Bethany Williams Podcast Transcript

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Headshot of Executive Bethany Williams

Bethany Williams Podcast Transcript

Bethany Williams joins host Brian Thomas on The Digital Executive Podcast.

Welcome to Coruzant Technologies, home of The Digital Executive podcast.

Brian Thomas: Welcome to The Digital Executive. Today’s guest is Bethany Williams. Bethany Williams is a dedicated M&A business developer with over 20 years experience leading business growth efforts for organizations. She has served in key leadership roles for some of the nation’s leading companies, Price Waterhouse Cooper, Perot Systems, and General Electric.

She spent her career running healthcare technology SaaS companies. that were focused on high growth such as IDX, GE Centricity, Zermed, and Perot. Now she is using her development skills to develop real estate deals and raise capital for real estate development projects. Williams graduated from National University in San Diego, California with a BBA in Healthcare Administration.

She took Entrepreneurial Studies at Stanford University. She serves on the board of directors for blueprint networks and was named one of the top 25 women to watch by the Dallas business journal in 2010, named one of the top 100 branding experts to follow on Twitter, several years running. She speaks at conferences around the world on business growth and brand development.

Well, good afternoon, Bethany. Welcome to the show!

Bethany Williams: Yeah, thank you.

Brian Thomas: You’re very welcome, love jumping on a podcast every day and talking to some, some amazing people and hearing their unique stories. So, Bethany, we’re going to just jump right into your 1st question here with over 20 years of experience in M& A and business growth.

What key strategies have you found most effective in leading business development for organizations like Price Waterhouse Cooper, Perot Systems and General Electric?

Bethany Williams: Yeah, you know, that’s such a great question, Brian, but I would have to say, and you don’t find this very often, but I’d have to say it’s grit. I mean, it is just darn determination and resolve and courageous, you know, forward motion that you really see kind of kind of disappearing from the world.

I think I have a friend of mine. His name is Matt Manero. He wrote a book called the grit, how to find it and keep it. And I thought he did a really good job of defining what that looks like, but I would say that would be my 1. I have 3 actually the 2nd, I would say. It’s just, I call it caring ingenuity.

You know, find the people you like and care about and do unique and caring things for them that help them move forward in their careers and achieve their objectives. And while that’s happening, they will push you forward in your objectives. It’s the, if you can help them when they’ll help you win and last of all, I would say determination, you can’t give up easily.

You can’t stop trying. I had this thing written on my desk for the longest time. That failure is when you stop trying. So, I just think that determination is something that when you’re dealing, when you’re dealing with business development in those large companies, you’re in the top 2 percent of people that are in those positions and they have so many people trying to get at them.

Brian Thomas: Thank you. I love that breaking that down for us. Some of the things that have enabled you to do what you do today, led you to your success.

Bethany Williams: I actually, I remember this one guy. I want to say he had 6 kids, but he was running it for a big organization and no one could ever get off his schedule. And he was a busy guy who was running a big operation.

And I sat down 1 day and I thought, what would you never do? If you had 6 kids? Like, what would life be? Like, if you had 6 children, I have 3 that I’ve birthed and I’m 2 step children. So, I never had a bunch in the house when I was younger. But in reality, I thought you’d never buy caramel apples.

Because it’d be for eight of them, it’d be such a huge expense. So, I literally took eight caramel apples to his office and left him for him one day. And I did get on his calendar a few days later. Wow.

Brian Thomas: Wow. I love that story. Thank you for sharing, Bethany, you know, named as one of the top 100 branding experts to follow on Twitter.

What importance do you place on brand development for companies and personal branding for professionals?

Bethany Williams: Yeah, I think your brand is the most important thing about how you can get opportunities, how you can get on people’s schedules, how you can push your career forward, how you can improve your revenue and bottom line.

And so, I mean, I actually have a Ted talk that I talked about on branding. It’s really important and not just because I have a book called you CEO of you, but you’re in charge. You are the chief marketing officer of you, and I think we get busy working for companies and doing what companies want us to do.

And we forget how important creating a personal brand is. It even helps companies Excel, because when you have a great brand, you pour a positive light on that company. Another guy, a friend of mine, Jeb Blount, he wrote a book called people buy you. He leads a lot of sales development and sales training.

And I believe that people are brought buying from you based on your integrity and what they think of you. And I don’t think you can say enough about building a personal brand that not only props you up in the market, but also your employer. What do you think, Brian? Do you think brand is important?

Brian Thomas: Oh, absolutely.

We talk about that a lot here on the podcast and you see it all the time. People trust people, not necessarily a company or especially if the company’s brand isn’t really well known, but absolutely a hundred percent. So, thank you for sharing Bethany with your rich experience.

Kind of a segue into the next question from your last answer, but you were named one of the top 25 women to watch in the Dallas business journal. What advice would you give to women aspiring to leadership roles in technology and business development?

Bethany Williams: Yeah, I love that question too. Believe it or not. I think sometimes we are our biggest inhibitors. And I think that’s women and men, to be honest, we, we. See our faults and they seem so big and we see our faults and they’re bigger than what sometimes we see our accomplishments as, and we don’t believe in ourselves.

I sometimes tell people when I’m coaching them, the mountain is in your head. It was it was a blog I had read years ago when I was training to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and they basically said, you know, as you’re trying to climb this mountain, the minute you decide you can’t do it. You can’t because you stop trying.

You turn around, you go back, you walk down instead of up. And I think that that’s what happens a lot of times in our careers and in jobs we’re pursuing and business we’re trying to win is we don’t believe in ourselves. And so, when we can’t believe in ourselves, other people can’t believe in us either.

And I’ve interviewed thousands of people as a senior executive in technology companies through the years, and you will have someone sit in front of you. Even if they haven’t done that exact role, they will say, I can do it. There’s nothing you can put in front of me. I can’t do. I believe I can do it. I, I have done similar roles and I’ll be able to accomplish this role.

And then you bring the next person in who has scores more experience in that 1 and they might say, well, I don’t know if I can really do it. I’ve never done this particular role and you can tell that they don’t believe in their own capabilities. And they’re afraid to stretch and to reach and to be confident and it really stands out.

And so, if you can’t believe in your own capabilities, you hinder other people from, from doing it and, and it keeps people from trying. I always tell them; you can always go backwards. It’s pretty easy to slide down a wet water slide, and that’s what it feels like when you try for a position, and it doesn’t work out.

Well, and you slide back into another position. It’s really easy to do. But as executives interviewing, we’re terrified to try something new. We’re terrified to stretch ourselves and reach and convince ourselves that we can do it.

Brian Thomas: Absolutely. And thank you. You know, a lot of it goes back to just foundational things that as children growing up, you know, we had some sort of experience that led us into these limiting beliefs.

And it’s just something we all need to work on and it’s really easy to slide backwards or be in that comfort zone. So, I appreciate your insights on that, Bethany. And Bethany, last question of the day, with your rich experience in M& A and real estate, how do you see the future of this sector evolving, particularly with the integration of new technologies and digital solutions?

Bethany Williams: Well, it has been interesting to watch with many people’s portfolios, not making what they wanted to make. And they’re sitting with money and in stocks that are doing horribly and have suffered over the last couple of years. It’s a unique time to invest in real estate, even as technology executives.

This is a great time. The multifamily and medical office buildings are going to be strong over the next several years. And I don’t think I realized all those years, Brian, that I was working as a technologist that I could have been investing as a passive investor in real estate and letting someone else manage the details and just taking my mailbox money.

I had no idea. So, I think we’re going to see continued growth in these markets due to not only the tax deferral strategies that people can do with 1031s and the tax segregation or cost segregations and stuff, but just as. People look and seek for ways to enhance their self-directed IRAs and different investment vehicles that they have, people are going to figure out that real estate is really solid investment to have in their portfolios.

And I think AI can look through hordes of different investments and help people select ones with the best performance avoiding the, you know, I just read 632 page PPMs, you know,

Brian Thomas: absolutely. And I appreciate that. And going back to real estate, that’s been. Gosh, for a few hundred years now, that’s always been your best bet in the long term.

But I agree with you as far as AI and machine learning, it’s being integrated in everything that we do today, that it’s only going to make us more efficient and be able to really analyze a lot of data to enable us to make better decisions. So, I appreciate the insights. Bethany, it was such a pleasure having you on today and I look forward to speaking with you real soon.

Bethany Williams: Thank you, Brian. Thanks for having me.

Brian Thomas: Bye for now.

Bethany Williams Podcast Transcript. Listen to the audio on the guest’s podcast page.

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