Never Been Promoted Podcast

"Insightful Leadership": Bonnie Low-Kramen on Creating Compassionate Workplaces

March 17, 2024 Thomas Helfrich Season 1 Episode 28
Never Been Promoted Podcast
"Insightful Leadership": Bonnie Low-Kramen on Creating Compassionate Workplaces
Never Been Promoted
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Never Been Promoted Podcast with Thomas Helfrich

In this episode of Never Been Promoted, host Thomas Helfrich engages with Bonnie Low-Kramen, a renowned TEDx speaker, author, and workplace expert. Bonnie's illustrious career, including her long tenure as personal assistant to actress Olympia Dukakis, has provided her with unique insights into the dynamics of the workplace and the pivotal role of support staff.

About Bonnie Low-Kramen:

With 25 years of experience working closely with Olympia Dukakis and subsequently establishing her training company, Ultimate Assistant Training, Bonnie has become a leading voice in advocating for the empowerment and recognition of assistants and staff in the corporate world. Her journey has taken her across the globe, providing training and sharing her wisdom on creating harmonious and effective work environments.

In this episode, Thomas and Bonnie discusses:

Insightful Career Journey: Explore Bonnie’s fascinating career trajectory, from her personal assistant role to becoming a global trainer and thought leader in workplace dynamics.
Authorial Impact: Discover the motivations behind her influential books, "Be the Ultimate Assistant" and "Staff Matters," which aim to bridge gaps and foster understanding in the modern workplace.
Advocacy for Better Workplaces: Bonnie discusses the need for transparent communication, the cultivation of safe environments for staff to voice concerns, and the critical role of leadership in nurturing a positive work culture.

Key Takeaways:

  • Empathy in Leadership: "Building Ultimate Workplaces": Bonnie emphasizes the importance of communication and clarity in roles and expectations to foster a supportive and respectful workplace environment.
  • Championing Staff Voice: She advocates for a cultural shift where staff are encouraged and felt safe to share their insights and feedback, leading to more informed and compassionate leadership decisions.
  • Ongoing Learning and Adaptation: Bonnie's continuous engagement with evolving workplace challenges highlights the necessity for leaders and organizations to stay adaptive and responsive to the needs of their teams.

"Leadership is not about having all the answers but about fostering a culture where every voice is heard and valued." — Bonnie Low-Kramen




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Welcome to the Never  Been promoted podcast with Thomas Helfrich. Get ready for a thrilling adventure as we uncover entrepreneurial journeys and life changing business insights every week. And now, your host, Thomas.

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Welcome back to another episode of Never Been Promoted, where we're going to help you unleash your entrepreneur through learnings of other entrepreneurs. Their journeys, their successes, their failures, and just things they've tried and maybe shouldn't have tried along the way. If this is your first time listening today or watching, thank you for coming and checking it out. I hope you get something out of the interview and the conversations we have. And if you've come back, I really appreciate you coming back as well because that means we did something right, hopefully. Or maybe you're just trolling me on the Internet and you just want to find new things to troll on. I'm fine with that as well. Today I'm joined by Bonnie Low Kramenn. She is a TEDx speaker, and I got to tell you, that's a big deal here in 2024. And she's also an author and she's a workplace expert. But let's meet Bonnie. Bonnie, how are you?

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I am great.

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You have three names. You're not like a serial killer or anybody else, because that's usually how you get three names, is when, you know, it's like Thomas Christopher Helfrich. But I'm not a serial killer either. By the way, just for those out there, do I have to call you Bonnie-Low Kramen or can I say Bonnie today?

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Please call me Bonnie. The Low is about honoring my know I'm a writer first and foremost, and I think I know I get my love of writing and words from him. So that was my way of saying thank you.

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I like that. I'm going to remind my children of this part of the episode when they hear it. You do hear that you got to keep that beautiful class name, and it just rolls off the tongue no matter what the other word is with it. You want to take a few moments to just introduce yourself, kind of set the stage.

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Yeah. Thanks. For 25 years, I worked as the personal assistant to an actress, Olympia Dukakis. And ten months into our work together, she shot one of the biggest movies of that year, moonstruck. And I found myself all of a sudden working for a famous person. My journey in my career has been very unexpected. I never thought that would happen, never thought we would work with each other for 25 years. That work led to so many other things, also unexpected. Writing two books, opening my own training company, ultimate assistant training, traveling to 13 countries, training, executive assistance, personal assistants, and the leaders they support. What I found was a surprising set of circumstances in our workplace where there's a lot of disconnect happening between leaders, the staff, HR and recruiters. And I have found that the through line for my career has been to try to make sense of what is going on and to bring these groups together so that we can make more sense of it together.

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There's a lot to factor we're going to talk about. You're an author. Do you have a picture of your book or anything you want to show?

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I do. The first book is this one. This was a labor of love. I literally went to the bookstore back in the early two thousand s to try to find a book about how to do my work that I was doing with Olympia Dukakis better. And I ended up calling this be the Ultimate Assistant, because when I went to the bookstore and stood there trying to find a book that even resembled a little bit what I was doing, I found next to nothing. And so I stood there in Barnes and Noble and said, I think I have to write the damn thing myself. And so the first edition was 2004. Now it's in its fifth edition, and I'm happy to tell you that it's still serving assistants all over the world. I wanted to write the book that I wished had been there, so I went ahead and did that. My point of view is that you can complain about a lot of things, but if something really needs to be fixed, why not give me the title.

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Of the book again?

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So, people, the book is be the Ultimate Assistant. A celebrity assistant. Secrets to working with any high powered employer. And so I meant it for the assistance of the world and the leaders they support. I believe in talking honestly and saying the quiet parts out loud. So there's a chapter in there about gender in the workplace. There's also a chapter about the dark side of assisting, including bullying and sexual harassment and things that have dominated the news over these years. Over time, I realized I needed to write a second book. And that book is this one. Staff matters. Staff matters came out in February of 2023. It took seven years to write it. And the subtitle is people focused solutions for the ultimate new workplace. We have to make it about the people, this workplace. And then the subtitle under that, which is super important to me, is unfiltered conversations with staff at every level. In their words, walking in their shoes. I interviewed over 1500 people for the book. Leaders, assistants, HR professionals, recruiters and business school professors and leadership experts. I did that because I consider each of those groups constituencies of the workplace. They all have a role to play. They all believe that aspects of our workplace are broken. So if that's true, no one of those groups is going to be able to fix it alone. They have to talk to each other. There has to be collaboration. And assistants of the world say to me, Bonie, my leader is not interested in what I have to say, or I'm too afraid to speak up. There's far too much fear in the workplace, which is causing leaders to not be receiving complete information.

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So you were in Barnes and Noble. For those who don't know, that's a bookstore. It's like a physical one. You actually open the door, and there's people. I remember this is kind of pre Google. They do.

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They still exist, by the way?

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I remember going to one. It was really close to our house or a condo at the time, and I remember looking up some code that I needed to learn how to write, and I would just go down there and look at the book and then go, and now you can just Google it. Anyway, it was just funny because it was like, right before the Google, I.

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Happen to like going, true.

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Okay, so the point of my thing was that you got an aha moment, like, aha in Barnes and noble to write the first book. What was the moment that said, I'm going to write this book. And then, as someone who's writing a book here in 2024, and I'm in the third round of an edit with a publisher, which I took a year's taking, or a little less than a year is taking too long. You said seven years. So tie those two things of aha moment and why the seven years?

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Right? So after the first book, I was asked to speak and teach, and I was running around the United States and even being asked to speak over in Europe, english speaking countries, because I understood that there was a desire for native american speakers, native English speakers in the speaking world, to talk about the workplace. And after the speeches were over, that's when people would come up to me. We would have lunch, we'd have a drink, we'd have just offhand off stage conversations where the real stories came out, some of which are in staff matters, where I became very clear that there's a lot going on. One CEO referred to it as on the back channel, that things happen on the front channel in the workplace, and then a lot is happening on the back channel, that the staff were suffering mightily from things like bullying and toxic work environments. And we hear about that today in 2024. This is nothing new, but it's these conversations that were happening after I was done speaking or just in the lobby of a hotel saying, oh, let me tell you what's going on in my company. And that's when I had that other aha. Moment about what is not being said in the workplace. And I decided, well, if there is a lot of fear going on in the workplace, I cannot be afraid to say what's really going on. A CEO just the other day told me that reading staff matters changed the way he feels and what he knows about the world of assistance and the value of them. And that goes for entrepreneurs, that goes for business owners, that goes for middle managers as well. That it all comes down, Thomas, to the 24 hours a day that we each get. And in my work with Olympia Dukakis, I helped her maximize her 24 hours through maximizing my own. And our work existed simultaneously, but it was very different. She respected my work, and I respected her work, and we were collaborators. We were partners. She was not my boss. She would introduce me and she would say, meet Bonnie. Bonnie works with us, as opposed to she works for us. So I learned a great deal, Thomas, about respect and the importance and value of acknowledgement and staff being know, we painstakingly hire people in the first place, so why are we treating them so bad?

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Well, there's a lot there to impact, too, because there's just any staff, maybe. What's one thing you discovered during these interviews you had not known about just the space of how or why staff gets treated the way they are. Do you have a complete takeaway? Like, I had no idea that was going on?

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Well, in the introduction, I share two revelations that informed everything else. When I was invited to London in 2012, I was at the back of a ballroom hearing another speaker ask the audience this question. The audience was over 200 assistants, seasoned assistants, experienced assistants, and she asked them, how many of you feel well managed? Thomas, from the back of the room, I'm watching very few hands raise. And those that did raise were kind of like, half hearted, sort of, kind of like that. And I stood there and I thought, what is going. You expected, like a 50 or so I waited. Yeah. And truly, that was a revelation where I saw very few hands go like this. I'm well managed. Right. And then I came home to America, and I started doing research on, well, where's the obvious places that leaders are supposed to learn how to manage people? And of course, you think, oh, business schools. Well, again, this was, aha, moment. Number two, revelation. I read an article in Harvard Business Review by Jack Zenger that knocked me out. It was called we wait too long to train our leaders. And he polled thousands of leaders around the world and figured out, Thomas, get ready. That the average age that a leader gets their very first training in managing people is age 42.

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Now that means it's not happening in business schools and it still isn't happening in most business schools. In some, of course, you would think there would be classes like how to manage a staff, and there aren't. So my revelation was that the majority of leaders, if there is a toxic work environment, it's not because they're intentionally trying to make it so. It's happening, sadly, because of ignorance. It's happening because they simply don't know the essentials of how to manage a team. And in 2024, it's gotten even more difficult because of the remote and virtual and hybrid nature of the work. Like if there were no classes before, there certainly were no classes now about how to manage a team that's partially in the office and partly not. So. This lack of education for leaders was a startling notion. And when I say this to the assistants of the world, they get it. And I spoke with Jack Zenger. I've spoken to him several times. And his answer about what's the staff of the world to do about that, his words were, the staff needs to manage the managers. So that is a new idea. We think that leaders are supposed to have all the answers. We think that leaders should know the right way to do things. But what I found, Thomas, is that isn't happening. And that truly leaders don't have all the answers. And that's why they need their staff. So we need to do better.

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And I think it's a multi tenanted problem. Right, so you don't have the training. And if you did in college, it's the wrong group to train. It's good to maybe educate, but you can't train them because you have to be in it, you have to see it, you got to deal with it. So the mentoring piece becomes big. But if the mentor hasn't been trained on how to mentor and then they've been brought up by just do it, like, without saying, do as you see.

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Exactly who are we emulating? There's a saying that I love you can't be it. If you can't see, know. Who are we following? I am very fortunate that I had a very strong role model in Olympia Dukakis about how to be a professional woman in this very male dominated workplace. And she showed me what that looks like. She showed me what happens when she, as the woman at a mostly male dominated table, is the person to say the hard thing. And what happens when you speak truth to power and what happens to everyone when finally someone says the thing that's on everybody's mind, the elephant in the room. But finally someone has the gumption to say it and to speak up and to have her voice. And that's where I.

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It's about a year since staff matters has come out. What have you learned about your own material in the last year since it's hit the market?

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Well, the minute a book comes out, the clock is ticking. And of course, there isn't anything in the book about chat, GPT and AI, which is dominating the news right now. But other than that, I feel very proud of what I've done with staff matters because it's meant to be a catalyst for conversation. And there are a lot of leadership books out there. And so my maybe secret wish is I know that leaders may not read this book right away, but the staff will, and staff has been reading this book, and then they're getting them and bringing it to their leaders to say, you know what I think chapter four, that one's called is it safe? And it's about making it safe for staff to speak up. Psychological safety in the workplace. When people feel safe, they will tell you things, but if they feel frightened and they feel there's going to be retribution, if they do speak up, if they are the messenger, then people won't say anything. And that's what that chapter is about. And I think to myself, well, leaders must see the value of making some moves to make it safe for people to speak the truth about what's really going on because some very expensive decisions are being made.

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It's funny, I'll interact with hundreds of entrepreneurs throughout the year or whatever, and you'll find some. This topic will just kind of come up and it's not even serendipitous. It's like, almost like here's a scenario, right? You're talking to someone, you can tell they kind of have maybe difficult to work with and they're the boss. And you just get the feel for it that they're type A, not a lot of thank yous, never a sorry kind of person, right. But they're hyper successful. So you have ego and some other pieces that go with it too sometimes. And you meet them and you're just kind of rolling with it and then you hear about, I'll ask the poking question sometimes of how's your teams, this and that? They always seem to have problem. The hard question sometimes to do is say is, and I'd love to hear your take on this, is when you see a leader that's come to you and you're like, you've gotten to know the woman. You're like, you're the issue. Tell me how the book can address that, because ultimately, if that part doesn't change downstream from, it's still going to be dirty. Right.

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What the book shares again and again, when you have a group of people working together, it's messy. So it's very important to make connection before correction. And that's I, and he gave me permission to use his example in the book, Hubert Jolie, who is the former CEO of Know the, the, another physical store. And he would spend time on the floor with the salespeople to really understand what was going on on their day to day and listen to them and hear their stories. And he was making a connection before he looked around and say, you know what? We need to make this kind of change. I urge leaders to think back to when they first started and do they remember at the time when they did not have power, when they were working really hard and were not thanked? One question I ask leaders is, how would you feel about your daughter or son working at your company? Would you like your family member to be working here? How would that be for them? Or how would you feel if someone talked to your wife, sister that way? It's about approaching somebody with specificity. This happened yesterday. It's hard to argue with facts. And that's the kind of thing I train. And that's the kind of thing that's in staff matters, is an approach to the workplace where you're dealing with the staff as individual contributors and understanding that they were hired for a reason. How about we actually ask them what they think? It's amazing, Thomas, how many leaders don't do that. And again, the clock is ticking, 24 hours in a day, but it really matters. Perhaps you heard about the Golden Globe awards, you know, in Hollywood. That happened on January 7. An actress won the best actress award for some television show. It's called the Bear. And in her acceptance speech, she named her agents. She thanked her agents, and then she said, and I want to thank my agent's assistants. You all are the real ones. You're the ones who answer my crazy emails. You're the ones who do the real work, essentially. And the audience went wild. They shocked the audience, and people were shocked that she was thanking the assistance but really happy about it. And then it hit the news and there are all these articles to me, I bring it up because it really speaks to the need for acknowledging your team that nobody gets there alone. You didn't get to where you are alone.

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I was sitting alone, but no, I didn't. It's only because it's a podcast studio and you want other people talking around you. No, absolutely. You have to have a team and I have a team. And it's funny. So we always try to find fun titles because I don't like the term virtual assistant or executive. There's a few things. Our teams are based in Philippines. Virtual assistant doesn't, to me, describe the value of what our teams do for me. So I was like, I won't use it because it's too low level for what you do. Executive assistant. I was told, at least by some of my teams, that in the culture has a negative connotation that you sleep with your boss. And I'm like, well, we don't want to have you go home and say, I'm an executive assistant and have to deal with all that. And so we came up with executive virtuoso. And so it was somebody who was virtual. That kind of does a whole bunch. But the point being is that I appreciate the teams that I have so much because none of it would work without them. I would have to have a fundamentally different business model of one I wouldn't want where I'd have to do tons of work that I just wouldn't be good at. I'm good at explaining it and organizing it.

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And I thank you for bringing that up about titles, because titles do matter. Sometimes I hear people saying, oh, my title doesn't matter. Call me whatever you want. But no. And that's a message to leaders. Titles do matter. Their title matters to them. It matters to the staff that they have a title that reflects what they do. And good on you for being responsive to the culture. There's an assistant I know who's called the director of details. There's chief chaos Chamber.

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That's a good one.

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People come up with some really creative things, and there is some talk about how the word assistant is going to be phased out. But the range of titles speaks to how much confusion there is about the role. There's the old antiquated idea about the perception of the role, which is filing papers and answering phones and ordering lunch. The role has changed so much. I mean, I spoke with an assistant yesterday who's making $275,000 a year to her very high powered CEO executive. And she is worth every penny for her 25 years of experience and her network and what she can pull off in a very short period of time. That's the thing that there's a disconnect often between the perception and the reality. And that's what I aimed to do at staff matters, is to clear things.

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Exactly. And so I think the conscious and the takeaway is there be conscious of cultures, of what people want to be called, obviously have some HR leveling and some other things. But I try to get titles that are much more in any staff. Right. That are customer faced. So you're not a project manager, you're a customer success manager. Because if things don't go well in the project, then that customer is not going to be successful. It's also like, are you trying to find out in the next job or are you concerned about this one? There's that. Let me flip the script, though. I want to come back to it. So we had talked about leaders and what they need to do. Where's the accountability? Because one of the things that drive me sometimes in different staff level, how you get there is this false sense of entitlement, this victim card. Everything happens. But where does that line end with and where does the self accountability begin, in your opinion?

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Yeah, in my workshops that I teach all over, I love it when I have a very broad age range in the room. Oftentimes I do have 20 somethings in the room and 30, 40, 50, 60. And that issue comes up often about the sense of entitlement of those.

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Worse when it's 40, 50.

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Yeah, but oftentimes the sense of entitlement is attributed to Jen and like that. And I flipped the script there because when someone is joining a company, what do they do? They go to the website and they read the careers tab. They read a job description, they have interviews. And my belief is that the leadership of companies need to work very hard to set a clear expectation of their future staffers. And that means articulating what it means to work at the company and being able to outline what's the career path? What's a realistic, reasonable career path. If someone is sitting there feeling entitled, where did that idea come from? How did that happen? That they believe that they're going to be the president of the company after a year? I know that's an exaggeration, but just some inflated idea of where did that happen? And so, Thomas, truly, what it says to me is that there's a lack of communication, that there's been a dysfunction in the inaccurate communication between leadership, HR, the written materials on the job description. There should be very good clarity on, if I say yes to this job, what is reasonable over these next few years. Chapter eight is about. It's called Great Expectations. This is a place where I know that we could do much better in the workplace. So many staffers, not only assistants, say to me, Bonnie, the job description I was hired in at bears very little resemblance to the one I'm actually doing. I don't know if that ever happened in your career, Thomas, but it's very common know companies will issue a job description and then after a matter of months, it all shifts. And it's like, wait a minute, I didn't sign on to do this. And that's a problem because then that means unmet expectations about the actual job responsibilities. And that goes along with the title and that goes along with compensation. In my view, there needs to be much more clarity about what it means to work at a company. And I think that will help with the entitlement problem that you're outlined that.

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Way, that are never getting past it and you know who you are. Anyway, I'll leave it at that. So in my own career, the young.

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People I meet in my workshops, they hear me when I urge them to insist on clarity about what this is all meaning going forward, that it shouldn't be this big mystery and very nebulous and confusing and ambiguous. I'm all for clarifying all the roles here, but still, will it exist, this entitlement? Sure. Family members who are saying, you're the best, you should be in charge. You hear ridiculous things like parents going with young people to interviews and holy things like that.

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Yeah, I might have fun with it. I might take that just so I could see what. Anyway, I believe it. You asked me a question. My career, it's called Never Been Promoted for a reason. So let's just leave it that I've been asked to leave. That'll be book number two. So that's the next book coming out, all the things.

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And I'll bet you never have forgotten it.

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Actually, I've definitely suppressed the memories. But in my own career, right, probably one of my best managers, I left that job for a couple of years. I was always just kind of chasing salary. I can honestly tell you with all straight face, always care about working or building other people's dreams. I had this entrepreneurial spirit deep in me, and at some point it just comes out and says, no more, and you just become unhirable. But job description or not, I would just kind of do what I thought was right, and that doesn't always settle well. Like, hey, that you've been hired here for this, but that's actually not what we need. And so that's a big problem. A problem sometimes in work and staff is that your personality won't match up with what is needed to be done, though you're capable, and you have to identify that in yourself as an entrepreneur. That's how a lot of people become entrepreneurs. That's how I become better at thinking like an entrepreneur, even if you work for somebody. But I think knowing that how you're valued and treated, which is kind of the point of the staff matters and all the things that go with it, that doesn't change. So people should still value who you are, regardless if you're a fit or not, and then exit you correctly or find the right role for you or redefine what you're doing. But if the mechanics aren't there, to be honest, the mechanics aren't there in the place to allow for that safety, that freedom and individuality of a human, they should read your book. Probably what I'm hearing.

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Well, you're talking about culture. You're talking about, what's the culture of the company. And in today's workplace, I talk with entrepreneurs all the time, and it's impossible to tell everything you need to know about someone over a webcam. It is imperative. I know it slows down the process, and I know it costs money. But get your staff on airplanes and meet them in person. Have meals with them. We're human beings, and human beings need to be in rooms with each other. And that's why companies, even that have given up brick and mortar buildings. Now they're spending money on air flights to bring people together quarterly because it's that important. And that's my message to entrepreneurs.

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I've never met anyone I work with on my team in person for three years now. Two reasons. One, cost prohibitive. Most teams in the Philippines, and not only that, they're all over the Philippines. So I'm like, we got to get a little more success on the front end for. I got to fly all the, get hotels, but it's 100%. A question I've asked myself many times is, what's the business value of me spending $10,000 to get everyone together or more right, or whatever it is, the number is arbitrary. Part of it is just bringing the team together. Who's no one's met each other except a couple of people who live in the same city. Just to say it solidifies a team and it brings it together. And I get to know these personalities at a level of like, man, that person's actually a lot funnier than I am. 100% committed in the next twelve months to making that happen in some level.

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Well, I'm happy to hear that. Obviously there's a financial concern, but you want to build loyalty. You talk about personality fit. How do you know?

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On a webcam we see it through execution. So we're like, you show up or you don't. You're nice to people. You don't. You can do what you say. So we can get through some of those things with technology. What I want to do is have that stronger bond of like, hi, man, that's the worst karaoke in the world right there.

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People do things for people, so I'm.

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Committed to it as well. Tell me something. So give me two things here. If you've made it to this point in the show, don't give up. This is the important piece here. This is the shameless plug. This is a. We're going to learn who should be reading this book and how we're supposed to be working with Bonnie and how to get a hold of her. So shameless plug time. I know you've practiced. I know I have. Go ahead.

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My work is about building ultimate workplaces. And that's going to happen through working with the humans. I am excited about the work I'm doing in companies, writing articles that inspire and open minds and offer real solutions. The pandemic threw the workplace into the air like a deck of cards. And as of this minute, it's feeling mighty fragmented and fractured for a lot of staff. It is imperative that we pay attention to where we're headed. If we want a workplace that's better for our kids and grandkids, we need to do that work right now in building structures to support the people who are working at our companies. And that's what I do. I am so delighted to have people come back to me months later and sometimes years later to say, to know, Bonnie, I just want you to know that when you did blah, blah, blah at our training, or you said this at a conference, that helped me make more money, that helped me have the courage to write my book, that helped me speak up to the bully, make a difference, make a change. And then I helped others. And then I helped my kid get the right know. We don't function in a vacuum. And God knows, being on your show today, Thomas, this is so much more than about book sales or about getting hired. This is about my concern that I see in this workplace that is somewhat broken and we are going to be served. The whole workplace is going to be served if we can take a fresh look at what's going on. Really. And that's my move with both books, with be the Ultimate Assistant and with Staff Matters, I know that the workplace will be a better place if business students read the book, if leaders read the book, if staff and then have conversations with the team.

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So someone wants to work with you or books on Amazon, all the kind of places, I'll assume.

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Yeah, absolutely. Go to Amazon. We're about to launch the book for staff matters, but I'm probably the easiest person to find. My website is And if building something better is what you, let's talk about what can happen.

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I'm going to pivot. I'm going to introduce this new segment. I usually go to a hot seat. I think I'm going to ban in that I'm going to ask you a question. What's the one question I should have asked you? I didn't.

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How did I like the Barbara Streisand book?

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How did you like the Barbara Streisand book?

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I devoured every word. It was the first book I've read for pleasure. Since staff matters came out, I've been a huge fan of Barbara. When I wrote my book, I had to write it in absolute silence. And so now that the book is out, I've been discovering music again, rediscovering music. And I love having music playing when I'm working in the house all the time. And I realized I have felt so deprived because I've had to be in silence so much of the time these last few years. And if you're a Barbara Streisand fan, read her memoir. It's called my name is Barbara. And I think I remember you're a fan.

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I do celebrate. I mean, listen, I'm a Pearl jam fan. I'm a huge Neil diamond fan as well. And I think they did. You don't bring me flowers. I think that was duet, right? I like taking her part in karaoke, not the Neil diamond part. I'll take Neil diamond on the other ones. But I like to do Barbara. That parlor isn't by the end of the night.

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Oh, wow. Some people in the audience. I can hear you groaning right now. No, but what Barbara Streisand song do.

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You sing at karaoke? It's the Neil diamond side of. It's like, you don't bring me flower. You might be a singer.

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All right. Do you take that? I am.

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Should we get the lyrics up and do it now?

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Oh, no, I would have gone.

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I would have riffed on it. I'd be like, you don't sing me love songs. Like, doing the whole Neil diamond side.

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You know what I started doing after I read the book is I started watching all of her.

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She got so many. I used to joke like, oh, is it another Barbra Streisand Friday movie, fried green tomatoes again? I think she's in that. I don't know how she's not. She's not that.

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She's not in that. And then listening to all of her albums, it's just wonderful. And then there's so much great footage on YouTube. Gosh.

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I mean, really a talented. See where we went there, people? This is entrepreneurial add sneaking in. And this is why you need focus at work, okay? Because otherwise you'll start listening to music and you'll quit. Honey, thank you so much, by the way, for being my guest today. You got a crazy story. And anybody who's listening, we're on another side of the island, right? So if you really want to kind of listen to kind of her stuff through the first book as well, I think you're underselling how cool your life's been so far and you got a lot more to go.

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Well, the only thing unique about my story is that it's mine. And it's been so surprising up to this point that on any given day, I realize I only have control over so much. And then I wake up on most days and I think, what's going to surprise me today? And I woke up today and thinking I got a chance to talk to you today.

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No, thank you for that. Anybody who's made it this far into the show, you get ten dad points. I word those out randomly and dad points as anybody who knows you can spend them anywhere. So go ahead and have those. But if this was your first time listening, thank you for making it here, and I hope you come back. And if you've been here before, you rock for making the journey again with us. And until we have our next episode on Never Been Promoted podcast, I encourage you to get out there and unleash your entrepreneur. Thanks for listening.

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Thanks for listening to never been promoted with Thomas Helfrich. Make sure to check the show notes for our guest contact information and any relevant links connect with Thomas personally at

Introduction and Guest Welcome
Bonnie's Career Journey
Workplace Insights and Authorship
Leadership and Management Training
Accountability and Communication
Creating a Better Workplace
Staff Experiences and Book Impact
Personal Insights and Career Reflections
Team Building and Culture
Future Plans and Workplace Evolution
Concluding Thoughts and Additional Insights