Introducing Catherine Lang-Cline, CEO and Co-Founder of Portfolio Creative.
Portfolio Creative is a recruiting company specializing in marketing candidates that has been recognized for numerous awards for growth and success since its founding in 2005.
Catherine has been honored with several awards for her leadership and contribution to entrepreneurship, strategy, marketing, human resources, and culture building.
She is also a public speaker, thought leader, and podcast host, sharing her experiences and insights on various topics.
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We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Catherine Lang-Cline: I am Catherine Lang-Cline and I am the CEO and Co-Founder of Portfolio Creative, a recruiting company specializing in marketing candidates.
As a former graphic designer, I understood the task of being a creative person and finding work as well as being the hiring manager trying to find the right fit for a team and for a specific role.
Portfolio Creative was founded in 2005 and since that time it has been recognized for number awards for growth and for getting those matches right.
I have been recognized as a top executive with 5 consecutive years as Columbus CEO – Most Admired CEO, Smart Woman – Progressive Entrepreneur Award, Smart 50 Award, Business First Influential Women to Know, Small Business Leader Award – Finalist, NAWBO Visionary Award – Finalist, 6 years honored as an Inc. 500-5000 Fastest Growing Privately-Owned Companies, WELD “Women You Should Know,” Columbus Chamber Entrepreneur of the Year, Business First Best Temporary Employment Agency, 6 years awarded the Business First Fast 50, E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist.
As a business leader, public speaker, and thought leader, I contribute to others and to organizations on the topics of entrepreneurship, strategy, marketing, human resources, and culture building.
I have shared my experiences and thoughts in blogs, articles, my podcast “Illumination Bureau” and my new podcast “The Secret Art of Business.” I have also spoken on a variety of topics at The Ohio State University, The Fisher School of Business, and The American Staffing Association.
If you were in an elevator with Warren Buffet, how would you describe your company, your services or products? What makes your company different from others? What is your company’s biggest strength?
Catherine Lang-Cline: First of all, I would be thrilled to be in this situation because I am a huge fan of Mr. Buffet.
Second, I would tell him that my company grew organically from an idea. That our community could be better served if there was an advocate for creative people and for those that are looking for them.
We are strong believers in paying people fairly for their work as well as companies getting their best value when it comes to people.
Based on that experience and our strong belief in fitting people into roles not just for skillsets but for culture fit, we can deliver a service that is more successful than our competitors. Plus, we have an amazing team of humans working for us.
Quiet quitting, The Great Resignation, are an ongoing trend causing many businesses to struggle keeping talent engaged and motivated. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. In your experience, what keeps employees happy? And how are adapting to the current shift we see?
Catherine Lang-Cline: Because Portfolio Creative is a recruiting company, we hear all of the stories. 82% is pretty spot on, we hear from candidates all of the time that do feel unheard, undervalued, and misunderstood. Here are some things that can help.
Have weekly check-ins with the people that report to you. Ask how things are going and if there is anything you can do to help. Check and double-check that you are offering a competitive salary. Really look at how much more a week it would take in dollars to keep them happy and engaged.
Pay your most valuable employees enough to keep them, otherwise, someone else will take them. If you cannot increase salaries, think about bonuses based on the profit of the company.
This will incentivize your employees to not only work toward goals but perhaps stay in order to get that bonus. And bonuses can be based on 10% of your profit, but enough to make an impact. You can also liberate them from a standard 8-hour work week with a more flexible one.
Think about goals rather than face time. This flexibility is the #1 want for employees right now. It could take the shape of a 4-day work week, an opportunity to work remotely even if it is for a day or two. If you do all of these things, it will be less likely that you will be surprised by someone quietly quitting.
Here is a two fold question: What is the book that influenced you the most and how? Please share some life lessons you learned. Now what book have you gifted the most and why?
Catherine Lang-Cline: The book that has influenced me the most is “What is Your Why?” by Simon Sinek. I knew that I wanted to start a business but understanding why you are starting it is a very powerful thing. It gives you purpose for your business and that then carries over to your personal life.
The book that I have gifted the most has to be “Six Week Startup” by Rhonda Abrams. Having had a business for 18+ years people often ask, “how did you get started?” It was literally by following the steps for this book.
I will mention that it took more than 6 weeks because some of the tasks were bigger than a week’s worth of work or it involved people other than ourselves to get activated.
But I will stand behind the process as there are many things in the book that can be overlooked or not given the time it deserves because you simply want to “get to work.”
Christopher Hitchens, an American journalist, is quoted as saying that “everyone has a book in them” Have you written a book? If so, please share with us details about it. If you haven’t, what book would you like to write and how would you like it to benefit the readers?
Catherine Lang-Cline: The book is coming, I am not sure of the form it will take but all of the work that has been put into building Portfolio Creative has given birth to the even deeper passion that I have which is the left and right brain connection.
I have a brand new audio/video podcast called “The Secret Art of Business” where I am interviewing business owners about how they use both sides of their brains to achieve success. If you are a creative person, how do you evolve? If you are a logical thinker, how do you innovate?
I have talked to a number of people just like this and the book would help others to tap into that brilliance.
2020, 2021, 2022 threw a lot of curve balls into businesses on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past years, how can businesses thrive in 2023? What lessons have you learned and what advice would you share?
Catherine Lang-Cline: If you are still in business after 2020, 2021, and 2022… congratulations! That was the wildest ride that we ever had in the 18 years of business of Portfolio Creative.
What we have all learned is that people matter. And working remotely is a possibility, and I say that because we had the technology for years but everyone was so opposed to using it. Those are the two big things, so let me break that down. Your business will thrive if you put your employees first.
That does not mean giving in to everything that they want. They might be terrible people for all that I know. Plan ahead and get rid of the people that are causing you stress, this is not their job and you need to make them available for that is their job.
Adjust to keep the game-changers, the real team players, the ones that really believe in what you do. Make it so they can do what they do best, which means creating opportunities for them by delegating some of your responsibilities to them, freeing up your time to work on the things that only you can do.
I learned in those years to get the absolute best people in your “seats” and to get out of their way.
What does “success” in the year to come mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Catherine Lang-Cline: Success in 2023 for me would be to get more people to know about Portfolio Creative. I am very proud of what was created here by me and my team and rather than it just being a regionally known gem, but have it be known nationally.
We have won many awards for our ideas and growth. We always have very high NPS scores from our clients and have been on a few lists of being the “best place to work.” Next would be to grow “The Secret Art of Business” into more than an idea but rather a movement.
To have everyone really understand how blending their logic with their innovation is not only easy but key to being successful in both business and in life.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Catherine Lang-Cline for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Catherine Lang-Cline or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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