Carol Keogh – President and CEO of ESI Ergonomic Solutions

Do not be afraid to get started. You can learn along the way.

As the President and CEO, Carol is responsible for driving key strategic initiatives for ESI Ergonomic Solutions. She has led the company to achieve compounded annual growth of more than 30% since 1999. Carol is a passionate leader dedicated to producing high quality, innovative products. Prior to her 16 years experience in the contract furniture industry, she had a successful B2B sales career with Cannon. Carol resides in Scottsdale, AZ with her husband. She is a proud mother of two recent college graduates who are now working millennials.

Where did the idea for Workspaceology come from?

Workspaceology is the science of workplace design as it relates to the design of an office workspace, ergonomics and company culture. We were talking about this “idea” that includes proper ergonomics, health & wellness, environmentally friendly products, and work spaces that made people productive and comfortable. It is an idea that helps retract and retain top talent – that is important to all workers, facility managers, and management in top positions. Workspaceology addresses it all.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I wake up at 4:50 am and work out from 5:30-6:30 am almost every day. I have a great group of ladies who keep each other motivated and accountable. By 7 am I am in front of my computer at my home office for at least an hour and try to tackle something of significance with zero interruptions. I use my 20-minute commute to the factory on the phone and by the time I get to the office I have time to make the rounds and touch base with our employees, most times just a quick hello. I schedule most meetings and appointments between 10-3pm. I am most productive in the mornings and go to bed embarrassingly early in the evening.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I surround myself with really smart people who know how to do that.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

There has been so much press on the benefits of height adjustability in the work environment. It’s exciting to see the general public responding so positively around the health benefits of standing while working.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Schedule everything – seriously everything!

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

Collecting money over the phone from patients at my father’s doctor’s office. I learned that you won’t get anything unless you ask and a little bit of something is better than nothing!

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

Nothing. Not knowing what I didn’t know at the time kept me asking and reaching. Had I known the hurdles in front of me I might have been more hesitant in my approach.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Do not be afraid to get started. You can learn along the way.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow ESI Ergonomic Solutions? Please explain how.

Service. We understand who our customer is and what their needs are. We make sure we take very good care of them to keep them coming back.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Being a busy entrepreneur of a rapidly growing company, it is easy to let work take over your life. As a working mother putting in long hours and on the road at the very least one night every week I missed a lot of events in my daughter’s lives. I know many working mothers struggle with this guilt of not being there in some way for their kids. I started scheduling more and made sure the events in their lives made it on my calendar and kept them as important as sales opportunities.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Treat your employees like customers. Ensure different departments work hard to work with each other. The inside team needs to be happy, engaged and running smooth and respected. This will transfer over in how they treat the outside customer.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I love yoga, but even after a decade of practice, I like to keep pushing myself and challenging myself to do more. There is a wonderful yoga studio in New York City that has in-class private instructors. For $100 I get a personal instructor by my side during the group class who makes sure I am holding each pose to the best of my ability. It is awesome!

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

At ESI Ergonomic Solutions, our marketing team has been using a project management program called Asana, which allows us to track work and tasks. The program includes a chat feature and updates in real time, which has increased their efficiency.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I have always liked the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. It is based on principals I believe are important in business and running a company; fairness, integrity, honesty and human dignity.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

As a woman business owner in a male-dominated industry and mother of two girls who are working millennials, I am always on the lookout for inspiring woman role models. I constantly send my daughters articles or reference a woman who has overcome adversity of challenges and came out on top. When I heard of Spanx and Sara Blakely’s story I was impressed with her resilience to succeed with the idea she created out of a personal need. I am a big believer that I wouldn’t ask an employee to do something I had not or would not do but WOW this woman changes into her product for sales meetings!


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