Live Tour Austin Highlights | Future of Field Service
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Live Tour Austin Highlights

That’s a wrap! Sarah shares an overview of the final Future of Field Service Live Tour event in Austin, Texas, and tells listeners what to expect next.

Sarah Nicastro: Welcome to the Future of Field Service podcast. I’m your host, Sarah Nicastro. Well, everyone, that is a wrap. Last week was the last of five future of field service live tour events for 2022. We ended the series in Austin, Texas and went out with the bang with another great event. So if you follow along the podcast regularly, you will know that this year is the first time we’ve taken the conversations we have here out into the real world to take this platform and turn it into a community. So we visited Paris, London, Frankfurt, Stockholm, and just ended in Austin.

Sarah Nicastro: So I just want to give you a little bit of a recap and talk about what you can expect next in terms of the content in the events and the future events. So we started the day with Max James. Max is an Air Force Academy graduate, pilot who was shot down twice in Vietnam, Fortune 500 entrepreneur, an author of book, The Harder I Fall, The Higher I Bounce. You might remember Max from an earlier podcast episode, 148, where he joined to talk about some of the lessons he shares in his book, and it was really fun to have Max join and hear some of those stories live.

Sarah Nicastro: He has a very interesting history and background and a lot of lessons that he’s learned along the way that he’s now not only put into his book, but came and talked with us about in person. So a lot of that was around resilience and talking about how resilience as an individual leader is necessary for resilience as a business. Talking about how leaders have to understand that failure is part of success. He talks about a cartoon that he shares in his book that is a knight who is very beat up, and the caption says, “Some days the dragon wins.” And so we had a conversation with all the other folks in the room about how there have been plenty of days over the last few years that the dragon has won, but how we all have to keep on going and persevere to succeed.

Sarah Nicastro: So next we welcomed Sasha Ilyukhin, who is the SVP of customer service operations at Tetra Pak. And we had a conversation around Sasha’s current focus on human centricity. We talked about the reasoning for that and the understanding that while customer experience is obviously incredibly important, that starts with the employee experience, employee engagement, employee satisfaction, and making sure that we understand that we’re human, our employees are human, and we all need to relate to each other in a human way.

Sarah Nicastro: So Sasha talked through what that focus looks like for him now, some of the areas that he’s working on, including engagement and recognition, mental health, how technology plays a role, how one-on-one communication and the impact that mid-level management has, all sorts of different things.

Sarah Nicastro: So I shared with the group that I think this is an area we’ll see increasing focus on over the next few years, because I think that as we went off on our quest to provide the ultimate customer experience, sometimes we’ve overlooked the importance of the employee side. So that was a great conversation.

Sarah Nicastro: We then moved on to a panel discussion with Roy Dockery, who is the vice-president of field operations at Flock Safety, and Katy Chandler, who is the vice-president of learning and development at DuraServ. And we talked about everything related to tackling today’s talent challenges. So again, if you follow along, you know that the talent gap is something that has come up in every city that we visited on the live tour. It comes up very regularly in podcast conversations. So we talked about the whole continuum of this, from how are we recruiting, starting with how are we clarifying exactly what we need for each role? Are we holding ourselves to outdated standards? How are we communicating what those roles look like in a way that is compelling for today’s potential employees? How are we improving diversity of applicants and ultimately hires? All the way through to obviously learning and development, which is Katie’s area of expertise, and talking about how, as we bring on people with more aptitude but less experience, how that evolves what we need to do in terms of training, learning, and development.

Sarah Nicastro: We talked about retention and everything that falls into that category and how sometimes when we talk about the talent gap, we focus a lot on the challenges around getting new people in, and again, can overlook the focus we need to put on keeping the good people that we do have. So it was a really interesting conversation as well.

Sarah Nicastro: Then we broke for a little bit of networking and lunch before we welcomed Sonya Roshek, who is the vice-president of field services at B+T Group. Sonya started her career in the military, then got into telecommunications, now running field services at the VP level, and has found herself often one of few if not the only woman in many male dominated spaces. So we talked a lot about the experiences she’s had and what she’s learned from them and what she would want folks who are focused on bringing more women into field service to think about from those experiences.

Sarah Nicastro: So I think it’s a topic that is very layered and there’s a lot of different things to address, but I always think that there is power in hearing an individual’s story and thinking about what you can take from that and increase your perspective with.

Sarah Nicastro: We finished with Gyner Ozgul, who is the president and COO of Smart Care Equipment Solutions, talking about resilience, resurgence, and re-innovation. So we had a conversation with Gyner about his personal development as a leader over the past few years. His role has expanded significantly. Smart Care is growing very rapidly, and of course, that was all happening in the midst of the pandemic. So we talked with him from an individual leader perspective about how he navigated that. And then from a business perspective, we talked about some of the steps that Smart Care took during the pandemic to have business continuity. What the resurgence has looked like and some of the challenges that they face in that, including issues with supply chain and parts availability and how they’re navigating that, and how they’re resetting innovation. So how they are getting back to the longer term potential and view they have for the company that was set pre-COVID and a bit disrupted. So that was a great session as well.

Sarah Nicastro: After that, we had a group think where we came together and just talked about a variety of issues and allowed people to weigh in on one another’s questions, and finished the day with some fun Texas style happy hour and networking. So it was a great day. All five were great. Someone asked me not too long ago which event was my favorite and I said, “That’s a very unfair question.” I do genuinely mean that. They were all different. Obviously that is the nature of having people share their individual stories. Each story is unique. So that was really a fun experience to hear so many different perspectives. And they all had different focus areas, different points of value.

Sarah Nicastro: I would say the common thread is really seeing firsthand it being reinforced how important community is. I think that service leaders tend to be very, very busy, often overworked, and sometimes overwhelmed, and taking just a day away from the day-to-day operations or the grind to sit down and engage with people that have the same challenges, that are working towards the same opportunities is not only comforting but inspiring. So it was an honor to be able to bring that to life in those five cities, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to do so.

Sarah Nicastro: And what will happen next? So one thing is now that I am going to have at least a little break from travel, I can dig into some of the specifics of the content shared during the events and look for ways to share that with you all. So whether that’s through articles or releasing some of the sessions as podcasts, I want to make sure that rather than a quick overview, you have an opportunity to get some of the detail as well. So stay tuned on the podcast and on futurefieldservice.com or on LinkedIn for that.

Sarah Nicastro: And we haven’t completely briefed since Austin, since everything ended, but we have connected quickly as a team. And at least at this point, we do plan to do these events again in 2023. I don’t know exactly what that will look like, but as soon as I do, I will certainly share with you. So if you weren’t able to join us in 2022, hopefully you’ll have the opportunity to do so in 2023.

Sarah Nicastro: So thank you again so much to the speakers that came to share their insights in each city, the attendees that came and engaged and connected, the team that helped me plan these events, Polly and Joanna, for the incredible work that they did on the logistics and execution. And of course, a huge thank you to IFS for sponsoring these events and allowing us to bring this type of community and thought leadership to these five cities without having to charge a fee for folks to attend.

Sarah Nicastro: So thank you all. Stay tuned for more to come at futureoffieldservice.com. Follow us on LinkedIn. You can also find us on Twitter, @thefutureoffs. And as always, the Future of Field Service podcast is published in partnership with IFS. You can learn more at ifs.com. Thank you for listening.