YNS Live with NFL Thread Kathy Maurella

yns live with nfl thread Feb 25, 2024

Listen to a new episode of YNS Live with NFL Thread recorded live on Fireside with hosts Juliet Hahn and Cynthia Zordich featuring special guest Kathy Maurella.


Kathy Maurella serves as the Chief Marketing Officer at Waterloo Sparkling Water, where she leads marketing strategy, brand development, consumer insights and go-to-market planning. Upon joining the team in late 2020, Kathy has been instrumental in building the branding infrastructure to deliver accelerating growth in this large, highly competitive category.

Prior to Waterloo, Kathy was a strategy and brand marketing consultant on diverse projects for top brands, including Panera, an LVMH division, Cole Haan, and Avon. At Panera, she led new business development for the CPG business unit, developing a five-year innovation road map and launching multiple new categories. And, at Starboard Cruise Services (LVMH), Kathy was responsible for the company’s first strategic, foundational consumer research and the development of the creative campaign to differentiate the brand’s retail experience.

Kathy launched her career at Kraft Foods | Nabisco Biscuit Division, where she was classically trained as a brand marketer and led the Nabisco Biscuit Hispanic marketing strategy across its $4 billion cookie and cracker portfolio.  Prior to her marketing career, Kathy worked in Nabisco's logistics/supply chain management department across multiple roles.

Kathy earned an MBA with concentrations in Strategy and Marketing from Rutgers University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Logistics/Supply Chain Management from Pennsylvania State University.


Remarkable Quotes


“Go all in. Go for broke. Water down nothing fits the Waterloo culture.”



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Created live on Fireside.

Good to see you. Good to see you. I'm all set up here. This was like the smoothest entrance of a yns live with NFL thread show, I just have to tell you. So, you guys, we have such a special guest.

Yes, Kathy, it must be you. Kathy Maurella, CMO of Waterloo. And I'm going to let Cynthia kind of tee this up, but I'm so excited because Waterloo is actually my favorite sparkling water. And the first time you guys actually were in Connecticut in the whole foods, I did a whole live story to all my fitness people about this is the sparkling water they need. So when Cynthia said waterloo, I was like, oh, we have cases like this.

Is what we drink. We. Go ahead, Cynthia. We love that. I love that.

So great. Yeah. For me, it's so funny know meeting Kathy. First of all, we're both Penn staters, so I think that's really why we met is because we're both of it, like epitomizes thread for me because it's like connection, connection, connection. When you have a conversation with somebody, where is that conversation going to lead?

And as it turned out, a friend of mine had introduced me to somebody that she thought would be interested in the thread event for the know. And so it's like Tod. How do you say Tod's last name? Bulo. Bulo.

It's hard, isn't it? I didn't want to say it. Know. Todd and I had a conversation about the threat event. And so as we were talking, he was like, wait, this is not at all what I thought we were going to be talking about.

I was like, really? He goes, yeah, but keep talking because I think I have somebody in mind for you that is perfect for your event. And so it ended up being that it was his dear friend Kathy. Then we connected, and so it became this little mini family. We're all Penn staters.

And so we started talking about the Super bowl and talking about Waterloo. Sparkling water. The next thing you know, my house, there's drop offs. I have sparkling water. My kids are stealing it.

There's the most amazing Yeti lunch bag that my son has already stolen from. So it's so nice to have you, Kathy. Thank you so much already for the partnership, at the friendship and the fun that we had, and I hope that we continue to have together. Yeah, thrilled to be here. Juliet, so nice to meet you.

And Cynthia, it's been already quite a ride, and it's only just been a short window, which is a lot of.

I mean, that's what I love when people are supposed to meet, when brands and events are supposed to meet. It's like this beautiful flow, and we talk about that a lot. And so I kind of want to get into the flow of your story a little bit about you and how you became the CMO of Waterloo. But let's go back. Just give us a little background about who you are.

Yeah, sure. So had the pleasure of growing up in New Jersey. So I'm one of go jerseys girls. I'm one of three kids parents still there. My sister still lives there.

So a good crew. And then, as Cynthia said, went off to Penn State and transparently wasn't a marketing major. I was a supply chain, logistics, business logistics major. I remember getting there and I said, I think I want to do something in business. And the dean of supply chain got up and said, we have a 97% job placement rate.

And I was like, my parents will like that. Let's go do that. And then, fortunately, the benefit of a school like Penn State is a lot of the major consumer packaged goods companies would come and recruit there. And Penn State had a great supply chain team. So I ended up with a few internships at Nabisco.

It was called Nabisco. It is now forward Mandalays. But Nabisco, and then, fortunately, forged, as Cynthia would say, already relationships forged, great relationships there. Ended up going to business school through them. Kraft ended up buying them.

And I found myself in a great position to move into brand marketing through the relationships I had built through the supply ch. You know, it really took off from there. So got a great grounding from there. Went off to be the director of marketing for Atkins Nutritionals. And so again, a little bit from the cookies to the health and wellness space, and then ended up having about a 13 year independent consulting career.

And the benefit of that, and the one thing that I continue to tell people is that consulting career was really built on all the relationships through Penn State, through craft, through Nabisco, through Atkins. And the pretty incredible part is how Waterloo came to be. The director of sales and future VP of sales at Atkins is now the Waterloo CEO. So he and I actually met 20 years ago, our chief revenue officer. We joke around, we used to yell over the wall 20 years ago.

He was also in supply chain at the time, and I was the director of marketing. So you have three of the five of us on the executive committee who have known each other for 20 years, and there's something to be said about incredible relationships. And Jason Shiver is our CEO. I'd say if he were here, he'd tell you he probably has worked with about 70% of the employees before at Waterloo. So there is a really tight knit group, which I think just speaks to the idea of family and friends and teamwork.

And we always talk that we are our own team. Right. Like, it really becomes important. And so in the summer of 2020, the company was going through some changes and fundraise, and Jason came knocking. And I always said, for the right job, for the right culture.

And I had been kind of around the block enough that culture was one of those things. For the right job, for the right culture, and know the right brand, I would kind of give up the consulting and come over back to the brand side, and that's how I ended up at Waterloo. That's amazing. So I have a thousand questions. Cynthia knows this is, like, what I love.

I love. So when you took a step and went into your own business, where were you in your was what was behind that? I love women to hear kind of this. Yeah, I did what I wouldn't probably recommend. I had literally just signed a contract on buying my first apartment in New York City and started my own consulting company in the same year.

That always might not be the smartest thing to do, but it builds character, so definitely builds character. And my intention, it was interesting. I never expected to go into my own business. I got offered a consulting project, and it was a good time to switch and be leaving Atkins. And I was like, you know what?

I'll take a little project and then I'll job search. Because in my own head, I didn't know that I could do it. And the idea of going to ask people for work just felt very like that was a little anti of how I was comfortable. And then you realized, like, relationships, I didn't have to ask people for work. You never really knew how much you had learned until you got into an environment where they didn't have someone with your background or skill set.

And I think such an incredible growing period for me in the trust what you've learned, trust what you know, trust in those relationships, continue to build them. And I was never one that could say, like, go out to lunch because you're supposed to go out to lunch with someone. But I did stay incredibly in touch with the people that I really enjoyed personally and had similar values and worked hard and had a good work ethic that we also enjoyed time outside. And I think between those elements and then the idea of starting my own business before it literally was 13 years later, and I was like, oh, my goodness. How'd that happen?

And I love to now help women starting their careers. I mean, even some of the people that I met when I was out in Vegas, the first thing I say is, let me know if I could help and just let's hop on a call, because I think it's scary, and you realize, I can do this. I know enough. So it turned out to be something I didn't think it would be, but it was an incredible run and learned so much during that process.

It's really interesting to me in listening to you, and it's such good advice for anybody that's just getting started in anything that they're doing about building those relationships and maintaining those relationships. But what you're describing is so familiar to me because it's really what's happening in the coaching world that I'm in right now, and that everybody knows that when you are a young assistant coach coming in, you start meeting other coaches and you start building that room. You're thinking to yourself, someday, if I get the room, I know who I'm bringing with me. Someday, if I get that shot, here's my list of guys, of people that I want to work with. So, you start building your staff as you're really when you're young, and then when you do get that opportunity for the world, they're thinking, where did they find these guys?

Well, you know these guys. You know, the people you want to work with. So your friends, they knew you, and they know what you're capable of. So they're thinking, we need somebody who can take over. And what you've done with the marketing, it's magic.

I've never seen anything like it. And they knew that about you already, and that's why they recruited you in. They knew you were there. I love that. Yeah.

And I think what I would say know, I inherited some people on my team, but I got to be honest, cynthia, I have many that I pulled into Waterloo on the marketing team that not shocking. I've worked with before, and I think there's something right. Because then you go in with confidence. Right. There was already the relationship established in all of us.

We all have kind of that athletic. Got to figure it out. I can do this mentality, but I also think hiring a team around you and being surrounded with people that, you know, can enhance your role and enhance what the organization can do was so important. From a I absolutely. I kind of came in with my own Rolodex.

I use a lot of know Agent A and Alex Rodriguez is the founder of Agent A. He's the one that has helped us with the watered down nothing ad campaign. Alex and I have worked together four times before. Right. This was the fourth time.

So you end up texting back and forth like teammates out of the gate. The onboarding process for an agency comes so much easier when they understand the dynamics. And I do think growing up, playing sports, I did. There's a mentality, too, that brings that to the table. So you have a high expectations, but I think working with people before.

They. Know what your expectations are, they're pretty high. Yeah. And I think that what the message is, which is so important, because someone could be listening to this and be like, okay, well, where do I start? How do I create those relationships?

What do I do? I'm just starting out, or I've been in the industry, and I feel like I haven't done that. And one of the things that I think is so important is keeping yourself open, keeping yourself curious, keep yourself going to things that you might be like, I don't feel like doing it, but it's important because that's when you connect with people. When you go and put yourself out there and not keep yourself because of insecurities or keep yourself aside, you have to go and you have to put yourself out there. And that's what the most important thing is, because when you do that, when you're uncomfortable or things are not going the same way, that's when you learn.

When you have the flow and things are great, you don't really learn as much. But it's when, in the hard times of how can I step out of my comfort zone, how can I do this is when you start really making that contact and bringing up the sports I know. Cynthia smiled. I played sports. I played field hockey, in lacrosse in college.

And athletics is so important to me. I'm dyslexic. So school was really tough for me, but that's where I excelled. And I made so many great relationships, but I also learned so much about myself and how I work, but also that hard work and that tenacity, struggling in school. It's those things that people don't sometimes introspectively think about themselves, like, what am I good at?

What do I need help with? And what am I good at? And taking the things that you're good at and kind of running with them, but then looking for people that can support the things that Maybe is not my strongest point. Right. These are the things I need help and finding those people to kind of fill in.

And that's when you have a dream team. I love how you kind of just placed that and said that it's really something for people to think about. We need to be better and step out of our comfort zone. Yeah, two things on that, Juliet. I remember the first time I was invited to an event when it was just me and I was consulting and it was going to be a dinner.

25, 30 people, we'd like you to go. And I was thinking, can I bring a guest? Can I bring a plus one? I'll bring whoever. I don't care.

Because the idea of doing that and knowing nobody in the room, I was like, you're fine. This is perfect. If you bring someone with you, then you're going to end up entertaining or talking to the person that you brought with you rather than honestly appreciating and embracing why you were there to begin. So, you know, I think that's so true. And, Cynthia, I can't remember if I told you this, but as part when we were in Vegas, Todd and I went to listen to the NFL Players association lead speak, and it's so true.

Juliet, he said something very similar to what you just said. And know, I think we try to do in a smaller company is lean in on people's strengths for so long. You hear so much about, we have to do something with these weaknesses. Let's get together a plan to improve your weaknesses. And you're like, they've probably been the same weaknesses at this stage for 30 years, right?

It might be a little bit of who I am. You're going to take the good with the bad. And I'm not saying don't try to embrace opportunity areas, but I think what we also try to do in a fast paced small company, we have a very lean headcount for the size of the business and the growth. We leverage agencies where we can, but that means everybody's plate is always pretty full. That also means that you're constantly balancing priorities.

And I think for many of us, it's always easier to do something you're comfortable with. But if you're building on those strengths, you're going to get through the things you're comfortable with a lot faster, which means keep running, do what you're great at. And then, yes, we'll continue to build up those opportunities areas. But if you think about them as 50 50, where put the strengths aside and only focus on the opportunity areas. It's a challenge.

And I think that sets people up to fail. It does. And it starts from school. I mean, going through because my oldest is dyslexic. Going into school, that's what they do.

They constantly. And I was the mom every time. Okay, he's dyslexic. Is he ever really going to be great at this? Like, he can get it better, but look what he's good at.

Look at these amazing things. Why aren't we focused? And I would fight tooth and nail with people. I still do. And that is something.

So I love that talk you did because that's what's so important. You can take these strengths and you can get them stronger and stronger and stronger. Yes. You can build those weaknesses up a little bit. But I'm never going to be a scientist, right?

I'm never going to be a mathematician. I'm going to need people to help me with that stuff. But guess what? I can talk to whoever I communicate. I can connect.

So I love that you said that. And I love that's what you guys are building on. Yeah. I think that is sometimes your best strength is realizing your weakness and then leaning on with that strength. But then you're going to learn from them.

And guess what? Slowly it's going to kick in and you're going to understand what they're doing and you're going to learn. So that's great. I love that. Yeah, I think I told Cynthia the story about the ad campaign.

So our ad campaign. So a few things about Waterloo, which, Juliet, hopefully you and Cynthia can see, but it really fills this space in the category for a really full flavor, more sensorial flavor. You pop a waterloo, you could actually smell the flavor. You get it and you're like, oh, it tastes like it's supposed to. And that's what so many people have told us for so long.

And then the nutritional profile of Waterloo actually has a strength versus the competitive set. So we said full flavor, better for you, better nutritionals than the competitive set. And as we start to build on the ad campaign, know we had with us out at the NFL luncheon. The campaign ended up turning into the watered down nothing. And watered down nothing actually came with three pillars.

The obvious one was on the full flavor on the product. But that was really only one of the pillars. The second pillar was around this culture that we have at Waterloo. And this idea of go all in, go for broke. Right?

You aren't one of the big major cpgs. You don't have the biggest ad spend. But you know what? Go in, work hard. So water down, nothing fit the Waterloo culture.

And then interestingly enough, the consumer target that ended up being gravitating toward Waterloo the most, had a very similar mentality and really lived life as we'd know every day. Focused on discovery and trying something new and living life the way they felt the most comfortable and they did it their way. And so water down. Nothing fit the product, the culture and the consumer that was most attracted to Waterloo. And it became so obvious as we started to run with that ad campaign that this resonated with the consumer target, the company culture made a lot of sense.

And then, yes, it actually described what you were about to drink as well. You do. And the smell, I have to say that is one of the things I love. And I know something you want to go, but one of the things I love to have a Waterloo in my car because then afterwards I get in the car and it still smells like it and it makes me happy. Yes, it actually makes me happy.

Your product makes me happy. There we go. For me it's like crazy because the whole purpose of thread and the playbook and these events is reminding NFL families of who they are and what they've already really. I don't know why this happens, but after you're out, you tend to forget all that you did and you have this feeling of like you haven't done anything. And so the players come in and they're all modest and humble and the wives are like, okay, that's not my life anymore.

I need to find a job. And they are watering down who they are. Yes, they are watering down what they've done. And I'm always like, you are part of the 1% who brought the game to the highest level. You should walk in the door and use that because people don't forget.

Why are you forgetting? So when I go to the events, that's my whole purpose. Don't be humble today. Today is the day to make these connections. Today is the day to grow.

So your campaign has, I can't get it out of my head. Water down. Nothing is like I'm waking up thinking that way, like, no, you can't take today off. You got to go. You've got so much more to do today because this is big and you're not watering down what you just did.

You've got to really put it out there. So for me, that was just a great strike of. I don't think it was luck. I think it was just a bunch of talent coming together and realizing you had something big there with that campaign slogan. Yeah, no, I mean, it seems to resonate.

And like I said, I love the stories. As we talk to people about it, it really brings to life. Right. It's not a campaign that you have to explain. And someone says, I don't get it.

Right. That doesn't happen. Right. People think about it. And then, Juliet, to your point, right?

Like I said, the product smells like it's supposed to taste like it's supposed to. And then, oh, got it, got it. And it starts know it's. We're going to continue to build on it. I will be in New York in a few weeks to do the next version of water down nothing.

But we know the campaign is so powerful. We're going to continue to build on it. I love it. And you're like, up. Your energy is like that.

And then your products, all of your merchandise, everything. I want to run around my house right now and grab some. I think I might do it. It's beautiful. It's not just a beach towel, but it's like a plush, colorful, wonderful.

Where is my beach towel? I'll kill anybody. That still does quality. And I think, Cynthia, it's so true, right? We said you could do something and just put it out there for the sake of putting out there.

And instead, everything we do is thoughtful. And sometimes that means you can't do quite as much and you can't get quite as many beach towels out there. But the idea is to be thoughtful because it still has to fit within the brand and the brand's quality. And the quality is so important to us as a company and as a brand that I thank you for noticing, because it is the little things that you end up doing and making sure you're really representing the brand at every touch point that consumers see it. It's so cooler.

I'm sorry, Juliet. No, go. You go. You go. Well, real quickly, about the know, the cooler, the water, blue sparkling water yeti cooler.

That came. So Michael was getting all prepped for lunch the next day, and he was putting something on the zipper. I'm like, what are you doing? He's like, oh, I'm oiling the zipper. He came with a little oil thing that you could.

Oil zipper. So the zipper opens and closes easily. Thank you, Yeti. Yeah. Yes.

So cool. I love that. Well, I mean, but the thing is, and it's true, and I'm not know. People know. Cynthia and I are very authentic.

Like, if we like something, we like it, and if we don't, we don't bat, but it's just know. Yeah, it's great. Whatever. One of the things that, again with Waterloo, and this is why I can totally remember. I mean, I remember going into the whole foods.

I used to live at the whole foods. Yes. Loved. And I got, and I was like, oh, I love the packaging. It's a clean, crisp, cool.

I love this. And I'm praying that it's going to taste as good as it looks because my husband would always laugh. He'd be like, you always bring home the stuff. Packaging, right. I'm the consumer that if something's cool looking packaging and it's healthy and organic, whatever, I'll bring it home.

I am that person. I will admit it. So I remember I actually opened it in the store because I was like, I want to open one now. And it was the blueberry lemonade. BlackBerry lemonade.

Oh, it's BlackBerry BlackBerry lemonade. And is that one of the first ones? Because I'm trying to think, what was. The first black cherry. So I still am very loyal.

That's my husband's favorite. That is one of the originals BlackBerry lemonade evolves. That's probably two years ago. I was around to help launch that one with the innovation. It was spectacular.

So that's my favorite here. So whatever one that was in the store when it first, literally first came out, I remember opening it because I was like, I need to try this. I'm excited. I want to get, like five boxes. I want to get all the flavors, but let me try it to make sure that it's going to taste as good because I don't want to bring them home.

And my husband being like, well, this is not even good. What's wrong with you? Why did you just spend the sun? So I remember opening it, and I think I probably had one or two of my kids with me. And I remember the smell.

I mean, clear today. I remember the smell and being like, oh, okay. I'm really excited. And I literally did alive in Whole Foods talking about this new sparkling water, like, I'm not kidding. Wonderful.

I swear to God, I put it on the show. That's why when you said waterloo, I was like, cynthia, yes, I know who they like. I've been obsessed. The day they came into my whole foods and I did live, and then literally all of my friends were like, okay, I did a fitness. I used to teach fitness classes, like, when my kids were younger and I took myself out of the corporate world.

And so this is what I'm like. This is amazing. It's like just killed my cravings because usually I go and get the chocolate and know had my routines at whole foods I literally put it on the shelf, did alive, and bought every single flavor and brought it home. And everyone was like, everyone loved it. They were all excited.

No, but it is hands down the favorite. And you can do it like, yes, we've mixed it with cocktails, and that was wonderful. But it's really also just great just by itself. And again, just for, like, a craving and just like, a clean, crisp fun, it makes you happy. And, yes, and I remember doing consumer research right during the COVID time frame, which it wasn't exactly a good time for many who had been going through a lot.

And I remember doing research, and that's what people told us during that, this is my break in the day. They said, I drink a lot. I put myself on when I can have it. And I think for us, that innovation continues. I'm happy to share.

I'll make sure you both get some new products are about to hit the shelf, which is very exciting in the next two weeks. Yes, Juliet, you'll see them at your whole foods. You'll see them at a lot of major retailers around the country. And then what we also end up doing is to keep exactly what you said, this idea of discovery and fun coming. We will also have limited time offers that are coming out in end of April, early may, which are also fantastic.

And I think for us, it's this combination of keeping the energy and keeping innovation. Because, Juliet, exactly what you said. People find their favorites, but then there's always the discovery, and then they realize, wow, maybe I have two new favorites. We keep the energy going with the flavor innovation, which is fantastic. I love that.

Of course. What I love is that for the event in itself, besides being during the day and enjoying this amazing sparkling water, it was so awesome how you collaborated with 21 seeds that are tequila brand. Right? I always like to have a signature drink at the event, and all of a sudden, I was like, you know what? We have waterloo sparkling water, and we have 21 tequila.

And so I was interested in collaborating. Why don't you? And then I just stepped away, and together the two teams worked it out, and all of our signature drinks, which were all so great, incorporated waterloo sparkling water, and they were creative. Everybody went crazy over them. They tasted so great.

And it was in theme for me, it was in theme because I'm all about working together, networking, combining your talents. And for me to see two brands working together like that at the event, that is another message that I thought was really important. Yeah, they were great partners. It was so great that I got to meet some of the team at the actual event, and by the time you meet them, you feel like you know, these people. It was so nice to get to meet.

But I think that's important, too. You find, like, and the conversation I had with the 21 seeds team is you find like minded brands. Right. And that's what you're looking for. And I think whether that's in relationships, whether that's in branding, whether that's in partnership, there's something super valuable to that.

And again, both brands have really defined what they stood for, what they were, and I think it also allowed us to come together and collaborate together to get to a great place for the events. But, yeah, we're always looking for those opportunities because I think that's what helps to enhance the brand, really build on it and partner together and leverage each other's strengths is always positive. Yeah. Seeing your videos between the Waterloo videos, it's just so cool. The color and just the theme.

Like, I was showing my husband Michael, and he's like, wow. Just really combined with John Hardy's, combined with 21 seeds, all the color was just splashing at us, the whole event. And for me, it was just one of those accidental conversations I was having with Rebecca Flanker that she said, you know, we have a lot of screens if you want to send us something so amazing. It was so cool. I ended up taking, I don't think I told you, Cynthia.

I took a video of the room to show the team because a lot of times you do the commercial and we all get excited when we see our own commercials on Hulu or Peacock or Amazon prime. Like, that's so fun. But when you get to see it in surround sound, I can't say I ever got to watch those commercials in what felt like surround sound. I described it to people as a sports bar that had the same game on, on every station, which is like heaven for a brand marketer. Right.

I was like, and there I am. We're everywhere. Fantastic. So that was a great set up. Yeah.

I was so excited about that. And just the idea of it, of everybody every time you looked up and just to be able to, just be able to put your partner in the light like that. But also aesthetically, it was the best decor for me because they were so cool. Yeah, it made for a very nice backdrop and all the ads. Right.

And I think, Cynthia, it's kind of what you talked about, too, in the partnerships when the brands all feel similar across different categories, because then you say, okay, I knew who was going to be in the room, right? That's important, right. In the world of brand, I knew who's going to be in the room. I knew what would be a relevant message for them or a relevant brand for them across multiple categories. Think, you know, that's what ended up happening at that event, even personally.

John Hardy fan and so I was like, oh, yeah, I know. It, it made it all feel like it fit together really well. Well, that's when the magic happens. And that's so true. It's like, it's like minded.

Same kind of quality, same kind of message. When that all comes together, it's like, boom. You know that this is how it's going to know Cynthia. And she doesn't love when I do this, but she is so amazing when she comes because her creative mind and her work ethic and she really puts together such amazing events. And it's awesome to see hearing all the things and the pieces and then going and just being like, how do you do this?

How do you do this? You are incredible. It really is. So it was a pleasure. Do their thing.

I think that's the most important thing is you let other people do their thing. But I wanted to mention, tod is a really good friend of yours, and I have two situations at the event that I can tell you and attest to is he came up to me and know Kathy's really a Giants fan, and I'll tease over there, so can you introduce them? And I said, you better believe I can. Absolutely. Yes.

And I thank you for that. Yes. It was his birthday. His daughters were all there and they wanted to sing so badly to him. I'm like, sing to him.

Sing a microphone and sing to him. Then they would say, no, we're not going to sing to him. And every time I saw them, I was like, what are you going to do? What are you going to do? So it was his birthday, so they were excited about that.

And the second time he came up and said, hey, I need, I need a Super bowl program because Kathy didn't get one. So you're going to find me one. So we were, like, looking around and we got your Super bowl program book. You got it, right? Yeah.

My nephew is going to get it later tonight. He's so excited. So, yes, I did grow up in a diehard Giants fan. My dad, God bless him, still take him to a game once a year. And I will say, cynthia, that I did have the pleasure to meet Saquon Barkley on Friday morning in media row, and he couldn't have been nicer.

Super sweet. And as a Penn stater, proud to watch all these incredible athletes run off and do their thing, too, which is so fantastic. So, yeah, no, I appreciate the Tod hookups. Obviously, the Giants conversation. We talk about the Giants an awful lot in my.

So my husband grew up in the Bronx, so we are giants, even though I grew up outside of Philly, so my whole family are Philly fans. Well, the fun comes. I like both. I was going to say I go both ways, but I don't. Someone take it a different way.

But. So I am like, I just like a good game. But yes, the stuff that my sisters and brother would send to my kids and Dan would be like, you put that in my house again and I will rip your faces off. He is diehard Bronx boy through and through. He bleeds blue.

Yankees and giants, that's the world we roll. Remember being in Philadelphia? And we'd have our away games at the Giants stadium and they would put us up. So. So I would fear for my kids, that my sons would get us a Cheer and I would be like.

Because I pictured them just flying off and onto the field, and I would be like, so scared. I mean, talk about removing us from any situation. Where's daddy? I'll be like, I don't even see. We need binoculars for the whole family.

They were so funny. Exactly. But those games were always intensely competitive. And I know my husband actually had a really fun game against the Giants late in his career. It sent us to the playoffs, so it was really excellent.

He had an interception and ran it back for a touchdown. And it was like, the next day, we were so excited, and it was like game winning. So that was why we went to the playoffs. Well, the next morning, Bill Lyons writes the column, and it's like Zordich, he immersed from the dust and the grit in the fear. It was like he was some ancient person that came back to life.

I was like, jeez, Michael, you're only 36 years old, right? I know. Can you imagine? He rose from the ashes and it. Was like, oh, my lord, that's funny.

36, right? I mean, Jesus, it's so fun. But that is one of the things with Cynthia's events. It's connection. It's the connection.

It's the feel. It's uplifting each, you know, just being there and doing what you talked about, how you started your. And that's. And that's the beauty of it. And that's what Cynthia embodies.

I mean, if she really.

I mean, part of it is now I feel like, I have a lifelong friends too. I mean, part of it becomes, like you said, that relationship connection and then that's kind of how it goes, right? The continued down the path with like minded people make it so. I mean, it's mean. Aiden is actually going to reach out to in my daughter Aiden is in Carolina, you know, and Todd's wife Michelle having that crazy Bellatuno, which Aiden already is aware of and already knows about it.

He already sent her a gift certificate. That's great. But now she wants to meet him for lunch just to pick his brains about life and just kind of like everything. And it's so cool just to meet him and to know so. And he even reached out to her husband, Ray.

So I just feel like it just continues. And that is the idea in life. And I think that I love your testament. I hope you can share it more and more because I think that's the one thing that a lot of the young kids today are missing. Because a lot of people are remote, they are working from home and they are not getting out into the world to have these organic conversations.

So we're all looking at Zoom a lot. So I think that you even kind of speaking on that more, I hope you can get on that circuit and do more and more podcasts and sharing that message because I think it is. Really important I am here. I will tell you, Cynthia, I'm going up to Penn State to actually guest lecture next Thursday for three senior level marketing classes. So I'm very excited.

Turns out there happens to be a basketball game the night before. I am taking out some family friends, their son's there, who I have got to know quite well, and taking out his roommates for dinner. So it will be a lot of fun. But yes, I mean it's exactly that, getting out and trying to help. Because you're right.

I think what I have found is the people who are further along in their careers, sometimes the working from home thing is just perfect, right? It allows to hone in focus. But I do think people in the early stages of the career really do miss the conversation of walking past each other in the halls. And the cooler conversations were real, right? I mean, we all did them.

We'd all walk around the offices. And I think you do miss some of that right now. And I do think it does sit on some of us to try to help navigate the new world for people so they don't miss out on some of the things that we all got early in our careers. Exactly. If you don't mind sharing me that information because there's some people there that are at Penn State.

Like, I know a couple of the coaches there, coaches there that might want to share it with some of their. Like, to me, that's the number one recruiting, right. You know, the athletes, I think, are just such great people to work for great companies. So if you don't mind, I'll share that information, and if they can come in and check you out, that would be great. Yeah, I will definitely send it.

Will. Yeah. Flying in Wednesday morning, navigating from Florida to state college. I said, I haven't been in state college's airport since I was a senior in college, but I do know they have one. So I said, even for me.

And then, yes, I will be there for almost two days, so I'll definitely send the information along. Cynthia. So, yeah, more than happy to connect with whoever I can along the way. And so now you're in sunny Florida. Nice, warm.

It's freezing. I am about to go to sunny Florida. I'm on a 05:00 flight. I'm in New York. I was here for two days for meetings, but my sister, brother in law, and their three peanuts are flying to visit Aunt Kathy in Florida tonight at 05:00 and I just put myself on their flight, so I'm flying home with them, which will be.

Oh, how fun. Oh, that's nice.

Thank you so much for being on. We just so, like, I appreciate your friendship. So. Yeah, and I just feel like I can't tell enough people about everything that you're doing and your know, and I just feel like I'm just thankful to have met you and to have worked back at know doing great. Really.

I have to say, even if, Juliet, you can have Kathy on your podcast to share because you have a whole different audience, I think it would be just. I would love that important message of friendship and networking and nurturing those friendships. No, I would love that. I'll definitely have you on your next be. I would be my pleasure.

Because I have so many more questions. I am here to help in any love I love. Happy to do it. Yeah. I love learning about chatting today.

Yeah. Great time. Thank you so much for having me, Juliet. Very nice to meet you, Cynthia. I will be in touch.

So nice to meet you. And I'll send you an email so we can connect on the podcast. Perfect. Happy Friday. Yes.

Happy Friday. Yes. Happy Friday. Good go, girl. Oh, I'm so big.

Why am I so big? And you're, like, tiny. Really? My picture is like a big. Not for me.

You're good for me. Oh, good. Maybe just for you, it bumped up. She's amazing. No, I know.

And I tell you, it's just incredible to me. And I just feel like that is what the reason that we do everything that we're doing is just kind of like catapult people into a direction that they need to go and help them grow. And I hope a lot of the girls got to meet Kathy at the event. I hope that she got to have good conversations because that message just kind of, like, important. Right.

And you can feel it. But it's also so cool to hear that in her world because I know a lot of people that are trying to break into corporations or trying to break in, especially young kids. But even people that are older and pivoting maybe out of their things, like, how do I do it? And it really is about relationships. And it's almost so simple.

It's like, drink more water, right? Your skin is better if you drink more water. It's really simple. But sometimes it's hard. It's a hard thing to do.

But doing it, it's all about those relationships. And fortunately or unfortunately, because some people might say maybe they're socially awkward or they don't know this, they don't know that, but it doesn't matter. You're going to meet your people if you put yourself out there. Exactly. That's true.

Yesterday, something really cool happened. I had this great opportunity to go back to my elementary b. Oh, your book. Yes. I.

So the principal, Kristen Brown, she was just so great. And I had a conversation with her about doing a reading at the elementary school. And she said, well, what grade were you thinking about? And I said, well, I would love to read a second grade because my best friend Carol and I went to second grade together. And so, same with Kathy.

Kathy's out of town. So I called Carol and I said, duke, you have to come with me to Diebo. It's not Dibo anymore. It's Penn Hills elementary school. But it was Dibo for us.

I said, you have to come to the school with me because I'm going to do a reading. Well, she brought her little grandson, AJ and Nino. Oh, my God, they're so cute. So we go to the elementary school and the kids are all there and they're so cute, right? And I'm doing a reading.

But before I read the book to them, I was like, I brought a copy of our second grade photograph, the class photo. Oh, yes. And I told him, I said, listen, I am here, and if you look right over there is my best friend. And we were you guys at one point in this classroom, second graders. And I sent the picture around, and they were laughing so hard.

We all look so goofy. And I said, we have been friends for over 54 years. That's incredible. I told my mother that, and she's like, you shouldn't have told them that. You're all scared.

Of course your mom would say that. I know. I go, mommy. So I said, we've been friends for so long. I said, so look at the person next to you.

Find your best friend across the way, and you guys might end up raising your families together. You might end up having the second gen of kids that think they're cousins. Now we're working on the third generation. This could be the person for the rest of your life. Well, all of a sudden, they started telling me who's best friends with who and how long they've been best friends.

And they were kind of smiling at each other like we could end up being friends for. Yeah, that's so special. And it was a really special message to say to them, like, nurture your friendships because they could be your friend for the rest of your life. And Carol being there was as important as reading the book to them, because the book is really just all about friendship as well. Unlikely friendships that you.

Of course. So after the book was done, most of the stories that they had to share with me was about bees stinging them. Of course. That age is so funny, right? So they were like, one time, one time.

And so we're like, okay, so now we know why we're afraid of bees and why our parents tell us that they were bees, but not all bees. The one little boy said, if you are nice to a bee and leave them alone, then they won't sting you. I said, isn't that a nice message, even for a person to think if you're nice to somebody, they'll be nice back to you, and if you swing at them, they'll probably sting you or swing back. And then we started talking about best friends and how they became best friends with each other, and they were telling those stories. So it was just so.

Oh, that must have been so sweet. Yeah. But it was about relationships, really, when it comes down to it, it's funny that it's about maintaining relationships and building them and keeping them forever. Well, and that's the thing. And keeping them and keeping connected, and it is, again, and being authentic about it.

Right. I really care about you. You are my person. You get me these kind of things are so important. It is.

And when you said being authentic about it, because the one expression I cannot stand, and if someone, somebody says, that's a good person to know. I know when I hear somebody say that, I am just like, oh, no, I can't like that. That is never going to be the way I think. I would never approach somebody because I thought they were a good person to know. But you end up meeting, there are a lot of wonderful people to know, but you have to be authentic about it.

You're right. Yeah. And not right. And that's one of the things I think is in networking and in all of the things, sometimes people are awkward and feel awkward about it because it's like, especially if you're in sales or you have, I don't want to say an end game because that sounds gross, right? An end game sounds gross.

And it's really about the relationship, and you never know where that relationship can go. You never know what you're doing and who the person that you're connecting with because you're authentic and you really care about them. And that's the message that I think is so important and so lost. It's that you really actually care about that person and their story. And that's why asking questions is so important.

And my kids and my husband laugh at me all the time. They're like, oh, my God, you ask so many questions. And I say to them, but if I didn't ask any questions, that means I don't care about you. I mean, I have teenagers, so they're like, okay, well, sometimes we don't want your questions. But it is.

It's about actually really caring about the person across from you or the person next to you or the person that you're meeting. Where did you grow up? What did you do? And sometimes when you ask those certain questions and you see the person answer, it's this answer sometimes that you don't realize. But then it's this beautiful conversation because you asked a question that's something that's important to them and they're excited about it, and that's where then they feel connected because they're like, oh, this person really listened.

Because that's the other thing is being a good listener. Definitely. And really hearing. There's a difference between listening and hearing, and I always switch it around sometimes, but actually hearing what someone's saying, really listening and not just kind of being like, okay, let me just get through this because I'm trying to make a connection. Ask the words to say the next thing or say I did that, oh, I was know that happened to me having to interject your own self into it.

And that's true. And another good example of that know meeting Tod Boulo, who was having the conversation with me because Kathleen Beatty introduced us and said that I was doing the event and there was a lot going on in know that was gearing towards sex trafficking and preventing, you know, putting the word out about it and giving it the exposure that it needed. And so as I was talking, he was like, wait a minute, this isn't what I thought we were going to talk about. I said, what did you think we were going to talking about? He's like, sex trafficking.

I'm like, oh, no, not at all. He goes, but keep talking because this is really great what you're talking about. And I think I know somebody that might fit perfectly. And so there were so many people there that were doing wonderful things, like between the Maloof foundation and I know Cherise Brown was working with Elizabeth Smarts team and they were doing great things and we're going to have them on the podcast on Monday, which is going to be great. And then of course with us with off the field and the Belitnikov foundation.

So there was a lot of awareness going on about it. So a lot of people had their hands in spreading that message, which is so incredible and so careful. So I love that that's how that conversation had started. But what it led to was that friendship, know, Waterloo sparkling water and Kathy Maurella and the Penn State connection and all that. So when you're like, he could have easily said to ho ho, what are you talking about?

Yeah, I got to get on my next call. This is not what I was here for. He heard you and that's the thing, right? And I love how you just said that because he could have in his own agenda. And this is a lot of people that are busy, right?

They're like, okay, the next call, the next, the next call, the next call. And if the one call goes off the way that they thought and they're like, oh my God, I only had 20 minutes and what are you talking about? This is not fitting in my agenda. And they dismiss it. You can miss out on so many things.

So I love that you just said that because that is what's important, just pausing. And it's hard to pause, right. It's not always easy to pause, but pause and listen because you don't know what's going to come out of that conversation. Exactly. And then he ended up being at the event, we got to meet.

We had so much fun. And I just feel like, you never know, we could become friends and maybe I will get involved with whatever he was doing. Maybe we will get involved with whatever within that scope of, I don't know what he was actually involved with. We never really got to talk about that. But Monday, sure you will.

Yeah. But I would love just to kind know because we're on here kind of diving into all the things love that we had Kathy on. But so you did this year. I mean, you had the luncheon, then you did the flag football game, which was a huge success. And then you're also the president of off the field, so you also know big in the fashion show.

I want to ask you now, I'm going to interview you for a second, prepared for, but someone could be like, how does she do it? That, how does she do it? All right. Because you still make plenty of time for your family. You still are traveling in all these different places.

You make time for your friends. And so you're not just working where you're not still doing things. You're giving yourself the time that you need. So if someone's out there being like, I have all these things that I love to do and I have all this stuff on my plate, I'm being pulled in all these different directions, how do you kind of add that to your plate and then how do you navigate it? Right.

Well, it is nonstop work. It's around the clock. It really is. When it's leading up to those events, and anybody will tell you, and you know that yourself because you're a part of it, the months leading up to those events are know where I'll work all day, then I take a break and see Michael, and then I work all night. So it's know, just kind of like just diving in and getting all that.

Then you know those breakaway times. Yes. See your family, spend time, get pockets of time where you feel like you have a life and you'rejuvenated and you are a part of it, but it really is just work. It's really just work around the clock to get it done. And lists.

And lists. And lists. I started something that I thought was really helpful to me and beneficial is that I started doing my lists on my phone, and then before I would close down for the night, I would look at it. And everything that I finished, I put a smiley face before it. I love that.

And it kind of made me feel so happy. When I was scrolling, there wasn't a smiley face I was like, what's going on there? Do that. And so at the end of the, come Friday, after the fashion show, when I was scrolling and I just was adding all my happy faces, I was like, hey, that's all done. That's so cool.

I love that you did that. And it is just work. It's all it is. Because you know what? My friend, my husband's friend, Kevin Turner, one of his videos that he did, one of the later videos that he did, he thought he was so funny.

And he was funny, but he thought he was funny most. But he said, how do you eat an elephant? And then he said, one bite at a time. Really and truly, when you have these big events, it's like an elephant, and. You just got to just keep biting.

Keep doing, keep going, and surrounding yourself by people that care about it. Like, I surround myself with you, you care. Montgomery came into our family and fell in love with Montgomery. Your son, who is just the most incredible person, he became a part of it. My best friends since second and 9th grade, Carol and Kathy and Jackie.

And know my off the field girls. Now, being the president of off the field, it was such an honor to introduce them at the fashion show and to turn back and see these graceful, beautiful, poised women who worked and worked and worked the way we do. The fashion show is the committee know. And this year, cherise and Romanda, cherise Brown and Romanda Jordan were our chairs. And we, of course, were just working to do whatever we could do to help them.

They did such a great job. I mean, it was such a regret. It was a great event. We'll already talk about next year. But again, it is an honor.

It's an honor. And there's a lot of delegating and a lot of committees and a lot of people that come into play to make that happen, which is great for the thread events. I tend to do them by myself. I just kind of, just kind of go like that. But the day of is when all you guys come in and it's fantastic.

Yeah. And I love how you put that. You gave yourself a list with the smiley faces because that made you happy. Right? Okay, I.

Good. Instead of making it where it's like, this is hard because there's times, right? I mean, there's times when you're doing things that you love most of it, but there's always going to be thing in everything that any of us do that the things that you don't love. And that's also sometimes where it's important to be like, let me see who can help me on this because I don't love this and is there anyone that can help me? So I love how you kind of laid that out.

And I think it's, again, such a beautiful thing, us capturing all the stories, the stories, again, that's what connects us capturing meeting Kathy, having her on here, her sharing a little bit about Waterloo, a little bit about herself, but you're just more interested in the products because it's like, oh, wait, she's cool. And I love how she just talked, know how Waterloo is set up. And they've known each other and they're friends and they've worked together and they respect each other and they have this awesome culture because it is about the culture. When you work with people, when you're with people all the time, you want to respect them. You want to have that same kind of like mind, but you also also want to have someone that maybe doesn't have the exact same thoughts as you so you can kind of brainstorm and think and grow.

And so it's wonderful how you bring that group together every year in the events that you do. It's so thoughtful and so meaningful. It means a lot to me, too. The more I think about it, the more I realize that thread is a platform. And so the more I realize it and think about it is it really is my personality is that what thread does is offer a platform for others.

So the event isn't about me, it's about the people that are there. So you're there to help me tell the stories of who they are and why they're there and to help them grow. And the reason to have the sponsors there, of course, is they make the event happen and they make the playbook happen. But what is the event? It is about making them, introducing them to the NFL family.

Maybe they'll collaborate, maybe they'll do a project together. Maybe somebody will represent know. So for me it is a platform. The flag football game is to showcase NFL women in an empowering role on the field. And they were so good power with an emphasis on ridiculous.

And then to show the NFL players in that supportive role as the coaches. And they were competitive too, but giving them that field and watching them shine and excel and also promoting NFL flag because that is important. Do you realize that young girls are going to get scholarships to go to college? I wish I played it. What sport did Kathy play?

Did she say what sport she played? She didn't. I was going to ask her, but she didn't. When I said I played I was like, going to wait, but then she didn't. So I was like, I'll leave it.

Yeah, definitely. That's what I mean. I had, like, a bunch of questions. I didn't want to take the conversation to a whole different way because I wanted to focus on that. But I was like, I got a lot of questions.

So I'm glad that you said you should come on the podcast, and you. Always have the right questions, and that is why you are going to go to the network. So we're going to have to shut down Yns live with NFL thread because you're going to be the next Diane Sawyer. I love you. You are.

You asked the best questions. Thank you. I appreciate it. It's natural to you. It's because you really actually do care about what you're asking.

And like you said, you're listening to the answers. And then I see how people, when they see you on the red carpet, when they come onto the podcast, they're like, they know that you already have a relationship with them and they know you. It's cute. It was funny because Montgomery is like, ma, everyone's hugging you. And I was like, yeah.

He's like, but mean. And I was like, well, I've met them now for a number of years and they know I'm not going to ask them. It's funny and I'm not going to call anyone out. But there were some people that asked really, like, they took too much time. I'm very aware of people's time.

I know that they need to move to next meal. I know that there was people behind me waiting that needed to interview. So I was like, I don't need to monopolize this, right? I just want to get one thing. And so there was a couple of different questions that I would ask, but it's what I'm curious about.

And I know other people want to know, too, and they appreciate that. It's like, oh, they're like, oh, some of them be like, oh, another interview. And I'm like, I promise, one question. And then you know that they're like, all right. And then they know they're like, oh, wait, you really asked me one question.

I was like, I say what I say and then they would move on and appreciate it. Respect for the fact that they are going and you're actually holding them from getting through because there was so much for them to be a part of getting into that room, especially as vips. They had a lot of really wonderful activations, like between Cantu and Creed. They had a lot to get into. And then what a great experience for all of them.

It really is such a great job. I'm just always so proud, and I love just peeking in and checking. Got it. Just so natural. I appreciate it.

No, it's wonderful. And thank you for always including me and saying that. Montgomery can come and intern. I have to show. He's on broadcast journalism, so they have something called hurricane Watch.

And the students put together, like, little news things around the community and the school, and he got to do a little segment. So your flag game is on hurricane watch. And he's like, this is what I did Super bowl week. Yeah. And then he was funny.

He's like, I didn't put the podcast mom, because it's like all you, and it's kind of weird.

Oh, so you were with your mom. It's like, no. Yeah. So he did have a couple of interviews, me on the red carpet, but it was like the flag and then the fashion show. And so it was really cute.

He was so helpful. I mean, just to be able to turn to him and just be able. Can you do this? Can you do that? He was just so in, but he also was so much a part of us, and he's funny.

I have to share what he said when I was like, listen, montgomery, you got to help me out with this. So I want to get something for Michael. And he builds video games, so I'm trying to figure out, what do you think that I could get him that he would like. He goes video game.

And we laughed. He was with all of us, and we laughed for, like 20 minutes. And he was like, I just died. I mean, it was like that humor that was just dry, serious. But he's like, video game, and I'm like, dying.

I'm like, that was just right. No, it's so funny. No, it was such a great event. And again, all. Just everyone together, always supporting you is also just awesome, because they know what this means to you and what you put into it and what this community means to you.

As you said, I love how you started the beginning. And you said, after you leave the game, sometimes it's like, sometimes the players and the wives, they don't like, well, we're not in the spotlight anymore. We don't know what to do. And it's like, no, you did this. You are this.

And it's so not ego. And it's like, there was a couple of people that walked through the red carpet that they came through with the sign, and it was like, do you want to interview? Do you want to interview? And I could tell they were players that were not there anymore, and some people didn't. I would always pull them in and you could just see the smiles.

They were like, oh, thank you. Thank you for. And I could just tell because I could read people right. And it was like, they're not a has been anymore. And that's one of the things I have such a problem with fans and all this stuff.

It's like, you're out of the game now. You're no one. No. They dedicated their lives for this. And it's not okay that we're just like, okay, onto the next.

That's our society. Too much is on to the next. That's exactly it. And that's why it goes. They water down what they did and who they are.

And that's what I know, that there was a campaign going around that legends was really promoting that you are a part of the 1%. 1%. You have to remember that every time you walk into a room. That doesn't mean you have to, but just remember who you are so that you're not casting your eyes down. You're not like the one time that I did a whole photo exhibit in Pittsburgh, and it was all of these portraits of the Steelers on top of old Pittsburgh press newspapers.

And the message was that, you know how they say it's good as yesterday's know? And that's the message I was sharing, is that this is what you are doing as fans to these know, by just casting them aside. They're not yesterday's somebody. This is a person. This is a person.

Did much for the city, and it was a really neat combination. And I do. I guess I do have a lot of passion for that because they are people and families and there's feelings and emotions and it's hard to leave the game, as hard as it is already, then you feel this way about yourself. I just love building them up, and you build them up when you have them on the podcast. Why are you here?

What are you doing now? How can we help you grow? Yeah, no, it's beautiful. And I love and everyone can feel that that's what you do. So that's what's.

We're going to be sharing the podcast. We have a lot of stuff that's coming out with know live with NFL threads, so watch it. We also have Monday and I'll look, I'm sure you sent me the time that we're doing, because I know I say you sometimes, so Monday is confirmed. We're going to be having Sharice and Ramonda, but again, that's not going to be live. Some of the stuff that we're doing is going to be pre recorded, but.

It'S going to go talking to the Elizabeth Smart foundation and the, you know, just about all of their efforts in general. And so some of that might not be live because again, that's some information that we don't want to throw out there. It's going to be more of a podcast format, which we do with some of our guests. We go on a different platform. But you guys can see the flag football game on here.

If you are like, oh, wait, what are they talking about? You could see the podcast is already out. It's not edited, it's fireside edited. So it's the live event. You can go and see that, which is awesome.

And then again, these will all be going out on all of our channels, but our podcast yns live with NFL. Thread, I thought that they could see, so I need to share that with all the players. They're going to want to watch this. Yeah. The flag football.

Yeah. And I don't believe I published it because I think I wanted to check with you and have it look through it first before it's published. But if you guys are watching this, it will be out, I'm sure, in the next day or. Yeah, I'll go and show that to you. But, yeah, I mean, it's a lot of really fun.

Yeah. Stay tuned. Yes. Well, it's always good to see you, darling. Have a great weekend.

You, too. All right. Thank you guys for joining us live with NFL Thread with Cynthia Zordich and myself.

My focus is entirely on helping you follow your passion, even when you feel like you've got stuck in crazy town. There is a way out, its me helping you. You don't have to ditch everything in your life that is making you feel overwhelmed and stuck, you just need some help to navigate it.


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