Meet Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino, the Chief Executive Officer of Compliance4, as well as the founder of The Best Ever You Network. Through these companies, she has helped individuals and organizations around the world be their best and achieve world-class excellence with gratitude-based behavior and belief systems. She is one of America’s foremost personal and corporate development consultants specializing in mindset, gratitude, change management, strategy, leadership, and taking action.
Guarino is the author of eight books including the award-winning book Percolate – Let Your Best Self Filter Through (Hay House, April 4, 2014). The Change Guidebook – How to Align Your Heart, Truths, and Energy to Find Success in All Areas of Your Life (March 8, 2022) is published by Health Communications and distributed by Simon & Schuster. The Change Guidebook ends the search for self-help that works, serving as a life-long companion guide and resource to compliment your life. It is a guide for anyone who is seeking change and wants to align to their highest purpose.
As a trusted leader, consultant, trainer, speaker, and best-selling author, Elizabeth provides development and training to individuals and organizations around the world. Elizabeth serves as a Leadership Advisor for the Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute and is a member of the Forbes Business Council. She is a Certified Master Coach.
Elizabeth lives her daily life with multiple, life-threatening food allergies. Elizabeth and Sally Huss co-authored three best-selling children’s books: A Lesson For Every Child: Learning About Food Allergies. Self-Confident Sandy and Best Ever You.
Elizabeth and her husband, Peter R. Guarino, Esq., live in Maine with their four sons, three rescued cats, and two Bernedoodles.
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Table of Contents
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.
Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino: First and foremost, I am a mom of four sons, now ages 20, 22, 24, and 26. When they were younger, I left a job to stay at home with them. I re-entered the non-work-from-home way to working when the youngest was in first grade and after about a year, left to start The Best Ever You Network from my budding home office.
Fast forward to today and I have a podcast called The Best Ever You Show that has millions of downloads and over 600 shows, The network consists of thousands of people worldwide, I’m verified in social media and am a published author. My newest book is called The Change Guidebook.
I am also the Chief Executive Officer of Compliance4, a boutique compliance consulting firm, located in Portland, Maine. My husband Peter R. Guarino, Esq., is the President and Chief Compliance Officer. Compliance4 is a leader in the compliance and regulatory services industry, offering expert compliance services to investment advisers and funds with high-quality comprehensive regulatory solutions.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curveballs into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple of years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino: What we learned through Compliance4 is the compliance consulting business can be done remotely with effective access to underlying documentation. The use of technology tools and web-conferencing platforms allow for virtual visits. Our CCO and compliance teams can effectively administer compliance programs by using these tools. We expect this to continue in 2022 and beyond.
What I learned from operating The Best Ever You Network is that the importance of trusted spaces online will become more and more relevant. We all need each other and turn your business online and in-person with the same level of excellent connection and customer service is critical to sustain and grow your business.
This also translates to Compliance4’s operations. Advisers need to adapt to the new environment of providing information electronically. As advisers became familiar with providing information digitally, we noted the younger clients of advisers are very comfortable receiving and reading reports online. In addition, we are seeing that these younger generation clients prefer to work in a virtual environment and it is important to connect with them in their environment to gain their trust.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino: I believe the focus for businesses in 2022 should be on taking care of their workforce. We have all been through so much these past few years and I believe it is necessary to put a huge focus on the mental health and overall well-being of each and every employee and their family in 2022 and for years that follow. Be kind to each other. It’s not just the economy that is disrupted. Everything and everyone together worldwide have been disrupted and we need to allow for healing and growth.
I believe it will be necessary to retrain and/or remind in-person communication skills as things return to more in-person working situations. The personal and professional communication refresher courses might be just what we need
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino: Our Chief Compliance Officer, Peter R. Guarino says, “The pandemic has thrown the compliance industry into a hybrid environment. Not all staff is on-site at the same time so connecting virtually is critically important.
Team meetings and one on one virtual meetings should be designed to maintain the culture of the firm. Compliance4 adapted by becoming proficient in using the reporting systems our advisers use, creating reports from those systems that are pushed to our team on a schedule plus holding regular virtual meetings with adviser personnel to replace the on-site meetings we would usually undertake to stay informed about the advisers’ business and initiatives.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino: We both wish we had received more information on how much sitting, whether on a couch with your laptop or at your home office desk in your chair, was detrimental to your health.
We began a routine of taking frequent breaks and walking together 2-4 miles per day. We also kept hearing that dogs are such great companions at work, but were those folks who didn’t bring the dog into the office. We are the proud new owners of two Bernedoodle puppies and they are by our side 24/7 and are an incredible benefit to our work life.
On a more serious note specific to work, we intend to improve our skills in using the software and reporting systems of our clients by setting aside time to take advantage of the training offerings of these providers.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino: I believe this will continue in 2022. I’d look for a correction to some degree as some people will continue to love this way of life and others will crave the commutes, conferences, and busy, busy, busy. We are all different, so I’d expect many folks who need the busier way of life to ramp up.
I do believe and hope many of these ways of life we discovered we are capable of continuing. We are able to dramatically reduce unnecessary expenses with virtual board meetings and conferences, as things that could be considered really frivolous or things done that add expenses which are then passed to clients in terms of higher pricing.
On the flip side in the compliance industry, we will see a catch-up of sorts to ensure proper on-site visits and due diligence is being completed.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino: I spend 6-8 hours of my day in front of a screen, although now, some days I nearly do zero, as I am taking more breaks and forcing days off to do something other than work from home. It becomes easy to work because it is right here with us.
Our compliance team spends approximately 4 hours a day reviewing reports online and creating testing reports for our clients.
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino: I believe the use of stories is popular and effective. However, I believe that in order to effectively communicate and use this tool with our team, the stories need to be real, trusted and not to create a sense of fear as motivation, but rather inspiration. In fact, in my book, The Change Guidebook, I invited twenty people to each share a story of how change has impacted them in their life.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino: I see the real challenge right now in mentoring our youth and our youth seeking mentors. When a flight path has been established, even if you want to disrupt it, you must understand and respect it first. I believe the challenge rests with respecting all ages of people in the work force, especially following during and following a pandemic. Again, we all need each other and people of all ages have wisdom. Respect and learn from each other.
In the compliance industry, we would love to see a mentoring program where a person above the age of 45 is specifically paired with someone in the field beginning their career, so the information passes along smoothly, even if disruption is at play. Compliance4 has mentored young compliance associates in this manner as our firm believes that compliance is a “hands-on” industry and is best learned by this type of guidance.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino: In 2022, I am most learning about customer behavior whereas our compliance team is interested in learning more about how social media will propel advisers’ business as the SEC has changed the advertising and marketing rules beginning in November 2022.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace.
Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino: There isn’t anything quite like a Pandemic and realizing that you are vulnerable to make you stop and question how you are spending your precious time. That’s exactly what so many are doing.
If you have ever had a commute that is over 30 minutes, you know what I am taking about when I say, “You have probably asked yourself more than once when you are making this long commute to work each day.” At one point, my husband Peter was commuting 2 hours each way to a job out of necessity at that time. Even back in the 90’s, I was driving two hours to and from work each day.
Leaders need to realize it isn’t personal. It’s about using time wisely. A bad boss is just another reason why you don’t want to spend your precious limited time in silly ways.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino: My business superpower would be to help young moms and dads find a way to balance it all. It is a really difficult period of time to be working and having small children and young families. There are so many factors from dinner time to homework, to after-school activities and this doesn’t even include you, the parent, catching a shower, or some much-needed sleep.
I’d find a super power way to keep the money coming in and have shorter workdays and way more family time, without a Pandemic.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino: I believe your strengths are your roadmap and a smile on your face is the best measure of success.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino 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 Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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