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Was Leaving Higher Ed Worth It? Chapter 2 with Stacy Snow
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Stacy Snow: Oh, I experience burnout as well too. I, I. The way I describe it is that my useful battery life was running out and when you watch somebody else go through that, you can really see it happening. You can almost see the battery starting to leak battery acid around the edges, and it's only so long before the, the remote control doesn't work at all anymore because you know, the whole battery compartment is, is eroded, right?
You could see that in other people and it takes a lot of self awareness to see that in your.[00:02:00]
Zach Busekrus: All right, Stacy, we are, We're live. How you doing? I'm will. Thank you yourself. I am doing excellent other than being, uh, 15 minutes late to our interview because of horrible traffic. Um, but uh, that aside, I, I'm happy to be chatting. I've, it's been fun following you on social for probably a couple years now, I guess.
Uh, and you work at a company now that, um, I, you know, I've great affinity for Mickey Baes from Kennedy and Company. As many of the folks listening to this, this. Also have, have great affinity for Mickey. So yeah, I'm, I'm glad to be chatting with you. It's, uh, it's fun when circles kind of cross and you get to connect with people that you've admired for a.
Stacy Snow: Yeah, it is, It's fascinating to work now alongside somebody I [00:03:00] fangirled for years, , and you know, he had no idea who I was and we never used the service. But gosh, you sure can glean a lot from someone who's a prolific writer and producer of podcasts like he is. Then now, now to be a colleague, it, it's really fun.
It's amazing. And I learn something from him
Zach Busekrus: every day. That's awesome. That's awesome. Well, um, as much as we love Mickey, we're actually here to talk about you and your story. And this is, uh, a part of this special episode that we're, I should say, series that we're putting together here at Enroll PFI about people that have left higher ed but are working at higher ed adjacent to companies as a part.
This social phenomenon that folks are calling the, the great resignation, or as we like to call it here at Enroll five, the great re-imagination of, of what higher ed looks like. So I, I wanna start by just hearing the story behind how you first came, came to work in higher ed.
Stacy Snow: Sure. So it was the year 2000 and I was [00:04:00] over on the east coast and looking to move back to the Midwest.
Okay. And listed as someone, and I have a journalism writing, uh, and general strategic communication background, and answered the call and got my first job in a brand new unit. Was in traditional extension at the University of Missouri. Okay. So we were gonna write speeches and write publications and do annual reports and promote throughout the entire state all the good works of the extension programs.
And that grew into online education, specific adult learner, specific career that lasted 21 years before I, I moved into the world of consulting. Wow.
Zach Busekrus: Wow. Was it, was there a, um, a story that you could, that you could share as you, as you kind of reflect on that time now, Right? I'm sure there are many stories, but, uh, a story or two that you think best encapsulates what you, what you loved most about, about working in higher education?
Stacy Snow: [00:05:00] Sure. I think it was the first time I attended a graduation ceremony for the evening program that some colleagues and I dreamed up launched, promoted and sold for about 18 months, and then it was probably 24 months before we had our first graduate, and so we had a reception for these graduate. And met their families.
And as I, journalism background, right? I'm gonna be the one that's interviewing, taking pictures and, and talking to these folks. And I started to cry to, to choke up and tear up the first time I saw, Oh. And it still makes me so emotional. The first time I saw a partner become emotional. Hmm. The accomplishment of their wife.
So it was a husband who started crying as his wife started talking about graduating. Wow. And I thought, this is the stuff, This is why in in my world, I've always focused on adult, non-traditional learners. And that that was it for me. I'm new. [00:06:00] This is, we're making difference in people's lives. Yeah. And that was the story, that was the story that hooked me and then kept me going for so long.
Zach Busekrus: a, what a beautiful story. And you know what's been fun? About this little series that we're working on is getting to just hear how so, so many of the reasons why folks have folks joined higher ed and or have stayed in higher ed for, for so many years is, is because of moments like that, right?
It's, it's the people, it's seeing, seeing the students, right, that you've walked with or that you remember. Answering their initial phone call or res communicating, you know, with them over email and seeing them sort of graduate and kind of go on to, to do big things. Um, that seems to kind of be this, this common narrative of like, why people love this space so much.
Stacy Snow: Exactly. I do have one of those silly stories of a, A person came to one of our in person information sessions that I would go put the little signs out on the corners of the Street right a couple hours before the information session so we could get passers by. And, [00:07:00] uh, he had all sorts of questions. You know, well, will I get a physical diploma?
What will my diploma say? Will it say that I went to school at night and will, you know, will it be a real university degree, et cetera. And then fast forward, I moved on with life, kind of forgotten about that interaction. And then he became an online student in the graduate online program probably 14 or 16 years later.
Wow. I remember the name once I saw his name come through in the graduation roster, because still here, I was still wanting to go out and tell stories of the graduates, and so I thought, Wow. So we made an impression that day when he wandered into an information session in the early two thousands. .
Zach Busekrus: Wow.
Yeah. Talk about, I mean, we like to talk a lot about sort of like the, the life cycle of like marketing to, to students, especially at the graduate level or non-traditional level. And I'm like, you know, it's not a tradit. Uh, you know, nine months or 18 months. Right. Whereas, um, is, is a little bit more common at the [00:08:00] undergraduate level.
It could be years, 2, 3, 4 years Right. Of, of nurturing talk about , you know? Absolutely. Compare that to like 12 to 16 years
Stacy Snow: and people remember you. Yeah. Right. That's, I think, the most fascinating thing. They remember the conversations of the first person they talked to when they called the. Hmm. And so that's why as, as a chief marketing officer later, we spend so much time harping on the recruitment process.
Yeah. And, and why it matters so deeply.
Zach Busekrus: Hmm. So talk to us about your, your progression there. So you were there for, uh, a couple decades, you said, right? 21 years. 21 years. Okay. So what, what were the various kind of like roles that you, that you held along the way and, and where were you at, like right before this, this
Stacy Snow: transition?
Sure, sure. So I think, uh, as is natural for a lot of people, you know, you start at the bottom and, and move your way up and. Through a couple different mergers of different units. I ended up where I was, so I started, I think it was a communications specialist or marketing specialist, was the [00:09:00] first title.
Okay. I went into an assistant director role still in traditional university extension. Then that director left. So I think there's also an aspect of this, uh, career. Progression. That involves luck, right? Yeah. Sometimes positions open up that you can move into. So the director left. I was next in line to become director.
Then we moved into a merger, so we were gonna move. Our program from where it sat at the university into what we called the main campus under the provost office. Okay. So now we're being merged into another unit, so as part of a, a multi-unit leadership team because each director came together and reorganized.
And then I became just the, the marketing communications director under a new director. We created a new office structure out of that. Okay. And then maybe one or two mergers and changes later. Uh, I became part of a system wide entity, so I was part of a four campus system, and we moved the online [00:10:00] program administration from just one campus to the system level where we were then leading those efforts across all campuses.
So I was the. You know, I don't even remember my title now, and it hasn't even been that long. just the director of marketing and, and recruitment. Yeah, I think for the system when I did leave.
Zach Busekrus: Okay. Okay. And I, I wanna hear this story behind that. So, At what point in time did you start looking, looking elsewhere?
Did, were you sort of approached by a, a recruiter? Had you considered moving? Cause again, you're at the same institution. Well, while in, you know, dramatically different roles along the way. Same sort of, you know, uh, institution here. Um, at what point do you start thinking about something else? What's the story there?
Stacy Snow: So I probably. Started thinking about consulting after having developed really close friendships. Other colleagues around the country. I [00:11:00] had the, the vast luck of being able to travel for professional development and I was part of a professional membership organization and a volunteer leader there, so I would travel multiple times a year and put on conferences and in doing so, make close connections with the other vendors who were at that conference trying to sell their services and products.
And so really just great friendships with these people. I'd see 'em once or twice a year. Just start to learn about their life. Yeah. And started maybe, probably now that I've been, now I've been doing it for a while, romanticized the life a little bit. This will obviously have been way pre pandemic. Right.
And just became interested in the idea. Uh, then a couple interesting things happened with reorganization and realignment at the. My system. Yeah. And some key leaders left and then started calling me of, Hey, do you wanna move? Do you wanna come to this new institution? And [00:12:00] I, for family reasons, can't move to another location.
And so I said, Well, let's see. Maybe I could start. Consulting with you, and I could do this for, they don't allow remote employees. Okay. Or they do. Let's figure that out. Should I start consulting with you? And so that led to, uh, my first sort of independent contractor consulting relationship that lasted a year.
Okay. And then that led to, you know, I don't really wanna do this by myself as an independent contractor. And all the connections that I made during those conversations led me to the firm I'm with.
Zach Busekrus: Hey, I'll Zach here from Enroll pfi. If you like this podcast, chances are you'll like other enroll PFI shows too.
Our podcast network is growing by the month, and we've got a plethora of marketing admissions and higher ed technology shows that are jam packed with stories, ideas, and frameworks that are all designed to empower you to become a better higher ed professional. Our shows feature a selection of the industry's best as.
Learn from Mickey Danes, Jeremy Tier, [00:13:00] Jamie Hunt, Corrin Myers, Jamie Le, and many, many more. You can learn more about the Enroll FFI podcast firstname.lastname@example.org. Our shows help higher ed marketers and admissions professionals find their next big idea. Find email@example.com.
Wow. Wow. And that firm is, is Kennedy and Company, correct? Right. Yes. And, okay, so this seems all seems like a very like natural progression. Right? And you know, you talk about it somewhat nonchalantly like, Oh yeah, this happened, I made some friends. I romanticized the consulting life a little bit and uh, then it all just kind of like fell into place.
But like, I, I would also imagine that, you know, this, this was a massive change, right?
Stacy Snow: Oh, sure. I was an intense hustle. I guess I shouldn't gloss over. You're like, I, I sort of, once I found out about Kennedy and Company and that they wanted to expand their services in the online strategy area, I sort of worked that lead myself from the outside.
Yeah. For [00:14:00] about a year it, we started talking at the beginning of the pandemic and everyone, institutions on my side and then the vendors on the outside, everyone was having cash flow problems. Yeah. And uncertainty abounded in all directions. And so we just started talking about the potential of, you know, when do you wanna leave?
Are you gonna relo. What kind of work you wanna do, et cetera. And so we probably talked four or five times over the course of a year before it became a real. Right. Let's really start taking this person seriously and bringing them on as a principal. So,
Zach Busekrus: yeah. And I, I, I want hear a little bit more about this, um, romanticization, romanticization, anding.
Mm-hmm. , however the hell, you can say that word. That's a, thats hard of, of, of being a consultant because, Because I don't think you're alone there. Right. In fact, a lot of the folks I've talked to, As we, as we're putting together this series and just folks over the years, right? Like this is something that like people, people really do [00:15:00] when when you're on the inside, right?
It kind of seems like, Oh wow, these people have all these resources. Like when they come to town, like they take us to nice dinners, they wine and dine us, and wow, what a life, right? What a life and, and then oftentimes when you, when you. Make the jump. Right? Or you move to, whether it's an agency or consultancy or an ed tech provider, whatever it might be, you realize, Oh, wow.
Like, you know, there, it's, it's not necessarily as kind of like flashy as it, as it looks on the outside at like the annual conference per se, but I, I'd love to hear a little bit more about like, your expectations are, are kind of what you thought and, and then what you sort of realized to be reality once you, once you, you know, joined the team.
Stacy Snow: Sure, sure. So, I, I wasn't sure. That I would like giving up the day to day known. Knowns for a bunch of unknown unknowns. And, and I found out that I actually didn't mind that very much. So after so many years, I had a, by the time I left, I had a really large team and could, you know, there's days when it runs [00:16:00] itself.
Everybody knows their job, they know what they're doing and they come to me with problems or things that get escalated. But everybody just kind of an engine that runs. Yeah. And starting at the, at a new entity. Uh, as the new person on the block who didn't know, I didn't know how to put in an expense report and I didn't know how to, you know, I had to find new insurance for the first time in however many years and, you know, all those systems that you're just used to having.
Yeah. So that I, that part came more naturally to me than I guess I thought it would of, of just fitting in the networking. Lifestyle comes easy to me. And so making new connections and even through the pandemic as a person in communications and online education during the pandemic required a lot of long hours, but it required a lot of skill in email writing and conversing over the phone and conversing in tools like we're using today and web conferencing.
And so that part came very naturally to me. And so I think. [00:17:00] The part that I wasn't quite ready for is how exhausting it actually is to pack up, fly across the country, run to a set of meetings, then fly back home that night, or, or get work done in a hotel that night and fly home the next morning. And I, I am in a college town where we have a regional airport, so I have a mandatory layover in whatever direction I want to go, east or west.
So it takes me about six to eight hours of travel time or journey time to get anywhere. Yeah. You lose productivity. So you work on the plane and you work in the terminal, and the focus that it takes to do that, I think I underestimated Mm, how hard it is to stay productive when you're on the road, because I just simply wasn't used to it.
Yeah. Now, seasoned road warriors, they, they know how to do it and they know how to block their schedule off and they're able to focus on things. Uh, but I had to teach myself that. Yeah.
Zach Busekrus: Yeah. What, what, um, what's been most rewarding and. [00:18:00] What have you, just at night when you're kind of like reflecting and you're thinking about the day, what, what are the, what are the things that come to mind of like, wow, like I'm really glad I'm here now.
Uh, what, what are some of those things?
Stacy Snow: Well, I think one of the things that I, I loved most about working on the inside was. Helping professional lifelong career staff people have a better professional experience. Mm. To help staff understand that what they do matters. That they are the lifeblood of an institution and so much attention is always focused on faculty and faculty salaries and, and things like that, which are also integral to any higher.
Institution, but the staff sometimes feel left out. Mm. So for me, one of the most rewarding parts of the work that I'm doing with many institutions now is working with the staff and whether it's an individual school or college or in a division or in an online division even, and they're trying to do their work more efficiently or trying [00:19:00] to find a new software or trying to, or they're being reorganized, right, maybe against their will, sometimes and making sure that staff feel value.
And understood and, uh, that there's an empathetic ear on the other side of the, the zoom call every time we meet or the other side of the table. When I'm in person with them, I understand what they're moving through. I understand their concerns. If, you know, is this new thing gonna mean more work for me and my, I haven't gotten a pay, I'm at a public institution.
I haven't had a, a pay raise in three years, you know, and now you want me to do what ? Yeah. And so I think. That is so valuable to me to watch, to bring something along with me and my experience and the toolkit that I have to help them to make their process easier. And that's really rewarding and that's why I still, I might not get to talk to students anymore.
And I haven't been at a, a graduation photo shoot in a, in a couple years now. Um, but now the reward is in [00:20:00] helping staff. Have an easier time throughout their day. Yeah. Because regardless of whether they hired me or not, to come in and help them, they still have a set of tasks they have to get done that day.
And if I can find a way to make that work better for them, then that's rewarding.
Zach Busekrus: Yeah. Yeah. So well said. Um, uh, a follow up to that is one of, one of the big fears that I think a lot of folks wrestle with, especially those who've been working at an institution for, for years or, or even decades, right. I've heard a lot of things about like, you know, agency life or I've heard a lot of things about like, you know, moving to the, the quote unquote dark side and going to work for a vendor about, like, you'll lose all your work life balance, you'll lose, you know, uh, all of your great benefits, yada, yada, yada.
What, what has that experience been like for you? Has it, has it kind of been as expected? Like, how, how, how do you think about sort of just balance, um, now as opposed to what it looked like before you.
Stacy Snow: Sure. That's [00:21:00] a great question. Uh, I have an odd perspective on that because I have been a workaholic, , self-diagnosed workaholic for most of my adult life.
So I like to, My father was very good at saying do, as I say, not as I do in all things. And so I've sort of adopted that attitude. Um, I like to, when I'm mentoring, Young professionals talk to them about the schedule and the priorities and the changes that they're making. Uh, and then I learn from those conversations each time too.
Cuz I realize I'm not always living what I'm preaching. Uh, but I do, I do work a lot and I always have. And. It is somewhat of a hobby for me, honestly. Uh, there are lots of different aspects to what I do in the firm. We're a smaller firm, so we do sales as, as well as strategy and outreach and marketing, and then the actual strategy work that we're selling.
So I have a little bit of brain power [00:22:00] reserve for each of those things as I move through my week and I have to schedule myself pretty. Finally to make sure that I'm paying attention to those things. And there are times when the flexibility that it affords you though can really come back to haunt you later.
So you have a, a personal life appointment or a trip or whatever it is you need to do. And I'll st I can make up that time in the evening or I can make up that time the next day. Yeah. And we're in a firm that doesn't have. Uh, a tracking system for paid time off to take off when you need, and then you get the work done.
And there are pros and cons to that. So you have to set personal, internal limits. Yeah. So that you're not constantly working and not constantly, uh, just. Because you don't wanna burn out. If, if burnout was the reason you left higher ed in the first place, and now you work in higher ed adjacent firm, you can just as easily burn out in this situation as well if you're not careful and set personal limits and, and goals.
[00:23:00] And you, you do all the personal project management tools that are out there for us to read and we read them, right, Or at least we read the headlines, and we scroll. And so you have to practice those things. Or burnout can be a, a real thing for you in any
Zach Busekrus: role. Yeah. On, on that note, um, Didn't it sound to me like you had burnt out of higher ed?
Um, and that that sort of was the reason for, for the shift. It seemed like it was a little bit more like gradual and natural and there was some restructuring and reorg going on, and you thought, Oh, maybe this is a good time to try something else. First and foremost, would you say, would you say that's accurate or, or did you, did you experience kind of a burnout?
Stacy Snow: Oh, I experienced burnout as well too. I, I, The way I describe it is that my useful battery life was running out, and when you watch somebody else go through that, you can really see it happening. You can almost see the battery starting to leak, battery acid around the edges, and it's only so long before the, the [00:24:00] remote control doesn't work at all anymore.
You know, the whole battery compartment is, is eroded, right? Yeah. You could see that in other people and it takes a lot of self-awareness to see that in yourself. So yes, that was happening to me as well and I think it took me a long time to notice it. And so in tandem those things had, the pandemic was happening, the burnout was happening.
Uh, and then talking with friends and colleagues around the country and I think. Key for me of really talking with my wife, talking with friends, talking with colleagues all across the country of how are you dealing with this? And you know, how many more times can you put in a 16 hour day explaining how Zoom uses to 30,000 people across campus?
you know, and um, so you just. You have to be very honest with yourself. And so for me it was both things. There were a set of set of very lucky circumstances happened at the same time that I was experiencing the burnout and then also realizing it, and I think. Maybe it took me [00:25:00] longer to realize the burnout was there than some people, and I'm really happy that people are more open about talking about it now.
Yeah. Because it makes it easier for the next person to start to self-evaluate those symptoms. And if I, I found, I, I was thinking about before our conversation started today, one of the last people who left. They're, um, in university job before me. I wrote, congratulations on getting out as my, like sendoff on the card of I'm gonna miss you.
Congratulations on getting out. And I thought, Wow, why did you write that? And what is happening to you that, that, that you're congratulating this person of, of getting out of here? And you know, I really, I think that was maybe if you had to boil it down to one moment when I realized Stacy. Kind of done.
And what are you gonna do next? ?
Zach Busekrus: Yeah. Would were you, um, Thanks for sharing that, by the way. That was all very well said. Um, and very moving. Um, were you at all like [00:26:00] worried that you, because you had been at one place for so long right? That you just, you wouldn't have. Might take to kind of go and give advice and, and consult with like a myriad of institutions.
Like was there any like imposter syndrome, syndrome kind of like working there or, or, or, or, or, or not so much.
Stacy Snow: You know, I, I, I think it's, uh, a healthy dose of naivete was at work and I, I did not, and I think when. When you put your story together and you put your bullet points together and you're gonna start to talk to people who've been doing consulting maybe for a lifetime, and you pinpoint the places that your role changed and the the way you had to do business changed over the course of years.
I had enough varied experiences, even though the paycheck came from the same institution for so long, the experiences really. Amassed into somebody who had a lot of different experience [00:27:00] that I, I will say that because I was in public education for so long, it has been a learning curve for me to understand how private institutions.
Put their pants on every morning. . Yeah. Yeah. And it's a, that's a really, I did not go to private school for my education and I did not work in it. And so it's, I've had to learn how the world works in, in those situations and, but that's been fascinating. Yeah. But you know, but they are having some of the very same struggles with enrolling students and the right financial aid packages and the right modeling and the right online strategy, you know, so it's transferable and I think.
Constantly. I constantly am reading and absorbing as much information I can from the higher ed landscape and the publications and just talking to people. And if you can do that well and then transfer the information to other parts of your brain that need to hear it, then I think the adaptability is sort of inherent, at least it was for me, but, and then some, you know, just general.
She doesn't really [00:28:00] know how hard this is gonna be, but let's try it anyway. ,
Zach Busekrus: that's awesome. Uh, no, I love that. And, and I, I, I love that you. Specifically called out when you're talking with somebody, right? If you're, if you're talking with a firm that might be interested, that you might be interested in moving to, being able to like, articulate and pinpoint, Hey, while my, while I've been at this one place for however long, here are like four very.
Distinct different kind of roles I held and like here, here, here was what those roles actually like looked like. Cause I think a lot of the time, especially when you're moving to, to an agency or a consultancy, or again even in like an ed tech provider, well even if they're a higher ed adjacent firm, there's still some like nuance that can be missed or like misunderstanding of like, What a title actually means, right?
Or like the roles and responsibilities. Sometimes they're just so freaking vague that it's really hard to understand like, Okay, well what did this actually look like in your context? But I think to those listening that that might be thinking about a switch, right? And might be worried that they've been at one place for too long.
I [00:29:00] think to your point, being able to very concretely. And specifically, uh, pinpoint and outline what you actually did throughout these different experiences and why what you did could be beneficial to others. That's, that's almost, you know, if not as important, um, close to as important as you being able to kind of explain what you did at four different schools right.
Or four different universities. So, Right. I, I love that you, uh, they called it out.
Stacy Snow: Absolutely agree. , and I'll tell you that I, I got that advice from a previous leader, a previous boss who said, I think there are bigger things in store for you, but you need to understand how the rest of the campus works.
Mm-hmm. , because I really was in the corner of online adult ed for so long, I didn't really understand a lot about traditional undergrad. Yeah. Financial aid related admissions conversations. And I had never been on a hiring committee of a top level leader. So I found myself. Uh, Provost appointed hiring committee for the new [00:30:00] Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs one year, and that was fascinating.
And one of those things where you go to an airport and you have airport interviews because they secretly fly in the candidate and have the interview at the airport and, you know, talk with leaders across the institution. I never would've had an opportunity to see life from their perspective if I hadn't looked into that, that committee.
Um, and, and, and so I think finding. Finding ways to articulate those experiences that you've had, but then also putting yourself in situations where you can work with people in other areas of campus because you really do have to understand how the entire institution works. Yeah. Work in some of the firms that, that we, you might be exposed to and, and in the ed tech world, you have to understand purchasing processes and you have to understand security clearance issues that maybe you never touched or understood.
You don't even really know the vocabulary. Yeah. Or you can have a conversation about will this CRM work at my institution or not? Uh, you have to have some exposure to those other [00:31:00] parts of the university. So ways to do that I think are, are really important no matter what level of your career you're in.
Zach Busekrus: Yeah. Yeah. So well said. Uh, I have a couple final questions for you, Stacy. The first is just around, um, is there, is there anything that your institution, uh, or I should say, even the, the leadership at your institution could have done? Would've made you stay or would've excited you to stay? And if so, what?
Stacy Snow: That's a great question, and I know that I've been reading a lot about what other higher ed leaders, both who are in. Inside institutions now and then those who have left have been writing about this and sort of the great resignation in general and, and showing staff they're valued and, and finding ways to, to get people at the table sooner to talk about this.
In my particular case, I think it was a natural evolution for me that. Couldn't have been prevented regardless. Yeah. It's not money. It wasn't personal satisfaction about the way things were going. It was just [00:32:00] this drive for me, an entrepreneurial spirit in me of and what's next. Yeah. Yeah. And this has been really cool.
This is great. Okay, cool, cool, cool. What could I do with this same situation if I was. Doing it at another institution. And here's all the things I bring with me that I learned I did wrong before . Yeah. Can I help other people not make those same mistakes again? And so for me it was a, a natural progression I don't think would have been prevented.
I know for other people that's not true. And they can pinpoint exactly the moment that their life turned and realized that they didn't feel valued or they didn't have a seat at the table the way they needed to, or, you know, whatever the situation might be. Yeah. I think it was, um, Steven app, I think in the last few weeks, wrote something about that.
When you move into a higher ed adjacent situation, you're still a professional, you're still a higher ed professional with the core of everything you stand for. And having worked for higher ed for so long, that still is there, that still motivates me. Uh, we're just doing it from another
Zach Busekrus: direction. Yeah.
Yeah. [00:33:00] Um, what advice. If any, do you have for, For leaders, right? Who you know? I, I think one of the hard things, anytime I'm in a conversation or observing a conversation about the Great Resignation is, you know, it's obviously a very sensitive issue and it's people have. People have lots of, lots of feelings about it.
You know, I, I always tend to feel for, for the leaders too. Um, you know what? Leader wouldn't love to just be able to dish out more money to their incredibly, you know, well performing staff. And you know what, what President is really kind of spending their time thinking about ways to. Cut salaries of staff just, just for the, the hell of it.
Right. Um, I like to think that most of our, most of our presidents aren't spending most of their time thinking about those things. Right. Um, Exactly. And yet, and yet, you know, reality is reality and it's, it's tough. It's a tough season right now, a tough inning might, one, might say, in, [00:34:00] in working in higher education at this particular moment, so, You know, what advice, if any, do you have for these institutional leaders with respect to, to recruitment and, and retention of staff?
Stacy Snow: Sure. I think that's a great question and I think it really. It's a very situational answer. Yeah, so one of the things I've been hearing a lot just in my own local sphere of the institutions around me and the the people I know, remote work is a really big issue and it's been very difficult for those who've been sort of mandated back in person full.
after, you know, post pandemic Yeah. To every, everything is fine Again, let's all come back to normal and work eight to five in an office Monday through Friday. And that was, has been very difficult for some people because they see opportunity outside of institutions. Yeah. Who allow more flexibility. Yeah.
So then there are hybrid schedules. Okay, let's come back once a week and let's, you know, And so if [00:35:00] for leaders who are in a situation and, and, and I don't envy them honestly. Right. Because they have. Capital investments on that campus that are sitting empty, that they're paying to ensure upkeep, eat cool light, the, and that they're sitting empty because their, uh, employees have gone remote or they're in hybrid situations.
And that's a tough spot to be in because we don't know what's gonna happen in a decade. And if we start to shed ourselves of these extra buildings and things shift, and we need that space again in the future, it's never gonna be as affordable to Yep. Get that space back. Yeah. At the same time, we are fighting against.
Industry and corporate culture that is allowing some remote and flexible work. And I think that is probably the number one thing to look at. I know it's a complicated conversation. Yeah. And I know that HR leaders spend hours thinking about it, but that would be my number one thing to, to look at in terms of what I still hear.
Um, [00:36:00] pay is always an issue. I'm working with several institutions who are trying to staff up in both their recruitment and marketing operations, and they cannot pay enough to bring in, for instance, a, you know, a Google certified digital advertising specialist to bring their media buying in house. Yeah.
And they can't pay enough to bring those people away from the agencies they're working at. So they continue to have to use an agency for that work. And sometimes that's a, a. Path anyway. Yeah. For the expertise and the tools that they have. But if they want to, they have the tools and they're willing, but they have HR policies that prevent them from meeting certain salary requirements.
Yeah. Losing out on human capitally otherwise would be able to bring in, and so that's, that's a difficult conversation as well, because HR policies also are in place for good reasons. Yeah. Yeah. So there's an equity issue. Longer serving staff and new staff. Those are complicated conversations as well that we get into all the [00:37:00] time.
You cannot bring in new talent for the pay. Scales that talent a decade ago was willing to come for, you know, there, that's just not possible. It's not how it works now. .
Zach Busekrus: Yeah, Yeah. Oh gosh, yeah. Every time I start thinking about these questions, Stacy, I just get overwhelmed and I just, I just grow, I, I just grow an appreciation for, for leaders in this moment.
Um, exactly. Just because it, it is incredibly difficult. The decisions, uh, that need to be. That have needed to be made over the last several, couple, two and a half, three years now, but will continue to, to need to be made are just, are just very, very difficult. They're heavy, you know, there, there's a heaviness.
Stacy Snow: Yeah. They're not easy conversations either. Uh, they're, they're financially not easy and. It almost puts a chip on your shoulder Yeah. As a leader. Yeah. Of what the external firms are able to do. Yeah. And then you develop resentment and you know, it's a vicious cycle. .
Zach Busekrus: Yeah. Yeah. Geez. Yeah. Oh gosh. This [00:38:00] has been, this has been super helpful.
Thank you so much for just taking time to share a little bit of your story. I know that we're just scratching the surface here, but my, my last question for you for now is, what advice do you have, or, or words of wisdom do you have for, for folks who. Who are kind of at that, at that point where they're seriously considering a next step.
Um, but they're not, they're not entirely sure they've written out their pros and cons. Right. Um, but they, they haven't actually made the decision yet. Any, any sort of like words of wisdom or pieces of advice that you might have given yourself back when you were at that moment and or, you know, even if you wouldn't have given the advice to yourself, , that you might give to, to folks tuning into this conversation?
Stacy Snow: Sure. Gosh, that's a good question too, I think. Financially things have to make sense if, and that, that seems like a no brainer, but actually doing the math of, of what does it look like if I'm gonna move to a situation where I'm in commission based [00:39:00] pay structure, for instance. Yeah. You and things don't go your way for the first six months or one year.
What does your checkbook really say? Yeah, and I'm sorry, I'm old. I people don't even have checkbooks. , .
Zach Busekrus: What is your Venmo account gonna say? . Yeah.
Stacy Snow: Right. What's your Venmo balance and can this work? And so that was, uh, a, a great conversation for me to have. And I ended up in a structure where it's not that way.
So I, you know, I have salary structure and so it wasn't as much of a concern, but there are. I think timing and willingness for change. If you've always considered yourself a change averse person and you joke about that, mm, What is it about it that you're, that you are afraid of? I think fear keeps us from doing a lot of things, making a lot of big changes in life.
And so really old fashioned journaling I think can really come in handy in these situations. Can I afford to [00:40:00] do this? What am I scared of? And what's the worst that can happen? And that is, you know, that may be, uh, kind of a silly, um, uh, way to look at it, but, The worst that can happen is that I hate it. I don't like it.
or I'm not gonna make enough money. I can't pay rent. Whatever the thing is for you, that is the worst thing that you can imagine. Well, what's your action plan to back out of that? Yeah. So you hate it. Well, what happens? Or you, it's not what you thought it was, or you're, um, not being fulfilled by it. Are there other areas in your life you can fulfill yourself in some of those things that you might be missing?
Whatever the situation. And I think talking to as many people who will listen to you until you reach that stage of, they're like, Oh my gosh, Stacey, for the love of Pete, stop talking about it and just do it. You know when you get, when you have a good reflective friend Yeah. Who can say that back to you of you and I had that at one point.
You've been talking about this for a year. Are you
Zach Busekrus: just do it or not? Yeah. Just freaking jump in [00:41:00] and hey, I mean, I, I also think for what it's worth, like a lot of these, I mean, at least in the short term, these jobs aren't going. Meaning if, if you do leave and you go try something else out and it you hate it on all accounts, Yes.
You know, your, your exact job at your exact institution might, might no longer be available. But there are, just do a quick Google search, look on LinkedIn. There are an incredible number of jobs at higher education institutions that are open right now. I actually was just looking at this last night for, for a friend and, uh, I was just jarred, jarred by the number just in my, you know, DC metro area of, of positions that are open.
So anyways, yeah, I, I always. Tell people to, Yeah. Like you, I think you could, at least in the short term, I think that you'll be able to go back, like if you really just loved working in house, uh, at, at an educational institution, I think that that opportunity will be around for, for at least the foresee future.
Stacy Snow: Absolutely. And it might be adjacent to what you were doing before too. Yeah. And that could part of the change that you needed to sort of resurface the love of what you were doing [00:42:00] before.
Zach Busekrus: Yeah, so well said. Well, Stacy, thank you so much for your time. This has, this has been wonderful. We're gonna go ahead and link your LinkedIn below in the show notes.
So folks wanna kind of just reach out and ask you any follow up questions that they might have and or just connect with you and, you know, maybe chit chat about some opportunities that they're considering. We'll go ahead and just drop that in the, in the show notes below.
Stacy Snow: Oh, I would love that. I would love because it, it's really important for professionals to help one another.
We're lifelong staffers, in the world of higher ed, and we're, you know, we're gonna keep breaking in new leaders. There's gonna be new presidents and new deans all the time. And then at the core are the, the, the staff who make things run. And so I, I would love that.
Zach Busekrus: Well, Stacy, thank you so much for your time.
Stacy Snow: so much.
Zach Busekrus: Hey all. Zach here from Enrollify. I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Enrollify podcast. If you like this episode, do us a huge favor and hit that follow and [00:43:00] subscribe button below. Furthermore, if you've got just two minutes to spare, we would greatly appreciate you reading a rating and a review of this show on Apple Podcasts.
Our podcast network is growing by the month, and we've got a plethora of marketing admissions and higher ed technology. That are jam packed with stories, ideas, and frameworks that are all designed to empower you to become a better higher ed professional. But Enrollify is far more than just a podcast network.
Enrollify is where higher ed comes to learn new marketing skills, discover new products and services, and find their next job. We're a growing learning community of 4,000 members, and we'd love to welcome you into. You can access our free blog, articles, newsletters, e-courses, and more, or purchase our master course on how to market a university with Terry flannery at enrollify.org.We look forward to meeting you soon and welcoming you into the community. Again, you can subscribe for free at enrollify.org.[00:44:00]
About the Episode
The what's what...
The Great Resignation has hit higher ed with full force. Once a month for the next few months, we’ll feature individuals who have left higher ed to work in a higher ed adjacent role (think a marketing agency, edtech company, or consultancy).
In Chapter 2 we feature Stacy Snow — a Principal at Kennedy & Company Education Strategies who recently left her job as the Director of Marketing for Mizzou Online at the University of Missouri.
The Enrollify Podcast is a part of the Enrollify Podcast Network. If you like this podcast, chances are you’ll like other Enrollify shows too!
Our podcast network is growing by the month and we’ve got a plethora of marketing, admissions, and higher ed technology shows that are jam packed with stories, ideas, and frameworks all designed to empower you to be a better higher ed professional. Our shows feature a selection of the industry’s best as your hosts. Learn from Mickey Baines, Zach Busekrus, Jaime Hunt, Corynn Myers, Jaime Gleason and many more.
Learn more about The Enrollify Podcast Network at podcasts.enrollify.org. Our shows help higher ed marketers and admissions professionals find their next big idea — come and find yours!
About the Podcast
Zach is the Founder of Enrollify. He thoroughly enjoys building new brands, developing and executing content marketing strategies, and hosting podcasts. When he's not working on Enrollify, he enjoys discussing life's quandaries over coffee (or a good bourbon) with friends, building Sponstayneous (his travel brand side hustle), trying out new HIIT workouts, and adventuring across the globe with his wife!
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