True leadership is more than just claiming a fancy new title; it’s about cultivating genuine relationships in your workforce, allowing others to make mistakes, taking ownership of your faults, and leading with humility and transparency. Chris Johnson encompasses true leadership in every way, and we are grateful for the knowledge that he shares with us today in his capacity as the Chief Sales Officer at CrossMed Healthcare Staffing Solutions. After explaining how he got into staffing and what CrossMed as a company is all about, Chris describes the current state of healthcare staffing and how industry changes have altered his team’s approach to certain aspects of their jobs. We discover how CrossMed maintains its vibrant office culture, how its leadership team stays connected with the rest of its employees, how it facilitates interdepartmental work relationships, and why it values humility and transparency above all else. To end, we learn about CrossMed’s approach to new technology and AI, and Chris explains how he stays motivated to keep elevating himself in all aspects of life.

This episode is brought to you by Bullhorn. For more information, visit

[0:00:55.6] DF: Hello everyone, thank you for joining us for another episode of The Staffing Show. Today, I am super excited to be joined by Chris Johnson who is the Chief Sales Officer of CrossMed. Chris, thanks so much for joining today, excited to have a conversation.

[0:01:07.4] CJ: Yes, absolutely, David. Thank you for having me. I’m excited as well.

[0:01:10.9] DF: Yeah, so to kick things off, can you tell us a little bit about CrossMed and then, also, I’d love to hear kind of your story and your journey into staffing.

[0:01:19.0] CJ: Yeah, so, CrossMed has been around for a number of years. So, I think we actually launched in 2019 and I think we just kind of had some trouble getting legs underneath us at first not an easy business to get started in right away and so, our investors brought on Bridget Weber, who is our CEO in 2020, and then a couple of months later, she brought me on as well. 

So, Bridget and I really, when we met, we shared the same passion and drive, and desire to build something that we believe could be very special with the focus on the people, and to give back an opportunity that has been provided to both of us, kind of growing up in this industry. So, I started at Medical Solutions in 2008. So, I had some amazing mentors there, people that are still very important to me and in my life today.

Just got to a point where I think it was one of those deals where when you find someone like Bridget that you align with and you can take this leap of faith and say, “Hey, let’s go bet on ourselves and see if we can do this.” That’s exactly what we did. I’ll never forget the first day I started at CrossMed, we were in this tiny, tiny, office and I mean, I was so excited to be there. I felt like I was home, but I looked at Bridget and I’m like, “How the heck are we going to do this?”

So, we just started plugging away, man. We just started – you start out day by day and the next thing you know, obviously, a couple of months after we had started, the pandemic hit, and we thought, we were amazing. I mean, we were convinced that we were the best, right? And then, the post-pandemic hit, and then we were convinced we were the worst. So, it’s been quite the journey, it’s been incredibly humbling but you know, I’m glad I didn’t start this with hair because –

[0:03:00.7] DF: Well, your beard is looking nice, there’s not too much grey in there that I can see. So, maybe some peppermint may be going on. I mean, that’s a fun story to hear about and it is also I felt like what you guys have built in the years that you’ve been doing it through some challenging time has been a really impressive brand. I know you’ve won some awards for it. I think you had an award from ClearlyRated and you guys are well respected in the industry. 

Could you tell me a little bit about it and I know, you have kind of your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in healthcare staffing and you also have the background behind that but from your perspective, what’s going on in healthcare staffing today?

[0:03:33.8] CJ: That’s a loaded question. You know, I wish I had the answer, right? I think, from my perspective is we’re still trying to figure it out. We’re still trying to figure it out and healthcare staffing, what normal is going to look like going forward. You know, I talk with so many people and I don’t think anybody is truly trying to figure out what normal is, we’re trying to figure out what consistency looks like, right? 

So, what are the expectations daily? Do the KPIs that our teams meet every day and exceed every day, is that going to be consistently turning out the production that all of us are looking for, right? I don’t think anybody wants the floodgates to open up again because we know there’s the opposite side of those floodgates, which is kind of what we’ve been battling over the last year. So, I think we’re getting there. 

I think you know, we’re not back by any stretch of the imagination but I do see a little light at the end of the tunnel. I am seeing, over the last month, a month and a half, some consistency happening with what we’re asking all of us to do internally here, and seeing those KPIs turn into consistent output, right? So, I think we’re getting there, I just think it’s a lot slower than any of us anticipated, and I think there’s going to be – I don’t think this will ever look the same going forward. 

I think it’s going to be quite a bit different from a staffing perspective and with technology and post-pandemic and all the eyes that are on this industry, I get it. It’s, you know, the pandemic put a spotlight on us and so now, we’ve got to adapt and change and understand what this is going to look like going forward.

[0:05:00.8] DF: Yeah, and I think, in the last – for my perspective and from, you know, it’s like, since January of last year, things have shifted quite a bit and it seems that you know, healthcare staffing this year is maybe having a bumpy road and kind of regressing back to the meaning and getting back to where it was pre-COVID, and I know that for a lot of agencies, you know, it’s been challenging. 

There’s been some layoffs and I think there’s more optimism right now. You’re the – I talked to a handful of people in the last week who have said that they’re seeing things in healthcare staffing maybe return, it looked like they’re returning to more of a stable spot, which is exciting. Going through all of this, like, what are some of the ways that you’ve led the team or things that you’ve seen from your team asking from you as you’re going through some of these areas?

[0:05:43.9] CJ: Yeah, I would agree with you. To take a step back here, you know, the last year has been incredibly challenging and it has put us in a position and forced us to make decisions that to be quite honest with you, and maybe not everybody feels this way but they’ve been gut-wrenching, something that nobody ever wants to go through that. Nobody, that’s not a desirable position to be in. Unfortunately, it was a necessary over the last year.

I was thinking about this the other day and I truly believe this, what I’ve noticed is that what was – in the past, what was recognized as maybe micromanagement is now considered welcomed help and we are certainly not micromanagers here but we have all embraced all hands-on deck and so, the majority of the item, every leader we have here is out. We’re not tucked away in offices, we’re not going to – there’s nothing that can do here that’s going to have an impact on anybody else, right? 

So, we’re going to be on that flow. I think the way that we see it is, look, we have a level of experience. We have years of experience, we’ve seen and experienced a lot, and so how can we go to battle with everybody and it’s not your typical, “I just want to make sure you’re working.” It’s, “I want to be available to try to help.” A lot of the things that we used to do in this industry in the past are all of the fun things that we do. 

I mean, you got to keep that stuff but that’s not necessarily what people are looking for right now. People are generally looking to grow, right? They’re looking to increase their opportunity and capitalize on that opportunity and so, again, I think what was once recognized as micromanagement and, “Hey, I don’t want that kind of the chubby bald guy walking around here anymore is making” is now, it’s saying like, “Hey, help. Help me grow my desk.” And so, that’s been really interesting. 

We are incredibly blessed with some incredibly dynamic leaders, very, very, very, strong leaders in this company that cares. So, in the last four years of CrossMed, I obviously have done an insane amount of interviews and one thing that pains me the most is to interview somebody and get into the dialogue about like, “Okay, so, what is your leader, what is your manager doing to help you?” And I think, too many leaders are hands-off. 

I think too many leaders get into that role and kick their feet up a little bit, right? That’s not who we are, it’s not who we will ever be. That’s the difference between, in my opinion, a manager and a true genuine leader. A leader is going to sacrifice, they’re going to be available, they’re going to do whatever it takes to help every individual on their team succeed, and so we are very blessed in that. 

We are not perfect by any means. In fact, there’s a lot of times, David, I’m not going to lie to you, I’ll be very honest with you, I think I’m helping and I’m pretty sure I’m getting in the way. So, finding the balance – 

[0:08:16.2] DF: Yeah, I know that feeling.

[0:08:19.7] CJ: Of saying like, “Man, you know what? You just need to let everybody else, we hired them because they’re incredible. So, let them be incredible and get the heck out of their way.” Finding that balance has been challenging because I enjoy it. The reality is, I haven’t done it in a while. So, I’ve got to rely on the people that are – or have their hand or their finger on the pulse daily and allow them to do their thing.

[0:08:39.6] DF: Yeah, and I think that the leadership styles, I’ve experienced this myself and it feels like it’s a – shifted and made me realize how much more dynamic we have to be during periods like this and you understand that when things are a little bit more challenging, you do have to make some adjustments to how you’re approaching things. Do you have any specific examples of – and when you say, micromanaging, what does that mean in terms of how you’re engaging with or interacting with the team?

[0:09:05.5] CJ: Yeah. So, I think, just being a presence on the floor, right? Not just the sales floor but the operations floor as well, compliance. You know, just being a resource to everybody. I think it’s easy to get tucked into your office and to stick on your computer and just focus on running reports. Well, the reports don’t do anything right now, they’re really not that beneficial, right?

[0:09:24.9] DF: Yeah.

[0:09:25.0] CJ: I mean, numbers tell a story for sure. So, made a point of it, just set up shop out there and just let them know, “I’m not trying to stalk anybody or to see to confirm whether you are or not working. I’m here to be a resource and to help wherever I possibly can.” And the same holds true today. If I don’t have the answer, which there’s a good chance that I don’t but I can help put you in a position to find the answer so that we can move forward.

[0:09:47.9] DF: Yup.

[0:09:48.3] CJ: I think it’s just showing them that we genuinely, we’re in this together. It’s not from a top – I mean, we are all in this together, we’re going to learn from each other.

[0:09:56.1] DF: I think that’s really great and like, approaching from a kind of collaborative mindset, and as some of these challenging times, are there any lessons learned around one, things that you’re doing to either kind of keep morale up or keep everybody engaged and also, I know, as you mentioned, the KPI side of it and just starting to get back to a spot where the KPIs are driving the results you expect. Are there any things on that front that you’re like…any lessons you can share with the audience?

[0:10:21.4] CJ: I think we got into a bad habit over the years of only celebrating production, and we still do, we celebrate – so, for us, a contract signed comes in, they have walkup music that automatically kicks on to our TV and and they hit the gong, and a lot of people are like, “Man, I don’t want all eyes on me.” And I’m like, it’s not about you, it’s to signify to the rest of the company that positivity just happened, and it gets people excited, right? 

So, when they hit that gong and their music is playing, the whole floor stands up and claps. It’s actually pretty amazing. I think, what I’ve learned over the last year is, man, there are so many small victories along the way that also need to be celebrated. How did we help everybody understand that they may not have scored touchdowns today but every first down mattered? Every first down is leading them, it may not come today, it may not come tomorrow but it is going to come. 

If we continue to stack up the wins, good things will happen, right? But, I think, over the last year, I don’t know if it was panic or you’re just like, “Man, what the heck is going on, we knew the pandemic was not real” right? However, what the heck is – we have people that are giving their blood, sweat, and tears to us, and they‘re working their tails off and just not getting a lot from it. That’s a very challenging spot to be in. 

I think that’s where true leadership shows up and I will be honest with you, I think we showed up at times and we fell short at times and so, we’re really putting an emphasis on, it’s very easy to be a great recruiter, client manager, leader, whatever it is. When times are good, it’s super easy to be great at your role. When times are challenging, times are tough, times are down, that’s when true leadership shows up, and that’s been a challenge. 

That’s, going into it, right? That’s always a great saying. It’s a perfect saying, it’s coach talk, right? It’s coach speak but when you experience it, then you really can reflect and say, “Man, did I have a positive impact on people today or did I fall short?” And what I realized was I’m not going to be perfect, us as leaders are not going to be perfect but man, I’ve got to win more than I lose. 

I’ve got to be able to go home at night and say that, “Today, I had a positive impact.” If I go home at night and say, “I airballed it today.” That’s a problem for everybody.


[0:12:24.0] DF: Yeah, and it sounds like you’re doing a lot of one very clear that you have humility and transparency as part of how you’re communicating as a leader but it also sounds like there’s a component of reflection, we’re actually thinking back on a daily basis like what went well, what didn’t. Are you guys doing any of that formally with the team or is that just part of how you show up as a leader?

[0:12:41.8] CJ: Look, I think it’s how you show up as a leader. I believe in leading through humility, especially when there’s a lot to be humble about in my career. So, it’s understanding that man, I’ve had a lot of success but that came from learning and bumping my nose the hard way. How do I share that, how do I become that person? It’s like, “Man, I have struggled and been through exactly what you’re going through, and here’s what I did to overcome it but we’re going to do this together.” 

“This is how I overcame it, right? This is not necessarily how you’re going to do it. We’ve got to figure out what makes you special, we’ve got to get you in that lane and then go a hundred miles an hour.” That’s the definition of every leader we have here. You look at Andrea Shultz, our CFO, she’s incredible. She might be the smartest person I’ve ever met. In fact, 90% of the time, I think she’s speaking in a different language and probably, one of the most humble human beings you’re ever going to meet. 

Sara Orr is our Chief Marketing Officer and the same goes there. We have so many amazing pieces, the list goes on, Tom and Penny, our directors and actually, and Sean and Ceci and Alissa and Bridget, we have such knowledge and passion and swagger and confidence but there is a layer of humility that is very real and I think it’s a blessing for us to say that we’ve all been there and done it, right? 

And it’s allowing people to make mistakes and to encourage them to make those mistakes because that’s how we’re going to learn. When you just ridicule on mistakes and you just hold people’s feet to the fire, boy, you better be perfect, and we are far from it, so.

[0:14:08.5] DF: Yeah. Well, I feel like the – one thing I’ve seen across all of the customers we work with a number of times, people are working harder than they’ve ever worked in many instances and not seeing the same results that they’ve seen in the past. I think in healthcare staffing, travel nursing specifically what I’ve heard is anywhere from you know, submission rates where I think I have heard it like pandemic levels is like one out of two where we get the placement. 

Now it’s like one out of four, one out of eight and we’re not ready to like just literally the pure effort to get a placement has changed pretty drastically.

[0:14:40.0] CJ: I agree with that, I think you nailed it. I will tell you this, when we recover, when we come out of this, the skillset that every individual in this company has learned over the last year is insane compared to what they learned through the pandemic. There was not a lot of skills being learned or taught during the pandemic, there just wasn’t, right? So, it’s going to be one of those things I truly believe that we’re going to look back five, six years from now and say, “Man, we made it through this.” 

“But look at how much skill we learned and we developed through the toughest time” because that’s when you really have to hone in and understand and perfect your craft. There was no perfecting of any crafts during the pandemic. It was bullets flying, takeoff, and I mean, it was insane, and don’t get me wrong, it was necessary, right? But post-pandemic is where I think we’ve really developed as leaders of a company, right? 

Structure, accountability, what’s going to make CrossMed successful long-term? What’s that sustainable success look like, what does the structure look like that’s going to allow us to be successful, not just for the next couple of months but for the next five, 10, 15, 20 years? We never took time during the pandemic to sit down and discuss that. It was just chaos, right? So, it’s not just the recruiter or client manager. 

It’s us as the execs of the company, the leaders of the company that have learned so much through this and have become so much more well-rounded because of it. It’s just hard to see it when you’re still in the weeds.

[0:16:00.5] DF: Yeah, and as you’re talking about that, one of the things that you and I had briefly, talked about was like, some of the things that you’ve done to make sure connecting with each individual and I think you had even talked about just as a team level. So, you’re talking about the high-level strategy but you had said that you walked around and connecting with people every day, to make sure you’re actually like, seeing where people are at as well. Could you talk a little bit more about that?

[0:16:22.2] CJ: I’m not a great remote employee, right? Especially in a leadership. I need to be hands-on. I’ll never forget when we all had to go remote because of the pandemic. I just thought to myself, I would Zoom somebody or Team somebody on my team and they could be whoever they needed to be for the five to 10 minutes that I had them on the video but as soon as they hung up that Zoom call, I didn’t know if they were just – if that was real or there is something else going on, good, bad, or indifferent, right? 

And so, that’s what we are all about, not just me, it’s what we’re all about, we are very hands-on. If you are having a bad day, I truly believe this, especially in the sales role. If your confidence is shot, the worst thing that you can do is pick up that phone, right? And so, if you’re confidence is shot, if you’re down in the dumps, if something is going on, whether it’s personal, professional, man, get your butt in here, and let’s talk about it. 

Let’s have a puke session, get it all out so that we can get back to doing what we know makes us special and so, walking that floor, understanding what is – how are you structuring your day? Is there rhyme and reason with everything that you do? Are you relentless in everything that you do? Is your follow-up where it needs to be? If you are telling a healthcare professional that you’re going to do this, did you follow through with it? 

How do you track that? How do you organize your day? It is all the little things, right? We don’t hire people that don’t know what the heck they’re doing, they’re incredibly engaging people. They create insane value. So, are we actually creating that value over the phone? Are we getting stuck in technology? Are we relying on technology to communicate and to do business or are we picking up that phone and building relationships, right? 

And so, I think it’s just taking the whole process from A to Z and making sure people truly understand where their value is and how they structure their day. It’s the little things that we need to make sure are very, very clean. When all the little things are clean, then we have something to build on. 

[0:18:03.6] DF: Yeah, I think that’s great advice. I’m going to jump back to the comments, I kind of have leaped there a little bit but you were also talking about how you’ve been sitting down talking about kind of the longer term five to ten-year plan. What are some of the adjustments that CrossMed has made strategically to make sure that you are setting yourself up for the future? 

[0:18:21.0] CJ: I think we’re incredibly proud of how we, as a small company, smaller company, and we have only been in business for you know, a handful of years. 

[0:18:29.7] DF: Yeah. 

[0:18:30.1] CJ: We have embraced technology, that is the wave, right? And so, we’re going to double down on technology. We’re going to make sure that everything that our people do internally that they can be as efficient, as effective as they possibly can. I think for me, it’s in this industry in the past, we all just kind of got away with that at times and it wasn’t a bad thing at all but you hire someone to do a role and they end up doing six different roles, right? 

And so, can we allow people to do what we hired them to do, what we believe their lane is, where they’re special, where they’re strengths are at, how do we keep them in that lane and not have them venture off into 17 different things? And we can help limit that through technology, and so I think that, when we talk about the future, right? We’re going to invest in our people, there is no doubt. We are nothing without our people, right? 

[0:19:17.0] DF: Yeah. 

[0:19:17.4] CJ: We’re just a brick-and-mortar but it’s the technology piece that’s going to help us continue to evolve. I think for CrossMed, we don’t have to lead the industry in technology. We don’t, we just have to be in the forefront. Bullhorn allows us access to be in the forefront of technology. It gives us opportunities to meet people like yourself and companies like Staffing Referrals, Staffing Engine, Opus Match, all of these – Bullhorn One. 

All of this different – this technology, our tech stack is going to help us in every division of the company, not just your sales division but it is going to help every single division that we have and all is going to make sense and we’re going to eliminate some of the things that aren’t just a time suck and we’re going to put that through technology and allow people to stay in their lane and go hard. 

[0:20:00.4] DF: It does feel like – I mean, you guys have been customers of Staffing Referrals for a while. I know you’ve been adopting new technology kind of and it looks like you guys are really focused on candidate experience and trying to figure out how to just increase overall productivity and allow the recruiters to focus on building relationships and looking at automating the things that aren’t tied to that. 

All right, have you seen any other, any specific outcomes, or things that you are super excited about right now from a technology standpoint? 

[0:20:26.3] CJ: Yeah, I think obviously, Staffing Referrals has been awesome for us. It’s crazy to me, you know, we used to, back in the day, right? When they’ll be most – when I had sweet hair and earrings and – 

[0:20:36.3] DF: I got to find a picture of you with sweet hair. I didn’t know what this looked like. 

[0:20:40.1] CJ: So, I think it was like we were trying to teach each other how to have confidence enough to ask for a referral, right?

[0:20:48.9] DF: Yep. 

[0:20:49.3] CJ: Like that but very simple stuff. You guys have created a technology that asks for our people, right? That really helps streamline everything and that there is no forgetting to do this, there is no forgetting to make sure it gets paid out and so you guys have done an incredible job of that. Staffing Engine has come in and helped us clean up some stuff and now, Opus Match I think it plays very well with what you guys do in Staffing Engine and Bullhorn. 

And it’s that AI technology that everybody is – we all keep talking about. I think some people fear it and we’re not going to be fearful of it, we’re going to embrace it. We’re going to figure out, I mean, it is going to change some things, right? And for years, nothing has been black and white in this industry, nothing. Very, very little is black and white and so, we are not going to hesitate, we are going to embrace it. 

We are going to figure out how we can increase the volume of travelers per recruiting, per client manager, make compliance as life a lot easier, and have everything flow so that our accounting team is not having to manual enter everything that they do that a lot of this stuff is pulled for them so that they can do what they’re special at and that is helping mitigate risk. It’s helping on the operation side of things. 

It’s everything plays together but we need that technology to help all of this make sense. Bridget Weber and Ceci, and Sara, I mean, all the credit goes to the three of them. The vision that they have, it makes sense to them. A lot of times, again, I want to know how it’s going to help our people become more efficient but how we’re going to get there, like again, a lot of it is Greek to me. It sounds – 

[0:22:18.0] DF: Yeah. 

[0:22:18.7] CJ: They are true visionaries when it comes to technology. Bridget has been a super user for Bullhorn for years. Now, Ceci is speaking at Bullhorn Engage, Sara is a CMO but that is just a fraction of what that woman does. She is incredible at technology and operations and understanding how to make it all come together as well. 

[0:22:38.1] DF: Yeah, and that’s really great and that’s I think the – we from our perspective, and obviously we’re prided by but their early adoption does pay dividends in the long run in terms of scalability. One of the others and I know we’re kind of jumping from leadership, we talked a little bit about tech stack.

[0:22:52.2] CJ: Sure. 

[0:22:53.0] DF: But I know strategically, I think you guys would have done a couple different things that we talked about previous to this. I think there is a locums division, combining them with some divisions. I’d love to know more about kind of the thought process and what is going on with the combination of some of the divisions and also going into the locums vertical. 

[0:23:10.9] CJ: So, nursing was our bread and butter. We knew that was going to be the foundation of how we built everything at CrossMed, it’s where a lot of our experience is like, right? And so, that is how we started this. We also, Bridget Weber, our CEO has also started and developed two very successful cath lab divisions. So, we knew we wanted to diversify as a company, we wanted to be able to go to our partners and say, “We can help you in a number of different areas.”

When you are looking at a new company, right? A smaller company, a new company, what’s our differentiating value? We ask that almost 17 times a week and we’re not done defining what our differentiating value is but we have all agreed and we’ve embraced the fact that we need to be able to staff and to help in multiple verticals and so, we’ve got the long-term care, which they do an incredible job. 

We’ve got our nursing that does a heck of a job. We’ve got Allied, which are our cath lab and Allied is all together, right? And then we made a decision. It was probably the end of Q3 last year, so going into Q4 that we really wanted to launch a locums division. We believe we can do it, it’s not an easy lift, it is a big lift. It’s a very interesting space but it’s been a crazy experience for the last six to eight months and what our locums guys have done has been very special and we’re just scratching the surface, right? 

So, continuing to look at again, how do we diversify our company to make sure that we are checking the boxes of our partners, the people that are going to count on us to help them, and then what’s going to benefit CrossMed? How do we become a player in this industry when the world of MSP and BMS has really taken over a lot of the industry? What are different ways that we can create value for healthcare staffing? 

And so excited about the locums space, I think there is a ton of opportunity there, and we’re just scratching the surface of what we can do. 

[0:24:53.6] DF: Yeah, and in terms of creating value in additional ways, are you guys – do you have a roadmap for that? Are you also thinking about it? It sounds like locums is another way to create value but are there any other activities or from my perspective, it’s got product features that you guys are rolling out from a healthcare side of things? 

[0:25:09.7] CJ: Yeah. I think we have a list of 50, right? I think the challenge we have – 

[0:25:13.9] DF: Which one? 

[0:25:15.1] CJ: Right, that is which one, and right now, we’ve got to be very laser-focused on what we do and becoming very good at what we do. I think it is very, very easy to get stretched thin. It’s very easy to see all of these new shiny objects that are legit, they create massive opportunity but like you had mentioned earlier in the conversation David, it’s been a challenging year. So, right now, we are going to become extremely good at what we’re doing right now before we do anything else. 

The only thing that we added on was more technology, right? We really, and you and I have talked about this earlier, we just partnered with Opus Match. We talked about how you guys integrate with them, I think that is going to be a huge opportunity for CrossMed as far as continuing to diversify and we’re going to hang tight with what we have for the time being. 

[0:26:02.2] DF: Awesome, that makes sense. Kind of shifting gears to more of the personal side of this, what are some of the things that motivate you to keep pushing forward and kind of on a professional and personal level? 

[0:26:13.4] CJ: Yeah, I don’t know. Man, not to be a crazy on your here but I grew up playing sports, right? And I loved them. There is not a huge demand out there for short chubby slow point guards in the – and so, what I had to do to have any success is I just, I had to be relentless in work ethic. I had to not give up, I had to be as resilient as I could possibly be and put the time and study the game, study coaching, study players. 

And so, I’ve just taken the whole mentality that I had growing up playing sports and put that into healthcare staffing and I realized quickly when I was a recruiter back in the day that man, this is amazing. Like, I have such a passion and drive and desire to coach. If I could coach, if Duke were to call me today and give me the head coaching job, it would be a tough thing to turn down, you know? 

So, I think this was an opportunity for me to say like, “Look, I’m going to put all my eggs into this basket.” And I love this industry. I love the challenges of this industry. It rewards work ethic, it rewards discipline, and consistency. That was huge for me, right? I get to control that and so working all those years at Medical Solutions was an unbelievable experience but I’ve hit a point where I’m like I can do more. 

I can do more, I’m ready to do more, I’m ready to take on more, and so we took that leap of faith. Right now, it’s hard to think about five to 10 years from now. It’s really challenging to understand what this is going to look like, so we are going to go back to the basics and we are going to – we’re going to be relentless in everything we do every day and that’s what I love. I love that challenge.

I love seeing the results of the relentlessness pay off and we’re starting to get back there. So, there is so many exciting things to look at big picture-wise and future but I really like to stay in today, like, did we capitalize on today? Because if we start looking so far down the road and we’re not capitalizing on every day that that’s just a – it is a great conversation piece but that becomes something we talk about and in theory, it’s not reality.

[0:28:05.4] DF: Yeah, absolutely. I can’t tell you how many leaders in healthcare staffing and staffing as a whole in the last year have said, “Back to the basics.” We got to get back to being good at phone calls, being good at relationship building, and going back to what actually got us here, not what made money during the pandemic days. So – 

[0:28:23.6] CJ: I think there’s a challenge too, right? You work your way to get this sweet title that means absolutely nothing to anybody inside this building, right?

[0:28:30.9] DF: Yeah.

[0:28:32.5] CJ: It’s not just asking everybody else to go back to the basics. It’s sitting in my office and having some time to myself and saying, “What is the impact that I can have today?” Nobody cares about the title, nobody cares. What they care about is, “Are we moving the needle every day?” So, it’s a challenge that I have for myself every day too, right? It’s just, “What is – did I have a positive impact on our company and the individuals that give us everything they have every day?” If I can’t say that, then I’m falling short.

Again, I can sit here and there’s all of these reports and these numbers and these spreadsheets and analytics and all these things that are amazing but at the end of the day, it doesn’t mean anything if we don’t have that impact on people and give them the desire to want to keep doing this day in and day out.

[0:29:11.5] DF: I absolutely love that. I’m going to go into the last round of questions, kind of the speed round, what advice do you wish you were given before entering the staffing industry?

[0:29:19.1] CJ: Let the things that are outside of your control, let them go, right? Let them go, we don’t work with the product, we’re not slinging a product, we work with people, and some of that is just amazing, it’s awesome. The relationships still keep in touch with some of the travelers that I had a long time ago. However, there are some things in this industry that are completely out of your control, and if you let those eat you alive, they absolutely will and it did. 

For my first couple of years, I just couldn’t – I couldn’t get over it, right? What changed a lot for me was just embracing who I needed to be every day in order to have success. I mean, that’s a really hard thing to articulate. We try, we even try in interviews, right? And then, we’ll have people come to us two or three months later and they’re like, “It finally makes sense because I’m not going to lie, I wanted to slam my computer on the ground.” And I’m like, “It’s out of your control” right?

[0:30:07.7] DF: Yeah.

[0:30:08.2] CJ: There’s nothing – we can talk about this until we’re blue in the face, it’s not going to change and so, we just have to move on, and that’s a very challenging thing, especially when you’re talking to “salespeople.” They want to have more control over the process that they possibly can and they have very, very little control. There’s so many hands in the pot, you have to, as an individual say, “Did I do everything I possibly could to be successful?” 

And if the answer is “Yes” then go to get to move on. If the answer is “No” Let’s learn from it and then you still got to move on.

[0:30:35.6] DF: Yeah, and I love that. In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?

[0:30:41.0] CJ: I would say, discipline. I think that discipline and consistency if you can own those two pieces, and I thought it was discipline, I thought it was consistent until I started at CrossMed and then I think you fall into a trap, again of looking back at your past and, man, I felt like I was really busy today. I don’t know what the heck I did.

[0:30:58.3] DF: Yeah.

[0:30:58.9] CJ: What did I actually do today, right? So, that’s been a personal thing for me and I believe that to be true for everybody that’s in healthcare staffing. If you can truly embrace discipline and consistency, that can, you know, move mountains for you, and it’s something that I work on every day. It’s not – I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. I wish I was but I think those are the two things that, if we can stay disciplined, stay consistent, man, we can do some pretty special things.

[0:31:24.1] DF: Yeah, I feel like – I think it was Erica Hyson she says, she’s like, “Sometimes I see people playing work or is just you’re busy, you’re grinding but are you doing the right things? Are you disciplined on it? Are you working on the KPIs?” And I still think about that all the time.

[0:31:36.9] CJ: Yeah. There’s a quote, real quick, David that this kind of rocked my world. I’ll be quick but it was, Andy Frisella, I’m not sure if you listen to his podcast at all.

[0:31:44.8] DF: I don’t.

[0:31:45.4] CJ: It was years ago but he said, “Motivation is a fleeting feeling, right?” So, that feeling of motivation, you better hang on to it and enjoy it because it’s going to be gone in a couple of minutes. So, when that feeling of motivation is gone, you have to develop the discipline to do the things you know you need to do when you don’t want to do them. That to me is gold, right? And that’s in my professional life and personal life as well.

[0:32:06.4] DF: Yeah, that’s great. Last question I’ve got for you is, what book or books have you given most as a gift or have been most influential to you?

[0:32:13.7] CJ: Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink is amazing, I love that book.

[0:32:17.1] DF: I love that, I’ve recommended that to so many people.

[0:32:22.0] CJ: I think the entire world needs to read that.

[0:32:23.7] DF: I completely agree. It might give you a little bit more anxiety at first but it will make you a better human.

[0:32:30.9] CJ: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I read it, and then I read it, I read it immediately again. 

[0:32:34.9] DF: Yeah.

[0:32:35.6] CJ: Because it just eliminates that victim mentality, right? And I fall victim of the victim mentality as well, right? It’s kind of, you get just kind of caught up in the “Woe is me.”

[0:32:43.8] DF: Yeah.

[0:32:44.4] CJ: And then you read that book and you realize, “Oh my gosh.” That book is – if anybody asked me what book to read and it’s a hands down, that’s the number one book I’m going to recommend every single time. There’s a lot of amazing books out there, a lot of great books out there but that one rocked my world.

[0:32:57.9] DF: Yeah, same here, same here. Well, Chris, this has been an awesome conversation. I really enjoyed having you on, I appreciate it, and I hope you have a great day.

[0:33:05.5] CJ: Yeah, I can’t thank you enough, Man, I really enjoyed it, and I appreciate you more than you know. So, you guys have a great day as well and we’ll see you soon.

[0:33:12.4] DF: Talk soon, thanks Chris.

This episode is brought to you by Bullhorn.  For more information, visit


[0:33:14.3] ANNOUNCER: Thanks for listening to The Staffing Show. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter at to never miss an episode. Until next time.