Steven Russel

What Do You Bring To The Table? With Steven Russell

The world certainly moves very, very fast around us, and sometimes it feels incredibly difficult to keep up, right? We’re in the constant mode of changing, morphing, branding and rebranding ourselves. But that could quickly lead to frustration.

Today on The Frame of Mind Coaching™ Podcast, I’m delighted to introduce to you my guest, Steven Russell.  Steven is the Senior Director Financial Services at Yext, a very powerful software tool designed to manage business location-related information on directory websites.

In this episode, Steve tackles the ever-evolving issue of "How can I rebrand myself successfully?" I think this is such an interesting conversation, focusing primarily on finding ways to understand what it is that makes each of us unique and how to use that uniqueness to our advantage.

Click here to listen to this episode:

Read this episode’s transcript here.

Are you having trouble finding out what it is that you bring to the table? Are you being able to leverage your uniqueness? Share your story! If there's a challenge you'd like to discuss here on the podcast or privately, please reach out to me at:

Episode Transcript

Kim Ades: [00:00:05]
Hello, hello. This is Kim Ades, I am the President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching, and you have just joined The Frame of Mind Coaching Podcast, where we welcome guests from all over the world, really leaders from all over the world to get coached live and in person right on the podcast.

Today it's my pleasure to introduce to you my guest. His name is Steve Russell and he comes to us from a company called Yext. Did I say it right, Steve?

Steven Russell:
You did. You did. That was perfect.

Kim Ades: [00:00:31]
Amazing. So fill us in. What is Yext? What do you do? Where are you in the world? What's happening?

Steven Russell: [00:00:38]
So basically Yext is... think of it is you do a search every day today on your, on your phone for what could be a company could be a product, could be a service. And when you get those results back, typically through Google, you get a direct answer. And as consumers we've been trained to kind of have that direct answer and get what we want.

So Yext created this platform for any website that's out there, any business that is looking for what we call Brand Verified Answers, meaning their brand is out there on search, they could be promoting a product, a service, a job. And what's happened is in the digital ecosystem when the brand is out there, what comes back is misinformation.

And a lot of misinformation is costly and timely and sometimes, you know, it's to, you know, get a job, you know, you promote a product or whatever it is. And what we do is we surface that through a Google-like experience on companies' websites all over. And we do that on the website and we do that off the website.

So if you're searching for, you know, "life insurance near me", we surface that on a company's website and we drive conversions through that, we give them a better experience, we drive costs down.

And so we came out with this platform about a year ago and my position is I'm a Senior Director in the Financial Services Group. And so I cover financial services, which are wealth management companies, insurance companies, mortgage companies throughout the world.

Kim Ades: [00:02:08]
Okay. So let me see if I can understand it from a regular Joe perspective.

Steven Russell: [00:02:12]

Kim Ades: [00:02:13]
So, if I have a website, which I do, and somebody's visiting the website and they're looking for something specific, you provide the ability to search the website, to help them find what they're looking for. Did I get that right?

Steven Russell: [00:02:26]

Kim Ades: [00:02:27]
Exactly? Got it perfectly?

Steven Russell: [00:02:29]
Right there. Keep it simple. Yeah.

Kim Ades:
Okay. There you go. Okay. I understand it very well. So, you've been with this company for how long?

Steven Russell: [00:02:38]
Over two years. Two and a half years.

Kim Ades:
Okay. And where are you in terms of your career? When we look at, like, the global picture, where do you want to go? Where do you want to be? What's the projection for you?

Steven Russell: [00:02:51]
So, you know, it's kind of where I started, you know, 15 plus years ago, I got involved in enterprise sales and I've been-- I've worked for large enterprise companies like Microsoft and HP for a number of years. I've worked for a couple of startups and you know, now I've been with Yext.

And so my career is taking a lot of different paths where I was selling, marketing, sales leaderships, and you know, various groups within the enterprise. And so I've used a lot of those skills to go to different companies, right? With different technologies to help try to solve problems and gain that learning skill along the way.

So in my career, you know, really where I am is, you know, I'm in a point where I gain these skills, you know, with a lot of these great companies and innovations and you know, where do I want to go? You know, eventually, you know, help people like myself or help, you know, other companies, if you will, with my knowledge around sales, sales process, coaching, learning.

It could be technology, it could be whatever, you know, the ultimate goal would be more of a, Hey, you know, kind of a consultancy of helping companies solve problems. And, you know, you--

Kim Ades: [00:04:02]
Sales problems, marketing problems.

Steven Russell: [00:04:04]
Could be-- it could be really, you know, it's generated towards, I would say, sales, but really in general, Hey, if there is a particular problem, especially now in the digital world, can I use those skills? And it could be small, mid-size, you know, what I would say, medium companies.

What we found now with COVID, enterprise companies, right? Have a lot of resources to tap into the mid-size to small companies that have been hit hard with COVID and reducing staff, you know, trying to be more digitized, trying to do more with less. They need, you know, skill sets and people to come in, try to help them, take them from where they are today to, you know, where they want to grow.

Maybe it's, like I said, a new product, maybe it's just to get back on their feet. And so what I found is even just through networking, there's a lot of needed help out there. You know, from a business standpoint of both sales and learning the business. So I think I can help in a variety of ways.

Kim Ades:
So before we jump into your challenge, because I'm kind of taking you there, let me ask you one question. What do you think prevents, other than resources, what do you think prevents  mid-size companies from addressing or overcoming their particular problems or challenges? If you come in, what is it that you're looking for? What do you notice? What is it that's going on?

Steven Russell: [00:05:29]
Yeah, I mean, the companies that are particularly... that they're owned right by an owner, they're focused on the business, right? They're operational, they know how to run a business, or they know how to particularly market the product that they have developed or service. Right?

But they're not... they're not concentrated on, Hey, how do I... If I have a sales team, or if I have sales in general, how do I do that consistently? How do I have a process? How do I have success with that, so I can have somebody focus on that side of the business to drive sales?

Now, they could be doing well. Right? You know, just based upon their knowledge and sort of like, you know, things that they've had. But what I found is, you know, they could-- they want to do more. They want to concentrate more on, you know, gaining more sales or, you know, a different way.

And the whole digitized environment is really focused a lot of owners that they don't have that skillset to say, you know, yeah, I think I'm fairly decent in the digital world, but it's changing and dynamically changing literally daily. They just don't-- they don't have the time to do that.

Kim Ades:
So, there's a keeping up problem.

Steven Russell: [00:06:32]

Kim Ades: [00:06:33]

Steven Russell: [00:06:33]
There's a keeping up problem. There's a process problem, you know, in regards to, you know, maintaining that. And then as the business evolves, how do they pivot? Right? And now we're in a world where we have to pivot, and...

Kim Ades: [00:06:45]

Steven Russell: [00:06:46]
...and pivot rapidly, right? Because it's not going back. It's only going forward, so...

Kim Ades: [00:06:52]
Okay. I get this picture very clearly because I'm one of those entrepreneurs.

Steven Russell: [00:06:57]

Kim Ades: [00:06:58]
Let's dive in. What do you think is your greatest challenge at this stage in your life, career, et cetera?

Steven Russell: [00:07:05]
I think it was mentioned when we were talking before is, you know, sort of the rebranding, right? You're always self-rebranding yourself. You know, the companies you work for have their own brand and the process, but it's really you, right? You incorporated that you have to rebrand and continually evolve when you go along in your career.

So as you go through that career change or even, you know, the next evolution, how do you market yourself? You know, there's certainly other social elements out there that are utilized, but is there new ways, innovative ways, things to understand about yourself to rebrand and then market that to, you know, whatever you're trying to do as the next phase of your life.
I only get access to the tools I know, but it'd be great to kind of understand what am I missing? What are the things that, you know...

Kim Ades: [00:07:54]
What tools do you know? Like, when you say "I have access to the tools that I know". Like, what's your kind of knee jerk reaction? Where are you going first right now with you?

Steven Russell: [00:08:03]
LinkedIn, right now. LinkedIn is a great social business tool to get your message out there. People are putting in... what I find, every day they put in, you know, content. Right? And it sounds great. And it's great, but a lot of that's noise too. Right? You've got to focus in on what's important. So how do you get your relevant data out there on yourself or your brand?

So it captures, you know, where and who you want and to kind of clutter out the noise, I would call it. Right?

Kim Ades: [00:08:30]

Steven Russell: [00:08:31]
So LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, there's so many, you know, vehicles. Right? But it's almost too much. So how do you focus and how do you maintain that? And then how do you take that? And I call it like rinse and repeat, right? When you--

Kim Ades: [00:08:43]
Yeah. Okay. So lots of things come to my mind in this conversation. And you know, I want to say that they're two directions that I encourage you to take, and those directions involve research.

And the first is to really understand what you uniquely bring to the table that nobody else is bringing to the table. Because there are lots of consultants out there, lots of people are helping companies like mine with their digital marketing or their digital branding or whatever it is that you want to call it. And I think the first and most important part of it is what's the uniqueness that Steve Russell brings to the table. And why is that different from every other person out there who's promoting something that sounds similar?

So, just like me, I'm in the coaching industry, but I will tell you the way we coach is dramatically different from almost every other coaching company I've ever encountered. And so we definitely have a unique position, a unique view of the world, a unique way that we deliver our service and get the results that we're getting.

And so, you know, and it includes the way we coach, the journaling process, our interest in the way people think. And I think for you right now, right here, you really need to do the research on what makes you unique. And how do you do that research?

Well, coaching is definitely a part of the process where you're digging in and really looking internally to say, "what's really my sweet spot? What's my key strategic advantage? What do I do? What do I know? What do I understand intuitively, instinctively or from my years of experience that I can package in a very unique way that nobody else can bring to the team? Because it's me".

And that's part-- that's a huge part of the branding and I encourage you to do that. And it could involve kind of looking back at your past experience and tying together, you know, where did you succeed in all your different roles in the past? What did you achieve? How did you work with the team that was a common denominator in every single role that you played?
But working with someone to really explore that piece, I would say is part A.

Part B is really understanding the pain specifically that you want to serve. Right? And being able to speak to that pain. And so, you know, it's not only about creating content, you use the word "relevant" before, and I think that's very important. It's creating relevant content. In other words, it's being able to truly express an understanding for the other person's experience.

Steven Russell: [00:11:33]

Kim Ades: [00:11:33]
In order to truly express understanding for another person's experience, we need to do some interviews. We need to do some research. We need to do some surveys to capture the problem effectively.

So now we have-- when we have a unique offer, a unique brand to a specific problem, now we're able to brand ourselves more effectively. So, it's not so much about where do I put myself out there, we could talk about that for sure. It's more so what do I bring to the table and how do I demonstrate that I'm the right guy for this particular problem?

Steven Russell: [00:12:13]

Kim Ades: [00:12:14]
Does that make sense?

Steven Russell: [00:12:15]
Yeah, totally.

Kim Ades: [00:12:16] Yeah.

Steven Russell: [00:12:17]
Totally. Almost--

Kim Ades: [00:12:18]
So... Yeah, go ahead

Steven Russell: [00:12:20]
Oh, go ahead.

Kim Ades: [00:12:23]
So it's this two part approach.

Steven Russell: [00:12:25]
Yeah, no, we always talk about sort of like, "Hey, what's your elevator pitch?" Right? So kind of, what's my unique elevator pitch? Uniqueness about me. Right? And then self-evaluating.

I love that you said going back and saying, what are the success points you've had, you know, in the history, you know, in the background. And then where do you take that and then separate yourself, and how do you align that to the pain points, right? Where you're trying to address where the other person, company, whatever it is, and I think that's--

Kim Ades: [00:12:54]
And I want to even say that it's a little bit more than that. It's like, what is your unique vantage point? And again, I can use me as an example.

When I first started coaching, I noticed that there were many coaches in the industry who had a model that was based on accountability. So in other words, if I were working with you, I'd say, "okay, Steve, let's create a business plan and let's create, you know, all these steps and milestones in that business plan. And as your coach, I'm going to hold you accountable".

That's what a lot of coaches were doing out there. And for me, internally, that created a friction. Because I thought to myself, "you know what? If I'm working with highly driven leaders, they don't need to be held accountable. And that's not the issue anyway".

The issue isn't, you know, let's create a plan. It's they already have a plan, but they're not executing. Why not? What's stopping them from executing? There's something else at play. And if I can find that something else and move it out of the way, then they will succeed.
And so my approach, my thinking about things was radically different for many, many coaches, especially 16 years ago.

Steven Russell: [00:13:58]
Got it.

Kim Ades: [00:13:59]
Right? And so, what's your point of view that's unique? What's your approach that's unique? Right? How do you see things differently? And you want to start to bring that together.

Steven Russell: [00:14:13]
That's great. No, you've hit it. I think.

Kim Ades: [00:14:16]

Steven Russell: [00:14:16]

Kim Ades: [00:14:17]
And then, on the other side is what are the venues where you can start to speak this language, right? And so, you're on a podcast. Podcasts are a great place to be, and I can certainly introduce you to people who can help you be on more podcasts, definitely.

Of course Clubhouse, all the social media places, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, all those places. But I think, you know, all those are easily accessible to you. The real question is, what are you putting there? Who are you? What's the package? What is that vantage point, that draws people your way?

Like, I know, again for me, I don't always see things the way everybody else sees things.

Steven Russell: [00:15:00]

Kim Ades: [00:15:01]
So that's part of, you know, that unique voice.

Steven Russell: [00:15:06]
I love that.

Kim Ades: [00:15:07]
Yeah. Does that make sense?

Steven Russell: [00:15:09]

Kim Ades: [00:15:10]
So we have to start with you and we always have to start with you.

Steven Russell: [00:15:15]
That's true, so...

Kim Ades: [00:15:18]
Yeah. I would invite you and, for anybody who's listening, who's thinking about branding themselves, I would invite you to ask yourself some questions. And the first question that I would ask myself is, you know, what was my experience and what ties them together.

The second question I would invite you to ask yourself is so, what was my point of view in all of these places, right? And I'll ask you to do one more thing is what was my point of friction? In other words, where did I disagree with people and why? 'Cause when I disagree with people, that means I have a different opinion, a different point of view, and that's very insightful.

Steven Russell: [00:16:02]

Kim Ades: [00:16:03]

Steven Russell: [00:16:04]

Kim Ades: [00:16:04]
So those are three questions that you can start with for that self-reflection. And of course, if you're looking for a coach, I know one or two that are amazing.

Steven Russell: [00:16:14]
I think I know somebody too. So... That's great.

Kim Ades: [00:16:17]
Any questions for me?

Steven Russell: [00:16:20]
Kim, that was literally one of the reasons I wanted to come on. It was sort of, you know, you think about things, right? And you want to... you have to take that first step and then all of a sudden say, okay, and you're in the weeds consistently, right? Running around and thinking of things.

And this was one of the reasons, it sort of forces you, right? You know, 'cause you and I kind of were communicating prior and then locked it down and then you get the mindset and sort of getting focused in this moment, kind of like say, "Hey look, I'm giving you those three takeaways". This was invaluable. So I really appreciate-- I really appreciate that.

Kim Ades: [00:16:51]
Amazing. You have to go back and listen and write them down.

Steven Russell: [00:16:55]

Kim Ades: [00:16:57]
I want to thank you for being on the podcast, for sharing your challenge, for being willing to be open and real with me.

For those of you who are listening, if you have a challenge that you want to share on the podcast, please reach out to me. We are definitely looking for willing guests.

My email address is

Having said that, if you have a challenge that you want to talk about, but not so much on the podcast, please reach out to me as well.

My email address is

And I just want to add one more thing. I'm getting a lot of comments lately on the podcast. People are listening, people are asking questions, people want follow-ups to past guests. I really appreciate it. Please go to YouTube, iTunes (Apple Podcasts), wherever you listen.

Please like and share the podcast. And if you have any questions for me, please reach out and I'd be happy to do my best to answer them.

Thank you so much.

Steven Russell: [00:17:52]
Thank you, Kim.

Kim Ades: [00:17:53]
Until we meet again.

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