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#TeamTuesday with Anna and CFO Christopher Austin

November 19, 2020
All Points North Lodge

#TeamTuesday with Anna and CFO Christopher Austin

Anna:

Hey everybody, I'm back. So, if you weren't here just a minute ago, welcome to Team Tuesday. And if you were here just a minute ago, welcome back. So, I'm Anna, I'm the writer at All Points North Lodge. Hi, Keith. And I am so excited today for our guest, who I have confirmed, is ready to join here in just a minute. So, I'm so excited for you to meet Christopher Austin. He is the CFO, the Chief Financial Officer, of All Points North Lodge, and he's been an awesome addition to the company. He came a little bit after I started, I believe. And so, he's a newer executive on the team, I guess, but he's been around for a while now, and I'm super excited to have him share a little bit of his story when he is able to hop on.

Anna:

And so, Christopher works in the Malibu office, just like I do, usually. But now, during coronavirus, we are work from home. So, it's been a while since I've seen him, but it'll be fun to talk to him a little bit about what his experience has been too, during this quarantine times, because he's the dad of a triplet trio. So, he is ready to join and I will bring him-

Anna:

Hello, how are you?

Christopher:

I'm doing well Anna and yourself?

Anna:

Good, thanks for joining us today. And I see you're in the Malibu office. I just told everybody we were working from home.

Christopher:

I am. No, I'm in the Malibu office and today is the best day ever. So, yeah.

Anna:

Wow. The best day ever. Tell us about why that is.

Christopher:

Well, because it's National Junk Food Day.

Anna:

It's what? Is that real?

Christopher:

This is the day that some people live for. Oh yeah, that's real stuff.

Anna:

Okay, what-

Christopher:

You may not know it looking at me, but I have an incurable sweet tooth, and today is National Junk Food Day. This is the day that some of us, who are like me, live for.

Anna:

I'm happy for you. And I'm happy for me because I recall a certain time where I was like, "I would like a bag of gummy worms." And then I went to the gas station and I got some gummy worms and I ate some of them and then I started feeling sick. So, of course, as you do, [crosstalk 00:02:42] the good colleagues, you pass the gummy worms along. And I think you ate the whole rest of the bag.

Christopher:

Oh yeah, I probably did. I think you put them in here, in the conference room and I kept-

Anna:

Yeah, yeah.

Christopher:

... having to make up excuses to go into the conference room for whatever reason.

Anna:

Totally. I support that. That's amazing. I just edited... We're sending out one of the speaker series today and it was with a dietician, Lauren Bickford. And she was talking about how her philosophy is all foods fit. And I just really appreciate people-

Christopher:

I like that.

Anna:

... because gummy worms fit in and...

Christopher:

Yes they do. Yes, they do.

Anna:

Okay, yeah. So, Michelle, who is the food stylist and girlfriend of our social media specialist, Keith, wants to know what is your favorite junk food and how will you be celebrating today?

Christopher:

Oh, my favorite junk food is gummy bears, a particular brand though, Albanese, the sour gummy bears. I love those to death. They're my workout recovery food to replace the glycogen in my system. At least that's what I tell myself.

Anna:

Oh, totally. I love that. You must've talked about that to Keith because she said, "maybe gummy bears" in the chat.

Christopher:

Absolutely, absolutely. Keith knows the secret.

Anna:

Oh my gosh. Okay. Well, Chris, thanks so much for joining today. I know you asked how it became your turn on Team Tuesday-

Christopher:

Oh, yeah.

Anna:

...decided it was your turn. But, I'm excited to kind of hear a little bit about your backstory. I mean, you're a finance guy. So, when I say finance, I don't immediately think, addiction and mental health. So, talk about where you came from, where you went to school, how you got interested in finance, all that jazz. Walk us through.

Christopher:

Sure, sure. I started in healthcare when I was a teenager. So, seeing that I just turned 21, I've been there a couple of years now and loving life.

Anna:

Me too.

Christopher:

Anyway, but I grew up pretty much in healthcare and I started on the clinical side going to nursing school. And, to go to nursing school, you have to be one of those special people that have a calling for... A special nature about yourself and being nurturing and caring and that sort of thing. And by the time I graduated nursing school, I realized I wasn't one of those special people, and that's a higher calling than I could attain. So, I decided to go back to school, still interested in healthcare course, but to go back to school for a degree in accounting and a couple of master's degrees in healthcare...

Anna:

Trouble.

Christopher:

Yeah, just trouble all the way around.

Anna:

Okay.

Christopher:

And then, just worked my way up. I worked at the hospital level, of course, and doing physical medicine if you will. And then, from there I also worked at the corporate levels. And then, I went to what some people would constitute, the dark side, and worked for a couple of insurance companies, some major payers out there. So, I got a little flavor and a little taste of that life. And, it's not necessarily the dark side. We're all partners in healthcare, and we all want to provide and take care of patients and make sure the clients have the best experience possible, whatever side of the healthcare coin you're on. And then, I made my way to behavioral health, and substance abuse, and whole-body wellness, and loved it ever since, so.

Anna:

That's awesome. And, do you feel like your experience in all of those things, even in nursing school and then, going back to school and being able to be in the insurance side for a while, do you carry any of those lessons or skills, experiences with you now, do you think?

Christopher:

Oh, absolutely. Wherever you go in life, you're constantly picking up on tidbits of information here or there like it or not, whether it's good or bad, and experiences of course, you can use with you wherever you go. And so, healthcare is no different than that. Even the things I did learn and participate in on the clinical side of the world, helped me to understand what they're going through now, of course, being on the end of the spectrum I'm on as far as finance is concerned, and being able to look at that and having walked in their shoes, I know about how to address their issues and concerns with a little more compassion than some of us on the finance side tend to have, so, yeah.

Anna:

Yeah, that's great. So, even though you maybe think you didn't have quite enough compassion to be a nurse, you still get to have a little bit.

Christopher:

Absolutely. There's always a smidgen left over. Residual. Compassion.

Anna:

That's good, yeah. So, have you had previous startup experience? I know it's like we're still in the startup phase, but it is strange to call it a startup now because we're getting kind of large, which is great, but is this your first experience in startup?

Christopher:

No, this isn't my first experience in a start-up. I have had some experience in helping... Turnarounds were my big thing. I was able to participate in a couple turnarounds, loved every minute of it. And then, even from turnaround to divestitures where they're like, "Okay, you guys did such a great job of getting things off the ground, I want to sell it. So, help me sell off either a line of service, or a particular set of buildings, or just a particular portion of the operation in and of itself." And so, kind of from startups to turnarounds, to divestitures, equity raises, and all that stuff, I've been able to do that and get new lines of business off the ground. And, it's exciting. The world of finance is far more exciting than people give it credit for.

Anna:

Do you think?

Christopher:

Oh yeah, by far, by far.

Anna:

Okay.

Christopher:

You just have to find the excitement as it comes, and make it exciting as you go and find excitement within it. And there's some there. You can see, I left my pocket protector at home with all my pens and everything. I didn't think it would fit the interview.

Anna:

Where is it? You always wear it.

Christopher:

It's actually sitting on my desk at home. Just kidding.

Anna:

Yeah. And, I know that Keith wanted to talk about, he, I think, referred to you earlier as the chief, something chief fitness officer or something. So, I believe that he would like you to talk about how you became the featured model on our health sites...

Christopher:

That's about it. I'm easy, I guess, but-

Anna:

Yeah, it was a good answer.

Christopher:

... But workout is important. I believe that we are... Excuse me for delving too far in areas people may not want to go, but I definitely believe that we are creations. And so, the physical part is real important to me, the mental, the compassion, you're of course the soul part and then the physical. So, whether spiritual, mental, or physical, it's all-important.

Anna:

Yeah. That-

Christopher:

So, that's what I try to do. Keep balance.

Anna:

I think that's great. Yeah, and we talk about it, even APN Lodge doesn't affiliate with one particular religion or another-

Christopher:

Of course not.

Anna:

... but interesting. Whether it's in the AA curriculum or even like we do bio cycles, psycho social, spiritual-

Christopher:

Social.

Anna:

... assessments. It's not for everybody, but that connection to whether it's, I mean, something greater than yourself and finding a group that matters a lot to you or a

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Absolutely

Anna:

... or yeah. It's that spiritual health, whatever it is, is key, which is interesting. And it's been cool to talk about... I know we have kind of a fitness consultant at the lodge right now who's working on some... That physical health side of things too, because it is all very incorporated and-

Christopher:

Yeah. And then too, in coaching football, I didn't want to be one of those coaches that didn't look the part if that makes sense. I guess I spent more time on the couch that I did on the field working on the craft. And, just setting that example, I work with a lot of young players, and I'm talking from age... When we're doing camps and that sort of thing, and we're working with five-year-olds all the way, and I've coached college football as well. So, just wanting to make sure that if I'm telling them to lift or to take care of themselves and eat properly, that I'm doing it, myself.

Anna:

Yeah. And, looking the part, but also being the role model, who's walking the talk, whether it's physical health.

Christopher:

There you go.

Anna:

... for our mental health. Right?

Christopher:

Absolutely.

Anna:

We don't want to be a company of unhealthy, mentally people.

Christopher:

Unstable people, exactly.

Anna:

Right. Everybody has their stuff. Right? But, it's important for us to be focused on mental health if we're trying to be...

Christopher:

It sure is. It sure is. And the fact that we get to offer that type of well-rounding for all of our clients is huge. APN is one of the only companies out there that have that type of advantage where we actually have an onsite gym, two pools, and a jacuzzi, and all that where or our clients can really take advantage of their physical wellness. And so, I'm happy to be a part of that particular portion of it, with my focus on fitness, so. As well as the rest that we do, of course, so.

Anna:

Yeah. No, and it's so fun. Yeah, and even you're like... I don't know, for me, it was really fun to learn about experiential therapy and how the movement part, whether it's yoga, or you go hiking, or whatever, that can be a really healthy place to go through therapy or even just processing kind of the things that come up. I'd never really heard of that before I started here.

Christopher:

Oh yeah, that's huge. It's huge. And just keeping moving, staying active. It triggers a lot of endorphins and helps the body to heal and to get on a plane of healing. So, it's cool that we offer that.

Anna:

Yeah. Okay, so speaking of, you said you coach outside of work. So, thinking of outside of work, you have some triplets. So-

Christopher:

I do.

Anna:

... tell us about how quarantine has been with triplets.

Christopher:

Well, they're awfully active, just like their dad, I guess. They just turned two. So, yeah, they're growing up fast and they're... Terrible two is a real thing.

Anna:

Is it?

Christopher:

It's a real thing. And I get more exercise now that the gym is closed, and being in quarantine, and having to run to a different room for a Zoom meeting, and for a call than ever before. But, it's so much fun. I wouldn't trade it for the world. For my bride and I, that's our lives right now, and raising them, and seeing them grow. They just grow too fast. That's the only thing.

Anna:

Yeah. Oh, I can imagine. You're trying to keep up. I feel like one grows fast, but if you're trying to keep up with three of them, it's like-

Christopher:

Oh my goodness. Yeah, it's like herding cats sometimes.

Anna:

You're playing zone defense.

Christopher:

All the time.

Anna:

Yeah.

Christopher:

Especially with the stairs. They love our stairs. And, you want them to explore the environment, and become masters of their environment, but sometimes they want to explore at the wrong times.

Anna:

Yeah. Oh my gosh. Totally. So, how's your wife doing with them? Is she staying sane?

Christopher:

She's doing far better than Christopher is. No, she has a good routine down.

Anna:

Christopher:

You always hear about how important it is to have routine for newborns, and toddlers, and kids in general. And she does a phenomenal job of that in maintaining them on a schedule and keeping them active, keeping them growing. They're learning multiple languages. So, yeah-

Anna:

Christopher:

... they're go, go, go, all the time. And the large part of it has to do with her ability to be organized and keeping them on a schedule, so.

Anna:

That is impressive. She should start a mom blog.

Christopher:

Yeah, she's phenomenal. She is.

Anna:

Totally.

Christopher:

And then, on top of that, she has to deal with this guy. So, she really has her hands full. I'm worse than all three of them, I think sometimes.

Anna:

That's amazing.

Christopher:

Don't tell her I admitted that.

Anna:

Well, I mean, I can't make her not watch this, so.

Anna:

So, my last question I think is, what's something that you are excited about for the future of, or even something that's happening now or in the future for All Points North lodge?Christopher:

Well, oh, we have a lot going on. That's a loaded question because I can talk for half an hour on that alone, but at the near future, we have a number of initiatives that we're working on. And, one of the ones that I'm looking forward to is going to bore everyone to sleep, I know, but it's the compilation of all of our information onto one dashboard management application that enables us to see and manage all of our KPIs at a glance, as opposed to the normal data retrieval and information gathering, and then analyzing it from there. It'll all be on one location, and all the managers will be able to look at the KPIs associated with their area, and be able to manage those KPIs, and keep things going in time to know where we're going to be at the end of the month, and how to address and answer whatever questions that might come forward from changes in those benchmarks.

Anna:

Yeah. That's awesome. We love efficiency and communication...

Christopher:

Absolutely.

... both, we're all for it. Okay.

Christopher:

Yep, that's exactly right. Exactly right.

Anna:

So, that's one thing. I feel like you had another thing that you were going to say as well. Anything on campus that you're excited about, or...

Christopher:

Well, we have new leadership there on campus. Dave Kobis and Jerry Vaccaro are doing a phenomenal job, and streamlining things for us, and looking at people, processes, and technology for us, and putting in a lot of infrastructure in place surrounding those things, and everything's falling into place. So, we're excited to have them and to welcome them to the team. And, the way the team has embraced them, and surrounded them, and really welcomed them as a part of APN is huge for us. And so, yeah, like I said, I can continue talking, but I know we're limited on time.

Anna:

That's great. You nailed it. You nailed it. Well, Chris, thanks so much for taking the time today. It was very fun, and Keith especially, was very excited about this Tuesday. He's been sending a lot of hearts, so I'm sure he's-

Christopher:

Awesome.

Anna:

... looks like he's happy. But yeah. Thanks so much for joining us and taking the time. I know you're busy, and trying to streamline and get all the finance... I don't know what you do, but-

Christopher:

(Hey, this is finance. We take care of the pennies, so the dollars take care of themselves.

Anna:

Okay, okay.

Christopher:

We have a number of people that had partnered with us and they saw the vision of Noah, our leader, and wanted to come alongside of us or partner with us. So, we have a fiduciary responsibility to take care of what they've entrusted to us. So-

Anna:

Yeah. That's amazing.

Christopher:

... And to be able to take care of our clients, and so, we're excited about it.

Anna:

I love that. Well, yeah. Thank you. Thanks so much for all that you do, and you're killing it with the-

Christopher:

Likewise.

Anna:

... triplets as well as the finances, and thank you guys for joining us for Team Tuesday, and we will see you next week for another Team Tuesday. Chris, nailed it. We'll talk to you later.

Christopher:

Go APN. Thank you.

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