Episode #19

Community college recruitment through relationship building

Featuring Cassie Montgomery Director of Outreach Services at Amarillo College
Community college recruitment through relationship building
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In This Episode

You’ll hear from Cassie Montgomery who is the Director of Outreach Services at Amarillo College, which is a community college in the Texas panhandle.

You'll hear her discuss:

  • how marketing a community college differs from a four-year institution
  • how she revamped their campus visit experience and how she designed it to meet the needs of a prospective community college student
  • the importance of relationship building for recruiting their students
Cassie Montgomery

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Host: You're listening to filling seats, the state of enrollment, marketing, and higher ed. Hosted by StudentBridge. In this podcast. You'll learn, what's working to grow shape and sustain enrollment. At colleges and universities directly for marketers thought leaders and ed tech innovators, because anyone can design a brochure, but not anyone can fill seats.

[00:00:30] Host: Welcome to episode 19 of filling seats. In this episode, you'll hear from Cassie Montgomery, who is the director of outreach services at Amarillo college. Which is a community college in the Texas panhandle. You'll hear her discuss how marketing a community college differs from a four year institution.

[00:00:50] Host: How she revamped their campus visit experience and designed it to meet the needs of a prospective community college student. And the importance of relationship building for recruiting their students well let's meet cassie

[00:01:04] Cassie Montgomery: I did not grow up in higher education. I grew up in the private sector. So, my first job outside of getting my undergrad was at a call center and I worked my way up from being an agent on the call center through being a supervisor and then a lead supervisor, and then went to multiple call centers because that's how call centers work and, we would call it a carousel.

[00:01:30] Cassie Montgomery: So you would just write the carousel to multiple call centers and. Found my place, within one call center where I got to be the social media specialist for the organization. And from there, I became a crisis communicator for the organization and I fell in love with communication. that's what my undergrad and my master's degree are both in.

[00:01:53] Cassie Montgomery: So that's where I really found my professional career to kind of hit its peak. And then I realized that the love that I had for communication translated. To, serving people and helping people. So I was communicating with people about crisis situations that were affecting their daily lives, but the passion that I had about it, wasn't the actual communicating.

[00:02:18] Cassie Montgomery: It was connecting people to resources that mattered to them and what they needed at the. So while doing all of that, I was also an adjunct instructor at the local community college. And I was also an adjunct for my Alma mater a four year institution down the road. And I just fell in love with the mission of the community college.

[00:02:38] Cassie Montgomery: So I left my Alma mater to, Be at, at the community college. And that's where I learned the culture of community college in general, was more conducive to my drive and my love of helping people. And so when the position for director of outreach services at the community college opened up. I truly felt like the job was written for me in mind and they didn't even know I existed.

[00:03:05] Cassie Montgomery: I was some part-time person who only taught at night once a week. They didn't know who I was, but everything in that job description screamed, this is for you. You need this job. And so here I am, this is my first big girl job in higher education. And it, it encapsulates everything that I love about helping and serving.

[00:03:24] Host: Tell me a little bit about your current role and what you do.

[00:03:28] Cassie Montgomery: So the job description says that I oversee our student recruitment efforts for our territories. our college has a nine county service area in the panhandle lift, Texas. So that little square at the top of the state that everybody thinks is nothing but farmland,

[00:03:44] Host: That's not so little.

[00:03:46] Cassie Montgomery: exactly, yes, there are colleges and people there.

[00:03:49] Cassie Montgomery: , so I oversee the recruitment efforts for those nine counties. And I have a small, but mighty team. I have two full-time recruiters and a part time, and we have different demographics that we work to, recruit and to. Enrolled at our college. So, I help with admissions processes with financial aid, with getting students in front of their advisor to get them registered.

[00:04:11] Cassie Montgomery: We conduct campus tours. We conduct open houses. We go to high schools and do visits with them college and career fairs, everywhere that you think a recruiter needs to be. That's what I'm organizing with.

[00:04:24] Host: What industry did you work in with the call center? And what did you teach as an adjunct?

[00:04:31] Cassie Montgomery: My first call center was at an outsourcing company. So I actually supported, extended warranty plans for cars and roadside assistance plans for cars.

[00:04:43] Cassie Montgomery: And then I went into, property and casualty. I. Service. So when you call your insurance agent, you may not be speaking directly with that agent. They have sent that call to, an outsourcing center and then I moved on to life and health insurance.

[00:04:58] Cassie Montgomery: And then that's where I got involved in the crisis communication and social media was for the life and health side, which is really what turned on the light for me, you know, being really close to, the needs that our, our members had. and then teaching. I have both my undergrad and my master's degree in communication.

[00:05:16] Cassie Montgomery: So, I started out teaching basic public speaking, which is the class that nobody enjoys taking, unless you're a communication major

[00:05:24] Host: Or you have a really great instructor.

[00:05:26] Cassie Montgomery: Exactly. Yes. . And I always told my students, my goal is not to make you a good public speaker. Only you can do that. But my goal is to make you more comfortable with speaking and, you know, keep you from throwing up on yourself when you have to present in front of somebody.

[00:05:41] Cassie Montgomery: And I feel like I met that goal. I feel like everybody walked out feeling at least more comfortable with their abilities. And that's the only goal that I had. But. So I started teaching basic public speaking, and then I took on dual credit, basic public speaking, which was really exciting because those are the high school students that are trying to get ahead and getting those college credits while they're still in high school.

[00:06:01] Cassie Montgomery: So they were being bused to our campus. And that was for some of them that was their very first experience with a college campus. But to have that exposure kind of on the clock, you know, like they're getting credit, they're not just coming for a tour. This is their campus. That was really exciting.

[00:06:17] Host: So when you talked about , your title and what you do use the word recruitment. So is that just kind of what y'all call it there? Or are there other admissions folks or another admissions office kind of explain that setup for me?

[00:06:32] Cassie Montgomery: So the reason I say recruitment in this conversation is because nobody understands when I go to a conference, what outreach services is? They all think that I'm a social worker or that I oversee like the food bank on our campus. And that's definitely not me. We do have that, but that's not me. I say recruitment because that's a, a universally understood term, but, that is exactly what my department does.

[00:06:56] Cassie Montgomery: Now. I will tell you a community college in the panhandle of Texas. Does not have a brand recognition issue. Everybody knows where Amarillo college is. They may not know exactly what we have to offer. We do run into that sometimes where they think, oh, I didn't know, you guys had something like that. But for the most part, they know that we exist, that we are their community college and that we may have a service that's best for them.

[00:07:20] Cassie Montgomery: So when we go recruit, we're not having to tell somebody, Hey, we are in Amarillo and you know, here's how you can get started. We truly are just the navigator of that person's experience. We are the concierge of, of getting them from the beginning to the end. So from interest or application all the way through to registration that's our job is to give them the soft skills experience that they may be missing if they just try to navigate it on.

[00:07:47] Host: At a community college, the whole idea of outreach or marketing is much more about customer service and process efficiency versus like marketing messaging. Would you say that that's accurate?

[00:08:05] Cassie Montgomery: Definitely like I have worked my entire career creating communications that are at a seventh or eighth grade reading level. And that's not because we've ever assumed that our customers or our members were. Dumb, or couldn't read above an eighth grade reading level, but you wanna make sure that your communications can hit all audiences.

[00:08:25] Cassie Montgomery: So while some may have an experience that's amazing for them by never interacting with someone on my team, you know, just going on our website, applying for admission, following the checklist and moving on. That's not a one size fits all approach. And so what they truly need is multiple options to accomplish the same goal.

[00:08:44] Cassie Montgomery: And we have a communications and marketing team and my department works very heavily with them to make sure that what we're putting on our website or in print or on billboards. Is fitting the message that my team is putting out there and vice versa. if we are not saying the key phrase that they've put a lot of money into a campaign for, then we need to adjust to that.

[00:09:05] but most definitely putting a billboard out there, putting a website out there is not enough. And so recruitment really is a boots on the ground grassroots effort that has to touch every possible avenue that you can.

[00:09:19] Host: What are some recent wins or successes that you've had?

[00:09:22] Cassie Montgomery: So I would say that one of the biggest successes that we've had. Not even revitalizing, but starting a virtual campus tour for our website. We thought we had it made with a Google maps option and then COVID came along and we learned that that is nowhere close to enough for our prospective students. We partnered with student bridge, to make that happen at the, at the onset of the pandemic.

[00:09:47] Cassie Montgomery: We had been talking about it prior to the pandemic and thankfully our leadership and our administration. Bought into the idea that we needed more. So we did that and we are still seeing an uptick in the traffic that comes to that site. And, I wouldn't say a decrease, but a stagnant amount of people wanting to come on campus for, in person tours, which is shocking to me because I expected in person tours to go way down and to never come back up to pre pandemic levels.

[00:10:17] Cassie Montgomery: But it. and, I think that the amount of traffic that we're getting on our virtual tour combined with our in person tours is phenomenal. So I would say that one of our biggest wins is having a virtual option where people from anywhere can come to Amarillo college without leaving. If they don't want to.

[00:10:38] Cassie Montgomery: Like I said before, we have a nine county service area. . We have four campuses here in Amarillo, and then we have two campuses in two separate counties. So it can be very difficult if you want to see two different places, it can take an entire day, but going on our website and doing it from the comfort of your own home, you could see one in person and then the other at online or all of it online.

[00:11:04] Cassie Montgomery: If you wanted.

[00:11:05] Host: What are your enrollment goals currently? Are y'all in. Growth mode trying to maintain, trying to provide more access. What are those looking like?

[00:11:16] Cassie Montgomery: We are in growth mode right now. And thankfully we are getting close to hitting that goal. , I don't wanna say that we are hitting that goal because we are coming up on payment deadline and census day. So anything can change. But we are trending positively and I'm super excited about that. And this year is what we've called our make or break year.

[00:11:39] Cassie Montgomery: This is the semester that we will base our funding on for the next two years. So any extra enrollment is going to benefit us. So we are on target and, I'm very thankful for.

[00:11:53] Host: . I'd love to talk a little bit more about your campus visit experience because. Traditionally campus visits are seen as a very first year, freshman, four year institution type thing. And it's like this Raro experience and you get swag and you learn about the traditions and blah, blah, blah, and the needs of a student going to a community college are.

[00:12:20] Host: Different. They might not be an 18 year old. They may have a family. They may be working full time. You know, all of this. I don't have to tell you that. So tell me a little bit about, I guess, the history of your campus visit program. Like, did you start it, was it there before and how do you structure it so that it addresses the needs of a community college student?

[00:12:44] Cassie Montgomery: So first we'll talk about how it came to be and where we are now. So before I came along, our college did not have a CRM. So we were managing campus tours with post-it notes and note cards and emails and spreadsheets and whatever else felt good at the time. There was no streamlining of that process. And, let me just backtrack for a second.

[00:13:06] Cassie Montgomery: I started in this position in January of 19. So it was in this millennium that we , that we were acting that way. So, thankfully the college had already initiated an agreement for a CRM before I started and it implemented shortly after I started. So that's mostly what I've ever known is scheduling tours within a CRM.

[00:13:27] Cassie Montgomery: So, thankfully we are in the new millennium with technology and, that, that has really made the difference, as far as not just scheduling the tours, but following up on them and tracking the progress and the success of them, knowing whether or not a tour actually does make a difference and news flash.

[00:13:46] Cassie Montgomery: It totally does. so when I first started, we were handing out bags of information on tours and we still do that today.

[00:13:55] Cassie Montgomery: Our campuses again are pretty spread out. So if you're interested in a specific program, we may not offer that program on the main campus that you're touring, but , the main campus has all of the resources that every student is going to want to know about bookstore tutoring centers.

[00:14:12] Cassie Montgomery: Library technology center, advising financial aid. Those are all universally needed resources for most students.

[00:14:19] we don't hand out swag for campus visits our non-traditional students really appreciate just getting the bag of information. And it's just a folder with all the flyers from the various departments that are universally necessary, and they really appreciate that because it can be so overwhelming going through nine different buildings on one campus and being told so much information in 45 minutes to an hour.

[00:14:46] Cassie Montgomery: And the non-traditional student is who is most often taking advantage of our tours. And so they are typically coming with their baby on their hip, or they're traveling with a stroller or they've brought their significant. Or they've got their phone blowing up with texts, cuz the kids are at home and they need, they need mom or dad.

[00:15:07] Cassie Montgomery: And so the non-traditional student does not have the bandwidth to digest everything that we're throwing at them on a campus tour. So we just hand 'em the bag from the very beginning and say, you don't need this right now, but when you get home, you may have questions. And if they're not in this. My information is, and you can reach out to me and ask those questions.

[00:15:26] Cassie Montgomery: So just sending them with a, a ticket to success is really what we're about. In this mode of where we are. I personally, if I can avoid it, I will never buy swag again, never once in this role, will I ask for a budget to buy swag? I've attended enough conferences with enough, high school counselors on panels who say your swag ends up in the garbage.

[00:15:53] Cassie Montgomery: So why would I buy things with taxpayer dollars just to know that it's going to be thrown away? I did not pick my institution because of the t-shirt they gave me or the sticker that they gave me for my water bottle,

[00:16:06] Cassie Montgomery: I picked my institution for the values that they met for me. The cost, of course, and the proximity to home. Those are the things that we all know as higher ed professionals. That's what makes our breaks an experience so I don't have to spend any money on that.

[00:16:22] Host: What do y'all struggle with in terms of enrollment marketing outreach?

[00:16:28] Cassie Montgomery: I think historically, and I, I can't speak to it just yet because we're not at that point in our enrollment cycle for this year, but historically we have run into the issue of, last minute. Enrollments and they they've done everything right. They've done the application. They've done their placement testing.

[00:16:47] Cassie Montgomery: We have health records on file. We have transcripts, but they have just ghosted us throughout this summer. And classes are filling up and offices are getting full of people waiting to see their advisor or to take care of financial aid, but it never fails payment deadline to the first day of class, which is about two weeks.

[00:17:05] Cassie Montgomery: We see an influx of people. And we always ask, like, what did we do wrong? Where have, where have we messed up? You know, we've been here all summer. We've had the billboards, we've had the radio ads, we've had the commercials, we've sent the flyers, we've got the banners on our campus. What is it that we're missing?

[00:17:23] Cassie Montgomery: And again, I can't speak to whether or not we've improved that this year, but I feel it coming, you know, I feel it in my bones. I feel like it's about to rain and I don't know. How to be better about that? I don't know where we went wrong.

[00:17:38] Host: I really think that, sometimes procrastination, you don't fill that urgency until it's like, oh my gosh, this is the last day. I really have to do it where, you know, all the days before it's like, oh, I have another day.

[00:17:49] Host: I have another day.

[00:17:50] Cassie Montgomery: I do think that we thrive on deadlines as a society. So we've always seen an uptick in enrollments between last data pay and. The first day of classes, because what we call last day to pay is actually last day to secure your classes before you get dropped for nonpayment.

[00:18:06] Cassie Montgomery: So if you come and pay after the last day to pay, you can still do that, but you're gonna have to reregister and go through that experience all over again. Nobody wants to do that. So we do thrive on deadlines. I totally agree with that.

[00:18:18] Host: . in terms of channels that you're using to reach students, which ones are most effective.

[00:18:24] Cassie Montgomery: I hate to say this, but I think that the best channel that we have seen the, the successes of our efforts is in person. and I know that's hard because we all just wanna push a button and send the message and get it out there. but building relationships with your prospects is truly the best way to engage with them and to get them on the hook.

[00:18:47] after that, I would say text is the best way, that we have seen a return on our investment. We get more responses, we get more opens, we get more clicks. they're doing the thing that we ask them to do when we text it to. and then after that it's email. And then after that, it's all other social media.

[00:19:05] Cassie Montgomery: I do wish that we were more active in a, in an enrollment manner on our TikTok. But I don't have the time to do that. Our communications and marketing department runs that and they run things by me. They, you know, they let me know of a campaign that they're thinking about doing, but, I'm not heavily involved in that.

[00:19:22] Cassie Montgomery: I wish I could be. I wish I had the time and the capacity for that. But, aside from that social media, they're not, they're not coming to your community college because of social media. That's not, that's not the best way that we have seen our efforts to, to yield.

[00:19:38] Host: So what are some of those top in person efforts? Is it them coming to you and physically being on campus and that interaction taking place? Or is it you going to them at certain places?

[00:19:51] Cassie Montgomery: I'm a big believer of meeting them where they are. So if we are meeting that student in their high school, that's where they're comfortable and that's their home turf. So you're a visitor in their house and they can walk away at any time. So the longer you can keep them engaged in a conversation, the higher your chances are of continuing a relationship with them.

[00:20:14] if they have sought you out and have asked to come to a campus event or to a campus tour, it is your privilege to build a relationship with them. It is not an obligation. It's not a responsibility. It is an honor. They are gifting you their personal. and you have every right to spit on that or to embrace it.

[00:20:37] Cassie Montgomery: And if you don't make that first impression a positive one for them, you've spit on that.

[00:20:44] Cassie Montgomery: And we don't have dorms. So if you're coming from more than an hour away, you're committed to being an independent grown student and you're coming to Amarillo for a growth opportunity. And. Shame on us. If we hinder that in any way.

[00:21:04] Host: . What is your mix of students coming straight from high school versus returning, and then, adult learners.

[00:21:11] Cassie Montgomery: So our new students or what we call F ticks first time in college, they make up about 15 to 20% of our enrollment, depending on the, on the year.

[00:21:21] Cassie Montgomery: and then the other 80% are either persisting students who continued term after term, or they are returning, stop outs. So they've come to us at some point and now they're coming.

[00:21:34] Host: So that 15 to 20% could be straight from high school or adult first time in college.

[00:21:40] Cassie Montgomery: Yes, it is traditionally the, the 18, 19 year old. But yes, there are a small percentage of that that are adults that have never attended.

[00:21:49] Host: Are there a lot of other community colleges in this nine county area that you serve and what does your competition look like?

[00:21:58] Cassie Montgomery: So the state of Texas has what are called gentleman's agreements between community college systems. So there are 26 counties in the panhandle of Texas, but Amarillo college only has nine within its territory. So there are two other community colleges in the panhandle that make up the, the other counties within that 26.

[00:22:21] Cassie Montgomery: So we have this agreement where we will not intentionally approach prospects that are outside of those nine counties for us. , we have a little bit of competition between the two other community colleges. They are much smaller than a local college, just in the population that they serve, the programs that they offer. but they do offer reside. Options there. So they, they have things that we don't.

[00:22:48] Cassie Montgomery: We have things that they don't. we also have a four year institution, 20 minutes up the road, which is my Alma mater. And we have, a, a D one institution, two hours away. So, there is competition there, but I say that with kind of an eye Twitch, because, the data shows that for, graduating seniors, we get roughly 60% of all of those students and they at least attempt within their first year, they attempt college at our institution.

[00:23:18] Cassie Montgomery: So we get a big chunk of them. but we also, , know that there are other institutions out.

[00:23:25] Host: So When you think about, other community colleges , what are some things that they're doing that you think they're doing a really great job with?

[00:23:34] Cassie Montgomery: I have learned as recently as last month that we can always do better at our campus. We can be more intentional and do more outreach when they are coming to us with their free time. I, I keep capitalizing on that, that they are gifting us with their day. My time is precious. So when someone brings me their time, I need to capitalize on it as much as possible.

[00:23:58] I think that we've learned that in the consumer industry, people don't like commercials. They don't like ads and they will skip right through it. Or they will pay extra to avoid the. and so you don't wanna be a commercial. You don't want to be salesy. You want to build a relationship with them. You want to give them an experience.

[00:24:16] Cassie Montgomery: I've learned from south Texas college that your ambassador program needs to be heavily robust, that there need to be real leadership opportunities for those student ambassadors that you can't just waste their time. Because again, time is precious. They could work at a fast food restaurant making double what they make for me.

[00:24:36] Cassie Montgomery: So I need to make it worth their time to be here for. And to give them what they're craving because the paycheck is not, it they're not here to be rich. They're here to survive. So, that's, that's definitely what I've learned from community colleges is that the successful ones, the ones that are meeting or exceeding their enrollment goals are the ones that are providing an experience for those on campus events.

[00:24:59] Host: What are some things that you think other community colleges could be doing better?

[00:25:03] Cassie Montgomery: I do recommend, if you have the funds and the resources to attend the CIVSA conference every year, highly recommend it.

[00:25:12] Cassie Montgomery: I just learned about it. In November at another conference, but this conference changed the, the perspective that I and my colleagues have about campus experiences and student ambassadors. So if you're in a position where you oversee student ambassadors, or if you oversee visitor centers or, on campus events, that is the conference that you need to put all of your eggs into because it.

[00:25:36] Cassie Montgomery: Full of energy, full of ideas and packed with innovation. So, especially community colleges, because CIVSA is really heavy on the four year institutions. They need more community colleges. And I went and, and a colleague of mine went and we got so much out of it, even with it being mostly four year institutions.

[00:25:56] Cassie Montgomery: So the more of us that can be there, we can share those unique pain points that. Our four year counterparts really don't face or face in a different way. And you would be shocked at the amount of ammunition that you come back with, that arms, your next enrollment cycle. I highly recommend it.

[00:26:14] Host: Do you struggle to get the funding that you need to properly run a visit program or does your school see it as the priority that you see it as

[00:26:24] Cassie Montgomery: Both so my school does see it as a priority. And when I ask for something. I typically get it because I don't ask for much. as I said previously, I eliminated all swag from my budget. So, I don't ask for things like that and everything that I do ask for I'm willing to sacrifice something. So, I was willing to sacrifice, our swag budget to partner with our campus tour vendor, so that that's, where you have to be willing to make those sacrifices for what's truly important.

[00:26:55] Cassie Montgomery: And, I do, I do get the added benefit of my boss being incredibly supportive of our.

[00:27:03] so obviously we've gone through a lot of change in the past few years how has that change affected Amarillo college? And what do you see for the future of community colleges? Let's say going into the next five to 10 years.

[00:27:17] Cassie Montgomery: Well, I think we're all pretty aware of the demographic cliff that we're about to fall off of. so you're going to have to become more cognizant of that non-traditional student. And you have to meet them where they are in a way that's appropriate for them.

[00:27:35] Cassie Montgomery: When you are planning out your recruitment strategies, you've gotta be creative. And I personally believe that the best perspectives are from outside of the house. So talk to your local employers, talk to the HR directors there and say, you know, Hey, how many frontline employees do you have that could be reskilled or upskilled in their area?

[00:28:01] Cassie Montgomery: Do you offer tuition reimbursement plans? Can I get a copy of that so that I can be educated on it? Can I get access to these employees in intentional one-on-one conversations?

[00:28:12] Cassie Montgomery: Offer them real, tangible results. Everybody wants to know what's the outcome gonna be. And it should not just be a piece of paper that you put on your wall. It should be a step forward or a promotion or opening a door to the next opportunity, whatever it is. But I, I totally believe that we have to meet them where they are in a way that is appropriate for this situation.

[00:28:34] Cassie Montgomery: I do think that the curriculum that we offer to our students will have to change in the next five to 10 years. I read a book not too long ago, and I wish I remembered the title of it, but it was basically saying that today's kindergartners. Will work in jobs that don't exist right now. So I think that we need to be thoughtful in the curriculum that we offer.

[00:28:59] Cassie Montgomery: Quite honestly, I don't know that today's listeners of this podcast are going to be in control of that curriculum. I think that their, their hands will be tied as far as what that curriculum looks like. But I think that we need to be beating that. With those who do make those decisions at our institutions and reminding them that we can put lipstick on a pig all day long.

[00:29:21] Cassie Montgomery: But if that pig only goes to slaughter, what have we done for ourselves? We, we have not made anything better for anybody. So it's really important for us to be aware of the product and the experience that we are. Presenting to our constituents, to our stakeholders. and I truly believe that education is an experience, but it also is a product.

[00:29:42] Cassie Montgomery: We feel like we're investing in it. So we should have something to gain from it. I don't believe that your general education is going to be enough. I think that we're going to need to segment into fields that we aren't yet fully. Informed of yet. And so our curriculum leaders need to be at the forefront of that fight, finding out what is on the horizon and guiding that curriculum.

[00:30:08] Cassie Montgomery: According.

[00:30:10] Host: . What is an app or a marketing tool that you could not live without?

[00:30:14] Cassie Montgomery: Can I say student bridge

[00:30:16] Host: Sure.

[00:30:16] Cassie Montgomery: so let me preface this by saying I was not paid to say this. I was not asked to say this, but the virtual campus experience that we partnered with was student bridge. And I think that that truly makes the difference. In the experience that we offer our students and we're still learning it. You know, our, our platform is still getting better and we're still improving the way that we say things or how the, how we point things out.

[00:30:45] Cassie Montgomery: But we are, truly seeing the benefits of that investment. So I think that, my department could not live without student.

[00:30:53] Cassie Montgomery: When our account manager met with our president, we all felt like this option just fit like a glove. we went through the whole RFP process like everybody does. And we, we did have a top three and to be honest, student bridge wasn't even the top one. It was just somewhere in the top three. And we just kept feeling this connection of support and that we felt like this group wasn't going to let us down, that they truly were invested in their efforts.

[00:31:24] Cassie Montgomery: And we have a great relationship with our account manager who. Checks in with us monthly to make sure that we have what we need, that we don't have any questions. and if we do have questions, she's ready to hop on a call with us. It, it really is a great working relationship.

[00:31:39] if you could go back five to 10 years and give yourself advice, what would it be?

[00:31:45] Cassie Montgomery: I would tell myself to ask more questions. Be the loud one. I think that females, especially in the workplace have been given this stigma of all sorts of awful things. When we speak up, when we ask questions, when we push the bar. And I think that if I knew, then what I know now, I would be an even stronger personality, which I feel bad for my boss.

[00:32:16] Cassie Montgomery: He's probably thankful that , that he didn't know me then maybe, but I think asking questions and putting a spotlight on things and being ready to question why something doesn't work or why do we do it that way? I think that it would make me an even stronger person.

[00:32:36] Host: If someone wants to connect with you, what's the best way for them to do that?

[00:32:41] Cassie Montgomery: It's probably best to email me. C Montgomery, a ctx.edu.

[00:32:46] Host: Well, thank you so much for interviewing with me today. It was great getting to know you.

[00:32:50] Cassie Montgomery: Thank you. I appreciate it.

[00:32:52]

[00:32:54] Host: thank you for listening to the filling seats podcast, hosted by student bridge. If you'd like to connect with this episode's guest. Check out the show notes. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a rating and review and don't forget to subscribe. For more information about the podcast or to let us know, you'd like to be a guest.

[00:33:14] Host: Visit student bridge.com/podcast. Thanks for listening