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Cindy Gallop Blows S#!t Up

Let's blow shit up!

Cindy Gallop, founder and former chair of the US branch of advertising firm Bartle Bogle Hegarty, and founder of the IfWeRanTheWorld and MakeLoveNotPorn companies is not your average brand or business innovator. Cindy brings a different level of candor to every discussion, meaning she will not mix words or beat around the bushes.

A perfect The Chad & Cheese interview!

Enjoy this Symphony Talent powered The Chad and Cheese interview where Cindy talks hiring, equity, and technology for starters.



Hide your kids! Lock the doors! You're listening to HR's most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry, right where it hurts! Complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark, buckle up boys and girls, it's time for the Chad and Cheese podcast.

Joel 00:00:23 Yes.

Chad 00:00:24 Time to blow shit up kids!

Joel 00:00:25 It's the Michael Bay of business, boys and girls. Let's do this!

Chad 00:00:40 Cindy Gallop. That's right today, kids. We have Cindy Gallop, founder and CEO of Make Love, Not Porn, founder and CEO. If We Ran the World, and Cindy you're on far too many advisory boards to mention, but last but not least, I mean, if, Make Love, Not Porn, wasn't eye catching enough. Your slogan is "I like to blow shit up, I am Michael Bay of Business," give it up for Gallop

Joel 00:01:03 Welcome.

Chad 00:01:04 Welcome to HR's most dangerous podcast. Let's let's blow some shit up, shall we?

Cindy Gallop 00:01:09 I'm delighted to be here and looking forward to it.

Chad 00:01:11 Excellent. Excellent. So right out of the gate, we need to hear more about Cindy Gallop, give us a little bit about your story, where you started, how did you make it here?

Joel 00:00:00 Who dis?

Chad 00:01:20 I mean, being the Michael Bay of business?

Cindy Gallop 00:01:49 By complete accident, my entire life and career has been a series of accidents. I've never planned anything. My background is 35 years working in advertising, marketing, and brand building, 16 of those for the same advertising agency, Bartle Boggle Hagerty - BBH, whom I worked in London, helped start up and run the Asia Pacific office in Singapore, back in '96. And then the reason I'm here in New York is I moved here in '98 to start up BBH has American office for them, which began as me in a room with a foam, starting an advertising agency in the world's toughest advertising marketplace. So that was one, ran the agency, BBH New York for a number of years and in 2005, struck out to work for myself and have been doing that ever since.

Joel 00:02:16 So in terms of advertising, you know, the perception of two middle aged white guys, by the way you say, if you want to own the future, don't listen to white guys. So I'm going to do as little talking as possible as I can, but the perception of advertising as sort of this mad men, old school environment, but then you think, okay, we've gotta be like beyond that by now.

Joel 00:02:46 But you have a story with Vayner Media and Thrillist, they were getting women pics before they were giving invitations to a party. What was that story about?

Cindy Gallop 00:02:49 That was several years ago at the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival that happens in the South of France every year, not this year, obviously. And, by the way, that was just one of a number of extremely sexist episodes that I called out publicly that particularly at Cannes Lions, but the instance you're referring to was that Vayner Media and Thrillist, held a party where their party organized a very ill advisedly, did a mass mailing to people at Ad Cannes basically telling women that they would need to apply with a photograph to be vetted, to be admitted to the party.

Cindy Gallop 00:03:34 And I tweeted this, pointing out that it was, I think the year was, I think this was back in 2016 and this is not how the advertising industry should work. And Gary Vaynerchuk to give him full credit, immediately apologized profusely. But, as I say, that was just one of a whole range of appalling these sexist issues with that Cannes Lions Advertising Festival And you know, and that is just the tip of the iceberg for our industry as a whole.

Cindy Gallop 00:04:09 And so I want to just pick up and clarify for your viewers, the, you know, lighthearted reference you made to what I say about white men, because, but because I want to be very accurate about that. And this is why by the way, a lot has not changed since the mad men days. So despite all of this talk about gender equality, diversity inclusion in the advertising industry. And by the way, everything I say about the advertising industry applies to every other industry. So we are not seeing change actually happen on this front.

Cindy Gallop 00:04:41 And there's a very simple reason why not, which is that at the top of the ad industry, as at the top of every other industry is a closed loop of white guys talking to white guys about other white guys. Those white guys are sitting very pretty. They have their enormous salaries, gigantic bonuses, big pools of stock options, lavish expense accounts. Why on earth would they ever want to rock the boat? Oh, Oh, they have to talk diversity They have to appoint a Chief Diversity Officer.

Cindy Gallop 00:05:13 They have to have diversity initiatives. They have to see the word diversity a lot, especially in public. Secretly deep down inside they don't want to change a thing because the system is working just fine for them as it currently is. It's like the old joke about the light bulb. How many therapists does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, but the light bulb has to really want to change.

Laughter 00:05:38 hahahaha.

Cindy Gallop 00:05:38 And in every industry the light bulb does not really want to change. That is the problem!

Joel 00:05:45 Sounds hopeless. How do we fix it?

Cindy Gallop 00:05:48 The way we fix it is what I've been saying to women, black talent, talent of color, LGBTQ talent, disabled talent for years, which is start your own industry. And what I mean by that is start your own business. But I deliberately articulated in that way because when all those of us who are other start our own businesses, we are effectively starting the industry that we would all much rather be working in.

Cindy Gallop 00:06:20 Because when you start your own business, you have the opportunity to design your own business from the ground up to work the way that you would love it to work. And when enough of us do that, and when enough of us prove that we can make a lot of money doing that, that is when the old world order in every industry goes bloody hell, "We need to do it like that too." Now this process, I'm happy to say has been this year rapidly accelerated because the pandemic and the black lives matter protests and both by the way, are global and having a global impact.

Cindy Gallop 00:07:00 They have ensured that the world will never be the same again. And that is very good news, especially for those of us who are never the status quo to begin with, because it is only when everything breaks down this utterly and completely that allows new models and new ways of doing things to emerge that never would have otherwise. And so right now there are two dynamics at play. First of all, there is the dynamic of what the pandemic and the protests are making happen as we speak the breakdown of the old world order.

Cindy Gallop 00:07:34 And then the rest of the dynamic of what I encourage everybody to do, which is what happens when we seize that opportunity and leverage this breakdown to design and invent the future that we all want to live and work in. And I'm encouraging everybody to do that right now because every one of us can.

Chad 00:07:55 So Cindy, one of the biggest issues we've seen with black and brown businesses is they can't go to banks. They have to start pretty much their businesses with cash. So they're hamstrung right out of the gate. I mean, we know society is not equal and for anybody who says it is obviously they're the ones in the ivory tower. So it is much harder to pull yourself up by the bootstraps when you don't even have boots. How can some of these Individuals actually do this? That's, that's the hard part, right?

Cindy Gallop 00:08:28 Well, I always say is that change happens from the bottom up, not the top down. For the reason I just spelled out. If we wait for institutional change, we're going to be waiting a very long time. And so what I'm delighted to see happening is, again, what I've encouraged everybody who is other, to do for years, which is, and by the way, I need to just check, am I allowed to use profanity on this podcast?

Chad 00:08:53 Oh fuck yeah!

Cindy Gallop 00:08:53 Oh, great. Okay. Because, because what I say to women, black talent, talent of color, you know, again, everybody who is other is unashamedly set out to make an absolute, God damn fucking shit ton of money. I explain that I deliberately articulate it like that because how much money I want each of us to set out to make. And the reason for that is not. And in this case, I mean, everything we're talking about is intersectional, but, but because you have brought up the issue, quite rightly of racism, I'm gonna apply this just to black talent and the black economy.

Cindy Gallop 00:09:31 This is why it's so important for black talent to set out, to make an absolute God damn fucking shit ton of money, not just to benefit yourself. But when you do that money that enables you to fund other black talent, it enables you to support black talent. It enables you to donate to black talent, and it enables you to help them black talent. We need to build our own financial ecosystem because the white male one is not working for us. And so what is happening at the moment to address the issue you raise is first of all, you know, there are too few black owned banks in this country, again, because you know, racism applies in every single area I can think of, but two of the black owned banks are merging and I'm afraid I can't off the top of my head, remember what they're called, but they are merging to create one institution that, that is, you know, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, to be able to, you know, transform the ability for black people, black businesses, to be able to get, you know, the loans and the credits and the financing and the support they need.

Cindy Gallop 00:10:32 Then there are a host of organizations that are working to support black businesses at the grassroots level. So I'd like to highlight for your audience, the buy from a black woman directory, just Google buy from a black woman and you'll find it, which encourages all of us to support black female owned businesses. And also I'd like to give a shout out to the brilliant Kathryn Finney who runs a wonderful business called Digital Undivided.

Cindy Gallop 00:11:06 She has launched the Doonie Fund. The Doonie Fund is named after her grandmother. And what the Doonie Fund does is it makes micro investments in black female entrepreneurs. And I think it's a very small investments, you know, to under a thousand dollars. But, but, but the key thing here is that the Doonie Fund makes these investments as friction-free as possible, you know, to quantify, you just have to have to self identify as a black female, you have to own your business, you have to have a reasonable presence digitally and, and on social media and you can apply to the Doonie Fund.

Cindy Gallop 00:11:43 And when you get to your grant, no strings attached, you can spend it on whatever you want, whether by the way, that's self care, which can be just as important for a stressed out founder as anything directly to do with your business. And Catherine says on the, on the Doonie Fund website, you know, this is because I firmly believe that black women know what is good for their businesses better than anybody else. That's the kind of, friction-free unconditional support that we need to see for everybody who is other.

Cindy Gallop 00:12:19 And so there are, there are many, many initiatives like this, that are absolutely working to counter racism at the grassroots level.

Symphony Talent 00:12:29 We'll get back to the interview in a minute. Building a cult brand is not easy, which is why you need friends. Like Roopesh Nair CEO of Symphony Talent on your side, okay? OK Roopesh, hiring companies can't hire diverse candidates. If diverse candidates aren't applying for their jobs, what should hiring companies do differently to attract a more diverse candidate? So for diversity, specifically, companies should think about why do they want diversity in their organization and ensure that they are bringing that into the conversations about hiring diverse candidates, because that's how they can be genuine about diversity.

Symphony Talent 00:13:11 Because just checking a box saying, I want to be hiring diverse candidates is not going to help. So the first thing is thinking about why do you want diversity? What are the different groups you are targeting as you think about diversity and then bringing those messages, which basically is going to resonate to that particular group of diverse candidates into your engagement, whether it is kind of, as you reach out in the mass media and target specific diverse groups, as you basically nurture these diverse groups once they have connection with you, is very important because to your point, you won't get a diverse candidate till you get in front of a candidate.

Symphony Talent 00:13:52 And the only way you can do that is by figuring out what is the connection point between you and the diverse candidate. And it is very, very easy to kind of cast a net saying, I want diverse candidate, but the truth is there are many, many groups of that diverse candidate, and you need to be really clear on who exactly are you targeting, Let Symphony Talent help activate your brand and keep relationships at the heart of your talent strategy for more information, visit

Chad 00:14:18 What about politics? Because we are seeing a huge turn of events obviously. We hopefully, crossing my fingers, are going to have a black female Vice-president. What about that kind of press, because I understand it's got to happen grassroots, but we also need to have to make sure that it happens.

Chad 00:14:50 And it doesn't take 200 years for women to get paid just as much as men do, which is ridiculous. How do we accelerate that, from the top down and the bottom up?

Cindy Gallop 00:15:01 I want to focus in very specifically now on what is the topic of this podcast, which is HR. So there is a very, very simple way to end racism in the corporate world right now. All you have to do is hire, welcome, and promote black talent. That's it, it's that simple. Now, now and by the way, I am being very semantically precise, I've used each of those words for a reason: hire, welcome and promote.

Cindy Gallop 00:15:34 And I'll come back to that. But the key thing here is that the actions are simple, actually implementing them is not. And so I'll talk through what I mean by that, and also just for your audience, because I want to be very clear about where I'm coming from. So this is what I do as a business consultant. I am not the unconscious bias trainer. I am not the diversity

inclusion coach. What I am is a hard headed business strategist.

Cindy Gallop 00:16:07 And what I do is I help companies and HR departments reengineer their day to day working processes and operations to integrate equality, diversity, and inclusion into them in a way that makes those things key drivers of growth, profitability, and successful business outcomes, because unless we do that, nothing takes. So I'm going to give you an example, several examples of what I mean by that.

Cindy Gallop 00:16:40 So I don't want to use a specific example again, given the theme of this podcast, HR. I get this call all the time. Okay. And I was getting it, I've been getting it for years, but I'm obviously getting it now, all the more, this year. So somebody calls me and says, please, Cindy, you know, I've got this really great senior position open, and I want to hire a black woman, who do you know, I get this call all the time. What I say is, it doesn't work like that. And then I explain how it does work.

Cindy Gallop 00:17:12 And again, this is what I do. And again, I'll use an example. I'm not going to name any names here, but I got this call last year from a very senior person in a huge global company, extremely well known with a huge portfolio of very well known brands. And he reached out and so I knew what we were going to be talking about and have the chance to do a bit of research beforehand. And so the first thing I said to this person was you need to completely, re-engineer your job description, because I said, you have written your job description and definitely unconsciously, but you've written this job description to appeal to white men and the demonstration of how much it does that is that you posted this job description on LinkedIn and the comments thread, there's a very long comments thread under this job description on LinkedIn, which is full of white men, either recommending themselves for this position or recommending other white men.

Cindy Gallop 00:18:04 And so I basically deconstructed this job description. And again, you know, I won't go into details because it was very specific to, to the particular company, but I'll give you one example of, of what I am advised. So within this job description, he had said to the prospective candidate, you will have a creative track record that makes us all envious. And I said to him, no, they won't because if you are black talent and especially in this case, because this is what he asked for.

Cindy Gallop 00:18:40 You know, if you are a black woman, you will never have had that opportunity. You will never have been given that opportunity. You will never have been promoted into the kind of positions where you can make that be real. So what do you need to write instead is this is the position where you can bring all of that creative talent and energy to do the kind of work you've always wanted to do. You want to attract a black woman into this role? That's what you have to send the job description, not you will have a creative track record that makes us all envious.

Cindy Gallop 00:19:11 So, you know, action, number one, you have to completely reengineer your job description. Action. Number two, you have to reengineer your interview process. So when white male candidates are interviewed by other white men, those white men are looking for reasons to hire that white man, and that is the frame of mind in which they approached the interview process from a point of positivity. When white men are interviewing the rest of us, they approach that process from point of negativity, they are actively looking for reasons not to hire us.

Cindy Gallop 00:19:48 And by the way, this may be unconscious, but it's absolutely the case, they are actively looking for red flags. And so you have to completely reengineer your interview process. And again, the point I made earlier, white male candidates get hired on potential, not proof. It's very easy for white male leaders looking at white male candidates again, Oh, he reminds me of myself at his age. I can see myself in him. He's great to have a beer with. Yeah, we reckon he can do the job.

Cindy Gallop 00:20:21 When you are a woman, a black woman, a Hispanic woman, an Asian woman, it's a whole different set of criteria. Well has she done the job before? Has she worked on the job long enough? Has she done the job well enough? Women, black talent, off color, talent, get hired on proof not potential and not even then. And so you have to reengineer your interview process to hire diverse talent based on potential, not proof. And so, you know, for example, I said to this white man, you know, who made this call last year.

Cindy Gallop 00:21:00 I said, you need to re-engineer your recruiter brief. And this is the third action, because I know that what you've done is you're looking for this very big role. And you have briefed your recruiters to find other people currently doing this role at that level. Brief your recruiters to find brilliant black talent, black female talent, one or two or even three levels down from that level. Because I said to him, I guarantee that when you brief the candidates based on potential, not proof, you will find a ton of talent, one or two levels down that will do the job even better than the white men currently in that role who never had to contend with all of those racist, sexist obstacles to get to where they are.

Cindy Gallop 00:21:43 So re-brief based on potential not proof. And then the fourth action is you have to reengineer your working environment, because if you truly want a black female candidate, any black female candidate is going to look at your working environment and see a ton of white male faces as, as she would with this company and go, why the fuck would I want to put myself in there? I know exactly what's going to happen. And I said to him, you know, actually it's very easy to reengineer work environment. All you do is you immediately promote all of that brilliant black talent currently in your company that has been held back for years without promotion because of inherent internal systemic racism.

Cindy Gallop 00:22:23 It's very easy to reengineer work environment. So that, that black female candidate coming in looks and sees black talent being promoted, welcomed, enabled to thrive and is willing at least to give you the benefit of the doubt. Those are some examples of how companies can end racism in the corporate world by hiring welcoming and promoting black talent.

Chad 00:22:48 The job description piece, we have been pounding on the table for decades, Cindy, Joel, and I've been in this industry for two decades, said, this is fucked up. This needs to change. One thing I do want to throw out though, is that we're seeing huge leaps and bounds in technology. And one, one of the technologies is actually this interviewing robot and whether you have the software or you actually have the physical form, whatever it is. Do you think technology, actually not allowing that white dude to do the interview and allow technology just to say, this is the best person culture fit or whatever it might be for this position and really make that hire?

Cindy Gallop 00:23:32 No, absolutely not. Because, because as I'm sure both of, you know, technology is a massively white male dominated industry, and I'm sure you have already read the vast amounts of coverage of how racist and sexist and biased artificial intelligence is because it's been designed by white men.

OUTRO 00:23:50 Well, that was part one of our two-part Blowing Shit Up Discussion with Cindy Gallop. Look for part two and while you're at it subscribe so you don't miss Cindy or any of the Chad and Cheese snark filled episodes with people much smarter than we are. Just go to, hit subscribe and pick Apple, Google, Spotify, Pandora, or wherever you listen to podcasts. That's


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