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Cindy MachlesCindy Machles is the Co-founder and CEO of Glue Advertising and Public Relations, a full-service advertising agency that assembles talent to meet clients’ immediate goals and growth objectives. A leader and pioneer, Cindy was among the first to apply marketing and branding strategies used in consumer markets to the healthcare industry. In 2022, she was recognized by the Top 100 Innovators and Entrepreneurs Magazine for her initiatives on women’s issues. She is an avid mentor for startups through the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago and the CMO for SecureCHEK AI.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Cindy Machles shares how Glue Advertising was founded — and how its innovative business model stands out from the competition
  • Staying ahead of the newest technology trends
  • The challenges Cindy has overcome in her dual roles
  • Why communication is integral in marketing and entrepreneurship
  • Cindy talks about her work as a mentor for the Polsky Center at the University of Chicago
  • Why you should include a CFO on your team
  • The key to a good business pitch: read the room

In this episode…

Communication is the backbone of marketing. The best marketing pitches are quick and to the point while wholly communicating whatever it is you’re trying to sell. What other marketing tips can help you thrive?

Entrepreneur and marketing expert Cindy Machles envisioned a strategic and innovative communications company that would disrupt the way marketing companies operated. Thus, Glue was created. Rather than recycle the standard marketing model, Cindy and her business partner provide a better client experience with hands-on leadership, quick response times, and a flawless delivery system that is on time and within budget. When running a marketing agency, your goal is to make your client’s life easier and build their business faster.

In this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, Chad Franzen welcomes Cindy Machles, Co-founder and CEO of Glue Advertising and Public Relations, to discuss the fundamental elements of marketing and the importance of being a strong communicator. Cindy shares how her company’s business model sets them apart from competing agencies, the challenges she’s overcome in her multiple roles, and the key to a good business pitch.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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Episode Transcript

Intro 0:04

Welcome to the Top Business Leaders Show. Powered by Rise25 media, we featured top founders, executives and business leaders from all over the world.

Chad Franzen 0:20

Chad Franzen here co-host of the Top Business Leaders Show where we feature CEOs, entrepreneurs and top leaders in the business world. This episode is brought to you by Rise25. We help b2b businesses reach their dream relationships and connect with more clients, referrals, and strategic partnerships and get ROI through done for you podcasts. If you have a b2b business and want to build great relationships, there’s no better way to do it than to profile the people in companies you admire. podcast to learn more, go to or email us at support at Cindy Machles is a brand and business leader. She is co founder and CEO of Glue Advertising, which has been recognized as a top 20 New York agency since 2017. And she herself was recently named a top 100 entrepreneur and Innovator for 2022. She’s an avid mentor to startups through the University of Chicago’s prestigious accelerator, the Polsky Center. And she is CMO of a SaaS company called SecureCHEK AI, which is automating the creation of promotional materials at the push of a button. Hey, Cindy, thank you so much for joining me today. How are you?

Cindy Machles 1:28

I’m great. How are you today?

Chad Franzen 1:30

Good. Thank you. I appreciate your time. So tell me a little bit more about Glue Advertising. You’re a co founder there and what you guys do. So Glue Advertising,

Cindy Machles 1:39

we are almost 10 years old. So Time really flies. And my business partner and I come out of the big conglomerate world, we decided we wanted to have a different kind of agency, one that is more innovative one where senior leaders are more hands on. And one where client needs were first and foremost. And we didn’t have all these big teams. We had people who were if they were working on the business, they were touching the business and adding value. And we have pursued that model since the start. And the verticals are the types of companies that have been attracted to us. In, for example, b2b, we’re working with Office Depot. We are working with BET MGM, we’re working with Citi, and we are working with a number of health care companies that are more mid level, I’m not sure that people would know those names quite as well. But just as exciting as the rest of our portfolio.

Chad Franzen 2:36

Hey, you mentioned as you were starting Glue Advertising the you weren’t you were interested in kind of creating an agency that was more innovative and put customers first. Can you elaborate on that and how you guys have done that?

Cindy Machles 2:48

Yeah, I think part of what we’ve done is we’ve decided that we are going to do some firsts, particularly in healthcare, which is a sweet spot for us. So for example, one of the ideas that we developed and then brought to market first is, we did the first branded Facebook Live for a healthcare product. And what that means is we had to media train patients, real patients who had a serious disease, in this case, to be able to talk about their personal experience, but at the same time, understand that there are some legal medical regulatory guardrails. And since this, we wanted to have it be live. And we kind of took a leap of faith, and it was amazing. And the results the client got, were something like a 200% increase to traffic to their website page, where it was the website page that was most appropriate for product consideration. So you can’t do much better than that. But you had to do that. Well, you have to try new things. Hmm.

Chad Franzen 3:59

So when you weren’t you when you were getting started, you had all kinds of great ideas, all kinds of great ideas, but I’m sure that the, you know, building a foundation of the agency maybe had some challenges. Can you tell me about the early days and you know, what you did to get clients, things like that?

Cindy Machles 4:14

Well, we were put in business pretty much by a client relationship. Friend of mine had taken a marketing job at a company where he needed support. And so he said to me, come in and pitch and if you pitch as you can be our agency of record if you win, and if you don’t, I could still use your help as a consultant. And to mount that pitch people a lot of times think it’s all about getting clients that starts a company. In this case, it was our friends within our network, the art directors, the copywriters, the editors, so many people we knew who dedicated their time for free to helping us put together that presentation because we really didn’t have the money to pay them with the idea that if we won, we would give them business. And every time we have an opportunity we absolutely do.

Chad Franzen 5:11

Wow, that is awesome. So since that time, you’ve been recognized as a top 20, New York agency, what have you found to maybe be some essential elements when it comes to running an agency,

Cindy Machles 5:24

I think you can never rest on your laurels. It’s very important, in my opinion, that clients see that day in and day out that you are adding value. And it can only be value. That’s the innovation that I talk about, certainly, that’s part of it. But some of the value has to be turning around pieces as quickly as possible, adding ideas to Strategy that’s already in place, but perhaps you can make it a hair better. It has to be something that the clients feel makes their life easier, and builds their businesses faster.

Chad Franzen 6:05

How important is it to stay aware of, you know, new trends out there with technology developing or, you know, developing so quickly, how is important? How important is that.

Cindy Machles 6:16

So you lead right into one of my other roles. So I along with being CEO of Glue, and a co founder, and I’m also a founder and chief marketing officer of a company called SecureCHEK AI. Part of the reason that I got involved in that company is as we know, AI right now is all people are talking about. At the same time, it’s an idea and people are trying to figure out how does that apply to my business. And what we’ve been able to do is take a technology that is infused with AI, and figure out how we can take a client’s approved marketing materials, extract the content, B, have the AI understand what content always needs to travel together, and then import that content into tactical templates. And we can do this virtually at the push of a button. So as you can imagine, the potential to create collateral, which can be extremely expensive and time consuming to potentially create it faster. And to create it more cost effectively, is there and I think that this is huge. And I feel that we and other agencies need to embrace this. So in fact, SecureCHEK AI is not just an idea that is within Glue. It is an idea that I am helping the founders of SecureCHEK AI to market to other agencies and directly to clients.

Chad Franzen 7:46

Wow. So what are the some of the biggest challenges you find yourself having to overcome kind of in those dual roles?

Cindy Machles 7:53

Oh, time or time is always a challenge, because you want to give 100% to everything that you do. And I can’t possibly I’m only one person. I think it’s picking my spots and my opportunities, and also remembering, and we did an edit so people can hear it. But I have a couple of dogs that were barking not long ago. So remembering that the dogs have to go out and be fed, and my adult children who are grown and do live at home. They also they just need to be nurtured by their mother every now and then.

Chad Franzen 8:29

What what’s most challenging about running a successful agency, we talked about some of the key essentials to success. What about challenges?

Cindy Machles 8:37

I think the most significant challenge, and it’s every business is putting the right people in the right seats. And that’s an expression of course, but it’s an expression that means everything. And we have a certain attitude, a glue. And that attitude is always when we finish delivering something for a client. What more can we do? And what more good well, I’m sorry, not what more can we do in that we’re looking to bill you is what more can we do that meets the needs that you still have? And our clients very much appreciate that and it isn’t always easy to build a team where everybody feels that way.

Chad Franzen 9:21

Yeah, what do you do to build that team? How do you create that culture?

Cindy Machles 9:26

It starts at the top. It absolutely starts at the top. And I honest I mean it’s funny when someone said to me the other day, oh Monday morning, and I said Monday morning because I absolutely love my job. I love every aspect of what I do at Glue at SecureCHEK AI. As you mentioned the opening. I’m involved in startups and part of the reason that I do that is it feeds back into everything. It keeps me aware of what’s the latest in areas that At our far field of advertising, and I get to be infected by the enthusiasm of founders who are just starting their careers.

Chad Franzen 10:10

So you want to find the right people, that’s kind of a challenge, is it a challenge for them to keep the right people or once they get there, they’re, you know, that’s what that’s what they’re meant to be.

Cindy Machles 10:18

Listen, it’s always a challenge to keep people as well, I don’t think that you can ever think that someone is going to stay with you forever. I believe when people leave Glue to do something else, they need to go and do something else. And when they stay at Glue, the benefit they get is my business partner and I Alan are very hands on. I love marketing, I love every aspect of marketing. And I make it part of what I do at Glue, not only servicing clients, but also teaching members of my team, so that they can be excellent at the craft of marketing.

Chad Franzen 10:58

So not only are you a you’re a CMO, a marketing expert, you’re a founder of an agency, but you’re also an entrepreneur, and otherwise, tell me about another business, you started your Med Edge.

Cindy Machles 11:09

Yes, your Med Edge. So this is again, a huge unmet need, in my opinion, you have patients who have, for example, rare diseases, and they might not have access to the latest information on those diseases, and they have no idea where to find it. What we’re doing is we’re making available to them information that right now is only available to doctors on the convention floor of major medical meetings, that information is not patient or consumer ready right now. But we are finding key opinion leaders, they can be doctors, they can be other patients, but people who understand emerging trends and who are attending these meetings, we are making them advocates who go on podcasts, and they explained to patients what just happened on the convention floor, what’s new, and what’s different. So those patients that have information, and they can either go to a doctor in their area and have a more productive conversation or find the expert they need to do the best they can with whatever disease they have.

Chad Franzen 12:19

Would you consider yourself more of a marketer or an entrepreneur? Or do they all kind of go hand in hand?

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