LA Business Podcast

02. Helene Parker, Podcaster and Marketer

Helene Parker, Programmatic Marketing
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We talk to Helene Parker, a marketer who has started her own podcast. We discuss her mission to help the advertising community with her Programmatic Digest podcast, entrepreneurship, and the opportunities that her podcast has opened up.

(Intro): [00:00:00] Welcome to the LA business podcast, a forum for business owners and senior executives to share the experiences about the elements that drive their success. Your host is Robert Brill, CEO of bril, an inc 500 company delivering the power of hyper-local advertising. Robert writes for Forbes inc and ad trade publications.

Our goal is to bring you the stories about successes and failures of people who are making big things happen in marketing, entrepreneurship and management.

Robert Brill: [00:00:42] Hey everyone. Welcome to episode one of the LA business podcast today. Our esteemed guest is Helene Parker. Helene is an eight year  digital advertising expert currently working at breakthrough digital. Helene is also a freelancer, has a podcast called the programmatic digest. You can learn more about Helene at her website, which I’ll say it phonetically, Helene H is silent. Or you can go to programmatic

Helene Parker: [00:01:23] Hey everyone. My name is Helene Parker.  I am a digital media senior, digital media trader at breakthrough digital, but also a programmatic media  expert and freelancer. I have my own podcast called a programmatic digest podcast. I’ve been working in this amazing industry for the last eight years. I’m doing a few things, planning, strategizing, executing, reporting on mixed media campaigns and working for some badass agencies.

Robert Brill: [00:01:52] Very cool. Well Helene thank you for being here. the reason I want you to be our first guest and why I’m so excited about this is because I’m doubling and tripling down on podcasting as a value driven content marketing opportunity. We’ll jump right into it. I guess my question for you is, so eight years in digital advertising, what are the types of things? What’s the type of work that you’d normally do.

Helene Parker: [00:02:25] So I’m specialized in programmatic media, but I’ve done social media. I’ve done some search engine marketing as well. The type of work that I do is that if there’s a client or a partner that is in need of any media strategy, then I’m here to help them come up with things like any parameters that we’ll circle their brand strategy , any budget recommendation, any inventory recommendation, and even like messaging recommendation, of course, creative is not my expertise, but if you work in paid media, you know that the message is just as important as where, the message is being shared.

So my day to day looks a little bit like that, you know, monitoring, managing, optimizing campaigns, doing some strategy for climbing, doing some project management strategy as well for other clients. It’s pretty cool because our programmatic media industry is so ever advancing and, and moving at a thousand, to say the least.

So being able to stay educated is definitely number one priorities and should be for everyone. Almost in my personal opinion, so training and staying educated, and my best way to do that is through podcasting. So that’s why I’m super excited about what you’re doing here. Being able to just shed some light and I absolutely agree with you that podcasting is definitely going to be one of maybe close to, I’m going to say trusted content sharing because you have that one-on-one communication vehicle that basically that person is by themselves listening to you, while driving or walking to the subway or Metro, depending on where you’re located. So I, that’s, that’s where I am right now. And that’s why I absolutely commend what you’re doing with this.

Robert Brill: [00:04:25] Awesome. So, so Helene, let me ask you a question. Why did you, why did you start a podcast? What was the impetus there? I mean, I imagine you’re busy, you have a lot of things going on. Like it, it seems like a real investment, in the best possible way. Tell me about your journey on how you got to be the host of a podcast.

Helene Parker: [00:04:45] So at the beginning of the year, I promised myself to become a trusted source from a true trusted source from my peers, which means being able to not only be an expert, but really being able to be, a source of, knowledge, and at least if I don’t know the answer, here’s the best person to. And to be very honest, I’ve had in my LinkedIn circles, but also in my peers. A lot of them have come to me about, “Hey, what do you think about this? Have you used this or this person?” So I just wanted to channel what I already had and take it to the next level. And also I wanted to challenge myself again into staying on top of  this industry. And the best way for me to do that and to hold myself accountable was to produce content.

I’m not a big writer. You know, me personally, you know, I like to chat. We, you know, just communicate with people. So I figured, okay, well let me, I’m not going to do a YouTube video, a YouTube channel, because that also involves a lot. It’s a big investment in times, in times, and in some investment in money. Of course. So I decided to take a, a did some research, and I’m seeing that podcast is actually growing. It’s not as popular as we, we think it is, but it is more popular than, than it’s, it’s just crazy. I wish I’ll send you some, Some stats on that from e-marketer is actually.

(Interlude): [00:06:22] There are 76 million podcasts listeners according to e-marketer, and if you roll up into all digital audio listeners, there’s 204 million listeners. In the U S for any digital audio, music, or podcasting or any other type of content. According to Edison research, people are spending over seven hours a week listening to podcast content.

Helene Parker: [00:06:50] I just wanted to grow with this whole industry and learn from it. So it took about six months to really do some research, really look at competitiveness, like, what are my goals. Well, who I considered a competitor actually is doing, how can I do it better?

To be very honest, the idea really came one day when I was listening to my Alexa. I have her, I have her set up every morning to, you know, tell me the verse of the day, you know, quick, a quick Proverb and then it goes into the weather and then it goes into a couple of new stations local. And then it tells me NPR, but you can set up that routine in the Alexa. And so I was like, dang, I really wish I had like a podcast to tell me really quick, what are the five, the top five highlights of the day in the programmatic world, or even like the digital advertising world. And so that’s when I was like, maybe I’ll just create that.

So that’s actually, that’s another phase of where I will take my podcast right now is only weekly. But that’s where how the idea was born, thanks to Alexa, and that’s why the podcast is now available on Alexa. You just have to say, Alexa, play programmatic digests via tune-in and then she’ll play it for you.

Robert Brill: [00:08:06] Well. That’s pretty cool. I think Alexa is amazing.

Helene Parker: [00:08:10] Yes. She’s is convenient, she is convenient. I don’t use her to control anything else in my house, but when it comes to music and, and use, that’s the separate, the two things I use Alexa for and reminders remind me that Zeus is outside. So he doesn’t find a middle of summer because she’s been, she’s been, she’s been looking out for both of this myself.

Robert Brill: [00:08:31] So you saw a need in the marketplace, you said there was really no great way for me to get the top five facts on programmatic or digital advertising. You didn’t find any podcasts that you found were serving that particular niche. And certainly there are advertising podcasts, but the format. The way you want to consume it.

So then you did six months of research to find out what other content creators in our business are doing and you formulated a plan of how to have a format to develop. What else did you do? I guess my question really is what have you found? What unexpected things have you experienced because of this podcast? You have really big guests like Matt Prohaska, I think that Matt Prohaskas amazing. Tell me what you learned during this experience.

Helene Parker: [00:09:35] So during the research part I did, you know, a competitive analysis like all us marketers would do for clients. So I did that for, for what I wanted to do. And I’m not saying that the, the podcast is, is the only one out there. Cause there are, like I said, other podcasts that I could consider competitors – behind the numbers I think is a really good one. And I’ve shown you recommend anybody to listen to it because we’re only here to learn ultimately.

But as I’m doing my research, I’m also do a training myself on what listeners want to hear, but how they want to hear it. So I train into how to edit a podcast that I tested several  Software. I was like on a limited budget, so I did not want to invest a lot, so I started with all the free tools and so far it’s been pretty good with some free tool. Then I had to upgrade to others.

Robert Brill: [00:10:27] Can you go into some details of like some of the tools that you liked or didn’t like.

Helene Parker: [00:10:32] Okay. So I tried, I looked, for instance, for the media host, which is the platform or the software that will host all of your episodes. So I started looking at a SoundCloud, which had a free trial one, but you have a membership of SoundCloud and you have to pay for, I didn’t really like how limited SoundCloud was. SoundCloud has a large. already has a large amount of followers, but when I was doing my research and I just could found the same amount of followers, or my audience was so targeted that I could. Not use SoundCloud to basically.

Yep. So I went with Libsyn instead, and Libsyn was very user friendly. I had to upgrade a couple of times to get the storage that I wanted because on episodes are long, whether it’s 20 minutes and 40 minutes is long so you have to be mindful that you might have to pay for storage, you might have to pay for the media host, but I strongly recommend that you do because Libsyn makes things so easy.

The podcast is available everywhere. Spotify, iTunes, Google play, After three or four months, you are automatically added to one more. Spotify, was like really easy to add on. I think it was Pandora. I think after a few months you get added to  iheart radio.

Robert Brill: [00:12:05] So there’s a vetting process for some of those.

Helene Parker: [00:12:11] Some of those will not add you right away. Itunes rejected me a couple times because of a thing. In the first couple of episodes, we said the word like a bad word. So it only rejected me because I said it didn’t have any curse word, but you have to check

Robert Brill: [00:12:33] Gary Vaynerchuk, boy, he curses up a storm.

Helene Parker: [00:12:41] As long as he checked that box, he’s fine. So I learned the hard way, but luckily, that’s why I did my, the very, very, very first episode was this. An intro is like nine minutes, just me explaining and testing the microphones and all. Yeah. so because I wanted to test out the media host, I wanted to make sure that everything was good.

So those are just like the trials. And I think the first five episodes are not my proudest because of the sound quality. Also, because in the first three to four episodes, I was still figuring out the format. Although I had like a solid format, it just didn’t match my professional life. It was just getting too much.

So at the same time I was like, I’m going to keep enjoying this cause I do. Right. You don’t want it to be a burden. I don’t want it to be something like, Oh, snap, I have to do it. So that’s why I kept reformatting and actually that’s why I took a little pause because I’m reformatting things right now.

I’m actually trying to figure it out, like a more diverse guest book. So, so yeah, so, some of the, the other things I would recommend investing is a good microphone. I use, the audio. Technica ATR 2100. and I have it all set up. And, as a fellow podcast listener. I don’t care who is on the podcast.

If the quality of the sound is not there, I am. I am the worst listener. I shut it down. I can’t find patience and understanding to finish. The, the audio, you know, the episode itself. So the audio quality was definitely number one. And if you go back to episode one and two, it wasn’t there yet cause I was still trying to figure it out.

Robert Brill: [00:14:25] Yeah, I mean, look, that’s, that’s okay. You know, it’s, it’s, it’s interesting really, Helene, because I actually started a podcast in, in late 2017 called learn from entrepreneurs and like I recorded three episodes and did nothing with it. And I found out there’s a term for that. called like, what’s it called? Pod fader or something.

Helene Parker: [00:14:45] I came across that term. Yeah. That’s interesting. Pod fader.

Robert Brill: [00:14:50] Yeah. So, warning to everyone listening. The warning is, I’ve done this before. I didn’t continue it. The benefit is now we’re on round two, and I’m much more sort of like organized around this. And I think you’re, you’re absolutely right. It has to be fun and interesting for me to want to continue it.

Helene Parker: [00:15:10] You bring an excellent point. It has to be, you know, it has to be organized. Like I prepare every single episode. I literally have a drive just dedicated to my, to the podcast. Whenever I come up with like content or like an article because my podcast is article based, I’ll ping it or I’ll come back or I’ll try to look in LinkedIn for the expert that can speak on that .

The not so fun reality, I guess, is that if your podcast is guest, like mine, like, you know, guests based and interview based like mine, even though it was just talking about the article and talking about the industry, like in the last four weeks, I’ve had guests drop because it’s Q4 and I’ve been busy too.

Anyway, so it’s just a bad reality that I’m going into like, Oh, snap. Maybe I should have started prerecording early this summer to prepare for Q4. So that’s something we want to remember. And also, since my podcast is article based, I don’t want it to, I didn’t ever want it to record too early, but now I’m just realizing that I, I actually, I am going to start recording at least four to five episodes in advance so that I don’t have a break because consistency is everything.

Depending on your media host or depending on, whoever is helping you with your analytics part, you want to make sure to track those numbers and just, that’s just the marketer in me and you, right? You like, you’re going to make sure that people are listening and I see a considerate drop in listens when I take a week break. I also see a big peak when I use promotional content, whether it’s like on Instagram, even like, I never thought about Instagram being like a B2B programmatic focus. But you’d be surprised as a lot of people out there and it makes sense. You know, our generation, we’re still using social media to connect.

So why not just hit them there and just remind them like, Hey, on your time. On your break, just listen to the podcast. So there’s all of that. It’s not only about recording, editing, scheduling a guest is also thinking about the promotion of the content because it’s not organic unless you have that following behind you already.

So, like I said, a celebrity starting their own podcast. They already have so many followers and fans. So for somebody like myself who’s just a freelancer in North Carolina. I have to create that following, and I’m okay with taking the time to, because I want to make sure that I’m doing in the smart way and taking risks where you make sense.

Robert Brill: [00:17:41] So you know, it’s interesting, right? Like, I had a job at an agency called Eisenberg group. And one of the interesting things I learned is that there’s no such thing as viral. What viral is, is taking a piece of content and marketing the heck out of it with all the tools and communication tools of our time. You know, I’ve seen you on Instagram stories. What are the top three ish channels that you use to draw listeners and generate interest and discovery around the podcast?

Helene Parker: [00:18:18] I think the best. Channel right now is the guest followers and mine. So word of mouth works best. I try to share the content with every single guest so that they can share it on their end. If they want to repurpose and shared like two, three months later, they can also do so. The second thing would be, it really depends on your podcast listeners. Don’t start a podcast without knowing who you want to talk to. I knew exactly why I started a podcast. I wanted to speak to everybody that works in my field, but not only the CEOs, the top, the decision makers, but people in the backline, I like to call us minions programmatic ninjas that are actually going in the platform every day, making some of those changes.

But at the same time, I want it to be relevant enough that if a client is working with an agency and the agency’s not performing, then they know what type of questions to ask. So my followers and listeners are very B2B, and they have to have some type of knowledge about the programmatic media world.

So again, if it’s an agency that’s, you know, that just started, or if it’s just a  mom and pop shop that might not be my listener. But if it’s like a programmatic buyer, if it’s even anybody in sales and digital media sales, social media sales, anything of that sort, I think one of the episodes may be relevant to them at least.

So while doing some research, again, I came across LinkedIn. I think LinkedIn is a great, for a podcast like myself. and then again, I discovered that Instagram had some type of following there. So that’s why I wanted a test the waters there. And then I have like a Facebook attached to it, but I’m not as involved on Facebook yet cause I don’t see Facebook as that channel yet.

And maybe I’m not understanding it just yet. I did not want to have something on every single social media. So I already have a Twitter, so I didn’t change my Twitter to call it programmatic digests. I just kept it as mine. And I’m promoting my, as a host on Twitter and on Instagram, The programmatic digests podcast is promoting.

Robert Brill: [00:20:36] So that, so that’s interesting, right? Like, do you consider yourself an entrepreneur?

Helene Parker: [00:20:42] I absolutely consider myself an entrepreneur. I’ve started and tested so many things, and I definitely have that fire in me. Now, if it really depends what type of entrepreneur I’m sure to again, segment them out there. I don’t know which one I am, but I definitely think that in the next five years, I not only will be working for myself, but I will have created some type of educational platform for the new programmatic ninjas because we are realizing in our industry that there is a scarcity of talents out there and agencies or, and I’m not generalizing, of course, some agencies are not willing to provide the full training needed to those.

And so now we, you know, now we’re trying to hire, it’s really hard to hire for that talent. That’s why you’re seeing a lot of like. The, we are rosy or the work reduce come popping up because they are able to fill in the blanks and not bring that, that headache to an agency going, having to like hire a brand new person and train them so.

I have a couple of plans and my intention is definitely educational. That’s why I figured, okay, let me start with a podcast and see what’s out there and optimize based on the listeners for based on the needs of the industry, because that’s definitely needed you know

Robert Brill: [00:22:16] So you’re thinking about training, so are you  for sure. I’ll connect you with someone who I know that has also a vision similar to what. I mean, I don’t know what your vision is, right? Cause you’re, you’re giving me very top level and I don’t want to like to get into the details. You may not be ready for that and I don’t want to put you on the spot.

But what I’ll tell you is that I, there’s someone else who I know who’s, who also has a similar type of vision. And I think it’d be interesting for you to connect and, let me ask you this. What do you, what do you expect to get out of being a podcast host? What do you think is going to happen?

Helene Parker: [00:22:59] Definitely make more connection and learn from others. You, you know, I’ve only worked in the industry for eight years, and I thought I knew somethings. And some guests have reminded me that, no, maybe, I don’t know, maybe I’m still thinking one way. Maybe I’m being biased, even in the way I’m thinking at work or thinking in the way I optimize.

So definitely the knowledge, from others. And, and honestly, that’s the best way to learn, right? I mean. Just learning from others, from their experience. Actually, I did this and it didn’t work, but when I did this, it did work. And, and so that’s the number one thing why I wanted to start the podcast and why I’m trying to stay accountable for being, I’m not going to say being the best, cause that sounds really selfish, but. Being, being smart enough that you, you know, your shit basically.

I mean, you mentioned Matt Prohaska., I’ve had Matt Prohaska, I’ve had a bunch of really good people. I had you on my show, I had Frost Prioleau from Simplifi, I had some couple before from Omnicom. I mean, it has been really great just talking to those individuals and some of them have remained very good friends and I’ve never met them, you included.

So it’s definitely connecting my, like just connecting me with . A different type of people. And in my podcast, I have a segment only for diversity because I do think that’s something and we need to talk about a little bit more and get uncomfortable just hearing the other side. so, so that’s, that’s, that’s been really great on the standing like that side from the guest.

Robert Brill: [00:24:44] Yes. So before we talk about diversity, like I wanna wrap this up, there’s two questions here. Number one. So you and I were connected, but we didn’t know each other. But now you are, you know what I think is interesting about this is you are tip top on the name list for when people are asking me like, who do I know that might be interested in stuff?

I’m also talking about you on Reddit because I think, and this and like. From a, from a value driven content marketing perspective, you are absolutely, executing on that strategy. And I think it’s, it’s fantastic, right? Like, I think, I think you are like, I’m really interested to see what the next year looks like for you and for me because I’m, I’m also activating on this strategy.

Did you know Matt Prohaska or Frost Prioleau prior to doing the podcast?

Helene Parker: [00:25:39] Thank you for, for the feedback. That’s fair. Encouraging and, and well needed by now and no, I did not. You, I did not know. My press guy started following him on LinkedIn maybe a year ago, and I really liked the type of content he was producing on LinkedIn.

So I reached him took a couple months to book him. same thing with Frost Prioleau. Took a couple months to book him, but I’ve used simplify as a platform. So I went through my connection at simplify, for instance, to get to Frost some of the adtech, simplify and the trade desk they will not. Like only you can only I interview maybe, the PR person or a higher up in marketing.

So that’s why I went straight to Frost Prioleau and he was so cool, you know, really encouraging. but because my intention was to, again. Interview somebody that did everything in the back end. so some of those act decks, that’s not possible. And that’s very much understandable because they want to control the type of information that’s out there.

That’s definitely something I advise everybody because things can be twisted in so many ways. so yeah, it did not, I did not know them personally, just professionally via LinkedIn or via, like I said, a connection.

Robert Brill: [00:26:51] Yeah, no, that’s, that’s super interesting. I think, you know, the, the purpose of this podcast is really to-

there’s two top line things that we’re doing. Number one, I heard this really interesting talk from Tai Lopez and Tai Lopez. He’s an entrepreneur. He’s a internet personality. I think he’s like technically a genius, like the numbers identify him as a genius. And I saw him speak, and what was interesting is that he has a rule of thirds and the rule of thirds is spend one third of your time with people who are above you, so have more knowledge and are doing very different things, bigger things than you spend one third of your time doing things with your peers, coworkers, friends, anyone who you’re social and friendly with.

Those are your peers. And then spend one third of your time with people below you, which are people who need the knowledge that you have. And so the goal here is for this podcast is selfishly, I want to spend time with people who are doing big things in business. And I want to be able, I want to activate on that content driven, the value driven content strategy of be the source of knowledge so that other business owners can have access and knowledge to what the, what big business people are doing.

And I think the next year for you is going to be super interesting because I just think you’re going to blow up in the best possible way. Because you’re going to get all kinds of notoriety just because you’re doing the podcast. And by the way, I’m still trying to sponsor your podcast, so I know. I know.

Helene Parker: [00:28:37] Yeah, and to be very honest, that’s the goal I gave myself about a year, actually. I gave myself about six months before finding a new sponsor, and. Two month and a half and you came, you came in and I was like, wait, I’m not ready, but I’m going to make it work. So that’s as a side conversation between you and me, of course.

But it’s, it’s scary because, and the first month I did not expect the podcast to do so well, and we’re barely reaching a thousand listeners a month in the first month, and then, and then the second month, which we are averaging. Ah, I can’t remember now. So it’s been nicely increasing, month over month.

And I’ve only been, like I said, I’ve only been live for about three months now and took about three weeks off. So, so yeah, it’s been scary how, how fast, and that’s another thing too, if you want to start a podcast and make sure you’re prepared, and make sure you’re consistent. I’m learning the hard way right now because because of how fast it grew, I actually was not even prepared for unforeseen.

Events such as, Oh, our guest is too busy, or you’re busy and you’re, you know, you, cause you still have your United five years to have a project. you’re still in school even so, so yeah, it’s been very much fun. But right now I’m like, ah, now it’s time to take it to the next level.

Now it’s time to actually. You know, really dedicate a little bit more time cause it takes a lot of time. Like I edit and produce the podcast that takes a few hours a week. I, you know, just, I’m not going to say hunting, but just looking for guests takes another couple hours and I try to time myself, I’m not going to spend more than like an hour today and maintain just looking at, at guests.

And then doing more research on them and then emailing them to see if they, they’re interested. and. So what are 20% say yes? And only 10% have books so far. So yeah. What are the, so, so, give me, so I want to ask you three more questions. One about the podcast, one about diversity of one and one. one other thing.

Robert Brill: [00:30:45] So give me some rapid fire, tips. For B2B business owners like myself or senior executives who want to build their business through the use of podcasts, like what are the top two or three things, rapid fire that we should do? One of them I think was consistency. Like just what comes to mind there. so consistency and the quality of the content, I think for somebody like you will be very important to use.

Helene Parker: [00:31:16] I will follow up with that because I can’t remember the name of the podcast, but I know there’s an agency out there that it’s a social media agency and they have weekly podcasts, but on their weekly podcast day, they cover like, this is the latest Facebook updates. This is a campaign we have been running, this is what we did.

So giving those type of tips and advice. You might be giving out something important, but at the same time, it just shows you have integrity and then you’re doing the work really to, to help the people and but also attract potential clients. And that also attract trusted potential clients, in my opinion.

So the content, the quality of the content, the consistency of how the content is being produced and deployed. And then I will say the third thing would be, I guess the promotion of that content. Because again, like we mentioned. You will have to have a system in place that will you not only promote the new comment, upcoming content, but old contents have been, I’m not going to say well, but previous content that been published because that content is still very important in my opinion.

Like the first episodes, even though the quality of the sounds is not there, I still think that the value of what those guests have shared is so important. So going back and using what somebody has said as content promotion, as  like, even like in a media plan, like, Oh, this is what people are saying. This is what we’ve been doing has been successful.

Robert Brill: [00:32:42] Awesome. So let’s switch gears on diversity for a moment. Can you give me a point of view on, like, you’re passionate about highlighting diversity in our business. Where does that come from and why? For people who are a bunch of white dudes in advertising like myself. I think it is important and I value it, but I want to hear like what is your point of view on that and why is it important?

Helene Parker: [00:33:17] I think it’s basically because of my. My experience with for working for agencies, have been the only black girl for, for a number  of those agencies. And I’ve always asked myself like, why?

Like it’s not like there’s not people out there. I think it’s, that’s a deeper conversation of course. But that’s one of the reason why I want to highlight diversity, because. it’s one of those conversation that go, yeah, we do need it, but it’s, more than that, it’s getting comfortable with the conversation. It’s also being able to respect somebody’s views without allowing your personal biases to take over.

And unfortunately, we all have biases. I have biases, racial biases, lifestyle biases, status biases, all of the above, gender biases. So we all have those biases, and dang, we spent time a lot together at work. So how can we not? And you know, how can we refrain from those biases? And so it’s just educating people about how to really handle a situation where somebody does not understand where they’re coming from.

 And to be honest, the most diverse team, the most open, teams have been the most successful is this since that’s like 86% of teams that have diverse team members in it. And it’s diverse, not only racial, but gender, financial, generational diversity have been the most successful or more likely to be successful, or I’ve had more successful projects completed versus a non diverse team.  And then you mentioned on the show how one of your team players just had a Persian feedback points and they helped.

Robert Brill: [00:35:10] Yeah. I mean, the, the story that I tell repeatedly, I feel like I’m promoting it – there’s two circumstances. The one that I think is very interesting to me. So, you know, I grew up in a very diverse background. I grew up in Glendale, California, and there were a lot of, middle Eastern Persian, folks. LA has great Mexican, great Mexican population and Southern and central American population.

I didn’t realize how undiversified a lot of the country is after like going to different places. I’m like, Oh man. You know what the funny part is? I consume, I consume diversity via food. Like I didn’t realize how boring food is when you’re not eating like ramen or some really great Mexican food or like middle Eastern food. I’m just a foodie

The hardest diversity lesson that I’ve had to learn. It’s actually not about one of the protected classes. It’s about emotional IQ and empathy. And this is something that I said on the show with you, is. I’ve had to learn how to find someone who has incredibly high emotional IQ because that person Tony price, who I’ve known for 20 years, we went to school together.

This is now the third time I’ve hired him and those friends, and he’s the person who has the diversity in the ability to be empathetic with a team and that gets the most out of the team. I was on one of the conversation today and the person that I spoke with, he was like, yeah, CEOs aren’t, aren’t great managers.

And I can say hallelujah to that Holy freaking cow. Cause I’m not a great manager in a lot of respects, but I know how to build a business and this person, Tony price, who I admire incredibly much just is the person who. has brought some balance to the team in the best possible way.

Helene Parker: [00:37:08] Right, right. I agree and that says a lot about yourself being able to recognize that, yeah, I’m not good at this, but I know that somebody that is, and I’m going to make sure he helps us as well. And that is what it’s like. That’s the beauty of diversity, being able to recognize people’s strengths and not-so- strengths and weaknesses and work with those.

Sometimes having a diverse team helps with understanding and being empathetic. That goes with what I was saying, not being, not allowing those biases to make the best of the conversation, reminding everyone that we need to be productive, therefore, let’s just highlight this. Boom, boom, boom.

But also having somebody diverse on your team can avoid a lot of missteps in terms of like on in the advertising world. I mean, I won’t mention, but there are big brands that have had fallen apart because they didn’t have somebody on their team that probably reflected that culture. And so. That is a big problem.

I mean, as a consumer, I’m tired of the big brands just apologizing. Oh yeah, we did mess that up. My bad. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Take accountability. Like, what are you really doing in the back end to make sure you’re not going to do this again. That’s not just hire urban VP or something. Yes. That, that’s a good step in my opinion.

But like, what else are you doing? Like is that team actually a bit more diverse? Are you training that team to really understand differences in cultures and generational differences? You know, things like that. So that’s why I think the conversation of diversity is very important. And I am happy to have uncomfortable conversations with people that I deemed to be diversity-IQ lowered. I’m happy to have this conversation and I’m not rude. I’m not disrespectful. I’m not condescending at all because my goal is to make sure you will take back something that’s going to make your brain work a little harder next time you hear it or next time you see it, or when you’re thinking about our conversation.

There’s a way to have it, that conversation. And some of them are not happy. Some of them are not always diplomatic, but at the end of the day, if we can agree. On a couple of things then. Good. We won. Right? if your manage your ad out there and you recognize I’m not a people’s person but I know somebody there is, good when you’re hiring that person, let’s make sure they are really open minded.

That’s so important. I mean, I’ve met a couple of my own managers that are not open-minded at all and it was obviously gender related too. It was like a blind person could see it, you know? So it has to be in conversation.

Robert Brill: [00:39:58] So what’s interesting to me about that, and we’ll, and we’ll wrap it up shortly. What I think is interesting is just from a very basic level, like we know what the, one of the basic principles of advertising is show your consumer consuming your product. Like it’s very simple. And we all know we live in a diverse country, like you can’t deny that.

It’s like so hard for me to see like ads that don’t actually reflect just the models, the people in the ads need to look like the people who you want to consume the product yo. Like. It’s very simple.

Helene Parker: [00:40:42] Yeah, it’s a simple, but to some people it’s just a different language. That’s the part that we all have to recognize. I hate to bring it up, but I am, I do think that the younger generation is doing a little bit better and having those conversation and actually taking actions against some of those diversity biases. So, I don’t think the previous generation did well, but I also don’t think that they didn’t know better in, in the way things are working in the advertising world, it’s just effected in some way in our consuming as a consumer. It’s also affected by our personal life is also affected by everything around us. I mean, social justice, you know, the environment. You just mentioned our country, politically, things are affecting the way we do work, and that’s just natural.

When there was like a scientific study on that. Actually, I came across it. It was pretty cool. It was an old study though back from 2015. It just showed that like, you can’t be the best person if you’re not willing to educate yourself on your personal life, and that means improving your circles, not that your circle is not where it needs to be, but really improving in diversifying. Talking to somebody. Talk to somebody you’re not used to talking to, talk to somebody on the bus. Talk to somebody on the street, you know, and try to remove the way they look. Just see them as an individual versus this person,

Robert Brill: [00:42:17] Helene , as we wrap up here, I want to ask you, tell me something interesting about yourself that maybe people don’t know, which I think I’m pretty sure that’s the same question you ask on your podcast. So, I’m borrowing that. And then number two, because I’m a foodie and I love really interesting foods or good foods or whatever, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when I ask you what do you love to eat? Like what would you eat all day every day if you could.

Helene Parker: [00:42:44] Okay. So the first question was like an interesting thing about myself. So I am bilingual. French is my first language because I was born and raised in Senegal, which is a West African country. so the first official language there is a, I mean, the official language there is French, but I also understand the Senegalese dialect, one of them, which is called Wolof and is Arabic based a little bit.  I also understand Cape Verdean Creole, because my origins are from a Portuguese Island, also located in West Africa called Cape Verde. So I don’t know how to write those languages. and I can guess how to read it sometimes, but that would be the fun fact. The fact that I’m bilingual and able to understand and speak to other language.

Robert Brill: [00:43:33] So wait, wait, so did you say Cape Verdean Creole? Yes. They speak Portuguese Creole there. And what was the other language?

Helene Parker: [00:43:41] Senegalese. So Senegal has a few dialects and ethnicity within the country, and the most popular, most spoken is Wolof.

Robert Brill: [00:43:50] Can you, can you say something in both of those languages?

Helene Parker: [00:43:55] It sounds very Arabic. So if you have to greet yourself, you’ll say “as-salaam ‘alaykum”. “Jai-rruh-jef”, which is thank you. “Na nga def?”. Which is how are you doing? So that’s really in Wolof. I don’t think, Arabic people say “Na nga def?” but that’s like the difference of that.

Robert Brill: [00:44:17] Wow. That’s amazing. What type of food do you like?

Helene Parker: [00:44:22] So I’m a big foodie too, I can probably eat about everything. Though something I can eat everyday, is any dish from Senegal, any dish from Cape Verde. A Senegalese dish that is really popular is called Thiéboudienne, which is fish based tomato, rice and some vegetables. We usually eat it around the bowl, like a family bowl. so we all eat together. Cape Verdean-wise, there is a really popular dish called Cachupa, which is as I like to describe it as like a corn based chili, but it’s definitely not like chili because it has pork, it has Yuca and it’s like mainly it has beans, but it’s mainly corn.

So the consistency looks like a little bit like chili. And some people eat it with rice, but I call them like, you shouldn’t be eating red rice. So that’s like fake, fake people. Like my sisters eat it with rice, I don’t understand them. They’re not normal. They’re fake. So you’re not supposed to, I don’t think you’re supposed to eat it with rice.

So watch all the Cape Verdean on your show though. Your listeners will like, email me like, actually…

Robert Brill: [00:45:30] That sounds great. I’m on a keto diet and that all sounds delicious.

Helene Parker: [00:45:35] Yeah. Oh yeah. That’s not keto friendly at all. Like rice and beans are not keto friendly.

Robert Brill: [00:45:41] So Helene, as we wrap this up, tell the listeners where they can find you if they want to reach out more.

Helene Parker: [00:45:50] Sure. So I have a website, like the way you introduced it earlier phonetically is You can also find me on the podcast is spelled as it sounds programmatic.

You can find a podcast anywhere on iTunes, Spotify. You can find, if you go onto my website, you’ll probably find everything from like my social media, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can email me. Call me if you need to, that’ll be the best way to reach out to me, but I’m also very responsive on social media, so that’s a good way to get to me too.

Robert Brill: [00:46:34] Awesome. Thank you, Helene. I appreciate your time and I’m loving looking forward to your journey and to see where you are a year from now. Talk to you soon.

Helene Parker: [00:46:42] Thank you! Likewise!


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Intro Music: Echegoyen Productions

Created By: Brill Media