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Cindy Machles 12:26

So funny. I think it’s all seamless. I really do. I think of what I think so I think marketing is about communication. Fundamentally, that’s what it is. And I had the creative director years ago now retired, but he would always say to me, if it’s hard for me to develop a creative campaign, then there’s something flawed in the idea. So it’s not that creative campaigns develop themselves. But they start with communication. That just makes sense. So being a good communicator, is what makes me good at marketing. And I think what makes me good as an entrepreneur, and just, I don’t know, just, I think it all starts with that I was a journalism major in college. So my experience from the very beginning was how to write something. And it was mostly to write something that would be appropriate in the newsroom. So it had to be short, it had to be to the point it had to lead with a hook. And that’s essentially what marketing is. And when you’re an entrepreneur, you have to lead with a hook and an idea that entices people to want to come work with you. So it’s all very, very connected.

Chad Franzen 13:47

Was there something that caused you to go from being a reporter to, you know, a marketer, you know, somebody like that?

Cindy Machles 13:52

Yeah, it was just that, honestly, I come from a small town, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. And I had been in I went to my undergraduate in Boston, and then I was thinking about what’s next. And if I had decided to go the newspaper route, I would have probably been in a smaller town, Lancaster, and I had my sights set on big cities. And I wanted to I thought about, well, what can I use my communication skills to do that will allow me to, frankly, live anywhere I want. I was 20 something at the time, that’s important. And I went to business school and studied marketing. And then my very first job was in San Francisco. And how exciting is that? Yeah, absolutely.

Chad Franzen 14:36

Very exciting. So tell me about your work as a mentor to startups at the University of Chicago at the Polsky Center.

Cindy Machles 14:46

So I am a graduate of Chicago Booth of business school, and within University of Chicago, the Polsky Center. While there are a lot of Booths students who use the Polsky Center to help get there Startups off the ground. The Polsky Center is agnostic to whatever program someone is from within the University of Chicago. And every year they do something called the alumni New Venture Challenge. And what they need is they need what a mentors. I’m a mentor on the East Coast. Right now I’m working with five teams. Last night, in fact, was my night to work with we split the teams because I’m not the only person. So it was my night to work with three of the startups. And those three just happened to be focused in healthcare, doing very interesting things. So they taught me some ideas that I didn’t know. And I was able to use my experience to help guide them as well. And I left it’s, it was five to six, at six o’clock after the meeting ended. I just felt so fulfilled.

Chad Franzen 15:55

Sure, how important is it to you to help to have them see success, like what like, these guys have an incredible idea, and then take that idea and put it into fruition?

Cindy Machles 16:06

I want all of these startups to be successful. The problem is that probably only one will emerge from the East Coast and compete for the finals, which is a monetary prize, which is obviously very significant for these companies. And fortunately, I get to mentor them all I’m not a judge as to who will move forward, I that would be much harder for me, you have

Chad Franzen 16:30

a you have all kinds of brand management experience dating back to, you know, dating back to the 80s. In terms of entrepreneurial. I’m so sorry. It’s very impressive experience, very impressive experience. What uh, what have you learned as an entrepreneur kind of lessons, that you can only learn through experience that maybe you can share with some of these people that you’re mentoring.

Cindy Machles 16:56

This is kind of a funny story. So in our first few months of being in business, I was operating as I always had operated when I was working at Clorox, and Johnson and Johnson and within WPP. And that is focusing on client needs, and not really thinking about the bank account. Because when you work for big companies, you don’t have to think about the bank account. We were doing extremely well and invoicing clients. And for whatever reason, some of our invoices got lost. And all of a sudden, I looked up and checked in on the bank account. And we were doing gangbusters. We’re super busy. Everybody is pushing out great work. And we’re about to run out of money. And that is the lesson of entrepreneurship is cashflow. And you must pay attention to it. Even though that part of the business is my least favorite. Absolutely, I must be on top of it. And fortunately, I have an excellent CFO who makes sure that I don’t lose sight.

Chad Franzen 18:02

And you start out with a CFO or somebody who’s in charge of that even though even if that’s kind of your wheelhouse or do you guys an essential for an entrepreneur to be at least you know, aware of it?

Cindy Machles 18:12

Well, I have a business background. So I am very good when it comes to p&l and balance sheets and the kinds of information that I have to absorb to make sure the business is going well. But I didn’t have in again processes I did have a way to for people to record their hours, I didn’t have a way to send invoices out. That’s not something all of that technology that CFOs today have at their fingertips is not something that was my area of expertise. I am actually a believer in nepotism in the right situations. And so my sister happens to be a Wharton, educated CPA. And she was as my sister available to me. So she came in very early on before I could afford to pay a CFO of her caliber. She’s another one of the unsung heroes of blue success. And today she continues in that role.

Chad Franzen 19:12

Is there a proud, particularly proud moment that you’re most proud of a big career success for or a career highlight? And what was a big contributor to getting there?

Cindy Machles 19:24

Sorry, to put you on the spot. Yeah, I’m trying to think if there was I mean, because so many, the milestones along the way, our first client, how huge was that, that we won that pitch? Or when we get some of these name brand companies? How exciting is that? And then we just launched a company in a few months. That is a company that is going to be acquiring other companies that develop payer marketing type materials, and that’s something that we just did a few weeks ago. So I’m kind It’s, it’s almost, when you ask a mother, Which of her children are her favorite, it’s really hard to say, I almost feel as if every one of these milestone moments, you have to take a moment and just feel good about it. So I love the ball.

Chad Franzen 20:18

What is the key to making it a good pitch?

Cindy Machles 20:24

Reading the room. You can whatever presentation you walk into the room with, you have to be prepared to throw it away. And I find that that is something that people, they rehearse the the presentations in front of them. I’ve seen people nose down, almost reading off the slides. And that will never, in my opinion, that will never win a pitch because ideas on a page aren’t good enough. It is the way you relate to others in the room. If you read the fact that someone in the back is seemingly uncomfortable about something that you’re saying, you have to capitalize on that opportunity to say, I want to take a moment because I’m noticing that maybe what I’m saying is not quite what you’re thinking. Can we talk about it? Even in a pitch where you barely know people in the room? You need to get to know them as fast as you

Chad Franzen 21:24

can. So knowing that, how much prep do you do do or what kind of prep do you do?

Cindy Machles 21:30

I actually rehearse my team. But I myself barely rehearse. You’re just I, I don’t know, I pick up well, I mostly I so I do a lot of the debt writing, of course. But so I know the material. But I don’t want to get wed to something that I think I’m going to say. And I don’t want to be stale by the time I get in the room. So I make sure my team needs to be rehearsed because they need to be coordinated and seamless. Everyone needs to understand the handoffs, everyone needs to understand the most important points that we need to make. But I’m there as the emcee. And I’m there to make sure that it’s all working. And I’m going to have some slides to present, of course, but I just I need to make sure that our ideas are getting through. It’s much harder to do on Zoom. Much harder. Yeah, I

Chad Franzen 22:28

could see that. So do you have kind of a? Are you somebody who has that entrepreneurial spirit? Are you are you looking to start something else? Do you see that happening? As we move forward?

Cindy Machles 22:41

At this point in my career, I actually prefer to start something else in a way by working with other entrepreneurs who are starting those things and helping them be successful. That allows me frankly, to have my hands in a lot of different pies.

Chad Franzen 23:00

I have just one more question for you. But tell me how people can find out more about you and everything you have going on?

Cindy Machles 23:07

Well, I’m very active on LinkedIn. So you can reach out to me there of course and connect with me, I’d love that. And otherwise you can reach me directly. And I’m

Chad Franzen 23:24

So you have as I just mentioned, you have a lot of stuff going on SecureCHEK AI, you mentioned Glue Advertising, you’re a mentor, you’re an entrepreneurial mentor. Given all of that, what are a few rich, a few of your daily rituals that you find most important kind of what’s in a typical day.

Cindy Machles 23:43

Oh, gosh, most important is 10 o’clock every day, I take a break. And I have a group of gym buddies we used to go to Equinox together. But when Equinox close the first time, we decided instead that every day at 10 o’clock, we were going to do a zoom class. And so my team knows from 10 to 11. I am doing my exercise routine, and it makes the whole day much better. There obviously are days that I can’t, but the days that I can or the days where I feel most productive.

Chad Franzen 24:19

Sounds great. Hey, Cindy has been great to talk to you. Thank you so much. Really appreciate your time and all of your thoughts.

Cindy Machles 24:24

Yeah, thank you for having me.

Outro 24:26

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