IAM1721 – Founder and CEO Helps Companies Hire Dependable Workforce From the Refugee Workforce

Podcast interview with Chris Chancey

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”: Chris is doing something awesome and he was able to find a win-win-win for refugees, their organization, and their employers. Chris talked about the deep connection that he has with the refugee market which is why it's so important to go deep and people people over profit.

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Chris Chancey Teaser 00:00

The media and a lot of the political rhetoric we see around refugees, is to help us either believe that they're a charity case and they need a lot of support or they're a terrorist threat, and that we need to watch them very closely. But in reality, they're a workforce. They're a group of people who want to work hard and add value and pay taxes and contribute to their local community.

Intro 00:19

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales. And grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of.

This is the I AM CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:45

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I appreciate you listening to this episode. And if you've been listening this year, you know that we hit 1600 episodes at the beginning of this year. We're doing something a little bit different where we're repurposing our favorite episodes around certain categories or topics or as I like to call them, the business pillars that we think are going to be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, and business owners, and what I like to call the CB nation architects who are looking to level up their organizations.

This month we are focused on our greatest asset, talent management and hiring. Think from great resignation to great renovation. And if you disagree with me, maybe these episodes might be especially for you. Life and especially business has changed. It is for those that are within organizations who look differently at talent, and how it's being managed. When we talk about change, think about it, we have to realize that business as usual is no longer here, and that's evident in attracting and retaining clients, but also in setting up people within organizations to succeed. Think onboarding, think DEI, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. How it is working from home and even going back into the office.

Things are different in this month. We are going to explore these topics by featuring CEO hacks and CEO nuggets, but also interviews that focus on these changes and how organizations can make sure they care for and attract the most valuable asset, their people. Sit back and enjoy this special episode of the I AM CEO podcast.

Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Chris Chancey of Amplio recruiting.

Chris, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Chris Chancey 02:17

Hey, thanks for having me, man. I'm excited.

Gresham Harkless 02:20

No problem. Super excited to have you on as well. What I wanted to do is just read a little bit more about Chris so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing.

Chris is the founder and CEO of Amplio Recruiting, a staffing company helping great companies hire dependable employees from the refugee workforce. In 2018, Amplio hit 4 million in revenue and placed over 800 refugees into jobs in Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, and Raleigh. They aim to be in 25 markets by 2025 and plan to release a book this fall on the economic impact of refugees in the marketplace entitled Refugee Workforce.

Chris, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

Chris Chancey 02:58

Yeah, I'm excited. Let's roll.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 03:00

Let's do it. So the first question I had was to hear a little bit more about what I call your CEO story and what led you to start your business.

Chris Chancey 03:07

Yeah. Yeah. Thanks for asking and giving me the chance to speak. I think, my story is just very average in a lot of ways. I did not come from a business background. I remember the first opportunity I even had to kind of be put in a position of leadership within a business, my direct reporter at the time was telling me to describe what PNL was, and I remember writing down the letters, PNL three letters. I got it. And, so I feel like I've really come a long way since then. But most of it's been through failure, just failing forward and figuring things out and being willing to try some stuff.

My wife and I moved into a community here outside of Atlanta and at the time we were looking for a good deal in a house and we knew that its community was somewhat of an international community. Thought there might be some good restaurants to check out, but we had no clue that it was really a refugee resettlement community. For about 30 years, this community outside of Atlanta called Clarkston had been really a center for refugee resettlement, and it's called the most diverse square mile in the country. Pretty quickly we started thinking through what potential ways we could serve this community that's pretty unique. As we met our neighbors and got to know a little bit more about who they were and where they were coming from, we realized a lot of them just were eager to get back to work.

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Before they were displaced from their home, they had a job. And as we all know, there's a lot of dignity in being able to work and work with your hands and be proud of what you've done. And so, we started looking at potential companies. We could start to hire people from the community and really what we landed on was, man, there's a lot of companies who need to hire dependable people. There are a lot of people in this community who've been overlooked, but really have a lot to add in terms of just being really hard working people, and really dependable people. And so we said, let's just start a staffing company.

We have no background in staffing, but we can figure it out as we go and and really connect these two groups. That was about five years ago, we launched Amplio Recruiting. And it's been a crazy journey, but we've seen a lot of companies be tremendously impacted by hiring people from refugees and just recognizing that the media and a lot of the political rhetoric we see around refugees is to help us either believe that they're a charity case and they need a lot of support or they're a terrorist threat and that we need to watch them very closely. But in reality, they're a workforce. They're a group of people who want to work hard and add value and pay taxes and contribute to their local community.

Gresham Harkless 05:29

I appreciate you for identifying that, and even though you didn't have that background as you said, but in true entrepreneurial form, you created something that helped create win-win, win opportunities for lots of people.

Chris Chancey 05:38

Yeah, that's the most exciting part, is that, there are so many companies that we talk to on a daily basis, the CEO I'll talk to, he'll say, man, I thought that the hardest part about making this business successful would be to secure the right patent. Or a lady will say, man, I thought the hardest part was going to be finding a co-founder who could really run with me. Or there'll be all these things that you think are gonna be the most challenging aspect of starting and being successful in business.

None of them would say, I thought the thing that I was gonna struggle the most with was finding dependable people. That's always kind of seemed in the past to be something that you just take for granted. And I think we're realizing now in the labor market, there are 7 million open jobs in the US. 7 million jobs will go unfilled this year. Most of those are in manufacturing and hospitality. Those are two of the industries we serve, and so we just recognize we've got a lot of dependable people who are legal to work. They're already in the US so whether or not you agree that we should continue to let whatever, the bottom line is, there are people who are already here who are legal to be here.

So why not give them the opportunity to contribute and take these jobs and provide for their family and create greater stability for them in their community as well.

Gresham Harkless 06:49

Yeah, absolutely. I wanted to drill down a little bit deeper and hear a little bit more on how the process works. How you help support the refugees, but also the businesses and organizations and what you feel is like your secret sauce.

Chris Chancey 07:00

Yeah, that's such a great question. In reality, the staffing industry has been around for a long time. As we stepped into that world, there were a lot of things I knew that we could benefit from and learn from what staffing has done really well. It's a great business model. It's very profitable, but of course, we all recognize there's reputation that comes along with staffing. The kind of connotation there may be that people are not treated fairly and that people could be taken advantage of. We wanted to be very aware of that from the start of how do we set ourselves up so that we're telling a different story, that we are gonna come along and provide the same workers' comp and the same payroll services.

At the end of the day, the people we're placing on our payroll, and then eventually on the company's payroll are people who are really dependable. You're gonna see an increase in retention. The industry standard and staffing is right around 40% and our retention rate is right at 80%. So double awesome standard. And it's not a lot because we're doing anything really special or unique, really talk about the secret sauce is really connecting deeply with the refugee community. So we see an increase in retention. We see an increase in productivity as well.

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We've got a company not too far from our office here that manufactures different types of baby products and they sell in Walmart and other stores around the country. Their average quota when we started working with them was they needed someone who could hit about 300 a day of whatever the different items they were working on. Within just a couple weeks, we had placed a group of Burmese women and they were hitting 600. One lady was hitting 900 a day, three times what the quota was. And so not only did production increase, but the rest of the people working at the company were saying, Hey, if they can do 900, we should be able to at least do 400 or 500. Everybody's production increases in that environment. It's not like it's a sweatshop, there's everyone sitting down in padded chairs, great lighting, music playing there. They love what they do, but there's more efficiency and focus brought to the work, and so we get to see that across the board.

I think one of the things we've tried to do from a secret sauce standpoint is just say, hey, we're putting people over profit. We're still gonna charge you just as any other staffing company will, but we want to communicate very far in advance that we can't work with every company. We've got to know, we have got a clear standard of who we're gonna work with. We put every company through a 30-point scale to determine they're the right fit. And then over the last year, we became a B Corp. So we're the first and only staffing company to become a B Corp certified.

And Nice, it's hard to imagine that's the case, but hopefully there's a standard there that other staffing companies can adhere to as well to say yeah, let's take care of the people because that really is the lifeblood of a successful staffing business.

Gresham Harkless 09:48

Yeah, absolutely. I've heard a little bit about B Corp, but in the way that I've always heard it and defined it, I guess you can say is all along the lines of service and having a really strong purpose. So a lot of people, when they wanna support organizations, they want to support businesses.

Having and being able to be a B Corp is definitely, you're not just doing things for the sake of doing them, you're doing them for a purpose and a cause. So I definitely appreciate you and appreciate you for getting that designation and congratulations on that as well.

I wanted to switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. This might be like an app, a book, or a habit that you have, but it's something that makes you more effective and efficient.

Chris Chancey 10:27

Yeah. That's such a great question. I think if there's anything, there's very little that I do well. I think it's failing for it and just learning from mistakes. So there's been a couple I'll mention maybe one book and then maybe one habit really quick. So one book that has been really key for me is called Making Money is Killing Your Business. Chuck Blakeman is the author, he is a mentor and a friend of mine. Just really logical, insightful, hard-hitting, really good practical book, on how to grow a successful business and not just something that's just gonna generate some cash. So I really like that.

And then for me, I think recognizing that getting up early in the morning and having some time to really be able to focus fully on what has to get done today before I get pulled into everything else during the day has been reported. The only way I was able to accomplish that was really just recognizing if there's something that's necessary and it's like a high necessity for me when I go to sleep, there's a really strong chance that I'll get up at 5:30 or 6:00AM and knock it out. But if I don't go to bed with a sense that this is highly urgent and necessary, then it's a little bit easier to sleep in until seven or whatever and kind of be pulled into the day, and then I'm trying to catch back up.

So I just have a clear sense of what's the one thing that's got to get done, and I know it's gonna force me to wake up and get it done in the morning before I get going with the day.

Gresham Harkless 11:45

Nice. I love that because it's like you're starting tomorrow the day before yesterday because you have that momentum because you're already prepared for exactly what you wanna do, I imagine

Chris Chancey 11:54


Gresham Harkless 11:54

Nice. And now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. This is a word of wisdom or piece of advice, and you might have already touched on this, but this is something you would tell your younger business self.

Chris Chancey 12:05

Yeah. One of the things I've really started settling into is again talking about this whole theme of failing forward and learning from our mistakes. I talk a lot about vectory is victory. And so there's just something for my own self, just thinking through this whole vector principle right. If you know where you want to be eventually, then it's that process of taking small steps every day to get there. And if you start a few degrees off course today, then you're gonna wind up way off of where you actually want to be in the end.

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Whatever that vector point is, setting your sights on that and knowing I'm gonna make a few steps towards that every day. I can't accomplish everything today, but I definitely wanna make progress.

Gresham Harkless 12:45

Yeah, absolutely. Vectory is victory. I absolutely love that because a lot of times you have like that north star that's up, that you're making sure that you follow and then you're like, how the heck am I gonna make it all the way there? But you do little small things each and every day, just staying true to that star or whatever goal you might have. Next thing you know, you're actually there, maybe even beyond there. So, I appreciate that.

Now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. We're hoping to have different CEOs on this show. So Chris, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Chris Chancey 13:13

Yeah, I immediately go very practical when I hear that and so maybe that's just the way my brain works. But I think for me, the three things that I'm trying to keep my mind on in terms of what my role and my responsibility is here on a day-to-day basis is recognizing that it's my responsibility to cast vision.

That's probably only something that I can do, and so nobody else is maybe thinking about that on the day-to-day. So the only thing that I can do is really what the CEO role fits for me. So I'm casting vision number one.

Number two, keeping cash in the bank and just constantly thinking about how that works.

Number three, getting the right people on our team. And if I'm doing those three things well then everything else should be done really well by the other people on our team, and those are the things that only I can do.

Gresham Harkless 13:58

Absolutely. And having that high-level kind of perspective on those things and understanding exactly how they snowball and manifest themselves in all the different things that you're doing, definitely, makes perfect sense.

So I appreciate that definition and Chris. Thank you for your time, what I wanted to do is pass you in the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know, and then how best they can find out about all the awesome things you're doing and get ahold of you.

Chris Chancey 14:21

Oh wow. Thanks. Yeah, I'm excited about the book we have coming out in the fall, so maybe I'll just touch on that briefly. I shared a little bit of this earlier, but what we see in our country right now is there's of course lot of division and a lot of us are frustrated by that. But then, what do you do? Often when we talk about refugee stuff, obviously we're right in the middle of what is a very controversial topic. So for us, we just recognize that if we talk about the moral or ethics or just there are various ways we could talk about this discussion, but it's gonna polarize people. But we found if we talk about the economic impact, that it's really hard to argue that.

So the book is really stats and stories discussing the economic impact their refugees are having on the marketplace. The bottom line is we need refugees more than they need us. We got to fill these open jobs we have, we want our economy to continue to grow and that they're a very viable workforce that's ready to step in. And so excited, to see that launch in the fall. If you want more information on the book or just wanna sign up for the pre-order or the launch team, it's and you can get more information there and help us launch this out and get into the hands of the right people.

Gresham Harkless 15:28

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Well, I definitely appreciate you for making that dent and I think you said the 7 million unemployment that we have in the country and definitely, helping out the refugees as well. We'll have those links in the show notes just so that anybody can follow up with you, get a copy of the book, and pre-order it or buy a copy as well.

And thank you so much again, and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Chris Chancey 15:46

Great. Thanks for the time.

Outro 15:48

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast, powered by Blue 16 Media and tune in next time and visit us at I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts. Subscribe and leave us a five-star rating. Grab CEO gear at

This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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