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S4 E44 |CXR 25: Gerry checks in with Kelly Cartwright and 25 years of CXR

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Gerry Crispin 0:21
I’m not gonna ask you any hard questions. So this is you and me. So Kelly Cartwright at Amazon. Not representing Amazon, just representing Kelly Cartwright because she and I have been around for a while, although you were much, much, much, much younger.

Kelly Cartwright, Amazon 0:43
Back then

Gerry Crispin 0:45
In fact, when did we would you know, the year? When were you in that crazy startup?

Kelly Cartwright, Amazon 0:53
I’m going to say 2000?

Gerry Crispin 0:59
It had to be that or a little before a little after you were you were, you seem to be leading the damn thing. Yeah, at the time, because nobody else really knew what the hell they were doing. If I recall, it was a referral related product. Is that accurate?

Kelly Cartwright, Amazon 1:19
It was it was that that generation one of the referral automation products, remember a referral networks refer.com. And then that the place I worked with called career rewards. And based on my quick look on LinkedIn, I was there in 2001, to 2002.

Gerry Crispin 1:41
Okay, so that’s, that was the beginning, actually, of us pivoting to a colloquium approach. And, and obviously, we’re still doing some consulting. Because I think we came in and did some consulting with you guys, for a day we did.

Kelly Cartwright, Amazon 1:59
That’s how we met, I asked you and Mark to come in and talk to the board to try to talk some sense into them, because we were making basically making a recommendation to aggressively pursue sale of either the business or the technology assets based on sort of what was going on in the market at that time. So..

Gerry Crispin 2:20
And that’s, that’s kind of what we were about. At the time, we we obviously had gotten a lot of visibility, and we’re doing not only consulting there, but with various companies. But it was always chasing that and and we were we were looking for that next thing where we could not have to chase money, but really focus in on having a group of people that were trying to improve what was going on. So I found that kind of fascinating. And I remember the years then that you continued to operate at very in various companies. You I would see you regularly at a at a conference. And as I move by, you would always go Gerry, What’s my name? Do you remember that?

Kelly Cartwright, Amazon 3:16
I do I do.

Gerry Crispin 3:18
I think I think you did that a number of times before I go. Geez, I better remember her name before giving me shit all the time.

Kelly Cartwright, Amazon 3:28
I did. I used to purposefully, you know, kind of give you a little like poke and say, Gerry, come on. You must remember me don’t you remember the gig we did?

Gerry Crispin 3:38
Yeah, it all came back to me, obviously. But my mental faculties were somewhat still are. They still are so so I’ve seen a lot of your your folks at Amazon, we’ve had a number of folks participating recently in colloquium and and really appreciate their their participation and involvement. It’s really, it’s really been good. I keep telling them. So you need to go back and tell Kelly and or whoever is your boss, what you’re getting out of this. So, so anyhow, it’s kind of a, it’s kind of a fascinating shift to pivot to zoom, in effect is what we’ve done. And instead of a day and a half meeting every month, we’re now doing almost two to three meetings a week, on some subject or another. So there’s just and we’re getting as, you know, 40-50, whatever, people coming from our membership, and the questions and the engagement is fully on. kind of fascinating. I I think more and more right now. people, if they choose to come to a meeting, you see them and they’re, they’re kind of fully engaged.

Kelly Cartwright, Amazon 5:09
I agree. I mean, I tell my team, it’s, it’s, what you put in is what you can get out. And so you have to carve out the time figure out which meetings are the most relevant for you. To get that key, there are many people that I’ve met over the years through this forum, that I now have, you know, my own monthly recurring calls with or talking about maybe problems that are more specifically related amongst a smaller group. So it’s, that part’s delightful, because I feel like my, my network, even though I’ve been around for a long time, now, it continues to it can it continues to flourish, I think through the forum.

Gerry Crispin 5:54
Cool. what’s the what’s the one thing that as you as you’re looking out over the next five, six months, you know, we’re here toward the end of August, because I don’t know when people are going to be seeing this. But, you know, we’re right in the middle knowing we still have high degree of uncertainty. And, and my observation of TA leaders, is they know they have to make choices and decisions. They know it’s going to be under extreme uncertainty. So so they’re absolutely clueless on, you know, predicting outcomes, but are hungry for Well, if I’m thinking this way, I wonder if anybody else is thinking this way right now, kind of thing. And so that’s why I see this, the conversations that members have with each other, the various networks that flourish, whether they’re ours, or you know, other ones, is really a is really satisfying, that need to have some sense of, well, at least if I’m going down this path, I know there’s a bunch of other people going down a similar path, maybe not the same, but I can see their reasoning for why they’re doing what they do. Where do you fit? Where do you see some seniors going? Are we going to continue to be able to engage? Are we going to come out of this in the next year? is, does does Amazon even have a position on it?

Kelly Cartwright, Amazon 7:21
I think, um, you know, I’m not a medical expert, but I think we’re, uh, you know, I think that we will be, it’s not going to be a new norm, it’s, it’s going to be a new norm, it’s not like, we’re going to go back to the way things were, I think that COVID is going to be like smallpox or some other illness that’s here, and we are going to have to continue to live with it and deal with it, and vaccines are coming out, etc. I think some of the things that are top of mind for us, what what has the shift from work, work from home, what’s the longer term impact of that, if other companies that we compete with for talent, when they put out messages, so if you look at the Facebook, Microsoft, etc, whenever they say we’re extending our work from home until this date, or that date, or extending offers to candidates that are impacted by border restrictions, but guaranteeing them compensation, as an example, not necessarily tethered to the location, or you know, whether or not there’s going to be impact to talents, in terms of other companies being able to offer a permanent virtual work from home scenario. So I think the Yeah, I think these are things that we’re looking at, and sort of keeping track of what are the candidate responses? Are they willing and wanting to come back to the office? Do they prefer to work virtually? And I don’t know that we have the answers, but it’s things that are top of mind that were? Yeah, I think we’re definitely

Gerry Crispin 8:57
I think it will continue to evolve. My one hope is that candidates will take on more of responsibility to make choices and declare those choices Bay and defend them, you know, that, that I want to live my life a little bit differently than 24/7, access to the office, I want to you know, I want to be able to do certain kinds of things and make choices about those as I think about my job in relation to my career, my career in relation to my life. And obviously some folks develop that capability. But I’m not sure I’m not sure everyone or even a majority of the candidates out there think that through is as thoroughly as they should.

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