How To Best Position Yourself To Employers

EPISODE 26|How To Best Position Yourself To Employers

Finding a new job can be a full time job itself. But in today's podcast, we help narrow down what you can specifically do to be more appealing to an employer.

Today we are joined by Tracy Judge, Founder and Chief Connector at Soundings Connect, and Matt Syme, Lead Corporate Recruiter at Cvent to discuss how to enhance your skills and beef up your resume. Matt and Tracy share what employers are looking for in a candidate and share tips such as how best to position your LinkedIn account as well as how to "brand" yourself.

Now is the best time to brush up on skills and build new ones such as being certified in Cvent. Cvent is offering certification exams at no charge until May 31st. Anyone can certify in any solution in just a few steps. Check out cvent.com/certification to learn more and see how you can receive free training as well!

Guest

  • Tracy Judge, Founder and Chief Connector, Soundings Connect
  • Matt Syme, Lead Corporate Recruiter, Cvent

Hosts

  • Brooke Gracey, Senior Manager, Demand Generation, Cvent
  • Cody Liskn, Team Lead, Event Quarterback Team, Cvent

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Transcript

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Brooke Gracey: Welcome to the how great events happen podcast we are Brooke and Cody and we are your podcast hosts. 

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Cody Liskh: But today's episode is another special edition video cast coming to you from our personal home offices in Portland, Oregon. 

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Cody Liskh: And just like most of our listeners. We are also pivoting temporarily to work remotely, but we noticed even more important than ever to continue having relevant conversations about what is happening in the event industry, given our world's current situation. 

 

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Brooke Gracey: And we're joined today by Tracy judge. She's the founder and chief connector of soundings connect and we also have Matt Syme. He's the lead corporate recruiter here at Cvent 

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Brooke Gracey: And they're going to talk to us about some tips on how to stand out when trying to land that job that you're looking for. So Tracy and Matt, thank you guys so much for joining us today. 

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Tracy Judge: Thanks for having us. Brooke. 

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Brooke Gracey: Yeah, let's jump in and say, Tracy, how about we go first with you a little bit of background on how and why you started soundings connect and I'm super curious where that name came from to 

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Tracy Judge: Sure, yeah. So how I started soundings connect I my experiences in third party meeting management. I was on the agency side for most of my career. 

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Tracy Judge: And I did pretty much every position from onsite operations to meeting planning hotel buying and then went into sales and account management. 

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Tracy Judge: And what I realized during my time was that our industry was changing a lot. And there's many factors to that a big one of it being technology. 

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Tracy Judge: And what used to be proprietary systems that larger agencies had we now all had access to 

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Tracy Judge: So that changed a lot customers wanting to own their own data and we were also in a really good economy where people were hiring on employees. So, it changed you know how agencies could and were supporting their customers. One of the things that I realized, though, is that 

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Tracy Judge: We, you know, when you are a customer working with an agency and at the pace business is moving now is sometimes hard on the agency side to keep up with it so 

 

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Tracy Judge: For example, I had a customer and the planner. That was assigned to her wasn't. She's like, she's just not getting it. She's not getting it. 

 

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Tracy Judge: And I finally talked to her and said, you know, what is the situation and and I asked her how many marketing meetings do you sit in a week. 

 

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Tracy Judge: And she told me you know five. I said, Okay, how many does she and then she understood it. And what I realized was because we're all moving so fast. 

 

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Tracy Judge: That you know agencies are great. And there is a time and place for them. But a lot of times what the customer needs is someone that can just plug in and run with them. 

 

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Tracy Judge: So I realized there was a space for this in the meetings and events business at the same time I was in grad school and doing a lot of research on the gig economy and how 

 

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Tracy Judge: How in the freelance economy and how creative industries like tech and Creative Services. We're leveraging freelancers 

 

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Tracy Judge: Not just to save money and handle the peaks right it was because they can plug in people that are skilled in a certain area and those freelancers help them innovate. So that's when I made the decision to leave my job and start soundings connect 

 

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Brooke Gracey: Oh my gosh, that's a really cool journey he really kind of saw that need and jumped right in there. It's almost like your translator between the idea and the execution of it potentially 

 

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Tracy Judge: Yeah, and soundings connect your question about that. I'm where the name came from. Is that soundings is really about, you know, digging in deeper right and going below the surface and understanding 

 

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Tracy Judge: The situation or people better before you make a decision of how to move forward. 

 

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Tracy Judge: And that's what I really focus on in settings at soundings Connect is understanding our clients really well and understanding our freelancers 

 

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Tracy Judge: And not just their expertise. We all know in the events business. There's, there's a lot of big personalities and we're not. You're not for everyone. Right. 

 

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Tracy Judge: So what I tried to do is focus not only inexperienced, but their strengths and and the personality traits, so I can match them with clients that they'll not only have the experience to serve. But also, they'll mesh well together. So it's about diving in deeper and then connecting the people 

 

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Brooke Gracey: That's really awesome. Very cool. I can't wait to hear more about this. But first, Matt fellow see Venter bleed blue my right. 

 

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Brooke Gracey: Tell us a little bit about your background and how you ended up 

 

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Brooke Gracey: At Stephen 

 

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Matt Syme: Yeah. Thanks for having me, guys, and I appreciate a chance to talk about this. Yes. So I've been doing corporate recruiting for about nine years now and I joined cvent about four and a half years ago. 

 

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Matt Syme: I'll be honest, it was the easiest transition. I've ever had any job. And I think what I recognize is that for the first time recruiting was something I could do 

 

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Matt Syme: Just by selling a company that I love and being able to talk about an organization that I was all about. And oh, by the way, got a paycheck with it so 

 

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Matt Syme: It was, it was fun to be to be part of their to 

 

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Matt Syme: I think one of the reasons why I love it so much. It's just you know events and meetings have always been wild to me and to be able to get to that escape and have that human connection come together, something that I've always been very excited about. 

 

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Matt Syme: The fact that I got to come in and work for an organization that is the industry leader in that 

 

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Matt Syme: That's wild and to be part of that in building the organization and building that out to change the industry for our customers is, it's absolutely fantastic. And so I feel like 

 

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Matt Syme: I get to work with the best client ever. And it doesn't go away. So it would like Tracy was talking about, you know, the matching up the customer to to the candidate. They're my end. I've got to represent the right customer. As always, and it's something that I absolutely enjoy 

 

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Brooke Gracey: Using 

 

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Cody Liskh: I love that. Well, so I just want to talk about right now, connecting people to work and Tracy, I talked to you earlier about how, you know, the concern right now is how companies and their employees can begin shifting the online events effectively. 

 

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Cody Liskh: When you know all they've done up until this point is just live events, you told me about a couple of pivots or two pivots. Can you talk to us about that and how you use that to help address this problem. 

 

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Tracy Judge: Yeah, sure. The, the first pivot. I'm not sure if I would, I would call it a pivot necessarily was when this first 

 

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Tracy Judge: When it first happened. I have a network of freelancers and really quick overnight work was gone. So I wasn't able to offer them the value of work. 

 

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Tracy Judge: So we quickly put together the reschedule and revive the webinar series. And it was really based on the idea that freelancers 

 

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Tracy Judge: Are going to be home and they're not working for an organization's and it was creating this community for them to plug into while we also could give them some you know tools to help grow their careers coming out of this and 

 

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Tracy Judge: And what I didn't realize when I did that it was that it was actually teaching my team as well, how to run virtual events. 

 

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Tracy Judge: And giving us the understanding of how to do it and what competencies are needed and and through that journey, what we realized was so many of the 

 

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Tracy Judge: strengths and skills that the event planners have to do it live. It's all the same. 

 

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Tracy Judge: It's the same skills when you're doing virtual events. Your hand holding speakers in the same way, you're under the same amount of stress as when you're going live 

 

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Tracy Judge: You have to have that sense of urgency, a lot of the, a lot of the strengths aligned so it was just figuring out how do we translate the strengths of the people that we already have and provide them with a platform and opportunities to learn it virtually 

 

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Brooke Gracey: Yeah, I was actually having a conversation the other day with some one of the managers here it's event. We were talking about 

 

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Brooke Gracey: You know, we've taken some of our events virtual to and it's kind of like, well, what are the the planners, what is their role in this. And I'm like, you guys have no idea. 

 

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Brooke Gracey: How much you need an event producer when you're doing a virtual event and you you have like no idea. It's almost more like work to produce something like that and 

 

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Brooke Gracey: Not to mention the technology or event Technologist. I mean it's, there's a clear role for people, even when they're sitting at home, and we're not doing events face to face. 

 

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Tracy Judge: Yeah and we for somethings connect how we work. You know, each each person's unique and if you look on my website. We have personas for different types of positions and it's really just to give people an idea of what types of things freelancers can do for them. Right. 

 

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Tracy Judge: And we see in with virtual events. Sometimes it's emerge of all different you know skill sets from from those positions. 

 

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Tracy Judge: Which has been you know that part of it has been really interesting for us and what we started doing 

 

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Tracy Judge: Was talking to our customers about the type of support that they need it and where you know where they felt their gaps were. And initially, you know, you think about this. 

 

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Tracy Judge: I say the first step was, we have freelancers that have done virtual events that were skilled in this already. So we surveyed our people. 

 

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Tracy Judge: Are freelancers and said, Hey, who actually has this experience. And we had a lot of qualifiers to make sure that they really did. So we started with a pool of people that had it. 

 

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Tracy Judge: So that way we can offer it to customers. And then the next. Like I said, was looking at who's strengths align with what needs to happen, but 

 

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Tracy Judge: You know, a lot of meeting planners and rightfully so, internal 

 

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Tracy Judge: Like they they want to learn the platforms and the their jobs are changing a lot, they're shifting and yet for job security. You don't want to outsource the whole thing you want to learn it. 

 

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Tracy Judge: But we are able to help provide people freelancers to help support meeting planners on that journey where they're helping teach them and guide them and you know translating between the tech company. 

 

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Tracy Judge: And the meeting planner, what is happening and helping them grow for the future and then additionally, we have the opportunity with technology companies are growing so fast in the event tech space. 

 

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Tracy Judge: That there's a lot of hand holding that needs to go on. I mean, it's the same thing. If you have different breakout rooms. 

 

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Tracy Judge: Live, you have different breakout rooms within the meet within the virtual event and you would have an onsite staff or meeting planner, they're managing the speakers, the same exact things happening. We're just translating it to this virtual world. 

 

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Brooke Gracey: All within this kind of technology to. So now we have this like if the technology works the breakout doesn't happen so 

 

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Brooke Gracey: I have to imagine there's a there's a lot of skills that we're learning. We have that we didn't even know we had and 

 

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Brooke Gracey: Now more than ever, we want to let everybody know. I mean, we know that there's a lot of planners out there that 

 

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Brooke Gracey: Are potentially out of work as well and are really trying to translate these skills to get employment even, even if it's short term. 

 

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Brooke Gracey: So, you know, I know. Matt, you have a lot of experience with the recruiting side of things. And so I wonder, is there any advice that you could give people or anything that you've seen maybe internal associates or external individuals do 

 

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Brooke Gracey: To help market themselves a little bit better. Maybe it's even like a LinkedIn profile. I don't know. You're the expert. 

 

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Matt Syme: you're spot on. Absolutely. And I think one thing that is a great thing to really kind of grasping internalized is that LinkedIn is not just a place just apply for roles. It's a great way to use 

 

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Matt Syme: Your own network use other individuals, you know, for for your benefit. I think that's a great way just to even stand out. 

 

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Matt Syme: And I think a few things that I would, I would recommend folks, you know, look into is this using that network for their own benefit, they're 

 

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Matt Syme: Being able to use individuals that you're connected to, or be able to reach out and find other other individuals that you connect to. It's a powerful tool. 

 

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Matt Syme: To have folks that can work for you when you just can't get it across the finish line. 

 

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Matt Syme: And even groups like like MPI or events Industry Council being able to join on board there and get to know individuals that might have connections that can help you get to where you need to go is a great help. And it goes a long way. 

 

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Matt Syme: And advice I'd give early on is is for individuals to go and look into their own network. You see what they can find see who they can get connected to 

 

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Matt Syme: But if folks aren't confident with their connections or their tactic with are being will do that. I would say 

 

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Matt Syme: Start building that that that network that you have and reaching out to folks that might be old coworkers or old colleagues that you might have or the connections that you might 

 

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Matt Syme: You might have worked within you've completely forgot about because you'll never know who's actually going to help in the end and get you where you need to go. 

 

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Matt Syme: I think some tools that we can give individuals to even help stand up further specifically with let's just say using a LinkedIn profile. 

 

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Matt Syme: It's really just kind of look into at enhancing the details that you have at least one your own personal page there to you. 

 

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Matt Syme: As much as you know, the brand of cvent is one I personally believe that every individual has their own brand and LinkedIn is a great way for you to really kind of customize that individualized that as much as you can. 

 

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Matt Syme: I would say when looking at just kind of someone's patrons, look at the the jobs that they've had. I would say enhancing the details of each role. 

 

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Matt Syme: Is absolutely the way to go. And the more the better. And it shows what you've done what you have been able to accomplish it really goes a long way. 

 

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Matt Syme: I think using the benefit of a bullet in can really kind of help emphasize what you have done what you were able to work on. And in fact, nowadays, you can even add in External links and URLs to each job that you have 

 

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Matt Syme: That's, um, that's really cool. Now they can add in. It's like a very digital resume, you can have where you can't have to save links or interactive videos on your resume. It's on paper LinkedIn is a great way to do that and 

 

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Brooke Gracey: I was gonna ask you about that Matt because that's one of the things that I love to do on my LinkedIn is within each job, you can kind of highlight some of the projects that you've worked on. 

 

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Brooke Gracey: And link them out. And so people can really see your body of work without, you know, having to to go dig for it. It's a really cool way to just, you know, highlight those those projects you're really proud of. 

 

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Matt Syme: Yeah, absolutely. And one thing on that too. And I always tell folks is don't be afraid to use numbers to tell the story. 

 

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Matt Syme: Because as much as you want to add in a quality of, hey, I did this or that, from a qualitative standpoint. 

 

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Matt Syme: Bottom line is that showing metrics and numbers go a long way. You know, if for for event planners are you talking about what their budget was how many events they were doing on a regular basis. 

 

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Matt Syme: That helps other organizations recognize the compare and contrast in 

 

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Matt Syme: Data points on okay if they've had to spend just a new X Men thousand dollars that lines up to, well, we're probably going to be looking at, let's say post pandemic. 

 

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Matt Syme: This might work out for us and we can easily dive into conversations with each candidate about what we're trying to accomplish with it. So I think using specific numbers goes a long way. So don't be afraid to use specific data points. 

 

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Tracy Judge: I agree with that piece of it. And I think that piece is sometimes hard for event professionals, because you know our 

 

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Tracy Judge: Event for professionals feel good at the end of the event because other people feel good. Right. And then we're moving on to the next one. So a lot of times planners don't feel like they have the data that you need to 

 

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Tracy Judge: To show those those things. So it's, it's funny. We're talking about this. Our next webinar is actually on 

 

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Tracy Judge: We have a copywriter. That's going to an persuasive writer that's speaking to our freelance network and talking to them about how they market themselves. And what we realized is that was sounding disconnect 

 

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Tracy Judge: I didn't want to just send people resumes, because it wasn't speaking to the person. So we're working on a new summary. 

 

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Tracy Judge: Profile sheet for each freelancer and it touches on so much of what you just said. Right. Part of it is, what are you what accomplishments. Are you proud of. 

 

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Tracy Judge: Well, those are things I want them to use data driven results for right and show 

 

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Tracy Judge: And show what they've actually accomplished and then for the role they might be a meeting planner and they might be able to build websites. Right. 

 

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Tracy Judge: But if they're applying for the meeting planning role that will be very specific to why they're good for that role. And then the key accomplishments that prove it as well. And this this downtime, we have right now. Whether you are 

 

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Tracy Judge: You know employed and you're still stuck at home you know I did on the weekends or you're a freelancer trying to learn how to market yourself. 

 

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Tracy Judge: You know persuasive writing and learning more about marketing and how to position yourself is one of the most valuable things you can do with your time. 

 

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Matt Syme: Absolutely. And I think another thing too that that I definitely kind of push on books or or kind of recommend is to reach out to your network for recommendations. 

 

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Matt Syme: Yeah, I think a lot of folks are hesitant, they're like, well, should I wait for someone to just be so impressed with me that they're going to run the recommendation. 

 

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Matt Syme: That's great if everyone did that. It's just not the way the world works. And I think that being able to to ask individuals that 

 

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Matt Syme: You've been working with or have an impact with to write a recommendation for you on your page goes a long way. 

 

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Matt Syme: And I think one of the things too that I think makes some folks skittish sometimes is recognizing that no one is going to turn you down in these situations. 

 

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Matt Syme: And I think in this type of setup there know being able to to recognize that courtesy of helping someone gets that next spot in their career. 

 

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Matt Syme: That's just like one of those things. It's an unofficial courtesy everyone's going to give you no one's going to say no to giving the time and 

 

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Matt Syme: And for someone writing the recommendation. It's seconds that you get to give, but it could go a long way in verifying someone's candidacy for position, say, Look, I've been through this with them if you know 

 

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Matt Syme: In the case of planners, I saw what their execution was and your point, Tracy, you know folks were so pleased about this and excited about it. And that's hard to quantify, but 

 

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Matt Syme: That's something you can't really share in a resume, but a recommendation can do that. And that's something that goes a long way. 

 

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Tracy Judge: It's interesting. What you just said Matt because when when we think about behavioral interviewing right and now still use behavioral interview questions with our freelancers because I get to know them personally. 

 

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Tracy Judge: But when you're preparing for when you're preparing for behavioral interview questions you want to think, what are the competencies of the job that they're going to be looking for. 

 

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Tracy Judge: And I think with recommendations, you want to think about it the same way where you want to ask people very specific for very specific feedback about you in their recommendations. So you're touching on 

 

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Tracy Judge: All of the different points that an employer is going to be looking for. 

 

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Cody Liskh: Ooh, I like that. Tracy, so I 

 

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Tracy Judge: Looked at, yeah. 

 

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Yeah. 

 

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Tracy Judge: Like me 

 

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Cody Liskh: Know when you guys are talking about beefing up your LinkedIn profile. That was the thing that came to my mind was getting some professional recommendations and it does go a long way. But what I've never done is really kind of, you know, 

 

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Cody Liskh: Guide that that recommendation, a little bit and kind of, you know, indicate some of the strengths that you want to have listed as well. I think that's super great. So you have your LinkedIn profile. 

 

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Tracy Judge: For them to 

 

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Cody Liskh: Yeah, yeah, totally. 

 

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Tracy Judge: Appreciate it. 

 

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Cody Liskh: They come in, they're blind, they're like, well, what do you want me to 

 

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Tracy Judge: Just makes it 

 

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Cody Liskh: Easier to drive that kind of conversation. 

 

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Cody Liskh: So your LinkedIn profiles beefed up everything is looking great. But where would you guys recommend people go if they need to find work, you know, whether that's temporary or permanent 

 

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Tracy Judge: Yeah, so obviously anybody that's looking for work, you're welcome to come to me. 

 

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Tracy Judge: soundings Connect is a network of freelancers, so we we work to find customers that need freelance support and right now we're working really hard to find. 

 

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Tracy Judge: Find customers that need virtual event support. Right. So our network is our network is great for that. You know, for marketers there's there's other places to go as well like creative circle. 

 

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Tracy Judge: You know up work is always good. If you're looking for something quick, it's not really relationship based. So it just depends what kind of work, you're looking for, they're 

 

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Tracy Judge: Not what do you think about if full time jobs at this point. 

 

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Matt Syme: You know, I think one thing that we're going to have to start getting behind a little bit further is the reception to fully remote opportunities. 

 

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Matt Syme: And I think there are a lot of individuals out there that have always been hesitant, say I could do something full time remote 

 

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Matt Syme: I think on the back end of this that's going to change. And I think a lot of folks are going to be much more receptive to saying, hey, we've done this for 

 

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Matt Syme: Months now have seen high performers completely remote, you know, let's have a reception to this. So from 

 

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Matt Syme: My advice from, say, the near the individual looking for a new position. Don't be afraid to look outside of your area, you know, and I would say, you know, as opposed to just kind of, you 

 

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Matt Syme: Know, spreading across a you know a nationwide. You start with an area that you know, start with an area that you fundamentally have some type of connection to 

 

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Matt Syme: I promise it'll be a little fun on looking at for some physicians there and say, Hey, you know, I've been to Chicago, a few times I've always had great times 

 

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Matt Syme: Let's just see what happens. There are the remote opportunities that we can look into. I think just the on the back end of this employers for full time opportunities are going to be working. Yeah, to even be open to that possibility, where they never had before. 

 

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Tracy Judge: And it. Yeah. 

 

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Brooke Gracey: The adapting times 

 

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Tracy Judge: That's it's so true. And that's the thing with, you know, with freelancers in with freelancers being remote 

 

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Tracy Judge: If our customer doesn't need them in a certain area for sure. I always recommend that they look virtually 

 

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Tracy Judge: Because you're your candidate pool is getting bigger, you have a better chance at getting top talent and the right talent. If you're able to allow them to work virtually 

 

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Tracy Judge: And to your point, we've all gotten really comfortable now working virtually because we haven't had a choice. 

 

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Tracy Judge: One of the things we used to, we always have to hire freelancers about is learn project management tools like a cello or an Asana and learn communication tools like slack or teams. 

 

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Tracy Judge: There's free versions of all of them just get in there. If you're not already using them play and play around with it and learn the language of those tools. 

 

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Tracy Judge: Because those are the tools that are going to be imperative, as we go more virtual and for freelancers that that want to work remote. Yeah. 

 

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Matt Syme: And I think, to your point there too. You know, it goes back to the pivot that you mentioned, you know, this is just, it's the way the industry is moving and 

 

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Matt Syme: Having folks on their own timeframe, maybe look at new a new skill set, or, you know, a new new tool is going to go a long way. 

 

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Matt Syme: And by the way, you can add it back to that LinkedIn profile or back to your resume now and say, hey, I've learned this during this period, and it could help just enhance this virtual experience this remote experience that's that's definitely a tip I would give 

 

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Brooke Gracey: Would you say it would be a good time to get see that certified 

 

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Matt Syme: I can't think of a better time 

 

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Tracy Judge: So was this, you know, 

 

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Tracy Judge: When I interview freelancers, or one of the things they talked to talk about is their technical experience and what platforms they have experienced with 

 

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Tracy Judge: And one of the things they always say, and I always ask about see that. And one of the things they say is, well, we don't have access to the platform, we've only used it if it was our clients and we can't learn on it. 

 

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Tracy Judge: So it's a conversation. I've been having with the team at Stephen for a while and when this happened. 

 

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Tracy Judge: I called our friends at cvent and said, Hey, I have freelancers that need to learn this and freelancers, are going to be needed coming out of this. 

 

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Tracy Judge: And your team was amazing right away. I said, Would you do a webinar for me and they said yes, we'll, we'll do a webinar for you will give them access to our platform and will give you complimentary certifications, which I know you're doing for everyone. Now, which is super amazing 

 

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Brooke Gracey: Yeah, yeah, it's such a good opportunity to 

 

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Brooke Gracey: Get that new skill set, because I have to imagine when we come out the other end, or even during this time. There's all kinds of new like jobs and opportunities and skill sets that people are looking for. 

 

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Brooke Gracey: What are you seeing out there for planners and and marketers. Maybe Matt, you can help answer that, like, what are they looking for in a candidate. 

 

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Matt Syme: Yeah, I think looking at that. That adaptability. 

 

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Matt Syme: On being able to embrace technology is huge. 

 

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Matt Syme: Whether it is a tool like like WebEx or zoom and being able to maximize and say, I've 

 

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Matt Syme: Been doing events at a certain level, you know, the, you know, with the capacity that it has that's going to go a long way than ever has before and I think that's just the way that it's going to to push even further, as we go forward. 

 

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Tracy Judge: The, the back end of technologies. Right. It's that all technologies are different, but there's a certain language to it. And I have found that the more technologies I dive in and learn 

 

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Tracy Judge: The more I'm able to help navigate right so I learned Salesforce really well. I know what that can do so then when I'm working in Zoho I know like somebody tells me something can't happen. I say, No, that doesn't make sense that can happen. 

 

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Tracy Judge: Or because I knew you know Salesforce really well. When I was building out SMM programs and Cvent just understanding the tech language. I could apply that to this event build. So, you know, knowledge will never be taken away from you. So it's a great thing to 

 

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Tracy Judge: To learn right now. During this time, but even if you're picking one platform like a Cvent to learn really really well. It doesn't mean that's just helping you be good at building Cvent 

 

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Tracy Judge: It's helping you broadly understand technology and that's what people need like I am looking for people right now for physicians to support virtual events, but I'm looking for their aptitude for technology. Not that they have experienced with that platform. 

 

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Brooke Gracey: That's a really, really interesting. 

 

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Cody Liskh: Just yeah I thought that's a really good point. Like, I mean, you might you may not find that expert on that exact platform. But if they're going to be a potential and all technology, then yeah, they can adapt, for sure. 

 

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Cody Liskh: I hope all of our listeners are taking all this advice mean beef up your LinkedIn profile, you know, learn project management software, etc. 

 

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Cody Liskh: But I guess my question is what can our listeners do to set them up set themselves apart when they're getting hired like I want to know, are there certain skills that planners are really honing in on right now. 

 

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Cody Liskh: Or, you know, what are they getting trained on to set themselves apart and make themselves more marketable when they're finding a new job. 

 

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Tracy Judge: So I I'm a sucker for people that love education and that are self starters. So I would say there's right right now. Anybody that's really 

 

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Tracy Judge: Using this time to learn and grow and can speak to what they've done during this 

 

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Tracy Judge: Downtime and not only shows that they are a life learner and will continue to grow, but 

 

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Tracy Judge: It, it also shows how dedicated they are to themselves and their career as well. And when you're looking for candidates. If you want people that are self drivers and especially when we talk about working in a virtual world. 

 

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Tracy Judge: If you're working in a virtual position you want to know that somebody is a self starter. 

 

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Matt Syme: Yeah, I think you're spot on with that. And I think to even double down on that. Sometimes it is a full time job just finding a new job. 

 

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Matt Syme: There's no question about 

 

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Matt Syme: It puts a lot of effort into it and I would agree with you, Tracy folks that go above and beyond to show initiative to show that self starting mentality is huge. 

 

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Matt Syme: And I think what I recommend folks to and this goes back to a parallel thing I said with LinkedIn user network. 

 

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Matt Syme: It doesn't have to be on LinkedIn. But use your own professional work networks work it for your favorite so 

 

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Matt Syme: You know, if you're able to take those skills that you've just recently learned Adam into a resume. I don't want to what your experience is and then go find one to that potential position or another that really does excite you 

 

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Matt Syme: Not only apply for that. But see, that loves using the power of human connection. Use it to a different level and the setup you know use 

 

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Matt Syme: Use your own connections to get you set up there. Just because let's just say for instance. And you mentioned Salesforce Salesforce has an opportunity 

 

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Matt Syme: And there's thousands of folks that are applying for it. If you are able to find some type of connection that used to work there are still works. There were no someone else that works there. 

 

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Matt Syme: And be able to kind of create that human side of it and get connected with someone that can actually have a conversation about it. 

 

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Matt Syme: You've already stood out you've already put yourself in a position that is above the 999 other folks that that apply for it. So it goes back to what you mentioned Tracy, is that self starter mentality in the job search 

 

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Tracy Judge: Well, and also Matt with with that. I think that for me, you know, a lot of people say there's a lot of technologies out there that match freelancers right 

 

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Tracy Judge: And people always question me, why aren't you a technology platform Tracy, and I said, because that's not where my value is 

 

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Tracy Judge: My value is I'm Tech enabled, but my value is in connecting people and why customers want to work with me is because I've already done all of that vetting process for them. Right. 

 

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Tracy Judge: Like I've already understood the customer. I know my freelancers, boom, boom. I'm presenting them with three candidates that I think that would be good for the freelance position. 

 

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Tracy Judge: And it is the same right as when you are leveraging your own networks and you are getting connected through people. 

 

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Tracy Judge: When you get a recommendation and you're trying to hire someone, it comes through a recommendation through a valuable source. You're like, great. Somebody already did a lot of the work for me. Right. And you're you're you're left with about 20% of the work to do instead of, instead of 100 

 

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Brooke Gracey: Yeah. 

 

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Brooke Gracey: totally makes sense. I feel like people get nervous reaching out to people and to ask for help, but 

 

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Brooke Gracey: Once you've done it a few times. It gets easier. You know, we're all out here just wanting to help each other anyway. So, to your point, Matt, like reach out to those contacts. If 

 

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Brooke Gracey: They're at the company that you're applying for. Even if you haven't talked to my person at a little while, like still just, you know, put yourself out there. This is how you're going to find that next great gig. Yeah. 

 

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Matt Syme: Well, the bottom line, too, is I mean take for employers stands out as well. I you know I can't speak for all companies for for Stephen internally we absolutely love referrals. 

 

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Matt Syme: And I think historically, it's higher than 40% of our hires come from referrals. So we love being able to get our own employee base to work for our favor and get connected with folks. 

 

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Matt Syme: And it tells a story already you know those individuals that you get connected with through and another employee to refer it tells a story about them already. And that goes a long way. And it just makes the process so much more seasons across the board. 

 

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Brooke Gracey: Yeah, like you can almost like see your resume being pulled out from a stack of resume is when you have that kind of personal referral. 

 

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Matt Syme: They call that the black hole. Sometimes we're gonna get sucked in and 

 

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Matt Syme: New it doesn't go anywhere. 

 

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Brooke Gracey: I'm going to switch gears a little bit here because 

 

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Brooke Gracey: In our previous conversations with you, Tracy, you mentioned a couple cool things that you're doing at soundings connect. I think our audience would be really 

 

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Brooke Gracey: curious to hear more, um, the first thing I wanted to ask you about is the coven response hotline that you have. Can you tell us a little bit more about that and what that means to potentially people who are listening. 

 

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Tracy Judge: Yeah, sure. So I'm part of initiative called hospitality and events fight back. And we formed it right when this whole crisis happened. My partner is 

 

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Tracy Judge: Rachel boss from Susan G. Cities and she we are friends, and she is one of the most brilliant minds. I've, I've ever worked with. 

 

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Tracy Judge: And we were having a conversation about, you know, about what was happening. And she was really into the data of coven so 

 

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Tracy Judge: So we had this idea. Well, what if we could use hotels to treat code patients and use the event industry to 

 

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Tracy Judge: To flip the hotels into what they need it to be. So it started with that concept in this really big idea. And what we realized is that 

 

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Tracy Judge: We had the opportunity to expand it and not just talk about one or two hotel convergence but connect people through the industry and it was really based on finding people work. 

 

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Tracy Judge: And helping to stimulate the events community during this time. 

 

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Tracy Judge: So, actually. So we created a platform to do this and connect people and what ended up happening is other initiatives started popping up in our industry as well. And our we're 

 

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Tracy Judge: It's very important for us as an industry to be united right as one voice and you don't want to have competing initiatives, because it's just noise and also we don't have all the time in the world. So we're actually announcing today, which is super, super exciting. We partnered with 

 

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Tracy Judge: With live for life who George P. Johnson is one of the companies that is 

 

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Tracy Judge: That is running that initiative and they were already doing the piece that we were doing as far as the connections. 

 

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Tracy Judge: So they're going to focus on those connections and now our team is really focused on problem solving and solutions and innovation and how can we 

 

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Tracy Judge: Help solve some of the challenges we're going to have in the meetings and events industry and how can we create new products or services that will 

 

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Tracy Judge: You know, maybe replace some of the products and services that aren't relevant anymore moving forward. So, and also we're focused on getting 

 

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Tracy Judge: Cross industry support. So instead of us staying siloed in hospitality and events. It's more important than ever now for us to work with different industries to solve some of these really complex challenges. 

 

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Tracy Judge: But you know we are as industries connectors. That's what we do. We bring people together from all industries. 

 

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Tracy Judge: All businesses right to come together to solve problems to get better to drive business results to drive world change. So, in essence, we're doing again we're doing what we always do, but 

 

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Tracy Judge: We're, we're doing it in a different way. So we're launching a virtual Hackathon if 

 

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Tracy Judge: It goes live today the registration and cvent has been one of our partners from the very beginning of this initiative supported us the whole way. And additionally, 

 

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Tracy Judge: That will be launching this event registration site for anybody that's interested to apply to be a hacker and join one of these teams. 

 

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Brooke Gracey: That's so cool. We'll have to put the link in the description of this podcast for anybody. Tracy, you were just like, 

 

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Brooke Gracey: Goals when it comes to what everyone should be doing during our downtime here. Well, while I'm over there watching like trashy TV, you're making such a great difference in the world. And I just think it's 

 

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Brooke Gracey: It's so cool. The way that you've rallied around this industry and really trying to make a difference really really inspirational. 

 

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Tracy Judge: Thank you. This is, this is the time that we all come together. Right. Which is funny. 

 

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Tracy Judge: Because we can't be to get there, but we all need each other right now. And we also need community. We need community. So having these initiatives and just the ability. I've networked more in the last two months, right, working on these initiatives. 

 

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Tracy Judge: Than I probably did in the last year and you have the opportunity right now to work with people with different piece parts of the industry and partner on projects that you want it usually have the opportunity to 

 

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Tracy Judge: So I really encourage everybody to do it and get and get involved in something different. During this time, because the opportunities are there. 

 

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Cody Liskh: And there's 

 

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Brooke Gracey: Something inherent about the meetings industry where we're just like we're such a community. Right. And we really like to come together and help when we can. And it's such a unique skill set that I think we've 

 

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Brooke Gracey: Like you've said, you know, we've been able to leverage and really cool ways to give back. So 

 

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Brooke Gracey: Really cool. Yeah. 

 

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Cody Liskh: Broke. On that note, I think it's time for our really difficult question that we have the 

 

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Cody Liskh: Hardest most challenging question you're going to hear today. 

 

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Cody Liskh: This is for both Tracy and Matt if both of you had to leave our event professionals or listeners with one takeaway or piece of advice with how to get help. During this time, what would that be 

 

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Brooke Gracey: That you're gonna go first. Taking the time here. 

 

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Matt Syme: Sure, happy to 

 

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Brooke Gracey: One, though. 

 

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Matt Syme: Just, just one 

 

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Cody Liskh: One. That's the hard part. 

 

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Matt Syme: That means there's more emphasis on just the one piece. Now, I would say being adaptable. I think the way that the events business in the industry is going, it's just it's changing rapidly through this and I think 

 

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Matt Syme: Looking at where just virtual events we're ultimately going to get to even prior to, you know, to pandemic, we were going to get there. We're 

 

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Matt Syme: online virtual events. We're going to be something of the future. 

 

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Matt Syme: But the bottom line is we celebrated this probably 100 fold. And I think we're at a spot right now we're getting behind that is 

 

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Matt Syme: Is really important and I think being adaptable on what type of role within that industry that you might want to explore is really helpful. 

 

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Matt Syme: As Tracy mentioned, you know, looking at a new skill set, being able to adapt your own background with it and go a long way. 

 

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Matt Syme: Well, I'll preface it this way and not to ramble too much. But now, how, how many family relatives that we that we all have no say six months ago refused to get on a FaceTime or 

 

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Matt Syme: Call with you. Now, that's all they'll do we just because we're forced and backed into that in a similar way. I think a lot of 

 

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Matt Syme: The events industry is going to have to get forced to get into that and to embrace them. So getting ahead of the curve as much as you can learn a new skill sets learning as you mentioned, Tracy to embrace that pivot that's adaptability and that's going to go a long way. 

 

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Tracy Judge: Yeah, I agree, adaptability is is huge and it's also, we don't we don't. I mean this shocked us right we have no idea what the future holds for us. 

 

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Tracy Judge: But as long as you're adaptable, you're going to keep you know you're going to keep figuring out and evolving and 

 

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Tracy Judge: You know, I think it how to get help. Right now, I would say one of the biggest things we've learned is to ask for help. 

 

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Tracy Judge: And during this time, we've all experienced vulnerabilities that we may never have experienced in our lifetime, and we are all very vulnerable right now. 

 

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Tracy Judge: And because of that, it is a time when you know you don't need to be perfect. You can try things you can you can fail. You can raise your hand and say you don't understand something or know how to do something or 

 

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Tracy Judge: You know you are sad today because you've been stuck in your house for weeks. Like, it's okay. And I think it's something coming out of this that we we all can continue to take with us. If you need help, ask. There's people that that will assist you. Yeah, yeah. 

 

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Cody Liskh: Good solid advice. Yeah, this has been such a cool conversation Tracy before we let you go, is there anything else that you want to promote with our listeners will definitely put the link to the hackathon here, but is there anything additional 

 

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Brooke Gracey: hackathon. 

 

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Tracy Judge: Is there anything else. 

 

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Yeah. 

 

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Cody Liskh: Yeah. 

 

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Tracy Judge: So we're gonna take any 

 

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Tracy Judge: You know, if you are, if you are a freelancer looking for work or you are, you've been displaced from your position, please feel free to come 

 

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Tracy Judge: To the soundings connect website you can apply to be part of our network. We're doing a lot education wise and creating community. 

 

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Tracy Judge: For anybody that needs it right now. So we would love for you to be part of that. And then our virtual Hackathon again launches today and we're looking for people that want to be hackers and also want to be mentors for it. So you're able to apply online with that. 

 

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Cody Liskh: Awesome. Well, thanks again Tracy and Matt. It was so great to have you guys on here. Thank you for joining today's very special edition video cast of how great events happen. 

 

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Brooke Gracey: Coding. I definitely appreciate you guys stepping in to talk to us about how you know event professionals and hotel years really all of us. 

 

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Brooke Gracey: Can get the help you need. During these times, and for our listeners. Thank you so much for joining another episode of How great events happen as a reminder, today's recording is also available as a podcast, you can get that at CNN com slash podcasts. 

 

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Cody Liskh: And if any of our listeners have tips or tricks and how they're, you know, 

 

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Cody Liskh: lighten the mood. These days, or you know what you're doing to get the help that you need. We'd love to hear from you. 

 

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Cody Liskh: And we'll see you again next week for another great episode. 

 

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Brooke Gracey: Thanks, guys.