Episode 6

Elsie Escobar on Leading From the Front for Women and Diversity in Podcasting

Elsie Escobar is a highly respected member of the podcasting industry who has been podcasting since 2006. She is the co-host and co-partner of She Podcasts, a podcasting movement whose mission is to empower women to continue to share their voices while creating a safe community of podcasting education and support.

She is also the community manager for podcast hosting company Libsyn, where she has been since 2007. In this episode, Elsie discusses her impressive career in the podcasting industry, including her work with She Podcasts.

Yoga as an Introduction to Podcasting

Elsie shares how her very first podcast was as a teacher of yoga, and how that wasn't as strange as it might sound (teaching yoga via an audio format as opposed to a visual medium). It's through this podcast that her career at Libsyn began.

From Life Changes to A Podcast Career with Libsyn

Not long after this, Elsie was chatting with Rob Walch of Libsyn, and mentioned she was going through some big life changes, and as things would have it, this tied in perfectly with something Rob was looking for with Libsyn. The rest is history.

Leading From the Front

It wasn't long after Elsie started at Libsyn that she wanted to have an official podcast from the team, to help podcasters with their questions about the medium. Despite being the new person, she was driven to create the show, and pitched it to Rob, and from there The Feed was born.

The Multiple Sides of Diversity in Podcasting

Elsie shares where she sees advances have been made in podcasting when it comes to diversity, and where we still struggle, as individuals and the bigger medium, at promoting and lifting more diverse voices up. For Elsie, this really needs to start at the board and decision-makers level.

How Bad Podcasting Advice Led to She Podcasts

As a regular attendee of various podcast shows, Elsie soon realized that a lot of the advice given at these events was pretty generic, and wouldn't help with the goals she had. Along with Jessica Kupferman, she co-founded She Podcasts, where women could find a private, supportive space that shared the type of advice needed to grow, and flourish.

The Power of Being Undeniable as a Woman in Podcasting

The theme for this year's She Podcasts Live event is "undeniable", and this is something that Elsie is very passionate about for all women in podcasting. It goes beyond the goal for the event itself, and looks to make sure every woman can say "I won't be denied".

Key points:

02:23 Podcasting and Yoga: How Elsie Found Her Balance

09:59 How to Balance Work and Life

18:05 The Importance of Diversity in the Podcasting Industry

26:58 The Rise of She Podcasts: How Two Women Created a Safe Space for Women Podcasters

43:20 The Impact of the Role v. Wade Decision on Women's Lives

47:17 The Importance of Supporting BIPOC Podcasters

50:54 Podcast Recommendations for Leaders in the Industry

Connect with Elsie:

Contact me: danny@dannybrown.me

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Transcript
Elsie:

This podcast I just downloaded. I have not listened to it, but this seems to be a really wonderful show. And say it, mention it right, even if you haven't heard it, because those are the kinds of things people will pay attention to that. And the more that we can do that from a place of like when we're talking about leadership before, where it has to be front of mine. If you value diversity, inclusion and belonging, if those are your key core values, then you have to go out of your way every time you touch somebody else, especially in the podcasting industry, to put somebody else in somebody else's ears.

Danny:

Today, I'm delighted to welcome Elsie Escobar to the show. Elsie is a hugely respected member of the podcasting industry and a venerable veteran of the space who's been podcasting since 2006. She's the co-host and co-partner of She Podcasts, a podcasting movement whose mission is to empower women to continue to share their voices while creating a safe community of podcasting education and support. She's also the community manager for podcast hosting company Libsyn, where she's been since 2007, and she was inducted into the Podcasting Hall of Fame in 2017. She's also got some more stuff on the go, which we'll chat about about that and more in this episode. So without further ado, Elsie Escobar, welcome to the show.

Elsie:

Oh, thank you, Danny. I'm so excited to be here. Thank you.

Danny:

And that's quite the roll call. That's a really impressive roll call. Is there any space on your mantel place for like, your resume updates or anything?

Elsie:

Oh, my gosh. I mean, when I look back sometimes I'm like, oh my God, I've done a lot of things. I've got credits.

Danny:

Now. First things first. I've got to ask, how are the goats? Are they all fed and good to go this evening?

Elsie:

Yes, they are. They are not fed yet. I'm going to go feed them in a couple of hours. I am thankful that it's summertime because their hormones are not as potent as other parts of the year. And so they are sweet and lovely and easy and just cute. Like, I can go out there and I can even rub their little heads and little things when they're hormonal that's it's not a thing. It's like completely different.

Danny:

And is that when they get into their butting routines because goats are kind of known for their butting, like they chase after you just give you a good butt right.

Elsie:

They do. And they have huge horns, but they're also loud and they make the weirdest noises. I'm not going to make them. Now let's just say that because I'm not going to do that. But they make the most obnoxious noises and then they will do this weird stuff with their mouth where they open their mouth and then their teeth will just show their teeth. And not to be mean, did they just it's like their hormones do that. Oh, it's bizarre. Like you're in them and you're like, make them stop, make them stop. That's scary.

Danny:

Now, it mentioned in the intro. Obviously, you have a wide and varied career in history, but you were one of the first indie women podcasters to use podcasts and to teach yoga way back in 2006. And I'm curious, how did that come about? Because I always envision yoga as a visual medium when you're learning or trying to take it up. And I'm curious how podcasting and yoga came to the mix.

Elsie:

Yeah, I fell in love with podcasting first, right? So it was this thing that I wanted to do, and I had to figure out how to do it because back then in 2006, things were a lot more challenging. There truly was nothing to help you. There were maybe two or three web pages that explained how to do the thing right. There really wasn't much of anything else. There were no YouTube tutorials. There was nothing. There was zero. And so I learned very slowly, particularly by listening to other podcasters right there, especially my co host for the feed, Rob Walt. He had, I believe, one of the very first podcast interview type shows out there where he interviewed other podcasters. And I learned a ton from that. So they would podcaster independent podcasters would get in there and they would talk about what their gear was, where they were located, what kind of computer they had, what kind of microphone they were using. So all of these little bits of information were slowly seeping into my head. And so I thought, okay, I have to learn how to do this thing, but I'm going to take it a little bit at a time. And I knew that I didn't have the capacity to just start a whole new thing, especially if I didn't know if I liked this podcasting thing. So I thought, what am I doing all day? Mostly that I can just add, how can I record this? That's all I wanted. Like, how can I record this? And I thought, oh, my God, I'm teaching yoga. 13 classes a week is what I was doing at that time. That was my full time job. I was teaching yoga full time. And I had had some of my students who said to me, I wish we could take you with us because they're going on vacation. They can't come into the studio, like all kinds of stuff. And so I remembered that and I thought, what a neat way they can take me with them in their pockets. And I didn't really think that having an audio podcast would be so weird because the way that I teach, I am a very verbal teacher. So when I was inside of the studio, I would speak what I wanted them to do, and I would tell them, do these things. I would be very clear, like, step your feet very wide apart. Now take your arms out to the sides. Make them super straight. Look at your hands. I was coaching them as I talked. I very rarely demonstrated myself in front of the class anyway. I used to walk up and down in the class. I would teach the class. I would help people, and I would tell them with my words first, and then I would demonstrate second and third. I would manually adjust somebody. And so I was already used to speaking it and not having a reference point of looking. And the other aspect was the fact that when you do yoga, part of the process of you doing yoga is that you go inward. The whole process is for you to reconnect with your own body, with your own breath, with your own self. Right. And it is a lot harder to reconnect with your body if you are looking outside of yourself to see what everybody else is doing. So having me in their ears was an opportunity for them to step inside of themselves. And so I did that, and I honestly didn't think ahead of that. I really, truly only wanted to get a recording out. That's it. And then all of a sudden it was like, all over the place.

Danny:

And that lasted for 120 episodes, I think, up until 2013.

Elsie:

Yeah. And I think I just went slightly over 100. I think I hit that. And I would have kept doing it if I didn't have children, because once the children came, then they sucked my life out of me as a fellow parent.

Danny:

I can feel your pain.

Elsie:

Yes. I was unable to continue what I was doing, and that's the reason that I stopped. So it wasn't necessarily because I wanted to not do it anymore. It's just because I literally could not. I didn't have a place to teach. I didn't have the schedule to be able to do it. And then I have a video. I don't know, maybe I'll send it to you. Maybe you could put it in the show notes. Oh, my gosh. It is the funniest thing. So at the beginning of the yoga class, I always had an intro, right. We all have an intro where you start the podcast and you're like, welcome to LC's yoga class, live denim Plug podcast. And I would say that at the beginning of the show, and then I would kind of do a little bit of an intro in post. Right. This is what the class is going to be. X, Y and Z, blah, blah, blah. And then it would have a musical transition, and it would go into the actual in, quote, live class, because I recorded this live while I was teaching with other people in the room. So that's how I did it. And so I was recording with my child, and she was one or one and a half. I think she might have been, like, right around or maybe like two. And I was in front of the computer, and I had the microphone on. And every time that I said, welcome to Elsie's yoga class, she would go, and I was like, what are you doing? She was fine. Then I would stop and she was fine. And then I would do it again. And I caught her doing it. I filmed the video and I said, Watch this. And I would record into the microphone, and I would speak. And the minute she heard my voice change, because I guess she was thinking like, there's a change in her voice. She's talking different than she talks to me. She would just sit there and she would scream, she would cry. So then it was like, I can't even record the intro because she was so cute. She would just go every time I tried to speak.

Danny:

And did you keep that as a sound bite then? That's like a part of the show.

Elsie:

Oh, my gosh. I don't think I even recorded it. I don't even know if it would. It might have been there were so many. You know what? You're right. It might actually be in the recording.

Danny:

Something you keep there for her marriage or wedding day or something. You'll put it up on the screen.

Elsie:

Could you imagine that?

Danny:

And shortly after that, that was back in 2006. So shortly after that, you joined the Libson team in 2007 where you're the community manager. So how did that come about? You mentioned you've been listening to Rob's podcast. Did you know Rob beforehand?

Elsie:

I met Rob at one of the conferences that were happening back in the day as well, where it was one of those things where it was like, I think it was called the Podcast and Portable Media Expo. It was the first time that I attended one of these events. It was being held at Ontario, California. And I think it might have been the second time that I met Rob. I can't remember if it was the first or second time. And I had been interviewed in his show. Right. Podcast. Four, one, one. He had me come on his show, and I remember specifically saying to him, I said, he's asking me about what's going on in La, because that's part of the conversation like we're having right now. And I just mentioned to him, I said, I'm making some pretty big life choices right now. I'm kind of moving into a place of transition, is what I said. And then he said, oh, really? I may have something for you. He said to me. And I was like, okay. But other than the fact that we have recorded the podcast together, we hadn't met at that time ever. And he had just known me just from the fact that I had been podcasting. I had been podcasting at that time, what, all of maybe a year? It was like nine months, right? I had just started. But I was really in it. So I went to the podcast in Portable Media Expo, and we had lunch together, and he kind of offered me a job. He had just gotten hired by Lipson at that time. He had just gotten hired by Lipson. And I guess he must have been building his team. And he just said, hey, would you be interested in this? And I was like, sure, yeah, that would be great. And it was so weird, because in that conversation, this was like the shocker. This was the shocker of all shocks. At that time when I'm making this live transition, I had found essentially, I had fallen in love. I had fallen in love. And the guy who I fell in love with was from Pittsburgh. And I was planning on moving to Pittsburgh. Like, this was already in my head, which is why I said to him, I'm in the middle of a transition. I don't know what else. So then he goes to me, okay, yeah, that would be really great. And then he said, where are you moving to? Like, how long are you going to be gone? Because I have some other stuff going on. And where are you moving to? And how long are you going to be gone? Because this was going to be a remote sort of offer. And I said, oh, I'm going to be moving to Pittsburgh. And he goes, get out. And I said, yes, I'm going to Pittsburgh. And he's like, no, you're not. And I said, yes, I am. And he goes, Libson headquarters? Is that in Pittsburgh? And I was like, what? Are you kidding? So I ended up going into the Libson office instead of a remote location. I just happened to be moving to the place that offered me to hire me. How about that?

Danny:

Obviously, you've been there. What's that 15 years now? I guess. 20, 17, 20, 22. So this will be your 15 year now and your co host of the feed with Rob on Lipson. How did that come about? Was that a joint idea? Was it to get to sort of serve your Lipson community or the bigger podcast in between? In general?

Elsie:

You know, I actually had always wanted to create a podcast about podcasting. And while I was at Lipson, it was one of those things where I just thought, like, why do we not have a podcast? That was my first thought when I started working at Libson was, why do we not have a podcast? And I was a new person coming into this company that it was still very slowly growing at that time, Super, super grassroots. And I was like, I didn't feel like it was up to me. It just all of a sudden decide, we're going to have this podcast, right? And as the years started to move through, I started to feel like, we need to have a podcast. We just need to have a podcast. What can this podcast be? Number one. And number two, was it's going to be my job because I'm pitching this right? So I'm going to end up having to do the work. And I already knew this. So then I was like, what would it take for me to be able to produce content consistently? Because I had just broken up with Elsie's yoga class because I couldn't do it right? So I already knew what I couldn't do, which is why I broke up with Elsie's yoga class. Now I want to do this new podcast. What is going to help me continue to do it. So I had to think about that for a bit. And then I thought, okay, I need to have a co host because that's easier. I can't just be me. The other thing is that I also knew that it couldn't be weekly because there's no way I could do that because of my there's no way. Having a weekly show is so hard. And I thought, okay, Biweekly, I have a host. I have to just ask Rob. And at that time I was like, I'm just going to ask him and I'm going to say I'm going to do everything. All you have to do is show up. You just have to show up. Like you don't have to do anything other than show up. And that's how I pitched him on it, which is like just show up and we'll be good. And so I kind of took that on and push it forward and kind of slowly developed it. So the idea, the name, the branding of it, the way that it's been grown, the way that we built out what it is came from me. And then Rob and I kind of collaborate on like segments or ideas that come in inside the show as things move and change. And I've sort of aligned it to that fluctuation that shift back and forth. And so we really break down the duties, if you will. For the most part, he works a lot more on the content side of things because he's just a lot more. He's better at being able to organize that content for himself. And I just kind of come into that and then I will do a little bit of content, but the majority of the actual production of it right, all the admin stuff, all the things that have to do with like when are we going to do it? What time we're going to do it? How are we going to be recording? Can you do it like this? Can you give me the file? Can you do all this stuff? And so it slowly started to expand a little more now to the point where I was editing the show all the way up to this year. This is the very first year now that I've handed off the reins for somebody else to edit for pod.

Danny:

Chat is sponsored by Podnews get a daily email with all the latest news about podcasting. It's free@podnews.net. From jobs across industry to events and conferences, you'll find the latest podcast and info in the daily newsletter. You can add Podnews. Net to your daily briefing on your smart speaker. Two, just search for it in your Smart Speaker app. And now back to this week's episode. Now, speaking of the podcasting community, one of my elder episodes I had Ariana Plateau, and one of the things we were speaking about was diversity and inclusion in the space. And I know that's very much a driving force for yourself. And she podcasts on a scale of one to ten, how would you currently rate the podcast in space when it comes to this.

Elsie:

Part of I'm not sure that I can label the entire space on one to ten because what I'm seeing is not necessarily reflective of industry, if you will. Right. Because there are so many different facets now within the podcasting. That is not the way that it was at all. Meaning that there is big money coming in. There are big corporations that are coming in. There are companies that are by far so far removed from the everyday experience of, I would say, 90% of us, meaning direct impact. Right. I'm going to suffer more if my local grocery store or my local gasoline station doesn't have insert whatever that is. Right. Then if there's a larger like something or other changing across the board in a place where it's not really actually reaching me. And so I'm trying to affect the people who are at the core. Right, to be able to give them skill sets right below that, like literally making sure that there is an impact to them. So to answer your question, I think that there's a lot of work to be done in larger corporations across the board to have more diversity in boards because that, for me is the most important thing. People are not going to greenlight hiring anybody at the diverse board. People are not going to advocate for creating content that serves niche communities. People are just not going to see the worth of being able to support folks that speak different types of languages. People are not going to do it because they don't see the value of it, because they're so far removed from the actual people who are in the nitty gritty doing the things right. A lot of the time, a lot of the diversity in the leadership positions are there, and they can sort of grasp the importance of having diverse voices around. And they kind of get it because people are kind of pushing it on them, but they don't truly understand. And that's when having diverse people on the board can understand what that is. People as the head of the marketing Department, people as the head of the product Department, people as the head of any kind of the development area of whatever said company it is that are putting this stuff out there. And I am going way beyond content here. Right. Because content is one small sliver of what's going on there one small little bit. You know, the podcast hosts are one small little sliver. That's it. Whereas everybody else, there's so many aspects. The folks that are working with, like the CFOs are all these companies. Right. The product managers of all of these companies. There are so many people that need to be in these positions so that they can really address the pain points that a lot of those folks that are actually investing the money into the podcasting space that need to be aware of. So that's where I'm putting my I'm focusing in on that because I think we've done a lot. In terms of the creators and the independent part of voices. I think we've really expanded a lot. There's still a lot of work to be done, for sure. But it feels to me that there's like, okay, I feel like there's education happening here. I feel that's accessible. I feel that there are groups coming up. I feel like we can do this together. There's a sense of togetherness that we're working through. But what I haven't seen change is that top layer.

Danny:

And you think that's also where like a big disconnect is. You mentioned obviously the creators at ground level are doing a lot, and you see a lot of movements. We've got Claim Pod Parity, which came about this year for International Women's Day. So there's definitely a lot of movements on the ground level. What do you think the disconnect is at board? Is it that and I'm not going to mention any companies because as you mentioned, it's like it's companies all across the board.

Elsie:

Yes, absolutely. It's everybody.

Danny:

Yeah. So which means they disconnected. Do you think it's just a lack of understanding why it's key to have diversity as opposed to taking off the diversity box or something different?

Elsie:

I think it's because I think a little bit of both. And part of it is that the perception is that it doesn't make money, that it's not going to affect the bottom line, that there are other things to pay attention to that are more important and deserve to have that investment. Or people are also in a position of not knowing where to start. And the process of being to be in a position where you are truly championing diversity doesn't just come from. I mean, yes, it comes from the top. Meaning in terms of leadership, right? Absolutely. You do have to state it from a board that really supports something or like anything that's going on at the top level, whether a company has a board of directors or does not. Right. At any time. But the thing is, it has to be infused at the core of the mission and the vision of the company. It has to be like top level, whatever the value, whatever that value is needs to lead. And in doing so, everyone needs to make choices and be able to go like, are we reflecting of this higher value that we have? And that takes a lot of work. And it honestly doesn't just happen in terms of, like, taking a box, because a lot of people what they get very disappointed at, particularly with all the months like the Black History Month and the Asian Pacific Islander History Month. And there's all of these months that are out there Pride Month, they're there to amplify and to celebrate. And at the same time, though, I think part of it is that you have to understand how you can weave that, like weaving that within a company's culture takes time. It takes resources, it takes constant commitment. And sometimes it means that you're going to have to slow down. It means that you might lose money for a while. It means that you're going to have to break things down and start over again. It means that you're going to have to look at yourself and ask yourself deeper questions about who you are at every moment and see if you are actually living what you're trying to put out there. Because there's also a difference between hiring somebody that can do the work for you, and then you truly, truly at your core believing that this is really important and necessary. So I think the leadership as a whole is something that I've been really thinking about, too. Whenever I'm asked a question, whenever I'm pushed back, whenever I try to support another community, it's never really just about being defensive. It's really always about going, yes, I hear you, I see you. And then going, what part or maybe all parts of whatever that person told me is true. Like, you have to hold that if you are not paying attention to something and somebody says to you, these things over here could be better or you really messed up. It's not about like, oh, my God, but I was trying so hard. No, it's about, oh, my gosh, I totally did. What part of that is true and how can I totally fix that? How can I help that? And it might not necessarily happen so fast. That takes a lot of it's courageous, and it's not an easy path to take. That's all I got to tell you.

Danny:

And was that a driving point? I know back in 2014, the Sheep podcast movement was born. Initially as a Facebook group with Jess and yourself. You are legitimate member, but it's grown to a huge live event. Now you've got 21,000 plus members in the Facebook group. And a core part of that or the driving part of that is about amplifying voices and diversity and inclusion and education. So how did she podcast come about initially?

Elsie:

It actually came about because Jess and I felt like, well, actually, Jess felt like this, and I helped her out. We attended some podcasting conference. This time it was like the New Media Expo, which is where we used to go before podcast movement and went in there. And there was like the podcasting wing, and we would all go in there and have conversations. And during that conference, we realized that we would go out to have dinner and sit down at restaurants and whatnot with a whole posse of, like, women podcasters that were all doing the same things. And it made us feel so heard and so good. And a lot of the time we had asked questions about our own podcast. Like, the same questions like, how do you grow your show? What's the microphone that you want to use? Should I be publishing once a month or once a week? Like, what's the best thing, right? And at that time, whenever we ask those questions in the larger groups or maybe at that time, the speakers were always one type of podcaster, not even just like in terms of diversity of podcast. It was like one type. It was like the entrepreneurial podcasting people doing online business that's the people who were speaking, okay, there was nobody else that was speaking at that time. So they were giving very specific type of information that was coming out. And I remember thinking like, that's not true because I had been around for a long time, so I had hindsight to be able to think and go like, no, there's all of these different types of podcasters. They're doing all of these different things. That's not true. And Jess was coming at it from the perspective of like, this advice is not helpful to me. It's not helping to me. She had a business podcast at that time, and she was thinking, everything you're saying is not going to work for me. My life is not what you think it is. And I can't do that. And so we would get really great advice from the other women, and we realized, oh my gosh, why do we not have, like a Facebook group and just talk amongst each other? And I had wanted to do that for a long time, but I just I'm not one of those people that, like, generally does things really quickly. Like, I sit with it and I really ponder. And Jess is the exact opposite. So she had the idea and she immediately created this group. And I think it was called Women in Podcasting at that time. And I had been thinking about having a podcast called Shepodcast in my own head that I wanted to put out. I didn't know what it was. I just knew that that was the name. And so she started the Facebook group and it just kind of started growing and growing and growing. It was the need that we wanted to present was that it solved the problem that we had, which was, I just want to talk to somebody who gets me who gets my troubles and can give me an answer that maybe aligns better with what I want to do than these other people. And that's where it came from. It really came from that. The community itself has taught, I think, us a lot because, again, we didn't start this to be leaders in any way. We didn't want to be the leaders of this thing. It happened to be that. That's where we ended up. And it has been a massive learning experience because we started so small. And there's a difference between having a small group and having that group scale in such a way that it surpassed or any kind of goals that we ever had. We didn't have goals for that, let's put it that way. It was like, oh, my God, it keeps growing. Like it was just one of those scary things, right? But it's much different to be able to lead a community of 100 people versus leading a community of over 210, particularly in a space that isn't like you don't control it, which is Facebook. And so Facebook does its own things all the time, and you just kind of are along for the ride. Like, you never know when they're going to take things away and they just do it and it's over and you have no say.

Danny:

You have a backup. I mean, you mentioned obviously, Facebook has its own rules and implementations, et cetera. But if Facebook were ever to say, let's close groups down, I mean, they just mentioned that they pull out your podcast and on Facebook earlier this week. Do you have a backup to take it into your own community as part of your website or something or what's your plan there? Do you have a plan there?

Elsie:

Yes, we do. We actually have a membership community that we relaunched just very recently. And we are looking to once again kind of amp up exactly what we want to do with this community, exactly how we want to build it and expand it and grow it in a way that feels like we can have our hands a little bit closer in the game. That community is a paid community versus the free community, which is Facebook. And part of it is because we did find that after having to do so much in a place that doesn't really support you in this fashion, both Jess and I were getting really tired and burnt out on the constant having to give give. And the way in which Facebook tends to be, it's more of a lean back kind of thing. Like, people want to go in there and get what they want and leave, and if they don't get what they want, they get mad. And it's like, listen, you all are here because you're hanging out like this. I can't be here. This is not making me money. So we had to sustain our lives, right? It's not that I'm just doing things to make money. My God, it's a lot of time and attention. So we have a membership that we're moving forward with that. And we have an email address, and we have our podcast and email address, an email newsletter that we have that people can sign up for. And so all of those things, if anything happens with that Facebook group, we would be in a place where we've established little touch points across social and across our own email newsletter. Like I said before, and we do have a podcast, obviously not as big as 20,000 people listening to that show by any means, like on a monthly basis. But it would be nice to have more folks listen that way. But we have expanded a little more, and I think that we're going to be continuing that process to be able to have that free touch. But at the same time, if anything ever happens to Facebook, that we don't feel like we're stuck. Right. And we can't do anything and our whole business disappears.

Danny:

And obviously, part of that is she Podcast Live, which is your live event, which is back this year. And how has that been what's it been like to come up with the idea of a live event, to expand upon, say, the podcast in the group, etc. For and what's been some of the cool success stories or just cool things that happened because of the live event and the people involved?

Elsie:

Oh, my goodness. Well, this was all Jess's idea. I kicked and screamed to not have this happen because I'm not a fan of live events. I'm not a big conference person. I feel really awkward and weird. That's not me. I don't feel comfortable in those situations too much. So getting me to go there was going to be a huge thing. Mind you. I knew that this had been something that she wanted to do for a long time. So I did support her to be able to continue to do this. Now we've had it twice. We did it in 2019, and we did it once again last year, in 2021. And it was beyond what I ever imagined anything could be. Yes, it was ours, meaning that this was obviously our event and we were putting this together. But I think what I wasn't counting on was the magic that it was when all of the women came together and how different the feel of it was. And it's really hard to explain what that is. Right. Because I'm sure at some point you've gone into a podcasting conference. I mean, there's so many out there, like podcast movement, podcast. I mean, we've got what is it the one that's happening in England right now, too? I forgot the name of it. But there's so many of these out there. And for the most part, they all kind of have the same feel. But cheap Podcast Live was not that it has a different sense of camaraderie. It has a sense of non hierarchy. It has a sense of togetherness and space. So we crafted the conference as an opportunity for us to take care of ourselves as well. So that's built into the way that we put the schedule together. So there's space in between sessions where you don't have to rush from one to the other one. There's no jam packed every single hour. We had an hour and a half break every day for lunch, which is a huge chunk of time, right? We did that deliberately so people could connect with one another and have that time of not attending sessions, of sitting outside, of sitting at a table and talking with somebody else, of taking care, of going to their room and staying in the room. Because what Jess and I had both found out is every time we went into a conference, we would always come back and we would be so tired, inspired, but tired. And then when we got home, we forgot of the things that we learned. Like, there was nothing that was so tangible that we could keep with us. Whereas what I feel with the podcast live is that you go, you attend, you come home, and you have the feeling, even if you can't go and pinpoint and go. Like I learned and write on a list on a notebook, all the things you learned, you come back with a sense of, I did that. That was amazing. Like, you just have that feeling. I want to go again, because that was amazing. And you just want to feel it again. You want to do it again. And I think one of the things that we really love is that we are also not one of those people that want you to hold you. You just have to be part of this event, and you got to stay here. I think what was really great is to have the women come, and then they all did what they wanted. Like, there were meetups happening. They were doing their hair, like, cutting their hair, getting massages. There were some of them that took off and they went off and did some adventures in Arizona. Like, they drove somewhere else, and they would come back and they would touch base, and people were working out, and people were not going to, you know, we have yoga class. I taught a yoga class in the morning. So all of the things that we had dreamt about, like, wouldn't it be nice if we just had this one thing? We had a live podcast recording, and we had a pajama party because we wanted to have a pajama party. So everybody showed up in their pajamas, and it was candy everywhere. Like, in all the tables. You're just watching a podcast. Scary podcast. It was about a true crime podcast. There were scary podcasts being done at the front, and then we all just kind of sat there and ate candy in our pajamas.

Danny:

Awesome. I know it's almost like a campfire for podcasters, but this big, huge, live campfire for podcasters, that seems that kind of vibe there.

Elsie:

It was just so great. And that's why it feels great to go into Sheep Podcast Live. And again, not to take away from the other conferences, because I think that's the point. Everybody needs a conference that really resonates with them, and everybody has different reasons for attending. But we wanted Sheep Podcast Live to be an experience, above all, for people to have fun and to decompress and to connect with one another. That's like one of our biggest things. Now, obviously, education is really huge, and we want inspiring people to go there to help us continue doing what we do best. And so hopefully we'll be able to also be able to scale that up in a way that feels good for all of us, to be able to continue to have an offering like this for all of us inside of the industry. I feel it's very special, very special. Even if I wasn't part of it, I would say, yeah, Podcast live. You gotta go, you gotta go to Pinchy Podcast Live pod chat I like about it as well.

Danny:

It's got a theme. Each event has got a theme. And this year is Undeniable, which it's got a strong message, obviously, that women podcasters won't be denied a voice or a space at the podcasting table. And it's a very strong and positive message. Is it a process to how a theme is chosen? Is it based on cultural events at the time, or how does that come about?

Elsie:

You know, I'm the evil genius around the themes because I usually go with my gut. It's something I've always done all the time. It's like I do get a sense of, like, the needs of the community. It's how I've always taught my yoga classes, always had a theme. So whenever you do my class, I teach on themes. I think themes are super important to be able to really drive home a message and so that you can internalize what that message was. Right. So Undeniable came across with a conversation that just and I had because we just get really fed up with the same conversations happening all the time. So Undeniable was a sifted, clean version of what initially was the pitch that came out of my mouth, actually out of Jess's mouth. And I said, let's go with that because it was not a clean theme. But as we really discussed the whole sense of what that means, I saw how much depth something like that really had. And for me, one of the key things in putting a theme out is that it's not necessarily just in podcasting. Right? So, yes, what you said, you really coined a lot of the realities of what we want to do with that message. But being Undeniable has so many other layers to who you are and how you approach the world. Right. And I know for me and my children, what I want to teach them is to really recognize that sense of worthiness, to understand that you are someone that is resonant. You are somebody that is important. You are somebody who cannot that you won't be forgotten and that you won't be denied whenever you align with whatever that is for you and for me, that's what it was. And seeing the women be able to come through and recognize their own worthiness, it's a much deeper level of that. And if everybody speaks that same language, it is a phenomenal way to drive a point home. Because when you come into and recognize I am undeniable, I will not be denied. I am an undeniable human being. You can then fill that up and then go about your business, go back home. And just by you being in that you can help other folks also recognize that power. And that's really what I think cheap podcast is really all about. It's about that internalization of those themes of that meaningfulness that really can only be done by you. Undeniable will have a meaning that you gave it that resonates with you. And that's what we want you to take away. So there is no like, Lane, right. And like, this is what it is. But everybody would go, oh, my God, undeniable.

Danny:

Yes.

Elsie:

And they'll have a different idea of what that means. And that's perfect.

Danny:

And it kind of ties in. Like the announcement last night, I think, the leak with the Role versus Wade. Yes, the Role versus Wade decision in the Supreme Court and how that could be overturned. And obviously, that's going to have a massive, massive impact on women in the US. And I'm wondering if there's been any discussions within she podcast. Obviously, you got a large group. You've got the mantra of cheap podcast itself. I wonder if there's been any discussions with the podcast as you have any group or as part of the Sheep podcast movement to use the podcast as a medium to help educate people and why this is such a key time in the US that may get the information from, say, mainstream media, but don't trust that anymore. But they trust the podcast and voices that they listen to.

Elsie:

We haven't had anything where we have gotten together. And it's like, in truth, Danny, I'm so shocked. I haven't wrapped my head around it. Honestly. I'm in sort of a state of like, what? No. So once I get through that, maybe there can be something like that. I know that there are some already incredibly powerful voices out there that are covering the space for me. One of the people that I gotten to know who is part of she was part of my mentorship experience. Her show is called REPRO's Fight Back. And Jenny Wetter, who is sort of like the boss of that specific podcast. She works for a nonprofit organization. It's all about reproductive rights. And her show was possibly one of the most instrumental shows in terms of education for me because she really comes the depth of the conversations that she's having on that show are coming from the ground floor, doing that act like just living and breathing this space. Right. Living and breathing it to understand how all of these little bits and pieces really line up with one another and how important they are in a very tangible way versus all of the narratives that you hear are the hot takes. She is not a hot take person. She is in it and speaks through exactly what things mean. And she's not just reporting on the United States, but also specific States and outside of the US. And she has very smart people come on the show all the time and talk about stuff. And she has action like to do. So after you've listened to her podcast, usually she'll have a little these are the things you can do and she'll give you tangible things and steps that you can take. Her show is also transcribed, so if you don't want to listen to it, you can just read it. And she has all of the relative important things to be paying attention to. So I would say, like, that's my big step is like we need to send as many people to shows that are already doing the work and have been doing the work like that. And really, is there a way to uplift these voices to have folks to be able to understand what's going on? Right. And part of it is like a back catalog of that. Danny, can you imagine, oh, my God, just reading a back catalog to really understand concepts in a way that have never been discussed in the past before it became all news into everything that's happening in the space, for sure.

Danny:

And I'm wondering, obviously, a big part of she podcast is education. And I'm wondering what would you recommend podcasters that want to be better allies and help? What can we Pod chat can they do to be better supportive of movements like she podcasts and education behind it?

Elsie:

Part of it is, in all honesty, your money counts where you put your money counts. So even if you are not of insert whatever, you're not black, you're not Indigenous, you're not woman, you're not whatever. All of these things, that is not how you identify if you have any spare cash to be able to purchase something that these organizations are selling, donations, tickets, sales. There's so many of us that have established businesses out there, like the WC, podcast creators, the BIPOC podcaster stories. There are so many different places, Afros and audio. There's just so many of us out there that are doing some great work. And every single one has something, either a newsletter you pay for membership or something like that you don't have to attend, especially if that would be I think that's one of the number one ways that you can show that, because part of it is establishing a buoyant way in which all of us can make our own money to just get us off the ground would be amazing for us to keep on growing and sustaining for ourselves. It's just so important Pod chat to happen and to always share a podcast that maybe you've only heard about or is woman led or is black led or is, you know, in any kind of whatever it is that you feel needs to have their attention at that time to just make sure you have a list of people. People always ask in the same way that you were asking about the podcasting stuff and what's going on with Roe versus Wade. Jenny is top of mind right now, so I'm telling people about her podcast because that's so important. Right. And do I listen to her show every single day or every single time she puts it out? No, I don't. I'll touch it here and there. Right. I'll come in and I check in with Jenny, but it's always a top of mind whenever these conversations come out. And I think all of us as allies need to have a list of people in front of us, especially when we get into podcast interviews, because at some point in time, somebody's going to ask, what are your favorite podcasts that you're listening to or who's really inspired you to do X, Y, and Z or whatever? What are some new shows that you've been listening to? Have a list right in front of you. And then even if you haven't been listening to them and just say, like, you know what, this podcast I just downloaded, I have not listened to it, but this seems to be a really wonderful show. And say it, mention it. Right. Even if you haven't heard it, because those are the kinds of things people will pay attention to that. And the more that we can pod chat from a place of like when we're talking about leadership before, where it has to be front of mine. If you value diversity, inclusion and belonging, if those are your key core values, then you have to go out of your way every time you touch somebody else, especially in the podcasting industry, to put somebody else in somebody else's ears, because that's what you and might forget. And you might like, oh, man, I should have done it. You'll get better at it every single time. You always need to have that front of your mind front of mine all the time.

Danny:

And that is excellent advice. And I think a perfect segue into where can people connect with yourself, the one to learn about you and what you do. She podcasts. They want to listen to the feed. Where's the best place to connect with you and your podcast and she podcasts.

Elsie:

Oh, my goodness. Well, we have sheepodcast, the podcast. You're always welcome to subscribe to that. We live stream every Monday. You can follow me on Twitter which is where I am primarily active. I'm not too active on social very much. But you can follow me there at the lcscobar and you can check out sheepodcast. Sheepodcast.com. My other show is called the feed, the official lips and podcast. It's a really great show. I think it's a great show. It's getting better. I think since we started in 2013, we should be getting better. I hope so. There's always better. There's always betterment every time we do these things. So those are the places to connect with me.

Danny:

And our tickets on sale now for sheep podcast live later this year.

Elsie:

Yes, they are. They are. So this year Washington, DC is where we will be for sheep podcast live. So we're going to the East Coast and it's going to be in mid October.

Danny:

Mid October 2022 and it will be nice weather fall in Washington. That's not too bad.

Elsie:

Absolutely. Yeah.

Danny:

And I'll be sure to leave all the links for I'll say in the show notes as usual. So if you're listening on your favorite podcast app or listen online, head on down to the links in the show notes and make sure to check everything out. I can attest to the education and value that brings to everything she does and so I urge you to check out the show notes and click on these links. So again, Elsie, thank you for appearing today. I know the listeners are going to get a lot of value from us.

Elsie:

Thank you. Thanks so much for having me.

Danny:

Did you know every time podcast gets a new review, a baby podcaster takes the first steps? Help a baby podcaster walk today by leaving a five star rating or review on the likes of Apple Podcasts, Spotify and more. Just head on over to podchat.ca/review and do your magic. These little feet are counting on you.

About the Podcast

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Pod Chat - Insights and Trends from Podcast Experts
the people and tech of podcasting

About your host

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Danny Brown

Danny Brown is the host of Pod Chat, Podcaster Stories, and Memories of 3DO, as well as co-host of Mental Health and Us with his wife, Jaclyn.

He's the Head of Podcaster Experience and Support at Captivate.fm, the world's only growth-oriented podcast hosting, distribution, analytics, and monetization platform.

He lives in beautiful Muskoka, Ontario, Canada with his wife and two kids, where he spends winters in front of a cozy fire and summers by the lake.