Independence & Self Discovery

Recorded December 4, 2020

Episode 01 - 54 minutes
00:00 00:00
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Episode Guests

Carrie Kries

CEO, Gladwyne Montessori

Carrie Kries has been an educator since the 1990s, serving in the public, charter, and independent sectors. Her youngest of three sons attended a Montessori preschool, which first opened her eyes to the brilliance of Maria Montessori. From 20102015, Carrie served as CEO at the Philadelphia Montessori School, where she learned firsthand the value of a Montessori education for all children. During the summer of 2019, Carrie Kries earned her Administrator’s credential from the American Montessori Society. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, fitness, and building and reupholstering furniture.

Kelly Beck

Chief Executive Officer, PolycoreTherapeutics

Ms. Kelly Beck brings over 20 years of knowledge and experience from biotechnology and clinical research organizations. She most recently served as vice president, investor relations and administration with Ocugen, Inc., where she played an instrumental role in the growth of the company, including through its reverse merger to become a publicly traded company on the Nasdaq exchange. Prior to Ocugen, she held roles of increasing responsibility at PRA Health Sciences, DrugDev, and Tengion. Ms. Beck holds a B.S.bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from Millersville University, a M.S.master’s degree in Human Resource Development from Villanova University and an M.B.A. in business administration with a concentration in Biotechnology and Health Industry Management from Penn State University.

Phon Malone

Chief Executive Officer, Revel Nail

Phon Malone attended Villanova for college to be a chemical engineer, and began to work in the nail industry on the product development and manufacturing side of the industry post-graduation. After his experience in the nail industry, Phon was confident that he had what it takes to start a successful business. Phon grew Revel Nail from a small operation to a widely recognized brand that employs almost 200 employees today. With 15,000+ Facebook community members, Revel Nail has become a place to share tips and tricks. Founded in customer satisfaction, Revel Nail continues to succeed in gaining customer trust.

Christopher Glover

President, EmployeeMax

Christopher Glover is a senior management professional with over 20 years of experience in the Financial Services industry. Throughout his career, Glover has utilized his exceptional sales, business development, account management, client development, recruiting, and partnership skills to identify and acquire new accounts, penetrate markets, and build territories and teams. Glover is familiar with introducing new products and services to existing and potential clients, as well as highly adept at directing regional business development operations. He has a consistent record of growing revenues, increasing profitability, and exceeding quotas. His previous experience includes portfolio management, trading operations, financial planning, and sales.

Read the Transcript

Narrator [00:00:09] Welcome to Executive Leaders Radio, your spot in the corner office, the radio show where executives share their secrets to success. Executive Leaders Radio.


Herb Cohen [00:00:21] You’re listening to Executive Leaders Radio. This your host, Herb Cohen with my co-host Jeff Mack, Newmark Night Frank and Shannon Lane, Newmark Knight Frank. Drew Hanlon, Hanlon. Pat Riley, USI. And Ethan Milrod, GO2. Jeff can you give us a rundown on who we have on the show today please?


Jeff Mack [00:00:36] Sure Herb, we have Carrie Kries, Head of School, Gladwyne Montessori, Kelly Beck, CEO, PolyCore Therapeutics, Phon Malone is the CEO of Revel Nail, and Christopher Glover, President of EmployeeMax.


Herb Cohen [00:00:49] Let’s get to know our first guest, Carrie Kries, Head of School, Gladwyne Montessori. Carrie, what is Gladwyne Montessori?


Carrie Kries [00:00:55] It’s the only American Montessori society school -accredited school- on Philadelphia’s main line, serving infants to sixth grade.


Herb Cohen [00:01:05] And how many students is that?


Carrie Kries [00:01:07] Usually on average, around 220.


Herb Cohen [00:01:09] And when were you from originally?


Carrie Kries [00:01:11] I grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia on a farm.


Herb Cohen [00:01:15] And how young were you, and you told me you moved when you were 14. Why did you move and where did you move to?


Carrie Kries [00:01:20] Yeah, we moved to Philadelphia when my parents got divorced.


Herb Cohen [00:01:24] So you were how young?


Carrie Kries [00:01:26] Right around 14.


Herb Cohen [00:01:27] 14. All right. And how many brothers and sisters and where were you in the pecking order?


Carrie Kries [00:01:31] I’m the youngest of three girls.


Herb Cohen [00:01:32] So the youngest the three girls, you moved when you were 14 because your parents were divorced. And I’m trying to figure out, you’re the head of Montessori. How young were you when education became really important to you and why?


Carrie Kries [00:01:46] I was a little kid. My mom spent a ton of time with us as little girls, making sure that we had exposure to  learning that was not typical, what we would typically find in our school.


Herb Cohen [00:02:00] Shannon?


Shannon Lane [00:02:00] Alight, do you ever interact with the students?


Carrie Kries [00:02:03] As often as possible, yes.


Shannon Lane [00:02:05] What do you, like, why? Why would you do that?


Carrie Kries [00:02:08] The children are the joy. They’re the, they’re the reason I do my work.


Herb Cohen [00:02:12] Mhm. Ethan?


Ethan Milrod [00:02:14] Carrie, who else in your life was important to you when you were younger? Did you have any mentors growing up?


Carrie Kries [00:02:18] Yeah, for sure. Beyond my parents, which was when I was a little kid, when I was in college, I had a professor who taught me that everybody is a math person when I definitely didn’t think I was.


Ethan Milrod [00:02:33] And you said your parents were your mentors, too? How so?


Carrie Kries [00:02:36] For sure. I mean, as a little girl, foundationally, they were critical in establishing my sense of who I was and my love for life and learning.


Ethan Milrod [00:02:49] Yes. So what effect did that have on you? How did you carry that forward and much of what you’re doing today?


Carrie Kries [00:02:55] Well, as a from my mom’s perspective, I would say she was instrumental in and inspiring me to want to know more than what was in front of me. My dad was instrumental for me in kind of sending me out on my own to explore and figure things out.


Herb Cohen [00:03:14] Pat?


Pat Riley [00:03:15] Mentioned you had a great relationship with your sisters growing up. How did you spend most of your time?


Carrie Kries [00:03:19] Actually, it was my middle sister. She and I started out as best friends, and we remain that way now. We grew up on an 86-acre farm and we were left to our own devices fairly all day.


Pat Riley [00:03:33] And how did that how did that relationship and that that kind of experience lay the ground groundwork for who you are today?


Carrie Kries [00:03:40] So we explored and we made up games and we found our way and we got lost on purpose and then worked together to make that a really kind of playful, good experience. And that’s really what that’s how I approach my life as an adult.


Pat Riley [00:03:57] And what does that have to do with the Montessori?


Carrie Kries [00:04:00] So Montessori is about self directed, independent, courageous learning. And so as the school leader, I get to be the one who makes sure that our children every day are learning in this environment that promotes independence and self directed learning.


Herb Cohen [00:04:18] Drew?


Drew Hanlon [00:04:20] Yes, you told us that your mom used to like to teach you about Native American history. What was the lesson she hoped that you would learn?


Carrie Kries [00:04:30] At the time, I had no idea what the lesson was, because it used to drive me crazy, she would make us sit at the table. Looking back, it’s clear to me that her intention was what is in front of you as a as a kid in school is not always the full picture.


Drew Hanlon [00:04:46] And how do you take that with you to work every day?


Carrie Kries [00:04:51] For me, I think it’s a matter of exploring, going deeper, going broader, going to the bigger picture of what is not necessarily right in front of us, as adults and also for our children.


Herb Cohen [00:05:03] Jeffrey?


Jeff Mack [00:05:04] Carrie, do some of the kids that you’ve that you’ve taught over the years come back and see and check in with you? And and what are you most proud of about that?


Carrie Kries [00:05:12] Oh, gosh, yes. I have a couple of students that I stay in touch with fairly regularly. One I just literally connected with very recently.


Jeff Mack [00:05:23] And, how does it make you feel?


Carrie Kries [00:05:25] Honored, humbled, delighted.


Herb Cohen [00:05:28] You mentioned earlier that that you were a teacher and that there was a principal that inspired you, that affected who you is nowadays. What’s that all about?


Carrie Kries [00:05:39] Sure. I had a I had a principal in a public school in a suburb of Philadelphia who made it loud and clear to me that it was perfectly acceptable to just close my door and teach the heck out of kids. Whatever they wanted to learn, needed to learn, loved to learn was my job to make sure that happened.


Herb Cohen [00:06:00] As opposed to?


Carrie Kries [00:06:01] As opposed to what is really expected from a school principal, which is “Follow this curriculum to a T. Make sure that you’re hitting all the standards of of standardized education.”


Herb Cohen [00:06:14] What’s the benefit of doing it the creative way?


Carrie Kries [00:06:17] You’re teaching children.


Herb Cohen [00:06:19] What you’re talking about?


Carrie Kries [00:06:21] I mean, because we, historically, I would say children are expected to learn the same as every other child so that they fit into a certain mold and standard. And for me, that’s not what learning is about. And I definitely learned that from my mom as a kid.


Herb Cohen [00:06:39] What are you talking about?


Carrie Kries [00:06:42] Well, my, when you are approaching your life, you should be motivated and inspired to learn by what interests you, what matters to you, and when it does matter to you, you go as deeply as you can into it and get great at it and enjoy it. That’s the part that’s missing, I think, in so many places is the joy of learning.


Herb Cohen [00:07:06] Shannon, what else are you thinking?


Shannon Lane [00:07:07] What does it mean to you when this sixth grade students graduate from the school?


Carrie Kries [00:07:12] Oh, gosh, I feel so proud. We’ve had nine graduates last year, which is a lot for a small school. And I get to watch them grow up and then I get to watch them keep growing up because they stay in touch for years to come.


Jeff Mack [00:07:27] What have you learned from the kids?


Carrie Kries [00:07:31] That nothing else around us is as serious as it needs to be.


Herb Cohen [00:07:36] Wow. Drew, what else are you thinking?


Drew Hanlon [00:07:39] I thought you also mentioned that your mom liked to dig deeper for the truth. What was the lesson there?


Carrie Kries [00:07:47] Yeah, I mean, when she forced us to sit at the table after dinner and listen to her read, which I look back fondly on, it was don’t believe everything that’s flat in front of you. Don’t listen and read and think that that’s all there is to it. Go out of your way to find out more, because there’s typically more to know.


Drew Hanlon [00:08:08] Do you bring that culture to your students?


Carrie Kries [00:08:10] Absolutely. And to my and to my teachers and to my staff is let’s go bigger and deeper and broader as often as we can so that it matters more.


Jeff Mack [00:08:21] You mentioned on the farm that you and your sister went out and you got lost and you had to figure things out.


Carrie Kries [00:08:26] Yeah.


Jeff Mack [00:08:27] How does that impact your teaching style?


Carrie Kries [00:08:30] I mean, my it impacts my teaching style in so far as it’s OK for something to not feel quite tidy and expected, it’s actually kind of exciting. It can be scary, but really exciting to not know exactly where you are, not know exactly what you’re doing, and then figure it out, discover what’s really behind it all.


Herb Cohen [00:08:53] What’s the benefit to the kids of that?


Carrie Kries [00:08:55] There’s no real wrong answer, you know, and then there’s some ownership there for the children and there’s ownership for teachers, by the way, when they get to explore, too.


Herb Cohen [00:09:05] Mm hmm. Who’s got the next question?


Jeff Mack [00:09:07] What lights your fire, Carrie?


Carrie Kries [00:09:10] Oh, people being nice to each other for sure is probably one of the key things. But from a practical standpoint, what lights my fire, not as a professional, is building things, making things out of wood.


Herb Cohen [00:09:24] Wow, what’s that have to do with what you’re doing, a Montessori, this building out of wood?


Carrie Kries [00:09:30] Well, I’m a maker. I grew up as a maker. If you if you have to get lost and explore and find your way, you build stuff to get yourself found again. And as a teacher, I’m a forever teacher. Even if I’m a school leader, I’ll always be a teacher, is to say, you know, be resourceful. What’s what do you need? What do you need to solve for? And how can you make something to to solve for that problem?


Drew Hanlon [00:09:54] And you use the word resourceful?


Carrie Kries [00:09:56] Yeah, I, I had to be resourceful as a little kid, but I definitely had to be resourceful as a teenager. When my parents got divorced, I fairly well raised myself from that point forward. So you’ve got to figure things out on your own.


Herb Cohen [00:10:12] What’s the website address for this organization known as Gladwyne Montessori?


Carrie Kries [00:10:18]


Herb Cohen [00:10:18] Let me have that one more time.


Carrie Kries [00:10:20] Gladwyne dot org.


Herb Cohen [00:10:22] We’ve been speaking with Carrie Kries, who’s the head of school, Gladwyne Montessori here on Executive Leaders Radio. Don’t forget to visit our website. It’s executive leaders radio dot com, that’s and learn more about our executive leaders will be back in a moment right after this break. Don’t go away.


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Herb Cohen [00:13:53] We’re back. You’re listening to Executive Leaders Radio, this is your host Herb Cohen, we’d like to introduce Kelly Beck, CEO of PolyCore Therapeutics. Kelly, what is PolyCore Therapeutics? What are you guys doing?


Kelly Beck [00:14:03] We’re a biopharmaceutical company focused on neurodegenerative diseases.


Herb Cohen [00:14:06] And where you’re from originally?


Kelly Beck [00:14:10] I grew up outside of Philadelphia in Boyertown.


Herb Cohen [00:14:12] And how many brothers and sisters and where you in the pecking order?


Kelly Beck [00:14:16] I am the only child.


Herb Cohen [00:14:17] The only child. And what was going on about 10 years old with you?


Kelly Beck [00:14:23] When I was 10 years old, my dad passed away. And so it was just me and my mom growing up.


Herb Cohen [00:14:28] Your dad passed when you were 10. It was just you and your mom. So would that do what would that do to you?


Kelly Beck [00:14:36] Forced me to grow up pretty fast and be independent and responsible.


Herb Cohen [00:14:40] Give us an idea of how forced you to grow up, how that show up being being forced to grow up real quick when Dad passed?


Kelly Beck [00:14:46] So I was a latchkey kid, my mom worked full time. And so I came home from school myself and had to make sure I did my homework, get ready for dinner. All of that on my own.


Herb Cohen [00:14:55] Jeffrey?


Jeff Mack [00:14:55] Kelly, I’ve seen you as a leader in the life sciences community here in Philadelphia. How young were you when you started stepping up to the plate?


Kelly Beck [00:15:05] 10, when my dad passed away, right, because I had to do a lot of stuff to help my mom around the house and then kind of took it from there and in everything that I did.


Herb Cohen [00:15:13] What do you mean you had to help your mom around the house? Did she tell you that or did you just assume that?


Kelly Beck [00:15:18] I assumed it.


Herb Cohen [00:15:19] You assumed what?


Kelly Beck [00:15:22] I assumed that I needed to help out whether it was making dinner or cleaning the house, you know, whatever needed to be done for us-


Herb Cohen [00:15:29] So your real name is responsible, isn’t it? What’s that have to do with who you are nowadays?


Kelly Beck [00:15:34] I feel responsible for the work that I do, my family and providing for them and the people that I serve.


Herb Cohen [00:15:41] All right. Ethan?


Ethan Milrod [00:15:42] Kelly, how young were you and started making money?


Ethan Milrod [00:15:46] I was about 11 or 12 as a babysitter.


Kelly Beck [00:15:49] You’re a babysitter. What was special about you and babysitting?


Kelly Beck [00:15:53] So the family that I babysat for had two children, both girls, one had muscular dystrophy and the other had epilepsy.


Ethan Milrod [00:16:01] And you were 11 years old and you were caring for them. You know, what was that like for you?


Kelly Beck [00:16:07] There is a lot of responsibility to take care of them and provide for them and at the same time make sure that, you know, as someone closer to their age was a peer. And so we had fun together as well.


Ethan Milrod [00:16:17] What do you think? What do you think he meant to them?


Kelly Beck [00:16:20] I think they saw me as a friend as well as a caregiver, and that their parents felt really comfortable and confident when I was there.


Herb Cohen [00:16:27] Mm hmm.


Ethan Milrod [00:16:29] That comfort and confidence. How did that prepare you for what you’re doing today?


Kelly Beck [00:16:33] I think that led me eventually to the biotech industry where we are providing therapeutics that will extend people’s lives.


Herb Cohen [00:16:42] Shannon?


Shannon Lane [00:16:43] Kelly, when you think about your dad, what comes to mind?


Kelly Beck [00:16:46] He was a gregarious individual who loved people and loved life.


Shannon Lane [00:16:53] And what did you learn from your father that you carry with you today?


Carrie Kries [00:16:58] He never met a person he didn’t like. And so he was a great networker, loved to get to know people. And I’ve carried that forward myself in terms of loving to network. I like to learn people’s stories and get to know them.


Shannon Lane [00:17:11] And how to help you build your business?


Kelly Beck [00:17:14] I think everything is built through networks, right? That’s how you get to find new people, new investors, new employees. It’s all interconnected.


Herb Cohen [00:17:23] Drew?


Drew Hanlon [00:17:25] You mentioned in the green room, mom had a strong work ethic. How did she demonstrate that to you?


Kelly Beck [00:17:31] So early on, when I was a kid, my mom went to work so that I could go to a private school because I was ahead in a grade. And the private the public school there wanted me to repeat a grade. So she went to work so that I could go into private school and then continued to work, especially after my dad died, so that she could provide for us and make sure that my college paid for.


Drew Hanlon [00:17:50] What did that mean to you? To see your mom getting up early, going to work so you could go to a better school?


Kelly Beck [00:17:55] It made me deeply appreciative and instilled in me that that value that I want to pay that forward and do the same for my family.


Drew Hanlon [00:18:03] And what do you bring to work every day for mom?


Kelly Beck [00:18:07] I think that deep commitment and responsibility and focus on, you know, doing the best job that you can.


Herb Cohen [00:18:16] Mmm hmm. Pat?


Pat Riley [00:18:17] Kelly, what kind of sports or activity did you play growing up?


Kelly Beck [00:18:21] I was a cheerleader in junior high.


Pat Riley [00:18:23] And what was it that you liked about cheerleading?


Kelly Beck [00:18:26] I loved the camaraderie and the coming together as a team and supporting the different sporting events.


Pat Riley [00:18:32] And how does that how does that drag through to what you’re doing today in your business?


Kelly Beck [00:18:37] I think when you look at biotech, you’re coming together to serve patients and provide them with better opportunities.


Herb Cohen [00:18:45] Mm hmm. Jeffrey?


Jeff Mack [00:18:46] Kelly, you’re CEO of a very exciting company. How does your husband support your professional life?


Kelly Beck [00:18:53] I am very fortunate to have someone who is willing to pick up the reins at home and everything else in life to make sure that I have the flexibility and freedom to operate in.  If I need to hop on a plane and go somewhere, he is absolutely supportive and willing to do whatever needs to be done at home.


Jeff Mack [00:19:13] When we were talking in the green room, when you were 13, you mentioned that at age 13 you were thinking, I’d like to be the CEO of Disney. Thoughts about what was going on with with you then?


Kelly Beck [00:19:25] I loved everything Disney and had read a book called Disney Wars that talked about Michael Eisner and Roy Disney and decided that someday in my future, I thought I had wanted to be CEO of Disney. And that was kind of where my focus was for a number of years. And what led me to go into business.


Jeff Mack [00:19:42] Herb, how do you how do you analyze that one?


Herb Cohen [00:19:44] Well, it seems to me that, you know, you’ve got a 13 year old girl who’s thinking about her future, who’s planning your future, who’s anticipating. Am I correct about that? You’re quite the anticipator, Kelly?


Kelly Beck [00:19:54] Anticipator and quite the planner. I think most people who know me would say that.


Herb Cohen [00:19:59] Mm hmm. And what was it about Disney that that was exciting to you?


Kelly Beck [00:20:05] I think, you know, you look at what Walt Disney built, especially in Disney World, and bringing people together in a happy place and providing them with joy and and that for me was attractive.


Herb Cohen [00:20:15] What’s it have to do with what you’re doing nowadays?


Kelly Beck [00:20:18] So we’re focused on Parkinson’s disease. And so the ability to improve a patient’s life with Parkinson’s and extend not just their life, but their livelihood and the joy that they can get in the quality of life is really important.


Herb Cohen [00:20:32] So you’re all about the win win win. You’re not about to win, lose or somebody’s got to lose or you’ve got to hurt somebody. It’s all about winning together with everybody, isn’t it?


Kelly Beck [00:20:41] Absolutely.


Herb Cohen [00:20:42] What do you mean?


Kelly Beck [00:20:44] I think that there’s always a benefit. I don’t agree with the “somebody has to lose in order for somebody else to win”. We are all in this together as a team. And so we need to find what works best for everyone.


Herb Cohen [00:20:56] So you’re thinking that your your customers, your team, the investors, that everybody can win together by working together because.


Kelly Beck [00:21:05] Absolutely.


Herb Cohen [00:21:06] And your role is the cheerleader in the team?


Kelly Beck [00:21:09] The cheerleader, the connecter, the one that’s really kind of, you know, putting all of those threads together.


Herb Cohen [00:21:16] The planning?


Kelly Beck [00:21:18] Planning is a key part of that.


Herb Cohen [00:21:20] Let me ask you, the good thing about being the CEO is you get to go in late and come home early. You don’t have to go put in extended hours, do you? Or weekends.


Kelly Beck [00:21:29] Oh, absolutely. You do whatever it takes to get the job done.


Herb Cohen [00:21:33] What time do you start thinking about work in the morning? What time do you stop thinking about and what’s all that look like?


Kelly Beck [00:21:40] So, you know, I’m usually up by six and thinking about what the day looks like. And while I may wind down for a period of time in the evening, it’s still in the back of my mind of what needs to happen next. What emails do I need to respond to? Who do I need to reach out to? So, you know, probably shuts off maybe 11, 11:30 at night?


Herb Cohen [00:22:01] Well, you wake up with ideas in the morning?


Kelly Beck [00:22:04] I wake up in the middle of the night with ideas.


Herb Cohen [00:22:06] Thank you. That’s what I thought was going to be the answer. Jeffrey, what else are you thinking?


Jeff Mack [00:22:10] What do you want your signature to be, Kelly, on PolyCore Therapeutics, looking forward into the future?


Kelly Beck [00:22:17] That we were able to bring forward a new compound that improves the lives of patients and their families and really make a mark in the Parkinson’s space.


Herb Cohen [00:22:26] Drew, what else are you thinking?


Drew Hanlon [00:22:28] I just want to go back to the team being on TV and in school. Why did you. What was your role?


Kelly Beck [00:22:36] So in junior high and high school, I was part of the TV team that broadcast the news and with an anchor and a sports reporter as well. And I really enjoyed getting to share those stories with students.


Drew Hanlon [00:22:50] That’s really cool. And what would your friends tell us that were on the crew about you?


Kelly Beck [00:22:56] That whenever I messed up, it was a pretty public mess up that was usually often entertaining as well.


Herb Cohen [00:23:03] But on the other hand, you were comfortable putting yourself in the line. You were comfortable being up front. I guess that’s the same thing as presenting to investors or leading the team. Is there a connection there?


Kelly Beck [00:23:13] Absolutely. I wasn’t afraid to step forward, and like I said, even if I messed up, you know, you pick yourself up and you keep going forward. And I think it’s the only way you can learn and grow.


Herb Cohen [00:23:23] It’s like stepping up. That’s a question that Jeff asked you the first question, which was, you know, when you were young, were you when you stepped up and it has to do with your dad, passed away when you were ten, just taking the ball and running with it. What’s the website address to this organization known as PolyCore Therapeutics?


Kelly Beck [00:23:39] Yes,


Herb Cohen [00:23:41] We’ve been speaking with Kelly Beck, CEO of PolyCore Therapeutics here on Executive Leaders Radio. Don’t forget to visit our website, it’s Executive Leaders Radio dot com to learn more about our executive leaders. Be back in a moment right after this quick break.


Herb Cohen [00:27:11] We’re back here listening to Executive Leaders Radio this your host, Herb Cohen, and we’d like to introduce Phon Malone, the CEO of Revel Nail. Phon, what is Revel Nail? What are you guys doing?


Phon Malone [00:27:23] Revel Nail is the world’s largest manufacturer of dipping powder for women’s fingernails.


Herb Cohen [00:27:27] How large or how small is the company and how did you get a job with it?


Phon Malone [00:27:31] I started the company. The company right now is six years old. We have about 200 employees.


Herb Cohen [00:27:37] Mm hmm. Where were you from originally? How many brothers and sisters do you have?


Phon Malone [00:27:42] I have three adopted brothers and sisters, three biological brothers and sisters. And three half brothers and sisters.


Herb Cohen [00:27:50] Where were you from originally?


Phon Malone [00:27:52] I was born and raised in Vietnam originally.


Herb Cohen [00:27:54] Uh huh. And what happened when you were seven and eight and nine and 10?


Phon Malone [00:28:00] I when I was seven was the first time that I escaped Vietnam. We got caught and put in jail. The second time that I escaped Vietnam, I was about eight years old and I was successful in getting out and living in the refugee camp for about two years in Galam, Indonesia.


Herb Cohen [00:28:17] What was it like living in a refugee camp from the ages of 8 to 10 in Galam, Indonesia?


Phon Malone [00:28:22] It was tough. I had to grow up overnight. I didn’t have any parents or adults taking care of me so often I had to figure out ways to feed myself.


[00:28:34] What else?


[00:28:36] I lived in a monastery, a Buddhist monastery, for about six months when I was in the refugee camp. I had to, you know, cut down coconut, cut down bananas, sell them, trade them for food, had to be a hustler and a survivor.


[00:28:54] Did you actually tell us that you had to find food? How to steal it sometimes?


[00:28:59] Yeah, I did. And, you know, there was I often sold food from like a Buddhist statue. That’s when the Buddhist monk caught me and took me in for about six months.


[00:29:12] The other year and a half, I was living with other boys and we were helping to take care of each other. We would fish, we would hunt, we would harvest fruits and vegetables to help feed ourselves.


[00:29:25] Got you.


[00:29:26] Pat, you mentioned in the green room that one of the benefits actually of the refugee camp was that it gave you a chance to develop yourself. What do you mean by that?


[00:29:35] Yeah, I. I literally had to grow up overnight. I didn’t have anyone to take care of me. I had to be resourceful in terms of feeding myself. And I had to be, you know, resourceful in terms of like finding ways to survive and never giving up.


[00:29:53] It really shaped the way how I am today, kind of those lessons carry through to your your business today.


[00:30:00] Yeah. So those few years were probably the two hard issues of my life. So certainly anything that’s beyond everything comes easy to me now these days.


[00:30:11] Ethan, on where did you get the funding to start?


[00:30:14] Raval now so are are funding for the company came from our customers. You know, we were living when when a company is a startup, it’s impossible to get funding from the bank. So we asked our customers to help pay for their orders. When they placed it so often they would, you know, cut us a check for half a million dollars and trust that we would ship them products in for two weeks.


[00:30:39] And this is when you’re starting up to their their prepaying and you’re just starting up as a company. What does that say about you?


[00:30:46] So they had a lot of trust in me. I I’ve known these people for, you know, 10 to 15 years.


[00:30:52] And, you know, they trusted me. And, you know, they’re willing to give me money in advance of, you know, before getting their products the on.


[00:31:02] Why start your own business and take a lot of risk? Why not just go get a regular job with a big company?


[00:31:09] You know, I always want to better myself. So I’ve worked with other work for other people. And naturally, you know, one of the things I want to do and I didn’t want to, you know, die and regret not starting a business.


[00:31:22] So certainly, you know, I took the risk and it’s the best decision I made so far.


[00:31:27] Shumann on in the green room, you mentioned your wife had an import, played an important role, and you’re starting your company. Tell us more about that.


[00:31:35] Yeah, my wife is certainly the head of our household. She’s a great mother. When we started the business, she was taking care of three young children. She’s now the HRT leader in the company and, you know, extremely intelligent and smart. And she’s my best friend, a great business partner and certainly a great wife and mother to our children.


[00:31:57] What did you learn from her that has helped you to build this business? She’s extremely compassionate. She thinks of other people.


[00:32:05] I take her advice on a daily basis. She certainly, you know, helping to shape the culture of our company, making our company a better place to work.


[00:32:16] I drew on you. I just want to go back to this. You said that you kind of bound together with six or seven other kids. What would they tell us about you?


[00:32:26] Those other there’s other kids, I would say to you know, I’m a trusting guy.


[00:32:32] I am loyal, I’m friendly, helpful. So I don’t screw people over. Would they be surprised where you’re at today?


[00:32:44] I don’t think so, no. Why is that? I don’t know, like I guess I have a nature in terms of just trying to always be better myself, never giving up, you know, trying to learn things like if I’m trying to learn how to, you know, like ride a bike or whatever. I will keep on trying to ride a bike five days.


[00:33:12] What do you think is their most most kids started with first grade when they were when they were around six. But you started when you were 10 and then you ended up skipping some grades and graduating on time. Tell us a little bit about that path.


[00:33:24] Yeah, I first came to the United States when I was 10, so I didn’t speak a word English.


[00:33:31] So I started first grade. And naturally, I was always and I was 10 years old at where everyone else was sick. So I always got picked first for kickball, but I skipped 2nd, fourth and sixth grade and I graduated high school when I was 18 years old.


[00:33:46] And that’s something that was important to you, to skip those grades, to graduate on time?


[00:33:51] No, not necessarily. I think I think, you know, what held me back in school was the language. Once I figured that out, I was always a smart kid, good in math.


[00:34:01] And, you know, I graduated, you know, straight A’s in high school. And so, no, I’m not surprised by that.


[00:34:09] Well, Drew, upon you mentioned that you were on the wrestling team. What did you learn from that experience?


[00:34:17] You know, I so I was on the wrestling team. I was a three year captain. My sophomore senior year. I learned that I can be a leader.


[00:34:28] How to motivate people and get people to trust me, because every year is a voting process like, you know.


[00:34:34] So you’re saying as a sophomore, the other kids on the team voted you as a sophomore, as a captain, right? Yes. What do they what do they see in you?


[00:34:42] Just like I was an extremely hard worker. I led by example.


[00:34:49] And how has that impacted what you’re doing today? That’s the way I run my business and that’s how I live my life.


[00:34:56] Every day I find this this it sounds like in the refugee camp, one of the ways you learn how to survive and thrive was hanging out with the community of other kids, really learning who you could depend on and letting them know that they could depend on you. How’s that affecting what you’re doing now? A day outside the business?


[00:35:20] To me, everything is about trust. I need my I need my boys that to me at least their middle names, so that hopefully in the future what they do take over the business. I want people to be positive about me. So I’m a kind of person that like to me, my ward is more important than any piece of paper or a contract that I signed. That’s the way how I live my life and that’s how I run my business.


[00:35:47] And you’re looking to build a legacy, it sounds to me, if you’re looking to bring the kids into it. This is not a build and sell situation. This is an ongoing entity for many, many generations and years. You’re hoping, correct?


[00:35:58] Yes.


[00:36:00] Jeffrey Bond, you had a very unique and difficult upbringing as a young kid. What have you learned from your three children?


[00:36:08] I think, you know, it’s it’s a never give up.


[00:36:12] You can do anything you want with hard work and you got to trust the people around you, build the right team around you and what have you. What have your three kids taught you?


[00:36:29] You know, they’re certainly keeping me humble, you know, they’re they’re great kids, they’re extremely compassionate, and I am grateful that they’re going to have better opportunities that I did.


[00:36:42] And that’s just my goal was to make sure that that their life is going to turn out better than mine.


[00:36:49] What’s the website address? Strawn’s for this organization known as RVL, now webmail dotcom.


[00:36:55] How do you spell that? RTV E l and a L dot com?


[00:37:01] We would speak with Fon Malone’s CEO of Reville Neil here on Executive Leaders Radio. Don’t forget to visit our Web site. It’s Executive Leaders Radio dot com to learn more about our executive leaders, executive leaders, radio dot com will be back in a moment. Please don’t go away. We’ll be right back.


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[00:41:30] We’re back. You’re listening to executive leaders radio this, your host, Herb Cohen, and we’d like to introduce Christopher Glover, who is the president of employee Emax.


[00:41:39] Christopher, what is employee Max and how large or small employee Max is a 100 employee operation where a business administrative services coordinator, we partner with our business owners and their leadership team to deliver H.R. payroll benefits, risk safety, economic impact services.


[00:41:58] What kind of community are you from originally? Where’d you come from? What kind of community?


[00:42:03] I grew up right outside of Philadelphia and Delaware County. I was a county kid because I was all over that county. I wasn’t in one specific set of fancy dancy neighborhood.


[00:42:11] I was, you know, America.


[00:42:13] I don’t know how many brothers and sisters do you have?


[00:42:17] I am the only one.


[00:42:19] Huh. And what was going on with you? You’re an only child. What was going on with you?


[00:42:23] About 11 years old, around 11:00 is when my mother passed away.


[00:42:27] So at that point, it was just me and my father and your mom passed from what kind of stuff? What was that again? A mess. Multiple sclerosis. Ms. So it was just dad and yourself. And what happened to the dynamic and what that do to you at the age of 11?


[00:42:43] Well, you know, at the age of 11, when you don’t have a mother, you wind up doing a lot of things for yourself. So for sporting events, you have to wash your clothes. You have to get your meals together. So, you know, you wind up figuring out how to care for yourself.


[00:42:56] Mrs. Drew.


[00:43:00] Yeah, I was just curious, you know what? You hear your mom whispering in your ear every day when you’re faced with tough decisions, be comfortable.


[00:43:08] Well, my mother went out of her way to make sure that I was comfortable in any situation, whether horseback riding or playing sports or interacting with older people are going to dinner. You always need to have a sense of self in conference.


[00:43:21] Why was it important for your mom to, like, show you all these different activities?


[00:43:27] I just think based on her upbringing from being down south and she knew that she wanted me to do more and have more. She wanted me to be comfortable in those scenarios in which I think she probably wasn’t as she was growing up.


[00:43:42] Is that meaningful to you?


[00:43:44] That’s extremely meaningful. It showed me the things that need to be instilled to team and family. You know, you want your your people to be comfortable in their own skin.


[00:43:55] Jeffrey, tell us about your dad. What did he do for a living?


[00:43:59] The facilities manager at Temple University for over thirty years. And you’re close to we’re going to work with your dad every Saturday for about two or three, maybe even four years. It was yeah, I would go and watch him work and do his thing, you know.


[00:44:15] What did his coworkers tell you? You had a lot of a lot of community there. What did those guys tell you about you and him?


[00:44:22] Oh, I remember vividly that the gentleman would always tell me, if you wind up being half the man that your father is, you’ll be more of a man than myself. So just let me know the kind of individual that I had in my house.


[00:44:36] Has your father seen the success that you’ve you’ve created for yourself?


[00:44:41] Chris, my father is actually in the house with me right now, so he’s with me and my wife and me.


[00:44:48] How do you think he feels about the success you’re enjoying?


[00:44:52] It seems to be motivating them. It helps him as well.


[00:44:57] Yeah. With 100 employees, huh?


[00:45:00] Ethan Christopher, you were mentioning early in the green room that you’re really comfortable being independent and a loner. Tell us more about that, especially as when you were younger. What was that like?


[00:45:11] There was a day shortly after my mother passed away that I came home from school and I realized that it was just me. And while I was anticipating freaking out about that moment, it was far from that. It was a comfort to know that it was going to be OK and I’d be fine. And that is strange as it was. I didn’t feel as though I was by myself.


[00:45:32] So what did that moment teach you to have?


[00:45:35] Faith. Really?


[00:45:37] Faith. What you mean faith and what faith in myself.


[00:45:42] Faith in strange parts, faith in life. You know, you’re not going to go through life alone. You know, you will have people that you need to provide you with whatever emotional, financial, spiritual support that you need to make it through life.


[00:45:58] How do you think that prepared you for being the president of employee makes? Twelve hundred people. Twelve hundred people.


[00:46:05] Yeah, well, you know that twelve hundred comes through partnership. I think it prepared me to be a good partner because I’m trying to understand how to be helpful and where to place the most appropriate amount of help.


[00:46:21] Charlie. Christopher, you also mentioned in the green room that after your mom passed, you had parents, teachers, coaches all reaching out and supporting you. What did that mean to you?


[00:46:34] It really showed me the value that family goes beyond just the blood. People care and people want the best for an individual. So, you know, my coaches would make sure that I got home on time. My friends mothers would make sure that from time to time they would cook a meal for me. So just, you know, little things, but they meant a lot.


[00:46:55] How are you recreating that today? The fact that family goes beyond blood relatives?


[00:47:01] Well, whether it’s my clients or the employees that we work with, you know, we want them to feel cared for and feel like someone has their back. At least in my role that’s my job, is to make sure that I’m providing a quality relationship for the employees as well as for the client that.


[00:47:18] You mentioned that you had a lot of influential coaches growing up, was forced to play basketball and played soccer.


[00:47:26] Track and field, I just love moving as a child.


[00:47:30] So what type of positions did you have on this team on soccer?


[00:47:35] I was a Center Med, so a little bit of offense, first line of defense. And in basketball, I was the sixth or seventh man off the bench, but I was the glue guy.


[00:47:47] I was a guy. How does that translate to what you’re doing to that?


[00:47:51] Well, first line of offense and defense for my clients, either trying to help them grow or trying to protect them from, you know, disaster in one way, shape or form. And I’m still the glue guy. I’m still the guy that’s coming in there trying to figure out how to help, how to make it better, how to make it work stronger.


[00:48:09] Who’s got the next question you were participating in or if your father was able to come watch?


[00:48:15] You know, it was one of the weirdest things ever. My dad would come to baseball games from time to time. And he was my dad was different. And he would come to the baseball games. He’d sit out in the car and not participate with the other parents. And he would be there from time to time, but not often when he come to a lot of my sporting events because he was working.


[00:48:34] And the you mentioned that when you were a kid, you would also go with your uncle, who was a pastor to church. And you got very involved in church when you were a kid, eight, nine, 10 years old. What was that all about?


[00:48:48] So, yeah, part of my education required that I go to church and I went to a small private school and my uncle was a pastor. He would take me to church with them. And long story short, by the end of the experience, I was a deacon and giving communion and all kinds of fun stuff.


[00:49:06] You have a very, very deep, caring side to you, don’t you?


[00:49:11] Yeah, I believe so. I think that was instilled from my family. My dad cared about his employees. He cared about us. My mom cared about her community. She cared about me. Just pass that along well.


[00:49:26] But you got 400 employees. You don’t normally hear that stuff about the CEO.


[00:49:31] Well, my CEO is actually my my partner, who, you know, helps us grow this. But for me, you know, when I came into employee Max, I came in as an investor and I saw that there was a need for help. So I had to come in there, help get the employees to a good place. I had to help transact the business to a better operating partner because it was the right thing to do in people’s lives and their livelihoods were at stake. So that’s it’s just par for the course.


[00:49:56] So your middle name is Help?


[00:49:58] I start everything with help. When I design a business, the first thing that I think of is how does it help and who is it going to help?


[00:50:06] I thought you’re supposed to start a business figuring out how much money you can make, how much is in it for you.


[00:50:11] The secret of life is giving equals receiving. If you figure out how to you first, then you’ll receive important take care of itself.


[00:50:17] Wait a minute. Give me that again.


[00:50:19] Giving equals receiving. Figure out how to give and life will give you. So if I figure out how to help first, I don’t have to worry about the finances. I’ll take care of themselves and they always do.


[00:50:31] Where’d you learn that from.


[00:50:33] A mentor of mine actually was the one who taught me giving equals receiving. Hmm.


[00:50:38] Are you still involved in the church?


[00:50:41] Not at the same capacity. But, you know, it seems to be something that people tend to think I’m still heavily involved in. I just think of who you are.


[00:50:50] So who’s got the last question for when you look out over your company, Chris, and you you’ve shaped that yourself. How do you feel today about what you’ve created?


[00:50:59] I’m most proud of taking the employees and the clients that were, in a way, when I originally invested in employee Macs and getting them to a place of safety and comfort as it relates to employee Max.


[00:51:15] And the other thing I truly enjoy is because I’m straight into this transaction, I’m able to really focus on helping helping my my business partners grow and improve their operations and taking care of what’s really precious to them in their business.


[00:51:30] Christopher, what’s the website address for employee Max employee Max Dotcom?


[00:51:35] We would speak with Christopher Glover, president of Employee Max, you’re an executive leaders radio. Jefferey, can you give us a rundown on who else you had the opportunity of hanging on with today?


[00:51:45] What a great show her.


[00:51:46] We have carried Chris head of school, Gladwin Montessori, Kelly Beck, CEO, Politiquera Therapeutics, Fon Malone, CEO, Rebel Mail, and just now Christopher Glover, president employee Matt Light to thank my co-hosts, including Jeff Beck, Newmark, Knight, Frank Drew Hanlan, Hanlon, Pat Riley, USA, Ethan Miller, Rod Go to and Chatelain from Newmark’s Knight Frank for giving me a hand, structuring the questions, hopefully providing our listening audience and educational and energy. Haining radioshow like to thank our listening audience for listening, otherwise we wouldn’t have a radio show. We get to visit our Web site.


[00:52:26] It’s executive leaders radio dotcom to learn more about our executive leaders, its executive leaders, radio dot com, to learn more about our executive leaders. Thank you for joining us today. Have a nice day. Bye.