Navigating Your Career Through Mentorship and Clarity with Alexandra Kurland
Be Open to Opportunities to Learn and Grow
Alexandra Kurland is the owner and founder of Alexandra On The Go LLC, a local notary public network management company and the wife of Michael Kurland. In today’s show, Alexandra discusses how she landed her dream job in sales and the launch of her business.
“I always knew if I could get in front of someone, I was 98% sure I was going to close that deal.”
Alexandra On the Go LLC
Alexandra Kurland is a passionate leader and avid networker who is driven by the success of her clients and notary team. Her mission is to give visibility to the notary profession, creating a “new way to notary,” and to elevate current notary professionals through mentorship. Alexandra On The Go LLC, is your local Notary Public network subcontracting notaries throughout all of Los Angeles and Orange County, California.
“A big reason why I thrived was because of networking. “
Alexandra On the Go LLC
Everyone. I’m excited to share that my first book Broken to Better: 13 Ways Not to Fail at Life and Leadership will launch on Amazon and other online retailers shortly after. The process of writing this book has been enlightening and energizing. I’ve enjoyed reflecting on my time as CEO of Branded Group and sharing my entrepreneurial journey as well as the lessons I’ve learned and my goal to be better. The book is organized around 13 Be Better Principles. Here is a peek into a few of them. One. Be Connected business is always about relationships. Two Be Fearless, and never being afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Three. Be Purposeful. Create value for your clients and your employees with your products and services by being service oriented. Solve your client’s problems better than anyone else. Five. Be Generous. Give back in whatever way you can to improve your community and the world. I’m confident that the book will help you to be better for your team, your clients, and your community. After you’ve read it, please consider leaving your review on Amazon and also consider sharing it or gifting it to your family and friends. If you’d like to talk with me about the book, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Hello. I’m Michael Kurland, CEO, and co-founder of Branded Group, an award-winning facility maintenance and construction management company that services multi-site commercial properties such as retail, restaurants, health care facilities, and educational institutions. Welcome to the Be Better podcast. Each week I interview thought leaders from a variety of industries who will share their stories and the lessons they learn as they strive to be better for their clients, partners, employees, and their communities. Are you ready to be better?
Michael: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Be Better podcast. I am your host, Michael Kurland. Joining me today is the most important guest that this show has ever had in its history. It is the love of my life. My bride and future mother of my child, Alexandra Sanchez Kurland. I refer to her as Alexandra. So I’m going to call you Alexandra for the rest of the show. Alexandra, welcome to the show. How are you doing today?
Alexandra: Thank you for having me. I’m doing well. It’s a little different being on the show versus listening and just tuning in and, smiling and supporting you from behind the scenes.
Michael: So we thought it would be something cool to have you on the show and talk about our story because, we always talk about everyone else’s be better story and I think we have a be better story. So I wanted to get started and let the audience know who you are and what you do because that’s where we go in this part of the segment of the show. So tell the audience a little about who you are, and what you do, and then I’ll follow up with some questions from there.
Alexandra: Okay. Sounds good. Well, hello, audience. So, I’m Alexandra. I run Alexandra On The Go. We’re a local notary management company serving predominantly in Orange County. Now going into San Diego and L.A. And that’s pretty much me.
Michael: I think we’ll get into what you do a little bit more as we tell the story. But I think I want to tell this interwoven story of us. We talked about this last night. Audience. I’m not going to take all the credit. I was sitting at the kitchen table with my wife, and we were laying out how we should plot this be better story. So she gets a lot of the credit because I told her she should have been a producer on the show. She came up with such an idea. So, Alexandra, tell the audience, let’s reverse. You know, we’ve been married for a little over a year. We’ve been together for almost five years. And we’ve known each other for about five and a half years. Correct. In my right mind. Six, six years. Okay. So tell the audience where we were when we met like where you were before you came. Because for those of you that don’t know, Alex used to work with me at Branded Group and I’d like to tell the audience where you were right before you came to Branded Group and then our initial meeting at Branded Group and then we can talk about how we came to be. So let’s start with where you were right before you came to Branded Group.
Alexandra: It was a different world, I was a different person. And so essentially, long story short, I fell into facilities early on right out of school, and that led me into a management position with an HVAC distribution company. I was managing warehouses, I was forklift certified, I was dealing with nothing but HVAC contractors on the day-to-day, and that came with its own set of interesting challenges. I was the only female in the entire region. So, I mean, a lot of things were going on, and I knew that was not going to be my end all. I was really young and happily established, but just looking for more. And my old, she wasn’t old, but my first manager was now working for you. And that’s kind of what led me to Branded Group.
Michael: Who was that?
Alexandra: Who was the person? Karen. Karen Blanchard. So the woman we owe it all to for introducing us and bringing me into your life and vice versa.
Michael: So you were working at an HVAC company, and then you reached out to Karen, or she reached out to you. She reached out to you, I believe. Correct.
Alexandra: It was equal. I mean, she knew I was looking. I wasn’t necessarily thrilled with where I was. I just wanted something new. I just wasn’t sure where I was going to end up. So, she got me an interview with you. And that kind of leads into how we first met. My first interview.
Michael: So I’ll just give a little backstory. I had been out here for two and a half, three years at the time. I’d say it was probably three years. Karen was our operations manager at the time, and she had industry experience at her mother’s company before that had been sold. And we were growing. We were growing. I mean, at the time, I thought rapidly. But now that seems like slow growth compared to where we’re at now. But we were growing pretty quickly for the number of people we had. We’re trying to keep it all together. And we had just gotten Jon to come out and be a part of the team. And so operations was getting a makeover, which it needed. I remember telling Karen, I need people with experience. Like, it’s so hard to hire and direct young, young newbies and then train them and then get them on the floor and get them to understand. I need some people with experience that can hit the ground running. And I’ll never forget. She was like, Oh, I got someone you’ll like. I was like, What does that mean? And she said I have this girl, Alexandra Sanchez. I said, Well, let me see. And she showed me a picture. So I don’t know if I ever told you that story. I was like, Oh, no. I was like, Yeah! Definitely! Get her in for an interview, please.
Alexandra: Oh, that’s hilarious.
Michael: So, I had been two and a half years in like we were talking about. I was fresh off a divorce and I’d moved across the country and was living a single Southern California life. I was flying all over the country then and doing deals, doing sales, what I did best. So it was a different point in life for me as well. So the intersection of the story now. You accepted an interview and you came into our offices and you came in when we were at the upstairs office at Orangewood. 2100 Orangewood. Right. So.
Michael: So how did that go?
Alexandra: I walked in and I mean, it was a great, interesting, and very different first interview. That’s for sure. I mean, I just mentioned, I was working with a bunch of contractors. So, you know, even my day-to-day uniform was I’ll never forget, like all black pants, a belt, a shirt tucked in. I was wearing steel-toed boots. So I was just really excited to be dressed up again and be in an office. For selling AC’s, they didn’t have AC in the warehouse. So that was the biggest irony of it all. So a lot of little things that I was like, a lot of little things I was excited to see differently. I mean, I still remember walking into your office and meeting you and I mean, I thought you were really attractive, but I mean, that’s not what it was. I didn’t know what you looked like. I didn’t know what to expect, you know? I just wanted to be professional and kind of hear what the opportunity was at the time. So you were really funny. You’re still the same person, definitely some interesting humor.
I think you have a good ability to allow people to feel comfortable right away and draw that out of them. So I’m trying to be professional. Politely share how I’m maybe not so thrilled where I was, but just now I’m just looking for a new opportunity and you call me out and say you’re tired of working with these types of contractors every day. And a curse word may have been slipped out.
Michael: I think that’s what makes this show rated R. So you can say whatever.
Alexandra: Is it bad? Yeah. Within the word, grace will be used. Yes, definitely dropped the F-bomb. And here we are.
Michael: Well, from my point of view, I mean, I think you tried to keep it professional until..
Alexandra: I do.
Michael: You tried to keep it professional until you said well if you said the F word and I looked up at you from my desk and I like you. I like your style. I like your style. Alexandra So yeah, but I remember that interview as well. Like you walked in and I was very attracted to you as well. You’re, you are gorgeous. Still are. And I don’t know if that’s good for talking about the workplace environment, but this all worked out. So nothing to worry about. So yeah.
Michael: You were also overly qualified for the position. Let me just add that you took the position and then you called me back four days before you were supposed to start and told me no.
Alexandra: I don’t know, four days? I remember it was my brother’s birthday. So September 9th of 2016, I was literally at Knott’s Berry Farm with my family. And I guess to your point, I was overqualified for that position. I was in a different mentality where on paper I didn’t want to take a new position, which was a position I had already completed earlier on in my career. So to me, I almost thought it was a step back. I just didn’t think at the end of the day, as nice of the office as it was, as good looking as you were, of course. I just didn’t think that maybe that was the right move for my career at the time. So I called you from Knott’s Berry Farm and told you thank you so much. And I thanked Karen for the opportunity. But I’m just not going to take it and I remember you calling me back. Specifically, what do I need to do to get you in here on the 19th, which would have been in September? And I mentioned my title. I mentioned my number, and you said done. And I was taken aback. And then you had a smart-ass comment for me after like, well, “do you need more time to think about that, or are we good to go now?” I was like, well, so it was yes. That’s how we ended up there.
Michael: Yeah. So you started at 9-19 and you worked hard until I think I opened up the sales position in January of the following year.
Alexandra: Sales in February.
Michael: So you start in September. You were there for about three months and four months to do the math. And then I opened up to sales. You know, sales because I was the only one doing it and we were still growing and I needed help. So I opened it up to the entire company and with the hopes that you were going to apply. Luckily for me, you did. I was right because you were the one that I thought could handle the position and do the job. You came in and you interviewed and you nailed it and you became the salesperson. It was great because it was a great mentorship. There was an attraction there. But at the time, you were dating someone else. I was preoccupied and doing whatever I was doing. We started this whole relationship mentorship. I thought that that was such a great way to get to know you because we were traveling a lot and we were on the road and I was teaching you what I knew about facility management. I always told you from that point of view, you remind me a lot of me when I was young and on the road because you learned how to relationship sell real quick. It just came naturally to you. I told you that you were going to be better than me. I remember that a lot. So I don’t know if there’s anything you want to add from your perspective of how that worked.
Alexandra: No. I mean, that sounds right to me. As you know, the main reason why I didn’t want to take the first job with you originally was that I wanted to get into sales. I was running more of an operations position at the company, and I started to resonate with the salespeople there. I knew that that’s the direction I wanted to end up in. When the position opened up, it was just kind of like, I mean, obviously I’m going to apply for this. This is exactly what I want to be doing. I do want to say, yes, the attractions were there, but it was silent and we were both professional. I learned a lot from you as a mentor. You showed me how you were selling and I showed you how I was going to start selling. At the time, using LinkedIn wasn’t what you were doing. That’s really where I started to find my niche and start thriving and just making new connections with people. So it was all good. Traveling together.
Michael: No. Keep going.
Alexandra: I was just gonna say, I think, traveling together was beneficial, learning how to sell firsthand by watching specifically how you ran meetings, how you spoke to people, how direct you were and asking, at the time what I thought would have been hard questions. I think those were some really big key takeaways from me early on in my sales career.
Michael: Yeah, it was great. You taught an old dog new tricks. I thought I was going to make 100 phone calls a week. There are no ifs, and, or buts about it. You were like, I’m not making any phone calls and I’m making more sales than you. That’s when I said, okay, I can learn a new trick. So I stopped. I stopped and I looked and I listened. Then we had a budding relationship. To your point, it was very professional for a very long time. There was a silent attraction that neither one of us acted on for a long time. And then, eventually being on a year over year and then being on the road together, just our admiration for each other grew. It was very beautiful. We had a chance to sort of get to know each other on a level that a lot of people don’t get the opportunity to do. From that point, things happened. And, we had started dating and that was also beautiful. I was very happy. I was very happy to have you as my lady. And there were a lot of challenges involved with that. So, I’ll let you talk about those and your thoughts on that.
Alexandra: I mean, there were some challenges. There was a silent attraction. I will just add that I think you also fell in love with me because I started closing lots of deals and helping grow the company and making you some money and making me some money. So, that’s always all good things. Once we started dating, we kept that private to ourselves. It’s a really small niche industry. I just didn’t want to deal with the whole double standards. Like, I feel like you’re going to get the high fives and I’m going to get the double takes. I still want to be viewed as an up-and-coming young professional in this industry, because as much as you helped me from a mentorship standpoint, I was closing my deals and I didn’t want that to be questioned.
Michael: So 100%. Yeah, 100%. Then we were also met with some roadblocks from my business partners and it wasn’t handled properly, which led to your exit from Branded Group, which also wasn’t handled properly. I wish I could go back in time and fix that, which created some challenges for us, but through the last couple of years, we’ve worked hard on fixing those challenges and fixing those hurdles and those bruises. Now fast forward to it’s about three years later now. You know, we’ve overcome all of those and we’ve been able to get to a place where, a little over a year ago, we were able to tie the knot right. Get engaged and tie the knot, all those things. So what? Tell me what happened after you left and where you have been. And we can talk a little bit about that and a little bit more about us.
Alexandra: So essentially once I knew that your business partners weren’t going to come around it, being supportive of our relationship, I had to immediately start thinking about my exit, and luckily through sales. A big reason why I think I thrived was because of the networking. I do really well in person and I always knew if I could get in front of someone, I was 98% sure I was going to close that deal, and I just learned the power of networking. So I wanted to take that into my new career venture, which at the time I thought was going to be real estate. No one in their right mind should ever work with a brand new real estate agent. I wanted to make some money while networking. That meant becoming a notary public and just building my, at the time, real estate networks organically. This was 2019. I became a notary public. That’s when I left Branded Group. In 2020 the world changed and COVID hit and interest rates hit an ultimate low. Everyone was refinancing, and a lot of purchases were being made. Every time anything with these homes was being done, you needed a certified loan signing agent, a notary public to close those deals. So a national notary shortage happened and my business started to build and I’m thankful for it all. I’m really happy that I was able to I guess this might be a be better moment. You know, leaving my sales career almost at a high. Starting something new that I didn’t plan to be my necessarily next career venture. Then the world changed negatively but positively impacted my business. I decided to become a notary public full time. I started to build and frame my business almost off of a Branded Group management business model, but on a much smaller local scale. So I started subcontracting notaries and trying to maximize my network at that time. And that’s kind of where I’m at now, almost going into three years later with my notary company and that’s a success. I’m really happy with it.
Michael: I mean, I think I would like to go a little deeper on that. Like you talk about you built it on the model, but you built it because you were the notary yourself and you saw you could only make three appointments in a day, which was very limiting to the amount of income you could earn doing this. You saw this as a problem, but you knew that there are more notaries out there. Even though there was a shortage, you knew enough notaries to get jobs done. So if you did a management system, you could take as many signings in a day as you had notaries. And so I thought that was genius. I mean, you infiltrated a hole in the marketplace, and I was just in awe watching you. So I thought I still to this day, I’m like, I don’t know. I wanted to say I’m proud, but I don’t want to sound like a jerk. So I think it’s just one of the greatest things that I’ve ever watched, watched you do and accomplish. So I hope you know that.
Alexandra: Thank you. I don’t think it sounds weird. I’m proud of myself for it. I’m really happy that it’s still growing. Even being seven and a half months pregnant, I’m still in this growth mentality. I don’t think I’m ever going to slow down, physically maybe for one or two months while this baby’s born. But I’m established enough now that I can still grow my business. From my home office, from my phone, and with the baby in hand. I’m proud that that’s where I’m at in my life because that’s what I wanted to build at the very beginning of this notary business as it was for me.
Michael: It’s doing, I mean, it’s thriving right now. I think you did it. You did a thing that I like on the Be Better podcast, which is you segue me into the next thing I want to talk about, which is where are we now? So, you started your company. I’m still up here in the Branded Group. We got married in June of 2021. So we just recently celebrated our one year. And you mentioned that you’re seven and a half months pregnant. So let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about that.
Alexandra: You know, lots of big life changes. So obviously our work romance ended up all in all of the good things, and we celebrated our one year which has been so crazy amazing. I can’t believe it’s already been a year. We started trying for a baby right after January of 2022 and luckily we got pregnant right away. So here we are, baby Kurland coming through no later than hopefully November 4th because I love it, but I want it out as well.
Michael: Yes. And I can say the same thing. You know, we hit 2022 with the idea of working on and yes, I swear to God. Audience, I believe on the first try we got pregnant and it’s been a blessing. I too want it out of you because I just want my poor wife to be able to sleep through the night at this point. But overall, it’s been very I would say I don’t want to say easy because I’m not the one carrying the baby. But I think as standards go for pregnancy, I think it’s been a pretty mild one. I think you would agree. Like no morning sickness and no major issues. Right? Knock on wood. So.
Alexandra: Oh, yeah, all these moms let me know how lucky I am that I had no morning sickness, you know, not swollen. They want to let me know all the things that they experienced that I don’t appear to be experiencing. So for better or for worse, I will take that and say, yes, this has been very lucky pregnancy on my behalf.
Michael: So, yeah, we’re due 11/4. We’re doing them for our audience. I’m just going to say it right now. We have no idea what we’re having. So you guys, if you want to send in all your guesses and the reasons why. We’ve gotten things like you look 20, so it’s a girl and you know, you’re carrying low, so it’s a boy. I don’t know what all these are. The way I look at it is you got a 50/50 shot of being right or wrong. And I’m sure you’ve been right sometimes. You’ve been wrong sometimes. So if you want to put your guesses in, you know how to get a hold of us. But so babies come. Okay, what are we thinking of for the future and beyond now?
Alexandra: Well, I’m excited that, the baby is going to have even this podcast for me to look back on, visually to see what we look like at this time. This is all a timestamp in our lives and their future life. So I’m just excited to get to know this little person and see who they’re going to be, see who they’re going to grow into. You know, boy or girl, I know they’re going to be a sports fanatic because they’re your child and I’m just excited to see what parts of me and what parts of you will transfer over, not just physically but personality-wise, which is as exciting as it is scary because you were, from what your mother likes to share, a very mischievous child, and I know that I was more or less the same. So maybe we’ll have a shy child and that will be the biggest joke of it all. But I don’t think so.
Michael: I don’t think that we’ve earned the right to have a shy child. I think that we are going to have a child that runs down hotel hallways, banging on doors and screaming at 3:00 AM
Alexandra: It’s still fun audience, for those who haven’t played that in a while.
Michael: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Totally. So, Alexandra, I just wanted to say thank you for coming to the show. It’s been a pleasure. If the audience wants to get a hold of you, how can they do so?
Alexandra: Well, you can find me on LinkedIn. Just type in my name. You can also type in Alexandra On The Go and my notary page will pop up. I manage, obviously, both of those. You send me a message and we’ll kind of go from there. But I’m an open book for anyone that has questions or comments about anything. And audience, I will thank you now in advance.
Michael: I wanted to let you guys know that this is going to be our final recording of the Be Better podcast. It’s been an honor to speak to you guys over the last two-plus years. I’ve certainly grown as a podcaster and a human, as you can see. I’ve enjoyed doing this. We’ve written a book now. I’ve written a book. We have written a book and I’ve started a family. All these things have happened during the time that this podcast has been aired. It’s been really fun. But like most things, all good things have to come to an end. I think it’s time to move on to newer, different things like fatherhood and whatever that brings. We’ve got some ideas coming up down the pike. But it’s been a pleasure. So I won’t say till next time because there won’t be the next time but the next project.
Michael: Thank you for tuning in. I hope that today’s episode inspired you to become a purpose-driven leader in your career or your community. There is no doubt that when we lead with purpose, we can change lives. If you enjoyed today’s show, I’d be grateful if you would take a moment to rate us on your preferred listening platform. To learn more about Branded Groups be a better experience and how we provide industry-leading on-demand, facility maintenance, construction management, and special project implementation. Visit us at www.Branded-Group.com. Be sure to follow us on social media and you can also reach out to me directly on LinkedIn. Until next time, be better.