Jo Riley | From the FBI, to Celebrity CEO, and Eliminating Bias in Recruiting

Losing a successful company to a hostile takeover may be discouraging for some.

For this week’s guest, it was motivation.

Jo Riley is an entrepreneur and investor, and Co-Founder and CEO of Censia, which helps organizations and companies to recruit talent more efficiently. She was also the CEO and Co-Founder of 1-Page, a SAAS solution provider which was also in the talent acquisition sector.

In this episode, Jo joins John to talk about her experience working with the FBI, starting Censia, and what it was like going through a hostile takeover of her former company.

In this episode, we also talk about:

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  • Jo’s experience with the FBI
  • Are There Similarities Between Working in War Zones and Sales?
  • Selling Her First Company and Moving to China
  • People are a Company’s Greatest Asset
  • The Best Talent in the World is not Looking for Jobs Because they Already Have Them
  • Why Jo Decided to go Public on the Australian Stock Exchange
  • What Happened with 1-Page
  • Recovering from the Fallout of 1-Page
  • Tough Times do not Mean the End
  • Finding Investors for the Next Chapter
  • The Demonstration that Jo Does to Demonstrate Bias
  • How Jo Came to Work with SAP
  • Who Jo Thanks for Her Success

Resources Mentioned:

Sponsor: Rise25

Today’s episode is sponsored by Rise25 Media, where our mission is to connect you with your best referral partners, clients, and strategic partners. We do this through our done for you podcast solution and content marketing. 

Along with my business partner Dr. Jeremy Weisz, we have over 18 years of experience with B2B podcasting, which is one of the best things you can do for your business and you personally. 

If you do it right, a podcast is like a “Swiss Army Knife” – it is a tool that accomplishes many things at once. It can and will lead to great clients, referrals, strategic partnerships and more. It is networking and business development; and it is personal and professional development which doubles as content marketing. 

A podcast is the highest and best use of your time and will save you time by connecting you to higher caliber people to uplevel your network. 

To learn more, go to or email us at [email protected]. To learn more, book a call with us here.

Check out Rise25 to learn more about our done-for-you lead generation and podcast services.

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Episode Transcript

John Corcoran  0:40  

Alright, welcome everybody. My guest on the show is Joe Riley. She’s the CEO and co-founder of Cynthia which is a company that’s on the forefront of disrupting the $500 billion talent acquisition. global market. Cynthia helps organizations and companies to recruit more talented people more efficiently, efficiently. It’s kind of like the Spotify of talent. Intelligence Talent Search, helping companies to discover new talent just like Spotify or Pandora helps us to discover new music. And before that she was the CEO and co founder of one page, which is a SAS solution provider also in the talent acquisition sector. And in 2014, she led one page to a successful IPO. And then onto the I’m gonna get this right hopefully s&p slash ASX 300 by 2016. That’s kinda like the Australian list of the Top 300 fast growing companies but before that, get this she started her career in an international training unit for the FBI. I know we’re gonna find out how that connects to entrepreneurship, and had a full scholarship for crew at the University of Virginia, studied foreign affairs been featured in fortune Fast Company, Forbes, you name it Inc, all these different places. But in this episode, we’re going to talk also, frankly, about the entrepreneurial roller coaster, including the ups and downs, including being forced out of the company she founded and what it’s like to pick yourself back up again and start over. Again, which I don’t know anyone who can’t relate to having to do that, at some point, if you haven’t yet, you might at some point in the future. So listen to this episode. And if you are new to this show, Take a moment, think about what are the most important factors in career so far, I’m going to guess, if you really just fell down your career. It’s about relationships. And that’s what this is about talking to top business leaders, CEOs, founders and experts and asking them to break down how they built their businesses and the key relationships that actually lead to the backbone of any business help them to grow their business. And so if you find value in this podcast, which I know you will all we ask that you subscribe so you can receive the information and the downloads automatically. And also, before we get into this interview, this podcast is brought to you by rise 25 media which is done for you agency focusing on helping b2b businesses, to get more clients referrals and strategic partnerships are done for you podcast, and done for you content, marketing, and if you do it right, a podcast is so many things in one, it’s business development, networking, client acquisition, referral, marketing and more. And it even allows you to have a conversation With interesting people who may be worked for the FBI and and then has all kinds of experiences and entrepreneurship just like I’m about to do here today. So it’s one of the most enjoyable things that I do. So learn more, you can go to rise 25 calm. So as I mentioned, my guest is Joe Riley and let’s start with the FBI, shall we? I mean, that’s, that’s got to be one of the most interesting things I’ve seen. You said you always wanted to be in the FBI, you were recruited and you joined the international Training Unit. But then once you got there, you found out it wasn’t exactly what you thought it would be. And it kind of wasn’t exactly what you wanted to do, which led you down a journey which led you to other other occupations, but explain to me how you ended up with the FBI.

Jo Riley  3:43  

Yeah, um, so I, as you mentioned earlier, I was an athlete in college and so, first and foremost, I was always going to be a professional rower, which for all those that no growing they will be laughing right now. For nobody pays us the stadiums to play our sport. But I definitely wanted to be in team, national team started training the national team and had a really terrible injury. And as I after my fifth surgery in that injury, I was told by the head of the VA medical that I could never grow again, they couldn’t fix my injury. And so while the NCAA kept my scholarship, I I’m forbidden from rowing in the United States. And mostly that’s because I have a terminal or I have a an injury that that makes me not able to play a sport at all. And so while I was sitting there, my life over a funny part of me that didn’t really come up too much as i guess i started or as I looked at college, was that when I was a young kid, I I really wanted to be I always said I wanted to be an assassin. But don’t tell anybody that God forbid I would ever be on some like wanting to be an assassin as a young kid and I really wanted to protect the people I cared about the most. I wanted to Our country and at UVA, you’re surrounded by intelligence. You’re surrounded by a CIA. You’re surrounded by the FBI, NSA. We’re all right there, especially with Washington, DC, Washington DC being right or close to gay. And so unbeknownst to me at the time that I no longer could grow. I was approached by the CIA and FBI to join

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