The Robins School and Full Disclosure Live

February 15, 2021
Helping an alumnus after a devastating 12 months

How can the network effects and audience “hive mind” of a live show help someone with a life problem? Roben Farzad, host of Full Disclosure on public radio, and the Robins School teamed up to answer that question.

Greg Franklin, ’07, a father and finance professional, had his life upended in March 2020 when his wife, Jodi, became ill and began a long road to eventual diagnosis and treatment. After spending seven weeks in the hospital, Jodi was discharged to come home in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. For months Franklin cared for his wife who had limited self-sufficiency, guided his two children through virtual school, and worked long hours in the struggling commercial real estate industry, before realizing he needed to focus on his family and parted ways with his job in August.

In less than 12 months, his personal and professional lives were utterly devastated. “The storm just got worse,” Franklin said. Farzad learned of Franklin’s situation and wanted to help, inviting Franklin to be interviewed on a live show with an audience of mentors and community members. 

The first interview in an eventual series offered jointly with the Robins School, the “experiment” as Farzad dubbed it, aimed to share Franklin’s story and source the guidance, network, and minds of Richmond’s entrepreneurial and business leaders to help Franklin find a new career path amidst a stalled job search.

“I love that busy people can put aside Zoom fatigue and make the time and spiritual bandwidth to help someone out,” said Farzad. “And it's far from being zero-sum; it energizes everyone involved.”

Dr. Shayna Cooke, VP of human capital at Dominion Payroll, shared advice during the event. “Reach out to ex-colleagues, even if it’s ex-colleagues that maybe you had some rubs with, or ex-bosses you didn’t necessarily connect with, to gain perspective on your strengths and growth areas to get a clear picture of what you’re presenting out in the world. I would certainly challenge Greg right now in this pivotal moment in life to really think about what it is you love, what makes you happy. When you are happy, what are you doing?”

Throughout the challenging year, Franklin said he realized the non-profit world is something that has been on his mind. “I want to be involved with a company or an industry that gives back, that has a strong community or philanthropic presence,” he said.

Andy Whitehouse, managing partner of Copperfield Advisory, shared important advice for job seekers in this virtual world. “Don’t underestimate the power of emotional storytelling in the context of your job search. People tend to go with the facts and the figures as a way of selling themselves to the employer. That’s not what we remember as human beings. We remember emotional stories and personal connections. Put those things at the heart of your search.”

“The path-breaking format of this episode of Full Disclosure gave us the opportunity to not only help one of our own graduates but also to draw upon the insights of the broader community. This pandemic has challenged everyone, and it was inspiring to see so many people come together to help Greg through his struggles,” said Mickey Quiñones, dean of the Robins School.

The event ended with Franklin’s LinkedIn network lighting up with new connections and opportunities. “I’m blown away by all the contributions tonight and everybody who showed up to give their words of kindness and advice or offer up solutions. I appreciate every little bit of it,” Franklin shared.

“We are very excited about our partnership with Roben Farzad and his show Full Disclosure. The show consistently delivers timely, informative, and thought-provoking stories and guests,” Quiñones shared. “Working with Roben and his show will provide our students educational opportunities that are aligned with our pillars of excellence, relevance, and impact.”

Stay tuned for an update on Franklin’s story, as well as invites to future special events with Roben Farzad and Full Disclosure.