As a group practice owner, how can having a team support you in growing the business? How can having a chain of command benefit both the CEO and the clinicians? Can the working relationship between an office manager and the CEO increase accountability and productivity?
In this podcast, Whitney Owens chats to her own Office Manager, Christina Glendye, about how an office manager can help you thrive.
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Meet Christina Glendye
Christina is a native of Savannah, Georgia where she graduated from Calvary Day School. Upon graduation, she attended The University of Georgia and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education. From there, Christina went on to teach 4th grade in Rincon, Georgia for four years. During that time, she earned a Master’s Degree in Brain-Based Learning from Nova Southeastern University.
She is currently a wife and a mom to four precious children. In her spare time, she enjoys connecting with those in her community, being outdoors, and spending time with friends. Christina also loves the work she does at Waters Edge Counseling as an Office Manager
In This Podcast
- An office manager can help with the interview process
- An office manager can help with the training process
- Office managers can oversee finances
An office manager can help with the interview process
An office manager can make things a lot easier for the CEO by taking some responsibility in the process of hiring new staff. An office manager can:
- Help put out notifications and post the job opening on online platforms,
- Assist in screening and going through the incoming resumes to help narrow down the volume,
- The resumes that interest the office manager gets sent through to the CEO for further consideration,
- The office manager will set up interviews with the new staff for further screening,
- With the new results, the office manager will consult the CEO to decide who to set up face-to-face interviews with.
It’s super helpful because it takes a lot of that pressure off of me. Christina is able to go through all of those resumes [with a list that] I give her of [what] we’re looking for. (Whitney Owens)
After the interview process, the office manager will come on again and follow up on references of the new employee.
An office manager can help with the training process
An office manager will help to onboard the new employee by helping them:
- Understand the system set up,
- Meet the rest of the staff,
- Get them set up in the office and make sure they have everything they need.
The CEO will then take over on the clinician side of the training but has had a lot of time saved for them by the office manager handling the entire process before that point.
Office managers can oversee finances
They can assist in the financial department by overseeing the payroll, billing, collecting cheques and cash that comes in, and depositing them at the bank.
The office manager can make sure to collect late payments from clients and running a bi-weekly financial check to make sure everything is going well.
This can also include utilizing the office space and organizing the scheduling so that there are no overlaps for office spaces so that the therapists can focus on what they need to do.
Christina also manages the admin … she’s the direct manager to the intake specialist and to the marketing director which is really nice because then I don’t feel like I have to follow up with multiple people, I can follow up with Christina and Christina can follow up with them. As your practice grows it’s nice to have that tree of command. (Whitney Owens)
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Meet Whitney Owens
Whitney is a licensed professional counselor and owns a growing group practice in Savannah, Georgia. Along with a wealth of experience managing a practice, she also has an extensive history working in a variety of clinical and religious settings, allowing her to specialize in consulting for faith-based practices and those wanting to connect with religious organizations.
Knowing the pains and difficulties surrounding building a private practice, she started this podcast to help clinicians start, grow, and scale a faith-based practice. She has learned how to start and grow a successful practice that adheres to her own faith and values. And as a private practice consultant, she has helped many clinicians do the same.
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Welcome to the Faith in Practice podcast. I’m your host Whitney Owens recording live from Savannah, Georgia. I’m a licensed professional counselor, group practice owner, and private practice consultant. Each week through personal story or amazing interviews, I will help you learn how to start, grow and scale your practice from a faith-based perspective. I will show you how to have an awesome faith-based practice without being cheesy or fake. You too can have a successful practice, make lots of money, and be true to yourself.
I absolutely love hearing from you guys. It could be a DM on Instagram, a message through Facebook, a post or an email. I love hearing feedback from you on what the podcast means to you. And I wanted to share an email that I received recently that warmed my heart when I got it. So I’m just going to read this to you because I thought it was really impactful in the way that God is moving and using this podcast to help people in their practices, which is just spectacular.
So the email says, “I have to tell you that I am so excited to meet you. I stumbled across you today and it was incredibly encouraging. This morning, I was praying about what I need to launch my private practice. And it occurred to me that I would benefit from some consulting that helped me stay sane and check on some things. I felt like I got this great answer. So I started digging and I spent about 30 minutes searching for a consultant. I knew I had been interviewed on the Abundant Practice podcast and then I finally gave up. Frustrated, I shuffled the podcast and went about my morning routine. I laughed so hard that it landed on the episode where you and Alison are talking about faith-based practices. I didn’t even realize I was thinking about this in the back of my head. And obviously I pursued this feeling because I felt the Lord using me here. However, I haven’t been sure how to navigate adding faith-based practices because I’ve often seen it done in a super-duper Christian way that’s not very effective. Anyways, I love everything you said and the word used to encourage me and remind me that He has set this plan to use me in motion a long time ago and He will continue to lead me to the right people and the right resources.”
That was so neat, the way that God had this perfect timing. This was a social worker who had been searching for how to integrate faith into her work and looking for that in a consultant. And so she ended up going into the practiceoftheractice.com\apply, and she applied to work with me and we jumped on a call, actually yesterday that went very well. And it was just so neat to connect with her. So I want to encourage you, if you feel like this podcast means something to you, here’s some action steps I want you to take. Share it with someone you know. There are faith faith-based practice owners that want to know how to build their business in an ethical Christian way. So let them know about the podcast. You can join the Faith in Practice community on Facebook. It’s totally free for all faith-based practice owners, where we’re always talking about this stuff. I jump on and do lives, answer questions totally involved in the group. Would love you to join that.
And if you have something specific that you like on the podcast or something that meant something to you, shoot me an email. Let me know. It’s firstname.lastname@example.org. Would love to hear from you. And then if you specifically want to get some consulting surrounding faith-based practices or starting a group practice, feel free to go to practiceofthepractice.com/apply. You can apply to work with me. You and I will get on a short phone call. We’ll talk about your practice and where you’re at and then we tend to talk about doing some consulting. So thank you for those that do reach out and it always encourages me as I push forward and sending information to you guys.
Now, this episode on the Faith in Practice podcast is an interview that I did with Christina Glendye. And if you have been following me for awhile, I actually interviewed her on episode nine on how to have an assistant in your practice. She is my assistant at my group practice, and she’s moved from an admin role as far as taking just calls and some of those billing and things like that into more of an office manager role as our practice has grown. So she’s going to talk about that and how we make that a part of our practice. So without further ado, I am here to interview Christina Glendye on how to make your office thrive with an office manager.
[WHITNEY] Today on the Faith in Practice podcast, I’m going to be interviewing Christina Glendye. She is a native of Savannah, Georgia, where she graduated from Calvary Day School. Upon graduation, she went to the university of Georgia and got a bachelor’s of science in early childhood education. From there, she was a fourth grade teacher in Rincon, Georgia, and then she went and got a master’s degree in Brain-Based Learning from Nova Southeastern University. Now she is the proud mother and wife and has four children. She enjoys spending her time connecting within the community, being outdoors and spending time with friends. She’s also the office manager at Water’s Edge Counseling. Thanks for coming on the show today.
[CHRISTINA GLENDYE] Thanks for having me.
[WHITNEY] Yes. How are you doing?
[CHRISTINA] I’m doing well. How about you?
[WHITNEY] Doing good? Well, I appreciate you taking the time to come on. This is our second interview and I requested Christina to come back because I get so many questions from listeners and those that I’m consulting with on what does an office manager look like in your practice? Christina, your first episode with me that was episode nine on how to hire an assistant, had such good results. People are always asking me, “How do you hire an assistant as a W2? And what does that look like? How do you track time? What do they do? And so I always refer people to that episode because we did things a little unconventional, but it worked perfectly for our needs as a practice and just both of us personally. And so then things have changed and now you’re managing a lot more in some different kind of roles and people are asking me, “Well, what does Christina do now?” So I wanted to have you on the show to talk about that.
[CHRISTINA] Yes. So first let’s kind of pick up where we left off last time, and I’ll kind of remind you, because I’m sure you don’t listen to the episodes as much as I do. So we talked last time about how we had added Amanda as an assistant to the practice. At the time Christina had been taking all the calls and it just became a lot for her to manage. She’s a stay-at-home mom, four children, and so one of my counselors at the practice was looking to add some hours while she was growing her caseload. And so she did part-time intake calls and part-time seeing clients and then it became too much for her because her client load picked up. So she was hitting about 30 clients a week and there was no more time to take intake calls. So Christina, why don’t you kind of share kind of where things went from there?
[CHRISTINA] Yes, so at that time, I believe it was last summer. The calls were really picking up, of course this was during COVID. So we had had a few months of it being slower and things were beginning to pick up and Amanda was seeing a lot more clients. And so the call volume was just crazy and my kids were all home and it just became a lot to handle calls. So at that time, I believe that’s when we started looking for someone else to help answer the phones. And so we hired an intake specialist and that was Lisa. So Lisa came on and joined our team. Her title is our intake specialist and her main priority is answering calls. And a couple of years ago when I started this job, we would have one, maybe two calls a day and now we’re up to, it could be anywhere from five to 10 calls a day. So it’s a pretty consistent type role that we needed to answer the phone because it was an all day thing. And so we hired on Lisa and so I stopped taking calls. Of course, I’m back up. Our phone system is set up if Lisa misses a call, it does ring to my phone and if I’m available, I’ll answer that. Or if Lisa’s off taking a day off, then I’ll answer the phones for that day.
But Lisa began answering phones ad so I kind of moved into a role where I was doing a lot of other things that I was trying to do before, but didn’t always have time to do. And so I think it’s actually been able to help the practice and that I’m able to, I was able to then take on some new responsibilities that took the load off of you and just to kind of help the office run smoother. And so that’s kind of where we are now. We have Lisa as our intake specialist. We also, around the time we hired Lisa, we hired a marketing director. So she’s also part of our admin team. Her name is Molly. I believe you interviewed her recently on your podcast.
[WHITNEY] That’s right.
[CHRISTINA] So we have myself, Lisa and Molly kind of all in an administrative role and we kind of are the admin team for the practice.
[WHITNEY] That’s great. Want to point out a couple of things here that you’ve kind of mentioned about the phones. You were saying how we get these consistent calls. I think one thing that’s really changed over the past year as the practice has grown and we have more counselors, we’re getting more just administrative calls, not necessarily intake calls, but more calls for paperwork and just questions. So it’s been helpful to have Lisa available to take those calls.
[CHRISTINA] Absolutely. Yes. There are definitely more calls coming in now that need immediate assistance. You know, somebody has an appointment in an hour and they didn’t get the paperwork or they can’t find the paperwork, that kind of thing. And so it’s helpful to have somebody available all the time to answer the phone.
[WHITNEY] For sure. Definitely. Definitely. And people do sometimes laugh at me when I tell them, “Oh, I have three admins on my staff of 11.” But the point is I don’t want to do all that stuff and I want to focus on my consulting and other things. And everyone’s part-time because everyone has a schedule that they want, that works for them. And so within people’s practice, like you got to find what works for you and what works for the people. So that might mean you have one person that does calls and manages the office and they’re full-time, or maybe you have two people or you have a marketing director that you contract out or one that comes on part-time. Like, there’s just so many options is what I want people to know that I can show you how we run our practice, but you got to find what works for you and for your practice.
So you have a lot of roles here. And honestly, I think of Christina as kind of my right hand. I know we talked about this on the other podcast, my work wife. Like we’re always talking to each other, but when you have a friendship and a work relationship, which has been super special. So let’s talk a little bit about kind of the things that you kind of helped me with. I think the first thing I want to tackle is the interview process because I do get a lot of questions about that. So what’s the interview process like?
[CHRISTINA] Right. So when the practice or when Whitney decides we need another employee, my role in that has been helping with the interview process. So when we put out notifications, post our job opening and we begin collecting resumes, I help screen those. You know, we kind of set beforehand the parameters and the qualifications we’re looking for. So I will come through those resumes and ones that pique our interest I send to Whitney so she can review them as well, but just kind of help narrow down our job search to a few applicants. And then I will set up phone screen interviews with those applicants. So we’ll set up a time where we both have about 15 minutes. I’ll give them a call, we have about six questions that I’ll go through with those applicants and kind of screen them and hear a little bit more about them, and then that helps us to narrow down our search even more. Then I’ll come back to Whitney with those results of the phone screens and we’ll talk through them and then she’ll kind of decide who she wants to set up a face-to-face interview with. So it’s actually, I’ve really enjoyed doing this. It’s been fun and I’ve had the opportunity to do this many times since we’ve started because our practice has grown so much and we’ve continued to hire new employees. That’s my primary role as far as the interview process goes.
[WHITNEY] Yes. And it’s super helpful because it takes a lot of that pressure off of me. Christina is able to go through all those resumes and I’m giving her a list of here’s what we’re looking for. And every time we are looking, it could be something different, you know qualifications that we’re looking for or specialties so she can take care of all that. And then after I do the interview, if it’s someone that we like, she continues to handle a lot of that stuff with the references, calling all the references, understanding what their experience is like at work and any other things that we need to handle on the side. So she kind of, we kind of do almost like our in-house HR kind of stuff. Even once we hire someone, Christina is a big part of the training process. So you want to kind of talk about how you handle that?
[CHRISTINA] Yes. So when we, when we hire a new employee, this is something in the past year that I’ve kind of grown more into helping Whitney in this role, but I’ll help onboard the new employees. So I’ll go through our training manual with them, get them set up on all of our systems, our Therapy Notes system, Gusto our payroll, all of that. And then just kind of get them all set up in the office, make sure they have everything they need in their office space and just kind of get them set up, get their phone number set up and all of that. So I’ve been involved in that process in helping our new staff members be comfortable and ready to start.
[WHITNEY] Yes. And I know a lot of people have different ways that they handle this side of the training. Like people do training videos and have the potential or new employees kind of go through those. I still love that personal touch. I think it’s important in that very beginning of someone’s starting a new job. And so the great thing about the way we have this setup is Christina still gives that personal touch and shows people that, “Hey, I’m a knowledgeable person. You can come to me when you need things.” And we have found that the employees that have come on since Christina took a big role in the training process, do go to her with most of their questions and less to me, which is right, what we want as business owners so the business can function without us having to be there. But the ones that came on when I did all the training do tend to still rely on me a lot more and I have to constantly remind them, “This is Christina’s role. This is my role.”
So that’s been super helpful. And even in the training process, I am involved at the very beginning. I usually do a one hour, maybe an hour and a half with the person, kind of talking through the mission of the practice if we didn’t already talk about that in the interview or recap it, I guess, and going through a little bit of the clinical paperwork. Because Christina is not a therapist, I do like that clinical side of the training, but then she does all the rest of the training. So that’s worked out really well for us as a team.
[WHITNEY] Okay. So maybe let’s talk about some of the other things that you do. What are some of the other responsibilities that you have?
[CHRISTINA] So I am responsible, one of the primary things I do is oversee payroll and billing, collecting any checks or cash that come in, depositing those at the bank, going through each payroll and making sure all the sessions are paid for and that we have the money we need from those individuals who’ve come in. Running payroll, we do that every two weeks at our practice, so kind of oversee that. And then sometimes we have clients come in who have a third party helping pay for their sessions, whether it be a church or a foundation or we have a couple of clients who use EAP. So I’ll make sure that I’m staying in touch with those organizations or individuals, making sure they get their bills and that we collect payment on time for those sessions. So that’s definitely one of the things that an ongoing responsibility. Let’s see. I also, we have our payroll system, we have our Therapy Notes system and these systems. So we’re constantly having new situations arise with these systems. So that’s another thing I do is just kind of keep the communication lines open, troubleshoot issues.
Also our phone, we’ve recently switched to a new phone system called Spruce. So that was kind of something I oversaw was that whole process. And yes, there were a lot of questions at the beginning and figuring out how that works. So I was kind of the go-to on that. So kind of overseeing all of those systems that our practice uses and that keep us going day in and day out.
[WHITNEY] Yes, definitely. Well, I’m going to go back to the billing. And so it’s been super helpful to have Christina manage all that because my mind became juggled everywhere when I was trying to figure out, Oh, did I get this payment? And like, we work with churches, did that church pay for this and those types of things. So even though we’re a cash pay practice, it’s been amazing how important having someone to do the billing has been for the practice. So I really encourage you to find someone to kind of help you with that, even if you’re a cash pay practice. And then with the systems, I mean, you’ll know as business owners having to get on the phone and wait and call, like I could be working with a client during that time and bringing the business a lot more money. And so Christina has been considered an admin on all my accounts. So my Gusto account looks really great. It doesn’t give her access to necessarily the bank account, but it gives her the ability to do everything that I can do within Gusto. And then even with Spruce or Therapy Notes, we’ve called them and let them know, “Hey Christina, basically functions like Whitney. She needs to have access to everything and be able to say everything the business owner can do.”
And most third parties totally are used to that and will let you do that. So that’s a big tip. If you do have an assistant that can do some of that for you, it’s been super helpful. And I will say, I know that I stretch Christina a lot. I’ll call her with these crazy requests that probably sound foreign to her because she’s not clinical, but she has learned so much. And I just love how she’ll be like, “Yes, sure. I got it.” Thank goodness because I can’t handle that.
[CHRISTINA] Yes. There’s definitely been some things where I’ve called and thought these people are going to think I don’t know what I’m talking about, but everyone’s been super helpful and we’ve figured out as we’ve gone along. And yes, most of all of our third party systems have been great to work with.
[WHITNEY] Yes. It’s so important. I stretch this to group practice owners, a ton, to have at least two people on your team that can do everything, sometimes even more people. And so I make sure that Christina pretty much can do everything I can do unless it’s clinical then I get one of my counselors, who’s a supervisor that she can do those things. Because if you, as the business owner are out, for whatever reason, your business needs to keep functioning, or if Christina’s out, if she’s gone, I need to run payroll or Lisa needs to take on a few more responsibilities to make it work as a practice and make sure you’ve always got two people that can do everything.
[WHITNEY] Another part of your responsibilities, it has to do kind of with the office staff or just the staff in general and office space and those types of things. So maybe talk a little bit about that.
[CHRISTINA] Yes. So the way our office is set up, there are a couple of therapists that kind of have their “own office.” That’s their office, they’re more of our full-time therapists, and then we have a couple of part-time therapists who share office spaces. So that is one of the things that I oversee; is just the scheduling and making sure there’s no overlap where somebody is going to show up and doesn’t have an office space. So that does take a little bit of strategic planning just to make sure that our schedules line up and there’s no overlap for office spaces, and just helping the therapists think through their hours. And we kind of, you know Whitney and I will sometimes talk about when we’re getting calls or more people wanting daytime or evening, and just thinking through the scheduling and what fits the needs of our clinicians, but also our clients. So I’ve definitely had a role in that. And now that we offer our online scheduling, I’m sure you may have mentioned that in some other podcasts, but that’s a new thing we’ve started in the past few months. So that’s also making sure on our online portal that therapists work hours are correct, that nobody’s scheduling at a time they’re not in the office, and all of that. So I do kind of oversee all of that office scheduling and staff schedules and office space management type stuff.
[WHITNEY] Yes. So that’s super helpful. And I don’t know if we quite said this, but Christina also manages the admin team itself. So she’s the direct manager to the intake specialist and to the marketing director, which is really nice because then I don’t feel like I’m having to follow up with multiple people. I can follow up with Christina and Christina can follow up with them. So as your practice grows, it’s kind of nice to have that tree of command, so to speak when you’re running a practice. And it’s honestly really great for your employees. Like when they get that extra responsibility, they feel good about what they’re doing. And I like having specific people for specific jobs, but I do know some practices who will get an extra responsibility to certain counselors and one of the counselors might be the marketing person and sees clients or someone might be the intake person and sees clients. So you can do it that way as well. Is there anything else that we haven’t hit on? I mean, obviously you do a lot of things, but any big topics that we haven’t touched on yet?
[CHRISTINA] I mean, there’s just some other kind of random things that often help put together our staff meeting agendas. I work with Whitney on that. We have staff meeting every other week. And so we always want to have an agenda that we send out beforehand. And so I’ll help put that together and just odds and ends. If there’s a community event I’ll often help oversee getting everyone scheduled for that or if we have an annual event here for CURE, which is as an organization we work with, it’s for childhood cancer. And so I help oversee that event, our part in that event. Things like that. I do still write blogs sometimes for the practice. So I do a lot of random things too that are kind of just ongoing and there’s always new things coming up that I get involved with as they arise.
[WHITNEY] That’s so true. Yes, and she is a great writer and that’s been a real benefit to the practice. Sometimes I’ll go on our website and read the blogs and I don’t even know that they’ve been written or what the topics are. And I go in there and see it and I’m like, “Wow, this blog is really good.” And so I just love that Christina kind of has that gift that she can bring to the table.
[CHRISTINA] I do enjoy writing.
[WHITNEY] Yes, and she helps a lot too with just paperwork at the practice, things we need to update, like if we need to update a disclosure statement or our handbook. I can kind of hand that off to her and say, “Hey, I need you to add these things.” And she’s a lot more eloquent with, I mean, that’s funny that I’m saying this. I don’t even know if I’m saying it right. She’s better with words than I am, whatever word that is. I think eloquent is powerful.
[CHRISTINA] Eloquent, I guess. Yes.
[WHITNEY] Christina I was thinking maybe it was just for talking. I’m a good talker, but I’m not a good writer. And so it’s nice to have a good writer around.
[CHRISTINA] Thank you. I do, I enjoy doing that. So yes, I’ll update the paperwork and kind of reword things and grammar stuff and that type of thing.
[WHITNEY] Yes. So it’s always good. You know, as business owner, we are super busy and our time is very important, so it’s good to have somebody that’s kind of on your team, helping you, if you need to pass something off. So I always am thinking when I have a responsibility to in front of me, “Is this something that Christina could do so that I could be doing something else to take the practice forward?” And so that’s a question I ask myself and if it’s something she can do, I pass it off to her and then if it’s not, then that’s something that I handle. The other thing that I just love, and we talked about this before, is Christina really holds me accountable. And so there are some questions that come up as a business owner that, yes, you can go to your consultant or you can talk to a trusted friend, but it’s not the same as talking to someone who’s involved personally in your practice and someone who knows the counselors.
So when I’m trying to make, maybe it’s a big financial decision or a hire or something maybe that I’m being personal about, I have someone that can say, “Well, what do you think about this?” And they can really like, think about it and pray about it and be honest and real about it. So that’s one of the other biggest assets about having Christina on staff; is I have somebody else to throw things off of so that I can get a second opinion.
[CHRISTINA] Yes. Yes, and I enjoy being a sounding board.
[WHITNEY] Well, thank you. Well I’m going to ask you what I ask everyone that comes on the show. In fact, I don’t even remember what you said last time, so I’ll be interested to go back and listen, but what do you believe every Christian counselor needs to know?
[CHRISTINA] Oh, I forgot that you were going to ask this question. I would just say, this is maybe what I said before, but I think what’s special about our team you know, as is everyone brings their unique gifts to the table. And I feel like as Christians, everyone is bringing their best and they truly have a love for their clients and a love for the team itself. And so I think what makes Water’s Edge Counseling special is which I guess is what I would say to other therapists is you know, just bringing your unique gifts to the team. I think people love working at our practice because they feel loved, they feel cared for, valued as an individual and as a part of Water’s Edge Counseling as a team. And so I think just being a part of creating that kind of atmosphere, wherever your place of work is, whether you’re a practice owner or you’re an employee at a practice, but just really putting forth the effort to care about one another.
I mean, I love it when it’s someone’s birthday on our text thread, everybody’s wishing them happy birthday or somebody’s going through something hard that, I mean, we recently had someone that was like, “Hey, can you guys pray for me about this,” at one of our staff meetings. And so I just love that and so I think creating that kind of atmosphere for your place of business is so valuable and it really makes people want to bring their best to the table when they come to work.
[WHITNEY] You’re right. That teamwork and I mean, talk about biblical, right. Everyone playing their part. So, yes, that’s what I love about our team as well. Well, Christina, thanks so much for taking the time to come on the show today and thank you for your part at Water’s Edge Counseling and for your friendship.
[CHRISTINA] Yes. Well, happy to be here. Thanks for having me. And I enjoyed it.
[WHITNEY] Again, thank you so much to Therapy Notes for sponsoring the show. It makes notes, billing, scheduling, and tele-health a whole lot easier. And if you’re coming from another EHR, they make the transition really easy. Therapy Notes will import your client’s demographic data free of charge during your trials so that you can get going right away. Use promo code [JOE] to get three months to try out Therapy Notes for free.
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