Stacia Nelson is the Founder and CEO of Pivot Strategies, a communications agency revolutionizing employee engagement through internal communications and change management. She began her career at the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and was the director of PR at Cambria before joining Target’s PR and Reputation Management team. Stacia has extensive experience in corporate communications, crisis response planning, reputation management, brand marketing, change and IT strategic communications, and corporate social responsibility.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- [02:51] Stacia Nelson talks about how she manages to run a business as a mom
- [04:26] The value of hiring the right talent and having a leadership team
- [10:26] Stacia’s transition from being laid off to becoming an entrepreneur
- [16:27] Her advice on calculating the “cost” of services
- [18:50] Pivot Strategies’ culture and core values
- [25:39] Stacia shares tips for team building and employee retention
- [28:56] The services Pivot Strategies offers and its ideal client profile
- [31:21] The importance of hiring an external internal communication company
- [41:47] Stacia talks about why mentors are important
In this episode…
Communication is fundamental to the success of a business. So how can you design it to ensure it’s effective and engaging?
According to Stacia Nelson, communication is more than words, and your team may need help understanding the dynamics and importance of effective communication. That’s why she recommends hiring an outside internal communication company. This approach drives business growth by bringing creativity to marketing and a new way of engaging teams. Stacia also shares her journey running an internal communication company and helping businesses thrive through effective communication.
Listen to this episode of the Inspired Insider Podcast with Dr. Jeremy Weisz as he welcomes Stacia Nelson, Founder and CEO of Pivot Strategies. Stacia talks about how she manages to run a business as a mom, Pivot Strategies’ culture and core values, the services it offers, its ideal client profile, tips for employee retention, and how to build great teams.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Kate Kenevan on LinkedIn
- Tom Hesse on LinkedIn
- Becca Bijoch on LinkedIn
- Stephanie Connolly Joranson on LinkedIn
- Karen (Hansis) Larson on LinkedIn
- Lynn Casey on LinkedIn
- Kathryn Tunheim on LinkedIn
- Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman
- Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business by Gino Wickman and Mark Winters
- “[Agency Series] How to Make Your Website Awesome and Avoid the Report of Broken Dreams With Andy Crestodina, Co-Founder of Orbit Media Studios”
- “[Top Agency Series] Most Valuable Advice When Selling Your Agency With Todd Taskey of Potomac Business Capital”
- “Leading with Passion with Gino Wickman Founder of EOS Worldwide”
- “The Two Leadership Traits To Explode Your Business With Mark C. Winters Author and Founder of RocketFuelNow.com”
Sponsor for this episode
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Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90x, Atari, Einstein Bagels, Mattel, Rx Bars, YPO, EO, Lending Tree, Freshdesk, and many more.
The relationships you form through podcasting run deep. Jeremy and John became business partners through podcasting. They have even gone on family vacations and attended weddings of guests who have been on the podcast.
Podcast production has a lot of moving parts and is a big commitment on our end; we only want to work with people who are committed to their business and to cultivating amazing relationships.
Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.
Insider Stories from Top Leaders & Entrepreneurs…
You are listening to Inspired Insider with your host, Dr. Jeremy Weisz.
Jeremy Weisz 0:22
Dr. Jeremy Weisz here founder of inspiredinsider.com. I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders today is no different. I have Stacia Nelson of Pivot Strategies. And Stacia, before I formally introduce you, I always like to point out other episodes of the podcast people should check out. And since Stacia is an amazing agency owner, I’ve had some other great people on Andy Crestodina, who’s a master at websites. Check him out. Also, I had Todd Taskey on he talks about he pairs agencies with private equity, and helps them sell and he has a Second Bite Podcast. So sometimes the owners make more on the second bite than the first. So check those out and much more on inspiredinsider.com This episode is brought to you by Rise25. At Rise25 we help businesses give to and connect to their dream 100 relationships and partnerships. And how do we do that we actually help you run your podcasts are an easy button for a company to launch and run a podcast we do strategy, accountability and execution. And for me, Stacia the number one thing in my life is relationships. I’m always looking at ways to give to my best relationships. And I found no better way over the past decade to profile the people and companies I most admire, profiled them and share with the world what they’re working on. So if you’ve thought about podcasting, you should have questions, go to rice 20 five.com, learn more. And I’m excited. We have Stacia Nelson founder Pivot Strategies, you can find that pivotstrategies.com. And after losing her corporate job in a mass layoff Pivot Strategies is an internal communications firm that she started. And now it has over 40 employees. It’s an inc 5000 company in 2022. And we’re going to dig into one thing, Stacia, that I’m particularly interested in, which is it was made best places to work in Minneapolis. And she also was in Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Heartland finalist and received numerous awards, women in tech, the most impressive thing is not all that Stacia. But it is raising three kids while doing all that. I mean, each kid has a full time job, let alone three kids, and a business. Stacia, thanks for joining me.
Stacia Nelson 2:32
And thanks for having me. Excited to be here.
Jeremy Weisz 2:35
Talk about that for a second, raising three kids with a business. I don’t know how my wife does it, to be honest with you. I mean, I help but like, compared, I do nothing. Two kids.
Stacia Nelson 2:51
Okay. Yeah. So Well, first of all, when I started Pivot, my oldest now was only 11 months old. So I started with only one kid so that the biggest challenge has been having two and then having two maternity leaves during the last seven years.
Jeremy Weisz 3:09
How’d you manage that maternity leave with the business?
Stacia Nelson 3:13
I think you’ve got to turn kind of like your greatest weakness and your greatest strength. So I had to get really good at delegation really good at trusting other people really good at hiring the right talent that I knew who could run the ship while I was out. And that actually became a huge part of how we grew because my first maternity leave I took with my son my second. Well, I was out, I put a team in place to kind of manage one client. And at the time, we lacked diversity. We were pretty focused on one client. But when I came back, because things were going well, and the employees were doing a really great job of managing that account, I was able to actually start to diversify the business. So it was hard at the time, but it ended up being the best thing that could have happened for the company.
Jeremy Weisz 4:00
Yeah, there’s some book in you. I don’t know what it is. It’s not called maternity leave. But like, people talk about sabbaticals. But maternity leave is hardcore, because it’s not a sabbatical. You come back, you still have a kid at home. You’re not coming back with nothing. So what were the key hires you put in place leading up to maternity leave? And you had a couple of these on maternity leave. So yeah, for some of those key hires.
Stacia Nelson 4:26
Yeah, I did. So when I first went out, I wasn’t quite at the place. I think I had about eight employees. So I wasn’t really at the point of hiring a leadership team. So at that time, I just had some really great consultants on my team. A couple of them are still with us. Kate Kenevan is one on our team who is just a rock star and she helped significantly with one of our big clients at that time. And then actually Tom has the who did basically operations and he’s still with us too. They both just celebrated their five-year anniversaries. And they kind of kept going from the client perspective, but also the operation side. And then my second maternity leave at that point, we were quite a bit bigger. I think we had probably around 24 25 employees. And that’s when I had started to create a leadership team. So I’d already hired two really great leaders and I decided to learn EOS company. So I hired an integrator, which is basically a head of operations.
Jeremy Weisz 5:21
I’ve had Gino Wickman on the podcast before.
Stacia Nelson 5:24
Oh, yeah. So I’m a huge EOS fan. So we brought in an integrator. And that was really our first go at having an integrator. How did you find them? I ended up using a search firm. It did not work out for us that integrator, what I realized, and I think I’m just very fortunate this happened, but I had my integrator already hired and she just wasn’t quite ready yet. But now she is and actually we just announced about a month ago, Stephanie Joranson. She is our new president. And so she’s really serving in that role as integrator now.
Jeremy Weisz 6:00
Amazing. When a company is growing. I’m talking about the leadership team. Because sometimes people hire when they’re at a pain point, like we need to hire. And sometimes it’s a stretch at the time. What was your situation like?
Stacia Nelson 6:17
So the first leader I hired Becca Bijoch, who’s still with us as well. I hired her when it was a stretch, so I didn’t really have the budget. And what I loved about Becca at the time, she just was able to come in and provide leadership skills yet also execute and be billable. So she kind of paid for herself, which I was very appreciative of, because I couldn’t really afford to take this big leap.
Jeremy Weisz 6:43
It’s like a player-coach situation.
Stacia Nelson 6:45
Exactly. player-coach is a great way. Yeah, she was just a communications athlete, right. She was so good at so many things, and had this willingness to really jump into anything. And whether it was figuring out a hard problem or handling a client, she was able to do both and walk away with a plus reviews from anything. So she was my first hire.
Jeremy Weisz 7:06
What was her position like leadership position?
Stacia Nelson 7:10
Well, she was marketing and kind of growth, business development. But because she was the only leader she ended up taking on, I mean, like she was doing sales ops, she was doing new hiring, in some cases for some of the marketing and sales needs. So she was kind of doing a variety of things. I would call her my she was my right-hand person essentially.
Jeremy Weisz 7:32
Awesome. Yeah. So that was a stretch. What about the next?
Stacia Nelson 7:37
The next one was Steph Joranson, and she’s the one who’s the President today, she was actually more of an investment decision. So we were in a good place financially, I saw a lot of potential in her. She came from a corporate role, she was actually working for Medtronic, who at the time was also someone we were working with. And so it’s a little tricky, but I think she was ready for a different opportunity to really spread her wings and share her passion was managing teams, growing teams coaching people. And that’s exactly what I needed to kind of get myself out of, and have someone else replace me on. And once I brought her in, she was maybe a little bit billable, but mostly not. And I mean, the team just saw it immediately, within probably three months of hiring her was it was a game changer.
Jeremy Weisz 8:28
When you have a new person in position like that, how do you structure the position or train? Or do you just let them do what they do?
Stacia Nelson 8:39
I’m a classic visionary. My team would laugh if they heard this because I tried to take those steps and we’re hiring a sales role. So we have this 90-day plan for a salesperson but with Becca and with Steph, I mean, God bless them, because I just was like, here just figured out, if they’d have questions. If I knew the answer, I would like say here, here’s how I’ve done it in the past. That’s usually how I would explain things. But otherwise, I would say, Google it, figure it out, come up with something new. And it’s not just I think that I’m kind of more of that visionary type of personality. It’s also, I never worked for an agency before. So I don’t really know how agencies typically run and I don’t necessarily want to know how they run. I want to do things different and have it the different kind of place, then and then other so I don’t want to just recreate the wheel in terms of what’s been done before.
Jeremy Weisz 9:35
Yeah. I want to dig in a little bit too. I mentioned that there was a mass layoff. You lost your position and instead of going back into corporate you started your own some I’m wondering why and before we get to that, I just want to point out for mentioning visionary integrator, there’s a great book Traction by Gino Wickman is also a great book Rocket Fuel, but Mark Winters and Gino Wickman. And I had Mark on the podcast, you could check that episode out. And I think they also have a quiz on. I’m not sure where it is at this point, if it’s on Rocket Fuel, but to see what percentage you are a visionary integrator, I took it at one point. So it’s somewhere on the internet so you can find it. But there’s a mass layoff. You decide to start your own as opposed to go back into corporate.
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