In fact, Ms. Gallop had applied in 1987 as she was leaving Ted Bates. "The idea that I was interviewing at BBH just reduced me to, 'Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.'" She sailed through a number of interviews, including one with Chairman Jerry Judge. It went so well they were asking her what kind of company car she would like. Then the headhunter she was working with called to say that Nigel Bogle, second "B" in BBH, likes to meet with everyone who gets hired and it was "just a formality" before the process was complete.
Sir Nigel Bogle recalls: "I remember walking into the room where Cindy was waiting to see me. She was standing up, and she was just radiating tension. She was very well prepared for the meeting, and she had a real strong desire to join BBH, but she was very, very nervous."
"We just got off on the wrong foot the moment he crossed the threshold. It was a dreadful interview. We did not get on, and they didn't offer me the job and I was devastated," says Ms. Gallop.
But by 1989, when the second call came, there was a new head of account management. Once again, it was all going very well—until the "formality" of meeting Mr. Bogle. "I just thought, 'Fine, let's get this farce over with,'" Ms. Gallop says, and headed off "in fear and trepidation."
Mr. Bogle walked into the meeting waving a piece of paper. She assumed he had her resume from two years before, but what he had found was the letter she had sent from Everyman Theatre in Liverpool when she first decided to switch to advertising.
"I had completely forgotten that BBH was one of the agencies I had sent a letter to looking for my first ad job. But when he showed me, I recalled that most never responded, some sent form letters, but BBH was the only one that sent me back a personal response, and it was from Nigel explaining that the agency was too young to take on inexperienced staffers, but best of luck," says Ms. Gallop. "Then he said, 'Everyone here thinks we should hire you, and I'm being blamed as the only reason we didn't hire you last time around, so we'd love to have you join us.'"
Ms. Gallop stayed for 16 years, working on accounts such as Cadbury, Polaroid and Coca-Cola. "What she was about was relentless discipline, highly organized, excellent at building client relationships, very focused, very credible and with very strong views on how to get things done," Mr. Bogle says.
Six months into her BBH career, Ms. Gallop had another chance to negotiate her salary. Heading into the meeting, Ms. Gallop had in her head that she wanted 5,000 pounds more, but she would settle for 3,000. She wrote out her script and practiced what she wanted to say, and repeated her mantra of "want five, settle for three, want five, settle for three." She was gearing herself up to launch into her speech about why she deserved 5,000 more pounds when heard her supervisor say, "And we want to give you a pay raise of 6,000 pounds."
"I was so gobsmacked that I just looked at him, stony-faced, because I couldn't think of what to say," recalls Ms. Gallop. Her stony face was interpreted as displeasure, so her supervisor immediately promised she could have another review after six more months. "After that, I was all about negotiation," Ms. Gallop says. "And I got a bit of reputation for it while I was at BBH."
While at BBH, Ms. Gallop moved to Singapore to help open that office. She found a lovely apartment in an older neighborhood behind the botanical gardens that had the added advantage of being on Gallop Road. So her address was Cindy Gallop, of Gallop Court, on Gallop Road. "Working in Asia does teach you everyone has contributions to make," says Ms. Bristow, who was also in Singapore at the same time opening a Saatchi office. "Singapore is the most multiethnic country, with four national languages: Chinese, Indian, Malay and English. Cindy is a real champion of diversity and cultural communications, and she brought that from Asia."
When the time came to open a New York office in 1998, Ms. Gallop was named president and joined John Hegarty on that mission. "We needed a profile in New York, and Cindy got us a profile," says Mr. Bogle.
One of the skills Ms. Gallop honed at BBH New York was leading teams. When the agency had a client presentation, Ms. Gallop would have the team run it by her a few days before as a rehearsal. But before she requested changes or made suggestions, she always asked the team, "If we do this, this and this, how much human suffering will that involve?" Because if it meant that 17 people would be up all night making the revisions, Ms. Gallop preferred the key people involved in the pitch get their sleep so they would be at their peak performance.
The typical creative director, she says, "goes, 'Change that, do that, I want this, that whole thing needs to be dumped' and issues all these directives. Then he gets up, walks out of the room and leaves behind a trail of devastation and human misery in his wake. I don't do that shit."
Droga5's Ms. Thompson was hired by Ms. Gallop as an account executive on Levi's for BBH New York when the office was still only about 40 people.
For Ms. Thompson, Ms. Gallop was the boss who made sure she made it to the next rung of the ladder. "She wanted to promote me to the head of account management, but I was running Levi's, a big important account, and I said, 'I just don't think I can take it on right now.'"
Ms. Thompson thought that was the end of the discussion. A month later, Ms. Gallop came back and told her she wasn't going to let her pass up the promotion and that she had arranged for the agency, not the client, to pay for more people. She also found Ms. Thompson a partner to share the workload. "Having someone believe in me to that extent, and push me out of my comfort zone, certainly was crucial. It allowed me to grasp a bigger leadership role."
"I REALIZED I HAVE A LOT OF IDEAS ON MY OWN, AND NOW I CAN SAY WHATEVER THE HELL I WANT TO. ... I CAN NOW PUT THE IDEAS I HAVE OUT IN THE WORLD."
In September 2004, Ms. Gallop gave up the title of BBH New York president to become chairman of the New York office and chief marketing officer of BBH globally. In seven years in New York, she had put the shop in the spotlight, leading the agency as it grew from only a handful of employees to one with more than 100 ad accounts, including those of Unilever brands and Dove and spirits marketer Diageo. In 2005, Ms. Gallop resigned from the chief marketing officer role.
This is when Cindy Gallop, the brand name that now makes headlines and launches Twitter storms, was born.
"I had done a lot of public speaking on behalf of BBH, as a representative of BBH, but I had to make sure what I talked about was driven by the agenda of the agency philosophy and had to make sure I didn't say anything that offended my clients. I realized I have a lot of ideas on my own, and now I can say whatever the hell I want to, and that was a great moment. I can now put the ideas I have out in the world."