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Ep 75- Healthcare Leadership with Chantell Preston

Ep 75- Healthcare Leadership with Chantell Preston

Healthcare Leadership with Chantell Preston

In this episode of Building Texas Business, I sit down with Chantell Preston, CEO of Facilities Management Group. She takes us through her journey of transforming the healthcare industry – from an unexpected start managing facilities to founding Mentis Neuro Rehabilitation. Chantell’s strategic moves in positioning her company through the pandemic era offer key leadership lessons.

We discuss her transition in fostering trust and respect amongst staff, vital for a positive culture, especially in difficult times. Her reflections on setbacks emphasize emotional readiness for both failures and leadership burdens.

Wrapping up on a lighter note of future dreams, from travel adventures to family time, Chantell offers a well-rounded portrait of an impactful leader.


Transcripts are generated by machine learning, so typos may be present.

BTB (00:00):

Welcome to the Building Texas Business Podcast, interviews with thought leaders and organizational visionaries from across industry. Join us as we talk about the latest trends, challenges, and growth opportunities to take your business to the next level. The Building Texas Business Podcast is brought to you by BoyarMiller, providing counsel beyond expectations. Find out how we can make a meaningful difference to your business at and by your podcast team where having your own podcast is as easy as being a guest on ours. Discover more at Now. Here’s your host, Chris Hanslik.

Chris (00:42):

In this episode, you will meet Chantel Preston, CEO of Facilities Management Group. Chantel is a self-described risk taker who emphasizes the importance of establishing trust and respect in building a strong company culture. Chelle, I want to thank you for coming on building Texas Business. I appreciate you taking the time.

Chantell (01:03):

Thanks, Chris. I appreciate you inviting me to come on.

Chris (01:05):

So let’s just kick this off by telling us a little bit about Facilities Management Group, the company you’re currently CEO of.

Chantell (01:13):

Sure. So Facilities Management Group. We’re really a platform company. We own and operate healthcare facilities throughout Texas. Initially when I took it on, we had a hospital in Las Vegas, but we divested that and sold that to a local system there. And so now our main facilities are here in the Texas market.

Chris (01:30):

And I know this isn’t your first venture in the healthcare space. Tell us a little bit about how you got involved or found yourself being an executive in the healthcare industry.

Chantell (01:40):

Sure. It’s kind of an interesting story, Chris. I don’t think any of us know when we graduate from college where we’re going to end up in life. And I can truly tell you I never thought it would be healthcare. So straight out of school, I got a great opportunity to go to work for a small company that was developing ambulatory surgery centers. Didn’t know anything about ambulatory surgery centers, but I knew the folks that were in the organization. So took the leap of faith and I just wanted to learn every aspect. I felt like how could I go out and sell things if I didn’t realize or understand how they were operated? So took the opportunity to really dive into the healthcare and learn both the development aspect as well as the operational aspect. Best thing I ever did from there just kind of soared.


I became very niched in regards to building healthcare facilities. I’ve built over 65 hospitals in my career, whether they’re LTACs rehabs, full acute care hospitals, linear accelerators. So I just kind of found a niche. I really enjoyed watching something from concept to operations. However, I got to a certain point in my life, I decided I didn’t want to be a consultant forever. So my previous partner and I started a company called Atlantic Health Group. We were going to be a surgery center company. We realized the market was saturated at that point. So we started a company called Menis Neuro Rehabilitation. Minta was assisted living rehabilitation for traumatic brain injury patients. To be honest, we really didn’t know much about it when we started. We built an amazing team to operate the company for us, and then we realized how much need there was for traumatic brain injury patients.


So we continued down that path. I continued to build facilities to generate revenue, to build menis so we didn’t have to raise huge capital. So we bootstrapped everything together and we took Menis from concept to exit in 2015. Wow. Okay. So we exited to mid-market and then comes back to what are you going to do with your life from there? So I really stayed for about a year and realized that just my heart wasn’t in it anymore. Things changed. We built such an amazing culture, so really focused on what was the next phase of my life. That’s when I ended up taking over Facilities Management group. One of my partners that was operating the entity got ill, and so I stepped up and said, I’ll take over. And that’s when we really developed Facilities Management group. At that point, we had a lot of individual facilities running independently of each other, and we wanted to build a platform company that we could have some synergistic services across all facilities. So that was 2018. And so that was a great ride. I learned a lot six months after I took over Covid hit. So you can only imagine what happens with the hospital industry when that happens.

Chris (04:31):

Yeah, yeah. I’m sure there’s get into that. There has to be a lot of good stories. There are, but I can’t help but notice that as you told that story, there’s some themes that I want to ask you about to kind of dig in a little bit. I think it would be educational for our listeners, and that is you talked about being thrown in coal, knowing nothing about the industry, healthcare that is, but then you found yourself evaluating opportunities for surgical centers and then the mental health brain injury type of facilities that you mentioned. I want to talk about what type of processes did you go through or with your partners to evaluate the opportunities when you’re like, okay, what’s next or what else can we do? What are some of the things that you found to be valuable and useful in going through that process as well as maybe some of the things you wish you hadn’t done?

Chantell (05:24):

Sure. Great question, Chris. As we all go through our career, we try to evaluate things. Everybody looks at things very differently. You probably say I’m a calculated risk taker. So again, I wanted to be able to find a path where my number one was I wanted to help people. I think most of us get into healthcare because we have this naivety that we can make a change in the world, and I think we do just maybe different than what we anticipate when we go in. So I think it’s really about when I would look at each of the opportunities that came up. Again, started at a small company and I wanted to learn as much as I could. And then I got recruited from there. Once I found a niche for myself, I didn’t really have to go looking for jobs, people would come to me, but then it was like, okay, I learned some hard knocks at the same time as to going to work for folks because they throw a lot of money at you.


Or they say, oh, we’re going to create this amazing environment. And then you get in and you realize this is not really a productive place for me to be. And in those situations, you just try to learn everything you can gain as much experience and knowledge, because I look at everything as a stepping stone to the next place. So when we started Atlantic, it was kind of an interesting scenario because I had a ton of development partners that I had already established that I was working for as an independent consultant. I didn’t really want to be a consultant forever. I wanted to build something. I wanted to have some security. So I actually talked my partner, my business partner into leaving his organization because he had a skillset that I didn’t have. So he was really more around the finance side of things operationally, and I was really more the development aspect.


And so I think it’s really important when people look at their careers. Everything in life is a stepping stone to the next thing. I mean, you have to look at it that way. What can I get out of this particular situation to advance my overall objectives later, but also who you’re getting in bed with. And I speak a lot to entrepreneurs. It’s really important to pick your partners wisely. And when you say your partners, I tell people it’s like a marriage. Oh, well, we’re best friends. We’re never going to get sideways with each other. Well, it is important that when you’re going into a partnership, even a company is what’s it going to look like if we got divorced? I look at everything as it’s kind of like a marriage.

Chris (07:48):

No, look, I advise clients all the time into the same thing. Be careful, don’t do 50 50 unless you have a good deadlock provision. But it is are, I can attest from being on the litigation side of these things. They are truly business divorces when they go south. Exactly. And we always tell people, it’s better to invest upfront to getting your documents right. Correct. You don’t want to think you and your best friends could ever go south. But

Chantell (08:20):


Chris (08:20):

Right. There’s a reason. There’s a bunch of law firms and lawyers that stay busy because that’s what happens.

Chantell (08:28):

And I was fortunate not to go through that, to be honest, was I was very cognizant, and I think when I was younger, I didn’t realize the value I brought. So I felt like safety was in numbers, and sometimes we create an environment around us, it makes us feel protected. And then at the end of the day, you go, wait a minute, what about me? And so again, lessons learned. We also have a tendency, A DHD, we’re all entrepreneurs. We like to do lots of different things. A few mistakes that we made along the way was we started getting into things that we didn’t know too much about because it was the shiny penny. Oh, this is great, let’s go do this. And then, oh my God, we would either lose a ton of money, a lot of headaches. We didn’t stay focused on our core business. And it kind of school of hard knocks a little bit, took us a little bit of time to realize that, hey, we need to solely focus on our core business meant us, and let’s stop messing around with all this other stuff that seems like it’s fun and exciting. Let’s stay focused on our core business until we reach what we were hoping to accomplish.

Chris (09:33):

That’s great advice. The discipline of staying focused on your core and what you do best can’t be overstated. So many people lose their way because of the distractions. And you’re right, they end up costing more money than you expected and taking more of your time away. And it takes it away from your core, so then it suffers.

Chantell (09:55):

That’s right. And people don’t realize time is the one thing we’ll never get back in life. And so if you’re looking and focusing your attention on something else, what are you losing at your core business? And I see a lot of entrepreneurs and a lot of people, oh, I want to go do this. And this, again, we did it not successful, but we did it. And so now when I’m looking at things and where do I want to go next, it’s where do I want to spend my time knowing that if I spread myself too thin or too many things, I won’t be as successful as I want to be.

Chris (10:24):

That’s great advice. I hope people are taking notes on that. So let’s go back. You kind of left us a minute ago taking over the reigns at FMG right before covid hits. Obviously have to manage through that in the healthcare space. But take us back to that time. What were some of the things that you learned having to manage through such an uncertain period of time?

Chantell (10:51):

When I took over FMG, there was a couple things that identified very quickly. Again, they were all running as independent facilities and there was no collaboration. And really the culture, there was no culture. In my previous organization with Minta and a lot of the companies I’ve been involved with, culture was huge. You wanted people to want to be there. And fortunately we were able to quickly build a culture that we felt, and it was actually proven true through Covid that people wanted to be there. I was very visible in our facilities. I wanted people to know me. I wanted to hear what they had to say. As a new CEO coming in, tell me how can we help you do your job more effectively? How can we help you be happier looking at things in a different perspective other than you need to be here nine to five every day, do exactly what we want.


When Covid hit the uncertainty of everything. I mean, some of my facilities were emergency at the time. Some of them were hospitals. We had limited staff, we had limited services. When Covid hit, it was really interesting because with the unknown of nobody really understanding the magnitude of what was happening, it was decisions on a day-to-day basis. Everything was a crisis every single day. It was a very time for me as a leader to figure out how could I continue to hold onto this culture that we had built So we didn’t lose staff, but also giving our staff the ability to take a break every once in a while, even though we didn’t really have folks to fill in for them. So it was a time that we really had to bond together. And again, me being in our facilities during that time, even though I really couldn’t do much to help, but at least showing my face saying, Hey, I’m here with you and I’m standing beside you, especially on some of those hard decisions, I think made a big difference for success.

Chris (12:49):

Yeah, you raised an interesting point there because first of all, I mean I guess it’s been four years and maybe the memory start to fade, but healthcare frontline workers, that was ground zero for the response. So I can only imagine taxing environment for your employees. Most CEOs can be there shoulder to shoulder with their employees and maybe actually step in on the manufacturing line or pick up something and help out in the shop. And if you’re not a licensed physician or a OR nurse, you can’t, right? You couldn’t do the work. You could just be there to encourage them. That had to be a challenge,

Chantell (13:29):

Right? Because we just want to jump in and help. But there was a lot of things that what I could do, and again, spirit’s high helping clean, I mean was again, it wasn’t above anybody. We had to kind of all throw hands in, all hands on deck to help out in any aspect. And so we did what we could to try to motivate and try to help give people some breaks and get ’em the resources that they needed. And that was a big thing that we did was just trying to get the resources that they needed. And so it was a trying time, but again, we came across as A CEO. I wanted to be able to expand our service lines because we knew what was coming. And after we got kind of settled in and we realized this was going to be a longer path than we thought, we converted all of our ERs into hospitals so we could provide additional service lines. So there was things that we could do on the strategic and on the management side where we weren’t necessarily in the trenches, but yet it provided our staff some amazing resources that they needed.

Chris (14:26):

So you talked about culture and how important it is doesn’t have to necessarily be at FMG, but just in your role as a leader, what are some of the things that you have done to try to build that positive sounds like collegial team and environment type of culture at the various organizations you’ve been? Is it kind of the same playbook every time? Or if so, what is it? And if it’s changed, how do you adapt?

Chantell (14:55):

Funny question. I’m just going to, I’ll give you a quick story. There’s a lot of people that have been with me for the last over 10 years. So they’ve seen me kind of develop as a better leader as I’ve gotten a little bit older. So in my old days, I have to tell you, I was probably very authoritarian, very dictatorship. It’s my way, no way. And then as I’ve gotten a little bit older and through my role at FMG, I realized I can’t continue to lead like this. This is not how to get the most productivity out of my staff. And so I changed a lot in regards to how to build a culture. And so now people will tell you, these are the four principles I use authenticity. I want to build trust and respect. Again, I’m going to be very direct with individuals.


I don’t beat around the bush. And I think anybody that knows me knows that collaboration. I want people to have the ability to have a say. I want them to take ownership used to, it was my way. We’re going to do things my way. Now it’s let’s talk about it. Because in today’s world, I want my staff members, they’re there for a reason, and that’s to come together in a path or a process that everyone feels like it’s going to be beneficial to the organization. Now, it doesn’t mean I won’t give ’em my thoughts, but again, that collaboration and that belonging, I want ’em to feel like they’re part of the team. Whether you and I both know in an organization, everyone’s valuable and I want everyone to realize how valuable each member is and where they fit within that organization. Authenticity, trust. Collaboration. Yeah, communication too.


Oh, for sure. We used to be like, we wouldn’t tell anybody anything. Just say, here’s our goals to go do. Now we really talk about why and really have those hard conversations about this is the company. And when we went through covid, I know everybody’s hired hearing the Covid stories, but when we went through covid, we would tell ’em, Hey, this is why we’re doing this. And it wasn’t just, oh, they’re causing us all these headaches. They’re pushing stuff down. No, it was, we are doing it because of X, Y, and Z. And that made people appreciate it a little bit more versus us just shoving things down. And so I think communication’s a big one as well.

Chris (16:59):

Couldn’t agree more. I mean, I think at the end of the day, all those things sound really good and are important, but if you’re not communicating effectively, it won’t matter. That’s right. So something that occurred to me, I want you to talk a little bit about being innovative because I know for sure at FMG, because I just know enough about the story that in the middle of all that y’all did some pretty innovative things that other competitors of yours weren’t doing that required some really quick on the fly decisions to get some innovative things going. So tell us about that helped the patients and helped your facility.

Chantell (17:37):

Sure. One of the perks of dealing with a smaller organization is we can make quick decisions. So when all of this was happening, we did have to get innovative in regards to how we were running tests, how we were treating the patients, what we were when we couldn’t find patients, higher level of care. So there was a lot of innovation that we did, whether it was streamlining our processes, whether it was the equipment that we were bringing in to try to mitigate certain things. I mean, there was a lot of stuff that we did that if we weren’t going through that time, we probably wouldn’t have been forced to do so quickly, if that makes sense. And so there was some stuff that we tried to do in regards to, I am trying to think of some specifics. A lot of it’s around the labs and the testing side and making sure that our patients are being treated in-house versus having to send things out. I mean, we just tried to do everything we could to control our own destiny.

Speaker 4 (18:28):

Hello, friends. This is Chris Hanzlik, your building Texas business host. Did you know that Boyer Miller, the producer of this podcast is a business law firm that works with entrepreneurs, corporations, and business leaders. Our team of attorneys serve as strategic partners to businesses by providing legal guidance to organizations of all sizes. Get to know the and thanks for listening to the show.

Chris (18:58):

Well, for example, I know one of the things you did was very quickly developed an app so patients could schedule an appointment that you didn’t have before.

Chantell (19:06):

Yeah, that’s correct. We tried to do some things so people would mitigate being around other possibly infected covid people. So yes, we did do some things to try to limit exposure during that time, just because again, we didn’t know what was going to happen longterm.

Chris (19:20):

So I guess one thing that people may not know about you they want to talk about is in addition to this professional journey you’ve described, you do a lot and have done and continue to do a lot where you advise other entrepreneurs. I want to ask you a little about that. What are some of the key nuggets of advice that you tend to provide? And maybe what are some of the mistakes you see young entrepreneurs making that you try to correct before while it still can be corrected, I guess? Sure.

Chantell (19:56):

It’s kind of interesting. The world has changed a lot in regards to entrepreneurship. In our day, it was just work your ass off 24 7 and just try to climb the ladder. Now with some things that have happened with technology, sometimes they have this misperception that it’s just going to be easy. It’s going to be rainbows and unicorns all the time. There was many nights we’d sit at the bar going, holy shit, how are we going to make payroll? So again, I think it’s bringing that true realism back into their world of, Hey, you’re not going to go get a CPT code for a device that doesn’t exist in six months. It just doesn’t work like that. And I think sometimes these young entrepreneurs are given almost bad counsel because they think that things are just so easy. Well, so-and-so did it. So I can do it.


I see that a lot. I do get the opportunity to speak to some of the entrepreneurship classes up at ut, and I do probably focus more the negatives versus the positives, because I’ve always learned more from my failures and my successes. Some of the things of, Hey, look, be focused. You don’t have to have everything figured out, but have a pretty good path of where you’re headed and surround yourself with the folks that are going to build you up and not break you down. As an investor as well, I look at who’s the team. If you’ve got a good jockey, I’m going to go ahead and support you. Having that right team in place is so critical, and you want it to be more than just one individual. You want to make sure if they get hit by a bus, somebody else is right there ready to take the company. So I think that there’s just little things that I would probably give some insight to the entrepreneurs of, again, you’re going to have good times and bad times. The bad times will come and go, but again, being willing to pivot. If something’s not working, don’t wait too long to pivot or to reevaluate maybe certain aspects of the organization.

Chris (21:42):

Okay. So you brought it up, but I was going to, you said you learned more from your failures than successes. So tell us a story. It’s story time now. Chantelle, a failure or setback that you’ve encountered, that you survived sitting here today, and what that learning was and how it made you better.

Chantell (22:01):

We talked a little bit earlier about how we got a little bit outside of our wheelhouse of, oh, let’s go do some different things, because we have been very successful at what we were doing. We were trying to purchase a hospital group out of bankruptcy, and we thought, oh, how hard can this be? We can run organizations, we can run asc. Why can’t we do this? It was a very eyeopening experience because when we got in there, we hadn’t really had a path forward as to what we were going to do or how we were going to do it. It was just like, oh, we’ll figure it out as we go. We also didn’t think about other things that could come in and really impact us that we couldn’t control. So we were in the process of purchasing this group. They were in bankruptcy, and then we had a flood.


Well, we had just finished remodeling a hospital here in town. The flood came in, it flooded the hospital. At that point, we were kind of at a place where there was not much more we could do. It was a horrible time to have to tell all those individuals that worked so hard with us that we were going to have to let ’em all go. And lessons learned. There was positives in there because I remember the day we were getting ready to tell all these poor individuals, we were going to fire them the night before we probably drank too much. And it was a very emotional situation because I’d worked hand in head with these individuals for so long, and I remember having to tell them in tears. I mean, I know we’re not supposed to be emotional, but these people’s livelihoods, I was emotional. I was not in a great place. And I remember after that happened, one of the janitors came up to me and she said, don’t worry, Chantel. We’re going to be okay, but are you going to be okay? Oh, wow. And I realized even through this failure, we had built such great relationships with these individuals and made them feel valued in so many ways. That again, that’s probably a really good example of learning myself of how important it is for relationships and building that trust as a leader.

Chris (24:03):

Well, to the point you made just a minute ago, there is emotion in business for sure. People try to carve it out maybe for decades. That’s been the mentality, but it’s ignored the reality that there’s emotion in business and you’re affecting people’s lives when you are hiring them and when you’re firing them. So people that lose sight of that are missing the boat. And I think how you manage the emotion in the business is one thing, but don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s not there.

Chantell (24:35):

No, for sure. And again, my old days would’ve never showed a whole lot of emotion. I will tell you though, being authentic with people just builds more trust. And look, some people say I’m very challenging to work with because I’m very specific. I’m very direct. But where you stand with me at all times, and I had a situation last year where I had to let someone go and was, I mean, I really love this person as an individual, but this just wasn’t the right place for them. And I tried very hard to mentor to get ’em to that place, and I just couldn’t. And it was very emotional to have to say, Hey, look, this is not the best place for you. The greatest return was six months later they contacted me and said, thank you so much. The best thing you ever did was that conversation. And now I found a place where I love, I’m being respected. And so again, I think we all have emotion, as you mentioned. It’s how you use it. It’s okay for people to realize that you’re human. Absolutely. I’m human. And so I have emotions and there’s people I like. And again, you are impacting their lives and they’re impacting yours

Chris (25:41):

For sure. I have a number of stories similar to the one you just shared, where you run into an employment situation that’s not working there. You knowing that it’s not working and have to make a decision, expend a ton of emotional energy over it, worried about it. My experience has been, I think I can say almost every time, despite that hard conversation, that person ends up in a better place where they were meant to be. And we say this all the time, we’re not trying to be the largest organization. We just want to be the best for those that fit with our mission and what we’re passionate about and our values. And doesn’t mean we’re right for everybody. And that doesn’t make people a bad person. That’s right. There’s another organization where they’re going to fit.

Chantell (26:27):

And she did say to me, she goes, thank you because I always knew where I stood with you and thank you for always being very direct. And that’s the other thing, people hide from those conversations. I’d rather have those conversations leading up to it of, look, here’s the expectations. Let’s talk about how you get there. And I’m always happy to mentor and advise, but at some point you have to say, Hey, look, this just isn’t the right place, and that’s okay too.

Chris (26:51):

So let’s talk a little bit about, as you’ve built these companies, you’ve had to have key stakeholders and relationships with them that are part of the success, that’s vendors, customers. Let’s talk about what are some of the things that you’ve learned that have helped to build, nurture and grow those types of strategic relationships, if you will.

Chantell (27:14):

Sure. Most of the people that I still work with, I’ve worked with for many years, and I think I tell people all the time, my integrity is the only thing that I really is mine in this world. My kids have everything else. My integrity is mine. I think it’s really being fair with people. I’m loyal to a fault, but I’m also, again, I don’t want to say high maintenance, but I have great expectations of people as well. And so if you look at a lot of the vendors, again, they’ve been with me forever because I’m very loyal to them. I’m very fair, I’m very direct and they’re good to me. And I think as I’ve gotten older, I had never realized the importance of relationships and how you have to be very intentional with giving and taking, right. But I also know with my vendors, they do a great job for me.


I want to give ’em out to everybody else. I I’m going to drive business their direction. And so I think that with the stakeholders, a lot of people make a mistake of everyone’s got to win. That’s just the reality. There’s an abundance for everyone in life. One of my best friends is a direct competitor of us. We laugh all the time. We can’t be friends in public, but we can be friends behind closed door, but there’s an abundance for everyone in life. And so if you treat people like that and you’re fair, I think you win. Everyone wins.

Chris (28:32):

Everyone wins. And that’s the thing, I think finding the way where everyone can win and there’s the value and kind of reciprocity when someone does treat you well, that you obviously should treat them well in return. Absolutely. But have that be a lesson how you should be treating others that you’re coming into contact with. Right. Absolutely. Absolutely. You mentioned this earlier because I like to talk about leadership style, and you’ve kind of alluded to some of your evolution. Any more you can share on how you view your style, how you feel like it’s evolved, and maybe some of the things that have helped you make those steps to grow from the command and control to the more collaborative leader?

Chantell (29:16):

I think when we’re younger, we think we’re invincible and we do no wrong. I think self-awareness has been critical for me just for personal growth. So I also realized I wasn’t getting the most out of the people, and I realized that how I came in impacted everybody around me, if that makes sense. So when I walk in and I’m closed off, everyone’s going scatter. If I walk in and I’m in a great mood and I say hello to everybody, your energy that you put out, you get back. And so I think as I’ve gone through my career path, I’ve realized that getting more and really, I had a great partner business partner that he would talk to everyone. I wondered how he got anything done. Some days he was just the most jovial guy that loved everyone, and he would sit and listen to people for hours.


And I used to say, I don’t know how you do this and this drive you crazy. I don’t want to know what time it’s, I want to know, yeah, I want to know what time. I don’t want to know how to build the clock. And I realized how much everyone respected him because he not only cared about them on the job, he cared about the whole person. And people felt that. And I finally asked him what? I said, can you teach me how to be like that? Because I want people to realize I do care. I may not come across and show it. And so that’s how I kind of evolved of taking that time and realizing 10 minutes out of my day of sitting down and really focusing and being present with people, how much more they wanted to be there and how much more productive they were. And so it’s really, again, being the leader that you have to establish boundaries. I’m not saying let everybody circumvent their ladder, but having the ability to really show how much you care for those individuals and also what’s going to put them in a position to be a better employee. And look, I went through a big thing with my team about working from home. I hate working from home. I’m just going to tell you that I like the collaboration. I like everyone in the office. They all know that

Chris (31:26):

You’re in good company. There was literally an article in the online Houston Business Journal this morning about that topic and how everything is swinging back to five days a week in the office.

Chantell (31:38):

That’s right. It was a big fight in my office about that. And I finally said, okay, let’s compromise. Because I realized that some of ’em were driving an hour both ways. So Mondays and Fridays, we have home days. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, we’re all in the office. So again, I met them where they wanted to be and how could they be most effective. And I realized having that time at home where they didn’t have 5,000 people walking in their offices every day, they were more productive. And so again, you asked me a specific question about how I’ve changed. I mean, I’ve really come 180 in regards to who I was many years ago versus how I am now.

Chris (32:18):

Well, and what I hear you saying is there was an evolution in development in your leadership style that started to focus on and demonstrate humility and empathy. Absolutely. Going back to the work remote thing, I think those things, what you’ve got going on can be successful because you have to start with, why are we here though? It’s the why around the company, and we have to all agree that the company has to survive in order for of to have any benefits, right? And so what’s that going to take? And then where can there be some compromise around you can’t sacrifice productivity and you can’t sacrifice delivery of services or you won’t have the business. And it’s really to me, getting clear around that, communicating that we talked about communication with clarity and really everyone understanding the why.

Chantell (33:13):

Absolutely. And we’ll talk about the elephant in the room also being female. I mean, so in my younger days, I thought in order for me to gain respect, I had to be that authoritative bitch basically, because that’s what society told me. In order for me to be able to play in a man’s world, I had to really be that person as my career. And I got to a point where I didn’t need anybody’s approval or permission. I realized, wait a minute, I can be my authentic self. I can be compassionate, I can be empathetic, and I could still be a damn good leader at the same time. That had to be liberating. It was very liberating. And I try to instill this with a lot of the women that I talk to now is it’s okay to be who we are. Let’s use our innate qualities that make us such great individuals in our professional lives. And I mean, again, people say, I’m aggressive. That’s okay. I’ll take it and I can be, but it enables me to also utilize what I need to build the culture and the team that I want. And so I think that’s also been the last 30 years. It’s also changed a lot as a society, but that’s also breaking the societal norms of, oh, I have to be a certain way in order to be a good leader. I don’t think that’s true anymore.

Chris (34:27):

I agree with you. Again, I think there’s been an evolution in how we think about business, corporate America, whatever. Again, I go back to as long as we realize that there’s certain fundamentals that no matter what’s going on we have to do for the business to survive, then we can look on the fringes and go, okay, where can we make maybe some things a little more accommodating?

Chantell (34:50):


Chris (34:51):

So I like to talk about those a little bit. So what are some of the strategies that you’ve employed to kind of, and you mentioned being a mom, being a leader, being an entrepreneur to help not necessarily balance but be successful in both your business and personal life.

Chantell (35:08):

Great question. Here’s my theory behind that. There’s no such thing as balance. Balance.

Chris (35:12):

That is why I didn’t use the word,

Chantell (35:13):

I call it work life integration. I can’t say I’ve figured it all out, Chris. I’ll just be honest. I think it’s being very intentional with your time. I used to let a lot of people control my time, meaning I was always willing to meet whenever they were available. I was willing to move around things because it was important to them. I’ve now really been intentional about taking control back of my own time, and that’s time for myself in the mornings, that’s time for my kids, but that’s time for work too. And so I think we all have to establish boundaries because I used to work 24 7. I’d be at dinner. I mean, my five-year-old used to say, mom, please put the phone down. And I would thought I was that important that I had to respond to that email right that second because that’s how important I was.


It’s not true. And I think that really establishing, we also try to get through our entire things to do list every day. What are the top three priorities I really need to get done today? Okay, let’s focus on those first. Because we all know once everybody starts coming to the office, you’re going to get blindsided 5,000 different ways. So really prioritizing maybe three items that I need to get done that day, and then all the rest of it’s great if I do, but if I don’t, it’s okay to walk out of there at four 30 to go to my kids’ game. And so I’m really trying to be intentional with my time. I’m not going to say I’m successful all the time, but I’ve really tried with that.

Chris (36:36):

You have to keep in mind, no one’s perfect, right? But I think if you have those intentions, that thoughtfulness about how you’re going to approach your day, and I totally agree with the work-life integration, I think that’s a much better way to think about it than balance. I mean,

Chantell (36:51):

I’ve learned you can have it all. You just can’t have it all at the same time. So everything in life’s about a give and take. It’s about you’re sacrificing something for something else. And so it’s again, where are you in your life? What’s important to you? I mean, I waited late in life to have children and now I’m going to enjoy my kids. So again, does it mean I’m sacrificing my professional? But I do put some guardrails around it. Very

Chris (37:13):

Good. Well, hon, this has been an amazing conversation. I really appreciate it. I want to kind of turn to some less business topics that I like to cover with all my guests. So what was your first job?

Chantell (37:25):

My first job, I worked at Mount Tasia when I was in high school. I loved scooping ice cream and I loved hosting birthday parties for small kids. Okay,

Chris (37:34):


Chantell (37:35):

That was

Chris (37:35):

It. I was going to ask what Mount Tasia was. It’s cut

Chantell (37:38):

Golf off I 10. So yes, that was my first job. I

Chris (37:40):

Love it. Do you prefer Tex-Mex or barbecue?

Chantell (37:43):

Oh, Tex-Mex, of course.

Chris (37:44):

All right. And if you could take a sabbatical for 30 days, where would you go? What would you do?

Chantell (37:49):

Oh gosh. A sabbatical for 30 days. Does that exist?

Chris (37:53):

I don’t know.

Chantell (37:53):

I think I would really just like to travel the world. I spent so much time working. I would never take more than two days off at a time. I never got to see a lot of the world. And so I think it would probably just grab my kids and just embrace a great trip with my family.

Chris (38:10):

That sounds great. Yeah, pick a spot and go enjoy it. Absolutely. Very good. Well, again, this has been great. Thank you for taking the time to share your story, lots of learning that you shared, and I really appreciate it.

Chantell (38:20):

Thanks, Chris.

Chris (38:24):

And there we have it. Another great episode. Don’t forget to check out the show notes at and you can find out more about all the ways our firm can help you at That’s it for this episode. Have a great week and we’ll talk to you next time.

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