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Discussing Stupid: Talking Digital Customer Experience
Episode 5: Making sense of diversity in digital messaging | Heather Newman, Creative Maven
September 19, 2018 Heather Newman

The digital world of today challenges marketers to carefully craft their messaging or risk causing the type of public relations nightmare most don’t want to think about. Now, digital marketers have to not only appreciate the power of the words and imagery they use (or choose not to), but also recognize the need to elevate their messaging to tell a much broader, more diverse story around our brands and products. To help shed some light on some of these challenges, Virgil is joined by the always delightful Heather Newman from Creative Maven. Heather is not only an experience marketer, but is also known for her endeavors in the promotion of better diversity and inclusion in the workplace, especially in the field of technology.

During the discussion, Virgil and Heather ‘get real’ on how the conversation around diversity is changing the digital marketing landscape and share some big (and sometimes funny) screw-ups and successes along the way. In the end, the conversation explores the complex topic, pokes fun at many of our predisposed ideas about how diversity in messaging works (its not just about your person count in images) and gives real world examples on the dos and donts we should all try to follow.

Resources discussed:

Episode Transcript

Introduction:0:00Note, this podcast does not discuss nor endorsed the idea of discussing stupid ideas because we all know there are no stupid ideas.

Introduction:0:14Hello and welcome to discussing stupid, the podcast where we will tackle everything digitally stupid from stupid users and the crazy things they do, just snip it. Practices and the people who use them. Look, spore, the stupid things we all do and maybe even come up with a few ideas on how to do things better. And now that I got your attention, let's start discussing stupid.

Virgil Carroll:0:42Hello and welcome back to the broadcast of my podcast. I'm Virgil Carroll, your host and principal human solutions architect at High Monkey. Well, it's been a while since I posted, but I decided to get back going with the podcast and as always with anything, you kind of learned some lessons and I tried to bring those lessons into play here. The first lesson I learned is that boy, I just can't do 36, 48 episodes a year. Like I was trying to be on pace to do. It was just a little bit too much time commitment and boy, a lot more work than anybody would think to really do these. Well. The second thing is I got a lot of feedback from people that in trying to keep my episodes more around a half an hour that those shorter discussions really didn't kinda follow the natural flow of the conversation, but instead kind of sounded a little bit cutoff. And boy, I, I know I'm a person who loves to talk so that kind of makes sense for me. So going forward, I'm going to be doing a monthly podcast probably right around the 19th or so of each month when this episode launches. I'm going to keep it to the same type of topic based, but overall we're going to delve a little deeper, have a little bit further conversations. As you'll definitely see in today's show. I'm so I'm really excited about today's show. I have a great guest joining me. Her name is Heather Newman. She's the owner of M reative maven and she is involved in so many other things, but I'll let her introduce herself. Her and I actually talked during the Microsoft SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas back in May. We talked about the diversity and inclusion track that she was running there. Heather is definitely one of the forefront in my field, especially in the world of diversity and inclusion in not only our messaging but also in just the workplace and everything we do, so I thought Heather would be a great guest to come and talk to us about really what does it mean to really understand having diversity in our digital messaging and what are some of the challenges, the opportunities in that and most excited even since her and I talked, I wished her and I could have talked about this, but since her and I actually talked, she was invited in, actually hosted a diversity panel at the San Diego Comicon, which is, if you don't know is is the Comicon, so I mean that's a pretty major deal in, in a pretty big honor. So I'm really excited to have heather with me today and I you're going to really enjoy our discussion around this topic.

Virgil Carroll:3:10Hi Heather. Well thanks for joining me. I really appreciate you taking some time here, especially at this big conference. Um, but could we start out by just maybe tell people a little bit about yourself?

Heather Newman:3:33Sure thing Virgil. Thank you for having me. My name is Heather Newman and I am CMO on co-founder of content panda, which is a SharePoint app that brings help and training inside in context. And then I also have another role with Creative Maven. I'm head Maven and owner of Creative Maven. We do virtual cmo level marketing for all kinds of businesses and personal brand and such. So, and I'm a Microsoft MVP and I'm here this week as our track owner for our diversity and inclusion track here at the show, first time that's happened in my knowledge up against the technical track. So it's a really exciting milestone for our community.

Virgil Carroll:4:00yeah, that is a very exciting. And that was actually one of the things that kind of brought me to the topic that I wanted to discuss here. And so, you know, out in the world of digital marketing and just kind of communications in general, whether it's internal or external or whatever it is, we really do have this challenge of, you know, you hate to say it, diversity has always been around, but it has become a much more urgent thing these days and rightfully so, but also why is it taken this long? But a lot of times when I sit down with people, they really say, well how do you really take your messaging and be diverse with it and realize that it's not just pictures and making sure that you have the right number of people from different ethnicities and different genders in those pictures. So when you start talking to clients, especially about diversity from a messaging standpoint, how do you start there?

Heather Newman:5:41I think that we start with making sure that they understand that when someone isn't represented that they feel invisible and so it isn't about the accounts and that's what a lot of the times they'll start with. So you're on point with that there, you know. Well, you know, let's have one Asian and one black and one this and one woman and did we get it right. You know, and, and, you know, okay, step in the right direction. I mean if you're even thinking about it sometimes, because a lot of this wasn't really part of their vernacular diversity. Was that one sort of one person sort of in the back that was like, what about what about, you know, and people were like, oh yeah, yeah. So I think you're right about stock photography and that sort of thing that that's not the only way to do it. I think that being mindful though of your stock photography is interesting. I was listening to a gal put together a presentation for our track and she had put all women in it, a couple of pictures and then she was like, you know, I realized that I wanted all women in some of them, but I went back and put some with women and men because a big thing right now is also the word allies and creating male allies. And making sure that we say thank you to our male allies like you, you know, like that asks these questions that want to talk about these sorts of things. Funnily enough, it's not just about pictures and counts, but in a way that's like that sort of most base level book if you want to. It's also about how we speak about certain issues and also it gets down to pronouns. You know, I mean I think that we've taken out a lot of the, you know, him and you know, versus he and all of that stuff in some of the copy that we, that we create. So that's kind of a simple thing that's been around for awhile, but it's still out there. And I think people don't always realize that words matter and these days not only diversity with women but diversity, you know, looking at people who are trans and people who have all kinds of different backgrounds who have looked at themselves in a different LGBT way, you know, is really important for that as well. I think diversity in marketing is, you know, I, I had a, where did I go up, the Museum of failure was in Los Angeles not too long ago and there was a, it was big for her bic pen for her and it was like this weird pink pen that had like all this funny messaging on it for women and it was a big failure actually because it kind of went over the top. I'm, you'll have people that, you know, don't want to participate in the women in tech. Things that we do even in our own community, just because they don't really want to be seen as anything other than just a person in tech. And I feel like that that is. I mean that's the thing, to strive to, that we're all humans and tech. Right. But you still have, you know, you don't have gender parody in wages and if you don't have seeing folks and hearing from different voices. I think that in marketing's really important to that, having a different voice that has been really not brought out. So having more speakers that are female and having more blog posts that are by your female folks in marketing, I think all of that's really positive too.

Virgil Carroll:8:03Yeah. So you bring up some excellent points in. One of the things that always comes to my mind with that and something I kind of struggle with is you know right now you kind of hear this phrase sanitize, you know, otherwise sanitize our messaging and get it to be more neutral. And when you start working with an organization you say, okay, you've got have start looking at this and you've got to start having some type of thought process around how you do this messaging. How do you kind of determine from a very smart level of where you target in, where you hate to use the phrase sanitize, but something like that where you're being more neutral in the way you're saying things. Because from that side, through my years, whenever you try to target an audience, you're also potentially untargeted other audiences. Sure. So I think that's something that a marketer typically struggles with is if you do something, like you said, the bic pen in that blows back in your face, but then if you go to the other side where you don't target anybody in, you sanitize everything to you not kind of have the same effect.

Heather Newman:9:08Yeah, I think that's very interesting as well. Yeah. I good marketing to me, one is about marketing is about perception. First of all, right? It's what people believe about you and your product and what it does and do you tell the truth about what it does and are you presenting something that they can get behind and that they can connect to emotionally, even, you know, even software and hardware, there is an emotional connection to the things that we buy. And I think that at the end of the day, the people in marketing, digital, you know, all, all of the different sorts of kinds are good storytellers. You know, at the end of the day this is about telling stories and understanding that in any good story. Like I'm a big star Wars Dork, so I love that. So. But insert any epic story, right? You need to really be always remember that. What I think people fail on a lot of the times is that they lead with the features and functionality of what it is that they do. They lead with themselves. We, you know, we do this, we do that. We're amazing. This is how our thing works. The thing is, is that it's sort of like if you look at the, the Luke and Obi wan Kenobi relationship. So the thing is is that Luke is your buyer, right? And that Obi wan is the guide and that's you, your, your guide for your customers. Right? So I feel like, and there's a couple of different methodologies out in the world, there's storybrand, which is really good. And a couple others that I really like the way they do the sort of buyer journey and personas and all of that stuff. Donald Miller is a fellow who does storybrand and I think that's really astute because most people don't lead with the hero of their story. And I think that when you're looking at that, you have to really look at, hey, how many heroes do I have, you know, if they listened to us or use our product, do we get them to know who their father is or whatever, you know, whatever the goal is. Right. So I feel like if you stick to story and you stick to that sort of methodology, then I think you can target your audience and not sanitized because it's in a story and I mean you can skew stories, obviously all kinds of different ways and they can have bias and they can be racist or sexist or whatever, you know, all of that. But I think if you are true to that sort of hero guide kind of way of thinking, I think that you can do a good job of targeting.

Virgil Carroll:11:44Yeah, that's a really good way of thinking of it. And I don't know that I've always thought about it in that method, but you know, I mean it makes a lot of sense because sometimes probably try a little bit too hard in the world and that in. I know you know from your kind of personal what you've went through here, you know, I, I hope that any marketers that are listening to this podcast have kind of stuck with this because they probably heard the word technology and they got all like, oh, I don't want to think about the word technology, but it is a very unique world in that. Not that there aren't a lot of industries that are especially very male dominated, but there is nothing compared to tech in that. And the sharepoint community in general I think has been amazing because we have such a larger female population than most other were tech. Without almost being tech. I mean, you know, you, you probably go to an oracle conference or something like that. You won't. You won't quite see the same thing that you get here. But as you've kind of went through the years in that, what are some of the things that you've seen about how you and the other people in your situation and your women in tech group in that. What are some of the messaging things that you guys have done to really kind of helped change the understanding, the comfort level maybe even with embracing women in technology and really putting them up at the forefront?

Heather Newman:13:06I think that things have changed over the years and changed recently, right? I mean, I think I'll just say when you sort of feel like you've been kicked in the teeth, that kind of accelerates things. It was right. And so there's a, there's been an accelerant in the world, right? With the #metoo movement and you know, other things that are happening in our, in our, in our world. Culturally, I'll say I feel like there was a very female forward in the past, but there's also, you know, we kind of stand on the shoulders of giants in a way, you know, the, the women's march that happened for example, two years ago in DC, which I was at. I mean women been marching for 100 years in this country at least striving to get even the equal rights amendment passed, which it's still not ratified. So there's a lot of like, not to be like crazy historical on it, but like or crazy hysterical as they would say, maybe a little ha ha ha, you know, I feel like that kind of thing. You kind of look at and, and so even in our own community when Cathy Dew and Lori started women in SharePoint, which is great and they have done such a nice job with that over the years. And Jennifer Mason and other folks that have been involved with it. I think it used to be that it was, we didn't include men in those and I still think that sometimes having a panel or a lunch that's just women to create a safe space to have a dialogue is absolutely important and needed. But I also like the shift to diversity and inclusion. Meaning you know, let's be diverse, but let's include folks so that you can help educate people on the different areas that need some work. And so many wonderful men in our community have asked people to speak and are pointedly with their SharePoint Saturdays. They want a percentage of people that's, you know, that is female. And so that's been really cool and now I've heard in the last bit in doing this track it was its diversity inclusion and belonging has been added on there, which I really Kinda, I was like dibs, I guess, you know, so I feel like over over time that's changed in flowed as far as message of who is included in the room at least there. And I think that I like seeing when I can pop off all kinds of data statistics and science to you about, you know, this many percentage of women that have, that aren't getting paid the same as men and you know, and I love all of that stuff. I love all the data because I think it's important. Opinion is wonderful, but opinion with data is really powerful. Right? And so, you know, when you're looking at 28, 26, 27 percent, organizations that have more gender equity are more successful and they make more money in our more profitable Karuana had that statistic in a slide today, you know. So I think that kind of message is really interesting too. And making sure that we know are facts and that you know your facts so that when you are really opinion things you can be because you've got the backup,

Virgil Carroll:16:06you know, Lord knows in the facebook world, everybody knows everything about everything. I know exactly what you mean. I mean, you know, and I think that's part of what I've started to see is. I mean, I mean definitely. I mean people could argue there's, there's been some great things, there's been some overreactions, there's been a lot of different things there. But overall, the one thing that I think is consistent and you can tell me if you think I'm wrong in this, is that most of the women that I know and, and most of the different groups, they just want to be treated as everyone else. Not necessarily that you need to say, well, this is a woman oriented message. This is an African American oriented message, this is, it's kind of the messaging should always feel inclusive in itself.

Heather Newman:16:53Agreed. I mean, and I'll say your original question about messaging in digital marketing. I kind of skirted it a little bit. You know, in a way, because I agree with you, you know, I agree that like is there female messaging, I mean, you know, and versus male versus and I know that certain things just the way the world is and things that we've grown up with and just the, the religions that we've had or however we were brought up in school, like there's a lot of things that are sort of indigenous to the patriarchy if you will, an inherent sexism and racism for that matter. So, but I, yeah, I do feel like, I don't know, I think our community does a really good job caring about this and being nice to each other about it, you know, and I feel like people are very respectful of each other and at the end of the day, I mean honestly. Yeah. I mean here's the thing, the word equal means equal, right? So no more, no less, you know. Right. So that's kind of like equality was there, then it wouldn't, you know, it's not necessarily special treatment, you know, like, I mean I want to be paid the same. I also very much enjoy somebody's holding a door open for me. I had people I was carrying stuff today, asked me to help me with boxes and luggage and stuff like that. And it's not just like I'm strong, I'm an Amazonian, you know, gal from the Midwest where German and Polish upbringing, you know, I can carry anything but like it's just nice. It's like politeness. It's about helping somebody when they're just doing something that's a pain in the butt, you know? So it is funny because I'm fierce about, you know, women and all of that stuff. I also appreciate a gentleman. I also appreciate, you know, like when does that kind of stuff too, you know what I mean?

Virgil Carroll:18:34So, so when you work with your clients, how do you get them to kind of filter out the noise of the moment? I mean the noise of the moment in that something big is happening and so then some c level executive walks down and they're like, we've got to have an initiative marketing initiative or a communication issue around x because this is happening out there. We want to show that we're a company that cares. How do you kind of work with them around getting around that noise and understanding that there are things of the moment that are important, but overall making sure that they understand really when you start talking about diversity in messaging, when you started talking about inclusion in that, that's not what that means.

Heather Newman:19:16Right? Right. I think any knee jerk gut reaction to anything is always bad and so there's always where you say, hey, let's take a moment of pause and let's really understand this issue and this issue was specifically. It's got its legs and roots in human resources, right? In a way with most companies and so you've got to understand human resources and how it works at that particular company because a lot of. I mean, interestingly enough, a lot of the times, head of human resources, and your CMO, and sometimes it's COO too, usually women a lot of the times, so you get sort of that triumvirate, but I think that's where you start and the thing is is that I love people who work in hr. However, the people who work in hr work for the company and they are working for the best of the corporation, right? So at the end of the day it's what's already existing in what do you do something already and in around diversity, inclusion, belonging, you know, belonging, women in tech, all of that, all of a sudden to come out with some giant blast message that will bring false because you don't actually do anything besides, you know, we have women or whatever it is, you know, women are awesome or you know, like that kind of thing. That's lovely and it. But it won't be effective. It'll ring false and you'll just look silly and the women of the company will roll their eyes and be like, well another day, here we go, you know. So I feel like it's steering them towards what do, what do you do officially? Right. And then if you really want to do something, it's about who is, who's come to you before and asked about it or in an all hands meeting, you know, the open suggestion box or you know what I mean, like give people an outlet to step up if they want to or to create something. You know, most of these things are so much better when they're done on a grassroots when somebody is actually wanted to do something instead of it coming sort of top down from the executive level as like something that's forced and not real. So.

Virgil Carroll:21:21Right. Yeah. You know, one of the things that I was thinking of is if you were actually a person or an organization that you've actually thought through everything that you do on a daily basis that probably exclude someone in that. I mean, I even think about, you know, I hate to say it, I've been probably the worst propagator rather when I traveled to another country. You know, there's always a joke, you know, there's always a joke that somehow it tied to that, you know, and not. And how many times have I been around a tourist and you're in Germany that I sit there and say, oh, you must be eating a pretzel or something. There's all these things that kind of go into it. It's just such a big challenge because, you know, part of having things that don't offend anybody is that it's very easy to offend everybody. Yeah.

Heather Newman:22:10I think some. There's a comedian that said something like that. That sounds very, you know what I mean? Like, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I think that will, you know, words are powerful and I think that, you know, you change the way you speak and do things and hold yourself depending on sort of the situation and sort of what's happening in the world. And I feel like I see people like when I'm talking to them about stuff, like I'll see them process something and like we about to say something and then they shift to something else, you know? And I, and I think it's, it is, uh, on these issues, you know, and I think that's interesting and it's also if there's a little bit more thoughtfulness in our world, great. You know, at the end of the day. And I also, speaking of traveling to different countries, even sort of when you're in your, like in the United States that, you know, asking people where they're from, if especially if they have an accent or if they're different colors, you know, skin than Caucasian, you know, that that is, it's offensive and it can be offensive to people. And so it's like, and I think we had a discussion about this on a Facebook post by a colleague of ours and I thought that was really fascinating because I'll ask that question because I'm fascinated by where people are from and I love accents and the like, some people aren't. Can you read me the phone book all day long? You know what I mean? So, but it is, it's things that you sort of have always had in your mouth, but in your brain that you've said, you've said a million times and you're like, oh my goodness, I totally offending you and I didn't mean to do that. You know? So it's not just men, you know, it's, there's all kinds of things that I think we need to be mindful as people. And even the #metoo movement, you know, like when you're asking somebody, you're like, hey, you're going to go to that party. Yeah, me too. You're like, oh gosh. And it's got a different trigger and, and weight now those two little words, you know, so interesting how things like that change very quickly.

Virgil Carroll:24:04Yeah, that is. I mean it is an ever changing world. One of the things I'm very passionate about and we do a lot of project is accessibility and you know, that's again something that's been around for a really long time and you know, when we've done government projects, so has been a mandatory requirement. But overall it's always been a requirement versus something actually understand that you are including a segment of our population that may not be able to be included if you don't go through that process. And I think that's part of it too, is you know, I think to me right now, social and digital responsibility is kind of going to be the next generation is going green.

Heather Newman:24:46I think Omni Directional marketing, I mean you kind of have to do all of it. Like there's that baseline of things that you need to do and should do and have to do. And, but I also feel like because the blogosphere has grown because things like medium.com are available. First of all, everybody's a personal coach and everybody is a writer and I put that in air quotes, money quotes. Right. So you have all these traces of like whose content do you read, whose content is correct, who curates what? is it most up to date? So like, and content is now expected to be free these days too. Right? Like go on the Internet and uh, you know, like buying. When was the last time you went on the Internet and bought a piece of content?

Virgil Carroll:25:34Oh, never done that. I don't know. I think, I think I missed some conference one time and I bought their content, but that was maybe seven, eight, nine, 10 years ago. Yeah.

Heather Newman:25:46Right. So you've got, we're in a world that was, you know, it was the ipod with the ninety nine cent song, like that screwed up everything for everybody, right. So now content, if it's not a book, it's overpriced or whatever, you know what I mean? So it's like the commodification of our market in that way to be, you know, content is king, but content sure doesn't pay anymore. Not what it did even on the writer side of things because people will write for free. Right. I mean, I know that as a marketer, you know, I'm like, Hey, you want to do that? Oh sure. You know, and that's good for businesses, but bad for IP content writing folks who are brilliant and should be paid for their work. You know?

Virgil Carroll:26:31Yeah. It's kind of ironic you say that because the first thing that came to my mind was clickbait, you know, I mean right there, if I ever did like a personal rant podcast, it'd be basically me taking and picking apart every article that ever gets posted to Facebook and saying the title actually doesn't equal the article in that. And, and I think, I think you're absolutely right. I think it's content and in one of the problems that we have now, is it when people try to target different groups, people are interested in reading something more so today that validates what they think anyway in that there's not as much people reading stuff that they kind of go out there. So if, if you're going to target, you may almost be placating to their individual desires and that which, which I think is a lot, you know, I mean, I mean look at the power of twitter these days. I mean that tool is become so unbelievably powerful where all it needs is the right person to disagree with something that a brand is done and it's instantaneous or how about snapchat. I mean snapchat, I would just read an article about how basically it was the CEO who decided all these design changes that you know, lost in millions of users and basically tanked the value of their shares and may never recover, but it's so instantaneous and it's so instantaneous without any real foundation and any factual anything

Heather Newman:27:59When the consumer has a lot more ability to get their voice heard. You know, with twitter, with things like that, and so some of it sometimes is valid, you know, but then you also have, you know, people who work the system and you know, put things on twitter to get free x, Y, Z or whatever, or just are negative complaining people. So I mean, so it's got it's doubled edged sword where it's good that it's like you are, you get that real time potential, this is what's going on with me and I'm unhappy about it, but you also get the real time with me. Happy about it. You know,

Virgil Carroll:28:41and I think on top of that we've become a world, especially in marketing and communications where we honestly believe that we have to make every single person on the planet happy and we've got to have everything we do has to make them all better. And I think that's part of the problem. If, you know, we live in a diverse world, therefore if we live in a diverse world, there is no way you can do something that is going to make everybody on the planet happy.

Heather Newman:29:10Oh No, absolutely not. I mean, I'm personally, you know, as a chief marketing officer or even a consultant or whatever, you know, what I have my flavor of the way I do things, you know, and I come at my job very differently than a lot of other people. Somebody that's, I don't know, has a master's degree from Harvard or whatever, you know, and I have my sort of scrappy upbringing at Microsoft and the theater and all of that stuff, you know, am I just as powerful as that CMO? Hell yeah I am, but completely different. So like I personally not somebody a cup of tea because of that and that same, same on that person, you know what I mean. And so I think if we understand that, you know, what sometimes you weren't going to be liked or sometimes the thing that you bring to the table isn't going to be liked and that's okay. But that's like we could like have a whole conversation about like lizard brain and like all that stuff of the fight or flight things and just like fear and so much of like that's what other thing that I'm glad that people are getting away from that a little bit is like I like a problem being solved. But I just, I really hate fear based marketing. I don't like it at all and I. It does not appeal to me as a consumer and I don't do it as a practice because I just don't believe in it. You know? I like positivity.

Virgil Carroll:30:29That's a tougher thing to come by today. I mean that's when I sit down with people and they're trying to put together a website or they're trying to look at their social strategy. They're trying to look at any of that in there. Frankly, just frustrated because they don't know what to do because they feel like anything they do is going to cause harm somewhere else. And I think it comes down to exactly what you said, positive message, the right message. You're doing it for the right reasons. Somebody is going to get offended. Sure. Somebody's gonna take it wrong. But overall if you have the right thought process around it, can you really do any better than that? Right?

Heather Newman:31:09No, I don't. I don't think so. I, you know, and I have clients that are both personal brand and then on the marketing side, some, some private enterprise giant customers. Sometimes I'm kind of like the consigliere in the background and you know, it just, I get with them once a month, they talked to their teams and I've done that for years for companies and I've really enjoyed that work and that kind of happened randomly. I did it once and I was like, this is kind of cool. Maybe I should see people want this, you know, but at the end of the day, like I have a lot of people who are trying to build their own websites, who wanted, you know, maybe get out of the corporate rat race and do have their own businesses and stuff like that and they don't understand how to use the tools. And then also like I was helping this woman who's a friend and she's more in the wellness health area and I helped her. She was working on Wix and which I know, all right, I, Squarespace is kinda my jam. But anyway, she was all excited about it and nervous and everything and I was like, I need to burst your bubble a little bit on this because you know, this is like huge for you. Like in this is. And I've gone through this. When we launched content panda, I was like, oh my God, that was like, you know, like when you hit go, you know, like Cuckoo Cuckoo, you know what I mean? Thank you. But it wasn't like, you know, all the sudden like there was a ticker tape parade and you know, studio 54 dance party and you know, like what, like, you know, like yeah, you know. And then. So it's interesting when over the years having built, I worked on the launch of Office 2003 and I and from way back, you know, and then coming up and doing these shows and stuff like that and so like all this stuff that you think is important and interesting and people are going to be like, ah, like rip their hair out and oh my goodness, you know, and you do it and it's like, dude, you know, or you're a writer and you post something for the first time and you're like, I just basically like poured my heart out and wrote this in blood and it's all how I feel and blah blah blah. And then, you know, he get maybe one person or two. I mean, if you get a comment, sometimes it's exciting or you know what I mean, exactly what you mean because you're like, you're like, does anybody care a lot of lurkers? I know all of you lurkers out there. You lurk all the time and don't comment, but let's totally fine. But uh, I don't know. It's just, it's interesting. It's sort of like, at the end of the day, I think all of this marketing stuff, I mean, people give a heart, I don't know, marketers are, you know, like spin doctors, you know, all this stuff and yeah, yes, sure. But I think kind of the end of the day, it's kind of like about understanding the human condition and human beings. It's simple psychology, you know, and if you kind of understand how people buy things and want things and it's about ego and it's about belonging, it's about cool factor and it's about this, this, you know, what work, you know, that's how I buy. And I guess in the sort of world of diversity and messaging, I dunno, it's, I recently a client sent me a bottle of Jane Walker, the alternative to Johnnie Walker. They did a, Oh my God, are you kidding? Yes. And I got it in the mail and I was like, wow. And I, you know, and I was like my first reaction and I was like, that's cool. I mean it was more that like, was I going to. I think it was actually, I liked the fact that I had it so I could show it to other people to see what they thought about, you know, what I mean, but I thought it was a really cool gift and interesting and because they do all this, you know, women in tech and diversity stuff, I think it was like he was like, what do you think of the marketing? And I do, I'm, I'm a virtual CMO for this company and we meet with them once a month and talk to the marketing team and stuff and so, and I helped them build their brand and uh, yeah. So that was kind of interesting to get that and see like that's a, you know, a brand that's been around a really long time and they chose to do a female version of the Johnny, you know, and I haven't tasted it yet. I bet it probably tastes the same, but I'm kind of wondering what they do with that.

Virgil Carroll:35:22I know a lot of Johnny Walker fan at all, but yeah, that's kind of interesting from that side.

Heather Newman:35:27Yeah if I opened it up and it smelled really floral. I think I'd be a little mad, but you know, I've had Johnnie Walker so that would be quite a difference.

Virgil Carroll:35:40So yeah, I mean, but I think, I think you bring up a great point there too, in that, you know, sometimes businesses get very one track focused and what they think is a good message is like you were talking about your blog posts and then also, you know, with Jane Walker, did they actually go out and talk to anybody else and say, well what, how would you take this? We got it. And I think that's equally important. Is it opinion is always in the eyes of the beholder. It's always the person receiving it there and you say, no, you can't be offended by them as well. Yes I can if I want because I'm the one that interpreted it. And so you do see a lot of businesses that kind of do this on their own and think up these great ideas and then lived to regret it.

Heather Newman:36:23Well. And they don't bounce them off anybody. I mean, you know, so why did you bic for her bomb and end up in the museum of failure and Jane Walker? I mean I don't know how. I haven't looked up to see if that's been like a buster or if it's a cool thing. I also feel like I think it actually was really well received because it's sort of. I think it was done in the right way with the right message and also with. I think when you do those things in, you say give part of the proceeds to girls who code or something like that. You know if you're doing something, if you're going to do something really specific kind of, I would say be bold with it and use it as a vehicle to enhance something. Maybe they're going back to that other conversation of like, you know, if the HR team is doing something or if you're giving money to something, you're shedding light on somewhere or whatever. Like if you, if you're doing something like that and you connect it to a do gooder truly do gooder piece of it where you're putting money where your mouth is. In a way too, I think that can be a really positive way to bring something out like that as well. I think when I interviewed at Microsoft forever ago for a job there, I think one of the, you know, the, they have all those questions like how do you move Mount Fuji and why are manhole covers round and it's this whole like serious. It's serious. Like you have six hours of interviews and then like your last one. It's just, it's super intense. It was so much fun actually. I really enjoyed it but. But it was one of my questions was like would you market a pink drill for women and if so how would you do it? You know, and most of the questions are, it's less about the answer itself, but it's about understanding how you think and how your brain works mostly, you know. So that was kind of interesting and that was a long time ago now and I don't know, I've tried to think like I do like a girly screwdriver that's got flowers on it. Like I think that stuff makes me laugh. Do I need it? But I don't know, do I need a new pair of shoes? Made me the answer. That's probably a bad question. But um, that was probably a bad example, but you know what I mean. But I do, I find that stuff fun and kind of kitschy. Do I go out of my way to find it necessarily? Maybe if I'm giving presence, you know, I dunno. I Dunno. Yeah.

Virgil Carroll:38:28Well, I mean, you know, some of that works. I mean look at like, you know, we talked about the, the bic and that kind of stuff, but look like the NFL. Yeah, I mean how much they've been able to brand new, you know, specifically for women. Yeah. I mean, you know, the, the, the different jerseys that they create an that kind of stuff was become immensely popular. So it's not that you can't do that stuff is it maybe you should spend 10 minutes figuring out if anybody actually wants that stuff or where they're going to be like this is worthless. And why did you do this from that side? Because I actually, you know, going back to Johnny Walker, I know many women that like Johnnie Walker, so you know, you can't normally assume that

Heather Newman:39:07or you buy that for your girlfriend, you know what I mean? Is it like that's a letter. The thing like women do a lot of funny things for each other like that, that are of that ilk, you know what I mean? Instead of buying just a regular something, it's maybe something that happens to be more said regular, right. Then interesting. Like more feminine or that is pink or it's got a lot of bling on it or whatever, you know and. But yeah, I think it's interesting and that's very kind of on the consumer side of things. I guess too. It's different than some of the software by. I mean it's like we don't have content panda for women.

Virgil Carroll:39:39So you bring that up and so to, to kind of ask you my last thing, and this is something that actually one of my friends who's female thought I should ask. When I told her that I was going to be doing this session a few days ago and I thought, Oh, you know, that's actually very interesting. She works in marketing and one of the things that she's observed as is kind of why do you think that women are so intimidated doing things that target women, you know, marketing, messaging, marketing in that kind of stuff, that they kind of stray on the side of being much more masculine in their messaging, thinking that they're covering their bases better there versus kind of another side. And I thought, you know, I've, I've honestly never thought about that. Maybe I've never realized it, but I figure you're a person asking them. Why do you think that is? Because I mean obviously you hate to say it, but, but most marketing professionals that is a very female dominated industry in that, why do you think they tend to where they could be at the forefront of pushing this? They tend to be behind it.

Heather Newman:40:45Yeah. I think that her couple things. So I think that, for example, in me doing this track right and me personally doing a lot of the champion of the women in tech stuff and working with people like Cathy, you started different things, you know, and I don't know, like at the end of the day, what do I want to be seen as? Am I, I'm a marketer for sure. You know, and I'm a, I would call myself a bit of a technologist. I can't set up an active directory, nor do I care to nor do I want to. I have really smart people in my life that do that. Right. But when you do certain things and you kind of go, it's like, oh, she's the, she's a women in tech. That Gal over there does that, you know, when people don't want to pigeonhole you, you know, like, and then you become, oh she does all the female marketing stuff. She's not allowed to do the other stuff because you know that female marketing stuff, right. I don't know what voice and accent that I just put on, but you know what I mean. But like, you know what I think so I think there is a bit of stigma or Stigmata if you will, that goes with being seen as a softer, not as, you know, tough. It's not, you know, the Audi A7 or whatever or whatever, you know, it's, it's just not for whatever reason, it's sort of put down a little bit. I also feel like that, I don't know, women working with women, I love me, some women, but sometimes you know, like that's also sometimes our dirty little secret of my session that I'm going to give is all about fear and toxicity in the workplace. And it spawned from a conversation that I was having and I was observing somebody go after someone else and it was two women that I work with and know and in a situation and, and then also a panel that I was dealing with. A woman in our audience raised their hand and said I'm being bullied. And I was like, Oh God, she's like by a woman. And I was like, oh my goodness. And she's like, and it's the HR person. I was like, you have a trifecta of terrible happening right now. You know, I was like, this is crazy, and we ended up having this really great conversation about that kind of stuff, but that's sort of the, you know, marketing to women is one thing and not being seen as a softer or not as. You don't need to be so smart to market to those women. You know, you can just do it. I know, I know that sounds, but I think there is that thought that, you know, when you're doing things for women, it's not quite as up to snuff. It's not quite as baller. It's not quite as you know, awesome are, you know, and that's prevalent so women won't attach themselves to those things because they don't want to get pigeonholed and only doing the pink stuff, you know, that which is awesome. Pink stuff's awesome. You know what I mean? But I think it, it. You can be placed in a place where you don't want to be or that you're not allowed to do anything else or that you're seen as that people love pigeonholing. Right? You know, it's like you're this and you're like, well, you don't know anything about all this other part of my life, which is fine, you know, but so like, I don't know. So yeah. I don't know if that makes sense.

Virgil Carroll:43:38No, that's such a great way of saying it and I think that really hits as a matter of fact, I'm not really sure that I can top that question with anything else And I think it's one that hits, you know, I mean from that side, it's, it's, it's knowing, it's understanding and it's being willing to put in there and that's why I wanted to have you on here because even though there's probably a lot of listeners that maybe you're not in technology, if you don't have a lot of interests, I think it's something they should pay attention to you because you all have very much pushed this front and center and understand that this is. You hear a lot about programs around the STEM programs and trying to get more girls involved in STEM and trying to diversify into lower income neighborhoods and all this different stuff that we have going on now, but you guys have really done this well. So I'd like to is we kind of wrap up first. Thank you very much for talking with me. I think this was an excellent discussion in some great things for people to walk away with, but I'd like you to leave me with two pieces of information first. If people want to learn more about what you're all doing with women in tech and kind of how you're putting it together. If nothing else, just to understand how somebody in my mind is doing this right. How can they find out more information about that?

Heather Newman:44:58Well, there's a couple of different places. I mean I have a lot of this stuff on my creativemaven.com website, so and I'm putting more and more up there as we speak. If it's in the Microsoft community, the diversity and inclusion page at Microsoft is really exciting and, and been overhauled recently. So there's a lot of great information there. Also women in sharepoint that website's getting a little bit of an overhaul, but that twitter account is pretty active and then there's a couple of national organizations, women in tech that people can belong to. I also really like and just donated money to a national women's history museum because they're building a new building in Washington DC and I love their facebook page and their twitter. They're always putting out really cool things about just history in general and it's just, I think it's always amazing to see your history, you know, I don't think we know our history as well as we should because a lot of our history as women was redacted overtime out of our American history. I will say, you know, most people don't even know who Alice Paul is, you know, and I'll leave you all to figure out and see if you actually know who Alice Paul is and you can go look her up. So yeah, so those are some places you can check out. Karuana Gatimu, who is a principal program manager for Microsoft teams. She's got a really great youtube series called "coffee in the cloud", which is technology focused, but definitely got a lot of women on that show with her. Trying to think of where else. Yeah, I mean there's lots and lots of resources for. I might have a resource page from this show up on creativemaven.com. It'll be on constant panda as well, but um, there'll be blogs and there'll be resources listed. Oh, you should follow @Microsoftwomen. That's a really great twitter account to follow and really excited about Microsoft Ignite. For those of you thinking about going to that, there's going to be a diversity and inclusion lunch track there. They did this last year. It was fantastic. I went to, I think every day of it I'm doing it again and enhancing it. And so there's, I've been involved with sort of the bigger flagship events at Microsoft and um, there's a lot of really good work going on to see how we do diversity and inclusion programming and such inside of all of the bigger shows. So ready and inspire and ignite and envision and sort of on into the next year or so and I'm involved with a little bit of that and have my ear in Hanson in there, so I'm excited about how that's all going to come out the rest of the year too. So.

Virgil Carroll:47:20Nice. Well I'll make sure that all those many addresses and stuff are in the show notes and I know you've mentioned creativemaven.com, but if somebody is interested in getting a hold of you kind of learning more about what you're doing, are there other ways to reach out to you?

Heather Newman:47:33Yeah, absolutely. I'm on twitter at @heddanewman is an old nickname from a checklist. Slovakian at that time director who couldn't say heather, he said had the had died. It was college and he was directing me to do something on stage. Like look at it like it's a milky glass. I was like, what? Okay, I'll figure it out. But yeah, so she gave me my head. I had a new men on twitter. I'm on instagram and the same you can always find me on Facebook under Heather Newman and then my site's got ways to contact me and I'm a writer on medium.com. Heddanewman. I do a lot of more motivational, inspirational writing up there, less tech, so. Wonderful.

Virgil Carroll:48:10Well thank you again, Heather for joining me. I really appreciate it.

Heather Newman:48:13You Bet. You are so fun and this was wonderful. Thank you for asking. You Bet.

Virgil Carroll:48:24Well, I hope you enjoyed that first episode of what I'm hoping will be a lot more kind of episodes that really fit my style and personality, that kind of conversation and I have a lot of guests lined up like heather who is such a phenomenal speaker and such a great person and a good personality. She really brings a lot to the table when you start talking about diversity and inclusion. So now we come to my next segment, which is about the stupid buzz and I actually thought I would pick on the word that really we talked about almost this entire episode, but I also think that it's a buzzword that is properly abused a lot, which is diversity. Diversity is a word that a lot of people use to act like they do something and really have no substance behind it. So I think one of the things is is that if you're going to use the word diversity in your messaging or try and convey some type of diversity message, it should actually be about something that you and your organization actually believe in and not just some type of thing to be able to get to show that you're actually looking at it. And I think that's one of the challenges that we run into the world is that we take a lot of words that have meaning and we really kind of make a meaningless by kind of applying them to everything. And diversity is such an important and powerful topic that just encompasses so very much that you should really give it the time to actually look and make sure that you're doing something that is truly important in not just using the word.

Virgil Carroll:49:52So again, thank you for joining me for this episode. I hope you enjoyed a little bit of the new format. Not really that different, but overall a little bit longer, a little bit more in depth discussions, hopefully enjoyed it and if you did, feel free to subscribe to us through Itunes or Google or Stitcher or SoundCloud or one of the other things. We're also on Spotify or visit us on the web at www.discussingstupid.com where you'll be able to find the show notes for this episode and all the links for anything we discussed during the episode and really be able to find are the rest of our episodes and all that kind of stuff. Plus now we actually have transcripts on there so that you can actually read through the episode if you want though it might be a little bit humorous when you kind of learned around the way I talk in that if you have any future topic ideas or maybe you have a comment or a question, feel free to email me. My email address is me@discussingstupid.com. Otherwise you can also send me a message on twitter at @discussstupid. So that's very important. It's not at discussing stupid. It's just @discussstupid on twitter. So I again, I really appreciate you joining me and I hope that I've made a listener out of you. So until our next episode have some conversations and feel free to discuss stupid on your own.

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