Intentional Integrity with AirBnB’s CEO (Chief Ethics Officer) Rob Chesnut

Show Notes

The Chief Ethics Officer of AirBnB shares about Intentional Integrity: How Smart Companies Can Lead an Ethical Revolution, why leaders have to be in constant communication with their people, and how to lead ethically in a time of crisis.

CEO – The owner and CEO has to buy in

    1. Constant Communication – 
  1. Yes, yes, yes and yes! Thrivetime Nation on today’s show we are interviewing Rob Chesnut, the Chief Ethics Officer of AirBnB.
  1. I know that you’ve had a ton of success at this point in your career, but I would love to start off at the bottom and the very beginning of your career. What was your life like growing up and where did you grow up?
    1. I was an only child, my dad was in the Marine Corps and I did not dare stray out of line.
  2. Rob Chesnut, you are a graduate of Harvard Law School and the University of Virginia…why do you think you did well in formal education?
  3. When did you first figure out what you wanted to do professionally?
  4. Rob Chesnut, you worked for 14 years with the U.S. Justice Department, where you prosecuted bank robberies, kidnappings, murder, and espionage cases, including the prosecution of CIA employee Aldrich Ames…what did you learn during your time at the U.S. Justice Department?
    1. I learned that it’s a tough and negative job.
    2. Day after day you work with people who have made bad life decisions
  5. Was the process of prosecuting bank robberies, kidnappings, murder, and espionage cases ever soul-sucking?
  6. What events lead to landing your position with eBay in 1999?
    1. While I was a prosecutor, I kept getting phone calls
  7. How would you describe your experience, leading the legal team for eBay in North America? 
  8. I understand that you founded eBay’s Trust and Safety team…why was this important for eBay to do?
  9. I understand that you helped the digital education leader Chegg to take the company public in 2013. What was your role Chegg?
    1. I helped the company transition into a digital company
  10. Rob Chesnut subsequently spent 6 years as the General Counsel and first attorney at digital education leader Chegg, where he helped take the company public in 2013. 
  11. What leads to you joining Airbnb as General Counsel in 2016?
    1. NOTE: He grew the legal team from 30 to over 150 legal professionals in 20 offices around the world.  
    2. They believed that some of the issues that they were dealing with were similar to eBay’s legal issues.
    3. I helped grow their legal department
    4. While serving as general counsel I got interested in ethics.
  12. As a Chief Ethics Officer, what kinds of problems are you in charge of solving?
    1. NOTE: His team led initiatives to promote home-sharing and address regulatory issues with local governments and landlords around the world. As Chief Ethics Officer, Rob developed a popular interactive employee program, Integrity Belongs Here, to help drive ethics throughout the culture at the company. He lives in San Francisco, CA, and can be reached at
  13. What does a typical day in your life look like…how do you organize the first four hours of each day?
  14. Rob Chesnut, what inspired you to write your new book, Intentional Integrity: How Smart Companies Can Lead an Ethical Revolution?  
  15. Reid Hoffman the co-founder of Linkedin describes your book by writing, “The ethical expectations for companies is wonderfully changing from ‘do no evil’ to ‘do good.’ Companies and their leaders need to put ethics and integrity at the center of their mission and culture.” What kind of practical advice can readers of your book expect to find within the pages of your book?
  16. Rob Chesnut, I would love it if you could teach our listeners about the “6 Cs” to foster and manage a culture of integrity at work?
    1. CEO – The owner and CEO has to buy in
    2. Constant Communication – 
  17. What practical advice would you have for all of the listeners out there when it comes to protecting consumer data from external hackers and misuse by employees?
  18. You come across as a very proactive person…so how do you typically organize the first four hours of your and what time do you typically wake up?
    1. I typically wake up between 6:30 – 7 AM every morning
    2. I eat a low fat yogurt with a big handful of blueberries and granola
    3. I walk to work
    4. At the office I don’t have control where I can plan out my day, I have issues that come in all of the time
  19. What are a few of the daily habits that you believe have allowed you to achieve success?
  20. Rob Chesnut, What mentor has made the biggest impact on your career thus far?
  21. What advice would you give the younger version of yourself?
  22. You are super successful, but what do you struggle with the most…what is your weakness…what is your kryptonite? 
  23. You’ve got the mic, what is one thing that you want to share with the Thrive Nation before you drop the mic?
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Audio Transcription

Rob Chesnut Thrivetime Show


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