Leverage Your Corporate Alumni Network Today

by Alumni Content in Alumni Leaders Podcast   |    Last Edited: 16th December 2020

Podcast Name:          Career Warrior Podcast

Episode:                       Season 1, Ep. 161 – Leverage Your Corporate Alumni Network Today

Air Date:                       27th July 2020

Host:                             Chris Villanueva, Founder of Let’s Eat, Grandma

Guest:                           James Sinclair, Chief Executive of EnterpriseAlumni

In this episode of the Career Warrior Podcast, Chris and James hash out ideas around the power of a corporate alumni network. Coworkers aren’t just the people you work with. They are part of a larger network of people who can elevate your career in the longterm.

Host and guest dig into what the word networking means and how it plays into a fulfilling career, contributing to your net worth.

You’ll Learn:

  • Every connection you make is important for your career. Your network (net worth) opens doors for you later on in life.
  • Today’s employment model is based on a connection for life, rather than an employee for life.
  • Why tools like Alumni Platforms and LinkedIn are so valuable – essentially, you are one step and one good email away from connecting with anyone in the world.
  • From day one, it is all about consumption – consumption of data, consumption of knowledge, consumption of people, consumption of everything.
  • Make time to go above and beyond; it leaves a lasting impression that can benefit you later.
  • When employers recruit you, they make an investment. That is why it makes sense for them to continue the relationship when you walk about their door. Leaving is not the end, rather a chance to expand your network.

Original Link:               https://shows.acast.com/job-seekers-podcast/episodes/james-sinclair

Announcer (00:04): Welcome to the Let's Eat, Grandma Career Warrior Podcast.

Chris Villanueva (00:13): And welcome to the Let's Eat, Grandma Career Warrior Podcast, where our goal is not only to help you

land your dream job, but to help you live your best life. Today, we're going to talk about the power of

leveraging our corporate alumni network. Oftentimes we think about our coworkers as just the people

we work with, but how often do we see them as people who can elevate our careers in the longterm?

So today I brought in James Sinclair, CEO and co-founder of Enterprise Alumni. As the market

leading alumni and retiree engagement platform, Enterprise Alumni powers the corporate alumni

networks of the world's largest companies, leveraging this untapped pool of people for talent sales,

marketing, and community. James has a background in large enterprise innovation having worked for

companies including IBM, SAP and EDS. Outside of his day job. He's a media contributor on the future of

work, large enterprise innovation and entrepreneurship.

So as you can see, James is the ultimate spokesperson for this topic and this episode is going to

really help you rethink what the word networking means so you can have an even more fulfilling career.

Let's launch right into it with our 161st episode of the Career Warrior Podcast. All right, James, how are

you doing today?

James Sinclair (01:29): I'm doing amazing. 161. That's incredible.

Chris Villanueva (01:31): Thank you so much. And that is a very good number to be part of. So glad you can be here today. And I

know when we last talked to you, we had a really good, stimulating conversation about networking. You

said something along the lines of maintaining your networking as your net worth, and I just love that. I

think that's incredible. So what a great way to kick off this topic. Can you please expand on that

statement of maintaining your networking as your net worth?

James Sinclair (01:54): I think when we think your network is your net worth, and a lot of people have said it, there's books

about it, the reality is everything does come around. If you think about all the major life events that

happen, a lot of them happen because of an introduction, a referral, someone giving you some

knowledge, someone telling you something, and people early in their career, they don't think about

their network as their net worth because perhaps everyone's early in their career and therefore, what

can you do for me? And there's a little bit of the selfish intentions.

But as you're starting in your early career progression it's really important to realize that the

people to your left and to your right in three, five, 10, 12 years are going to be leaders of massive

organizations and they all started in the same onboarding as you, in the same company as you. And I

think it's important to think about that Day One. And that's what I really mean by your network is your

net worth. It is the amount of doors you can have open for you through your network. It is just a fact,

and I don't think anyone would really dispute it.

Chris Villanueva (02:54): Yeah, I think that's incredible. And I think we will definitely open up some minds here, because lots of

times we go through our days like zombies, we just go in, we do our routine, we talk with the people we

normally talk with. We're not often thinking about each one of these people as networking

opportunities. And so I think that's the beauty of what we're going to be talking about today. First of all,

I know the word alumni can confuse some people. So there's alumni, people you've graduated with from

university and there's corporate alumni, but what is the difference here? And what are we going to be

talking about today?

James Sinclair (03:28): It's almost the same word, which is an alumni is someone who's graduated from an event or something.

Corporate alumni really relates to the organizations you worked for. And if you think about it as an

employer for a second, they spend a lot of time and money looking for great candidates or potential

candidates they can turn into great candidates. They spend even more money training you, developing

you. And when you leave most organizations, maybe a balloon, some cupcakes, a high five, but what

you're starting to see is organizations say, "Well, we invested some significant money and time into you

and your career. You're leaving. We want to stay in touch, because as you go out in the world and get

new contacts, experience, whatever that might be, it might be an opportunity for you to return here."

Chris Villanueva (04:13): Exactly. And it's so funny that you mention that because looking back in 50, 60, whatever years ago,

people spent so much more time in working with your companies. But now the turnover, it feels like

three years, four years that people will stay. That could even be long for some people. So, absolutely.

James Sinclair (04:30): Three years is exactly what it is. People are not working according to the model of high-performing

teams. You come in, you do a project and then you reevaluate where you want to be. So I think that's

the mentality. I think a phrase that I heard recently that I loved was, "My dad had one job for life. I'm

going to have four jobs in my life. My kid has four jobs right now." And I think aside from the humor of

it, I think that's really telling because I think it's really accurate. There's a lot of people out there, a lot of

people will have side hustles, side jobs, bits and pieces.

I've got an amazing example about a guy who works at GE day-to-day in manufacturing on the

supply chain and at night he's part of the maker community. And I didn't actually know what this was. So

just to explain it, it's this device, it's a couple of hundred dollars, that essentially prints on demand. Does

plastic print on demand, it's called the maker community. And at night he leads a group of about a

hundred thousand makers on building this amazing stuff from your desk at home. And what he started

doing in February was putting together these plans with his hundred thousand person community for

PPE. Essentially we can make masks, we can make all these things from my house and ship them to our

local hospitals.

So when GE got into the conversation of, "What can we be doing?" This guy stood up and said,

"We don't have to repurpose, re-X. We can use the maker community. We can use print on demand."

And so you saw a guy whose side hustle passion suddenly became a driver of actually his work and his

job. And all of a sudden what he was doing day-to-day completely changed. And suddenly his side hustle

became his main hustle.

Chris Villanueva (06:03): I love that. I love stories like that because that happened almost for me with Let's Eat, Grandma. It's this

thing that I was doing on the side, in addition to my job, became my actual dream job. So I think people

should also expand their minds in that way. And so James, when it comes to the Alumni Network, I want

to get people motivated because you're going to be giving some people some amazing things and

strategies for networking, essentially. So why do you think the Alumni Network is so powerful? And do

you have any stories, even success stories?

James Sinclair (06:32): I think it's powerful for a number of reasons. Number one is, you share a common bond. Now, it might

not be the same depth of bond that you have with university alumni. As in, we both went to IU, we have

a deep sense of purpose around IU and the logo and the football team. It's not quite the same in

organizations, but there is a similarity. There is an excuse to get in contact. You have one more thing in

common with that human that you want to reach out to.

And I think people always forget that what LinkedIn and all these tools have given you is you are

one step away and one good email away from connecting with anyone in the world, period. And so

anything you can do to leverage anything somewhere in the pipeline you should. And so when we think

about alumni networks and what our companies are doing, they're basically saying to the alumni

community, "Hey, how can we help you? How can we serve you?"

And you have five generations of alumni. You have everyone from an intern to a retiree and

everyone wants something different. But if we take the early career people, what do they want? They

want mentors. They want learning. They want side hustle, they want project work. They want discounts.

It's very clear. They want career development. And one of the things a lot of our customers are telling us

that's really interesting is they're starting to help early career people understand what it means to have

core skills. And a really good example of core skill is actually a big restaurant chain, probably one of the

biggest in the country, and they call themselves America's first employer. And a majority of people that

come out of high school and work at this restaurant it's their first job. No one's that thrilled to be

working here. It's your first job. You have to serve people and you've got to put on the whole outfit and

whatever that may be. However, the majority of people leave because they do something called no-call

no-show. They wake up late.

Chris Villanueva (08:12): I'm all too familiar with that, as a past restaurant manager, I know exactly.

James Sinclair (08:16): Yes, the pain and the reality. And so let's think about the reasons no call, no show. The number one

reason, he said, this guys said, is because they overslept or they forgot, or they were doing something

stupid. The second reason is they get a better job. And the third is, they just can't be bothered anymore.

It's just not enough money. They still live at home. They're not dependent on the income. So there's

almost a little bit of an F-it. And he said, when they leave and they no call, no show, he actually feels a

huge sense of failure for two reasons. Number one is now that person and that person's family can't

come in the restaurant, because they can't come back, because the kid's going to be like, "Oh, we can't

go there to celebrate grandma's birthday because the manager got no-showed on."

So he's like, "Number one is I lose 40 customers. The minute a no-call no-show happens I lose 40

customers, which I can't afford to do in my community. The second is, it means I didn't teach that

person a core life skill, which is that the ostrich head in the sand strategy is not a sound strategy." But no

one is teaching these kids, hey, it's okay. If you were to ring your manager and be like, "I overslept, I

apologize. What can I do to make this right?" The manager may still have a little bit of a tantrum, but

ultimately the manager will say, "Okay, here's what I want you to do. Pick up a shift here, do a double

there, can you help me here?"

And so I thought that was a really interesting perspective from a leader or CHRO in a restaurant

company saying, it's his responsibility to teach people that head in the sand is not a strategy, because

who else is teaching them? And I thought that was a really interesting piece about this kind of alumni

network, is around this is not about competencies. These are life skills.

Chris Villanueva (09:49): I want to touch upon these life skills that we should be learning to develop us in our careers later on. I

think that's such an important strategy, but let's move into the heart of the podcast here, which are

these things we should be doing within our networking and within our strategy. Really, let's just say, I

entered my first day at work. I'm in a new company. What should I be thinking about doing from a

networking standpoint when I'm at my new job?

James Sinclair (10:14): So number one is, at the beginning of your career, it's all about consumption. Consumption of data,

consumption of knowledge, consumption of people, consumption of everything. I mean, one of the

customers we're working with, one of the people on the alumni team is a vocational trainee, which is

someone who basically does three months in all of these different positions across the company. And

we said to her, "Hey, before we can start with you or do whatever you want, we want to understand

what's your goal? Where do you want to get to? What do you want to be?" And she's like, "Oh, I haven't

really thought about that." I was like, "What do you mean? You're in a vocational training program.

Where do you want to be in a year? Where do you want to be in two years?"

She's like, "You know, no one's ever asked me that question." I was like, "Well, I don't know how

to help you be part of this team unless I understand what's going to excite you and what's going to make

you happy. And what's going to make you all these things." By the way, the company is unbelievable,

has the most amazing program, and they have an amazing intake graduate programs. So kudos to them.

When I spoke to this guy, I said, "Hey, can I give you just some career perspective? Not advice, because

this is just my perspective. Number one, you want to look at how you can make an impact all the way up

the chain. This isn't just about making sure you're doing your day-to-day job of... You're a vocational

trainee. You're not changing the world." But I was like, "Have you read this customer's, or this

company's share statement? Their revenue and their forecast and their projections, have you even read

it? Do you even know the core values of the company you work for?"

And she's like, "Well, yeah, I think so. I think it was in the letter I got," I said, "Okay, so I've

opened it because they're my customer and I want to know what they're trying to do. So let's go

through it together." And we went through it and she was like, "Oh my God, I've just learned more

about this company in eight seconds than I have being here for eight months, because I chose to

consume." And I think that's the number one lesson. Consume, go onto the intranet, read, consume,

learn, and also have the guts to reach out. If someone is doing an initiative inside the company that you

like, or you think is clever, or you think you can help with, or you want to learn from, send the email.

I think a lot of people are scared of, "Well, I can't email Sally. I'm not all the way up there. I'm

not the same career progression." And this is not, "Hey, Sally, I want you to be my mentor." This is, "Hey,

I love the program you're running here and I'd love to know what I can do to be a part of it". And a

majority of people inside of companies, especially when you work inside the company will say,

"Amazing. We'd love to." And so I really think early career people forget to just network up by offering

themselves. That's what you have. You have time, you have more time than anyone else, because you

don't have the same deadlines or the same financial priorities as perhaps higher up the chain. So that's

my number one thing, is network through delivering value. How can I help you? I'd like to be part of this.

How can I be impactful?

Chris Villanueva (12:53): So James, you're saying that even though I have this other job that I have to learn, I have to get

competent at, I still should be looking to go above and beyond and work in these other areas. How do I

find the time for that? I mean, it sounds like a lot.

James Sinclair (13:07): The answer is, you're in a trainee program. You're in your first job. Maybe you're not in training. Maybe

you're in your first job. You reach out to this person who's maybe doing something around communities

or diversity and you say, "Hey, I love what you're doing. Is there anything I can be doing for you?" You've

got to remember that if you end up doing something or not doing something, that person now knows

you as a go-getter, that person now knows you as someone who's stood up and volunteered, and you

will be surprised how quickly your career changes and you get taken to the left and to the right because

someone is like, "Hey, I remember him. He emailed me. I remember her. She was part of this thing

where I needed some advice or some help or something. She was the voice of the intern community."

The key is how do you find time? You make time.

Chris Villanueva (13:50): I asked that question because I know there still are some people who feel like they just don't have time

for it. And we've done past podcast episodes about exercise and making time for your mental health and

things like that. And that is the key message is you have to make time for it, otherwise it's not going to

happen. Actually sit down in front of your calendar, your Gmail or whatever, and block out that 30

minutes to start reaching out to people and be intentional about it.

James Sinclair (14:17): That's a core competency, again, is time management. Who or what company teaches you how to

manage your time? Because time is just a prioritization exercise. And here's the thing. Everyone is busy.

It's so unfair of me to say, actually, someone early in their career isn't as busy as me. It's not true.

Everyone is busy in their own way. Everyone is as busy as each other type of thing. But it's about

prioritization. It was about organization, about optimization. It's, you choose whether or not to ring your

mum to say hello and I love you. That's a choice that you make. You could find two minutes to do that.

Take that exact same scenario to researching on the corporate intranet and finding some people that

interest you.

But it's also, the thing is you want to go out of your comfort zone. You want to jump in there and

try things and see things and learn things. Because the other thing is, you have no idea what you want to

do for a living. The reason you have no idea what you want to do for a living is you haven't done

anything. And I don't mean that, again, with any disrespect. What I mean is what happens if someone

pulls you into this new department you didn't even know existed, R&D. R&D project management.

You're now in this weird department, you don't even know what R&D means. You're working for this

amazing person who said, "I love your moxie. I love your stuff. Come work with us." You transfer and

you're like, "Wow, this is what I love doing." All of a sudden, you're in engineering. You fell out of

marketing and now you're in engineering.

The key thing is most people see career progression because they've fallen up a hole, as in they

weren't expecting it and something happens. And I think you've got to be really open to that and I think

you've got to invest time as an individual in your career progression. Where do you want to be in a year,

two year, five year, 10 year? And the example I'll give you is McDonald's. McDonald's have a program

that they came out with and did a lot of press around it called Where Do You Want To Be? Which was to

help people early in their career understand their career trajectory. And a lot of people said, "I want to

be a franchisee." But in your head, how the hell do you go from making chicken nuggets to being a

franchisee? The leap is so big. It's almost so unfair to think that someone could make that leap. But the

reality is hundreds of franchisees have made that leap, and there's stories of people who've done it

before you.

And so there is a path. So McDonald's is showing people how to think about career progression.

It starts making chicken nuggets. Then it goes to manager. Then it goes to this. Then it goes to this.

There is actually a pathway to your career. And I think people need to allocate a little bit of time on

saying, "Where do I want to be? What do I want to explore? How do I get out of my comfort zone?" And

don't underestimate yourself. Look, the reality is if you send an email to someone important in the

company saying, "Hey, I want you to be my mentor because I read something like that." They're going to

say, "Cool, I'm too busy."

But, if you actually offer the one thing you have, which is, "Hey, I love what you're working on.

This is really interesting to me. I would be happy to dedicate a little bit of time to it. Is there anything I

can do to help? Is there anything I can do to help you?" It's very difficult to not get a reply to that

because you're not saying you need something. You're not saying, "I want." You're saying, "How can I be

of service? It would take a special kind of person to not reply and totally ignore you.

Chris Villanueva (17:13): Yeah. Especially, I mean, I can understand cold reach outs. I think we've advocated for something similar

in the past, reaching out to people on LinkedIn cold, which it's hit or miss sometimes because if you get

a random reach out and it's really well-written, I might reply. I may not reply. But if someone is actually

within your company, that changes things. I think that's a really powerful statement and hopefully we've

motivated some people to take action here. And I want to circle back to what you mentioned about

having a mentor, because I think that's something we don't talk about enough. What is the value of

having a mentor in the longterm?

James Sinclair (17:47): Number one is, let's replace the word mentor with guidance counselors, because I think it's important to

not always formalize it. Not everyone has time to be your mentor. And the minute you say the word

mentor, "One second. Now I have an obligation. I don't want to fail you." So it's easier to say, "No," than

it is to say, "Yes," and fail you. Because people, as you get more senior, tend to be better about

prioritizing their time and knowing their availability. So if you say "Mentor," they may say, "I love the

idea. I just know my prioritization and you're not currently in there. Apologies." So instead what you

want is, think about it like having a board of directors. And to some people it's their parents. It's their

mum and dad are their first mentors. To other people it's family members, it's their first employers. But

the key is having people in your network that you can reach out to, to bounce an idea off.

When you don't have experience of failure, you need to lean on other people's experience of

failure and success and recovery and risk and all of these things. And these are people who have

traveled the road before you, and you want that opportunity to have that. So the other thing is when

you find someone, a boss that you've fallen in love with, there's someone in the company that you're

like, "Wow." Very often I see leaders that I talk to and I'm like, "Wow, where were you earlier in my

career? You would've been incredible. I would have run and gravitated to you and been like, I want to

work for you." And they would have been like, "What?" And I would have been like, "That's it. I want to

work for you. Just tell me what you need me to do."

And I think those are the things that I wish I had a little bit more guts earlier in my career to do.

That when I see an opportunity or I see someone I want to work for, to actually say, "I don't know how, I

don't know where, but I want to come work for you because I believe in what you're saying. I love what

you're saying. You're authentic. You have integrity. You're a natural leader. I got excited just listening to

you. I want to be on this train."

Again, it's really difficult for someone not to respond to an email like that because it's a really

fair email. You talk about cold emails. The issue with the cold email is the lack of balance. There's not

necessarily a 50/50. The person who's sending the email is basically asking something of someone

they've never met. But when you open it with these very authentic and human statements, run. I would

tell anybody, that's the one thing that I'm very happy with and I wouldn't change much around my

career progression, because I had amazing mentors who gave me guidance, who made me stop and

think about my progression, and the steps I took and help me in areas that I needed.

But that ability to run to someone and gravitate and say, "Hey, I just want to be part of your

team." And these people turn into mentors. They start as work colleagues. They start as bosses. They

start as leaders and you build a relationship with them that allows you to phone them and say, "Hey, can

I run something by you? Hey, do you mind if I take 20 minutes and talk about my career?" You don't

open with, "Hey, I want to have a 20 minute mentor meeting." No, I'd rather do anything but that. But

again, this is all about the approach, which is you like who you work for and you like your boss or you

like your boss's boss. And you've got to go up that chain. Your opportunity for growth comes from that

knowledge chain. The ability to say, "Hey, I'm trying to map out my career and the best way to get there.

Can I spend 15 minutes with you?" Again, really difficult to tell someone early in their career, "No, I'm

going to fail you right now early in your career and give you a hard no on that."

Chris Villanueva (20:56): I know we're not formalizing here, but I'm such a logical, schedule-driven person, but how often should I

be meeting with this career counselor or mentor, or whatever we want to call it, to maintain a good,

solid relationship?

James Sinclair (21:09): Well, number one, send them something on their birthday. Every year without fail. Do not miss that.

Period. Boom. This is such a boom and it's a nothing. And they don't expect you to be sending them a

Faberge egg. You know what I mean? They're very happy with a nice bottle of whiskey and a card saying,

"Thank you." But think about how few people probably do that. And you're looking to set yourself apart.

So how often? Well, you now have one because they're going to phone you straight after they get your

bottle of whiskey and ask you how you're doing. And so now you have your one meeting.

The second is you can either time it around life events and that way you're not forcing the

person and the schedule. You've got to work to that person's schedule. You've got to work to how they

best work. Some people will say, I had a mentor who basically said, "I don't have that time, but if you

want time for me, you can sit in my golf cart for the first nine holes when I play golf." I was like, "Yeah."

It wasn't even a question. "One sec, let me get this straight. I'm going to get two hours dedicated?

You're not on your phone. You're not doing meetings. You're happy. You're smiling. I'm going to meet

your friends who are all powerful. Where do I sign up? I'll do the whole 18. Do you want me to bring

sandwiches? Do you want me to bring snacks?"

So when you think about something from a mentor, you've got to have empathy. And I think

that's the third thing that people also don't have core training on. So core training on how to fail and talk

to your manager, core training on how to think about your career. The other core training is having

empathy of what you're asking for someone and what it means to them. And you've got to imagine

you're on the other side of the email and how are they going to say no. I always start with that. How is

the person going to look at this email and say no to me? And then I backtrack the email into a yes. And

you're still going to get a no every now and again, but what you're doing is you're playing a risk game.

Chris Villanueva (22:50): James, I want to hear your opinion on this. I was listening to a Tim Ferriss podcast about mentorship,

and one idea that I think he had was... First of all, they called out the fact that if you reach out to

someone saying, "Do you need a volunteer?" Or, "Can I help you out with something?" While in theory it

sounds good, but the problem with it is you've just officially given that other person a thing on their to-

do list. They have to now brainstorm and think about something for you to do as the person that they

would be mentoring or doing whatever volunteer experience. But his idea was, if you're the person

reaching out to end up partnering with someone, that you should come up with an idea or some sort of

project based on what you think that their needs would be, because instantly it takes the whole

workload out of giving them a task to do out of the equation. So what do you think about that? And

have you practiced anything like that in the past?

James Sinclair (23:43): I mean, that's a given, that's having empathy for someone is, how do I get a yes? You got to work into

the yes, and that is doing the work for them. The best thing you can ever do for someone is the work for

them. So yes, whether it's brainstorming, whether it's saying some ideas. I have a belief that if you're

internal in an organization, it's okay to say, "I love what you're doing. I don't know enough about it, but I

know that I want to be part of it." I think you can actually do that when you're talking to someone inside

your organization, because they will give you an extra few seconds that perhaps random Bob wouldn't


Chris Villanueva (24:15): Yeah, it was Random Bob, I think the context of the Tim Ferriss episode was, but you are right. They'd

probably give you some more thought there.

James Sinclair (24:22): You get an extra five seconds, basically. Look, when you're Random Bob, you've got to put it all out in

front of them. You've got to just do all the work. You've got to remove that. He's 100% right. I'm not a

massive fan of people who send emails without thinking about the response. Very often when people

come to me, and I'm a mentor to a few people, but again, under a different name, which is just

guidance, which is, "Call me if you need something, check in with me every now and again. I'm good."

You know what I mean? I don't necessarily have to have cadence because cadence is a little difficult for

me sometimes.

But yeah, when I see an email coming out that they're going to do to LinkedIn, to a few people, I

ask them how they're going to respond. And they're like, "What do you mean?" "Well, what's the

response going to be to this?" And everyone's always like, "They're going to be like, yeah, I would love

to." I'm like, "No, no one's going to respond yeah, I'd love to, to your email. Instead they're just going to

ignore it because it's easier. People will always take the easiest route more often than not."

Again, I'm generalizing this so unfair because I respond to some. In general, it's easier exactly as

Tim said. "One less thing on my to-do. I'm just going to ignore it. I don't have to ever see them. I don't

know them. So I never have to make eye contact with them. So I can just ignore you and literally turn to

my right and now I'm done." And especially people who get such a high volume of, let's call it LinkedIn

InMails or whatever it is. I also believe that you don't do it on LinkedIn. You send an email, you do the

research, you send the email directly.

But I think the going cold, looking out for people, you've got to remember, you're competing

with thousands of others. Work within your area, your sphere of influence that you know you can

succeed in. In your company, in your sphere, in your circle, through a connection, something that gives

you one iota of an advantage versus sending them an email saying, "Hey, I want to do something with

you. And I think people misunderstand that and then run for it. And the people who are literally saying

"Well, where am I going to find the time?" Cool. Don't do it. Because the person next to you is going to

find the time. And you're going to be bummed out that you both started the same day at the company.

And one of them is now a manager and you're not. And you're going to be like, "How come?" And she's

going to be like, "I found time."

Chris Villanueva (26:17): "I found time." Exactly. You've been such an awesome guest so far, and I'm thinking about a lot of the

past 10, 15 minutes have been really centered around the mentor, mentee relationship, or reaching out

to people who might be in the higher-ups. Do you see any power in connecting with those, call them co-

workers or the people who are on my same level when I am working in a job?

James Sinclair (26:38): You must. They're your army. Again, you do have a choice. You will find that your network is your net

worth and that is just a fact, and if you choose to agree with it, amazing, if you choose not to agree with

it, also amazing, that's an individual choice, but your coworkers are your army. These are people who all

on the same level. So when you have an idea where you're trying to do something in the company and

you need help, again, if I go back to this company that has a vocational trainee on the team that's

working with our software, I said to her, I said, "Hey, go out to all the other vocational trainees and be

like, "Hey, I'm looking for good ideas to do X, Y, and Z."" She's like, "What do you mean?" I'm like, "Well,

do you have an email list of all the people in the program?" She's like, "Yeah, we get an email once a

month from the person that runs the program."

I was like, "Has anyone ever responded asking for anything?" She's like, "No." So I'm like, "Oh

my God. So you'll be the first. Respond right now." And we literally went through the email. "Hey,

everyone, hope everyone's doing well. I know everyone's all over the world working on this program in

different teams, different departments. I'm working on our alumni program. If you are working on

anything exciting in the company that you think could be of benefit to our former employees, please

keep me in mind. Thanks, Name." Sent.

I kid you not, responses-apalooza, but also a lot of like, "Hey, how you doing?"s. "Hey, been a

second. What's going on?" "Hey, we've all had a quarantine so I haven't passed you at the coffee

machine, glad to hear you're still alive." It just reconnected that conversation. And so it reconnects that

community. Because part of being in a community is feeling validated, to feeling worth, to getting

knowledge. So your coworkers are your community, and you have to look at it like that.

So I'm not suggesting everyone is in the same scenario as this vocational trainee, but I'm saying

there's always some sort of a scenario. And these people have another 40, 50 years left of their career.

Maybe 60 years left, because no one's retiring at 60 anymore. So one of them is going to be the CEO of

Pepsi. You know what I mean? One of them is going to be a governor, or a mayor, or something. You

know what I mean? Just the odds are in your favor that one of them is going to go into these different

things and all of a sudden, you're going to wake up in 30 years and Frank, the idiot who worked out how

to get free chocolate out of the vending machine is going to be a Senator. And you're going to be like,

"Hey, remember that one time?"

So people forget about that. And think about it about school. When you're in college or when

you're in high school, look at where everybody is now. Look at what they're doing. And imagine if you

had those connections. It doesn't always mean great friends. And I think people also misunderstand

that. It doesn't mean day-to-day hanging out eating pizza. You don't have to be great friends. You don't

have to agree with everything. It's just being supportive to someone else and them being supportive

back. That's it. Give more than you receive.

Chris Villanueva (29:10): I'm thinking about some people that are currently a part of our company right now, and mind blown,

this just hit me right now, is the main reason why a good portion of them are a part of our company

right now is because I had worked past jobs with them and I had connected with them on Facebook or

whatever like that. I remember putting out a post and they reached out, and I'm remembering how

good of a job they did in when they were working with me in whatever random positions. And that was

the one thing that pushed them over. And now we're working together today. So I just think that's

incredible, I think people need to open up their mind. Yeah.

James Sinclair (29:44): Yeah. You know, people are like, "Oh my God, the world works in such mysterious ways." No, it doesn't.

It's pretty predictable.

Chris Villanueva (29:48): Exactly.

James Sinclair (29:49): But you know what I mean? No, you're just friends with Sally and Sally's friends with them, and then

that's how it came. I think people need to be more okay with predictability. I think people need to invest

more time in themselves, their programming, where they're going and dedicate time in their calendar to

career growth. Not job growth. Career growth.

Chris Villanueva (30:05): Exactly. And so I know a lot of listeners currently right now are in their job search, in fact, probably most

of them are looking for a job right now. Do you have any practical strategies or tips when it comes to

reaching out to our network? Like, let's say that I don't even have a job right now. I'm not working for a

company. How would I go back and reconnect with my corporate alumni network?

James Sinclair (30:26): A great re-entry, because if someone who leaves the company comes back, the savings are immense for

the organization. So if you have worked for a company and now you're out of work, now is a

tremendous time to email a recruiter directly. Because they can go into the HR system. They can see

why you left. If you left in good terms or you left because of a reduction in work, it wasn't to do with

your performance. It's an amazing, "Hey, I worked with you guys three years ago. This is my name."

Maybe, "Here's the last four of my social. You'll see I was a high performer. I did well, you'll see my

learning. These are some new competencies and skills that I now have. I would be really interested in

returning. Would you have 15 minutes to maybe identify if there's any open positions for me?" Again,

doing the work for the person. And most recruiters will look at that as a hot lead.

It doesn't matter where you are. It doesn't matter how high or low you are on the food chain,

bringing someone back. Remember, they don't have to train you. They don't have to do all of these

things. When you come back, you already know how to log in. You already know how to do most of the

job. So you're going to be productive really quickly. So it's a really simple email to send. And if you don't

get a response from a recruiter, send it to another one. And keep on sending. But I would tell you that

again, you have to separate yourself from going to the careers page of the company, pressing Apply

Now and knowing that you are competing with a bazillion people who may all well have put in more

time than you.

Remember, you didn't have time. You're too busy to network. So you're now competing with all

the people that did have time. You got to think about alternative strategies. And again, if you send that

email to a recruiter or maybe even look for the director of alumni relations or alumni community for

that company, and literally ask that question, "Hey, I loved working. I left because of this. Here's my

details. You can see I was a great employee. These are the new skills I have. Here's where I worked

currently. Here's a reference. I'm interested." Again, really difficult for someone to totally ignore you.

That's all you're looking for, is someone to give the decency of being like, "Thank you. We're not looking

for anybody like you at this time." To which you can reply and be like, "Great. Put me on a list, put me on

a thing. I'll check in with you in 30 days until you find something for me."

But having that network, because that one person may come across a job and be like, "Oh, who

was that person that sent me that email?" You never know how this all comes around. Again. It's not, oh

my God, how the world works. Nope. It's predictable. People remember these things. And I think you

have to remember predictability. So if you're going out there, also remember that you can learn a lot of

the new skills that companies have right now. Companies need help with Zoom and digital media and

digital marketing and editing and all of these things. You can literally learn those skills on YouTube. You

don't need a university degree. You need a buck 50 at the library to go learn. Even less on YouTube for

free. So it's important to showcase the new skills that have come about in the last few years and have

some accreditations for them. And there's so many places you can get those kind of certifications or

whatever they mean. But every company on Earth now suddenly needs remote support for Microsoft

Teams. Great. Go do the course. Add that to your resume because every company on Earth now needs


Chris Villanueva (33:26): Exactly. They need it. Well, James, you've been such a fantastic guest. I can't thank you enough for your

insight so far. Before we wrap up and hear more about you, I wanted to hear if you had any final words

of advice for people who are job seekers? And a common question I like to ask our guests is, if you can

tattoo anything for a career warrior, what would you tattoo?

James Sinclair (33:44): Run forward. Just always run forward. If you are job seeking, job hunting, early career, run, because it

just pays dividends. And you can't see them today, you can't see those dividends. But can I give an

amazing example? An amazing example is in my family. So my wife has been taking a percentage of her

paycheck since she started work and putting it in savings. And when you start, when you're 18, 20,

whatever it is, you look in that savings account and there's $112, you're like, "Why am I even doing

this?" 40 years later, again, predictability, 40 years of doing it suddenly you look at that account and

you're like, "Oh wow, this makes something." So run and start, just because you don't see the

immediate short-term gratification of your efforts. I think that's when early in your career, everything's

about short term immediate results, results.

It's okay to plan a little bit. It's okay to start putting $7 a week into a savings account, because if

you were to do that for the next 40 years of your life, or some percentage for the next 40 years of your

life, you're going to wake up and be totally good. And I think people need to have that recognition. I

didn't do it. I remember when I got my first paycheck, I think I'd spent it before I even got it. So having

that cadence and understanding is really important. Financial responsibility, which is again, something

you don't learn from a company, that teaches you that says, "Actually, let me show you how you're

going to be able to send your kids to college if you start today," type of thing.

And I think, again, "Because what's $100 in a savings account? It's not worth it. I'll just spend it

now and I'll put it in in a couple of paychecks time." No. Start the cadence, start the predictability and

start doing things that you're going to just do. And as you get into a cycle, you're just going to do them

by habit. After six months, a year, whatever it might be. So my thing is run, run, do it. Yeah. Still Nike's.

Just do it.

Chris Villanueva (35:27): I love it. I love it so much. I'm thinking about a past, gosh, I think it was Mark Manson or one of those

authors said, ready, fire, aim, instead of ready, aim fire, because people spend way too much time just

trying to get it perfect before taking any sort of action. You know, I think the concept of run just first of

all, just gets me emotional because it just gets the adrenaline pumping and gets me excited. But I just

love that, man. I think that is advice that is not given enough. So thank you so much for that.

James Sinclair (35:57): And I'll tell you that my final bit is, to people listening to this, look, we sell to large enterprises. And so I

don't think you're going to have a lot of listeners who are like, "Oh my God, I want to buy an alumni

platform," but I will tell you this. I am on the internet. If people like what they hear, if people want to

talk more, I'm pretty available to have these conversations. Not in mass volume, but if someone wants

to talk... Look, I'm not looking for mentees. I don't have the available time, openly. And I'm very open

about it. But if people want a little bit of a progression, if people want a perspective, I'm always happy to

give it. People can always find me on the interwebs and reach out. I'm fairly good at responding.

Chris Villanueva (36:31): That's awesome. So how can people find out more about you? Is it LinkedIn you're primarily on? Or how

do people get in touch?

James Sinclair (36:36): Yeah, James Sinclair. I'm on LinkedIn. I'm on the Twitters. I'm on pretty much all the places you would

expect. And yeah, if people have a question, if people have a view, if people want some guidance. By the

way, if I don't have time, I do respond to people and say, "Actually, I don't have time right now. Here's

someone to introduce you to," or, "Here's a thought," or, "Here's a thought you might want to do." But

for a lot of people, they're like, "I don't know where to start with a mentor. I don't know where to start. I

don't know how to ask. No one's ever taught me how to ask for something." Cool. I won't judge you on

your email.

Chris Villanueva (37:01): James Sinclair, everyone. Thank you so much for being on the show. And for those of you listeners, I'll

make sure to include those links. I'll include James's LinkedIn profile within the description of this

podcast episode. James, you were awesome. You were exciting, lively, charismatic, everything that I love

about podcast guests. Thanks for being on the show.

James Sinclair (37:18): Thanks so much for having me. I appreciate it.

Chris Villanueva (37:20): Perfect. So this concludes Episode 161 of the Career Warrior Podcast. Such amazing insights here. And if

you are actually struggling to get into contact with people who can help you with your career, look to

the people who are around you right now. Look to your network, whether it's your school or the

company you work for, because oftentimes these are the people that can help elevate your career and

help you to land the next job. As far as I know, if you want to go back and really get more value out of

this episode, I recommend going back and repeating because repetition always helps solidify things

within our memory. All right. That concludes Episode 161. Thanks so much for tuning in and I'll see you

next time.