Leslie Gold was the CEO of Bishop Manufacturing, a window manufacturing company with 165 employees. After 10 years of successful stewardship, she sold the company to a Fortune 100 company and turned her attention to talk radio. She became “The Radiochick” and built a compelling brand in the nations #1 market. Within 15 months she went from being a complete unknown in NYC to amassing an audience of over 1 million rabid listeners. Today, she is a public speaker and trains individuals and organizations to Be More Persuasive.
Let’s learn more!
What is your background?
I grew up in Connecticut. I had demanding and awesome parents. After attending college at Syracuse University and getting my MBA at Harvard Business School, I worked 1 year for a major corporation when a strange opportunity to buy a window manufacturing company presented itself. I was worth about $5000 at the time but managed to secure a 5 million dollar loan from a bank at 26 years old, and ran the company for 10 years. At the end of that decade I exited with a sale to a Fortune 100 company. That is when I decided to go into talk radio and became “The Radiochick”, which became a brand in NYC. I did radio for 15 years, 10 as The Radiochick and the last 5 or 6 as a political talk host on a national platform. In that period I also hosted a local NYC television talk show. In 2017 I came to the realization that all the major successes in my career came from my ability to persuade. I analyzed and dissected exactly what made me a persuasive communicator and began doing speaking engagements and training sessions on Persuasion for Business.
What inspires you to create?
Stray thoughts mostly. I will walk down the street on my way to the subway and get a notion – a scrap of an idea that I think has legs – and I will churn it over in my head for days until I can turn it into something I think is actionable and exciting.
How has your career influenced your passions (or vice versa)?
Both. Window manufacturing was not a particular passion of mine, but I did have a hunger for the journey. I like the challenge of building something, I find that very satisfying. When I sold my manufacturing company I was able to pursue something for love rather than money, and that led me to radio. The pursuit of the talk radio career was all passion. I felt I had big opinions, was reasonably entertaining, but was unsuitable for TV, so radio would be my home. Turns out I found my people there and built a tribe.
What is something that you must do every day (by choice)?
Coffee. Not sure it’s a choice anymore!
What are some things that you would tell your younger self, if you had the opportunity to offer advice retrospectively?
Two things: 1. When the momentum is going your way you need to ride it, hard. Don’t turn good opportunities down because you feel over scheduled. Those opportunities can be fleeting and you have to find a way to take them when they come. 2. Don’t worry about things you can’t control. It’s a complete waste of time and energy. Prepare for any likely eventuality and then let it go. What will be will be and you’ll be ready for it.
If you could be answering these questions from another location, anywhere in the world, where would that be?
My husband and I have a house in St. Maarten in the Caribbean. It’s called Villa Amaya and I adore it. It’s a pristine, modern home with an breathtaking, uninterrupted view of the Caribbean Ocean. We don’t spend as much time there as we like, because we also rent the house out by the week on a limited basis to vacationers. The original thought on the house was to build it strictly as an investment, just for vacation rentals. However, I fell in love with the home as I was going through the building process. It has everything I love, a lap pool facing the ocean, outdoor dining room, indoor cinema room. Fully equipped kitchen. A soothing modern aesthetic. If I didn’t want to keep working, I’d live there!
Who are some role models in your life?
My parents were the bomb. They were depression babies, part of that WW2 ‘Greatest Generation’ that Just. Did. What. It. Took. without complaint. My parents came from nothing, truly nothing, and spent late nights around the kitchen table for years and years building their business into a big success. They were not educated but they believed in higher education. They paid for the college and grad school of all three of their children and then paid for college and graduate school for all 4 of their grandchildren. Because of these two people who had nothing when they went out into the world, the 7 of us had the luxury of tremendous educations unburdened by school loans when we entered the world as young adults. What an accomplishment! What a gift! They taught me so much by both explanation and example. They taught me to do the right thing, even when it’s hard. They taught about finance, about cooking, about family, about loyalty and generosity, about the dignity of work, all work. My parents are gone now. They died at 95 and 96 years old and they were fire breathing dragons right to the end.
Two days ago I watched a news report about Ruth Kundsin. Ruth is 103 and works out with a trainer at the gym at her YMCA in Boston. She’s completely with it, has an active social life, and was sporting blond hair, earrings and full makeup for her news profile. She retired as a microbiologist at age 81 and is now writing a book. When I saw the news report on her I thought “That’s the way to get old. I hope that’s me one day”. Ruth made me feel like anything is possible.
What are some common misconceptions about getting older that you’d like to change?
I never found it upsetting to get older, I think getting older is a privilege. I didn’t feel an ounce of melancholy when I turned 40 or 50 and expect to be equally unperturbed when I get to 60. The important thing is the quality of your life and the quality of your character at any age, not the number. But the Silver Disobedience community already knows that!
My upstairs neighbor in NYC is in his eighties, and still works as an architect everyday. I consider him a friend and we have conversations from time to time about getting older, and the challenges and joys. I told him I thought getting older was a privilege. He told me that getting old is not for sissies, you have to be tough to get old. Maybe we are both right.
What is something you appreciate now that you hadn’t before?
Relationships: I take more time to spend with my friends and family than I did when I was younger. Also I have intense gratitude for my health, my circumstances, my relationships. I still dig Carmine, my husband so much and he digs me. We have a happy life and I make a point to acknowledge and appreciate these things regularly. Gratitude is a kick-ass catalyst for happiness.
What’s a lesson you learned within the last year that you’d like to share?
Sometimes you get what you want through strength, other times through kindness. It’s valuable to know when to employ each one.
What kinds of relationships are important to your work?
I now measure my success through that of my clients. I used to have very direct methods to measure my success. In the window business it was sales and profit, in the talk radio business it was ratings and advertising revenue. Today as a Persuasion trainer, I succeed through my clients, and I have only succeeded in my job if they have succeeded in their pursuit. If they close the sale, get the venture capital money, get the promotion, get their team on board to take the company in a new direction. My goals align with theirs.
What would you like to be doing exactly five years from today? Ten years?
I just hope for continued good health. With that, anything else is possible.
What one idea would you like to share with the Silver Disobedience community?
As we get older, we deal with loss more often in our lives. Loss of a parent, brothers and sisters, a dear friend, a beloved pet, maybe someone you knew from third grade. It’s a bit of a paradox that the more successful we are at maintaining our health and living longer, the more death becomes part of our life experiences. The longer we live, the more losses we experience. Over time, this can be anguishing. We have to find a way to tolerate our deep sadness, honor the loss and grief we feel, give it the time it needs, but finally give ourselves permission to move forward with our lives without guilt. We need to continue on with new people, new interests and new experiences and simultaneous honor our loved one’s memory while honoring the gift of time we have been granted in our own lives.