders to build military ministries to cultivate mutual support, a sense of belonging and spiritual resiliency for military connected people.

So Kathy, thank you for being here with us today on the broadcast.

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[00:06:00] Kris Harrington: Yeah. Well, thanks for being here. We're ready to learn from you today.

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[00:06:07] Kris Harrington: So yeah. Why are veterans particularly well suited to work in manufacturing?

[:

And so we're pretty good problem solvers, critical thinkers and calm under pressure. And so that anchoring has it's ripples throughout the organization and really makes a difference. And the other key attribute that I should have introduced way up front is technical skills and aptitudes, right?

Now we may not have the exact training on the exact piece of equipment, but one thing we do do is train, train, train, and train some more. And more often than not, it's technical. Now that wasn't my career. I was nursing and public affairs and I'm not very technical. But most military people who are interested in manufacturing probably have some sort of technical aptitude that they can bring.

And so hiring for character and hiring for aptitude and training is in a manufacturer's best interest because you will get return on investment by hiring that veteran that may not have the exact resume that you want. Take a chance, train them. You won't be disappointed.

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[00:08:31] Erin Courtenay: Wow, man.

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[00:08:37] Lori Highby: I'm like, what's a good follow up question? I don't know. That was amazing and beautiful.

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You know, a veteran wants nothing more than to contribute in the workplace, right? DNA, our makeup is very much centered on serving and contributing.

And Oh, by the way, the beauty of making something with your hands. And this is an overgeneralization, but I think military people are, pretty practical, pretty grounded. And if you produce something with your hands, I know that's something that, most people who work in manufacturing, or at least the front lines, really value, but military people really value that as well. It's a very practical, meaningful, fulfilling role.

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[00:09:53] Kathy Gallowitz: Quick sort of anecdote that kind of describes this.

A female pilot friend of mine who was an academy graduate, Air Force Academy graduate realized 2 percent of females are pilots in the Air Force, or at least were so 10 or so years ago. She was out of the cockpit for two years, and she came back in and had a quick refresher and boom, she was right.

It was like riding a bike she said, so to speak. That's a testament to the amount of training generally. Now, being a pilot might be a little bit more of an extreme example, but again, Kris, would you verify for me the amount of training?

[:

It continues in your school lane. And then when you get into your job, you are continuing to perform the thing that you've learned and you're doing it in a procedural way. So you are led to follow the instructions that are the procedures. You can go back and ask for a modification or raise your hand, but then it is always rewritten into the procedures.

But yes, everyone is well trained and then they follow the instructions.

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This is no joke. There's high stakes. Let's do it right the first time, and let's take care of each other, look out for each other, prepare each other for success while we're doing it. And I believe in that.

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[00:11:29] Erin Courtenay: So if I'm a manufacturer right now, where do I find these folks? I'm also curious about your thoughts about what you know about veterans feelings about manufacturing as a sector for them to pursue jobs in? Why is manufacturing a great fit for a veteran?

[:

That's one of the things I do best. I concentrate really here in Arizona. Have lived in Ohio for a while, but there's, there's really kind of a model or places to go check. First of all American job centers are all over the country and they give priority to military candidates. So that's a good place to go look.

And most of those, as I understand it, most of those job seekers are unemployed. There are also local and national nonprofits that connect employers to veterans and or vice versa, and or prepare veteran job seekers. One of those is Hiring Our Heroes. One of those is 50 Strong. But you can go look in your local community and look at how can I find veteran talent?

They are around certainly there are varying quality, but you could go talk to your department of veteran services. They should have some general understanding of maybe where to find those kinds of services, how connect. Of course, if you have a military base, a guard or reserve base near you, knock on that door. Knock on that door. Knock on that door. Am I getting clear? You knock on that door until somebody listens. And you do have to be persistent, all right, because they're looking for good companies with good wages, with good cultures.

And sometimes it's hard to get in the door. We had a Hiring our Heroes was out here at Luke Air Force Base for a hiring event and partnering with their transition assistance program. And not every employer could get it, you know? And then there's tons of job boards out there.

Peer post and Recruit Military is another big nationwide recruiting. They do job fairs, actually have a directory of job boards, job fairs. Firms that do this work. And so they're out there, but you got to roll up your sleeves and go find them.

And it's confusing for people to Know how to do it. The theme is develop trusting relationships with that source of veteran talent so that they know you're serious, the squeaky wheel gets the grease and keep in touch with them monthly, offer to support them and otherwise. Let's see. The Guard, the Marines, Army Reserve. I'm not so familiar Wounded Warrior. They all sort of have their own specific job, service program. And so that's why I do what I do is cause I love meeting these people and connecting employers to them.

[:

And I'm like we need to like, add a webpage to our site. , like put 'em all on there for everyone. Not just in the show notes, but like just a general resource center to support manufacturers. I'm hearing these are all outbound activities that the employer should be doing and I'm really curious. I mean there's huge Deficit in worker force right now in the manufacturing space. How do we attract, or how to manufacturers attract that type of talent, but more importantly, how do they retain that type of talent?

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[00:14:57] Erin Courtenay: I think they kidnap them And they lock them in there

[:

So that's a great, specific way to connect with service members who are interested in manufacturing. Also, if you're in the semiconducting industry. There's a semi foundation that has just recently, I think within the last 18 months or so, gotten involved in specifically helping semiconductor industries connect with veteran talent.

They go out and they host job fairs. They hosted their first one here in Phoenix last year. So that's a great source. So attracting Lori, you asked about. You're the digital social media person, right? Yep. The message you need to message veteran talent in ways that they understand.

Talk about values, service, commitment, things that kind of touch the soul of military people, honor, wave the American flag with sincerity. Have pictures that are accurate and that are compelling, that draw people in that say, Oh yeah, with the audience, the job seekers. They get me based on the way they're messaging that and what I'm seeing in their ads. Also, you need to have a website that as soon as you show up, they can say, Oh, wow, yeah, they do want me to work in their work force. I see.

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[00:16:38] Kathy Gallowitz: I have clients who are like, Oh yeah, these are great workers and you look on their website and there's nothing, it really misses the boat. You need testimonials, you need to engage in the community and share those stories on your blogs.

When you show up at military connected events? Take pictures of that, post it, put it on your website, talk about your commitment. Have a veteran employee resource group. That's a major retention tactic.

I call it the voice of the veteran committee because military people generally Have a lot of ideas. They have a lot of different experiences, right? We move so much. We work with a lot of different people in different settings. And so there's a really good chance that they may have ideas about how to improve what's going on in the workplace, so they talk about what are some of those enhancements could look like. They're going to talk about their military experience. They bond quickly. They feel connected. They feel like they belong. They feel understood. And that is a key part of building that inclusive workforce for your veterans.

And so that's a key retention strategy. And the other one is getting out and supporting those veteran community causes, aligning your corporate social responsibility, with veteran causes, because that will enhance your military friendly veteran friendly brand and it will help your current veteran hires, be proud of their organization and want to be talent ambassadors for you outside the organization.

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[00:18:27] Kathy Gallowitz: I want to go back to your question about how do veterans feel about working in manufacturing? Quick story tells it best. I became familiar through LinkedIn about a gentleman, a service guy, who got out, really didn't know what he wanted to do, got out of the military, went into banking, but he missed the camaraderie of the military.

So you know what he did? He got out of banking and he went and bought his own machine shop. And so because he wanted the small unit integrity, he wanted the hands on, he wanted the camaraderie,and so that I think is a pretty compelling story about what manufacturing brings to the service member.

Now the service member doesn't understand that it's not necessarily a real dirty environment, translating the military words, right, Kris, into this word. Yeah. Military skills translators like O Net will help you get past some of that, but you got to prepare for your interview well so that you're asking the right questions, okay?

So as I understand it, about one in ten veterans work in manufacturing. So that's interesting.

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[00:19:31] Kathy Gallowitz: But the other thing we need to keep in mind is that veterans are all over this nation and there's a lot of manufacturing plants in rural communities, right? And so if those rural communities can connect with those people who either are serving and maybe attract them when they leave active duty or maybe while they're serving in the Guard and Reserve. It's really worth your while to help that service member stay at home and find a job.

I mean, what a win win, Kris, right?

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[00:19:58] Kathy Gallowitz: It's beautiful. So disabilities. You're right, Erin, there are certainly more and more people coming home from war. The advances in technology is saving lives, better and better all the time and lots and lots of caregivers helping those veterans. Please use your best ADA knowledge and create opportunities for these warriors. Who deserves it more? And there's a lot of technology that can help people with disabilities work more. And for anybody with a disability work is so central to your life and your self esteem and your finance and just everything.

But I contend that it's even more so for a purpose for a person who is highly purpose driven, more often not incredibly motivated. Now if you're in the battlefield, you've done a lot of work and a lot of prepping and you're have a lot of risk taking ability. I mean, these people need to contribute is my point. And so that's really the best way I can answer that. I don't know if I have any technical resources for that, but the Green Beret Foundation might be a really good source. They do a lot of fundraising and have a lot of wounded warriors talking to the Wounded Warrior program.

But what I heard yesterday, they have something like 700 employees. and do all different kinds of programming to help wounded warriors come back to work. They could probably be a great resource for people who need to learn more about how to do that. Just giving somebody a decent job will make a huge difference in their transition, in their well being, and I contend help curb veteran suicide.

[:

So it's not just the individual and it's not just the manufacturing. It's all of the staff that have the opportunity. And you probably have some veterans already on the floor. And just the idea that you begin to make it clear how much you value both their service and the opportunity to bring other veterans into your workforce must be pretty powerful.

[:

And so the reason that's my life's calling to equip civilians, to become veteran champions is because our citizens don't understand military culture. Like back in the 1980s, 18 percent of our country was veterans. In 2022, 7 percent of our country is veterans. So the military civilian divide is growing wider.

And I can't tell you how many civilians say to me, Oh man, that's one of my biggest regrets. I wanted to serve in the military, I couldn't do it, but by doing X, Y, or Z, this is my way of giving back. I mean, people are sincere about that. Another quick story I had, I talked with an HR gal who had started a veteran hiring program in her equipment rental business.

And she said, Kathy, I got to tell you, I'm getting goosebumps right now. I'm telling you about this, you know, what I did 10 years ago. And again I think that describes what you're talking about is just People have a lot of, typically a lot of appreciation, a lot of gratitude, a lot of pride in those select few who can and will and are eligible to serve in the military because they protect and defend our freedom and give us this way of life that we have. And I think a lot of people do appreciate that. And so it's fun, and it's a great opportunity for military people to sort of shape that, but just be aware that in that shaping, that a lot of veterans don't like hero worship. We don't consider ourselves to be heroes. We were doing our job and we just want to be a part of the group, right?

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[00:24:24] Kathy Gallowitz: We don't want to be treated specially or differently. We want to belong and do our part. That's really who we are.

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[00:25:03] Lori Highby: Yeah. I feel like cheering right now.

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[00:25:09] Lori Highby: Yeah. A hundred percent.

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[00:25:56] Kris Harrington: Yeah. Mike, drop it.

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[00:25:59] Kris Harrington: Perfect.

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[00:26:03] Kathy Gallowitz: I just wanted to quickly, before we conclude, talk about my book “Beyond ‘Thank you For Your Service:’ the Veteran Champion handbook for civilians” available on Amazon.

Employers out there, there is a chapter in here on veteran hiring, and so it's this whole book is practical strategies for no matter who you are, how you can do more as a civilian veteran champion. If you're a lawyer, a doctor, an educator, a clergy member, or just a member of a community. But it's a good starting place to learn about military culture and why civilian champions are so important.

Another resource I really want to make everybody available know about it's called Hiring Veterans, written by an army reservist who's worked at Procter Gamble for years. He is just one of those people with a thousand pound brains. We call it in the military.

I hope you will get this. It's fresh off the block. It's just recently published. It's really your compendium for everything hiring and retaining veterans. My email is Kathy with a K and a Y at Vanguard veteran. com. Love to come to your company and speak about being a veteran champion, veteran hiring, veteran inclusion, love to help you build a veteran talent strategy from stem to stern, so to speak, help with different components, build a veteran employee resource group, help you understand how to connect with veteran talent. And I can kind of be your veteran hiring concierge, help facilitate that. But love to speak with you.

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[00:27:39] Erin Courtenay: You know what? I gave it away at the beginning of the show about the kidnapping. So you're next, Kris.

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[00:28:01] Lori Highby: Wait a minute.

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[00:28:05] Kris Harrington: I need to know more. I don't understand either! That, that was exactly my reaction. I'm like how does that work? So I need to learn more. How about you, Lori? What have you just learned?

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[00:28:39] Kris Harrington: Oh, I like that. Awesome. Well, there's not a better place to, I would imagine, promote something like a product, right?

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[00:28:48] Kathy Gallowitz: Yeah. Oh, yes. So I'm very excited to announce that I'm going to be a grandmother of a little girl. I have three sons and a grandson, so this is very exciting to me. And what I learned recently is that she's going to be born on January 27th.

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[00:29:05] Kathy Gallowitz: Hey! I'm just tickled. Yeah. You enjoy that Olympics, Kris. Oh my gosh, I'm jealous.

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[00:29:16] Erin Courtenay: I love it. Cause every time you mention it, my friend's going, my friend's going.

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[00:29:35] Kathy Gallowitz: Thank you so much, everyone.

Show artwork for a BROADcast for Manufacturers

About the Podcast

a BROADcast for Manufacturers
The purpose of this show is to share knowledge, have fun and bring diverse, yet important topics in the manufacturing space to the forefront.
Three BROADS (Lori Highby, Kris Harrington, and Erin Courtenay) bringing you stories and strategies exploring manufacturing topics that challenge the status quo while laying the foundations for future success.

Together with special guests they’ll celebrate what’s working and unpack what is not so YOU can learn, grow, and succeed.

The hosts are a BROADcast for Manufacturers are:
Kris Harrington | President and COO of GenAlpha Technologies | linkedin.com/in/kristinaharrington
Kris Harrington is the President and COO for GenAlpha Technologies. During her time with OEMs in the mining industry, Kris and the other founders of GenAlpha saw a need to find a better way for B2B manufacturers to do business. This led to the development of Equip360, an eCommerce, eCatalog and Analytics solution for manufacturers and distributors who want to grow their business online.

Erin Courtenay | VP of Digital Services at Earthling Interactive | linkedin.com/in/erincourtenay
Erin Courtenay is VP of Digital Services at Earthling Interactive. Erin loves watching programmers work their magic, opening up the possibilities of the internet to small and medium businesses with powerful websites and custom software. Calling herself a “digital empathy practitioner”, Erin is determined to help clients move thoughtfully and compassionately into their digital future.

Lori Highby | Founder & CEO @ Keystone Click | linkedin.com/in/lorihighby
Lori Highby is a podcast host, speaker, educator, and founder of Keystone Click, a strategic digital marketing agency. Using her vast multi-industry knowledge – gained from experience and education, She has the ability to see the potential of greatness within the already established good of a business. Through strategic actionable moves, she has worked with Fortune 500 companies to micro-business owners, to achieve their marketing goals.

About your hosts

Lori Highby

Profile picture for Lori Highby
Lori Highby is a podcast host, speaker, educator, and founder of Keystone Click, a strategic digital marketing agency. Using her vast multi-industry knowledge – gained from experience and education, She has the ability to see the potential of greatness within the already established good of a business. Through strategic actionable moves, she has worked with Fortune 500 companies to micro-business owners, to achieve their marketing goals.

Kristina Harrington

Profile picture for Kristina Harrington
Kris Harrington is the President and Chief Operations Officer for GenAlpha Technologies. Kris joined GenAlpha in March of 2013 with the purpose to help B2B manufacturer’s grow revenue by implementing technologies that make it easier to do business.

Combined with the strength of her team, Kris is accountable for establishing customer relationships and engaging manufacturers in B2B commerce solutions that bring value to their organization and the customers they serve. Her discussions with manufacturing leaders tend to move into three different categories:

– Assessing the business for digital commerce readiness
– Finding ways to re-energize the sales channel by focusing on the customer experience
– Increasing options for managing the dealer vs direct sales strategy

Prior to joining GenAlpha, Kris worked for more than ten years in leadership positions with two large multinational manufacturing companies, Bucyrus International and Caterpillar, supporting the mining industry. In her various positions she had a responsibility to work with internal stakeholders, dealers, and customers to deliver business results both in aftermarket and equipment sales.

Erin Courtenay

Profile picture for Erin Courtenay
Erin Courtenay is VP of Digital Services at Earthling Interactive. Erin loves watching programmers work their magic, opening up the possibilities of the internet to small and medium businesses with powerful websites and custom software. Calling herself a “digital empathy practitioner”, Erin is determined to help clients move thoughtfully and compassionately into their digital future.