(By Linda Henry) I’m a newbie to this podcasting thing — which is odd since I’m used to being on the forefront of digital content, dating back to 1994 when I was a webmaster at a tech startup that evolved into a Fortune 500 company. I mentioned this to a young woman at She Podcasts Live in Atlanta last week and she laughed, telling me she wasn’t even in elementary school in 1994. Instead of making me feel irrelevant for being old, however, a moment later she introduced me to a friend as a digital content veteran. It felt great to be appreciated for my experience rather than dismissed as though my expiration date had passed.
After 25 years in multiple content-related roles for Silicon Valley companies, I now have a business, Found Story Farm, based outside of Atlanta that provides writing and editing services as well as helping companies develop storytelling strategies — the topic of a book I’m writing. My first podcast, Digital Minimalism, is a companion to this book. In it, I’ll talk about how to create concise content suitable for digital formats while still fleshing out full stories with a beginning, middle, and end. Or, how to tell stories using a truncated Hero’s Journey.
The vibe at She Podcasts Live was of women appreciating women as though we are all heroes on a shared journey of discovery. That kind of support and camaraderie with a group of women hasn’t always been my experience. I grew up in the business arena at a time when women didn’t necessarily reach out a hand to lift up other women. That was definitely not the case at She Podcasts Live! Every session I attended featured a woman (or women) on stage who exhibited a genuine concern for helping other women succeed. From giving out secrets to their own success, to sharing mistakes they’d made, the speakers provided wisdom and valuable tools to accelerate our progress.
My biggest “a ha!” was how LARGE the podcasting community is; from the breadth of podcast topics to the diversity of hosts. While most attendees at this conference were women, there was still an enormous range of demographics represented in age, race, sexual orientation, etc. Although, I’m pretty sure I was the only person there without a nose.
Speaking of this, feeling accepted at She Podcasts Live is something else to note. I didn’t notice anyone staring — a common occurrence for me in public places. In fact, I was surprised by the number of folks, even expert podcasters, who walked up to me to chat, whether during breaks, Happy Hour, or at the Introvert/Extrovert party Saturday night. I’m an acute introvert, by the way, a trait that’s grown more intense since I’ve been wandering around with a hole in the middle of my face for the past 10 years. This often prohibits me from attending networking events at conferences, but the encouraging energy throughout the weekend prompted me to participate fully.
I’d had a rough few days leading up to She Podcasts Live. My beloved 15-year-old cat, Jacques, died in my arms the Wednesday before the conference so I arrived with profound sadness in my heart. It wasn’t until the third day that I was able to visit the Community Cats Podcast booth, and when I did Stacy LeBaron gave me an empathetic ear and told me about interviews on her website that deal with losing a pet.
Thanks to Elsie Escobar and Jessica Kupferman for an uplifting weekend. Now, as many speakers instructed, I need to “just start” and I’ve got a whole lot of podcast binging to do!
As well as being a writer, Linda Henry is the founder and Executive Producer of Found Story Farm. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org