UPDATE (November 2022): The links to Pam's LinkedIn page and her business website no longer work. It was called to my attention that Pam is under investigation for allegedly recommending an investment that has been described as a “Ponzi scheme” in a news report and law firm websites.
N4T Investigators: Investors blame Tucson financial advisor for losing money to alleged Ponzi scheme
“I have been told many times, now it’s a lost cause,” Bryant said. “I will never see that $95,000 again.”
Bryant said she trusted Tucson financial advisor Pamela Hopman of PGH Advisors and the Hopman Group with her money. She said it was Hopman who invested her money into Deeproot in 2019.
Bryant said she believes Hopman should have done better research on the investment.
Bryant has not yet filed a lawsuit against Hopman. She shared a letter with the N4T Investigators from Hopman’s attorneys saying Hopman lost a significant amount of money herself to Deeproot. The letter urged Bryant to join them in going after Deeproot, instead of suing Hopman.“
She is not alleged to be the mastermind of the “Ponzi scheme,” but the allegations are that she made a bad recommendation to herself and others, a mistake, it seems. Here is the lawsuit filed against the creators of Deeproot.
My guest for Episode #46 of “the My Favorite Mistake” podcast is Pam Hopman, founder of The Hopman Group, a financial advisory firm based in Tucson. Pam has over 20 years of experience working as a financial advisor, with comprehensive knowledge of strategies for retirement income planning, wealth preservation, and estate planning. She holds the designation of Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor from the College of Financial Planning.
Pam is the host of the Empower U Podcast, and she recently launched her financial mastermind group called The Money Thing (formerly called Conversations Over Wine and Chocolate).
In today's episode, Pam talks about how she owned a practice with multiple offices, but got burned out — she was trying to do it all. She sold the practice and took a marketing job. This turned out to be a mistake, as the first year was great, but the second year was a “nightmare.” Learn how Pam wishes she had been coached through the challenges with that first practice and how having a coach has helped her prevent repeating mistakes in her new practice.
We also talk about financial planning mistakes, and we learn we have a shared belief in the power of “baby steps” (hear Mark's podcast with psychologist Robert Maurer on that).
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Automated Transcript (Likely Contain Mistakes):
Mark Graban (0s):
Episode 46, Pam Hopman, CEO of The Hopman Group.
Pam Hopman (6s):
You know, when you talk about a mistake, nobody goes out to make a mistake. Although mistakes often teach us so much more than we ever thought they could.
Mark Graban (18s):
I'm Mark Graban. This is My Favorite Mistake. In this podcast, you'll hear business leaders and other really interesting people talking about their favorite mistakes because we all make mistakes, but what matters is learning from our mistakes instead of repeating them over and over again. So this is the place for honest reflection and conversation, personal growth and professional success. Visit our website at myfavoritemistakepodcast.com for show notes and more. Go to MarkGraban.com/mistake46. Don't forget to enter our giveaway contests at markgraban.com/contest.
Mark Graban (58s):
Thanks for listening. Our guest today is Pam Hopman. She is the founder of The Hopman Group and she is based in Tucson. So before I tell you a little bit more about Pam, first off, let me say thank you for being here.
Pam Hopman (1m 13s):
Oh, thank you for having me. It's a privilege and an honor to be here and I'm looking forward to talking to you about my mistake. Wow.
Mark Graban (1m 21s):
I know we'll have a story and a conversation about that and financial planning because Pam has over 20 years of experience working as a financial advisor, she has comprehensive knowledge of strategies for retirement income planning, wealth preservation, and estate planning. She holds a designation of chartered retirement planning, counselor from the college of financial planning. She has a podcast where she talks about financial issues called empower you. And she recently launched. I thought this is interesting. A financial mastermind group called “The Money Thing” and it says it was formerly called “conversations over wine and chocolate.” So I guess the first question is just what that other name sounded like.
Mark Graban (2m 1s):
A lot of fun. Why, why change? Why change the name?
Pam Hopman (2m 6s):
Oh, I was given some advice that instead of saying it was conversations over wine and chocolate, which it really was. I mean, I used to have a group get together in person and we would have chocolate as well as other things and wine and have a conversation it's predominantly been, been women involved and talk about women's financial issues and the lack of training and planning that most women have.
Mark Graban (2m 29s):
But I guess calling it “the money thing,” it's a little bit more.
Pam Hopman (2m 32s):
Yeah, but it is pretty, it's like, you know, we've got to deal with that money thing I know from,
Mark Graban (2m 40s):
And there still could be wine and chocolate involved, I guess.
Pam Hopman (2m 43s):
Absolutely. No, no lack of wine and chocolate. Yeah.
Mark Graban (2m 46s):
Fair enough. I like those things. So fam you know, looking back at your work and your career, what would you say is your favorite mistake?
Pam Hopman (2m 56s):
Well, Mark, first of all, I, you know, when you talk about a mistake, nobody goes out to make a mistake. Although mistakes often teach us so much more than we ever thought they could. I had a thriving financial services practice in Illinois, and I had office in Wisconsin as well. And I had been in the business for a number of years and I found myself burning out a little bit. So I decided to take a position with a marketing organization that that was an insurance marketing organization out of Tampa, Florida. And the first year was great. I was able to go around the country and train people and work with them. And the second year became really a nightmare.
Pam Hopman (3m 38s):
Working with that company, things changed. They brought on some people that I didn't get along with for professional reasons. And I found myself looking at leaving that company and I did, and then I re relocated to Tucson and started up again, which I don't recommend recommend that too often, because it was really tough. I had to start up in 2010, which was the height of the recession, but we did, and we did great and you know, the company. So, so I really learned a lot. You've been with that mistake. I learned what I really truly wanted to do, which was run this practice, that some other things as well, then I'll let you ask me some questions and tell you some other things that we learned.
Mark Graban (4m 22s):
Sure. Th there's a lot, I think we can start with dig into different phases of that story, I guess, first off, I mean, I I've lived, I lived in Phoenix for four years. Moving there is probably not a mistake, especially weather-wise even with the summer, right?
Pam Hopman (4m 35s):
No, it's not a mistake. I even liked the summer here. Yeah.
Mark Graban (4m 38s):
I find that the summer is easier to deal with than an Illinois or a Michigan winter, which I've experienced. Yes. Well, I think going back to the time when you were running that business and they had the practices in Illinois and Wisconsin, what, what do you think, w was there anything particular that, that led to the, to the burnout?
Pam Hopman (5m 2s):
I was just trying to do it all. I wasn't scaling the business well at all. It was too much. My hands were in too many different pots and I was trying to split my time between the two offices. I didn't have anybody that could be in the other office full time. It didn't, it just, it just took too much out of me. And then I was like, well, you know, maybe I just don't want to do this. Maybe I just want to train people to do this. And so that's the reason I took the position that was offered to me.
Mark Graban (5m 26s):
Yeah. Stepping away to be an employee is less of a, maybe 24/7 mental load than owning a business.
Pam Hopman (5m 35s):
I had some kind of idea that I would do it for about 10 years. And then I could just go right off into the sunset and do whatever I wanted to. Yeah.
Mark Graban (5m 44s):
So then did you I mean, it sounded like there were, there were different lessons learned along the way. So before coming back to talking about that position that you took, did you, you know, what, what have you done to apply lessons from the first go around to the second go around here in Arizona? Do you try to guard against falling into that? What you'd done before trying to do it all yourself?
Pam Hopman (6m 8s):
Absolutely. I have scaled my business. Now. I have an assistant that's been with me almost 11 years. We also have another person that works in the office. And then I have two associates that I've trained. And so, and we'll probably bring on a third by the end of this year. So we've actually gone from being a solopreneur all the way into somewhat of an enterprise at this point. Yeah.
Mark Graban (6m 31s):
Yeah. So, I mean, and that's what the podcast is all about is, you know, reflecting on learning from the lessons and, you know, you had an opportunity a second go around to, to, to at least not, not fall into the same trap. I was about say, do things better. I'm sure there were a lot of things that you're doing well that first time, but at least not getting yourself on the burnout path again. And then looking at that time, the, the intermission, if you will, where you had the job, did, did you, do you think back at, at, you know, putting aside the first from and taking that job as, as a mistake, or was it a mistake maybe to not leave sooner when it became a nightmare as you put it?
Pam Hopman (7m 17s):
Yeah, that's a good question. I don't really know. I think it was a mistake to take the job. I think if I had Ben had the right training and the right coaching at the time, because I'm somebody who always has a coach. If I had the right coaching, I could have been coached through that. I mean, it was a frightening practice. I was number one woman in this, in the industry of, in my particular group. So it wasn't like, I wasn't, it wasn't, I wasn't failing at all. It was just like, it just got to be, you know what I'm thinking, I'm going to just do something different. And the reason it was a mistake, it was a mistake for a couple of different reasons. That was one. The other was that I got stiffed on the sale of the practice because the other person was involved with the same group.
Pam Hopman (7m 60s):
And I became an employee that was taking care of that person. So I sorta got stiffed on the sale. And then the company that I worked for started to change quite a bit. And that was part of the mistake for them. But it was also part of the mistake that I learned from as they stopped listening to the field. And when you stopped the people that were working on the field, right, when you stop listening to the field, you'd be, you lose touch. And eventually you, you can go out and business companies now at a business, by the way, the one I went to work, I was the first person to ever voluntarily leave the company after two years. But they have now gone out of business.
Pam Hopman (8m 41s):
Yeah. Because I just saw things happening that were like, I'm like this isn't going to work. They're not going to stay. But then also some lessons I took into my new, my new company, the one I started here in 2010, I took all that information about how to run a company, how to, how to manage a team. And then I've had great coaching since then from another organization. And that was part of the reason I've been so successful here at Tucson. Yeah.
Mark Graban (9m 11s):
Well, that's great. And, and that dynamic, you talked about of stopping, listening to the people who do the work or never listening to the people who do the work. That's a problem in many industries. I mean, I think of my career path when I was in manufacturing, frontline employees, and some of those settings weren't respected, weren't listened to, and it was to the detriment of the company. I've, I've spent a lot of time, the last 15 years in healthcare as a trainer and consultant and coach, see a see similar dynamic, you know, the education level is higher of, of nurses and doctors and pharmacists. And there's that similar complaint of not being listened to.
Mark Graban (9m 51s):
And we, I think we, we need to help change that. Apologize for climbing up… I Get up on a soap box about that sometime.
Pam Hopman (9m 58s):
Well, you know, there's something to be said for bottom up management, as opposed to top down. Yeah. Yeah.
Mark Graban (10m 4s):
So I want to delve a little bit in, into, you know, you say now you always have a coach. When did you, when you started this practice in Tucson, is that when you decided to, to start having a formal coach, that you could work through issues that you know, that you weren't able to work through the first time?
Pam Hopman (10m 24s):
Well, I think different issues. Well, I've always, yes. I was always in an organization or with a coach from the, from the beginning. I was doing that in Illinois as well, where I had my first practice, but I, the last I'm now starting my sixth year with the same coaching group. And they really are the ones that have taken me from solar printer to being the size company than I am now more growth to come. And so, yeah, you got to find the right find the right organization is
Mark Graban (10m 55s):
, that's focused specifically on financial planners and organizations like,
Pam Hopman (10m 60s):
Nope, this isn't, this is an organization. Can I say the name? I don't want to, it's up to you. Sure. I work with Alison Maslan, Pinnacle Global Network. And the pinnacle global network is all kinds of businesses, all industries. And when we have them, we have a mastermind and we have a mentor and the mastermind is all different industries. You're not with people in your same industry for the most part. And I have to tell you, it's very refreshing to get opinions that aren't coming from everybody doing the same thing. So there's a little bit of need for creativity on my part. And that can't, that develops in this group where it wasn't going to develop in the financial, a group, that's all financial services.
Pam Hopman (11m 45s):
Mark Graban (11m 45s):
That's a really interesting point. I have a friend of mine who owns a dental practice in Jacksonville, Florida, and he got tired, you know, as I've interviewed him before in a different podcast and talk to him about this, he was going to dental conferences. He was hearing many variations of basically the same ideas over and over again. And he was looking for, you know, really radically better performance and not just to copy what some other practice did. So he actually looked to Toyota as a model and an influence in some of the practices that come out of that. And the thing he had to do was figure out how to apply these lessons. He wasn't reading a book that was telling him exactly what to do as the owner of a dental practice.
Mark Graban (12m 28s):
It required creativity and he engaged his staff to figure it out together. How do we apply these management ideas from a different industry into a dental practice? And he's been really wildly successful since doing that.
Pam Hopman (12m 42s):
Yeah. And that's one of the reasons we've, we've included what we could call financial coaching inside of our business. One of my associates, coaches, women in their finances. I wrote a book called wealth amplified, which is all about getting women to a level where they can start to save more and be more comfortable with their finances. I mean, the, the job that I had for those two years, it taught me a lot about using personality assessments to, to not just pick people for the job, but to actually work with people within the job, based on the way they process information. So I was able to create something called the money profile, which is basically a behavior analysis for financial behavior.
Pam Hopman (13m 27s):
And so I've been able to do that and those things I never would have learned if I hadn't made that mistake.
Mark Graban (13m 34s):
So there was another benefit that came from that, that detour, if you will. Yes. Yeah. So Pam, what in your mind, what distinguishes financial coaching from financial planning?
Pam Hopman (13m 48s):
Well, there is, there is a somewhat of a distinction financial planners for the most part are working with your wealth. They want you to have something before you go to plan and they want to make sure that you're going to continue to grow that. And they want to, they want to give you insight into how much you need to add to it. And where are you going to use it going forward? And depending on what your goals and dreams are around finances, they want to be able to make sure that you're, you can achieve that and show you different pathways to get there. I do that, but I also sometimes not as many, but I work with, with men or women who want to get to the point where, you know, I don't think I have anything I'm not ready yet for a financial planner.
Pam Hopman (14m 33s):
Well, then you could be ready for a financial coach, which will, that coach will help you work with your income and your expenses and show you where you might be making a couple of mistakes. That if you changed a little bit of your behavior around your finances, or even your decision-making, that you could achieve whatever financial dreams and goals you have. So we, we like to work with the vision, you know, what is your retirement vision? What is your future financial vision? And we work backwards from there. Yeah.
Mark Graban (15m 1s):
So before, so yeah, before somebody can have their wealth managed, they need to accumulate some wealth. And that sounds like maybe that's where financial coaching comes in. And I mean, it sounds like that's a very helpful service to provide where, I mean, it's probably easier to work with people who already have wealth.
Pam Hopman (15m 19s):
Oh, sometimes yes, very much so. Yeah. It's much more lucrative to work with people that have, well, well, too, I'll be honest, but, but I have a, I mean, my, my makeup is I want to make sure that people get, so we, our company has no minimums to work with us to do that on purpose because anybody who's willing to take our advice who wants to come in and learn how to do better. We want to be able to help them do it.
Mark Graban (15m 45s):
Well, that's great. And yeah. Yeah. Easier, more lucrative. Yeah. Yeah. That's maybe, but it's good that you're willing to work with with others and help them move up in that, through their career up, up to till retirement. So that's great.
Pam Hopman (16m 2s):
All of our most recent clients are in their twenties and I'm really thrilled because they're getting such an early start on what they do.
Mark Graban (16m 10s):
That's great. That's great. So you mentioned earlier financial planning mistakes, and I thought while we had you here as an opportunity to pick your brain as an expert about this, one of the mistakes would be starting too late if somebody is not or not starting.
Pam Hopman (16m 24s):
Yeah. And that's back again, that point I made, I I've been in organizations where people come up to me often and they say, I don't have enough to work with you, or I don't have enough to plan. And the fact is, if you don't start planning, you'll never have enough. So it's like the chicken or the egg. Well, it's definitely the planning should be part of that conversation. And, you know, people think that they have to, the prevailing idea is get out of debt and then say, I don't work that way. I think you should get out of debt. I think you should say. And I think you should have fun in life too.
Pam Hopman (17m 5s):
So I make sure that whoever I work with, isn't just stuck with getting out of debt and saving, but actually has a life worth with.
Mark Graban (17m 14s):
Interesting. So how do you talk someone through kind of finding that balance?
Pam Hopman (17m 19s):
Well, that's part of the vision and that's part of the lifestyle we have, you know, we we're, we're sort of clever in that we changed the words of like budget is called a spending plan. Cause that's really what a budget is. Can get behind a spending plan. They may see or hear the word budget and just go, no, I can't do a budget. You know, it's too hard, but I can write down what I spend and what I spend it on. So it's a spending plan. And so we, we go through some clever things like that. We talk about the balance between saving and spending and getting out of debt and then also rewarding yourself when you reach certain milestones and having some fun. I think that some of the main people that talk about finance, forget about that part.
Pam Hopman (18m 3s):
They forget about how important it is for people to enjoy their lives and not, not just like put their nose to the grindstone and just go in that direction. Yeah. It might, it might take you a little longer to reach your financial goal, but that's your choice. I mean, you can cut out all the fun stuff, but most people can't do that for a long period of time and they, they can not follow through on their financial plan. Yeah.
Mark Graban (18m 31s):
It seems like there are parallels there too. Let's say weight loss, you could write down everything that you eat and you could track the details about that. And somebody could really like, you know, deprive themselves of like, you know, so far this year, like I'm really trying to avoid sugar, right. And you know, that's a choice and I'm doing it for reasons. And I don't feel too deprived, but I could see where if somebody really felt deprived that it would be as you put it hard to sustain, whether it's budgeting or eating differently, eating better.
Pam Hopman (19m 5s):
Well, you can make, you can make small changes quicker and more lasting than big changes. Yes. I can make the small changes. They add up over time. So I started a plan this year, where to get into better health, I would do one pushup and one squat and then add one every day, I'm up to 33. So I know by the end of the year, I'll be up to 300 something. But right now every day I commit to doing one more and you know, that's going to have me be healthier. Cause I, you decide once and you commit twice. So I decided to do it. And I committed for at least two days. Then at the end of the two days, I committed for another two days.
Pam Hopman (19m 46s):
And so that way it just becomes a habit. Like I can't even not do it now after this
Mark Graban (19m 55s):
New habit is built two days at a time,
Pam Hopman (19m 57s):
Two days at a time,
Mark Graban (19m 59s):
Well, there's, there's a real powerful psychology behind, you know, the idea of baby steps and starting small in a different podcast series. I've been able to twice interview a psychologist from UCLA named Robert Maurer. And he talks about the way our brains work. And we, we get afraid of change. Even if change is arguably logically positive. You know, our, our reptile brain kicks in and you know, he, his lesson is the only way to work around that is to make the change small. So your story Pam reminds me exactly of his advice to, to, to patients is if they, you know, if he were to say, you need to start exercising and 45 minutes a day, every day, like that seems overwhelming.
Mark Graban (20m 44s):
People get scared and they shut down and they don't start. And he recommends to people similar to your approach. You know, if you're watching TV on the couch, get up and walk in place for 30 seconds during a commercial. And like, you know, you won't get healthy doing that, but it's a start. And then you build confidence and you build it up and build it into a habit. So the ideas I w what's one other example, can I bring it back to the financial planning realm of like baby steps to developing a new spending or saving habit?
Pam Hopman (21m 15s):
So first is to start the second is it doesn't have to be big. Does that seem overwhelming? So baby steps and the third is make it automatic. If you can't do, you don't really have to think about it. Most people have an easier time when it's automatic. So for instance, let's say you're going to get a raise commit to half of that raise going towards savings, and then having automatically set to go there, whether it's your 401k or your IRA or your savings account and work it that way. So that again, we're, we're making it as easy as possible for people to succeed. We don't want you to be overwhelmed. Like if I had said I'm going to do 300 pushups and squats on day one, but if I said, I'm going to start now one per day, similar to adding, okay, I'm going to add $50 a month right now.
Pam Hopman (22m 8s):
And then when I get my raise, I'm going to add another $50 a month to whatever savings plan I want to add to. That's much more palatable and it's easy to adjust. And before you know it, you've got real money going into your savings and your future.
Mark Graban (22m 22s):
Yeah. Yeah. That's brilliant. And if you did try to do those 300 squats, you would hurt so much the next day that you might not be able to exercise for a week. Cause I've been guilty of that if you overdo it. So, one other question, Pam, when it comes to financial mistakes, I'm, I'm curious, like, do, do people manage to invent new mistakes or are they kind of old mistakes in, you know, kind of popping up again? I think of like recently you see in the news, I haven't fallen into any of these. I don't want to use the word mania of like, you know, people investing in a stock that was a, you know, become a phenomenon online and the fundamentals aren't there, you know, should we be investing in an individual stock?
Mark Graban (23m 10s):
Or if people look at new, you know, kind of glamorous things like, you know, bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies are, I mean, are these kind of just new flavor of old mistakes? Or what are your thoughts on some of these things that have been in the news?
Pam Hopman (23m 25s):
Well, the, I'll say one thing around all of that, first of all, need a base. If want to invest, you want to invest long-term and you want a base. And a base would be a well-diversified portfolio of some kind, not one stock, not two stocks, but well-diversified portfolio. And it's great. If you work with a financial advisor like us, we make sure that's where you start. You want to build up a base. That's pretty secure. You want to have an emergency fund, you got to have an emergency fund. You, if you want to invest in game stop, or if you want to invest in Bitcoin, you better be willing to lose every dime you're putting into it because it's very speculative. And it really is not a place where you put your rent money, right?
Pam Hopman (24m 9s):
Your mortgage money. You just don't do that. I, I think the case is, is still out for Bitcoin. You know, it's becoming more and more mainstream. I think, I don't know. The prices got inflated with Elon Musk saying he put for just $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin this last week. And they became, it was reported in what it was. You had to report it to the sec. So it became public knowledge. And then of course the price went up tremendously on and it's still up a little bit as this morning. It was still up. But it's something I'm trying to learn more about because I think it is going to replace some of the transactions with cash.
Pam Hopman (24m 49s):
And you know, I, I'm not necessarily telling you anybody to invest in it. Don't take this as advice. It's just find a word more about it because I think it's going to be around for a long time. Now, dogecoin, the other one that he has, the one that's a joke and there's nothing behind it. And people are still buying it in. The price is going up. That one is, is probably going to go away at some point because actually nothing backing it, whereas the coin has data behind it. So yeah, there's lots of crazy stuff out there. Don't get caught up in fads. Don't get caught up in that stuff. Start off with something. That's got a proven track record that's been around for awhile and that's a well-diversified portfolio or by your, you know, well, diversified mutual funds, exchange, traded funds, whatever.
Pam Hopman (25m 36s):
If you have a little money you want to play with and you want to buy a stock here and there, go ahead and try it. But even the best of stock pickers usually get one out of four. Right? So they get three out of four wrong. Yeah.
Mark Graban (25m 50s):
So that's, that's, that's great advice, Pam. I feel like I have no standard legal disclaimer, like some of the financial shows or whatever. So let's, so the TVI just pretend like you're hearing one of those that you might hear on a CNBC show or some radio show about finances. None of this is financial advice, blah, blah, blah. Don't sue us.
Pam Hopman (26m 8s):
Do not think any of this as your advice to you personally, you need to talk to someone who knows your personal situation can do a, a thorough fact finder with you to determine what would be the best kind of investment you should make. If any, at this point in your life do not take anything I've said as advice. Yeah.
Mark Graban (26m 26s):
Very good. But I think you shared, you know, I think really interesting story Pam, about, you know, some of your career arc and, you know, kind of emphasizing the idea of learning from mistakes and not repeating them. The second go around the second chance that you have with the business here in Tucson. So our guest today has been Pam Hopman. Again, she's founder of The Hopman Group. You can learn more about Pam and her work and the things that they offer thehopmangroup.com. So Pam really enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing your story and some, some thoughts on possible financial mistakes with us today. Thank you Mark for having me. Okay. Well good.
Mark Graban (27m 7s):
Thanks again. I want to thank our guest, Pam Hopman from The Hopman Group. To find show notes and links and more, you can go to MarkGraban.com/mistake46. coming up soon in the podcast in future episodes, venture capitalists, Mike Smerklo, business coach, Lori Baker-Schena, cybersecurity expert Neil Daswani and Phyllis Quinlan a nurse executive talking about medical mistakes, and don't forget, you can enter to win books from previous guests. You can go to MarkGraban.com/contests to learn more. Thanks for subscribing. Please rate and review us too.
Mark Graban (27m 47s):
If you have a chance, I hope this podcast inspires you to reflect on your own mistakes and how you can learn from them or turn them into a positive as our guests have. I've had listeners tell me that they've started being more open and honest about their mistakes in the workplace. And they're trying to create a workplace culture where it's safe for people to speak up about problems because that leads to improvement and better business results. If you have feedback or a story to share, you can email me firstname.lastname@example.org. And again, our website is myfavoritemistakepodcast.com. See you next time.