Lana McGilvray – Founder and CEO at Purpose Worldwide
In this upbeat and insightful episode of the Courageous Podcast, host Ryan Berman reads a trio of business haikus to Lana and gets her reaction to each. Lana also opens up about the role fear has played in her life, especially in her formative years after losing her father at age 14, and how she has worked to courageously overcome this challenge to have a successful career and lead a fulfilling life.
What is your purpose? Lana McGilvray, Founder and CEO at Purpose Worldwide, helps her clients answer that question on the daily. Purpose Worldwide is a global public relations firm that specializes in helping clients drive their purpose and growth as they pioneer a better world for all. Lana has an extensive background in PR and is also a contributor to Ad Age, an Adobe Influencer, and an advisor to several purpose-driven startups. In this upbeat and insightful episode of the Courageous Podcast, host Ryan Berman reads a trio of business haikus to Lana and gets her reaction to each. Lana also opens up about the role fear has played in her life, especially in her formative years after losing her father at age 14, and how she has worked to courageously overcome this challenge to have a successful career and lead a fulfilling life. There are plenty of gems in this episode that you will not want to miss!
Ryan Berman 0:00
Purpose, oh purpose. Tell me, what is your purpose? Must have, or no chance?
Lana McGilvray 0:08
Oh, must have. It has to be must have. And I'm excited this seems to be a concept that it's not… I don't think it was a one-hit-wonder which people have said, “Is it when the economy gets to a point where we're talking about recessions, will purpose become less important?” I don't think so.
(Intro music 0:25-0:42)
Ryan Berman 0:43
We are joined today by the co-founder and CEO of Purpose Worldwide. Officially the coolest name, by the way, of any consultancy I've heard. It's super clear. It's super aspirational. And, again, I'm excited to welcome Lana McGilvray here on the show. Hi, Lana, How are you?
Lana McGilvray 1:04
I'm great, Ryan. Thanks so much for having me on the show. I love it. It’s great to be a guest.
Ryan Berman 1:08
Yeah. It’s a long time coming. We've been trying to get you on the show, and you've been too busy, and I've been too busy. And we finally found some time to get together. And I honestly think your company name is like the word du jour. And I think there's good things about that. And I'm sure you know, there's probably some other things about that, and I'd love to get into that if you don't mind. But for starters, you made a very conscious decision in 2019 to do a rebrand, I want to know a little bit about it. You come from the land of PR first, and you've done a lot of things. But like, I'd love to know, why the rebrand? Give me a little bit of the background, if you don't mind.
Lana McGilvray 1:51
Yeah, absolutely. So, honestly, we actually launched a new company in 2019, more so than rebranding. So yeah, you're right. So, Purpose Worldwide is the name that you're referring to and we are really proud of it. 2019 was a really interesting point of time in my career. So, I've been essentially working since the late 90s. I graduated in 95 and started my career in advertising in New York City. Worked at Columbia Graduate School of Business for a little while, leading some research, and then, found myself in this land of digital marketing and advertising. It was really on all sides of it. In the late 90s, I helped start an email marketing company that we sold. After that, I was really involved in leading marketing and sales for a variety of digital PR in the mid-2000s. So that was a subspecialty for me, even though it was what I went to graduate school for. It was around communications with a real focus on human rights and some other aspects that I didn't get to do as much of it early in my career. But, essentially, for the majority of my career, I was a business communicator. I was communicating on behalf of large technology companies, ad agencies, brands. I really loved what I did. I had a very successful career, and I've worked with a lot of great people. But I found myself over the years spending more and more of my time doing purpose-driven initiatives outside of work, and sometimes, inside of work. Things would happen in the industry and I would be naturally attracted to them. So 2019, I was in my 40s and I had some great colleagues. Two of them happen to be women that I've worked with. One was somebody that had been on my team for a while; Cassidy, and another was a client named Julie Ginnchez, and we were all feeling it. We felt that we were very, very good at what we did, but we really wanted to be during our daytime focused on purpose-driven organizations and reapply what we did well to a set of companies and organizations that we wanted to put our talents and teams behind them. So, that's when we started Purpose Worldwide.
Ryan Berman 4:10
Yeah. I think we're kind of living parallel lives here except you're a woman and I'm a man because I started my career in New York City. I do think the log of it is sometimes you don't get your first choice out of the gate, or you don't even know what your first choice is. And I always describe New York City as a treadmill on 10.0, it doesn't slow down for anybody. If you can get on and not bust your chin, you can stay for a while, and it's just as hard to get off. But as great of a learning ground as it is, it still felt wildly competitive, slightly like survival mode all in the right way. You're just learning and every day is a new adventure. But then, when you think about what they always taught us in marketing, they taught us to like, “Hey, what makes you different? Pick a lane, and then, go down that lane and go be that person.” But because of fear, I think a lot of us say, “I want to do this thing, but just in case, I'm going to open up the aperture a little wider, and we take on projects we shouldn't take on, or maybe it is just when the world finally slows down. For me, it was writing ‘Return On Courage’ which happened right around the age of 40. And someone said it takes you 40 years to figure out who you are, and the next 40 to be that person. I'm like, ‘Bam,” there you go, here we go. I have to be all in on this concept of courage. And I feel like that's sort of what happened for you, the universe maybe brought you together. You knew it was about doing purpose-driven work. I absolutely adore this line you have about pioneering a better world for all, and I'd love for you to sort of articulate what that means to you, and specifically, there's the intentionality in the word ‘all.’ Can you sort of share the line in how you came up with this and what it means to you?
Lana McGilvray 5:59
Yeah, I have to go way back, and then, catch myself up on why we did that. And it's interesting because I relate to a lot of what you've said, and then, I think probably I experienced things a little bit differently too because I really think about communications, and media, and digital media, and periods that started like in the 1920s. And then, the 1950s, we had the first television shows. And then, we start to move into digital, and we experience part of that, and my wonderful graduate school professor that I'll go back to. Experienced even more of that because I met him in his 90s. So, when we say ‘for all,’ that really goes back to what first enchanted me to be a communicator. And the person that really pulled me up with him was a guy named Dr. Everett Parker. And Everett Parker, I was so lucky, he gave me my graduate school assistantship and scholarship, a full scholarship at Fordham University. And he's a little teeny guy, but he fought for universal access policy laws which allowed there to be black people on television, which was not allowed when television first came out in the 1950s. It sounds outrageous now, but some of the first television stations were on KKK- Property, and this guy had to take it up to the Supreme Court, which he did successfully and say, “You cannot do that, the spectrum belongs to the people.” Back then, we only had a few stations. It's much different now, it’s a different situation. So, I was very enchanted on this concept that we could communicate in the best interests of all right out of the gate, right out of graduate school. So fast forward to this point in my career where I have the means to help found my own company. I've got a natural client base of repeat CEOs and wonderful people I've met over the years that want to do business with us. And then, something else happens in 2019 which is a sea change for the world, which is the Business Roundtable, which is essentially all of the Fortune 500 CEOs. They sign on for something that's very anti-Friedman, which was the purpose commitment that they all made. In 2019, the majority of CEOs signed on to drive on purpose beyond profit, and what that meant was that they were changing their own metrics. They were no longer responsible for sheerly delivering to their shareholders, they now had to deliver to the greater society around them, and they were going to take accountability for reporting on that. So, that was literally the genesis of purpose worldwide. There are a lot of things happening. What seemed like a pipe dream to me in the late 90s seemed possible for the first time in 2019 and that's how we created purpose worldwide.
Ryan Berman 8:49
All right. So, every once in a while, I like to write some business haikus. All right.
Lana McGilvray 8:59
Ryan Berman 9:00
got three of them free today, but I'll try to pepper them out where they make sense in our conversation. And this is also a good note to the listener that I clearly don't share the questions or the business haikus with our guests. So, here's the first one, I just love your response to it, you remember? For those who don't know haikus; five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables. So, three little lines. Are you ready for the first one?
Lana McGilvray 9:27
I hope so.
Ryan Berman 9:28
All right, let's go for it. So, number one is; purpose, oh purpose. Tell me, what is your purpose? Must have, or no chance? I will do it again. Purpose, oh purpose. Tell me, what is your purpose? Must have, or no chance? And I'd love you to look at it from like, if you're a company today… How important is purpose inside that business?
Lana McGilvray 9:59
Oh, must have. It has to be must have. And I'm excited, I think, I don't know. Is there a right way to answer this?
Ryan Berman 10:07
Lana McGilvray 10:10
I think it’s must have. I'm very excited right now that this seems to be a concept that it's not… I don't think it was a one-hit-wonder which people have said, “Is it when the economy gets to a point where we're talking about recessions, will purpose become less important?” I don't think so. I've been interacting with such amazing companies lately. P&G comes to mind. Unilever, which is right up there, potentially competitive. GM. I've been so just really thrilled with what I'm seeing in the marketplace lately. So, are people taking it seriously? Yes. P&G is incredible. If anybody on the phone has not listened to Marc S. Pritchard accept his global brand Officer for P&G. He accepted a big award, I think it was for WFA, maybe about a year ago, but it's a long-form acceptance. He has committed that company to standing for equality and it's evident across all of their media. They're one of the biggest spenders in the world. They're putting their money where their mouth is, and good things are happening because of that. The trickle-down with all the agencies that they work with and the folks that want that media dollar, those dollars is just incredible. But now, get to, like, we're talking about recessions, are people going to continue to do this? We're seeing a real commitment to measuring return on purpose. So, one of the things that's been happening just recently, maybe over the past three months is I've been tapped by several of the major industry organizations that are really putting the research muscle behind accounting for how we're measuring purpose. Can we standardize it? What ways can we do this? So, I don't think that, at least, the organizations that I'm speaking to are stepping back. And some people have found amazing ways to measure this, anyways. I've done recent interviews with Autodesk, Liz Campbell was over there. I also did an interview recently with a wonderful woman named Shannon Lapierre, who's the chief purpose officer for Stanley Black & Decker. And these great folks that are leading these organizations, they're not waiting for standards. They're already figuring out ways to measure it for their own brand. And they've got not just great stories, but they've got great metrics on the business side as well.
Ryan Berman 12:31
Look, I think it sounds so obvious, especially your company is called Purpose Worldwide. Like, it's so obvious to some of us, but also, unfortunately, so many others are falling short on how purpose plays. It makes sense. I always describe it as it's a game of mirrors when it's done right. So, for me, I want to spend no time with companies that are not courageous.
Lana McGilvray 13:01
Right? Like, sometimes just keep it simple stupid. Like, in your own life, do you prefer to spend time with people that are enriching and care about you and the world around you? Or do you want to spend time with other people?
Ryan Berman 13:16
Look, you can't do this with your family. Like, either your family is the one nonstarter. There's going to be some courageous people, there'll be some purpose-driven people, and there will be some other people. Okay. But outside of your family, look, there's 340 million of us here in this country and I want to waste no time with people that are not aligned on the idea of what's a pushing, of stretching, of what's possible, doing more. I'm sure you feel the same way. So, I think in business, when you run into those businesses, it's a game of mirrors. You're putting out the purpose-driven, how important that is, the communication on that. I'm putting it out on courage. I think the sadness though, is it's also a game of smoking mirrors for the companies that are doing it wrong. Who say they value purpose, but there’s like one person in the corner office, like, “Oh, we have purpose, we've got that figured out.” And they haven't operationalized it. Are you seeing any of that happen as well?
Lana McGilvray 14:14
Yeah. But you know what? It's a losing proposition because there's too many folks holding people accountable both internally and externally. We've all seen what happens with ‘me too’ situations at companies. Look what happened at Meta and Facebook with walkouts over certain things that have happened. If you're greenwashing, or purposewashing and you get called out on it -- and they often do because people care about the environment, and people care about DI -- you're going to end up on boycott lists and things like that. So, it's a slippery slope to really be too vocal around purpose and not to live it.
Ryan Berman 14:49
Perfect segue to my second business haiku. Put your seatbelts on. Here we go. You're ready? All right. This one’s an easy one. These first two are easy, but it's a good starting point.
Lana McGilvray 14:58
I don’t know if that was easy.
Ryan Berman 15:00
(Laughs) All right. No diversity? Here comes real adversity, a failed recipe.
Lana McGilvray 15:09
This one I feel so passionate about very, very, very passionate about because I think that there's had… First of all, I've been just so fortunate to work with so many people that are fighting like the devil -- like my old graduate professor said he wanted to go down fighting like the devil -- for equality. It's becoming vogue to say that you believe in DI. And so, again, this kind of goes back to that accountability and measurability and that sort of thing, but there is a myth that inclusivity is not effective especially when it comes to media, and that is not true. I've been working with, again, some great folks that have been talking about this often. Charles at Reset Digital comes to mind. He's a guy that's driving something that's called universal inclusion in the media industry. And, again, he's working with P&G, and GM, and some giant companies. We've known that inclusivity has been more effective in media since the late 1960s when some original studies were done around this. We live in a multicultural world, and it's just been like a terrible thing that it's just not reflected in the media that's been served to us. It does not reflect the society around it. So, DI is an absolute requirement. We're also starting to see some amazing organizations that want to empower us all and educate us all. So, Bridge is another one. There's a woman named Sheryl Daija recently, who founded the first 501 C 6, I believe. It's called Bridge, wearebridge.com, if you want to go to it. The board is comprised of some of the top chief marketing officers and chief diversity officers in the country, and their goal is to advance Bridge agendas, to hold us, to teach us all how to drive true DEI across our organizations in a standardized way. So, what you're making me recognize that I think without that accountability, we can't really talk about purpose. Maybe that's what it means to be driving purpose.
Ryan Berman 17:15
How much does that come down to the leaders running the company too? Are they really driving it forward? I always say repeaters make believers. They have to be consistently talking about it, which means they need their own version of pioneering a better world for all. They need their own, sort of, lexicon that plays here. Do you think it starts today from the top? Or you think, you know what, now we're seeing sort of a swirl, like our employees actually have a say. And if they are doing walkouts, hopefully, leadership will actually hear them. Is that what you're seeing?
Lana McGilvray 17:54
I'm seeing it's both. It's top down, bottom up, absolutely, and I can think of some great examples. Autodesk is one that comes to mind. When the pandemic began, Autodesk's CEO called the company together within days, weeks of the pandemic, when there was no vaccine, nobody knew what was going to happen and guaranteed that nobody was going to lose their job at that organization. Got the entire company together to talk about how important talent was for that organization, which was a huge commitment to make it an organization at that scale. They also spent more on not-for-profit giving during the pandemic, which is a big thing to take on as well. So, I think, from a leadership perspective, absolutely. But we're also living in a world right now, especially again, thanks to the pandemic, a lot of folks went remote, a lot of Gen Z's graduated from college and remote was the only experience that they had. A lot of the great companies that I've spoken to, they created action committees. The action was driven from the bottom up. The teams were the ones that got to select what the focus was, and they were the ones organizing and helping to coach and mentor up into leadership.
Ryan Berman 19:09
Curious question: Do you guys look at utilization? Like, are you tracking time?
Lana McGilvray 19:17
We do as a guide, but that's all. When we speak about it, we talk about it as a guide. But I've recently ended up in a bunch of conversations with new employee prospects, team prospects, in which I didn't realize the anxiety that it creates. I'm not so actually focused on the time investment because I grew up in the digital world where you can almost automate it. You don't have to do much. So you're not writing, you're not constantly logging in, there's some more automated ways to do that. But where we've retreated, yes, we want to be good to the clients that we serve, and I'm on a mainly retainer model with clients. So time is something that we want to have a measure on, but it is an interesting conversation now because I didn't realize the anxiety it creates for some people. And so, it's become a conversation point for us at the agency. Do you guys?
Ryan Berman 20:07
No. We're all on idea based. It's like, “Look, I've been doing this for 20-plus years and if I can lift a muscle faster for you, should I be compensated more?” The reason I even bring it up is… It's interesting your commentary on anxiety. When we find ourselves working on things we're passionate about, why would you penalize somebody if they want to…
Lana McGilvray 20:34
I would never penalize.
Ryan Berman 20:35
It's the opposite. So to me, like, what I was curious, and I listen to even the Unilevers or the P&G's of the world, if I'm madly passionate about making change, and I'm at a company that actually has the resources that will let me do it. I can't imagine there's a job number opened on changing the world, or, like, however much time you want to go give.
Lana McGilvray 20:58
Oh yeah. But Ryan, there's another way of looking at this. I was a gymnast. I'm an athlete. I'm one of those people that likes to know how many calories did I burn? What did my run do for me? Did I spend too much time doing this or too little time? Penalizing anybody on the team is not even close to top of mind, what's top of mind is the same thing I would want to know myself, and that's where I'm saying there is some concept of time as a tool. If I'm multitasking, which is another thing that when we talk to the team that people struggle with. I'm multitasking, I have a ton of things to do, I'm not sure what to prioritize. If you know where you're spending time, you can say, “Oh, I looked at the priority and I was over-indexing on this thing that I have set as a priority three versus a priority one, I need to adjust the way that I'm working.” And so, the concept of throwing a timesheet out the window is fine with me and it's not fun, but wanting to help employees be their best and deliver on what's most important for them and the clients, that's something I'm pretty passionate about. And as a leader myself, especially at this stage of my career, it's where I hope I can be helpful. To help the people that work on the team and the clients not only do the work, but be happy and enjoy the work they're doing, and feel really fulfilled, and that they're growing when they're doing it.
Ryan Berman 22:24
Well, I love everything about that. Again, if the intentionality is, “Hey, are you aware that lovingly you're spending 170% of your time on this thing that isn't moving the needle for you, or frankly, for our business? You should be aware of that, and where do we need to make these shifts and these pivots?”
Lana McGilvray 22:43
Or, “Do you need help?”
Ryan Berman 22:44
“Can I assist?” “Yeah, no doubt.” The way that we work right now, it's mission-based, and this is only external, not internal. So, I always say, gone are the days where we're an agency of record, we want to be a mission of record. What's the mission? And so, let's get clarity on the mission. Agency of record; I don't think there's a clarity on the mission. Once we know what the problem is, and we're clear there, we can custom build, pack our teams, and how much time are we spending on specific projects. But I do like where you're going with a bigger team on helping them see, “How can I help you with spending time on this versus that.” The whole point of even bringing it up was I'm curious if companies themselves are tracking when someone is passionate about purpose, how much time the company is spending on just purpose-driven initiatives. And just is kind of a tricky word because it should be well within to the actual product hour, right?
Lana McGilvray 23:44
Yeah. I can only speak for our situation. And, although it varies by client, I do still think that clients come into any engagement with goals and some sort of KPIs. The KPIs can vary greatly by client. But I hear and I feel what you're saying. I have completely stolen a mantra from my husband, my husband DJ Stout. He's a partner at Pentagram, but I believe and live by this, which is, our clients hire us to solve the problem and not decorate. And so, they may have all these KPIs. And at the beginning, we can try and be good stewards and say, “We're going to deliver this many things,” or, “The quality of what we're going to deliver is going to be this quality,” but at the end of the day, if we do not solve the problem, nobody's happy. And so, again, what I tried to espouse and share with the team is, “Hey, we're going after some goals. So we're running in the right direction, and we're not kicking in the wrong goal,” and I use sports analogies all the time. But again, the big picture, like, what are we trying to solve? Is this countable? There’s a great client, example of ours. They're an amazing platform that's helping Patagonia and Levi's to activate amazing things that drive for purpose beyond profit. They helped Patagonia with time to vote. It didn't matter who you were going to vote for, they just wanted to get you out and vote. They were helping Levi's just activate it across CEOs for gun safety. Just amazing things. If you know what your client is aiming to do, wants to be known for, how they're going to grow, there could be great KPIs everybody thinks they want, but you can come up with ideas 10 or 12 times better than that, and the client is never going to be upset.
Ryan Berman 25:33
So, Lana, this is a show about courage, and there's a famous proverb that fear and courage are kin. You can't get to the courageous choice without first channeling it through fear. Whether you know it or not, is another thing, but it's there. So, in life and business, we've all had our spars with fear. And you've been on this journey now as an entrepreneur for over two decades. 23 years in the space. How do you do it? Like, when you think back on the journey, what fears come to mind that you're like, “Oh, my gosh.” Was it a ‘mistake until you make it’ mentality? Was it never that? Was it like, just solve the client's problem and I hope the money comes? Give me a little bit about what it's been like to be you.
Lana McGilvray 26:22
It was dramatic. I think because we’re chatting about this, I recognize a lot of things shaped in our childhood. For me, it was very irrational fear. I lost my father when I was 14. I was the oldest of four children. My mom had not gone to college. Luckily, my father, although an immigrant, was a doctor, and I did have access at least to get through college without worrying too much about it. But, to me, that was the end of the runway if I didn't just do everything on my own, I was going to fail and not have a life at all. So, fear compelled my early years in college and in graduate school. I graduated early. I waitress through college and graduate school.
Ryan Berman 27:11
Where did you go? Where did you go to school?
Lana McGilvray 27:14
I went to SUNY Albany for undergraduate, and then, I went to Fordham University for graduate school. But I think when I worked at McCann Erickson in New York, I was still working three side jobs that they didn't know about. I think it was teaching, swimming, and maybe, waitressing and bartending on the weekends too just because it was tough to live in New York City if you didn't have the means to do it. So, fear drove me a little bit. At this point, I'm not fearful so much economically. My mom's lucky, she had four kids that are all sustained ourselves, and happily married, and have kiddos, and a bunch of things. So she's pretty proud. But now, and I think for everybody, it seems more simple. You mentioned fear, it's a primal thing, right? Like, 5000 years, or however long it is, it's very primal. You were fearful, and you fight or you flee. That's something animals do. And so, over time, I've become very comfortable. And again, with teams, I love teams, I love teaching. I will be teaching in the future. I started out as a teacher. But I think you need to become comfortable with change, embrace it, and stick around. And not necessarily fight, but certainly don't flee if you can stick it out and do something.
Ryan Berman 28:37
First of all, I have a ton of empathy for you, and thank you for sharing that story. And, I don’t know, I feel like when I hear your story, it makes me think slightly differently about freeze, flight or fight. The experts say 95% of us flee, or freeze, and 5% of us fight. But, maybe that's when we actually think we have a choice. And maybe when you were back there, you didn't feel like you had a choice and you had to figure it out. And when you don't have a choice, there are definitely many times you say, “Oh gosh.” When I was 29 is when I started Fish Tank, my first creative agency. We were four people out of a house, and fear was my best friend. Fear and stubbornness. The amount of little voices I heard of people in New York saying, “I knew Ryan Berman would fail,” is what drove… It just drove motivators.
Lana McGilvray 29:36
A motivator, isn’t it?
Ryan Berman 29:37
It motivated me, and I was like, “I will not fail. I will work six days a week, six half days a week.” I put off everything else. I put off getting married, like, even considering that until I had figured this thing out. And I wasn't going to fail, and fear helped me. And so, when I hear your story, especially as the first in your family of the siblings, sort of, leading the charge and leading the way. I hope when you look back at it all, it does make you smile because you're an example for all of us, and you're still doing it. And so, that's so cool to hear. Probably a good lead of the third business haiku. Just what you just couldn't wait for it, right? Was one more, so here we go. Ready? Pandemic problem? Inspiration, where are you? Don't have it, they leave.
Lana McGilvray 30:29
I hope it's the pounds because the thing during the pandemic that I gained is a lot of weight (Laughs)
Ryan Berman 30:36
(Laughs) Please leave pounds.
Lana McGilvray 30:39
My COVID-19 was on my hips. We played a lot of Scrabble and had a little wine, my husband and I did, but…
Ryan Berman 30:47
So, I’ll do it one more time; pandemic problem? Inspiration, where are you? Don't have it, they leave.
Lana McGilvray 30:54
No, that's true. Well, they don't have it, they leave. So, I do think that teams during the pandemic were struggling. There was this faction of people that were just happy to go home. They've been on the road all the time, I was maybe one of them. And then, again, the Gen-Zs and the Millennials that were coming in and never met their boss or their teammates. I had this beloved guy on our team that came. He just graduated from Tulane, and he moved to Austin from the East Coast where he'd been living with his parents and working for a great organization. And he was just so excited to live out here, and be part of the music scene, and live with his buddies, well, none of that happened. And the biggest thing he wanted to do is be in the office and we couldn't offer that either, and it was just so challenging. And we were doing things. We were trying to do virtual happy hours, and do special things, but it is just so hard. We all realize what we didn't have when we didn't have it now, it was a hard time. But yeah, I think people had to come up with really clever ways. You saw, the great resignation is just such a good example of what happened, and we're still hearing it. I talk to clients every single day, and one good thing I guess that happened during the pandemic is people just really started to emote how they felt about each other. And there were some natural-born leaders that weren't necessarily on the leadership team, or brand new, or in HR that stepped up with at least within the clients that we work with and did some great things. Ranging from simple things like football clubs, to wine stays and things. But yeah, you did have to do things differently.
Ryan Berman 32:35
Yeah. Everything, like you said, when you think about what inspires us, or the flip of that is like, if you're not inspired and you're good, you're out of there. People are not going to put up anymore with this… It's funny, my newsletter that's coming out this week, this episode will run a few weeks after. I think what I'm going with is my favorite word in the dictionary and my least favorite word. So I'm not going to spoil the whole thing, but I will give you my least favorite word which is tolerable.
Lana McGilvray 33:14
Oh, I don’t ever want to be called tolerable (Laughs)
Ryan Berman 33:15
I think it is the most underrated evil word in the entire dictionary. Like, if you said evil, you know what you get, but like, “I'll tolerate that person, that person is tolerable.” “That client is tolerable.” “That behavior is tolerable.” It is a slippery slope to badness in every direction and it is the opposite of inspiration. If you can think of… You're picturing a person right now -- please don't let it be me -- and you're like, “Well, that person is tolerable.” Like, that behavior was acceptable before the pandemic, and now, I think we're all having honest conversations with ourselves going, “No. Tolerable is not the answer. And if I'm talented, I'm going to go find someplace that does inspire me, or a person that inspires me.” Is that what you're seeing?
Lana McGilvray 34:04
Yeah. And well, not only that. I am so tender about people in general, as you probably can guess. But we owe it to each other too. We've got a team, and the badder apple concept is one that I think about sometimes. We went through a recent situation in which an employee decided that this wasn't the right career, that PR just was not the right career for them, which is a fantastic recognition if you believe that there's another calling. And we just had to address that together sooner rather than later because there was a bunch of people here that it is the right career for them. And so, we need to be able to foster those sorts of things. And then, on the client side too, I grew up in a world, maybe you did too, where you never fire for the client. Well, that's not the case anymore, especially, I’ve become more maternal over the years. If people aren't treating your team well, you're going to lose your team and talent is the hardest thing to foster. And so, it's just not okay.
Ryan Berman 35:18
Do you see yourself as courageous?
Lana McGilvray 35:22
I do. I've gone through some experiences in life, and health issues, and family, and I think courage has been something that I've developed more over time. I was not always courageous. My mom described me as rag doll like at one period in my life because I was so impressionable. But I don't feel that way at all anymore.
Ryan Berman 35:46
And if you weren't doing this, what would you be doing?
Lana McGilvray 35:51
I think about that sometimes, and I would definitely be teaching, and maybe spending a little more time outside doing triathlons, and hiking, and doing the things that I just love to do in my free time.
Ryan Berman 36:04
I need more on this triathlon thing. Are you a professional triathlonist? Is that the word? Triathloner?
Lana McGilvray 36:10
I'm definitely not a professional triathlete. I would say that I am an aspiring triathlete and an admirer. I actually started them out here in Austin after I moved here from New York, and we get a lot of triathletes from Colorado. And so, during my first several, I was just finishing in about twice the time it took the winners. So, I was very inspired about what I saw around me, but I'm by no means a professional triathlete. Thank you.
Ryan Berman 36:41
All right, good. Triathlete. Now I know for the next… That's the word. I didn't know what the word was. What are you afraid of? And I don't mean like in, “I'm afraid of snakes,” way.
Lana McGilvray 36:51
I am afraid of running out of time with the people I love. Isn't that the thing that we should all be most afraid of? That is the balance I think that we all need to just recognize. Our kids are getting older, families getting older. I love the people that I'm with. So yeah, afraid of running out of that time.
Ryan Berman 37:11
I don't know if I'm justifying it because I have a nine-year-old and six-year-old in the house, and I have…
Lana McGilvray 37:17
Blink and you’ll feel it.
Ryan Berman 37:20
I know. I acknowledged that answer, but I also acknowledge that my hope for one of them… So, if I get 50% we're good, is I do want my kids to live a courageous life. I do want them to go live and adventure and report back. Obviously, I live 3000 miles away from my family, so if that is a choice that one of them makes, I would be completely at peace with that. By the way, if they're older, and they're listening to this now, that doesn't mean you can't live next to us, that's cool, too.
Lana McGilvray 27:58
Ryan Berman 37:59
But I want them to go have their own collection of experiences, and go see the world. I think you talked about teaching. I don't know a better teacher than you collecting the senses, and the smells, and seeing it for yourself, and then bringing back that collection. So, that's at least where I'm going. Lana, this was a very fast 35, 40 minutes. Thank you so much for joining. Please keep me in the loop on all the great stuff you're doing. You're based in Austin, right?
Lana McGilvray 38:32
That's right. We're headquartered in both Austin and Boston. So, we have dual headquarters.
Ryan Berman 38:37
Okay. I'm going to turn this over to you. If there was one ‘aha’ takeaway. And I always like to think if someone has chosen to keep us in their ears to the 40-minute mark. They’re in, they're in on purpose, so what's your takeaway for them?
Lana McGilvray 38:54
I think it goes back to if you're really courageous, do what you care about. We don't have much time on this planet together, so courage isn't necessarily a daunting thing, it should be something that allows you to spend your time doing the things that you care about and having the biggest impact.
Ryan Berman 39:17
And thank you for giving us a little bit of your time. I appreciate you. Thanks, Lana.
(Outro music 39:22-39:46)
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