Sisterhood In Sound – A report from the She Podcasts Live conference in Atlanta
(By Sheletta Brundidge, Host of Two Haute Mamas Podcast) When you upload your podcast, you hope that your voice will trickle through a hundred thousand earbuds. But the real trick is talking to each listener, one-on-one, so that every one will think the content is just for them.
But first you have to help them find you, and then figure out how to hook them to keep them coming back for more.
For almost a year, my co-host Lindy Vincent and I have been talking to our audience on our Two Haute Mamas podcast. We are two girlfriends with very different backgrounds but with something to say—and debate, argue about and laugh over—on a million topics, from parenting to politics. We’ve launched service projects aimed at helping our local police force recruit more women of color and getting more black men to be screened for heart disease.
Lindy and I are trying to build the plane and fly it at the same time. While we hear from listeners that they love what we’re doing, we’ve gotten little in the way of guidance or direction. We didn’t know if we were doing it right or how we could improve our product. We’ve poured our own money into our passion project with website development, marketing, branding and merchandise but so far we’ve seen little return on our investment. The Two Haute Mamas would have to change their name to Two Broke Girls if we didn’t learn how to start building our empire.
There’s an old saying that goes, Every blind pig will find an acorn eventually. I found my acorn when Googling for podcasting advice and stumbled across upcoming She Podcasts Live conference in Atlanta—just days before it was to begin.
While reading about Jessica Kupferman and Elsie Escobar’s inaugural event, I started salivating. The course descriptions were just what I’d been craving, with workshops like “Rewire Your Brain for Podcast Prosperity and Monetization” and “Taking Money & Making Money.” When I saw the all-star lineup facilitating the talks, my mind was blown. You mean to tell me I could be in one place, for three days with the likes of podcasting pros Kristen Meinzer, Monique Caradine-Kitchens, Jinja Birkennbuel and Katie Krimitsos?
I had a feeling in my gut that this conference would be something special and bigger than I could imagine. This was the place where I could figure out how to take our podcast to the next level.
I wanted to be a part of an event where ladies who like to talk would come together to learn, laugh and love on one another.
Lindy couldn’t make the trip work with her schedule but I took some time away from the mic at my real job as a producer at 830 WCCO Radio in Minneapolis and texted the babysitter to help my husband Shawn take care of our four kids.
I hopped on a Delta flight, bound for Atlanta with great expectations.
My hopes were high when I walked through the sliding glass doors at the Marriott Marquis. My mouth flew open and my heart started beating fast.
I saw a sea of women from all parts of the globe smiling and talking, greeting and meeting one another for the first time and but suddenly feeling like we were lifelong friends. They were from all parts of the world— African-American, European, Asian, Indian, Native American, Latina. They were married, single, gay, straight, and a few were unsure.
Like me, a lot of them have children, but this wasn’t about being a mommy.
This was a movement.
I was pulled into an unspoken sisterhood of podcasters and felt a sense of belonging that I think many of us had been searching for. We were in a safe space to grow, share and learn how to conquer this new world of podcasting that is big enough for all of us to succeed.
Everyone there had a spirit of expectation that this conference would help them to realize their dream and reach their full potential.
I felt tears come to my eyes though I tried to stop them from flowing. I didn’t want any of the other unicorns in the room to see all that emotion.
These female podcasters were hungry for knowledge and we got lots of it, let me tell you. Over the next three days, Jess and Elsie set the tone that showed us that we were being seen as powerful agents for change.
The opening speaker, Kristen Meinzer, co-host of the popular By the Book podcast, motivated us with her message that every woman there had a voice that was a gift.
When the breakout sessions started, we scurried to workshops to hear our favorite female warriors.
I was looking forward to learning how to leverage my podcast to land speaking gigs and gain followers from Phylecia Jones. I guess everyone had the same idea as me because when I got to her class, there was nowhere to sit. Ladies were lined along the wall, sharing chairs and sitting on top of each other. We were glad to be in the room to soak up her knowledge by taking notes, asking questions and snapping photos of her power points to review later.
I knew I needed individual attention beyond what I would find in a seminar, and answers to my questions that might not apply to an entire group of women so I was happy to see we could sign up for one-on-one coaching
The workshop facilitators didn’t just drop the microphone and walk off stage when their session was done. They went out into the hallway and took questions, sometimes for an hour, from anyone who needed answers.
I was inspired by Holly Worton’s session, called From Podcast to Book. One of my goals is to write a book to help parents of special needs children. I have three children diagnosed with autism and Holly encouraged me to share what I’ve learned with other moms and dads.
Amid these jam packed days, there was time to make personal connections and meet new friends. Evenings were fun-filled, with karaoke, dancing, desserts and of course, glasses of wine. We worked hard during the day thinking of new ways to grow our businesses, but we played even harder at night, dancing until our feet hurt.
It was great to learn new strategies to grow our podcasts. Some of the ladies there, myself included, recorded live episodes of our shows and uploaded them for our listeners, eager to show off our new skills and confidence.
But the best part of the conference was the love. I genuinely felt the affection from women who saw me and appreciated my short hair and my brown skin and heard my southern accent, loud laugh and sassy sense of humor.
These women accepted and encouraged me and I did the same in return. When I saw Shelly Aaron from Seattle sitting in the back of the room waiting for Monique Caradine-Kitchens to take the stage at her financial empowerment class, I grabbed her by the arm and dragged her up to the front row with me. She told me later that simple gesture, meant all the world to her.
But that’s what sisters do, right?
And more than anything, She Podcasts Live created a sisterhood support system where we encourage, help and love one another.
I miss those ladies already and can’t wait to see them all again at She Podcasts Live 2020. It’ll be like a family reunion.
Sheletta Brundidge is the host of the Two Haute Mamas Podcast. Listen to the show HERE. Connect with Sheletta on Twitter @twohautemamas1, Facebook @shelettabrundidge and Instagram @twohautemamas. She can also be reached the old fashioned way, by telephone at 832-581-5160