Transcribe your podcast

Welcome to the Ticker. It's our show about ordinary people building extraordinary communities. I'm your host, Thalia Richardson. I'm a partner at People and Company and a co-author of Get Together How to Build a Community with Your People. And I'm Kevin with Bailey's business partner and friend at people and Company Organizations on how to cultivate meaningful communities. Absolutely. You're my friend, Kevin.


And each episode we interview everyday people who have built extraordinary communities about just how they did it. How did they get the first people to show up? How did they grow to hundreds, thousands more members? Today, we're talking to Nate Nichols and Steph Barrenger, two of the founders of the shift and action summits that took the advertising community by storm these past few months.


In the wake of George Floyds murder, the Ship and Action Summit emerged as a source of information on a ship providing tangible next steps on anti-racism. And adland, the summit and supporting black groups and workshops connect allies to black creatives and allies to other allies to learn and continue the conversation. KAV question for you. You're a big fan of Natans stuffies. Why were you so stoked to bring them on the podcast?


Yeah, so I've been friends with Nate for, you know, seven or eight years now. I feel like our early careers just kind of continue to grow in parallel and met Steffy after they first met are now life business partners.


So baseline excitement is always a pleasure getting to interview friends in particular, though.


I've just been so impressed and inspired by these to this year.


You're the origin story of our ship in action as well as Freelancers Cyber Summit, which is sort of the event series that falls under, comes from a place of struggle.


You know, they run an agency called Pallette Group.


They lost business when the pandemic hit. And I witnessed them flip that challenge into an opportunity.


You know, if they were thinking, if we have to navigate this like tough time for our business, others in the advertising industry probably due to, you know, let's organize them, let's organize the freelancers and creatives and have a conversation to like how the F are we going to get through this?


And then after the murder of George Floyd, they stepped up again, seeing the need for a community within their industry that's promoting, facilitating and pushing conversation related to anti-racism.


They've just met uncertainty with community building multiple times. You know, they've addressed uncertainty with organizing people to provide guidance to each other. And so I just really appreciate them. I love them and so glad that we were able to talk a bit about their stories today. I know you covered well enough to know that you have a crush on action and people who take action is like action overtalking so, so hardcore and your preference list.


And I think that's that's one thing that we both love about them, is they just make stuff happen. And you'll hear more about that on the podcast today. Should we jump in?


Yeah, let's do it. And Stephy, welcome to the podcast. We're so happy to have you here and finally get to talk to you about the ship and action summit that you've all been working on hard for the last few months. We want to kick off with the question, Kevin. I love to ask everyone who comes on the podcast.


We like to say that you can't fake the funk when you're organizing a community. When you're getting a group of people together, you personally have to care about that community's purpose and mission yourself. So I'd love for you to just share what drove you both to this point where you were getting together and Ship and Action Summit. What part of your background, what part of your personal experiences led you to this point? That's a great question.


I think looking back of how twenty twenty started, we were full of motivation and like had our plans down how twenty, twenty should look like for us on a professional level, but also personal level.


And in March, covid walked over to New York. We found ourselves in the situation like so many others, that all of our projects were put on hold on ice, got canceled or postponed, and we didn't know what to do and were super into our strategic phase where I'm like, OK, let's see how we can still be of service. And we started thinking, wait, why don't we do a virtual event that brings together the freelancer community that we are part of because we work with a lot of freelancers.


I've been freelancing the past two years and we started doing the created the Freelancers Cyber Summit, which is basically a continuous series of virtual events to bring the creative people together with the advertising industry and to talk about that situation. But we all found ourselves in like, what the fuck is going on and what is this pandemic and in what does opportunities and challenges look like right now and in a couple of months? And so we we gathered people from agencies and brands from the advertising industry together and had a conversation very real and honest.


And obviously no one had the answers. But just the exchange of what everyone was feeling and going through just helped a lot to go the next step and feel more confident that you are not the only person in this. And it's a shared struggle. That first summit was in March, and we continue the series once a month. You know, in June, everything was different. I remember Nate and I, we were actually celebrating his birthday on May twenty fifth, which was also when.


Happy birthday, Nate. Happy birthday. Yeah, but we decided to celebrate a day early because it was the holiday Memorial Day. And that was kind of crazy because it was also today when George Floyd died. And it was a very surreal and heavy time. And with the upcoming freelancer's cyber summit that we wanted to host in June, we couldn't think about anything else and immediately decided to do something different. It was kind of like the universe calling like minded people amazing allies actually reached out to us a day after and said what we wanted to create an event and talk about this revolution that all of a sudden popped off.


So we had a handful of amazing people on the line and we all decided to using our platform that we started in March continuously, you know, grew and scaled to a point where we had around, I think, around 700 people joining us now to use that platform and transform it into a new platform, which is now ship in action and to have a conversation about the systemic racism in our industry. And that's when eldership in action was born. And we hosted that first event on June 18th that we had.


Twenty five hundred registered and within a week I like. Some people showed up, which is really awesome. Yeah, you guys absolutely served a very clear and urgent need, you adjusted to show up for that? I think the name is really powerful. I was curious what's behind the words ship and action? How did you decide on those those two names to describe the summit? The word Allah ship is a funny word for a black person, right, because basically you're trying to state if you're like a self-proclaimed anything, you're standing that you're stepping into your identity, a specific identity.


And as a black person, you're walking around with zero allies in the world because you're suffering and your pain and sadness is something you you walk with every single day and no one cares. Everyone looks past it. And you're constantly just getting passed up professionally by colleagues who can't see you and are getting promotions while you take a backseat. You know, as an agency owner and operator, it's like I don't see as much deal flow as other white agency owners and operators is.


It's just clear as day you can see if you win the award ceremony, you get to see it through the top list of whatever the 30 under 30s or whatever those lists are that the majority of these, you know, no more 30 under 30 sorry, maybe it's stock.


But, you know, you could just see how media and how people just pop up and lionize, you know, people that aren't black or people of color and they fly nice white people. And so when the word ally specifically to me. It does not absolve you from being a part of the problem. All you're doing when you state that is you are taking the next word in consideration, which is action. You are claiming that you are being productive with your allies.


If you are existing and you are being in. And a productive space every single day. And what that looks like is sacrificing things, you know, sacrificing your time, sacrificing your emotional space, sacrificing whatever you're reading to read about, you know, colonization of black spaces in black culture and black land and black community and people of color spaces and places and et cetera. Like you just you're just doing what you need to do to learn and become educated and understand the systems that have been oppressing and suppressing people of color and black people.


And so the idea of a fellowship in action is really just something that people can. Feel like they are a part of a community where they don't feel alone in their discomfort of reconditioning themselves and trying to figure out how they're going to support and prop up people who were oppressed and discriminated against for centuries and for years, personally and professionally. Yeah, and I think if I can add on to this as a white woman, this really, like nature said, it's a that we all need to implicate ourselves as part of the problem so we can all be implicated as part of the solution.


So how can I, you know, as a white woman, be an ally for black women, for example? And it's.


This revolution, we really wanted to go beyond this like like square posts on Instagram and all the statements, and it has this part of accountability to it where we wanted to, again, bring these people, you know, virtually on stage and really asked him, OK, so you posted your supporting Black Lives matters, but what are the actual steps that you're taking and what is that type of relationship that you're foreseeing for yourself and your organization? And so we all kind of brainstormed about different names.


But what really what really it came down to how what's the role? What's your individual role in this revolution? How can you be an ally and go beyond just words? What are the actionable steps that you can take? I'm not I'm not really one for war and battle analogies, but, you know, what you're saying makes me think about how often times when the word ally has been used, it doesn't mean that the ally has always been supportive of your cause.


You know, that these oftentimes it sometimes is reaching to people who have been either not so involved in supporting before or have even been part of the problem or part of the enemy in a way.


And that ally ship is like an active stance. And it's it often requires sort of shifting one's position or perspective to one that is more so supportive of certain people and what they care about. You can bring in a battle analogy like that war is a sacrifice, you know, you're risking your life. There's two options. There is you defeat the enemy in the opposition or you die. You know, that's a huge sacrifice, it's binary f, you know, and that's what drillship should be.


It's like you're just committed and that's it, period, you know, like what are you going to be sacrificing to be committed, period. One thing that. And now a note from our sponsor, our own small but mighty biz people and company building a community is powerful, harnessing sincere passion towards a common goal.


What could be more potent, but it can be challenging, too. We've been there.


Each of us forging our own approaches for how to build with a passionate global community. Early in our careers, we started people and company because we know that although communities feel magical, they don't come together by magic. Outside of this podcast, Kevin Kai and I coach organizations on how to make smarter bets with their community building investments.


If you lead an organization and have a hunch that there's a group of people you can be doing more with and you're seeking out a trail guide to give your team the best chance at sparking that community to reach out to us at people and company, you can find us at people and dot company.


Now back to the show. Found really compelling about the work that you are doing is the focus on the group of people. One thing we talk about was starting up a community is how it's it's powerful to be very specific about who you want to bring together.


It needs to pass this test where someone can raise their hand, be like, oh, yeah, I am that I am an advertising professional. So, so much so that sort of like the language speaks to them. And I know that ship in action is centered on bringing together people within and around the advertising industry.


Could you you know, for folks that aren't as familiar with advertising and that you alluded a bit to this, but can you share more around, you know, what are these challenges facing the industry like?


Why does advertising specifically need an Shippen action summit? What are some of those nuances of what is going on within advertising?


That's a great question, and we find ourselves in meetings at times with our clients and they have requested our job to service the brand, the client and our specific capacities like production. So it's either experiences or video film, photo design. And, you know, when you're sitting at a table talking about like a video treatment or a photo treatment, there are like subtle micro aggressions or just blatant racist things being said and done in a way that everyone's sort of passive about in a very clear example, is you sitting at a table and you're talking about casting and your clients like we want to cast white people, like we don't want to cast anybody.


We want to cast this type of person. It's very clear that they're not open to a diverse set of casting options or someone on set has a certain look and they're like, hey, could you put that person in the background? You're like, this is a person. It doesn't matter where they are. Know this is a wedding scene like all people at weddings. Like, it shouldn't matter what they look like and where they're placed on set, you know, if they're extra or not, you know.


And so there are just these blatant disregards of humanity in advertising that happen a lot. And there's appropriation. So you have people writing copy of it and telling stories and advertising that have no idea about, you know, an experience, a life experience. For example, you have a man writing a copy for, you know, some some drink that is made for pregnant women. Why is a man writing copy for women at all, period, let alone a pregnant woman?


And it happens all the time where someone who has no idea about a life experience is creating and contextualizing a message and crafting a message and positioning creative for community that have zero context of they have no experience existing in that life experience. And so that's just wrong. Just wrong. And so in our industry, it just happens every day. And on top of that, there is just a lack of black people and people of color and executive levels, not just in our industry, but in every industry.


And, you know, a lot of the time in specific industries and categories for on the brand side, you have like brands like footwear, like Nike or Foot Locker, where Foot Locker is actually very, very rich and versus a lot of black people and people of color that worked for Foot Locker in the main consumer for a footwear brand is mostly black people, people of color. They make footwear, a billion dollar industry. And so. You have these big businesses being operated in and in, built and propped up by white people who don't have any idea how the life experience and the culture exists around footwear.


And so that's the challenge that we're dealing with. And that's why our shipping in action exists for the time being in advertising.


I've never worked as much in production or creative as as you guys have done a lot of, like, pixel pushing kind of work. And it sounds like really like the advertising and entertainment industries are the tip of the spear for the stories we tell about who our heroes are or who gets to play what role in the society. So it's a very sharp point for a lot of these tensions and a lot of the systemic racism that shows up.


I want to ask you a question about stuff. You mentioned this. You had so many people register and tune in over two thousand people. And one thing that struck me is that a lot of these folks might have been lone wolves in their agencies, at their companies. What was your thinking about how you might be able to get a signal out to those folks about the summit? How did you howl at the wall?


Oh, yes, we were blessed and grateful that we have such awesome partners working alongside of US organizations like the one club or working, not working or picture like those organizations. And they have platforms with a huge reach internationally, went to all the creative people around the world. And they've been with us from the early start, from the very first virtual summit that we hosted. And so with that kind of support, we were able to build a solid foundation to make room and space for these types of conversations and reach so many people.


And what it really struck us to, like, we've we had no expectations. After the first ship in action, we were flooded with such like amazing, powerful, meaningful feedback, comments, tweets of people that are looking for this type of support.


And it was obvious that this was much needed and that we need more of this in the future. And so what we did was in the beginning, we founded groups on Facebook and LinkedIn to stay in touch and stay connected even after a virtual summit. We also founded inflectional. That's when the true magic really happened, because these people joined the channel and it grew every like every day. Now we have like around three hundred people. And it's that channel.


And like you said, that all are sort of like lone wolves in their own organizations and agencies and friends and trying to bring the conversation inside, like half the leadership team, their own team, come to the table and discuss kind of, you know, this. Conversation to the challenges about diversity and equity in our system and drive that forward and with this channel, it was so humbling to see these people founded their own groups and founded initiatives and programs that they individually wanted to work on.


That was really something that we never really saw coming and but are super grateful. And we are definitely looking forward to continue to grow with everyone.


I want to talk about this group and the community element. I also want to maybe ask a little bit more about how you've communicated about the summit. I think one thing that struck me is the graphics and the imagery are so, so unique and so striking. And also, Nate, in particular, you've been so personal and so honest in your communication throughout this time. And I think it's really made me think about how maybe a big agency or a big organization or a big brand, you know, they kind of polish in and review and review and watered down a lot of things that they do in the space.


There's so many people sort of reviewing and editing and editing and changing that. They don't end up saying very much in the end. And I think I've been really struck by how personal and honest all the conversations are and also how you guys have presented what the summit is, both visually and and in language. How have you felt being coming such a public sort of leader and the space and being so communicative with the general world?


You know, when I originally thought of the lunch cyber summit and I was bopping around our direction ideas in my head, you know, the whole Korona pandemic and quarantine experience just felt very surreal. And honestly, this surrealism is like my one of my favorite art forms and. You know, I have a designer friend, Dewey Sanders, out in L.A., really from Philly, we're homies. We've worked together in the past on small projects that were fun and again, surreal.


And he's one of my favorite artists. Right. He has these collage. Is that he does. And then. In the moment of being in the pandemic, I'm like, you know what, all of this feels so surreal. But then, B, the advertising industry is just one big hodgepodge of just like layers of juice shit, like it's just a bunch of different people's life experiences just kind of slapped onto each other in a way that no one has been able to sort of depict or talk about.


And that's sort of at the core of the creative, is that the industry is just a collage of just life experiences that have just been slapped together in a way that creates an environment and an ecosystem that we've all just agreed. That makes sense. And in reality, it just doesn't you have white people, you know, at the helm of these advertising agencies and these brands making decisions on how consumers in people who don't have the same life experience should consume their messaging and buy a thing saying it's all surreal.


It all just doesn't make sense. And so the art direction is really a reflection of that. And, you know, that's sort of our brand ethos as it from a political perspective, is more raw, unfiltered. We're honest and go back a bit further is sort of like how I exist personally. You know, walking through the world is I like to be just as unfiltered and raw and honest person. And I sort of just end that in when I get into a space with other humans.


I just. I'm going to be myself and. The expectation from me is you're not going to alienate me and what I share and. How I exist, because that's just wrong, like no one should ever alienate and make anyone feel bad about themselves and how they be our self expressed and my goal and showing up as my whole self and being self expresses that hopefully this person or persons in the same room get to be themselves as well. They get to be fully self expressed and not feel alienated either.


And we can just meet each other where we are. And so when you see me being honest and raw on social media, it's really just to again push up against the system and be like, yo, I don't have to confined to every tick tock challenge, you know, like not for nothing.


I get to the level of their self-expression and I get why Instagram has done that. You know, I just I just want people to realize that, you know, you could just be yourself on these platforms. And there are people that will accept you for who you are and, you know, reflect that back onto social media, because, quite frankly, I think we need more of that on social media. We need more of the honesty and truth.


And, you know, for this moment that we're in in the revolution that we're in, it's just we need more black people to speak up and share their stories because it's just fucked up what we've gone through. And for the first time, we're actually being seen and heard and felt, you know, and if we don't tell our story wholly and honestly, we'll never be heard and will never be seen. And you just need to see and feel the sadness and frustration it just be with it because you're shame and your guilt weighs ounces.


The weight of our generational trauma weighs tons. And we need to heal. Whether you like it or not. In travel by ship is knowing that whether I like it or not, they need to heal. And we need to confront that sadness and that shame and that guilt and do something about it. And so that is where I'm coming from when I speak the way I do and when I share what I share is because I'm just tired, know, my family's been tired for generations and people have been tired for generations and they've got time for it anymore.


It's going to be. I just want to be.


As we research communities, one of the things we have come to believe is that it believes in the power of role models and how by role modeling and spotlighting role models, you can encourage other community members to participate and contribute in ways they may not have been ready to or did not think to.


And I think it's humbling at the moment is that what we need in the revolution is more people who are further away from the trauma to act and contribute and to participate and for you especially to step up, you know, if you continue to be stepping up, but especially stepping up with Stephy and bringing your team along and and bringing others along in this moment, I think shines as a role model of like, you know, this is how I am contributing, as you said, to someone who, you know, feels the weight of tons.


And if you feel the weight of ounces, like now is your time to step up to.


And I think that's that's magnetic and something that, you know, I really respect you for, as, you know, as a leader and a friend. Yeah, I got to say to you, this is, you know, what I love so much about Nate and admire, and it's just like a constant daily reminder of there's no room and space for shame. Like, it's so important that we all lift various different stories and voices and that we are not afraid to tell our stories.


I think if we if we learn to be publicly imperfect and to be OK with that in front of each other, I think that's really the baseline of, you know, creating more rawness and equality amongst each other. And that's really through storytelling. Like Nate has been an open book about his life and career and all those steps. And that's also a way to build empathy, really. And that's what we all need more and more than ever. You guys have touched a little bit on how personal and honest communication has been, the storytelling has been the freshness of the graphics.


You know, both of you are professional creatives and staff producer. I want to ask, is there anything else that you're really proud of about how you designed this summit? What's something that you would call out that you think has been a really valuable design decision? I think what we've really learned doing well is two things. One is the programming, putting together an agenda, kind of looking for the people that come that we can bring together and fully establish resourceful and meaningful conversation is one part and the other part is the creative that you know.


We've put together from the start of the clash, like you just described to now, what's like ship in action? We have amazing creators and designers helping us with. Building and designing these loud, colorful assets that really speak to the brand ethos of ship and action, and I think that's that's really what puts us apart of other virtual summits. I think those two parts, the programming and the creative has been kind of our our. Yeah.


Secret sauce, if you want to if you want to take it that way, I'll add that, you know, the the virtual conference experience since pandemic in quarantine has popped off has been quite stale and not innovative. You know, they they've just been sort of like come to this virtual conference and come to this virtual thing and you open your laptop and you show your face so you don't show your face and you see talking heads. And so it's very like a flat, very linear experience.


It's not it's not very engaging in interactive in any way. And so what we did very intentionally be having a director like background and creative prowess around, like editing and my design background.


One of the key decisions we made was to develop the holding room experiences. These like long ten minute holding periods where you just with your screen being entertained by the screen and the screen is setting the tone like this video, this 10 minute video is setting the tone for what you're about to jump into at our event. And I'm very intentionally doing sound design. I'm using copy and I'm writing very intentionally things that are playful or very serious and using colors very intentionally.


And it's a very like, fun, creative way to make the square that we all stare at all day during quarantine, more fun and interactive and less of like something you've done before. It's not like watching Netflix. It's not like watching a TV show. It's somewhere in the middle of this is a whole new experience because it's not prerecorded. It's live. And I'm watching the screen, but I'm entertained by it in a way that it's telling me to do things like send a tweet.


So I'm going to send this tweet right. Like if I use the hashtag and I'm going to follow you and I'm gonna think about things in. Wow, there's this amazing guy, James Baldwin, never before. And I'm going to learn. And so it's it's it's it's like a multitude of these different experiences because we understand that the computer can be dull and flat during quarantine. So can you innovate on the experience of a human being staring at the computer in a way that's dynamic and fun?


Yeah, adding to that, too, is really the the emotional message that he puts into these videos are, like you said, it's setting the tone. It's really something that we created in a way that we can speak right through this camera and the screen in front of you. But we really wanted to speak right. Like to you, you know, there's still this virtual obviously aspect to it. We can't be together social distancing, but we really wanted to create this virtual experience as close as we would be all together in the same room.


So my background in production, I've produced huge conferences and summits for Google, YouTube, like a bunch of different companies and organizations. And you go through each touchpoint that you have with your with the consumer, with the client is from the way they get the invitation via email or email to when they come on site and register and then dive into the immersive experience. And we took that same approach and designed the virtual experience based on these touch points and thought about, OK, how can we be as close as possible to our audience, even though we all in our own homes, on our own couch and with these videos and breaks in between, we found a way to do that.


And also. It's very strategically how we designed a different sessions, so you will never find a longer session and 30 minutes an hour summits just because the attention bandwidth issues short and we want to keep it short and crisp and tangible in everything that we create. And so the feedback that we received are all these videos, the the creative, the music, everything is just very engaging and fun. And the people just want to stay with us. Yeah.


I love that you described it as a show because I felt the weight of it like that. You guys with your backgrounds, you know, you just put words to the feeling I had, which was like an emotional show. This was thoughtfully made and it was an experience. And I think for anyone who hasn't been yet, please sign up and go if you want to see what a virtual experience done with energy and thoughtfulness looks like, because it was so striking to me that I hadn't been on any virtual shared live experience that felt anywhere near what what the ship in action said it felt like to me.


It also speaks to the group of people that you're bringing together.


You know, when you talk about advertising creative freelancers, not only is the sort of the content and the substance of what you're discussing so relevant, but you're also speaking to them in a language, you know, like a creative language that they want to converse in.


I feel like it honors that group of people you're trying to bring together.


Yeah, I think that language is definitely a key part in this, too. Like, we we just always kept it super real and just honest. And we drop F bombs. We just say say there's no hiding, there's no pandering. Let's just say it as it is. I want to get into the community side of of the summit, what are some of the elements that you added into the summit? We talked about this group, but did you think about connecting attendees with one another from the outset, or was that something that you designed in later?


And if so, how? I think it just sort of happened based on demand.


You know, there was a request and I think this is really a good book called People and Company to go on and say, if you like, you know, listen to your community and serve them in the way they want to be served.


If they have a request, you know, mediate where it is and if it's it's at a level that is sustainable and they they're committed to standing and attributing value and energy into it, build it. So, yeah, very quickly, I think the first time everyone was like, how do we keep the conversation going? And they're like, Aslak, let's do Aslak. And some dude was like, Oh, Mr. Aslak. And I'm just like, cool for an hour.


I think we're still trying to design it in a way that sort of self sustainable and the energy is consistent in scaling up. We wanted to bring communities together to redefine the systems we have in. That takes new policies. It takes new structures, new systems and education. And so this is a part of our ship. And so we're just getting to do that and meet them where they are and figure out how to what they want next. And you just be there to support them because we're the community is we're just there to help facilitate.


I want to ask you also about the certification, which I think is a really innovative idea. What is the certification and why did you bring it into the summit? Why did you guys introduce that to attendees?


So at the end of the day, talk is still pretty cheap, right? The format that we've developed is about talking heads. Fundamentally, it's about bringing people in to ba ba ba ba ba ba ba wah wah wah wah wah wah.


I like, you know, still very performative in nature, you know, and we know that. And I'm not going to sit here and just let that just be the end of it. You know, if there are systems that we can develop to reset corporate America, let's do it. Let's figure out how to create unique systems. And so the idea of the certification platform was simple, like agencies just sort of out of nowhere just got really defensive and we're like, oh, my God, we don't want to be racist.


And so just like dumping their workforce diversity numbers into the Internet ether, and while that's great, it still doesn't showcase a clear plan and a clear reality on retention. And it's not really a high level overview of how corporate America looks and where it's safe space is for various communities. You know, these reports were like EEOC data, which is like black people, white people, Asian people didn't say anything about LGBTQ plus communities didn't say anything about chronically ill or disabled communities that say anything about sexuality or gender.


And on binary communities like it just it just very surface level data. And that's just the government being the government. We can't trust them. So it's like, why not build something that's very clear and unbiased on getting the details in withholding privacy of the humans that work at brand agency, that law firm corporate America in general in in serve it up to the world that's transparent public. And so the long term vision is to build a tool where organizations big and small can sort of be certified by being transparent with their data and having a certain number of products to have to staff diversely every year.


You know, staffing diversely is broad because, again, there's all these different types of communities that are being discriminated against and need opportunities. And that's our goal, is to make sure these communities have opportunities and these communities can see what industries and what verticals there are opportunities. And if you're completely disabled and that's your life, you need to if you don't have any context of how you can work professionally with the level of ability you have, it's going to be challenging.


And so imagine if there was a state of equity report annually. That's a beautifully designed visual report or dashboard that can showcase, you know, the communities that you are. So you identify and you can see where there's the most retention so that this culture is safe in the film industry or this culture is safe in the consulting industry on the business side, and that your community is also being promoted. Right. You can see how many people of color black people are going are being promoted year over year in certain verticals of of industries or certain sectors.


So the vision is to be able to have data that can create transparency and accountability, but also serve the communities that are discriminated against in a way that they can make strategic and intentional cities with their lives and their professional careers. You know, whether it's I want to put a dent in this sector and the banking sector because I don't see enough of us here or I want to go work in advertising because I can see opportunity here in their safe space for me there.


It really pretty much comes down to to really hold the advertising industry accountable, to really commit to be more transparent and give them another opportunity to actually take action. We want the agencies and brands and tech startups, everyone, to be proud of hiring diversely, of giving multiple perspectives and experience a platform and a voice and come together. And just hopefully, if you are a and a certified, we want you to also demand of all your partners and clients and vendors to also be a certified.


This should become the norm and a standard in our industry that we don't have to hide it anymore and or not be open about this. You should be proud of it. So we're hoping with the certification platform, it will be some sort of like domino effect in the industry. And long term vision is that it will also go beyond the advertising industry and really, you know, trickle down and across other industries as well. So it's really about the accountability part and transparency.


And like Nate was saying, we're working with an amazing tech team already to also make it fun and make it make it more creative and innovative to actually see this diversity data on publicly on this website later on. We can't wait to kind of design it in a way that fits to all sizes and all types of organizations. From a small boutique agency to the largest corporate company. It should be for everyone. It will be for everyone.


So you have an amazing show, the actual summit, the experience of it is remarkable. You have a community now of attendees who want to, on an individual level, keep taking action, share resources, share accountability with each other. And now you have a certification program for also corporations and businesses to be accountable, to keep acting, to keep being allies through action. What's next on your guys mind? What are you focusing on? And is there anything that you want to put out to our listeners, put out to the universe that they can help you with?


A message is something I would like to send out to your listeners is that this work is thankless and. There's no overnight fix, there's no switch, you can just flip and. It's hard, but you still have power, you have you have so much power in your everyday life to read more and educate yourself, to share your reading and your learnings with your friends, with your peers to. Make friends to make friends that don't come from the community you come from or the culture you come from.


And imagine what the world would be like if you just set that intention. We just made new friends, imagine every CEO just made a bunch of new friends and just made their way out of the same old circle jerk.


This is what we need is we need just people to see the power that they have in themselves to make a very small change that can compound over time.


And yeah, I'll just be with us on the journey and we'll keep you posted on different actions and you can take better, more, I guess, tangible, so to speak, get the certification out there and prep for the next summit. But for the most part, it's really just a message. And I see yourself as powerful and having power in your journey as an ally. Yeah, I think my hope is really that we are all together, are only responding to this very moment of crisis that.


You know, we really allow this moment of light catalyse ourselves in a new way of being, a new way of thinking and learning and coming together and listen to each other and also building community like we love to brainstorm. We love bringing people together. And we want to continue these summits to providing a platform and a forum where we can all learn from each other. The final question I want to ask you is, is a personal one. You guys are partners in this summit, partners and work, but also life partners.


And I'm curious if you're open to sharing what what has hosting this event meant to you too personally or to your relationship? How has it been for you to share something like this? Wow, yeah, that's such a good question. I personally, I'm so proud and grateful for our relationship and especially the way that we work and live together, like we literally 24/7 together. And these beautiful summits from the freelancer's cyber summit to the ship. And action is actually the first project, I would say, where we both really full time on work together.


The previous projects were jumping in, if there was support needed or, you know, I was doing my freelance gigs and helping out and or vice versa and it was helping me out. But the past six months, that has really been such an amazing journey. And I'm incredibly proud of what we've accomplished together. And I'm just so grateful to be my partner. That can be a part of this journey. And just like learn together, grow together.


And I would have never. Thought that this is going to be a. Part of our lives, like looking back, it feels like this has always meant to be, though the work that we've put in, all the energy and everything was the reason for where we are today. And I truly believe that everything is meant for a reason. And I feel super humbled to be part and to build something so profound and relevant and resourceful for hopefully a wider reach and.


Yeah, can contribute to this conversation and revolution. So, yeah, this has been a really fun ride and I am looking forward to much more and take every every day. It's a new surprise and a new blessing and continue doing this together. I was hoping you would go first.


I know.


You know, for me, it's it's really humbling, honestly. You know, this whole life is just a dream. You know, I'm on stuffies the house. She grew up on her balcony right now report in this podcast. And I'm looking at the Swiss Alps, you know, and this is my life partner. This is her family's home. This is where she grew up. This is where she lives. And so much history and life experience exist for her.


And, you know, now we have a whole future life experience to sort of design and build here. And I'm just humbled by it because I don't know, I just didn't see any of this coming my entire life. I didn't have access to things. And so I barely had growing up, I, I didn't know what love from, you know, a woman truly was and how that could exist until I was in my twenties. And so to be fortunate enough to stumble into a woman like Steffi, who's been so loving and caring and graceful and just like Hosler like what the fuck.


Like she is just like I haven't had a business partner like her before who has stepped toe to toe where, you know, put in the same amount of hours I put in just having fun and being like now we need to push a bit further and then even further, you know, and have that tenacity. I've never had a business partner like that ever, ever, let alone a life partner, you know, let alone a woman that I can admire and enjoy just because she's just so sincere and nice and kind to everyone she's with.


And so for me, it's just like, whoa. Well, how did I end up here on the other side of that is, you know, we we both individually worked so hard to be the people we are and worked on ourselves that, you know, to Stephanie's point, that there's no doubt that we should have stumbled into each other and should have been working together and should have now be designing our lives together in a way that we've always wanted to have a life as individuals.


But we're doing it together. Call it faith luck. Call it fate, whatever you want to call it. It just is what it is. And me.


Yeah, I just feel very fortunate and I'm just I'm happy, you know, I'm just happy and proud of her and proud of us and that we get to figure this out together. Same name, same. I'm excited to see what's ahead. You guys have a lot of power in your relationship and an enormous focus, so I'm happy to be near what you all are doing. All right. Well, thank you both for your time. We're excited to see you see the next summit.


See what you guys are cranking.


And I thank you so much, Billy. Thank you. Kevin in.


You know, if you want to connect with the Ship and Action Summit, you can learn more at Ali's ship in action dot com. That's a pledge they've started for the advertising industry. You can see their events at Freelancer's Cyber Summit dot com. And if you want to work with Nathan Stephy, they're producing red campaigns as well as summits as part of their agency now. So check out pallette group AOL, Etsy, grb dot com. It's like Pallette Group, Hope Group.


Thank you to our team. Thank you to Arizona Carbon for sound engineering and editing this episode. Katie O'Connell from Marketing and Greg David for his design work. Rather, you can find out more about the work we do as people and company helping organizations get clear on who their most important communities are and how to build with those people by heading to our website people and dot company to company dot com.


Also, do you want to start your own community or be a super member, a supercharged member of one you're already a part of? Our hymnbook is here for you.


Visit, get together book dot com to grab your coffee. It's full of stories and learnings from conversations with community leaders like this one with Nathan Steffy. And last thing we have the time. If your fingers are nimble, please review this podcast or click subscribe or do both. They really help the podcast get out to more people and stories like Nate and stuffies be heard by more ears. So we appreciate it. See you all next time. Thanks, y'all.