Kristi McFarland Chief Strategy Officer on How I Hire podcast

Kristi McFarland, Chief Strategy Officer

Kristi McFarland is the Chief Strategy Officer at New Seasons Market, a Pacific Northwest, sustainably-focused, organic grocer with 18 community-oriented stores.

Highlight from our conversation include:

  • How her experience as a candidate shaped her approach to hiring (3:42)
  • The importance of a business’s mission as an anchoring point (5:30)
  • How values have come to life in all of Kristi’s roles (7:02)
  • Why customer experience is so important in brand building (11:04)
  • How she and the leadership team at New Seasons empower employees (12:33)
  • How Kristi evaluates internal and external candidates (13:32)
  • How New Seasons has navigated industry changes (17:41)
  • The role culture has played in helping to retain employees (19:04)
  • The employee-friendly practices New Seasons has pioneered (20:10)
  • The challenges they’re facing in the Covid 19 pandemic (21:52)
  • What the future might look like for the grocery industry (28:07)

Show Transcript – How I Hire Podcast with Kristi McFarland

Roy Notowitz: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to How I Hire, the podcast that taps directly into the best hiring advice and insights. I’m your host, Roy Notowitz, Founder and President of Noto Group Executive Search. We work with notable consumer brands in the athletic, outdoor, fashion, food/beverage, grocery, and natural product sectors.

Throughout the Covid 19 pandemic, I want to discuss how hiring priorities have shifted, and I’ll be talking with hiring leaders about how they’re navigating these changes. I hope their expertise will be helpful as you develop your talent strategy with the future in mind. 

Kristi McFarland is the Chief Strategy Officer at New Seasons Market, a Pacific Northwest, sustainably-focused, organic grocer with 18 community-oriented stores.

Kristi will share her mission-focused approach to hiring and engaging teams. We’ll also hear about how New Season’s values act as a North Star for decision-making as they work through the challenges of providing essential services during the Covid 19 pandemic. I’m fascinated to hear how she and her team are keeping the staff and customers safe while balancing all of the delicate variables within their ecosystem of vendors, restaurateurs, and nonprofit partners.  

I first got to know Kristi in 2014 when I recruited her from Peet’s Coffee to New Seasons Market. Kristi was brought in as Chief People Officer to help facilitate rapid growth through talent strategy alignment, leadership development, and culture. As the company more than doubled in size, Kristi nurtured the values driven culture and pioneered progressive workplace practices.

Kristi, it’s great to have you on the podcast. Thanks for joining us today. 

Kristi McFarland: [00:01:42] Sure. Thank you. 

Roy Notowitz: [00:01:44] Can you start by giving everyone an idea of your career journey leading up to your current role? 

Kristi McFarland: [00:01:49] Sure. I started out in management consulting, so my first role out of college was with a small boutique firm that did a lot of leadership development work, and I got exposure very early on, very young to how leadership teams operate.

That was in Philadelphia, and I moved across the country for a job with The Gap. That really started my retail career and I spent many years in the Bay Area in retail companies, Gap, Williams-Sonoma, and most of those roles were in organizational change, leadership development. Somewhere between organizational effectiveness and people and strategy. 

Then I moved over to Peet’s Coffee & Tea and had a similar role there doing learning and development and communications and communications led to brand strategy and really I think along the way, just found that culture and strategy are really symbiotic, right? What you’re trying to do for your customers has to be reflected internally and vice versa. 

I joined New Seasons as Chief People Officer, and over the course of the last couple of years have had several roles, including Co-President at one point, and now in this Chief Strategy Officer role. 

Roy Notowitz: [00:03:10] So after I called you four times, when you finally returned my call, I remember being struck with the level of experience that you had early in your career in terms of strategy and also the adaptability that you showed when you took on the different roles, like the marketing role at Peet’s, and so I, I’m interested in knowing, like, what’s shaped your philosophy and approach to hiring? When did you start really thinking about leadership and people, you know, in a serious way in those roles early on? 

Kristi McFarland: [00:03:42] I think a lot of what shaped my approach to hiring was my experience as a candidate.

I found the idea that there is one person and one job spec and there’s some magical matching process between this set of criteria on a piece of paper and a human being at any point in time. That just seems ludicrous to me. That you can find the perfect person that matches this job description, which is always an ideal or a fantasy of who your candidate’s going to be, right? 

Roy Notowitz: [00:04:18] Tell me about it.

Kristi McFarland: [00:04:20] Because I think that the role changes all the time. The role is dynamic, right? As soon as you put two people together, you’ve got a team. That’s dynamic, that changes all the time. The business need changes all the time, and the person hopefully is changing and growing and adapting all the time. Right? 

For me, it’s much more about understanding what that whole ecosystem is. You know, who are all the people in it, both your internal candidates, your external candidates, your customers, your vendors, you know, who are all these people that are working together towards some common goals? And finding people who will operate well in that whole system versus trying to match a person to a spec because it’s just never a static thing.

And it’s frustrating for both sides to feel like they’ve missed the mark in some way and they’re compromising. And that’s not the case. 

Roy Notowitz: [00:05:11] So what are some examples of how you gain context with regard to the overall needs of the business as well as who’s in the leadership team and how that evolves dynamically as business shifts and changes?

I mean, I guess in today’s environment especially relevant. 

Kristi McFarland: [00:05:30] Yeah. The core values and mission is usually an anchoring point, right? To be able to say, what does this group, this community stand for and what are the things in that that are going to be consistent, changeable for sure, but consistent threads through different eras of the company or a different business climate or different customer needs?

There’s going to be some through-lines in that that you can anchor to and say, this is what this business is ultimately about, and you have to find people who care about that, who care about why that’s important and why that’s relevant. 

And along the lines of my hiring approach has to do with my experience as a candidate… there was, there was a point in it along the way where I decided I didn’t want to work someplace where I wasn’t the customer, or at least where I wasn’t empathetic with the customer. So you have to be able to understand that in the round, you know, what your customer is looking for or what your vendor network or whoever these folks are that are outside and around the organization are the people that you’re working with every day too. Finding a sort of kinship with that community, whatever that looks like, is really essential to weather the ups and downs of it.

Roy Notowitz: [00:06:43] So maybe you could bring that to life a little bit in your current context. So when you first started at New Seasons, one of the reasons you were attracted to them was because of the values and the connection to community. You know, how has that come to life during your time there? And then, especially now in these very trying times?

Kristi McFarland: [00:07:02] Yeah, New Seasons Market has always been a mission-centered organization that sees the purpose as about creating community through food, and that extends to creating a work environment where people feel like they’re welcome, they can thrive, they can achieve their full potential. It’s a fun place to be.

It’s a supportive place to be. It’s also a place where small vendors can get their product on the shelf. Or a farmer can get access to a couple of stores, even if they don’t have supply for all the stores, right? And they can get their foot in the door and grow their business, and ultimately we can give back to our community partners and create food access in our community where folks are experiencing all sorts of challenges, including food insecurity. And so I think about that as the sort of center of gravity for why I was attracted and why other people I think are too. 

In times like this, that network effect is incredibly important and we’ve all shifted our priorities to say what’s most relevant, what’s most essential?

How do we keep our stores open, keep our staff safe, keep our customers safe, support our vendors who are potentially losing other sources of business? Right away, when the restaurants started to close, we knew that that was an important part of our approach. Obviously, our staff were first and our staff safety was incredibly important, but this extended community of food producers was also top of mind for us. 

So we started hiring right away, people who were affected by the restaurant closures, and then we’ve been working with, you know, a lot of our food producers also supply restaurants, and so they were seeing their business drop off tremendously. So we were able to buy some of that product and divert it to keep those businesses going.

Roy Notowitz: [00:08:57] I’ve been in the store in the last week or so, and what you’ve put in place is really incredible in such a short period of time. So thank you for, for doing that. So how did culture and values come to life in other places that you’ve worked? 

Kristi McFarland: [00:09:14] I think pretty similarly in that what I believe in is hiring for learning, agility for decision quality for folks’ ability to make good decisions in the moment, and whether that’s at an individual, hourly employee level or at a senior level, both are really critical.

If you walk into a retail environment and you see hourly staff who are kind of passive and waiting to be told what to do, that’s a culture in which there’s probably a pretty top-down directive leadership style. There’s probably a lot of rules. There’s probably a lot of policy that tells people a lot about what they shouldn’t do versus a set of guiding principles and values that says, here’s what we’re going for and you have a critical role in bringing that to life. 

Hourly clerk level positions, they are central to the customer experience. They are the customer experience in most retailers. Right? So being able to find people who care about what they do, who care about that customer experience, but also trust them to make really good decisions.

When you conversely walk into a retail environment where you see it’s like buzzing, it’s hopping, the customers are happy, the staff are moving around. It’s like a microcosm of a little city or town. That’s an environment where people know that they can make good decisions. They’re empowered to do what’s right for the customer. They know what their boundaries are, and they have the skills and confidence to do that role well. 

Roy Notowitz: [00:10:46] I remember you talking about at Peet’s and to some degree also at New Seasons, how building a brand starts with that customer experience, starts with the employees and how you had done some work around that, the values, and how that translated into that experience.

Is there anything around that that you can speak to? 

Kristi McFarland: [00:11:04] I think at Peet’s we really did try to distill the culture down to a couple of very clear, simple values. Unique cultures that have a certain spirit to them or are really strong, I think have this word of mouth and lots of stories about how they became who they are. Right? Sometimes that’s off of the founder’s myth or lore, or sometimes it’s off of these just heroic customer service stories or something, but it’s also harder in cultures like that to distill it down to a couple of core things without it feeling like you’ve sort of lost the essence of it. 

So at Peet’s, we went through that process to really hone in on the things that made that culture unique and special. And it had to do with the quality of the coffee and this idea of mastery of one’s craft, and a constant learning environment, and curiosity and responsibility for your choices, and making good ethical choices, which were very much about the founder’s values, but also about the relationships with coffee growers around the world and ethical growing practices and things like that.

So at the end of the day, it just distilled down to curiosity, mastery, responsibility. Just very simple words, but it was something that we could rally around. 

Roy Notowitz: [00:12:25] And at New Seasons, you also empower people to make decisions and to bring the brand to life. What are some examples of that and how did you do that?

Kristi McFarland: [00:12:33] Yeah, so a lot of that was there before me for sure. And it was part of what the culture stood for. So a couple of things that we tell staff on day one is, is just say yes and speak up. Just say yes to the customer and that doesn’t mean the customer is always right, but it means that you are empowered to do what’s right for the customer and you don’t need to get layers of approval or jump through hoops to do that.

And the “speak up” is we want to hear your opinion all the time because your ideas are going to be really relevant and important, and that constant channel of feedback and dialogue is, is really critical to our success. 

Roy Notowitz: [00:13:13] When you’re building leadership teams within the organization, you mentioned the idea of evaluating internal and external candidate pools. I’m interested in the process that you use to do this and what factors would lead you to hire from within versus going with an external candidate? 

Kristi McFarland: [00:13:32] In its simplest form, going with an external candidate is somebody who brings something new to the experience that internal folks would not have had exposure to or experience with along the way if they spent, say, 10 years working in the same organization. Sometimes when it’s really important to bring in an external person who maybe has been two years down the road of where the company is going and has some experience to bring to bear. 

But the challenge there is not overlaying their prior experience to the new environment and saying, “I’ve been there. I know this will work here.” It may or may not. With an internal candidate, it’s really about that adaptability and being able to move outside of what they know and what they’re comfortable with to be able to take on a new role internally as if they were an external hire and see it with really fresh eyes and be willing to come into it with an openness to learning new things, but be able to guide their decisions with their understanding of the culture and how to navigate the environment really well. 

So I love to be able to give internals additional opportunities and stretch people into things that they didn’t know that they could do. I’ve had the benefit of that in my career where somebody said, “Go ahead and do this thing that you’ve never done before,” and it’s been incredibly beneficial for me in my career and it just opened up my eyes a lot to what was possible. So I tend to lean there and I don’t think it’s taking a chance on somebody necessarily. It’s creating the space for somebody to try something new and that’s no more risky than bringing in someone you don’t know.

And I really love to have people who don’t know the internal candidate well, look at their resume or their criteria as if they were comparing candidates, you know, and didn’t know who was internal and external. Because you get that internal bias as well of, it’s like the sibling syndrome of, you know, once this person has played a certain role in the family, they always kind of have that story told about them, and that’s not a fair way to look at people’s careers. 

Roy Notowitz: [00:15:42] Is there a model that you’ve used to help evaluate somebody’s potential and how do you logically make a decision as to whether or not they can rise to the occasion? 

Kristi McFarland: [00:15:51] You know, I’ve used competency models in the past and done really formal talent reviews, and they can be helpful when you’re looking at large groups of people.

I think back to my Gap days and you know, hundreds of leaders at a certain level. When you do a talent review across a population like that, you can really identify where you have strengths and weaknesses or where you need to develop that entire group. When you’re talking about a small group of people at an organization the size of New Seasons, I feel like those exercises can become, you know, splitting hairs and not particularly helpful. 

And it just becomes this conversation about, well, is this person, you know, the highest rated or the second highest rated? And I don’t know that that really illuminates much. What I do think is really helpful is temporary and stretch assignments for people.

So pulling somebody out of their day to day, giving them a very specific project that will utilize strengths that they have, and also give them an experience that they wouldn’t normally get in her current role. And that challenges them a lot. Those things, I think, are the biggest learning opportunities.

So we do that a lot right now at New Seasons. We pull people out of particularly operating roles in stores where they have great experience, firsthand experience, of the core of the business and put them in special projects and then rotate them back out or into another part of the business. 

Roy Notowitz: [00:17:20] That’s interesting. I never thought of it that way. Switching gears a little bit, you’ve been through six years at New Seasons and a lot of change. When Amazon acquired Whole Foods, it seemed like a really defining moment in the grocery business. You know, how has that influenced the people strategy at New Seasons? 

Kristi McFarland: [00:17:41] I think it was indicative of bigger changes going on in the industry overall. I feel like in the last couple of years, the shift has been more consolidation and more extremes, I guess. There were the big national players, and then you had a lot of mid sized sort of regional players that were specific to a part of the country, and then you had these, like, smaller mom and pops, and with Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods, and just things like online grocery being much more prevalent with or without that merger.

The industry itself has changed in that the big players have become more and more consolidated and the small players have become more specialty, more niche, and so that neighborhood grocer in the middle, that’s the businesses that have been challenged, I think, in this environment to be able to compete with either one of those two extremes because the customer is looking for quality and convenience, but they also want great products and great service. And you know, all of these things that I think it comes back to the customer experience that you’re trying to create, that’s the reason why people would choose you. 

Roy Notowitz: [00:18:55] So in the past, we’ve talked about how the culture at New Seasons has helped you retain employees. Can you speak to that? 

Kristi McFarland: [00:19:04] When you choose to work somewhere, you choose to work there for a lot of different reasons. For what it feels like to be an employee there, who you’re working with, what you’re accomplishing at the end of the day. That moment when you tell somebody, “I work at New Seasons Market,” and you get that reaction of, “Oh, I love New Seasons,” right?

Those are the reasons why people choose to work someplace and you think about pay and benefits and perks and you know, those are like pricing, convenience from a customer perspective. They’re just sort of table stakes, right? And it’s much more about the experience and what it feels like to be there every day and whether you want to be part of that community.

And so, I do think that those are the types of things that make you a much more compelling place to work and can be factors in what people weigh about where they stay and where they want to grow. 

Roy Notowitz: [00:19:59] Right. New Seasons is a leader in a lot of employee-friendly practices, what are some of the things that you were doing early on that have now become more of an industry standard?

Kristi McFarland: [00:20:10] You know, one of the things that was very early on in New Seasons was this idea of reasonable schedule, which is legislated now, but it was kind of a radical idea in retail at the time where it was much more, people had unpredictable schedules and would be on call all the time, or, you know, just work these weird schedules and New Seasons said, “No, you should have a life and two days off in a row and be able to plan and manage and balance those things.”

 So that was one. We advocated for Oregon’s minimum wage to be raised a couple of years ago, and we were one of the first to make sure that we had a $15 starting wage for all of our staff. But our goal is to index to the living wage. So that’s a term that’s been thrown around by a lot of different people and defined in different ways, but MIT has a calculator that they use to determine what is a living wage in any given market. 

And we try to look at our average wage being 20% above what that living wage mark is. And I think that’s very meaningful. That was hard. That was hard because we had to figure out how to fund that in this environment that I was describing of high competition, right?

Roy Notowitz: [00:21:32] And slim margins in the grocery business. 

Kristi McFarland: [00:21:35] Paid parental leave is another one that we were the first to introduce, so that will be legislated in Oregon in a couple of years, but that’s one that I’m very proud of. 

Roy Notowitz: [00:21:44] Yeah. What are the current and most immediate challenges in the new Covid 19 reality that you’ve had to deal with?

Kristi McFarland: [00:21:52] Everything that’s not essential stops. Right? In the last several weeks, we’ve really been focused again on that kind of multi-stakeholder view of our staff, our customers, our vendors, our community partners, and the long term health of our business and making decisions every day, hour by hour actually, in the first couple of weeks of this, about how to balance all of those interests.

And so we have a daily task force meeting where we’re trying to figure out, what do we need to put in place to make sure that our staff are well cared for, that our customers feel safe shopping with us, that we’ve got access to product supply, that we’re able to support these vendors who have all of a sudden seen a dramatic change in their business, to be able to hire folks who have suddenly lost employment, and to be able to continue to serve our community partners. 

So we just made a significant donation to the Oregon Food Bank, a $50,000 donation there. And we’re really trying to figure out how do we show up for our partners right now. So one of the things that we did was work with some of those vendors that had their business suddenly change and have created kind of a box, if you will, of goodies from local vendors that is going to be available to folks to purchase directly from those farmers and vendors. 

We are partnering with some of the restaurants. So we just worked with Blue Star Donuts and we’re going to be bringing those donuts into New Seasons because they just, they can’t serve their customers in the same way.

So again, it’s just being part of that ecosystem and saying, we’re all here for the same purpose. And if you get out of your lane, you know, this is our role as the retailer and your role as the vendor and your role as the customer in your role as the employee. We’re all here to try to create access to good food for people, and everybody has a role to play in that.

You can look at things really creatively. That’s the thing that you find in times of crisis is that values really do become your anchor for decision-making because there is no playbook for this. We haven’t been through it before. We don’t know what it means to live through a pandemic of this magnitude.

Roy Notowitz: [00:24:12] It’s great to have strong values because it does make that decision-making crystal clear. There’s no question. So that’s incredible. I noticed the other day when we were in there, you were selling some of the flour from your bakery because you’re out of flour. And I thought that was really creative. 

Kristi McFarland: [00:24:31] Well, and so many of the things that we’ve put in place right now came from the staff suggestions. So, every morning as part of that task force, we say, “What came in overnight from our staff? What are they asking for? What do they need?” And that’s guiding our decisions right away. So a lot of what you’ve seen in social distancing practices were, were ideas that came directly from our cashiers. 

Roy Notowitz: [00:24:52] How do you help staff who might be scared right now?

Kristi McFarland: [00:24:56] Our first path is just, only come if you’re healthy and you’re feeling good and, and we’re recognizing the people who do show up and supporting them with a lot of extra goodies. I think the more that we put the social distancing measures in place, and you know, things like plexiglass in front of the cash registers and stuff like that, really the biggest thing is helping shift customer behaviors. When the customers are respectful and keeping their distance and really trying to understand that our staff are in a highly stressful situation. That goes a long, long way. It really does, but it’s empathy, like just, yeah. It’s fricking hard to be there, right now. 

Roy Notowitz: [00:25:39] Yeah. I can imagine. Yeah. 

Kristi McFarland: [00:25:42] That’s where you have to start is just be real with people, you know? 

Roy Notowitz: [00:25:45] Yeah. I mean, I guess if somebody feels like they have a compromised immune system or that they can’t be there, are you trying to accommodate them?

Kristi McFarland: [00:25:52] Yeah, yeah. They’re being paid. They’re not working. We’re really trying to make sure that anybody who feels that they are compromised or you know, we are also just making sure that we’re taking care of people who are, you know, have childcare issues and stuff. These are hourly grocery people. Like this is not folks who have signed up to be first responders and they’re there every day. 

Roy Notowitz: [00:26:16] Putting themselves in their families at risk.

Kristi McFarland: [00:26:19] Yeah. So really just trying to get them access to resources that other folks have, like protective gear or childcare subsidies or pay protection. 

Roy Notowitz: [00:26:28] Are you or the others on the leadership team surrounding yourself with other leaders and people in the industry, or how are you, I guess supporting the industry or working within the ecosystem in that way?

Kristi McFarland: [00:26:41] I’m working with a colleague from Walmart and the two of us are liaisons to the county’s emergency office right now for grocery. We were just reviewing standards for what we thought other groceries could do. And we also have just industry connections and I love the fact that we have a sort of alumni network from New Seasons and then lots of folks who we’ve rehired recently as well in this.

And so that allows us to talk with people about what are you doing? How can we help? What are some standards? Because right now we’re all dealing with the same challenges. It’s not about competition. It’s about making sure that we get through this together. And it’s also about helping our customers not have to navigate brand new norms every different retailer they go to. Right? You know, if there’s some things that we can put in place that make everybody feel more safe and confident. Yeah. So there’s sort of a new set of visual language norms, you know, things that give customers indication about what it is to shop in this environment. That’s really helpful.

Roy Notowitz: [00:27:50] The grocery business had already been going through a shift prior to the pandemic. So can you speak to that as well as how you think things will shift or change after this is all over? I know this certainly will change a lot of people’s consumer behaviors. 

Kristi McFarland: [00:28:07] Online shopping is number one. So we have particularly vulnerable populations who we set up our own kind of help center to help a lot of our senior customers who are some of our most regular shoppers, understand their online resources and work with them to shop in a new way.

I think that that’s going to be an ongoing trend. I would hope that there is a bit of a return to cooking at home. That’s a long term trend. I think that our staff, we never expected to be kind of on the front lines of, of this, and we’re getting a lot of thank yous from our community for showing up every day and being there.

Roy Notowitz: [00:28:49] It’s a whole new level of meaning to what you’re doing. So that will hopefully continue. 

Kristi McFarland: [00:28:54] Yeah, and I think we all feel that sense of responsibility about what it means to show up for our community right now, but also to create the safest possible way for everyone to engage. 

Roy Notowitz: [00:29:06] As you’re thinking about the future, I mean, this might be a little bit ahead of the curve because I think everyone’s still trying to land the plane and figure out what the new normal might be. You know, once everything starts returning, how are you going to chart the course to the future? Because it probably won’t be just business as usual.

Kristi McFarland: [00:29:24] I think it’s a real opportunity to evaluate what normal was. You know, what do you want to go back to? What should come back from what was business as usual and what doesn’t need to? So I think that it forces this clear look at what’s essential and what’s not essential. And what’s adding value to the customer experience or the staff experience and what’s not.

You know, a simple example is an industry norm is to have a weekly flyer and an ad that says, “Here’s what’s on sale.” Well, we still have 3,000 items on sale at our stores right now, but is it really valuable to produce a piece of paper every week that does that, you know? And the amount of time and energy and resources that goes into that. Right? 

So it just does force you to evaluate what’s important and that sense of connection and community is critically important. We’ve gotten so many customer comments just about, “I feel safe in your stores. I feel like this is the place that I want to be.” And I think that creating more opportunities for our vendor partners to show up in our stores even in small ways, or just to have a launching pad for their businesses. That has been part of the company’s history since the beginning. I think more of that in the future where we’ll be able to have a lot more of those partnerships with restaurants and other producers. 

And a whole other thing is, you know, the gig worker economy and how that. changes fundamentally as a result of this, and I hope that that community continues to be able to operate as independent, flexible entrepreneurs, but also that this experience creates some additional support for them as employees. Access to similar resources. Yeah. 

Roy Notowitz: [00:31:16] Yeah. I think people will value companies that take care of their employees to a greater degree. Thinking about your journey at New Seasons, you’ve had a lot of different roles. If you can think far enough out to a time when this Covid 19 crisis is in the rear view mirror, what kind of projects or exciting things do you think you’ll do next?

Kristi McFarland: [00:31:38] Well, one of the projects that I was most excited about before this came along, well, there’s, there’s a couple. One is, we recently launched a small vendor loan fund. It’s called our Partner Fund, and it’s funded by 1% of sales from our private label product. We’re working with entrepreneurs who traditionally have had barriers to access to capital to be able to provide no interest loans are low interest loans to them to help develop their businesses. So I’m really enjoying working with some of those small businesses and we’re partnering with the Mercado and Prosper Portland and you know, other folks who are developing these entrepreneur networks, and we’re centering entrepreneurs of color, women owned businesses, LGBTQIA community, and other folks who may not have had access to capital before.

Roy Notowitz: [00:32:30] That’s exciting. 

Kristi McFarland: [00:32:31] It’s really exciting. So that’s one of the most fun things that I’m working on right now. And we have recently changed our standards in this immediate time to make sure that we can support some businesses that may be directly impacted by the current situation. The other is we are working on establishing a mission advisory council to our board, which will include vendors, community partners, employees, and that’s really formalizing this idea of a multi-stakeholder view on the business and bringing all the gifts of your ecosystem to bear. So I’m going to be working to establish that in the near future too. 

Roy Notowitz: [00:33:11] That’s incredible. My last question is, why did it take four calls for you to return my call?

Kristi McFarland: [00:33:19] Oh man. I think because when I’m in it, I’m in it, right? Like you called me when I was at Peet’s and committed to what I was doing there. 

Roy Notowitz: [00:33:29] Well I’m glad that we finally had the conversation. I hope it’s been a worthwhile journey for you and I really appreciate what you’re doing now and what everyone at New Seasons is doing now. And I just want to thank you all for that. 

Kristi McFarland: [00:33:44] Thank you. 

Roy Notowitz: [00:33:44] And hope that you and everybody there stays well. Thanks so much for being on the podcast. I really appreciate it. 

Kristi McFarland: [00:33:51] Thank you.

Roy Notowitz: [00:33:51] It’s been awesome. 

Kristi McFarland: [00:33:52] It was fun.

Roy Notowitz: [00:33:53] Thanks for tuning in to How I Hire. Visit for more details on our show. Sign up for our newsletter to get updates and featured career content.

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