Podcast

Episode: 44 |
Jennifer Levine Hartz:
Starting a Newsletter:
Episode
44

HOW TO THRIVE AS AN
INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONAL

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Jennifer Levine Hartz

Starting a Newsletter

Show Notes

Our guest today is Jennifer Hartz, a McKinsey alum and the founder of Corporate Hartz.

Jennifer has several focus areas including business-driven community relations strategies, nonprofit strategic planning, and personal philanthropy. Her philosophy is that generosity and profitability can, and should, go hand-in-hand.

Her lessons learned from helping families take a strategic approach to philanthropy can be useful to all of us – you don’t need to have a $100 million fund to start a family conversation about giving.

With the holidays coming up, and the tax year coming to a close, after listening to this episode you might be motivated to set up your own donor-advised fund. With a donor advised fund, you get the charitable deduction off your income taxes today when you contribute money to the account.  Then you can disburse the funds over time to approved charities.  You can start a fund at Fidelity with a minimum $5,000 contribution, and over at Vanguard with a minimum contribution of $25,000.

In our discussion, Jennifer mentions her periodic newsletter, called Hartz and Minds – you can find an archive of all her past newsletters on her website, which also lists her very impressive set of clients and her philosophy on corporate philanthropy. Check it out at corporatehartz.com.

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Will Bachman: Jennifer, thank you so much for joining. It’s great to have you on the show.
Jennifer Hartz: Well, thanks for having me.
Will Bachman: Jennifer, I’m really excited to hear about your practice because you’ve been doing this longer than I have. You’ve been, I think, independent for 17 years.
Jennifer Hartz: That’s right, from the dot com bust.
Will Bachman: The dot com bust launched a highly successful, independent consulting practice. Before we dive into certain areas, maybe just give us an overview of your practice.
Jennifer Hartz: Prior to starting Corporate Hartz, I was in house corporate social responsibility at Georgia Pacific, at the Home Depot, and at a fantabulously exciting dot com which boomed and busted in classic fashion. Wen that ended, I didn’t really know what I was going to do. From a personal perspective, we had three children under three and I was pregnant. By the end of the week when the company was folding up, I had a couple of pretty nice organizations call to see if I would do some work for them. One was Bell South, which is now AT&T, and one was Deloitte. I said, “Absolutely I’ll do some work for you.” I started doing that, and that was 17 years ago.
Will Bachman: I understand that you’ve come up with some practical tips for independent consultants after 17 years of successfully doing it. Talk me through those tips that you’ve come up with.
Jennifer Hartz: Obviously, my first tip is to be involved civically, whatever that means for you. If you’re an independent consultant focusing on manufacturers, get involved with sustainability organizations. If your work is all in Denver, you want to be involved with that community in the Chamber, in the important non-profit organizations that are there. This enables you to do a few things. One, it enables you to build your network. It gives you a place of shared perspective where you and potential clients and potential partners are on the same team working towards a cause you all care about. You can do some professional development this way, trying things that you might not want to experiment with current clients, and using your consulting and strategic skills for good. That’s always something that will bring return to you and your business.
Will Bachman: What are some ways that you’ve gotten involved in your community?
Jennifer Hartz: For a long time I was on almost every board around, the Corporate Volunteer Council, a hands on network, Points of Light Foundation, food bank, Anti-Defamation League. I’ve been on a lot of boards over time. That has been terrific because I just have a built in network that I access all the time. I’ve stayed at each of these organizations until my usefulness wore out. I’m still the chair of the advisory council of Hands On Atlanta. There are equivalent Hands On Atlantas in pretty much every major metro, 146 throughout the world. They’re run by the Points of Light Foundation, so there’s New York Cares, Hands on Charlotte, etc. that’s been my main leadership role.
I also participated, I’m sure many major metros have this same opportunity, it’s Leadership Atlanta, it’s called. I know that there are sister organizations throughout the country. This is where a diverse group of folks go through a year long program together, get exposed to the major issues and people that are moving the metro area. I had the great opportunity to do that in 1999 and stayed in touch with that network.
Will Bachman: The next on your list was partner up, down and sideways. Tell me about that.
Jennifer Hartz: Partner up, down, and sideways. One of my favorite stories is a friend of mine that did media relations asked three different independent consultants to partner with him to make a pitch to the Intercontinental Hotels Group. This was quite some time ago. He decided that what we needed to do was get business cards that all said his company on it. He was going to be the fiscal agent on the project. We’d go to these meetings and we’d all present these business cards. We’d get the project. In two days, they figure out we don’t actually work for the same company. We’re all four independent people, and they laughed at us because they said, “Well, why didn’t you just come forward and tell us you were all independent people?”
We said, “We wanted you to understand that we were all working as a team as if we worked for the same firm.”
They said, “That’s very old school,” so never again. I have 99 business cards left that say somebody else’s firm. The ability to partner with, being an independent consultant, enables you to pull people in who have expertise when you need it. I have somebody who I call on for research, for media relations, for graphic design. No organization cares anymore that we’re not all under the same umbrella. They want the best person for the best job. They don’t care if they work for the client for a day or for a year.
Will Bachman: How do you find those people that you want to partner with?
Jennifer Hartz: To date, I have found them through civic engagement. These are all people who I met through some civic work. They’re all Atlanta based because that’s been the most natural place that I meet somebody, but I have continued partnering with folks who I met in Atlanta and who are no longer here. A colleague of mine used to be the president of Coca Cola Foundation. He and I have together served a couple of clients. We served Eastman Chemical and Lincoln Financial together, and he lives out west.
Will Bachman: So always be on the alert for, through the nom-client work that you’re doing, be alert for just other professionals and be thinking about how can we partner together at some point.
Jennifer Hartz: Yeah, it’s even useful … I met a woman who has her own small company, just her. She does [inaudible 00:06:23] for conventions, that kind of stuff, but she’s very creative and talented. Just being able to be talking to a client about an upcoming event and saying, “Gosh, you might want to talk with her because she makes interesting, different, and creative [inaudible 00:06:38].”
Will Bachman: As opposed to the standard ones that you see.
Jennifer Hartz: The standard coffee mug, yeah.
Will Bachman: The standard coffee mugs.
Jennifer Hartz: [inaudible 00:06:44], yeah.
Will Bachman: Number three on the list of tips you sent me is never say no. Tell me about that.
Jennifer Hartz: Never say no. I have accepted some clients over time that were not in my sweet spot. Ethics aside, sometimes you have to say no because it’s not the right thing to do, but other than that, when I have taken the opportunities to stretch and just say, “This isn’t exactly in my sweet spot but I really can see the path where I can do this and do a good job for the client,” I have had some go extremely well and I have had some go not as well, but I have learned every time that I have stretched out of my CSR box. All of us in the [inaudible 00:07:31] network, we were trained for that. We were trained for the next project is in the pharmaceutical industry and we better figure that out really fast.
Will Bachman: Number four on your list was keep up your network. I subscribe to Hearts and Minds. Talk to me about Hartz and Minds.
Jennifer Hartz: Hartz and Minds is obviously a play on words, since Hearts is my last name and my company became Corporate Hartz. I was pushed into starting it. It was not something that I initially thought was even a good idea because I have too much junk in my email box and I didn’t want to be part of that problem with folks that I wanted to stay connected with. What I figured out is as long as I have been issuing a Hartz and Minds whitepaper when I have something worth saying, so I don’t promise that it’s monthly or six times a year. It’s when I feel like it. That gives me a lot of freedom. It’s one of the things that I immediately turn to when I have a lull, say, between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I will most likely think about what I have to say that’s of value to the audience and send out a Hartz and Minds.
I also, it’s not particularly sophisticated, but I use MailChimp and it’s worked really well for me.
Will Bachman: I’ll mention that, I mean, now better than never, Hartz is H-A-R-T-Z.
Jennifer Hartz: It is.
Will Bachman: And these are available on your website.
Jennifer Hartz: Yes.
Will Bachman: You want to give people the website address?
Jennifer Hartz: Sure. The website is CorporateHartz.com, C-O-R-P-O-R-A-T-E H-A-R-T-Z dot com. Now everybody who’s listening can get the pun. Click on Hartz and Minds. I’ve issued 40 over time. The topics range from servant leadership to garbology, why business must innovate to reduce waste, to the human resources benefits of structure civic engagement. I also recently issued a paper of what I thought was best practice in emergency management.
Will Bachman: Yeah, I saw that one on Rice University and their response to Hurricane Harvey.
Jennifer Hartz: Yes, our oldest daughter is a junior at Rice University. We had an inside look at really doing emergency preparedness and execution right. That’s something that I deal with with my clients. I have to deal with that all the time.
Will Bachman: When you send these out on your MailChimp, you said it’s been beneficial. What sort of reaction do you get? What kind of benefit do you see from sending those out?
Jennifer Hartz: I’ll tell you what. I was literally at an event one week ago tonight, and somebody in my network who has never responded to any of the Hartz and Minds, I probably haven’t seen him for three years in person, and he said, “I just loved the piece that you sent about how Benjamin Franklin invented self help and structure planning. That was really interesting and I never knew that or thought about it that way.”
He’s never responded with, “Thank you for sending this,” or … Through MailChimp you can track who opens it. You can track click throughs, but whether they open it doesn’t really mean that they’ve read it. You never know. He actually does.
Will Bachman: It’s one way to stay top of mind and just in that space where people are thinking about you.
Jennifer Hartz: That’s very well said, Will, top of mind but not annoying.
Will Bachman: Yeah, even if they don’t read it, they’re just reminded. Oh, yeah, Jennifer exists and interesting subject line and every few months a reminder that you exist so if something does come up, they can find your contact info and give you a ring.
Jennifer Hartz: I also have sent some of them that I’ve co-written and co-distributed with, again, a single practitioner who specializes in marketing communications. She and I wrote a couple of issues together and I sent it to my network and she sent it to her network. I actually sent those through LinkedIn as well.
Will Bachman: I also like the fact that yours are, I think, they also show that you don’t have to go way over the top in terms of formatting them and making them totally shiny. You write some good content, but it’s not packaged in this high production value kind of thing. No offense, but it’s sort of …
Jennifer Hartz: No, no, no. No, that’s exactly right. My husband, Eric, who’s also a McKenzie alum, we have a form/function conversation frequently in our house. I am all function to a fault. He appreciates form. What I’ve found is that I have never gotten a client or not gotten a client because my website isn’t all that fancy and I don’t have logos on my Hartz and Minds. It’s not been a problem.
Will Bachman: So just start.
Jennifer Hartz: Just do it.
Will Bachman: Number five on your list, teach.
Jennifer Hartz: This has been a really great experience and actually an example of my never say no strategies. I have taught CLE classes, continuing legal education. I’ve spoken to the National Association of Meeting Planners about how you do a civic event in your meetings instead of a golf party or instead of a cocktail party. That is increasingly, over the last decade, more and more gatherings like that are including a do something in the community that you’re in component. I teach, guest lecture, at Emory Business School, grad and undergrad, at Georgia Tech undergrad business. One time I put together a seminar. Actually, I didn’t put it together. I was the recipient of a law firm who put together a major forum where we had an investment planner, myself, doing corporate social responsibility and family philanthropy, the lawyers and the accounting firm. We were all put together and we talked about civic engagement as from a business perspective. We each have our own unique perspective on it. It was really fun. It’s called the ROI of Giving.
Will Bachman: How did the teaching at the local business school, how does that come about? Do you call them up and say, “Hey, I’d love to guest teach a course,” or is this again someone you met through civic engagement? Talk to me about how that comes about for listeners who might want to go do some teaching themselves.
Jennifer Hartz: Since I have already admitted that this was a stretching opportunity for me, I did not seek it out. Just when you know people around and when you have something where you are or feel like you are or are perceived as the expert, people want you to talk to them and they want you to come to their group or to their school. Over the course of life I’ve met professors in various ways and gotten a little bit of a reputation for being willing to speak to industry associations when they come in town. It came about not on purpose. What else happened not on purpose is I learned so much from them, particularly the students, less so the professional associations. That was more of a networking opportunity, but talking with the folks that are still in college and in grad school, you learn so much about where they’re at. By the way, they’re the future employees and future customers and all your clients. From a selfish point of view, that’s been the most useful.
Will Bachman: Can I put you on the spot, ask you can you think of one or two things you’ve learned from students that has had an impact for you?
Jennifer Hartz: Yes. I am being put on the spot, but I can think of it very quickly. The social enterprise phenomenon was not a phenomenon to me because I saw it in school. I saw it talking to these young folks at Emory and at Georgia Tech. You go into a classroom. When I first started doing this, when I used to do a lot of public speaking on behalf of Home Depot, corporate social responsibility wasn’t even a terminology. Now you go to business school and they’re tell you that they want to do a B corp. They want to do social enterprise. They want to have an organic vineyard. The speed at which this whole intersector partnership strategically, strategic partnerships has come about was amazing and I saw it coming because of them.
Will Bachman: Number six on your list was don’t feel guilty when you have down time, which is kind of inevitable part of being a professional. It’s pretty much impossible to be utilized 100% of the time. There’s always going to be some gap.
Jennifer Hartz: Right.
Will Bachman: How do you use that down time?
Jennifer Hartz: Yes, you either have too much or too little work at any given moment. I actually, right now I have five outstanding proposals and if they all come through, I don’t know what I’m going to do. If none of them come through, I don’t know what I’m going to do. That happens to all of us, even when it’s not quite that extreme. I use that time to network, come have breakfast, come have lunch, let’s have a phone chat, let’s catch up, to learn. I’m sure like everybody listening to this podcast, I have a reading stack that I will never get to the bottom of, so I use that time. Then I also remember to use that time to watch the entirety of my kid’s basketball game or go to social events or organization a social event, especially when I’m coming out of a particularly intense time where I haven’t really connected with my friends and other people in the community, my network.
Will Bachman: Let’s talk about some of the work that you do. I understand that you have done some work, deep work in corporate social responsibility, including with family philanthropy. I know family philanthropy isn’t the only piece of your practice, but it’s one that a lot of people don’t do. Could you talk about how you came into that line of work, how that came to you and some of the work that you’ve done there?
Jennifer Hartz: It’s interesting. I was working with Mercedes Benz and Steve Cannon, their former CEO, one of the things he talks about when he gives a speech is you can never plan your career going forward. You can only see it looking backward. That really applies for me in the case of family philanthropy. When I was at the Home Depot, Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank and Ron Brill, the founders were all still … I worked for Arthur. They have a lot of personal wealth and the company was very civically involved. I started the volunteer program and the environmental program and things like that. It became very clear that even though we were a large, publicly traded company, they were making donations or civic investment out of the company that were not necessarily going to bring an ROI to the company.
I started talking to them about what they do in their personal foundations and we set up a system for switching some things to their personal giving so that we had more budget to invest in giving that was going to bring a return to employees and customers and the environment at Home Depot. That, I continued to have that experience with every client that I had. Whether it’s a privately held company or not, it’s better if you can bifurcate the investments. These are investments we’re making to hit the bottom line in a positive way, short term or long term, and these are investment we’re making because it’s something that we’re passionate about, my family cares about, I’ve experienced in my personal life.
When you bifurcate it, it’s better for both of your audiences, meaning your company and your family. The other thing is that the family philanthropy really is a family endeavor, so the whole purpose of having money is to make your life and the lives around you better. That’s why we want money anybody. Working with usually three generations of family members, they’ve all been … They’ve built their relationships more strongly. Then the youngest generation is either learning about how to engage in the world, developing their personal and professional skills, figuring out what they want to do for a living. It’s been really interesting but I didn’t really set out to have a branch of my work be family philanthropy. It came that way.
Will Bachman: Let’s talk about both sides. On the corporate philanthropy side, my main exposure or awareness of it is when you are at some kind of non-profit and you see that. You’re at a business school and you see that a bank contributed to a building or you’re at a play or the opera or a theater and you see that Goldman Sachs contributed and they’re a platinum sponsor or you’re at a museum. Thank you to Morgan and Stanley. Talk to me about how you think about how corporates should think about their philanthropy and how do they get a return on it. Why do they do it?
Jennifer Hartz: Okay. Here’s what I do. When I work for a publicly traded company, I buy a share for my mother and I walk in the first day and I say, “CEO,” or CFO or CPO or CMO, whoever I’m talking to, and I say, “I have bought a share in this company for my mother. I need its value to increase or I’m going to be funding her for the rest of my life.” Then they all laugh. I say, “Seriously, this is a symbolic thing that I want you to have in mind as we move forward. It is okay to do things that will either increase your top line or decrease your cost center.” There are a host of things that we do through corporate social responsibility that will either drive revenue or decrease costs. I want them to focus on that all the time. It’s very important to do that.
The reason that that’s important to me is that if we establish programs and processes and partnerships like the ones you were mentioning before and they improve the bottom line, we make more money because of those relationships or the marketing or the attracting diverse employees or the professional development of our teams, they’ll keep doing it long after I’m gone. If we do things that just feel nice, they’re not going to see the value in it and it will be cut in the very next budget cycle.
Will Bachman: What are the types of corporate philanthropy that does tend to have a return on investment?
Jennifer Hartz: It very much depends on by industry. If you think about professional services firms, private equity, venture capital firms, those types of organizations, you’re really, you’re product consulting firms. Your product is your people. You would focus on things that would give your people opportunities to grow and develop and network. Then there are manufacturing companies that are always exposed to regulatory, environmental exposures, supply chain, so it really depends.
Let’s see. I’ll give you an example. Here’s an example. I worked with a financial first services firm. It was a post-merger integration project. Both were global firms. They were the number one and two in their industry. They were bitter enemies and surprised they merged. We all know it wasn’t a merger. It was an acquisition, but we called it a merger. There was a significant cultural challenge facing the executives from both companies to integrate these folks together in many cases. In Buenos Aires, they closed one of the offices and kept the other ones and that decision was made based on rent rates or when rent was coming, when the contracts were ending.
I put together a partnership with an international non-profit and we did a really robust charitable program with them all across the world. We streamed it into all the offices so that everybody could participate in in together over the time zones. It was pretty cool because it went around the world as the workday moved around. That really kicked off the tone setting for we’re all in this together.
Will Bachman: What’s your perspective on companies that do matching for their employees’ charitable contributions. Why are they doing that? Is it just an employee benefit or what’s the idea behind that?
Jennifer Hartz: There are two kinds of matching, actually three kinds of matching. One is the traditional you write a check to a legitimate non-profit organization and we match it. Some people do it one for one, some people do it up to five per one. Another kind is matching dollars. It’s called dollars for doers. That’s how people refer to it. You volunteer X number of hours at a non-profit and we’ll donate X number of dollars to that charity in support of your volunteer effort. The third one is actually supporting more of the leadership team, sort of director and up, if you will, for a big corporation in their serving on boards of directors that are of use to the company.
For example, in every city there’s the board that you have to be on to have a seat at the table. You want to be a trusted part of your community in your major markets. Therefore you have to be a positive participant in particular organizations. They’re unique to each city, though often include the Chamber of Commerce. Those have an ante. They have a financial ante. I advocate for setting aside budget, not to pay for the entire ante, but to pay for a certain percentage of it with a strong belief that if you don’t have skin in the game, if you’re not giving at least some of the money towards the non-profit, it’s never going to get on your priority list. You’re not going to be really bought in and you’re not going to do a good job. It won’t look good for the company. That’s the third kind of matching that takes place.
Matching gift is really considered an employee benefit. It’s frankly become a standard benefit, which is good in that more and more companies are doing it, which is bad because it’s become an expectation of people when they join companies of a certain size. Dollars for doers is more powerful. The leadership matching is still more powerful.
Will Bachman: So encouraging and allowing people to serve on local boards, which can have a sizable contribution.
Jennifer Hartz: Yes. It’s also a grassroots thing, depending on the industry. When I worked with Church’s Chicken, the employees and the customers and the neighborhood are all the same thing. You want people to be a part of it.
Will Bachman: Let’s talk about the family philanthropy side. What would a typical engagement look like on the family philanthropy side when you’re not serving a corporation. Who would you engage with in the family and what’s the process like? Do you talk to the kids? Maybe just walk me through a typical engagement.
Jennifer Hartz: I like to say that I don’t have a typical family. It’s absolutely true. One of the things that I have found interesting in doing both the family side and the corporate side is every corporation, my first meeting, whether I’m even going to do work there or not, they tell me how unique they are. Two weeks into the project, they’re exactly the same as every other company. An independent consultant can see the … Of course there are aspects of everything that are unique, but companies are more the same than they are different. Families, I have not found that to be the case. I have folks who are so engaged and they have offspring that are so engaged and they have offspring that are so engaged. Most of my clients in that area come from either a liquidity event or a life event and I network among financial advisors to try to keep my name out there for when they have somebody who would be suited to work with me.
My actual favorite client was in Salt Lake City. It was three generations. The third generation, G3, was one in law school and one in college. G2 had the liquidity event and G1 was Grandma. We’re having our initial meeting. We’re talking about priority areas, budgeting, degrees of freedom, and governance. We’re talking about the board and the possibility of having outside people on their foundation board and who would be the board chair. Everybody in the room turns around to Grandma and says, “Grandma should be the chair.”
Grandma says, “This is a long term project, people.” She started laughing. I started laughing because I was so taken aback. She was absolutely right and it was beautiful the way she said it and the spirit with which she said it and in the end, they voted for the youngest member of the G3 to be the board chair.
Will Bachman: I love this G3 terminology. This is great.
Jennifer Hartz: Family business, yeah.
Will Bachman: Practical question. What order of magnitude in terms of wealth does, would a family philanthropy need to be talking to someone like yourself for this? Is this a million, 100 million? What’s the starting point?
Jennifer Hartz: I think this is where we have an advantage as independent consultants. We don’t have quarterly numbers to make. I have worked with one client who was going through a job shift who had a $100,000 donor advised fund, not even enough to warrant having a foundation. To me there is no bottom line, and if I had a friend who had $25,000 and wanted to talk to me for a little while about how to be strategic about it and how to involve their kids of any age, I could do that as many or as few hours as they wanted.
Will Bachman: Donor advised fund?
Jennifer Hartz: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Will Bachman: Talk to me about that a little bit. That’s, in terms of for a listener who maybe wants to start some kind of family philanthropy and they haven’t had a liquidity event, how would you get started with something like that?
Jennifer Hartz: Donor advised fund is very straightforward and easy to do. All of the major institutions offer them. Ours is through Fidelity. You can also do them through your community foundations and most major metros have a community foundation of … Chicago. Donor advised fund means basically you put however much you would like to donate going forward and are able to donate in the moment. You donate that to this fund. You get the write off at that time. All future checks you give to non-profit organizations come out of that fund. You don’t get a double write off. You take it when you first send it in.
There’s a couple of strategies that I’ve seen with this. One is dumping a whole, putting a … I don’t want to say dumping.
Will Bachman: Investing.
Jennifer Hartz: Investing.
Will Bachman: There you go.
Jennifer Hartz: Investing a whole lot in a particular year where you would like to have more of a write off or sort of using it as a pass through where each year you decide how much you think you’d like to donate the next year. You put that into the fund and then you distribute it over the following year.
Will Bachman: That also allows you maybe even just convenience because you don’t have to count the $200 you sent to this museum or that theater or that, the United Way. You put one big check in and then you can use the funds in that account.
Jennifer Hartz: That is true with one caveat, which is you can’t donate to buy a table at and event because there’s an implicit benefit you’re receiving back, so you wouldn’t get 100% write off of those funds. You would get a certain percentage that the organization would tell you want the percentage is. That needs to continue to come out of your checkbook.
Will Bachman: Okay. All right. Again, a kind of silly question. If you put money into, say, a Fidelity donor advised fund, do you get a checkbook for that fund or do you get a credit card for that fund? How do you then use that money to pay some non-profit.
Jennifer Hartz: Through their online app, just like everything else.
Will Bachman: Okay, you’ve worked with funds as small as that. What would an engagement look like? In your example, do you interview Grandma and do some one on one interviews with G1, G2, G3, or how do you get started on an engagement with a family philanthropy to … What are the major phases of a project in working with a family?
Jennifer Hartz: I would say that obviously the first one is to talk with the generation who acquired the wealth and understand what their goals. Why are they setting up a foundation? I have a particular client who was arm twisted into setting up a foundation because of her liquidity event, so starting there was a serious sales job to help the family understand how this could be of a benefit to them in their lives and the world. That took a long time. Sometimes I walk in and that’s the mindset of the family before I even got there, that they know that this is important and of value to themselves and to the world and to their family. Yes, there’s an interview, kind of your typical due diligence phase, how much we got, who’s going to have, be a part of being able to draw down on the foundation. Then I actually go through a mission/vision/values. This is its own non-profit organization, if you’re talking about a foundation. What are we going to give to? Why? How much? Who decides? How often do we meet?
We start with talking about family values, and those exercises have been extremely enlightening for the families themselves. Of course, I’m getting to learn about the family at that time. It just gets everything on the table that helps them decide. There are a million ways to divide up this pot. Sometimes G1 is fully in charge and everybody has to ask G1 permission to do anything. Sometimes it’s more evenly distributed. Sometimes there’s an age issue, so we have to decide at what point to the grandchildren become eligible to make these decisions.
I have a very strong perspective on that, which is that just as allowance should exist throughout everybody’s life, and actually our allowance included taxes, our kids have to pay taxes every April 15th and always have, that they should have a pile for particularly … I think everybody should, but particularly families of wealth should have a pile for donating. It can be 10 pennies if it’s a first grader on up so that the getting increasing, just like allowance, they’re getting increasing possibilities of investment and you have conversations all along the way in an age appropriate fashion about donating time and donating money. Then when they get old enough, you talk about investing time and investing money, when they’re ready to achieve those, to understand those concepts.
Will Bachman: There’s a discovery phase and what would the other phases be? Is there some kind of operational setup like let’s create the whole structure kind of thing? What would the phases be after the discovery phase?
Jennifer Hartz: Remember, there’ve already been lawyers and accountants before I arrive on the scene, so everything from a legal and financial perspective is set up. This is really about the distribution, so what is our process going to be for budgeting, allocating, distributing, timing. Are we going to distribute every year when we all get together for Christmas? Are we going to distribute quarter by quarter? All of those kids of decisions, and then I like to, one of the things that I like best, just like I like the university, teaching university classes, is working with the 16 to 24 year old on how they can use it to explore what’s their purpose in life.
Will Bachman: Talk to me about that a little bit.
Jennifer Hartz: You think you’re involved, you want to be involved in sustainability because you care about the environment but you don’t really know what sustainability is. You don’t really know what organizations and job are available and you don’t know what major to be because you just have all this unknown learning. I do a lot of research for them. I help them figure out what organizations would be a good fit for their geography, for their scope, for their abilities. Through that, and the entry fee is the donation if you want a tour on a board or get involved with an organization or you want to support an organization that you’re already involved with. I help them figure out what to get involved with and how. I coach them through what does it mean to serve on a board. What does it mean to chair an event? How do you do it? What are some best practices? I coach them all along the way as, let’s say, future executive coaching.
Will Bachman: Can you share any kind of sanitized examples of a 16 to 24 year old that has gone through that process of discovery and what they’ve learned from it?
Jennifer Hartz: I worked with one particular young woman who, when I asked her what sorts of things she had been involved with in the past, remember this is a family of significant wealth, and she said, “Well, yeah, I guess through my sorority.”
I said, “Oh, okay. What did you do with your sorority?”
She said, “Well, we had this bowl-a-thon.”
I said, “Oh, did you have fun?”
She said, “Yes.”
I said, “What was it for?”
She said, “I can’t really remember.”
That’s a starting point of a college student, a particular college student. Through working with her over time, she has gotten to really have here eyes open to something that she never really thought about. She did end up getting involved with Legal Aid in the town where she went to school and did go on to law school and is now pretty involved in pro bono work. She gives a lot of donations where she doesn’t have as much time right now. She’s a young lawyer. I helped her see what her possibilities were.
Will Bachman: I have certainly thought of philanthropy as a way of giving back, but that’s a fascinating perspective of how getting your kids involved in it can also help them in the process of self discovery and professional development and learning, those kinds of benefits beyond just the feeling good about it. Jennifer, you have, you’re doing an amazing amount of stuff, impacting your community, teaching, working with all sorts of companies. I’d love to hear what tips and tricks you have on winning the day on your daily routine on getting done all of the things on your list. What’s your secrets there?
Jennifer Hartz: You should start by marrying Eric Hartz. That would be a very good plan. I don’t really have very many tips and tricks. We actually have four, I guess I still call them children. They’re 16, 17, 18, and 20, so we’re about out the other side, but we’ve had, established a very good divide and conquer, prioritize. Our make versus buy decisions are always very McKenzie-esque, so you compare the fact that some … We need to fix the roof with our billing rate. We decide if we hire somebody or if we figure it out ourselves. I think one of the main things I’ve learned is that when I talk with clients about corporate social responsibility, I try to get them to understand that this is about advance preparation so that there are not very many exposures.
One thing that’s big in the news right now is a clothing manufacturer high end, ZARA’s, the factory in Turkey, they had, the workers there, hadn’t been getting paid. The factory workers came and put tags in the clothing that when people bought the clothing in the store, the tag said, “I made this item, but I didn’t get paid for it.”
Literally, social media is incredible. Wildfire, they’ve already closed the factory. They’re in the middle of disputing whether the factory, whether that supplier owes the money or ZARA’s owes the money. Those are the kinds of things that companies don’t know that they have to prepare for, but they do. A lot of the CSR work is laying groundwork, laying a baseline. That’s been really interesting.
I think I have a final tip for people who do a lot of work by video conference.
Will Bachman: Let’s hear it.
Jennifer Hartz: I have a secret. My secret is I get dressed from the waist up, so sweat pants, slippers, pearls, hair done, lipstick. I have never had a client say, “Are you in your pajamas?” That is definitely a little bit of a time and a lot of a comfort saver. No high heels as often as possible.
Will Bachman: No high heels. Just don’t stand up in the middle of the video conference.
Jennifer Hartz: Nope.
Will Bachman: Jennifer, this was great. I thank you so much for joining. I really appreciate it and, again, the website is CorporateHartz.com, that’s H-A-R-T-Z. Thanks for joining, Jennifer.
Jennifer Hartz: Thank you so much, Will.

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