Evolving Industry:

A no BS podcast about business leaders who are successfully weaving technology into their company DNA to forge a better path forward

Legacy Brands: Evolving at the Speed of Culture

George Jagodzinski (00:00):

Today, we discuss innovation at legacy brands and how to make legal and finance your best friends while moving at the speed of culture. I'm joined by Diana Haussling, General Manager - Consumer Experience and Growth at Colgate-Palmolive, so basically, a CMO. Diana has delivered incredible results at very large, very old organizations over the last 20 years. She's at Hershey's, General Mills, Campbell Soup, now Colgate-Palmolive. It seems Diana doesn't get out of bed unless it's for a 100 to 200-year-old company. I love it and I was excited to dig into the challenges and opportunities at these legacy brands. Please, welcome Diana.


Welcome to Evolving Industry, a no-BS podcast about business leaders who are successfully weaving technology into their company's DNA to forge a better path forward. If you're looking to actually move the ball forward rather than spinning around in a tornado of buzzwords, you're in the right place. I'm your host, George Jagodzinski. Diana, thanks so much for being here.

Diana Haussling (01:13):

Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited for our conversation.

George Jagodzinski (01:17):

First and foremost, I don't usually make political opinions or call-outs on this show, but I've heard there's a groundswell for Diana for President, and I just like to say here that I'm putting my support behind Diana for President. You have my full support.

Diana Haussling (01:30):

Okay, well, I won't be running for President, but I'll take it. I'll take it. I don't think anybody wants that.

George Jagodzinski (01:38):

In preparing for this interview, Diana, something that struck out to me is that your sweet spot is 100 and 200-year-old organizations, and what I wanted to start with is when did you, along your journey, did you even realize that that's what you loved and that was your sweet spot? Did you maybe go through a love-hate aspect of that at any point?

Diana Haussling (01:59):

Yeah, I joke that that's my sweet spot, especially that now I'm hitting a nice 218-year-old organization with Colgate-Palmolive, and I think it wasn't intentional. As I went through my career, I just had the privilege of being able to work for such awesome legacy iconic brands. I think for me, that's always something that I've gravitated to because I'm a lover of brands myself as a consumer and as a human, and I see the impact that they have on my life, but I also see the impact that they can have on us as humans and on the world.


I think that it's pretty cool to be a part of the legacy of a brand, and I do personally consider it a privilege, but what I find for some folks is it's also really inspirational to see a lot of startup and emerging brands, and sometimes we can get a little FOMO or a little jealous, but what I like to remind my teams is, first and foremost, what an honor and privilege it is to be a part of a legacy.


If you think about Colgate-Palmolive of being around for going on 218 years, being one of the first 50 companies to still be around today, that was in the original NASDAQ, I mean, that is the staying power of what it takes to be relevant to consumers generation after generation means that you've cracked the code for branding and marketing of having a product that really delivers on its promise and that you understand your branding year over year, and that takes staying power.


What I also think is cool about legacy brands, too, is the privilege and the power that they hold to drive and enhance a consumer experience and drive the category. What that also means is there's room for everybody else to come in and create that competition that makes us all better. I think, for me, when you have these more legacy problems, I jokingly say more money, more problems, and that's because when you're big, you have more exposure when it comes to litigation and lawsuits and things like that, so your standards and how you practice business is more scrutinized and that's a good thing for all of us, especially us as consumers.


What it also means, as a legacy brand, is that you have to work and you have to put a lot of extra work into making sure you stay nimble and you're able to move with urgency in the speed of culture. I like to say I take the best of the legacy brands that we bring, that we get to watch how other brands change and shape the market and either be ahead of it and driving it or react to it, but the role that legacy brands plays is so critical to the category, and I'm just privileged to be a part of that.

George Jagodzinski (04:27):

It's really neat to be part of that history. In preparing for this, I went through a realization of myself that I've been really drawn to these 200-plus-year-old organizations, and it seems to keep going older. I don't know if you're going to go federal government next or our client Sazerac, they're older than the government, and they even have a bourbon archeologist that works on staff there. Maybe, I'll put a word over there. You have to go there next.

Diana Haussling (04:49):

The cool thing about Colgate is you can get the best of both worlds when you come. This is my little soapbox for those of you who are interested in working at an awesome company that has a really cool brand with legacy staying power but also gives you the opportunity to work on an emerging brand.


My team also works on our Hello business, which is right now the fastest growing oral care business, but it also has personal care products, a really cool design-forward brand within the Colgate family. There's Hill's Pet, there's our Skin, our Colgate Skin business, which has Filorga, and PCA, and EltaMD. I always get folks with the EltaMD.


As you're picking these legacy organizations, you should also pick the ones that have a breadth of portfolio that allow you to play in those spaces. When you do that, you really start to build a marketing talent that understands marketing as a craft and not just how to do that one rote thing right.

George Jagodzinski (05:43):

I love organizations like that where things can move differently. I'm always talking about paste, layering, and making sure that you're fitting things into the right pace, and I love some of your more… by the way, the unicorn flavor of Hello is big with my daughter here at my house.


Well, one thing I'm always interested in, early in my career, I fell victim to this is I hated the phrase, this is how we've always done it. In a lot of contexts, I do, but when you look at legacy brands, sometimes there's a good reason this is how we've always done it because allowed a brand to last for that long. How do you figure out that balance between, “Hey, we need to throw away. This is how we used to do it,” versus, “Oh, this is one that we should really embrace and keep going with it.”

Diana Haussling (06:22):

Well, I mean, you don't get to be around for 218 years if you don't know your stuff and if you don't have strong foundations. I think it's important to understand not only the legacy, the history, but the why behind what we do, while also evolving with culture and the speed of culture. That's when you have to recognize where you are on the journey. Oftentimes, a lot of folks talk to me about structure and what's the right marketing structure, and I always give a very unfulfilling answer is that there is none.


It really depends on where you are and your organization is within your own journey. It also depends on what critical decisions you've determined are going to help take your business to the next level. For us, that really has to do with data and advanced analytics and insights. That's where we placed a big bet because we are human-people-obsessed, and to be able to really live into that obsession and deliver on that delightful product experience, but engagement that we want for our consumers, we have to do it right in those two areas, first and foremost.


As a result, that is where we leaned in and start to really evaluate and pressure test, are we future-proof in these areas, and what adaptations, shift changes, do we have to make in order to get to our North Star? Everything must be grounded in that North Star and where you're going, and I think that's what helps organizations make those decisions around what we need to maintain, what we need to involve, and what we need to adapt.


I think the other aspect of that that's really critical is understanding how you use your vendors, your agencies, and your partners and get the most out of those relationships, shifting from transaction relationships to matrix relationships, to actually shared North Stars and that really allows you to evolve together, but I do think it depends. As an industry as a whole, though, I think as we look at marketing, we really have to start examining some of the functional and siloed practices that we've had that were designed for an environment that we're no longer in.


I talk about my best friends at work and they tend to be our finance friends and our legal friends and human resources. Why that is, is because we have these very archaic P&L models, and our ability to really build a strong relationship with the CFO and the finance function so that we can move and shift from a marketing perspective with the speed of change, shift with culture, and also react from a performance perspective to make sure we're putting the money in the right spot, that relationship is very critical, and it requires not only a knowledgeable finance partner but a CFO that really understands how to drive demand, drive business, and leverage those profits to pull fuel back in the business.


From a legal perspective, with the rise of social and so many other elements that really have the consumer at the center and in control of how they view and engage with our products, being able to move quickly and have legal be right there with you to keep you out of jail, but also to allow you to move with speed, is so critical for us.


I'm seeing that when things come to light, like the Met Gala this year, the carpet happened to look like toothpaste, and we were able to get a post out the door and jump on it in two hours or less. That seems like a long time for some of you startup brands, don't judge us, but when you have the table stakes that we do that are so high, legal is our best friend, and they enable us to move with speed, and we continue to get faster and more proactive in those spaces.


Then, I find my HR partners, my people leaders, are the most critical role for me because they have to have such a deep knowledge of my business to help me round out that team. I'd like to balance a team of depth and subject matter expertise, generalists, and the future of what marketing looks like. That means we look for talent that really helps us round out. It's not always going to be that traditional marketer that's going to get that role, but there is a place for those marketers, as well. We're really investing in developing the best marketing organization that sets us up for success not just this year but make sure we're future-proof for the next 10, 20, 200 years.

George Jagodzinski (10:30):

That's great. There's a lot that I want to poke into there, but the one I'd love to start with is the loving way that you describe legal with affection and partnership.

Diana Haussling (10:39):


George Jagodzinski (10:39):

Now, there's a lot of friends of mine and clients that are legacy brands that it's a very different tone the way they describe legal, and that's probably part of the problem.

Diana Haussling (10:48):


George Jagodzinski (10:49):

I'd love you to walk through, I mean, because even something like it would be a no-brainer somewhere else, like, "Hey, let's use third-party data." At some legacy organizations, that's really risky for them to step into that and it's new for them. I'd love to pull that. How do you get them to go along the journey with you and really become a partner on things that are new and risky?

Diana Haussling (11:07):

I think it's that first notion of how you view partnerships. Our legal team, they're in it with us early. They understand our business and depth of business. I mean, they're sending me things just as much as my direct reports are my own team. I think that mindset that a lot of people come with legal is a place, they're going to come with a position of no all the time.


I find my legal partners are enablers. They want to enable the business goals and objectives that I have, and if I bring them in early and tell them what we're trying to do, they're the problem solvers or how I can do this and accomplish this well. My experience with legal has been different. My experience with HR is very different because, to me, they're part of our round table of allowing us to push that thing forward. When we do have something launch, they are just as much responsible as any other marketer or any other person on the team.


I think it's that approach with both legal, human resources, and finance that really changed the dynamics of your relationships, and then it allows them to proactively help you accomplish your goals from the upfront. I think what typically goes wrong is we pull in these folks way too late in the game, and all we've left them with was the no.


I like to give them the opportunity to say yes to as much as possible. What I found is in order to do that, it's having them in early and also taking the time to truly help them understand your business. We bring legal into some of the agency meetings so they can have conversations. We make sure that they have an understanding and a strong relationship with our creative team.


I think the other thing that's a big focus for me, especially when I come into a lot of the organizations, a lot of what I do is around change management, is what I find is in othering. We tend to be able to cross-functionally other groups by saying, “Finance said this. Legal said this. HR said this.” Put a name on top of it.


My best friend in legal is Courtney. Courtney's my girl. She's got my back, and I know that. When Courtney tells me, "No," it's out of protection, but I know that she has my back, so put a name on it. That also helps because the humans in our organization are not getting up each day to make it harder for all of us to win. We're all on the same team pushing the same thing forward. I think for those of you on a change management journey, that othering piece is a huge way to start to break down silos within the teams.

George Jagodzinski (13:27):

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It really is, and it applies just in normal human life, too. I mean, I jokingly, when my wife and I disagree, I just tell her, "Well, this is what corporate wanted. Corporate's demanding that we do it this way."

Diana Haussling (14:07):

I know.

George Jagodzinski (14:08):

I guess that's what we have to do.

Diana Haussling (14:10):

Well, we do that with parenting at my house. I'll be like, "Your son did this. Today, he's your son."

George Jagodzinski (14:15):

Even if it's product design or whatever it is, having someone in at the beginning of the process versus just giving it to them at the end, even if the conclusion is the same, there's so much more bought into it, right? If you're planning a family vacation, if you were to say, "Hey, we're going to Aruba," versus opening up the conversation, even if you end up at Aruba at the end of it, it's a very different buy-in experience for everybody, right?

Diana Haussling (14:37):

Yeah. It really does allow… and it allows for creativity. I think if you take something too far in the past, you lose the ability and the option for creativity, and then you back your subject matter experts and your partners in a corner. You want to give them as much freedom and flexibility as possible.

George Jagodzinski (14:51):

I love that. You talk a lot about moving at the speed of culture. I'd love you to expand on that a little bit. What does that really mean?

Diana Haussling (14:59):

Well, I think there's two components that you have to think about. First, you have to think about the culture of your organization, especially with Gen Z, who think and operate much differently than generations before them, like every generation has. How do you take advantage of that, but also, how do you design a workplace and a culture that enables the best out of the teams that you're in, and really being self-aware about that is important.


I think the other piece for brands is really understanding the culture within that your brands exist, and how do you be a part of that culture in an authentic way? I say, oftentimes brands, and we love our brands, and we romance them, and we are so focused on them that we want our brands to be the main character. What I try to tell the team is that main character energy doesn't work within culture.


We really have to set ourselves up to be the best friend of our consumer. When you're the best friend, you know things about them, you know their likes, their dislikes, their dreams, and you enable them, and you're supporting them, and you have their back in that instance. How do we have the back of our consumers? Then, how do you show up in culture in an authentic way? How do you make toothpaste relevant in a cultural conversation? It's not going to be the main stage, but you see the nuances that are happening with culture, and then you work within them.


The Met Gala is a great example of that. We have Shed Shield, which is from Suavitel, which is a fabric softener that allows you to repel pet hair. How do you think about that pet parent, their lifestyle, what's important to them? We launched three-headed sweaters so that you could have your loved one, as a pet parent, have them with you in that sweater, and you would think that's super cheesy, but pet parents loved that, and they loved the ability to take pictures and be a part of that and really showcase their loved one as part of their family.


When you really start to understand the culture within you play and how your brand lives within that culture, then you start to show up differently. It also allows you to be proactively prepared, and this is where those legal conversations early come into play to jump on cultural moments that happen and be a part of them in a very authentic way and in a way that delights your consumer.

George Jagodzinski (17:02):

Yeah, really, that being proactively prepared is such a huge advantage out there. What I'd like to dig into a little bit more though, is in part of that, you can't do it alone, right?

Diana Haussling (17:10):


George Jagodzinski (17:11):

You can't be proactively prepared alone. You talked about vendors, agencies, and how do you really partner with them. This is the selfish question because I always want to make sure that we're being the best partner and agency that we can. What is your philosophy on, do you like the big agencies? Do you like a lot of small? Do you have a general philosophy on how you engage?

Diana Haussling (17:29):

I think it depends on what you're trying to accomplish. I think we have great agency partners. WPP@CP is our primary partner. We also work very closely with Arc. We work with Walrus and a lot of other agencies, Sasha, as well. I really think you have to understand your brand, your role, and the job to be done.


My agency friends hate when I say this, but I say it with love. I don't think that there's one agency that is necessarily superior to another. I have the benefit of having awesome teams and talents across the agency that are not only strong and passionate, but they care about delivering the business just as much as we do, and they have just as much skin in the game. I really think how you partner with agencies is a better reflection of what you're going to get out of that agency.


It's not necessarily the agency that you go with. You're going to pick an agency that has the things that you need depending on where you're on the journey. If you're a smaller group, you may need certain things. You have to evaluate those offerings, as well, but it's really about how we work together to say what are we trying to accomplish and do we have the right people in place to accomplish that.


For me, I like to make sure that we have longstanding relationships. That doesn't mean that we're married and we're in it forever. There is a point in time where we're always evaluating what is the right agency that's going to be a partner for us, but it's that open and transparent communication that you always know where you stand. You're my partner, so you are always going to have a chance.


I think where we can share and develop talent together, I'm very passionate about that. I tell my agency partners I don't need every role to be a VP or a director. You give me that director who's on a cusp of a VP, and I will invest in them in their development and then let them go off and celebrate them when they become a VP in 2 years, 18 months at that time, but how do we make sure the best talent wants to come and work on my business?


I think my other role and how you partner with agencies is really giving them the air cover and protecting them. You can really dull your creative team if you're not allowing them to deliver their best work. If you're becoming an art director and not letting them actually deliver against their expertise… so a lot of my role is shielding the agency to enable them to do their best work.


It really is, I think, when it comes to these relationships, looking at it as a long-term partnership and not just investing in the transaction, but really investing in developing the team and the people, that's when you get the sparkle and the shine from whatever agency partner that you work with. I also, now, because we're in a very digital environment and there's a wider array of partners, look at that when it comes to a lot of our digital commerce partners.


We work with Flywheel. We work with Profitero. We work with a lot of different digital partners, and in the past, may have been more transactional that I do feel like now our extension of our team and we're heavily reliant on. And oftentimes, they're bringing us business opportunities that we didn't see because they're so far into the data than we've ever been before. I think it's really exciting in having a strategy and a plan about it, and developing your team so they know how to do that as well is really critical to being successful in this new, more complicated marketing environment.

George Jagodzinski (20:41):

Well, that sounds like true partnership, and I always find that being bi-directionally, being very honest about what your strengths are and what your strengths aren't. I couldn't be happier when a client tells me, "Hey, I know you're saying this is your strength, but I'm not seeing it, and I'm seeing these others that are much stronger at that." I've heard you say often the organization should play to its strength, and you shouldn't play the game of me, too. I'd love to hear you expand a little bit on what that me, too, is to you.

Diana Haussling (21:07):

I think it's really easy, and we do this as humans all the time. It's always easy to see what you don't have and what you're missing. Even for folks, when they talk about their career development, it's really important to understand your gaps. We're all going to strive to be better and strive to work on our gaps, but where you really unlock your superpower is understanding your strengths.


Does your organization, do your teams, do you know the strength of your team? Do you know the strength of your organization? Do you know the strength of your brands, and are you leaning into them because if you're just trying to be like someone else, you're going to fail at that because you're never going to deliver. But how do you really showcase the superpowers across your team, across your brands and lean into them? The brands that do that well, the teams that do that well, are the teams that really deliver and the brands that really grow.


I think, for me personally, even when I'm designing a team, I already know where my gaps are. I'm a very assertive person, so having a team of just assertive people like me is probably not going to be the best dynamic. I also know other gaps that I have in areas that I'm not as smart, my team is much smarter than me. They're much more creative, and really being aware of that and filling a team that allows you to have the best path forward, that is, the self-awareness and the vulnerability that it takes to not only be a good leader but actually to deliver performance and results.

George Jagodzinski (22:25):

That really dovetails into seeking counsel and seeking advice. One of my prior guests, Julia Boorstin, she wrote a book When Females Lead, I believe is its name of it, and she talks about how female leaders are so great in crisis moments because they're more hardwired and more likely to seek advice and counsel. I'm curious, how do you incorporate counsel and advice into how you approach problems?

Diana Haussling (22:51):

I look at that as everything that I do. For me, personally, for my personal development, I have my board of directors that ranges from a lot of people, most people who don't happen to look like me because I know what a Black woman thinks in a lot of these surroundings.


Really, getting the benefit of having people who aren't like me to give me a perspective, especially to help me, sometimes when you want to deliver a message, you want it to land a certain way, understanding the perspective of other people, not that you would need to twist yourself in knots and be different, but how are you intentional about others' motivations and really thoughtful about how you communicate so that your message is understood and lands, but also results in action. I do that for myself personally to get a broad range of perspective to really craft what I'm doing.


I also recognize that, especially as things are moving so fast, if you don't have a speed dial of folks that you can text, ask questions, to share challenges that you have, then you're at a loss. When it comes to how I work, the scope of responsibility that I have means that there is no way, shape, or form that I am going to be the expert in the things that I control. Being able to understand how to ask the right questions, how to share the right context and information to allow people to give you the right inputs to make decisions is so critical, and it is a skill set that folks really need to learn if they want to continue to grow in this environment.


I think another really critical skillset when it comes to that really being vulnerable and pulling people in is knowing connectors. I consider more my strength to be a connector, so pulling the right people together, but do you know the right people who to ask the questions to? Can you connect people across the organization so that information is shared? But that level of vulnerability is important.


I found for myself, personally, because I hope folks listening to this are thinking about how to grow their business, but also how to grow their individual brand and their personal business, I am lucky and fortunate enough to be in several groups with really strong leaders who also happen to be women.


Coming out of the Forbes CMO Summit, we have our own little WhatsApp group, and we highly support each other. We share ideas, we share best practices, but we also share the challenges that we're facing and are able to say, "Has anybody else faced this problem before," and then connect on a one-on-one basis to kind of talk through and share learnings.


I'm also in another group that happens to be a group for women because the past three years, not only just with Barbie, Beyonce, and Taylor Swift, but women have been holding it down the last three years, but another group called EVE, which is leaders in the digital commerce environment, and with that group, it's not only been phenomenal because there's a bunch of senior leaders, but then we've also brought in mentees.


It's about sharing, but we've also had conversations around how to get on board seats, and how you think about income negotiation. That level of vulnerability allows us to lift each other up as opposed to just being out there on our own, operating like we're the only ones having the problems that we're all having and facing together.

George Jagodzinski (25:53):

So many great nuggets in there, and one part of that vulnerability that I've heard you talk about before is you are extremely open and candid about what motivates you. That's always my first question when I'm building my network. If I have a new client, I'm like, "What motivates you? What success? What's a win for you?" I'm curious, was that difficult to step into being really comfortable talking about that? Was that just natural to you? How have you found that it's been received?

Diana Haussling (26:17):

It's extremely uncomfortable, and every time I say it, I feel uncomfortable, but I say it so other people feel more comfortable, and it creates a space for them to be able to say it. Why is it uncomfortable? Because people's reaction to it tends to be negative, and I want to take the negativity out of some of these conversations and discussions, especially when it comes to women and especially when it comes to women of color.


I had a leader, Jen Stirbins, who was a sales leader of mine, who actually helped me not only get to what they were but pushed me on, saying, "Are those really your three, Diana, because I know you quite well and I don't think they are yours," but it's what you think people want to hear versus what your answer actually is. My three, and I have more than three, but my top three are money, power, and influence. I speak about money very openly. I think we need to be more comfortable talking with money, especially...

George Jagodzinski (27:09):


Diana Haussling (27:10):

... as a black woman growing up in the US and really wanting to build back the generational wealth for my family that wasn't afforded to us just by the nature of us being black in this country, is really important for me to be able to have that open conversation and dialogue, not only with people who look like me, but other leaders who have been able to do it successfully.


I am a for-profit entity, and therefore, money is very important to me, and I make sure that my bosses know that it's my love language. My dad always has coached me on, “The title is theirs. The money is yours.” Make sure I still want my title, but make sure that you negotiate well so you're thinking about the long-term wealth and health of your family.


I say power is very important because, in roles that I'm in, the ability to be able to make the decision but actually take the action that can drive in the results is important. Without that power, you can have all the best ideas in the world, but you're not able to move things forward.


As you look at roles, really understanding, does it allow you and afford you the power to be able to make the moves that you want to make or are you having to influence a number of people in order to get there? Those are things you want to consider. It's something that I definitely considered when I joined Colgate. It was one of the driving factors, along with the culture, that drove me to say yes to the dress when it came to taking the role at Colgate.


I think the last piece for me is influence, and most of the roles that you're in, especially in ones that I'm in, you're not directly responsible for a lot of the groups that you need to push things along. I had that conversation about my best friends at work, I need finance, legal, HR, supply chain, I need all of these functions to really row in the direction that I'm rowing, or I need to adjust to help them achieve their objectives as well. Being able to influence that group and if you're in a role with the right title and the right level, and all of those things are dependent on the culture and the climate that you're going into for an organization, it's important to know that and have those conversations upfront.


Navigating those waters after the fact without having had those conversation and not going in with your eyes wide open can be a challenge, and I do. I try to have these conversations so more people feel comfortable having those conversations. If you're in an environment where those conversations aren't welcome, then I would ask you to question if that's the environment that you want to be in.

George Jagodzinski (29:30):

That's fantastic, and thank you even personally because I've started to try to figure out what my real three are, not the three that people want to hear, what I think that I should be saying. Then, looking forward a little bit, we talked about different perspectives, vulnerability, there are some trends going on right now. I'm curious about your perspective. AI is definitely more than a fad that's going on right now. What are you seeing from your seat?

Diana Haussling (29:52):

I love that AI's hot right now. I mean, for all of the marketing geeks out there, we've been leveraging AI for quite a bit of time, exciting to see the new opportunities that it's opening up for us. I think, for me personally, what's exciting for me is the amount of work that is maybe more complex or highly tactical that we can shift over to AI.


I've been using AI to write JDs, job descriptions, for a little bit of time. What other work can we shift so that we can leverage and tap into more of the strategic mindset with our most valuable resources, our employee population? How do we shift more work there? For me, the biggest conversation about AI that I'm pushing is really the democratization and access to my AI. It is so critical.


We're at this pivotal point where AI is going to shape not only how we live, how we work, how we operate as humans going forward, and similar to when the internet really came to be such a center of everything we are, there are going to be a few people that are the architects of the laws, the regulations, and how we navigate within the space. It's so critical, especially for those groups that are underrepresented, I like to say just underestimated, to have access to the tech, to also be able to have a say and a seat at the table on how we're thinking about regulations, laws, and what this tech means.


There can be bias in the tech, and we have to work around that. The narrative right now, I posted recently on LinkedIn, tends to be very male-dominant when there are a ton of women in tech that are leading these AI conversations. There are tons of people of color that are also pushing and addressing a lot of the biases that remain. I think we just have to be really mindful, especially when it comes to creatives, how we're not only thinking about this space but ensuring that we protect groups and make sure everyone has access, but we don't dull our existence by not being thoughtful about this.


Think about all of the folks that may not be as privileged, but we may miss out on the creativity that they bring forward just by the nature of some of the tech that's coming forward. It really is on us. I work for a big company, an organization, and I see it as my responsibility to make sure my employee population has been in AI and is leveraging it for things and comfortable with it, understanding it, so they're bringing their unique perspective to the AI conversation.


That's my soapbox. It's on all of us. Hopefully, to those listening, you take that your privilege as well too from the seat that you sit in because we all have it, and really think about how you can ensure that you're democratizing it and create access for others.

George Jagodzinski (32:36):

Love that. It should make it all better. It should enrich the entire voice. Large language models, they get better the more that you have in there, and that just doesn't mean more content. It means more diverse thoughts, more removing as many biases as possible. I love that.

Diana Haussling (32:51):

Well, whenever we do things like that, it makes it better for all. Initially, the curbs in the streets were designed for the folks in wheelchairs to make sure they could get up the curb, but if you have a baby stroller, if it's icy out, those curbs and having that ability to have that little slope to get up in the sidewalk, that helps all of us.


When we do these things, it does seem like we're doing it for one specific group, but actually, all boats rise. We start to really think about the nuances of these spaces. It's just critical for us to be not only good corporate citizens but good human citizens. I'm trying to raise a little one of those, too.

George Jagodzinski (33:27):

Same here. That's a great example. For the listeners, if you haven't heard of a podcast called 99% Invisible, check out an episode that they do on curb cutouts because it's fantastic, and maybe just think about AI the whole time that you're listening to that podcast episode. It'd be fantastic. Diana, thank you very much. I'd like to finish with a question, which is, throughout your whole life, career, personal, work, what's the best advice you've ever received?

Diana Haussling (33:53):

The best advice that I've received was stay true to your value constructs and always hold true to them, and never sacrifice them for anyone, but I think the most practical advice that has benefited me that I hope younger professionals understand is I was given the advice to always live within or below your means because whenever you're in a business environment, you want to be able to make the best decision and just show up and have the best point of view.


If financially, you are silenced because your fear of I could lose my job, I could lose my, what is this rule stops you from speaking, then that limits your ability to be your best self and really deliver on what you're hired for, which is to have a point of view. Having that financial security allows you to take risks that you couldn't normally take because you are allowed to lead with your values versus being concerned about whether or not you can say something in a meeting or not.

George Jagodzinski (34:49):

It's very powerful, and it fits into the living by your values thing because if you are within, if you do have that safety, you're going to be less tempted to stray from those values.

Diana Haussling (34:58):


George Jagodzinski (34:59):

Diana, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Diana Haussling (35:02):

Thank you so much for having me and lending me your platform. This was fun.

George Jagodzinski (35:07):

Thanks for listening to Evolving Industry. For more, subscribe and follow us on your favorite podcast platform, and pretty please, drop us a review. We'd really appreciate it. If you're watching or listening on YouTube, hit that subscribe button and smash the bell button for notifications.


If you know someone who's pushing the limits to evolve their business, reach out to the show at evolvingindustry@intevity.com. Reach out to me, George Jagodzinski, on LinkedIn. I love speaking with people getting the hard work done. The business environment's always changing, and you're either keeping up or going extinct. We'll catch you next time, and until then, keep evolving.