Have you thought about improving ground transportation for your executive? If not, it’s time you think twice before booking ground transportation for your executive(s).
In this episode, I chat with the team from Savoya – a company that provides secure, executive ground transportation services. I have a great conversation with Meagan Gleason (Chief Operating Officer), and Dominic Miraglia (EVP of Sales & Marketing).
We talk about things EAs should consider when booking ground transportation for their executive(s), how to determine if black car service is the right fit for your executive, the importance of security, and how one executive’s love for Macaroni Grill is a bit over the top.
Meagan also shares how she leverages her remote assistant to help the company grow, and shares tips on working well with remote coworkers.
Enjoy the show and be sure to snag your first ride FREE at savoya.com/goburrows.
The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.
– Vince Lombardi
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.
– John Quincy Adams
CONNECT WITH SAVOYA
- Get a FREE ride by signing up at savoya.com/goburrows, or you can call the Savoya team at 972.449.5563 and mention you heard about them on the Go Burrows podcast.
- Meagan’s LinkedIn
- Dominic’s LinkedIn
THIS EPISODE’S SPONSOR
Thanks to Savoya for sponsoring this episode! Savoya’s Secure Executive Ground Solution combines software and service to deliver the highest level client experience and safety available in ground transportation. This is how Savoya helps travelers and the teams supporting them sustain the momentum that allows them to do more of what they do best—rather than getting bogged down in travel distractions. Learn more at savoya.com/goburrows.
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Dominic Miraglia 0:00
I’m Dominic Miraglia Today’s leadership quote comes from the legendary football coach Vince Lombardi. The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.
Podcast Intro 0:13
The Leader Assistant Podcast exists to encourage and challenge assistants to become irreplaceable. Game Changing leader assistants.
Jeremy Burrows 0:21
Drumroll please. Episode 30
Meagan Gleason 0:27
I’m Meagan Gleason. Today’s leadership quote comes from John Quincy Adams. If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more you are a leader.
Jeremy Burrows 0:39
Welcome to Episode 30. I’m so excited to have made it this far. And I’m very thankful to each and every listener who have supported me and listened to each episode and shared the podcast with their friends. Left me a review on Apple podcasts, or shot a note to me on LinkedIn thanking me for the podcast. So thank you so much for everyone’s support. Today’s episode is sponsored by Savoya. Savoya is the secure into end ground solution trusted by the world’s most discerning travelers in their teams. Savoya has long been known for its legendary client care on more than 1 million successful trips there around the clock team and proactive service model has inspired trust around the globe. Again, today’s episode is sponsored by Savoya. So we have a special link savoya.com/goburrows that’s GOBURROWS. And if you go there and sign up, you can get a free ride courtesy of Savoya. Thanks so much for providing that Savoya team. Again savoya.com/goburrows for ground transportation for your executive. Alright, let’s jump into Episode 30. Hey, everyone, thanks so much for tuning into The Leader Assistant Podcast. It’s your host Jeremy Burrows. And today I’m with the Savoya team. Megan Gleason and Dominic Miraglia. Yeah. Hey, guys, how are we doing?
Meagan Gleason 2:10
Dominic Miraglia 2:12
Jeremy Burrows 2:12
So let’s kind of get to know a little bit about each of you. Megan, what was your very first job? And what skills did you learn in it that you still use today?
Meagan Gleason 2:22
My first job was serving ice cream and soft serve it tasty b y, those are not the same thing and cannot be used interchangeably. And I learned a lot about customer service. It was my first introduction to things like creating a positive client experience and learning how to manage and set customer expectations, resolving complaints and service issues. It was a really formative experience, to say the least. And I think that working in food service should be something that everyone does at least once in their life.
Jeremy Burrows 2:54
Awesome. Dom, how about you?
Dominic Miraglia 2:57
Oh, so my first job was in the dairy section of a local grocery store. So beyond just freezing in the back, you know, cooler there. It was really all about, you know, just like Megan said customer service. But but even more so problem solving. You know, people asking for things that you might necessarily have or asking for things in other departments, being able to, you know, put combinations of solutions together and just help them find what they need. But you can’t tell them, hey, I’m busy. You can’t tell him. I’m doing something else. It’s all about the customer experience and treating them right. So learning that you know, really early on, you know, is really carried over and into the rest of my career.
Jeremy Burrows 3:35
That’s great. So since we’re recording this interview, nice and early in the morning, what’s your favorite breakfast cereal? And why is it your favorite? Megan Maybe you go first.
Meagan Gleason 3:46
So I have kind of a cheesy answer. I’m a Greek yogurt person, so I really don’t eat cereal. But Greek yogurt is my go to each morning. It’s nice. Starting off each day with a little bit of protein that’s always kind of hard for me. So the Chobani less sugar line is my absolute favorite and I eat it every day.
Dominic Miraglia 4:08
Yes, not even fair. That’s like asking to choose between your kids. You know, I guess Cinnamon Toast Crunch. You know that cinnamon milk at the end the best but there’s so many good options out there. I’m still like a little kid eating the most sugary cereal as possible. Awesome.
Jeremy Burrows 4:25
Love it. Yeah, my favorites are maybe a golden grands. I like Chris Beck’s kind of non sugar one but it’s classic. And then yeah, Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Can’t go wrong with that. All right, so let’s talk a little bit about where you guys work. So you guys work at Sequoia. Tell us a little bit about what Savoy is and how you came to kind of work with them.
Dominic Miraglia 4:50
So Savoy Jeremy, it’s a black car service really catered toward executives, really just C level executives. The ultra high Net Worth community, people who really value service, you know, safety, people that need, you know, tight, you know, intervals and confidence. You know that in ground transportation, it’s that simple. And I’ve been with the company around two years now and kind of stumbled into it. But Megan’s been with the company for 15 years now. So we’re really fortunate to be with a great company with a great culture, good people. And it’s all about just delivering great service for our clients. Awesome.
Jeremy Burrows 5:29
And then what was maybe Megan, Don said, You’ve been there for a while, what kind of how did you kind of get into Savoy? And what What’s kept you there for that long?
Meagan Gleason 5:39
Great question. I get that a lot. So I started working at Sequoia in the entry level position, working on our customer care team interfacing with customers booking reservations. And you know, the thing that has kept me at Sequoia so long is just our continual pursuit of excellence. We’re passionate about doing the right thing, and always doing right by our customers. And so it just means a lot to me to work for a company that really stands behind our product. And I’ve never been put in a position where we say one thing to the customer. But we know in reality, it plays out another way behind the scenes. And so the integrity of the business means a lot to me, and it’s something that I’m proud to represent.
Jeremy Burrows 6:21
Awesome. So how has the ground transportation industry evolved over the time that you’ve been there?
Meagan Gleason 6:29
Oh, well, a lot has changed. I would say that the biggest shifts in the industry have been in the areas of technology, security, awareness, and just general client expectations. 10 years ago, the industry was really run off antiquated technologies and processes that forced really only one real mode of communication on customers, which was communicating via phone. And over time, technology has crept into basically every facet of our everyday lives. And as a result, customer expectations around their experience have increased substantially. Today, customers they expect for businesses to accommodate their preferred method of doing business, and that one size fits all approach is just not relevant anymore. In addition to technology, the advent of rideshares has caused a lot of customers to start asking questions related to safety and security, specifically around driver vetting. After a series of high profile, safety concerns involving rideshare drivers and passengers, which has really played out in the national media, clients have started asking questions like who’s driving me or who’s driving my executive and what qualifications and vetting standards do these companies have to ensure passenger safety? So
Jeremy Burrows 7:41
how was Savoya kind of responded and changed and shifted, you know, to adapt to the industry?
Meagan Gleason 7:49
Sure, you know, our history has always been rooted in leveraging technology to help create the best client experience in the industry. But over the last decade, we’ve really doubled down on those efforts, and we’ve released updated industry leading solutions that help eliminate the everyday friction people encounter when they travel. Some examples include our proprietary online portal core view where clients can seamlessly book and manage every aspect of their ground transportation needs, including access to real time GPS tracking with dynamic OTAs. We also launched our updated mobile app where travelers and travel managers alike can access those same features and amenities from the convenience of their phone or tablet. We also released our threatened disturbance monitoring technology, which scrubs social media and other news sources in real time to notify our client care command center of possible schedule disrupting incidents before they impact, upcoming or ongoing reservations. In addition to technology, we created our certified driver program, which ensures our clients only travel with drivers, our fleet management team has personally met, screened and on boarded. Our robust vetting process includes things like in person interviews and vehicle inspections, background checks, drug testing, and a mystery shopper, hearing
Jeremy Burrows 9:05
all that sounds very confidence building for a guy like me, who’s an executive assistant to CEO. And I think that, you know, when we, especially when my executive travels internationally, he goes to San Francisco where he he’s been hundreds of times, you know, I might not think about it as much but if he’s going international, and I’m like, okay, man, I got to make sure that this, this ride that he gets from the airport is a legit company that’s not going to you know, overcharge or credit card or that it’s going to get him to the right place. It’s you know, all that kind of stuff. So that all that that process that you all have in place sounds like very, very assuring to somebody like me, so how have you seen assistants really utilize this service?
Dominic Miraglia 9:57
Yeah, I think you nailed it right there. There’s a lot of different use cases, Jeremy that we can solve. But it starts with, you know, it’s not just about the traveler, right? You know, there are a lot of things that we do for, you know, the principal themselves, right, giving them driver photos, you know, giving them communication directly between the driver, you know, in themselves, right, so that, you know, if they, they’re having trouble finding them, they can call them directly, right GPS to be able to find the vehicle. But giving all that visibility to the assistant is really what’s more important. You know, that the assistant can see a real time eta as that cars driving to or from the airport or to a location so somebody can potentially greet them. You see the reservations and an online portal, and you can see any changes that you make. So it’s about giving you the confidence that you’re not worried, hey, this, you know, my execs for time zones away, and they made it to the hotel, are they okay? You know, do I need to call and check in with them, instead of you having to do all that manual work you’re seeing in real time via the technology. So, you know, I know, you’re kind of probably pulled a lot of different directions. So for you to have the confidence that your execs on time where they’re supposed to be doing the right things, probably makes your life a lot easier.
Jeremy Burrows 11:11
Okay, so Megan, in all your, your your years at Savoya, what’s kind of the craziest story you’ve heard from a traveler that’s maybe used a different ground transportation surface?
Speaker 3 11:24
Okay, there, there’s one that has stuck with me that I will pull from the archives from a few years ago, there was a client that had a group of executives that was on their second to last stop of a financial roadshow. They were wrapping up their final meeting in San Francisco before heading to the airport to depart to Tokyo, when the vehicle they had hired was impounded due to unpaid tickets. What Yeah, what would have already been like, obviously, a frustrating experience turned into a nightmare after the executives realize their passports were in the trunk of the car. And that car was now sitting in a locked impound lot. So they were unable to retrieve their passports until the following morning, which caused them to have to postpone the last leg of the roadshow.
Jeremy Burrows 12:06
Wow. Yeah, that’s rough.
Meagan Gleason 12:09
Yeah, didn’t end well.
Jeremy Burrows 12:12
So Damn, how about you, your your customer portal allows you to save special traveler preferences. What’s kind of the strangest, craziest thing a traveler has asked for?
Dominic Miraglia 12:25
You know, it’s funny, we asked that question a lot. Hey, what can we put your profile and a lot of assistants have never thought of that. You know, so as they stretch us, we keep getting crazy ones. We have a customer who’s done this a few times. They’re located in a very remote part of the country up in Montana. And the customer at one point, her favorite restaurants, Macaroni Grill, at what point she tried to buy a franchise to put it, you know, in her local town, but the town was too small, it was too far away. So that wasn’t an option. She tried to hire one of their chefs that they wouldn’t, you know, allow her to hire any of their employees. So instead, when she has her craving for Macaroni Grill, she’ll fly her private jet to the closest one and use our car to go pick the food up. Bring it back to the jet now she’s not in it, mind you. It’s just, you know, really expensive Grub Hub, I guess. And yeah, we bring her food to the plane and the plane takes off. So it’s, there’s a lot of interesting use cases out there. I mean, people find a way to get what they want and get where they need. That’s hilarious.
Jeremy Burrows 13:33
In Macaroni Grill, too. That’s what’s funny. It’s like a normal chain.
Dominic Miraglia 13:39
Exactly. Now, but hey, if you know what you like, you know, I like Macaroni Grill. But yeah, that’s, that’s excessive.
Jeremy Burrows 13:46
So this question is for both of you, what’s one tip or piece of advice you would give to an executive assistant when they’re booking ground transportation for their executive?
Meagan Gleason 13:59
I would say partner with a company that places a premium on traveler safety. Don’t be afraid to ask direct questions about their vetting programs, including how drivers are sourced and what types of initiatives are in place for the company to ensure ongoing quality and safety standards are upheld on every reservation, I would
Dominic Miraglia 14:19
say just don’t settle. You know, what we’ve seen is, you know, people have gotten really comfortable with a provider and but they haven’t challenged them. And they really didn’t realize that there’s better alternatives out there. And there’s just this low bar that’s dominated this space for so long. People become a little bit numb to it, unfortunately, in there really sacrificing a better solution for them a better solution for their executives. So it’s about really, you know, challenging shopping around calling us you know, or other providers and say, hey, what can you do different? You might not necessarily be in a bad spot, you might not think that something’s wrong. The reality is it can always get better. There’s always a way to it improve the efficiency of travel. And it’s about getting your executive not from point A to point B, but getting them there in the right minds, you know, they’ve got to be focused on, they’ve got to be thinking about the business, you know, that they’re about to do. They can’t be distracted by a chatty driver smells in the vehicle or frustrations around the pickup process. You know, they make a lot of money for the most part. So we need to make sure that we’re getting an ROI out of these people, the same reason that they apply by private jets, or it’s the same reason they stay at the really high end hotels, those products, help them be a better executive. And we think that people just ignored the ground option there. So yeah, I think more so than anything, go out and see what’s out there. Challenge yourself to find a better solution.
Jeremy Burrows 15:48
Yeah, that’s great. Great advice. So okay, if you had a day, let’s start with Meagan, if you had a day where you could go and do anything in the world, with unlimited resources, what would you do? And where would you go? And you can’t say Macaroni Grill?
Meagan Gleason 16:05
Man, that was gonna be my answer. I would say, I would absolutely love to travel to Africa with my family to be able to see the big five at a wildlife nature reserve. It’s definitely the top of our bucket list. Hopefully, we’ll be able to do that at some point in our lives. Just when my son’s a little bit older to where he will remember and actually appreciate the experience, but hands down going on a safari.
Jeremy Burrows 16:31
Dom, how about you?
Dominic Miraglia 16:33
You know, I’m a big space nerd. So I tell my kids all the time, I’m gonna go to space one day, hopefully, in our lifetime, it becomes more affordable, but I really just want to float weightless stare out, you know, into the dark into the stars. I mean, you know, whether or not I’m on the moon or on a planet, you know, that’s another thing. But just to go to space would be absolutely amazing. But my kids are horrified of the idea. You know, that they almost break down in tears every time I bring it up, just jokingly so I’ve got some hurdles to solve there. But, you know, one day,
Jeremy Burrows 17:06
so when you get to the moon, we know what car service you’ll use, right?
Dominic Miraglia 17:11
We’re gonna expand that product. Lana? Yes, I’ll get on that.
Jeremy Burrows 17:15
So Meagan, we talked before you said you have a remote assistant. And so we’d love for you to share a little bit about how you utilize your assistant and what it’s like working with a remote assistant. Sure.
Meagan Gleason 17:28
So I have known my assistant for probably 10 years, our use case, I think maybe a little unique compared to how some other people utilize their assistants, I consider her really a right hand, especially on the research side, as we’ve talked about, we’re really a technology driven organization, which means that we are constantly iterating on our processes on our client experience. And the the main way that I leveraged my assistant is to help with testing and troubleshooting client feedback on our technology. She’s very familiar with our service offering. And she’s very detail oriented and has great communication skills and documentation skills. So she plays a vital role in helping us to really just chase that continual pursuit of excellence with the client experience.
Jeremy Burrows 18:21
That’s great. So what are some of the struggles you’ve had maybe working with somebody remote?
Meagan Gleason 18:29
That is a great question. You know, over the last five years, we we’ve had a lot of employees internally shift to working from home. And so we as a company overall, we’ve really had to work on our communication skills and learning to utilize different forms of technology. I think the the best example of that being video conferencing and video chatting, that is my preferred method of communication for our weekly one on ones that we do with each other, we connect via via zoom. And it’s just the next best thing to being able to talk face to face. So I think when it comes to working with a remote workforce, where there’s a will there’s a way as long as you’re committed to really seeking out the best communication tools possible. It’s really you don’t you don’t really lose anything without experience. You just have to be disciplined about carving out time to video chat.
Jeremy Burrows 19:23
That’s great. So when you do your one on one check ins, could you share maybe a nice, practical tip for executives who want to improve their working relationship with their assistant via the one on one kind of regular meeting?
Meagan Gleason 19:39
Sure, absolutely. I think one thing that I have to constantly remind myself with all of my direct reports, including my assistant, is to make sure that I start with y in terms of explaining why I’m asking for help on anything or if there’s a new initiative that the company is pursuing. I can have a tendency of just jumping straight into the action items and And what that I need help with without spending enough time explaining the why. And so in order for people to really be bought in and to really understand why any of the work that they’re doing matters, our job as leaders is to really start with why. So that would be my best piece of advice is to do that every week. I
Jeremy Burrows 20:16
love it. I like to think it’s a guy named Brian miles. CEO, co founder of belay solutions, which is a remote virtual assistant company, he always said that you should delegate results, not tasks. And I love that just Yeah, it’s similar to the why, like, you know, why are you Why do you want this done? What you know, and then I’ll figure out the how. So, exactly. Awesome. So dumb. What, let’s talk a little bit about ground transportation. Again, what, what has surprised you most about ground transportation? And tell us a little bit about how you got into your career transition into soya?
Dominic Miraglia 21:00
Yeah, you know, I’ve been with the company about two years and in until, you know, somebody just found me and introduced me to our SI, yo, I had no idea that this world really existed, especially at the top end of the market, you know, where we’re helping clients, you know, the sea level, and the board of directors to high net worth individuals, it’s just a unique space. And it surprised the heck out of me that, you know, one that there’s not, you know, more people really focused at the top. There’s a lot of companies who try to be everything for everybody, and don’t really carve out a niche in that, you know, I mentioned it earlier, there’s just such a low bar in the space, it was just interesting that it hasn’t evolved faster, and that there weren’t companies like civil out, kind of pushing the envelope to raise the bar back up. So it’s been a great experience it, you know, a lot to learn, obviously. But it’s really fun. Getting to represent a product and tell a story that you can really stand behind and that the product end delivers. You know, there’s a lot of sales jobs I’ve been in, throughout my career, Jeremy, that if you look across the table at a client, and you don’t even really believe this stuff coming out of your mouth, but good to represent Sequoia as truly amazing, because I know we have great teams that are going to deliver, you know, after the fact and the service is going to live up to the expectations we’re setting. So yeah, it’s been a really fun two years. Awesome.
Jeremy Burrows 22:26
So Meagan, how would you, if you were to meet an executive assistant, at an event, let’s say you’re going to a wedding reception or something, and you’re just hanging out and you meet an executive assistant? What’s What’s something? You know, most of my listeners are executive assistants. So how would you kind of, you know, not not, not drill them with questions, but how would you start up a conversation about how they take care of their executives ground transportation? And then how would you maybe do a little bit of a not necessarily a sales pitch? But does that make sense? Like, how would you just kind of start with somebody that’s that you’ve never met before? That’s an assistant, you find out their assistant, you find out that they have this crazy, you know, demanding boss, how would you encourage them with new ground transportation needs? And what you all do at Savoya?
Speaker 3 23:22
Sure, I think it starts out from just understanding their use case, and what’s going well for them today, and what points of friction they have. Sovoya is a service that’s not for everyone. And so I think first and foremost, it’s just identifying that the pain that they have overlaps with the problems that we solve. Don, what are your thoughts on that?
Dominic Miraglia 23:43
You know, it really starts, you know, Jeremy, with just understanding first what their challenges have been previously, and sometimes they don’t identify it as a pain, maybe their challenge has just been I, I need to be able to, you know, do something with the kids and manage travel at the same time, because we’re in different time zones. So it’s just asking, Hey, what are your challenges? What would you like to see improve? How can you work more efficiently? Like, is it tools? Is it tech? Is it better communication? It’s really a conversation. Part of it is asking the executive, you know, asking them about their executives preferences. Meagan mentioned, we’re not for everybody. You know, they’re really picky travelers love our service. They’re the ones who really identify with a higher level of concierge. So it’s asking them, hey, tell me about your executives, temperament? Are they easy go in and let problems roll off their back? Or does that distract them? Does that, you know, cause them to lose focus. You know, what happens to you if they get frustrated as a type of executive who’s going to take their frustration out on their assistance, which is really unfortunate, you know, and how can we help solve those problems to put you in a better position to look like a champion? On the better service out there, so it’s just a conversation. Yeah, it’s interesting because everybody has their unique perspective. And that’s based on their executive based on kind of their workflow and their preferences. But, you know, it’s a fun conversation to have if somebody’s willing to happen.
Jeremy Burrows 25:14
Yeah, I love what you said about, you know, both of you said, it’s not for everyone. And you know, you got to just understand as an assistant, if we really want to be leaders, we’ve got to understand what it is our executive cares about. And so there are some executives that don’t really care if they have to hop in a cab, and, you know, smells and whatever they just they want, you know, maybe they want to save every penny they can possible. So they’ll do the cheapest route possible. And they don’t care about the, maybe the security as much. But then there’s other executives that like, you know, I want it to be clean, I want it to be vetted. I want it to be safe. I want to know that it’s going to be there on time and wait for me, not me having to wait for it. So yeah, it’s just all about asking your executive, really what they care about and what their preferences are. So yeah, great point. So all right, well, thanks so much, Dom and Meagan, for taking time out of your day to kind of share about what you all are up to at Sequoia it was fine, I got to take Savoy as service on Saturday, take my wife out on a date. And it’s kind of nice getting picked up in a nice clean car and getting dropped off in front of a busy restaurant or by looking at us like, wow, who are these people? So that was kind of a fun experience. So how, how can the assistants listening? If they’re interested in learning more about the Voya and checking it out for their executive? How can we get in touch with you and find out more?
Speaker 1 26:44
Hey, great question, Jeremy. And I appreciate that. They can get a hold of us a couple ways. First thing go to our website savoya.com. That’s savoya.com/goBURROWS, they can also give us a call 972-449-5563 just mentioned the Go Burrows podcast in you know, they’ll actually have the opportunity to have their first trip for free.
Jeremy Burrows 27:09
Perfect, love it. So savoya.com/goBurrows, everyone should check it out. I’ll put the links in the show notes and put your phone number in the show notes as well. Thanks again, Dom And Meagan. I really appreciate it and we’ll have a great Monday.
Unknown Speaker 27:23
Thanks, Jeremy. Absolutely. Thanks, Jeremy.
Jeremy Burrows 27:26
Thanks, everyone, for listening. Check out the show notes at leaderassistantcom/30 where you can find Savoya, his phone number and link to the goburrows.com special link so you can get a free ride and thank you to Savoya for sponsoring this episode. And hope you all have a great day
hopefully dad out
Speaker 2 27:57
please review on Apple podcasts. Goburrows.com