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Moped Money

It's part 2 of our interview with Torin Ellis, DEI consultant, risk mitigator, and truth teller! We continue to exorcise our demons while having some moped money laughs at the expense of Google, Kroger, and a very lame and lazy U.S. Department of Labor.

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion force is strong in this one.

Also, are you adding text recruiting in to your DEI engagement strategy? Maybe you should check out NEXXT while your listening to another great interview.


Chad (0s):

We're back with the second half of our interview with Torin Ellis, the man, the myth, the legend. If you missed part one, it's called Exercising Our Demons. You can find it on or wherever you listen to podcasts. Let's get into the show.

Torin (17s):

I think it costs them about $3 million to do that. That's the same moped gas money that Google just paid to settle that suit that they had.

INTRO (29s):

Hide your kids! Lock the doors! You're listening to HR’s most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheeseman 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.

Chad (59s):

Have you seen since George Floyd, since you know, Ahmaud Arbery, Brianna Taylor, have you seen more white people starting to understand that sitting back on the bench, isn't not being a quote/unquote "racist" isn't enough. You have to be anti-racist you have to go after this and you have to voice this and actually focus on action.

Torin (1m 21s):

Yeah, absolutely. And again, I don't put it only on white men, you know, I absolutely feel like we need to put our voices out. You know, Superbowl Sunday was a couple of weeks ago and I put up a tweet, fuck the super bowl. And below that, I said, you know, I want to see justice for Brianna Taylor's family. I want to see Daniel Cameron, the AG removed from office. And I want to see a black coach hired in the NFL. I believe they hired one after that, but they had seven openings, seven! They had seven openings this past year. And you have to offensive coordinators that are black and neither one of them had had a conversation about being a head coach. But yet you would go hire a college coach.

Torin (2m 4s):

So I mean, the point to me is there are so many ways that we can make this thing better. It requires that all of us show up and I'm not, you know, critical of people who watch the Superbowl and enjoyed it. Fine, that's your thing. I'm not watching football. I'm not supportive of it, but that's just one of the actions that I take. Conversely, Chad, you mentioned being at a black lives matter rally. I've never been at a rally, so it's not that I'm better than, or any of that. It's not a comparison. This is not a competition. It's really about all of us being included in the conversation. And I don't care what microphone I hit. I'm never going to say that I don't want white men in the conversation.

Torin (2m 48s):

I'll certainly say every once in a while white men can just listen, it'll be good for you to listen and take in what's happening. But I'll never say that we should be doing this work excluding anybody's voice because that absolutely is counter to the inclusion and the representation that I talk about. The last thing that I'll say is I had a client reach out, well, a company reach out, wanted me to have a conversation for black history month. Cool. So I told them what we were going to talk about. I sent him to talk about the 1619 project. I'm going to talk about the book, The Color of Law. And I'm going to talk about how you can be a better, more inclusive individual in your organization. Those were the three points that I gave them.

Torin (3m 29s):

And then they sat on it for, I guess a week. Didn't know what the 1619 project was, so they went and did some research, came back to me and said, well, we prefer that you not talk about the 1619 project. We'd actually prefer that you don't bring up the book, the Color of Law, but you can talk about, you know, being a better and more inclusive employee. I said, well, I'd prefer if you not try to tell me what the fuck to talk about.

Chad (3m 57s):

You won't me to train, pretty much your training. Absolutely. And what they want and what they want to chat. All this was was let's be safe in conversation. Listen, people are hurting or people have been safe for too long. So all I'm saying to you is you got to trust me, if you are reaching out to me, you're reaching out because I know what I'm doing. You're reaching out off of the strength of a referral from somebody else who's already brought me in. So it's not as if this was just some random Google search. But, but the point is even if it was a random search, I'm not the dude that you're going to tell how to come into an organization and do the work that I've been doing for the better part of the last 20 years.

Torin (4m 37s):

There's absolutely no way you are going to put a silencer on the vocal authority that I have. You're not going to put a silencer on the experiences that I get to bring to the equation and share. You're not going to put a silencer on me, tapping into your audience, your employee base, share your experiences with me so that I can amplify them with other people, share those experiences with me. It may clash with my experience, but it'll be a beautiful piece of art. If we can have this conversation in front of everyone. So I'm not trying to necessarily plan it safe. I'm going to always show up professional. I'm going to always show up and be respectful, but I'm going to show up and be transparent, which is part of the reason why whenever I'm asked to speak, I don't send them slides.

Torin (5m 23s):

You know, I'm like, and when you get the slides, it's probably got like five words on it. Everything is up in the devil. And because I already know these folks are going to try to put all they can to clamp down, you know, how to kid, you know, releases and I'm not having it.

Joel (5m 35s):

You mentioned Torin. And this, this is a genuine question. You said that the rate on the Capitol was racist. Did I hear that correctly?

Torin (5m 44s):

You did.

Joel (5m 44s):

Okay. Help me understand in your, from your viewpoint, why it was racist? I mean, there was nothing in the words that they were talking about that was racist or racial and manner, it was, you know, it was "Stop the steal," it was, you know, "hang Mike Pence" or like me as a middle-aged white guy got no sort of, maybe there were undertones of racism just because of the whole Trump movement. But what about that rally was racist to you?

Torin (6m 13s):

Yeah, so actually that's a good call out on your part. And I wish that I had not described it in that particular way. It would have been one of the descriptors, because as you said, it was a portion of what we saw. I think the bigger portion, the bigger portion of what we saw was privilege. And that privilege will manifest if in fact for real, these individuals are not charged. So that really is what we saw.

Joel (6m 38s):


Torin (6m 39s):

I think the racist piece for me is, you know, certainly the language that we heard, if you caught some of the video that had been circulating around the internet, I've always felt like the Confederate flag is a symbol of racism. I mean, absolutely, absolutely feel like it's a symbol of racism and you're not going to tell me anything different. So to see that flag hung up and or fly in from the rafters, from the Portico, from the balcony or the steps, if you will, that's a piece of racism. So my characterization in the beginning of it being racist? No, it being more of an act of privilege. Yes.

3 (7m 17s):

Okay. Cause I, I certainly agree there were racist in the crowd and there was a lot of anti-Jewish sentiment as well. So I think that that was, that was on play as well. But I just, I wanted to understand your viewpoint on that and on why it was racist. So thank you for, thank you for clarifying that.

Torin (7m 32s):

Yeah, absolutely.

3 (7m 33s):

You mentioned Rooney rule and the Superbowl and Chad and I talked about a story about Activision, I think last week and the AFL CIO is sort of pushing the Rooney rule on corporate America. I assume that you have thoughts on that. Whether it's a good thing to do, whether it will be effective or not. I think you'll probably agree that it's been mostly a failure in football. And if it's been a failure in football, then won't it most likely be a failure in corporate America.

Torin (8m 2s):

Yeah. I categorize the Rooney Rule, Murphy's Law and unconscious bias training all in the same sandbox as performative. Murphy's Law is a version of Rooney rule for the legal profession and of course, unconscious bias training is what it is. And I feel like all of those things are mere curtains of complacency and mediocrity. We just check the box, let's put, you know, whatever. And in the lineup, if you will just, just because we'll shut them up, we'll make them feel good. We'll appease them and we'll keep on moving. So I absolutely think that is a waste of time. I want to get to the point Joel, where individuals are simply saying to themselves, wow, we don't have individuals that have a disability on our staff and they could be doing this work right here.

Torin (8m 49s):

Or we don't have a person that we know of that is out on the spectrum of LGBTQ and they are absolutely qualified to be in our executive ranks. The person with that disability is qualified to be in our executive ranks. I want it to be to the point where folks are comfortable saying, we're missing something so let's be more intentional and about either how we are grooming them, how we are, including them in our succession, planning, how we are initially sourcing for them, how we are inspiring and developing them. What are we doing intentionally, period, just look around and see what's missing and let's put action in place to just simply be human.

Torin (9m 32s):

That that's all I'm asking. I don't, I don't want a job to be given to a black person or a black woman or a Muslim individual, I don't want the job to just simply be given to them, but I do want them to be fairly considered. I don't want it to be performative.

Chad (9m 49s):

So workforce composition in itself and pay transparency. I mean, we see the NFL's workforce composition. I mean, it's small. You can see it. It's fairly simple, much like CEOs, right? We finally have a, is it one or two black female CEOs? I think it's one, in the fortune 500 over 500, 1 in 500. And, and overall it's less than 10, I believe females.

Torin (10m 14s):

Yes. I think, I think black CEO's right now is under five.

Chad (10m 18s):

Yeah. So overall we see the tip of the iceberg, the NFL, they don't have any type of quote, unquote "compliance" or regulations that are actually holding them to anything that's entirely different than talent acquisition. The problem is that we can't actually see below the tip of the iceberg. The tip of the iceberg, we can already see as wrong as it is, whether it's CEOs, boards, et cetera, et cetera. Why aren't we focusing and really pressing the pedal to the metal on workforce composition transparency. So to everybody so that we know exactly what is underneath the tip of that iceberg.

Torin (10m 56s):

Chad, most organizations, you know, when they're not disclosing it it's because the penalty isn't high enough.

Chad (11m 2s):


Torin (11m 2s):

I don't mind paying the penalty. I'd rather pay the penalty than tell the true story of our workforce. They just did a study over in Europe of the financial services market. And it was mostly banks with a headquarter here in North America. And you know, it was amazing at the beginning of the article, it said many of them couldn't find the data, please. Like they know the data, they absolutely have access to the data, they don't want to release that information. I'd rather pay a penalty than to release that information, which is why I said in part a moment ago, succession plan is extremely important. If you want to see more underrepresented individuals as CEOs of fortune 500, Fortune 1000, Fortune 1500 organizations, you have to start placing them in where they have responsibility, pNL, responsibility, large, large sector, moving responsibility.

Torin (12m 1s):

You got to give them those challenges. And I find it fascinating, fascinating that we have some of the most incredible white men leading organizations, but yet they don't trust their own ability to develop other people because that's what it comes down to for me.

Joel (12m 16s):

Yeah. We talked about last week, Google had a lawsuit in terms of sexism in their interviewing process. And I think it was paying equity right, for women, and I think correct me if I'm wrong, Chad, the, the fine was I think $8 million, which for Google is, you know, couch cushion, you know, change.

Torin (12m 33s):

And I got to think it was $3.8 million.

Joel (12m 36s):

Okay, there you go. So 8 million, 3 million, you know, to Google's nothing. Like what do you think when you see stuff like that? Cause to me, I agree that the company would just rather pay a few lawyers and a fine than deal with the transparency of what's going on?

Chad (12m 51s):

First off, that was not a fine line. Let's clarify that real quick. That was back. That was a back-pay for those individuals who were, who weren't getting paid equitably, right? Number one. And number two, it was also a little bit of money for those individuals who didn't get hired into those positions. There was no fine. So therefore Google got off pretty much what happened. They committed a crime red handed and they had no fine. All they had to do was try to level the field back out and there was no fine put on top of it. I think that is where the biggest issue is. And Torin, you said there are rules, I totally appreciate that.

Chad (13m 31s):

But they, if they're not enforced and to exactly what Joel is pointing out, if they're not enforced and there aren't huge ramifications, fuck it I'm gonna do what I want.

Torin (13m 41s):

Yeah. That's all it comes down to. I mean, honestly. And so I think that, you know, just as we started the conversation around the events of January six, you have to hold people accountable in a way that makes them feel it. So we talked about the perp walk there, you don't Google and other organizations you should be paying. I mean, sizable fines where you like, look for real, I'm not going down that road. I'm not trying to deal with that right there. Let's go through and look at pay equity inside of our organization. Do what Salesforce did three years ago. They went through, I think it was 2018, it could have been 2019, they went through the organization, not once, not twice, three times. And I'm not suggesting or propping Salesforce up as a model organization for diversity and inclusion.

Torin (14m 26s):

But I am suggesting that they did it. They did a phenomenal job of saying, we need to forensically look at our compensation data across the entire organization. And they did it three times to make sure that women were on par with their male colleagues. I think it costs them about $3 million to do that. That's the same moped gas money that Google just paid to settle that suit, that they had.

Joel (14m 53s):


Torin (14m 54s):

That's it, that's the little moped money, you know, like that's a small, small tank, $3.8 million. That's a best a baby tank. So, you know, I just feel like we can absolutely do what needs to be done. It just comes down to leadership saying enough is enough. Like my bonus doesn't need to be whatever my bonus is or has been in the past. My board of directors should be saying, you know, if that means that we need to pull back on some of this money that we get for coming to sit on the board or to sit on zoom calls, we'll leave some of that in th kitty. I mean, the point is it requires everybody and what I've seen, let me tell you what the second thing that pissed me off in February, more emphasis on GameStop and Robinhood, then racial inequality.

Torin (15m 40s):

And I said on Twitter, if we saw from the media, I'm only speaking from the media standpoint, not corporate America, but if I saw from the media as many posts around racism, around pay and equity, as I saw in a four or five day span around GameStop, where would we be in terms of progress in that regard? So it's all a matter of what people deem to be important and worthy. And for me, humanity is absolutely important and worthy. And does it sound, you know, Pollyannish and you know, does it make me sound soft and all that other stuff? I don't care, maybe it does, but I care about people. And if I, if it means that I have to sacrifice a little bit so that somebody else can have something or have access to it, then damn it I'm willing to make that sacrifice.

Torin (16m 29s):

Why am I fighting to park money offshore when I can be using that money to give my frontline workers more? So that I didn't last year, they were giving them a bit of a bonus because they were frontline, but took the shit away from them in June. Why?

Joel (16m 45s):

It's commercial time.

Nexxt PROMO (16m 52s):

We'll gt back to the interview in a minute. But first we have a question for Andy Katz, COO of Nexxt Andy, if a company wants to actually come to Nexxt and utilize your database and target texting candidates, I mean, how does that actually work? Right? So, we have the software to provide it two different ways. If an employer has their own database of opted in text messages, whether it's through their ATS, we can text on their behalf or we have over eight and a half million users that have opted into our text messaging at this point. So we can use our own database. We could dissect it by obviously by geography, by function, any which way some in sometimes we'll even parse the resumes of the opted in people to target certifications.

Nexxt PROMO (17m 36s):

So we really can dive really deep if they want to hone in on, you know, just give me the best hundred candidates that I want to text message with and have a conversation back and forth with, versus going and saying, I need 30,000 retail people across the country. And that's more of you know, yes/no text messaging back and apply. For more information, go to Remember that's Nexxt with the double X, not the triple X

Chad (18m 13s):

It's Showtime. Dude. And we only get one of these. I think we should, we should really focus on that statement. We only get one of these, one of these lives, the person to the left, the person to the right, it doesn't matter. And to that exact point, Kroger's CEO, we're talking about revenues of, I think it's like $122 billion in 2019. The CEO salary is $14 million plus I believe, and they shut down two locations in California because they were being forced to pay that additional hero pay of $4 per hour.

Chad (18m 54s):

Two locations.

Torin (18m 55s):

It reminds me of my man Dan Price. I can't remember his company out, in Seattle.

Chad (19m 1s):


Torin (19m 2s):

The payroll company where he cut his salary and all of that stuff. Like he is savage on Twitter. You got to follow Dan Price.

Chad (19m 9s):

Everybody makes $70,000. That's right.

Torin (19m 13s):

Period, period. And they said that he would go out of business and all of that other stuff. He still thriving. He still thriving. He still has an enviable Instagram trail, as far as I'm concerned, skiing and you know, all going all cut down. So he, he ain't struggling. He's not struggling.

Chad (19m 32s):

Name of the company is Gravity Payments.

Torin (19m 34s):

Gravity Payments, Thank you. Thank you.

Joel (19m 37s):

Who, do you think should be the ones like, you know, who should be calling out Google and in that situation who should be calling out Kroger? Is it the media that's failing? Is it, I just, I think about the Lincoln Project and Trump and, you know, the Lincoln Project, their whole existence was to fuck with Trump and piss Trump off and be a thorn in his side and educate everyone on what was going on. And it feels like there should be a Lincoln Project for equality. Who should be the one calling out these companies and these individuals that are doing these things.

Torin (20m 13s):

PolicyLink does a great job of going through and evaluating organizations. And from time to time, they'll put out, you know, economic related data related reporting, whether it be around workplace culture, whether it be around compensation, it could be around GDP. So I think when we talk about who should call them out activist organizations, nonprofit community-based organizations that have the bandwidth and that acumen, that business acumen, they know how to grab the information they need. They can scrub it, put it in the way that's guide decimal and presentable to us, the audience. So I feel like are doing a good job. I think the people that are failing in this are shareholders of the respective companies and I think the media.

Torin (20m 57s):

Those are the two audiences that I think are probably more culpable in the disparity that we are looking at, like shareholders. They want the return, I get it, but I don't get it. So call that out. Like, you know, when you go to the shareholder meeting and say, look for real, we could do a better job. Think about what NASDAQ did back in December. NASDAQ said, we're going to, and they put this up in front of the FCC. I don't know if you all talked about it, but they are trying to make it a requirement that all 3000 of the companies listed on NASDAQ, do a better job around inclusion and representation. And they're giving them like a two to four year period. I believe it is to kind of get up to speed. We won't go into the detail.

Torin (21m 37s):

The point is, as a body, NASDAQ is saying, we want different from organizations that are going to be listed. That's the kind of call out that I want. So now we know these organizations, if this gets approved, they'll act and show a little bit differently. So I would need shareholders to say, you know what enough is enough? Capitalism is not bigger than humanity and you are absolutely right, Joel, when you say, is it the media? Yes, indeed, it's the media, but it's around bandwidth. You know, when you probably look in newsrooms all across the country, there are, I dunno, handful of business related reporters, you know, more people covering sports and entertainment, you know, not enough covering business.

Torin (22m 17s):

So I just think that we need more people to shift their focus around what's important.

Chad (22m 21s):

You want Kroger to change their ways have people stopped shopping at Kroger.

Torin (22m 25s):

Well, that's one thing, but I think you forgot one entity Torin the Department of Labor, the government. That's what the government is here for to protect the people. So overall I think the Department of Labor, when they are sending these messages to Google with $3.8 million, that's just saying, here's a slap on the wrist, continue doing what you're doing. The Department of Labor overall, if they provided huge fines, not just the level playing field, but actual fines, huge fines, then these organizations would change the behavior, but they won't. I agree. I agree. No, that's a good call out. I agree. And again, that, that just goes back to, you know, how some of these regulatory agencies have shown up and operate it and it questions it, and it supports the question that some, you know, from a political standpoint, when they take the position of government is useless or we don't need more government.

Torin (23m 24s):

I can understand those arguments, which is in part why once again, I tend to not have the conversations around politics because I see the fault on both sides. I understand it's hard work. It's challenging. It's nuanced. I get it. But you know, some things are really kind of cut and dry and the Department of Labor could absolutely do a better job of holding these organizations accountable.

Joel (23m 46s):

We talked about corporations and government. And I'm curious about your perspective on the two in each one's role. From my perspective, it seems like corporate America is doing more than government. I know that we just trashed a couple of companies, but a few examples I can think of off the top of my head are, you know, the CEO of Netflix giving I think $120 million to historically black owned colleges. Myriad of companies giving you no money to black entrepreneurs. Google for one I know recently, and I know we just trashed them, but they have in their shopping search, now they indicate whether someone is a black owned business or not. What are your thoughts on corporate America's role in equality and is what they're doing, working or not?

Torin (24m 31s):

I think it's too early to say what they're doing is working, because they really, for the most part just stepped up in 2020. So I don't want to put a verdict out, but I do appreciate that. I'm not begrudging the start because we need the start. I love Apple. Apple's most recent decoration, they allocated a hundred million dollars to social impact initiatives. And in that announcement, they use the word enduring and they said that their pledge would be enduring until, and I can't remember the rest of it. It was phrased in a beautiful way, but it simply simply said we're committed. So when I think about, and slight correction, Netflix gave a hundred million dollars to black banks.

Torin (25m 13s):

They deposited money in black banks and community-based banks. And so I love these very large shows of support, but I also appreciate the smaller shows of support, like leadership, being willing to have uncomfortable conversations in their organization, like leadership, being able to say, we're going to hold you all accountable for some degree of responsibility around, you know, diverse interview slates and promoting black and brown employees and people with disabilities and other. I believe in small steps, like saying on a performance evaluation, everyone has something to do with diversity and inclusion. Like even if you are in the mail room, if you are a delivery driver, there's a question on your performance evaluation.

Torin (25m 57s):

What have you contributed to what we said is important as an organization? If you contributed something awesome. We want to capture that if you didn't, that's cool. We want to be able to capture that as well. And I'm not suggesting that it impedes you from being able to move, but it shows every employee in the organization, five employees, 500 employees, 50,000 employees or larger, DNI is important and everyone's being measured on such. So that's what I want to see. I love the big amounts of money. I love the grand statements, but so much of this work should be happening behind the curtain. And we should never even know about it.

Chad (26m 35s):

That note Torin. Thanks. Thanks for joining, for again, having the challenging conversations that we like to have, whether we're discussing bantering, fighting, it's always fun, no matter what, but we appreciate you taking the time. If somebody wants to find out more about you, or maybe wants to have you come in and do little work for them, where would they find you?

Torin (26m 58s):

Across the web @TorinEllis. That being social media, as well as my website, And again, I just appreciate the both of you for making space for Black History Month, bringing voices on that perhaps your audience may not be familiar with, and I encourage each and every one of you to also subscribe to and listen to the conversations that Julie and I have as we try to make diversity and inclusion digestible and give you a bit of proximity to what's happening in the lives of others from week to week.

Chad (27m 34s):


Joel (27m 34s):

Our pleasure.

Chad (27m 35s):

Excellent Joel. Well, there's another one in the books.

Joel (27m 39s):

I was still so tired after Torin, I need a nap.

Chad (27m 43s):

We out.

Joel (27m 44s):

We out.

OUTRO (28m 40s):

Thank you for listening to, what's it called? The podcast with Chad, the Cheese. Brilliant. They talk about recruiting. They talk about technology, but most of all, they talk about nothing. Just a lot of Shout Outs of people, you don't even know and yet you're listening. It's incredible. And not one word about cheese, not one cheddar, blue, nacho, pepper jack, Swiss. So many cheeses and not one word. So weird. Any hoo be sure to subscribe today on iTunes, Spotify, Google play, or wherever you listen to your podcasts, that way you won't miss an episode. And while you're at it, visit just don't expect to find any recipes for grilled cheese. Is so weird. We out.


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