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Entelechy Leadership Stories

Transcript 

Announcer:

Entelechy Leadership Stories with your hosts, Kirstin Gooldy, and Mark Stinson. Connect with us on LinkedIn or visit our website pureentelechy.com. Here's your host Kirstin Gooldy and Mark Stinson.

 

Mark Stinson (host):

Hello again, everyone. I'm Mark Stinson. I'm here with Kirstin Gooldy for another episode of Entelechy Leadership Stories. Kirstin, we just continue to expand and understand people and how they're reaching their full potential and how they're serving and helping others reach their potential. I mean, this ripple effect of service and helping is really coming through so many of our interviews, isn't it?

Kirstin Gooldy (host):

It is Mark. It's quite profound when you go through and you listen to the news media and you're hearing all of this negativity. And then we speak with our guests, the real people, the boots on the ground, those that are what allows our momentum to take place in forward movement. And everyone we have spoken to in some form or another is committed to something greater than just their own cause and also committed to making the world a better place. And it's fascinating that that does not get translated into the media because there's more people doing good than are doing bad.

Mark Stinson (host):

So true. And I guess not only their personal missions, but also this idea that I would like to help and service and make sure everyone is rising up to their potential in their purpose, right?

Kirstin Gooldy (host):

That's right. That's that great conversation. I believe it was Erica Hoofendal who spoke to the macrocosm of the we, going beyond the I and my own business or my own personal, and then looking at helping somebody else, but then helping beyond just even the us, right? There's a greater collective out there to really begin to expand.

Kirstin Gooldy (host):

And I think when we tap into what our soul's purpose is, and we really have a firm understanding and all of our guests speak to this in some way or another, whether they use the same language or not, but when you tap into what you're truly meant to be and do, and you actually allow yourself to do that, you then find that serving the self is not enough. So, it just grows in and of itself on its own organically. Those are the stories we've been listening to.

Mark Stinson (host):

Well, and we're so happy to have as our guest today another one of those kind of leaders. And we'd love to bring in Kathy Svetina to our program. Kathy, welcome.

 

Kathy Svetina (guest):

Thank you so much. I'm happy to be here.

Mark Stinson (host):

And Kathy is one of the people that we were just kind of describing and that she's there to support businesses, small businesses, especially women owned small businesses as a fractional CFO for these types of business owners to really help them understand their numbers and make more competent decisions.

Mark Stinson (host):

I love your description, Kathy, a financial puzzle solver. I can see all those financial pieces needing to be fit together. How do you reach out to, especially we were talking about women owned businesses and how do you find those connections and what do you hear that those kind of business owners need from a financial support perspective?

Kathy Svetina (guest):

That's a great question. The way how I reach them is through a human connection. And it's all about talking to them. And I know a lot of them have this reluctance of actually understanding the numbers because they're really afraid of it. And a lot of times, as a fractional CFO, I'm not there just to interpret the numbers and help them through it. It's also, I'm a little bit of a psychologist as well, too, especially because for women, sometimes they struggle with imposter syndrome.

Kathy Svetina (guest):

It's like, how do I grow? How do I actually take this business to the next level? Can I actually do that? And I'm not there just to support them when it comes to the numbers, but it's also moving them forward so that they do have that confidence in themselves too. And a lot of that comes from data that they have, it's like, yes, you can actually do that. Let's do that, right?

Mark Stinson (host):

I love the idea of kind of, it's a financial psychology session. Lord knows in my business past I could use somebody to help me decipher what does it all mean? And then my accountant would show me the numbers and say, how do you feel about that? So it was very psychological, but I am intrigued about this, I guess this confidence question. And I understand what you're saying about the imposter syndrome, but there is a desire to be more confident, I guess, with the numbers, isn't there?

Mark Stinson (host):

Yes, it is. And a lot of it actually comes from understanding what it means and when they come to me, they have these reports and they have these graphs and charts that their accountants give them, right, they have these summaries that they have and the problem is like, what do I really do with this? I have so much to do in my business and how do I use this so that I can drive it so that I can actually get to the end goal that I have?

Kathy Svetina (guest):

And that's where I have to come in and help them with it. So that first of all, we have to understand what is the actual goal for your business? What do you really want to be, right? Because if you don't have that end goal, any path you take will do. And the problem when you're with any path you take will do is, you can take some really bad and wrong paths, especially if you're trying to grow your business.

Kirstin Gooldy (host):

As you're speaking to that, I love talking to CFOs. I call myself a recovering CFO, that was my background is in technology and telecommunications, but I'm listening to you. And one of the things I learned early on in my career is there really are two types of CFOs, right? There's the accountant that plugs in the numbers. There's the mechanical CFO, if you will.

Kirstin Gooldy (host):

But then there's that strategic CFO, those that are part of the investment arms and having conversation and driving strategic discussions and using quantifiable information and, quantitative analysis to ensure that you can begin to uncover and develop sustainable business models, right? It's a stabilization.

Kirstin Gooldy (host):

And I love that you're putting the emphasis on women because if they haven't been trained in a business setting per se, they're not used to being in those management meetings where it's an essential tool to use those tools, right? How far is the gap? Because there's a lot of intuition that goes into how the mechanics of financial statements work and then how strategy gets deployed with that information.

Kirstin Gooldy (host):

How are you finding these women bridging the gap and how intuitive do they become once they have these numbers? Because there's magic. It's like the spreadsheets really do start to dance, right?

Kathy Svetina (guest):

Yep, exactly. And that's the advantage that I have because I was in Fortune 500 companies for 14 years. I was in a complete corporate world, finance. And what I'm seeing is there's a very big difference between small businesses and the Fortune 500 companies, not just in the size and the revenue that they're having, but also in the way how they think about the finances.

Kathy Svetina (guest):

With the small businesses and the women that I talk to and my market is for women that are making a million to 10 million, so that is usually when they're actually are starting to see the growth, they're starting to see the need, they're starting to see that they really have to do something about this and about looking at the future and starting to plan is that they don't have the processes and the systems that are able to support that strategic decision-making to get them to that next level that they want to be because A, they haven't been trained in it.

Kathy Svetina (guest):

They started a business because they really love what they're doing. They love the coaching or they're in graphics design or whatever business they're in, they love what they're doing, but they are not the experts on the finances. So they actually do rely on their accountants and the bookkeepers to help them with that. But the problem with that is just like you said, those people are very detailed oriented, which is great.

Kathy Svetina (guest):

And you should have someone like that on your team, for sure, because you'd be able to track all those transactions and make sure that everything that you're putting in actually gets put into the business, but you also have to be able to detach yourself from it and look at your business from a 10000 foot view so that are you able to see all those pieces. And Mark, this is where the financial puzzle solver comes in because you have to be able to look at your numbers and how they relate to your sales, your marketing, what you're doing in those pieces, so that you're able to be strategic about it, right?

Mark Stinson (host):

That's a great point. And you mentioned your Fortune 500 company background, being there in the Chicago area, two of the largest financial companies we can all think of, we see them on TV, we read about them in the Wall Street Journal, consumer banking and credit cards and student loans.

Mark Stinson (host):

And then also, I mean, I guess I call it insurance, but it's the biggest financial company with, I think it's the second tallest building in Chicago, still as the headquarters. So we'll all know what that is, but I mean, how did you translate that corporate experience to then starting your own individual consulting kind of practice in this new castle finance that you're running now?

Kathy Svetina (guest):

So, when I was in corporate, the thing that always bothered me was how these big companies, you can relate to that with your CFO experiences, they have teams, they have a lot of teams that take care of their finances. They have the treasury department, they have the accounting department, they have the financial planning and analysis department. And all of these teams-

Kirstin Gooldy (host):

My PTSD is being activated just saying everyone.

Kathy Svetina (guest):

I apologize for that.

 

Mark Stinson (host):

The mental Rolodex of your departmental org chart is flashing back.

Kirstin Gooldy (host):

I'm just kidding. Sorry.

Kathy Svetina (guest):

So all of these departments are taking care of the financial health of this business, but when you go into the small businesses, no one's doing that, right? I mean, you have the foundation of bookkeeping and accounting, but that is just one teeny tiny piece of the actual financial health of the company.

Kathy Svetina (guest):

I mean, you have to be able to get insights from those numbers so that you can actually plan. You have to be able to put the safeguards in place that people are not stealing from you. And these are some of the heartbreaking stories that come from people that are just trusting their accountants and bookkeepers, but they don't have those safeguards in place. So the internal control piece is a big piece that actually gets overlooked in small businesses.

Kathy Svetina (guest):

And the other piece is also, tax planning. How are you going to be able to, if you're making purchases, how does that impact your tax? And I know a lot of accountants actually go and focus on that piece, but other pieces is also, how about the future? What are we going to do about the future and how this particular purchase is going to affect your financial future, tax future down the line?

Mark Stinson (host):

So good. And what about your own entrepreneurial journey and your mental shift from being an employee, a manager in these bigger companies to really run in your own business and doing well, a lot of the things that you're telling your clients to do, too?

Kathy Svetina (guest):

That was such a huge shift.

Mark Stinson (host):

Doctor heal myself.

Kathy Svetina (guest):

It's a completely different world when you have your own business and when you're in corporate, completely two different things. And there's a lot of stuff that I had to unlearn as a worker that when I was in corporate, because when you're in corporate, you have these, I wouldn't say blinders on, but you have this path that you're on, right? And you're climbing the corporate ladder and you're playing by the rules and you know the politics and I know Kirstin, I'm so sorry, the PTSD, but it's true.

Kathy Svetina (guest):

I mean, you're on this path, but when you step out of it, it's almost like you have to take a breather and say, okay, I'm on my own now. Now what? And when people ask me, so what is the best thing about being your own boss and entrepreneur? And I would say freedom. And what is the worst thing? Freedom, because no one's giving you this blueprint of what you're going to be doing now.

Kathy Svetina (guest):

Where do you get your customers about you? How do you solve things? How do you figure out your marketing, marketing and sales that actually feels good to you as a person? And that reflects your ethics and the way how you speak to people? And I mean, you have any, and every advice out there, but you really have to be careful what you let in so that you're not going down the path that someone else put it for you again, that's where the corporate comes in. And that you can actually say, this does not feel good to me. I need to find something else.

Mark Stinson (host):

What about the client fit? Are you able to also find clients that are attracting and attractive to your belief systems and really want to work at the same level you want to?

Kathy Svetina (guest):

Yeah. And that is an absolute learning curve too. Especially, from someone who comes from a corporate environment like me, it's a learning board, but I mean, I would like to say that as soon as you open, you put the shingle on the door and say, I have my own business. You have your ideal clients and everything is great and everyone's happy, it just doesn't work that way. It just doesn't.

Kathy Svetina (guest):

There's a lot of trial. There's a lot of error but you somehow finagle and you figure it out as you go. It really is time and allowing yourself the space to experiment and to be quiet with yourself and to understand what is it that you really want to do and what is important to you. And once you figure that out and you start projecting that out into the market, that's where the clients actually get attracted to you.

Mark Stinson (host):

And was there anything in your background, your family, your DNA that you said, I think I feel like I'm probably destined to run my own business? Like even when you were in the corporate environment, you said, I'm working towards this because this is just in me?

Kathy Svetina (guest):

I actually come from a family of entrepreneurs and they had a lot of problems running their own businesses. So I had a lot of baggage and fear associated with it. What if it fails? What if I have employee problems and, my relatives that had their employees stealing from them, there was just a lot of baggage to it.

Kathy Svetina (guest):

So, I always had this, I can't really be in the corporate role because the way how I operate doesn't really fit into that particular box. But I really didn't think about going on my own because I had a lot of fears associated with it. So I kind of had to choose this path. It's like, do I really want to be in this box? Or I said, you know what? Yes, there is fear, but I'm going to overcome that.

Kathy Svetina (guest):

And for the longest time, for years, I had to fight that. And there was just a moment in my life when I said, you know what? I'm just going to do it. I'm just going to jump and see what happens.

Kirstin Gooldy (host):

And I love that you spoke to that because Mark often asks our guests about the forks in the road, what really gets us to those forks in the road, because all of a sudden a new path just appears and you make a choice to go in a different direction. And you also mentioned the need to do your own internal work to overcome yourself to be, right? We're our own limiting factor. Can you talk a little bit about that fork in the road? I'm channeling my inner Mark right now, right? Can you talk about that fork in the road and what you had to do to overcome that?

Kathy Svetina (guest):

Yeah. For me, it was mostly that I wanted more to have something on my own and I have this intense need to actually help women. So if it were just me at all making money, I would say, forget about it. This is too hard. I'm just going to go back to corporate because it's easy. You get a paycheck every two weeks and that's it, right?

Kirstin Gooldy (host):

That comfort is nice, isn't it? You begin to miss that when you own your own business. I think we can all relate.

Mark Stinson (host):

I haven't looked at the calendar to see when the, every other Friday is lately.

Kathy Svetina (guest):

But I think for me, what the defining moment was, is like, why am I actually doing this? Why? I mean, what's the point of it? And when I really started digging deep, it was, I want more women to be in leadership position and in C-suites. And if we have such a hard time getting there by climbing the corporate ladder, I was like, forget about the ladder. Let's just figure out our own wall and put the ladder there so that we can actually run the companies that we want to run.

Kathy Svetina (guest):

And the way to get there is through the numbers and through the finance and someone to actually guide you. So, that's what I want. I want more women in the C-suite and I want to help them get there. That is my goal and my driving purpose.

Mark Stinson (host):

I can really feel the passion. And I guess I asked you about the family background or the DNA, because so many times business people have experiences with their families or they grew up around business owners and it could be shop owners, it could be all the way up to corporate owners, but roll the tape back a little bit to your childhood, your upbringing, what sort of influences those had on you?

Kathy Svetina (guest):

So I was born and raised in Europe, in Slovenia. It's a tiny country of two million people. And I didn't really have any dreams where I'm going to end up. I kind of just, let it go with the flow. And then I had an opportunity after I finished high school to actually study in the US and I took it. And I think having that now, when I think about it, I mean, that was a huge step for me because, I was 19 years old and you're going completely into a new country, a new language.

Kathy Svetina (guest):

I mean, I started learning English when I was 15. So that was completely new to me. And I'm still kind of surprised that I was able to actually do that and go into a completely new culture and in a new way of thinking so easily. And now when I think back is making that step from being corporate into entrepreneurship, it actually kind of mirrors it because you're going into a completely new world. But when I think back now, it worked out. It's scary. It's absolutely scary. But at the end, you're so much better off for it.

Mark Stinson (host):

Well, this is why I was curious that that was such a big step, at 19 to say, I'm going to leave Slovenia, I'm going to the US, is it comparable to the step of starting your own?

Kathy Svetina (guest):

Yes, very much so. It feels like a completely different world. And when I was actually trying to compare that, how did it feel? Did I ever feel like that before in my life? That's always the moment that I went back to. It says, that's what happened. It was absolutely terrifying. And it was awful at the beginning, but I had so much success doing that.

Mark Stinson (host):

And were there stories that your family told or you observed and, I always think about around the dinner table or at the family reunions, or what have you, where you would hear these business stories, any of those kind of stick with you?

Kathy Svetina (guest):

Like I said, the only business stories that I've heard were, unfortunately they were just negative because they had so much trouble running these on businesses and that stuck with me. And like I said, I mean, I had that baggage to overcome too when I went on my own. So it was not just the fear it was also all the family baggage of running your own business. And that's really hard.

Kirstin Gooldy (host):

So what would you say living overseas and taking on, and moving here, but then also leaving corporate and starting your own business, what do you see as the top three qualities you actually need to do that?

Kathy Svetina (guest):

I think you have to have faith that things will work out and that you will, once you start walking, the path will appear and that you don't have everything figured out. And I think the most important thing is that you don't have to have everything figured out, right? You start walking and it's almost like just by magic things start appearing. And they always say, when the student is ready, the teacher would appear.

Kathy Svetina (guest):

It's almost kind of like that in business too, when you're ready, the path just kind of appears. Because even when I look at that in my own business now, where I was a year ago or two years ago is a completely different path that I am right now. And did I know all the things that I know right now? No, I had no idea, but you learn from it. The willingness to be uncomfortable and learn, that is a huge thing in life and in business, especially when you have your own business.

Mark Stinson (host):

So true, Kathy. And I think our listeners are always interested, we love the success stories, had there been any obstacles, so we can root for you and the other women business owners that you work with, but we know that there's going to be hurdles, we know there's going to be potholes, what sort of challenges do you feel like you personally have faced that you needed the support, you needed the circle and the advisors and the teachers to come and help you?

Kathy Svetina (guest):

I think, my biggest one was the mindset. It's always like, are you good enough to do this? And I think, especially for women, it's, you can have all the success that you've had in the past, but you're like, well, but that was in the past. How about right now? Am I able, am I good enough to do this right now? And I think what really helped me was actually get coaches that are able to coach me through it. That was a huge thing for me, because just having that person to listen to you and understand, even though they might not even say anything, but they're really quiet and they listen and they're the supporting body that understands you, that has a huge impact on the way how you think about yourself and how you're processing and say, and going to that place, is that really true? Is that really how I think of myself? Or is it just fear and doubt that is coming out?

Kirstin Gooldy (host):

And I know Kirstin, you work with so many young leaders, but I mean, you counsel and coach people on the total mind, body and spirit. Kathy, I'm curious about your daily practices or your approach to maintaining, securing, keeping that mind, body spirit solid in your day to day practices. What works for you?

Kathy Svetina (guest):

I'd love to tell you that I meditate and journal in the morning, but I don't.

Mark Stinson (host):

I'll cut out the I don't part.

Kathy Svetina (guest):

But what I do do, and I notice that especially during the COVID is I love to walk and it's almost, for me, it's like a walking meditation. We did invest in a treadmill. So usually what I would do, I would go on a treadmill. I would walk for three miles and I would either listen to music or to the podcast. It just tunes my brains out. It really calms me and soothes me, so that I'm able to just kind of keep my mind quiet. And that has been my equivalent of meditation and journaling. And it's been really helpful.

Mark Stinson (host):

That's good. Do you have a favorite podcast or two that you listen to while you're walking?

Kathy Svetina (guest):

I actually love Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller. I'm a huge StoryBrand fan and it's been very helpful for my business and running my company. And it's been absolutely happen.

Mark Stinson (host):

Oh, that's terrific. Before we ask you kind of the wrap up question. Well, first of all, everyone, our guest is Kathy Svetina in Chicago. She's a fractional, CFO, her company is New Castle Finance. Kathy, how do we connect with you and learn more about your company and what you have to offer?

Kathy Svetina (guest):

You can find me on LinkedIn. I hang out on LinkedIn under Kathy Svetina, or you can go visit my website, newcastlefinance.us.

Mark Stinson (host):

We'll definitely go there. So I think we've talked a little bit about where you came from and how you got here, but now let's look over the horizon. What do you feel like is next for you?

Kathy Svetina (guest):

And thank you for asking that question because I've been thinking about it, where do I want my business to go? And I've been doing some strategic planning for myself, not just for my clients and where I would want my business to go is I would like more opportunity to spread the message of how important it is to actually plan for your finances.

Kathy Svetina (guest):

And that's what I've been doing. I only have the capacity for so many clients for one-on-one work, but this is really important for businesses. So what I've been doing now is actually going more into the speaking engagement, more in the podcast. So I can take that message out and people who need it, actually know who to call on and who to go to, to help them with that type of work, they know that there are people out that they can help them. Fractional CFOs, you can find them on LinkedIn, you can Google them, they'll be able to help you with your financial planning for your business.

Mark Stinson (host):

And I guess with our podcast entitled Entelechy, do you feel like that, I guess future arc is your purpose? Do you feel like you're on the path of your purpose?

Kathy Svetina (guest):

Yes. I really want to be the voice of the small business owners that need that help, don't know who to go to and they're able to get that help when they need it. I think that is so important, especially now when things are changing, because who knows what's going to happen in the next one or two years. And it's really important to get that planning in.

Mark Stinson (host):

Well, Kathy, we just enjoyed-

Kirstin Gooldy (host):

Very well said.

Mark Stinson (host):

We've enjoyed this conversation so much. Kirstin, what observations do you have on this kind of, well, first of all, the business idea, but the direction that Kathy's leading us to, to be more competent in our businesses?

Kirstin Gooldy (host):

There's so many things I want to say with that. So I'll try to keep it succinct. One, there's a lot of joy that I'm experiencing just listening to you, because it is really nice to see that there's a framework by which women can begin to elevate, right? And in a platform it's rather than fixing something that's already broken, create newly from scratch, which is one of the ideas that you said, don't try to climb the ladder, go build your own and build it with the design of the future that you have in mind.

Kirstin Gooldy (host):

The other piece that's coming through and I think this is really important for business owners, anyone in the home, you can apply this to anybody, is having a vision and giving yourself time to create a vision based both in creativity and in reality, right? That's that bridge between the spiritual realm and the tactical realm, if you will, this kind of earth plane.

Kirstin Gooldy (host):

Simply many entrepreneurs are great creators and great inventors, but they're not the best implementers. So they have great, fantastic ideas and you can't do it all. So having a fractional CFO as you're growing who hears you, who gets your business model, who wants you to thrive, right, it's not just a consulting, it's I hear you saying you want them to thrive, but also has the capacity for strategy and that dialogue. That's the differentiator, right?

Kirstin Gooldy (host):

Because that's where larger companies go wrong with themselves is when you don't have a strategic CFO, that is a huge missing for many organizations. They just have CFOs who give them numbers, but can't see, don't understand how to apply that to all the other disciplines that it takes to run an organization. So that's kind of, that was a lot, but there was so much in there that I think people should really consider. It's not just having the numbers, it's understanding how numbers impact strategy and creative visioning processes.

Mark Stinson (host):

Well, Kathy, thanks again, for all your insights and Kirstin, as you were describing, some of those takeaways, I'm reminded that you have a forum that we could continue this conversation, your Soul Tea Conversations. Tell us how we can connect with those.

Kirstin Gooldy (host):

Well, we can find it on my website and pureentelechy, www.pureentelechy and the Soul Tea is just bring your tea. It's a peer-to-peer conversation where we do have conversations that are relating to matters, call it matters at the heart, matters of the soul, so you can have a dialogue with like-souled people. We need our communities. We're now in that time where community matters. So it's a free event. It's show up as you can when you want to. And it's Fridays, noon, Eastern. And if you go to my website, you can register and a Zoom link goes to you.

Mark Stinson (host):

All right. Well, great. Well listeners, thanks for coming by this podcast. And thanks to Kathy Svetina for all your experiences, your insights and your stories, and continued best of luck with your business and those that you're helping.

Kathy Svetina (guest):

Thanks so much for having me.

Mark Stinson (host):

And listeners, come back again next time. We'll talk to more leaders that are continuing to pursue their soul's potential and helping others reach their purpose in business and in life. For Kirstin Gooldy, I'm Mark Stinson. This is Entelechy Leadership Stories, and we'll see you next time.

Announcer:

You've been listening to Entelechy Leadership Stories. Subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and many more. On behalf of your hosts, Kirstin, Gooldy and Mark Stinson, thanks for listening to Entelechy Leadership Stories.

Mark Stinson (host):

If you like in Entelechy Leadership Stories, I want to tell you about another podcast I host called Unlocking Your World of Creativity. Each episode features an expert from somewhere around the globe that tells us about how they get inspired, how they organize their ideas and how they gain the confidence and connections to get their work out into the world.

Mark Stinson (host):

From singer songwriters, to entrepreneurs on topics like data analytics to hotel management. We talk to experts from Milan and Oslo, Buenos Aires and Los Angeles all over the globe to bring you the best ideas and inspiring your creative thinking. You can find Unlocking Your World of Creativity wherever you listen to podcasts.