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Calling Bullshit

Chief: Changing the face of leadership

Calling Bullsh!t November 8, 2022 2295 1


Background
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Our guests

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Carolyn Childers

Co-founder and CEO of Chief

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Lindsay Kaplan

Co-founder of Chief

Why aren’t there more female CEO’s? Lots of reasons, it turns out.  None of them good.

Stated purpose: To change the face of leadership

In 2018 there were literally more men named James serving as Fortune 500 CEOs than all the female Fortune 500 CEO’s combined. Last year, the number of women on the list came to a pathetic 41. To solve this problem, Carolyn Childers and Lindsay Kaplan founded Chief.

In this special positive case study, we’re headed to Toronto with the leaders of their extraordinary, three year old startup.  We begin the conversation with them on stage at the Collision Conference where they tell us how they are pursuing Chief’s purpose to “change the face of leadership.” 

 

It’s such a narrow, tight rope that we’ve put women on and it’s why we built Chief – to make sure that there is a supportive community where we can normalize these problems and try to fix the systemic issues that are facing women and executive women in the workplace.” 

– Lindsay Kaplan

 

Chief’s BS score is

Show notes

Episode Transcript

LINDSAY KAPLAN

I think women are constantly battling with stereotypes about their age, the motherhood penalty. So there’s so much that they are up against and when they finally get there, we ask them to speak on a panel. We ask them to mentor. We hold them up to such a high standard on top of them just doing their job, that they are now teetering at this very, um, tall precipice. And we wonder why women get burned out. We wonder why they’re leaving the workforce. I think we all know, and yet we’re not doing enough to support women and to really give them strength when they get there.

TY MONTAGUE (VO) 

Welcome to Calling Bullsh!t, the podcast about purpose washing- the gap between what companies say they stand for and what they actually do. And what they would need to change to practice what they preach. I’m your host TY MONTAGUE and I’ve spent over a decade helping companies define what they stand for- their purpose. And then help them to use that purpose to drive transformation throughout their business. 

In this special positive case study, we’re headed to Toronto with the leaders of an extraordinary, three-year-old startup called Chief.  I’m going to interview co-founders Carolyn Childers and Lindsay Kaplan the main stage at the Collision Conference where they will tell us how they are pursuing Chief’s purpose to “change the face of leadership.” 

SFX: NYC street sounds bring us into the Man on the street/Vox pop

Haley

When you close your eyes and picture as CEO, who do you see? 

Person 1

Who I see is, This girl, I knew in high school who, started this like shoe company. And then there’s like the faceless corporate man in the suit too. But like, it’s a bit of both. 

Leon

Of course, like back in the day it was white, older men. Um, but now I think it’s very diverse, 

Justin

it’s it’s getting a lot more diverse, 

Eris

I wouldn’t say like a male or a female.

Jack

Predominantly male 

Rosalie

it’s a mixture, but the first thing that comes to mind is a man. 

Michael

I see a guy in a suit. 

Allison

Yeah, hot guy in a suit 

Person 1

It does feel like to some extent there’s kind of like an ivory tower, you know, there’s like an in club and then that produces the same kind of people. I, I think that the people that are in power are pretty homogenous. 

SFX: Music score – Driving, urban, Mad Men, make us think about money and power

TY MONTAGUE (VO)

It’s true. Corporate America is homogeneous. 

In 2018 there were more men named James serving as Fortune 500 CEOs than all the female Fortune 500 CEOs combined. Last year, the number of women on the list came to a pathetic 41. And in its entire history, only 4 female CEOs have been Black. 

But what’s even crazier, to me at least, is that we now know that diversity at the top leads to better business results. Because of this, things are finally beginning to change. For example, Goldman Sachs won’t take a company public unless the leadership team meets their new diversity criteria. But change is painfully slow. 

When it comes to leadership, women still face pernicious stereotypes. For instance, they are more likely to be seen as consensus builders, not as aggressive decision makers. So even when they are promoted to CEO, it is often when a company is in crisis, which of course increases the pressure on them to perform and decreases their chances of success. This phenomenon, known as the glass cliff, means women typically stay in power for shorter periods of time than their male counterparts. And when they leave, they are often succeeded by – you guessed it! –  white men. Clearly, we need more women in power and more support for them when they get there. 

To solve this problem, Carolyn Childers and Lindsay Kaplan founded Chief, a private network designed to give women the tools they need to “strengthen their leadership, magnify their influence, and pave the way to bring others with them”. 

Chief helps their members to hone their leadership skills while also fostering community. Within just three years, Chief has grown to serve more than 10,000 women and it’s attracted speakers like Amal Clooney and Michelle Obama. With meeting spaces in three cities, valuation at a billion dollars, and plans for expansion, Chief is on course to truly live out their mission and change the face of leadership. 

TY MONTAGUE (VO)

All of our positive episodes focus on industry disruptors. But as an organization looking to disrupt every industry, I knew the Chief co-founders Carolyn Childers and Lindsay Kaplan would be amazing guests.

We met up at Collision– a big tech conference in Toronto where 35,000 attendees learn from the most successful entrepreneurs in the world

SFX: Collision Ambi 

TY MONTAGUE (VO)

Carolyn, Lindsay, and I recorded two conversations there.  First we spoke on the Collision Mainstage, about “how” Chief supports driven women in their climb to the top, and helps keep them there once they arrive. Then we hopped over to the Collision podcast booth to go deeper on the “why”. Here’s how it all went down.  

SFX: Welcome to Collision

SFX: Collision ambi and then onto the stage 

TY MONTAGUE

First, I wanna welcome you both to Collision and welcome to Calling Bullshit. 

CAROLYN CHILDERS

Thanks for having us

LINDSAY KAPLAN

Excited to call bullshit! 

TY MONTAGUE

Yeah, yeah. So, as you know, on this podcast, we focus on purpose-led organizations, some of whom have some issues. But we also, since we like to light candles, instead of just curse the darkness, we want to focus on purpose-led businesses that are really getting it right as well. And obviously, you fall into the latter category. The two of you are absolutely crushing it. So, I wanted to just start out by getting into a little bit of background. What is the history of Chief? How did the two of you meet? What made you decide to start this business? 

CAROLYN CHILDERSChief

LINDSAY KAPLAN

I think women are constantly battling with stereotypes about their age, the motherhood penalty. So there’s so much that they are up against and when they finally get there, we ask them to speak on a panel. We ask them to mentor. We hold them up to such a high standard on top of them just doing their job, that they are now teetering at this very, um, tall precipice. And we wonder why women get burned out. We wonder why they’re leaving the workforce. I think we all know, and yet we’re not doing enough to support women and to really give them strength when they get there.

TY MONTAGUE (VO) 

Welcome to Calling Bullsh!t, the podcast about purpose washing- the gap between what companies say they stand for and what they actually do. And what they would need to change to practice what they preach. I’m your host TY MONTAGUE and I’ve spent over a decade helping companies define what they stand for- their purpose. And then help them to use that purpose to drive transformation throughout their business. 

In this special positive case study, we’re headed to Toronto with the leaders of an extraordinary, three-year-old startup called Chief.  I’m going to interview co-founders Carolyn Childers and Lindsay Kaplan the main stage at the Collision Conference where they will tell us how they are pursuing Chief’s purpose to “change the face of leadership.” 

SFX: NYC street sounds bring us into the Man on the street/Vox pop

Haley

When you close your eyes and picture as CEO, who do you see? 

Person 1

Who I see is, This girl, I knew in high school who, started this like shoe company. And then there’s like the faceless corporate man in the suit too. But like, it’s a bit of both. 

Leon

Of course, like back in the day it was white, older men. Um, but now I think it’s very diverse, 

Justin

it’s it’s getting a lot more diverse, 

Eris

I wouldn’t say like a male or a female.

Jack

Predominantly male 

Rosalie

it’s a mixture, but the first thing that comes to mind is a man. 

Michael

I see a guy in a suit. 

Allison

Yeah, hot guy in a suit 

Person 1

It does feel like to some extent there’s kind of like an ivory tower, you know, there’s like an in club and then that produces the same kind of people. I, I think that the people that are in power are pretty homogenous. 

SFX: Music score – Driving, urban, Mad Men, make us think about money and power

 

Yeah, well, I think the irony is that Lindsay and I first met at a women’s networking event. Um, and it wasn’t the best one.

LINDSAY KAPLAN

It was terrible. And we’ve all been to these networking events with like a mound of cheese on the side and warm white wine and name tags that are placed in awkward positions. And Carolyn and I saw each other and rolled our eyes. Yeah. And it was cynicism at first glance.

CAROLYN CHILDERS

It’s cynicism that brought us together. But we often say, you know, if a bad networking event could actually bring together two co-founders, imagine what a really powerful, well-intentioned network can do. Uh, and so as I started to think about the idea of Chief, uh, Lindsay was one of my first calls to start to talk about it as my co-founder. And I think for us, the idea of Chief came from a very personal place of, we were both getting more senior in our careers. We were spending all of our time managing teams, mentoring people, and actually never felt like we had resources for ourselves anymore. And that was our inspiration to go and start an organization of Chief to build the most powerful network of women and really focus on senior executive women as our, as our first step. 

TY MONTAGUE

Right. And so how do you, how do you articulate the mission at Chief?

LINDSAY KAPLAN

Well, our mission is to change the face of leadership. It’s really simple. And yet we have a really big job in front of us. At the current rate of change, it’s going to take over 200 years for women to reach parody in the workplace. And so we need to make that change now.

And it starts with powerful women coming together and creating a ripple effect in their organizations and in their communities as well. 

TY MONTAGUE

Love that. And, you know, purpose-led businesses tend to be disruptors. I’d just love to hear you talk a little bit about the dominant belief system that you are trying to disrupt.

CAROLYN CHILDERS

Yeah. I mean, I think it’s interesting because in some ways it’s disruption, but in other ways it’s building the status quo that has allowed certain um types of people to find success where others haven’t and just building that same ecosystem for different demographics. Um, and I think we all know that, uh, a big part of what allows for success and allows for new opportunity is who, you know, and those networks that you build.

So I think for us, it was really important to create a similar type of ecosystem and network that I think has been in place in many ways, for certain demographics that just haven’t been in there in that, in that same shape and form for others. 

TY MONTAGUE

Right. Yeah. I mean, some of the, as doing my homework for this, some of the statistics about women in C-level positions are shocking, right?

Less than 8% of fortune of 500 CEO are female. 20% of board seats globally are occupied by women. And the thing about this, to me, is that makes it so crazy is I’ve also seen suggestions, I, I was reading a McKinsey report that says business outcomes are better in companies where there is diverse and often female leadership.

So it’s, it’s almost like the patriarchy is cutting off its own nose despite its face. You know, do you like, I, I just don’t it’s it seems crazy to me. So, I mean, I, I would assume VCs here in the audience, I hope, I hope you are listening to this, you will get better outcomes if you fund diverse companies.

So, um, I’d love to hear if either of you have experienced any of the issues that you’re trying to address through chief personally in your careers. 

CAROLYN CHILDERS

Yeah. I mean, I think for me, the, um, the real focus on this area and the drive to start something like Chief was as I started to be in those rooms where decisions were being made and recognizing that it was just different conversations. Um, and it was more affecting my team than me because I didn’t hear the conversations about myself. But as I heard the conversations being had about people on my team and different ways of evaluating people, different ways of even just thinking about problems and not taking like the wholistic point of view of recognizing that a business solution that might be great for certain populations aren’t great for all populations. Uh, and so I think it was in those moments where you were finally in that room and you saw how it was playing out differently for such different populations was, and it’s why we wanted to start with senior executive women to just get more of them into that room and make sure that more of those perspectives were being shared in those rooms and the ripple effect that that could have across so many different organizations. 

TY MONTAGUE

Love that. So I want to pivot to, just talking about the business. I want to understand how the business actually works. So how does one become a member of Chief? 

CAROLYN CHILDERS

So we are a vetted network, so we, like I said, focus on senior executives.

Which the easiest way to describe what that is, is VP level and above. Um, and it’s really important for us to make sure we stay vetted because, uh, otherwise you end up falling into that defecto mentor, and we wanna make sure that this is truly a peer organization of people that understand your context and responsibility.

Um, and it’s an annual membership model. Um, I think the amazing part of all of this is that companies have recognized some of what you were saying before that there needs to be more representation. They need to be investing in their, um, amazing women’s talent. And so about 70% of our membership is actually funded by the companies in the same way that they would send you to a conference, um, or, get you an executive coach.

TY MONTAGUE

Yeah.

CAROLYN CHILDERS

They will fund a membership into Chief. Um, and there’s a whole suite of services that you get as part of that membership. The probably dominant thing that we talk about is what we call Core. Um, it’s called Core for a reason. It’s a, it’s a peer group where we break down the entire community into groups of 10 that meet on a monthly basis.

There’s an executive coach in the room and it’s just this amazing opportunity for you to work through your biggest professional and personal challenges. 

TY MONTAGUE

Awesome. And the two of you are in some of these groups. Yeah? You actually participate as members. 

LINDSAY KAPLAN

Absolutely. Shout out to my Core group. We had a great session last week. And look, it’s really important for women to find other women who are in these senior levels and have time in a confidential space to talk about things that are pressing for executives, right?

Executive problems always end up being people problems. And it’s really important to find a professional board of directors. To go through that, to give diversity of thought, opinion, advice to help you not only become a better leader, but to stay motivated and to stay a leader and not burn out. 

TY MONTAGUE

So one of the things that I, um, have noticed folks here have probably noticed as well, is that you’ve been out raising some money.

I think I’ve got these numbers, right. You’ve raised 140 million dollars? And your latest valuation is 1.1 billion dollars?  

CAROLYN CHILDERS

Yes. 

TY MONTAGUE

With a B 

LINDSAY KAPLAN

It’s a lot of powerful women. 

TY MONTAGUE

How does, first,  how does that feel? That’s gotta feel pretty good. 

CAROLYN CHILDER

 Yeah. I mean, I think for us, we started Chief about three years ago. Um, and if you think back to where we were three years ago, we started early 2019.

Then you had the pandemic, you, there was just so many shifting things that have happened. And I think for us, this milestone is less about like evaluation and it’s less about, uh, you know, the amount that we raise. And I think it’s actually more for us, just a really amazing moment to be able to celebrate a lot of pivots that had to happen over this period of time.

And the idea that investing in women is good, is a good investment decision. Um, and so we’re really proud of that. And our members are really proud of it and it’s just been an exciting time. 

TY MONTAGUE

Awesome. so, how are you using that money? 

CAROLYN CHILDERS

Yeah, I mean, I think for us first and foremost is always, we have 15,000 active members right now.

We have 60,000 members that are on a or potential members I should say that are on a wait list. 

TY MONTAGUE

Okay. 

CAROLYN CHILDERS

So for us, we’re just really wanting to make sure that we continue to invest in the experience and build more for all of our, all of our members. But we’re cuz we’re in such early days of what we can build and who we can build for.

So we were talking before about the fact that, you know, our mission is to change the face of leadership. We were really thoughtful about where we wanted to start with senior executive women, but to really change the face of leadership, I think there’s so much more that we can do under that umbrella. Right. 

TY MONTAGUE

And you at physical locations as well, right? 

LINDSAY KAPLAN

We do. We always say we’re a community that happens to have a space. And so we have spaces in New York, LA, Chicago, and one on the way in San Francisco. But really what makes Chief special is the network is those core groups that as we know, we’re not really reliant on spaces anymore.

And so they’re wonderful amenities. They’re great for getting our members together, but if you’re joining, you’re joining to grow that network and to be a part of the community. 

TY MONTAGUE

Great. And do you have plans to expand outside the US? 

CAROLYN CHILDERS

So we just launched nationally in January. Cause we’re still in early days of just being well in settled down, right? Oh yeah. 

LINDSAY KAPLAN

Two days in Canada. And I think that’s on the roadmap now, so thank you Toronto. But so we will, we are working on expansion. I will say this. When we did raise the money, we knew it was really important for us to think about how we grow and continue to stay diverse. And so we committed to doubling our grant program to making sure that we are welcoming in women from, uh, all different areas, from different roles functions, um, as well as, uh, underfunded, uh, women founders.

And we’re also committing a million dollars annually to make sure that we could invest in nonprofits charities that are aligned with our mission of changing the face of leadership. 

TY MONTAGUE

One of the things that I have learned from other CEOs of, of purpose-led businesses, they have pointed out to me that who you raise money from is actually quite important.

In other words, having investors who understand your mission, are aligned with it and are really supportive of what you’re trying to get done has that been part of your 

CAROLYN CHILDERS

Journey as well? A hundred percent. Yes. Um, I don’t know that we would have gone on the path that we did and the way of raising capital that we did, if we didn’t find those right partners.

And, um, it hasn’t always been easy. Like we’ve gotten plenty and many, uh, nos as we’ve gone through the process. And you definitely have those moments. You know, do you need to pivot the business model? Do you need to take capital from somebody who might not be as mission aligned? Right. And I think for us, it was really important that we stayed true to that because we never would’ve been able to stay as true to our mission as we have been able to, if we didn’t have the investors that we do, um, and truly feel grateful every day, you know, we are a company that feels it’s really important to make statements on, you know, things that are happening in the world. And there has never been a single time where as we’ve made those statements, our investors actually reach out to us and say like, we’re proud of you. There’s not that debate in the boardroom. And I think that that is a really key part for us of being able to do what we do.

TY MONTAGU

Well, what advice would you have for. Any female entrepreneurs here at collision? 

LINDSAY KAPLAN

Yeah. Well, I’m really inspired by the concept of time travel. As I said, it’s going to take 200 years for us to reach parody and I don’t wanna wait that long. So when I think about this as somebody that’s driving impact, I always think about what I can do during my day to cut out the bull.

Which is your favorite thing in your podcast to cut out, um, and to really make sure day to day I am thinking about what’s going to have the most critical impact on the business, on the mission and on really changing the shape of the future. 

CAROLYN CHILDERS

Yeah. I mean, the other thing I would just say, and especially for people that are here, it’s great that you’re here.

It’s really important to build a network. Um, our earliest investors were people that we knew, um, that knew us believed. And we’re like, yeah, this business feels like it’ll, it’ll be great, but I believe in you, Carolyn and Lindsay. Um, and so I do think it’s really important to constantly be investing in your network and in your relationships.

Um, because that’s ultimately, I think what, what helped us out of the gate was people that believed in us. 

TY MONTAGUE

So you also. Produce an excellent podcast at Chief. I listen to every episode. 

LINDSAY KAPLAN

Thank you for plugging The New Rules of Business by Chief, a wonderful podcast. You can download now, wherever you get your podcast.

TY MONTAGUE

That’s right. The New Rules of Business. And I am going to steal a trick from you because there’s a question that you ask every, you know, your guests in every episode, which is what is the best piece of business advice you’ve ever gotten. 

CAROLYN CHILDERS

I will go first. we’ve gotten so many great questions or so many great answers to this on the podcast.

So I feel like a lot of pressure, um, of, of coming up with something like new and novel. But I actually think to me, and it’s something that I have to tell myself daily is don’t let perfection get in the way of progress. And particularly for a mission-based business that, um, you know, you wanna hold yourself to a higher level

And do all of the right things. And the reality is you’re not going to be perfect. You’re not going to get it right. You’re not going to have the right position and everything. And you might be a little late on something. And I think it’s important for us to give ourselves some forgiveness on that and to give each other some forgiveness.

LINDSAY KAPLAN

Well, and on the topic of networking, as we’re at this amazing conference, I met somebody at dinner last night who said it was important to increase uh, the, the surface area of serendipity. And so I think meeting people, forming relationships, getting to know different people from different walks of life is really important in business.

Even if it doesn’t make sense short term, it could really pay off long term. 

CAROLYN CHILDERS

You literally said last night at the dinner, oh, I’m gonna steal that. And you already have. 

LINDSAY KAPLAN

I did. So thank you to the kind person who sat next to me at dinner. 

TY MONTAGUE

Fantastic. All right. Carolyn Childers, Lindsay Kaplan. Thank you. Give it up for Chief, please. 

SFX: Leaving stage ambi/music fades out under the last VO

TY MONTAGUE (VO)

After we exited the stage, we spoke in depth about what it means to be cofounders with shared values, what women are up against, and why every company is inherently political. That conversation, after the break.

SFX:  Collision ambi locates us and brings us into the conversation  

TY MONTAGUE

Okay.

LINDSAY KAPLAN

All right.

TY MONTAGUE

Off the stage and into the booth.

CAROLYN CHILDERS

Into the booth…

TY MONTAGUE

That was a ton of fun. Thank you. 

LINDSAY KAPLAN

Thanks for inviting us.

TY MONTAGUE

So now that we’re in the booth, we can get at the real tea. Um, so I, I want to just, um, Do a little more about your background. Let people get to know you a little bit better.

One of the first questions I had was have you always known that you wanted to be entrepreneurs?

CAROLYN CHILDERS

Actually probably the opposite. Yeah. Um, and I actually really love telling this story because I think so often you hear the founder stories that are like “I knew from early age and

TY MONTAGUE

From birth! Right.

CAROLYN CHILDERS

I was doing my lemonade stand and my paper route, and I was an entrepreneur even early days. And I think for me, um, so my family had a family business, a travel agent.

So you can see how or travel agency, and so like the family business was hard. And I remember seeing that and thinking like, wow, this is like such a hard journey. And therefore, almost thinking I’m going the opposite way. I’m going to like a big company 

TY MONTAGUE

Work for a big company, Yeah. 

CAROLYN CHILDERS

Yeah. And I started my career that way. And it wasn’t until after business school that I pivoted over into startups and I was like, oh, this is where I’m meant to be. And it was only then that I started to think, I don’t just wanna work for somebody else. Like I wanna build something myself. 

And it wasn’t until the idea of Chief came around that you could get to a place where I can dedicate my life to this type of business, this type of mission. Um, but it was very late for me in my career. Or later in my career that I really started to think about startups in general and being the entrepreneur myself. 

TY MONTAGUE

How about you, Lindsay?

LINDSAY KAPLAN

You know, I don’t think I grew up thinking about business. I wanted to be an artist. So I wanted to be a painter that I wanted to be a writer. Um, and I think, business became something that I just needed to do to pay the bills. And it became really clear really early to me when I started, that I was a little anti-authority that I didn’t like being told what 

TY MONTAGUE

And, And…

LINDSAY KAPLAN

And reflecting back, I also come from a family of entrepreneurs. My grandfather owned a business. My father owns a business. My mom’s a real estate broker that works on her own. And so it makes a lot of sense that, I found my way towards entrepreneurship as an anti-authority kid of parents who wanted to do their own thing.

TY MONTAGUE

Cool. Well, you know, entrepreneurs are rule breakers too in their own way. Um, which is, you know, I, I certainly resonate with that. Like You and I share a more creative background and, um, I, I get that completely. So, Carolyn, you have been an athlete for big parts of your life, and I wondered if you could talk about how you think that translates into being a CEO, if it does.

CAROLYN CHILDERS

Yeah. Absolutely. Yes, I grew up. Playing sports. I almost every weekend was traveling and an AAU basketball team I rowed in college. Um, so you know, the idea of team and that collaboration was just such an important part of what I think I brought into, you know, any type of business, any type of company, any type of team. Um, and it’s something that I brought as I was starting Chief and the type of culture that I wanted to build. And, um, but I think the interesting thing about so much of, you know, me and my leadership and, and it being defined in sports is it actually made it somewhat hard as Chief got bigger because you’re used to like a team that is, you know, a team of 20. And you’re like, you’re actually like in the, in the trenches together.

And then you get to a bigger company. You’re like, okay, now this is a different type of leadership. This is a different type of, of way of leading an organization. 

LINDSAY KAPLAN

You went from the coach to the commissioner.

CAROLYN CHILDERS

Yeah. I guess something like that. I don’t really know if I like that analogy of who I am, but, um, but there’s something really meaningful in that transition that you have to go through that, you know, the sports analogy only took me so far in like the, the entrepreneurial journey, and there was enough evolution that needed to happen post that.

TY MONTAGUE

Yeah. And I was also looking at some amazing statistics. you’re not the only one, like, something like 95% of Fortune 500 female CEOs played team sports, and a big percentage of them somewhere in the high fifties, made it all the way to college.

CAROLYN CHILDERS

And the others all wanted to be artists and writers. Right? 

TY MONTAGUE

Artists and writers. Exactly.

LINDSAY KAPLAN

To the shout out, Carolyn.

TY MONTAGUE

So, Lindsay, as co-founders, I’m interested in how the two of you decide to divide up leadership duties in the company. Your title is chief brand officer is that right?

LINDSAY KAPLAN

Yeah. And it’s, it’s a really clear division. I think at first, when it was just the two of us, it was a little sloppier because it was two people attacking a project. Um, and as Chief Got bigger, as the team grew, it became really obvious. Carolyn is the CEO, incredible operator, just a, a brilliant business leader.

Um, and I love to be the storyteller. I love to kind of dig into the content, the creative, and it became really clear that my domain would and should be around my superpower. So, I own um, brand marketing partnerships, editorial, all of our events, and Carolyn owns well just about everything.

CAROLYN CHILDERS

I think it’s actually an important evolution that a lot of startups have to go through. Which is we were co-founders and it was, you know, a co-founder co-founder led, 

But now we’re a senior leadership team. Um, and there’s, you know, that, that broader, amazing suite of people that have come on this journey with us now that the divide and conquer is not just about like, how do we both divide and conquer, but how do we as an executive team and a leadership team really divide and conquer.

TY MONTAGUE

And how, how big is the Chief team now? 

CAROLYN CHILDERS

We’re over 200 people. 

TY MONTAGUE

200 people on staff. Wow. That’s a lot.

CAROLYN CHILDERS

Yeah. A lot of growth and a lot of it virtually. Um, so we were probably around 30 when, you know, the pandemic hit and we went into a bit of a hiring freeze as most people did of just trying to figure out what the world was going to be. And We actually saw, some really great growth over that period of time. We started to hire again, but all of it virtually. Um, even if we were hiring them in New York, you were still hiring them virtually because nobody was in person. And so it’s been really important for us to just figure out how do we not only tackle the challenge of maintaining a culture as you get bigger, but maintaining a culture as you get bigger while in a brand new way of working.

TY MONTAGUE

Yeah. Well, it’s interesting also. You know, as I, I was listening to you talk about the shape of Chief’s business, and I can’t think of a better pair to run a business like Chief, because part of it is business and operations, but a huge part of it is also just the experience and, in a lot of ways you are also a content company, which is really interesting. I hadn’t really thought about 

LINDSAY KAPLAN

Well, you know, when Carolyn and I were pitching, early investors and you know, this conversation very well because it stuck with us. We heard so many “no’s”. It was just no after no after no like, “Great idea. Love you two. And it’s a no from us.” Um, and one investors said, “I love what you do, but guys, like, I invest in great products, right? Like I, I invest in a company that makes one thing and sells it and they do an incredible job. You’re doing five things, right?” You’re doing these peer groups. You’re building an entire digital social network. You’re putting together events, have spaces like this is a company of five to seven, depending on how you slice it, services.

And so it’s, it’s a complicated business, but when you’re offering a membership to these incredible women, we did wanna make sure we gave her a really incredible impactful experience that covered everything that she was piecemealing together. So we wanted to take the place of the coach of the conference, um, of the content and really make sure that she had a holistic, way to become supported and become a better leader.

TY MONTAGUE

Right. Love that. Staying with this theme of the two of you for just a minute. I’ve gleaned from listening to your podcast and also just hanging out with you for the past, you know, 72 hours, which has been super fun, that the two of you have very different personalities. We do

LINDSAY KAPLAN

We do?

TY MONTAGUE

This, my, my observation. You may not agree.

CAROLYN CHILDERS

To throw it back to you and be like, how would you describe those two different personalities?

LINDSAY KAPLAN

Yeah.

TY MONTAGUE

I’m not even gonna touch that. 

LINDSAY KAPLAN

Um,Dr. and Lady Hyde. You’re.

TY MONTAGUE

You you’re very different, but it obviously works incredibly well. So is, do you have any relationship advice for other co-founders? You know, cause partnerships are hard. I have a co-founder, occasionally we fight like a cat and a dog, like starting a business is stressful and, and difficult. And the two of you have you’re very different, but your chemistry is, is amazing.

CAROLYN CHILDERS

Well, I mean, I think the thing that we realized very quickly and why we therefore wanted to do this together is that we are very different. Our skills are very different. Our personalities are very different, but our values are not different. Um, and we talked a lot about what we wanted Chief to be from a, you know, vision of the business, but also a vision of the culture.

And we just, it was really important for us that we were very aligned on that, um, upfront, because that that’s really hard to have a disagreement about. It’s pretty easy to have a disagreement about like, “I think we should do this different design or that different design” and like, those are just so they’re, they’re important, but surface level.

LINDSAY KAPLAN

It’s surface-level decision-making sometimes we may disagree on, but the values that Carolyn and I share are so similar. And so when people don’t know us well, we’ve gotten the, like on the, on the scale between Lindsay and Carolyn I’m right between you two. And we laugh about that because we’re, we feel like we’re actually very close together on that scale.

We’re not really sure what that scale is because we often, and this is so reassuring. We often come to the same conclusion and we get there in such a different way. And when you hear somebody else, it’s almost like we’re doing the math problem differently. Carolyn actually does

CAROLYN CHILDERS

I show my work show,

LINDSAY KAPLAN

Show your work, she’ll write a deck.

And I’m like, my gut says this.

TY MONTAGUE

Yeah.

LINDSAY KAPLAN

And we get there almost always to the same place. And it is that much more, um, compelling to say I feel so good about this answer because I not only trust you, but I trust that you went there a different way than I did.

TY MONTAGUE

Yeah. And maybe I’m just thinking, like, maybe that’s an advantage of being a purpose led business in a way, right. Is, is if you’re just making a widget or a product and you don’t have some larger purpose that you’re pursuing, like it, it would be easier for founders to get off track and disagree and fall apart. Whereas the fact that you’ve both signed up to like change the world.

Right. Like that keeps you aligned in a way.

CAROLYN CHILDERS

I, I think it’s actually harder for our team than it is for us. I care about certain things deeply and passionately. And she cares about things deeply and passionately that I might not as much because we both think about things differently. 

TY MONTAGUE

Sure. Yeah. 

CAROLYN CHILDERS

They have to actually like bridge that gap of like two people who like deeply care and will come at something from a very different place, but they have to kind of satisfy both.

That could be a, that was a hard thing early days for some of our team to, to overcome. Now. I think it’s, um, less of a, I need to manage two co-founders and again, it’s that broader senior leadership team, but I actually think it’s something that for us was really important that we recognize could create a struggle for the team of, of navigating two very different ways of needing to present an idea.

Like I need it. I, I need to get to a place from a very different perspective than she does. 

LINDSAY KAPLAN

She needs a deck. Everybody knows she needs a deck. She needs the charts. She needs data.

I need an analogy. I need to get excited. But to be fair, like I love data and you love a story. So again, I think sometimes, um, people fall into thinking we are more stereotypically different and caricatures of ourself than we are. 

TY MONTAGUE

That’s great. Okay, I don’t really even know how to ask this question. I’m

LINDSAY KAPLAN

I’m a Gemini. 

TY MONTAGUE

We’ll see.

LINDSAY KAPLAN

That?

TY MONTAGUE

That’s it. 

LINDSAY KAPLAN

That’s it. Okay. Nailed. 

TY MONTAGUE

Nailed it. So we started to talk a little bit about this on stage. Um, but I wanted to dig more into my metaphor is the obstacle course that women need to run through in order to make it into leadership positions in business.

I’d just love to hear your observations about those obstacles and how Chief is trying to help women take those on?

CAROLYN CHILDERS

Um, yeah, I mean, I think that there’s so many different aspects of the challenge. There’s the external factors of as you’re getting more senior, you are likely starting a family. You are likely starting to take on the responsibilities of childcare, and we know that that burden so much more goes to women.

Inside the office there’s, um, both the unconscious bias that you’re battling, but it’s also your, your own. I think there’s so many studies that talk about how women. Need to have a hundred percent of the qualifications of a job before they apply for it, where men are like, yeah, good 50 to 60. Let me, let let me give that one a shot. 

LINDSAY KAPLAN

He’s got potential,

TY MONTAGUE

I, I had a job once I know how to do this.

CAROLYN CHILDERS

Yeah, so it’s not, it’s not just, you know, the factors that other people are putting upon them, but it’s also, you know, how they are conditioned and, and other things. And I think one of the most important parts of Chief is that you have two things that come out of an amazing network of other women. One, is it normalizes things for you of just like, I don’t have to have, I don’t have to have all the answers.

Um, I don’t have to have the perfect work life balance that so many people talk about and nobody has, um, and , and it also really helps to motivate people to take risks. I think that’s one of the most powerful and fun parts of core is you walk in and you talk about like, what is it that you really want to do and be, and you hold each other accountable to that.

And so now you do maybe apply for that thing or go for that stretch, um, assignment that maybe you’re at 50% of, instead of a hundred percent of. And so I think it’s all of those small things that having a network like chief can really bring about.

TY MONTAGUE

That’s great.

LINDSAY KAPLAN

Yeah. I mean the expression, it gets lonely at the top. It gets lonelier a lot faster when you’re a woman. And a woman to Carolyn’s point is battling not just everything happening in her life at that time, but just the unconscious bias that comes with being a woman. I mean, we’re at a conference. And I’m worried about what I’m wearing on stage.

I don’t give a shit about my clothes. I don’t care about shoes. And yet here I am feeling like I need my hair and makeup done. I’m gonna get judged on my shoes, which by who? I don’t know. Um, I, I think women are constantly battling with, stereotypes about their age, the motherhood penalty. So there’s so much that they are up against and when they finally get there, we ask them to speak on a panel.

We ask them to mentor. We hold them up to such a high standard on top of them just doing their job, that they are now teetering at this very, um, tall precipice. And we wonder why women get burned out. We wonder why they’re leaving the workforce. I think we all know, and yet we’re not doing enough to support women and to really give them strength when they get there.

TY MONTAGUE

Yeah. Agreed. Um, yeah. So a, another area that’s related to this that I wanted to sort of dig, dig into a bit, is an area that you cover in, in several different dimensions in your podcast. Um, and it’s in the past. And I think still right, there are a different set of rules for women in business than for men.

There are different ways that women are judged to the point that you just made Lindsay in the workplace. Can you talk about some of those rules? How they’re different for men and women? Um, you know, in the podcast, for instance, you talk about some of the issues around bringing your whole self to work some of the issues around like humor in the workplace and the different, different sets of

LINDSAY KAPLAN

As a, as a self-proclaimed funny person, um, you know, men. Men are rewarded for their jokes. Women are taken less seriously. Um, women in the workplace are often expected to pick up the, the birthday cards, bring in the cupcakes, um, take care of a lot of the, um, the thankless work that is so important in the office around culture building.

What does that mean? We’ll let the ladies handle it, right? So we know that women are, are constantly being judged around being empathetic, showing up, being nice. Right? Like we just interviewed somebody who was like, fuck the word nice. Nice. Gives us nothing. Nice. Can actually be toxic. And yet as women, we feel the obligation to be liked because if a woman isn’t liked, she’s known as?

TY MONTAGUE

A bitch.

LINDSAY KAPLAN

Is, exactly right.

TY MONTAGUE

Yeah, right. Yeah. No, it, it I’ve seen that happen a million

CAROLYN CHILDERS

But it goes the other way too, if you’re too nice, then you don’t. Yeah,

TY MONTAGUE: Yeah, then you’re a pushover. You’re a, you’re a doormat, right? Yeah.

LINDSAY KAPLAN

So we put women on this tight rope of be funny, but not too funny. Be empathetic, not too empathetic. And then we also don’t talk enough about the intersection of women who are, you know, from underrepresented minorities in the workplace and everything they have to juggle on top of that to be this model worker.

So again, like it’s, it’s such a narrow, tight rope that we’ve put women. um, and it’s why we built Chief to make sure that there is a supportive community where we can normalize these problems and make sure that, you know, we talk about it and we try to fix the systemic issues that are facing women and executive women in the workplace.

TY MONTAGUE

Yeah,

CAROLYN CHILDERS

Step one, be aware that there’s a problem.

TY MONTAGUE

Right.

LINDSAY KAPLAN

Step two, apply to Chief.  

TY MONTAGUE

My co-founder Rosemary says all the time, like it’s not important to be liked for, for women. It’s important to be respected.

LINDSAY KAPLAN

I don’t know if I fully agree with that because it’s really hard as a woman to be respected without being somewhat liked. Right? Like it’s, it sounds good in theory, but if you’re not liked, you’re kind of implying you’re disliked. to be disliked as a woman is really difficult. And I can name some women who are disliked and have been taken down because of it.

So your reputation becomes everything. And so it’s easier to say it’s harder to do. 

TY MONTAGUE

So, so let’s pivot and just talk about purpose and, and purpose-led businesses. So a lot of the purpose-led leaders that I’ve talked to measure impact, you know, beyond kind of the traditional ROI financial measures.

Um, what do you measure at Chief? Like how do you decide whether you’re succeeding or not? I mean, I, I, I assume you measure financial metrics as well, but are there things beyond that?

CAROLYN CHILDERS

Yeah. I mean, our mission is to drive more women into positions of leadership and keep them there. Which I think creates a very clear definition of what does success look like? and that is what is the representation of women, um, people of color in leadership?

And, unfortunately we are right on the heels of a pandemic where it, is disproportionately affected women dropping out of the workplace. And so for us, that means that our role and our job just got bigger. Um, cause even before the pandemic, it was going to take 200 years before women reached the same level of representation in senior leadership.

TY MONTAGUE

Yeah, crazy.

CAROLYN CHILDERS

And so for us that is like the macro, like what do we measure? How do. How do we continue to strive to do something that will create a ripple effect that will help to change some of that? There’s a lot of things that we measure internally with like the members that we do have of, you know, what new opportunities have they gotten.

Um, and also things that are just a little bit softer in measurement of just, you know, how confident are they feeling in the leadership positions that they’re in? And how supported.

LINDSAY KAPLAN

Has your network expanded? Are you making more money?

TY MONTAGUE

Right. Yeah, that’s a good one.

LINDSAY KAPLAN

Is there more opportunity, right? Like there’s, there’s the, the softer questions that I think are really leading into, into us knowing we’re driving impact. Um, and I think that the more difficult question for us is the macro change we’re seeing when we’re up against the pandemic, when we’re up against a recession. So, you know, two steps forward, one step back..

TY MONTAGUE

Yes. So a lot of the companies that we have featured on, on this podcast also, Are also certified B Corps. You are not a certified B. Are you? Have,

CAROLYN CHILDERS

We’re not.

TY MONTAGUE

Have you ever thought about?

CAROLYN CHILDERS

Um, I did very early days of, of founding Chief, and I mean, I think the things that are really exciting about being a certified B Corp is that, um, in order to become that you have to be measuring some of those other things and, you know, your, your broader um, impact and I remember looking at it and being like, oh, that, and I will say candidly, like that almost feels like table stakes for us. Like, that is what we are. So it might be something that we decide to do down the line. But, um, I think for us, we wanted to just make sure that we were most focused on the mission and the impact that we were, that we were trying to drive as our central mission.

TY MONTAGUE

Right. Yeah. We’ve, we’ve thought about it also. And we are not a certified B, although I think we are going to head down that road, so we’ll see. We’ll let you know what it’s like. 

Um, so we’ve talked about this before. Also, I really believe that being a purpose-led business is a journey, and no, no company is perfect.

Nor should we expect them to be. Um, but taking on a social justice issue, as you have with Chief in some ways can make you a target. Um, do you ever feel pressure? Additional pressure by because you are purpose-led and because you have such an inspiring, but, but weighty mission.

CAROLYN CHILDERS

I would say yes, a hundred percent. I think the hard part is when you have something like really focused on women in business, there are many different social issues that all factor into that. And so I think it’s actually really most important and like most pressure-filled of where do you draw the line of what you feel like you should be weighing into versus not.

Um, and I think that’s honestly where I, I feel the most pressure of wanting to you know, and our, our members are eager for us to, to play some of those roles. But we’re also running a business and we have to make sure that we are focused on the mission that, that we have built Chief for, and can’t weigh into everything and do all of that at once.

And so I think that to me is one of the biggest pressures, less so about like, what do you specifically say about this one thing, but it’s more of how do you, how do you make that determination of what you want to stand for? Yeah. 

LINDSAY KAPLAN

I think also the, the pressure to weigh in on everything starts to really, um, it’s not only difficult to be running a business, but it’s difficult to focus. And so we saw an outpouring of support around the rumor that Roe V Wade will be overturned, right? It was in the news. Every organization is making a statement.

Um, we signed the don’t ban equality, coalition, and yet two weeks later there’s a shooting, right? And you don’t hear anything about Roe V Wade, right? And so like, it’s really difficult to stay on top of what you believe in and the causes that you absolutely want to support when the news cycle is changing, public opinion is onto something else.

And so it’s really important for us to make sure we’re clear about what we stand for, that we commit to what we stand for, because if not, it starts to become performative, right? Like it’s not actually healthy for a company to be taking a stand writing a statement every three days about the new topic. We really wanna make sure we’re doubling down on what it is we stand for, what we ourselves can commit to, and going all the way, so that we’re not just writing a statement, posting it on LinkedIn and moving on. Right? And we want to make sure our members and our broader Chief community understand what we stand for and know that when we take that stand, we are doing it and we are doing it all the way, and it is part of who we are and it is baked into the DNA of Chief.

TY MONTAGUE

Yeah. Yeah. Just to build on that, on this podcast, obviously one of our big themes is this issue of, we call it purpose washing In other words, saying that you’re purpose-led or a consciously capitalist enterprise, but not really meaning it. And Lindsay, I’ve heard you say that you think that a lot of brands just need to knock off in quotes, “knock off their performative bullshit”, which I loved. So it sounds like you agree, right? That it’s, it’s a problem in the world.

LINDSAY KAPLAN

I think a lot of companies are torn. I think that they want to say something, they don’t wanna go all the way, and they end up kind of like mincing their words and staying in the middle. If you wanna say something, say it and do it. Right?

Like at this point, I think consumers are really smart. And for the most part, especially younger consumers, really want to align themselves with brands and companies that follow the same set of values. And so if you’re going to do it, do it. Right? And do better, because there’s so many companies out there now that I think wanna put out the statement, wanna get the like box checked, particularly, you know, DEI, right. We’re gonna hire a DEI person. We’re gonna, we’re gonna make a claim that we’re gonna do something.

Follow up, hold yourself accountable And again, you don’t have to boil the ocean. You don’t have to, you know, make a statement about everything, but at least if you’re going to do it, pick a topic, pick an issue, commit to it and do better. Yeah.

TY MONTAGUE

Yeah. Yeah. I love that. And, um, the statistics are incredible. It’s like 90% of young people expect companies to take a position now and they expect CEOs to be out talking about the position that the company has.

LINDSAY KAPLAN

And you know, a lot of companies say we’re not political. Well, guess what, if you are giving your employees healthcare, if you are making decisions about their time off when they become new parents, you are making political decisions, whether you want to or not. Right?

TY MONTAGUE

That’s a fantastic point.

LINDSAY KAPLAN

We force companies to be political. And so you have to be educated on some of these broader issues and some of these social issues. You have to be to lead a company because you’re making those decisions.

You’re deciding, you know, where your company is incorporated and how you’re paying taxes. So you’re political, no matter what.

TY MONTAGUE

Totally. So, you know, this idea of, of being purpose-led has been talked a lot in the investing community as well. Sometimes it’s called ESG investing. Sometimes it’s called impact investing does that ever come up with your investors? I know we talked about on stage that you do try to find values-aligned investors, but have you ever gotten any pushback from potential investors because of your purpose? In other words, is there any friction there for you?

CAROLYN CHILDERS

I mean, if they had it, they didn’t explicitly say it because, they knew that thing 

TY MONTAGUE

They’d get punched in the mouth. Yeah. Right. 

CAROLYN CHILDERS

To say, but so very much could be behind, you know, some people’s questions of is this an investment that I want to make? Um, while not explicitly said to us, 

I think the bigger thing for, for us and somewhat of how I think about it is, I love that there’s this attention on, you know, ESG investing and impact investing or investing in women-led businesses and investing in businesses that are, being built by people of color. Like, I love that it’s getting attention. I just don’t want it to be siloed, that it’s only one type of investor that should be investing in that type of thing, or, only women investors that are investing in other women. I actually just, I hope that like the broader investment community starts to look at and say like, these are just good investments.

TY MONTAGUE

It’s just called investing, right? Yeah. Yeah. Well, it’s a process, right? I, I believe we will get there. I really, I do. It’ll take, take maybe some time.

So do you think, do either of you think that being leaders of purpose-led businesses, is I guess more difficult than being a leader of a traditional company?

CAROLYN CHILDERS

I mean, I think leadership, no matter what position you’re in is hard. Um, I think it gets harder every day as expectations of leaders making statements, making stands, needing to take the role that traditionally had been held by government because people are losing faith in that institution. I think that there’s a really hard challenge across the board for all leaders.

I think the aspect of it that sometimes can feel more challenging in being a purpose led business is that sometimes the acceptance of error is less tolerated. That when you are making statements and trying to do good when you inevitably make a misstep

TY MONTAGUE

Yeah.

LINDSAY KAPLAN

She’s looking at me when you Lindsay, you Lindsay, inevitably misstep. And we had this conversation, to get really personal. I called Carolyn a few weeks ago, really upset because I, I just felt this pressure, on, on our com side, on our, on our events team. To make sure that we are delivering a rapid response when shit happens in the world.

And I felt like I missed something and I wasn’t sure. And I, I called you so upset and felt like I was going to be disappointing members. And, and if not today, then when will that happen? And Carolyn said to me, it will happen. It’s not an, if it happens, you will fuck up, it’s okay. And I will support you because you will fuck up. We will fuck up. You said, we not, you, she meant you. But she said, we will, we will fuck up. And we will get through that. And let’s just make sure that we acknowledge we’re human. We’re not perfect. We’re trying our best. And we hope that our, our, again, our broader community understands our values and our mission and knows that we’re human and will be there to forgive us when inevitably we fuck up.

And thank you for, thank you for being so wonderful to me, Carolyn, cuz no, it was it’s it, it feels like a lot of pressure. On one hand, I think leading a purpose built company, it’s a rallying cry. I think our members believe in our mission. It’s why they joined our team members, right? Like on one hand there is so much love for that mission and passion and it brings good people. It’s a magnet for great people, but on the other hand, it can be really polarizing. Um, and there’s a lot of pressure.

TY MONTAGUE

Yeah, the bar is high, right.

LINDSAY KAPLAN

And I will fall off that bar.

TY MONTAGUE

That’s okay. I I’m with Carolyn.

LINDSAY KAPLAN

Then I’m gonna fall off the bar.

TY MONTAGUE

I’m with Carolyn on that. Yeah. So beyond the, the two of you, cuz you obviously totally have each other’s backs, are there other female leaders or founders, that you particularly admire and draw inspiration from? 

CAROLYN CHILDERS

Yeah. I mean, I think so many members that we have that are a part of Chief. It is the amazing aspect of building this business is that we also get to tap into just amazing community of aspiring, women leaders. And we joke all the time. We’re like when we do a podcast or we’re, you know, on the stage in Collision and we’re like, it’s, it’s kind of funny that it’s the two of us and we’ve got some members at Chief that are like a lot more impressive than both of us. Um, and so I think it’s just this like inherently built into the, you know, DNA of what we get to do to be able to tap into a community of 15,000 women that are really, really inspiring.

Um, which is, which is amazing. And I think that there’s, you know, we’ve brought in so many people that have been speakers that have just been like so inspiring.

LINDSAY KAPLAN

Michelle Obama, Indra Nooyi

CAROLYN CHILDERS

Ursala Burns. Like 

LINDSAY KAPLAN

Amal Clooney. 

CAROLYN CHILDERS

It, just has been like an amazing,

CAROLYN CHILDERS

Yeah you get 

TY MONTAGUE

Incredible speakers like it’s so cool.

CAROLYN CHILDERS

Yeah. And, and I literally am like, this is the business we are running, but at the same time, like it’s a masterclass every single day for us of, you know, what good leadership looks like to be able to be in that ecosystem.

TY MONTAGUE

Yeah. Yeah. Well, well put. Okay. Um, so to wrap this up. In the spirit of it’s a journey and nobody is perfect. We have a tool on this podcast called the BS scale. The idea is to rate companies on the gap between word indeed I E how closely are you following your stated purpose? And our scale goes from zero to a hundred. Zero being the best zero BS, a hundred being the worst

CAROLYN CHILDERS

I’m glad you clarified. I would’ve gone.

TY MONTAGUE

Total BS.

TY MONTAGUE

Yeah. Yeah. It’s easy to flip that around. So hundred’s the worst total. So the worst purpose washers out there, get high scores on our scale. It, I want to ask you both to rate Chief on that scale as it exists today, and give yourselves a score.

LINDSAY KAPLAN

I feel like we should newlywed game. This and like hold up Yeah. 

CAROLYN CHILDERS

Yeah.

LINDSAY KAPLAN

Um, well, in the spirit of women in confidence, I’m giving us a zero. Because we have been so intentional about our goal from day one. So I am a no bullshit person. One of our brand values is no bullshit.

CAROLYN CHILDERS

Well, we changed it to real. 

LINDSAY KAPLAN

Yeah. We had to, our chief people officer was like, we shouldn’t have a curse in our, an explicit word in our, um, values.

TY MONTAGUE

Is that right? So wait, what is it now? It used to

CAROLYN CHILDERS

Real.

LINDSAY KAPLAN

Used to be no

TY MONTAGUE

Oh, real. It’s inauthentic. I see. I gotcha. Okay. Well, you know,

CAROLYN CHILDERS

You’re like, eh, I like the 

LINDSAY KAPLAN

Yeah. I like no bullshit. you know, maybe I, maybe a two, maybe there’s a little bit of like, um, you know, maybe we’re not perfect, but I think we’re pretty, we’re pretty, no bullshit. Very little bullshit. Like there’s, there’s like, you know, we’re a company, so it’s almost like, are there no nuts?

I don’t know. Maybe this gets made in a nut factory where there’s traces of nuts. Maybe there’s traces of bulbullshit?, but I think our intention is no bullshit.

CAROLYN CHILDERS

Yeah. I’d grade us a little bit harder, but I actually, it depends on like exactly what we’re measuring this. You can tell I’m a data person. Like I immediately go into like, be specific about what we are measuring on this scale. Honestly, I think the reason why I, I give us, you know, probably like. I’d say a 30, let me give us a 30 is honestly. 

LINDSAY KAPLAN

A thirty!

CAROLYN CHILDERS

Because is honestly because we are three years old and like, 

CAROLYN CHILDERS

We are like, we always want to be at a place of doing more than we’re saying.

CAROLYN CHILDERS

And I think that is a fundamental part of like being a no bullshit company. And I honestly think that in the last few years with everything that has happened sometimes you have to, because it’s all that you’re able to do in that moment, say a little bit more than you’re able to do at that moment.

CAROLYN CHILDERS

And I think that given that we’re three years old, that so much is happening in this world, that things are changing every day that I am at a place of like, there’s so much more I want us to do. There’s so much more, I know we can do. And that’s not really a bullshit scale, which is why I’m like, what exactly are we measuring?

CAROLYN CHILDERS

But I want, I, I just know that we can do so much more that I can’t give us a, I, I. At my heart, give us a perfect score.

TY MONTAGUE

I love both of those scores. Honestly, the it’s. It’s the 30 30 thirty’s high. She’s being tough. 30 thirty’s

LINDSAY KAPLAN

For us to do better.

LINDSAY KAPLAN

So I think, I think we can do more, but are we currently bullshitting? No.

I think there’s trace, there’s trace amounts of bullshit everywhere. You know, we could snap a Brita filter on what we do and get down to zero. I think there’s trace amounts of bullshit.

TY MONTAGUE

Um, okay. Carolyn Lindsay, I absolutely love the work that you are doing at Chief. I find the two of you to be so inspiring. I want to thank you for being on the show and thank you for hanging out with us at Collision such a good time.

LINDSAY KAPLAN

Thanks for having us.

TY MONTAGUE (VO)

Alright folks, it’s time for Chief’s official BS score. Carolyn and Lindsay gave wildly different numbers, based on their different interpretations of what the BS score is all about.  

And honestly, they’re both right. Lindsay’s score of zero shows the purity of their intentions. Chief has been designed from the ground up with their purpose in mind. Nothing they do takes them away from it. Their purpose and their business are inextricably linked.

But Carolyn is also so on point when she says that Chief is a work in progress. Every purpose led business is on a journey. The best leaders acknowledge their shortcomings and stay laser focused on making improvements to better meet their goals. 

Although let’s be real, 30 is a bit harsh.  

I’m going to give Chief a 10. It’s one of the lowest scores we’ve given on the show to date, because I truly believe that Lindsay and Carolyn’s intentions are pure.  But, as a three-year-old company, it also gives them a little room for aspiration –  room to grow into the impact that they are trying to make in the world over time. 

If you’re starting a purpose-led business, or you’re thinking about beginning the journey of transformation to become one, here are three things that you can take away from this episode:

1) Start with a problem you care about personally. Lindsay and Carolyn met at a lame networking event and realized that there was something missing in networking especially for senior female executives. They looked around the world and realized that that lameness was just one part of a whole system that holds female executives back.  And Chief was born. Choose your problem carefully.  And remember sometimes the problem chooses you.

2) Surround yourself with people who share the purpose but not your skillset.  Carolyn and Lindsay couldn’t be more different.  And that’s perfect. A successful purpose-led business gets that way because everyone agrees on the problem and brings their own unique tools to solve it. 

3) Just because you’re purpose-led does NOT mean you have to have an opinion on every social or environmental issue that hits the news.  There is increasing pressure on leaders to have a point of view.  That’s a new and very real part of leading a business today. But having a point of view on things that have nothing to do with your purpose can come off as, as Lindsay says, performative Bullshit. 

TY MONTAGUE (VO) 

if we changed the face of business for you today,  subscribe to the Calling Bullshit podcast on the iHeart Radio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to people speak into your ears. Thanks to our production team. Hannah Beal, Amanda Ginsburg, Andy Kim, DS Moss, Haley Paskalides, Parker Silzer, Basil Soper and Mijon Zulu. 

And a special thanks to the folks at Collision and the entire team at Chief.

Calling Bullshit was created by Co Collective and it’s hosted by me, Ty Montague. Thanks for listening.

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