We help people and companies use authenticity as their secret weapon to success.
To change the working world to a radically more authentic place.
Meet the Front of the House
FOUNDER & CEO OF B AUTHENTIC INC
In 1994, Erin’s roommate came home from her college class and told Erin something that would change her life forever. Excited to help Erin finally figure out where she should point her future, Amy said, “Erin! I’ve found the career for you. It’s high pay, low stress, and you just have to be good at math. And you’re the only person I know that’s good at math. It’s called…an Actuary.”
Now Erin being the go-getter (and naïve as hell) she was, she headed straight to the library the next day. Somewhere up on the 4th floor she found a “book” about Actuaries. Well, it didn’t really say much about what an Actuary was; it was just this beige booklet that listed all the companies that hired Actuaries along with their address and phone number (yes people, no website or emails back in the olden days!)
So with the excitement a 5 year-old might have on their first trip to the dentist, Erin set off to get an internship as a high-paid, low-stressed Actuary. After swindling her way into Aetna’s esteemed Actuarial program, Erin left her Midwestern, Michigan roots for the big city of Hartford, Connecticut.
In just a few years working and taking seven of the requisite Actuarial exams, she became the proud owner of seven Actuarial exam failures. After graduating second in her high school class and always being a bit of a smarty pants, she found herself on the bottom floor of the Actuarial profession.
She was down, but not out.
And although she wanted to ring the neck of the automated b**** that kept telling her she had FAILED after each exam, she realized she wasn’t really the right Myers Briggs profile for the profession anyway. She decided to remain at Aetna, and she successfully bobbed and weaved her way into some big-girl roles over the years (often throwing on her glasses to appear a bit older and wiser than she felt.)
After taking on several different roles, in 2015 she was leading Strategy and Product for one of Aetna’s subsidiary companies, PayFlex. One Friday she got a call she’ll never forget.
Her boss: This is kind of heavy for a Friday, but I’ve decided to leave the company, and I want to know if it’s ok for me to recommend you as the next COO.
Erin: [doing the “Compromise Calculation” for about 5 hot seconds] No thank you.
He of course didn’t immediately take “no” for an answer. And after kicking things around for a bit, she agreed to think about it over the weekend.
That weekend she sought out the "answer.” Except, guess what? There was no the “answer.” After synthesizing all the advice she received, it finally hit her like a 2x4 to her oversized forehead:
You shouldn’t not do something because you hate the way it was done before.
Instead, do it your own way.
She realized that the reason she said “No thank you” wasn’t that she didn’t think she was smart enough or could do the job well. The reason she said “no” was that she was worried about having to enter this sort of club…this mold of an executive that she didn’t want to be.
But she realized, all the things she feared were things that were likely in her control – her ego growing, her calendar overflowing, her home-life shitshowing, and her personality potentially even blowing. But what if she did the job, but did it her own way? Could she have great success, without selling out?
One year later, she had not only survived as the COO, she was promoted to be the CEO. She had started to crush her career, without compromising everything else – her family, her health, or her soul. And not only had she avoided this evil “club”, she had incredible success.
In the three years she led PayFlex as their CEO, the company went from flat year-over-year earnings, to tripling them. Not to mention, employee engagement and culture scores skyrocketed. How?
Erin decided to play a different game than most other executives. Instead of conforming, she actually used authenticity as her secret weapon to success. And not some passive, free-wheelin’, walk into work like you’re at your friend’s pool party. She used authenticity not as a permission, but as a POWER.
Amazing things happened. People started to flock to her company so they could work for a “genuine” leader. Critical negotiations went their way after she replaced a typical cat and mouse game with a “tell it like it is” discussion. Executives started to notice and trust her and the organization, as she offered up stories and transparency into their challenges that many other leaders instead disguised with buzzwords and propaganda.
She realized what had been at the root of her success: authenticity.
In the Fall of 2018, she decided to leave what was arguably a dream job. After over 20 years in the corporate world, she had lead a storybook turnaround and then she decided to walk away from it all.
Driven both by a disgust at how fake the working world had become and an excitement that she had proved out that authenticity isn’t just a nice-to-have but rather a weapon that can bring people and companies out of their miserable vortex, she set out to change the workplace forever.
Erin is now an internationally-recognized leader on the impact of authenticity in the workplace. She is the founder of b Authentic inc, where she’s leading a movement to eradicate the workplace of its BS and make it a fundamentally more authentic place.
She’s the best-selling author of You Do You(ish), a TEDx speaker, coach-sultant, and the co-host of an offbeat career and leadership podcast, b Cause Work Doesn't Have to Suck. Her talks have reached hundreds of thousands of people and her thought leadership has been featured on ABC, CBS and published in Business Insider, Fast Company, Well+Good, among several others.
Erin holds a BBA in Statistics from Western Michigan University and an MBA in Finance and Marketing from the University of Connecticut. She is married to her husband, Manny, who she met while stumbling through (and failing) an early career in the Actuarial field. They have two children - Ella (13) and Mick (10). In Erin's free time you can find her coaching basketball, running, skiing, drinking wine in her fat pants, or dancing wherever you're not supposed to dance.
"I hate dancing where I'm supposed to dance. I love to dance where I'm not supposed to."
b Authentic inc Founder
CONNECT WITH ERIN
CO-HOST OF THE B CAUSE PODCAST
If Nicole Licata Grant were a celebrity mash-up, she would be the progeny of Dolly Parton, Betty White and Cher: a little trashy, a little classy, oddly entertaining and curiously enigmatic...while harboring a deep passion for do-gooding and big hair.
Other than growing up in urban New Haven, Conn. in the 1990s, attending Yale while poor, divorce, being arrested overseas, working in warzones and having once been fired from a “dream job” (that term is a lie, by the way) she has not survived any major life traumas from which anyone might find inspiration.
Nicole has however spent much of her 20-plus-year career in the service of others. She served as an Economist with the federal government and as a humanitarian aid worker and international development professional with several organizations such as Save the Children. In short, Nicole has had the privilege of spending a good amount of time in places with bad beaches and conflict and loved every minute of it.
Nicole is currently the Executive Director (a.k.a cruise-ship director for good) of a national corporate foundation. Nicole is always making lemoncello out of lemons, including her decision to keep her surname “Grant” post divorce, as a powerful subliminal message to fuel her work in the world of “corporate social responsibility”. And "Licata" has never left her; she will never lose her Italian/Sicilian-American roots for all its flair and badassery,
And now, she adds the b Cause podcast to her virtuous journey. As convicted to the cause of making the world more authentic as she is about saving the whales, she is thrilled to sit alongside Erin and hop, skip, sing and trip her way through this podcast venture, all in the name of inspiring others to be themselves while pushing their careers, and lives, to the limit. Though admittedly, her most important personal mission is to be a militant ambassador for New Haven-style pizza (P.S.A: the fresh tomato pie at the Original Pepe’s is #1).
CONNECT WITH NICOLE
Meet the People that Keep our Sh*t Together
HEAD OF MARKETING
Walking across the gravel parking lot, feet swollen, back aching and knowing there was more work to do once she got home, was a typical day for Rachel after a long day of teaching. Though she loved her students, she couldn’t help but wonder, “Is this it? Is this what the next 30 years is going to look like?” She said this, all with a pang of guilt, because what she had - a steady job, 401k and the ability to impact children’s lives - wasn’t exactly what she envisioned, but felt she should be grateful for. She loved being a teacher, but the toll it took mentally and physically became harder and harder to endure as each year passed.
The fear of leaving a stable job outweighed all apprehensions, when she found out that she and her husband were going to become parents to a sweet baby boy. At that moment, Rachel knew, to be the mom she wanted to be, teaching was no longer in the cards.
With a little faith and a lot of moxie, she scoured the internet for jobs that allowed her to work from home. With time, she slowly transitioned to remote work. Each morning at 2 a.m., she woke up to to teach English online to children in China before heading in to school to teach her 4th graders. With a little more exploration, she came across a new opportunity - virtual assistant work - and began assisting small businesses with tasks they wanted to outsource.
This is where it started. This is where she fell in love with online work and digital marketing, in particular. She uncovered a world she didn’t even know existed, but a world that her gut always told her was possible.
Today, Rachel owns her own business assisting authentic, mission-driven visionaries to amplify their impact and create positive change, a job that challenges her and also allows her to live the life she always envisioned.
She lives with her husband and son in Lake Charles, LA. Her current (and random) obsessions? Listening to Crime Junkie, binge-watching movies from the 90s (because, the best) and weekend road trips with her family.
HEAD OF OPERATIONS
At the age of ten, Debbie's first business venture was that she single-handedly organized a backyard carnival and raised $74 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. That was a lot of money in the seventies.
As a grown up, she used those same "big picture planning and negotiating" skills to run her own ecommerce business. That involved wearing a lot of different hats and, in the end, working with people who weren't very genuine and, frankly, not much fun.
So she sold that ecommerce company (for more than $74, thank God) and made a promise to herself that going forward she would only work with authentic, fun people that she actually liked. You can find her here--at bAuthentic Inc-- assisting with all of the "businessy" parts and pieces of running a professional coaching/speaking/workshop company. Where all of the people are authentic, and genuinely a lot of fun!