Episode 36: Find a “career peer” for collaboration and support: Emily Kurze and Nate Kartchner


May 12th, 2020

57 mins 38 secs

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About this Episode

Can you find a "career peer" - a partner for deep work - at work? Emily Kurze and Nate Kartchner met at work and began to collaborate on projects, on personal and professional growth, and eventually came together with a business collaboration. They combine personal and business growth in their own podcast, Good. Working. Order.

This week Emily Kurze and Nate Kartchner talk with Kat. Emily and Nate are colleagues and friends who met at work and now collaborate as business partners.

Nate: Has been working for 15 years in marketing, mostly in digital.
Emily: A recovering field biologist who has been in marketing for 9 years in program, campaign and content marketing.

Nate and Emily started working together about 5 years ago. At first, their different styles caused friction: Nate had been getting results by doing his own thing, and Emily was there to instill process. They began to work more closely and effectively together over time at that workplace, and after leaving, they now collaborate on consulting and other side projects.

One aspect of Nate and Emily’s effectiveness at collaboration is that difference in styles. They complement each other, which helps them with decision-making by seeing other angles.

Although Nate and Emily both have full time jobs, they started a “think tank for ideas,” OSA Ventures, to work on projects that are interesting to them. Their first projects are a podcast, Good Working Order, that is growing into a podcast network, Megamouth Radio, alongside a marketing consultancy, Megamouth Marketing.

Because they have “day jobs”, Nate and Emily only take consulting jobs that bring them joy and challenge. Their business has a fluid roadmap based on their availability, their interest and their passions.

Nate and Emily’s podcast, Good Working Order, focuses on self-improvement and growth without sacrificing yourself. They always want to be better -- emotionally, psychologically, professionally -- and the podcast helps them make each other better.

Another key to Emily and Nate’s success is that they stay in very close contact, so when they do meet, they don’t have to catch each other up. They have achieved greater depth in their relationship and in their problem solving because they don’t have to deal with minutia.

Nate and Emily often do a “walk and talk,” where they talk on the phone and think while in motion.

They also have a book club together, where they read the same books and then discuss them. These books now provide a common language and frame of reference for them to use when working together. This is especially true around uncomfortable conversations and negotiations; it helps formalize the space to be safe and discuss tough things. They try to end every conversation, even the tough ones, feeling better about things.

Two book recommendations:

Nate shares that his friendship and relationship with Emily has definitely helped him to be better, especially the way Emily pushes him and helps him think through problems. Her insights and their differences help him see things from a different side of marketing, and that creates a lot of value.

Emily fashions herself a work clairvoyant -- she sees patterns in the workplace, and Nate helped her see how she could be decisive based on that gift.

Like any relationship, Nate and Emily’s is built on trust, and that trust is built every day. They found that trust while working on a huge project. They didn’t want the other to be alone without resources in that project, and they came together to collaborate and support each other. “Here’s someone pulling for me as much as I’m pulling for them.” They say to look for a mirror who pushes you, stands up for you, and listens.

Knowing each other’s worlds well enough to be able to cheer each other on from a knowledgeable place is what makes a career peer relationship work. When your peer knows your job, they can give you better, deeper feedback. A peer also needs to respect your work and respect and like you as a person. Nate always found Emily to be smart and respected her feedback.

Howegver, someone who is just a cheerleader, and who doesn’t challenge you and hold you accountable, isn’t going to push you to make you stronger and better. As Nate and Emily have supported each other in stretching, they have really realized that they had something special together that they need to help others discover.

How did they figure out how to go into business together? They had to talk about a lot of things -- money, expectations, thoughts and hopes, and vision -- and then had to keep having those conversations with each other. They had to change their vision and ideas to find product-market fit -- with themselves.

Emily and Nate's projects:

  • Good. Working. Order. Being your best self takes work.
  • [OSA Ventures.](OSA-Ventures.com) A digital lab exploring new concepts in marketing and growth.