LFG with JJ Podcast - E2: Mike Jennings

In the second episode of LFG with JJ, Juan is joined by Mike Jennings, the VP of UK operations at FleetCor, as they take a deep dive into the world of CX. Juan and Mike delve into the importance of continuous learning and improvement in CX, the challenges of implementing technology effectively, and the evolving state of the CX industry.

May 17, 2023
10 min read
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Episode transcription

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Juan: 0:00

Welcome to LFG with JJ, the podcast that helps you level up your CX game by navigating CX and AI technologies. I'm Juan Jaysingh, the CEO of Zingtree, the AI-powered Customer Experience platform, providing solutions that turn every human into an expert. 700 plus companies across 54 countries trust our solutions to boost their contact center proficiency, enable their customers to self-help improve their internal processes and more with Zingtree. Mike Jennings, welcome to LFG with JJ. Excited to have you here on the podcast. How are you doing this morning?

Mike: 0:39

I'm good. I'm excited to be here, JJ, although it's the afternoon here in the UK.

Juan: 0:43

That's great. Good afternoon. Great to see you. Mike Jennings is the VP of UK operations at FleetCor. And let's get started! Right about who Mike Jennings is, what is your background? Tell us a little bit about who is Mike Jennings?

Mike: 1:04

Mike Jennings has had quite a diverse background, so I've had a whole lot of different jobs, JJ, so right back to McDonald's where I lasted about three weeks over way to Kentucky Fried Chicken, which I saw as a promotion of the time. Working in a few different industries before I found my calling. And quite a interesting journey. I'm way many twists and turns to find myself now as Vice President of UK operations here at FleetCor.

Juan: 1:35

That's amazing. So you are working at McDonald's and then you went to KFC. What were you doing there? I'm

Mike: 1:41

curious. I was like the chicken nugget expert at McDonald's. Like, I somehow was able to scoop six at a time every time perfectly.

Juan: 1:50

So you were making nuggets, and then what, then you switched to KFC and you were, you were staying loyal to

Mike: 1:56

chicken. I was. I was chickens. Chickens stay close to my heart even 20 years later. So something's never change.

Juan: 2:04

That's a unique, unique background. And how you got to where you are. So I'm sure there was, over the last 20 years, there was an interesting path in your professional career to get to where you are. The question I have for you obviously it continues to, you know, keep growing and learning and keep advancing in your career, but when was the time, was there a moment in time in your early part of your professional career? You know, maybe it was during McDonald's, KFC or right after where you felt like, Hey, I found my career path. I found you know, the opportunity where I know I can make it, or, you know, I'm going to, I'm going to make it. When did you have that feeling?

Mike: 2:41

I'll be perfectly honest, I don't think in my life I've ever had that feeling yet because I always want more. I always want to do better. I didn't necessarily know what I wanted to do, but I've always known what I didn't want to do. And I think by having kind of a lot of different experiences and working at different places and working for a lot of different people You don't necessarily kind of have a defined or never really had a defined career path? I went to university and I got a business degree. I always wanted to be a professional soccer player, but that was never gonna happen. Cause I'm not good enough. It took me a few years to accept that and I guess I was kind of fairly laid back about the situation. One thing that I've always tried to do and, and tried to be as the best at what I can be, whatever job I'm doing. So whether I was working at McDonald's, I wanted to be the best chicken nugget scooper in the whole company. When I moved into another role. And then I started kind of moving into office work. You know, I used to work in a contact center and I wanted to make sure I was the best contact center agent and when I became a team leader, and I never in a million years thought I'd be a team leader, but I wanted to be the best team leader. And so I guess kind of internal competitiveness just always drove me to try to learn off those around me to, you know, improve on a daily basis and to reflect on my mistakes and to more than anything be happy. Because a lot of people are in jobs that they're not happy with. And so I guess my two driving emos were, A always be better than yesterday, and B, always be happy and proud of what you

Juan: 4:16

do. That's amazing. That's an amazing perspective. It's that, you know being grateful for what you have and trying to be the best at it and having that competitive drive can definitely take you places. And I see that

Juan: 4:30

served you very well. That's amazing. And you, you know progress your career at Experian and then you continue to progress your career outside of Experian now. How has that journey been? Would love to learn about like, how you got, came into the Experian workforce and how that, you know, journey progressed into where you are now? Yeah,

Mike: 4:51

sure, no problem. So I'll just take a step back. So before Experian, I used to work for one of the biggest banks in the UK. Prior to that I just left a job and my parents were very, very old school that you didn't leave one job until you've got another job. I was always too scared to tell them that I'd left. So every day for six months, I used to put on my suit, get on the bus and sitting in the pub. No word of a lie. And I had no money, no anything. And where would

Juan: 5:23

you go when you left, left home, when you got on the bus, you would go hang out. Just

Mike: 5:27

in a pub. The local Wetherspoon pub. Anyone who knows the UK is like the Dingiest Pub in the UK. You can get like any drink for a dollar and it's not a great place to be, especially every day for six months. And I was playing on this kind of quiz machine in my pub and I felt like a hand on my shoulder. And I turned around and it was an old school friend who I'd not seen in years. And he was like, Hey, I've just been at a jobs fair across the road. I'm like, what a jobs fair And he goes, yeah, you should check it out. And I went and this, this bank were recruiting for their contact center. Yeah. And I was fortunate enough to kind of get offered a job on the spot. I remember now it was a basic salary of 12,000 pounds a year, so about $15,000 a year, which I was super excited about because it worked. And a thousand pounds a month, which I'd never kind of earned before. Yeah. And I went in and started kind of taking phone calls, was lucky enough to be made a team leader team manager, a section manager. A member came head of operations. It was around this time when the banking crisis happened and the bank I was working for got taken over by another bank. However, the debt that my bank was in then almost brought down the other banks. So the government had to step in and, and kind of buy 40% of a company. And as part of kind of like the cost cutting measures, they decided they were gonna close down the office, which I was working in. I was pretty kind of upset at the time because, you know, I really did enjoy what I was doing and I love the people. But then I got kind of given an opportunity to work in a sales-driven bank. And I did that for a period of time and, and, you know, was, was really successful in it fortunately. However, I didn't like it. It didn't make me happy. It didn't kind of inspire me as such, and I was kind of, you know, vaguely looking for, for an opportunity. And in the meantime, my old director from a bank had actually moved across to Experian. And I got a call off Sue O'Hagan, who I owe so very much to in my career. And she said, Hey, Mike, you know, we've got a role and we think you'd be really good for it. I took a look and, and was lucky enough to get a role. I did that for a period of time, which was basically running kind of the, the contact center on all things kinda customer service led. We had some great success and, and kind of within 18 months we've been crowned the European customer service Department of the year, which was, which was a fantastic achievement. And verified as the best of what we did in. And did that and I'd always kind of had a burning desire to work abroad, to travel with my role. And an opportunity came up to work more in a global role within me, kind of global audit function. And I moved away to that for, for two years. Was lucky enough to work in, in many different countries around the world. So Australia, China, India, Singapore Malaysia, most of Europe, and, and the US quite a lot as well. And it was fantastic and I learned so much about how different cultures worked, responded in certain situations. And started kind of Shaping me quite a lot in, in my outlook, not just at work, but in life as well. For anyone who's traveled pretty much solidly for two, three years, they know it's, it's exhausting and not necessarily sustainable. And so, you know, after a great time, I, I kind of thought now's the time to perhaps settle down a bit in the uk. I was lucky enough to then move into a, a role, which is kind of heading up the changing transformation, which is where we. Came into contact with Zingtree. Never looked back, never been able to get rid of you since JJ And did that for a little bit. Had some great success, kind of delivering some pretty big, big projects and new product features. Before then moving into a, a more operational role again, which kind of involved me running about 600 heads across the uk, South Africa, and India. Really early. Enjoyed that. Experian was a great company to work for, and I owe so very much to them. However, you know, being super ambitious, I was looking for the next step in my career. It wasn't necessarily that immediate opportunity available Experian. So when the VP role came up at FleetCor I didn't, well, I didn't have to think twice about going towards it. It's been about two years now and I'm still enjoying it. It's a very different industry, a very different environment, but I literally learn so many new things each day and that's what inspires me to keep learning and to keep evolving as a person, as an employee.

Juan: 10:06

Well, thank you for sharing your background, the details about your journey from Experian through Experian your time there, and then into FleetCor. Amazing story, inspirational you know, going to a pub for six straight months and not letting your parents know. That must have been, you know, extremely interesting times. And you know, I think we talked about how you take a step back before you move two steps forward. And that's you know, quite the. In a situation here. So amazing, amazing. You went through it and the journey you went through and the experience you had you know, in this in this career that you've had is amazing. So thanks for sharing that, Mike. So, you know, one of the things I thought was interesting was you guys at Experian were awarded the best CX, customer success and customer experience award in all of the UK. That's pretty remarkable. And Yeah. In all of Europe. Sorry. My bad. All of Europe. Wow. So that's, that's pretty amazing. So this, this is a good segue to our next section is about the state of the unit, the cx, state of the union of the CX industry. You've been in this industry for a long time. I didn't realize you were actually on, on the front lines, on in the trenches taking customer support calls. So you've done it all. You've been there. Done that. And I, you've been rewarded for it and you've been part of great teams that have been rewarded for it. I Where do you think the CX industry is now, and where do you think it's heading in the future?

Mike: 11:37

Yeah. I think the CX industry is a really interesting one because you get some fantastic examples are great CX. And then you get some pretty poor examples of CX and then you get organizations who, who think they're delivering CX but really not delivering CX. And, and I think, you know, we all see some great examples of, of kind of organizations out there who have perhaps, invested in new technology, but then not fully invested in embedding that technology. You know, I saw a a great example of the other day where an organization had just invested loads of money in web chat and the, or sorry, a chatbot. And the chatbot was, you know, how can I help you today? Yeah. Person replied saying, you know, I've been scammed. I've been defrauded over 10,000 pounds. Chatbot replied, saying, oh, that's great. Question mark. Exclamation Mark because the AI hadn't been, you know, attuned to actually match what the customer sentiment was. And I, and I think, you know, when we talk about the direction of CX, it's undoubtedly a direction of actually making it easier for consumers to get the outcome that they need to get to the person that they need. And in so many ways, technology can help with that. But if technology isn't delivered right in the right way and then embedded and optimized and learned and evolved, then you know, ultimately you end up having completely the opposite effect from what you want. Now, the negative publicity on the back of this interaction is really poor for the customer. And business when in reality, if it was done right, it could have been the complete opposite of that. And, you know, what we're often seeing in customer experience and, and kind of on a more macro scale, is that price is really, really important. You know, it is a key pain point and it is a key motivator for lots of individuals. But actually service is becoming just as big a differentiator as pricing and, and often people would rather pay more for it to be done better, right. And correct first time. And I think there's so many examples where businesses get that right. But I think there's equally as many examples where businesses get that wrong. But you can't just deliver a fundamental change and turn it on and then run a million miles and move on to a next change. You have to spend a bit of time making sure that it's embedded throughout all levels of. Environment, the culture of a workforce, and everybody's bought into it, and everybody's committed to it being 1% better next week than it was a week

Juan: 13:57

before. Wow. So the comment you made was, you know, you believe that tech plays a major role currently in the CX industry, in the future of the CX. But how you vet the tech products that are out there, how you implement them, how do you, you know, get them adopted and engaged and empower your teams are critical. And spending the time and energy the right way to do it you know gives a lot of positive outcomes. And if you don't do that you have you know, pitfalls and you know, losses are coming your way. So that's, I really good insights there. Funny about the comment about the chatbot. You said where someone lost 10,000 pounds and the chatbot said, Hey, you know, that's great. I wouldn't wanna be that consumer.

Mike: 14:47

No, definitely not. And I think, you know, the other thing kind of just to reiterate that is that nobody but nobody in the world. Well, maybe one or two people in the world. Wakes up in the morning and say, Hey, today I'm gonna call up a contact center. And I'm really, really excited to do so because by the time, by the time someone has picked up a phone or had to send an email, has normally gone wrong to prompt that interaction. And so actually, you know, the self-serve capability is so important to customers to have to, you know, time is a commodity and time is precious to so many people. Where if you are working, you know, a typical nine to five job and you get an hour long lunch. You don't wanna spend your lunch break having to, you know, wait in a queue for a query, but you could have done online or you don't want to spend your evening, but you could spend with your family, your friends, your children doing the same. And so actually preventing that first interaction is, is becoming, you know, so key and get into that root cause of actually what has gone wrong. To prompt a customer to pick up a phone to contact me. But we're not able

Juan: 15:48

to online. Yeah, it's interesting, right? We're in the, you know, B2B, you know, world of business, in the business world. But the people we service at the end of the day, whether, you know who are people that you work with or, you know, the, you know, customers that you're supporting, they, at the end of the day, they're, they're humans, they're consumers. So we very much live in a, you know, B2C world as well, even though we're in the B2B world.

Mike: 16:13


Juan: 16:14

Absolutely. That's quite interesting. So, yeah, I, you know, I, as we were talking about the CX industry, I'd love to learn a little bit more about your current job. Mike, I, you know, you guys at FleetCor doing a lot of cool things, a lot of great things. I, you know, you're continuing to always innovate. I see you are very active in the M&A space. You know, you're making a lot of investments in the EV space. So I'd love to just learn a little bit more about, you know, your specific job as, you know, VP of, you know, UK operations you know, with your day-to-day role and you know, how, you know, you've been able to do what you do every day, you know, what is the, you know, tech stack that you use hopefully has been helping you. You know, I'd love to learn a little bit more about your day-to-day role at FleetCor.

Mike: 17:00

Yeah, of course. So as VP of Operations it's a very broad role. So for those of you who kind of aren't aware B2B you know, effectively B2B payments is, you know, a core part of what FleetCor does, you know, in a major part of that is within the fuel card industry. So kind of as, as part of my role, it can be very, very varied, right? From kind of dealing with the customer queries that come in. Any kind of technical issues that might arise kind of amongst our network. Expanding our kind of product offering into the electric vehicle space. So we're trying to build up our, our network there, which we've more than doubled in the last 12 months. We kind of look after a lot of the customer self-serve platforms and the product kind of development within them and the feature development right through to kind of ordering fuel, delivering fuel, supplying fuel and selling fuel. Beyond that, you know, we can work really closely with, with the Sales teams to make sure that, you know, once kind of new business is coming in, it's being set up in the right way. Obviously the sooner that the new business is set up and kind of put through the system and they receive their ability to transact, the sooner you keep, you know get the revenue in and ultimately lots of things in between. So there's a cliche, but no few days of the same in operations. And I can safely say that it is true. We do always look to do things better. And, you know, none of this would be possible without trying to create an awesome team and an awesome culture because you can have the best product in the world. You can have the best tech stack in the world, but if you don't have a motivated team, behind you and a team that's all pulling the right direction. It can be really difficult to deliver a result. So I try to spend a lot of my time with the people understanding what their barriers are, understanding what their key concerns are. And, and ultimately, you know, our frontline guys, they, our shop window, they have team that speaks to our customers on a daily basis. And the insight you can get from them is, is far greater than than anyone else, simply because they live it, they breathe it, they see it on a daily basis.

Juan: 19:10

So does it help you because you've been there, done that, you've been the frontline guy, you know, early on in your career? So when you go interact with your frontline people, you know, they respect you, they respect your experience. You know, how does that interaction work when you spend time with your frontline folks?

Mike: 19:26

Yeah, I'd like to think it does help because I generally know how challenging it can be to be you know, working in a contact center, sometimes taking a hundred calls a day. You know, 60

Juan: 19:37

most people are pissed off and you when they get on

Mike: 19:39

the phone. Yeah. You know, 60 calls people shouting at you. You know, nobody calls up for contact center to say thank you.

Juan: 19:47

People call. Here's, here's a question for you. What is one of the most challenging calls you've taken in your career. Wait, maybe you wanted to hang up or maybe, maybe you wanted to, you know, say not so nice, nice things on the phone.

Mike: 19:59

I won't go into too much detail, but when I first joined the contact center, I I used to work in the drainage team, so it was the for home insurance claims. And if there's a problem with the drainage system, they used to call those up and say, Hey if there's a problem with my drainage system, and I remember those one case that had been dealt with horrendously really, really badly. And, and basically somebody's drains had been blocked for about three, four months with Exactly what you can imagine drains get blocked with. Yeah. And they, they sent me a photo as I was on the phone by email and I was nearly sick. It was challenging because, you know, what can you do? I, I couldn't justify the way that had been handled before I'd been able to speak to them. The only thing I could change was to kind of give the customer the confidence that I was gonna get onto this right now and get it sorted. So, you know, within a couple of hours we've been able to organize kind of alternative accommodation for them. We'd been able to kind of get a specialist team out there to, you know, to to, to clean the drains to repair the damage. You know, but this was a, this was a person whose, whose family was in the state of desperation. The kids were getting sick. From the, from the fumes and from the germs. And I got my head ripped off. I got my head absolutely ripped off, but you know, I can understand why, because,

Juan: 21:20

and you stayed calm, you stayed calm during this process and you were able to

Mike: 21:23

get them. I perhaps was a little more less calm back in those days, But I did try to keep level-headed and remember how I'd probably feel if I was in that position as well. Yeah.

Juan: 21:35

Well, you know, it's amazing, you know for folks like us now that we're, you know, really spending a lot of time with, you know, in the contact center space with customer support reps you really have more empathy for those people. And, you know, they're, they're not coming in to work. to say, Hey, I'm going to, you know, not provide someone help today. I'm going, you know, screw someone today. They're coming in because they have empathy, they care, they wanna provide a, you know, a service and you know, resolve issues. But sometimes, you know, they may not have the right information. They may not know some of the right information. And maybe they haven't trained well for whatever reason they may not have the right, you know, be able to solve that issue right on that spot. So you know, now when I call customer service, I'm, you know, I'm more empathetic to the person on the other line. And, and of course I do ask them, Hey, are you using Zingtree? Or what other text are you using? So it's quite an interesting conversation, but yeah. Having that calmness and empathy is critical. And I think more and more people as they learn about this industry, are empathetic towards the people on the other line, on the phone who are trying to resolve their issues. Yeah. So, in your day-to-day job, like, what, and how do you look at like, you know, tech stack, like the tech stack that you use? How do you use technology? How do you vet technology? You talk how important that is. How do you as a leader set the tone for your organization to make sure that you know, in your customer experience. You know, space that you guys are, you know, doing everything and also, you know, successes, but also learnings. You know, I would love to learn a little bit more about some of the big successes you've had and also some of the learnings you've had that has helped you continue to move forward in your day-to-day job.

Mike: 23:26

Yeah, absolutely. So you know, if we kind of look at our current tech stack you know, we use Service Cloud as our, our kind of primary CRM across the organization. And you know, beyond that, we, we use kind of various plugins within, into Service Cloud with Zingtree being one which we've seen some great success on. And I think, you know, ultimately as the customer environment gets more complex, you know, there's more products, more processes, more procedures, more kind of pricing modules, so on and so forth. It's really important that the internal technology stack keeps up to date with that. Because if you've got. A different platform for each product, and a customer has five products. You know, they're not interested in, in, you know, how difficult it is for, for us to navigate five different systems, five different screens. They just want an answer quite rightly so. So a lot of it is kind of trying to make sure that we do have that consolidated 360 view of a customer. To make sure that we can make the right decisions and get the right resolution first time. You know, a pet hate of mine is if I have to call up a bank or utility company. And they transfer me to one department who then transfers me to another department who then transfers me back into another department. And, you know, the key thing there is making sure that each agent is skilled enough you know, using as an example to be able to. Answer that query to the best of our ability first time because nobody wants to be transferred around because it just prolongs the time, puts you in another queue, and then you have to explain your dilemma again. Call to the next agent, which you've already just spent five minutes explaining. So there's a big kind of shift towards kind of getting it right first time and making sure that those guys who are the very front end. Have the ability to be able to answer that query first time and not have to deflect it off to another area

Juan: 25:16

That's great! Any you know, anything that stands out for you whether at Fleet Core in your career where, you know, you had some major challenges or, you know, tough times? You know, I would love to, you know, hear a little bit about that as well

Mike: 25:31

I think, you know, fleet core changes has generally done really well, so I wouldn't necessarily say there's anything kind of, it jumps out. I think, you know, a key learn for me throughout. Career And probably kind of going back to my previous role at Experian would be when you move on to a new interface going back to the point of raised earlier, you can't just plug it in, turn it on and tell everyone to get on with it. You know, you need those constant check-ins. So when we moved onto Service Clouds as an example, or different iterations of Service Cloud. You couldn't just say everyone, Hey, today it's gonna look a bit different. You need to spend time with the guys. You need to invest and embed. And make sure that they understand that. And, and I think these times, you know, certainly, which I've learned from in the past, where I perhaps haven't invested enough time into embedding a new change. Than than I perhaps would've done and, and would do now.

Juan: 26:22

Yeah, that's interesting comment, right? Because you know you're a leader and you know, people follow you. But at the same time, we live in a world where an age which makes sense. Like you can't just like, Hey, do this, do that. You have to bring them along on the journey and tell them the why. And sometimes, you know, your views could be changed and could be different based on the feedback you get from your team. So that collaboration piece you know, is critical. And that's great. You've gone through that experience and you've learned from that. That's amazing.

Mike: 26:50

Yeah. And I think, you know, organizers, organizations in general aren't necessarily good at explaining the why, so we're really good at explaining what we're gonna do. We're not so good at explaining the why we're gonna do it. And, and this isn't necessarily organizational, it's it's human beings in general. But people understand why some, it's happening. They generally understand it about understanding drives tolerance. You get that you know, coalition behind you if you like to, to drive that change forward 10 times quicker. People resent it more if you just said, right, we're gonna do this, you've got to do it. Don't ask any questions, because that creates that divide. And so I just think it's so important to, to have that dialogue, to understand what's working, to understand what's not working, to be visible and to listen. But when you do listen to act upon it as well.

Juan: 27:37

That's great. Love to get to the next session, but I have to ask you one last question. You know, for Zingtree nation. Anything that Zingtree can do well as you're looking at, you know, what's happening in the future and what, what your needs are not just at FleetCor, but in the CX industry you know, what would be your message to, you know, Zingtree nation?

Mike: 27:58

I think, you know, my, my message to the Zingtree nation is that you've got a, a fantastic product. I am truly, you know, a Zingtree. I completely buy into the product and I've benefited from it across, you know, two different organizations now. Because it's simple, it's easy, and it produces the right results in, in terms of, you know, advice to where Zingtree heading in the future, you know, I'm really interested into, you know, stopping the, the challenges, stopping the cancellation, stopping the complaints. Before we even happen. So almost some kind of actionable insight into customer trends. Customer behaviors. That almost allows us to predict which customers are going to be unhappy, complain phone up, so that we can prevent it before it even occurs because a prevention is better.

Juan: 28:44

Yeah. So we are doing well on the reactive side, but the proactive before something happens, you know, you reaching out to the customer even before they call you, that would be pretty. Absolutely. Yeah. That's great. That's great insights. Mike, this has been awesome, but let's get into some of your personal stuff. You've got a very unique background. And you know, and we live in a world now where professional and personal life are very much interconnected. And I follow you on LinkedIn and I follow a lot of your posts on LinkedIn. And you've done an amazing job with this organization called Hike with Mike, and hopefully I'll get the invite one day to, you know, come Hike with Mike But you've built this Hike with Mike Foundation and it's just amazing watching you do that, you know on, on the side and the impact you've made. And I think you started this a few years ago. And now I see you with all these amazing sponsors and logos that are supporting your mission. Would love to learn a little bit more about you know, the hike with Mike Foundation. Yeah, sure,

Mike: 29:44

no problem. So Ultimately it kind of started on the back of some tragedy. So two of my close friends sadly decided to take her own life. And at the time I'd kind of been really struggling to kind of rationalize it, you know, why, why would they do this? And I, I struggled for answers, but I knew I'd kind of wanted to do something to help, except I couldn't help them, but I could potentially help others. I just wasn't sure what. And then around about kind of lockdown time in the UK I was kind of struggling a bit myself because. Every liberty and life I loved in terms of being able to go out to restaurants or football or to see my friends or to go outside. It just felt like it had been kind of taken away from me. And there became a time where kind of new rules got announced that you're allowed to go outside for a walk like once a day. And I was so excited because I felt like a caged animal. And I kind of spoke to, you know, started going out and, and speaking to my friends and, and they kind of would come along. Like have a pretty cool hiker and adventure. And I kinda thought, you know, actually I feel so much better for doing this, for being outside and, you know, they did as well. And that was kind of my eureka moment that actually I could maybe combine my two, get people outside, walking, hiking, benefiting from nature. And in doing so, maybe we could actually raise some money to help people who, who are struggling with their mental health. Because here in the UK we, we have the NHS, which is, you know, fantastic in many. But in, in, in other ways, it's massively underfunded. So what I did find out was that my friends who had been feeling mentally ill and did take their own life, they'd been trying to get help through their doctor, but were put on waiting lists for three months and four months respectively. Yeah. And telling somebody who is suicidal, they've gotta wait three months for help, just, just isn't. And many people don't have that long to wait. So the premise of the, the hike with Mike Foundation is that we do these, these hiking events normally once a month and then a couple of times a year we do bigger challenges. So the Three Peaks as an example, which is kind of the biggest mountain in England, Scotland, and Wales. And then in June this year, we're actually doing our biggest challenge yet, which is for 15 biggest mountains in Wales in 24 hours. It's a massive, massive challenge. But what we do is we gain sponsorship through doing these extreme challenges. We work with kind of corporate organizations. We work with some generous individuals and all the money essentially goes into a pot and people who are struggling with a mental health, perhaps feeling suicidal, but can't get the help they need for the health service. Can come to us and in 24 hours we will fund 20 six counseling sessions for them. So literally kind of reduce 'em at wait list by, by three, four months. We're paying for about 60 people to have help at the moment. And we've got some amazing individuals. We've got somebody who's, you know, running marathons for us. What, we've got a few people running marathons. We've got a guy who's rowing in sea between England and France. We've had people kind of do, do sleep outs, do you know, shaving my hair, shaving my legs, all sorts. And we've also teamed up with some big organizations. So rolls Royce being one of 'em. FleetCor have been amazing. Experian was amazing. We're amazing and we're kind of in a place now where we're helping a lot of people who, you know, maybe. And as difficult as it sounds, may may longer have been here if it wasn't for our intervention. So it's a real passion of mine being outside, going to adventures, but helping people as well.

Juan: 33:22

Wow, that's amazing. Congratulations on what you've done. You've made, you know an amazing impact. It's phenomenal just hearing this story and. Hopefully I'll get the invite to come on, you know, hike with Mike. I wanna take on the three peaks

Mike: 33:38

into a deep end at least I'll

Juan: 33:39

try. You know, I've got a competitive drive as well, but I'll also, you know, invite you to play pickleball with me. I'm gonna bring my pickleball paddle next time I come, come to the UK and get you some pickleball action. Action. Look forward to. What, what else do you do when you're not, you know, in your in your day-to-day job? You know, what, you know, how do you, you know, take time off or have you played pickleball or what other hobbies do you have? Or is, you know, is it just work and hike with Mike? No,

Mike: 34:08

so I haven't played pickleball yet, but I can't wait to see your face when I beat you, I love it. I'm sure you'll absolutely batter me. My confidence is Mr. Here. So I'm a massive football fan or or soccer fan for for the American listeners. I support my local team, Forest, and I'm lucky enough at a moment to live probably about. A thousand meters away from my stadium. So wow. It's a easy walk. And we're in a Premier League now, which is making me very happy. So I spend a lot of time doing that. I love my traveling. I love seeing new places and learning new things.

Juan: 34:46

What is something new that you're gonna do soon? Any new places?

Mike: 34:50

Learn pickleball. Oh, go soon. I'm actually I actually wanna see more of a Middle East in Croatia. Nice. So I'd love to see new places and learn new cultures and, and map something which I hope will never change.

Juan: 35:02

Yeah. That's awesome. Your story on you know, going to visit all these countries through work, I'm sure also served you well as you're looking at, you know, I gave you the juice, you got your juices flowing to go visit more and more new places. So it's exciting. Always hear like how work and personal life gets interconnected a lot. So I know we're coming up on time. I want to ask you one last question as we wrap up, Mike. Amazing story, amazing background. You know it's inspirational, just listening to you speak. So thanks for sharing all this. But what advice would you give to the younger generation who are looking to become, you know a leader in their space, in their industry in cx you know, what advice would you give to a younger Mike Jenn?

Mike: 35:49

So, I think it's a really good question. Think about

Juan: 35:52

the person who's, you know, doing you know, frying those McNuggets at Right? What advice would you give people who are looking to get their career going?

Mike: 36:02

Yeah, so, so I think society and social media social media in particular can be fantastic, but also think it can be a significant drawback to people, cuz people on social media only ever post their successors and how happy they are. What people don't often realize is that they're looking at a reality but doesn't exist. You know, why is that person so happy? Why is that person so successful and earning so much money? And they think, hang on a minute. Why, why aren't I doing that? You know? Am I bad? Am I poor? Am I really, you know, broken? But you gotta remember that social media isn't always reality and each person is fighting their own internal battles just as you are too. And so never compare yourself against other people is, is the biggest kind of single biggest piece of advice that I'd give. Because you have no idea how, you know how much pain or how much unsuccess or how much stress a smile can hide. So focus on yourself, loving yourself, loving what you do, and having pride in what you do. Because whatever job you might be in today or tomorrow, you might not be in it the next week for week after, or two years later, and that's cool. It really doesn't matter because if you are happy and you are trying to be the best at what you can do, then by the very nature. You will progress. It might not be straightforward. There might be downs, there might be ups, there might be sideways. But generally speaking, if you stick to being happy, being the best at what you do and listening to those around you, listening to you know, inspirational people, reading, learning, then, then ultimately bit by bit, you will get bigger as a person, better as a person, and more rounded as a person too.

Juan: 37:38

Amazing, amazing answer. We'll get this out there for, you know, the next generation to hear. It's very clear. It's about, you know, putting the time in, you know, from what you said, and be the best at what you can, you know be the best at what you do. And that has served you well, and that's great advice to the young generation. So, Mike Jennings. Thank you so much. I also didn't forget the you know, the competitive drive that you have to challenge me in pickleball. So we're gonna, we're gonna make that happen soon. Yeah, no

Mike: 38:06

no videos of that one man, JJ, just, just out. So it looks like I've won

Juan: 38:11

Well it was great. I appreciate you taking the time joining us on the podcast and you know, look forward to catching up with you soon and hopefully see you soon in, in the UK in one of your hikes.

Mike: 38:21

Absolutely. See you soon. Thank you guys. Thank you. Take care. Take care. Bye-bye. Bye.