Conversations With…

Entrepreneurship conversation with Gladys Mezrahi

Michelle Harris, Founder and CEO, joins Gladys Mezrahi to talk about the big question – which is better: the corporate path or the entrepreneurship path. Like everything, both have their pros and cons. 

Michelle discusses her time in in the corporate world for over 25 years and why she founded Bosstrack after seeing a need in the industry.

We talk about the differences and how we need to shift our way of thinking before you venture into the private sector.

You can learn more about Gladys Mezrahi and the amazing work she does at Indigo Events and Power of the Heels.


0:02hi everyone welcome to another amazing topic of conversation I want to attend

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0:37so Michelle thank you for joining us thank you for having me Gladys

0:44um I wanted to talk to you about I know that and please tell me what what was

0:51your past life before we go into moving forward

0:57yeah my past life so um I was in corporate positions for 25

1:05years well a little over 25 years and I stepped into my very first leadership

1:11role six months out of college and have been pursuing I was on the leadership

1:17track since then so I’ve had the benefit of working for many different Industries

1:23and working with some amazing teams in environments that were

1:28most often very crazy from anywhere from a turnaround to a company being in high

1:37acquisition mode to be sold uh it’s been it’s been an exciting exciting Journey

1:43so one conversation today is transitioning from corporate to becoming

1:51an entrepreneur you have been in a leadership position but in the corporate world

1:59so my first question to you is what made you

2:04change what made you make that decision of moving from corporate to becoming an

2:11entrepreneur well it’s interesting because I I finally had the opportunity uh the last

2:19company I was with we were acquired or we sold to Goldman Sachs and it was a

2:28great uh time for me to transition into something to be out on my own my husband

2:35had just retired from the military after 31 years and we both wanted to be

2:40somewhere where it was warm year-round we were from the Northeast so um we decided to move down to Miami

2:47and it was just an opportune time for me to decide to do something uh you know

2:52something that was I was more passionate about and something that I can control and uh and and own so um you know I

3:02really thought about what my strengths were you know what I could contribute based on the years that

3:10I was in corporate and it kept coming back to um leadership and team development and

3:18building up people developing people that uh even though I was in an

3:24accounting and finance world in in corporate that was always my strength

3:29and in fact I was hired uh by some of the companies specifically to rebuild

3:35teams and to to grow them in prepare for becoming a larger larger company so

3:44I and and I also when I was in corporate what I was always looking for a program

3:51to send my new managers to uh because you know as time goes on you have less

3:57and less time for development so you look for those outside opportunities and I was really having a hard hard time

4:02finding something for new managers or up-and-coming managers to

4:09you know have a longer term training mentorship I have I found there

4:17were places where I could send them for a day or two and they could have a you

4:24know high-speed training everything leadership and then forget about it when they came back and but hopefully

4:30Implement some things or I could pay you know thousands of dollars to have a

4:36consultant come in and create something that was specifically for our our company but being a mid-sized company

4:43you know it really didn’t make a whole lot of sense to spend that so my goal

4:49was to create something for the new leader not executive leaders but for the new leader that was accessible to to

4:57everyone so actually the decision was more based on

5:04moving and starting a new path yeah yeah I

5:11I had always wanted to to do I always wanted to have a business of my own and

5:16in fact I had started uh tried years ago to start a company

5:22and was a single mom and it just became too difficult to manage working in a

5:29company you know to all the hours that I needed to invest time there and then being a mom and and running a business

5:36so it’s always been something that I I’ve wanted to do and it it finally you

5:43know taking this having this opportunity I I felt it was the right time to make that move

5:49oh what is the difference that you’re seeing now that I know that you started

5:54your own business what is the main difference that you’ve

6:01seen from that you’ve seen from the end in the leadership position

6:08because it’s very different as a leader in corporate and as a leader

6:14of your own company so what are the main things that you can

6:21tell us yeah I

6:26um I it’s it’s been a challenge it’s been different I mean it’s so it’s so

6:33different coming from an environment where you know you’re at a VP level you

6:39have teams taking care of things you know what needs to get done you have the

6:45experience um you when something goes wrong you know exactly or you can figure out what

6:53needs to to happen pretty quickly and to come into to leave that where you just you know

7:02what you’re doing uh to come into a um starting a company where you’re

7:09basically the one responsible for everything all of it yeah all the jobs

7:15if something goes wrong with it there’s nobody I can call up I have to figure

7:21out how do I fix that um it’s it’s been it’s been fun and

7:26exciting but also some days it can be frustrating and I have to have like a

7:34lot of pep talks to myself to make sure that I’m you know not

7:41getting not getting done I’m a pretty positive person um but there are some days where I’m

7:47like what what is what am I doing but it’s more from

7:53the whole team that you have and now basically doing it yourself but the

7:58mindset like is it different before when you were for a corporate you

8:06had like a whole list of the corporate culture and what things needed to be

8:11done and things in a certain way at certain goals and metric and now that

8:18you’re on your own what has changed yeah so it’s interesting uh I spent a

8:26lot of time I think because of my experience in corporate on developing a corporate strategy for for my business I

8:34actually have a pretty lengthy business strategy document and it has all of the

8:39my mission I have um my goals so I really

8:46um I I had to create that for myself to have some level of security that I knew

8:53what I was doing with the business that I could stay on track with it um it’s you know from day to day uh I

9:01can be spending time on so many different things uh you just you never

9:06know what direction you’re gonna get pulled in and I guess that that is the same in corporate but

9:13I think the difference really is it’s it’s all a lot of unknown now where it

9:19was at least I knew what issues were going to come up in a very general sense

9:24and I knew how to approach them before now it’s um you know learning sales and marketing

9:32and how how do how do I do that at a small at a very small startup business

9:38level and you know what what’s going to work and what doesn’t work it’s a lot of

9:43um trial and error and and learning and a lot of like uh

9:49blows to my my ego I want to say

9:54um whereas before uh you know you have that confidence I guess it’s a lot of it

10:00is the confidence um to know you know that you know what you’re doing but now you can just bring that

10:07confidence and make it happen yeah yeah I um I do uh I I do uh that’s

10:16my goal so what inspired you to open your business

10:24and do what you do uh well my passion like I said when I was in

10:32corporate I I loved working with the

10:37people that worked for me and mentoring them and it was always important for me

10:45to have everybody had an individual development plan so we talked about

10:50where are they now where do they want to be you know maybe they want to be in the same place and that’s fine and and we

10:57knew that and I knew that um but if they wanted to grow and develop what does that look like and

11:03putting a plan in place to get them to the level they wanted to get get to and

11:09then also of course getting them the resources that they needed to

11:15um to get get to where they needed because it it wasn’t just you know

11:22in one year you can be here it’s the experience and the training and the development to get get you to that level

11:29as well so um that was always uh I mean I loved those conversations and

11:35um I I just thought well what better thing to do than to transition that into

11:42something that I can provide value and and offer that to a much larger group of

11:50women and and that’s that’s why we’ve done virtual so everything we’ve we’ve

11:56set up is is virtual so we can reach people across the country outside of the

12:01country and provide the programs that that we have uh just it in it and it

12:09makes me feel um I don’t know it makes me feel fulfilled

12:14that I can impact so many more so many more women and people than when

12:21when I was in a corporate position to work with yeah yeah what have been

12:28the challenges that you’ve been that you have encountered

12:33being on your own well I think the biggest challenge for

12:39me is that um again my background being finance and

12:47operations I I of course touched marketing and

12:52sales and uh was very I mean very aware because I was I think you know one of

12:58the reason I excelled was I had a very good understanding of the overall

13:04business and what what What it Took what what happened in a business so and then

13:10I also for my MBA I actually specialized in in sales um and marketing for my MBA so

13:18but what I learned in starting a business is that what you’re learning in

13:24your MBA program and what you’re seeing and it’s it doesn’t translate because it’s it’s for large companies that have

13:32large teams and larger budgets and um it’s not the day-to-day tactics of

13:39what what do I need to do to make just make a sale um

13:44I’m physically going out on LinkedIn and you know connecting and networking with people which I love by the way I love

13:51networking it’s um another thing that I feel is so so important even outside of

13:57starting a business just being um just professionally but but just you know

14:03what do I what do I say what are the what are the things that are going to make somebody want to to buy something

14:09it’s just it’s so tactical versus the strategy that I guess

14:14um I was exposed to before if that if that makes sense it does make sense for me it’s a more

14:21it’s more emotional it’s like trying to connect it emotionally to be able to sell

14:29but yes like I told somebody the other day it’s more about

14:35it’s very different to sell for somebody else than to sell for you yeah it’s a

14:42completely different story yeah and then also when you’re trying to

14:47do it online it’s like how do you convey that emotion to somebody who doesn’t know you and

14:55um that’s that’s been a challenge so before for 25 years

15:03you were under a name you were under a corporation so you weren’t

15:09the the identity was different now the identity is you

15:16you have your own brand you have your own identity how has the mindset shifted

15:26is it different you know what’s different is um

15:31when I first started I was I was sure that Boss track the name of

15:39my company needed to oh

15:46sorry don’t worry

16:03okay sorry about that um so when I first started Boss track I was

16:09certain that the brand would be Boss track and I needed to be the person

16:16behind that name but it wasn’t about me I didn’t want it to be about me I wasn’t

16:22going to bake it about me but I quickly realized that for the company to build

16:29trust and for people to understand or yeah or trust trust the brand they need

16:34to see the person behind it because I didn’t have that brand Equity build up

16:39and I didn’t have other faces that could go out and um and Spread spread the message of of

16:47who I was so I learned um in a very difficult way and in a it’s

16:54been a it took a long time for me to realize that I need to be the one out there showing my face talking about the

17:01company you know showing up on social media which it’s been a little freeing

17:06to find that out uh because it’s been a lot of fun so it’s uh it’s had its uh

17:12pros and cons yeah it’s free because it’s you that

17:18you say what you want to say you’re not bind by some regulations or another

17:25brand or what you need to say so when that sense but it’s also like

17:32you said it’s trial and error yeah it’s definitely trial and error

17:38um you know I don’t want to keep focusing I’m focusing on sales and marketing but I could talk about the

17:43same things with it and the struggles I’ve had there but um please tell us because that is that is what a lot of

17:51people really want to hear with uh well with marketing it’s like everybody says oh Facebook advertising

17:59you have to do social media advertising and we you know we spent a lot of time

18:04uh focusing on social media I hired a social media agency uh we we really

18:10focused on that and we put some social media ads out there and we really

18:17weren’t seeing the traction and so then I were you know was working with another marketing professional and they were

18:24saying well LinkedIn ads are the way to go so I invested money in LinkedIn ads

18:30and they weren’t getting traction and um you know I started to look into

18:36Google ads and then you know somebody else says no Google ads aren’t going to

18:42work unless you have a lot of money to invest in it and that’s not your budget so I mean it took me a lot of time to

18:49kind of circle around to the best strategy for excuse me the best strategy for my

18:57business right now is you know the direct sales Outreach and that’s kind of

19:02where we’ve circled around to so it’s uh I feel like I might have gotten away

19:08from the question that you asked but um that that’s certainly been

19:14um something to share no that’s that’s a really good part but

19:20we were saying something about I.T

19:25what happened with uh well with it

19:31um like I said our programs are all uh on virtual online so we have quite a few

19:38different tools that we rely on we have we have a software program that we build

19:45the courses in and then we have a um a learning management system that we we

19:52put them into to offer them online and we really needed to put that robust system in place because we we were

19:59actually just approved by nasba registry so we’re on their list of approved

20:05providers for CPE for accountants um so I’m glad we put all that time in

20:12but but the problem is that you know the more this is going to get into a lot of

20:18technical details with WordPress but the more plugins you add the more problems you run into and um and it just seems

20:26like you know something gets upgraded and it breaks something else and then you’re

20:33going in and I’ve really learned how to do a lot of that troubleshooting myself but I’ve learned how to kind of work my

20:40way into the um the support network of some of the providers that I could so I know who who

20:48are the right people to talk to now but um but I just you know it’s and it’s always an inopportune time that

20:55something is decides decides to break in fact I’m having an issue right now with

21:00uh some of my courses are suddenly um you know getting out of order not not

21:08out of order but the the there’s a panel on the side and I’m working with

21:14somebody now so it’s just it’s just a never-ending and um I but that’s also

21:20Growing Pains yes definitely growing because if it was little it would be working so that means that you’re

21:26growing true very true so that’s that that’s a good problem to have

21:32what are some of the courses that you have online well we uh we had a um

21:40well we have an accelerator program that offers first time the kind of the first

21:46time manager like moving into a leadership mindset where we walk with uh women leaders through uh how to go from

21:54Individual contributor to um to manager to leader and we talk

22:01about you know delegation how to have those critical conversations

22:06then we talk about um some of the softer skills like communication as a leader uh having the

22:13confidence to lead emotional intelligence and

22:18um then we also of course networking and relationship building

22:24and what am I missing oh and of course the the most important one is building

22:30trust with your team because the way that’s like the foundation of leadership is having that trust so they they’ll

22:36follow you and um and and want to work with you so uh we have those that’s our

22:42core we have that in a accelerated program but we also have that in a bundle

22:47and then we have um individual courses that we’re continuing to develop online

22:53so sorry for women that want

22:59ERS within corporate yeah they are designed for corporate but

23:06they’re designed for corporate but for entrepreneurs uh that are building teams

23:11they are just as applicable to uh to small business owners that that have

23:17those teams know that’s interesting because I remember many years ago when I

23:22opened my business my sister went and said I just go work I love what I do I

23:29get paid at the end of the week and you keep on suffering to see if you

23:34have to the money to pay for everyone and you’re always the last

23:41so yeah has that been some of the things that you’ve been through

23:46oh of course yes uh I pay for all of the resources that need to be paid for for

23:53the business and I don’t take a salary at all so I have not paid myself at all

24:00from the business so far um but to be fair we really just launched earlier this year so I somewhat

24:08expected to have that happen and um you know and in a fortunate position where

24:14it’s been okay do you have the like being all organized

24:19that you have like a whole strategic planning and everything do you have a business plan

24:25yeah yeah I do I have a a business plan a financial plan I have Targets on users

24:32I have Targets on um financials uh it’s just something I

24:37needed to keep myself um straight and organized with what I

24:43was doing and to make sure too that everything that I was doing with the business was working towards something

24:50that was you know constructive and productive because you

24:56can you can find yourself focused on things that just are you know don’t

25:01don’t add any value and it really helps me to stay focused but um

25:07yeah I mean of course I keep having to you know when you start you have no idea so you set all these huge goals for

25:14yourself and you work towards those huge goals but um yeah I mean I’m constantly revising

25:21and changing based on what I’m learning and what I know about the business so I

25:27understand from what you’re saying that it has shifted a lot from what new because yeah has shifted quite a bit

25:34that what you put in paper was not real life yes yeah because when you start a

25:41business you’re so excited you’re like I have so much value that I’m providing and um everybody’s gonna want it

25:48everybody’s gonna love it and I’m sorry

25:55don’t worry talk through it

26:25I guess we’re waiting for the noise to fade away

26:32okay is it loud on your end no you’re fine are you sure yeah

26:38okay because it sounds so loud here and I don’t know why they’re drilling on something up there and I don’t know

26:43don’t worry okay so um

26:49I apologize for any editing that you’re gonna actually do not edit oh no oh my

26:57goodness sorry everybody there we have some drilling upstairs so I I um I had a

27:04little bit of a pause there so um but yeah so it’s uh you you think everybody’s gonna want it because you

27:10know what value you created and what value it’s going to present to everybody

27:16and um and yeah and it’s just making yourself known and getting the word out

27:22and who you are and and having people realize um the benefits and uh it’s um there’s a

27:30lot of noise out there that you have to Wade through and you know have people

27:37find you and that that’s been that’s been challenging so yeah so we’re constantly revising

27:44um our objectives and especially based on what we’re finding Works um and what

27:49isn’t working and then new strategies that we put in place to try to to um

27:55make ourselves known to everybody last question because our time is always

28:02is over now that you’re going through this and

28:08you came from 25 years of corporate are you happy with the decision you made

28:18yes yeah very very happy um very fulfilled uh like I said I have

28:24good days and bad days but mostly most good days and even the bad days are great and

28:30um I I just enjoy um creating and uh the knowing that I’m

28:38creating value for people to to find and to to benefit from and you know going

28:45back um it just it when you think about

28:50something and you start feeling this like overwhelming distress it really

28:56tells you that that’s not the right path and when I think about going back to corporate that’s how that’s how I feel

29:01compared to to what what I’m working on now very happy

29:09it was the website so that for a women that want to take

29:14your courses they could go and look yeah so the website is

29:21www.thebosstrack.com it’s t-h-e-b-o-s-s-t-r-a-c-k don’t go to Boss

29:28track you’ll find some cryptocurrency uh website and behold a whole different

29:34world so um so yeah the bosttrak.com

29:40um and if you want to reach out to me directly My email is michelle.harris

29:47at thebosstrack.com and you can always reach out to us directly at

29:54305-330-6167 and texting is always the the best way to reach us there

30:00um but yeah we’re here we um we want to help uh we want to help women leaders

30:08grow and be confident in their positions and prepare them and and you know we

30:13want we want to uh be do our small part in picking up those numbers at the

30:19higher management levels and getting more more women want wanting to be in those levels

30:24that’s amazing so thank you and thank you so much for being with us and

30:31everyone above all stay safe until next week

30:37thank you


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