Being Authentic in Business – An Interview with Erin Hatzikostas, b Authentic Inc. (Inspiring Women, Episode 30)
On this edition of “Inspiring Women with Betty Collins,” Erin Hatzikostas, Founder of b Authentic Inc., speaks with Betty on why being authentic is a great secret weapon in business. “Inspiring Women” is presented by Brady Ware & Company.
Betty’s Show Notes
Being authentic is a great secret weapon. A strategy.
My guest is Erin Hatzikostas, b Authentic Inc. Founder.
She walked away from being a CEO of her own company. Urged on by a conversation, a comment, made to her by a fellow airplane passenger (you have to listen to the episode to find out what it was!).
But what we can tell you is that it inspired her to continue her professional journey, and discover that authenticity is unique. What can we do to change “the fake”, to move the authentic needle in corporate America?
To keep moving, you need to be 50% uncomfortable.
The good news is that authenticity is contagious. We must model it when we see it, and continue to pass it along to those that follow. In her new book, You Do You(ish), she expands a very cool acronym, H.U.M.A.N.S.
And a big thanks to her for mentioning one of my past episodes, Defining Success – Does It Have To Be The C-Suite?
Erin Hatzikostas is the friend, mom, coach, guru and boss you always wanted, all rolled into one. Erin became a corporate CEO at the age of 42 — yet she smashes open the executive mold. She is most regarded for her Midwestern-inspired, unpretentious, witty, and authentic style of leadership. She is a career coach, speaker (TEDx 2020!), podcast co-host, author, MBA, runner, wife, mom of two, and someone who is not afraid to dance in public.
This is THE podcast that advances women toward economic, social and political achievement. Hosted by Betty Collins, CPA, and Director at Brady Ware and Company. Betty also serves as the Committee Chair for Empowering Women, and Director of the Brady Ware Women Initiative. Each episode is presented by Brady Ware and Company, committed to empowering women to go their distance in the workplace and at home.
For more information, go to the Resources page at Brady Ware and Company.
Remember to follow this podcast on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts. And forward our podcast along to other Inspiring Women in your life.
Erin Hatzikostas, b Authentic Inc.
Erin is the living, breathing business case for authentic leadership.
Erin spent her career “first half” working in the corporate world, where at the age of 42, she became the CEO of a $2bn healthcare financial institution. In just 3 years, she tripled earnings and sent employee engagement skyrocketing.
And just when things were going great, she decided to walk away so that she could help solve what truly breaks her heart: the immense lack of authenticity and happiness in Corporate America.
Through her company, b Authentic inc, Erin is provoking a movement to eradicate the all-too-fake Corporate environment by inspiring and enabling an army of people to crush their career, without compromising everything else.
[00:00:00] Betty Collins
Today, we’re going to talk about authenticity. Huge subject, something that people just need to talk about, and they need to see, for sure. This is a first – I have a fan of my podcast being interviewed. Life is good for me with that, for sure. Today’s topic, it needs to be discussed, as we live in a crazy world, where people long for authentic leaders, or people who are authentic. What I found in this guest that I’m working with today is it’s a strategy. I never thought of it in that way, so I’m excited that we’re going to talk about that.
[00:00:41] Betty Collins
My guest today is going to give us a new perspective and hopefully inspire you. Being authentic, it’s a great secret weapon, according to my guest today; she’s going to talk about that. Her personality, and energy are evident on everything I found in my research of her. She just jumps off the page, and she excites you from the beginning. I’m not going to talk about a whole lot of being authentic because I really want you guys to hear from her. We’re just going to have a great conversation. Today, my guest is Erin Hatzikostas of B Authentic Inc. Erin, did I get that right? Because it’s a great name-
[00:01:17] Erin Hatzikostas
You nailed it, Betty. You nailed it!
[00:01:19] Betty Collins
Okay, great. She was a CEO of a nine-figure healthcare company at the age of 42. Very impressive. And after leading a massive company turnaround, she decided to retire from that corporate world and start up her own company, B Authentic Inc. She was fed up with the sticky stuff, the corporate B.S.; wanted to help people have big-ass careers without compromising everything else. She is now an internationally recognized leader on the topic of authenticity in the workplace. She is a career, and a leadership coach TEDx speaker, which, by the way, I would love to do one day, but I probably never will …
[00:01:58] Erin Hatzikostas
Yes, you will.
[00:01:58] Betty Collins
I should try. She’s a podcast co-host and author, coming very soon. We’ll talk about her book, and she is a podcast host “edutainer.” Never heard the word. You ought to put a patent on that. I’m just so appreciative, Erin, today, of your willingness to be on the podcast. I know my audience is going to be glad and thankful that they came on with us today. Welcome to Inspiring Women. First, I just want- tell about you: wife, mother, coach, runner, and Running Man enthusiast. Explain that one. Just talk a little bit about you.
[00:02:36] Erin Hatzikostas
Yeah, let’s start by unpacking the most important thing – the Running Man enthusiast. Running Man is a dance from the ’80s, the one where you sort of put one leg in front of the other … I, ever since college, have been known for my Running Man. Not because it’s good, but because it’s authentic. I’ve been known to break that out anywhere I go.
[00:03:02] Erin Hatzikostas
It’s so great to be on, and I love what you’re doing. You have a very authentic podcast, so you passed the test. Iwalk around with this weird radar, and I can smell inauthenticity a mile away, and didn’t smell it here. As you mentioned, I spent my first half of my career in the corporate world. I’m a small-town girl. Grew up with teachers as parents in northern Michigan. Always had a little bit- a little sass. I did well in school, and I was always driven by proving that I could do things I didn’t think I could do, both for myself, and a little bit for people around me. Found my way out to Connecticut working for Aetna, a very large Fortune 50, now part of a Fortune 5 company.
[00:03:54] Erin Hatzikostas
I listened to your episode on the C-suite. I wasn’t that person that was like, “I want to become a C-suite executive, or I want to attain
this.” I always was driven by that uncomfortable- that challenge … I have this rule – in order to catapult your career, you really always have to be getting 50% uncomfortable with every move you make. That was what I did. I would have a role, I’d do well, and then I would say, “Okay, what can I do next that I know half of what I’m doing, but half it’s like, who the hell knows?”
[00:04:30] Betty Collins
[00:04:30] Erin Hatzikostas
With each career move, never like this … I’m not a planner, whatsoever, so never this five-year plan, but always found success in getting uncomfortable. Then, this other thing that I hadn’t quite figured out what it was. As you mentioned, I ended up with a subsidiary company of Aetna, a company that we had acquired. I joined the team and basically, every time a new executive from the acquired company left, they were like, “Oh, let’s give it to Erin.” Ikept getting more work, and more responsibilities. Actually, I talked about it in the TED Talk, and I thought about it when you were talking about your C-suite episode …
[00:05:20] Erin Hatzikostas
This might be annoying to some people. I’m sorry, but here’s the truth. When I was first offered the COO position of this subsidiary company, I actually said no. I remember, it was a Friday. I talked about it in the TED Talk. It was because I ran this career – this compromise calculation, I call it. It was like the quick, “Hmm, I’m makingthis much money, and if I take this job, I’m going to have to sacrifice, or compromise this much more.” It’s like, “Ahh, I’m good where I’m at.” I don’t want to tip that graph.
[00:05:59] Erin Hatzikostas
Then, one of many turning points, but one of my big epiphanies is I thought about it over the weekend, and talked to people, half of which did not push me to go for it, to be honest. I realized that the main reason I said no is I didn’t want to have to fit into this mold, or this club. I don’t want to say it’s just a men’s club – but, largely inhabited by men – but other executives. That club, to me, was this tipping point, where things … I worried about my ego growing, and I talked about in the TED Talk, my calendar overflowing, my home life becoming a shit show, and then, maybe my personality even starting to blow.
[00:06:40] Erin Hatzikostas
The epiphany I had was, wait a minute – and I tell this to your listeners because I keep learning this for every part of my life – you shouldn’t not do something because you hate the way it was done before. You can actually do it your own way. Just to wrap up my backdrop, I ended up saying yes. As I started taking on this higher-level position, at that point, I had realized that this concept of being authentic … I had let myself be authentic, and this was who I was.
[00:07:17] Erin Hatzikostas
I was starting to realize that my authenticity was something that was actually propelling me forward, and, at the time, subconsciously, I turned it up, and I realized, whether it was negotiating a contract, or introductions in meetings, or presenting at a large quarterly business review, that the things that made me authentic – the storytelling, and the humor, and the humility, and the components, actually, as you mentioned at the beginning, they were my secret weapon for success. After I went through that run, I then eventually became the CEO, the next year; turned around the company. That’s when I started to realize maybe I have something unique in the world that I need to do.
[00:08:04] Betty Collins
Yes, you definitely have something unique. In today’s world, authenticity is a whole new meaning right now. When I grew up in the ’80s, back in the day, where you were doing that man dance, that RUnning Man thing, that waskind of a given a lot of the times. Now, it’s the exception, and that’s sad. It’s what attracted- I loved your company, and why you started, all about it. Thank you for introducing- just giving us a great backdrop of a little bit about you. You started out as an actuary. That’s like saying, “Oh, I’m an accountant. Yanalysis.” We’re in the same group along with engineers. How did that translate into becoming a corporate CEO?
[00:08:56] Erin Hatzikostas
Much like most people, we trip, and stumble our way into our careers along the way. Mine was that I am … I love to carve my own path, but I’m also- I call myself a little bit of an instant-gratification whore, and as soon as somebody gives me an idea, I run with it. In college, I started in engineering. Didn’t like that, but I continued to take math classes.
[00:09:24] Erin Hatzikostas
One day, my sophomore year, my roommate, who knew I was still trying to figure out what I wanted to do, she was in the business college already. She came home, and she was so excited. She was like, “Erin, I found it! I foundthe career for you! It’s high pay, it’s low stress, and you just have to be good at math. You’re the only person I know that’s good at math. It’s called an actuary.”
[00:09:48] Erin Hatzikostas
You can probably relate. This is back in the ’90s; there was no click into Google, “What’s an actuary?” I had no freaking clue. It turned into a library run with ugly pamphlets that gave me nothing other than a company name, addresses, and phone numbers that employed these such actuaries that had these high-pay/low-stress jobs. That’s where I started.
[00:10:12] Erin Hatzikostas
The funny story I tell … I failed miserably. For your listeners, if you don’t know, actuaries become actuaries through professional exams. You have to take these very difficult math exams. They’re actually graded on a curve, so all the smart people that come in knock you out. I failed all six, I think, that I took. Well, I know I failed all of them.
[00:10:38] Erin Hatzikostas
The first summer when I was interning – and it really ties into the irony of what I’m doing now – we had a professional development day. Every Friday, we’d hear speakers, etc. One Friday, they gathered us 12 interns into this big hotel ballroom to do a Myers-Briggs assessment. We all finished our exam … I was like, “Oh, finallysomething I won’t fail at.” The actuaries compiled all the results, as actuaries do. We were just in this huge ballroom. There were only like 15 of us, and we were in this oversized ballroom.
[00:11:16] Erin Hatzikostas
They put up on this huge, huge screen the results. They put them in a matrix that was a two-by-two matrix. I remember looking up, and all I could see was that I was all by myself. Wow. I was the only one in my quadrant. That obviously was the signal that it wasn’t quite – even though I was “good at math,” it wasn’t the right path. Now, I look back, and it’s that thing that put me in the quadrant all by myself is actually my uniqueness that I’m now making a life out of.
[00:11:55] Betty Collins
You’re leveraging it.
[00:11:57] Erin Hatzikostas
[00:11:57] Betty Collins
I’ve had to do that in my career as a CPA. I’m not your normal CPA. I chose accounting because it would be a good job. I grew up as a tasker. Everything was about you’ve got to be a tasker. My story is kind of like yours, in a way – my nevers became my opportunities. I didn’t want to be a CPA, but I got it. I didn’t want to be a business owner, but I did it, and I didn’t want to merge into a large company, let alone do podcasts about inspiring women. It was all these things I said I would never do, but then I kept being drawn to that.
[00:12:31] Betty Collins
I leveraged my uniqueness, which is personality, which you don’t find a lot in accounting. Everybody thinks I’m good at math. I never had to take a math course because it’s not what you [inaudible]. Then, you became this corporate CEO of a large company at a very young age. You crushed it at 42. That’s just hugely impressive. What made you decide to walk away from that and start your own company? That’s a big A-ha moment. That just doesn’t happen.
[00:13:00] Erin Hatzikostas
Yeah, it doesn’t. One thing I had learned about myself, though … You talked about it in your podcast about the different seasons, and the different ages. In my 40s, Iat least knew that, in my career, this pattern had emerged. It was almost masochistic. As soon as I was getting really comfortable, I was becoming the go-to person – I could read an email in a hot second and know the answer – I would get stir crazy, and it was always – first, before I realized it; then later, I just succumbed to it – it would be frustrating because I literally could hear these two different voices.
[00:13:39] Erin Hatzikostas
One would be like, “What the frick is your problem? Can’tyou just enjoy it?” Especially when I was having kids. “Just relax; just glide in this job. This is a good time.” Then, the other side of me would be like, “You kinda suck whenyou’re not fired up, when you don’t have a challenge; you’re just average.” You go home feeling like you’re not giving it your all. That pattern had emerged in my career.
[00:14:06] Erin Hatzikostas
It was emerging again, after leading this company for three years, really getting it turned around, both financially, and culturally. I had the itch, as I called it, but I could tell, this time, that … Again, it has to be 50% uncomfortable. They were actually trying to keep me.
They were throwing other executive jobs at me. It was sort of like when you go out for a meal, and you look at the menu, and you’re secretly trying on, like do I feel like a burger, or a taco? But nothing tasted good.
[00:14:38] Erin Hatzikostas
I think it was because, not that I had the biggest job … Definitely, these other jobs would be more challenging; a higher level. I wasn’t the best C-suite executive ever, but I just knew that it would be too much of the same formula, too much of the same leadership things I’d have to do. At the same time, 22 years, not only in corporate, but I was in the same parent company that whole time, it was like, if I don’t do something now, every year, for both internal, and external reasons, it’ll get harder.
[00:15:14] Erin Hatzikostas
I was contemplating it. I wasn’t really telling many people about it. I had an executive coach I was confiding in. I went on a business trip, and I ended up sitting next to this really nice woman. She had been in the corporate world for about 10 years, at the beginning of her career, and then left to start her own company. She had a small HR consulting practice. She just seemed so happy, and I was just asking her question after question.
[00:15:40] Erin Hatzikostas
Then, like we do with strangers on a plane, or we used to, pre-COVID, we sometimes confide the things that we wouldn’t tell anybody else, right? Because I’m never going to see this woman again. So, I said to her, “You know, I’m askingso many questions because I’m starting to think about what’s next for me, and I kind of think it’s out on my own. I don’t know what it is, but I think it’s leaving the company I’ve been at.”
[00:16:06] Erin Hatzikostas
Then, as soon as it came out of my mouth, I heard it, and I was like, “What the hell? That’s stupid!” I said to her, I said, “But that would be really stupid of me, right now, because my reputation is at an all-time high.” Everybody knew that I had led this turnaround.
They were throwing big things at me. She just looked at me, and she was just so matter of fact, so succinct, and she was just like, “Who says this is the top?”
[00:16:36] Betty Collins
Wow. From a stranger. This was a complete stranger?
[00:16:39] Erin Hatzikostas
Complete stranger. Not anymore. I pluck her on LinkedIn all the time now … I immediately could- that metaphor came to life. I immediately could see the mountain range. I immediately was like, “Oh, my God, whatif I never know what it’s like to hike up that mountain, or I don’t know what the view is from the side, or the top of that peak over there?”
[00:17:03] Erin Hatzikostas
Ultimately, my decision … There’s a couple of ways – people either are faced with something major, a health scare, job layoff, or the fear of not doing something becomes so much greater than the fear of leaving, and that’s really what happened for me. It was overwhelmingly more fearful that I didn’t- that I might go through my life and not know what it’s like to try to conquer any mountain.
[00:17:33] Betty Collins
Yeah, and you don’t know how fortunate you are that you had that light go on in your 40s, right? Because so many … Youhit 50, and all of a sudden, you’re thinking things you never thought before. From 40 to 50 is a long season, and it’s a season that really counts at that pivotal moment. You were really fortunate that … I mean, a complete stranger on a plane helped you come to that, that’s phenomenal. I love that.
[00:18:05] Erin Hatzikostas
[00:18:07] Betty Collins
Taking the risk, it’s why I went in accounting because I wasn’t a risk taker til too late in my life, but … We’re talking about being authentic. Why do you think the corporate workplace – let’s just call it the entire world – is so fake, and what can we do to change it? I think that Americans, today, are like, it’s all too much, but how can we change it, you know?
[00:18:32] Erin Hatzikostas
Yeah. People ask me that a lot of why do you think it’s the way it is? It’s very simple – we emulate those people before us, and we’ve gotten into this vortex … At some point, some person, some people, some massive people started to find success by looking more buttoned-up at work … Name any of the things … Havingbig fancy PowerPoints in the modern-day era. They had some level of success.
[00:19:09] Erin Hatzikostas
What we do – and we do this as parents, we do this as friends – whether it’s what we just watched, or … We want the best for people. As mentors, and sponsors, and HR teams, they want to give the formula for success that they’ve seen work. The problem is nobody ever just steps back and goes, “Oh, my God, wait a minute. We’ve been following … We’ve been in this vortex for 20 years …” Nobody’s snapped out and said, “Wait, is there a different way?” or, “Is this working?”
[00:19:43] Erin Hatzikostas
For me, the reason I’m so passionate about it, too … Not only did it work for me … It was so many people fedup, and burnt out in corporate America, I’m sure you, and your listeners, whether it’s them, or their family member, or their friends. There’s so much BS, and there’s so much extra layers. I felt like, when I was in it, I could complain about it, but it was like – it is what it is.
[00:20:11] Betty Collins
[00:20:11] Erin Hatzikostas
Once I cut through all that BS, largely – I’m not perfect, but largely – and didn’t succumb to that and had success, I felt like I had the right to cry my own bullshit. There is a better way. It’s not just me. I have so many people that emulate … One of the most recent, John Fetterman- I don’t know if you caught his interview, but I highly recommend it to you, and your listeners. What a great example. John Fetterman, he is the lieutenant governor in Pennsylvania, and he was just on CBS’s Sunday Morning this last weekend. This guy, he’s 6’8″; he showed up to the interview in a Carhartt jacket, a fluorescent yellow neck thing, and athletic shorts. He has tattoos on both arms, actually, of when he was the mayorof a town, of all the dates of the murders in the town. He just speaks his mind.
[00:21:17] Erin Hatzikostas
I think, when you asked the question – how do we turn it around – one of the things I talk a lot about is the good news with authenticity, unlike maybe some other things you’ll read in leadership books and career books, it’s incredibly contagious, in all directions. I even talk about how I used authenticity, and my first boss was not very authentic at all. It’s not something I got handed on a plate, or inspired by people above me. It actually was something that … A lot of it was inspired by my father, but watching people around me; and then, ultimately, I was even further fueled by the employees that were within my organization.
[00:21:58] Erin Hatzikostas
The way we turn it around – and I talk a lot about this in my book – it’s not just about saying … It’s great to come on your podcast and talk about it, but it’s really about modeling it. It’s really about being that person that we all want to be. When we see, whether it’s John
Fetterman, or quite frankly, Kamala Harris, who’s been very authentic, and Michelle Obama, when we see those people that we’re like, “Ahh, so refreshing …” right? Jacinda Ardern … We see not only they’re refreshing, but we see that they’re having success. They’re not nincompoops. Something’s going right for them.
[00:22:35] Erin Hatzikostas
It unlocks something that’s dormant inside of all of us, even some of the shittier people that have been the stuffier people. I always say my job isn’t to inspire people. It’s really to create an inspirational platform and just plant the seeds and the fires and highlight the people and just keep going out and just lighting these little fires everywhere, so that we can finally get out of that vortex.
[00:23:03] Betty Collins
There’s just a lot there. I could replay that over several times because what can we do to change it? We all need to to engage in that, embrace that, and really, really do some more than just think about it, and just talk about it. This is a great question. I love this. Have you always been authentic, and what made you that way? You kind of talked about that, but when did you really start seeing that the authentic- it’s my strategy. It’s my secret weapon. Have you always been that way?
[00:23:38] Erin Hatzikostas
Back to the why are we not authentic, or why are we … In certain ways, we emulatethe people before us. I was lucky enough to have a father who was not in business, but he was a teacher. He was a really beloved, successful teacher. He would come home almost every night from school; sometimes, I’d be hanging out; sometimes, I wouldn’t. He’d sit at the counter and talk to my mom. Instead of the normal complaining about this, or students, or whatever, he would tell story, after story of just these unique ways that he taught. He was constantly doing metaphors, and analogies, and games. I knew that he had great success in doing that.
[00:24:27] Erin Hatzikostas
I think, for me, the first thing is it’s not just enough probably to see people, like I said, that are being authentic. You also have to draw the line to their success. You have to say, A) they’re being authentic, and B) it’s not just okay. It is they are successful. The formula is complete. I think that’s really where it started for me. In my journey, and my business, and what I talk about a lot, especially in the book, is it’s just about constant experiments.
[00:25:02] Erin Hatzikostas
It’s about going into a meeting, and instead of giving the same stuffy intro about your background, maybe telling a story, and then watching. Do people listen a little bit more? Do they sit up? Do they smile? Once they do that, you just inherently- as I call it, you get addicted to it, and then you’re like, okay, what’s the next experiment?
[00:25:24] Erin Hatzikostas
In my head, I was always thinking what would I want, or what am I sick of? Am I sick of the corporate communications with the head shot of the leader, who we all know what they look like. Instead, I’m taking that off. Everybody knows what I look like, by this point, and I’m going to tell a story, and then I’m going to talk about some changes we’re making. I was just always with the lens of what drives me crazy, and why don’t I just … If it drives me crazy, probably drives everybody else crazy. Why don’t I do it my own way?
[00:25:55] Betty Collins
For me, the corporate picture thing … I’ve had to have this issue about I don’t want to look like … That is not what I look like, so just let me smile, tilt my head, do my little thing with my fingers. That’s who I am, right? I just have had this big battle … Every time I see the accountant picture come out, it irritates me because it’s just not me. This is not me, right here, right? [crosstalk]
[00:26:26] Erin Hatzikostas
I was at an event, and they were like, “We’re doing professional headshots,” and that’s why you’ll see everybody got their headshots, and I have a picture of me doing the Running Man.
[00:26:37] Betty Collins
That’s perfect. I love it. I’ve got to find that because you’ve intrigued me with that. That’s good. Authenticity as a strategy. I loved that when I saw that on- you’re really passionate about that. I haven’t thought about it that way because I just … We all want to think we’re authentic, right? We all want to do it. I’d love to get your perspective. Some people just fear that being too authentic exposes too much. What do you think about that? Tell us about that?
[00:27:07] Erin Hatzikostas
Yeah, for me, I know those fears are out there, but I would think back to my career, and I’m like, well, no, but it worked for me. What I’ve really spent the last two years is exploring what is, actually, authenticity? Because in my head, intuitively, I knew it wasn’t just this freewheeling La-Tee-Da, go into work, and do whatever you’d do at a pool party. I knew …
[00:27:38] Erin Hatzikostas
Actually, as I was writing the TED Talk, and the book, I started to do some research. I started first with what’s the origin of the word? Let’s go to the Greeks. The origin of the word is authentikós. That word actually means to be genuine, but it means also to be original and to be authoritative. Like I talk about, it’s like this beautiful intersection between being yourself, but also being a little badass. I knew that about myself. People have called me authentic, nonstop, so the label had been smacked on me, but I knew I wasn’t also just … I was really approachable, and stuff, but I also could be tough. I knew when to snap things into place.
[00:28:24] Erin Hatzikostas
First of all, I think, for many people, they think authenticity, and transparency are synonyms, and they’re not. Authenticity, especially as we talk about it in the workplace, it’s not … I don’t want to say it’s an oxymoron, and be somebody you’re not because then, we
just go in a whole other direction, but it is a much more nuanced word.
[00:28:45] Erin Hatzikostas
As I was writing my book, it was interesting- when I first started writing my books – it’s called “You Do You(ish)” – and part of the reason for the “(ish),” I’m hoping it’s fun. As people see it, everybody’s kind of placing the (ish) in different … I love it. They’re like, “I think the (ish) is because of this …” For me, I wrote (ish) because it’s not just about “You do you.” What I wanted to do is come up with, okay, then, how do we define it? It’s inherently personal, but there is a thing. We all know it when we see the Michelle Obamas of the world.
[00:29:24] Erin Hatzikostas
Leveraging this authentikós, and knowing it was more nuanced, I came up with what I call the six principles of strategic authenticity. It’s actually an acronym – HUMANS. The components that I believe are really at the heart of what authenticity is are being humble, being unexpected, modeling – I talk a lot about modeling versus managing mindset – adapting, which again, can sound an oxymoron. We could talk about it, if you wanted, but it’s not. Narrating, just storytelling, and sparking, or inspiring others.
[00:30:07] Erin Hatzikostas
As I mentioned, when I realized that authenticity wasn’t just a way of being for me, that it was actually a strategy, not just in my career
… Quite frankly, my life, it’s like this speed path to connecting with people on getting trust. Once I realized that I was actually using it purposely, I used to say that with quotes because itwas like a subconscious “purposely.” Now, it’s not as subconscious.
[00:30:34] Erin Hatzikostas
I wanted to be able to help others, so that’s what I do in my book. I walk through the business case for authenticity. Then, I talk about the sucky songs that are holding us back. Before I help you to to have this new strategy, we have to prime you, and get rid of all the shit. Then, I talk about how you purposely use these six elements of authenticity at work to be able to not just have a big career, but my everything is how do you have a big career and not compromise everything else?
[00:31:09] Betty Collins
Right. That’s the big question of the day for women, for the 40 years that they’re doing whatever they’re doing.
[00:31:17] Erin Hatzikostas
[00:31:17] Betty Collins
Yeah. Your book, is it out yet, or whenis it coming out?
[00:31:23] Erin Hatzikostas
It’s officially releasing February 15.
[00:31:27] Betty Collins
Certainly, I definitely want it. With my women’s initiative, I’m always trying to get them to read books. They just think it’s the craziest thing. I do the Betty Collins short version to try to intrigue them, and then sometimes, they’ll read it. I think it’s going to be a fantastic book just based on talking with you today and reading a little bit about it. I liked, also, on your titling, how you have “UnleashedYour Authentic Superpowers to Get the Career You Deserve.” That was a great- that lured me right in, but-
[00:32:02] Erin Hatzikostas
Oh, thank the Gods, Betty, because I got to tell you, it was harder naming this damned book than writing it. So, thank you, because that is actually subtitle number three.
[00:32:15] Betty Collins
[00:32:16] Erin Hatzikostas
I’m sure you’ve been in this place before – you can get so wrapped in your head, so thank you for saying-
[00:32:21] Betty Collins
I hate picking the title for the podcast. As simple as it is, I’m … Because it’s got to be, “Why why would I listen to this podcast?” It’s got to grab someone right there. I always have a hard time doing it. Fortunately, my people are very good about it. This has been such a treat. I have one more question.
[00:32:42] Erin Hatzikostas
[00:32:43] Betty Collins
So wonderful. I love the acronym, HUMANS. That’s fantastic. What’s the one takeaway that you just want my audience to hear today? What would you want them- if they’re going to get it, what is the ending that they can easily take with them?
[00:33:01] Erin Hatzikostas
The one thing I’d really love them to think about is to think about this 50% rule, and not just in their career, as I mentioned, using it to get 50% uncomfortable, but also as they learn, and they get advice, whether they’re … Where I’m at now, entrepreneurial world,
where it’s like drinking from a firehose, again. You’re so tempted, rightfully so, and you want to learn from others before you, but then sometimes, you walk away and just go, “Ugh, I don’t want to do that,” or “This just doesn’t feel right.”
[00:33:33] Erin Hatzikostas
Use this 50% rule to help you do it your own way. As people are giving you, whether it’s career advice, or business advice, or parenting advice, or whatever it is, take in 50% of it, but the other 50%, do it your own frickin’ way. Do it your own way. That’s how we progress. That’s how we innovate. That’s how we are able to feel we’re authentic, and that’s how we make the world a better place.
[00:34:00] Betty Collins
Great, great, great thoughts. Great way to end. I am so honored, Erin, that you listen to my podcast, and you love it … I don’t know that you love it. I’m putting those words in your mouth, but I really am honored that you would listen to it, and-
[00:34:12] Erin Hatzikostas
Yeah, keep doing what you’re doing-
[00:34:12] Betty Collins
It’s very encouraging because you are just a step above the crowd. Thank you for your time today, and your willingness to be here. I’m appreciative. I’m sure my audience will be, as well.
[00:34:27] Erin Hatzikostas
You’re welcome. My pleasure.
[00:34:29] Betty Collins
Well, I am Betty Collins, and I’m so glad that you joined me today. Inspiring women, this is what I do. I leave this with you – being strong speaks of strength, but being courageous speaks to having a will to do more and overcome.
Betty Collins, CPA, Brady Ware & Company and Host of the “Inspiring Women” Podcast
Betty Collins is the Office Lead for Brady Ware’s Columbus office and a Shareholder in the firm. Betty joined Brady Ware & Company in 2012 through a merger with Nipps, Brown, Collins & Associates. She started her career in public accounting in 1988. Betty is co-leader of the Long Term Care service team, which helps providers of services to Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and nursing centers establish effective operational models that also maximize available funding. She consults with other small businesses, helping them prosper with advice on general operations management, cash flow optimization, and tax minimization strategies.
In addition, Betty serves on the Board of Directors for Brady Ware and Company. She leads Brady Ware’s Women’s Initiative, a program designed to empower female employees, allowing them to tap into unique resources and unleash their full potential. Betty helps her colleagues create a work/life balance while inspiring them to set and reach personal and professional goals. The Women’s Initiative promotes women-to-women business relationships for clients and holds an annual conference that supports women business owners, women leaders, and other women who want to succeed. Betty actively participates in women-oriented conferences through speaking engagements and board activity.
Betty is a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and she is the President-elect for the Columbus Chapter. Brady Ware also partners with the Women’s Small Business Accelerator (WSBA), an organization designed to help female business owners develop and implement a strong business strategy through education and mentorship, and Betty participates in their mentor match program. She is passionate about WSBA because she believes in their acceleration program and matching women with the right advisors to help them achieve their business ownership goals. Betty supports the WSBA and NAWBO because these organizations deliver resources that help other women-owned and managed businesses thrive.
Betty is a graduate of Mount Vernon Nazarene College, a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and a member of the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants. Betty is also the Board Chairwoman for the Gahanna Area Chamber of Commerce, and she serves on the Board of the Community Improvement Corporation of Gahanna as Treasurer.
“Inspiring Women” Podcast Series
This is THE podcast that advances women toward economic, social and political achievement. The show is hosted by Betty Collins, CPA; Betty is a Director at Brady Ware & Company. Betty also serves as the Committee Chair for Empowering Women, and Director of the Brady Ware Women Initiative. Each episode is presented by Brady Ware & Company, committed to empowering women to go their distance in the workplace and at home. For more information, go to the Resources page at Brady Ware & Company.