"The Modern Women"
So many industries kept asking, "Where are the senior women?" And the senior women, it turns out, weren't there because they had to make a different choice during those critical career building years."
Gina Hadley and Jenny Galuzzo created The Second Shift to provide talented, accomplished, professional women with opportunities to re-enter the workforce on their terms. It is an idea of its time. An idea of this time. Like all great ideas it is simple and obvious. Like most revolutionary ideas, it still has some work to do to break down a stubborn status quo. In this case, the status quo of how businesses design their organizations and engage talent.
I recently sat down with Gina and Jenny to talk about why they started the Second Shift, about the challenges of turning an idea into a scalable company and about what they have learned about blowing up the status quo.
- Being conscious about your own experience and what's happening around you.
- Partnerships built on trust and transparency.
- Relentless optimism. Research suggests that of all the characteristics of CEOs, the one most closely aligned with the CEO's success was perseverance.
"FEARLESS CREATIVE LEADERSHIP" PODCAST - TRANSCRIPT
Episode 9: Gina Hadley and Jenny Galuzzo
Hello. You're listening to Fearless, where we explore the art and science of leading creativity, an unpredictable, amorphous, and invaluable resource, critical to every modern business. Each week, we talk to leaders of the world's most disruptive companies, how they're jumping into the fire, crossing the chasm, and blowing up the status quo. Leaders who've mastered the art of turning the impossible into the profitable. So stay tuned. Because in the next half hour, anything could happen.
Charles Day: Hello, welcome to Fearless. If your business is dependent on creativity for its success, you already know you're in a perpetual battle for talent. Finding it, attracting it, unlocking it, and retaining it. The marketplace has never been more competitive, and the talent themselves have never been more aware of what an equitable relationship looks like on their side of the employment equation. If you've spent any time around the creative industries over the last five years, you're also very aware of the growing urgency around the issue of diversity. For many companies today, the quest is to have a staff that reflects society in terms of ethnic and gender composition. There are a number of people who speak with real understanding, insight and practical knowledge of both the challenges and the solutions of diversity.
Keisha Jean-Baptiste at Wieden and Kennedy in Portland, and Singleton Beato who recently joined McCann from the Four A's stand out for me, and there are many others. Within the issue of diversity, there is a third discord, and an ultimately damaging metric. There are not enough women in leadership positions in companies that are dependent on creativity for their success. So, not enough talent, not enough diversity, not enough executive women. Necessity meets invention. Next week, I'll be at Cannes at the creativity festival. Cannes used to be about ad agencies winning awards for ads. Today, it's become much more than that. With companies across the spectrum of creativity and innovation coming together to talk about how to change the world. When you strip away all the case studies, accolades and publicity, that's what the best creative companies have always done. They change the world.
A couple of years ago, Cannes initiated the See It, Be It program. It's designed to take high potential senior creative women, and help unlock their potential by building their confidence, expanding their contacts, and developing their leadership skills. As part of the program, the women are introduced to a group of mentors who give them real time coaching. I've been very proud to be involved with the program for the last couple of years and to witness firsthand the kind of difference this commitment makes. See It, Be It is particularly effective because it embraces the fact that women and men develop their careers and leadership capabilities differently.
It's always risky to generalize, and there are exceptions to every rule, but in general, I consistently see two things that differentiate the career path of men and women leaders. Men network more proactively, and seek opportunities sooner. They don't feel the need to be ready. They put themselves in contention and let someone else make the decision. Women tend to network more organically, and wait til they feel qualified before putting themselves forward for a new position, even sometimes when asked to do so. Wendy Clark tells a story that she had to be convinced by her husband and her mother to even have an initial meeting with Coca-Cola when she got the call that they would like to talk to her about the possibility of becoming president of sparkling brands and strategic marketing in North America. She took the meeting, took the job, and has become one of the most influential women leaders across the creative industries. Last year she became President and CEO of DDB North America, where her reputation and her impact have continued to expand. She was clearly ready. Luckily, she had people around her who knew it even before she did. That's not always the case.
The fact is, the real difference is in how the sexes show up as leaders, and the challenges they face, and the choices they have to make. My wife, Chris Tardio, exclusively coaches women CEOs. The other day, she asked me to summarize the difference between male leaders and female leaders in one sentence. I thought for a moment, and then said, "Men show up like Superman, whereas women show up like Clark Kent." I said it instinctively, but the more I thought about it, the truer it feels. Men jump in, often uninvited. Women hang back and assess. Each is valid, both are necessary in different circumstances. At certain times, each of us could use more of what the other sex instinctively brings. However, it's not likely that the essential DNA of each gender will fundamentally shift anytime soon. So we need to provide informed, empathetic, and practical support to unlock the leadership potential of both men and women, recognizing that there are differences in the needs and perspectives of each.
When it comes to supporting the development of women leaders, programs like See It, Be It are critical components. The fact is that many women leaders, including the most accomplished and successful, need the ability not simply to step out of the workforce for a sustained period of time, but they need ways to reengage on their terms. Often, those terms will not be full time. The creative industries can't afford to lose access to so rich a pool of leadership talent because of an out of date talent acquisition model. For too long, even the most creative and innovative businesses have failed to create a flexible interface by which accomplished, impactful, experienced and effective female leaders can make meaningful and valuable and celebrated contributions to companies that are in desperate need of these very qualities, and who are searching desperately for that caliber of talent.
What is needed is an interface that can marry a company's needs with a female leader's interest and ability to meet those needs without the answer being full time employment or nothing. Gina Hadley and Jenny Galuzzo created a second shift to provide that interface and to meet those needs. It is an idea of its time, an idea of this time. Like all great ideas, it is simple and obvious. Like most revolutionary ideas, it still has work to do to break down a stubborn status quo. In this case, the status quo of how businesses design their organizations and engage talent. I recently sat down with Gina and Jenny to talk about why they started the second shift, about the challenges of turning an idea into a scalable company, and about what they've learned is essential to blowing up the status quo.
I'm really happy to be joined today by two women for whom I have enormous respect. They've built a really unusual company. One that I think is incredibly progressive and disruptive and modern. I'd like to welcome Gina.
Gina Hadley: Hello, Charles. Thank you for having me.
Charles: And Jenny.
Jenny Galuzzo: Hello.
Charles: Great to have you both here.
Gina Hadley: Well we are so honored that you wanted to talk to us.
Charles: Well as I said, I think what you're doing is really extraordinary actually. It's a real difference maker at a really important time. And what struck me when I first, I think you and I met Gina, right? First, a couple years ago.
Gina Hadley: Yep. We stalked you after the Four A's talent conference.
Charles: Oh, that's right.
Jenny Galuzzo: That was it.
Gina Hadley: That was it.
Charles: And when I heard about your company, I really thought that it was a company of its time. There are two big issues that I hear about all the time walking across the creative industries. One is, this question of talent, obviously. It's the question that comes up or the issue that comes up whenever I talk to a leader. "How do I find talent? How do I keep them? How do I purpose them?" Huge, huge issue. And obviously as we get into this, we'll talk about how you guys are attacking that problem. And then the other issue that's clearly come up more and more in the last couple years is that of diversity. So let's start by just asking a really straightforward question actually, which is, why is this the company that you guys wanted to build?
Gina Hadley: It addresses a problem that both Jenny and I lived. And it is a problem that plagues what we endearingly call, our tribe. There is a moment in most women's professional lives where the traditional work place is not the option that you can always take. And we kept hearing the same story over and over again. Combined with the fact that both Jenny and I took a non-traditional route and saw how difficult it is to hustle up your own career when you're working fractionally, for lack of a better term. We knew there had to be a better way. It cannot be, you cannot keep asking the same question over and over and over again and think you're going to get a different answer if you keep working the same way. And this is what we found. We found that so many women were trying to figure how to stay on a career track. And we kept finding that so many industries kept asking, "Where are the senior women?" And the senior women, it turns out, weren't there because they had to make a different choice during those critical career building years.
Charles: And Jenny, was this a problem that you had faced?
Jenny Galuzzo: I was going to say, we solved a problem that we were facing ourselves. And we took ourselves as the example and then we built a platform to solve it for the rest of our tribe. So when we first started, we were thinking, this is our life. This is what the problem we're facing. How are we going to translate skills if you move across a country, if you decide you want to change from one career to another, if you have a child. There's so many reasons why somebody might want to move the needle on what they're doing. And so we solved that for ourselves and we solved it for the greater population of working women, who are professionals and wanted to keep working but maybe needed a little bit of flexibility in their lives at one point or another.
Charles: Have you each stepped out at one point?
Gina Hadley: Yeah, we both did. I had the best job ever at a big agency in New York but then I fell in love with this boy that worked on Eleven. And we moved to this weird, strange town called, Seattle, in the late 90's, which is not Seattle of today. And there was no way for me to hustle the kind of advertising job that I had had. So I began my freelance kind of consultative career before I had kids. And it-
Jenny Galuzzo: You were the trailing spouse in a lot of ways.
Gina Hadley: I was the trailing spouse, which is what a lot of our members face. And the ROI on the hustle sucks. It really does. The coffees, the meetings, I mean 30% of the time you're just trying to figure out your schedule around how do you get that next gig. And it was, you have to really be an entrepreneur at heart to work that way. What we've discovered is that we have been able to assemble an unbelievable membership. And everybody in their own way is a little bit entrepreneurial because they are trying to figure out a different way to work. And Jenny had a very different experience than I did.
Jenny Galuzzo: I was a journalist 'til I had my first son. I worked in all different areas of television journalism: producer, on-air, booker. And when I had my son, I just was sort of sick of the grind, the nights, and the weekends, and the holidays. And wanted to figured out, how do you translate the skills that I had into something else? It was very difficult to figure that out because it doesn't really translate. And how do you solve for that problem? Hearing a lot of friends who are in the same peer group, whether they were investment bankers or lawyers or creatives, how do you go about figuring out the next step when the life you led is no longer the life you're living.
Gina Hadley: Jenny told a great story when we first started talking about the business. That she looked around the newsroom and there was not one woman that she wanted to be. They've either forgotten to have children or were crying on their couch cause they never saw their children. And this is the question that both men and women face but the reason that Jenny and I decided to start The Second Shift and build it the way that we did, there is a huge crisis when it comes to female talent. And we were watching it as it imploded in our peer group. So we decided to take steps to try to solve it. And we spent the first year talking to everyone. We're extremely, as partners, we get on very well. I don't think we've ever not agreed on anything. I'm going to knock on wood.
But we didn't know what it was going to be. We didn't know, we thought it was going to be a marketplace, which is what it did turn out to be. We knew that it was going to be a membership of the most professional women. But we didn't know if it was going to be finance or law or market research. So we talked to everybody and on both sides of the equation, there was an a-ha moment whether it was the women who would become our members or the employers that would become our partners. "Wow, if I could have access to that talent" or "If I could have access to projects and not have to get a babysitter or get on the train to come in from New Canaan or commute to have a meeting, wow that would be heaven."
Jenny Galuzzo: The other thing we hear all the time, and there were so many stories at that moment when we were creating The Second Shift, where the lack of leadership and senior women in senior roles. CEOs, so many stats about there's so few women CEO's and so few women on boards. And the thing is, if you don't have women in a pipeline, then you're not going to have women who rise up in the ranks and then there's no women representing the voices for everybody else. So it's like this feedback loop, which keep women out of the workforce. So if you provide a situation, like we are, where women can at different points in their lives, engage in an untraditional way, they will continue working. They will continue back into the workforce when the time is right. And they will continue rising through the ranks.
Charles: So I want to come back to this in a minute. But I'm always fascinated when I meet people who have established successful partnerships. And as you said, and as I have observed, you guys have clearly got that. How did you guys meet and why did you decide to go into business together?
Gina Hadley: I only really started the business so I could hang out with Jenny more. We met because of Jenny's husband who founded a company called, Fly Wheel, which is an indoor cycling gym. And when I moved back to Seattle for the second time, I got in touch with Jay and his business partner and said, "You really should open here. The market is right for what you're doing." And Jay, they did all the demographic information and they said, "Great. We're going to do that but you're going to help us open it." And that was kind of the beginning of a way that Fly Wheel started working. Finding a partner in the region who was able to say, "Not this corner, that corner. Don't open now, that's spring break." And then Jay-
Jenny Galuzzo: Then we fell in love.
Gina Hadley: Fell deeply [crosstalk 00:15:32]. We went to the Bill Cunningham documentary in Guild Hall and cried like babies and then we knew.
Jenny Galuzzo: We became friends. And we saw this opportunity that had presented itself when we worked with Gina as like a proto-Second Shift, right? So we were like, "Wow, that really worked." And we would hire all of these people in the different cities before we'd opened-
Gina Hadley: At Fly Wheel.
Jenny Galuzzo: At Fly Wheel. And we would see, they're so invested. They become these evangelists for the company and they're so talented. And there's all these women who are like managing directors at Goldman Sachs offering Fly Wheel to come in and do anything for us. We're like, there are all these women. How are they not working? Why are they not provided opportunity? Let's take this experience that we had, cause you know 17 seconds after Fly Wheel opened in Seattle, Gina and Eric moved back to New York. And so we had this time together and we said, how do we take this experience and all of these people that we're seeing this whole sort of like movement growing, how do we take that, encapsulate it, and create a business out of it so we can help all of these people and we can help ourselves and we know that businesses need this. And that's how we started working together.
Charles: And what was the first step? When did you think, "This is going to become a business."
Jenny Galuzzo: It took a long time. We talked to a lot of people.
Gina Hadley: We talked to a lot of people. And I think one of the things that I had a little PTSD from was, because I lived in Seattle in the 90's, of course I had joined a start-up and we blew through 10 million dollars in funding and never actually launched. I knew we were not going to spend any money, especially on technology, 'til we figured out what we wanted to do. So it was just us hustling. It was spreadsheets. It was favors. It was Fly Wheel needed somebody to do something in a different market and we would find somebody and we would watch the entire thing happen and we would lay it out on an Excel sheet and we would see what the steps are and we would map it all out. And that was really how it began. We worked very diligently at honing and honing and honing until we came up with these two categories. The marketing and advertising category and the finance category because they are disciplines that lend themselves to project work, which have transferable skills, and also ones in which many, many women have expertise.
Having worked at Oval Vee, I saw how beautifully the creative freelancer would come in and out and there would never be any question about, what about their career path? What about our culture? But on the accounts and management side, there were none. Like what do you do if you're an account director? There's no freelance for account directors. So that's what we're trying to solve. We're trying to give the business side of marketing and advertising the same access to freelance talent that the creative side has. And of course, because we're in New York, we have so many refugees from finance. But it all works the same now. I'm beginning to realize it's not the olden days where the management soup is apart from the finance side. You have to legitimize everything so there is an overlap between finance and marketing. Right now I think is gonna be the way forward. You can't just make something pretty. You gotta move boxes.
Charles: What drew, Jenny, what drew you to Gina? When this started to become a living, breathing possibility, what did you see in Gina that made you go, this is somebody I want to be in business with?
Jenny Galuzzo: Instinct. I've had other entrepreneurial adventures and I've done things that were on my own and it's no fun. It was really no fun. Gina is such a great force of personality and there is such complimentary skills that we bring to the table and the things that would freak me out are the things that she's so good at. And I think vice versa.
Gina Hadley: Totally.
Jenny Galuzzo: We totally agree in terms of the way that you grow the business. We've done everything in a really organic fashion and that piece of it has been easy. And when it's easy, you just keep doing the thing that you're doing. If you hit major roadblocks, and over the years if we hit or any alarm went off where I had thought, "This might not work" or "This could be an issue moving forward", I would have obviously brought it up and/or had some sort of question. But we've never had that piece. And so you just keep going on your instinct.
Charles: And Gina, fair's fair, what did you see in Jenny?
Gina Hadley: Optimism. Jenny really honestly believes she can do anything. And that to me-
Jenny Galuzzo: That's how I was going to answer that question before. When you said, "What made you do this?" I was like, "I don't know. I just thought we could do it."
Gina Hadley: But it's true. Jenny really believes that she can like manifest around destiny if she says it out loud enough. And it actually is true. It is one of the things that I think is a skill that is completely underestimated. That if you stay positive and you don't go negative and you set-, also I think achievable road marks and milestones, which is something that we really were very careful to do, you can do anything. And Jenny really taught me, like fake it 'til you make it. I mean that has been my mantra my whole life but then I saw it like in the manifest. And also, she's so pretty. Sometimes I get distracted at work.
Charles: We'll put a photograph up on the website.
Gina Hadley: The photograph I chose, we both look fantastic.
Jenny Galuzzo: It's been a lot of fun.
Gina Hadley: It has. Partnership is underestimated. We hear, I mean, you hear anecdotally about how founders are fighting for control and all this kind of stuff and when other people come in and want to take over. And Jenny and I keep looking at each other and are like, somebody knows better than we do? Yeah, great, you do it. You do it and tell me what to do.
Jenny Galuzzo: We're also a company of women for women by women. So all of the people we work with, it's a very collaborative process and nobody is trying to snatch any sort of glory from anybody else. We are building this together with all of the hands and all of the people who can bring their own expertise. We're lucky because we have now, 1,000 members in our network who can help us to grow. And they have their own piece of it that they want to see us succeed. So it's been like a giant hug being part of The Second Shift, from us and from everyone we work with. It's really remarkable what you can do when you put the ego aside and you think, we are on a mission. We have a mission here. If we succeed, it's because the mission succeeded and so then we've done a really good job. So let's focus on that and we're not out to be 10 million X the company. We're trying to do the best possible job we can and help as many people as we can.
Charles: There is an enormous untapped reservoir of potential, talent potential, in this group of people that you're-
Gina Hadley: It never ends.
Charles: Providing an incredible, invaluable service to. As you were beginning, did you find those people easily? I mean as you were trying to build membership.
Gina Hadley: It is the chattiest demographic. These are, but also you have to remember these are connectors. These are mavens. These are the women who were at the top of their class at Wharton. These are the ones who rose through the ranks at Johnson and Johnson. These are the kind of type A, all-stars that know how to make things work. So you talk to one member and she will then refer everyone from her class at HBS. Everyone, oh my God, that's my- and that's the other moment that we knew we were on to something. Every meeting that we had, whether it be with potential members or employers, that's my sister. That's my wife. That's my- and there's not a meeting that we take that I don't then get 10 or 15 emails after that, "Oh you met with my brother at, you know, Lockheed Martin." Well we don't work with them but-
Jenny Galuzzo: We would.
Gina Hadley: We would. Sure, Lockheed Martin, we would love to work with you.
Jenny Galuzzo: Call us.
Gina Hadley: But it is, it is the known entity that no one wants to talk about. I mean it's the joke of like the playgrounds and the hyper crazy moms who do too much for story time. We had a whole conversation about that today. This is that book by Judith Warner, Perfect Madness. These women who they spent so much time in school and building their careers. And then there was nowhere for them to turn because there was, you were on or you were off. And Jenny and I have this analogy that you could pull into the rest stop but you are not allowed to get off the freeway if you think you ever want to work again. Because I have so much, I guess, faith in this demographic that they know what they want and also it's not a judge-y one either. There are plenty of women who decide that, "I'm done. I don't want to." Good for you. That is not who we're working with.
And I think as a business proposition, I have to be able to bring to my employers the best available product. And that's what these women are. And we only at this point, Jenny interviews all of them. God bless her. She knows every story intimately. And it is a lot of the same story over and over again. But we haven't had to, we had one really nice article in the New York Times when we launched. From that, we are now at a thousand members, as Jenny said. That is from over 12,000 applications and we have a waiting list in the thousands now too.
Charles: How do you decide?
Jenny Galuzzo: When we launched, we basically sent out a giant email to the world, to all the people we knew. And you know those friends who are like connectors, who know everybody and then women started signing up and coming to us. And so we could see who's out there, who's interested, and follow the chain. And that's really how we've grown. It's very much word of mouth growth. At this point, we have a full vetting process. So women apply for membership. We ultimately decide, do you have the skills that we're going to be able to find jobs for within marketing and finance. So if you're an astronaut or a teacher, as much as we'd love to help, we don't have those jobs because we have to narrow it down.
Then it's, did you have the right experience? Did you have enough experience? Have you left the workforce a long time ago? We say it has to be within the last two years that you were in then you move to the next step. That point we check your references. At that point, once your references check out and we've done some little background info on you, I schedule a call or now we have actually people helping me, which is really nice, to do these calls. And we do an introductory call where we answer questions and make sure everybody's on the same page. Cause we really, we're building a community so we want you to be part of something bigger. And we get our members jobs. We use them for our own business and building it and then they refer our best members and they refer us to clients, colleagues, places where we can then make inroads and try to sell The Second Shift in. So it's like a little ecosystem. And once you're through the door, it takes time. Once you're in the ecosystem, we expect a lot of you.
Charles: Can you see expanding beyond those two categories at some point?
Jenny Galuzzo: We have a long way to go within those verticals that we have barely made a dent in now.
Gina Hadley: One of the things about marketing and finance is, they are basically limitless cause no matter what you do, you have a marketing and finance department. So we decided that those, we're just going to go super, super deep on those. That being said, we also know that there's probably a whole divergent path into HR and recruitment. What we're listening to are our employer partners. What they're looking for.
Charles: And what are they telling you?
Gina Hadley: They are so, and it makes me so happy every time we hear this, so blown away by the talent. They are overwhelmed. They can't even believe that the women of their caliber, the members are pitching their little jobs sometimes. And they're saying to us things like, "I would really like access to your talent pool to see if anybody wants to take a full time flexible job." So we're starting to think about that route. I would really like to talk to your membership about research. Can I do research within your membership? So there are different streams, different revenue streams that we're beginning to explore. But we're really, I feel like, just on the beginning of the journey, where we solidified everything and we're building a team and we're hiring people. It's gonna be a hockey stick growth from here on in. But we needed to get here before we did the growth because we have all seen what happens when you try to grow too quickly.
Charles: So you've got enormous supply of talent.
Gina Hadley: So much supply.
Charles: I mean-
Gina Hadley: Endless.
Charles: Almost relentless. What about the opportunities? How do you-
Jenny Galuzzo: That's trickier.
Charles: How do you find those?
Jenny Galuzzo: Gina. That is why I love-
Gina Hadley: Dance as fast as I can.
Jenny Galuzzo: Being partners with Gina because Gina is, when you have a mission that you're trying to sell, it is very easy to knock on every door and relentlessly call everybody you know and I would still be very unsure of myself and I'm very lucky to have a partner who is not. Gina does the business development.
Gina Hadley: Well the thing that's interesting is when we started the business, we didn't decide Jenny's going to take over membership and I'm going to do business development. I take over some of Jenny's vetting calls sometimes. I'm on the phone with these women for like 45 minutes. I'm crying. We have people in common. Jenny's got it down cause she's a journalist. She gets to the, she's a question and answer person. And then on the other side, Jenny is undermining herself in terms of how good she is at pushing through the mission. But I feel like my training in advertising, you just have to believe in what you're selling. We always knew at the beginning that this was a brand. There needed to be brand cohesion. We needed to speak about things in a certain way. And so yeah, I've lost all shame.
Jenny Galuzzo: And we now have a head of business development and a West coast head of business development and we've seen the path by which companies open the door a little bit to let us in and where the need is and how long the sale cycle is. And so we just replicate what we're doing and we are relentless in pushing the door wider.
Charles: I imagine some of the struggle must be just the structural limitations of how businesses operate.
Gina Hadley: You know the thing that's interesting to me is some of the most conservative, what we would think from the outside, the most conservative businesses, are the most radical in the way that they look at talent. Private equity, for example. I would have thought, I had made assumptions about the private equity world. They just want talent. They're thrilled that they have female talent. But they just have stuff that they need to get done. And you know on the other side of that, some of the most creative businesses are so, it's like they're calcified in the way that they do business. And I am still banging on those doors. And I know at some, I will knock them down. But what's going to happen is for those creative businesses, their clients are going to be the ones that say, "You need to start working this way. You need to be nimble and agile. And you need to learn from us because we understand that the entire nature of talent is shifting." But I actually, it's funny because now that I've been through this enough times, I feel like the more traditional the businesses, the more leeway they have to be creative the way that they do business. And on the other side, the more creative the business is, the more set in their ways they are. Because very hard to be both at the same time.
Charles: Yeah, I think it's a great point actually because you see a lot of creative businesses that are still very much caught up in the dynamic of, how do we service our clients? And they look to that first as their own sign post and guidelines. And when the clients shift, you suddenly see these companies racing around, changing the way they work. I was at a conference a couple of months ago and I think it was General Mills were there-
Gina Hadley: The Four A's one.
Charles: Yeah, that's right. And General Mills client was on talking about the fact that the city of Minneapolis, they have built a culture that is now entirely reflective of society. That was their goal and within I think, what was it, six or seven months, they had achieved that. And these agencies sitting in New York saying, "Well we're trying but we haven't been able to make any inroads" were suddenly looking very differently at the possibilities.
Jenny Galuzzo: What does trying mean? How hard is it to try? You could talk all you want but you actually can, if you do it, then you don't have to try. Just do it.
Gina Hadley: I have a lot of sympathy for businesses that are all of a sudden faced with the disruption of the way that they've done things. I do. I have a lot of sympathy for hiring managers and talent officers who are now being asked to do things that were never in their purvey before. And look, there is a, I would say mindset that when you are working with an HR department, they're main goal is to mitigate risk. And now we're asking them to take a risk on something. So there's going to be a learning process.
What we've discovered is the best way in is to get with a stakeholder. It's somebody who first of all, has the need for this kind of talent. Can't get everything done in the day that they have to do. There is such a spotlight right now on resources within companies, creative and otherwise. So we scratch that itch but when the gift with purchase is you're going to get a diversity of voices with our membership, who are not sitting at your tables right now. Well that becomes kind of a no brainer. And so it's just, we're plotting. I get it. I know that this is going to be a longer haul than I had originally thought but I see the potential.
And also I know that we have the best product. I know that our members will make everybody's life so much easier. Just post a job. That is the best way to test us. Do it once and I swear to God we'll make your lives easier. You don't even need to tell any of your managers that you're not doing the work. We don't care. I mean we joke all the time that we just want legions of people who are just secretly using The Second Shift and then it will become the secret that everybody knows and then it becomes the foregone conclusion. "Oh, of course we do that. Why wouldn't we?"
Charles: When you're talking, Jenny, to 1,000 different members and obviously thousands more people that didn't make the cut for whatever reason, what are the biggest problems that they want you to help them solve?
Jenny Galuzzo: They want jobs. I mean basically-
Charles: For income? For validation? For-
Jenny Galuzzo: They're just treading, some people, some of our members are full time consultants and have been for 20 something years. This is just what they do. This is their profession. There's other people who are working full time and looking to down shift into a freelance career for life flexibility and they're trying to test it out and see how it goes and whether or not they like it. And then we have a lot of people who have very recently left full time jobs and they're looking for the volume.
Now if you're a person who moved across the country, like Gina, and every time you move across the country you have to start fresh with new contacts and new networks, you only have your small network. We provide you access to a much bigger networking pool and a much bigger job pool. So the volume is there. And ultimately, they just want to work. They want to work. How they work. They want to work on their own terms and they just want to keep going. We say it's like treading water. At some point in your career, you may just need to tread water. And it may not be the big job that you want and maybe you're going to go back to a big job but right now, you're just trying to tread water so that way you can keep working and you're just not out of the game.
Charles: And how many hours a week are they looking to work in their ideal? Is it all over the place?
Jenny Galuzzo: Totally depends. We have some women who are doing six month maternity leave. Full time, in an office, six month maternity leave. And then when they're done, they figure out when they want to do it again. We have some people who take a few 10 hour a week jobs and so they're working for different clients and they work indefinitely for that much time. Or we have some people who take a month long project that's really, they're all in for a month and then they're out. It varies.
Charles: I can imagine it must be all over the place.
Gina Hadley: It is. And that's one of the things that's great about our marketplace. We are very specific in who our members are and the categories in which we work. But the level of assignment, the type of engagement, the categories across which we work, those are very broad. Because we didn't want to limit it to let's say, just advertising or just investment banking. Because we knew that there was going to be need. One of the things that we find that's so interesting is that VC's want to talk to us about using us as asset for their portfolio companies. Because all of these start-ups don't have that many grown ups working there. And if you can get access to somebody that worked at McKinsey to help you put together your board deck, isn't that better than the 22 year old that is gonna have to grind it out for a week and a half and not really know what they're doing.
So that's the other thing that we are able to provide our clients, is the perfect expert when you need them for a very specific assignment, if that is the short engagement. Or it's like Jenny said, an ongoing relationship where we have clients that come back to the same pool all the time. They've created their own little with inside The Second Shift. We have this one client who posts probably 20 jobs a month. Always send it to Jenny. Always send it to Mary. Always send it to Sharmila because they know that they're going to get the same results from those members over and over again.
Charles: So this is clearly a passion for both of you. Is this a business or a mission?
Jenny Galuzzo: Both.
Gina Hadley: Ben and Jerry's had a mission: make the most delicious ice cream and they just follow fish around the country now in a private plane.
Jenny Galuzzo: This business is like a one plus one equals 10. Right? We win. Businesses win. The women in our network win. The workforce wins. Everybody wins. So it's a pleasure to do it. It is a business. We make money. The business grows. We've been really lucky in the fact that businesses and some big clients, Microsoft, Facebook, big clients see the potential and see the source of talent that we have. And it's like a well spring that just keeps coming and we've been really lucky. But we feel like that's the business side.
And the mission is the piece that keeps us going and makes us have the drive. Because I know that I feel responsible for all of the 1,000 women and the thousands more coming to help them, to listen to them, and to provide them an opportunity.
Charles: How do you scale this and how do you meet the demand?
Gina Hadley: We hire more people. We hire people to go into companies. We hire, Jenny was saying, our head of sales in New York has built huge sales organizations for big multi-national companies. She knows exactly what we need to do. We need more bodies. We need more hours and that's what we're doing. That's what we're doing. We're building an incredible team and we're hoping that when we disseminate the message, folks understand and it's, for lack of a better term, it's the Fly Wheel. Once it goes, you start to see how easy it is and how seamless and how beautiful the talent is. I mean it's just a no brainer.
Charles: One of the challenges of a founder driven business is scaling it using the same standards and the same values that are important to the people that started. So obviously you guys are very, very personally involved. You've talked to how many thousands of women at this point? You know all the clients intimately and what they're looking for. You also know the things that get in the way for them. How do you take all of that and make sure that you can build this to the next level or two with that kind of personal involvement? Maybe obviously not necessarily from you guys, but with the people you bring aboard. How do you vet people to make sure that they have the same kind of passion?
Gina Hadley: As Jenny would say, instinct. I would say that we have not made one hire yet that we've said, "Oh, damn it." We had one interaction that Jenny and I had thought and then the universe it didn't happen and afterwards we thought, "Wow. We really dodged that bullet." Because we were trying to make it work for her and that was a huge learning thing for us is if it doesn't feel organic and it doesn't feel right- And as Jenny said, we also have access to literally the best talent pool on the planet. They are our members. They will do anything for us. So when we need the person to help us with the deck, when we need the sales help, when we need, we just hire them from our, we have this endless supply.
I think also Jenny and I are pretty vocal about the way that we do business. I wouldn't say that we're egoless because that's ridiculous. Everyone has an ego. But we're pragmatic and we've also come to an understanding that whatever is best for the business, is what we're gonna do. But when it all comes down to it, it's us. It's me and Jenny. We founded this company. We will be involved until some kind of fruition, some kind of inflection point. But at this point, and I think it's one of the things that we see the horizon but every day, pragmatically, we build the business. And I don't know how else we would do this. I think that we're in an age right now of this ridiculous unicorn.
We had this great meeting yesterday with this woman who was telling us we need to think of ourself as zebras cause zebras, everybody moves well together in their little dazzle. It's all like an ecosystem of marketplaces and there are other businesses that are helping solve this problem, as well. So instead of thinking we're going to be the Uber of something or the Airbnb of something, we are solving this problem. And we are happy to solve it in an ecosystem of other marketplace who are making this, for lack of a better term, gig economy, the norm.
Jenny Galuzzo: I think the scalability question is interesting because the market has proven that the gig economy exists. We know that the issue exists with women leaving the workforce. There's statistics around all of that. What we're really just trying to do is capture the top. The top level of the talent, the top level of the jobs. And the scale, how do we scale the business and hire the people to do all this? We have thousands of people who will help push us up that mountain and help us scale. That I don't, I never worry about that. I think that we are perfectly poised for being the ship and the winds of technology and change and the way that the world is going and this sort of progressive adaptation of the workforce, that will push the whole ship forward.
Charles: I can certainly understand why you wouldn't worry about that. What do you worry about? What scares you?
Gina Hadley: There aren't enough hours in the day. Basically, us falling. This month, literally fell apart and that was scary. Thank God Jenny and our CFO, Kemp, and [inaudible 00:43:45], everybody was there for me. But as a founder, it all sits kind of here. I'm touching my shoulders. And that's the only thing. Keeping this momentum cause it's gonna be awhile before we are able to take a real break. That's the only thing that scares me. I'm not scared of the competition because I actually think Rising Tides, we're paranoid enough that we are checking ourselves on everything. The only thing that looms large is what the rest of the world thinks that this gig economy is. Because unfortunately, there's a lot of negativity right now because it's all about Uber. It's all about Airbnb. It's all about these unskilled task rabbit folks that don't have healthcare. That's not our demographic. So what we need to do, is we need to be able to segment the conversation so that folks understand that there is a huge range in this nontraditional workforce. And not everybody is an hourly employee who's being somehow subjected to work without the benefit. Because that's not our members.
So that's the only thing, regulation. We're seeing a lot of stuff happen in California right now between 1099 and W-2 employees. The government getting involved in this kind of stuff. But we'll suss it out. We'll hire an employment lawyer and we'll figure out how to go. Cause like Jenny said, the wave is coming. The crest is coming. Those folks that don't get how to work this way, they're going to learn how to work this way. Because look, we always say, what's good for the millennial is good for the working woman. And that is where we are headed. This is a generation of workforce that do not have an allegiance to a brand. They do not expect that they're going to be any place for a long period of time. They're going to give you exactly what they have to give you and when they're done, they're done. It's kind of the way that women work. We always say that we used to hide and run out and take email by the side of the soccer field. Whereas, they're like, "I have a clowning class and I have to go." They're saying it out loud and we're gonna ride that train too.
Charles: Anything scare you?
Gina Hadley: Nothing ever scares-
Jenny Galuzzo: No, that's not true.
Gina Hadley: Small planes.
Jenny Galuzzo: I am both incredibly anxious all the time about every little detail, about all of it. That it's not going to get done, that there's too much to do, that there's not enough hours, that I have little kids. All of it. Just the constant day to day grind of it is very, causes me anxiety. I also enjoy that anxiety because I feel that is the piece that pushes me forward and makes me, drives me. And I don't really have any fears about the growth, the business and how we're gonna do this. I feel really confident about it. I just feel like it's not going to happen fast enough.
Gina Hadley: So one of the things that you learn about your co-founders is Jenny likes that meth-y feeling when you've had too much caffeine, which makes most of us nauseous, which is kind of encapsulates. And we also have a rule that Jenny is not allowed to text after 10 o'clock.
Jenny Galuzzo: I work late.
Charles: What happens when you text after 10 o'clock?
Jenny Galuzzo: I get yelled at.
Gina Hadley: She gets yelled at. Just put it in an email. And also, she's had to now transfer her Filofax to Google calendar because just cause she writes it in her book doesn't know I know where she is on Thursday afternoon. So these are things that, so a lot of Jenny's anxiety about getting stuff done, we're all-
Jenny Galuzzo: I just get it done really late at night. And now I schedule my emails so they go out in the morning.
Charles: Speaking of technology, obviously you guys are massively personally involved in this but the future must be, there must be a big technology foundation to building this business.
Jenny Galuzzo: We are a tech enabled business. And we've had to learn a lot about technology, digital marketing, social media, all of it, to figure out how it works. It's been incredible education from our start when Gina built our first landing page and did it herself so we could learn how to do it and then quickly learned that we needed to hire professionals. You did a very good job. And we have a tech team that we work with and we have a product developer who sits in our staff. As much as we didn't like to think of ourselves as a tech company, everything is a tech company. There is nothing that technology doesn't interact with. So it would be silly to think that we were other.
Charles: Is there an algorithm behind this?
Gina Hadley: Yes, we have a proprietary algorithm. The way, just the simple top line, the way that the marketplace works is, our members fill out a profile. It's a skills based algorithm because we wanted you to be able to choose the things that you were best at and not just upload your resume because that becomes a jobs board. And then on the other side, when you are employer partners posting a project, they choose the skills that are required for the job so already, only the members that have those skills are even served the project. So as an employer, you already have a curated portion of the membership that even receives the project and then only those members that think that they're perfect for the job, have the time, agree upon the rate, will pitch themselves to the company.
So what we've done is we've taken out the back and forth of the traditional way that you would find freelance talent. It become this very linear process. There's not a lot of back and forth. We ask that anything important that you have to talk to each other about stays on our messaging platform. Obviously there are interviews and Skype calls and folks come in if they have to. But at the end of that process, our member creates a scope of work, the employer agrees to it, it all sits with the job so that there's no misunderstanding of what the requirements are. And then the job proceeds. We are the only vendor, so for big companies like Microsoft, it's very, very attractive because they're not 1099-ing out all of our members. It's just us.
And then on the back end, we take care of the members. All of their taxes, we hold the insurance, the liability insurance, all of that stuff. It's just what we really wanted to do is make it seamless.
Jenny Galuzzo: And it's fast.
Gina Hadley: It's so fast.
Jenny Galuzzo: It's so fast. So if you post a job and you need something done, you could easily have pitches from qualified, interested, and available people within an hour. You could hire them within a few hours, once the details are worked out. And you could have the work within 24 hours done. So that piece of it, the speed, its incredibly cost effective for businesses, and then we're doing all the back end stuff. So it's not messy.
Charles: One of the things that's always impressed me about Howard Schultz is the fact that he brings in a group of people every Friday, I think it is, as disruptive thinkers. So I think from what I've read and what I've heard is there's three or four people that's part of this group on a regular basis then he brings in outsiders. And the purpose of this meeting every week is simply to talk about the things that might make everything they believe to be true about Starbucks and where it's going, might make those wrong, bad assumptions. This business that you're building seems in the very best way, so obvious. It taps into an extraordinary talent pool, it satisfies a massive unmet need, you guys are clearly the right people to do it, it seems inevitable that it would be successful. What do you think might make it not be successful? What might prevent this from being the business that the three of us think it inevitably will be.
Gina Hadley: Jenny has a heart attack from drinking too much coffee.
Jenny Galuzzo: I don't, particularly this business and our business, I guess if, I don't know the answer to that question.
Gina Hadley: Regulation.
Jenny Galuzzo: Yeah, regulation. If there's an issue and the government steps in and makes it that much harder for businesses to work with freelance talent, that would become a problem. I don't see how they can do that on a massive scale because this is here. Technology has created a situation where there are broken down walls and office spaces are different. People want it. Companies want it. The technology exists. They can try to put regulations around it. But I don't see for our particular business that that would wind up being a huge problem.
Gina Hadley: We could figure it out too. I mean, one of the things that we do is we, our CFO who somehow we Jedi mind-tricked to leave Allen and Company and come and work with us, which is another reason I love Jenny. She can make anybody do anything. She's very, she is, we joke, we have this only the paranoid survive mantra but she is always looking for ways that this could fall apart. And I actually really appreciate that because for as optimistic as we are, you need somebody who is the pessimist on the backside to be like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa. Now just, let's just make sure we know exactly what we're doing on this." And there's a lot of attention focused and there's a lot of negative attention focused on this whole gig economy. But we believe that we have the best interest of our members is our foremost concern. So we're not looking to exploit anybody.
Charles: So there are three themes that I think are really prevalent for me listening to the two of you. That are big foundations I think in your success. One is that your consciousness about your own experience and what's happening and just paying attention to that, which I think a lot of people tend to go through life worried about a lot of other things and miss the very obvious insights that are actually right in front of us. Two is, clearly you have a partnership that is profoundly built in trust and transparency. And that is critical I think to any kind of successful business. I think third is, you just have this fundamental trait of relentless optimism that I think every founder and set of founders have to bring. I mean there are so many obstacles. You've gone through a lot already. All of us who built a business recognize that journey. And if you don't have that core belief and you don't have that when you're supposed to get up every day, I read a piece of research that said that of all the characteristics of CEOs, the one that made, that was most closely aligned with the CEO's success was perseverance.
Gina Hadley: I can see that. It's very interesting because we do find ourselves in the space, like the start-up space. And there are people who tell me what they do and I think to myself, "Why does anybody need that?" Who needs Periscope for dogs? Like I don't understand. We need another laundry delivery service? And it is, for me, that's not a mission. That's about making a buck. And I know that we are going to make many bucks from what we're doing because we see we've done the projections. We know the money's out there. But if you don't, if you're just doing it because you see a corner of the market that you feel that you want to take over, I don't know, I'd think it would get really boring. And I think it's why people get unsatisfied and I think it's why founders fight and I think it's why there's so much attrition in the start-up world because you gotta, this just goes back to where talent is going. You gotta feel like you're doing something. And I do not at all underestimate the, I'm doing it for the money. But that only lasts so long.
Jenny Galuzzo: It's fun. It's fun to build a business. It's fun to do something that you know makes a difference and that piece of it, is the relentless perseverance. Because if it wasn't fun, it wouldn't be, you wouldn't want to go to work every day. You wouldn't want to talk to 12 women and hear their stories every week.
Gina Hadley: Or keep calling that one person over and over again and just have to press send and walk away from the computer because you can't believe you're being such a nudge.
Jenny Galuzzo: And the good thing in some ways is that we also know that the cultural and political Zeitgeist is such that we find ourselves in a moment that there's really a movement afoot and we are a very small but a piece of that movement. And so that piece of it is also incredibly fulfilling because when you hear a lot of stories that are happening in the world and you see all these things and you want to be doing something about it, we are doing something about it.
Gina Hadley: We had a very profound moment. We were on a plane to meetings on the west coast the day after the election and obviously there was a lot of turmoil around that and a lot of uncertainty and I said to Jenny, "I can't be more thankful for the fact that I think every day what we're doing is important. This is the time to do important work."
Charles: Perfect way to wrap it up.
Gina Hadley: Charles thank you so much.
Jenny Galuzzo: This was so fun.
Charles: Couldn't be more interesting. I'm really grateful to you both and I look forward to your ever growing success.
Jenny Galuzzo: Thank you.
Gina Hadley: Well you know what, we are so honored and thankful that you wanted to speak to us today. I'm telling you, stalking is a legitimate business tactic. It has worked for us many times. I suggest that everybody do it in a non-threatening way.
Charles: You heard it here first. Thanks again.
Gina Hadley: Thanks, Charles.
Charles: You've been listening to Fearless, the art of creative leadership. If you like what you've heard, please rate us on iTunes. It helps a lot. If you want more information go to fearlesscreativeleadership.com. And thanks for listening.