Find Your Happy

Samantha Schneider, CEO & Principal, AmpersandPeople

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Samantha Schneider is the founder and Principal of AmpersandPeople, Inc. She is an established People Leader with over 20 years of experience in recruiting and human resources working with a variety of industries. Samantha holds a Bachelors in Organizational Communications from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

Samantha Schneider wants you to find your happy. She joins us today to share her passion for helping companies implement and scale their practices. Samantha shares her years of experience in Hr, and how to make sure your staff can come to work every day with a smile on their face.

{01:19} Learning from your clients

{02:36} Samantha’s journey

{10:50} Advice for a person laid off

{16:11} Where companies’ waste time

{21:16} Surprised by founders

{22:35} The people who influenced Samantha

{33:22} Being a confident woman in the business world

Welcome to the Talent Empowerment podcast, my friends, we share the stories of great humans so you can lift your organizations, your teams as well as your community. I am your host, Tom Finn, and on the show today we have a lady that should need no introduction. Her name is Samantha Schneider, and her passion is helping companies implement, scale, and iteration practices that are second to none, if you haven’t met her yet… welcome to the show, Samantha.

Hi, good morning.

Well, we are thrilled to have you on, and allow me to introduce you to Samantha. She is the founder and principal consultant of Ampersand People in the San Francisco Bay area.

She has spent time in recruiting and in terms of talent in HR, she's well-known as an established people leader. with over 10 years of experience in recruiting and human resources. She's worked with a variety of different industries, and she's also been recognized as one of the top 100 influential recruiters across the globe by LinkedIn in their inaugural class of the LinkedIn 100 award. Yes, my friends. She is all things… people, and we will get to her background in just a moment. But I have. To know From Samantha

What have you learned from your clients so far?

Yes, I believe 7 years of doing this and 20 years of people making human interactions inherently predictable have contributed to this. I believe we have discovered that no matter what industry a company is in, people face the same challenges.

Things have cycles, so we bring you the good news. So, when you're hiring, one person will inevitably call that friend, or they will have those people in their life that they want to discuss the offer details to make sure they're getting a good opportunity. In contrast, we do, unfortunately, exit, right? And while we strive to treat people with dignity, the people you affect, those who are left behind, exhibit the same behavior patterns.

People react similarly to growth and change, right? We kind of think there are milestones and companies where it's five humans at 25 humans at 50 humans You sort, of course, you can ask the CEO or manager questions. As a result, we've worked hard to sort of be one step ahead for our clients and to help them be like PS, this is coming. Wait for it. and assist them in this way.

That was very well said, but it requires a little bit of context. So, Samantha, please tell us, specifically a little bit about your background before we get rolling here You've been in recruiting and HR, but where else? Where did this start for you, and where are you now?

Yeah, so people from the Bay Area went to Cal Poly. I thought I was going to be a viticulture major, and Garth Brooks was going to sing at my winery because it was the late 90s. and that didn't happen. So I came home and went to a recruiting agency to try to find a great job, and I ended up staying for six years and building a division of that company. And I didn't know that that was even a job opportunity, and I think other HR and recruiting humans who listen will probably know. I believe that 99% of us do it unintentionally. I found this profession, and loved it

And then went on to work for really fun consumer companies, like Electronic Arts, Shutterfly, and Google, and I think it's a lens we still use today. People still need to leave wanting to be customers. Every 24-year-old boy wanted to work on Madden. Awesome, you didn't get the job. I still needed them to want to go right by and play Madden. And so, I think our lens was always, "How do you treat people?" How is your kind to people? How do you welcome their enthusiasm and then still do what you're supposed to be doing for the business?

From there I arrived at work. A very interesting place called Farinose It's been in the news. I was there a year to the day. I think we'll probably hit on that later, but that launched me into biotech and pharmaceuticals, and that has been a wonderful industry to be a part of as well.

Growing up in recruiting, I've always kind of had that... I'm not sure; we make promises, and we ask the employers. I mean, you know, we asked them. Clients say, "Hey, tell us about your team or tell us what it's like." work here, and we always made those promises and always explained what we were doing. as recruiters perceived the work to be. And then we were kind of brought them to new-employee orientation and kind of didn't have control over that. That was the second half of the story. And that was something that I learned as I got deeper into my career I really kind of wanted That blend.

Our industry, our work has gone in that direction; now it's sort of the people teams, right? There are no longer HR personnel or recruiting head-hunters, but I believe this was a necessary transition for our purpose.

Well, I think there still are in some places, right? You have the recruiting team whose job and focus is to get new blood. Find them within the organization. Find the talent. Get them in, promise them anything, and then hand that over to the hiring manager and the team of HR professionals or regional personnel in charge of them.

Do you think that there's still a divide, or are you starting to feel like it's coming closer together?

Oh, we're getting closer. Tech, I believe, was at the forefront of this. Maybe ten years ago. I mean, I think my experience at Shutterfly was one in which we were very much united. When someone came into the HR department, we appreciated anyone who stood up and said, "How can I help?" I think I always kind of led recruiting teams where we were accountable for being authentic and not, you know, over-polishing the apple. Don't freak people out by telling them by the way, this hiring manager is a crazy person or whatever.

That looks like giving you balanced information so you can remember my first recruiting experience. I worked on 100% commission, so we didn't get paid if they didn't stay. and I think that was good. Early lessons for some of them You know, some people think head-hunters are gross. Or there's a sort of stigma about sales or whatever, as you mentioned. Get the bodies at any cost. I was recruited in 2000. I remember you having a pulse. You could get a job, but I needed them to stay. As a result, I believe that was always a lens I was taught to be aware of. It's not dropping the resume off; it's making sure the person stays, thrives, and gets promoted.

Yeah, you're bringing I want to bring up a really important point, which is that the value of bringing somebody into the company is for them to be there a long time. And to bring them in and turn them over would cost the organization an absolute fortune in not only hard cash but opportunity costs, culture, and all of those things that drive profitability.

If you don’t keep the people, you've got some other problems as well.

Yeah, and I think it’s always interesting when some people become desperate, and we have to talk them down from the ledge as if it's not about the body, it's about the right person. As a recruiter, you always take that feedback into account. Oh, this person won't stay.

I always think that's a really interesting piece of feedback. Job-hopper feedback I've had experiences where someone was at a company for 10 years. They've lived through four companies in those 10 years, right? They changed agents or people who got through those corporate transitions, rather than people who, I believe, tapped out. It was effective for 14 to 18 months. There appears to be a cycle that begins when they join a company. It’s 25 people. It grows, they get uncomfortable, and they go join another 25-person company, grow, and get uncomfortable. So, there are people who know their strengths and stay in that sort of career pattern.

And then some people change. And so, I always do. I always want to dialogue with people about that feedback. Just as an example, people are predictable, right? We are aware of patterns. Inevitably, there will be humans who, you know, long for your company, and there will be people for whom it's OK to just act as you know it. This was awesome; you did it. This is where you go to find happiness, and I believe this is where we try to spend our time educating and communicating.

Yeah, I don't want that last comment to be lost on anyone. Go find your happiness. I think it is really important Samantha because we tend to find that we want people to stay. You must stay in the organization, and even if you're miserable, you've got to stay. I just don't subscribe to that philosophy because, at the end of the day, we're all going to end up in a box, and so you know you've got to live your life and be happy.

Be happy and enjoy your job and the people you work with and so forth. You know, having a smile on your face when you go to work is an important part of what we do every day.

Yes, and I think you know, especially in light of the current state of affairs. I just said, Kermit. We could have impairments too. I think some people have been impacted by this, and we're not judging them. you when you do. I'm here to apply for a position. You know, we see what's happening.

So, do you believe you can tell just by speaking? To hiring managers that might be listening or new HR people who haven't had a there were tons of uncomfortable conversations. Such privileged people are struggling a lot of times to go into those conversations nervous, but then everybody seems sort of relieved, right? Like it or not, it is not a measure of your worth as a human. It has nothing to do with how much your mother earns. As much as I adore you, it makes no difference what level of success you achieve in life or what kind of car you drive. This is just not your moment in time. Your work aligns with the business needs and that's OK.

And it's so easy to say that six months, eight hundred months out, you start to get it and start to let go of some uncomfortable choices you had to make as a leader or were you, someone who has been impacted by a business change for good or bad, I've always seen the most positive things come from forced change because it's so difficult to have that dialogue at the time, but I hope a lot of people come out of the other side thinking, "This is just what needed to happen and this shift was, you know, kind of what I needed The kick in the a**” I guess sometimes I mean it. It's happened to me personally.

Yeah, let's unpack that a little bit.

So, you're talking about forcing change, and that is a gray area term, my friend for job elimination or reduction in force. Samantha is being very kind with her words.

But to be a little bit more of a punch in the nose. Here's a definition for "she's." She's using it primarily about being laid off for some reason and feeling a little lost or unwanted, and I believe what's most important there is that organizations go through changes and you're not always a good fit at the right time.

And quite frankly, sometimes it has nothing to do with you. You're a number on a spreadsheet with a salary and nothing more, and we can't get too emotional about those things.

So, how do you respond to someone in this current climate, we've got headwinds from a slowing economy. We've got morale issues with employees. We've got organizations laying people off. Even some of the top organizations are laying off people. What do you say to someone who's been laid off?

Yeah, I think it is. I would say not to take it personally, and I recall the movie quote about knowing you've got a mail where she is. Of course, it's personal; everything is personal!

So, I don't mean to strip it of its humanity or make your point like you're a number on a spreadsheet. Yes, to someone who doesn't know you. I'm thinking of HR or rerouting, you are a person with a special sauce, and we want that authenticity, which is why you were hired in the first place because you chose a culture that fits or whatever. I think when there are times of change, go back and remember your early happiness. So, like, remember when you first got that job and how good it felt, or remember those times when you had a fantastic manager who fully supported you and the two of you? You either clicked or you just had this shorthand.

And so, when you get into these, you're either suffering and think you should stay because you have a ******* manager or whatever. You have a city employee, right? both sides of the coin. Go back to doing it like that. That suits me better now. Find your happiness.

There should have been a time in your history when things felt easy. Things felt comfortable and productive, and you felt like you had good inertia for what you were contributing; go find that, and I think you can find it there. Pick yourself up and be like, "This suck like you're allowed to pout." You're allowed to go through your grief cycle, right? You can be angry at yourself. It can be depressing if you can't do all of those things, and things should respect those feelings before moving on to the next. That is, keep in mind. Go find that good, happy thing again.

Yeah, I think remembering your happiness is going to be the theme of the show today, and I love it because it just makes me smile. I'm thinking about it.

So, you went through various career jumps. You moved into recruiting, HR, and people, but then you decided to take this sort of walk down the entrepreneurial road, which has jagged rocks on it and can be a little rough and uncomfortable at times. Tell us about that. Tell us about AmpersandPeople.

Yeah, I sort of started by accident. I'll bring up my friend Theranos again. An interesting time is needed. I needed to air it out, so I started driving around by myself. I just needed to, like, take a minute, and I had not worked. I had always been like this. Quit Friday; start a new job Monday.

A friend called and said "Hey, can you fix our glass door”, and I was like, "Sure, that'll take a couple of hours." She was like, "I'll pay you," and I was like, "Just buy me champagne, right?" So, they began snowballing, and it got to the point where if you couldn't tell already, I'm very creative and right brained. Someone asked me to do a spreadsheet, and I was like, "Oh, sh*t." So, I called a woman I worked with for 10 years, the woman I had worked with had been my left brain, and I was like, "Oh my God, I need Your assistance was greatly appreciated, and she said, "OK."

So, then I started sort of secretly peddling stuff to her so she could do tremendous work and redeliver it. We went to dinner one night, and I was like, should we just make this a thing, and she was like, OK. I had been raised by parents who had their businesses. My aunts and uncles had their businesses. Because our family friends all had small businesses, I guess it wasn't as scary as I thought, which could be good or bad. I didn't think twice about doing it or pulling the trigger, I probably didn't think it through to where we are today, which is 27 people. And you are aware that there are 35 active clients at any given time. I didn't have to learn QuickBooks from scratch. and all that. You just sort of don't think about it because, you're like, "This is fun recruiting, yeah?" All the business pieces of it were an educational process, but you get there.

Yeah, I think of it as a public service announcement.   If you are in HR, human resources, consulting, People OPS, etc., taking champagne as a payment method is not endorsed by this show, not that it can't be in addition to payment, but I would think that cold, hard cash might.   Rule the day. If you're hiring people externally as well, great. just a little community service. But what should I do?  

I admire that you started on Glassdoor, doing that homework for somebody, and being paid in a champagne is the way that you started your company. It's a beautiful way to start, and the champagne is appropriate as well.

It was fun, and I think it just sort of snowballed. And you know, I just kept saying yes. Like, in my head, I was like, "What would a dude in a checkered shirt and a Patagonia vest say?" So, I was like, "We'll just say yes, and we'll just keep taking work." And then I just started making phone calls, and I was like, "This is just a little above my skis. Can you talk me through this? Can I use you? Can I recommend you? Can I bring you into the conversation?”

I believe that's where you belong. Again, find your happiness. Find your positivity. Find people who enjoy what they do and may have a skill that complements yours. That's how I sort of kind of collected all my lovely ampersand people and I How did we get to this point?

Yeah, I love that, and I'm wondering as you're talking. What are the biggest misuses of time that you find in your clients, you come in and clean up. Where are they wasting time?

That is a good one, I would say. Wow, a couple of different things come to mind, I think.

I guess I'm ruminating on possible decisions that are low RUI.

Trying to get people to understand this is a one-day decision. This is a three-day decision. This is a, you know, one-year decision. I'm trying to help them prioritize, which I think, is always really interesting. I think that's just Understanding what motivates employees is a difficult and critical task for any business—and I'll use HR as an example—and for me as a people manager.

If I am a people manager, I should spend one hour thoughtfully typing something up, creating a document, and giving clear instructions ends, I can then Rather than saying, "I'm too busy," go unlock 40 hours of work for the three people involved in this project. I don't have time to delegate. I think those are a lot of conversations that we have when scaling companies where it's hard to stop and be mindful, but you unlock that next layering and remembering to take that time, I think, is an important component.

I also believe we should talk about returning to the beginning of recruiting, in which you do want someone to stay with you for a long time, but the business isn't staying the same for that long. Consider your pain point when hiring someone. Now some hiring managers are like, "Oh my gosh, we're bleeding." OK, I need someone to apply pressure, but once we have it under control, does that person have the next skill?

Think about 18 months from now. It's OK. Some jobs, some work, and some projects only have a one- to two-year shelf life. 18 months in, you'll know if you can retrain that person for their next job, or if this happens again, you'll have to invite them to find happiness within themselves. A place, where their skill set, is relevant, so I think balancing future rise versus immediacy is another thing. I talked to a lot of people.

You've mentioned it a couple of times—scaling and different sizes of companies—and I want to just unpack that a little bit. So how do you look at company size and determine different strategies for those companies?

Yes, commercializing companies is one of our favorite projects in the entire world, which we have learned and done a few times now. So, creating a massive field sales force, all of the operations, all of the people, all of the things that go with that is a delight, and there is so much energy. And we love that.

Another part of us jokingly referred to ourselves as "two kids and a bag of money" in business. Two friends and someone wrote them a really big check, and now all of a sudden you have to sort of be a little more formal or honor those friendships, or what happens now? And so those are the types of things we tackle, but sort of according to our opening comments, people are predictable. We can help them. We can show them it's everything is fine; you'll be fine. You should be aware of the pitfalls that others have encountered I heard hiccups and heartburn. It's like, "Come with us."

It's not that we have the right answer, and I think that's something else we try to think about. There's more than one way to There is grading at HR. There are a thousand different ways to be. To be honest, I'm terrible at it. But just as we want to meet people where they are, especially as consultants, the consultants listening will hopefully agree or disagree.

I get the impression that I could type up a bunch of ****, charge you for it, and it could sit on a drive or in a folder. If neither of us uses it again, That's not a win for me.

What was the point, right?

Yeah, so I think the win is getting the client to understand, adopt, and use. And then, I think, our intention is always to not be around, right?

So, like, my job is to sort of do it, moonwalk out, and do it yourself, just for good measure but being confident that they can, and I think we're mindful of that at any scale. And who does the work?

So, when we talk about big commercialization, we work with a sales leader instead of going with the CFO or working with OPS and HR. Who's our audience there? How do we address their needs and make their lives easier? Isn't it better when it's two, as you know?

The two children have returned to the money example. They're founders, and HR is not their core skill. In general, they have it on occasion. There's so much going on in the business, so our job is to present them with choices that are easy to make or provide them with information about said options, so they have one less thing to worry about meaning a CEO at those early stages.

The decision fatigue is palpable. How do we help them move on to the next thing? That is critical for the business, which is made up of people. Keep that in mind. Maintain momentum. I guess it's downfield for everyone.

Are there any founders in this area with two friends and a bag of money who surprised you and whom you thought were unfit to be founders? But as you know, the founders in this area were two friends and money. That surprise; you; perhaps thought they were poorly built to be under.

But as you know founders in this area with two friends and a bag of money who surprised you and whom you thought were unfit to be founders?? But as you know founders in this area of two friends and a bag of money that surprised you that perhaps you thought were poorly built-to-be founders? But as you. When you started working with them, you realized, "My goodness, they have some skills that I may not have recognized."

Yes, we don't like to kiss and tell in HR. But yes, um. Yeah, I think people are surprised and delighted with you again. As much as people are predictable, people do kind of drop little gems, and you tend to be inspired or hopeful. I believe there are some excellent examples. They weren't people-focused, or they didn't understand the importance of culture, or you say, "Let's build a handbook that's you; know 5 to 10 hours of billable hours, whatever that looks like." And they're like, "Oh, we don't need a handbook. We're all friends” Okay, that's cute; let me show you ten more. Exemplifications of "absolutely why"? You need a handbook or policies, and then there are the people who are. They are extremely rigid, which is exactly what they want. All these policies and you're like, "Cool." A lot of times, it's just dialogue. A lot of times, it's just setting expectations and having frequent conversations. It doesn't have to be this formal thing, so I think for good and bad, we have been surprised when either people are employee-focused, or we get them there how good of an output it ends up being when they put time into it.

Well, I'm starting to think about all the listeners out there who are in their mid-career years and then those that are in their early-career years, and I'm wondering. You know, I've always thought that consulting or getting into that space would be difficult and hard, and perhaps hard to do at an early age.   Was there somebody trained and influenced you along the way that sort of helped you become who you are?

I'm going to get emotional. I owe my career to so many wonderful people who invested in me without prompting or immediate reward. And that's something I am so grateful for. And can name them out and give him a shout-out, like at the Oscars or something. I'm the recipient of some very generous people who, I hope you know, were given that same opportunity, and I think I've worked hard to make that a deliberate exercise in my career and in the span I've been there.

Many young women will benefit from this as men that I worked with early in my career when I was a recruiter. They were recruiting coordinators. They have grown up. Isn't it time to get back to finding your happiness? We've left companies as if we'd broken up. We've come back together because good people found each other, and now they're all grown up, they worked with me or their clients, and that was really an honor and a privilege, and I humbly say that I have some people who were my managers who now work with ampersand people, not for me. Interesting people with everything People are talking about it now because it's such a treat like it's so awesome.

Well, thank you for sharing that and for sharing your motion. I mean, do you think it's about people? Life is about people. You're about people. You're in the people business, and to have people that have trained and influenced you along the way that is meaningful to you in your life, and to see how grateful you are just by the look on your face is wonderful.

So, thank you for that.

And I think you know one of the things somebody asked. I once said, "Oh, you're starting your own." What was the best piece of advice you ever received? one piece of advice you'd give me, and I was sitting somewhere, and the first thing that came to my head was, "Be nice to people when you don't ******* need something from them.

And I, too, am the same way went through my brain, and it's never gone away, which is what I think it is. The Shutterfly in me, like, "Oh, we sent holiday cards, or we sent birthday cards." didn't disappear from people's lives, and I think in the era of social media, it's so easy to be like, "Oh, we're friends." I saw what you did last Thursday. You had spaghetti with your grandma.

Have meaningful, long-term connections with people. Reach out and spend time checking in on people when you don't need something from them. Because when I started my business, I had the generosity of someone who had a legal background or a contracting background. I said I would pay you for champagne. No, I'm just kidding about money, not champagne. But can you just look at this? For me, oh my gosh, yes, and they jumped in, and they spent time, and I said, can I reward you …or do you know how to value the time and effort you put in? And they were like, "No, we're friends," and they meant it. And that, again, was the biggest compliment. I believe you are capable of receiving … time.

A successful business requires time, energy, and the presence of good people. So how do think about your business and replicate the results from client to client? Clients are looking for different things, but they're also looking for a successful outcome. So, how do you go about it? Do you create a model where everything is customized, but it's also standard? You can count on it, and you can repeat it.

Again, I believe we'll stick with the theme of people being predictable when they're happy or sad.

One of the types of foundational remarks I make, particularly here at Ampersand, is If you.  We know better. We have to do better, and I know this is a podcast, but behind me, I have all my weird Disney stuff. I'm a big fan of the Disney Company in terms of its impeccable, replicable global experience, right? Have you been to any of the world's 12 theme parks you know what you're getting? You know it's going to be fantastic, as I always say. I believe we should meet that standard, and please don't confuse mutually exclusive with perfection. I am not perfect. I am dyslexic, so I have all the things right. Everybody's got little things, and my team will tell you I'm the world's worst speller. Fine, I own it, you know. Not perfection: that's not something we can strive for.

But if we know better, we must do better. And it all comes down to simple things like not warping logos. Two sets of eyes look at things, and I will never send the client something that isn't in their hex color or their preferred font. Double-check that the names are there. So, I believe we overdeliver on those types of experiences, and when people see that we have that level of detail or that we care about the impression they're making because, again, our audience in HR is the employee, I believe they often turn it back to their employee base when they can trust that we're turning in a product that will make them look good. That's where we get referrals, and that's where we kind of build the business so that we're allowed to touch more and more because we have that trust that we understand and we're putting ourselves in their shoes. We're not just throwing something across the fence.

Attention to detail is critical, and I believe it is an art form that has perhaps been lost in modern business. But we all crave it, we all want really good work, whether that's from our boss, our coworkers, those to whom we report, or external partners, friends, or consultants. We all want good work. Product and attention to detail, I believe, are lost art in today's fast-paced world. busy, so double checking is maybe the second PSA of the day, Samantha.

You know, don't charge for champagne, and double-check your work. Product big takeaways from today's discussion.

Now, you and I talked before this podcast, and you mentioned something to me that I thought was just fabulous. Tell me a story where you may or may not have been locked out of a sales meeting and how that happened. will make you feel.

So again, going back to more fundamental matters.

So, my very first job was 100% commission. We had to dress in a suit. We had to be at the office at 7:30 in the morning. We all had to go to the office. We did not. have a computer PS: We didn't have a cell phone we couldn't text if we were running late. And where I worked, they primarily hired recent college graduates and trained us. We had to be in the sales meeting doorway by 7:30 a.m. or they would lock the door.

It wasn't, like, oh. Okay, I'll go get myself some coffee. I'll be back in half an hour when they open the door because you never knew when they were going to open the door, and so it just conditioned us to show up on time. Be respectful. Our time is not more important than the other eight recruiters in that room, dressed in suits because we were in inside sales. We had a phone book on the phone. We were cold calling. But they made us wear suits out of respect. Do you know how they say you should stand up and change your energy when you interview? It was those absolute core foundational things that I think gave me what I needed to end up where I am today, and I never got locked out. But I have some friends who did. All right? I'm German; I was always on time.

All right, Samantha was never late for her sales meeting. She was never locked out just for the record.

I have flaws. But being late is not one of them.

On time, detailed, and paired with champagne, I think we've got that.

Thank you.

We've got that nailed.

Summed up.

But now you've brought up Disney. You mentioned the Disney experience. Disney is a fabulous company. Bob Iger is coming back, too, to take over again. Because no one else appears to be capable of running Disney at the level that the market requires. I wonder, do you talk a lot about transitions and leadership transitions with your clients? a few pro tips for CEOs leaving and CEOs joining? that we can share.

And I, too. We're probably just as excited. Friend Bob is back.

And I believe one of the topics we discuss is this, and I have a quick, like 1-pager. We send people that kind of call—"engage," which is a type of leadership excellence and culture created by design. They have come out of Disney Institute classes that we've taken, but we've kind of shortened them for people, which is to imagine what people do when you're not in the room. Imagine your legacy after you're gone, and I think of you as the two kids in the bag of money, but what will this look like in five years? when you're on the board and busy doing other things? But this company, this thing you've poured your heart and soul into, is still alive and well, and I believe we should discuss how to achieve repeatable behaviors. So, is your CEO in transition? You know, we talk about the stages of companies.

You build the company to a certain point, and then you have to go externally and keep raising funds. What happens when you're not in the room anymore? Whether you're the product leader, the sales leader, or the scientific leader, what happens when you're not present? And I think I'm not a parent, but I've heard.

Children behave better when they're with me than with their parents, right? And I think that's what you're hoping to set up in your company. How do? People make good decisions in the absence of you because you have instilled the proper values. They have values, and when they're faced with choices, they know what choice they should make, not what you would make. But what choice should they make, being a steward of your company or your culture

I love it.

I like how you bullet-pointed that out because I think it's so important that we understand what kind of leadership shadow we cast and how that impacts others.

And the best way to visualize it is to sort of close the door behind you. Leave a room. And, come to think of it, do you know about that hidden camera and see what people think, what they do, and how they act? And if your leadership example has given them the right advantage or legs up in their careers to get things done.

So, thank you for sharing that final question. You are a very confident businessperson.


And I love that about you. Don't go changing, but I'd love to know: were you always this confident, or did this build over time?

Well, probably embarrassingly, always.

My parents loved me a lot. They said I was fantastic. I think there are Women and I have talked about the impostor syndrome on occasion. I know, I know. Men get that as well. I just watched Oprah speak to the woman from Abbott Elementary, and they talked about how they've never had impostor syndrome and were unashamed to share that point. And I think more women need to be like that.

I believe when. You do something similar. You love, and you happen to be gay. But that's it; it feels good, and you're confident in it, right? And I think that I mean not to continue to, you know, beat a dead horse. But I think that leads back to finding your happiness. It doesn't mean you shouldn't push yourself, change, or face difficult situations. Or anytime you're uncomfortable, you turn.

But I think when you find your thing, your jam, it is easy, and you do get to gain mindshare to sort out the strategic parts of it, and you don't ruminate on, "Oh my gosh, what if I'm not enough?" Or what if they don't know? Oh goodness, oh goodness, right all of those kinds of doomsday scenarios You can kind of run through; I stay up at night. We have too much work I stay up at night, and we don't have enough. work up at night. Who's happy? Not happy. Are they doing the work they want?

It does not come without it. It doesn't come without stress and strain, but I think when you're doing something fun, it should be easy. And then when it's easy or comfy, I guess a long answer is in order on that one.

Yeah, beautifully said, and a great way to close out our discussion today.

Samantha Schneider thank you so much for being with us on the Town Empowerment Podcast. Through your friendships and great relationships, you are lifting others in your community and network. And for that, we are eternally grateful. If I was listening to the show and I wanted to find you, Samantha, how would I go about doing that?

So we have a website,, and I am on LinkedIn and would love to hear from people.

Well, we will get that in the show notes, so that if you're driving, you don't have to try and put that into your phone. Thank you for joining us, Samantha. It's been an absolute pleasure spending time with you.

Very fun; thank you so much.

And thank you for joining the Talent Empowerment podcast. I hope this conversation lifted you so you can lift your teams, your organizations, and your community. Let's get back to people and culture, and between now and the next episode go find your happy. Thanks, everybody.

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