How do you define hospitality?
Dan Ryan has been working in the hospitality industry for nearly 30 years, and he‘s just as fascinated by it as he was on day one. Join him in this weekly podcast as he invites industry thought leaders to discuss what hospitality means to them - in the built environment, in business, and in our daily lives.
Dan Ryan: Today's guest is someone who's been surrounded by hospitality from a young age, a skilled leader who masterfully balances all parts of a project. Resulting in a polished, finished product.
Her work touches many major aspects of hospitality, designing spaces for hotels and senior living facilities. She started as a junior designer at Culpepper McCullough and Mets and worked her way up to principal and vice president at C plus TC or ctc. Design Studio. Ladies and gentlemen, Billy Thorn.
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: Thank you. It's great to be here. How are you today?
Dan Ryan: I'm so good today. It's, uh, you know, this, this nice 4th of July week to celebrate it. Um, I find a lot of people aren't working this week, so it allows me a time to like, get ahead of things and like feel more in control than I normally am. How about you?
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: I usually take this week off and we took vacation early, so I'm in, and I gotta say having a day off on Tuesday. Really, it, it messes up. You don't know what day it is, but it makes for a lovely week. I gotta tell you.
Dan Ryan: I completely agree. And um, and also I would also say like, as entrepreneurs we kind of also never take time off as well. And I think what's really intriguing about your story and your journey, unlike so many people today, where, you know, two years is considered a long time. Um, At a place of employment, you started working as a junior designer at Culpeper McCullough and Mets, and then stayed working there, and then eventually became a vice president at the same company, which rebranded to C plus TC to incorporate you as a partner.
Um, but I was just, I, I'm very fascinated by that because like, you seem to be the exception to the rule and I think it's a, a real kind of source of inspiration for others that like, Kind of sticking with things, really believing in your team and mentors to become who you are. I, that's why I wanted to have you here today.
And in, in light of that and thinking about that kind of structure, um, doing hospitality design, how do you define hospitality and what does it mean to you?
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: Uh, well, hospitality ultimately is about kindness. I would love to tell you that it's all about the fabulous hotel design work we do here, but there's so many components that really make hospitality what it is, and we're really just a small part of it. It's all about the people. And as far as being here for as many years as I have been, it's, you know, finding your home, finding your comfortable spot, and I.
I've had two great jobs in my career. Um, the first job was with Hirsh, Bedner and Associates, and then have been here since, and I guess this was my home in a comfortable place and allowed me to grow. And now my job is to help others grow, which I really, really love. So it's fun to watch designers be excited about what they produce.
Dan Ryan: Uh, and I think that that's an important maybe point of departure for our conversation because like, as. We become leaders in our companies and our industries. One of the most important things that we can all do is really focus as much time that we have as possible on helping bring on the next generation of leaders.
Right? And it's this, it's this accretive, um, process where, you know, it's not a zero sum game. It's a one plus one equals three, five a million, whatever. But I think it's something we all need to. Make sure that we're being cognizant and intentional about as far as bringing up the next leader. So, and I think thank you for sharing that because I think what's really cool is to hear about how you were spotted as a, as a aspiring leader and brought in as a, a partner.
And then how do you, how do you do that with your teams as well to make sure that you're devoting time and energy to bring on the next, um, round of leaders.
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: I will say for me, that's been a big, big evolution in ver in a lot of ways. Um, one of the big Evo things that we don't learn in design school or architecture school is. Um, anything about psychology or how, you know, we don't really turn, learn about how to work with people, which is so, so important because there is not a mentoring process that is one size fits all.
So whenever you hire a new designer, it's kind of figuring out what system works with them. And sometimes, most of the time you can figure it out and they can gel with the team. Every now and then it doesn't work, and that's just, it's frightening and you've tried to figure out what you've done wrong. But more, more often, you figure out something and that helps 'em grow and helps 'em learn and really kind of inspires them to become an A designer.
And that's my favorite part is kind of trying to figure that out. But that took me a long, long time because the way I was trained doesn't work for everybody I hire. Um, and we're also in a very different world and if I train people the way I was trained, it perhaps might not go over. As well as I'd like.
Dan Ryan: Totally.
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: So, um, it's, it's always a learning process and I tell my team daily is when you stop learning, there's a problem. Cuz we all have to keep learning and that's part of what energizes us and keeps, keeps the job interesting. So.
Dan Ryan: And Billy, I think kind of what I think what's interesting about this. Idea of bringing on leaders, um, and nurturing the next round. Some people don't want to be, some people are like, they have this really incredible, um, work-life balance or work-life presence where, you know, they want to be a designer, but they want to do the work that they're doing or an accountant or a whatever, and they're doing their work and they're happy with that because they have a million other things going on.
And then there are those other ones who want to be a leader and want to help coach and. Bring the best out of others and, you know, be that one plus one equals three. How do, do you have a, a way of kind of figuring out that, is there like a litmus test, um, that you do, or is it kind of more, more natural as you're just going through and, and interacting and nurturing your teams?
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: It varies by person and over the past three years I've worked to evolve our review process to make it more of a coaching process. We had this process that was. Two sheets of paper and it, you, you graded somebody and you came up with a score and you talked about that, but it really. It was still, it was a conversation, but it didn't really allow input.
So our new form is something that goes in, we go into the meeting blank and we start talking and it, it's kind of a, the questions on the form are more to talk about things that you don't talk about in your normal day to day and try and kind of see what people wanna do next steps in their career. Cuz you're 100% right that everybody's got a different track.
And I learned that about 15 years ago. I was. Reviewing a designer and we were talking and it wasn't a great review, and she said, I don't wanna manage people. I'm content doing what I'm doing. And I don't think if I had run into that person that was so honest and so comfortable with what she was doing, it would've taken me a lot longer to understand that because I was very career driven.
What's my next step? What's my next level? But there are a lot of people that aren't that way, and it's 100%. Perfect. Because they're very, typically, they're very, very good at what they do, and it's understanding that that's their passion. And they may not, that's where their, their comfort zone is. So, you know, finding people's comfort zones, well, you wanna take people outta their comfort zone at times.
Some people just can't go there. And again, that is what is so it, to me, when I figure that out about a person, it's very, very exciting to me.
Dan Ryan: Okay, so that's exciting to me too because even though I, I believe that it's important that we all, no matter what track we're on, Kind of get out of our comfort zone. But maybe there's a le like if you look at this kind of path in the road, there's kind of a leadership and then maybe in your case, a design path.
Um, but I still think it's important for those people who don't want to go on a leadership path to get uncomfortable because that's also how we grow. And specifically is, um, as designers or other administrative, um, if there's other administrative functions in your company, which I know there are, or um, just other.
Maybe not design related ones. How do you ensure that even the ones, even the folks that might not want to go onto a leadership path, how do you kind of challenge them in the seats that they're in so that they're getting uncomfortable, but also growing and not stagnant?
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: That's why the goal conversation is so important. I like, one of the things I like to ask is, what are your significant accomplishments? I. Um, and I usually have an idea of what I think their significant accomplishments are, but understanding in their mind what the accomplishments are is really important.
And then talking about the next year's goals. And I give anybody, I talk to an opportunity you wanna meet once a week, once a month, once a year, and it changes. Per person as well. But understanding those goals and just because they say their goals, I tell them this, that's not, you're gonna get things that aren't on your goal list because again, you do have to p put people outta their comfort zone because it does make 'em grow.
And sometimes if you don't leave that comfort zone, you don't know that there's something else you like.
Dan Ryan: I totally agree, and it's like, I don't know. I'm sure we've all had trainers, whether coach like physical trainers or coaches at some point in our lives. Um, They're not doing their job unless you're getting uncomfortable. Right. Because then we, we really find that next level. Um, I think, you know, to bring it back to your idea of, um, as you're coaching and kind of, kind of finding alignment between yourself and then your teams.
You said originally that hospitality you to you is really about kindness. When you're in those meetings, sometimes people can be very, Like stressed out, sometimes the coach or the manager could be as well. Um, how do you bring kindness into that so that everyone's comfortable that so that you can get it to the next level?
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: That's why I went to more of this conversation format because I think when you come in with a prepared document you like, I've always felt like I had to have my say, but it's really not. It needs to be a conversation because what I assume, you know, I can't assume that I know what they want. So when you come in with an open mind about having a conversation about goals instead of, here are your next steps, that allows it to evolve and be more directed towards that person's ideas instead of what my ideas are.
Because the employee I mentioned before taught me a huge lesson, what I thought she should be doing. Wasn't what she wanted to do. So that wa that moment was a real game changer for me and how I. You know, train people and talk to people and things like that. Of course, we still need to make money so we can't do everything.
It's a business and everybody here really likes a paycheck is the other thing I've discovered in life. So, you know, we have to temper the goals with a functional business. So there's that component that has to be overlaid. And sometimes there are those hard conversations where, here's what we need to do so that you know, we bill enough to cover your costs and we remain open as a company.
So that's just another layer of it. Um, but as I've, I've got, um, a son who is 24, so he's out in the working world and I actually, and he's in the IT side of the world, so very different. But I love talking to him and kind of getting his feedback on what he likes and reviews and what he sees in his office.
And I actually love talking to people in different. Industries. I've got friends that are very varied in what they do, and I get a lot of inspiration and ideas from talking to them, and they're not all achievable in every industry. But hearing different ways is also very helpful in how to coach and mentor people.
Dan Ryan: I totally agree with you, and one of the things that I was intrigued by, maybe we can jump into th into that now, is like, as far as you going onto that leadership path and becoming a leader, you really, you appreciate mistakes.
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: days,
Dan Ryan: for learning. Right. Well, within reason, obviously there, there are, there's a spectrum of mistakes, but like how did, how, how did you come to see that mistakes are also opportunities for learning?
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: that's a hard lesson and. I learned that partly in parenting as well as working here. And I think as a parent, you so badly don't want your kids to make the same mistakes you did. And as a parent, I tried to make sure my kids didn't feel the same pain I felt over whatever issue it was. But at some point, as much as you think we should learn from history, which is very, very important, there is some mistakes everybody needs to make for themselves, for them to really learn from them.
So just hearing about 'em or whether you're reading from the history book or however you. Have heard about mistakes sometimes we all just need to be able to make them.
Dan Ryan: Mm.
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: And I think we all have examples of that in our life that we were advised one way and we went ahead and said, no, they don't know what we're talking about.
Um, but it's kind of tempering those moments to minimize the disaster. And then sometimes the other person may be right too, when you think, oh, that was wrong when I was going to do it. 10 years ago, but times have changed. So it's got, you know, it can be a detailing mistake or something, what I would've called a detailing mistake.
But now we have ways to make it or produce it or, you know, even like that. So sometimes I'm learning from mistakes. I let them make.
Dan Ryan: Mm. And then as far as, I really liked how you shared a minute ago with your, talking about your son in the i a different world and then other peers of yours in different worlds than, than design or hospitality. Design. And you learned so much from them. What are the things that kind of. What are some big lessons learned from people outside of what you do on a day to day that have really kind of helped kind of turn on a light bulb in your head?
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: Um, that's a hard one. I will say, I think the biggest thing, and it wasn't really from a person, but I think it's covid.
Dan Ryan: Mm.
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: home and not being around people for over a year and trying to do this job, which hospitality requires other people, and then we're designers and we're very collaborative. So being isolated was really hard.
And then the person in me who's. The more experienced individual, I kept thinking, okay, it's just because I haven't learned how, I'm not as good on teams or I haven't learned how to show my ideas digitally. But here we are back in the office, back collaborating and we're a hybrid work, um, week. So that.
Everybody seems very comfortable with that in the days we're here, we do, we are way more collaborative and today is a day where nobody's typically in the office and we've got six people in the office cuz we've got a huge deadline and nobody felt like they could be as successful from home. I didn't ask for them to come in.
I was shocked how many people were here when I walked in cause I thought it was gonna be very quiet to do this today. So, um, but I think a lot of people, a lot, there are some people who. Totally when Covid hit it was they were in their happy spot. And I think at first a lot of us thought, oh, we've got so much free time.
There's, there's so many better things being at home. And then I think as time wore on, I think we realized how much we miss people. And some of us thrive on people more than I would've told you. I was somebody who avoid. I was very shy and avoided people. I'm not that person that I thought I was. When Covid started, I was like, I just realized I'm really kind of an outgoing person that loves hanging out with people, but it's sad.
It took a pandemic for me to understand that part of my own nature. But then it also started getting me thinking about. You know, what is hospitality and you know, how do you have hospitality when you're sitting at home by yourself? You can be kind to somebody on a video conference, but it's that physical togetherness, whether it's just in person talking, whether it's, it's just all the aspects of what we consider hospitality and kindness and being good to people and.
All those kind of things really are part of what we do. And I joke in the office quite often and I, we're a hospitality firm. Even if we don't, aren't in the hotel practicing hospitality, we need to be hospitable people. So that's how we treat each other.
Dan Ryan: And it comes, all, comes back to that idea of kindness.
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: Yes. Well, to me anyway, and.
Dan Ryan: right. I I I'm parroting you and I, I really like, but ultimately it's, it's about like how you make those other feel, others feel. And, you know, as I, you know, I, I heard, I just heard you say that you were shocked by how many people are in there today, because in this hybrid place, typically people aren't, if you were to.
Kind of think about is, is there a a, a thread you can find in that shock amongst all the people that are in the office today that could maybe help better find new talent or people who would surprise you? Like, cuz that's a really good thing. And I, I would say that while you're shocked and so surprised, I think a lot of it has to do with the people that you attract, right?
So in a way you're, you're surprised. But I think that it's not by luck. I think that that's by, I. Design, whether you realize it or not. So can you think about like the types of people that you attract that would surprise you in that way?
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: I do like outgoing people and, um, I've got a good team right now and they're really working well. I've, I've always got a good team. I should, I shouldn't say that, but this team really seems to be enjoying being around each other and that. Makes a huge, huge difference and they seem to really enjoy working together.
They will willingly help out each other on deadlines without me saying, Hey, can you pitch in here? So that's when that happens. That's organic. That's what I love to see in a team is that willingness, whether it's can you come look at this fabric and see what you think, or, Hey, I've got four hours, I'll help you pick up red lines.
I love when the team is willing to do that for one another.
Dan Ryan: Hmm, agree. And, and if you were to like select or attract those types of people, like how do you, is that an interview process? Is that like how. What's that secret sauce that you think you have that detracts those people?
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: I don't know. It does. A lot of times it comes through in the interview process and when I feel I always interview somebody and then have somebody else interview them and don't really tell them how I think. Cuz I kind of want, you know, somebody who's been on the team a while to gimme their feedback, unbiased.
Um, because they're gonna be working together. It's not just whether I can get along with them. The team needs to get along with them. So there are times where I. Their portfolio's fabulous. And I'm thinking we should hire them. The talent's there, it's great, but it's hard to even have an hour long conversation.
So then I set 'em up with somebody else to say, was I having an off day? Did we just not click? But usually with my team, we have the same kind of gut instincts.
Dan Ryan: Mm. Um, when you started off in this industry, you were at H hba
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: Mm-hmm.
Dan Ryan: how did you. Find them or how did they find you? Like can you like where we're talking about how you're attracting people now to build this great team. Do you think there's any similarities to way back when, when whoever from hba or Hirsch Bedner found you?
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: Well, I, um, I, when I graduated there was a recession, the evil R word. Um, so there were no jobs. And in Texas it was really horrible. So I'd heard that Atlanta was still a strong city. Came here, slept on a friend's. Sofa for a month and partially I came here cuz my dad was a purchasing agent and had worked with H B A on two recent projects.
And so he had actually helped me get the interview with H B A. So that's how they found me. And I'm surprised, I think there was. Some favoritism there. I'm not gonna lie cuz I graduate with an architecture degree. So I was probably a long shot as far as somebody to hire. I didn't have your typical interior design degree.
And, but I was hired mostly to draft details, which worked great. Um, it was an amazing experience. Um, amazing mentor. Um, Sandra
Dan Ryan: that? Oh. Oh. great.
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: Yes. Yes. So, um, And then, you know, the recession hit there and so it was time to kind of come up with plan B. And I've been here since this is, this was plan B, and I've been here since.
Dan Ryan: Uh uh, so similarly, I think one of my first tastes of our industry, I was an intern at Hirsch Bedner, but in Santa Monica. But, you know, just think about these enormous multinational design firms. Attract such great people and it's really, it's a great kind of first step to kind of see who are the people that are in this industry and like what kind of a path could I help find myself?
And I'm still friends with a lot of them and I still joke with them that I was their intern.
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: I do too. I mean, I'm still good friends and keep in touch with most people. And then, you know, here in Atlanta, in Atlanta we have a lot of hba a alumni, so, and there's a lot of comradery in that group as well, just sharing those stories. And there's a great group of people in the office here still.
Dan Ryan: Uh, yeah. Uh, how many people? I, cuz I think, like if you look at all the, all the folks that came from, you know, an hba or a Wilson or like those other kind of foundational design firms, like one thing that I've really. I appreciate about them is whenever someone else left to go start their own. They were very, in a way, very supportive.
Like, yes, do this, like this is your path. Can you share any kind of similar experience about that? I.
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: I don't, I don't really have a story to tell about that. Um, but there's never, I. I don't, I've, there's never been negative, any negativity. It's always been positive. You're 100%. Right on. But it's interesting you bring that up because we're not seeing the number of alumni with from Wilson and H B A as we used to.
And so that's been a conversation of training in our office because so many people when they came from that environment, were trained, whether it was filing system, drawing, setup, spec style, Without the alumni coming there, it's turned into a different training method for us and we, it took us a while to realize, that's why we're like, why are people not understanding this?
Because they hadn't, that wasn't their foundation. Where if we probably look back at how many, what percentage came from one of those big hospitality firms then and now it's very different and we're having to do a lot of that groundwork training that whether hba or Wilson did it before.
Dan Ryan: Oh wow. So that's interesting. So it's almost like all that kind of administrative file, architecture, whatever, they would just kind of come in knowing how a system works. And this was like the system, the Dewey decimal system of how we're all working, but now they just, they don't. They, they don't have a context, so now you're having to teach it and I bet that takes a lot of, a lot of time in your onboarding as well.
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: Well, and that's what we're learning is we need a bigger, better onboarding process because there isn't that legacy there. But we've also been able to hire some great designers that have come from different types of design, and it does take some training, but it's been really interesting to watch those designers grow.
So, When they find out they can customize something instead of always having to buy it out of a catalog or just kind of the things that hospitality allows you to do are very different, and it really is kind of an energizing thing to expand your design horizons, I think.
Dan Ryan: Hmm, and I, okay, so now let's go with that word of energize and. I like the idea of energizing and kindness for the next question that I have, because I know in, in our earlier conversations, um, I didn't realize, but you're, you love practicing yoga and if you were to, okay, so now, you know, we've talked about all this stuff within the company.
If you were to think about what yoga has taught you about yourself and how, and, and energy levels and dealing with others, how. Is there any correlation or like what did yoga teach you on your path of leadership?
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: Um. Yoga really kind of balances me and some, and I guess calms me down. It, it really is kind of that place and, um, it's physical as well as mental and emotional. It's, it's kind of a, it's, that's so hard. Um, There are a lot of good lessons and a lot of 'em are about kindness to people and you know, being, having kind words, kind, thoughts, being kind in your heart.
Those are all things we talk about. And just kind of thinking about others, it's a big premise of yoga. Um, the other part of yoga I love is it's a really good workout and I enjoy feeling like I've accomplished something in my current role. I feel like there are days when I work long hours and I go home and I think, what did I do today?
I didn't, I didn't check one box off on a to-do list. So sometimes a yoga class gives me a sense of accomplishment that I finish something, but my job is really kind of making sure the studio's going and it's hard to quantify that daily.
Dan Ryan: Totally. And I think, I don't know, one of the things that I've learned over time, and it's funny how this happens with age, but you know, we're also, we're often thinking about like our inte, our intellectual selves or our emotional selves, but oftentimes we neglect the information that our body's giving us.
And if you think about this, uh, our body being kind of like the computer. Aside from our brain, like it all has to work together for the brain to work. Um, I think that our, our bodies are really great teachers that oftentimes are really overlooked. At least speaking for myself, like I don't think we take enough time to really check in with the body.
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: Well, and that is something that yoga allows you to do is really check in with your body. Because one of the other big things that's come out in the past three years is you've gotta take care of yourself. You know, and that's a big premise of yoga as well. And. You know, you gotta take care of yourself so you can take care of others, and that is really important.
Sometimes you think, oh, if I work a 12 hour day, I'm going to get more done. But sometimes working an eight or nine hour day and doing an hour yoga gets you way further ahead than just, you know, pushing through and doing a 12 hour day. You don't necessarily accomplish more. So it's kind of shifting that mindset that I was.
Trained in that the more hours, the better. I think it's about working smarter sometimes. Sometimes you do have to do the long hours. That's just part of this business, unfortunately. But it, um, but sometimes it's just being smart about what you're doing as well.
Dan Ryan: Yeah, it's almost like, you know, we we're all on so many airplanes, but it's like putting your, uh, your own oxygen mask on first.
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: That's exactly what it is.
Airplane seats aren't as comfortable as they seem to be in, so yoga helps with that situation as well.
Dan Ryan: A hundred percent. Um, so you've had this fabulous career working for others, working your way up through, um, CU Pepper into c c plus tc. Um, like as you kind of, from when you started to where you are now, like, and, and you, as you're looking out to the future, what's exciting you most about what you see out there?
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: You know, it, it's been, that's been another mind shift and I guess that's part of growing as mind shifts is it's that going from that to-do list that's not you're, you're not, I'm not task oriented. My goal is to really keep people moving and finding the next great project and understanding that my job has shifted from writing specs and doing drawings and pulling fabrics and.
It's an evolution. It's not one day you wake up and say, oh, I'm not doing drawings anymore. It's all of a sudden you realize, oh, I haven't gone into the drawing program in two weeks and I've been busier than anything. And so for me, it's kind of been letting go of some things that I really, really felt like were my job and my responsibility and kind of taking on things that.
Are really, are my new job at understanding that that is, you know, sometimes doing marketing or business development feels like fun. So should I be paid to do that? Because I'm hanging out with a lot of people, I really enjoy. But it's very, very important for the future of the company. But understanding that that is work and it does, you know, I'm, I'm tired after doing a lot of it.
Um, That's been a really hard shift for me is understanding that and what that that's needed of me and to let go of some of the other stuff. I don't know if that answered your question, but it's one of the things I struggle with daily,
Dan Ryan: and I, again, I think that, you know, if we could walk away from this impacting. People earlier in their careers, like what you're saying, resonates with me totally. In that it's almost like I have to be sure after a trip or a trade show or really putting myself out there for others or even these conversations.
We all need time to recharge and it's, I think it's really important to, like time is our most valuable asset and most fleeting and most limited, and we're all given the same amount, whether you're. Bill Gates or someone just starting out on their, on their journey. I, we need to really be intentional about recharging and scheduling time for that.
I, I completely agree with you.
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: And that's been a big lesson. I, I really have had a go, go, go mental mentality for a lot, a lot of years. So, um, and then, you know, taking the time to kind of enjoy the space you're in or. The environment or wherever you're at. Cuz I do love to travel. That's whether I'm traveling to a hotel in a city that doesn't seem glamorous.
I love it cuz it's a new experience. So sometimes just going to a new place is recharging. But in my, in the frame of mind, I'm trying to escape from, it was always, I've gotta work, I've gotta work, work, work. And then, but it's enjoying it and figuring out what that new environment is. So continuing to learn.
Dan Ryan: Agreed and, and I think, you know, whether it's a really nice hotel or a resort or a crappy hotel, or even just for me just being stuck on a six or 10 hour airplane, I always make time. To recenter and recharge because those times when I'm a able to be closed off, it really helps me fill my battery. And, um, again, I ju I, I agree with you.
I think it's really important that we, we take that time and for people starting, like I would block out time, whether it's meditating or going for a walk or, or just totally unplugging. It's really important to do.
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: And without you. It's funny you brought up the airplane cuz that's always been a major recharge time for me. I am that person who puts on my AirPods and gets out my book and starts reading if I don't have some crazy thing I've gotta work on. And when Covid hit and I didn't have that time, it was a real realization.
Um, That that was that time I'd taken on airplanes or whether it was being in a hotel room at night. Those are where I'd took, taken those moments. And when Covid hit, there weren't those moments. So it was kind of trying to figure out how do I recharge now because the old way I recharge was not available to me.
Dan Ryan: And it's crazy how, without being intentional about it, you took that airplane time for your recharge and your get ahead and, and just you time, and I actually just saw there was this guy, I think in like the nineties, early, mid nineties. He, he paid like a quarter million dollars for unlimited flights on United.
He had, uh, I don't know, 23 million miles flown, which I did the math divided by like 500 miles an hour, and I forget what else it came out to. Like, what was it, year, I don't know, a couple years in a pressurized metal tube, which sounds terrible, but I'm probably a 10th of what he was. I think I did Then I did it on mine and I was like nine or nine or 10 months in a.
Pressurized metal tube. And again, I was like, oh my God, I feel like I'm going down to see the Titanic.
Right? But the point is, is that I would use that time as well to recharge and to get ahead of things. And Covid really also taught me that I need those times. And I'm not as good at scheduling those times, although now I'm traveling.
More over the past six or eight months. So I've had that airplane time, but it, it really showed me that when I wasn't doing that, I had to be very intentional about scheduling time to just meditate, be unplugged, catch up on things without new information coming at me.
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: I was in the same boat and I didn't love yoga at home, so, and you don't even talk to anybody at yoga. So I was shocked that it was that different practicing within a community versus on your iPad at home, but it, and then making the time, you're right, like trying to leave my desk to go do a yoga class.
It was hard to really kind of justify that in a lot of ways. But it is, it's so, so important.
Dan Ryan: Uh, so as you're saying that, it makes me think, like one of the things I've also realized is, Look, I live out in Connecticut now and there's beautiful nature and hike. I go hiking all the time and it's great, but I miss living in Manhattan a lot. But because the, those other people that were around and I'd be walking to work and just looking at and like just, they would like give me energy, right?
And inspiration. And I miss that. So now it's like I have to be intentional. About putting myself into big groups of random people because they also, they give me energy as much as nature does. And it's like, uh, I found this interesting balance sheet between nature and just urban people overwhelm.
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: Mm-hmm.
Dan Ryan: Um, so if we were to go back in time to, when you finish University of Texas, you're, you're under the clock tower,
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: Yeah,
Dan Ryan: It's the clock. They call it the clock tower. Right?
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: that sounds right.
Dan Ryan: Okay. It's the big thing with the clock and the, the bell, okay. In the middle of campus. So the, the Billy I'm speaking to now magically appears in front of the Billy just finishing. Is it this
hook? 'em, there we go. Hook 'em horns. I'm not a big UT fan because I went to the University of Southern California and you guys beat us in the national championship one year and it really upset me.
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: sorry about that.
Dan Ryan: but anyway, you, you appear in front of yourself and, um, You have advice, what advice does the Billy I'm speaking to now have to the, the Billy just matriculating beyond the University of Texas at Austin.
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: Oh, to relax and. Just follow some whims and not be so serious. Your career will come. You don't have to dive in the moment you graduate. Yes, a paycheck is pretty fabulous, but if you wanna take that trip, figure it out if you, you know, if you wanna go live someplace, I. Else go do it. It's taking all those things because the older you get, the harder it is, I think, to do that.
Um, and a friend of mine says, once you buy that washer dryer, you're stuck. And it's kind of true.
Dan Ryan: Mm.
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: I don't know why that happens, but it does.
Dan Ryan: That's hilarious. The washer dryer makes you stuck. And then I remember once trying to have my washer dryer unstick me and I, I think, I believe it was when we moved to New York City, this is a long time ago from LA and I, that washer and dryer were such an anchor. I remember putting it in storage cuz I was like, I'm not gonna get rid of this.
Meanwhile, like eight years later, I more than paid for the washer dryer. Oh, I never thought about it that way. Thank you.
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: But who doesn't love the convenience of walking down the hall to throw in a load of wash versus going to have to the laundromat where whatever you have to do, I mean, it is pretty fabulous when you get one.
Dan Ryan: it is. But it's also, along with that comes, you know, some tethering if you will.
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: yeah, it's a grown up move for sure.
Dan Ryan: So definitely everyone listening to this, just starting out, don't buy that washer dryer. Just wait.
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: Make sure you're good and ready so you have that freedom.
Dan Ryan: That's, that's really fantastic. Thank you. Who, who told you that by the way?
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: It's actually a friend of mine that's, she's, uh, she teaches at UVA and um, she's about 10 years younger than I am, and I think it's what her father told her was, make sure you're really ready to own that washer dryer.
Dan Ryan: Oh my God, I didn't know the washer dryer was such a, such a, a checkpoint or a, a, like a, a milestone on the, on the journey of life. So,
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: But if I look back, it was for me.
Dan Ryan: totally. All right, so everyone, if you come outta this, really think about. When, what happened before and after you bought that washer dryer? Because I'm gonna start thinking about that.
That's hilarious. That's a fun exercise. That's hilarious. All right. Um, well, Billy, I just wanna say thank you for being here and, and investing your time in this and allowing our listeners to learn from you. Um, so I'm just eternally grateful. Thank you.
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: Well thank you. It was a lot of fun and good to share and talk about the future cuz the future is exciting and bright.
Dan Ryan: Yes. It, it, it really is, especially if you're looking at it with rose colored glasses.
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: No, you don't even need those.
Dan Ryan: right. Well, some people do, but, uh, if you, if people wanted to get in touch with you or learn more about, um, s um, what you're up to, like how, how can they find you?
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: Um, through the C plus TC Design Studio website, which we're launching a new website, I think within, I think before the end of the month. Um, so that's very exciting. Um, and then, um, that's probably the best way to reach out to me.
And I can give you my email address and you can add that in the contact info.
Dan Ryan: Okay, great. Maybe we'll just put it in the LinkedIn there. That way you won't get overwhelmed. I think that's about it. I mean, I really enjoyed our conversation. Thank you.
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: Well, my biggest advice to youngin's besides waiting to buy the washer and dryer is have passion for what you do, because that is so important. I mean, it just impacts so many things about how you approach your day to day, and having that passion really makes it a lot easier and a lot more fun.
Dan Ryan: I agree, and it sounds so, um, I don't know, just like a sign you'd see on a wall or a pillow you'd see on a sofa, but it's true because if you're, If you're not living and working in your passion, it things start to feel like work. If you are, it's really enjoyable and you're like in your zone. I like, I like to call it the zone of genius, like where you're in your, you're living and working within your, your natural gifts and, um, I think it's really important.
We should all do that. So I want to thank you again and thank our listeners because without you guys, We wouldn't be here talking and we keep growing every week. And if this changed your idea of hospitality or design, please pass it on to a friend because it's all been word of mouth and we'll catch you next time.
DH - Billie Thorne - Billie: Thank you.