On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Larry Smalley, a management consultant and facilitator for Virtanza. Larry has worked in many different career environments, but his passion for helping people achieve their goals has remained.
Larry has used his knowledge and background in psychology to help him better understand people in the business world. When he first began college, he wasn’t certain of career direction but was drawn to psychology. After graduating, Larry volunteered in clinical psychology but decided that it was not a match for him. He then focused on industrial psychology, getting a Masters in Industrial Psychology and an MBA, and he has applied this in the business world ever since.
Larry worked for 20 years in corporations and as VP of Human Resources for several companies. He eventually exited the corporate environment and spent several years in human resources developing training programs and re-energizing companies. In the last ten years, has worked in developing business strategies to support company growth and customer satisfaction. He met Debbie while working for the Orange County Register, and the two of them became friends and eventually business partners. Only several months ago, she asked him to participate in the Virtanza process, where he has worked as an independent contractor and trainer.
I asked Larry what it is like to work independently, setting his own hours instead of being in a salaried position. He said independent work may seem like more pressure, and it’s not the path for everybody, but it can provide greater opportunity because you are risking more and are constrained only by your talents.
As to what is most rewarding about his job, Larry stated three things:
1) Being able to work with caring and smart people.
2) Making a true difference in their lives and “helping other people achieve what they want to achieve,” often when they don’t know how to.
3) Personal continual growth and education. Larry explains that he is constantly learning about different types of markets and sellers as he works with new clients.
When he is not working, Larry enjoys traveling with his wife. The two of them also love to cook and entertain in their home. As wine enthusiasts, they are currently building a home in the middle of wine country.
At the end of our conversation, Larry explained that he recently worked alongside a company in Big Bear, California, an area that has been greatly affected by the economic recession. By helping to train people who are living in a tough economic environment, Larry says he can help their businesses grow and revitalize others in certain communities. He emphasized the idea that the sales industry is truly about helping people achieve what they have dreamed of achieving. This way, everybody wins.