The Integrity Revolution – Rob Chesnut

In this episode of Cocktail Leadership, your host, Kevin Withane chats with Rob Chesnut. Rob is the former Cheif Ethics Officer of AirBnB and is the author of Intentional Integrity: How Smart Companies Can Lead An Ethical Revolution.

Have you ever read something that has a lasting positive impact on you?  Last year, I read Everybody Matters, by Bob Chapman.  This book has had a deep impact on me.  Then, this year, I saw some posts by Rob on LinkedIn and started following him.  I then listened to his book and also read it.  It has had a profound impact on me.  Now I have had the chance to speak with Rob, that positive impact is amplified.

As you will hear in the episode, Rob has had intentional integrity in him from childhood, when he saw his mother return to a store to return money to the clerk who had given her too much change.

Rob leads us on a journey through his career and shares why has ended up writing a book in integrity.  This is the guy who led the successful prosecution of Aldrich Ames, former CIA agents who had become a KGB double-agent.

Rob shares what inspires him and why connection is so important.  He talks about the move towards more purpose-driven business and the focus on more than just shareholders.

There is so much to learn from Rob in this episode.

“You can’t outsource integrity. We need business leaders to step up, so I wrote Intentional Integrity to show them how to develop a home-grown, authentic approach that builds brand recognition, strengthens relationships with stakeholders, and ultimately helps their bottom line.”

About Rob

Rob Chesnut is the former Chief Ethics Officer at Airbnb, a role he took on in late 2019 after nearly four years as the company’s General Counsel. He previously led eBay’s North America legal team, where he founded the Internet’s first e-commerce person to person platform Trust and Safety team.

He was the general counsel at Chegg, Inc. for nearly 6 years, and he served 14 years with the U.S. Justice Department, where he prosecuted CIA employee Aldrich Ames for espionage. He is the author of Intentional Integrity: How Smart Companies Can Lead an Ethical Revolution (St Martin’s Press, 2020).

You can reach Rob on LinkedIn, and at the Intentional Integrity website.

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The Cocktail

Velvet Revolver – with a Cocktail Leadership twist

Serve in an old-fashioned glass.


1 spoon  Blackberry conserve jam (heaped)

1 2/3oz Cognac VSOP (I used Hines Cognac XO)

2/3 oz Pinot Noir red wine

1/2 oz Lemon juice (fresh squeezed)

1 tsp  Strawberry Gin Liqueur (or you can use cane sugar syrup)

2 dash Angostura (or other aromatic bitters)


Add the jam and cognac into a shaker and stir until jam is dissolved.  Add rest of ingredients, top with ice, and shake.  Fine strain into an old-fashioned glass with ice and garnish with a sprig of mint and half a strawberry (or a blackberry).  Sip and enjoy while reading your copy of Intentional Integrity by Rob Chesnut.


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