The modern working environment has been elevated substantially since the days of "Mad Men", largely in alignment with our expanding cultural sensibilities. But even in the last couple decades that has not always been the case, and particularly in technical fields that have leaned heavily to the male gender. In this episode Brian Comerford and Nick Lozano are joined by Shirley Hayes to discuss the strengths that a plurality of perspectives brings to the workplace, and the creativity that can be fostered with an inclusive office environment.
Chief Magnetic Guru
2:18 Shirley Hayes Intro
6:35 What got you into audio?
12:55 Start of XM radio
19:39 Working in a male dominated industry
32:27 What should leaders be doing?
54:32 Recommend books
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Nick Lozano 0:04
How you doing today, Brian? Today we had your friend, surely Hasani? Yeah. You want to send a bit of the insights and your favorite parts of the conversation today?
Brian Comerford 0:13
You bet. Well, portal, I love about Shirley's, she's not bashful. The information that she puts forward and, you know, we had, I think, a very open and candid conversation about diversity in the workplace, which is something that it's, it's a theme that we see, culturally, you know, just on a routine basis now, and it seems to be part of the public conversation. So I'm personally really thankful that surely got to be a representative with us on the program today. She's so articulate, and you know, she's had a great professional career in broadcast media herself. So even just listening to her voices, incredibly soothing
Nick Lozano 1:00
You know it has same same broadcast presence as you do there, Brian, you know, the late night DJ voice you know, just just made for radio, the you know the perfect dictation and pronunciations of everything we're I don't but
Brian Comerford 1:18
I love that she calls herself a chief magnetic guru. Also, I think it says a lot about her personality. But, you know, it was great just kind of covering topics ranging from the history of what's happened in broadcast media, particularly in radio and you know, evolution, satellite, radio, internet radio, talk a lot about just the changes in the technology from analog to digital in that field, but then really broadened it out into conversations that I think are incredibly relevant, you know, both for us socially as well as in the workplace when it comes to women in the audience. Professional workspace in particular, but just diversity in general. so thrilled, that surely got to join us today.
Nick Lozano 2:09
Awesome. With that, let's just step out and let everyone listen.
Brian Comerford 2:18
Join us for another edition of the daddy XE I'm Brian comer Ford in Denver, Colorado. And I'm Nick Lozano, Washington DC. And today we're thrilled to be joined by our special guest, Shirley Hayes, who has one of the most unique titles that I've ever come across. She is chief magnetic guru. Which I think is a first for me, but I you know, I can't wait to learn more from you about that, surely.
Shirley Hayes 2:48
And just when you thought you'd heard it all.
I pop into your life. Well, first of all, thanks for letting me sit down and have a chat with you guys. I really appreciate it. This should be a lot of fun. And if it isn't, I'm going to post about it on LinkedIn. So there you go. You've been
Nick Lozano 3:09
warned that we've been working for anyone
Brian Comerford 3:13
you could find or else there you go. Well, surely, you know, like me, we both share a background in broadcast media, going back a few years, and in fact, you know, sort of starting out in the same place on the FM airwaves and moving into more of the digital broadcast medium. You know, for myself, internet radio ended up being a big part of the 1990s for me, and I know that you really helped Ford some pioneering paths with some of the program direction work that you did for XM Satellite Radio, what what kind of got you into broadcasting, and what's kept you in it for as long as you've been involved doing it.
Shirley Hayes 4:06
I actually got into it by accident.
My college roommate, she wanted to go into broadcast journalism. And I, at the time was driving my parents completely crazy because every other week, I was changing my major. And they were like, Hey, no, please figure it out is costing us money here. So she came back to the dorm room one day and she said, a radio station It was a campus station was a commercial station was going to do a contest to write in 25 words or less why you wanted to be a disc jockey. And I said, Okay, you're going to do that? She said, No, I don't think I'm going to do that. So when she left the room, I'm sitting there, I'm going well, I got nothing else to do. So I just wrote up something and made it up. I counted up the Honestly, I said, Okay, that's at least 25. And I said to them, and didn't think any more about it and got a call. A couple of weeks later, about five in the morning, the morning guy called and says, surely Hayes, they said, Yeah, he said, You won the contest. And I said, context, the be a DJ contest. Can you come down right now? You're supposed to be on my show. Did you get my messages and let me know? Where are you? Who are you? I never listened, didn't have any idea. And I got down there and I'm sitting there and he gave me some coffee. He said, Well, okay, well, do you want to be a radio? I said, No. I don't even know what what am I supposed to do here? And he says, Well, here read this. Okay, and I started reading and he said, No, no, you have to wait till I turn on the mic. Oh, ok. Ok. turns on the mic and I started reading it and when he closes the mic, he goes, you really should think about doing this. I said Oh, okay. And the first thing I fell in love with really was the production side and creating the stuff I didn't really care about being a disc jockey at that time and, and my parents, they weren't too crazy about it either when I cause it Hey, I know what I want to do. I want to do radio going on the coast. Oh, that's, that's nice. And my dad is going
What did he can't get a job with that like, ah,
but long story short. That career went on for 20 plus years.
Brian Comerford 6:35
So cool. So when you say that you really got into the production side. Talk to us a little bit about that was, what was it that kind of?
Shirley Hayes 6:44
Well, back in the olden days, that's when you still had a razor blade and some reel to reel tape. And I was fascinated that you could record any kind of sound you could create pictures with with audio And then cut them up and put them together and create a new story and I just thought that was just amazing. And I would spend hours in there just you know pushing buttons and cutting this and doing that and it was it was just it was an awesome to me I love that
Brian Comerford 7:18
Nick currency sorry that you haven't learned how to do all that.
Nick Lozano 7:24
I've done audio production, but I you know, that's the normally a digital audio workstation, that a small monitor and matter, you know, actual tape racer plate work, and the 90s. But you know, I wasn't getting paid to do it.
Brian Comerford 7:40
Even with those audio production tools, the techniques and the approaches that are implicit in the tools are still most of the same ones that we used back in the day. razor and a wax pencil. Yeah, I'd say
Nick Lozano 7:56
now, you know,
Brian, you and I were talking about this Earlier that musics very loud these days, and it's mixed very loud, so, but sorry Cheryl I didn't mean to cut you off.
Shirley Hayes 8:07
No, no I i
I'm right there with you with that but I think for Christmas, Brian, you should get Nick. Find old reel to reel player on eBay games from razor blades and grease pencil and see how much you can do with that.
Brian Comerford 8:24
Well, I'll tell you what I am in my 30th year of broadcast and started off very much in the same place, you know, reel to reel. That was where it was at creating cards. I got really fast. I was really good at layering in a lot of different voices and production techniques and that really grease the skids for me to have, you know, a very lucrative career doing commercial production. Awesome, because ironically, a lot of other people, you know, and in the stations that I was working at, they weren't interested in it, you know, they wanted to be the on air personality they wanted to be doing, you know, all of the broadcast announcing and they didn't really care about all the mechanics that went into the commercial production, which is kind of like what you're saying, surely I really gravitated towards that. And, you know, over the years seeing the evolution of those tools into things like Sound Forge, and, you know, audacity, I mean, you've seen all these, you know, tools that have emerged over time that, really, when you look at what they're doing, they have taken the same type of approach that we would typically use with a razor, right?
Shirley Hayes 9:45
Yeah, it's the same thing. Yeah. Exactly. And I was actually thrilled when digital editing came on the scene. I just thought all man I was just like a kid in a candy store. That was just like this. So cool. The but there's something that you you've mentioned it and I, I lost my train of thought but Okay, we'll come back to that carry on.
We have to look forward to Nick.
Brian Comerford 10:19
You know, I still do community radio production. So believe it or not, there are still reel to reel tape machines and I did have one of the younger TJ is asking what's Do you know what these are for? I don't think you'd ever actually seen them running. They could be used for something.
Shirley Hayes 10:47
Well, I might my cousins. I think he's eight years old. And she has this huge vinyl collection. And he pulled one out one day and he said one Wow. This is like the biggest CD I've ever seen.
Brian Comerford 11:10
Shirley Hayes 11:11
exactly OUOEP was fascinating then when she actually showed him a turntable, oh, he's he's all in now. He loves it. He thinks it's just cool.
Brian Comerford 11:24
You know, it's funny, you know, because Nick and I were just talking about production dynamics with audio production and how, particularly with digital mastering tools now there's just a lot of opportunity to quickly push every sound to its maximum possible volume, which does not give you a lot of dynamic range and what you're working with. So it's, it's one of those things where, you know, we're kind of caught between two worlds right now, spend this whole movement gravitates Towards hundred 80 gram virgin vinyl and lots of people you know buying vinyl and that's for recording medium now. And then there's this whole other side of digital audio production where the appreciation of all those analog acoustics that I think are inherent in vinyl and being blown out because it's easy to just throw a pre built filter, right in audio track and suddenly maximize everything that's
Shirley Hayes 12:29
Yeah, it takes the fun out of it.
I mean, it's kind of twofold for me, I love the the techie side of things, but then there's some old school things that it just don't want to mess with. You know, let's just just leave that part alone. But, you know, time goes on. So
Brian Comerford 12:55
Well, I think part of being you know, in it for the long haul, it's also What gives you some of that perspective where you can have the appreciation for having a sense of curation? about those things that you're bringing together?
Shirley Hayes 13:10
Oh, I would I agree. 100%
I remember when
XM first started
the coolest thing.
I remember when I went in for the interview, I said, I had to wear a hard hat because they were still building the studios. And Dave Logan, this and it was the best interview ever. He said, you know, just wear what you wear every day. I said, I sweatshirt some T and a T shirt on and some jeans and puts a hard hat on takes me down to the production floor there hammering and shows me around tells me what the goal is tells me what the vision is and what they want to do. You know, and I'm already with my speech because you know, you're ready for that one. You know, what can you bring to the table and tell me about yourself and where do you see yourself here? We get back to his office, he sits down he goes, Oh, and here's the thing about the stock options and I'm going okay, and I'm ready for the for the big questions. And he goes, so you want to work here?
I wasn't ready for that one.
I said, I already know your background and I know where you know what you've done. And that was the best interview. Of course, I took it but the fun thing about that environment was the technology.
The you know, the, the,
the production floor, I mean, when you get off the elevator, it looks like the Starship Enterprise. Broadcast Ops, you know, and all of the machinery and there were 70 Studios and there was a recording studio that could hold a 40 piece orchestra and and all of this, these these computers and systems and I was just like, wow, I love this. It may go going to work, not feel like work, it was really a lot of fun. And all of the things that we got to learn on the on the technical side, it was just, it was just phenomenal. It was just an amazing, an amazing time.
And I remember
after a while you get comfortable used to we used to do this thing when we bring artists in or we had to do interviews, we would always take them to the most boring parts of the building first. And take them to their where everybody would sit the lunch room and all of that and they were like looking at their watch, like really? One artist in particular Mick Fleetwood, I had to interview him, and I go down to get him and he's looking not happy to be there. Yeah, you know, just one of those days I guess. So you know, we go to the boring floors, and then I take him down to the production floor and as soon as the doors open, it was like
Nick Lozano 16:01
Shirley Hayes 16:03
it's like all these lights started going on, you can almost see him flickering around in his head. And he's grinning from ear to ear. He's moving around. And he's just now he says non stop chatter. And it was, let me see this. And let me see that he totally relaxed. All that technology just just grabbed him. And
so it wasn't just, you know,
really cool for us. But it was always cool even for the musicians who, you know, been out there forever. And it surprised a lot of them. It was always pretty cool. But when it came to
the and the reason we're here, women and technology
backs in, I can't remember the exact numbers but it was a pretty huge programming department because there was at the time 100 channels. So if there were 50 or 60 program directors, about five of us We're women and when it came to the board of directors and and and Middle and upper management it was dominated by by men. You can imagine the environment was a bit of the Wild Wild West in there
with all that testosterone in there it was
it made for some very interesting moments.
Are IT department was all male, you know.
And all of the production guys, which Lee Abrams called the audio animators, which I always thought was a brilliant title for production, guys, they were all male. And I don't know what that ratio is now, and I hope it's much better but that that wasn't the exception. I mean, even terrestrial radio stations I only have only known to at the time female Chief engineers, and but even then they they had you know, they they caught a lot of issues from male general managers like, Can you can you really do this? You know, are you sure? Or why wouldn't you be able to do it? It was just always this this subtle newness, about the ability of a woman to do those kinds of things to execute on the technical side. For me, I thought that was always strange. I don't look at someone and think, Well, you know, can they do this? I just assume that you can because I know I can't. So you're the experts. So, you know, do what you do. But there was a lot of that back then. And I think it still goes on industry wise, not just in radio, but we know what goes on in other sectors in the tech industry is trying to make that correction. And I think it was on you can correct me on this but I think it was Amazon that had the issue with their AI Going through the resumes and they be figured it out that it was actually eliminating women based on the way it was set up. And I guess that had been going on for over a year or so before somebody realized, Oh, this is a problem. So, you know, as as technologically advanced as we become, we still seem to be fumbling along here. When it comes to women and diversity in the workplace. It is still is a conversation that we keep having, but it seems to still be limping along.
Brian Comerford 19:39
So let me ask you a question about that. Because it's interesting, you lead into your story about your interview process and XM. And that it was, you know, I mean, it was pretty much a, here's, here's the place, here's the role do you want to come on board. So to a degree, it sounds like it There was a welcome this and an openness. When you when you first got the gig, but then you found yourself in an environment that was, you know, incredibly top heavy with men in the workplace. So Talk Talk to us a little bit about that, you know, what do you think there was an openness and there just wasn't talent or were there other obstacles? Or was it just you know, there was an openness to you? What do you what do you think contributed to that
Shirley Hayes 20:29
to the openness or the upside, upside in
Brian Comerford 20:34
numbers or just the fact that it seemed like the opportunity was an open door for you. And yet, once you found yourself and the organization, it obviously hadn't been an open door for a lot of other females in the workplace.
Shirley Hayes 20:54
Um, I think there's two parts to that.
One part is
I think a lot of women probably did not apply. And the numbers that men did, because I think then and it probably still goes on now. As far as you probably more souls in, a lot of women weren't prepared for it. Second of all, because and I say that because the women that I had worked with up to that point, and after that, they all wanted to be on air. And I've been in situations where I would go to a female colleague and say, listen, she was on air and said, let me show you some technical stuff. Because you need to be able to do all of this stuff, make yourself more valuable. And the pushback was unbelievable. I just want to be on the air, you know, since you can be on the air but just know how to do this stuff. So I think some of it is fear of not knowing what to expect, am I good enough? Do I have the skills to, to get in there and do this and that's that's kind of unfortunate because it was also an environment that was a positive learning environment. They knew they had a lot of technology that a lot of us had not seen before. So they took steps to make sure we had we were trained on every system that we had to deal with because there were quite a few we had to deal with on a daily basis. So I think that's one side of it. The other as far as the open and openness of the the interview. They knew from my resume what I had done, they talk to people, you know, they knew all that part. So there was no reason to question whether or not I could do the job. The issues came when you have a bunch of wonderful guys who are not used to working around women, or they forget their around women and they do things and say things that are interesting. Create, and then you go to them and say that's inappropriate. And some of them just look at you dumbfounded, like, I have no idea why that's inappropriate. So there was there was a lot of that, that had to be tamed, for lack of a better word. But it for somebody else, it might make them uncomfortable. And there were some some things that happened along those lines. That should not have happened. But there were people who just were not used to
acting in a certain way, and certainly not around women.
But it got dealt with and things got much better after that.
Brian Comerford 23:49
Well, we, you know, here we are the I think the pinnacle the Me too. Yes. Yes. Right. So, so I you know, I think that part of what might be quote unquote, getting better about it is that there's an awareness and there's an awareness on both sides of the gender equation. There's also a social awareness while we're now the conversation is actually starting.
Shirley Hayes 24:13
Yeah, I would agree with that right? How many Grammys and I'm happy that that's happening?
There are there are some
there's still some some some uneasiness because now you have a lot of and some of them are my friends who have said, you know, I'm all for women being equal and all this kind of stuff. But some of them express but I don't know what to say. Now. I don't know if I can say this. I've even had a friend call me and say, Can I say this? This is going to be offensive. Miss going, dude.
Nick Lozano 24:51
I mean, I can. I can. I can understand that and Brian and I were talking to a guy who was a CIO smart out in the middle. Right, Brian, and he was talking about when he interviews, you know, females for technology type positions. They're highly technical, he tends to think that he's not as tough on them. As he as males. Where is like, Okay, well, I see you're on this team. You know, he's like, well, if I see a male, he's like, Well, tell me what you did on that role. Are you actually doing something on that team? Or Or were you just part of that team? Tell me exactly what you did. Right. So I think now, we've kind of seen that spur across in technology to right, Brian, where, you know, it's a typically male dominated field. And, you know, we're trying to make sure that we're being more self aware with everything that's going on.
Brian Comerford 25:47
Yeah, I think we're kind of inching through a period of integration where, you know, there's still some uncertainty about what's the right way to behave. I think that there's You know, kind of depending on how, how much integration you've needed to undertake as an individual, in your own personality might actually be one of the barriers to, you know, actually having more of that open kind of mindset so that, you know, things do flow a lot more naturally. Versus kind of like an example, Nick, where, you know, someone who's in a hiring position feels like they have to interact differently. You know, because they're dealing with someone of a different gender. You know, it's, I think it's a turning point. where, again, you know, the fact that we're in the midst of a lot of what's going on the me to movement, it's just one indicator of it, you know, surely you and I chatted a little bit, just exchanging messages around the the moment of Lyft The new book that has come out by Melinda Gates where she talks about Bonnie Ross, you know, who is female leader at Microsoft, in fact, leads the development team for the most popular video game that that Microsoft has ever put out there on Halo. And she talks specifically around I think her quote is diversity attracts diversity. And part of what that means, you know, my interpretation, at least is when you have a plurality of opinions and a plurality of perspectives. It makes your workforce stronger. It's part of what is contributed to making Halo, the best of the video games, you know, in terms of sales that Microsoft has ever had, because it's not just this, you know, narrow cast, set of perspectives on what creates that entire experience from people. It's got a really hold Taken integrated perspective. So I'm kind of curious you know, I, you know, you've you've been in the workforce long enough to have gone through some of your experiences and seen some of those transitions. talk just a little bit about you know, where you see that getting better or is it? Are there areas where it's stagnating?
Shirley Hayes 28:22
Well, I'm just as a side note, I'm a Grand Theft Auto kind of girl so you know Halo
Nick Lozano 28:35
big Halo fan myself
Shirley Hayes 28:36
Cool. Cool. So guys, fist bump to Nick just pump there.
I think on one hand, it's it's getting better.
And I think because it's being forced to get better.
But anytime you you force that
sometimes the results aren't always The way you want them to be. But the other part of that spectrum is I think women have to be louder about these things they have to eat when they're if you're already in a technical position, wherever you are. You can't just let things just roll as they go. You know, you've got to let your voice be heard. And if you know someone questions, your ability to do something, you know, we can't have an emotional breakdown a meltdown or whatever. Because sometimes, I mean, I'm a woman, I'm, you know, I know my species, we can take things a little differently. We can be a little bit more emotional about things, not because we're just emotional creatures, okay, maybe we are. But sometimes we just have to take a step back, look at the situation and say, okay, is this what I really think it is? Or is this something else that's how And I say that because, you know, we're stereotype that we're going to go off and cry and, and I've seen quite a few guys have emotional meltdowns.
You know, they just, they just go in the corner somewhere. But
all kidding aside, I really do think seriously that women just we just have to be more vocal within the workplace itself. And don't be afraid to speak up. Don't be afraid to call something out. A lot of times women feel like they don't have the support to do that. And especially if you're in an environment where as a woman, you are the minority numbers wise, that's very difficult to find someone to to give you that support. Sometimes our male counterparts don't know how to do that. They don't know what to say or they don't want to get involved or they're not sure what to do. And a lot of times there isn't a protocol in place. For that, there's there's just nothing there. So she may feel so alone in that situation that nothing ever changes. And the next thing you know, she's resigning and moving on to some someplace else. Yeah.
Brian Comerford 31:17
Yeah, that's, I think all those things are, you know, just very strong points to consider. I've certainly seen my share of men who have had their own emotional breakdowns, sometimes, overtly and right in front of me. You know, but I think I think it goes back to what you're saying in terms of women need to be confident. Louder. I think I think men have been in just in general a very entitled position for so long that they're more comfortable with kind of anything green, right? Yeah.
Shirley Hayes 31:55
Yeah. It's, it's, it's an environment that they're used to
But also when a woman is okay with being louder and and speaking her mind and calling things out. She's not looked at the same way. Instead of you know, she's not looked at as just a strong leader now she's, you know,
So, that's something that has to change
Nick Lozano 32:27
you know, completely agree with you. I know that when, you know, a male leadership figures kind of aggressive and assertive, they're like, Oh, he's a strong leader. You know, he really knows what he wants and he just get straight to the point and when it's what's when it's a female, it's like, oh, man, I don't know what her problem is. She's you know, she's just you know, always on top of my case, she always has something to complain about. So I can definitely always you know, see that night I myself I try to be aware of, you know, that in Every day, you know, handling the people I tried to handle the people that work with me exactly the same no matter what. And I think you brought up a good point to was having those uncomfortable conversations right away right before they get way out of control, which, which I think are helpful too. And, you know, if we're talking to our staff and our people that we're leading, you know, it should be okay for them to have uncomfortable conversations with us without fear of any type of recourse or revenge or something against them. If there's an issue, I know, at least for me, as a leader, I rather somebody just speak up and, you know, let me know, maybe we don't need to air it out in front of everybody. But um, you know, you know, sometimes I might say something that I'm not quite aware of, and I can definitely get you working in a male dominated field before because I worked in the restaurant industry before I ever came to technology. And if you want to talk about a male dominated industry, if anyone's worked in a restaurant, they know it's like working with a bunch of 15 year old boys. So, so I can, I can totally get it and I in, I understand where you're coming from. But is there anything that we can do maybe as male leaders to kind of put ourselves in those shoes or make ourselves more aware? I mean, for me, I'm not a female, I can't, you know, take your exact perspective, but is there anything I should be aware of that, you know, that I can make it easier for transition or something that I should be doing?
Shirley Hayes 34:29
You know, that's a great question. I think.
I think a lot of guys just need to chill out, you know, just, it's a woman. It's not an alien from another planet. Sometimes the, the, the expectations or, or maybe preconceived notions that some men have about women is can really drive these issues. I can remember I was a program director for radio station in a large metropolitan city. So I'm going to say, and
we were in a
And one of the salesman happened to be a guy. He printed presented some idea about some kind of promotion he wanted to do. And I'm, I'm looking at it, we've got this whiteboard up there, and I'm checking it out, and, you know, taking it in and so on and so forth. Long story short, I get back to my office, my general manager calls me and he says, he's laughing, you can barely finish the sentence and I'm going, you know, what's, what's up? Is that kind of my office. I get to his office, I said, What's going on? The sales guy came into his office after the meeting. He's ranting and raving, and it's like, this just isn't fair. And my GM goes, What's not fair. I can't read her. She had no emotion whatsoever. I don't know if she liked my idea or not. And that's just not there. I'm sitting and this guy is just losing his mind. And my cheek. My GM said, Well, what was she supposed to do? I don't know. They always have some kind of emotion. But she had nothing. I mean, this guy was just done. Wow. Cuz I wasn't showing. I don't know what I was supposed to show. I was I should have told or something I don't know. But his mind. I just wasn't. He expected something different because I was a woman. And that didn't happen. And from that point on, this guy barely had anything to say to me. He just was just totally freaked out and my GM told him, you know, get over yourself. I had a great GM. But he thought it was hysterical. This guy was freaking out like that. But it just kind of brings home. Even something as simple as that. Some guys, some men, maybe maybe they're not used to work. Working with women or they have this idea of how a woman should react to something I don't know. That was the weirdest thing I've ever experienced and on that level, but I gotta imagine, I do know that some other things like that do happen
to other people and to other women.
But getting back to when it comes to the technology side of things I've had my my ability called into question, not because I did something wrong before it even started. Are you sure you can do this? Do you know how to do this? And I'm I'm like, dude, I've been doing this as long as you have it, you know, this isn't new. And some some guys just never come around. They they just never change that point of view. And that's unfortunate because there's so much we can share. There's so much we can learn from each other. There's there's so many, so much more we can do, but not to get. I want to get back to your question. Question Nick. About what can you do? I think it sounds like you're already doing it you're you have to keep an open mind you have to remember that even though she is a she she's a human being and you treat that person that female the same way you would anybody else. Don't question her skill set because she's a woman don't don't offend her by saying are sweetie Are you sure you can do this that I hate that don't do the sweetie or honey thing?
Nick Lozano 38:34
Yeah, I'd never do that. I was like, instantly as soon as you said that. I was like, whoa,
Shirley Hayes 38:41
whoa, nowadays, nowadays it's much more keenly aware Oh, wait, no. Back in the day there was a lot of honey sweetie dear going on and it was annoying then. It's annoying now. But now, you know, I think people kind of tiptoe around things a lot and you better Man, you should not have to do that either. You should not have to tiptoe around. It really is about having, as you said earlier conversations, having the right conversations, not being afraid to have those conversations. And if you're not sure, ask,
Brian Comerford 39:21
You know, the the book that I'm reading right now is Bernie browns, braving the silent and Bernie, actually recommended to me by one of our prior guests, and, you know, her position on authenticity. I think it's just, it's, it's just one of the
Shirley Hayes 39:39
Brian Comerford 39:40
sort of presentations on, on on authenticity that I've ever read. And in this particular book, part of what I love about it is, it's so perfectly timed for what we're going through in America, as a culture currently, especially when you look at the political environment. You see what's happened with me today. Men and it all ties back to exactly what you're saying Surely, it's the conversations. It's the self awareness. You know, no one has to be timid in their approach with anything but we have to be authentic and asking the right questions so we can engage in genuine. That's the only way to actually get to a point of integration.
Shirley Hayes 40:24
Okay, you get a fist bump. Brian, you get one. That's cool.
And so true that that's, I couldn't have said that better it sets. That's it.
And sometimes we have to get out of our own heads, you know it. We can
overthink things on both sides.
And we just have to end it's okay to make a mistake. Well, sometimes it can be costly, but Want to but I think if your approach is genuine and that goes back to being authentic, it makes a huge difference. It makes a really huge difference because there are there are some women that have been so jaded because over and over and over again, they can deal with this, that now that the outer layer is so tough now. Now they're not trusting anything or anybody and as genuine as you might be, or or as authentic as you might be. She may go Nope, no. So you know, and that's just from years of being pushed back. And some people just, they won't be able to come on to that. So unfortunately, that's, that's the byproduct of other things we've experienced. Both as women and as a minority, you know, I'm what I'm what the double minority here and by I've experienced it from being a woman and as a minority. And, but maybe because of the way I was raised, I don't hold on to that kind of stuff. I take it for what it is, and you work it out and you keep going.
Brian Comerford 42:21
Well, I may have an advantage in that, you know, I grew up thinking I had minority status. In my own family, anyone who, who knew my mother, and knows me, you know, would say that I definitely take after my mother. But I wasn't from Brooklyn, like she was. So that was the first strike against you know, that's part of what gave her you know, a very tough, no nonsense, nonsense outer shell. And, you know, very, very sweet loving person, but there was never a moment in my life that I was going to get away with. You know, certainly not ever disrespecting a woman that would never have flown. So for that I'm thankful. I think it's part of what you know, through my professional career has also helped me work so well with a lot of strong female leaders. You know, again, I've, I've had sort of that maybe a bit of an outlier, you know, kind of professional experience, because most of my mentors through my professional life have actually been women. And, and so, I think it may have helped, you know, all those things combined, I think may have helped shape me to have a slightly perspective than what others of my gender could be wrestling with at this point. Well, it's it's obvious that both of you have had
Shirley Hayes 43:51
amazing women in your life in some form or fashion. I can tell that by the way you speak about women and about those How you are, Nick, as you were saying that as a leader, and how you treat people and Brian, your openness to you know, read somebody like, you know, Renee Brown is is is a testament to that. So maybe you guys should just, you know, lead the way
Nick Lozano 44:20
we're trying we're trying
Shirley Hayes 44:23
it's and it's refreshing, it really is refreshing. So, you know, maybe you can you can start a new trend in a big way.
Nick Lozano 44:33
I think. I think I think for me, I think Ed cat myself who was the CEO and one of the founders of Pixar has like the best quote, it's like this look this up but also I'll butchered its be authentic and consistent and the trust will come. I think a lot of times what's missing is just that authenticity, authenticity that you were talking about. Right? And being you know, candid with people having the tough conversation And, you know, trust is like a piece of paper, right? And when you crumple it all up, it's hard to make that paper flat the same way. And you know, that that's the way I see it as long as we're, you know, just, you know, at half trust in each other, to have those tough conversations and bring up issues when when they seem like they're a problem. I have no problem having anybody on my staff, whether they're an alien, I just really don't care. I just really want you know, people who work for me who are here to, you know, do good work while they're there, whether they're man, woman, trans gender, you know, whatever else you want to throw into it. You know, I just want a great team of people who want to build great things and do great things
Shirley Hayes 45:44
can duplicate that mindset. We're onto something here. Yeah.
Nick Lozano 45:51
You least got one more up there. Ryan. So
Shirley Hayes 45:54
that goes out saying it goes without saying. I do think though, that what I'm
And I love that that happens whenever there's How should I put this whenever there's a I try to stay out of the politics of things but whenever there's a mindset that counterproductive to the growth of was all Madison Avenue takes it and turns it around on them. I have never seen so much diversity on TV commercials now ever in my entire life.
And IN not just with
people of color but they're everything mixed up
with because it's real life that's what's going on in real life. And but it's it's at a level that I've never seen it before. And I think that's great because so many people, a lot of their experiences depending on where you are in your life from where you live. that's as close as they're going to get to those situations is what they see. On television, and the more they see it, the more normal it becomes to them. And it's not such a, you know, stare. What is that kind of thing? And even even though there's a commercial, I can't remember it's an online school. I think it's a an animated a woman. She is working in a factory computers take over and then she mentioned is it Oh,
Nick Lozano 47:24
yeah. Yeah, it's like a University of Phoenix commercial. I think I know about
Shirley Hayes 47:29
That's awesome. Yeah, that is, it's a great idea. It's a great way to
to include women in that in that industry. But I think that's an industry where there's probably a higher number on the on the tech side when you say the women are pretty prevalent in that in that area now.
Brian Comerford 47:56
Yeah, I think more so than ever before. You know, I think I think a lot of it is, you know, it's with the amount of training that is now available. Also, I think it's one of those things that has just helped create a level set of the understanding that all these teachable, you know, people are not born engineers, there are certainly people have more of a proclivity towards that engineering mindset. But when you've got, you know, platforms as versatile as something like Salesforce, where, you know, the, one of the lead, you know, points for the versatility of platform is clean on coding, right? Then suddenly, everyone has a different openness, I think, to why maybe this is something that I can do so I think there's just a huge confluence of people who, you know, are really interested in approaching technology today then certainly I've ever seen in the past and You know, I mean even even my son who's 11 years old, you know, he, he comes home he talks about programming as if it's just, you know, it's like it's just something
Shirley Hayes 49:12
that is that is so amazing that it's so you know, it's so nonchalant because it's just so normal you know I I remember when I was maybe 14 and I'm really dating myself and Nikki will have absolutely no connection to this whatsoever
Nick Lozano 49:31
to what being 14 Yeah, come on. You can't be a day pass. 25
Shirley Hayes 49:37
Oh, I love this guy.
It was I say I remember saving up my allowance to buy a color computer from Radio Shack and they had these little cartridges that was the the programming
Nick Lozano 49:50
Well, I loved Radio Shack, but I
Shirley Hayes 49:54
bought this little computer and I remember writing a little program Because I told my mother Listen, I'm going to write you a program so that you can play the lottery which she didn't play. She said, Is that going to help me win? I said, I don't know. But it can pick some, you know, numbers at random and maybe you can win and she said, okay, you know, of course, she didn't win anything. But I remember being so fascinated with with technology, and I started buying all kinds of little computers and anything that came out, I just had to have it. I wanted to see what it could do and how it worked. And thank God from my parents who didn't mind their daughter taking things apart because I needed to see how they worked and their thing was just put it back together because you may need to use that later. Okay.
Nick Lozano 50:52
I was the same way Betamax no one hasn't been. Let's tear this apart.
Shirley Hayes 51:00
My goodness, that's fun.
Nick Lozano 51:01
I think you and I would have been great friends just ripping things apart and probably
Shirley Hayes 51:08
put this over there.
But I think more more young women need to be exposed to, to technology earlier and and not be afraid of it later. So
Brian Comerford 51:28
well, you know, I have a friend who produces episodes of Sesame Street creative workshop and he and I were just talking just a couple of weeks ago, it was really a reflection of your comment surely about just the diversity that Madison is helping to drive and con. Now. My friend said, you know, it's really turning into Sesame Street culture, every look and immediate and then the front is he didn't even need Explain that exactly what he meant is, that is a reflection of what you actually see, America, it's not this homogenized, you know, very one world perspective. And every, every time I I, you know, feel jaded about the direction things are going I reflect back on what the Egyptians referred to as the three epochs, right? The first was the age of Osiris or the, the man the father figure, right? Or sorry, let me reverse that the first was the age of ISIS, I, the matriarch and that's, that's reflected in you know, tribal society in a network of, you know, interdependent culture. And then that was subsumed by the father, right? The, the patriarchal the, you know, the very unilateral sort of perspective. And then the 30 pack is is the age of Horus, right? is the child of Isis and Osiris and that's the Age of Discovery or of integration and synergy. We've actually entered into that third impact according to their calendar right so I mean, that that's inspiring to me to think that a lot of what may seem at times like we're taking a step backward it's really just helping to elevate those things to the point of dialogue in our culture and and once we get those things out into the open that's where we can actually pivot and transform absolutely Wow
Shirley Hayes 53:38
Wow, that was
Nick Lozano 53:46
cool. He said he just broke some Dr. Phil down on us
Shirley Hayes 53:52
That's that's that's pretty DO.
Brian Comerford 53:58
Holy moment. My wife often
Nick Lozano 54:04
I wouldn't say that much you just see this just like Wikipedia or something just broke that I
Shirley Hayes 54:09
know. Wow, man okay.
Nick Lozano 54:12
It's like that's a great great minus yeah
Brian Comerford 54:16
surely Can I ask it we had fun has this been fun
Shirley Hayes 54:23
this was this was just fabulous and I thank you so much for inviting me to come along and and hang out with you guys appreciate it.
Nick Lozano 54:32
Sure. And then I just got one question we ask all our guests here are said to you have a favorite book that you read or that you like to gift or maybe a piece of media or something that sticks out to you that's kind of had an influence on you.
Shirley Hayes 54:51
Look, my my Kindle is smoking at this point.
I can't, I can't it's not one more And for me, I mean, books have always been a huge part of my life. Huge even remember when I was about seven or eight years I don't have time for this.
Nick Lozano 55:12
Now go for you have all the time.
Shirley Hayes 55:15
I was about maybe seven or eight years old and I heard that the school district was going to burn some old books because you know, they were falling apart and whatnot. And I overheard my parents talking about it. And I don't remember having a meltdown. But my mother said you had a meltdown. Because I couldn't fathom them getting rid of a book. rhythm. Sure. And I had a red wagon. School was only two blocks away. And I took that wagon all the way down there. I filled it up, went home, I made about five or six trips. I had about 100 books when I was done. And I remember I remember sitting in a middle of my room just going Oh, man. didn't burn the books. I just, it's just I just so that being said, there's always been some kind of book and each part of my life that has had an effect on me that that has caused, you know, something that has helped me do something. So it's hard to pick just one book.
Nick Lozano 56:20
is there any one that sticks out just to mind you that you you probably recommend for our listeners to listen to?
Shirley Hayes 56:28
or there's one book that's just on personal development. The other one is more of the technical things. So which one do you want? Sure,
Nick Lozano 56:37
either on what whichever you prefer.
Shirley Hayes 56:41
algorithms to live by. It's the the computer science of human decisions.
That look is so amazing.
It's like, it's like tech Mary's psychology and And, and just human stuff. It is the most amazing read.
I've come across in a very long time. I love it
Nick Lozano 57:13
checked out when it raves pretty interesting,
Shirley Hayes 57:15
you'll be blown away. It's very thought provoking.
Nick Lozano 57:20
Just check that out. And I've just got one comment here, you're talking about the books. And that drives me back to you know, the library was going to burn these books because they didn't have space or something like that. You're saying. And so in Detroit, maybe in 2014, or something like that. The library has no problem with funding, you know, obviously, because, you know, they had the recession there and they closed a lot of the, you know, auto plants there. So library was having a hard time dealing with funding and getting money just to fund the public libraries there. So then they went out on this road campaign, and they're like, we're going to do this anti library campaign. We're going to burn the books are going to do a social media campaign to burn the books come out to this book burning festival. And basically they went on this whole social media campaign with zero money. This was just like the lower level people at a library somewhere in Detroit. And they're like, Oh, you know how ironic come up to the book burning library and get a book and burn the books and and it's just like, this whole thing. And what they basically went up doing was getting this social media huge following people were like, no, no books or information, there's knowledge in there, we can't burn those. And it took just some kind of miraculous event like that. And I think Brian have shown that at one of our events there to show just just the power of information and so but, but but I digress, it just reminded me of that. So just in a Detroit library book burning, and you'll get they did a whole little video about how they went through and brilliant. That was great. Yeah.
Brian Comerford 59:01
Turn the public perception around on an issue that should be important to people. And you know, you're simultaneously being told now now where there's there's no funding available for you. We've got far more important things to do. And you know, that's the power of that story to me is said, okay, you want to see how important this is? Yeah,
Shirley Hayes 59:21
yeah. It was brilliant. Yeah.
Kudos, that was good.
Nick Lozano 59:28
So if you get a chance, just check that out. I think I think you know, just you telling me that story, I think.
Shirley Hayes 59:34
Absolutely can find it. YouTube is my one of my best friends. So I will definitely check that out.
Brian Comerford 59:44
You mentioned a personal growth book as well as or
Shirley Hayes 59:47
nonetheless, thank you for mentioning that. The power of habits.
Nick Lozano 59:54
Yeah, no one here.
Shirley Hayes 59:55
That is it kind of for me When my when my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer's that kind of got me into wanting to learn more about the human brain and and then then of course that went from that to psychology and and human behavior and you know what's going on when we're making decisions and all those kinds of things. And so when I came across that book, it I just think it's a great book that teaches you how to work with your brain as opposed to against it. I think most people work against it. And that's why they have so many issues when you when you learn to when you learn how the brain works and and how those things are and how habits are created. It can change things. Literally, it's like magic. And it's it's a fascinating read. I love that book. One of my favorites.
Brian Comerford 1:00:58
Well thank you for both those recommendations. And thank you for taking the time to join us really glad that we were able to coordinate this and, and your insights there thought provoking and you know, just very welcome. I think for a lot of what Nick and I love to showcase on this program. So really appreciate you being here with us.
Nick Lozano 1:01:19
We really appreciate it and if people are looking for you where they can, where can they find you? Are you are you on the inter webs? The social media? I
Shirley Hayes 1:01:26
live on the dark web? I'm kidding. Um, no, no. Yeah.
Nick Lozano 1:01:30
Okay. Well, you know, for browsers and
Shirley Hayes 1:01:33
yeah, that's that's an interesting that's another that's another show guys. Um,
I spend all of my when it comes to social media. I'm a LinkedIn girl. I don't do Facebook on nothing against Facebook is just not my thing. I love LinkedIn and that's where you can find me and you can message me there. You can can connect with me and
that's where I am. So find me on LinkedIn
Nick Lozano 1:02:07
awesome, we'll make sure we post a link to your your LinkedIn page in the show notes sheet
Shirley Hayes 1:02:11
that and I appreciate you guys having me on this was a blast really, I really really enjoyed you guys. Anybody else would probably think the subject matter on these guys are going to be boring. You know it's just you're gonna be looking at your watch wondering how long she's gonna last. But that wasn't the case at all. It was and I did I'm kidding with you. I knew it was going to be great. So right
Nick Lozano 1:02:37
now you just had to handle with me muting you know for some reason that DC it's a heavy ambulance police activity day so it's constantly meeting Michael
Shirley Hayes 1:02:46
before Yeah, and we the district is so tiny, but big at the same time. There's there can be a lot going on. So and and I love technology. My business partners were We're all in different parts of the world when we're meeting, which is so cool. And then you guys are Denver, the district and I'm in Atlanta.
Nick Lozano 1:03:11
Brian's Denver, yeah. I
Shirley Hayes 1:03:12
love technology. It really allows you to be everywhere and and nowhere at the same time, really.
So, there you go.
Nick Lozano 1:03:25
Well, thank you. I really appreciate your time. Thanks for being on.
Shirley Hayes 1:03:29
Thanks. Let's do this again sometime.
Nick Lozano 1:03:35
Appreciate it. Thanks, Shirley.