People Process Interviews: Thomas Veeman

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the People Processes podcast. I’m your host, Rhamy Alejeal, and I am really excited today to bring you Thomas Veeman.

The co-founder of Conversari Global. They upgrade people for the future of work. Thomas has worked in the United States, Germany, Switzerland, India, and Thailand. He’s lived in Mexico City since 2012. He draws on his international background to teach executive courses on emotional and cultural intelligence. Thomas is especially passionate about using experiential and narrative methods to help teams bridge cultural and communication divides. I’m excited to have you on here, Thomas.

The pleasure is mine as well, Rhamy.

Well, Thomas, the first question I ask all of our guests, you know, not everybody dresses up as a kid for as an HR person or a business owner. It’s not the most common life choices that get us here. How did you wind up where you are now? How did you get into this crazy world?

Well, that’s a great question and it’s a long story. As a kid, I certainly never thought I would do anything related to business. Actually, I grew up moving back and forth between Switzerland and the United States. My mom’s Swiss and my father’s an American. And I think it’s kind of like that was the era before you had cell phones. But if we imagine it in today’s world, it’s kind of like every year I had to switch the SIM card in my brain to work with a different set of values, a different set of rules for how to behave. That was just normal to me. I learned later on and even growing up that’s not necessarily normal for everyone else. If I fast forward, I thought i was going to be a pilot because pilots, they travel a lot and that would allow me to do that.

Yeah. I didn’t become a pilot. If I fast forward, several years, later on after college where I studied in the U S. I Had been going to Switzerland and I studied in Thailand as well. My first real job in which I got to see a way to apply more of myself than just a job working the forests of Oregon. And later as in wilderness therapy in Arizona. And through that work when I really got to see was the beauty of it. Of people learning not only something that they can do to make themselves more effective, because the whole job and being effective as a job wasn’t very compelling to me as something to do with your life growing up. But when I saw him here, these were practical lessons that you learned. You’ve figured out, if we use this kind of plant in this way. If you use your effort to make this tool, then you get these skills that make your life happier and getting to be part of that and seeing that within people kind of switch to chip for me and said, “you know what, that’s something I need to find a way to do with my life.”

Wow. What an interesting background. Just to start with, but then to have those experiences after college. And so you said, all right, this kind of work moves me. It’s something I could see myself doing. There is great value in it. How did you go from that to co-founding an incredibly successful company?

Yeah, the road was interesting. From working in wilderness therapy, I realized, if I’m going to take this step forward in my career, what could I do if I had a family or to be able to buy a house and afford a life. I gotta pay those bills, right? Meet the practical requirements of life. Well, the next step was either go into the therapeutic side. So to be a therapist, a masters in psychology now at the time, life is complicated. 

So I was dating a woman in Monterrey, Mexico. And through that long distance relationship we had to figure out well to keep this relationship a chance, where do I go? She worked for the United Nations here in Mexico City, so she couldn’t move. I had to come here. So I thought, well, what am I going to do that’s relevant? Professionally, if I come to Mexico City. And I found this great program, Masters in Counseling Psychology that I could do here, that brought me here. Now studying in English U S school out of California and doing work with local populations here. Basically the ghetto of Mexico City with youth. Like I was working before now to make money on the side.

I was teaching English in organizations. And from that I started to not care very much about the English part, but I started to see, look, there are really creative people who have a lot to give, but who are in teams or in organizational cultures that are holding them back from bringing the best of themselves to work and through first, as an English teacher. I thought, well, why don’t I use some of the skills? Some of the tools that we used in either wilderness therapy or in the psychology training to help bring some of these creative energies out so people can really be alive with what they do. And it worked beautifully. It worked beautifully. People bloomed. They enjoyed coming to their classes. I enjoyed coming to their classes. And often we didn’t look at a single element of grammar. 

Right. The result was the ability to communicate. It doesn’t matter. It’s not about the language. It’s about the ability to actually get out there and get the ideas across. Right.

Yeah. That’s a big part of it. Getting the ideas across. And that requires also having the courage to share what you really think. To be aware of what you really think by going through a process of understanding yourself both emotionally in terms of what you really want from life, what your priorities are and what you have to give. And then finding a way also to make that work in a team and to bring value to an organization.So yeah.

And from that, you decided to launch this global organization now.

Yeah, exactly. So I knew Kevin Kennedy Anderson from my studies and he had already gone into consulting and frankly, at that time I didn’t even know what consulting was. Alright. So I thought it was going to be a therapist, a psychologist, but then working in the organization, I thought, well, how can we do this in a way that we actually get to create the programs that have a bigger impact. Sat down with Kenneth, brought him into the organization to do a special kind of course company. Loved it. They bought it for consulting prices. And from that moment, Conversari was born.

Very nice. Yes. Those kinds of consultant prices are always a good place to start a business.

Sure. I mean, it’s a big difference right here. And if you’re in the box of an English language teacher, you’re always limited. No matter how much value you add to people’s lives, that’s not going to be reflected.

In transferring from that hours for pay to value for pay. That’s the shift. Well, that’s awesome. So now you’ve got a successful organization. You guys are really bridging those cultural communication divides, helping companies and organizations out. And I know that you have had that experience of growing your organization. You’ve had to have had some amazing highs and some amazing lows. Now I think our listeners, maybe it’s because a little shot in Freud, but mainly I think they learn the most, not from the successes, the great ideas, but from failures.

So I always ask my guests to take us to the day. Tell us the story in that narrative form. You’re so good at, about your greatest entrepreneurial failure mistake. Very, very, very bad day. What came of it?

That’s a great question. I think there’s a few places it could go with this, but the hardest part is,

Picking one, right? You’ve been in business long enough.

There is one that sticks in my mind right now. We were lucky enough to work with a multinational company here in Mexico and they liked our training so much that they said, “alright, we have our partners in Krakow and in India that would like your services, are you able to travel and deliver there?” We said, “of course, right. First class ticket each way, please.” Right.

Then here’s the funny thing, we went to India, we delivered a course and it was actually relatively straightforward in terms of the cultural element. Then we got to Krakow and kind of in a way the train came off the hinges. What happened was we have our courses, we always like to do them in a way that prioritizes experience, right? Because it’s great to have theory and to have constantly and all of that. But at least for me and for the other, the other, now 16 of us. 

One thing that binds us together is that we like to see things in action. So we put that first in our training and we came to our training in Krakow, now crack coasts, kind of the European training hub for a tech company that we were working with. And you’re going to have to help me because I’m not asking for me, where’s Krakow Caicos in Poland. Okay, well it’s behind what was the iron curtain of course, as much deeper, longer history, they’re just fat. But it’s kind of the new growth area of Europe where some of the infrastructure costs are lower. But also not as much experience internationally yet. 

So we come to Poland and there’s participants being brought in from all over Europe and not only Europe, but also Africa and the middle East. So you ‘re training a group of people that’s widely diverse. We start our training the way we normally do. And that’s when things start to look a little different in terms of the response people. They had that quizzical look on their face rather than nodding the excitement that you look for as a trainer had that quizzical, the crossed arms.

A lot of questions. That doesn’t seem to go away about what we’re doing, why we’re doing it. And then we started getting feedback. All right, we’ll get feedback from our contacts there. You know, people really don’t, they’re not on board with this. They feel like it’s very American in its style and they don’t trust it. And we’re like, “what’s happening? What’s happening here?” Right. Lowest reviews we’ve ever received. And I remember walking back that night in it’s cold in Poland, in the winter and just feeling like, man, I don’t know how I’m going to get up and what am I going to do the next morning to make this feel different.

Right. And of course, these are big risks for your company too, right? I mean, not just this one training, going back. This isn’t. These are very costly to put on. I’m sure there are significant risks to the company and career.

Sure. I mean not only to the self-esteem that was happening with regard to the organization. This was our first as Conversari Global. This is our first reach into actually delivering globally and we’re being faced with this big challenge. If I don’t turn around, we will lose that continued contact and that feedback will come back to our biggest client. Right.

So of course the opportunity for more work in that area.

Yeah, exactly. So we met with the leadership, with our contacts there. We went out to dinner actually, where they tried to explain what was going on. We started reading and looking more at the cultural elements of this and part of that we were already doing, but we were missing a key element. Right. Well, it turns out as we’re looking at these things, it turns out that the main element we were missing was the difference in pedagogical styles from one culture to another. And in this sense it was shared by most of Europe and an approach that puts theory before applications.

So what was happening is, we were explaining things with examples, with demonstration, with popping people into role-plays before we explain all of the process and then working backwards to develop the process. Well that tended to work pretty well in the U S and here in Mexico. But doing that in Europe, people don’t feel open to trusting an application until they understand the process behind it.


And even more than that, like the people, I remember people, some of them were like shaking to do this and getting angry at us because we were putting them in a position where they had to make a mistake by not being able to do something well yet.

Because we didn’t tell them what the goal, what the theory was, what the outcome should be.

Exactly. They didn’t know the criteria. So they hated us because we were putting that emotional space that was really uncomfortable.

Wow. That reminds me, gosh, so what’d you do?

Well, one part of it was really just like when you understand what’s going on, that’s half the battle, right? Pending that we just backed up. So the next day we made the adjustment of changing some of the order, putting more of the explanation of why we’re doing things and giving more space for that upfront. And then we did find that they could debate a little bit back and forth once they got the concept. There was almost you could see this palpable nod with people and that was the cue that okay, now we’re ready to put it into practice. And then it worked a lot better.

That is so interesting. At my company, Poplar Financial, we do systems design. So companies come to us because they have a great training like yours or anything that they want to systematize to make sure it goes out to everybody to keep track of, to issue certificates for all that kind of stuff and we just picked up. 

We’re licensed and we practice in the United States and we very much work in the HR function for consultation. But we had one client that came to us earlier this year. I think they started January 1. They only have about 20 employees in the U S but they have 300 contractors internationally. Some of Ukraine and some of the Philippines. And they wanted us to systematize their training, their on-boarding tools, their performance management, that kind of stuff that they already have figured out, but they wanted us to systematize it.

Right. And I’m sitting here staggering, thinking. I’m just like, because something as simple as the order in which information is presented could vary by culture. Like that had never occurred to me. Very interesting. So given your experience, our listeners, they run the gamut from an HR person and a 5,000 man company to mom and pop shop with three employees or their CPAs who have no employees but just working a bunch of organizations. 

What do you think they could take from your story of this that’d be a really rough time that you turned around and what they apply in their own businesses?

Well, that’s a great question and that’s what we always try and do too, right? Getting slapped upside the head with an experience like that. What can we do to learn from it and not make the same mistakes and open up new opportunities in the future. I think a key one is recognize whether it’s a small organization or a big one. You have to think globally in today’s business and so much of both geography and time borders are breaking down. Like we’re having this conversation across an international border. It becomes so easy to do that, that the flow of work is going to require more and more of that to happen. Whether it’s a supplier, whether it’s a business partner, globality is a norm that you have to take into consideration. So that’s the first part.

So then the second part, once you understand, okay, we have to be able to deal across the borders and also understanding the differences. It’s like, the culture is an iceberg, right? There’s the part of the surface, the part that you can see where people speak different languages. They might look different, they might wear different clothes and have music and food and all of that stuff, right? That’s the visible part of culture, but it’s the underneath part. That’s where the ships often wreck in business, right? It’s the values. The assumed, the expectations of how things work there. And even often in cultures that are seemingly similar inferences are exactly where you end up with conflicts.

Oh yeah. Not too many years ago, we were just in the Southern United States, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas. These good old Southern States with barbecue. And in the last few years we’ve expanded nationally, picked up a lot of New Yorkers, a lot of Washington tech people in California and business owners that are coming up with the next big idea. And we’ve had to do internal training and conversations about when you’re talking to someone in Nashville, Tennessee, if you don’t ask how their kids are doing and what’s up with their dog and how’s business, how’s life, how’s the weather? You’re downright rude. But in New York, if you ask that, they’re like, who the hell are you and why are you asking about my children?

Yeah. And why don’t you get cut to the chase and we’ve got work to do here. Exactly. Well, we noticed that one. That’s one of the things that you notice very quickly in Mexico, right? Mexico is very much like the Southern U S in that respect that you prioritize relationships before task in a sense. And until people trust or if they get a sense as a person, they don’t trust to open up into doing work and to rolling up their sleeves and getting into the fray with you generally. All right, so it’s a different order of business.

Interesting. So this is another ordering idea, right? So is it relationship and then task or test and relationship, or in your story, is it theory or practice first?

Right. And to be honest, I’m taking these from Erin Meyer’s, “The Culture Map,” got to get a reference my sources here, but that she offers a very useful framework for understanding culture and I’m writing a paper right now for HBR, for Harvard Business Review in Poland. Exactly applying some of those methods and some best practices for how to best do business across those particular borders.

You told me it was “The Culture Map.” Who’s the author on that again?

That’s Erin Meyer.

Erin Meyer. If anybody wants to look that book up. The one of our rapid fire questions that came up later is a book along with going alongside People Processes, my book up on your bookshelf. If you could recommend one, what would it be? I’m going to go ahead and put “The Culture Map” there.

Fantastic. There’s a few that we could get back to your earlier question too, the two really tied together. What is it that you can do to be more effective working across cultures? Well, one is, you’re going to make mistakes so it’s more of understanding the frameworks, understanding a little bit of how your own values come into play in the workplace is critical. 

But then the second part is, recognizing that there is an anthropology phase to all of these kinds of international, or not even international, but all collaborations, all work with other people. You have to take some time to understand and to listen to the cultural values, of let’s say, if you’re coming into a new organization like we do the work and the offer services, you have to understand what are the values of that place. And one part of that is the national cultures, but in other part is the organizational cultures. You know, Google is very different than working for a construction company out of Texas.

So in your studies, I guess these are some of the book references, but especially for our smaller companies, I’m thinking about some of my smaller clients right now. Where often are these cultural shocks for when someone starts with them, or even when they work with a new client in a new way. What would you say maybe is a concrete step they could take, to reorientate or this is what I feel like some of my clients would say, look, I can’t be everything to all people. I’m just going to do business with guys who are like me and anybody else can go find somebody else. What would you say to someone like that?

Well, I think the word was shrink drinking for people to be able to narrowly choose their business contacts like that. I think it’s another important point. And you say you can’t be everything to everyone. You can’t completely change the way that you’re wired and your value system that doesn’t work right. But what you can do is become more aware of it and talk about it. So I think that opens up another important point of all the work we do or I think of all the work that’s critical in today’s economy is, this idea of understanding through dialogue. We do it in terms of building feedback or a coaching culture. But I think in any sense, if you’re going into starting a business relationship, one of the ways that you can avoid some of those problems that can come by not talking about it is to say, “Hey, look, we’re starting this out.” 

These are some of the assumptions we have. These are the ways we like to work and do business. Is it similar with you guys and explain things and even if you don’t get it right, you’re opening a conversation. That difference could be here and it could play a role, but we’d rather talk about it then just deal with it, you know, making assumptions in the background.

I think that’s a really interesting point. I’m imagining one thing in our company, this is just maybe our clients or our listeners can relate to this, but our number one pet peeve, the thing that infuriates my employees more than anything is being treated like a vendor. And I know that’s a really silly thing because we are a vendor, but we’re partners with our clients. Like if a client comes to us and says, we have a problem, maybe it’s something we did, maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s just that they have a problem. Every single person in my organization will stay late, come in early, put their own money, whatever’s needed. We’re going to help. Like all you need to do is to get my company motivated. Anybody who works for me, it’s just like, Hey, help me and we’ll be there.

But that alternative feeling is something like, it’s not a request for help. It’s a demand for service or demand for subservience, like being treated as not a partner, but as a transactional machine that you interact and you put in quarters and outcomes policies, right? I’ve never figured out how to really explain that to clients, but the clients that love us the most and spend the most time with us and get the most out of us are those. And I don’t want to be like, Hey, if you don’t treat us nice, we’re not going to work with you. But I wonder if there’s something that we could do at our company and our listeners can do at their company to better define the type of relationship or the way in which you communicate to make that better.

Yeah. That’s a beautiful and important point you’re bringing up. And we deal with this from a few different directions. One from our own experiences. We are also a vendor that sees ourselves as a strategic partner and even sometimes the word strategic scenes, cold and distant, but they’re really see ourselves as part of the team, as part of the organization. 

We work so hard to understand the language of an organization. We speak the languages, we know how their KPIs work, how their business works. And then from there, we work on the human side. But sometimes not all organizations value or even key people in roles of value, those relationships in the same way. Sometimes they have a value system that says keep vendors at an arm’s length away, keep them unbalanced so that you have negotiation leverage. That’s a different type of psychology to deal with. 

And then there’s another kind which says, coming back to culture. Not everyone builds trust at the same pace or in the same way. So you often have organizations that are also similar in dealing with Europe. The trust happens a little later, right? There’s this image of, coconut cultures versus peach cultures. And the coconut culture is one that has, when you first come on, when you first make contact with people from a coconut culture, they seem hard and unsmiling and distant. But then once you’re in, like you really have a trusting relationship. You can make demands of each other. Peach culture like the U S is, we’re a quick, you sit down in the airplane next to somebody and you’re sharing your story, like within 15 minutes, how many times you’ve been divorced and all of that.

But then there’s this kernel of privacy in the middle. You know, after that conversation happens, you walk away and you never see each other again. And that’s kind of expected in a way. But first, let’s say, Germany from Poland, from many other parts of the world, they feel hurt by that because they expected. Now we’re friends. I think there’s similar types of values. Also work the vendor relationship in the sense that sometimes it takes longer, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that somebody wants to maintain this arms length negotiation position with you. It just takes really close listening and I think listening not just to the words but to the atmosphere and to everything else that goes into understanding the values of a place .

I’ll tell you, I’ve done about 150 of these interviews and I think what you’re saying is startling, I’m super impressed. Our interview, our episodes normally run about 30 minutes guys. I know we’re coming up on the end of that, but we’re going to keep going. I think Thomas here has some amazing insights. If you’re having trouble, go ahead and come back on your ride home. I want to keep on diving in. 

So Thomas, I’m going to ask a few more questions that weren’t on our kind of pre-list just because I’m so absolutely intrigued by what you’re saying. In this idea, this happens a lot in HR and culture talk. There are these overarching concepts like what you’ve brought up of understanding each other’s cultures and taking your actions differently to have a better outcome at our company.

Nothing exists unless it’s a process, because having a different mentality or a different insight is a one off event. So while a suite executive may hear what you’re saying and be able to change their behavior and eventually that filter down through the whole company, for those who are thinking about this in terms of how can we improve our processes, our actual business day to day functions with this insight, do you have any ideas, like what could be the steps on implementing even the most basic bottom hit, low hanging fruit for these insights you’re providing?

Well, I think there’s many things we could talk about. The first that comes to mind is actually a project that we’re excited to begin right now. Where we’re working with one of the big six financial services consulting firms in the world to help them develop a coaching culture. Now what that means is, a coaching culture is as related two parts. It’s the culture part and the coaching part. So like many organizations, they struggle to get deeper bonds of trust internally as a model then of a relationship that they take out into their clients to build deeper relationships. Just like you were talking about with vendors. Now that has to start internally, but it’s really tricky if you’re an organization that’s based on individual performance metrics. And so what you have to do is we’re coming in and we’re looking at some of the process elements.

How is everything related to human resources? How do you measure somebody’s performance? How you measure and make the determination. How well are you doing? Your job matters a great deal because for instance, if you want a culture where people are taking the extra time to listen to each other and to help people across functions, but the only way that your performance is being measured is let’s say, the revenue that your area or your team is bringing in a month. Well, what you’re going to do is, this person’s going to internally or externally. Sometimes we are looking at the clock and finding ways to get out of those conversations where they’re helping other areas.

Well, 100%. Yeah. We talk about one of the major companies we recruit from, we want their best and brightest to belcome ours. Has incredibly skilled technicians. But one of the measurements upon which they are rated is their average callings. Lower is better. So if you can dispatch a call and get a positive rating in a minute and a half, you’re considered good. But if it takes you five minutes to get the same happy response, you’re considered low skilled. And that just the measurement of that performance is informing the entirety of your interactions with your clients on a surface call. Right?

Exactly. And that’s how someone like goes against the flow to say no, we’re going to scrap that metric and instead highlight narrative examples of calls that last several hours because they’re building a deeper level of trust with our customers. So that’s the kind of advice, you know in the work we do, is both training and consulting in the sense. So we start in this project, we start by coming in to do a cultural diagnostic. To understand these are the values of a company. We do some focus group interviews, we do some forms that we send out and we collaborate that data to get a real picture of this is how this company works in terms of a culture. Then from there we say, okay, these are your goals that you want to see.

Okay, what are the real value drivers in that? And from that, we design a way to measure the return on investment of the programs that we do because that makes it a lot easier for an organization to go to their board of directors and defend their programs against other competing calls for budget. Because you can say, well, okay, it cost this much, but through this and this driver that we’re going to measure and see a difference in throughout the course of this program, we’re going to see this return. So then we do our delivery. Well we go in and in this case with the culture coaching culture project, it’s really establishing some new metrics. 

Team focused metrics so that the role of coach can be seen also as a way of apprenticing for a formalized leadership role and then becomes more enticing to people so that if you’re able to get some to be known as a good coach, that some people, somebody wants to go to for advice and help. Well, you’re halfway into a promotion to be a formal manager. And that tends to motivate people a little more to take some extra time.

Sure. I think one thing I’m going to take and kind of crystallize for our small business clients or listeners, you hit it very briefly with your Zappos example. If you’re in a position in your organization where you’re trying to influence culture and you don’t have the time or budget to really do a deep dive and we’ll talk about how maybe you could do that later, but for now narrative examples are one of the keys. 

Thomas, you mentioned in our previous conversations, I would assume the process would be something like find an actual event that occurred inside your company that is an example of how you want it and tell it in its full breadth as a story. Is that basically what narrative training would look like?

Well, absolutely. That’s one way to do it., To mine your own archives of your history and often in the founding moments or in other key moments. In an organization’s history, there are these kinds of parting of the ways that reinforce values. But those are gold. What we do though is also recognize in what medium or how do you come across those stories because having a leader or having somebody tell them is great, but you can’t always be there. So what we’re doing now is we’ve built a studio here in our office and we create videos of those stories. Also, so that you put them on YouTube, you put them on your website, you share them internally and externally, and those become artifacts that really build the strength.

Now that’s getting into my world. We have a video in the animation department and it’s all about turning those ideas and concepts into something that can scale and happen the same way every time. That’s our world systems and process design. It sounds boring, but it’s very much, especially when it comes to imparting culture, about making sure it happens that way every time and therefore you can tweak it and see improvements over time. Have a PR, we call that having a process as opposed to that being lucky that someone asked the right person about that story.

Right, right. The story is so powerful. You can put together bullet points and PowerPoint decks all day. But if you go back and you remember, well, how many of those to stick around in my memory and come up in important moments when I have to make decisions. They don’t. Right? But a story does, it has that kind of hardwired magic to it that sticks in our memory and that comes out, especially when we have to make decisions. So it’s critical to do that. And often how we connect those dots, whether you’re also trying to influence a customer or anyone. Getting the story right and then supporting it with the data so the rational mind can kind of calm down. You know, that’s really the thing.

Thomas, you’ve dropped so much incredible value today. Let me go on to our normal stuff and just kind of figure out what’s got you looking forward. A lot of our business owners are going through changes. They’re excited about stuff they’re rolling out in the next six months or so. What have you got coming up that’s got you excited, getting out of bed and rolling into work every day?

Well, there’s a few things right now. It is the launch of this major culture coaching culture initiative that’s really beautiful to see. We’re going to see as we roll this out to hundreds of managers. A major impact, hopefully at the level, both the personal level for people who are working in this organization. And I think also for the effectiveness of the organization. 

There’s another one thought too. You know bringing back to this example of our failure or our learning experience. Let’s put it that way. Training in Krakow and going back in a couple of weeks now to do, to lead a training in Warsaw with an organization there. And as we’re writing this paper and it’s really an opportunity now to see how well can we put into practice what we’re preaching in our theory, in our recipe or cookbook for people to do out there. So that sounds awesome.

If you’d have said Warsaw in the beginning, I’d have known where it was. Just saying.

Yeah, pull them.

Well, Thomas, let me ask you this. We have listeners, like I said, of all sizes from all walks of life. What should trigger in their mind as a reason to reach out to your organization? What’s something that maybe they’re going through or where they’re at in their entrepreneurial journey that says, why we should check this guy out. And once they know why, how should they contact you?

Oh, that’s a great question. You know, the beauty of who we are at Conversari is we’re a group of, we’re 16 of us from very different backgrounds. We have anthropologists, we have a doctor in business sciences. We have backgrounds all across the gamut. And the idea is, with that kind of diversity and also national diversity, you mentioned we have Ukrainians, we have people from Europe, Mexico, U S.

The diversity that we have. Our forte is really bringing, tailor made solutions to a variety of different problems or challenges that people face at the human factor level. From big organizations usually are the ones who have a budget to invest in those kinds of, like you said, deep dive program development type of things and they keep us going. But we also love to work with startups and acceleration stage organizations.

I’m a Google development mentor also, so we work with people at that stage to say, okay, your business, you’re focused right now on the technology part. But remember there’s always two sides to the business part. I mean to the human factor side and how that adds value to a business. One is how you deal with people internally. Often as people go through rapid growth with VC funding, angel funding, they’re scaling up quickly. 

You as a founder, you are dealing with your team of five and meeting in Starbucks or in your co-working office. Now you have a team of 20, 30, 40, you’re not meeting with the same regularity. Some of those are industry professionals that are different to deal with. You have all set of new challenges, we’d love to, you’re not alone. We’d love to listen to those, see in what way we can help. We just start with a cup of coffee virtually or in person to do that. Then we go from there.

And the other is also understanding whatever business you’re doing. You need a human being to make a decision. To either use or to purchase your product or service. And that decision is going to be motivated, through the complex emotional world of human beings. So the user experience, the customer experience is an integral part of everything. And those are really the two areas that we see trigger points that lead conversation with us.

So customers, should they reach out to you? How should they find you?

Oh, that’s great. So the website is the easiest. So C O N V E R S A R, or on our Facebook Conversari Global. Those are the easiest ways. You can see my own Pocono bio on the website. And my email is in there too, and happy to have a conversation like this or anything else.

Thomas, thank you so much for your time today. I think you provided a ton of value to our listeners. Thank you for coming out.

Appreciate it, Rhamy. It’s always great to look at these issues that we’re all facing and thank you for hosting such a great forum where these ideas can come out and be shared with the world.

Ladies and Gentlemen, that’s it for today. I hope you enjoyed our conversation with Thomas Veeman, co-founder, so many value bombs. We’ll definitely check out the show notes where we’re going to have some links to the books he mentioned his website, his social media. The ideas of culture influencing everything of course is something we all know, but just being able to put the concrete ideas there from his story of his time in Poland theory before practice versus in the United States practice before theory, a staggeringly good information. In the meantime, check us out You can find more about the corporate services we provide at, subscribe there. Get updated when we have new interviews. Just like this one, along with some subscriber only content including things like our on-boarding checklist. Our People Processes getting started guide. We’d love to share that with you. You can also find us at Poplar Financial on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn and Instagram. I’d love to see you all on there. Now it’s time for you to go out there, have a great day, and get your work done.

About the author, Rhamy

Rhamy grew up watching and working with his mother and grandmother in the senior insurance market. This familiarity with the struggles faced by people trying to navigate the incredibly complicated and heavily regulated healthcare market led him to start Poplar Financial while working on his degree at the University of Memphis. After completing his MBA and Bachelors in Finance and Economics, Rhamy guided Poplar Financial through the disruptive opportunity that is the Affordable Care Act. Since then Poplar Financial has received numerous awards from major insurance carriers and has completed its fourth year in a row of doubling in size. Now his team focuses on the processes around human resources and specializes in providing companies with between 20 and 1000 employees with the payroll, benefits, and HR needs.

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