With Ron & Josie Ross, a beautiful couple engaged in helping businesses succeed. Ron is a dynamic speaker, facilitator, consultant, an accomplished writer, and an expert on building successful culture and group dynamics. Prior to his career as a consultant and executive coach, Ron served as head of Learning for a national leader in the home healthcare industry, and has served as a consultant for healthcare, pharmaceutical and biotech firms based throughout the United States. 

On the other, Josie is a thoughtful and engaging speaker, and has served as a fractional Head of HR for several start-ups in the healthcare space. She brings her 15 years of successful business operations and leadership to her coaching and consulting engagements, and has led several high-performing teams to record sales, consistently the top performer, where she grew her division to 60 million in annual sales from scratch.

Ron and Josie co-founded Avant HR Solutions – HR and Leadership Development Consulting Company focused on small to mid-sized businesses, where Ron gets to create a rich laboratory to tinker and help clients solve their most juicy organizational challenges, while Josie gets to apply her operations lens, scientific mind, and passion for organization and talent development to help other businesses achieve success by scaling up their HR and people operations.

In this insightful conversation, Ron and Josie discuss the importance of courage and emphasize communication as a critical skill for entrepreneurs seeking success in dealing with difficult conversations, particularly in the context of our increasingly diverse world. Also, they highlight the advantages of inclusive teams and the need to question certainties that can lead to HR challenges. Furthermore, they share their individual journeys and how they transition into the field of HR.

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Takeaways & quotes you don’t want to miss from this episode:

  • Why it takes a team to grow.
  • The importance of having a network of resources.
  • “What makes people comfortable is not only just the content, but also dealing with the emotions and the anxiety of it,”
  • What can you do to make yourself more comfortable in having multigenerational conversations?
  • Certainty is the enemy and the opposite of curiosity.

“While we have an attraction and affinity for each other, our brains think differently, just the way we process information. And I think, rather than running from it, we’ve leaned into that, and we really encourage our clients to lean into the power of inclusion.”

-Ron Ross

Check out these highlights:

  • 23:23 How do the smaller companies get the right HR support for them?
  • 33:19 Josie shares her journey and how she got into the field of HR.
  • 38:20 Ron, on the other hand, talks about where he comes from and where his experience comes from.
  • 43:17 What sets them apart from other HR service providers.
  • 1:00:11 Josie and Ron share their final thoughts to leave to the listeners…

How to get in touch with Ron & Josie on Social Media:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ronjayross/
Email: Ron@AvantHRS.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/josie-ross-msod-15099137/

Email: Josie@AvantHRS.com

You can also contact Ron & Josie by visiting their website here.

Special gift to the listeners: Check their resources below for FREE.

Leadership Offsite Readiness Checklist

Employee Handbook Checklist

Imperfect Show Notes

We are happy to offer these imperfect show notes to make this podcast more accessible to those who are hearing impaired or those who prefer reading over listening. While we would love to offer more polished show notes, we are currently offering an automated transcription (which likely includes errors, but hopefully will still deliver great value), below:

GGGB Intro  00:00

Here’s what you get on today’s episode of Guts, Grit and Great Business®…

Ron Ross  00:04

If you’re going to invest in any skill as an entrepreneur to really improve its communication. So it’s not only just having like those hard conversations, but even having those transformational conversations that Heather, you talked about where it’s like, we’re just talking about ideas, and we’re all listening in and we’re fighting for the best idea. And that’s a skill set. And don’t be alarmed if you’re not great at it. But it’s something if you invest in that I do believe it has so much return. And I don’t care what business you’re in. I think that’s where the juice is.

GGGB Intro  00:38

The adventure of entrepreneurship and building a life and business you love, preferably at the same time is not for the faint of heart. That’s why Heather Pearce Campbell is bringing you a dose of guts, grit and great business stories that will inspire and motivate you to create what you want in your business and life. Welcome to the Guts, Grit and Great Business® podcast where endurance is required. Now, here’s your host, The Legal Website Warrior®, Heather Pearce Campbell.

Heather Pearce Campbell  01:07

Alrighty, welcome. I am Heather Pearce Campbell, The Legal Website Warrior®. I’m an attorney and legal coach based here in Seattle, Washington, serving online information entrepreneurs throughout the US and around the world. Welcome to today’s conversation on Guts, Grit and Great Business®. I am so excited to welcome you to this particular conversation because we have not yet covered this topic on the podcast. And I was joking. I was talking with one of my favorite podcast friends the other day, because we actually did around to have him back on the podcast for conversation and he was laughing. He’s like, you’ve been going out this a while like, How old does your podcast and COVID brain? I’m like, Huh? Was it two months ago or 49 years ago? I can’t remember. Right? And he goes great. Once we finally figured out the date, he goes, Oh, you had a COVID baby. And it was a podcast and was right at the start of COVID. But what I realized is my podcast is almost three years old. And by the time this comes out, it could I know it could be three years old. So there you go. We have not yet in three years, I’m actually a little embarrassed to admit talked about HR. So for those of you listening, you’re in for a treat. Welcome to both Josie Ross and Ron Ross. 

Josie Ross  02:32

Hi, Heather. 

Heather Pearce Campbell  02:33

It’s so good to see you guys. And I also want to say I’m also super excited about this conversation because this is the first time it’s been multiple person panel. So three folks on the it’ll make just for a super fun, I think very well rounded conversation because I know you guys share some of the same expertise and have different expertise as well. 

Ron Ross  02:55


Josie Ross  02:56

We do. 

Heather Pearce Campbell  02:57

So, for those of you that don’t know Josie and Ron. Josie Ross is a thoughtful and engaging speaker who has a knack for bringing fresh insights to conversations. She has served as a fractional Head of HR for several startups in the healthcare space, helping these businesses successfully to scale up their HR and people operation to meet the needs of their clients, investors and employees. Josie is passionate about helping businesses succeed, especially social impact business owners and entrepreneurs. Hello, we’re talking to you, listeners. Josie brings her 15 years of successful business operations and leadership to her coaching and consulting engagements. She has led several high performing teams to record sales, consistently the top performer, where she grew her division to 60 million in annual sales from scratch. As a co-founder and partner at Avant HR Solutions, she gets to apply her operations lens, scientific mind, and passion for organization and talent development to help other businesses to achieve success by scaling up their HR and people operations. Love it Josie. Those are some good accomplishments in there. Right, Ron? Thank you. I know.

Ron Ross  04:16

I married a partner well. I’m glad you rehearse first.

Heather Pearce Campbell  04:24

For Ron, I know…

Ron Ross  04:26

Your’re probably like he’s smart. He married her.

Heather Pearce Campbell  04:30

Welcome, Ron. I’m kidding. For those of you that don’t know Ron. Ron is a dynamic speaker, facilitator and consultant that specializes in creating happy, harmonious and high performing teams. Ron is an expert on building successful culture and group dynamics. He is an accomplished writer. We were just talking about their book coming out shortly. Recently completing his second book Inspire Me, Where organizations win the talent battle, beat the competition, and bolster employee engagement. Ron is passionate about helping businesses succeed, especially social impact businesses, business owners and entrepreneurs. As co-founder of Avant HR Solutions with his partner Josie, he gets to create a rich laboratory. I love the scientific words in here. I’m such a fan of science he gets to create a laboratory to tinker and to help clients solve their most juicy organizational challenges. With an inventive spirit and knack for working with people, it’s no surprise Ron’s career trajectory led him to consulting. Prior to his career as a consultant and executive coach, Ron served as head of learning for a national leader in the home healthcare industry. He has served as a consultant for healthcare, pharmaceutical and biotech firms based throughout the United States. Those are quite the intros you guys. I love it. You come with such great and broad experience. I didn’t do too bad either. Right. So win win win all around. I love it. I love it. And it’s Friday, right? Yay. So good. So, I mean, I, as an attorney, see, a lot of issues come up in the HR space, right, which is partly why I was so excited to be connected with you. I think our mutual friend, Paul’s Elizar got us connected, right. And if you’re listening, Paul, you need to go jump over not only the Paul’s podcast, which I’m sure you guys are on, but also, we recently recorded his second episode on my podcast. So yeah, Paul’s amazing. Anyways, the first thing I think I would just love to start with to get kind of people’s feet underneath them around the HR conversation is, you know, what you typically see businesses, you know, and they could be small businesses. I know you guys probably work with a variety of, you know, organizations from a size standpoint. But let’s start with small businesses. What kind of mistakes do you catch them making?

Josie Ross  07:25

This is like the closed door conversation we are.

Heather Pearce Campbell  07:29

Jumping right in? I know, I want people to like, get it in a hurry why they should stick around for this conversation?

Josie Ross  07:37

I love the question. Yeah, we work with several different sizes. So from the one to two ownership size, the billion dollar organization and what we see in HR, the biggest mistake is, oh, no, we didn’t know that was an issue. So it’s sort of like they call us after there’s an issue. It’s, we didn’t know that was a rule and regulation, we haven’t been following it. And now we need to. The other thing we see a lot of is we didn’t set up the system. We didn’t set up a compensation system and a policy, we didn’t set up the guidelines to do this thing. And we allowed this employee to do this thing and this employee to do this thing and this employee to do this thing, and now we’re in trouble for it. So we see some of that as well as part of mistakes. But Ron, I’m curious to see,

Ron Ross  08:27

In addition to that is like people don’t give any feedback, coaching correction, and then they want to fire someone. And even though you know, a lot of states are at will, it doesn’t mean you get to do what you want, when you want. There’s still repercussions. So it’s just smarter to invest in people, even if they don’t work out. Rather than hold it, hold it, hold it get frustrated, frustrated. Now just I’m down with you. So we see that a lot and organizations of all sizes.

Heather Pearce Campbell  08:58

Oh my gosh, well, then, you know, all of those points? Yes, yes, yes, I feel like we’re speaking the same language because I live in the legal space. And I see the same thing. Oops, I didn’t even know I was supposed to look at that, or I didn’t know that was a thing, or I didn’t think I would have to address it until there’s a problem, right? And they just didn’t expect it quite so soon. Run to your point, what you talk about and the discomfort that people feel in facing difficult conversations. One of the reasons I teach I have a whole like framework five bucket system, and guess what my last bucket is? Dispute Resolution strategies, which you could also just call Communication Strategies. Right. And it’s just human nature. And I think particularly in the workplace, there’s there’s all of this added pressure that comes along with having tough conversations, I think partly because some people whether they’re leading a business or even just an upper levels of May Management inside somebody else’s organization just don’t know what they don’t know. And they feel uncomfortable, knowing how to navigate having a difficult conversation, right. And part of that might be like regulatory or rules related where they just need a little education. But some of it is like relationship basics as well. 

Ron Ross  10:20

It truly is, I mean, a lot of it comes down to, we bring sort of our first team and to our work force in it, and a lot of us haven’t examined it. And if you come from a household where conflict was you don’t talk about it, you avoid it, you know, we’re just quiet about it, or you’re a combative. We just don’t reexamine and what, what it needs to be. And then things are changing. And particularly in this like, era, in time, where there is social change, the workforce is more diverse. There’s more pressure on companies, there are a lot of leaders, and Josie deals with this probably more than me that want to do the right thing and want to address the things, but they’re terrified. So from the hot debt issues to just simple, you know, you’re just haven’t been doing your job, folks. They’re missing it. So that’s, that’s the thing that we see the most is if folks just aren’t jumping into those conversations soon enough and documenting it. Josie will talk about that for so…

Heather Pearce Campbell  11:21

And do you think the reason why I mean, obviously, we all have a certain amount of trepidation around conflict, I would say that’s pretty normal, just from a human nature survival standpoint. I know I know, some people are wired a little differently if they grew up in a super combative environment where that was just how people operated. Maybe they’re more okay with just being out and about with stuff. But I think by and large, most people, that’s not their comfort zone. Right, in my experience, even having what I would call a clarifying conversation with clients, with business partners with whoever can be a super big challenge. Right. And so, certainly having an employment related performance related conversation, I think even ups the ante a little more. What else? Do you see anything else feeding into that?

Ron Ross  12:12

I’m just I’ll let you go first. Because if not, I’ll be just talking to. You go first.

Josie Ross  12:18

I think one of the things I see is the discomfort around. So I’m gonna get real here for a second.

Heather Pearce Campbell  12:26

Right? It’s Friday, folks, it’s Friday, hang in there for the ride we’ve been through.

Josie Ross  12:32

Friday, then a long week. A lot of the companies we deal with have a certain demographic at the top. And then demographics at the bottom. And I am not going to veil it. I mean, we have white men who lead organizations who are now like, how do I talk to my female employees? How do I talk to the black employee who reports to me or the person of color who reports to me, and there’s discomfort around this because they’re not really sure how to engage. They don’t want to say the wrong things, they end up saying nothing. And that’s also not okay. And we run into a lot of that that sort of comes up against these difficult conversations as well when certain different demographics are coming together to have conflictual conversations or sort of uncomfortable conversations. And the other thing is, employees don’t know what to say they that leaders don’t know what to say to their employees, there are rules and regulations are not sure what to follow. They’re not sure. Can I say this?

Heather Pearce Campbell  13:28

Put my head in the sand over here and ignore it.

Josie Ross  13:31

Yes, there’s a lot of ignoring that goes on until it’s at the breaking point where it’s the tension has gotten so big that they have to do a firing. It’s like, we just moved to fire. We didn’t have any conversations you just fire and terminate in person. It’s like Oh,

Heather Pearce Campbell  13:46

No, painful for everybody. 

Josie Ross  13:49

And then they call us. 

Ron Ross  13:51

They’re like help worship, they quit. And they they flame you on Glassdoor? And because you just didn’t like, check in and have a conversation. So I think if if I had to put a headline on what Josie is talking about, is it staying anxiety in the emotional element of having those conversations? So, you know, we kind of talk about this from a perspective. with clients. It’s like you have to see yourself as an athlete and athletes and performers, they have to get in touch with, you know, their performance state. And when you’re about to have a critical, Crucial Conversation. That’s a performance. It’s the heart rate is racing. You’re nervous, and it’s okay. You know, you have professional golfers and they’ve had the you know, the whoop, things on their wrist when they’re on the first tee, their heart rate is up, but the difference between them and most of the folks we’re talking about is they haven’t really gotten familiar with it. They haven’t put themselves in that position. And they haven’t really like made themselves okay with okay, what what is it that I’m feeling and what are some strategies to mitigate that So that’s a big part of like, I think what makes people comfortable is not only just the content, but also dealing with the emotions and the anxiety of it as well.

Heather Pearce Campbell  15:09

And is it? I mean, would you say that underlying so much of that is just a lack of training? From the company perspective? Yeah.

Ron Ross  15:19

It is. It’s one of those things that it’s not anyone’s born with the skill to do it. And we just don’t teach it, right families aren’t taught. And then we just go along with these like subpar skills, and how to really have conversations. And Josie and I, we love to watch reality TV. And when we’re watching reality TV, because we’re consultants who deal with human nature, we pause a lot and say, How do you think they dealt with it, they weren’t really honest, that was just an expectation without a degree. And so all of these skill sets that you need to have in there, so learnable. But leaders, business owners have to invest in those skills, because if they don’t, they’re going to have leaders leading teams that are just trashing their reputation inadvertently.

Josie Ross  16:09

I think part of the issue over the last three years too, because it’s been compounded by the fact that people are remote, that they’re in organizations are in reactive states, because they’re responding constantly to the changing environment. They don’t have the time and resources right now. Because they’re in reactive state, their pinch for everything. And so they’re not putting the sort of time and resources into teaching their leaders this, you know, I think prior to the pandemic, prior to 2020, there was an effort around putting resources towards different leadership development, and then the pandemic happened, it’s like, let’s put everything on hold. That isn’t survival mode, I think we’re still sort of in that in between organizations small, it doesn’t matter what size you are, you’re still sort of responding to what has happened to us over the last three years. And to be honest, it’s compounded our emotional feelings. So we’re showing up at work more exhausted, more burnt out as a result of all of that. And so what we see in our consulting business, Ron and I is more reactive responses to people to things to processes, because we’re all sort of operating from this reactive state, as a result of the last three years.

Ron Ross  17:22

To add on what Josie is saying. And then you have people who were, you’re not doing it face to face like it used to be in. So we’ve had to learn how to get in and like try to do some of the like smoothing and what you call those relationship skills. And I think Zoom is just cut out a lot of that. So you know, kudos to you one of the things you did to make us feel comfortable as you had a little bit of a warm up party conversation, I think leaders forget the basic stuff that they need to do is like, there’s nothing wrong with taking four or five minutes to check in with the person, how are you? Like, hey, I’m doing great, I need to kind of like settle myself down before we get into the business. So we’ve lost some of that basic etiquette because of virtual, so folks have to establish new rules and new ways of dealing with it. On top of all what Josie says so the workplace and the rules are changing, and they’re changing fast, you know?

Heather Pearce Campbell  18:17

Well, you know, it really is true, the number of people that I’ve spoken with who even now, right “post pandemic”, if you can call it that, who are still working on like healing their nervous system, right and, and you throw the work stress and if your parents like I am too young kids who live felt crazy for a while I I was joking with you guys about launching this podcast, within a couple months of the pandemic starting and having two kids home full time and doing that on top of work and right, it was just, I think part of the gift for me in that long, horrible experiment is that I got a daily reminder of, first of all, the importance of not only checking in with others, but checking in with yourself, like how am I doing today? There were some days where I was just so exhausted, I couldn’t even work, you know, and, and being able to recognize like, other people might be having the same experience. And you know, you’re right, zoom. I’m a people person. I love people. I love being in real life with people because that energy exchange is just so fun and real. And you really get a sense of people and, you know, Zoom is okay, I still love it. I get to see faces and generally feel energy, but it is different. And I think, you know, for companies that were forced to pivot like I know a guy who had built his career around and really was doing quite well around how to host and you know, handle live in person events, right, and you’d kind of like reach this pinnacle right before COVID completely had to pivot, and now he’s out with a book on exactly this point that you talked about, which is how to use Zoom, but create connection and like, really amplify the experience of zoom. And I think that still continues to be a challenge for certain businesses, you know, not only in their internal processes, but in their external processes if they’re doing, you know, Zoom events or things via Zoom to connect with clients or groups. But it is there’s a lot that has changed. And I think collectively, you know, giving people a little grace serves us all. 

Heather Pearce Campbell  20:38

All right, let’s pause for a moment and hear from today’s sponsor. Are you an entrepreneur who is on track to make a million or more in revenue this year in your business? If so, your business is likely facing a host of legal issues that are right for support. And if you are like so many of my clients at this level, you are likely tired of taking unnecessary risks and a DIY approach to legal support in your business. You’re ready to tackle the mess of legal documents, six legal gaps that you have. You want to take care of your IP, your clients, your business, and avoid unnecessary conflict and risk in the process. If this is you, and beyond just being an entrepreneur, you are a catalyst and are committed to your mission and your impact in the world. I invite you to get in touch. You could be a fit for my catalyst club, a small business legal support program that I designed for my high level clients. Just like you, you can find out more at legalwebsitewarrior.com. Just click on the Work with Me tab to learn more about the catalyst club and other ways that I support my clients, a fabulous group of world changing entrepreneurs, I might add, you’ve done the initial legwork in your business. And now you want to soar. And you know that you can only go as high and as far as your legal foundation lets you go. So get in touch today, hop over to legalwebsitewarrior.com, click on the Work with Me tab. And if you have any questions, get in touch through the Contact link on my site, I look forward to connecting it would be a joy to support you on your path.

Heather Pearce Campbell  22:23

One of the other things that I wonder about because I serve primarily small businesses, right, it’s the little bit this whole access to support issue, whether in my world it’s access to legal justice, whether it’s you know, anything else? How do the smaller companies get HR support that fits for them? Right, and, and where do they look like I know that a lot of people can be hard to make a decision around certain support services with a great deal of confidence, especially if they don’t directly know somebody or know the service provider. Right. So talk to us a little bit about the challenge. You see small businesses facing and getting connected to the right resources for their business in the obviously in the HR world.

Ron Ross  23:09

Josie I’m gonna turn it over to you, I’m sweet talking.

Josie Ross  23:16

Thank you for that. On a Friday at five. Yeah, we recognize that different budgets mean that different resources, even budgets, but different resources, period mean different access for different services. And I think in HR, specifically, you’re dealing with the people you work with, it’s a very personal sort of touch. It’s a people thing, right? It’s not like we’re asking someone for transactional work, it involves the people who work for them. So one of the things we suggest if you are having trouble, or if you just want to figure out like, what’s the right kind of HR support for my organization or for my business, there are several levels of support. There are consultants like Ron and I who provide, we do retainers, so you get so many hours of business and, you know, we’ll help you in the transactional sort of day to day, whatever crisis appears, there are hiring people. So if the right support for you is hiring people, you may want to hire someone to do it, or hire a full time consultant to do it. My advice always is, the more complex your businesses, the sooner you want to get HR involved. Complexity causes HR issues, period. So if you have a lot of customers, if your business is very, we do a lot of health care and small startup healthcare, which is a very complex business. It requires licensed professionals and clients who need really very regulated care. So if you’re even in a small business that requires those sorts of levels of regulation, we suggest just talk to one expert just Just an hour of time to sort of get okay, how what’s what do I need to start with? Because the experts are there to help?

Heather Pearce Campbell  25:07

Yeah. Well, and I think that’s often I mean, it’s interesting because it sounds so simple, like just start, just get started having the conversations and looking but it’s like I know with legal, people are worried like they’re gonna open Pandora’s Box. Right? Do you get that same sense around HR? Yeah, yes. nodding heads for anybody not watching, like.

Josie Ross  25:27

Yes, they come to us for this visit this problem, and we recognize, oh, it’s actually a symptom of this larger that needs to be addressed. But what I know, is that being proactive about things like legal, I mean, you know, this, being proactive about things like legal support, and HR support actually saves you money in the long run, because the consequences of not can be very, very costly.

Heather Pearce Campbell  25:54

Oh, tremendously. And you know, and I tell people regularly, the irony of like, the small business experience is that, like, it takes employees to grow, right? It takes team to grow, because you just cannot do it all yourself. And from a legal perspective, hiring that team is the riskiest thing you can do in your business, like full stop, right? And so it requires those systems, it requires that structure to be able to do that and grow even with your first team member or to the right way. And so often, I’ll get people like, oh, well, you know, I want to test out this independent contractor. And then in a while, we can examine whether or not they become an employee. And it’s like, okay, let’s talk about this. Because it sounds like you’re making assumptions. And sometimes I have to stop them. They’re like, we need to look at what state you’re located in, especially because so many of my clients have interstate businesses, right? Employee, we’re talking about employees based all around, etc. You may not have the option to call somebody an independent contractor, depending on what they’re doing, how much they’re working, right, what the rules are in that particular state. And so we have to back you up and go back to square one where I’m like, Nope, we need to get you connected with an employment attorney in that state. 

Josie Ross  27:15

The states are so specific. I mean, it’s different. And keeping up with one of the regulations just crossed all 50. States is complicated, is complicated.

Heather Pearce Campbell  27:25

This is one of the early questions I asked Ron, on our Connecting call. It was like, Is that a challenge in the HR world to stay abreast of all of that stuff?

Ron Ross  27:35

Yeah, we were talking about that before like, yeah, I probably should have filled out that questionnaire. Like, that’s a talk. Yeah. Like he showed up.

Josie Ross  27:35

I say to him, does Heather do research across all 50 states because I could really use a legal research across all 50 states, they’re so different. And it comes at you so quickly, the regulations. So we’re keyed into like, multiple alerts on my computer every day about the regulations coming in from this state, and that state and this state and that state, and they’re all changing.

Heather Pearce Campbell  28:13

Totally. Well, and that’s what I wondered whether there’s some, like professional services organization are something that you belong to that helps you monitor that stuff. And folks that are listening, I want you to pay attention to the fact that we have experts in their field, who are talking about the intensity of keeping up with regulations like how could you possibly do this on your own as a small business? Like just stop it.

Josie Ross  28:46

Yeah, it’s a full time job. And you know, we’re connected to like, Sherm is great, a great resource for all that. But every state has its own website, and we’ll send out alerts, like every Labor Law, state labor law, will send out its own alerts to give you regulations, but literally, it’s 50.

Heather Pearce Campbell  29:05

That’s right. And even you look at just comparing, you know, like, I’m obviously West Coast based in Washington, just going down the coast, when you’re in California, right? You get to California, and it’s like, okay, you have completely different rules for certain things in California. So even, “implementing a standard independent contractor agreement for a true independent contractor”, like there are some big no no’s that you do not want to cross the line on or get wrong if you’re dealing in California. And to some extent, business is a process of developing I call it the winging it skills, but around core foundational things. I feel like you know, small businesses can get overly focused on I’ll call it the outside of their business. And it’s not until they’re really facing some turmoil that they catch up on building out some of the foundational stuff like what we’re talking about here.

Ron Ross  30:01

Yeah. And I’ll give Josie credit. You know, even though she was humble, it’s hard she knows the foundation and you as lawyer. That’s what helps if you know the foundation, and then now you’re looking at a regulation that’s changed and another state, you can quickly interpret it. So it’s not even just finding the information has been able to understand what it means and to compare it to sort of what the baseline is. So to your point, it’s better to consult to have sort of, in your age myself, your Rolodex.

Heather Pearce Campbell  30:34

No, you did not know this. One of my favorite phrases, I think…

Ron Ross  30:39

I just had to say it because…

Heather Pearce Campbell  30:42

I always say, put me in your Rolodex, like I want you know, to be a business card on your desk and not a book on the book of faces, whatever, like a real person. 

Ron Ross  30:52

Yeah, you got to have somebody sort of your phone and expert, email, text and expert. Just somebody can point you in the right direction. I love that, you know, one of the things that I learned about you from the first time that we talked is you’re very network connection oriented. So if you don’t know, a super connector, or if you’re not a super connector, connect with a super connector, because chances are they’re gonna have someone in their network that may be a friend of a friend or a colleague of a colleague, that would be sort of just my practical advice as well.

Heather Pearce Campbell  31:30

Yeah, it really is such a good piece. Because I do find that like, even the number of times I get questions around, like, do you know anybody to talk to you about insurance for my particular business? It can, I think it’s really easy for certain people to feel like an island in regards to certain resources. And so the other piece of advice I have for folks is, also if you can’t find a resource, you know, directly reach out to businesses that you are connected with that are in the same industry, same field kind of same trajectory, find out who they’re working with, find out, like who they’re working with, and love, by the way, sometimes, you know, people end up working with a service provider, and it’s just like to get by, don’t do that, find ones that come really highly recommended, from another business on your same trajectory, and maybe a step or two ahead of you right on that path. So that’s a really great point. I would love and we should have started here. But I wanted to get right into like some of the issues that we see. Right? I would love to dig in a little bit to your background and what led you into the field of HR, right, which is really people problem heavy. I’m just gonna say it and not everybody is attracted to those kinds of problems.

Ron Ross  32:48

Yeah, Josie, would you agree you would go first.

Heather Pearce Campbell  32:53

And Margarita is waiting for you.

Josie Ross  32:58

Origin Story, I love this. I love this story. Anyway, let’s see if I can spin this into a story. I always say our past sort of finds us I do not wake up as an eight year old and say, Boy, I hope I go into HR.

Heather Pearce Campbell  33:15


Josie Ross  33:19

I actually I have a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. I wanted to be a doctor as the science ding ding, ding, ding ding comes full circle. I have a systems thinking brain. I think about ecosystems. I think about body systems. I think about chemical systems. It’s just how my brain works. So I want to be a doctor and sort of found my way after my getting my bachelor’s degree. There’s always the weird in between you’re taking your MCAT you’re trying to figure out what you want to do next. I was actually a CNA. I put myself through college as a CNA at a state run nursing home hardest job if we have CNAs out there, or people who employ CNAs hardest job, right? Yeah, and so did that through college but decided I was gonna take a little bit of a break a to gain money. And to figure out what I wanted to do next after my bachelor’s degree and found my way into healthcare administration. I started in homecare scheduling for sick children, sick and disabled children, scheduling nurses in their home I cried every day for the first two weeks because I could not keep straight the nurses from the clients. It was such a high pressure job, parents calling saying where’s my nurse, very high pressure job. But then spent 12 years in that business and built a business of $60 million and pediatric home health care. Loved it. Game to this real respect for the people who do this work and it’s very hard work. It’s emotionally hard work. physically hard work. They give their whole hearts to it to support these children, just really both very stressful, but very heartwarming work. And I decided at the end of 12 years, I’ve already built like this huge business had several locations across the state of Pennsylvania had decided, I need to change I needed, you know, I think as entrepreneurs, and I think probably your audience can relate to this, we get to this point where we’ve been working for somebody else for a while, and we’re like, Okay, what’s, what’s next? We sort of climb a mountain and we look around and say, Okay, what is the next mountain to climb? And so I thought about the business, I thought about what I had done so far. And I’m like, people, this is the most complicated piece of the business. Right? It’s the lever that is the hardest to move. It’s the most complex. No one person is like the other person, they don’t respond in the same way. They’re not widgets, we move on board. Right. Super complex. And I loved the idea of how do we create this back to my scientist mind systems that support them and doing the work that they do. Healthcare has always been a passion of mine. And so I moved into HR went to my masters moving to HR, did VP of HR for a large home health care agency for a while, met Ron, and I think he’s going to tell his story. But our combined story is we met each other through work and realize we had a real come at it very, very differently. I had the operations mind in the very HR, he has the very people leadership development, that ours is really a love story a passionate about what we do, we combined it with the passion we have for each other. And we’re like, can we make a business out of this and love it during the pandemic? We were like, Let’s do it. I know, this was the craziest thing. I don’t know what what compelled. You know, the world was in crisis. And we were like this, things are about to shift majorly, in this field that we love so much taking care of people at work, it’s going to be so different when we come out the other side of this and how do we capitalize on that? And how do we use the skills the both of us have to create a business that really helps people during this crazy time we find ourselves in. So we took the leap and decided to open the business. And we combined my HR and operations experience with his leadership development and sort of instructional design and teaching experience and decided how do we make the world a better place coming out of this major crisis we find ourselves in?

Heather Pearce Campbell  37:35

That’s amazing. I yeah, it takes it takes a lot, I think to have the willingness to tackle what I see as well as the biggest challenges in business, the people problems that come up right and not everybody has the I’ll just call it patience or fortitude to jump into that arena. Right. And I love this combination of your skill sets the system’s operation thinking as well as the really people centric, you know, team building leadership stuff. So Ron, talk to us a little bit about where you come from and where your experience comes from.

Ron Ross  38:14

Yeah, I mean, my mind boils down to I’ve always been curious about people. I’m a middle child, three boys. So I come with all Jan Brady issues. Marsha, Marsha, Marsha and I, I just couldn’t figure out like, how can people in the same family have different experiences, my brother first made the mistakes my parents figured out, okay, you, we’re not gonna do that with you. And I joke with my parents. Now you stop being parents with my younger brother. He just totally is just like you didn’t care anymore. So I was just always curious about the people dynamic. Also, I was a tinkerer. I just love to try to take things apart figure them out. Most of the time. I couldn’t put them back together. very imaginative. So I thought if I could like think it up, I could figure it out. And perfect example, I was some reason I wanted a pinball machine and cousin Danny had one and I’m like, I put the wish list and to my parents. My parents couldn’t afford that. So I put it in anyway. And to kind of just placate myself, I’m like, I’m a believer in having what you want. Now I built my own cardboard, like pinball machine. I have a shoe box and different stuff. And I think my parents felt sorry for me, or just were moved by like, this kid is like, we gotta we gotta just try to make this happen. Long story short, they end up getting it for us. They still have it in their hands, though. Now like all the grandkids have used it. And it started from like, the power of like suggestion and imagination and just having really good parents. So I thought like, Alright, I want to be an inventor. I want to create something in the world and that was translated in from my pair. For instance, mentors to engineering, so from high school to early college, my science background was engineering, physics, computer science. While I had an aptitude for it, it just had no passion, I couldn’t imagine myself being in the lab or being sort of stuck behind a computer. Although I spent all my time behind a computer these days. My fixation was really about people. So I pivoted started my early career in sales, like talking to clients didn’t like the, you know, the the hardcore pressure. After a couple years, I’m like, you know, what, what do I love, I love like, presenting to people, I love connecting with them, and also love technology. So I was able to pivot, and really start when, like, we were trying to figure out back in the 90s, how do we have people use technology and equipment and still do their jobs? Well, so I was helping folks to learn how to do that teaching, found out had a really great aptitude for it. And I continued to level up, you know, alright, let me teach you how to service connect, let me teach you how to manage lead, and let me teach you how to coach. So it’s been a love and passion for the last 22 years. Like, I always knew that, eventually I will work for myself. And it was about seven years ago, maybe eight now, I was a happy solopreneur. And doing work that I love. And I didn’t, I didn’t need a huge client base. So when Josie and I met and she said it, right, it’s just love, or the work love or just disbelief in sort of, like, the innate possibility of people. And that’s, I think that’s what drives us. It’s like we we believe, in sort of, like the world should evolve and continue to grow, let’s not go backwards. We believe that, in inclusion, we believe in possibilities, and we kind of fell in love, like with our minds first and, and then when, you know, I was still doing my thing outside, she was working, doing brilliantly, you know, her career inside, it’s like, this is a great opportunity, as you said, to really, really scale up. So to be quite honest, like we’ve had a really good first year and a half, but we’re still trying to figure out like, it’s what we we are, what we think we are and maybe sort of what we could be, and we’re still trying to figure it out. But we’re loving the work. Love what we do. And it’s almost like we have these two different operations, sort of this HR that really helps people out. And then we have leadership, coaching, and then we have some, you know, in a related skill, so it’s been sort of a beautiful, beautiful journey, you know, so far for us.

Heather Pearce Campbell  42:55

I love that. And I think I already know the answer to this, you might have just said it. But what do you perceive as your difference in the marketplace? When you look around and compare yourself to other HR service providers?

Ron Ross  43:10

Yeah, I’ll say first, you know, what I realize is that we’re not your grandfather’s HR service. I, I think we are because we both come from, like science, backgrounds, and even sort of the master’s degree, it was science space. So like, there should be evidence based practices to play. But it can’t be in a classroom. And it can’t be in academia, it has to be road tested, it has to move at the speed of business. And I think the way we are is we partner with our clients. And if you’re willing to try and figure it out, we’re willing to do that with you. And some of our clients are long term clients who, when we want to, like try something that like, Hey, here’s what the research is showing. They’re like, Yeah, let’s go for it. And it’s great to have like, clients that trust you that way. And you have built those long term relationships with so that’s just my perspective, Josie makes it a little bit different.

Josie Ross  44:13

No, I agree. I think the other thing that sets us apart is we have operations experience. I think what we find a lot in Human Resources is they’re solely human resources. There’s nothing wrong with having a strict human…

Ron Ross  44:27

You frown when you said it. 

Josie Ross  44:29

Did I though? There really isn’t. I think there’s a there. There’s nothing wrong with having solely a traditional HR trajectory, having just solely HR experts on your consulting team for other firms. But what sets us apart is we’ve run businesses, we’ve run businesses of all sizes, we run teams of all sizes, we understand profit and loss. So a lot of the advice we give is through the lens of operations, and not through a strict lens of HR. So we tend to be comfortable On the gray as a result of that traditional HR is very black and white very, like rules driven.

Heather Pearce Campbell  45:04

There’s the rules. Yeah, here’s your pamphlet, here’s your whatever. Yes, yes, I love the combination of the operation side and the leadership training, right, the education that goes along with it. Because I think, in a lot of professional services, the education piece can be severed from the actual delivery of the service or the documentation or whatever. And so, a transformation doesn’t really happen on the client side. It’s kind of like, they feel like they they plugged in a piece of the puzzle, but they didn’t really transform from a leadership perspective, right? 

Ron Ross  45:41

Well, I would say the other thing that makes us unique is we’re just different. While we have an attraction and affinity for each other, our brains think differently, just the way we process information, sort of our sort of early experiences. And I think, rather than running from it, we we’ve we’ve leaned into that, and we really encourage our clients to lean into the power of inclusion. And we’re not just talking about racial, which is important. We’re not just talking about gender, which is important, just even how people think. And the research is clear. Those inclusive teams, those diverse teams, they just outperform same thing with small company. So instead of just being comfortable, I’ve always, I know who I know, and I’m comfortable with this type of person, you’ll have so much success. But if you’re willing to try to make it work to be around folks who think different, there’s going to be friction, and part of what we talk about is how you smooth that out and how you can set up systems to make it work. I think you outperform in the long run. So I think that’s a part of like, our value system as well.

Heather Pearce Campbell  46:52

I love that so much. I mean, I think a lot of small businesses, even growth oriented businesses, they want to do it the right way, right. They want to be doing things, you know, as well as possible. And it’s just this information gap. It’s just not connecting with exactly the right resource. What. And whether it’s a book, whether it’s just like a place to get started, like for somebody listening, that is like, Oh, I really resonated, what was Ron just said about, you know, being inclusive, and I love how broadly you define that? Where would you have somebody start?

Ron Ross  47:34

Yeah, Josie, any thoughts for you? Because I’m gonna pitch you know, what we were. 

Josie Ross  47:40

I want you to.

Heather Pearce Campbell  47:42

Which I think you should? Yes, I mean, that’s part of the point. But I really think the earlier we can catch people in that conversation, even before they’ve built a team, even before they’ve hired their first person, right, we’re gonna have some of those listeners here. What does that look like? How do you do it the right way from the start?

Ron Ross  48:01

Yeah. Josie, I’m just going to say one of the things that we say is starts with like, having conversation with yourself. So it’s not even about a book, or an outside resource. It’s, am I comfortable talking to people who are not like me? So I’ll give you an example. I’m of an age now where I have adult children who were professionals. So that’s the challenge, but it’s a beautiful thing. So we have this reverse mentorship relationship where I’m giving them like information from someone who’s further down the road. But what I get is like understanding of what that generation needs from a morale perspective, from a motivation perspective. So I was just like picking my daughter springs, she was taught she works for like a huge consulting company. And I’m like, tell me what your boss did. Like how did that like land? So I think you have to be open and know how comfortable you are having those conversations, multigenerational conversations, conversations with people of different race conversation with people who grew up in a different country. If you’re not, then that’s the start. Why aren’t you and what can you do to make yourself more comfortable because the world despite what was happening in politics, is not going to stop sort of the world becoming more diverse. That just can’t stop. So let’s get comfortable having conversations with each other in the best thing is if you’re curious, and open, people will will open up and share you you might not walk away from the conversation agreeing. But it just it just changes the landscape. It just changes sort of how you feel about other people. So that’s just my my thought and feel passionate about it just so young. I hear cooking on this one because I need a breather.

Heather Pearce Campbell  49:55

I need a breather. Yeah. Well, I do love that you even just raised the concept of curiosity, right, which I feel like is huge in business generally huge and leadership, huge and team building, like if you’re not curious, and you cannot get to the true story of your employee and how they feel about things, how they, you know, approach their work, knowing that you have their back. I mean, it’s, I mean, it’s the difference between somebody showing up to a job and doing the bare minimum to get by, versus I think, really, truly performing right?

Josie Ross  50:35

Yeah, we often say certainty is like the enemy. It’s the opposite of curiosity, right? It’s like, when you’re certain about something, you need to question your certainties. Because they’re also the things that get you in trouble from an HR perspective often.

Heather Pearce Campbell  50:51

Oh, totally, you know, I don’t have a huge team. But I have a handful of people that work with me in a variety of capacities. And whenever something goes wrong, it’s you know, from the start, I’ve tried to establish really open conversations like, Hey, I noticed this, can you tell me about what you saw happening or what to expect? And it is so enlightening, because what I often think of as like, Oh, that looks like it went wrong, is a massive learning opportunity usually to like fix the system, fix a process, fix communication tool, you know, something like that, but, but listening and hearing like, Oh, here’s why I did that, or here’s why it went this way. It’s like, oh, well, then that makes really obvious sense. There’s no reason to be, you know, frustrated or concerned or whatever. But if you don’t have the willingness to listen and get curious, first, I could imagine there’s a lot of breakdown that happens even in very small teams. 

Ron Ross  51:54

Yeah, thank you. I think you nailed sort of a key issue. I think, as a leader, one of the mindsets you have to have is you have to have an open mindset. And you have to have sort of that mindset of curiosity or inquiry. That’s required, is one of the entrepreneurs, I believe it was four, he said, I don’t have to know everything, I just need to know who to ask. And I think that’s like where it starts, so

Heather Pearce Campbell  52:18

I love the concept of being like, you know, what we hired team for a reason. Let them help us solve this problem, rather than telling them what the fix is, right? What do you think the problem is, like, I’m noticing this rub happening? How do we fix it? Right? And oftentimes, the solution that comes out of that question is like, Oh, you just eliminated like, three steps for me. Great.

Josie Ross  52:43

Simple solution as a result? Yes. When?

Heather Pearce Campbell  52:47

Totally, no, I love that. Well, I feel like even in just talking about, you know, first of all, your shared love of the topic. But in the back of my mind, I’m thinking like, we need to have a separate conversation about how people in relationship co-run a business.

Ron Ross  53:05

We get asked that all the time, that might be a side hustle for us, because they were so curious. We had a client, you know, the snap related work for him, how’s that work?

Heather Pearce Campbell  53:17

I mean, the fact that you guys are both into like the hardest part of you know, business problems, which is the people tells me that you already have possibly way above average skills in that department. So that’s probably part of the answer. But I love it. I think it’s fabulous. And I think, you know, I can see from even the way you guys answer questions, the shared strengths, but also really different strengths that you bring to the table, which is just so critical in business. I know it’s been a hard week Josie. So maybe this is the wrong time for this question. But I wanted to ask, what is it that you really, really love about your work?

Josie Ross  54:00

I believe we spend 40 plus hours a week are waking the majority of our waking life at work. And I believe if we create environments where people can be their biggest and best selves, they will have their biggest and best lives. And that if we can accomplish that, for even a handful of people, I feel like my life’s mission has been completed. And I happen to use HR as the lever in which to do it and leadership development. But you know, and other people use other things, but that is truly my passion, helping people be their biggest and best selves every day. without barriers. There’s a lot of barriers we deal with and through the last three years, I mean, just getting out of bed feels like a big step for i I’m serious. I don’t know how some people are doing it. And you mentioned Heather, like two kids in the background while you’re trying to work trying to in your business and your life simultaneously, the stresses are just I don’t know. I commend us all for just being alive right now.

Heather Pearce Campbell  55:10

Collectively celebrate this Friday, March 2023. Yeah, it’s a true story. Well, and I love that answer. I feel very much the same from a small business building perspective of like, how can we create small businesses that thrive so that people can show up and do their best work and not just go to a JOB, and I want to be clear that there’s nothing wrong with a gob. But if we can move people from that column into like, a real true enjoyment, connection experience to their work, like, how much better off will the world be, whether it’s leadership, business building, or employees, like all around, it’s just better for everyone. So I really resonate with, you know, with the way that you approach your work, and what you feel about it, I think is really, really important. How about you, Ron, I would love to have you answer that question.

Ron Ross  56:10

Yeah, I’ll say similar. And I’ll just tell a story. For me, it’s like, one of the reasons that it coaching to sort of my skill set is like, you know, doing workshops and presentations, delivering information, people shaking the head, I got it, I wanted a close encounter with people. And I think sort of coaching is that close encounter. And I think one of the beautiful moments I had was recently I was in the Philadelphia airport. And, you know, I had an opportunity to see my daughter, she was flying out to go to Las Vegas to, to see some family. And then I had a former coaching client. And she’s like, Hey, I know you’re in town, and like, well, I’ll meet my daughter, or we can all meet at this place. And then having sort of this multi generational, different race, conversation, and just having someone just talk about the impact that I had on their lives, and tell my daughter, because, you know, you see your parents in a certain way. And like, I don’t know what my dad does, to have someone just give this, like, unlike requested like testimonial, and it wasn’t so much about me, it was about the power of believing in people, the power of a lot of things that you Josie you’re talking about is like really listening to people believing sort of in their higher potential. Sometimes giving people hard feedback and honest feedback, encouraging them when they’re down. And just she’s like, I had a list of what I wanted to accomplish looking back, I’ve killed it. Now I gotta, I need a new list, I need to start over. So that that’s those experiences that we get to have. Whether it’s individual leaders, whether it’s teams, whether it’s organizations, it’s it’s really fun, because in the end, it’s we get to have an impact on people and how much impact is really our choice. So I love the choice that we both made.

Heather Pearce Campbell  58:12

Fabulous. Well, and I think, you know, even your emphasis around being willing to have those hard conversations in really impactful conversations it you know, it really takes a special person or a regular person on the right day, being willing to have that right. Let’s be brave day. Yes, a lot of people it does. It just takes a tremendous amount of courage. And so the fact that you’ve got a knack for that you like to lead people through that process, you can model it, it’s really, really significant from a transformational perspective. And that is what businesses need. Absolutely. For people that are listening and going, oh my gosh, I need to connect with Josie and Ron, I want to find out more about their work, what they do, how they can help me. Where would you like for people to find you or connect with you?

Josie Ross  59:04

You can find us at our website, which is www.avanthrs.com has all of our contact information there. We’re both on LinkedIn, Ron Ross and Josie Ross. There aren’t a lot of us with those names. So you can find us on LinkedIn. Yeah, and those are probably the best places spots.

Heather Pearce Campbell  59:25

Okay, we will share those links in the show notes. So if you’re listening, go pop over to legalwebsitewarrior.com/podcast look for Josie and Ron’s episode. We will also based on the timing of this, I suspect that your book will have very recently come out we will share the link to your book as well Inspire Me, so be sure if you’re listening to pop over and check that out. I can tell you already. It’s going to be a wealth of resource for you in your business and team building, journey, adventure, whatever you want to call it. What final thoughts would either one of you like to leave our listeners with today before we sign off, and you both you both can share something, by the way?

Josie Ross  1:00:11

Just people is hard. We all need support around it. We all get into tricky situations. And that’s what we do. It’s the work we love to do to help people sort of support them through their hardest conversations and their sticky situations. 

Heather Pearce Campbell  1:00:28

I love that.

Ron Ross  1:00:30

I would say I think it kind of showed up in this conversation is if you’re going to invest in any skill as an entrepreneur to really improve its communication. So it’s not only just having like those hard conversations, but even having those transformational conversations that Heather, you’ve talked about where it’s like, we’re just talking about ideas, and we’re all listening in, and we’re fighting for the best idea. And that’s a skill set. And don’t be alarmed if you’re not great at it. But it’s something if you invest in that I do believe it has so much return. And I don’t care what business you’re in. I think that’s that’s where the juice is.

Heather Pearce Campbell  1:01:09

100% I tell people all day long, like people are not racing towards I just call it the dispute resolution bucket. It’s a little bit the world you guys live in, and I say you know, call it communication strategy. So that feels better. But it is literally if you learn the skills required to handle difficult conversations is money back in your pocket all day long. It’s energy back into your life and your business building efforts. It’s time savings, and ultimately from a business building perspective, stronger teams, stronger culture, stronger, everything, but it people tend to, I think, forget that they prioritize the other things. And it’s like, no, this is an investment that pays you back tenfold. hundredfold, right, so true. Huge. Well, I appreciate you guys. This has been so much fun. I really look forward to connecting with you guys again. I’m super grateful that you came and spent your time here with me today. 

Josie Ross  1:02:09

Thank you, Heather!

Ron Ross  1:02:10

You’ve done a great job. I know. You’re just amazing. 

Heather Pearce Campbell  1:02:12

Thank you. Will talk to you soon. 

Ron Ross  1:02:15

Enjoy your Friday. 

Heather Pearce Campbell  1:02:17

You too. 

Ron Ross  1:02:19

Alright. We’ll see you, bye.

GGGB Outro  1:02:23

Thank you for joining us today on the Guts, Grit and Great Business® podcast. We hope that we’ve added a little fuel to your tank, some coffee to your cup and pep in your step to keep you moving forward in your own great adventures. For key takeaways, links to any resources mentioned in today’s show and more, see the show notes which can be found at www.legalwebsitewarrior.com/podcast. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast and if you enjoyed today’s conversation, please give us some stars and a review on Apple podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcast so others will find us too. Keep up the great work you are doing in the world and we’ll see you next week.