Ep #76: BS Business Speak (and Other Nuggets of Career Wisdom) with Jill and Bob Wiltfong
Like your favorite boss, a talented improviser is someone who brings out the best in others.
One of the best people I’ve had the pleasure of performing with is Bob Wiltfong.
Bob is an Emmy award-winning TV news anchor turned actor and comedian who you may have seen as an anchor on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. These days, Bob works as a corporate consultant and is the author of a best selling book on Amazon called The BS Dictionary: Uncovering the Origins and True Meanings of Business Speak.
Bob joins me today alongside his wife, Jill Wiltfong. Jill is also a former TV news anchor who made the transition into the corporate world with stints in sales, strategy, innovation, and marketing. Today, Jill is the CMO at Korn Ferry and a total corporate badass.
On this episode of Maximize Your Career with Stacy Mayer, we sit down for a fun, honest, and insightful discussion that’s filled with wisdom and inspiration that you can use both in your career and life.
We dive into how Bob created The BS Dictionary (this book is so good!), why Jill was driven to have a seat at the table, how Bob and Jill manage their work/life balance as a powerhouse couple, why you need to let everyone know where you want to go in your career, and more.
What You'll Learn:
- What inspired Bob to write The BS Dictionary
- The problem with common ‘business speak’ when it comes to diversity and inclusion
- Why leaders need to become “Radically “Human”
- How Jill claimed her authentic power and committed to making it to the C-Suite
- How to make a big impact on your organization by being in the room
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Bob Wiltfong’s The BS Dictionary: Uncovering the Origins and True Meanings of Business Speak
- Connect with Bob on LinkedIn
- Connect with Jill on LinkedIn
- Connect with me on LinkedIn
- Download my Promotion Roadmap
- Join the waitlist for my 6-week group coaching intensive, Executive Ahead of Time
Stacy Mayer: Hello, everyone, welcome to another episode of Maximize Your Career. I'm your host, Stacy Mayer.
And... I was going to say super excited because that's what I always say, is that I'm super excited to have this interview and this amazing power couple on my podcast today. But I am not only super excited, I am thrilled beyond belief. And part of that reason is, is because I have known these amazing folks, oh my god, I didn't do the math. But it might be close to 15 years or so now. We were talking about the last ten years and we haven't even spoken in those ten years. So it has to be way before that.
But when I call them a power couple, I mean that I idolize these two people as the ultimate couple. You're going to meet Jill. And Jill is the chief marketing officer at Korn Ferry. And I'll give her a more formal introduction here in a minute. But she wears the pants in the family or actually, we should say the high heels in the family. I'm not sure if you're wearing them now on Zoom, but it's more like that. She is absolutely incredible and I can't wait to hear and share her story. I know Bob as an incredible improviser and comedian and I've had the pleasure of working with Bob on stage. And it's one of the highlights in my entire improv career was actually working with Bob. He has this talent, this knack of making other people look better. And whenever I think about a really talented improviser, I think about somebody that lets other people shine.
And then it occurred to me, you know what? That's what a really talented leader does as well. And so I was like: 'Oh, I bet Bob has so many lessons learned that he could share with us about making other people shine, about giving back to the community.'.
And I have another kicker. Bob is actually a best selling author. So we'll talk a little bit about his incredible book that he wrote, which is both hilarious and also extremely educational and informative. So I highly recommend purchasing that. We'll be talking about that in a minute.
And really just getting into today's conversation from this incredible power couple who has three children, by the way, has been working through Zoom over the past year and a half, just like everybody else, trying to make it work. And so there's just a lot of wisdom that I believe is going to come out of this conversation. Not to set them up too high.
Bob Wiltfong: OK, we're done.
Stacy Mayer: Brilliant. Alright, let me introduce you guys so we don't skip that beautiful part.
Stacy Mayer: So Jill Wilfong is a former TV news anchor who got tired of that rat race and decided it was time to try something new. So she worked while earning her MBA and transitioned into the corporate world with stints in sales, strategy, innovation, and marketing. Today, Jill is the chief marketing officer of Korn Ferry, a two billion dollar global business consulting and executive recruiting firm. And shall I call her a total corporate badass?
Jill Wiltfong: That's a better title.
Stacy Mayer: Yeah, yeah. This is anybody who comes through my programs. It's just done. They are just a corporate badass from the beginning. And it's what I'm doing. I'm changing the world. One corporate badass at the time.
And Bob Wilfong is a former TV news anchor and reporter who won several Emmys during a career that took him from Lake Charles, Louisiana, to the number one market in the country, New York. He transitioned into a career in acting and comedy where you may know him from his stint as a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and other various roles in TV and film. These days, Bob works primarily as a corporate consultant of presentation skills and has authored a best selling book on Amazon called The BS Dictionary: Uncovering the Origins and True Meanings of Business Speak.
Thank you both so much for being here with me today.
Jill Wiltfong: It's good to be here.
Bob Wiltfong: Yeah, it's great to see you again and reconnect. So this is a great excuse. Thanks, Stacy.
Stacy Mayer: And talk about the power of social media. So Bob wrote this BS Dictionary, and I don't see a ton of comedians on LinkedIn a lot. But Bob is the exception to this rule. He wrote this... I've got little it's like my little Post-it notes in my book with all the funny things that I just, if I had two hours, I would just tell you all the funny things, but maybe just read it. We could share some of it. But anyway, so on social, I would see him and his son and they would actually read excerpts. Are you still doing that and sharing that on social media? Tell us a little bit about your show.
Bob Wiltfong: Yes, Rigby is our youngest son. And the premise of those videos they shared on social media you probably saw on LinkedIn was, I asked him a phrase that's commonly used in the business world and from his 12 year old perspective. What does ROI mean? For example. He guesses at what it is, and it's usually your best guess, but it's way off base, usually. He's 12 years old. And that's what you put online.
Stacy Mayer: So I will ask a question then I think that goes right into it, which is what inspired you to write this book?
Bob Wiltfong: This woman to my left right here actually. The inspiration for it is about six years ago, probably going on seven years now. Jill and I have known each other since we were in our mid 20s. And once she went back to business school, she gained this whole knowledge of business speak that I did because I stayed out of business school. And so she slowly but surely starts climbing up the corporate ladder and becomes more lingual or able to speak this language. So one day, about six or seven years ago, we're at home, working from home. And Jill and I had talked shortly before you got on this conference call. No problem. I understand her. She understands me. But she gets on this conference call. She starts using terms that Stacy, I've never heard before in my life. And I believe from that conversation that there was a straw man that was thrown out there and tiger team. And what amazed me is her colleagues were firing it back at her, complete knowledge. They were simpatico. And when she got off the phone, I was like: 'can you please tell me what the heck tiger team means and straw man.' She explained it. And as a comedian, I was like: 'oh, there's something interesting here.'
Bob Wiltfong: So I started to take it. I sort of compile a list just out of my own curiosity. And then fast forward about a year later, I'm doing a corporate consulting gig for T-Mobile in Seattle about presentation skills, public speaking. And during one of the breaks I'm telling my students about this project, I've got this kicking around in my head. And one of the guys says, oh, I keep a list of all the B.S. we talk about here at T-Mobile. And any share one of the phrases that's not politically correct, but it makes the book because it's still used in different corporate corners of America, which is the tallest midget. Which is a horrible phrase, but it's commonly used to describe the best selection out of a worst group of selections. And they'll say the tallest midget. So as soon as he said that to me, I was like: 'there should be a dictionary for this stuff. And I betcha there's some really interesting origin stories.' And so fast forward, I was fortunate enough to get a literary agent and we shopped it around and a publisher bought it and we now got it on the shelf. And it's done very well, surprisingly.
Stacy Mayer: It's amazing.
Bob Wiltfong: Thanks.
Jill Wiltfong: I work a lot with people internationally and it's the best book also for people who aren't from here. We have so many phrases we use. That doesn't really make much sense.
Bob Wiltfong: Drinking the kool aid.
Stacy Mayer: So I thought about it for my clients, who English is not their first language. A lot of times they talk about: Stacy, I'm really challenged about speaking up more because I honestly don't know what's going on in the room. And I think that as we move more towards inclusion and being able to understand other different types of personalities and different people and bring those skill sets to light, it's really important that we understand that not everybody speaks the same language that we do.
Bob Wiltfong: Yeah, yeah. And I and the other discovery I made in researching this book, and it happened after I wrote the book, was that a lot of the origins of our modern day business speak in America are rooted from white guys. It's a lot of white guys that have formed the language that we speak in business. And so my wife being one person who's navigating the world, you're able to speak not only common English, but to speak this male dominated kind of business speak. It's own language. And it does require some knowledge to navigate.
Stacy Mayer: Actually, this is making me think about something with that in terms of getting a promotion, getting promoted into senior executive leadership positions. A lot of the things that I work with people on are adapting some of this language. Really understanding, but then including themselves in the process so that we don't become the white male just because that's the language, but how do we bring ourselves. Maybe Jill, maybe you could talk to that for a minute.
Jill Wiltfong: Yeah, it's funny. I think it's really important. I've said I'm a super girly girl. So I wear high heels and dresses and tons of makeup and do my hair, that's just who I am. And it's always been interesting as I've kind of watched other people navigate their career. I've always had those moments where I pause and see other women dressing like the guys and trying to fit in in physical ways as well. And it's great if that's who you authentically are. But I've always struggled where I see people kind of really change who they are to kind of fit into this world. And what I love about your mention of inclusion and kind of this whole movement that's underway is this notion that they don't they don't need another of those people in the room. You need different voices. You need different viewpoints. So I've always felt it's really important that I'm authentically me and I really embrace that and like that around the people that I'm around, I think I think it's really important that you kind of own the room. Bring yourself into the room. Because we don't need a whole bunch of people trying to be like everybody else, that's the whole point of inclusion and diversity. You need those different voices.
Stacy Mayer: How in the world did you have the courage to do that, though? So it's often we say this word authenticity and bring yourself. But how did you actually learn to do that? Or did it just come naturally? You're like: 'screw it. If I can't be myself, I don't want it.'
Jill Wiltfong: So I wish I could say screw it. I think Bob will probably tell you I'm probably more careful than most and pretty astute around politics and what other people are handling. Yeah. So I do think I'm probably more aware than most of what people can handle of my personality and kind of where they are in their mindset. So I think it's about timing. And I it is with people that work with me where I think there's something about just finding the right moment and the right place to be yourself. It's really important, too, because to me, you're running a marathon, not a sprint. And I do this all the time. I lose little battles along the way because I'm focused on winning. Here's a big war analogy that is probably in your book and I'm focused on winning the war. I always want to be true to myself, but it doesn't mean I have to be all of me all the time. Yeah, it's just that awareness of if you really want to move the conversation and make things happen, you've got to do it in a way that people are going to respond to. And that's about listening and then standing other people understanding the moment and finding that moment. We'll talk about it's like: you don't you don't give your partner, sorry, Bob, but you don't give them sex tips. like ten seconds after you're done, that's not the time to do it. You find a moment where the time has passed. You say, oh, here's what I could lose a little more cuddling. I think it's just finding the right moment to really seed those ideas.
Stacy Mayer: Absolutely. Yeah, go ahead.
Bob Wiltfong: I think that's spot on from my perspective. Tell me if you would agree with this. I think early on in your career when you were first climbing up to your position, you had to charm a little bit more than you do now.
Jill Wiltfong: Yeah. It makes me sick to my stomach when you say.
Bob Wiltfong: But I think that's part of being navigating those moments.
Jill Wiltfong: And it's charming men and women. So maybe that's fair too. It's yeah. I'm sorry. You keep going.
Bob Wiltfong: No, I would agree with that. I think it's charming both whoever's in front of you. But I think part of getting up to where you got is navigating the really hard male personalities you had to navigate to get up there.
Jill Wiltfong: But interestingly, the women, the hardest people I've ever worked for were women. More competitive. Really, really tricky politically.
Stacy Mayer: I think that and I've been thinking a lot about this lately, there was this idea of scarcity. And I think for women and male minority leaders, because we are the only people in the room, that we can sort of develop this hard edge to us, which is one-for-all. I've heard this. I've worked hard to get here and so it's almost like we hold other women to this higher standard. And so then we put up this wall. And so what I've been really focusing on is how can we have this abundance mindset, which is: hey, if we get more women and more diversity at the top, we all win. Everybody wins. There's enough room for all of us.
Jill Wiltfong: Yeah, yeah. I think that's super, super important. And I do think you see that shift happening a lot. When I think back to even ten, fifteen years ago, kind of the business world and how it was operating in it versus now, it is a different place. And I think there are places for more people, more types of people. And I do feel that openness.
Stacy Mayer: Mm hmm. So one thing that I just wanted to share with you, the way this book is laid out, which is really great. So as you kind of gather the book is both educational and hilarious. But there's this other side, which is it allows you to question what it is that you're saying. So I'm going to give you an example of one of the ones that I read here, which was kudos. And I loved this. So you've got the definition this is the standard definition says: congratulations, honor, glory or acclaim. Now, the BS definition is: I don't have anything of real value to give you like money or a cool gift like this BS dictionary. So maybe just saying this silly little word will suffice.
I love that because it's like: look. We're walking around in this world and we're being like, I give kudos. I give praise. I always support my team and I'm always and it's like, well, but are you really? Are you actually supporting your team? Are you actually giving people the recognition and as the receiver of that, so all of my clients are the receiver of the lack of recognition. And so I think as the leaders at the top, it's really important to know, are we actually recognizing people in a way that truly values their voice, that truly allows them to shine and and move up?
Bob Wiltfong: Yeah, yeah. You've had that debate ongoing in your current position because you have a large team of people and you're losing good people.
Jill Wiltfong: So, yeah, it's hard. I think we often lose sight of the individual. So we've got this big moment at our firm right now called Radically Human. And the notion that to really be successful today, firms and leaders need to be radically human. Not just human, but in a radical way where you're incredibly authentic and empathetic and real and vulnerable. And I think that's a really important thing to do. But I think a piece of being really radically human is also really having one to one relationships as one person's idea of recognition is very different to someone else's. And I think the hardest thing is kind of keeping your eye out for the quiet ones. If I just keep my head down and I work hard, I will get recognized. And it's I almost seek those people out harder. Because you just don't want them to get lost in the mix and maybe they don't want the fireworks. But they still need recognition in their way. And I think that this kind of radically human notion is just really trying to really authentically connect with people. And maybe that's part of what charm is to. It's really an authentic connection. It's not something trite. Charm is about. Oh, I'm endeared to you. I'm connected to you.
Bob Wiltfong: There's empathy there. The reality for us being parents now is I realize now with our oldest especially just saying kudos to him, maybe all wants.
Stacy Mayer: And that could be good enough.
Bob Wiltfong: Yeah, it should be good enough.
Stacy Mayer: Oh, I love that. And the other part, which I think will be really valuable for this conversation today is this idea of authenticity and owning your power. And as a woman, your right to be the CMO. And that it's important for you. So tell me about this journey as a couple, and I know that you have gone back and forth and one person's career was at the forefront and then the other person's career and back and forth. So tell me about this journey for you, Jill, into really claiming your authentic power and saying, OK, this is my time. I actually want to be in the c-suite. Yeah, that's my goal.
Jill Wiltfong: Yeah. It's like Bob said, I think I think all people are riddled with guilt, rather whether you have a dog and that's your dog, baby. Or a parent or anyone else. So we're all kind of riddled with guilt. And that's the hard part. I think for for me, it was this kind of acceptance in this came around maybe five or 10 years ago where everyone struggled with this work life balance. And I think people finally have thrown that out and said it's just work in life. It's a blend. And you just kind of seamlessly make it all happen. I think the best thing you can do is find people in your life who just like you do when you're building a team. We're a team, Bob and I aren't. So just like when you're building a team, you have to figure out what your strengths are and what the people on your team strengths are and try to balance that. I think once we figured out what each of our strengths were is where we really started to gel. And I think when I could finally have that vulnerability to say: these are my weaknesses and where I really need help, that's what made it easier. And I and I think for you, it was kind of you stepping up to say: OK, part of your vulnerability is I'm a stay at home dad. Which is hard to say as a man.
Bob Wiltfong: It was hard for me, for sure.
Jill Wiltfong: And kind of now kind of owning it and saying, OK, I can I can do this and I can be the one to take the kids to school so I can be on the conference calls.
Bob Wiltfong: And yeah, when you talk about guilt, I kind of had to revert as almost like shame. I think our general rule, when we first got together in our professional rule of thumb, Stacy, when we started was, whoever had the biggest job or best opportunity drove the car. So we'd go wherever that opportunity was. About 10 years ago, it became very clear that Jill was driving the car. And there was really a little there was a decreasing chance of more we on that. I could keep up with her pace. She was just a rock star moving up very quickly. And that's great. That's wonderful. It's well-deserved. And she deserves everything she's got. But that forced me into saying, OK, I'm not going to drive this car anymore and I'm going to be a passenger here. And a pastor has a really valuable role, too. But I've got to accept that that is that's me now. And so part of my dilemma was I didn't visualize growing up that I would be the stay at home dad raising three kids. And so I had to wrestle with that and find the value in that. Now, on the other end of it, I realized there's no other more important job that I could do in this on this planet than help raise our kids. So I'm night and day different from when I was when we first started having kids and going through this. But I think that the balancing act is not only you, Jill, owning how specialized your ability is in the corporate world and embracing the opportunities that were given to you, but also me taking a step back away from what I thought I was going to do and say to help this team. I think it's important for me to accept this other role. And so it's been this guilt, shame thing that we're facing.
Stacy Mayer: And it's interesting, too. Because as a performer, I assume you've always been a performer. I remember the first thing I did in eighth grade. My identity as a performer for my entire life. And I remember when I first moved out to California, I went to Northern California. And I thought: I came from New York City. I was doing all this really cool stuff. And I'm going to keep doing it out here. And it shifted. My priorities shifted. I had children. I met my husband. Those types of things. And I really saw that there was something else out there for me. And in the last few years, I've had to also reinvent myself to understand that I am always a performer. This podcast and I get to bring on my incredible creative friends and things like that into this world, that is who I am in its essence. And that has value. I don't have to be on stage every single day anymore. I'm creating my own stage. And it's just it's been a big shift for me as well, transitioning into a professional career versus a performing professional career.
Jill Wiltfong: I think that's a really important note for everyone is knowing what you want and then asking for it. And that's sometimes really hard to do. But I think it's when I finally asked for help. Yeah, I have to ask for the pay raise. You have to ask for the promotion. People have to know what you want.
Stacy Mayer: Yes. Because they can't read your mind. Oh this is this. Oh this. I think Sheryl Sandberg talked about this back in the day, but there is an assumption that women don't want to be promoted simply because there is an assumption that family is the most important thing. And, of course, family is the most important thing. But it's so important for us as leaders to check our bias. But then also as the leader trying to rise to understand that if you don't ask for it, there is an assumption that you don't want it. It's not obvious. Obvious.
Jill Wiltfong: That's exactly right. Yeah. So just as you were talking, it just struck me as like, oh my gosh. Ask you have that.
Stacy Mayer: Yes.
Bob Wiltfong: And I think, Stacy, to your earlier point about the performer, I think that's why the book writing is is a nice outlet for me because I feel like I still am feeding that part of me. Always enjoyed writing. So to me, if the next 20 years of my life is writing books creatively, that's wonderful.
Stacy Mayer: Amazing. Yes.
Bob Wiltfong: Just as joyful to me as being in my 20s, early 30s on an improv stage.
Stacy Mayer: Oh totally.
Bob Wiltfong: Yeah. I'm fine with that.
Stacy Mayer: So I wanted to talk a little bit about the work that you're doing Bob. And in corporate training. So would you mind sharing with us your teaching public speaking skills or whatever it is, the work that you're doing?
Bob Wiltfong: Yes. Is to connect dots here. As you mentioned, I started off in TV news as a reporter and anchor. That's where Jill and I met. That's where she started as well. And when we landed in New York, Jill got out of TV news, got an MBA and sort of worked in the business world. One of her first jobs in the business world was for a company called Communispond that happens to be one of the leaders, probably still is, in corporate consulting work for presentation skills or public speaking.
And so when she got on board there, they were looking for young, capable instructors. And I was looking for a little extra cash. And so she said, if you want to, you can probably teach freelance on the side for this company while you're doing your TV news stuff. And then it became the acting stuff. So I started about 20 plus years ago when we first met Stacy, that's how I paid a lot of my bills and still get extra income today on, is I go into corporations and teach them how to do public speaking without soiling themselves.
Stacy Mayer: Yeah, we really don't want that. Even on Zoom. You can tell.
Bob Wiltfong: There Jerry Seinfeld has a great joke and this is why I get paid to do what I do is that at a funeral he'd rather be the guy in the casket than the one giving the eulogy. And that's because, still to this day, there's a great majority of people that public speaking is a reoccurring fear and is a lot of anxiety. And whether it's good or bad in today's world, you've got to do a lot of presenting to be a business person and what it segued into now over the last year or so with the pandemic now and we're visiting in this same format is webcam presentations. So because of my background in TV news and as an actor and also this corporate consulting work, I've been busier than I probably have ever been in the last year, teaching corporate people how to present now or webcam and how not to spoil themselves there.
Stacy Mayer: Exactly. Oh, my goodness. Can you share with us any behind the scenes or any any stories?
Bob Wiltfong: Yeah. It's funny you see this when you visit with your own family. It always amazes me how foreign it is to some people. The concept of having a camera in front of them just throws them off. So I notice this even with my own mother in Texas. When I zoom with her, she'll put her face in the lower third corner of the frame or she'll have her thumb over the camera. Mom, I can't see you. And so part of my class is when I teach people some of this basic stuff: of like, please put yourself up a center in the frame. Please don't put that huge window behind you. How about you face it? For eye contact, one of the little gems I give to people, especially if you're doing a big presentation with a number of people with slides, is make your key takeaways, have the eye contact with the webcam rather than talking to the screen just because that's where the audience is going to look as to your webcam for those things. And that goes against our human nature, we want to look at the faces on our screen rather than looking at what the audience wants to see. So those are little things that I'm teaching people all the time now, just basic stuff in my mind. Basic. But once you give it to people, they're like, oh, my God, I never thought about this. So thank you.
Stacy Mayer: And kudos to Jill. When we first set up the video camera, you can't see them, but both Bob and Jill are sharing the screen. Jill actually took the stage. She has the big chair. She was actually a little bit more towards the center of the screen. And so kudos to you for owning the screen. And then Bob had to kind of be like, let's shift this a little bit so we can see both of us.
Bob Wiltfong: To put a finer point on it, I'm taller when I sit down with Jill. And so I kept adjusting our laptop to give me a little bit of headroom. I was getting cut off. She didn't realize there was another human being in this shot.
Stacy Mayer: I love it. I love it. So, Jill, I have a question for you. Why do you personally want to have a seat at the table?
Jill Wiltfong: I think I've always just always wanted to make a difference. I can remember in college, one of the assignments we had was to write our own eulogy or whatever would go on our tombstone, I think was was the assignment. And I wrote she wanted to change the world. She wanted to make a difference. She didn't change the world, but she did make a difference, was my statement. And I've really, always really wanted to make a difference. In the end, the only way to really do that is to have a voice. So I think it's just always been in me that it's important to be there. And it's been interesting as I've gotten to where I'm at, I guess maybe I don't even really appreciate where I'm at because it's a team sport. The business world is a team sport. So we even just recently changed. We don't call each other managers on our team. We have guardians. You're the guardian of the team and you kind of oversee and you're there to kind of remove barriers for people and and help them remove obstacles and that sort of thing. But you're just kind of the guardian overseeing this group. There are times I'm working for other people and they're working for me. I just happen to be the guardian of this marketing department right now. So I think you can lead in different ways. I don't think you have to be at the table. But I think everyone should strive to contribute in big ways, and however that is they should find it. For me, I like to be there and I like the responsibility of representing others because I appreciate how important that is. And I and I want to be there so that I can make sure the right people get their names recognized and their work recognized and anything where I can see it happen.
Stacy Mayer: Anything you're particularly proud of. One thing that came to mind when you said your eulogy, she wanted to make a difference and then you said she is. When I look at you, I'm like, you are. You are making a difference. You're making a difference to our audience. You're making a difference to this family, to the world. And then you're an executive recruiting. So you're making a difference to others. Exactly. I mean, it's just incredible. So do you have a story that you could share with us that you something you're particularly proud of that you've done and accomplished in the last year or so?
Jill Wiltfong: Gosh, that's such a good question. I wish I had given more thought to that. The first thing that comes to mind really is, at the end of the day, it's about your network and the people that you're with. So any little accomplishment at work feel so insignificant. For me, I can remember that moment, many moments where the kids are wide eyed and looking up and like, mom, why do you have to go to work and why can't you be here with me? And I really need a really important reason to leave this house every day and to go to work every day and not just be with them. So purpose is super, super important. So I guess I would kind of turn it on and say, I think what I've helped to do is, is organize a team and organize people that are focused on purpose, supportive of each other, really doing our best to be inclusive. We fail every day. It's so hard. But we're doing the best we can. And I think just creating that kind of sense of family and camaraderie in the office is probably the most important work I've done.
Bob Wiltfong: Can I share one thing that I saw you that I was super proud of and maybe this will ring a bell for you. Within the last year, the George Floyd thing happens. We become totally aware of things that have been there the whole time that we've never acknowledged. And the thing that I saw from outside perspective is how valuable you were in the conversation of your own company being the only woman in the c-suite at that company and being like: 'Yes, let's be on the forefront of this and let's get better as a company.' And you brought back I don't know your colleagues name, but you brought back somebody who would have retired. It was a perfect fit for your diversity effort. Oh, yeah. And that was, at least from my perspective, a lot of you as a woman and representing a minority point of view in that boardroom of like, hey, let's nail this important. And I know that the guy came back to that job. The feedback he gave to you was he wouldn't do it for anybody else but you.
Jill Wiltfong: Oh, yeah. Makes me want to try everything
Bob Wiltfong: Because he trusted that you got him and that he could help other people. Yeah. And I think that's one of the you'll one of the crossroad moments, I feel from corporate America in the wake of George Floyd is do you embrace this or you try to deny it? Yeah. And I think you guys took the road of like, no, we're going to embrace this. Yeah. We're going to acknowledge that we have a lot of stuff we still need to fix. And it's going to take a long time, but we're going to acknowledge it and try to get better. Yeah.
Jill Wiltfong: So that's nice. Yeah. I think, I guess that that's really sweet. I think at the end of the day it just gets down to one person at a time. And making a connection with them and knowing what's important to them. And I've been really fortunate to have people that have opened up to me and I think I've been able to clear a path for them and help help their dreams come true.
Bob Wiltfong: And what I'm excited about is being in that room, you can change the culture from inside and try to be outside.
Stacy Mayer: But yeah, one hundred percent. This also reminds me of I met a woman of many, many years ago in my work with women's leadership, and she said that she kept a smile file. And if anybody's listening to this conversation and they're like: I know I've done a lot of really amazing things and I wish I could think of it right now and these sort of things, it's get a Bob. It doesn't have to be your husband. It could be anybody at work and just say, what is a difference that you think I made? This year, because did you guys just hear that story, I mean, and I think Jill actually was a little bit in tears and to just remind ourselves of the work that we're really doing, I mean, you talk about purpose and there is a reason that you're doing this work and it's just so incredible and such a great reminder that it's bigger it's really bigger than ourselves. We started out with this idea of scarcity and abundance mindset. It is. So having Joe Wilfong at the table, it's really frickin big deal. And I'm super glad you're there.
Bob Wiltfong: I agree with that. A hundred percent, too.
Jill Wiltfong: That's nice. But we need we need to create work that works for everyone. Yeah. And can do it.
Stacy Mayer: Yeah.
Jill Wiltfong: Just I'll have to do our part.
Stacy Mayer: So speaking of work that works for everyone, any advice that you would give to a corporate leader that's trying to rise in their career, trying to have that voice at the table, unable to get the recognition that they feel like they deserve? What would be your advice for them?
Jill Wiltfong: For me, I would say definitely know where you want to go. It's really important to have someone help you figure out where you want to go. Then you have to let everybody know where you're going. Everyone needs to know where you're going because you have no idea where that opportunity will happen. And it's happened to me. I run marketing and I've had people that I mentor say: my dream job is over here in IT and how would I know? Except that in some conversation I may hear something and then connect the two of you and you're off and running. So I know where you want to go. Tell everyone who will listen where that is. And then and then I would say when you hit a barrier, you don't always have to keep plowing through it. Pivot the doors closed, find a window. But I think in everyone's certainly in my career. There were many, many roadblocks. And I think what worked for me is I always talk about I feel like I'm a shark. I just never stop moving. Enertia is the enemy. I don't spend my time on the negative people or the blockers ever. I just bounce off. I move around and I find influencers elsewhere.
Bob Wiltfong: That's her super house.
Stacy Mayer: That is amazing. Yeah.
Bob Wiltfong: That to me, Stacy, I couldn't do what she does because I when I hit those people, I can't get out of it.
Stacy Mayer: I was going to say, you just hit them harder. Get go get
Bob Wiltfong: The more you have you have the patience, the ability, the foresight to just navigate those people
Jill Wiltfong: And maybe the stubbornness that gets back to you want to win. You want to win the battle.
Stacy Mayer: I love it.
Jill Wiltfong: And it's like bounce off, keep moving. But don't ever stop. And and but but the most important is you have to know where you want to go. And it doesn't have to be the end destination. Just the next step. is who knows where that end destination is.
Bob Wiltfong: Stacy, this is part of the conversation we're having with our kids that ties into this is, our kids are at an age now where they're starting to think, what do I want to do? What I want to do professionally. And we have two experiences in our family that we struggle with. One is me, the dreamer. I followed my dream and I got paid periodically. But for the most part, as you know, acting is largely unemployment interrupted periodically by work. Yeah. And meanwhile, Jill struggled, man. She had jobs where she's like: I really don't like this job. I don't like what I'm doing with my life professionally. And now you're in a good space. But she's had to to put some of her personal dreams in the back seat for the gain of our family. So what is the message we give our kids? And what we've talked about is try to find what you love to do, define what you love to do, and then try to intersect it with what people will actually pay you to do. And so it's this whole adage of, when you're a parent, you're told, oh, tell them to dream big. Yeah, I think ours is dream big, but always be realized that that dream may not pay you and that may impact your life quality. So that that's kind of the conversations we have with our own kids and even ourselves. We have people for sure.
Stacy Mayer: Yeah. So what's next for you guys? Can you share with us anything that's on the horizon?
Bob Wiltfong: Summer break,
Jill Wiltfong: We really love to travel and the kids love to travel. So I think that's been tough for us. Is not being able to get out of the house. From a career perspective, what's next?
Bob Wiltfong: What's next for you and career perspective? I would love, love, love to write a follow up to the BS Dictionary.
Stacy Mayer: Me, too. I would love that if you did that.
Bob Wiltfong: Please share it on Amazon and everywhere else you can share it. But just an indication, my co-author and I, Tim is a lovely man who was very fortunate to write the book with. We have a working list of other B.S. terms that didn't make this first edition, and it's about a thousand terms. Oh, wow, it's amazing. You've got plenty of ammunition in the chamber, if you will. And so that would be very exciting to me. The corporate consulting work, I, I enjoy the work. If that's all I do for the next 10 years, that's a good life. How about you professionally.
Jill Wiltfong: Yeah. For me, I want to continue to give you more fodder for your B.S.
Bob Wiltfong: She's doing it on a weekly basis. There's always new terms.
Jill Wiltfong: We're always trying to grow. So for me, I think I just want to further kind of establish my voice. But I also want to not be the only woman in the room. So I want to when I leave this firm, I want to leave it more colorful than than it was when I got there. So I am feverishly trying to champion others and get them in that room with me and make it a big, diverse, happy party.
Stacy Mayer: Amazing.
Bob Wiltfong: I'm applauding that
Stacy Mayer: Absolutely. I have more men in my world these days. They are applauding my mission as well. And it's just really exciting. Where can we find you if we want to connect with you or follow you? What's a good place? And all linked to this on the show notes and also the book as well.
Bob Wiltfong: So thanks. So, yeah, LinkedIn is a good place professionally for us. For us both. Yeah. Both.
LinkedIn, Jill Wiltfong, Bob Wiltfong. Happy to take connections with people and help however we can. I think we've all got to reach out and lend a hand and pull each other up and anything I can do to help people out, I'm happy to help.
Bob Wiltfong: Yeah. Jill from her position gets a lot of people saying, can I give you my resume? Which is understandable. We've all been there. We there's no shame in asking the question. I think it's also the reality is that Jill gets a lot of these requests these days. And so just be aware that I've just been a little bad cop on the side saying: that doesn't mean that she could help you get a job.
I'll do what I can.
From my perspective, Stacy, improv has drilled this into me more so than it was before. I'm a 'yes and' type person. If anybody has any questions about how to get published, for example, book world or are there things that I could do better as a presenter in the business world? Some free advice if I can do it. I generally say, yeah, let's jump online and let's talk. So I'm more than happy to do that.
Stacy Mayer: Yeah, I'm very appreciative for you guys to be here today and spend your time with me.
Bob Wiltfong: Any final words before we head out for the day?
Jill Wiltfong: I'll leave it with you, Mr. Baez.
Bob Wiltfong: Yeah, well, kudos to both,
Stacy Mayer: Great interview, guys. Great interview.
Bob Wiltfong: Skarlatos coming up with a SWAT team, all that.
Stacy Mayer: Oh, my gosh. The other word was SWAT.
Bob Wiltfong: Yes, that's in there. Yeah.
Stacy Mayer: Yeah, right here. Right here.
Bob Wiltfong: No, I think just 'yes, and'. And I think we live in a world where, I'll go back to that. We have this common genealogy, if you will, Stacy and I with improv. The concept of 'yes, and' has a lot of power in it. And that comes with women or minorities in the workplace of 'yes, and' everything that comes to you and and try to build up people rather than trying to find ways to tear them down and bring diversity to the workplace. And that I would just challenge all your listeners to think of 'yes, anding' more and 'no, butting' less. Yeah.
Stacy Mayer: Yeah, I like that. And then I actually have told a couple people recently not to detract from what you suggested. 'No, and'. Because a lot of my clients have trouble saying yes to too much. But it's always about the and. What am I going to do instead? What are you saying yes to with your show.
Bob Wiltfong: Stacy I'm so glad you said that because that's something we've talked about, is there is a real value in saying no to.
Stacy Mayer: You have to. It's not ‘no’ but it's ‘no, and…’
Jill Wiltfong: That's a very good note. I like it.
Stacy Mayer: Yeah, I love it. Oh, thank you.
Jill Wiltfong: We're learning too. It's perfect.
Stacy Mayer: Thank you.
Jill Wiltfong: Thank you so much.
Bob Wiltfong: Thanks Stacy
About Your Host
Hi! I'm Stacy Mayer, a Certified Executive Coach and Promotion Strategist on a mission to bring more diversity to the leadership table by getting 1000 underrepresented corporate managers promoted into senior executive positions each year worldwide.
I help undervalued executives scale to the C-Suite using repositioning strategies that build your confidence and visibility, so you can earn the recognition and support you need from key stakeholders while embodying your unique leadership style.
My podcast “Maximize Your Career with Stacy Mayer” tackles topics like executive communication, getting more respect in the workplace from challenging bosses and team members, and avoiding the common mistakes that sabotage career advancement.
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