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Building A Community

Kerry Guard • Sunday, August 8, 2021 • 58 minutes to listen

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Gabrielle Dalvet and Natalie Cantave

Natalie is Product Marketing Manager at Cohere Health, and Gabrielle is Director of Marketing at Vendr. Gabrielle and Natalie started MKTG WMN, it's a Slack channel of marketing women who support one another. They started in December of 2020 and they have been growing exponentially.



Hello, I'm Kerry Guard, and welcome to Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders.

Season 8 is a compilation around how to market to people and the importance of how we do that as buyers shift from meeting sales and marketers to tell them what to do and how to by giving them autonomy to make their own decisions. I know people relinquishing control is so hard. But it's, I mean, as a buyer, what do we want? We want control. As an advertiser, we want control. One of these groups is going to win, I'm telling you right now. And according to Mark Schaefer, it's gonna be the buyers. It is. They don't want to be told what to do anymore. They want to be able to do their own research and do their own exploration to figure out what it is that they want, and who they want to buy from. And we have to give them the autonomy to do so.

If you haven't listened to all eight episodes, be sure to be kind and rewind, and head back to the start to check out Mark Schaefer's especially because that episode really sets the stage. And you don't need to listen to them all in order but you know, after listening to Mark's and then jumping around to see which ones fit you it's just, they're just really great examples of how people are leading into this marketing rebellion as advertisers and marketers to figure out how to work with the buyer in you know, helping them find what they need. Truly all we're trying to do at the end of the day, right.

For this final episode, I had the opportunity to chat with Gabrielle Dalvet, and Natalie Cantave. Natalie is Product Marketing Manager at Cohere Health, and Gabrielle is Director of Marketing at Vendr. Gabrielle and Natalie started MKTG WMN, it's a Slack channel of marketing women who support one another. Suppose that they have small virtual gatherings around hot topics with experts who lead those gatherings. They started in December of 2020 and they have been growing exponentially. Mark wrote, in The Marketing Rebellion, that building communities is one very important tactic in leading as a human company. So what better way to wrap up the season than to give you a real case study of two women who have done just that?

Here's my conversation with Natalie, and Gabrielle.


Kerry Guard: Gabrielle and Natalie, thank you for joining me on Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders.

Gabrielle and Natalie: We're happy to be here.

Kerry Guard: So happy to have you both. So the first question I asked everybody is, What's your story? And how did you get there? And we're going to kick off with Gabrielle, if you could just, you know, tell us about yourself and what you do and how you got there.

Gabrielle Dalvet: Yeah, I would love to, my name is Gabrielle Dalvet. My full time job, I'm the Director of Marketing at Vendr, SaaS buying platform. But why we're here today is to share with you the story of MKTG WMN, which is a networking group for women of all backgrounds, all industries, all levels, that I co-founded with Natalie here, and the "why" behind it really comes down to trying to find a space that would grow with me. And realizing there wasn't one. I was a part of a number of marketing networking groups in the past, but they were industry specific. And I've coined this term of graduating from them, like I just, I didn't fit into the sports world anymore. And so I had to leave the sports marketing networking group. And I didn't fit into being a young woman anymore. So I had to leave the young women's Marketing Group, which is where Natalie and I met. And I was like, well, what's next? I don't want to join a tech marketing group. Because what if I leave tech, then I have to find a whole new one again. And so it was like the Goldilocks story of like, this one's too small. This one's too industry specific, like where's my home? Where is something that's going to support me through and through. So it was quite selfish in its inception, but I also wanted to give all of my knowledge and help others share their own knowledge with more women out there. And I reached out to Natalie, to see if she was feeling the same way. Especially because we met at a networking group that we both were like, wait, like, we can't go back there, you know. It's not for folks straight out of college anymore. So Natalie felt right in line with me, and we were like, let's do this thing.

Natalie Cantave: And I think I'm also with that conference that Gabrielle and I met with, which was interesting that, for us being in at the time B2B marketing spaces, the content at these networking groups are interesting, but we couldn't take them away as actions to take back to our companies that we were employed with at the time. So like, I remember one session could have been like, around how to build and, you know, a really thoughtful Instagram campaign, but if you're in a B2C space, that's great, you can take your notes and go back to your company, and apply that to consumers. But for us, at the time, when we're selling software to businesses, or maybe other companies, we're not using Instagram in our day to day. So I think even kind of with, or building off of Gabrielle is like Goldilocks stories, like, how do we create content where people can share that everyone can take back wherever they're coming from, whether it's, you know, geography, whether it's age, whether it's industry, whether it's like B2B or B2C? Like how can we really create something that's inclusive, that anyone can benefit from at whatever stage that they're at? So yeah, I guess there was a selfish part to it. But I think it's that, you know, that any kind of idea comes from an idea where it's because you're affected by it, I think, or it's something that you're frustrated by and want to solve that problem. So we just need to figure out a solution for ourselves to find our homes within marketing. And that's how MKTG WMN was born.

Kerry Guard: Love it. Real quick, Natalie, because I think it's so important to know what your story is and where you come from before.

Natalie Cantave: Oh, I totally missed that.

Kerry Guard: That's cool. That's why I'm being kind in rewinding, it's all good. So can you just step us through your journey up until you met Gabrielle at that conference?

Natalie Cantave: Yeah, so I've been pretty much working in the health tech space. Pretty much B2B. I currently work at a health tech startup called Cohere Health, where I do Product Marketing. And pretty much I kind of was in a space where I really liked the industry that I've been in, and kind of at different conferences, I met interesting people at different ones, but there was just some, you know, content that wasn't super tangible for me to think about how can I apply it in a setting, or I wasn't really hearing from people that were in health tech, so that was kind of like my first start. And then in a previous job, I created a community for women in digital health space, but it was, you know, not just marketers, it was people in research, people in investors, people working at, you know, pharmaceutical company, so I enjoyed that aspect of it. But once I had to graduate and leave that program when I joined my new company, so even though, it but also to like, you know, met with awesome women, but it was more about the industry and what was going on in the space and not really like how I can leverage this in my day to day, but you know what, that I had to leave and graduate. So Gabrielle and I met at a time where I think it was during a break during one of the conferences, and we were just like, at a table and we're just like, hi, I'm Natalie. Hi, I'm Gabrielle, and we just have been friends. And Gabrielle has been just like a support system for me as I've navigated different parts of my career and definitely want to pay that forward as part of MKTG WMN and create mentorship and help other women create connections. So they can have what we kind of are, Gabrielle coined it but we use it as like a bat phone, where it's someone you can call or you know, texts, and just kind of be like, oh, what am I doing? So we wanted that kind of within our community of bat phones but also badass women.

Kerry Guard: Love that. I think we all need that, I know I need that. I'm looking for that safe space to just show up and be like, "here are my struggles and who was with me". I'm part of YC Young Entrepreneurs Council, but I feel like I'm sort of in that similar boat of, it's too broad now. I need something a bit more specific, and a bit more specific to my needs as a woman like I put a comment out there a few weeks ago, where I was feeling like there was a bit of this struggle of, I don't know how you all feel about this. This is gonna be an interesting conversation. We'll have this for a minute and if we like it, we'll keep it in. If not, then we'll cut it out. But I felt like in my whole career, that In order to get anything done, it couldn't be my idea. You, had sort of plant seeds.

Gabrielle Dalvet: Inception.

Kerry Guard: Manipulate a bit, sort of get other people to think about what it is you're thinking about, but not in a way of like, I had this idea and I'm thinking that this is how we need to go. Because it either was like yeah, whatever. Or, like, I find a lot of the things that I said years ago are finally now happening. But it took this sort of like, how to try everything else that wasn't what I was talking about to now get to where we are. So it's just this interesting, I put this out to my YC group. And I was like, I'm having this struggle. Anybody feeling me? And all the men had very similar answers. And there was one woman who was like, let's connect, I think I know what you're talking about. And I was like, okay, interesting. I, you know, it's a small data set. I don't know. But it was interesting to me that all the men were like, yeah, this is how you need to do it, and you need to get different ideas, and you talk through that. I'm like, yes, that's what I've been doing, but it's also like, not really being heard. So that's cool. And then we engage the one woman who was like, I see you. Okay. Because I do think we sort of need that empowerment of how to navigate that, because I feel like, and similar things that are still sort of happening, you know, but only we see.

Gabrielle Dalvet: Yeah, I'm like nodding along, like 100%. Every company, every interaction, there are cultural dynamics that play and gender is one of them. Whether it's unconscious or subconscious or conscious. There is a gender dynamic, I think, that is one of the big ones where women feel like, and it's validated. There's a reason why, unfortunately, and it's hard to solve for because it is that unconscious bias, I feel like, but women have to like, you know, incept their ideas into the group thinker into the brain of a guy for him to regurgitate it as his own. And that's when it's like, oh, yeah, great idea. You know?

Kerry Guard: Yes. I do see it happening a little less. But I felt like in the early stages of my career, and, yeah, it's this interesting dynamic. Anyway, this is one of the things that I think makes this group so powerful are conversations like this, where you can sort of raise your hand and say, I'm having a struggle, am I alone, it's really nice to hear that you're not alone.

So let’s talk about, my next question is, before we get into community and the crux of it, and why you guys chose this. I mean, I think there's a big “why” there. But the fact that you're doing this on the side, I'm sure it's time consuming. But from a challenges standpoint, you know, what challenges are y'all facing with MKTG WMN?

Natalie Cantave: Yeah, I mean, I think you kind of mentioned that, you know, this is not our full time gig. And as we mentioned, in our stories, that this is our passion project that we grew, and we have been growing and are continuing to grow. But we have our day to day jobs that, you know, we're committed to, because we are passionate about them. Awesome bills to pay, lives to live. So I think just at times a challenge, which something Gabrielle and I keep continuing to talk about is just how do we balance this, you know, within our work life balance, like how to like figuring out I think, cap, like, time to dedicate, you know, I think it's definitely a challenge of wanting to figure out, like, you know, when we set up our meetings, like we meet every Tuesday, like after work, and it's a long day, but like, it's for me something I look forward to every Tuesday, but I think it's also something that, you know, I dedicate time to on the weekends. So I have to think about my schedule and how I plan like, my social time, but also time when I'm relaxing and want to dedicate, you know, the energy to MKTG WMN. So I think that's definitely one that we both share, but I think it's something that anyone who's trying to build something at the same time as a day to day is also struggling with that too.

Gabrielle Dalvet: Yeah, I think that's it. Yeah, that's really the biggest one and it's really about scalability and automation. So, it's funny that it overlaps with, like, the life of a startup marketer. So I can relate on both my full time job and this side hustle of MKTG WMN, where, you know, we not only want to grow the group, but make it really valuable and meaningful for the members. And so, you know, there are days and weeks that like, the community's a little quiet. And so we're like, trying to figure out how do we engage people in a way that's not going to feel noisy, but we'll ask them a question that just gets the conversation going, like, Kerry, like the one that you referenced, in your community that you're engaged in, like, how do we encourage folks to pick up the bat phone via our Slack group, when we're not having our events and I think that there's probably tan easier way than like us, reminding ourselves to log in every day. So like, leaning on. Great little more tech tools and Slack bots to start engaging the community more is where we're heading. So we can make it a lighter lift for us and a lot easier for folks to join in on different discussions.

Kerry Guard: Yeah, I mean, that's like a marketer's challenge in general, isn't it? It’s how do you, I've had so many great conversations about this, just recently have that balance between technology and the human and personal side of it, right? How do you create that personalization, but also scale this in time? I think we're all trying to crack this code. So yeah, I feel you. Are you only on Slack?

Natalie Cantave: We also have a LinkedIn group, but we really use Slack. I think it's because other people, you know, within their day to day, like my company, we use Slack as our main forum to communicate. So it was just a way that a lot of people, is easier to connect with on Slack. And people don't really want to spend time on emails. So I think that's where we've been able to see that we've been building community pretty well. So like a lot of, and we've encouraged the women in our community to create channels. So there's a channel for working moms. So even though Gabby and I aren't parents, it's a safe space for women who are struggling or juggling, motherhood and all the challenges that is not like saying we don't, you know, we want to offer that space that's there. And you know, there's another channel for influencer marketing. So for women that are using that, are talking about that, that's one space. And then we also have like, you know, other channels for those that you know, play a role in marketing, but are designers so there is a space that you know, brand design plays a role in marketers day to day and how you come up with campaigns. So that's a space. And then we have our own just different fun channels just to connect with women on to, like our books, we’re talking about what we're reading to funny things that we're sharing. So it's been a really good place for us to really leverage these connections in touchpoint. So Slack.

Kerry Guard: Man, that's why I've been missing out because I've been like, waiting on LinkedIn. I'm like, alright, there's gonna be magic. Where is it? What was happening. I scroll it. And then

Natalie Cantave: The magic's in Slack.

Kerry Guard: It's in slack. Okay, well, I gotta fire that back up, because I haven't been doing that for work, but I will make it happen. Because now I have total FOMO. And I want to know what's going on.

So let's talk about community. I think this is really interesting, because I see a lot of brands trying to get into the community. And I've been telling everybody about this book, you already heard me talk about it, and my team is gonna be sick of me, because I was on the Brene Brown train for a while and I'm still there. I still think she's amazing. And I still think everybody should look at what she's got going on. But I got a new book that, I'm like, screaming from the mountaintops, I just finished it. And I was so lucky enough to have the writer on the show, but it's called The Marketing Rebellion, the most human company wins. And he has a whole chapter dedicated to belonging, and how brands need to create a place for people to belong. And what's so interesting about what y'all are doing is that you're not tied, to necessarily a brand. I mean, I think you're creating one around MKTG WMN. And you got a nice little logo, and there's definitely some branding happening. But it's not tied to something that you're selling. It's just this community that you're giving back to the world, which is so cool. And I think we all know why you started it. I think now it makes sense as to why you chose Slack. How's it going? How you feeling about it, you know, where sort of the future of where you want this to go?

Natalie Cantave: Yeah, it's a big question. Yeah, I think for Gabrielle and I, I think with just the power of community and belonging, I think it's, I'm about to nerd out being a psych major, but everyone, as a human, you know, is tied to wanting to belong to, you know, something that connects us and building a community, whether it's, you know, your sexuality, whether it's your race, ethnicity, whether it's religion, whether it's a hobby, whether it's friends, I think everyone wants connections. And I think the world where, you know, went through the pandemic, where in person connections weren't there. And I think that's why, for us with Slack, it's been really successful, because and I think they'll still continue to be is because it's a great platform where you can just message people, you know, maybe not being tied to your screen, but it's also something that may be integrated into your day to day. But I think also, we did it at a time where people weren't able to go out for a coffee chat and network or go out for that, you know, maybe half the hour drink after work hours. So I think that's why we, I think it happened at the right time, because of everything that was going on in the world, and people thinking about how to just build that community and build connections. So I think it's been going well, I think we've been growing without a lot of promotion of our group, I think it's been really awesome that this really big surprise for us that, especially when we launched that we had a lot of just people join through organic search and finding us through LinkedIn or word of mouth. So I think that speaks to, I think it maybe speaks to just the space that we're creating, I think I remember talking to one of our members, recently, and she was saying, like, thank you for creating a space where I can just show up as my authentic self, like, I don't need to put on a face of makeup or, you know, like to come to a virtual meeting, I can just show up how I am and really feel accepted. And I think it's also probably because Gabrielle and I are very laid back and authentic with each other. So I think just carrying and fostering a community that's very similar to us as people was also something that we wanted to really keep. Not saying other groups have, you know, I think it's just when we build something that has a personal connection, because of our experiences and who we are and how we want to grow. And we want the group, the community to grow with us and bring their own ideas, because that's how we are in our day to day, in our lives. So at least that's why I think I don't know, what about you Gab? What do you think?

Gabrielle Dalvet: Yeah, I totally agree. I think there were a few. I feel like there were a lot of contributing factors. Like you mentioned, Natalie, COVID being the monster in the room. That was a huge driving force to why this has been so organically successful, but I feel like the symptoms related to COVID are like the job market kind of starting to get into influx, right, like, where either, some companies were soaring, some were tanking. I think working remotely, as you've seen with so many women leaving the job market, whether they left their jobs or stayed at their jobs, they probably, a lot of us started to see the weaknesses, right. Like the gender dynamics started to feel a little bit more at play. I'm sure like, you know, racial dynamics, as we know from the socio political events in the US, like we're definitely at play. So there's like that whole movement and momentum. I personally as we've talked about, I personally went through some work stuff where I needed that bat phone and as soon as I picked up that bat phone and called some people that are now a part of MKTG WMN, Natalie included, I you know, got this like surge of confidence that like hell, yes, I deserve this job. And hell, yes, I deserve a place that helps me feel like I belong from a full time position perspective. So all of those things, I feel like we've all been experiencing versions of, right, in our like, professional lives because of COVID. And I feel like putting this like very, very, as Natalie said, like, laid back five space where it's just like, come as you are. Take it or leave it like some people were like, gosh, if I sign up, do I have to, I'm like, you don't have to do anything. Like you can just sign up and just let it sit there like, be dormant until you need us like we know women have busy lives. Some women are like, Can we do XYZ and like this is as much yours as it is ours, like, we hope that you come and make your own mark, like if you want to start your own event series like, who am I to say no like this, you know, this isn't a branded thing where we're trying to sell anything. In particular, this is a space where we hope people can really like, you know, almost democratized community, which should already be democratized, but sometimes isn't. I think the real indicator of it working well is not just the organic growth in membership, where people just like seeing it somehow. And we're like, how is it not 140 people and barely doing anything. But also the discussion groups, the events, they're not webinars, because we want everybody to be like, an equitable playing field. And we have these groups of 10 to 20 people getting on Zoom calls, and they've never met before. And sharing things, I like, wouldn't even share with some of my best friends and being really vulnerable. And trying to ask for advice and give advice in a really like, you know, low key way where it's not gonna feel off putting or like your posturing. We've only had two so far. And it's incredible how well that's working. And I think that just speaks to like, the general vibe, and how women are really craving like, I know, I don't want to log on and look at slides. No, I don't want to log on and have to answer, like, these really structured questions. or listen to a bunch of panel speakers. Like I want to just connect, and it's been really cool to see that take off. And, again, we haven't even really done much to do that, to put like a ton of structure, really even like, I mean, we've put thought into it, but we're like letting it be its own thing, which is great.

Kerry Guard: Yeah, it's super organic. And I think that is really, it speaks to the need, which is why you started it. But then to have all these women joined in the same vein, and grow it, from that, it really shows just the real need for this space. And I just want to like, call out another community I know of, grew similarly. So I want people to know that, like, because I think we're gonna head in our next conversation is how you do this. And so there's a, my husband's part of a community called I think they call it Digital Chaos or something like that. But it's just a group of people who are really into gaming, and they're tech devs. And they all come from like, the same space. But again, it's huge. They all have these, they're in Slack, they have these different channels, they have all these different conversations they have, and it grew completely organically. It's probably at the same numbers. So when you find that niche of those people who need each other, it's amazing how it just happens.

So let's talk about how y'all did this. You chose your “why”, you chose your audience, you're like, okay, here's my people. You chose Slack and LinkedIn, but it sounds like it's, is it working better on Slack versus LinkedIn? Is that what happened? Or did you just lean more into Slack? Because that's just where people are at work? What sort of, what did you find there?

Natalie Cantave: Yeah, I mean, I think Slack is kind of where people are, I mean, I use it in my day to day in my current company, it's where we communicate, it's our platform. My last company where we worked with a lot of startups, we use Slack because they were on Slack on a day to day. So instead of using a platform, like that's something else you have to check in at your phone, if it's something that's integrated, and you can just, you know, occasionally check it during the day, it's easier to do that. So I think that's why we picked Slack. And I think LinkedIn, it's kind of our, it's like a member directory, and people like in a professional setting, want that professional community. So I think it's kind of mirrored those decisions. I don't know, carry out kind of all. I thought planning was so long ago.

Gabrielle Dalvet: Yeah, we, I mean, we keep going back and forth. We even talked about it yesterday, like do we get rid of the LinkedIn group because it doesn't provide value on a day to day basis. But it's like it's there. People want to see who else is in the group from their LinkedIn profile. So I feel like, it's just like, it's nice to have, as Natalie said, for like a member directory. And, but at the same time, like LinkedIn doesn't really have a great product for community engagement. Like even if you post something like it's tough to see the notification and people aren't always on LinkedIn. So while not everybody has Slack I realized, I think for most of us, it's an accessible place to go that's not Facebook groups, and not yet another tool, if you haven't already been using it. So it's definitely tough in the realm of community building, like, what tool you use and why and I don't know, I, I'm a big fan of like, try to use something you already have, because nobody wants another app.

Kerry Guard: So true. I know a lot of people use Facebook. I know, there's a couple groups that I joined as part of Facebook, I'm not as involved in them these days. But I do know that's a place but I think for what y'all are trying to do, Slack seems to make the most sense to spark out other ideas for people who are listening. Facebook's definitely, as part of a group called Boss Moms, over on Facebook. They had like 50,000 community members, but she built her career using it. So that leads me to my next question. For y'all, it's very organic. It's very common as you are very authentic. I know that from other groups, I've been out there sort of been like, I want to say rules or guidelines of like decorum in terms of how you show up. Is that something y'all have? Or is it just a basic understanding of respect? Like, what's, how do you sort of set that forward?

Gabrielle Dalvet: Yeah, we talked about at the beginning, like, especially because we wanted this to be a diverse group of women, across job titles, industries, ethnicities, geographies, and we wanted to not only be diverse but also inclusive that like, we wanted to make sure there was, you know, no tolerance policy for any sort of -ism, racism, sexism, any sort of, you know, internalized misogyny, etc. So we certainly wrote that down. And we have that in like one of our planning docs, I actually don't, can't remember if that's public, like on our blog, or on our website. And we could probably, like resurface that, you know, or just remind folks as they sign up, I think so far, it's been a really healthy environment, though. But yeah, I think if someone were to not feel comfortable in an event, like Natalie and I have already had conversations, just to be like, hypersensitive to be like, hey, do you think so? And so felt uncomfortable? Is that why they left like, should we check in like, I think we're just like really trying to get ahead of any of those, like, sensitivities, if they come up, whether it's like, I don't want to just classify them all, as in sensitivity, some of them are much more serious, but like, you know, at the faintest sign of like, someone feeling uncomfortable, like, let's address it head on. And of course, like, as we get deeper into the spectrum, or whatever, I forget the pyramid of what that pyramid is called, of like disrespect. But like, you know, obviously, there'd be like, no tolerance for like, anything more severe, but we're like, so far, we haven't seen anything severe. And if anything is like, lightly, feels slightly uncomfortable. We're like, how do we talk? Like, should we talk to this person? Like, we want them to feel welcome. Maybe they're just more introverted? Okay, cool. Like, we'll just let it go for right now. But we're definitely trying to stay hyper focused and vigilant on that. And so far, so good. But it is a concern, you know, when we open up the community so freely to be like, hey, if you want to go and run with something, go for it like, well, what if somebody says something that's off color, you know, it's like, we need to be able to step in and be like, whoa, that is not what we meant. So it's a good reminder to maybe resurface our community guidelines. Yeah.

Natalie Cantave: Maybe we can automate that in Slack. Sorry, we've been talking about automation for how to make our jobs easier, so.

Kerry Guard: Yeah, I think you have a whole signup form. And I think it's part of that. I feel like I saw it somewhere. And if I haven't, maybe I'm, I don't know. But definitely a part of your signup flows very easy to do. And then, you know, baking that in everyone's friendly reminder. I'm sure it's helpful. Do you, because I always think this is such a hard topic of like, well, we could build a community, but then like, you gotta take it as it is, like, is that true? Do you need to manage it? Or does it, do you feel like, if there was a hard conversation that came up, not necessarily, you know. So for instance, when the Black Lives Matter movement happened, there was a lot of conversation that was happening in these communities, right? I mean, do you shut that down? Do you let it ride? Do you remind people of the guidelines and to tread thoughtfully? Like how would you navigate that within your community? Or have you had to?

Natalie Cantave: Yeah, I mean, I think, you know, with Black Lives Matter, I think it actually kind of, we had an event about diversity, equity and inclusion. So we talked about it from two different perspectives, like one around, you know, internally, like how, you know, within a company, like, who is in charge, technically, you know, DEI, who holds the responsibility? How do we, as individuals, ensure that everyone is being celebrated, you know, for who they are, from that lens and then we talked to, about externally, right, like, how do we ensure from marketing where you're, you know, thinking about, you know, visual representation, if your company isn't diverse, but you have a photo from diversity, it doesn't reflect your company? Is that right? We talked about basecamp and what was going on there? I think, you know, two other things, I think, just like, around how do you communicate, you know, just different areas of inclusivity. Like, there's, I think there's a lot of different conversations that are happening. And I think, for us to create that space and it's something that, as a community, we want to be able to continue to create those spaces in our events was something that Gabrielle and I are thinking about. But I think too, you know, if there's a space where someone is like, oh, my God, that Black Lives Matter, or I'm tired of everything that's going on. Because, you know, all these injustices, like, that's part of the group too, right? It's balancing like, you know, I mean, this past year, the world was balancing jobs and being you know, with mental health or being stuck at home or being in a pandemic, and then, you know, like Black Lives Matter to, you know, not too long ago, the attacks and the AAPI community in Atlanta, and I think it's something where everyone's going through it. So I think if we did not create a space for people to talk about, are we doing the best to create an authentic space where, you know, we want to be able to create a space where someone's like, how is your company handling this discussion? Or, hey, how are you guys? Like, you know, like, if you're in a marketing role, and are in charge of communications, for executive leadership around something that's going on in the world, it's a good place to tap in and say, how are you guys communicating this to your, you know, to your customers, employees? You know, how do you respond? Do you respond every time something happens, and I think it's part of, one of the things I guess, to be a little bit selfish, like, you know, it was exciting for me about the DEI, you know, event that's not about, you know, you could talk about hiring diverse talent, but I think we don't really talk about, you know, the roles that, you know, brands play with DEI and representation and inclusivity. But also like, how do you respond to things that are happening in the world, and that usually typically falls on marketing. So I think that was an interesting perspective that we had. But I guess that's kind of how I feel like, if you're not creating a space and offering that space, are you really fostering a community? So yeah, that's kind of how I feel about it.

Gabrielle Dalvet: Yeah, after the Derrick Chauvin verdict, we, you know, posted in the community, just to, you know, restate what is probably hopefully an obvious alliance with the Black Lives Matter movement, and you know, with George Floyd's family, but the same time now I'm like, well, there's so much else going on. Like, we didn't respond to that, like, we're not gonna, you know, we're human, this is a side job. Not to make excuses, but we're doing our damn best. And, you know, I think just creating this space for people to have those conversations, whether it's in Slack or on an event about diversity, equity and inclusion, we hope we're getting there. It's probably not perfect, but we're all we're all always learning and always trying to stay informed and engaged as well as like, have balanced and have boundaries and have healthy happy home lives. So you know, I think it's a lot and I don't know if anyone has the like, secret path to the sweet spot in terms of all of that. But, you know, I surely hope if someone wanted to talk about, I don't know marketing, and representation related to like, Israel and Palestine, it would be a space where they feel like they could do that. And I think that people do feel like it's like this like, secret that they have and they can always turn to it in the event of like, Oh gosh, this person made this, like, sexist remark or really inappropriate remark like, how should I respond? What should I do? Like I'm in a meeting. I don't even know if I can, you know, like, all that.

Kerry Guard: Yeah, real time. Oh my gosh. Real time bat phone.

Gabrielle Dalvet: Exactly.

Kerry Guard: We got that going on.

Last question before you tell everybody how they can join. Because I think this is a really interesting topic. Oh shoot, thank God for editing right? I had this question. Oh, that was it. Something happened y'all, I guess you had a great conversation within Slack or within one of your groups about, with the LGBT community and the way that your logo was set up. I just think this is a really cool, like, talk about learning on the job, and learning as you go and making pivot when necessary and being really transparent. Can you just tell us that story real quick? I think it's such an important one as people think about that in their own communities.

Natalie Cantave: Yeah, for sure. I guess Gab, you wanna.

Gabrielle Dalvet: Sure. Yeah, absolutely. When we first set out to name it, I can't remember how we came up with like MKTG WMN without all the vowels, but like, if you look at any startup logo, it's always like missing vowels or replacing an "I" with a "y". I feel like that's the startup name formula. So we plugged MKTG WMN into that formula and we were like, oh, to be more inclusive of the trans community, what if we have "women", W-O-M-X-N. And we did some quick research, and I don’t think we did enough research very obviously. And we thought that that was the right move at first. And so we had a logo with the W-M-X-N, the full written name obviously, Marketing Womxn, W-O-M-X-N. And you know over like, the course of the month of us first launching, we realized after doing more research and really trying to assess like, what was the right move here. I also feel like the world sentiment around PC phrasing can evolve quickly or people can have different opinions even within the same group. So we wanted to be respectful and tactful and also do the work ourselves versus like, trying to bat phone to trans folks, you know we never want to put that burden on them. So we shout to a couple of women in the community that were like communication experts, specifically around DEI, and you know, confirmed our assumptions that that wasn’t the right way to go. That's actually exclusive of the trans community because they are women, W-O-M-E-N. And we were like, take a slice of humble pie, this is our learning moment. It's not great that we did that to begin with, like not something I'm proud of. I wish I had done more work on that upfront. But we wanna be better and we wanna be inclusive to everyone. It happens, and I think the more people can be like, you know what, we're human, we're open to learning. Like let's get this right and progress forward. The better off we can all be in our comfort spaces and non-comfort spaces hopefully too, you know.

Natalie Cantave: Yeah, and I think just to echo, what Gabriel's sentiments around it too. I think again, you know, it's something we learned from and we took it away. But I think also two-part of us creating a community that is authentic and transparent. We were honest with our community in saying hey, we have this idea and you know what, it's actually not the right path and we said that wasn't our intend. We're learning and once we made the decision, we were like, alright, we're going and doing W-M-N, women, and our community was supportive. I think for us to be vulnerable and say hey, like reach out to us if you have feedback, open up conversations about it but I think once we were transparent in saying hey, we're learning too. I think actually someone within our community that actually texted us an article that said hey, check this article out. And she knew we weren't coming from a place of now and then but I think it was a great eye opener for us, and of someone who felt comfortable enough to protest and say hey, like maybe we should think about changing the name. And because of her, we did that. So I think we've created that space where she's comfortable, we were comfortable, and sharing it has made us all really better people and thinking about, you know, again having what we said earlier, hypersensitive around. If someone is uncomfortable doing an event, why is that and how can we make it better? So we very much think about inclusivity but I think, you know, for us starting from that and learning from it makes us better people, better individuals. But also, as we grow and scale, how do we still create that path, authentic and inclusive feelings, so yeah.

Kerry Guard: There's so much I love about this story. I'm sorry, I'll put you on the spot, but I wanna be able to know that it's okay to move through. Like sometimes you just gotta get off something, off the ground, and you got to go with your gut and then learn as you go. And be able to pivot, and be able to make mistakes, and to fail, and to learn, and to grow from them. And I think in any time you're building anything, especially a raw community like you're all doing, you gotta be able to do that and to be brave. Like so brave to do that and I'm really in awe of that story and the fact that you built something so thoughtful to the point where somebody within the community also claimed it as their own, right? For somebody to come to you and say, I think we should reconsider this. They're claiming that. We should reconsider this. It's just so, I mean that's what community is about, right, like how cool and powerful is that. I just applaud y'all for building something and putting yourselves out there, to do it as a side gig and for nothing other than wanting to be part of something bigger than ourselves. So thank you for creating this space. I'm gonna go load up, I'm gonna go fire up Slack, get in there, I'm so excited to join y'all. I feel like I'm missing out. I'm on the wrong spot, I'm upset.

So yes, so thank you. Before we wrap-up, I have three quick questions for each of you. As people ourselves pull back that curtain and to look at each other as more than marketers, I think it's so helpful. So here we go.

I started with Gabi to tell your story so I'm gonna start with Natalie for the first question. In the last year, have you picked up any new hobbies?

Natalie Cantave: Oh gosh, new hobbies. Actually it was funny, I was talking about this with my friend earlier, mostly because I read a text wrong, completely. Like she was promoting an event and was like, oh signup, and I was like, oh what's the difference between the early bird ticket and the regular ticket. And she was like, and early bird ticket. And I was like, I just can't read anymore. So I've been diving back into reading. I think it's been nice to just like, actually I give Gabi all credit, like signing off at the screens at 9PM and just being able to disconnect and just kinda get back into reading. So it's not a new hobby but it's something that I've been able to get back in touch with, which has been nice. And then, not a hobby but something I picked up is this 16 pound cat who's my child, named Pancake.

Kerry Guard: He's Pancake!

Natalie Cantave: I screamed at you, she's staring at me. Love you. Oh my God, you're gonna fall off the couch. She's just napping. Yes, thank God for editing. Yeah, I think just with her, honestly during this everything and just like having a companion has been really awesome, like it's just she wants to spend as much time with me and she does her own thing like I can work in whatever room and she's just chillin'. So yeah, not a hobby but definitely joined the pet-parent trend.

Kerry Guard: I love it. Real quick, Natalie, 'coz I've also jumped on the reading train. What sort of books have you read recently?

Natalie Cantave: I picked up, recently this, well I guess there's two books. This one book is called Extra Bold. So it's about like, how like, theory around like being like, how racism like, how basically questioning the norms of like neuro-centric design, but also like, how colors and font have played a role in like design. It was just something I saw honestly on Instagram. Their colors are ironically similar to the colors of MKTG WMN, which is super cool.

Gabrielle Dalvet: Wait, what's it called again?

Kerry Guard: Extra Bold.

Gabrielle Dalvet: Extra Bold, I love that.

Natalie Cantave: And it's like, the perfect weight, and it's just like, it kind of has like pictures and representations but is written by just like a group of people. So kind of feels like a community book but I think it's just interesting about like, DEI and representation. So that’s one I've been reading. And then the second one, what was the second one I've read. Ah on the spot, editing, ah. Actually, it was funny. The other book I've actually bought recently, which I'm excited to read after I finish this book, because I'm interested in like, the health tech and wellness space, is this book that I bought called Distributing Condoms and Hope. It sounds like sex education and how we promote like health promotion to just young people and the youth, like how its changed. It's one of those books that was like I found it, I was like that's an interesting title. But as I kept reading I was like it gave a high, you know, learned set as someone born in the 90s. But then like, how like, I think about just other people like, thinking about how to talk about, just like sexuality and sexual wellness. But I think also, education and how to communicate. That's what I'm excited to dive into. It's like a sociology-psych book, so yeah. Well not one I've read yet, but would recommend.

Kerry Guard: What about you Gabrielle, have you picked up any hobbies this past year?

Gabrielle Dalvet: I feel like I've just resurfaced some old ones that I've wanted to dedicate more time to, so reading, I've bartended in college so my husband's done a fitting immensely from my cocktail-making skills. I've tried to get back into French, like a French tutor on Preply. is like you can do subscription tutoring and then I just, I think I haven't had time with my job in the last couple of weeks.

Kerry Guard: You're a little busy.

Gabrielle Dalvet: Yeah, a little busy, maybe I'll pick that up again later this summer. But that was really fun, to story cup there like middle school Spanish or really the semester abroad, that was great. And then MKTG WMN is like a full time hobby.

Kerry Guard: Yeah, definitely, full time hobby. I would love it if you shared with me through email just one of your favorite cocktails that you mix. So I can share that with the listeners, I think that's really fun.

Gabrielle Dalvet: Yeah, absolutely.

Kerry Guard: Second question for you, and I'm gonna start with Gabrielle this time, so that, we've been playing the field here. If you could be in an office with your group, or even MKTG WMN, maybe you guys have an office someday and you all walk on the floor and brainstorming, what song would you want playing overhead to set the vibe?

Gabrielle Dalvet: I don’t know why, but like, I just watched the music video for, what is it, Doja Cat and Saweetie - Best Friend. If I think of MKTG WMN like, recreate that music video, that would be what the MKTG WMN office would be like.

Kerry Guard: Oh my God, I love it. What about you Natalie, what song would you play?

Natalie Cantave: I would play Lizzo, specifically Like a Girl, but probably her entire album.

Kerry Guard: You, and, I know why you and Jenna would get along seemingly.

Love it. Alright, final question. I'm gonna start with Natalie. If you could travel to, anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and why?

Natalie Cantave: I would be on a beach right now. Honestly just a beach, like, I mean, the beaches in Massachusetts, no shade. But I think just like a, like Hawaii probably. Like, just want a book in my hand, like no screens, the free Piña Colada, and just like sit. I just want a perfect beach day. Especially now the weather's getting nice here, but yeah.

Kerry Guard: How about you Gabrielle, where would you be?

Gabrielle Dalvet: I think either visiting family and friends, since it's been so long now, I usually go once a year. Or I've been dying to go back to Hong Kong, and then like the Jiang Jie Yi mountains in China. I went on a work trip to China once and I was like, trying to quat like if I could make it to those mountains which are the like, sweaty mountains in Avatar and I couldn't and now I'm like I need to go there. That's been on my mind. And one of my good friends from, study abroad, lives in Hong Kong, so I'm like, I could live in that city in a heartbeat. Would love to go back.

Kerry Guard: That's amazing. Well, if you're ever in France, you let me know. But it's your family, first and foremost. But if you're staying awhile, just right away, call me and…

Gabrielle Dalvet: Definitely. That'll be so fun.

Kerry Guard: This is so good. I thank you both so much for your vulnerability, for your honesty, for your "why", for building this thing for us women to come and talk through our challenges, have a bat phone, any moment, literally in the middle of meetings, can't even tell you. I'm gonna go fire up Slack right now. I'm so grateful. I'm honored to have you. So thank you, thank you for joining me.

Natalie Cantave: Thank you for having us.

Gabrielle Dalvet: It's really fun.


That was my conversation with Gabrielle Dalvet and Natalie Cantave. If you are a woman and would like to join their group and conversation, be sure to visit, M-K-T-G-W-M-N dot com. The link is in the show notes as always. You can also find Gabrielle and Natalie on LinkedIn. We've included their links as well. Be sure to join the conversation and movement. Let's go! I'm in it, come join me. It's awesome. Great, great group of women in there.

That's a wrap. Be sure to check out all eight episodes. If you've enjoyed the season, be sure to subscribe on your channel choice, so that you can be ready for Season 9, which will be ready to drop early, October. I can't believe I'm talking about Q4 already. Where has the time gone?

I have a great lineup - Genefa Murphy, CMO of Five9, Delitha Morrow Coles who's the Global Corporate Communications and Change Manager at NCR Corporate, and Diana Morante who's a Senior Marketing Manager at Ricoh. That's just three amazing women of the eight people I have on this next season and it's just such a great group of individuals who talk about their passion for marketing. And what they're into. So be sure to check it out, be sure to subscribe and be ready.

Thank you for listening to Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders, the podcast that helps brands get found via transparent, measurable, digital marketing. I'm your host Kerry Guard, and until next time.

This episode is brought to you by MKG Marketing the digital marketing agency that helps complex tech companies like cybersecurity, grow their businesses and fuel their mission through SEO, digital ads, and analytics.

Hosted by Kerry Guard, CEO co-founder MKG Marketing. Music Mix and mastering done by Austin Ellis.

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