The Ins and Outs of Remote Internships with Kimberly Harden | DistantJob - Remote Recruitment Agency

The Ins and Outs of Remote Internships with Kimberly Harden


Kimberly Harden is the Founder and CEO of Harden Consulting Group and an Instructor at Seattle University. She’s taught Communication Studies at the Seattle Central College, the Highline College, and the Regis University College for Professional Studies. She founded and directed JAGWILL, a company to help people improve their communication skills. She also advocates for diversity in educational institutions.

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Louis: Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the DistantJob podcast. I am Louis  your host. And this is the podcast about building and leading remote teams that win. Awesome remote teams that win. And today with me, my guest is Doctor Kimberly Harden. She is the owner and CEO of the Harden Consulting Group. She is a professor at Seattle University. She writes and gives speeches about how to improve education and about how companies and teaching institutions can become more diverse. Doctor Harden, Kimberly. How should I address you?

Kimberly Harden: Kimberly’s fine. Thank you.

Louis: Great. Did I miss anything?

Kimberly Harden: No, you’ve covered it.

Louis: Okay. Great. So this is of course … Let’s feel free to detour because as we were talking before I started the recording, learning is such a big part of really anything that you want to attempt successfully in life. This remote work thing I’ve been trying to learn how to do better for ages and it’s definitely been a learning experience for me. But this is a podcast about remote work and how to build and lead remote teams. And I know that the way we got introduced was our mutual acquaintance Sabina telling me that you actually have a very interesting program where you work with interns and you do it all remotely. So why don’t you start by telling me about that?

Kimberly Harden: Sure. So I own a consulting company here in Seattle and I’m also a professor. So what I wanted to do was to hire former students or even some of my colleague’s students to help them get real world experience. And also it would help me out as a business owner. So they do things that I can’t do, to be honest with you. They do the graphic design, they do the social media contents, they do the videography and things like that.

Kimberly Harden: So I currently have three interns in three different states. Two have graduated, two just graduated in June, and one is still at the university. Their creativity is amazing. So I just kind of give them a general idea of what it is that I want and they take it, they brainstorm, they’ll say, “I think this will work,” and I say, “Okay, let’s go for it.” And if it doesn’t work out, you just try it again.

Louis: So why did you make the decision of having them work remotely instead of trying to get some local people to help?

Kimberly Harden: Because everyone deserves an opportunity and it doesn’t really matter if they’re in my city or not. And I find that people are more responsive if they’re not in my city. So for me, that means that they are more accountable because they know that they have a deadline, they know that they’re working remotely, they know that they either have to get up early or work late in order to meet the deadline. Whereas I feel like if you’re in the same city, you can make excuses and it’s more accepted because …

Kimberly Harden: For example, it’s really cold in Seattle right now. It’s 37 degrees and it’s icy so I’m already getting emails from people saying, “Hey, I need to reschedule because it’s cold out. It’s icy. I have a cold,” all of these things. But I feel like when you’re working remotely, you’re at home so you’re in the comfort of your home. There’s really no excuses.

Louis: Yeah. Exactly. Apart from any [inaudible 00:03:57] related emergency. There are less excuses. But you know, for someone that’s worked for many many years with remote teams, let me tell you, some people can get really creative with their excuses. So how long have you been working with these people remotely?

Kimberly Harden: So with one intern, I’ve been working with her for two years. I actually started working with her before I started my consulting. So when I was playing around with my book idea, for me, motivation was actually having a book cover to look at every day to kind of hold me accountable. So I was speaking to one of my former colleagues who’s an art professor and I was like, “You know, I need a graphic designer who can just put together a draft.” And she says, “Hey, I have the perfect student and I’ll make it part of an assignment.”

Kimberly Harden: I’m like, “No, no, no. Don’t do that.” She’s like, “Well, I’ll make it part of a competition.” And she says, “Okay, so I’m going to do this for your birthday present.” So she created the competition for my birthday and the award winner, she paid the award winner as part of my birthday present. And I was so blown away I simply gave the young ladies, there were two, two top contenders, I just gave them the title of my book and said, “Design it based on this title.”

Kimberly Harden: And I was absolutely amazed. Turned it around within three days. Nothing needed to be fixed. They had the front cover, the back cover, the side panel of the book. I was just blown away. And I said, “Okay, I’m going to hang on to your number in case I need another task.” So she ended up doing two book covers for me. When I decided to launch my consulting I emailed her and I said, “Hey, I’m going to start my business. Can you design a logo?” And she’s very efficient and effective. And she’s a self starter, which is what I really really liked about her.

Louis: So is this your first … Was this your first time managing someone that wasn’t working directly with you in the same physical location?

Kimberly Harden: No. So in my previous corporate life, I had worked for an organization, an international organization, that had 12 international offices.

Louis: Oh. [crosstalk 00:06:22]

Kimberly Harden: Yeah. So there are many times where I was in Seattle up at [inaudible 00:06:27] trying to do … At that time, we were doing video calls. So trying to coordinate offices in Kenya and Cambodia and Tanzania and all of these different places. So I’m used to working remotely.

Louis: So I guess two questions wrapped into one because again, your passion is … Well, you have many passions but one of them is learning. So what did you learn from that experience working with 12 offices and what changed the most between that experience and the experience that you have now?

Kimberly Harden: I think the greatest experience I learned working with those 12 international offices was flexibility and patience. Because some of the countries were more developed than others, so trying to do video calls. I had to do dial ins. And sometimes their phones would cut out or they wouldn’t have access for any particular reason. So just really being flexible and patient. And also being patient with myself because I don’t know about you, but I’m not fully functioning at 4:00 in the morning.

Louis: No. Not at all.

Kimberly Harden: Yeah. So there were times when I’m on this call and I’m trying to makes notes and I’m thinking to myself, “Darn, why didn’t I send this email out or this attachment,” or things like that. Or why didn’t I fax things, because again, some countries had sketchy email systems or fax numbers or whatever. So just realizing that maybe I should have sent a fax in addition to sending an email and things like that that you don’t think of until you’re in that moment. Then you’re like darn, I missed the boat on that one.

Kimberly Harden: But you know, you make adjustments and you say, “Hey, I’ll send this to you as soon as this phone call is over,” and you just move forward. I tried to use that same principle with my interns is that this is a learning opportunity for you. And if you make a mistake, it’s easier to make a mistake as an intern than it is as a regular full time employee. You’re learning in both situations, but the stakes are higher when you’re a full time employee. I think that a lot of managers and leaders in organizations forget that the new hires either don’t have a lot of experience or they’re coming straight out of college, so they don’t have that grace and mercy that I think I have as someone who leads interns.

Louis: Oh yeah. Yeah. I usually tell my people that I’d rather they ask me for forgiveness than for permission, but I can definitely say it’s not the safest policy everywhere.

Kimberly Harden: Yeah. And that necessarily wouldn’t fly in a corporate environment.

Louis: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Absolutely. Do you feel that those people, those students, caught on naturally to the working remotely, or was there a learning curve? And if so, how did you support them in that learning curve?

Kimberly Harden: Well, there were two students who acted like it was a … I mean, and I appreciated it, their thoughtfulness, in acting like it was a regular full time, eight hours, 40 hours a week, job where they would constantly email me or text me or call me. And I’m like dude, do what you need to do. It’s like I know you’re going to get everything done and I don’t need you to check in with me every 15 minutes.

Louis: Oh yeah. Though it’s nice. It’s nice. I’d rather have that than the reverse, right?

Kimberly Harden: Yeah, but it’s like I’m hiring you because I trust you to do your job. And I don’t know what I’m doing, so for you to email me and ask me 1,000 questions when I have no idea. It’s like I’m putting my trust in you. You are the graphic designer. Do what you do. And if there’s some issues later, then let me know. For example, she is creating a flyer for me. Two flyers for some events that I’m hosting. And I gave her the date, time, location, who the panelists were, and I said, “Do your thing.”

Kimberly Harden: So before, when she did it the first time, it’s like every 10 minutes she would send me a text. What about this? What about that? What are the colors? Blah blah blah blah blah. I’m like you know what? I don’t care about that stuff. I just need to see the end result, at least a draft, and then we can make changes later. So I think by giving students, interns, the leeway and the leverage to trust their own instincts, I think that’s really helping them. It’s like I’m putting my trust in you to do your creative thing. We can always revise it. So I think that’s giving them some confidence to trust their own instincts.

Louis: Yeah. Oh absolutely. Absolutely. So you mentioned the email thing. That was a bit too much. Over communication was bothering you a bit. So why don’t we jump there, to describing what’s your typical day managing this team. How does it usually go from beginning to the end of the day or maybe the typical week if you think it makes sense? Because not every business is amenable to having the same day repeat every day.

Kimberly Harden: I’ll give you an example of yesterday. So yesterday was Monday, which is the typical thing. My graphic designer, she had a task of creating three different flyers and I [inaudible 00:12:24] just a bunch of emails with a lot of changes. Not before she designed it, but it’s like just text for the flyer. And it was like little things like, “I forgot to say for more information, contact this person,” or, “I forgot to say this, and I forgot to say that.” So I sent her a text and I said, “You know what? Ignore all of those emails, because I sent you like five. I’m going to start from scratch and send you one email with all of the information in it.” So she says, “Okay, great.”

Kimberly Harden: So I sent that email. She made the adjustments. She texts me and says, “I’m in class. I’ll get to this at 9:00 tonight.” Okay, great. So I knew that I could go work on some other things without being interrupted, because I know she was going to come home and work on the project after class. So in the meantime, my other intern text me and he says … He was asking me about some potential clients. So I gave him the list and he’s like, “Okay, great. I will follow up and get the contact info and so on and so forth.” Okay, great.

Kimberly Harden: He gives me estimated time of completion. Great. And then my other intern, he says, “Hey, are we ready to rock and roll on this video? Do you need me to make any more edits? If not, it’s queued up for Tuesday.” So it’s things like that. So the videographer will text me or email me and say, “Hey, I made this video but I’m thinking about adding the logo to it,” or, “I’m thinking about doing a teaser,” or, “I’m thinking about doing,” what is that thing called, “a sizzle wheel or something to that.” So I’m like, “Okay, great. Go for it.”

Louis: So how do you keep an overview of everything that you have going on since you have so much stuff?

Kimberly Harden: I’m still trying to keep an overview. I have a lot of to do lists. I don’t know about you but the way I operate is I will think about all the things that I need to do right before bed and then I’ll have to send myself an email like, “Do X, Y, and Z first thing in the morning.” So today is my lecture day on campus, so I prepared my lectures last night and then sent myself an email saying, “Hey, pull case studies. Pull this. Pull that. Make copies.” Blah blah blah blah blah. So I did all of that. But then this afternoon, I’ll have my business to do list of follow up with this person. So a lot of lists. A lot of lists.

Louis: How do you feel about remote education? I’m asking because a lot of challenges that I see companies face is that when it comes to training, they find that it’s very key to fly people in. And I’m not against flying people in. I think that it’s wonderful for remote teams to meet twice a year so they can put an actual human being to the face they actually see in the screen. But when it comes to training, you don’t necessarily want to do the training with the whole teams because different people are at different stages. It makes a lot more logistical sense to train them over the internet rather than physically. So have you thought about this at all? What do you think are the pros and cons?

Kimberly Harden: Let me answer that in two different ways. So I actually earned both my masters and my doctorate through online degree programs.

Louis: Nice.

Kimberly Harden: So my masters program was … They were both really awesome programs. But my masters program required us to go to campus I think two times out of the entire program. And when I went, I felt like it was a waste of time. I felt like I had more of a valuable learning experience remotely than going to campus. So when I went, I was like okay, what is the purpose of this? I think the way they structured it, had they said come to campus at the beginning of the program would have made more sense than come to campus at the end of the program. So that was really the only negative experience that I had with the masters program.

Kimberly Harden: With the doctoral program, I really enjoyed the cohort system. Having the same classes with the same group of people and you develop relationships and you’re able to bounce ideas and questions off of each other. So that was a great experience for me.

Louis: Okay. Sorry to interrupt but just to clarify, because I didn’t get … Was this an online cohort or a physical presence cohort?

Kimberly Harden: It was an online cohort.

Louis: Oh okay. Nice. So that’s impressive that you’re able to create that level of interaction online. I’ve been on a few courses that attempt that but usually the platforms don’t seem very suitable to that kind off free flowing interaction.

Kimberly Harden: Yeah. I don’t know if your learning experience had to do the discussion board postings and things like that, reading people’s posts that really put some creativity and some mindfulness in their post just naturally made me gravitate towards them and them to me. So we just developed a really organic relationship. As a matter of fact, we graduated in 2016 and we’re still very friendly with each other. We travel with each other. So we really developed a really strong friendship based on our learning experiences.

Kimberly Harden: Regarding corporate training, the way I structured a lot of my trainings is that I will go in and give a workshop or a presentation and I will make one on ones available to their staff members. Because you’re right, not everyone is at the same level and not everyone feels comfortable acknowledging that they’re not at the same level. So a lot of times, I will offer maybe a free 30 minute one on one session via Zoom just to deep dive with that one individual person and to help them come up to par or learn as much as they can about a particular issue.

Kimberly Harden: Or even if they just want to share the things that they’re struggling with in a very safe space without their employers knowing that they’re feeling that kind of way. So I do tend to offer a free one on one session with their employees.

Louis: Nice. So that’s an interesting thing because sometimes you can feel that the person has something to say they would rather not say to their employers.

Kimberly Harden: Right.

Louis: But you kind of need to build a certain rapport with them because the default position is if I say this person is hired by my employer, ergo anything that I said to her is going to go back to my employer. Now we both know that confidentiality is part of the soul of the business. But when you’re in the hot seat, it’s hard for the person that’s on the hot seat to really trust that. So how do you build that trust that makes people tell you, confide in you things, that they wouldn’t dare say to their superiors?

Kimberly Harden: You know, that’s a great question. I actually have a lot of people just tell me that I’m very personable and that’s why they tend to gravitate towards me. And I never really thought about it until someone mentioned it. They said, “No, you’re a doctor and you teach communication yet you are so authentic that even the common every day people can relate to you.” And they said that I just exude warmth. So it kind of goes back to my lead model, right? Love, enthusiasm, awareness, and development. So I think-

Louis: You didn’t talk about that on the podcast, by the way. We talked about it off record. So please feel free to-

Kimberly Harden: [crosstalk 00:20:36] Oh okay. And so I think if you come from a place of love and genuine concern, they see that, they gravitate towards it. So if you’re … Plus I think if you’re honest with people, people are honest with you. So a lot of my presentations, I’m very transparent about I’ve struggled with some of the same issues that I’m talking about. So for example, we talk about implicit bias. I’m not going to be one of those people saying, “Oh no, I don’t have any biases.” That’s not truthful. So I give examples of my biases and how I work to overcome them. I think by being honest and transparent people gravitate towards that and [inaudible 00:21:21] to say, “Hey, you’re working to overcome this. Can I share with you and get some tips on how I can do the same?”

Louis: I see. You’re right. The term that you used was personable. I think that’s a good term. That’s a very personable way to move ahead with it indeed.

Louis: Hey there. It’s Louis. Welcome to the intermission of the DistantJob podcast. If you’re listening to this podcast, there’s a very big chance that you’re interested in building a great remote team. And to build a great remote team, you need great remote employees. That’s where DistantJob comes in. So here’s how it works. You tell us the kind of position that you need to fill. We talk to you, we try to figure out not only what are the exact requirements that that person should have but also we try to figure out who would be a perfect fit for your company culture because we really believe that that matters.

Louis: Then once we have an exact picture of what we’re looking for, we’re off to the races. Our recruiters tap into their global network and we filter people very well so that you don’t waste your time interviewing people that are never going to be of interest to you. We make sure, because we are techies and our recruiters are techies as well, so when people get to you they are already preselected and you just have to decide between the cream of the crop. And once you make your selection, we handle all the paperwork, we handle HR for you, we handle payments. And you get a full time remote employee that’s among the best in the world and managed entirely by you, by your processes and following your culture.

Louis: If this sounds good, visit us at And without further ado, let’s get back with the show. Thank you for listening.

Louis: So I want to get back a bit to your setup with your interns. I usually talk about hiring. So I guess in your case, when you were picking your interns, I’m sure you had a lot of candidates. I know that there was the one person that you actually decided right away that you wanted to work with her based on the previous experience. But for the other positions, I’m sure there were several candidates. What did you look for when you were deciding which ones to pick? And did you look for any skillsets or ways of operating specifically because you knew they were going to be remote?

Kimberly Harden: I looked for student interns who were willing to learn. A lot of times, students feel like, “Oh I’m in college and that’s enough learning,” but it’s not. It’s all about continuing education in whichever form. It can be a class, it can be a webinar, it can be online learning. There’s so many different ways to continue … Books. I still advocate for reading. And so there’s many different avenues of continuing to learn. So when the people that I chose said, “Hey, I took this webinar,” or, “I listened to this podcast,” whatever method that they chose, the fact that they’ve shown me that they are still learning and growing in their field and learning new techniques and trying out different things and not just doing the same tried and true method.

Louis: Nice. So that is your … Any other factors, or is that the primary factor? Just that they are lifelong learners, let’s say?

Kimberly Harden: That was the primary factor. Also just being personable. I like to have fun and I tell everyone, my students, my clients, everyone, if I’m not laughing and having fun, then something is wrong. And I expect everyone that I work with to laugh and have fun. Even if they make a mistake, okay you made a mistake. Laugh about it and move on. So they’re not taking themselves too seriously.

Louis: Absolutely. And I have to second the learning thing. One of my favorite interview questions, I mean, the job is a recruitment firm of course so [inaudible 00:25:36] in our interview process. And one of my favorite interview questions really is if you had a day to give a class in college to people that were going to major in your area, what would the subject of that base class be? When people are excited and jump at the opportunity of teaching something and they know exactly what they would teach, then that’s usually a winner. Right?

Kimberly Harden: Absolutely.

Louis: That’s really a winner. If people are like, “Oh yeah, I don’t know.” I mean, it’s like yeah, you’re just … I don’t think that you’re really excited about doing this.

Kimberly Harden: You’re right. And the other thing that I do, and people always laugh at me when I do this, and I have asked managers when I was working in corporate America the same question because I believe in interviewing the interviewer. So I would ask my interns and I also asked former managers if you could be any fruit, what fruit would you be and why. And people’s answer to that is always very interesting to me. Or I would ask them if you could be any animal, what animal would you be and why? So I like to catch people off guard and then see if they’re going to give me a thoughtful answer to that.

Louis: Yeah. My spirit animal by the way is the kitchen cat.

Kimberly Harden: The kitchen cat? Okay.

Louis: You know, the fat cat sleeping on the kitchen table.

Kimberly Harden: Right. Oh great.

Louis: So after hiring, I tend to focus a lot because I think that for remote especially, good onboarding is crucial. I was reading a bit about you and I read that, maybe you don’t do this currently but at least at some point in time you did, on the first day of class, which to me is student onboarding really, you show your students how to create a vision mission objectives strategy and action plan. And I actually think that this is a great sequence for onboarding as well. When I welcome someone new to the company, to the business, it’s important that they have a vision of what they’re going to be doing in the company.

Louis: That they actually have a mission they can get started straight away so they don’t just spend their first week or first month idling about and picking up tasks. That mission consists of objectives and fits in overall strategy. And obviously that they have some actions that they can start queuing on a daily basis. So I really like this formula and I was wondering would you like to get into a bit more detail on what this first day looks like.

Kimberly Harden: Oh gosh. So yeah, like I said, I’m all about professional development and helping students make that transition because once … I mean, you’re in college. You’re in a safe space. You’re in a cocoon. So what happens once you become a butterfly and you have to go fly away into corporate America and professional development? So I take-

Louis: [crosstalk 00:28:48] -in some old gentleman living room between a piece of wood and a panel of glass.

Kimberly Harden: Right. Yeah. So I take them through this exercise to help them visualize what they want their future to be. And what it is that they truly want to do and why they want to do it and how they’re going to accomplish it and how do they know that that mission has been accomplished. So it’s kind of like manifestation if you will. So I just really like to get my students to start thinking about these things and preparing for their future because they may be in a communications class, which is what I teach. But by the time they finish writing out their plan, they realize that maybe my focus is not necessarily communication or it may be some different aspect of communication.

Kimberly Harden: So maybe they’ll think, “Hey, I want to be a journalist,” to begin with, and then once they create their plan, they realize, “Oh, well actually I’m not a journalist or I don’t aspire to be a journalist. I aspire to be a PR professional.” So all these kind of things, just to get their juices flowing. And then I tell them, I say, “Well, look at your plan and take the classes that you need to take to fulfill that plan and cast your nets wide because you can get a lot of valuable experiences in different departments. We’re not the only department that teaches communication. Some of the courses in the business school are also communication related.”

Louis: It’s a huge pet peeve of mine. Well, I guess if it’s huge it’s not a peeve anymore. It bothers me to no end that you have to get to college for someone to actually tell you, “Hey, what about you sit down and you write about what you want for your life?” That it takes that long. I didn’t do that until after college, for the first time. I didn’t know that was a thing. I was like oh, it actually makes sense to have a plan for your life. This is a thing. It sounds so obvious but unless someone tells you, you don’t really get it do you?

Kimberly Harden: Some of these are just basic life skills that should be taught in K12 and for a variety of reasons it’s not taught in K12. But I also find myself as an instructor, I’m doing a lot of K12-ish kind of instructor things and I’m also doing a lot of things that I think parents should do and aren’t doing for whatever reason. I get a lot of phone calls and emails from students saying, “Doctor Harden, I have an interview. I don’t know what to wear.” And it’s like, “What do you mean you don’t know what to wear? You wear slacks and a button down shirt and a tie.” And they’re like, “No one’s ever told us that.” And I’m always kind of blown away that students aren’t learning the fundamentals of life.

Louis: Yeah. That’s definitely something. It depends, again, on your cultural background and on the kind of family ne the cetera. But it’s those blind spots that unless people actually voice them that they have it sometimes wouldn’t guess. I would never guess because that’s just the kind of family that I was raised in. I would never guess that someone wouldn’t know how to dress for a job interview until I started making job interviews and people showed up and I was like, “Wow, really? You’re wearing this?”

Kimberly Harden: Right. Right. When I was teaching at the community college, that was one of the things that I ingrained into my lecture. Students had to give a prepared speech and I said, “Okay, I’ll give you extra credit if you dress appropriately as though you’re giving a corporate presentation.” And a lot of students did not know. So I spent a little bit of time explaining okay, this is what you would wear to an interview. So they really appreciated that. And when I tell you that they took me very seriously, they came in dressed as though they were going to a job interview at Boeing.

Kimberly Harden: I had one young man who after taking my advice started coming to class every single day in a suit. And I asked him, I said, “So why are you always wearing a suit?” He was like, “Well, because in my ambition plan I said I wanted to work for Boeing. I want to be an executive at Boeing. And this is how an executive would dress.” That was at community college in 2016. He emailed me not too long ago he got his business degree from the university, the University of Washington, and he is not working at Boeing.

Louis: Wow. Congratulations on your kid. Great kid. [crosstalk 00:33:40] But on to a larger point which is people make fun when people say things like, “Fake it until you make it,” or, “Dress for the job that you would like to have.” People joke about that because there’s something that’s a big intangible about it. There’s something that’s a bit not totally explainable. But I can tell you that I see that on people working remotely a lot that when they try to do remote work in their pajamas, they don’t have a job for long.

Louis: And it’s even if they dress up for calls, but then when they don’t have video calls like the one we’re having, they just do the regular no one around, no one on camera work in their pajamas, they’re just in their mind doesn’t quite click and they underperform.

Kimberly Harden: I totally agree with that just speaking from my own experiences. Now I’m not going to be dishonest and say there aren’t times where I just work at home in my home office in my sweats. But usually on those days, I’m just filing or doing paperwork or things like that. But when I’m in production mode, I do get dressed, even if it’s just a blouse and some jeans or whatever. Where if a client calls me on a Tuesday and say, “Hey, can you come down real quick,” I’m prepared to go. And so that’s how I work even in my home office. I’m always prepared for whatever little thing.

Kimberly Harden: So if a client calls me and says, “Hey, can we do a Zoom real quick,” I don’t have to say, “Call me back in two hours because I have to go shower and get dressed.” I’m always prepared.

Louis: All right. I don’t want to impinge anymore on your day that’s just starting than I have to. I want to transition to some more closing questions. The next one you might not want your interns to hear, but if you had 100 bucks to spend with each person that is working for you, with the intent of improving their work/life balance or their focus on work or something related to their work life, what would you give them?

Kimberly Harden: Well, for my graphic designer who is still at the university, I would give her cash so she could stress less about making money to pay her tuition. For my videographer who, a social media expert, who is done with school, I would give him some kind of camera or gear, like iPhone, videographer camera, lights, whatever. Camera, lights, action so to speak. So something along those lines. And then for my content specialist-

Louis: It’s really nice that you’re actually figuring out what each individual would get instead of just saying, “I’d give them all a webcam or I’d give them all a microphone,” or something like that. It’s really thoughtful of you.

Kimberly Harden: Yeah. I would probably give my content specialist a subscription to like Time magazine or something.

Louis: Okay. So what about yourself? What purchase has made your work life easier or more productive in the past year?

Kimberly Harden: Gosh. That’s a good question. Flash drives. I don’t know-

Louis: Just flash drives in general?

Kimberly Harden: Flash drives in general.

Louis: [crosstalk 00:37:25]

Kimberly Harden: Because I have a bad habit of leaving my flash drives when I … When I give a presentation, I tend to leave them in the organization’s computer.

Louis: You should probably not work at Apple.

Kimberly Harden: Right. So I tend to leave them then I have to go back and get them. But sometimes my schedule doesn’t allow me to go back quickly. And so I have 1,000 flash drives with multiple files and I have things saved on Google Docs and One Drive and all of those things. So flash drives really make my life a lot easier.

Louis: Okay. Always nice to have some extra storage around.

Kimberly Harden: Yes.

Louis: Let’s talk very briefly about book. What book or books have you gifted the most to either students or colleagues or people working with you?

Kimberly Harden: So lately I’ve been giving out Jen Sincero’s book How to be a Bad a-s-s. So it talks about trusting your own awesomeness. And I think a lot of people second guess themselves or we live in a constant state of fear. So I think that book really resonated with me and I believe it resonates with other people as well. The other book that I give to people is Pamela Slim’s book. It’s called The Body of Work. And it really talks about the thread of your life. Like what has been the most consistent thread in your work life and how are you pulling that through and how has that manifested in different areas of your life.

Louis: That’s super interesting actually.

Kimberly Harden: It’s a really good read. Pam actually has a workbook that goes along with it. I was blessed last summer to spend an entire work day with her. I went down to Arizona and just did a one day intensive with her to just talk about the body of work and how to use this tool with my students. It was just great spending time with her and seeing how she’s put that into action.

Louis: All right. Final question. My usual final question is the Chinese fortune cookie question. It goes like this. So you are hosting a dinner with leaders, CEOs, CTOs, of top technology companies and the topic is the future of work, how to adapt for the future of work. Because it’s at the Chinese restaurant and you are the host, you choose the message that goes inside the fortune cookies. What will that be?

Kimberly Harden: I would probably say something along the lines of give the employees the tools and let them run.

Louis: Let them run. Okay.

Kimberly Harden: Let them run.

Louis: Sounds like good advice. Except if you do businesses in hairdressing, but you already said it’s tech, so … That’s actually great. That’s actually great. Great advice. I find that sometimes you trust your employees too much but usually you don’t trust them enough. For sure. For sure.

Kimberly Harden: Yes.

Louis: Okay. Well, this was a very pleasant call, Kimberly. Thank you so much. Please tell the people listening, where can they find you? Where can they continue the conversation? How can they get on board your consulting if they feel that they need to?

Kimberly Harden: Oh that’s great. So I can be reached at [email protected]. You can go to the website It tells you a little bit about me as well as my consulting work. I do love to travel, so if any of your international listeners would like to have me come and speak internationally I would be happy to do so.

Louis: Nice. All right. So thank you so much for doing this. That was a pleasure.

Kimberly Harden: Thanks so much and I look forward to speaking with you again.

Louis: Hope so. Oh for sure. When the book is out, ping me. We’re going to do a round two.

Kimberly Harden: I would love to.

Louis: All right. See you.

Kimberly Harden: Okay. Thank you. Take care. Bye bye.

Louis: And so we close another episode of the DistantJob podcast. And if you enjoyed the episode, please you can help us out by sharing it on social media. That would be great. It’s how we reach more listeners. And the more listeners we have, the more awesome guests I can get in touch and convince to participate in these conversations that are a joy to have for me and I hope they’re a joy for you to listen to as well. You can also help a lot leaving reviews on iTunes or your podcast syndication service of choice. Reviews are surprisingly helpful in helping the podcast get to more listeners.

Louis: Now another thing that you might want to do is go to, click on your favorite episode, any episode really, and subscribe. By subscribing, you will get a notification whenever a new episode is up and whenever we get the transcripts of the episode up so you can actually peruse the conversations in text form. And of course, if you need to find a great employee for your team, a great remote employee, you should take the whole world into consideration and not just look to hire locally, not just look to hire in your country. Look around the whole world because that’s the talent pool that contains the best talent.

Louis: And to help you with that, again, is the perfect place to start. You will tell us who you need and you we will make sure that you get the best possible candidate. 40% faster than the industry standard. And with that, I bid you adieu. See you next week on the next episode.

In this week’s episode, our guest Dr. Kimberly Harden shares her experience working with remote interns to help them gain experience and grow in their field. Luis and Kimberly discuss the benefits of remote education and how being caring and approachable with your employees can bring better results from your team. Luis and Kimberly also talk about how a polished personal presentation with the right clothing can enhance remote work seeking.

Book Recommendations

  • “You Are a Badass®: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero”
  • “Body of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together” by Pamela Slim

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