In this edition of the CMO Series, we delve into the philosophies, lessons and stories from one of legal marketing's most inspirational leaders.
Jennifer Green is delighted to welcome Marianne Talbot, Chief Marketing & Business Development Officer at Bailey & Glasser, LLP to the podcast to talk about her experiences in nurturing and motivating the great people she’s had the pleasure of working with during her extensive career in law.
Jennifer and Marianne explore:
- Marianne’s career to date, from the civil rights movement to the 2008 global financial crisis, and why she chose the role of legal CMO
- Marianne's personal motivations as a CMO, entrepreneur and activist and how she helps others find those big reasons for their own motivation
- How Marianne helps others identify what they want to have and not just what they can have during their careers and lives
- How to encourage people to think about how they can be more of themselves and why it’s important for them to consider
- Why Marianne encourages lawyers to brag about the things they are proud of and how that influences their day job
- Advice for other legal professionals looking to motivate and inspire their people
Intro: Welcome to the Passle Podcast CMO series.
Jennifer: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the CMO Series podcast. My name is Jennifer Green and I'm here on the commercial team at Passle today. We're here to discuss, nurturing and motivating great people. We are so excited to be here with our friend Marianne Talbot, Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer at Bailey Glasser. So welcome. Marianne. Thank you so much for joining us today.
Marianne: Well, thank you so much for having me on your wonderful podcast. I'm really honoured to be here and to have this discussion today.
Jennifer: Absolutely. Well, we're so thrilled to have you. When we bring people onto the CMO series, we usually try to focus on one particular issue or maybe a single overriding topic. However, when we spoke to today's guest, she brought us so many moving and thought provoking insights that we thought we would just depart from the classic CMO series format. We wanted to jump into more of a deep dive into the philosophy lessons and, of course, stories of one of legal Marketing's most inspirational leaders. So, Marianne, your career has taken you from the civil rights movement to the 2008 global financial crisis. Why did you choose the role of legal CMO? And really what ultimately led you here?
Marianne: Thank you for that really thoughtful question. I've been a lawyer for almost 30 years, which is fun to say. And for me, being a legal CMO, I'm the Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer here at Bailey Glasser, which as a national law firm continues to grow. It's very entrepreneurial. It's really the culmination of a lot of different careers that I've had. So I was a litigator for 14 years doing complex commercial litigation. I was an entrepreneur for many years. I've been a coach for almost 20 years. And so I've been in house at an AmLaw 100 firm for a long time. And now I'm here. So for me, it's really like the culmination of so many different pieces of my career. And I've been so lucky in all the things that I've been able to do. And so for me, coming to work every day and being of service to the lawyers that I work with and collaborate with is a dream come true. So I take it very seriously because being a lawyer is really hard work. I spent 14 years of my life billing in six minute increments. And when you think about the pressures lawyers are under to perform, to do billable work, I also think about legal marketing personnel. Right. We are here to be of service. We are taking care of people all day long. So I like to bring tools and strategies. I like to be a cheerleader. And so for me, I get to bring all of those pieces of who I am and what I love to do to the table.
Jennifer: That's incredible. And you've had some really memorable pieces of your career that led you here as well. So just to piggyback off of that, you've been able to work alongside some incredible attorneys in your time, including the legendary Philip Hirschkops. So what was that like? And what did it teach you about the kind of lawyers that you want to help nurture at Bailey Glasser?
Marianne: Well, I was so lucky. So I went to law school and I wanted to be a civil rights lawyer because for me, justice is such an important part of what I have stood for. So I was hired. I worked for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in law school, I worked on the Rodney King case, the Department of justice as a law clerk. I did voting rights work for the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. And then out of law school, I was hired by Phil Hirschkop, a law firm called Hirschkop and Associates. And he won one of the two lawyers who won Loving versus Virginia. And so starting my career with a Titan of the bar like that had me realize that learning from him, of course, was a dream come true. The litigation we would do was unbelievable. We did a lot of animal rights work, which back in the day was very cutting edge. And we would always sit down together and say, what can we do differently? How can we do things creatively? How can we do things better? And I continue to use that approach in my work every day. Like, how can we improve the legal marketing work we do so we can amplify the voices of our lawyers? So I could support the lawyers in a new way. I could give them ideas in new ways when I sit and I work with the lawyers because in addition to all my CMO work, I also do executive coaching. So I coach many of the lawyers here at Bailey Glasser. And we're always sitting down and saying, okay, what's a new approach, a new strategy. How can we be of service? How can we tell our stories in moving in impactful ways? And so for me, I learned all that really working with Phil Hirschkop, who remains a dear friend. And again, I also credit him for opening the door to my family. I have a transracial adoptive family. And so having the ability to work with the lawyer who one Loving versus Virginia, that opened those doors for interracial families is also something I carry with me to the present day. And all the work I also do in the diversity space.
Jennifer: That's incredible, and very powerful, Marianne. Speaking of your family and your daughter, you've spoken a lot about what motivates you and a lot of that being your daughter. So as well as being a CMO, an entrepreneur and activist, you're a mother. So how do you help others find those big reasons and for their motivation?
Marianne: Thanks for that. Excellent question. So many people go through life really keeping their fingers crossed and hope that everything works out. And one thing that is really important tool that I use, that I use with all the lawyers I work with, is really setting your goals. What do you want? What do you want in your life in the next year, 25, 10, 20 plus years, that helps me focus. Where do I want to go? What do I need to do? So I am the mother of a beautiful daughter who I want to leave a legacy to. So that makes me focus. How do I improve myself every day? What do I need to do to be better, to be more successful for her? Right. The reasons that I have. So when I work with lawyers, I always start by saying, what are your goals? What do you want? What do you want from your life? I have an image behind my desk here in my office that is a quote from a personal development person named Jim Rohn, which is that in order to have more, you have to become more. So when I work with lawyers, I say, who is it that you want to become? And really any professional, not just lawyers, but who do you want to become? Who are you today? Who do you want to be tomorrow? What is your brand today? What do you want your brand to be next week? And I work with them and collaborate with them to help them see themselves bigger than they may even see themselves. They work in very high stakes arenas. It's a lot of pressure being a lawyer. And so for me, it's a great joy to have them think about their lives and who they can be and how they can impact the world in bigger ways on a daily basis.
Jennifer: Amazing. And I'm so glad that you brought that up because we did speak previously a lot about motivation and how important it is to the role of the CMO. And actually, a direct quote I have from you is to identify what they want to have and not what they feel that they can have in regards to whoever you're mentoring or working with. So could you explain what you mean by that and maybe just elaborate a little bit?
Marianne: Absolutely. When I start working with people, I say, okay, write down a desire list. What do you want so people might have, okay, I want to become a partner. I want to live in this neighbourhood. Like certain things, they can see the realm of what other people have and what they think they can have. But when you really get down to people's dreams, they may have dreams that are so incredible. It may be dreams from when they were a kid. They may have dreams about having side businesses, being authors, being professors, living around the world, all those things they can tap into. And so we can be under stress. We definitely start to think. We think that when we're stressed out, we're thinking straight, right? We think, okay, this is all I can do. This is all I can be. But when we're on vacation, when you're out doing creative things, you can think so much more bigger for yourself. You can think more big in terms of what you want for your family. And so for me, I'd like to have people start using the muscles of thinking bigger for themselves, for their careers and for their personal lives, because honestly, a lot of this work, because it is work, a lot of it's learning a lot of these techniques I use. It's really a muscle you have to build. There's one thing I have, a lot of the lawyers I work with do is called bragging, right? So it's about having people own how great they are. So many people, and definitely women for sure. We're always taught not to shine our light, don't brag, don't show off. But it's the antidote to impostor syndrome. The antidote to impostor syndrome is bragging about yourself and really learning how to talk about yourself using language that you are proud of yourself, that you are a rock star, that you have these achievements. Right? So it's a muscle to use. So when I work with lawyers, I'm like, okay, give me a brag. So I do that in every session. When I coach with lawyers, give me a brag. And so they'll be like, well, they'll give me something small, and then they get used to it. And then the brags get bigger and bigger and bigger. And we do group bragging here at Bailey Glasser. We have a ‘women at BG’ group. We brag. And it's amazing how inspiring it is to hear other women talk about all the incredible work they're doing. And it's so fantastic because it's also, when you think about it, it's a cross marketing opportunity. It allows us to learn about what all of these amazing women are doing. And it allows us to introduce them and think about them in other marketing ways while they enjoy shining their light. And so it's also something that helps that muscle of when you need to go into negotiations for a client or for yourself, you know what you bring to the table, you know what you're worth. And you're used to talking about it because sometimes it takes a little skill to get used to talking about yourself. So I like to reclaim the word bragging. I think it's an important tool in the toolbox that I offer all the lawyers I work with. And that's an important thing for them to do. And honestly, when they start doing it, they love it. It's really great. And our group has been rendered in tears sometimes to hear about what the other lawyers in our firm are doing. And it's really a wonderful, safe space to share those types of things. And it's really pretty magical.
Jennifer: That really is. I think magical is a perfect word. To describe that and just what an amazing way to build confidence and whatnot. And I think it all ties into as I get to know you, Mary Anne, you're encouraging people to think about how they can be more of themselves and how they can be more me in each moment. And we did speak about the group bragging, and I love how you use the word swagger. How can we show what our unique swagger is and brag about it and brag about our accomplishments and whatnot? So that really is an amazing thing that you have going on, and I think it's a great idea.
Marianne: Jenna, can I ask you a question? Absolutely. So why don't you give me a brag? Give me something amazing that you want to brag about on this podcast today.
Jennifer: Oh, my goodness. Okay. It doesn't have to be personal achievement or can it be anything?
Marianne: Anything you want it to be. It's your brag.
Jennifer: I think that I am a super family member. So I am a super daughter, a super sister. And now I just had my second niece. My sister in law just gave birth. So I'm a super aunt. I really try to make a point to be there for my family whenever they need me, whether it means that I drive 2 hours in the blink of an eye or not. So I really do. I'm not shy about bragging about being there for my family and friends whenever they need me. I love people, and I think that all stems from how I was raised and how much I adore my family and my friends that I grew up with as well.
Marianne: That's so wonderful. Thank you for sharing that, because I observed that hearing that in your voice, when you brag about yourself, you had even an additional energy and happiness in your voice. Right?
Jennifer: And I was smiling.
Marianne: Yeah. So when people tap into that on a daily basis or they say, oh, you know, you're right. I did that really well. It can make such a difference. They can shift energy. And it brings a joy, that brought a great amount of joy for me to listen to. So thank you for doing that.
Jennifer: Absolutely. Thank you for asking, Marianne, you're the best. That's awesome. Yes. I think that I see why bragging and your bragging practice and your group bragging, I see why that is such an easy way for them to bring themselves into what they do and bring them and be more me at that moment. It happens very organically. So it's something really special that you have going on. Just to transition. Well, I guess speaking of bragging, actually, Marianne, one of your ventures after your work with Philip, was starting your own business in 2007. So launching that just before the 2008 global financial crisis must have been such an eye opener. Were there any learnings from that experience specifically that you feel like you've brought into your work today.
Marianne: For me I learned so much from that. Once you become an entrepreneur and you have your own skin in the game, right? I had my own business. I had an office in the West Village. I was living in Brooklyn at the time. Every time I walked down the street, whether it was Brooklyn or Manhattan, stores were closing every day. I had to do anything it took to keep my business going, right? So I consider myself having gotten an MBA on the streets of Manhattan just because I did everything. So I did programs. And this was before social media really took off. So there was no way to build a brand on Instagram or anything like that. So it was really just like pounding the pavement. I learned all the pieces of technology. I did everything from Webinars to joint ventures to parties around the city to newsletters to the social media I could do. So I learned a lot. I never stopped learning. I never stopped having a marketing mindset. I was the consummate networking professional. And that's kind of an important piece of my story is that you never know what magic is around the corner when you're doing business development when you're networking. Because my family came from business networking. It's a wonderful piece of my puzzle. But that's why I'm so passionate about working with lawyers and how much I believe in marketing and business development, because I met my husband through a co-Council in a RICO federal lawsuit I was defending at the time. But even more importantly, we found our daughter through business networking. I was the President of a networking organization chapter in Manhattan. And people around that table knew I had been looking to adopt for three years. And through that networking, I was connected with what ultimately became my daughter. And I gave her her first bottle. We had about six weeks' notice. And my husband and I gave her her first bottle. She's now eleven years old. So you never know the magic that can happen when you go to events and you talk a little bit about yourself and you're authentically, the connections you can make and the relationships you can build. So I'm passionate about that. And I know that when I talk about business development, I really try to talk from the heart. So Jenna, just like you were talking about being a super aunt and a super daughter and all those things, you're talking from the heart. And I could tell that I'm not looking at you, but I can hear that from your voice. So when I work with lawyers and I have them tap into who are they, them being me in that moment, what do they want when they're talking from their heart about why they're a lawyer, why they're here to be of service, why they want to do the work they're doing? And you carry that kind of energy into a networking event or to anything you do. People respond to that in a way that is simply trying to have the right script in your head to say the right thing that doesn't resonate. So when people say, I am here to be of service, I am here to help you, how can I be of service? That just has such a wonderful ring to it. And when people know who they are and what they bring to the table, because they learn it from their experience, they learn it from bragging, right? They know why they're there and they know they can do a good job. It can make such a difference. I've worked with women partners who have said, I don't know. And this is not just from the prior firm who would say to me, Marianne, I don't know how to talk about what I do. And these are amazing women. And that to me said, okay, they don't either know how to talk about what they're doing effectively, right? Or they're not doing it all. They're not doing it at all because they don't know how to do it effectively. So when I work with them, I say, okay, what is it that you love to do? What are you passionate about? What's the difference that you make? And when they tap into that energy, it really shifts because, you know, really, when you think about it and its truth, law firms are just groups of the community of lawyers, all trying to make a difference. So when you have lawyers who are energized and supported, who have someone like me, they can bounce ideas off of when they have all of that behind them, they're unstoppable. And I love working with women lawyers, I call them my sisters in law. When you think about all the ability of lawyers to make a difference in this world, being of service to lawyers to me is a great calling, because having done that for myself for 14 years, I understand that it's a hard way to make a living sometimes. Right. And I'm just very passionate about it.
Jennifer: I love that - sisters in law, you should really trademark that. That is so clever. I also love your quote, you never know what magic is around the corner when you're putting your heart into something so absolutely true. So, Marianne, I wanted to ask, do you have a strategy about how to optimize business development?
Marianne: I do. I have a four part approach that I like to call the approach to planning your life as if it was a party. Right. Because it is your party to plan. So I call it the Gala Approach. It's Planning Your Party. So the Gala is an acronym, and it stands for four different pieces that I guarantee if you follow these pieces, you are going to create the life and the career that you want. So the first is the G. So the G stands for goals writing down what you want. Not just thinking about it, but writing it down. So think about what you want today, tomorrow 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 plus years in the future. So really think about where you want to aim your life, right? What do you want? The second is the A. So the first A stands for action. So getting into action around achieving some of your goals. Big steps, little steps. Even tiny little Microsteps can lead to big changes. One book I recommend to most of the lawyers I work with is James Clears Atomic Habits. It's about how tiny little micro strategies, micro changes can add up to big things. And it also makes you feel really good. So when you are in action, doing something towards what you want, towards your dream, that feels really good. To reflect on how that makes you feel. The L stands for learning. Never stop learning. Keep your brain active. Not just around the law or whatever where your job is, but your personal and professional development. So, for example, when you think about wealth, if you want to become wealthy, you probably should study wealth, right? If you want to study public presentation skills, you want to study that. If you want to be a better parent, study parenting. And even to study happiness. To be happy, you need to study happiness. Our brains are wired to the negative, right? We have lizard brains. In order to be happy, you need to study happiness. Because our brains are not wired that way. So I always have tons of resources and ideas for the lawyers and the people I work with. So learning is always very exciting. And I never stop learning. I wake up, in fact, usually around 05:00 in the morning every day to do a different routine. And part of that routine is to always learn. I'm always listening to books on tape, reading books, doing programs. And it keeps me being better at what I do. For Bailey Glasser and the work that I do. And then the last A is kind of the secret weapon. It's the special secret sauce, which is adding fun, right? So being a lawyer can be very challenging. Adding fun to your day to day life. Be it small things you can add for your wellness. Things you can do on your commute. I even make sure that I ask how the lawyers or how the offices are, right? Does your office elevate and inspire you? It's a branding opportunity for you as well. So look around you. And what can you add? How can you add fun to your life? Because fun is a great clarifier. Fun helps you think clearly. Fun helps you get a sense of who you are and what you want and what you can have. And so I always stress that as part of my approach.
Jennifer: I adore that. I absolutely love that. And the L angle, I think, is really interesting. Marianne, do you think it's hard for people to at first grasp the idea of something like happiness being teachable. As humans, I feel like we're expected to just automatically understand happiness. But really, you're making it something that's teachable and something that we need to learn about and really understand.
Marianne: It's very liberating when people realise, you know, like, oh, gosh, people feel bad about themselves if they feel down about something or they feel depressed. Right. When we realise that's how our brains are wired, that's why humans are still alive is because we are defaulted to the negative to protect ourselves. Right. So it's flight, fight or freeze. That's usually the three things, how we react. So when we realise that we are just biologically wired to be, like towards the negative, that lets us know, okay, we need to that's why meditation takes work to meditate. Right. It takes work to do all these things. It takes work to be happy. Right. And so when people realise that, they'll like, oh, you know, I think it's liberating because I don't feel anything is wrong with them. They say, oh, it's completely under my control. There are tools available to do that. And so when I work with lawyers, I really like to stress those pieces because there's nothing wrong with them. It's just saying, hey, add a little bit here, add a little bit there. And notice how that makes you feel.
Jennifer: Absolutely. And we've covered so many great lessons today, speaking with you. But Marianne, if you were only able to give a single piece of advice. So one takeaway for our listeners, what would that be?
Marianne: Okay. Can I do two?
Jennifer: Yes, you can. Of course.
Marianne: Thank you. So the first would be writing down your goals, right? Writing them down. I have a goal list from 20 plus years ago. And you'd be amazed at what you can create when you write it down, decorate it, put stickers on it, whatever you want. Look at it regularly, add to it, Mark things off when you complete something. Right. Check in with your goals. That's super important. And so many people don't do that. And it's a very simple thing. You can add it, have it right on your desk. Right. And write down your goals every day. And just at least look at the list. It's fabulous. The second thing is really the bragging piece of it, because saying to yourself, acknowledging to yourself, saying to other people why you're fabulous. Right. Why you're a rock star is so empowering. Again, like I said, it's the antidote to imposter syndrome, which so many professionals have. It adds such joy. It adds a sense of wellbeing, it has you owning how great you are. And so that's a wonderful, wonderful muscle to work. So between the goals and the bragging, that could be a transformative experience for you. And those are my two main takeaways.
Jennifer; Well, thank you, Mary Anne. This has been absolutely fantastic having you featured on our podcast today. I'm thrilled that we were able to chat and I look forward to talking to you soon.
Marianne: Thank you for having me. And I love what you're creating here. And I was so happy to hear about what such a fabulous super family member you are.
Jennifer: Awesome. Thank you so much.