Lead by example and make sure that your employees have passion that you are nurturing. People need to get inspiration from wherever they can, and will bring that inspiration back into the work that they do.
As a part of our series about the five things you need to successfully manage a remote team, I had the pleasure of interviewing Georgette Pascale.
With two decades of experience in PR including corporate, healthcare, e-commerce, music, technology, travel and consumer, Georgette believed there was a better way to do business than the traditional brick and mortar agency model. In 2005 she launched Pascale, a virtual communications and digital marketing agency.
For 15 years, Pascale has worked in Health Care Professional and patient-facing PR and digital marketing, connecting and educating the global healthcare community through insightful conversations and fresh perspectives. With ever-present optimism and drive, Georgette directs her team to achieve unparalleled results for the wide range of Pascale’s healthcare clients spanning the globe.
Georgette holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing communications from the Fashion Institute of Technology. In January 2020, Georgette acted as the keynote speaker and moderator for the 2020 Reputation Strategy Summit. In 2018 and 2019, she was selected as a speaker at the Vanguard Forum for Healthcare Leadership. Georgette has been named one of PharmaVoice’s “100 of the Most Inspiring People”, one of Vision Monday’s “Most Inspiring Women” and OWL’s Catalyst of the Year, along with being the former President of OWL: Advancing Diversity in Leadership.
Georgette lives in Fairfield, Connecticut with her three children, dog and a myriad of other animals. She has combined her passion for people and love of boxing, holding a position on the Boxing is Love board, among other not-for-profits she’s involved in. She enjoys traveling, having a good laugh, and connecting people.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. What is your “backstory”?
I was interning at a PR firm years ago when I realized how much I enjoyed the communications industry. I’ve always been passionate about connecting others and facilitating conversations, so it all just clicked for me.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
When looking back on my career, it’s funny to think about how young entrepreneurs can be — sometimes cocky and believing that they can do it all. I’ve learned from experience that one person just can’t do it all. I believe in hiring people to work on the things that you can’t do. Look at people’s strengths and surround yourself with people that can network and help you. If you share your mission and beliefs in business, you can create a holistic team that achieves your goals.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive and avoid burnout?
Lead by example and make sure that your employees have passions that you are nurturing. People need to get inspiration from wherever they can, and will bring that inspiration back into the work that they do.
Ok, let’s jump to the core of our interview. Some companies have many years of experience with managing a remote team. Others have just started this, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Can you tell us how many years of experience you have managing remote teams?
I have 17 years of experience. I managed a remote team for two years before founding my own remote company Pascale, which I have now managed for 15 years.
Managing a team remotely can be very different than managing a team that is in front of you. Can you articulate for our readers what the five main challenges are regarding managing a remote team? Can you give a story or example for each?
The biggest thing is understanding this is scalable for every business. It can be more difficult for a bigger business to adjust to every person but in some way you have to make things individualistic and realistic to each of your team members. Everyone on my team has their own personality and their own preference on how they want to be communicated with. Virtual work definitely has a learning curve, and requires a test period because it isn’t for everyone.
Based on your experience, what can one do to address or redress each of those challenges?
You need to have a mission or goal that your team is aware of and working toward. You can hire like-minded people through an authentic interview process where you lay out your vision, your expectations, and what your company is all about.
In my experience, one of the trickiest parts of managing a remote team is giving honest feedback, in a way that doesn’t come across as too harsh. If someone is in front of you much of the nuance can be picked up in facial expressions and body language. But not when someone is remote. Can you give a few suggestions about how to best give constructive criticism to a remote employee?
Giving feedback doesn’t differ greatly remotely versus in person. The key to good feedback is preparation. You should always have an agenda ready for the employee to view before. Plus, if you meet via Zoom or Skype, you can achieve the same clarity and directness you’d have face to face. Remember everyone works differently, deal with them specifically and listen to their feedback — this is crucial!
Can you specifically address how to give constructive feedback over email? How do you prevent the email from sounding too critical or harsh?
It is always important to acknowledge that you are understanding and digesting the other person’s point. Rather than discussing over email, you can let them know that you will be in touch. Just setting up a quick 15 minutes to discuss can be super productive. Keeping things succinct is key.
Can you share any suggestions for teams who are used to working together on location but are forced to work remotely due to the pandemic. Are there potential obstacles one should avoid with a team that is just getting used to working remotely?
Be honest with each other about what you expect and see what works best. Look at the situation as an advantage and opportunity rather than an obstacle. It isn’t one size fits all, so trial and error can be the best process. You have to see what works best for you individually, as there is an emotional quotient here considering everyone is so different.
What do you suggest can be done to create a healthy and empowering work culture with a team that is remote and not physically together?
Stay in touch as much as you can. We have a private Facebook group we call ‘The Pascale Piggyback’ where we share our most recent updates and I post our weekly ‘Scoop’ videos to check in with the team and acknowledge the accomplishments of that week. Acting like you are in an office can be super helpful and making the effort to see each other as much as possible can create connectedness. With this year as an exception due to the pandemic, Pascale meets every summer as a team for a fun meeting to hang out in person and grow the company’s goals.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
It sounds silly, but I would tell people to be kind. I tell my kids this everyday. It is such a simple thing that can solve so many problems. It really is what the revolution should be, along with educating yourself. By being kind and educated, people are able to gain a greater understanding.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite quote from my dad is “Make everyday a masterpiece.” I try to live my life by this everyday, and look for positivity in every moment.
Thank you for these great insights!