Farrelly-Caizzone & Associates had the honour to interview Sara Sabin a professional, seasoned entrepreneur, career chameleon, and transformation expert.
Sara Sabin is an entrepreneur and a transformational coach. Sara helps companies perform better in the future by optimizing leadership skills. If the leaders and the team have better leadership skills, success in the years to come is assured. All of this together will lead to greater profitability.
Sara works with leaders who want to improve their personal impact but also that of the company. She teaches them to take on a powerful leadership identity and to create a good and strong team culture suitable to face business challenges correctly.
She became an entrepreneur by accident. After a law degree and working as a tax accountant, she decided to follow her desires and step by step she became an entreprenur, even if she calls herself “the Underpreneur“.
Sara is a transfromational coach. She helps entrepreneurs and leaders who feel they have potential within them to bring it out. Even though they’ve had good results so far, she helps them build a mindset for success.
Her activity as an entrepreneur began in 2014 with the foundation of a start up. But she has since evolved into much more. Over the years Sara has helped leaders and organization with excellent planning and execution results. She tries to externalize the change taking place within these leaders.
Her approach also consists in making sure that every member of the team embraces the vision and mission of the company. In this way the work environment will be more peaceful, productive and effective and will guarantee better performance.
Her mission is to make his clients the leaders they were born for, leading a thriving team and leading a successful intelligent business.
Read our interview to discover more about her and her job!
1. Hi Sara, could you please tell us something about yourself and your work?
I am a transformational leadership coach and consultant. I work with leaders of innovative companies wanting to reach the next level of impact and success, by creating more emotionally smart and focused leaders, who are able to embed and maintain a high performance team culture.
2. How did you come up with the idea of helping people to develop a leadership style that works for them?
After years of leading start-ups (I founded two of my own) in a way that I thought I should, I was exhausted and burned out. I knew it was time to find out more about how I could lead in an authentic and purposeful way, rather than trying to emulate old models of leadership. I made it my mission to learn how to get the best out of yourself and others through leadership.
I started really understanding that the old paradigms and perceptions of leadership (top down, authoritarian) were not as effective, in an exponentially changing business environment. We need to be agile, pivot and innovate in line with future trends at light speed, to stay relevant as a business.
The old, hierarchical style of leading with decisions made at the top and lack of diverse thinking, aren’t as relevant any more. We need to lead a high performance company culture, rather than ‘command and control’ style. We need highly competent, purpose driven leaders. And we need to develop the leadership skills of our teams as well.
3. What inspired you to become a transformational coach?
My entrepreneurial journey started in 2014, with my first start-up, that I worked on whilst still in my corporate career. I left the corporate world (the multi family office world) at the end of 2015 and have never looked back. I have founded two start-ups, building them from the ground up, raising funds and managing a team; as well as consulting for various other start-up companies.
I found transformational coaching, for myself, when I was looking for more purpose in my life and in my next business venture, and when I came across it, I never looked back. It opened my eyes to new possibilities for me, and showed me how I could combine purpose with profit.
I realised how changing mindset and beliefs allowed you to achieve your goals on the outside more easily and with greater satisfaction.
I knew that that was how I wanted to work with other growing companies as well. Combining my love of business, with the deep work of coaching.
4. Who are your primary clients? Are there common traits?
My primary clients are the owners and founders of fast growing companies, in industries that are evolving rapidly and innovative, such as tech, IT, and software, or those more forward thinking companies within traditional industries.
The primary traits of the leaders at these companies are that they believe in the importance of personally developing themselves as leaders, they started their business in an area they loved to make an impact and they want to embed and maintain a strong team culture. And they want to grow their business – fast!
The companies I work with are already successful and growing and they need help to reach that next level.
6. What are the characteristics that distinguish a good leader from another not very competent?
The best leaders in the world realise that they are constantly learning, and that learning never stops, no matter how experienced you are. The way that we have always done things may not always be the best way now or in the future. Great leaders have a strong sense of their purpose and WHY behind what they are doing.
The other key ingredient in star performance leadership is emotional intelligence. It enables you to get the best out of yourself and others.
Travis Bradberry, an emotional intelligence expert, studied the emotional intelligence of personalities within the workplace, and discovered that emotional intelligence was the strongest predictor of high performance in all types of jobs.
In a survey carried out by TalentSmart, of which Dr. Bradberry is co-founder, they found that: – 90 percent of the top performers were high in emotional intelligence, with a higher average income per year and an increase by one point of emotional intelligence contributing to as much as an extra $1,300 in annual salary. – 20 percent of low performers were high in emotional intelligence. – Emotional intelligence also accounted for up to 60 percent of the job performance for supervisors through CEOs.
7. How do you choose the leadership style that best suits the person and context you are dealing with? And how do you manage the conflict if the leadership style suitable for the content is not the one suitable for the person or vice versa?
I encourage leaders to be able to fluidly move between different leadership styles. This becomes easier as you become more self-aware. Next, they start to embody the type of leader they want to be, by taking conscious steps towards that.
Although, we may adapt to a situation or context, when we know more firmly who we are and where our strengths lie, we simply bring out different facets of ‘who we are’, rather than acting from a place of insecurity or needing to control everything.
Sometimes, we need to be tough, but in general, we get more out of people, when we can learn to support them where they are at. Incorporating coaching, into who you are as a leader, means that you are also encouraging your team to begin to think and act like leaders as well.
As a team, we can achieve much more, with everyone working together in their ‘zone of genius’ than we can achieve by telling people what to do and how to do it.
8. You deal with so many aspects of the people’s life you work with: how is to manage all of these?
I look at the whole person, as a human being. Whilst the primary objective may be professional related, if there is something that is going on in their life, that should be acknowledged and worked through, in order to allow that person to bring their best self to work, we work through that. In general, the more satisfied we are in life, the better we are at work.
9. How do you choose a project instead of others? What are the factors that influence you?
I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity of working with amazing clients, who I loved working with. I believe that for a coaching relationship to really work, there needs to be that trust and resonance between the coach and coachee (especially so for 1-2-1 to work). That is point 1.
I also pick projects for interest – am I interested in what they are trying to achieve? And lastly, do I believe that I am the best person to help them? And do I feel like I want to take up that position of trusted coach/consultant?
10. On average, how long does the process of transforming your customers last?
I work with leaders and companies, usually, over a period of 6-12 months to get the longest lasting transformations. 6 months is enough to see that transformation in yourself as a leader. But sometimes that support over 12 months is key, so that you also have the independent consulting support that you need for business decisions that aid growth.
11. After having completed the objectives set, how does the relationship with your customer evolve?
After working with me, on a one-to-one basis, the client has become more self-aware and has learned to manage their internal environment better. They are more sure who they are as a leader, and have a toolbox with which to approach the way they lead.
I stay in touch with my clients, and often they will make referrals, or there may be group or team work within an organisation that they need help or support on.
Farrelly-Caizzone & Associates had the opportunity to interview Greg Kihlstrom, a customer and employee experience and digital transformation expert, best selling author, and speaker.
Greg Kihlstrom is a customer and employee experience and digital tranformation expert. His mission is:
to find better ways to connect people to the things they value most through product, partnership, and experience strategy.
Greg during the years has become a very influential person in his sector. He won a lot of awards and he also has created a few success start up.
Greg is also a best-selling author. He wrote seven books about employee experience, customer experience, and the evolution of branding and marketing.
The last book “The Agile Workforce” (2021) focuses on the future of work and on how humans and AI-driven machines will work together to create our future. This book belongs to the Agile series of books.
He is an entrepreneur and a very famous speaker. He has worked with some of the world’s leading organizations on customer experience, employee experience, and digital transformation initiatives including Coca-Cola, FedEx, Marriot,MTV, Starbucks.
1. Hi Greg, could you please tell us something about yourself and your work?
I am an entrepreneur, author, speaker, and have worked extensively in customer experience, employee experience, and digital transformation my entire career.
My mission in whatever I do is to find ways to connect individuals with ways to improve their experience and their ability to grow and thrive, while also improving outcomes for the companies and brands that support that experience. When both sides of this equation have improvements, it creates a sustainable win-win situation.
My podcast, The Agile World, features thought leaders from top brands and companies that talk about how they have successfully adapted to changing business conditions and found a way to thrive.
2. How did you start your career as an expert in digital transformation, author and speaker?
Early on in my career, I saw the potential for technology to play a transformative role in business and in how consumers interact with brands. I started a digital experience agency in 2003 and that really accelerated my ability to transform businesses and their customer relationships.
As part of growing my agency, Carousel30, I increasingly understood that the key to reaching new audiences and potential customers was to start writing and speaking about the ideas that we developed.
This helped reach new companies and individuals, helped my agency grow, and contributed to the ongoing dialogue about digital transformation and the growing need to focus on customer experience.
3. Your new book “ The Agile Workforce” is about the future of work, and how humans and AI-driven machines will work together to create our future: what is the principal focus of this book?
The principle idea behind the book is that work is becoming more individualized, and because of this, the organization of the future needs to understand and embrace a world where a hybrid workforce of full-time and independent workers need to collaborate to achieve their goals.
Also, with an increasingly independent workforce, companies need to understand how to get the most value out of those individuals, while providing an environment where they will stay loyal and contribute.
The theme of this book is consistent with my previous books The Agile Brand and The Agile Consumer, where the power dynamic between individuals and corporations is shifting in favor of the former. Companies that embrace this will succeed with both a happy workforce and happy customers.
4. I saw that during your career you had a lot of experiences in different sectors, from marketing to advertising, to customer service and HR management. What is your favourite sector between these?
For me, it’s less about having a favorite sector, then to continually push myself to have a greater understanding of how different sectors and disciplines related to one another. I thrive when I am tasked with identifying and optimizing connections between people, processes, and technologies.
Having a good understanding of all these intersecting areas has helped me work with companies to find the best solutions to their strategic needs.
6. How can a company guarantee a good customer experience?
While nothing is absolutely guaranteed, the best way to ensure a good customer experience is to build a customer-centric culture within the organization. When that happens, the decisions that are made, the products and services provided, and the interactions that a brand has with its customers will create a better customer experience.
I have worked in a variety of industries from financial services, technology, and healthcare, to nonprofits and the public sector. The organizations I work with are looking for transformation in the digital, customer experience or employee experience spaces.
8. Could you explain us the main causes that create a good employee experience? And in this period in which we are forced to work from home, how can the company provide a positive employee experience?
While there can be many factors that create either a good or bad employee experience, there are a few things that are universally true. First, employees want to both feel valued, and feel that their work makes a valuable contribution to the company. Second, employees want to understand and be aligned with the values of the organization they work for. Finally, employees want to feel heard and rewarded for their efforts.
Similar to how great customer experience requires building a customer-centric culture, creating great employee experiences means that an organization must embrace that their employees are the most important component of their long-term success.
9. Based on your experience, what are the key elements of business success?
I look at business success in terms of three big areas, though there are countless other details that create sustainable growth.
First, you need to be passionate about what you are doing. No amount of the other two items make up for the time, energy and sheer sweat that it will take to be successful in any business endeavor.
Second, you need to find a true product-market fit. It is too easy to simply have a good idea, and even getting all of your friends and colleagues to agree with your approach can be misleading. It is one thing to get approval of people who want to support you, and it is quite another to match a true customer need with a product or service. Make sure you’ve done your homework.
Finally, you need to find a team that can help you pull off your ideas and visions. No one person can do everything. Even if you have a diverse set of skill sets, you don’t have an infinite amount of time, focus, and energy. Finding the right people, partners, and technology to help you find success.
10. During the last years you became more and more popular and a point of reference in your sector. How has your life changed?
I’ve always strived to help as many people as possible solve their challenges or try to look at things from a different perspective. I welcome the opportunity to have a bigger platform to do this, and have embraced the opportunity to grow as an author, podcast host, speaker, and entrepreneur.
11. We are living in a time of uncertainty and disruptive changes. How is it affecting the business environment? What are the main resistances that companies are facing?
Whenever there is uncertainty in the business environment, many companies tend to pull back on some of the things that stand to benefit them in the long run. These types of things range from sales and marketing investments, to programs that increase customer satisfaction and improve the customer experience.
This is tragic for companies that have made strides towards greater customer centricity for two reasons. One, it directly affects customers who are already living through uncertain times and have increased stresses. Secondly, it teaches employees within an organization that customer-centricity is only a “nice to have” and that when times get tough, only the short-term bottom line matters. This sets a dangerous precedent for when times return to more stability.
Successful organizations embrace a customer-centric culture regardless of the external factors. While some things may scale back due to practical reasons, they never lose sight of supporting the customer needs, or the employees who support them as well.
Farrelly-Caizzone & Associates had the opportunity to interview Federico Dubini, entrepreneur and co-founder of Yobs Technologies, on artificial intelligence applied to human resources.
The capability of each company to select, and build top talent will be the differentiating factor for companies to retain their employees and don’t drain with turnover.
Federico Dubini is a 25-year-old entrepreneur who has already created and sold a startup in Milan and one in Hong Kong. He is now the co-founder of Yobs Technologies, an HR Tech start-up in Los Angeles.
Yobs Technologies aims to help companies manage the potential, personality and well-being of their employees through behavioral science and technology.
In November 2020 Yobs Technologies was a finalist in the Startup Competition of the Web Marketing Festival and it has won several awards.
As every year, Forbes Italia has selected 100 under 30 – divided into 20 categories – chosen because, with their ideas, start-ups and skills, they are revolutionizing the way we work, care, invest, eat and buy. Federico Dubini is among the under 30 2021 of Forbes Italy in the category Enterprise Technology.
Federico Dubini, together with Raphael Danilo, recognized the shortcomings of current systems to provide skills improvement for the workforce and they created Yobs as a solution.
Read now our interview with Federico Dubini to discover more!
Hi, Federico. You are a 25-year-old entrepreneur who has already founded and sold a startup in Milan and one in Hong Kong. And now you’re involved in a new project as co-founder at Yobs Technologies: what were the steps that led you to achieve these great results as an entrepreneur in such a short time?
Good morning, I think that passion and ambition were key ingredients to build what we have built. Each business I have built started as a passion of mine. Music, Design, Tech.
Now investments. It was also important to understand who the experts were, attract them and be open and humble to learn from them.
2. How did you come up with the idea of founding Yobs Technologies?
Communication was changing, people, employees, and companies were meeting more and more on zoom and similar video platforms and less and less in person.
We were particularly excited by the fact that if you meet in person you don’t create data, if you meet on zoom, you do and this data is particularly rich information. This new source of data was ideal for us to support companies to face the challenges of the future of work.
A world always more remote where there are huge gaps between managers and teams, a world where positions are more and more dynamic, where 1B people need to be reskilled, and where thanks to the recent movement of Diversity and Inclusion each process inside the company needs to be explained and justifiable.
3. How do you develop a successful relationship with possible investors?
Showing competence, ability to learn, and ability to attract top talent. Constant updates, and capacity to share also informal moments with them.
You are what you do in the darkness and not under the spotlight so it’s key to show them ( as to all the other people you partner with) who you really are.
Yobs Technologies chose to bet on a unique sector for technology startups, human resources: where does this choice come from? Human resources are the first asset of each company. Yet the most outdated one. There was and there is a huge potential to build a hybrid model where technology and human knowledge can drive innovation.
How do talent management processes change in big companies using artificial intelligence? AI + Human expert is key to give companies a tool that makes workforce management processes explainable and scalable at the same time.
Companies like Google and Facebook used to invest Billions of Dollars to build offices or better campuses to attract, and ever more importantly retain top talent. Everything from work to pre-school for employees’ kids to sports used to take place on campus.
Today this is not relevant anymore. The capability of each company to select, and build top talent will be the differentiating factor for companies to retain their employees and don’t drain with turnover.
Also, positions are more dynamic than in the past, each 2 years new skill sets are required, the ability to re-skill people and train them will be key to success.
4. What makes Yobs Technology attractive to the eyes of the investors?
The scalability of being an API, the Human in the loop model, the ability to 10x the ACV in one year and to find 14 prospects with the same cac of 1. Team of experts in each vertical + world-class advisors.
6. How much is the American economic system investing in artificial intelligence? What is the current situation in Italy instead?
There is not such a thing as “investing in AI”. It doesn’t work like that. It is not like asking how much is country x investing in for example education. It is about having a fertile land, an ecosystem to develop technology, new companies, attract capital, and scale.
Italy is the 7th biggest economy in the world, but in terms of tech and the ability to create a fertile ecosystem is behind LATAM and Africa.