Welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview with Jared Pope, the pioneering Founder and CEO of Work Shield, leading the charge against workplace harassment and discrimination.
From humble beginnings in Granbury, Texas, where he supported his family by bussing tables at twelve, Jared’s journey through esteemed legal careers at KPMG and Baker Botts culminated in the founding of Work Shield in 2018. In this interview, Jared shares his insights on building a resilient company culture, navigating the challenges of the “Quiet Quitting” trend, and Work Shield’s forward-looking approach to the surge in online business.
As the conversation unfolds, Jared offers a unique perspective on the underestimated emotional toll of running a company, emphasizing the importance of self-care for sustained success.
Reflecting on the transformative years of 2020-2022, Jared provides invaluable advice for businesses aiming to thrive in 2023. Join us for an enlightening discussion with a dynamic entrepreneur shaping the future of workplace dynamics.
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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.
Jared Pope: As the Founder and CEO of Work Shield, I’ve dedicated my career to addressing workplace harassment, discrimination, and misconduct. My journey started in Granbury, Texas, where I learned the value of hard work from a young age. I bussed tables at twelve to support my family and later financed my education by selling books door-to-door during college.
My legal career led me to specialize in ERISA, benefits, and income tax law. I worked at esteemed firms like KPMG and Baker Botts, gaining invaluable insights into the complexities of compliance and tax issues. Eventually, after my general counsel experience with an insurance brokerage house, I started my own law practice, which broadened my expertise in human resources, benefits, and employment matters.
In 2018, I founded Work Shield, driven by the need to provide employers with a truly impactful solution to protect their employees. Our company vision is to foster open and positive workplace cultures comprised of integrity and trust. I may steer the vision and direction for Work Shield, but it’s our dedicated team that breathes life into our vision every day. They don’t just show up for work; they show up for the company, and they show up for each other. Commitment is one of our core values, and their unwavering dedication sets the bar high.
What advice do you wish you had received when you started your business journey and what do you intend on improving in the next quarter?
Jared Pope: When I began my journey as the founder of Work Shield, I wished I had received advice on the paramount importance of cultivating a resilient company culture from day one.
We’re currently experiencing significant growth, and preserving the culture we’ve worked hard to build is a top priority. It’s imperative to have the right team members who not only share our values but also contribute to nurturing and enhancing this culture.
In the next quarter and beyond, our focus remains on advancing our incident management platform and expanding our reach while staying true to the principles that define Work Shield.
We are committed to recruiting team members who align with our values and share our dedication to our vision. It’s an exciting journey, and we’re excited about the positive impact we aim to make in our space in the upcoming quarter.
Online business keeps on surging higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for the year to come and how are you capitalizing on the tidal wave?
Jared Pope: In the face of the ongoing surge in online business, our expectations for the year ahead at Work Shield are centered around continued growth and adaptation as it relates to addressing issues of misconduct occurring online.
As a B2B company, we recognize the significance of the virtual landscape and the evolving nature of work. Our focus is on providing our clients a solution that accounts for the changing dynamics of remote work, virtual meetings, and the broader digital business landscape. As we witnessed during COVID, harassment and discrimination did not decrease when organizations shifted their employee populations to remote work.
We anticipate increased demand for our services as organizations continue to adapt to remote work models, which can present unique challenges related to workplace misconduct. Work Shield’s solution addresses such incidents in a fair and unbiased manner, even in a virtual work environment.
We’re also committed to enhancing our technology and services to stay ahead of the curve. Our team will continue to innovate and adapt to the ever-evolving business landscape, ensuring that our platform remains effective and valuable for both employers and employees.
Our goal is to be at the forefront of addressing workplace misconduct in this new digital era, facilitating safer and more inclusive work environments, and contributing to the success of organizations as they navigate the changing landscape of remote work and virtual interactions.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as THE real challenge right now?
Jared Pope: The real challenge in the current business landscape is closely tied to the issues surrounding workplace harassment, discrimination, and misconduct. The most significant challenge I see right now is the disconnect between organizations and their employees in addressing these issues.
Until organizations actively support employees and create psychologically safe spaces for them to speak up and report such incidents, employees will not feel safe at their workplaces. More importantly, organizations will not truly understand what is holding them back from achieving the best out of their workforce and culture.
This disconnect between employers and employees can have severe consequences, including high turnover rates, reputational damage, substantial litigation costs, and long-term mental health effects on those who have experienced harassment or discrimination.
To overcome this challenge, it’s crucial for organizations to implement solutions that help resolve such incidents efficiently and without bias, and for them to take immediate and corrective action when wrongdoing occurs.
In your experience, what tends to be the most underestimated part of running a company? Can you share an example?
Jared Pope: In my five years of experience with Work Shield, I’ve come to understand that one of the most underestimated aspects of running a company is the emotional and mental toll that comes with the role. The constant juggling of responsibilities, the pressure to make critical decisions quickly, and the need to address various stakeholders’ demands can be emotionally and mentally draining.
It’s often overlooked because it’s not as visible as financial challenges or operational issues, yet it holds the power to significantly impact not only my well-being but also the overall success of the company.
As many CEOs can likely relate, I often find myself pulled in every direction, consistently answering to various parties, including our board, clients, vendors, brokers, and team members.
This weight of responsibility, combined with my high energy and commitment to the role, can lead to burnout and stress if not effectively managed. Such stress could impair my decision-making, leadership, and, consequently, the overall performance of the company IF I let it.
To manage this emotional and mental toll, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of self-care and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Among my self-care practices, I hold my early morning 4:30 am runs in high regard. During these moments of solitude and physical activity, I often find clarity and some of my best ideas.
This coveted time not only rejuvenates me but also provides a fresh perspective, often leading to innovative solutions to the challenges we face at Work Shield. Prioritizing my well-being is not a sign of weakness but a strategic move to ensure long-term success for both me and our company.
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?
Jared Pope: If I could choose a business superpower, I’d undoubtedly go for the gift of ‘Lightning Decision-Making.’ With my natural quick thinking and extroverted personality, this superpower would enable me to make swift yet well-informed decisions, ensuring that Work Shield seizes opportunities and smoothly navigates challenges.
It wouldn’t just be about reacting rapidly; it would also empower us to proactively stay at the forefront of technological innovations, quickly assessing and adopting enhancements to our platform in a fast-changing tech landscape.
I’d also put this incredible ability into practice by streamlining decision-making processes within our company, granting our team the autonomy to act decisively and seize opportunities in our market. And because I’m a ‘glass half full’ kind of guy, every decision we make would be approached with a positive outlook.
We would embrace change not as a hurdle but as an avenue for growth and innovation. With ‘Lightning Decision-Making,’ we’d be equipped to face the future with agility and optimism, ensuring Work Shield’s continuous success and evolution.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Jared Pope for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Jared Pope or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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