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Episode #217
Kate Gaertner

How To Build A Sustainable Consulting Business

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Summary

How do you build a sustainable consulting business? One effective way is to keep your carbon footprint low. Michael Zipursky’s guest in this episode is Kate Gaertner, the Founder and CEO of TripleWin Advisory. Kate talks with Michael about how the pandemic changed how the consulting business works. If before, business travels and face-to-face meetings were required, that’s no longer the case today. Virtual communication is here to stay. Might as well jump in to reduce your carbon footprint. Join in the conversation to get more practical tips on sustainability!

I’m here with Kate Gaertner. Kate, welcome.

Thanks, Michael. It’s good to be here.

I’m excited about our conversation. You are the Founder and CEO of TripleWin Advisory, where you consult on sustainability, among other things. You have over 25 years of experience in corporate and entrepreneurial endeavors from founding other companies to working as an adjunct professor. You’re also the author of the new upcoming book called Planting a Seed: Three Simple Steps to Sustainable Living.

We’ll get more into that going forward. We’re going to talk about how consultants can build a sustainable or more sustainable business that would maybe soften their impact on the planet. Before we do that, let’s go back in time to when you got started. Before you begin the consulting business, walk us through, what’s your educational background and what were you doing before you started TripleWin Advisory?

I am from North Virginia, right outside of Washington, DC. I have three degrees. I have an undergraduate degree in Pol Sci and Economics from Dartmouth College which is in New Hampshire. I went back to get my MBA about five years later from the University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School. I focused there on Entrepreneurial Management and Strategic Marketing. The last degree that I have is a Master’s of Science in Sustainable Management from the University of Wisconsin. That helped me focus on getting into corporate sustainability and business circularity.

What pulled you in that direction? It sounded like the first two degrees weren’t necessarily focused on sustainability, the environment, and then the last very much is. What was happening in your life that pulled you in that direction?

I graduated from undergrad and my MBA, not thinking about sustainability at all. What I was thinking about when I graduated with MBA was wanting to be an entrepreneur. I got steeped in Tibetan Buddhism and went deep into my yoga practice. I had been a three-sport athlete all my life. I had played collegiate basketball at Dartmouth. I also had a lot of physical pain. Yoga was on my way out of that. It was enlightening. When I went back to get my MBA, I was getting a 360 view of how businesses operate successfully, at the larger level or the public company level.

I knew then that I wanted to try to start my own business. It took me a couple of years after I graduated from Wharton to do that. I went in and said, “I’m going to be a designer, manufacturer and seller of women’s sustainable activewear.” At the time, sustainability was on the rise. You would see building materials, architectural design and furniture, but it was a little bit out of reach. I was like, “One way that I can potentially leapfrog my competitors like Nike, Adidas, Champions and such was to go full hog on sustainability.”

I knew I didn’t have as much cashflow. I didn’t have as much brand awareness in the market as they had. I was like, “Why don’t I try to launch a manufacturing company that is manufacturing women’s apparel,” it’s almost 100% sustainable. I went in that direction as a strategic maneuver. Getting into the manufacturing world is very opaque. It’s a lot of waste at all points in the value chain.

Especially textile manufacturing has gone deep into just in time manufacturing and then to lower the cost structure per unit, we ship everything abroad and then you’re required to manufacture huge volumes of inventory and then you have to figure out what to do with it. It was a huge eye-opener for me. I kept on feeling grossed out by that prospect of trying to figure out how to move inventory that it didn’t necessarily want to produce, but a cost decision.

Getting into the manufacturing world is very opaque because there’s a lot of waste at all points in the value chain. Click To Tweet

What happened to that business?

It was growing well. I established it in mid-2006. The business plan was to open up my stores, manufacturer, and then sell wholesale and direct eCommerce. Then the great recession hit. I was manufacturing. I had wholesale accounts that were growing pretty well. I also had an eCommerce, function to it. I said I had a flagship store in Brooklyn, New York, but the great recession hit and we were at the epicenter of that. It was a tough go. I was able to maneuver through that, but not necessarily to thrive. I wasn’t a high-tech company. I wasn’t a digital marketplace. It was hard to raise capital.

What was the name of that company?

It was called Omala, LLC. but it was hard to raise capital at that point. That’s when AngelList and crowdfunding came in as a response to the great recession a couple of years later.

What I’m wanting to ask is, what then led you to start your own consulting business? Fast forward, 2018 is when you start TripleWin Advisory. What happened between that manufacturing business and you’ve decided to start the consulting business? How did you get into start TripleWin Advisory?

A lot of things happen. We’ve moved out of New York to Europe. We moved to Amsterdam, my family and I. I got a different perspective on sustainability. I was steeped in sustainability, even growing more so. People have been asking me to look further back into my upstream value chain with Omala. I couldn’t answer those questions or I didn’t feel like I had influence over, “A fiber company, would you create more sustainable fibers for me?”

I moved abroad. I went back to get my Master’s. I wanted to learn a little bit more fully about Industrial Ecology, so sustainable manufacturing. That’s what I focused on, so that was a two-year program. I wasn’t sure if I was going to become a consultant. I had consulting work in my past and when I started the program and sustainable management, I thought, “Why don’t I take a chief sustainability officer job at a company? That would be a good gig.” I quickly realized that was probably too myopic of thinking and I wanted to have a more meaningful and impactful, experience on industry and how it manufactures. That’s why I got into consulting.

When you decide that you’re going to start consulting, you create this company, how did you go about getting your first few clients? What did that look like?

You had mentioned, I started in 2018. I had finished my Master’s in the summer of 2017. I had decided that I was going to write a book. I had come back about a year prior from Europe, come to the United States. There was a change of administration and there was a lot of fear and concern around climate change. I was like, “Why don’t I write a book?”

It was a strategic decision of mine. I also saw that a lot of entrepreneurs in New York in a lot of different industries, once they wrote a book, they catalyzed their businesses. They became thought leaders themselves, but also it attracted new business and opportunities to their companies. I said about writing a book, in 2018, I had secured a booking agent. I was like, “I’ll get the business up and running. I had an idea that I was going to focus solely on business circularity and business transformation, like big systemic change.”

CSP 214 | Sustainable Consulting Business

 

I had a small few clients come in through my professional networks here in Oregon, but then I actively went out and started targeting companies I wanted to work for, so big brand name companies of all different sizes that I felt like would be a good fit for what I wanted to do with them. They were like, “That’s great. No. We’re not going to touch it with a 10-foot pole.”

Tell me more about that. This initial outreach was not for you to consult for them. It was for you to get a job in the organization maybe.

No. It was to sell them consulting services to help them educate and implement business circularity within their manufacturing operations.

What was their response? You’re saying that they were initially interested, but said, no? Tell me more about that. What were the mindset and the situation?

It was too much. I was asking them to consider hiring TripleWin to transform how they manufacture and how they design products. There were like, “No. I get it, but we’re nowhere near that right now.” We’re having these climate-neutral goals. We’re starting to do carbon inventories. That’s something that we’re doing right now. I knew that was part of doing business transformation, but it wasn’t a service I was providing, what I call tools in my toolkit.

I rejiggered. I had these conversations for about eight months with companies and it wasn’t resonating with what I wanted to do for them in a whole host of ways. I went back and I deconstructed my service offering. Tranches that were very understandable that had a lot of market awareness, like conducting a carbon inventory.

This is a very important point, the one that we often talk about with clients in our Clarity Coaching Program is around this idea that when you get out into the marketplace, you don’t necessarily know what’s going to resonate or not, but by going out and having conversations, you’re going to get the real feedback. Rather than like staying in your office and planning what you think might work when the rubber meets the road, that’s when you find out.

What I’m hearing is that you went out, you had these conversations, you initially said, “I can help you with this big program. Here’s how I feel I can help you.” The feedback was, “No, we don’t want that, but we have these other things that maybe you could help us with.” You took all that information through several months of different conversations. You took all of that data and then you start to reconstruct your offerings based on what the marketplace had told you that they wanted. Is that correct?

That’s what they were ready for, exactly.

When you did that, you broke this apart, you now have new offerings based on what the market has had told you that they wanted, what did you do next? How did you get that back in front of those people? How do you move that to generate revenue?

Reconstruct your offerings based on what the marketplace tells you they want. Click To Tweet

I did a free gig. I told the client that I didn’t tell anybody else that, but I wanted to get a case study under my belt. That was juicy. I took the biggest offering that I knew was going to be the most compelling to the broadest number of companies and said, I’ll do that for you. They’re like, “That’s great because we were considering doing that, but we hadn’t yet pulled the trigger.”

How important do you think it was that you approached them and said, “I’ll do this for free. Without Charge.” Was that the reason that they said, “Yes?” Looking back, do you think you could have charged them? With the benefit of hindsight, how do you look at that moment? Did you do the right thing? Could you have done something differently? How do you feel about that?

I’m not a big believer in free work. Things that are inexpensive or free are not valued. It was a trusted individual. We had done conferences together. We had spoken on panels together. He felt that I was an expert in his mind. I haven’t talked about why he thought that, but it was related to the book and the companies I was going out and speaking to. I said, “I’d like to do this for you because I’m rejiggering my services.” He’s like, “That would be great, do you want to get paid? I don’t have a budget for you.” “That’s fine right now. I’ll do this for you, but here are the things that I want from you.”

What were those things that you requested?

That I could use their name and all marketing materials, I could develop a case study with their name on it.

I want to go back in time a little bit. You spend many months reaching out to ideal clients, offering a sign that you thought that they might want. How did you even get people to accept to have a conversation with you? Were you sending emails, using LinkedIn, using the phone, getting referrals and introductions from people that you knew? Walk us through a little bit more tactical. A lot of people even struggle with the idea of reaching out and getting a response. Never mind, having a conversation. When you look back at that, what worked best for you to achieve conversations?

I did a whole host of things. I went out and started going to events being hosted by nonprofits and other organizations. I would always make sure that I would ask an insightful question. I would get people’s cards. I would have coffees with them. One thing that I don’t have a struggle and problem with is I always go to the top.

I’m not interested in talking to managers or even directors. It’s got to be VP and up. Where I’ve been most successful is reaching out to the C-Suite, often the CEO, if it’s a company that’s $100 million and less in revenue. That’s not necessarily possible for the bigger companies, but reaching out and say, “This is who I am. This is what I do. I’d like to have a conversation with you about your need. I want to introduce myself.”

When you do that in a situation where there is no referral or introduction, you’re reaching out as they say cold, do you still get a response when you’re that direct, or do you find that you do need some touchpoints or introductions before you reach out directly to somebody like that?

It’s always helpful. I tried to have relationships with people that are influential to the C-Suite folks. For instance, awkward and a hotbed of entrepreneurial startups, use smaller companies that haven’t gone public. Brew Dr. Kombucha, Tofurky, and Honey Mama’s, and Salt & Straw, are all smaller companies, nowhere near the size that I’m used to in New York or Boston.

CSP 214 | Sustainable Consulting Business

 

There’s a man that I met through a mutual Wharton connection and he heads up a venture fund here. He invests in a lot of these companies at smaller scales, because I have that relationship, I lean on him to say, “Can you make an introduction for me to these CEOs or COOs?” I mentioned, “We have this person in common. I’d love to meet you. I can tell you a little bit more about me. I’d love to learn about your business too.” This is to establish a relationship.

Thank you for filling in those blanks for me. Let’s fast forward back to the situation where you’ve done this free work, you’ve developed this case study, based on what you saw. What happens next? How do you take that? How do you turn that experience and engagement into clients 2, 3, 5 and so forth?

Using the name of the brand and putting that case study out there in a very glossy professional way helps substantially. Then people assume that is not one that you’ve done this 7, 10 or 20 times. The other thing is while I was writing the book, none of those got into the end of the book. I had to rewrite my manuscript, but I decided that I was going to take a tact of looking at future trends in business, around corporate sustainability.

I reached out to CEOs of massive public companies, Kaiser Permanente, Interface and Signify. I landed interviews with those CEOs. It took a long time. It took like 6 to 9 months to land those interviews, but I had them in the bank and I also learn quite a bit about their approach to corporate sustainability and how they embed it. I would talk to other individuals. I would write my newsletters with that information, like, “I just talked to the CEO of Signify. Here’s what he says about sustainability.” There was a cache that rubbed off on me because I’ve had that interview with those CEOs.

Often referred to as implied endorsement. It’s not necessarily a direct endorsement, but it’s implied because you’ve had that conversation with them. This is where podcasts work well to reach out to an ideal client and try to interview them. You were doing something very similar with that. When you look at your marketing, it sounds like that case study of interviewing ideal clients, being out in the marketplace was how you got your first several clients in the business. What about now? You’ve grown from a solo consultant to now a team and much larger company what’s working from a marketing perspective now to generate more conversations and bring in more business?

What I have seen is that I’m getting a lot more cold referrals. People are coming to me and say “We want to talk to you about X. We want you to engage in an RFP process, less RFPs.” I still make tons of conversations. I still talk in a lot of universities. I engaged my old professors or people who are professors at huge universities across the United States. I talk to them specifically about corporate sustainability and business circularity. I’m getting that cachet there. Hopefully, they are talking to their colleagues and networks within those regions and referring people my way. I’ve gotten quite a few clients from that.

You leveraged that. Let’s say you go to a university and you give a talk. It’s wonderful when these professors or people there will spread your name and people then come to you. Are you and your team doing anything to say, “Kate spoke at this place.” Are you promoting it through your newsletter, social media or not much?

Every single time I promote it through all my channels all the time, because I take the advertising approach to brand awareness. You can’t hit him once. You can’t hit him twice. You have to hit him 8 to 12 times. The other thing that has been working and getting my name out there. I’m trying to stay in front of my prospective audience constantly.

That’s through a lot of workshops and webinars. There was a huge pivot. I created tons of content and I deliver that content every week. I almost became a course company or a training company, when the pandemic hit, because I wasn’t able to have face to face and people didn’t have an appetite to talk about something that was noncore to their business.

I still do that. I still try to run a lot of webinars and workshops regularly to keep my brand out there. The other thing that I do and has been very effective, but I can’t necessarily say, “This A is connected to X.” I can’t attribute it directly. I write a ton of byline articles. I’m writing articles about the service that I provide, the approach that we take with clients, the trends that I see in the industry. I get them published. I do think that builds progress.

Run webinars and workshops to keep your brand out there. Click To Tweet

Where is this being published? Is it being published in industry publications or other blogs? Give me a sense of the places that your content is being published.

It’s GreenBiz, Industry Today, industry verticals. Real Leaders, Forbes and Fast Company. I like to have that mass-market touch, but I do need the verticals like HR, leader or where it makes sense to have that vertical focus, but I do want a mass-market appeal.

What about your webinars and the workshops, are you marking that to your list? Are you partnering with other organizations or associations? How are you getting your webinars and workshops out there in the world?

I haven’t done that. I do think that there is a play an opportunity to get to a broader audience. I’d like to bring on guests. I like to build from their network, but no, it’s usually something that we create and we market through our networks and my professional networks.

I want to dive into some of the stuff in your book and a few other things about your company itself. One question that often comes up is the world that you focus on to a degree, some people would think like sustainability, that is not the most tangible, it’s maybe a little bit harder to measure, can you see an impact in the short-term?

I’m wondering how do you approach your pricing strategy and your fees. If the work that you’re doing, for example, directly increases revenue or sales, or something very easy to track. It’s easier to start to connect return on investment value to your fees. How do you think about fees and your pricing strategy when it comes to sustainability?

I’m muddling through a little bit to be very perfectly honest about that. I know that my fees are growing over time as I build my brand awareness. For some of the services I provide, I’m looking at the competitive marketplace, how do they price their products and their services. For some of them, it’s all over the map. What I try to do is I try to articulate my unique value proposition. How TripleWin services and the approach that we give to our clients is it uniquely differentiated to our competition?

I’ll give you an example. The field of sustainability consulting is hot, but it’s been around for a long while for at least 40 or 50 years. The first groups of people that jumped into this were environmentalists and/or engineers. They’re the carbon accountants. They’re still in the game and they’re very busy. I’m an environmentalist, but that’s not the approach that I take with my clients.

I am pro-business. I’m all about sustainability being value-creating, supporting and aligning with the strategic business goals of my clients. From the engineering point of view, I do employ engineers, but they create a very strong UX, so that what we do is very accessible to non-engineers to marketing, comms people, people that don’t deal with numbers all the time. That’s our unique value proposition that our products, the tools and the deliverables that we provide to our clients are very accessible to everyone.

It also sounds like to bridge the gap between something that might be a little bit fuzzy, like sustainability to some, you’re making sure that you’re connecting the work you’re doing in that area to the creation of greater value within the business. You’re bridging those two things together, so that if you’re going to do something in the area of sustainability, carbon, whatever it might be. It’s going to be tied to a very clear business goal or something on the business side as well, which can make it easier to justify an investment from an organization, is that correct or anything else to add?

CSP 214 | Sustainable Consulting Business

 

Yes, I would say that. It’s fuzzier than I would like, but I’m working with more organizations that are pre-IPO and that are ready to go public. They were going to go public without doing any sustainability work. What they’re finding is that the potential investors or prospective investors are saying, “Have you done anything? Have you calculated your carbon footprint?” They’re like, “No, we haven’t.” What we bring is saying, “We can do all this work for you and you can put all this information to your S-1 filings on your road to becoming public.” This is going to help you as you land more investors and money in the long run.

There are countries, I believe the UK requires that to win a government contract, you have to show that you’re doing some work around the environment and carbon footprint, and so forth. It’s moving more in that direction. You start your company yourself, now you have multiple employees and team members. When you started, I’m assuming you were doing all of the client and project delivery?

I was, but I was contracting with several individuals to help me.

Did you hesitate at all to bring on more people? A lot of consultants and founders of their firms as they’re growing and they see or they can feel the need to bring on more people that they’re not the ones doing all the project and client delivery work themselves. There’s a hesitation to do that because it’s like, “I’m the best. Who can do it as good as I can? What if I don’t provide the best experience for the client?” Did you have any of that head trash? Any hesitations or concerns around delegating project and client delivery?

I’m not a micromanager. I am very protective of my brand. It’s important that my deliverables are par up to my standards. No, I’m a planner. I may be overthinking. I look you 2, 3 pr 5 steps ahead and say, “I know I’m going to need people.” I tend not necessarily to hire them outright, but bring them on and socialize our culture in what type of work we do and the deliverables that we provide to the clients and get them into the fold probably 6 to 9 months in advance of when I am going to need them full-time.

Does that take the shape of them being a contractor? You are providing them with some paid activity or engagement or are you starting to build relationships with people without engaging them in paid work, to begin with?

There’s a funnel of bringing employees on full-time. The first year, trying to find good talent and then you’re talking to them over a long period of time about what TripleWin is trying to do and accomplish, and the work that we do. Then I bring them on as contractors. I see their work. It hasn’t always been successful. Some people have stayed and I’ve given them more work. I try to figure out what they’re good at or what they want to do or sink their teeth into. I try to give it to them then I have them build that practice with my help. I test them out. I always do one test when they’re fully come onto a project. If they don’t meet my standards and they have to go.

If you were to identify 1 or 2 things that you’ve done over the lifetime of the company, relating to bringing on contractors and team members to take over the client and project delivery, or to play a much bigger role or not, what are 1 or 2 things that you’ve done that you feel have helped to maintain the standard that you would want to have in the business in terms of the quality?

I’m biased to hiring and working with smart people and pedigrees do matter.

What do you mean by that?

Your team members have to be knowledgeable about what they do, and they have to be good in a client-facing situation. Click To Tweet

Their educational pedigree. It matters to me. I’ve brought on individuals that have said that they’re good at what they do and they’re steeped in that world, maybe it’s energy efficiency, maybe it’s renewables, but they haven’t been very good at client-facing. The other thing is if I’m going to grow this business, the way I want it to grow, and I want to be able to delegate responsibilities to enough people, they have to do good work. They have to be knowledgeable about what they do, and they also have to be good in a client-facing situation.

As you’ve been doing more of this, building the team. The numbers have increased, how was your day-to-day role shifted? What are you spending more time on now, whereas before, it wasn’t something that you did it as much?

I’ve handed off one practice area that is running pretty smoothly to an individual. I hired a fractional sales or business development person. He’s doing all the sales funnel work, even though I’m closing the deals. He’s not there and not steeped in sustainability. Now, it’s a very creative time for TripleWin and for myself.

What I’m trying to do is I’m trying to productize a lot of our services. They’re not time-bound or human resource-bound. I don’t want to get rid of consulting, but I do want to productize what we have developed and have on-demand courses, workshops and portions of a carbon inventory where people can purchase it and do it on their own. They can hire back TripleWin if they need help or support.

That makes sense. Looking back over the period of adding more stuff over to people, is there anything that you feel like, “I made a mistake with that and I would never do that again.” For those who are going through that transition now of being either an independent or solo consultant or maybe you’re having 1 or 2 people that they want to bring on or more people to take over some of that client and project delivery. Is there anything that you feel is a best practice, important to do this, and made a big difference for you?

This is true of most consulting firms. You have to template and standardize the processes to make it easy for others to run with your assets. I do think the trial period where you’re indoctrinating them into a culture and a standard of operating, so they’re not going to be siloed on their own and take over a practice without understanding that it’s part of the business, TripleWin. I’ve made mistakes. I thought I was going to develop this practice with this individual, the person wasn’t up to snuff. I’ve had to downplay that service offering, so I can figure out who to bring in or whether it’s even necessary.

Your new book, Planting a Seed: Three Simple Steps to Sustainable Living, as you’ve been going through that. If you look at your other experiences of writing books or going through that process, what have you learned? Anything new when it comes to either the creation of the book or the promotion of the book?

It’s a whole new world. I see the book as a jumping-off point. It was never that end goal, even though it’s nice to have one.

You’re not making millions from selling books.

That wasn’t the point. Everyone’s like, “Do you want to be an Amazon bestseller?” I’m like, “Maybe. That’s not my goal.” My goal was to have it open up more doors to have people see me as a sustainability authority so that they don’t have to check five boxes to determine whether they want to hire TripleWin. They maybe have to check 1 or 2. It makes it easy. It brings more prospective clients to my door. It’s easier to close them. Lastly, it’s a jumping-off platform for developing a bunch of different assets again, that I can productize.

CSP 214 | Sustainable Consulting Business

 

When you say that it’s helping you to bring in more leads and ideal clients and then making the closing and sales process easier, what are you doing with the book? There’s a lot of people who have books but it doesn’t help their business very much because they’re not using the book to promote. Are you taking books? Are you sending them to people in the mail? Are you letting Amazon do its thing? What are you doing now that you have this book to help your business generate more business?

I’ve hired a publicist to help me land press around the book. I’m writing byline articles and they’re helping me land those to get published. A lot of the byline articles have nothing to do with the book. They’re more about corporate sustainability. The press is around the book and an approach to sustainability.

I am sending the book to anyone that I know and newly met. I came to them and say, “It was great to meet you. We’d like you to have this. This is integrated into our workshops. If you want to learn more about it, then do that.” I’m also sending them to my existing or past clients to say, “Is there anything else that’s going on now? Anything that’s changed that you want to have another conversation together?”

Is that through the mail like a printed cover letter type of thing or how are you getting that communication in front of people?

I’m all about handwritten letters. Everyone is inundated with email and digital assets that it’s not as meaningful, but if you get a handwritten letter, and it’s in a package that you have to rip open. A lot of executives are going back to their workplaces. That’s going to be even more in January. People are starting to get packages again through the mail and their offices. It’s meaningful. I leave a card there and they always write me back.

I’ll give you an example. I’ve landed an interview with Signify’s CEO, Eric Rondolat, but I went through their CSO, the Chief Sustainability Officer is a woman. I decided that I was going to write a letter and then snail mail it to the Netherlands because that’s where Signify is located. I got a call and email from the CSO. She said, “Why did you decide to send it in snail mail?” I said, “Because I knew you were going to get it.” This was before the pandemic. “I knew it was going to land on your desk.” She said, “That was smart.” That catalyzed my ability to have a conversation with the CEO.

I find that in the world of consulting and advisory and so forth, sometimes and quite often, the things that don’t scale are the things that will help you to scale. Sending the print letter or the handwritten note, and stuff that it’s very hard to automate or in a real way. The impact that can have is likely going to be 100 times greater than sending, a bunch of emails because it does differentiate you. It shows that you care a bit more. It does take more time, but it also produces a much greater result.

Before wrapping up, I want to ask you about consultants who want to be more sustainably-minded and want to try and incorporate more sustainable practices into their business. Is sustainability something that a small consulting firm can do something with? If so, what would that look like? Where is this only beneficial for larger organizations?

The shift with the pandemic to being virtual, not traveling, teleconferencing and telecommuting was an odd thing for consulting firms to consider, but it works. The productivity remained high, you could still close deals and get things done and it’s here to stay. A consulting firm, their biggest carbon footprint are employee, the community and business travel. Maybe some purchase goods and services, the equipment, paper and stuff like that.

If you can make sure that everything that you buy or either rent and you can give back or lease, you always think about post-consumer recycled content and how you purchase. At least, it’s less of a carbon footprint on the materials, and then consider not traveling or only traveling locally, so you can keep your footprint low.

Getting up early and having an hour to yourself for meditation over a cup of coffee is enriching. Click To Tweet

Some great tips there, we’re going to make sure people can learn a lot more about these from your book. Before wrapping up a few questions that I always like to ask, when you think about your daily habits and what you tend to do every single day, are there 1 or 2 things that you feel have the greatest impact on your productivity, performance and mental clarity, overall helping you to be successful? Whether it’s yoga, reading or some business practice that you have. What are 1 or 2 things that you find yourself doing every single day that help you to be your best?

I had to give up during the pandemic. I always make a to-do list every night. I’d check it off all the things and it feels good to at least get 2/3 of it done. Every night I do that and every morning, I make sure it’s still meaningful or something else hasn’t been added. That’s important to me. Getting up early and having an hour, if not an hour and a half to myself, without my children to think and meditate over a cup of coffee is enriching.

Then, because I can’t do yoga, we live close to a large urban forest here in Oregon, I tend to take walks, especially when I’m having mental blocks. When I’m overwhelmed, super stressed, got too much to do, or can’t figure out how to think through something, I stop everything. It’s got to be a 35-to-40-minute walk, but I take a walk and often I’m thinking about that and there’s a breakthrough. I come back and then I solve that problem.

It’s amazing how changing environments can help. That issue or whatever’s going on, it’s either conscious upfront or in the subconscious, but getting to that different environment somehow creates space for the mind to work itself through the problem. I’m a very big believer in that as well. What’s the top book that you’ve either read or listened to? It could be fiction nonfiction. Anything that stands out that you would recommend that you enjoyed?

I’ve read Braiding Sweetgrass, The Road. It’s so depressing. The Great Mistake was a surprise winner. It was about the founding father of the New York Public Library, The Metropolitan Museum in Central Park. It’s fictionalized, but it’s based in history and that was phenomenal and such a great voice.

Last but most importantly, for those who want to learn more about you, your work, your book, what’s the one place that we should direct them to?

If you want to learn more about a TripleWin Advisory, go to TripleWinAdvisory.com, and you can learn about all my consulting services. If you want to learn more about my book, go to KateGaertner.com.

Kate, thanks so much for coming.

Thank you very much.

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