"She really has a fan club," says Ms. Gordon. "If you look at our surveys of conference attendees, it's always 'more Cindy, more Cindy, more Cindy.'"
Singleton Beato became a fan after seeing Ms. Gallop speak at the inaugural 4A's Talent conference in 2014. "She is the first person that made me want to follow her to the ends of the earth for the way she talks about the huge untapped talent in our industry right now," says Ms. Beato, the 4A's exec VP-diversity and inclusion strategy. "The conversation the industry was having for years was, 'How do we attract and bring in the talent we need?' But she asks, 'Why are we not doing more with the untapped potential in our agencies today?'"
To me, she really is the best example of innovation. Her arguments are not connected to past rhetoric."
Madonna Badger, founder and chief creative officer at Badger & Winters, has never met Ms. Gallop, but she was aware of her advocacy when she started looking into the issue of the wage gap. "My first introduction was just sitting in a room and watching online her different speeches, and I was just mesmerized."
Ms. Gallop's work in "bringing that awareness to gender issues gave me the strength and courage to want to make a difference in our own way, which is how woman are portrayed in ad messages." Ms. Badger's agency launched an awareness campaign earlier this year with "#WomenNotObjects," a two-minute film calling out ads that show up when one Googles the phrase "objectification of women."
But it's not just about inspiration.
Last year, Ms. Gallop hosted a series of 4A's webinars titled "The Glass Ladder." The four sessions focused on giving women actionable advice on how to ask for raises, how to position themselves for promotions and how to be seen as leaders within their agencies and creative departments.
Susan Credle, who as FCB's global chief creative officer, is one of the top female creative directors in the industry, has worked with Ms. Gallop on one of the Ad Council's campaign review committees and was a co-presenter for one of the 4A's webinars.
"She is a brash, loud, strong voice for this issue," says Ms. Credle. "I wish everyone could have a one-on-one conversation with her to see what a thoughtful person she is. She's up there being provocative for all of us. … I think strong characters often get knocked with the self-serving thing, but I think they should get something out of it. People who speak up are putting themselves on the line for many, many people, and so she should get something out of this."
As to Ms. Gallop's sometimes strident tone?
People who don't know Ms. Gallop, says 3%'s Ms. Gordon, can think that she is yelling. "She doesn't have an ego bone in her body. She ties the message back to work, to culture, and truly believes it will be better for everyone if all the brains are used—better for agencies, for clients and for holding companies."
"A voice that loud makes me uncomfortable, and maybe it makes others uncomfortable, but it also makes me act," Ms. Credle says.
Ms. Credle says she is now much more conscious of looking for women to be on creative juries, since that is where the important networking is done among the best creative leaders. Ms. Gallop was one of the first people Ms. Credle called when she was first offered the executive creative director role at Leo Burnett and was wondering if she was ready for it. Ms. Gallop, of course, told her she was.
"One thing I became aware of once we started having these discussions is how men will take jobs they aren't ready for, and women will wait until they are prepared and feel like they have 100% of the qualifications," says Ms. Credle. "Part of our job as bosses is telling them they are ready to do it, and showing them they are ready to step up."
"I WANT TO REDEFINE ... MY LIFE IN A WAY THAT DEFIES WHAT AN OLDER WOMAN SHOULD LOOK LIKE, TALK LIKE, THINK LIKE, WORK LIKE, BE LIKE AND FUCK LIKE."
Ultimately, Cindy Gallop believes we need women to emulate at the top of creative departments and to be represented in media in ways that move us to a place beyond stereotypes, that the political is the personal and refusing to be invisible is one way to achieve her goals.
"I am very public about the fact that I date younger men. I am very public about the fact that I never wanted to be married, never wanted to have children. I tell everyone how old I am as often as possible. I am 56 and I tell everybody," Ms. Gallop says. "I consider myself a proud member of one of the most invisible segments of the population: older women. So I want to redefine how I live my life in a way that defies what an older woman should look like, talk like, think like, work like, be like and fuck like. I am going to talk about all of this because we don't have enough role models in society for women and men that demonstrate you can live your life in a very different way than society expects you to and still be extremely happy."
"The conversation around women's political, social and economic equality has been going on and off the boil since the suffragettes, but it's not going away this time. The gender debate in advertising isn't over. If anything, the voices are getting louder," Ms. Kestin says. "Despite that, our industry is very slow to change and needs to be shaken up. No one shakes things up like Cindy."
And if you don't like the way she shakes things up? GET OVER IT.
WHAT YOU CAN LEARN FROM CINDY GALLOP'S SOCIAL GAME
ONE KEY ASPECT of the Cindy Gallop brand is her masterful use of social media to elicit reactions and affirmations. "What I love about social media is it makes shit happen," Ms. Gallop says.
Whether it's calling out a sexist invite to a VaynerMedia and Thrillest party at Cannes, or asking her 46,000-plus followers to kindly let @KRConnect know whether they believe the gender debate is over, Ms. Gallop knows how to get a Twitter storm started.
Social media platforms have been known to court her. After she wore her iconic Facebook-inspired "Like" necklace to a meeting with Twitter execs, they sent her a silver @cindygallop necklace. She also is the recipient of plenty of "you go, girl" tweets from appreciative women. Twitter user @TheCubanPanda created "St. Cindy—Patron Saint of Ad Girls" candles on Etsy and tweeted out the link, which Ms. Gallop then retweeted.
Ms. Gallop is an adept social media influencer. At the Cannes Lions Festival this year, she was ranked No. 8 among the top 10 social media influencers by Synthesio.
At C2MTL 2014, a Canadian conference that can best be described as a cross between Woodstock and Ted, Ms. Gallop had the highest ratingamong all the speakers for her social media performance based on engagement, impact and responsiveness, according to Engagement Labs.
Ms. Gallop attributes her high engagement to the fact that many of her 46,000-plus Twitter followers and 19,000-plus Facebook followers are women. "Social media is simply a new methodology that allows women to do what we have been doing since the dawn of time, which is sharing the shit out of everything in a way that men don't. We are the gossipers, the talkers, the chatters, the recommenders, the advocates and the ambassadors. … When brands say they are targeting men, I tell them to talk to women, because women will influence men more than men will influence other men."
Authenticity is also crucial to success on social media platforms. "I'm just being myself on social," Ms. Gallop says, explaining that she uses the social platforms that play to her strengths: Facebook, LinkedIn and, of course, Twitter. Gallop says she is a verbal, rather than visual, person, which is why she embraces those platforms and not one like Instagram. "Decide your objectives and then pick the social media that fulfills those goals, not the other way around."
"You can get to anybody on Twitter," she says. If there is someone she wants to meet, Ms. Gallop has found that if you tweet at them in the right way, you can get a response. She also regularly checks how well social media managers at restaurants, hotels and airlines are paying attention to their consumers by tagging brands in her tweets when she is staying at their hotels or flying their airlines.
"It's my own social experiment, I want to see how quickly they respond," Ms. Gallop says.