Welcome to the Eccles Business Buzz Podcast. My name is Leentje Klingensmith, a fellow David Eccles School of Business alum, and your host for our podcast show. We know the Eccles community is only as strong as its alumni network and as I have built relationships with alumni across the nation, I’ve learned how truly remarkable our network is. Our goal is to share alumni stories, perspectives, and voices on topics that are driving conversations around the globe and within our school today. The core values of the Eccles community will underlie everything we discuss here: Entrepreneurial Grit, Continuous Curiosity, Empathetic Global Citizenship, and Impacting Your World.
In this week’s episode of the Eccles Business Buzz, we are honored to have Crystal Maggelet, current CEO and Chairman of the Board at FJ Management Inc. She is a former Eccles School Advisory Board member, current Board of Higher Education for Utah board member, and one of our generous donors.
Crystal shares a little bit of her background growing up in a family-owned business, pursuing an education, and eventually venturing into entrepreneurship herself. She talks about her experience quickly moving from a stay-at-home mom to becoming the CEO of FJ Management for the past 12 years. She also narrates how the pandemic impacted their businesses and how they learned to navigate this new normal while supporting both employees and customers with empathy.
Crystal shares her definition of empathy, why she is passionate about education, and why women shouldn’t feel intimidated in their careers, even if they are the only woman in the room!
On being a mother and a CEO - "It was a very different transition. So, as a mom, it was really hard when I had my mom hat on. As an executive or as an individual, it was very stimulating intellectually. I was always trying to do the best I could. In general, I found the situation extremely intellectually challenging, and it made me realize that really, for me, working was a part of who I was, and having a career would always likely need to be a part of what I do."
On having an entrepreneurial spirit - "I view an entrepreneur as someone who can come up with an idea and execute it. I have never really had to do that. I've had to execute on someone else's idea. If I am given something and I need to make decisions and I've given facts around that, I can do quite a good job usually of collaborating people in ideas and making decisions, whether that's entrepreneurial or not."
On investing in employees and their families - "I believe that if you treat people right, they will have your back. I do take pride in treating our employees with respect. And usually, I get it back. The three guiding principles of our overall company are integrity, mutual respect, and excellence. And even though they're basic and many companies could say that, I try to live by those things and have our employees live by those things. I think that they're key to being successful and longevity for business."
On coping up with a global pandemic - "I believe that if we could all come together, we would get through anything. Even an economic downturn would not be as bad if people would work together to get through all of what's going on."
Her definition of empathy - "I have felt so blessed my entire life since when I was a small child. I have looked around the world, and I have seen the opportunities that have come my way, and I took them. I could have made a choice not to take them, but I had them; they came my way. And I think for me, I feel because I've had those opportunities, it is my obligation to have empathy for others to do the best I can to have their lives be as good as mine or create opportunities for them like I've had."
"I want all people to be in good places and to be happy. I hope to be able to impact not the masses, but I hope to impact several people along the way. And I think my contribution will be, and that all comes really from my empathy about just how fortunate I've been and that not everybody is as fortunate. How can I take optimistic and hardworking people and help them a little bit along the way? And to me, that's my definition of empathy."
Why education stands out for her - "In general, I feel like there are a lot of people out there who don't get cut a break, and if they can get an education, they can help the rest of their family with the other basic needs. And if I can find those out there who have worked hard in school and help them get to a better place, to be making a better living for their future generations and families, I think that multiplies more than other things that I could do. I think that can make a big difference over a long period."
Her advice to women to avoid feeling intimidated - "Believe in yourself, and don't let people intimidate you. Be yourself. People always respect people who are confident and who are honest and have integrity. You can't get through life without confidence. You've got to be who you are, and you've got to admit when you make mistakes. You've got to learn from those mistakes. You can't be perfect in life. You've got to be confident enough to pick yourself up and move on to your next battle."