Had the great fortune to speak with Kit Krugman, Chief Curator at co:collective and President and Chair of the Board at WIN: Women in Innovation (hat tip to Brian Dell for the intro). Kit walks me through how recruiting and team building has changed and how to build an organization with diversity and balance built into its core. Used the opportunities to take a lesson for future recruiting for guests on the show and talent at Santy. This is one of the best conversations I’ve had hosting this show.
Women In Innovation: http://womenininnovation.co/
Under Think It
Know someone who’d make a great guest on The Strategy Inside Everything? Ping me.
[00:00:27] Adam Pierno: All right, welcome back to another episode of The Strategy Inside Everything, this is actually take two of my talk with today’s guest who I’m really excited about. Kit Krugman who is Chief Curator at Co:Collective and also a foundational part of Women in Innovation is joining us and really really excited. This is a conversation that I was recruiting to have and I found Kit and she volunteered to join us for the talk, welcome Kit.
[00:00:58] Kit Krugman: Thank you for having me, really excited to be here.
[00:01:02] Adam: I’m delighted and sorry we had some technical challenges that I have to take the blame for.
[00:01:08] Kit: Okay.
[00:01:10] Adam: Kit, tell people just a little bit about– if you’re not familiar with Co:Collective their model is different than traditional agency model which I don’t even know if traditional agency model still exists. You could give people just a little bit foundational information about Co and how they’re different and then how you got to that position that’d be great.
[00:01:33] Kit: Sure. Yes, our model at Co:Collective is a more dynamic model, we were actually called Co and Co:Collective because of that model. This idea that to actually bring the right talent to the table to solve a problem for a client, you actually need to bring in people from the outside, you need to bring in expert individuals and you actually need to bring in expert partners. For every project that we take on we actually combine our amazing talents of full time team with experts from outside the current full time team and partner companies and we call that curation.
[00:02:17] Adam: That curation processes is different than traditional agencies just in that you’re looking for a specific point and time, either a project or a specific client relationship that has expertise, it’s a new unlike agency model where it’s about filling out an org chart, is that a good summary?
[00:02:37] Kit: Yes, we have departments within Co:Collective, but our full time time conflicts from one project to another generally and the expertise that we bring in outside of the full time ecosystem is really about bringing in the right person for the right project and those are usually time bound. For instance, we’re able to say to people, “Hey, we’re looking for somebody who has a deep expertise and arts and we’re going to need them for the next 8 to 10 weeks.
[00:03:09] Adam: Nice and you came from the traditional world, I know you worked at Mullen Law, but where were you right before you joined Co?
[00:03:17] Kit: Right before Co I was at an agency called Johannes Leonardo and I was the creative manager there.
[00:03:23] Adam: What did you think going into Co, how did you think you would staff out your team or how did you think the approach would be and then what have you learned about recruiting for these types of positions since you got there?
[00:03:42] Kit: Yes, I was a Johannes Leonardo for about 3.5 years and it was an amazing experience and it actually was an entree into thinking about more dynamic team building. We actually did a lot of freelancing in bringing in creative talent and that introduced me to the idea of building a database and building the relationships that extend an ecosystem beyond what would be the traditional boundaries.
One of my critical learnings there was, it’s actually about the sustained relationships and there is this idea of freelance being you come in, you’re hired gone and then you leave, you do exactly what you’re asked and you leave and the way that we think about freelancing here at Co:Collective is it’s actually an extended part of the community. There is, we call them Co-lancers not freelancers and when they come in, they actually will usually come in over and over and over again, it’s almost like they’re a part of the of the company, but the arrangement works for them for instance.
[00:04:46] Adam: That’s awesome. You get to build up familiarity with them and they, with the culture and with the clients over time and build a relationship more than just that transactional, “Okay, you needed me to come in to do some video works and here it is and the concepts are done, so I’m out of here.”
[00:05:01] Kit: Absolutely, and we’re constantly building that community, but the way that we make that real is to actually include many of our Co-lancers in a lot of the cultural events that we do, we include them, we do a thanks giving dinner, they’re invited and we’re constantly thinking about those people as the extended parts of our team as opposed to saying, “Hey, you’re just an independent consultant, you’re not part of this community.”
[00:05:26] Adam: They’re given access, they’re given the keys to the place and allowed to see most of what another full time employee would have access to as far as information about a client, freedom to ask questions?
[00:05:41] Kit: Yes absolutely. When someone’s working for us on a consulting basis, there’s no difference in the way that they’re even on boarded actually. There’s slight difference but they’re included in every all company meeting with all the transparency that we bring to that. They’re included in every get-together and even sometimes after they’ve left the ecosystem for the time being.
[00:06:10] Adam: Wow, that’s really cool. That context is really useful for the conversation that I was hoping to have which is really about the strategy behind building teams and we can talk about it today in terms of advertising agencies, but I think it applies to any kind of team. I don’t even know how to get into this, but I guess let’s start with an org chart just because it’s a visual that people can wrap their mind around. You were there three years in and so I’m assuming that the agency has grown since you joined correct?
[00:06:49] Kit: Yes we’ve about doubled in size.
[00:06:52] Adam: Perfect, as you’ve been finding new heads of departments or new key hires, what are you looking for, how do you map out the people that will be the right fit or the attributes of the team? Do you start at the top or do you start with the people that will actually be the hands-on doing the work or where do you start building those connections?
[00:07:18] Kit: That’s a great question. One thing that’s worth noting and one thing we’re really really proud of is Co:Collective is 50% female at every level. 50% female plus and originally we didn’t do that intentionally, but I do believe that that diversity and in this case it was gender parity, it does start at the top. Two of our partners Rosemarie Ryan and Tiffany Rolfe are women and the other two partners; Ty Montague and Neil Parker, men.
As we built out a leadership team, inevitably, what ended up happening is we generated a 60, 40 female to male ratio throughout the company. I think that it’s really important to think about that from the founding leadership team at the end of the day. I think that if you say from the bottom up, “We’re going to make sure that diversity from the bottom up,” ultimately, I don’t think that you’ll end up having representation at the leadership level and that is what is important to me.
[00:08:23] Adam: All right. Or you might in 20 years if everybody stays and people move up the way that we wish happen but it really does.
[00:08:32] Kit: Yes, potentially, but I think at the end of the day if you have leadership conversations that are not necessarily being representative of diversity whether that’s a gender parity or racial diversity or an international diversity, then you’re actually not designing policies and practices that are inclusive. I do think that it makes it a lot harder if you don’t have it at the leadership level.
[00:08:54] Adam: Totally agree. Moving into diversity that’s a topic I really want to focus this around. How do you ensure that you’re getting candidates who are: A, qualified; B, bringing diverse background, diverse job history, diverse education? Maybe the best question is how do you categorize or how many different ways are you categorizing diversity?
[00:09:25] Kit: My perspective and our perspectives that you have to think of diversity from the broadest standpoint, there’s a lot of different types of diversity; gender diversity, sexual orientation is diversity, international diversity, racial diversity. We are not satisfied until we genuinely feel like we represent as much diversity as possible. For everyone, it’s a work in progress, for us it’s a work in progress. We had a conversation yesterday about the certain areas where we feel like we’re doing great and where we feel like we need to do some work. I think that the most important thing is continuing a dialogue about it, continue awareness about it and then turning that awareness into action. Our founding premise here is this idea of story doing which is, it’s not enough just to have a story and I think the same is true of diversity. It’s not enough to just say, “We really believe in diversity. Diversity makes us better, diversity makes us more creative.” What does it actually look like on the ground and how do you support all the policies and people that bring diverse perspective?
[00:10:33] Adam: Yes I love it. Everybody knows that advertising as an industry is largely wide, there’s a male hierarchy that’s existed since the mad men era.How are you finding or searching for talent or advertising Co to people in those diverse communities to let them know that this is a place we want to build a relationship with you, engage and you’re welcome here?
[00:11:06] Kit: Yes, the way that the best communities are built and this is a foundational belief, but the way the best communities are built– Let me think of a dinner party. Say you want to put together a dinner party and you invite one of your really good friends. You tell them to invite one other person and they invite one of their really good friends. Then you turn to another friend and you invite them and you say invite one of your really good friends.
Now what ends up happening is that each of those people is going to pick somebody from their individual ecosystem or community. If the original people that you ask don’t represent diverse perspectives, then the people that they ask are also not going to represent diverse perspectives, because at the end of the day, people look for affinity. They find the communities that they feel comfortable in.
That’s why I’m doubling down on the point that it’s really important to bring in people at the leadership level that then are tapping into the communities that they come from and advocating for them. I think where we have done a really good job is thinking about like international diversity. If you think about somebody who comes from a country, they’re actually going to then say, “Well, there’s somebody who I want to bring in from that community.” I think the same is true of all types of diversity. You have to think about who are you, what communities are you tapping into and how are they going to then be able to further tap into the community that they come from in order to bring that diverse perspectives.
[00:12:49] Adam: I love it. This begs the question your company built this from the ground up?
[00:12:58] Kit: Yes.
[00:12:59] Adam: You had the vision for it. It was built to do this to incorporate diversity from a seed so that as it grows, it should just flourish and not only should it, but you guys are going to be mindful as you’re making decisions which is great.
[00:13:14] Kit: Yes.
[00:13:15] Adam: In your opinion, could a big agency that’s a legacy agency, we don’t have to name any names, just pick the stereotypical agency that’s been in New York for 65 years, that was built on the old model, could they actually get here?
[00:13:31] Kit: I think it would be really hard honestly, it’s really hard. If you completely reimagine the leadership team it’s possible. What I don’t believe in is all of the sudden going and hiring a ton of entry level people that you feel like represent diversity, I think that’s actually almost worse. Because I don’t think that that’s actually going to build a diverse company. It really comes down to the leadership of the organization.
If you look at your website and you have one of those bio pages that says this is the leadership of this company and you are looking in a list of all white men for instance, you have a problem, it really begins there. Because those are the people that are building. Each of those people are building a team, each of those people are tapping into their community, their network and therefore, they’re going to build the same thing.
One of the things that I feel very strongly about is this idea of cultural fit. Culture Fit is an amazing article, which I’d be happy to send them, not going to remember the name of it, but there’s this amazing article about why cultural fit is such a dangerous idea.
[00:14:42] Adam: Well, it’s almost like a code word.
[00:14:44] Kit: Yes.
[00:14:44] Adam: I think I’ve read this article, it almost becomes like a code word for, we can rule anybody out because we could say they’re not a cultural fit. Meanwhile, it’s because they’re not hetero male.
[00:14:55] Kit: Right, well and also because culture fit, what does that really mean? In agencies in particular we became obsessed with the idea of a cultural fit meaning that we wanted to hang out with them and we wanted to spend time with them, we thought they were fine. When you say culture fit, what you’re looking for is somebody that like you. You feel closer to a person when they affirm something that resonates with your experience.
If I’m having a conversation with someone and I say oh you’re from Boston too, all of a sudden that stimulates something a feeling of closeness, affinity of our belonging. We belong to a group of people that are from Boston. The same thing happens with diversity for instance. If you say, “You come from the Jewish community,” for instance, great there’s affinity there. That means automatically I’m going to start to assume that means that there’s a culture fit.
I think it’s really dangerous, that’s how you build companies full of sameness by pointing to a thing called culture fit, when really what you want when you’re building a creative company is you want people with different perspectives, you want people who have a little bit dissonance actually and can represent and through that friction come to better work, better ideas, better solutions for clients.
[00:16:17] Adam: I’m 100% on board and living the example, this show is a good example of that. As a white male I started this show, The Strategy Inside Everything and my first bunch of guests if you go back are people in my immediate network. They’re also white men and women, mostly men and I’ve really been scratching my head and saying, “Well, I want more diversity, but that’s not who’s in my network. Shame on me.”
I’ve been working really hard to get to have more female voices and people of color and just really trying to recruit, as you’re in your travels meeting people, please send them my way Kit, but if they’re listening also I really want to expand the horizons of this conversation.
[00:17:02] Kit: Yes and I absolutely will. Just to touch on the Women in Innovation work that I’m doing with the team there we have a really amazing group of really diverse women who are brilliant and contribute so much and I’d be happy to send some of them your way. That’s a node, that’s a community, tapping into that node and sharing and saying, “Hey, we want to hear from you,” gives people the floor, gives people a voice.
[00:17:33] Adam: How does the Women in Innovation work with what you do at Co or elsewhere? Is that a network that’s meant to connect women with opportunities or is it about voices in the community who have already accomplished things that are now trying to mentor younger women that are trying to find their way?
[00:17:54] Kit: Yes, great question. We’re non-profit and we were founded about two years ago. The women who founded us; Alfia and Maria were working at Fahrenheit 212, and they looked around and they felt like there was no where in the innovation community where women were connecting and that a lot of the companies and I think Co’s an exception to this, but a lot of the companies in the innovation space were run by men.
They looked at the top leadership and they said, “Wait, a lot of the top leadership is all being written by men and actually generally white men. How do we actually go about changing that?” It was a hypothesis at first and they got a group of women together and just invited them to Fahrenheit and said, “Let’s get together and talk about how we can change this and how we can actually move the needle.”
There was so much enthusiasm, so much momentum and there was such a clear need for a community like this that they really began to build. I got involved pretty quickly after they started as an ambassador and so one of the smartest things they did, and the goes back to the idea of community building, was to reach out to every single innovation agency in New York City and ask for an ambassador. They asked individuals to be ambassadors, if they knew a contact there, they asked to nominate someone and they got together a group of one woman from every top innovation firm. They said, “Okay, we’re going to get together and talk about what we need to do,” and so each of those companies then would Adam an event. The idea was that each of those events are not about networking, networking is a byproduct, but actually trying to give women the tangible skills and community and resources that they needed to succeed to move forward to gain momentum.
I joined originally as an ambassador and we Adamed an event here at Co and got to know the team better and when they became a nonprofit, they were looking for new leadership and I said I want to be involved, this is something that I really believe in and I think it’s going to actually move the needle for women because it’s providing the skills. I’ve been involved, I became the president in August of last year.
[00:20:10] Adam: It sounds amazing. My experience is that, this isn’t specific to innovation, but if there is a female who is in the leadership group and maybe there’s two, they’re often pitted against each other either subtly or directly as competition for the next level and the same thing goes for most– If there’s people of color they’re often pitted against each other, aimed at each other. Do Women in Innovation do anything or talk or discuss that weird formulation of the way talent is treated that way?
[00:20:49] Kit: It’s interesting, there’s a lot of talk right now about how to really move the needle on women leadership, and for women of color especially. My perspective has and will continue to be that the only way for it is to support each other. One of the foundational beliefs of Women in Innovation was this idea of competitors coming together.
We had our ambassador breakfast yesterday morning which we Adamed at Co and I looked around the room and I had 20 women from different firms and agencies all in the same room, all tackling the same challenge. With generosity, so this idea of not saying, “Okay, well one of us will succeed and the other will not, or two of us will succeed.” All of us will succeed, all of that’s we’ll tackle this challenge together and we will use our combined resources to do that.
[00:21:49] Adam: Stronger as a team.
[00:21:51] Kit: Absolutely and I reject the perimeter side there’s only one winner, there’s only one that’s binary and that’s an old old school model where only one person is going to benefit, I believe in mutual benefit. If people are clear about what they want, what kind of outcome they’re looking for, the majority of time you can actually get to something that works for everybody.
[00:22:16] Adam: Yes, and that’s a product of the old org chart model, that visual of–
[00:22:21] Kit: There’s only one leader.
[00:22:23] Adam: I just was having a conversation about this and it’s about King of the Mountain. If you’re in the middle of that thing, eventually you look up and you go, “Why am I fighting to get up there just so that the next people can throw me off 18 months later? What’s the point of it?”
[00:22:36] Kit: Yes, we’ve been able to experiment pretty deeply on the win side around leadership and I say this with total humility. The win team, which we have a New York team, now we have a London team, we’re starting a San Francisco team. Every single person in that group is just fueled by pure generosity and it’s not about one person says something, it’s about agreeing on principles, agreeing on values and then aligning the work that we do along those values and being very clear about what those are.
[00:23:17] Adam: I want to talk about just going back to building a team, now I have really good foundation now, the listeners do about Co and about how the organization was built and structured and the vision for diversity there. Let’s take a particular department and planning or strategy would be a good one for the listeners of this show, a position opens up or the revenue appears and you say we need another planner or we need someone or maybe it be better if it was multiple. How do you write the job descriptions or figure out what the right group is especially given you are both recruiting for a core team and thinking about curating for the expanded collaboration team that’s going to be plugged in, that is either already plugged in or people you would add later?
[00:24:11] Kit: In terms of writing the job description we’ve experimented over the years. The way that we write job descriptions is actually pretty simple. A lot of people say, you have to write job description this way. We talk about what we need, the role and what that person will do because we’re so founded in what is the action and then we talk about who you are. We take a stab at describing that person and we want that job description to do some of the work of attracting the right person and being really clear. If someone starts to read that and the description is really who they are, then they know that they’re applying to the right role. We as a curation team never write those job descriptions in isolation, we draft them and we feel really comfortable drafting them, but we always bounce them off the team and multiple perspectives in the team.
[00:25:13] Adam: That way more people are weighing in and giving you feedback on, “Well, I need a little bit more of this and a little bit, I don’t need someone who really does those things.”
[00:25:20] Kit: Yes and we’ll evolve those job descriptions. There’s another misconception that a job description it’s like etched in stone and I really disagree. That’s just patently untrue. Sometimes as we’re talking to people through those conversations, we’ll actually find out that one of the things that we wrote on the job description or multiple things is not really what we need or looking for or even what the team thought we were looking for for.
[00:25:47] Adam: If you hire somebody and then you realize, well they love or they excel at this 30% and they are terrible or they don’t like or they’re not interested or the clients don’t react to the work they do in this 20%. Let’s modify it and move them all into this direction and get them out of this direction. That’s a very old model thinking of that, that this is your job description, you have to keep doing this other stuff that you fail at every single time.
[00:26:14] Kit: Absolutely, and the point around making sure that the job is right for the person in the person’s right for the job. I always look to internal mobility metrics, I think that that’s one of the best ways to really assess whether an organization is genuinely open minded about being talent first. If you find somebody and you know that they’re going to contribute, then you can build job descriptions around them or you can build role around them and we have done that. We have done that time and time again – hired somebody for one thing and then six months or year later moved them into a new job. I think that that is, to me, a sign of a healthy culture.
[00:26:56] Adam: That people can move around in the sense of the organization?
[00:26:59] Kit: Yes.
[00:26:59] Adam: Tell me, I know now culture has become a loaded word since we talked about it earlier, but do you hire for someone who understands the vision of the company and aligns with it first and foremost or do you hire for skill or do you hire for resume?
[00:27:16] Kit: Let me talk a little bit about culture. What I react to is culture fit. If you define culture in the right way, it can be really powerful thing to think about. For me, culture is about behavior and about values. If you’re very clear about what your values as a company are and what you’re working towards, we call it a class, what your overarching class is. You’re also clear about how those values come to life in behavior then you can share those values with people both inside the company and without and if people align with those values, then they are a culture fit. I think where you get into a dangerous territory is whether you like and whether you feel you can connect with them. That is, to me, the problem not the solution.
[00:28:13] Adam: We have a hiring process here at [unintelligible 00:28:17] where we’ll say we do one on one interview with the hiring manager and then we do at least one culture interview where they meet four or five people across disciplines and one of the things that drives me nuts is when I’ll say, “Well, how was the culture interview?” “I really liked it.”
[00:28:34] Kit: Yes.
[00:28:36] Adam: Well, I don’t really care if you liked. I don’t want to hire someone that we all hate, but that shouldn’t be the first. I have to rule that out as a primary thing. Do you think they will do excellent work, do you think our clients will get benefits from this?
[00:28:52] Kit: Yes, one thing that is a big gripe of mine in life is that very few people actually get training on how to interview. It’s like management especially in the agency in creative space. Very few people get an actual management training and interviewing is the same. Interviewing, it’s an art and a science and there are questions that you should ask, there are questions that you shouldn’t ask, there are ways to figure out whether someone’s is a fit for the job, there are case studies, that’s a great way to figure out whether someone can do that type of work. Very few people actually have training in how to interview.
[00:29:35] Adam: Yes, we fail at that. Tell me more, do people that conduct interviews or participate in group interviews at Co go through some kind of a training?
[00:29:45] Kit: That is a great question and it’s been something that I’ve meaning to do, I haven’t I would be misrepresenting myself if I said we train. We talk a lot about interviews, we have guidelines for instance when we interview for internships, we have a set of questions that we encourage and we usually do a kickoff of the interview process where we talk about what questions to ask, and how to not be duplicative. You’re not having the same questions asked and then we give case studies. Case studies are a really amazing way to actually look at people’s work and see how do people think as opposed to thinking about things like, do we feel like we would get along with them.
[00:30:31] Adam: Do you mean you have the candidate present case studies of work they’ve done?
[00:30:35] Kit: We actually give a case. For our internship program, we give a little brief and we say, “Hey, put five slides together. Tell us how you think about this problem.”
[00:30:45] Adam: Got it. That’s great. That’s brilliant. I’m actually glad that you haven’t done any training because then I don’t feel like a total failure as a leader- [crosstalk]
[00:30:53] Kit: No, you’re inspiring me. It’s been something that’s on my list to do.
[00:30:58] Adam: You’re too good. I had another question for you. You’ve sparked a lot I’m going to have to spend the whole weekend working on our HR practices and recruiting which I realize are falling drastically short. I’ve always thought of hiring as a net. You’re kind of weaving a net that’s going to cover this ground instead of pegs that we’re trying to fit into holes.
I’m trying to find someone. One person will do this part of the net and they’re going to cover this. Maybe in creative I have a killer designer who doesn’t have great conceptual skill, and then I have someone who fills in the gap over here and someone over there. Does that analogy make any sense to you or do you see it differently?
[00:31:47] Kit: I think that’s a beautiful analogy. If you think about the traditional butts-in-seats concept. I think that’s a terrible way to build a company. I think the lens that I use is I think of the work that we do on the curation team is building a community and that there’s a lot of work beyond just hiring. This is probably a topic for another conversation.
The idea of the entire employee experience and you’re responsible for thinking about from the moment that someone first encounters a company in the world to the moment beyond even when they leave it, because employees either become advocates or adversaries depending on their experience at the company.
I think that you have to think of it as building a community and think about that entire ecosystem of, if you were building a community, If you went, say, you’re in your town you’re like, “You know what? I’m going to build a community that’s all about X.” What’s the first thing you would do? You would articulate why that community exists. You would articulate the values. You would then think about how do you get the right people involved and then what is their experience of the community? That has to be reinforced over and over and over again in every experience that they have in the community. I think that’s the way we think about building.
[00:33:07] Adam: Yes, we set so much time as agencies and businesses in general art crafting a goal and a mission statement and a vision and values and these are things we sell to our clients. When we have a job open, or we’re hiring a team of people, Jesus, we throw that out the window or we don’t refer back to it and say, “Now, how does this person or how are these positions going to help us achieve the vision? Is this particular individual going to be measured against these values in the interview process?”
[00:33:40] Kit: Yes, and you have to reinforce that not just in the interview process too. The way that we’ve designed a review system is that we have a set of four values that are in our offer letter and they’re in our review. When we do check-ins those are the values we bring up. We also spend time articulating what those values are and how they manifest as behavior.
All of that is about reinforcing those values and demonstrating to people from a leadership level, from the community what it means to actually manifest these values. When you hear those values, we reiterate it back. We just did a survey and one of our values is about assets and in the survey we asked people, “How are we stacking up to those values as a community?” People kept repeating that word, “We are so bad assets, we are so bad assets.” You hear that and that to me is a central piece of building a community. To hear that the entire community repeating back the values and saying that we are aligning all these values.
[00:34:48] Adam: Yes, you’re doing it right. That’s fantastic. One more question and then I know you have a stop coming. You’ve heard the no-assholes policy?
[00:34:59] Kit: Yes.
[00:35:00] Adam: Is that part of making sure people that are brought onto the team are collaborative and are not going head to head and not feeling like they’re in combat with each other or where do you stand on the idea of the no-asshole policy ever? I’ve heard some people recently saying, “Some assholes have to be allowed in because sometimes you have to hire for extreme talent.”
[00:35:23] Kit: I think the premise of a no-assholes policy implies that you would consider assholes to begin with and I fundamentally would not. I know of so many talented people who are also nice and wonderful and generous.
[00:35:41] Adam: Isn’t it amazing that you can be both?
[00:35:41] Kit: Yes, and I believe you can be both and I will not tolerate people saying you have to compromise. I really believe that you can build a company, you can build a community where people are as kind, I won’t say nice, are as kind as they are talented and brilliant. I think it’s a self-perpetuating misconception that, for instance, creative people are kind of jerks, but you have to tolerate it because they’re so good.
No, I reject it wholeheartedly.
[00:36:23] Adam: Yes, if you tolerate it, it self-perpetuates.
[00:36:26] Kit: Exactly. I spent a year working in the restaurant industry, which to me was one of the most formative experiences of thinking about team building. There’s kind of a cultural thing in restaurants that hopefully is changing a little bit where the chefs are kind of that way. It’s acceptable for them to yell at the servers, or to lose it on somebody because of this singular artistic brilliance that they have.
I reject that too because I’ve known some amazing, wonderful, kind chefs who are brilliant and who are great leaders of teams.
[00:37:04] Adam: It doesn’t have to be that way. It was for 50 years, but that doesn’t mean it has to be for next 50.
[00:37:12] Kit: Absolutely. There’s one thing that happens and I think it’s about perpetuating the past. We did some work as Co:Collective with an organization called Pledge PL which is trying to change the standards for parental leave in the creative industry and has done some amazing work. We were workshopping and one of the things that came up was actually women who had not had a good parental leave policy and men who had not had a good parental leave policy saying, “Well, I had to do it. Why should someone else have a better situation?” I think the same thing is echoed in when you hear about, for instance, unpaid internships.
“I had to work an unpaid internship.” or, “I worked until 11:00 PM every night and slept three hours all through my 20s. Every time anyone says anything like that, I say, “You’re saying that you had it bad and you want to perpetuate that.” [laughs]
[00:38:14] Adam: I got up here and I pulled the ladder up so the next guy has to do it all over again.
[00:38:17] Kit: It’s so counterintuitive to me. Are we not trying to build a better future? Are we not?
[00:38:24] Adam: It’s really crazy. I agree. I have a feeling you and I could probably talk for a long time. I’m going to cut it short now. Maybe we’ll try to set up a second episode because there’s more topics and more questions I have from a personal selfish level as I’m trying to build the team out here. I want to use your expertise.
[00:38:43] Kit: It’s an area of great passion for me so I’m so happy to talk for hours about it.
[00:38:49] Adam: Yes, I know. I can hear it. Thank you very much. Tell people where they can find you online, women in innovation.co. I want to send people there. I’m going to link to it in the show notes, obviously. Is that New York only or does it go beyond the borders of the [inaudible 00:39:06] ?
[00:39:06] Kit: Yes, we’re global now. We actually just launched in London and we are in the process of launching in San Francisco. We are expanding and really excited about that and definitely check us out.
[00:39:21] Adam: Awesome. Any other places that people can find you?
[00:39:25] Kit: Yes, you can find me on Twitter. I’m not very frequently on there, but I probably should be and then of course, Co:Collective is just cocollective.com.
[00:39:38] Adam: All right, awesome. This was wonderful and I really do appreciate your passion and your time discussing this, this morning. Thank you so much.
[00:39:46] Kit: Absolutely. Well, thank you for having me. It was an honor.
[00:39:50] Adam: Thank you. An honor [inaudible 00:39:51]
[00:39:51] Kit: [laughs] All right. Thanks.
[00:40:24] [END OF AUDIO]