Amani Duncan, CEO, on the power of difference, empathy, and instinct in hiring

Amani Duncan, CEO, on the power of difference, empathy, and instinct in hiring.

Music and entertainment marketing executive Amani Duncan joins Roy for a conversation about empathetic leadership, why she chooses to be a mentor-manager, how the justice, equity, diversity and inclusion movement impacts the kind and quality of the work you’re doing, and much more.

Amani has more than 20 years of experience spanning a variety of industries. She began her career at Def Jam Recordings. She navigated a time of sweeping change in the music industry as she worked with iconic companies like Bad Boy Entertainment, C.F. Martin & Co, Virgin Records, Capital Music, and MTV/ViacomCBS. Most recently, she served as the CEO of creative agency BBH USA, where she and her team delivered data-driven, full stack marketing and strategic partnership support to leading consumer brands. Today, she serves on the board of Fender Music Instruments and FYLi.


  • How hiring happens in the music industry (5:55)
  • What leaders can learn from the ever-evolving music industry (8:32)
  • How being a mentor-manager influences her hiring approach (10:09)
  • Balancing gut with calculated risk when hiring (13:20)
  • Red (and green) flags when assessing a candidate (15:12, 27:29)
  • How Amani and her team set a vision to diversify BBH… (17:16)
  • …And how their success transformed the business (20:41)
  • The “spark” she looks for in candidates (24:27)
  • How Covid impacted hiring…
  • And how she handled mis-hires (29:04)
  • The benefits and pitfalls of references (30:31)
  • What teams need from leaders in this moment (33:33)

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