Agency for Change- Makenzie Rath, President of Talent Plus » KidGlov

Announcer:

Welcome to Agency for Change, the podcast that brings you the stories of people creating positive change in the world. We explore what inspires these changemakers, the work they’re doing and how they share their message. Each of us can play a part in change, and these are the people who show us how.

Lyn Wineman:

Hi, everyone. This is Lyn Wineman, president of KidGlov, and welcome to another episode of the Agency for Change podcast. Today, we’re talking with an inspirational young executive of an internationally recognized human resources consulting firm. That is big-time. Makenzie Rath started at Talent Plus at a young age, and she is now president of this organization that has over 400 clients and is in 20 countries. In addition, they’re known for having a great culture and amazing generosity. Makenzie, welcome to the podcast.

Makenzie Rath:

Lyn, thank you so much. It’s a true honor and delight to be here with you today.

Lyn Wineman:

I have a feeling we are going to have a really fun conversation, and I’d love to get started by having you tell us a bit more about the work of Talent Plus.

Makenzie Rath:

It’d be my pleasure. It’s one of my favorite topics to discuss. At Talent Plus, it’s not only a belief, but we know that everyone has talent, so our mission is to help discover and develop that talent for individuals who have the desire and the opportunity to express it. We love learning about people, learning about talent and learning about what makes people feel fulfilled and engaged in the roles they’re in, because one of our founders had a dream. Dr. William E. Hall would always ask what the world would be like if everyone did what they were good at and enjoyed it.

Lyn Wineman:

You know what? I’m going to interrupt you …

Makenzie Rath:

Yeah?

Lyn Wineman:

Because that sounds amazing to me. I think we would all be happier if we all did what we were good at and enjoyed it. What an awesome mission to have!

Makenzie Rath:

Doesn’t that sound amazing? We think helping to discover and develop talent is part of our bigger mission and vision of actualizing a better world. We love what we do every day, and it’s my privilege and honor to serve as the president and leader of our company and our colleagues to fulfill and serve our clients globally to help them actualize that mission as well.

Lyn Wineman:

That is really good stuff. You know what, Makenzie? To say you started at the company at a young age is a little bit of an understatement. You have to feel like you grew up with this company, as your parents were instrumental in founding Talent Plus. Does it feel like a sibling, a family member to you?

Makenzie Rath:

It does, it does! We had four founding members of Talent Plus. There were Doug and Kimberly Rath, Sandy Maxwell, and Dr. William E. Hall, who I just mentioned the quote from. They were the four founding members in 1989. It started on a patio here in Lincoln, Nebraska, with an idea and Dr. Hall’s dream: How can we help individuals all over the world discover their talent and what’s right about them, and help them maximize human potential?

Makenzie Rath:

It really started with those four wonderful thought leaders and their ideas for the future, and I was born a couple years before that.

Lyn Wineman:

You were a baby.

Makenzie Rath:

I was. I don’t know if I was on the patio at that moment, but I was nearby, at least. My brothers and I grew up with Talent Plus, not only being a part of the fun family aspect of it and outings or events, but having to be a family business as well—with two of the founders being parents—growing up and learning about how decisions are made. We had an opportunity 15 … 16 years ago to build this beautiful building along 68th and Pioneers, and that was a big decision for us as a family. How should we do it? How do we finance it? How do we find the land to do it?

Makenzie Rath:

Thinking about all of the decisions we had, the fact that my brothers and I had the opportunity to listen and learn and be a part of those discussions really helped frame them as I came into Talent Plus as an actual full-time colleague 10 years ago. Even though I didn’t know the day-to-day operations as well, it was already significantly embedded in me how we fulfilled our fundamental vision, the work we were doing and our plans for the future.

Lyn Wineman:

You know, that is a priceless educational opportunity you had. I too am an entrepreneur, and one thing I didn’t realize when I went out and started my business was how it would impact my own children and the lessons they would learn. I don’t know why I didn’t think about that, but they are all more entrepreneurial, and they understand the business side of things a bit more.

Makenzie Rath:

You may have seen, even with your own family, how it evolves conversations or discussion points. It gets you to envision or think about things you might not have in the same way as you run your own business.

Lyn Wineman:

Absolutely!

Makenzie Rath:

It means just as much to the family as it does the other colleagues and everyone else.

Lyn Wineman:

Absolutely. There are not many youth who get to be involved in conversations about building buildings and acquiring land and all of those different things. Let’s take this forward a bit: you were officially named president in January 2020, I believe.

Makenzie Rath:

Yes.

Lyn Wineman:

That was roughly 75 days before the beginning of a global pandemic. Not a small thing, but a global pandemic. What was that first year like?

Makenzie Rath:

Well, I—probably with a lot of other people globally—was happy to say goodbye to 2020 and excited to usher in a new year just a couple months ago.

Lyn Wineman:

Absolutely. Goodbye, 2020.

Makenzie Rath:

Exactly. It was a very tough year, Lyn, not only to step in as the new leader of an organization and think about all the things that go with a leadership transition at that level, but then balancing that with a global pandemic. We actually began talking about COVID as an organization a little bit earlier than some of the U.S.-based companies because of our Singapore office.

Lyn Wineman:

Right.

Makenzie Rath:

In January-February they were already starting to take protocols and put procedures in place in Singapore from their government watching this come out of and spread across southeast Asia. It was a really tough year. There was a lot of learning and understanding. We even, in early March, had planned a trial work-from-home day, so we said, “Okay, we’re going to plan this day, and everyone take what you need home with you. We’re all going to work from home tomorrow. See if we can make it work.” And that was the week before we decided we had to completely shut down the office.

Lyn Wineman:

Wow!

Makenzie Rath:

So we said, no more trial. It was a Friday.

Lyn Wineman:

Do it.

Makenzie Rath:

We said, “Everyone take everything you need home. We do not know when this building will be back open again. Grab a box, fill what you need to go home and still be able to work remotely.” We continued keeping the office closed through June, where we then, in June 2020, started an optional reopening. We put safety measures in place, but the office was available for colleagues who wanted to come in and work, versus working at home. We’ve been able to do that since June 2020 and been very safe, and we’ve enjoyed it, for those of us who are in the office. I’m actually here today, so it’s a nice benefit.

Lyn Wineman:

It is nice to be able to go into the office … it’s nice to have the option, right? There are some days where it’s nice to work from home, but other days where it just feels like, I need to be in an office setting. I’m in the office today too even though most of our team is working remotely, and it’s just nice to have that option.

Makenzie Rath:

It is, and to see people. We’re such a relationship-driven culture, and I think that might’ve been one of the hardest things, as I reflect on 2020—how we were so connected every day and we had our executive chef and we’d all have lunch together. We were so relationship-driven, and that hasn’t changed; we’re still a relationship-driven business for sure. But how we connect virtually … I actually don’t like that word social distance, because I don’t want to be that far apart from my friends or my colleagues or my family. We started talking about, early on in the pandemic, virtual inclusion and how you continue to drive your culture through virtual means, knowing that it was impossible back in March to physically be together.

Makenzie Rath:

I think we’ve been able to do things very well. It still doesn’t take the place of being in person and having one-on-one or a team meeting all together, but it’s the right thing to do right now for safety and keeping everyone and their families happy and healthy.

Lyn Wineman:

Absolutely! I wrote that term down: virtual inclusion. That sounds way better than social distancing. If you do look at the positives of this—even though we do completely miss out on all of the fun relational things that happen over lunch, as you walk around the block together, funny things in the office that happen—there has been something nice about being able to easily bring people in from different locations, now that we’re all getting used to our online tools like Microsoft Teams and Zoom and all the things people use.

Lyn Wineman:

There have been some good things. And virtual inclusion, that’s a great way to say it. Another phrase you shared with me a few months ago when you and I were talking was, “Focus is our greatest currency.” I wrote that down and thought quite a lot about it. Could you talk a bit more about what that phrase means to you?

Makenzie Rath:

Yes. It’s been one of my guiding principles since the pandemic started back in March. Being virtual, how we all remain focused on our vision forward as an organization—on our strategic initiatives, our team goals, our clients, whatever that focus is pointed at—I know that’s what’s going to get us through.

Lyn Wineman:

Yeah.

Makenzie Rath:

And not getting bifurcated or lost in the minutia, but knowing what’s important to stay focused on. As we started talking about that idea in March, it actually led—in July when we kicked off our annual meeting—to our new theme for this fiscal year, which is One-to-Won. It’s the number one to the word won, W-O-N. We think back to our roots of starting with one dream, Dr. Hall’s dream that I mentioned earlier. Funny enough, Dr. Hall even started his teaching career in a one-room schoolhouse.

Lyn Wineman:

Oh my.

Makenzie Rath:

Talent Plus is turning 31 this year, and we are going to go into 2021, so the number one represents so many different things in our history and our culture today. We said at the end of the year we want to end as one, we want to be able to fly the W flag, we want to look at all of our wins and celebrate those from the year.

Makenzie Rath:

Having this theme around One-to-Won since July has really helped us lean into that statement around focus being our ultimate currency. Like every business, we’ve had a lot of change as we’ve had to remain agile and adapt to the controllables and uncontrollables of a global pandemic—clients shifting and lifting in different priorities they’ve had, how we rebuild business, how we go out and find new industries to be a part of. 2020 led itself to a lot of change, and that’s through the focus being our ultimate currency and being intentional about the focus. Doing the right things right for the right reasons has helped us focus in on our One-to-Won goals for this year.

Lyn Wineman:

I appreciate you explaining that. I think it’s such a hopeful and empowering phrase, both the One-to-Won and the “Focus is our greatest currency.” When you get distracted, when you get anxious or apprehensive, you can just remind yourself, “Hey, I am going to focus here.” Everybody has the ability to focus.

Lyn Wineman:

I’d like to talk a little bit more about the importance of the work that Talent Plus does. We talked about everyone having a talent, and how it would be great to find everybody a job that they love, that they excel at. Can you talk more about the real value of the work you’re doing?

Makenzie Rath:

One of the things we really make sure to talk about and think about is not just the overall growth of Talent Plus—we’re doing millions more assessments and things are amazing—but taking a moment to stop and recognize that behind every single one of the assessments and interviews we do, or team days or executive coachings or whatever it might be, there’s a person. We are changing that individual’s life, whether it’s helping them find a role that they’re going to be or that they’ve got great talent and fit for, or helping to do a collaborative coaching conversation between two executive leaders, for example.

Makenzie Rath:

We have the opportunity to change someone’s life every single day, every single moment, through one of our interviews, assessments or solutions. As I think about it, the bigger purpose and getting to our vision of actualizing a better world, it all ties together for me. We can positively impact more lives and help individuals grow and maximize their potential and recognize their talent. Talent Plus, in effect, grows as well. Our profitability as a business grows, our sustainability, our ability to impact more clients. We experience all that growth, but that’s because of a result of what we’re doing today and how we’re changing lives today.

Lyn Wineman:

That’s really neat. You grow as you help each one of those people. What I imagine, too, is I’m guessing we’ve all had a friend or a family member who was in a job they didn’t love. There’s such a ripple effect to how that impacts an entire family or friend group, or even the workplace. Most of us have probably been in a situation where we worked with somebody who wasn’t really a good fit, and the negative energy that that creates … I tell you, if you’ve ever worked in an organization where everybody seems to fit together and have positive energy towards what they’re doing, it’s just amazing. There’s hardly anything better for a work culture.

Makenzie Rath:

Lyn, everything you just shared and the examples of when you come to work and you feel that … It’s hard to describe that feeling sometimes, but it’s that synergistic flow that everyone’s in and everyone’s focused on that common mission or goal. Everyone’s rowing in the same direction. One of the things we say at Talent Plus is that you make the greatest impact when you put your natural talents to work.

Lyn Wineman:

I love that.

Makenzie Rath:

And work is not just your 9:00-5:00 job, because your talent doesn’t shut off when you go home to your family or when you go home to your roommates or when you take your dog for a walk. If I am someone who’s highly detail-oriented and exacting at work, I’m going to be the same way at home.

Lyn Wineman:

Yeah.

Makenzie Rath:

It’s a part of who I am, it’s a part of my character logical underpinning. To your point, when someone is not in a good fit, it does affect them in so many different ways. While we think about the impact we’re having and how we’re changing lives, one of the things in our healthcare business is we think about the patient lives impacted.

Lyn Wineman:

Oh, yeah.

Makenzie Rath:

But it’s not just about patients, it’s about the caregivers and the advocates and the family who’s there with the patient. It’s the entire nurse team—it extends to everyone. It’s more than just that individual life we’re changing. It’s important to get the nurse in the right hospital setting and the right team for success, because she’s going to go on and impact hundreds of patients every week and month.

Lyn Wineman:

Absolutely. I can hardly imagine anything more stressful than trying to go to work every day and be someone you’re not. That’s just not going to work well, or it’s not going to work well for very long. Now, you’ve used a couple of … I’m going to call them F-words. You said feelings and you said flow, and those feel kind of like very soft, intuitive words. But I know there’s a lot of science to what you do. As a matter of fact, Talent Plus talks about the science of talent. Can you talk to me about the science that backs this all up?

Makenzie Rath:

Yes, I would love to. This is science that actually stems back over 60 years, so it’s something that we’ve been studying through Dr. Hall’s initial work, back to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and then as he joined Talent Plus and we really set the foundation 32 years ago. One of the things is when people think about science, they think it’s kind of cold.

Lyn Wineman:

Yeah.

Makenzie Rath:

I did not do well in my science classes in school growing up.

Lyn Wineman:

It sounds hard and cold and not very fun, right?

Makenzie Rath:

It does. The science of talent, though, is something very warm, because we’re talking about people, and we’re talking about patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviors in people. We’re talking about things from a strength-based perspective. One of the analogies we use—and I’m sure a lot of parents have felt this—is you get a report card at the end of the semester or quarter, and you review it with your child and your mind usually gravitates to the places that are lowest first.

Lyn Wineman:

Yeah.

Makenzie Rath:

You skip over all the As and Bs and say, “Okay. Why did we get a C here? What happened?” You go to those places where that student has the lowest grades. For me, sciences were my lowest grades, and they were not something that brought me enjoyment. They were not something I was naturally good at or I wanted to spend time studying and doing, because they didn’t connect with me in the same kind of way that they do for others.

Makenzie Rath:

But when we focus on those areas of weakness or negativity, you have limited growth potential coming out of them. No matter how hard I could study, I’d never be able to conceptually go to medical school and put all those information points together.

Lyn Wineman:

Yeah. I mean, you probably could and you probably could’ve done really well, but you would not have been happy, right?

Makenzie Rath:

I wouldn’t have been happy, and it would’ve been memorization versus actually, truly understanding it on a larger scale.

Lyn Wineman:

Right.

Makenzie Rath:

But if we look at all the areas where I was doing well—and that was more the psychology classes, the arts classes, statistics, some of those—I thrived in those classes. When I spent more time thinking and learning about statistics or psychology, I got better and better. And I saw exponential growth, so the science of talent is validated, predictive science where we study top performers. We find those who are the best of the best in a role and we study them and find out what drives them. What are the thoughts, feelings and behaviors that underlie who they are, how they make decisions, how they work with customers, guests, patients?

Makenzie Rath:

And then we start to ask them questions, and questions that help us, in a predictive manner, think about how we measure that talent through an assessment or an interview or a questionnaire, and do that from proper scientific, rigorous methodology and principles. Ultimately, when you complete the assessment and you get a talent card, you feel like you’re understood and you’ve been heard. It really is warm, and it’s focused on identifying natural talent and then helping to build upon that.

Lyn Wineman:

That is, honestly, one of the greatest human needs: to feel listened to, validated and understood. And that talent card has to feel like that with an element of science in it. When we talk about workforce and talent and human resources, that seems very localized to me, but yet your business is in 20 different countries. How do you translate this work into international markets?

Makenzie Rath:

I think that’s one of the beauties of talent, is it transcends cultures, it transcends countries. When we’re looking at talent and understanding how someone builds relationships, how positive they are, their work integrity, their work ethic and learning more about that, that doesn’t change because I live in Nebraska versus Singapore versus Australia or somewhere else. It’s kind of like that talent: you make the greatest impact when you put your natural talents to work.

Makenzie Rath:

It doesn’t matter if I’m in a 9:00-5:00 role. Whether it’s 12:30 here in Lincoln, Nebraska, or it’s 7:00 at night and I’m in a different country or place, I’m still able to express my natural talents because it transcends cultures and geographical locations.

Lyn Wineman:

That makes a lot of sense to me. I could see how that would work. One other thing I know about Talent Plus is I know you are on the leading edge of both corporate social responsibility and sustainability. Could you share some of the initiatives you have going on in those areas?

Makenzie Rath:

Yes. I’ll start with our social responsibility. Our colleague Jess Knobbe leads our social responsibility today, and she’s amazing.

Lyn Wineman:

Now it is such a hot topic, everybody’s talking about it, but you really were on the front edge of this.

Makenzie Rath:

We were, and we really put a focused effort back eight or nine years ago on how to have a bigger impact. What we realized is we would give a lot of money or volunteer hours, whatever it might’ve been, but it was in really small dollars.

Lyn Wineman:

Yeah.

Makenzie Rath:

We’d give $100, buy something to support them, whatever. It wasn’t having the impact we thought it could, and so eight or nine years ago our social responsibility team sat down to think about a stronger future and came up with the concept of what we do today, which is having pillar organizations. Every year in the spring (so we’re getting ready to do it again here), Talent Plus colleagues, so anyone at Talent Plus, can nominate a not-for-profit they would like to see considered as being a social responsibility pillar for the next fiscal year at Talent Plus.

Makenzie Rath:

You provide information, and then our social responsibility team interviews these different nonprofits. We look at both local and/or national organizations, and ultimately they narrow it down to a top five or top 10 list, and then all colleagues get a vote on who they would like to see as the pillars for next year. Some of the outcomes we saw eight or nine years ago, when we were working on the redesign, is we knew we wanted to have a bigger impact than just $100 here and there, so we commit to an organization for a year.

Makenzie Rath:

We also knew colleagues wanted to be part of selecting who we would focus on, and it wasn’t just a directive from the board. They wanted to be close to causes that were near and dear to their heart. And so, we have the opportunity every spring to nominate, and we ultimately end up with three pillars. Our pillars for this current fiscal year are CEDARS Home for Children, The Child Advocacy Center and Voices of Hope. We also have Yellow Ribbon in Singapore. Our Singapore office also nominates a not-for-profit and goes through a similar process.

Lyn Wineman:

I am not familiar with Yellow Ribbon, but those are all amazing organizations that I’m sure have benefited greatly, because it sounds like it’s not just dollars, but also your involvement and your support behind them as well, which means as much, if not more, than the monetary donation. Although don’t get me wrong, especially during these times, all of our great nonprofits need our support.

Makenzie Rath:

Yes. CEDARS, Child Advocacy Center and Voices of Hope are such important organizations here in our local Lincoln community, and Lincoln is blessed to have a lot of not-for-profits. Lincoln supports these organizations so strongly as a community; we’re really lucky to be a part of such a great, generous community of Lincoln. And to your point, Lyn, we do give dollars, but we measure our impact in terms of our time, our talent and our treasure.

Lyn Wineman:

Yeah.

Makenzie Rath:

It’s dollars, but it’s also in-kind donations or solutions and assessments, and then it’s time as well, and actual volunteer time onsite to help with something.

Lyn Wineman:

That’s fantastic! Well, good luck as you embark upon your next round. The process you’ve outlined sounds very thorough, and I’m sure it takes a lot of time. It’d be a lot easier for the board just to say, “Okay, this year these three.” But I really like that process you’ve gone through.

Makenzie Rath:

Thank you. I give the full recognition and play of the day to our social responsibility team, Jess and the team, because they’re so focused on thinking about how we drive this impact, how we provide these opportunities for our colleagues, how we make a difference in each of these organizations and how we have fun doing it. That team has great ideas. They’ve been really creative during the pandemic thinking about different ways we can remain engaged and continue to be a supportive partner for these organizations, even though we can’t go onsite or do some of the things we had originally planned.

Lyn Wineman:

This has been a different year in that regard. Tell me a bit more about your sustainability initiatives.

Makenzie Rath:

We have a green team, and they have helped us. Our green team is led by Cody Pfeiffer. It’s a newer team we formed in the last few years to think about our environmental responsibility.

Lyn Wineman:

Yeah.

Makenzie Rath:

Things like recycling containers throughout the building, but also electronic recycling, for example. Once or twice a year, we have an electronic recycling week where you can bring in a lot of cords. I have a whole pile of cords at home that I don’t know where they go or where they came from.

Lyn Wineman:

The miscellaneous cords. They go with all of the lost socks, right?

Makenzie Rath:

Exactly. It looks like a bird’s nest of cords. We have a time we can bring those in and have them properly recycled so they don’t go into a landfill. We have really great water machines around here that have the right kind of filtration and sustainability so we’re not using plastic water bottles and throwing those away. We did a book drive during the pandemic.

Lyn Wineman:

Oh, that’s really nice.

Makenzie Rath:

Don’t throw your books away. We’ll do a book drive and share books, and then the remainder of the books are donated to the Lincoln City libraries. The green team’s even been helping us think about how to get rid of other things. One of my favorite ones was how to cut down on junk mail in your mailbox. There’s actually a process you can go through with the post office to say I don’t need all these flyers and handouts. They’ve been really helpful with thinking about how to reduce our environmental impact here at Talent Plus, as well as personally.

Lyn Wineman:

Yeah.

Lyn Wineman:

I do think that all businesses have an opportunity to extend their influence beyond just what you do as a business, and there are some great opportunities there. Makenzie, we’ve talked about so much exciting stuff, but looking forward, what are some things on the horizon that excite you the most?

Makenzie Rath:

Gosh, this is a hard question. I’m really excited overall for the growth of Talent Plus and how we’ve leaned into focus being our ultimate currency and positioned ourselves through the pandemic to be able to grow as we come into 2021 and keep moving forward. That’s growth of the overall business and enterprise, but it’s also individual team growth and individuals who want to take on new things and learn new things.

Makenzie Rath:

I’m really excited about our colleagues, and we’ve got some exciting initiatives internally as well; we’re working on a brand new website.

Lyn Wineman:

Nice.

Lyn Wineman:

It’s always fun, but a lot of work. People who have not been involved in a website do not realize how much work it is. It’s a lot of work.

Makenzie Rath:

It is a lot more than I understood getting into it with no marketing or website background. I actually got to see the designs yesterday for it, and we were so giddy on the call. It’s so exciting to think about how we’re going to be able to visually show who we are, how we do things, our approach, our values and the impact we have with clients in the future. That’s a big project that’ll probably launch in June that I’m really excited to see and have a big launch party for. And then I’m really proud of our teams around our One-to-Won goals and all of the initiatives everyone’s been focused on and put forth tremendous effort to think about how to grow Talent Plus over time. There are a lot of great things coming.

Lyn Wineman:

It’s always fun to have exciting things on the roadmap. I want to switch just a little bit, because I know outside of work you are balancing the role of being a parent with the role of being a corporate executive. If you don’t mind me asking, how do you do it all? You look like you’re sleeping. You don’t look sleep-deprived to me, but maybe you are.

Makenzie Rath:

I do it with a lot of help, Lyn. Between family and an amazing nanny and others, I do it with a lot of help.

Makenzie Rath:

I think early on, when our daughter was first born, I was like, “I’m going to do it all,” and I was really committed. I realized within two or three weeks of doing triple-feeding schedules and all sorts of stuff that there’s no way anyone can do this by themselves—acknowledging that and giving myself grace, not having it be frustrating for me as I can’t do this or I can’t always pick her up from school every day, but understanding that we’re all here to help and support and love one another and making it all work. I think, too, with my husband we strive for balance and both equally contributing, but we also know that’s not possible every day or week, depending on what his work schedule looks like or if he’s traveling. He’s in the process of writing his dissertation.

Lyn Wineman:

Oh my goodness!

Makenzie Rath:

Things aren’t ever equal, but having a really good communication strategy and knowing what we need to do to balance and make things work, and talking about it with one another has been really helpful.

Lyn Wineman:

Good for you. I do think giving yourself grace and identifying that you need help, and it’s okay to have help. I think those things are really important. If I could go back to when my kids were younger (my kids are grown), I wish I could have told my younger self that. That’s very sage.

Makenzie Rath:

Yep. It’s grace and it’s also permission. I had to kind of tell myself  “You can do this. You have permission to do this.” You have permission to call Grandma and Grandpa and ask for help, or call your brothers. Don’t know how to fix something? Get someone to help you.

Lyn Wineman:

Yeah. You don’t have to fix everything yourself. It’s actually cheaper if you call the plumber to do the fixing, as opposed to fixing the things you broke while you were trying to fix it.

Makenzie Rath:

Duct tape only fixes so much, so yes.

Lyn Wineman:

Yes. Makenzie, what advice do you have for young leaders who are wanting to make a difference in the world? You obviously are doing a lot of really incredible things. What advice do you have for others?

Makenzie Rath:

Ask questions. And I say ask questions with … it’s not really a caveat, but with the statement behind it that the more you learn, the more you ask questions, the more you seek to understand, the more it opens your mind, the more it helps you build empathy for others. It helps you become more interested in others, or things that are happening around you. The more you ask questions and you’re open to learning, the bigger difference you can make.

Lyn Wineman:

Yeah.

Makenzie Rath:

Sometimes asking questions is hard, or networking and building relationships is hard, but trust yourself and know that that’s going to help you grow as a person. The more you learn about everything around you, the more interested you become in everything else around you, and interested in others, and you realize it’s not about you at the end of the day.

Lyn Wineman:

That is really good. I think sometimes leaders feel like they have to have all of the answers. But you can’t always have all the answers, and they certainly won’t be right if you’re not investigating and seeking to understand.

Lyn Wineman:

I think that’s really why. I’m going to ask you this next question, it’s my favorite question, and I ask it on every single podcast because I am inspired by motivational quotes. I know we all have our favorite quotes from others, but I’d like to have a few Makenzie Rath words of wisdom to inspire our listeners.

Makenzie Rath:

I will give you one that’s actually mine. Having a young daughter, the Frozen 2 song “Always Do the Next Right Thing” is stuck in my head. That’s one of our principles here at Talent Plus, doing the right things for the right reasons—having that intentionality. That’s not a quote attributable to me, necessarily, but it’s one I believe in, especially given everything I’ve learned over the last year of leading in a pandemic—always do the next right thing.

Lyn Wineman:

That is good.

Makenzie Rath:

Attributable to Frozen 2.

Lyn Wineman:

You learn as you have young kids and you watch a lot of those Disney movies, there’s a lot of little nuggets in there that are for the parents. A lot of Disney words of wisdom.

Makenzie Rath:

They are. I am a huge Disney fan, so I love their quotes and movies. As I was thinking about words of wisdom, it actually ties in with the question you asked me before, for me it’s ask, listen and learn.

Lyn Wineman:

Yep, very nice.

Makenzie Rath:

Listening’s really critical in that. There’s a reason why it’s sandwiched between the asking and learning.

Lyn Wineman:

Right.

Lyn Wineman:

Ask, listen, learn. Great advice. For our listeners who would like to learn more about the work you’re doing, how can they find out more about Talent Plus?

Makenzie Rath:

We have our soon-to-be old website, www.TalentPlus.com, and invite you to check out our new website that’ll get launched over the summer. I would love to share more about Talent Plus. You can always find me talking about the business and the colleagues we have here and the great work we get to do. I would love for listeners who want to connect with me on LinkedIn or through Talent Plus to call and would love to share more.

Lyn Wineman:

Fantastic! And your marketing team is going to appreciate the fact that you said watch for the new website in summer. I can’t wait to see it.

Makenzie Rath:

We’re targeting early June, but I won’t say that, just in case we have a delay somewhere in the next couple months. So yeah, summertime.

Lyn Wineman:

It’s a big undertaking. Makenzie, as we wrap up our time together today, what is the most important thing you would like people to remember about the work you’re doing?

Makenzie Rath:

I think I take this back to Dr. Hall’s dream. I think about his dream of what the world would be like if everyone did what they were good at and enjoyed. That’s what I wake up every day thinking about, Lyn, is how we at Talent Plus continue to enliven that dream and that mission every day. That’s what I would encourage and ask listeners to think about for themselves.

Lyn Wineman:

Yeah.

Makenzie Rath:

How do each of you, as listeners, express your talent? How does it feel? You want to spend more time doing it. How can you create more opportunities for yourself to have those kinds of moments and really, truly maximize your own human potential?

Lyn Wineman:

What a noble mission and undertaking. Makenzie, I really appreciate your wisdom and your energy, and just want to thank you for taking time out of your very, very busy schedule to share with us today.

Makenzie Rath:

Lyn, thank you. It has been an honor to speak with you and get connected with you over this last year and talk to fellow leaders in the Lincoln community about how everyone is doing and truly support one another. I appreciate your friendship and support. Thank you.

Lyn Wineman:

Absolutely! We’ve got to stick together through this all.

Makenzie Rath:

We do. Thank you!

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