Miriam Groom, Human Capital Strategist & IO (Industrial/Org) Therapist
Miriam Groom is the founder of Mindful Career, and is also consultant for Groom & Associates. She took some time out to talk with The Industry Leaders and provide some golden rules for business owners in 2023.
What's your industry?
I work in the Human Resources field as a Human Capital Strategist & IO (Industrial/Org) Therapist. I specialize in strategic and innovative talent management and workforce transformation strategies that are highly employee-centric. Being employee-centric means that I focus on gathering in-depth data driven insights and analytics via various assessments and systems that drive every strategy I lead. I always emphasize that I’m a retention expert, not just a recruitment specialist, because attracting and recruiting the right people from the start should be part of an overall retention plan. I’m also specialized in psychometric testing for succession planning, resolving interpersonal conflicts, creating more productive teams, and for grooming effective leaders.
My goal is to personalize every employees' experience at work in hopes that it will allow them to create a life of balance, purpose and fulfillment. Helping companies achieve this for their employees, and helping people discover their ideal role is my life's purpose.
For those who don't know anything about you or your work, can you provide a bit of background?
I worked for my family-run recruitment firm, Groom & Associates, for many years. I still consult with them, but I had to take a step back from my role there because I was taking on far too much responsibility and my drive to grow the business led to burnout. I had to heal from burnout, and learning how to heal and move on from it prompted me to create a revolutionary behavioral career coaching process that unveils a person's ideal career (something I needed desperately at the time!).
I essentially took the most progressive strategies employed by top industry-leaders, and reverse-engineered them to design the Mindful Career career coaching process. Today, I coach people on finding their dream jobs, while continuing to consult with global companies to improve their hiring and retention practices.
What does an average day look like for you?
I’ve always been an early riser, so my day usually starts by 6am. l cherish my early mornings because it’s a time when I can be totally alone with my thoughts without interruptions. I love sipping coffee quietly while I check emails and plan my day. If the weather is nice, sometimes I’ll go for a run.
My client-facing work always starts by 9am. Sometimes I work at my downtown Montreal office, other times I have the privilege of working from home. It really depends on what project I’m heading, and which clients I personally take on with Mindful Career. I have several counselors working for Mindful Career, and they are integral to helping me grow the business. I often take work-related calls with colleagues or my marketing team, for example, while commuting to or from work, or while I pick up my son from daycare.
I wish I could say that I take a leisurely lunch break every day or do 45-minute power-yoga sessions, but I don’t. Basically, I’m always on-the-go and have very little downtime between 9am and 5pm, but I somehow make it work! I only hit the gym twice a week, because chasing after a toddler is a surprisingly effective workout.
I interact with people pretty much all day, every day. Obviously there are times when I’m in my office with the door closed, reviewing an employee file or a new hiring mandate, but I’m generally in meetings because so much of what I do is helping to match people to the right job, and that requires a lot of careful communication.
How do you balance the needs of your business with the needs of your personal life?
Having boundaries is key. I actually used to have a hard time saying ‘no’ to extra work, and felt that I had to take on every single request that came my way. I can’t stress enough how important it is to understand priority activities versus ones that can be taken care of later, or that can be handled by someone else. At first, building Mindful Career meant that I needed to work on evenings and weekends, but now that the business is rolling, I set hard-stops between 4pm and 6pm to ensure that I have enough time to disengage, recharge, and be with my family.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you on your journey in business?
That’s so hard to answer, because I’ve received such good advice. My mother is a fountain of business wisdom, and she’s been an incredible source of inspiration and great advice over the years. She often reminds me that the only thing constant is change. Industries change, pools of talent change, collective mindsets evolve. It’s important to stay up-to-date with workplace trends in order to be effective and competitive. Too many people end up getting “stuck” during the era when they first reached success, but clinging to outdated ideas is bad for business and serves no one.
It has helped me to understand my clients and ever-shifting market trends. I’m always reading the latest industry reports and other news so that my output is relevant. It’s great life advice as well. For example, the idea that nothing stays the same is an important concept to internalize as it can help one cope with difficulties in both work and personal life.
What's been the hardest part about the path you've taken and how would you advise someone facing a similar situation to overcome it?
Overcoming burnout has been my biggest life challenge so far, as it relates to both my professional and personal lives. I had to take a step back and ask myself what I wanted from life, and what value I wanted to offer people. Pausing and getting real about what makes you feel fulfilled is harder than it sounds.
A new business should be exciting. Because developing and launching Mindful Career was so in line with my core beliefs, the workload at first was extremely intense, but rewarding. I recommend finding a fantastic accountant that you feel comfortable talking to, and keeping them on a retainer. They handle so many of the burdensome details that come with starting a new business so you can focus on what you love doing, which for me was coaching clients.
Are there any well-known Books, Podcasts, or Courses that you credit your current success to?
Like I mentioned, my own mother is a mentor, a pioneer, one of the most successful business people I’ve ever met, and she’s the source of great advice. My current success comes from years and years of experience in the field of Human Resources and from a lot of soul-searching. I also have several certifications in Psychometrics as well as a Master’s degree in Psychology—I definitely owe a lot to my education. I can’t easily credit any book or podcast in particular, but I’ve enjoyed some tips from "Online Marketing Made Easy" with Amy Porterfield. It’s a podcast that focuses on helping entrepreneurs and business owners grow their businesses through online marketing strategies.
I recommend staying up-to-date with all the latest news and trends that are relevant to you. Subscribe to industry-specific magazines, podcasts, and follow certain social media channels to get the most relevant news. It really depends on your industry.
What do you think are the most important qualities for a successful business owner or executive to have?
Success is more a reflection of your tenacity and persistence than it is your intelligence. It’s so tempting to want to throw in the towel and give up when the going gets tough, but only through belief in yourself and persistence will you succeed.
In terms of what I’ve observed in the leaders and executives that I’ve consulted with over the years, they all tend to have strong leadership skills, strategic thinking, adaptability, and a passion for their work.
Effective leaders need to be able to motivate and inspire their teams, communicate a clear vision for their organization, and make tough decisions when necessary. They also need to be able to think strategically and anticipate trends and changes in their industry, so they can stay ahead of the competition. Adaptability is also key, as successful business owners and executives need to be able to pivot and adjust their strategies as needed to respond to changing market conditions or other external factors.
I’d also like to add that everyone has their own strengths, abilities, and talents, and using them to their advantage is what not only helps build a successful business or career, but a fulfilling life. It’s important to go after a business and take on work that you feel passionate about, otherwise it will feel like an uphill battle that you can’t win. Some people start businesses even though their true desires and personalities don’t suit entrepreneurial roles. I often consult with small business owners to find out if they are really living their dream.
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out as a business owner?
Have faith in yourself! Not to be negative, but there are some really unintelligent, irresponsible people out there who run very successful businesses…if they can do it, so can you. You are savvier than you think, so don’t let your doubts about your abilities get in the way. Read relevant news every single day, don’t hesitate to ask for advice from experts in your field, and hire a great accountant from the get-go.
What are the top three things you think are essential for business success?
Persistence. Persistence is crucial because starting and running a business can be challenging, and setbacks are inevitable. However, with persistence, you can overcome obstacles and keep pushing forward, even when things get tough.
A clear vision and strategy are also essential because they provide a roadmap for your business. By defining your goals and objectives, you can create a plan for achieving them and stay focused on what's most important.
Finally, a healthy belief in yourself is crucial because you will need the confidence and motivation to pursue your goals and take risks. Believing in yourself can help you overcome self-doubt and fear of failure, which are common obstacles for many business owners and entrepreneurs.
Do you think someone can be a great business owner without having many years of experience first?
Of course. I always convey that attitude is everything. Skills can be learned, but the right attitude is something innate that’s developed over a lifetime.
In general, do you think the world is producing better business owners in 2023 than it was fifty years ago?
It's hard to make a definitive statement about whether the world is producing better business owners in 2023 than it was fifty years ago because the business landscape has changed dramatically over the past few decades. The rise of technology, globalization, and a more diverse workforce has created both new challenges and opportunities for entrepreneurs.
There’s currently a greater emphasis on social responsibility and sustainability, which has led to a rise in socially conscious businesses that prioritize ethical practices and environmental impact. We know, however, that that also comes with a lot of greenwashing, pinkwashing, and so on. I love the emphasis on ethics, but it’s not always put into practice.