September 05, 2023

Leadership Transformation: Come in quietly (podcast episode #69)


Lauren Pasquale Bartlett, CMO, Ingenovis Health, joined me on episode #69 of the How I Made It In Marketing podcast for an insightful discussion about digital innovation, stakeholder engagement, team collaboration, and much more.

by Daniel Burstein, Senior Director, Content & Marketing, MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute

Leadership Transformation: Come in quietly (podcast episode #69)

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Perhaps you’re a key business leader and just acquired a company. Or maybe you’re starting your first job right out of college.

Either way, you had to find a way to be effective with your new team. How do you do that?

I love our latest guest’s description of how her CEO handled new brands after an acquisition – “he came in quietly.”

Not throwing your weight around or boasting about how great you are and all the wonderful things you will do.

He came in quietly.

I discussed that lesson, along with many more lesson-filled stories, with Lauren Pasquale Bartlett, CMO, Ingenovis Health.

Ingenovis Health has tripled in size in two years, reporting $2 billion in annual revenue in 2022.

Barlett manages a team of 30 across eight brands.

Listen to our conversation using this embedded player or click through to your preferred audio streaming service using the links below it.

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Stories (with lessons) about what she made in marketing

Some lessons from Bartlett that emerged in our discussion:

Understand the varying needs and perspectives of the stakeholders

A 75-year-old organization at the time, Bartlett arrived at the National Football League office in 1995 and was tasked with working on the launch of and Through connections with the other content developers, marketers, and PR people at the 32 clubs, she was given a lofty directive that, on paper, she was unprepared for.

Her task – meeting with her contacts at each of the 32 NFL teams and presenting the concept of an NFL Internet Network based on a model of shared benefits. Despite her lack of experience, she realized it was an incredible opportunity and coordinated the effort to integrate all teams into the enterprise. But they had hold-outs that required owners and executives battling at the highest level.

It was a great learning opportunity and ultimately, a successful venture; today, the Network makes up the most far-reaching digital platform in sports. It also was a trial-by-fire exposure to public speaking as she often had to present in front of large groups at league meetings, which helped her understand the varying needs and perspectives of the stakeholders in the collective.

Build trust and consensus cross-functionally

Bartlett joined USA Hockey in 2001 to oversee the website. At the time, the 60-year-old entity was primarily driven by retired hockey players and hockey moms, so she was certainly a fish out of water. She embarked on a massive movement to digitize the entire registration process for membership and coaching clinics with her team, as well as build a tournament scoring tool and customized website template for over 1,000 local and regional programs.

While the project might not seem revolutionary today, it was the largest of its time and a major undertaking for an organization that was just starting to evolve and was resistant to change. They forged through a tangled web of exceptions, incompatibilities, and general distrust. Luckily, she had a great technology partner and visionary leaders including their President and her boss who kept the train on the track and brought the others along for the ride.

They successfully launched all platforms, and it revolutionized the organization. A major learning for her was the importance of building trust and consensus cross-functionally – not just with engaged stakeholders but also with community influencers, and the need for effective change management. 

Trust in your knowledge and capabilities

When Barlett joined the U.S. Olympic Committee in 2008 to run the website and create the Team USA network, what she thought would be old hat suddenly morphed into a remit that quickly expanded to include the emerging world of social media, mobile apps, and a massive digital video business. Again, she found herself launching new products and platforms in an old business and creating new fan engagement communities as well as sponsorship revenue streams.

Together with committed technology partners and marketing sponsors, they launched the organization’s first social media presence prior to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the first Team USA YouTube channel in 2011 with 57 hours of programming, the first Team USA mobile app for the 2012 London Olympic Games, and the first live stream of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games, followed by multiple broadcast specials for NBC Sports including the Hall of Fame awards show and the inaugural Best of U.S. special that honored the medalists of the recent Olympic and Paralympic Games.

She again discovered herself doing many ‘firsts.’ Although she had media in her past from the NFL, there were certainly elements of the roles and negotiations that she had to learn on the fly, from code base ownership on the mobile apps to directing video shoots for hundreds of athletes, to choosing Willie Geist’s tie before he hosted a broadcast special on NBC Sports. But she trusted in her knowledge and capabilities and was supported by great teams and partners, so they achieved success together.  

Take a bulldog approach

Most recently, Bartlett embarked on a major career change after about two decades in sports when she joined the healthcare staffing industry. Once again, the learning curve had to be short, and she had to call on a bulldog mentality to transform a staid marketing effort into a digital, data-driven operation with the industry’s best marketing automation tools and a team of subject matter experts.

They doubled the database in less than five years and created a culture of accountability where they track, report, and effectively measure ROI across all campaigns. With that under their belts, they faced their next challenge when COVID disrupted lives and accelerated the travel nurse business, resulting in double- and triple-digit growth in demand within their business. Amid that rapid growth, Fastaff and U.S. Nursing were acquired and merged in March of 2021.

Within five years of immersing herself in an entirely new business, she was merging seven individual marketing operations into a shared service following one of the largest mergers in the industry; working with the CEO and executive team to develop a purpose, all during a global pandemic with a remote workforce. Her initial team of six across two brands quickly ballooned to more than 30 across eight brands.

When she began, she managed two brands with combined revenue of about $250M. Within six years she had responsibility for a team across seven brands plus the parent brand for a combined revenue of $2B, while serving as the company’s first Chief Marketing Officer. With additional acquisitions on the horizon, it now falls to her and her teams to promote the organization’s defined purpose through lanes that allow for seamless integration for both the brands and the teams that manage them.

Ultimately, they are building this entity from the ground up, and associating the new brand with the company’s purpose: to build a home for healthcare talent. Also under the CEO’s leadership, she was able to be one of the drivers in developing the clinician-focused ACT program, which is a direct response to the burnout and attrition they are facing in their field.

Lessons (with stories) from people she collaborated with

Bartlett also shared lessons she learned from the people she collaborated with.

Pair a strong work ethic with a sense of joy in accomplishments

via her parents

Bartlett’s parents were hard-working kids from Brooklyn who paid their way through college and graduate school and then each rose to the top of their professions. Their work ethic and sense of joy in accomplishment and teamwork is something she has emulated in everything she does.

Stand right beside your team when they face obstacles

via Mike Bertsch, head of Marketing and Communications, USA Hockey

To this day, Bertsch is the mentor Bartlett models her leadership style after. He thought strategically and practically, had the highest integrity, created a team with respect and unity, and stood right beside her team when they faced obstacles. He gave her the confidence to forge ahead even when the path was unclear. In addition, he somehow managed to make her laugh in almost every conversation they had. It was a pleasure working for him.

Come in quietly

via Bart Valdez, CEO, Ingenovis Health

Valdez is a visionary and strategic leader who Bartlett trusts and admires. When he came in to take over Fastaff and US Nursing in 2019 they were a business in decline. He came in quietly, found immediate operational efficiencies and reorganized the company in a way that set them on an upward path to growth.

When COVID overtook their lives and their business a year later, they were prepared to scale to the challenge and tripled their business, while providing necessary coverage to hospitals and communities nationwide. He is a steady leader, unflappable, always supportive and creates a sense of team that can accomplish anything. 


Bartlett ended the episode by sharing something she learned in an executive education class with Dr. Marcus Collins, a previous guest on How I Made It In Marketing (episode #52). Collins taught about finding (instead of forming) a community when he worked with Beyoncé, and Bartlett shared a similar experience she had working with the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Related content discussed in this episode

Data Poetry in Marketing, PR & Corporate Communications (Podcast Episode #17)

Marketing, Advertising and Brand Strategy and Culture: You don’t “build" community, you “facilitate” community (podcast episode #52)

Marketing: High growth can be excruciating (podcast episode #64)

Not Enough Lobster In The Ocean: Trusting their gut leads to 90,000% revenue growth at Mint Mobile (Podcast Episode #11)

Strategy: Don’t think of your customers as a ‘target’ to acquire (podcast episode #65)

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Not ready for a listen yet? Interested in searching the conversation? No problem. Below is a rough transcript of our discussion.

Lauren Pasquale Bartlett: I want to tell you one story for the U.S. Olympic Committee. When we started figuring out what social media was back in 2008. In 2009. Facebook was the first platform that we wanted to be, engage the fans. And then we started, you know, cruising on our Facebook to see what was happening related to the Olympics. We found an Olympic fan site that had 77,000 followers.

It had been formed by a woman named Stephanie from the Midwest. And I just started reaching out to her and saying, how did you build this fan site? What do people care about? What questions do they ask? And to through a series of phone calls with her, I got to the point where I mustered up my courage and said, Stephanie, is it okay if we take over the fan site that you've already built with your 77,000 fans?

And so we had exactly the same experience as Marcus Collins, who discovered the Beehive. You know, a group that was already engaged in talking about the NSA.

Intro: Welcome to How I Made It in marketing from marketing Sherpa. We scour pitches from hundreds of creative leaders and uncover specific examples, not just trending ideas or buzzword laden schmaltz, real world examples to help you transform yourself as a marketer. Now here's your host, the senior director of content and marketing at Marketing Sherpa Daniel Burstein, to tell you about today's guest.

Daniel Burstein: He's been perhaps your key business leader and you just acquired a company or maybe you're starting your first job right out of college. Either way, you have to find a way to be effective with your new team and make a good first impression. How do you do that? I love my next guest description of how her CEO handled new brands after an acquisition.

He came in quietly, not throwing your weight around or boasting about how great you are and all the wonderful things you will do. He came in quietly here to share the story behind here to share that story, along with many more lesson filled stories. Is Lauren Pasquale Bartlett, the CMO of In Geneva's Health?

Lauren Pasquale Bartlett: Hello, Daniel. Good morning.

Daniel Burstein: Great to have you here, Lauren. So let's take a quick look at your background. I'm just cherry picking here after LinkedIn, a lot more positions you had, but you started out as a PR and production assistant at NFL Films. You were the manager of programing development on the NFL Internet Network for the NFL, director of Internet Communications for USA Hockey, Director of Digital Media for the U.S. Olympic Committee.

And you shifted into the health care space where you were SVP of Marketing at Fast Staff Travel Nursing and now CMO of its parent company in Genesis Health. So as in Genesis, health has tripled in size in two years, reporting $2 billion in annual revenue in 2022. And Bartlett, you manage a team of more than 30 across eight brands.

So what is your day like as CMO?

Lauren Pasquale Bartlett: Well, I will begin by saying that every day's a good one, even the tough ones. I have the best marketing team I've ever worked with, which I'm really proud of and a visionary leader. So I think, you know, a lot of us have had so many positions by that. By this time. I think a great team, a great leader really makes your day great.

So my focus on a daily basis mostly rotates from marketing strategy and data analytics like most marketers. And then also I spend about a third of my time on brand building and about a third of my time and focus on purpose.

Daniel Burstein: All right. Makes sense. Well, as I mentioned, you have a long and illustrious career in two major industries. So let's take a look at the lessons we can learn from the things you made. That's a great thing we get to do as marketers. Like I said, I've never been a podiatrist or actuary or anything else, but I don't know that they get to make things.

We get to make brands, we get to make progress, get to make campaigns. It's a lot of fun. So the first lesson you said is understand the power of the collective and how did you learn this lesson?

Lauren Pasquale Bartlett: Yeah. So this was a really early lesson in my career. I had the pleasure of working for the National Football League for seven years, and at the time that I got there, it was 1994 and 1995. NFL dot com was just launching and I was a PR assistant. And what my role was was to upload content to a new emerging internal website they were using called NFL Media dot com, which included injury reports, depth chart statuses.

And so I was working with all 30 teams at the time. Dan That's how old I am. There were only 30 NFL teams at the time to collect content. And what happened was I found myself just growing with the new digital entity. So was brand new. I started working on that website in the very early years and we were working with an outsource technology firm called Star Wave, based in Seattle.

It was a Paul Allen company, and then eventually that became the ESPN Internet Ventures. So it just very earlier in my career, I had this opportunity to grow with something that was in a 75 year old organization, NFL 75, in that in 1995 when that launched. But I was able to grow with it. And because I had these connections with the NFL teams, because I was calling them every Monday and Tuesday for the depth charts and Raptors and and things like that.

I got to work with them on entering all of the information that brought the NFL teams together. So one of my role was to fly out to a lot of the different teams and league meetings and present the concept of the NFL Internet network, which is based on a model of shared benefit. So now on big collective websites, it's pretty typical to see some sort of navigation bar across the top where you could flip around between related brands.

But at the time that was very new and in a lot of out there, you know, a lot of the conversations I had with the team, they were mostly young people like me. We were all in our toes. We had all been assigned the Internet because really no one else was working on it. And everybody was pretty much gung ho to join this Internet network.

But there were definitely holdouts. There were teams that were succeeding just fine on their own, namely the Patriots, the Cowboys, the Raiders, who were a little bit slow to want to join the collective. And then those conversations would escalate up to the ownership level and executive level. And boy, talk about having a, you know, front seat to like a huge learning opportunity on business and growth and the power of the collective.

So that was just a really great opportunity for me as a young person. Ultimately, all of the teams ended up joining the NFL Internet network, and now it makes up one of the largest reaching digital platforms in sports.

Daniel Burstein: But did you learn anything about getting all sorts of different stakeholders on board? Because even though this was the dark days of the NFL before the Jacksonville Jaguars existed. No, I know we talk about. Right. I mean, this is a lesson for more than just sports. The NFL, those teams do forget their franchises. Anyone involved in franchise marketing is going through this or really anyone who's got to get a group of stakeholders going through a transformative time, which coincidentally we are also in now with artificial intelligence.

So is there anything you learn about, you know, getting all those varied stakeholders, like you said, from, you know, teams on the cutting edge, like maybe the Patriots, two teams that were more laggards onboard with something that was kind of maybe new and scary.

Lauren Pasquale Bartlett: That's exactly right. And, you know, it's funny, I had a colleague who used to say, anytime you ask the teams to do anything, like send us this or fill this out or provide this information, she said, a third, a third, a third, a third would do it right away. A third would do it in time, and the other third would never do so.

Yeah, it's it's interesting to work with that many, you know, that many stakeholders, but what I observed, because I was too young to really contribute in any meaningful way, Daniel added in trying to help. What I learned at the time was that you just have to find that model of shared benefit. You have to find what's best for the whole world.

And for us, one of the one of the that the trick was bringing an NFL film, which is actually where I started my career. I started my career for a year as a production and PR assistant at NFL Films. And what we did was, again, we started bringing in video highlights. So on a monday morning, the Kansas City Chiefs, you know, the Oakland Raiders, the Dallas Cowboys, all of them could pull from this resource.

A clip of the preview of the preceding games at the NFL. The NFL films team had it done within about, you know, probably like 12 hours. So we were able to offer something that was valuable to them while we were asking them to give up other things like maybe ticket sales or eBay auction rights or some of the other things that they had to manage up to the collective.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah, that's great. That's the benefit of being part of a bigger collective, like being a franchisee. Here's another lessons from your time in sports. I think it's very applicable to anyone working in a medium or large organization to build trust and consensus. Cross-Functionally So how did you learn this lesson?

Lauren Pasquale Bartlett: When I joined USA Hockey at the end of 2001, I came in to run the Web site, so I'd been at the NFL for seven years, had a fabulous experience, but just looking for something new, looking for a little bit more of my own autonomy and responsibility. And came in to USA Hockey as the director of Internet Communications.

So basically just running the Web site and there was a movement at that time to try to move to online, to try to move registration online for USA Hockey as well as coaching clinic registration. And then ultimately we ended up building a tournament scoring pool for all of those volunteers and parents who were going to all these hockey games on the weekend and wanted to collect this data.

That was a pretty big movement at the time, even though it seems pretty natural today. In 2001, that was not happening much in amateur sports. So I was coming from the NFL. I was not coming from hockey. Daniel and I was working with a lot of former hockey players and coaches and hockey moms and hockey families, and I didn't have a lot of street cred.

I remember sitting in a meeting and mispronounce saying Chris, Chelsea's name and the whole room laughed at me. I had never heard of it and no one cared that I knew like the third, you know, outside linebacker for the Jaguars at that time. So I didn't have a lot of credibility coming in. But what I realized was drawing on that lesson of what are the shared benefits, I was able to forge a relationship with the head of the coaching department and forge a relationship with the head of the membership department and etc. down the line.

I had to build relationships with these people who really just powerhouses in their field of expertize and very well respected to explaining something as simple as online registration. You know, not having to collect money locally, not having the delay, not having the mistakes and data of 500,000 members across the country. That was what really moved to the tide to get those people on board with it.

So, you know, you have to build those relationships. You have to realize that when you're butting heads, those people have an objective and you have an objective and you have to try to find a middle ground.

Daniel Burstein: So was there anything you did specifically to build your hockey street cred? Because it's interesting you mentioned I've been asked before by foreign language copywriters, like they're non-native speakers, what can they do to be better copywriters for English language companies? And I told them we're all non-native. Like when I started working early in my career, I was writing for high end real estate.

I moved into the software industry. I start working like IBM, for example. It was very difficult because that was a whole new language. And to build my street cred, I subscribed there at the time to the print edition of Week magazine, and I would read each week cover to cover just so I could speak the language because that was a unique language.

So was there anything you did to kind of like build that hockey street cred, moving into what's essentially a new industry?

Lauren Pasquale Bartlett: I watched a lot of hockey and I think exactly what you just said at work. You're trying to learn another language. You know, I think you just watch a lot of movies and television shows and the language. But I will say, if any of my former colleagues at USA Hockey listen to this, I think they would say I still have a hockey streak.

But yes, I certainly I read a lot and I learned a lot, you know, coming out of football. I just love football like you do. Daniel And so it wasn't work to know everything there is to know about the history of the sport and who, you know, broke a touchdown record yesterday. But yeah, I would say I watched a lot of hockey, I read a lot and again, forging those relationships means also sort of understanding the background of the people that you work with.

And many of the people I worked with, like I said, had been either former players, former coaches, former administrators of large hockey programs. We just learned a lot not only about, you know, the sport and the players and the rules, but I learned a lot about how ingrained USA Hockey is in the families of those folks who have kids playing and how important it is to them.

They devote their their the weekend, their mornings, their free money, you know, their access money, their family time and resources. It's such an expensive sport. It requires so much time. So I just kind of learned to love the passion at the same time that I started learning things like what the Bible.

Daniel Burstein: So, you know, does that get so there's the ability to then like speak fluently and get some credibility. But does that help you find good stories in that you can tell through the marketing campaigns? Because USA Hockey is an example. Also, I know you work for the U.S. Olympic Committee, which we're about to talk about. It means that a great way to kind of dove in and find those stories.

Lauren Pasquale Bartlett: It absolutely is. Because, again, going back to USA Hockey, you know, in many of the 500,000 members across the country, in many of those instances, the parents as you know, or anybody listening had kids were in a sport that's so intense and you're giving up your free time and you're giving up again like it cost a lot of money.

You're making choices like, okay, our vacation is going to be this hockey tournament in Chicago instead of the trip I want to take to Disney World. So there's so much of a support network around those athletes. And it's funny, you know, you have to get older. I was a competitive swimmer. I swam in Division One in a college.

And I mean, my parents devoted so much time, money, effort, resources. But you don't realize it till later. But those athletes and the Olympians and Paralympians that we'll talk about in a minute, how much a support system and it's not just them dedicated to their sport every day in the pool on a hockey rink, it's really the families, the support system, the coaches, even the siblings get dragged along and have to sort of participate.

So when you talk about the personal stories, it's about everybody. It's not just about them.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah, that is so true. So, you know, we talked about that, you weren't experienced in hockey probably. You know, you had to learn it. But there are some things that we are experienced in when we move into any industries, right? The things that we do in marketing are probably consistent across different industries. And one of the lessons you have is trust in your knowledge and capability.

So maybe not knowledge about this specific industry, but your knowledge about marketing in general. You said you learned this by working with the U.S. Olympic Committee. So how did you learn this lesson?

Lauren Pasquale Bartlett: When I when I got to the U.S. Olympic Committee. So that was 2003. We had just come out of really I would say my time at USA Hockey, in addition to having left having to learn a little bit more about the sport of hockey, but it was really more about digital product development. So I spent most of my time at USA Hockey focused on product development, building the online registration and understanding user experience and understanding, you know, building this network.

We didn't mention, but we offered a free website platform to over a thousand local hockey programs nationwide. So it was really much more about digital development. Now. Daniel I come from a psychology background. My first job was at NFL Films and production. You know, I don't have a digital marketing background other than I've been doing it for so long.

So when I say draw on your own abilities, I joined the U.S. Olympic Committee to run and to run the website and create a Team USA network of websites for all of the sports or 45 sports in the Olympic and Paralympic movement. I was like, No problem, I got this. I've already been through this twice, but to bigger, you know, to other organizations.

But when I joined in 2008, what else was starting to hit the market in social media and in AP apps that used to play these things like, you know, which Disney character are you? You remember those apps that we were building on Facebook and all of a sudden mobile apps were something that we had to use. I launched a YouTube channel for the U.S., for the Atlantic Committee that, you know, I had never done that level of video production before.

So what I would say was that in every instance, I just focused on the storytelling and the fact that this was one more platform to use. And then you have to learn as you go. Going back to the USA hockey days, I like at one point I kind of realized there wasn't a single day that went by that someone didn't come into my office, close the door and say, we have a problem.

You know, I just got used to that. Anyone who's done digital product development, you know, especially and the user experience is so critical to the success. Anyone knows that every day you have a problem. Some platform is not consistent with the KPI you're requesting or the data platform. So you just have to go like every day when you're building something new you don't have to face every day with the bigger picture in mind and get through the challenge every single day.

Daniel Burstein: Well, experience helps you do that, right? But was there a time, maybe earlier in your career where it was hard to trust in yourself like or when you made a big new leap? I'll give you an example. I interviewed Michael Diamond from NYU on the How I Made It in Marketing podcast. And one of his lessons was trust yourself, because he when he moved into the CMO position at Time Warner Cable, you know, there's this moment where his executive assistant gave him this rock engraved with trust yourself, and he realized that moving into this new like c level role, you know, he kind of wasn't doing what he'd done throughout his career, which is really

like you said, trust in those basic abilities. So was there a time that really sticks out to you where it's like and it was it was hard to trust yourself. You were afraid. Maybe it was different this time, maybe it wouldn't work. And then how you overcame that?

Lauren Pasquale Bartlett: I would say that happened for me during my seven years at the U.S. Olympic Committee because, you know, as I mentioned, I came in as a website director, no problem. But then we were launching Social media platforms, then we were launching mobile apps, we were launching AdWords within social media. And ultimately, again, with that YouTube channel, we created 57 hours a video production.

And then I got into a new area of responsible for the digital licensing business that had been kind of passed down to me, which was a whole new set of rules. Daniel The International Olympic Committee owned the rights to the video footage from the Olympics, so you can only use it inside your Geofence region of authority. So there were all kinds of things that I had to learn in terms of, you know, who owns the code and what are the rules of the partners that you're working with and what's the you know, how do you understand intellectual property and how do you protect it?

So drawing on that idea of learning from your past and just having faith in yourself, I think that that hit me frequently when we would launch new things. One thing about my career, which has been consistent, is that I've actually only worked for four organizations for seven years each. And in every organization that had, you know, years and years of brand equity, these are organizations that have been around for a long time, 75 years or so, and they have been around 60 years.

But every time I was launching new products or new digital platforms within those old time, you know, really staid organizations. So you just learn to trust yourself. I would not say that's how I characterized myself. You know, my my approach to working in the nineties, I would say I just really relied on the really, really smart people around me who were teaching me.

But when you get into that position of a marketing director or marketing vice president, you don't have a lot of people around you who are going to help you see the way. So you do. I think a rock that says trust yourself is a great idea, but the best thing you could do as a marketing leader, the higher up that ladder you go, is hire the smartest people, hire the best people, hire people who want to be a team, not people who are trying to clobber each other on the way to the top.

I think we all can recognize the difference after you've been in the market for a while. But, you know, trusting the people around you is just as good as trusting yourself in your leader.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah, well, you mentioned, you know, you worked for organizations, but you also, you know, in the middle of your career, recently made this major switch from the sports industry to now the health care industry. Right. And you mentioned a lesson you learned here is take a bulldog approach. So what do you mean by that and how did you learn that?

Lauren Pasquale Bartlett: Yeah, you know, the bulldog approach. I don't know if that's the right way to describe it or not, but you just have to make it work. You know, some people would say just get it done or just do it, you know, pull from that Nike line. But when I joined in Gentlemen's Health, there's actually two brands. It was 2015, it was two leading brands, Best of Travel, Nursing and U.S. Nursing Corporation, which were placing health care staffing professionals in urgent and crucial situations.

So in the midst of really learning a new industry, I'd been in sports 20 years and all of a sudden I'm in health care staffing. And the Affordable Care Act was was really affecting the health care industry in a very big way. You know, you just have to find your way. You just have to keep moving forward. And the way that I did that was creating methods of accountability.

So what I did was brought in a really strong digital marketing automation team, and then I would run around. I still do when my department according to to principle number one track and report because, you know, in marketing, you can never make smart decisions, strategic decisions without knowing what's actually driving the conversions you need. And then the second guiding principle I ran that team with was be the subject matter expert.

So if you're responsible for the text blast, you need to understand everything related to privacy and the California Consumer Privacy Act and what's coming in terms of where providers will block you. You can't just send out your text box every day and think your day's done. You need to be the subject matter expert and understand everything about that platform in that medium.

I feel like that's a good growth opportunity for the younger people on my team and then also it strengthens the company because you're protecting yourself against risk. The bulldog approach idea is that things will hit you fast and in a growth situation. One of your I can't remember who it was, Daniel, but one of your previous guests said that growth can be excruciating.

And I you know, as I was listening to that podcast, I was thinking, man, is that true? Because when you have some success and it builds upon it, the expectation is that you're just going to continue growing at 20%, 30%, and that anybody can send anything your way and you can take it on. And I feel that way about my team now.

You know, one of them had a saying on her door that said, I don't know the answer, but I'm going to find it to find out. And I feel like that's the mindset that we have in a company that's been growing so quickly when when we started facing the pandemic that Stephanie was nursing, the two plants I was working for at the time were among the very first to send nurses into COVID outbreak, where, you know, the nurses on the ground were getting work when it was still contagious.

The nurses were getting infected and then had to go quarantine for two weeks, if you'll remember. And our companies within 24 hours would find 20 nurses, 30 nurses, send them up to the. Oh, I can't remember that. Maybe it was Kirkland or Kirkland up in Seattle where they had that first breakout and then Northern California. So talk about taking a bulldog approach.

We just had to figure it out. How do we move so quickly? How do we use our human resources? How do we get smarter and become more competitive? Because this is a life and death situation and we have the pleasure and the privilege of being able to make an impact.

Daniel Burstein: Yeah, great. And the lesson you mentioned, growth can be excruciating. That was Pete Housley, the CMO of Unbound, to talk about some lessons from earlier in his career. That's great. So we just talked about some lessons that we can learn from the things Lauren made in her career. We're about to talk about lessons that we can learn from the people she collaborated with, because those are the two great things we get to do as marketers.

We get to build things and get to build it with people. But first, I should mention that the How I Made It Marketing Podcast is underwritten by Mac Labs Institute, the parent organization of Marketing Sherpa. You can join the Mac Labs A.I. Guild to discover a path through the air revolution. Learn more by chatting with Mac Labs A.I. at Mac Labs dot com slash A.I. that is easy lab slash A.I..

I guess we mentioned we learned a lot of lessons from the things you may learn. Now let's learn some lessons from the people you collaborated with and you started from the very beginning of your career, literally when you were born, you said, this lesson is from your parents. You said Pair a strong work ethic with a sense of joy and accomplishment.

So how is what your parents taught you paid off in your career?

Lauren Pasquale Bartlett: You know, so many times, Daniel, and I'm sure a lot of people would say that. But you just realize as you get older, I'm sure, you know, just influenced by them. But my parents were hard working kids from Brooklyn, you know, like you born in Brooklyn. And both of them paid their way through college and graduate school, and then each of them rose to the top of their profession.

So, you know, constantly I witnessed a work ethic and a sense of joy and accomplishment and also teamwork. And so that's something that I feel like I bring to my, you know, my teams every day. And my mom is a highly productive person. Like if she wasn't making 40 meatballs to stick in the freezer for later, we were outside with scissors, cutting, cutting the weed out of the garden.

And I feel like with my team and that bird, that approach, there's so much that we have to produce and we just want to get better and do more every day and we want to do it strategically. So I feel like I drive the team hard, but none of them have ever put a hand up and said, okay, now wait a minute, that's too much.

So they were really my parents were really a big influence on me. And then one of my mentors who I still try to emulate to this day was at USA Hockey, the head of marketing and communications at the time was Mike Birch, who was also a former hockey coach, but then had created, you know, just a really successful career in business.

And I admired him for his vision, for his high integrity. But mostly he created a team that just was based on respect and unity and as I talked about, we were launching all these meetings, the coaching clinic registration and online registration. It was a major shift for people who had done things a certain way for years and years.

And when you're building digital platforms, you hit all kinds of significant obstacles. And Mike Birch, which is standing there with me every step of the way, and I feel like one of the things he did for me was he gave me the confidence to forge ahead even when the path was unclear. So, you know, somehow he built that confidence in me, like, you can do it.

And if you fail, I'm right here standing next to you. So, so don't be too scared to try new things. So that was really important to me in my career and then finally my career.

Daniel Burstein: Let me ask you about that. You mentioned, you know, the lesson for Mike was stand right beside your team when they face obstacles. And I wonder if you can give us an example like what's the most effective tactic or behavior of how you stood by your team, maybe through COVID or through something else? Because, you know, for example, I interviewed Dr. Marcus Collins of widening Kennedy in New York and University of Michigan on how I made it marketing.

And one of his lessons was you don't build community, you facilitate community. And he learned this by working with Beyonce and with the beyhive and stuff. And so I know, you know, the beyhive is very different for building a marketing team, but I think there's a similar truism there where, you know, we sometimes we say like we're building a team, but I think we're more facilitating it.

So I don't know what tactic has worked for you to stand by your team, especially through going something like COVID.

Lauren Pasquale Bartlett: I think any marketer can relate to this. I would say know your data because when you work on marketing, it's pretty typical that when times get tough, when you're not, you know, like you're not hitting the numbers you want. It's pretty typical that marketing for the first group in the organization to take the shot. But what we do is try to think strategically and again, track and report, track everything you're doing.

So you got to know that the top of the funnel, what you're bringing into the top of the funnel, the leads candidates, whatever your your your business is, you've got to know that all of the dollars you're spending are converting the way you want them to. But then you have to be a partner at the bottom of the tunnel.

You can't just flip the leads over to sales and be like, Good luck, hope it works. You've got to be partnering with them all the way to the bottom of the funnel. So I think tactically with my team, I spend a lot of time on performance marketing. We look at engagement, we look at ways that we can foster engagement.

How can we use digital automation to continue to move, you know, leads through a funnel, through direct campaigns or either nurture campaigns or other content marketing SEO blogs, you know, using tap CBT to try to move quicker and be more effective and understand what our competitors are saying. So I've only been half in the weeds and half at the top, you know, at the top of the vision, trying to understand a long term vision, but being in the weeds for me is sort of how I support my team, especially when they're taking, you know, when they're getting questioned by other parts of the organization.

Daniel Burstein: And has there been anything on a human level, you know, that that has worked well for you? Because, you know, we talked about one, the mergers and acquisitions helped build your company. You go through COVID, looks like, you know, you're managing a team of over 30. It looks like you have a work at home setup. You're working home right now.

I'm working at home, which can be more difficult. So has been anything more a human level to help you stand by your team? Has the data helped you? There was there something else that you've used?

Lauren Pasquale Bartlett: For me, it's been leaders. When you talk about human level, you know, it's been the leader. So again, Mike Boettcher at USA Hockey helping a young person with a lot of responsibility. Build the confidence that you can do it. You know, that's something that I want to pass down. Again, my current CEO, Bart Valdez, when he came into the company in 2019, the company was in a period of decline.

And he, as you said, he really came in quietly. He found immediate operational efficiencies to reorganize the company in a way that set us up for an upward path to growth. And then when COVID overtook our lives and our business a year later, we were prepared to scale that a challenge. And we tripled that business. And I think all of us, not only were we on a rocketship of growth, but we saw that we were making an impact every single day in the lives of patients in over 500 hospitals across the country.

So, you know, it's really important for me to be able to look to my leader and see if that person is supporting me, supporting my team, recognizing what we're doing, and then try to model that, you know, try to model that that level of leadership. Another thing about Bart is that he's a steady leader. He's unflappable. He's always supportive.

He creates a sense of team that can accomplish anything. And and when I observed the marketing team that we have right now, I'm very proud of them. I feel like they do that. They're unflappable. They're always supportive. They feel like they can accomplish anything. So I feel like passing that down is a really important way that I can mentor passively, you know, in addition to looking for mentorship opportunities.

But you're just always setting an example for, for the people around you and the people who are working for you.

Daniel Burstein: Well, when you mention that, come in quietly. And I love that because that is so the opposite sometimes of our culture of just boasting on the front end and thinking we know everything, right? So I think that works great for mergers and acquisitions, but I also wonder about one of your, quote unquote customers, which is the actual nurses and health care professionals themselves.

Right. I'm sure your customers are the hospitals, but also these nurses and health care professionals, I'm sure, you know, they need to be able to do what's best medically. They need to feel supported. They are spending their lives moving around the country. So I would think when communicating with them, they're one of two ways you can go. You could take a very, I don't know, dictatorial approach of like this is how it's going to be or kind of a come in quiet approach and support them.

So is there anything you learned in kind of supporting and we talked about your marketing team, but now these actual health care employees around the country who went through COVID and just on a daily basis go through all these things they have to do to both deliver health care and to move themselves around the country and up in their lives.

Like. Have you learned anything from that?

Lauren Pasquale Bartlett: Absolutely. It's it's been an incredible learning journey for me. And, you know, Daniel, I'm sure other people feel this way when they make careers, which is I was really hesitant to leave sports after a 21 year career where I felt like, oh, I can understand this industry. I was pretty hesitant to join, you know, to join the company in health care staffing.

But the more I learned about it, the more I just understood how human it is and how inspiring it is and what the nurses and doctors and allied professionals went through, particularly during COVID, just filled me with all about what they, you know, how much they commit, how much they sacrifice. You know, for every nurse, every doctor who was in there included and couldn't go home or had to, you know, decontaminate themselves in the garage and take off every piece of clothing and then take a shower before even greeting their kids.

You just realize how much they sacrificed. So for me, over the last seven years, you know, we talked about when I got to the company was to Brown. It was faster than your nursing. It was about a $250 million combined revenue. But in Generous Health in 2021 merged for you know for brand and and then acquired three more.

And we were part of one of the biggest mergers and acquisitions in the health care staffing industry today. As you mentioned, we're, you know, in 2022, we reported 2 billion in revenue. But one of the most important things I think we did in the midst of all that business growth was spark ideas. Our CEO slowed us down at the beginning of the merger and said, we've got to create a clinician focused purpose.

And that was because during or during COVID, you probably read there were all kinds of studies that the attrition rate, three out of ten nurses wanted to leave the bedside and the attrition rate among doctors was at about 40%. So Bart recognized very early that, you know, something was very obvious to a lot of people is that we're facing one of the worst health care shortages we've ever seen.

DANIEL And there's no there's no sign that it's going to stop. It's compounding. It's getting worse between baby boomer retirement cohort burnout and attrition. There are now not enough nurses to fill the gap. So Bart said a small group of us to task and said put together clinician for clinician focused purpose, but a brand new entity this big, huge, powerful, you know, successful company and generous help.

And we ended up establishing the purpose statement to build a home for health care talent. And when we set that purpose statement, the idea is that health care talent can move around within this ecosystem of opportunity. They can step away from the bedside if they're burnt out and take, you know, a clinical position that's remote or maybe telehealth, or they can jump right into something like a strike and work a 60 hour week and be at the bedside providing the closest level of care.

So the clinician focused purpose for us was really important. It's something that as the first chief marketing officer, I had a privilege to be, you know, part of the group that was able to push that forward. And then we also launched a program called the ACT Program, which stands for Advocacy Careers Tools, so that we can support the well-being and the careers of the nurses, doctors and allied professionals who work for us.

So for us, the ACT program, which is it's just a series of resources, tools, advocacy that supports all of our clinicians, that is our manifesto and of our purpose statement. So, you know, over the last two years, being able to be part of the team that, you know, put together the purpose and launched this program and then seeing it in action is very inspiring.

We use it to attract good talent to the organization, and we also use it as a guiding light in all of our decisions about budget resources and focus.

Daniel Burstein: Well, Lauren, we've talked about so many different things about what you've done in your marketing career. I wonder if you had to break it down. What are the key qualities of an effective marketer? What do you seek for your own career? What do you look for when you're hiring?

Lauren Pasquale Bartlett: So I think that strategy and and integrity for me over I mean, however you know, almost 30 years of working now, the strategy in marketing is the most important thing. You've got to understand all of the results. You've got to be tracking your numbers to try to understand your customer, your fan in the case of board your candidate, in the case of health care staffing, you know, I hear I look, I really enjoy listening to your show, Daniel.

And one of the reasons I love it is because different marketers in different verticals use, you know, some use read it to understand the customer. And so I'm actually going to the stores and I like hearing about the woman who actually went to the bathroom because they were trying to sell Jergens lotion. And she wanted to know how do they display it?

Do they put it under the counter because they're not really proud of it? Or did they put it up there with their $100 perfume? So, you know, understanding your customer and then strategically aligning all of your digital platforms, all of your tracking, all of your survey information, your research information so that you're making the best decisions with your budget.

That's how you become an effective marketer. I think the way that you become an inspiring marketer is using the purpose to, you know, to inspire the people who work for you and to try to drive the business forward and drive revenue again for for me, I've always been able to work for really purposeful organizations and generous help with the purpose to support these health care conditions.

And the U.S. Olympic Committee in building just sustainable competitive excellence for these Olympians and Paralympians. I've always been able to work for purposeful companies. You have to lead with integrity. You have to lead with that purpose. You have to model acts the way you want others to act. I think that you have a big influence, especially, you know, over product development and engagement.

So it's just a pleasure in my mind being part of that, you know, part of the marketing org.

Daniel Burstein: Well, I love that. Don't just be an effective marketer, be an inspiring marketer. This was an inspiring conversation. Lauren, thanks for spending some time with us today.

Lauren Pasquale Bartlett: Yeah, it's my pleasure. But actually, I want to call back something that you mentioned earlier, Daniel, if we have a few minutes here.

Intro Dude: Sure.

Lauren Pasquale Bartlett: So, Marcus Collins, I took his class. He's a professor at the University of Michigan Business School, the law school business. And I took an executive education class with him where he talked about building that social media group out of out of the beehive. And this is what's really interesting is, as you said, Marcus in his quote was, you don't go out.

Yeah, you don't build communities, associate them. I want to tell you one story for the Olympic Committee. When we started figuring out what social media was back in 2008, in 2009, Facebook was the first platform we wanted to be engaged with fans. And when we started, you know, cruising around Facebook to see what was happening related to the Olympics, we found an Olympic fan site that had 77,000 followers.

It had been formed by a woman named Stephanie from the Midwest. And I just started reaching out to her and saying, How did you build this fan site? What do people care about? What questions do they ask? And she, through a series of phone calls with her, I got to the point where I mustered up my courage and said, Stephanie, is it okay if we take over the fan site that you've already built with your 77,000 fans?

And so we had exactly the same experience as Marcus Collins, who discovered the Beehive, you know, a group that was already engaged in talking about Beyoncé. And we ended up selling that platform to over two and a half million within about a year or so. There's a really smart digital marketing and then just the power of that engagement and the storytelling.

So I thought that was funny when I listened to Marcus tell that story.

Daniel Burstein: No, that's perfect. I think sometimes when we go into a new channel or whatever it may be, we come in with whatever messaging idea we have versus first taking the time to go in and listen and seeing if there are conversations going in there already about either our brand or our industry, our product, how we can get involved in that with versus just coming in, you know, from the top down and saying the way it's going to be.

Well, that was awesome. I think that was the first curtain call we've ever had in the How I Made It Marketing podcast. A little bit like those like Springsteen where you thought, No, that's it. And then boom, he comes back and he plays Thunder Road and he just brings a house down to America. Thanks for the curtain call and thanks for all of your time today.

Lauren Pasquale Bartlett: Thank you, Daniel. I appreciate the time.

Daniel Burstein: And thanks to everyone for listening.

Outro: Thank you for joining us for how I Made It in marketing with Daniel Burstein. Now that you've gotten inspiration for transforming yourself as a marketer, get some ideas for your next marketing campaign from Marketing Sherpas Extensive library of free case studies at Marketing Sherpa dot com. That's marketing s h e RPA e-comm been.

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