With over 20 years of experience in marketing and VP positions at companies like Callaway Golf, Nike, Qualtrics, Vivint, and Utah Jazz, Nate Randle knows the impact that good people make on company culture. Now at Gabb Wireless, a tech company that creates safe phones, watches, and services for kids, Nate honors the legacy of his parents and other mentors.
When Nate was young, his biological father left his mother. She moved the family to Lake Point, UT, and did everything she could to raise her two young children on her own. She remarried but died in a car accident when Nate was 9 years old. His stepdad took on the responsibility of single parenthood and raised three children while running his law firm.
Technology is part of every moment of our lives, but it doesn’t have to be that way for our kids. Adults have more emotional intelligence and the ability to manage the pros and cons that come with technology (and let’s face it—even though we can manage tech, we don’t always do a great job). But a seven-year-old?
They need more than parental control. That’s why Gabb Wireless creates watches and phones that provide kids with the ability to call and text (limited access to texting) with smartphone lookalikes. There’s no more bullying about owning a flip phone but your child avoids the potential dangers of social media and online predators.
Gabb has its own operating system that lets kids download apps to do things like listen to music and complete their school work. It’s hard to live in today’s world without some sort of connection to technology but Gabb thinks that connection can be a safe one.
Nate Randle is now at the helm of Gabb and is centering his work there on leading with humanity and empathy. Because of his experience as a child of single parents, he looks to serve rather than judge. Gabb Wireless is at the forefront of human-centered business and the way Nate runs Gabb has lessons for us all.
After Nate decided law school wasn’t for him, his confidence was shaken and he had to find footing in a new industry. His mentors at Callaway Golf not only taught him about marketing but helped him understand the power of good leadership.
He developed this mindset when it comes to business: “If it’s not people-first, I’m not interested.” It may sound like a cliche but it’s harder than it looks. A big part of how he leads comes from his mom and stepdad. She had a warrior mindset—she wanted to provide the best life possible for her kids despite the odds. His stepdad had a heart of gold and treated everyone with goodness.
He’s found that creating a successful business comes from hiring people with values like his parents—through hiring people who care about people. In an industry where turnover and layoffs have been the norm over the past few years, it can be difficult to build that culture of trust.
Nate says it’s easy to treat people well during good times but the true character of a leader is shown by how they treat people in bad times. At Nexus IT, we believe that happy, fulfilled employees create happy clients, which means that happy people create healthy revenue.
A leader’s most important role in culture is hiring people that fit and create a culture of support and trust.
One of the philosophies that have helped Nate build a human-centered culture at Gabb is finding people you want to honor and building a culture around them. For Nate, it’s been, single parents. His upbringing has given him insight into their challenges, and the challenges of parents in general.
By deciding who you want your life and work to honor, you’ll be led to decisions that take that into account—like hiring people who have had similar struggles, treating them well, and teaching your kids about the importance of safe technology.
The episode goes into the importance of finding something other than titles to define the work you do, especially as you grow in leadership positions. People who have decision-making power need to find things that are important to them and build a life and company around those things.
Technology as it stands right now robs kids of their childhood. Earl and Nate talk about the fact that smartphones are built for adults, as much as companies try to say they’re safe for children. Instead of being “shackled to technology,” kids and parents alike can use tech as a tool for a better life.
Listen to the full episode for more stories and life lessons about using technology for good and creating a culture that makes people happy to work for your company.