This week, we're shining a light on Tracey Edouard, a social media producer at Mashable. You may know Tracey from her extremely popular creation #BizChats, a Twitter and Facebook Live series which highlights a diverse number of subjects surrounding business.
Read below to learn more about Tracey's story and tips on how to be a boss in the workplace.
What did you do before Mashable?
Before Mashable, I was working as a Community Manager at an agency called Tenthwave LLC, but I was laid off after 6 months. To learn more about how that went down and how Mashable came into the picture, you can read this.
How long have you been at Mashable?
I've been at Mashable since September 2014, so approximately two and a half years.
What do your responsibilities consist of?
At Mashable, my main responsibility is to help grow our audience on social media by running and facilitating a handful of Mashable’s social media channels including (but not limited to): Mashable Business on Facebook, Mashable’s LinkedIn account, @MashBusiness on Twitter, as well as producing and staring in the Facebook Live show, #BizChats.
How did you find the inspiration to create Mashable #BizChats?
The #BizChats that you see today is much different than how it began. I created the program back in 2014 when I was an intern. My nine-month internship was a pretty stressful time for me because there was no guarantee that it would turn into a full-time job. After seeking advice from my co-workers who were once in my shoes, I soon learned that if I wanted the opportunity to become a permanent employee, I had to create some kind of project to contribute to the company that would make me irreplaceable. That's what got my gears turning and several months after that conversation, #BizChats was born.
#BizChats first started out as a Twitter chat on @mashbusiness. I'd host the chats on Wednesday afternoons, covering a variety of business topics while including a handful of influencers to help facilitate the conversation. When Facebook Live came around, I was asked if the Twitter chat could possibly be converted into a talk-show format. I wasn't 100% sure if it was doable, but I was determined to take on that challenge. I remember locking myself in our creative studio in the office and saying: "I'm not leaving this room until I have a solid framework I could work with." Several hours later, I walked out with the framework.
How did you conquer the moments of doubt you had regarding creating Mashable's #BizChats?
Before Facebook Live came into existence, #BizChats lived on Twitter. Everyone knows that Twitter chats aren't new to the platform and that certainly was the case for #BizChats. I did have doubts initially about how significant this program would be and grew concerned that maybe I wouldn't be contributing anything special to the Twittersphere.
I believe what aided in my success in the early stages of the program was just taking that leap of faith and testing the chat out. If I had talked myself out of it and just stuck with what made me feel comfortable, I wouldn't have the show that I have now or the connections with incredible influencers who believe in the mission of #BizChats just as much as I do.
In order to grow, you have to take risks. We have systems in our body that warn us when we feel like we're in danger or when we feel uncomfortable, but you have to push past that. Yes, you're stepping out into the unknown and you don't know what the result will be, but I can promise you that you will only become a better person from it, whether the end result is good or has room for improvement.
In society, we are trained and conditioned to not make mistakes. We are taught that failure is a bad thing. Did you know that the most successful people in the world are the people that have failed the most? Your mindset needs to switch. The only way we can learn from our mistakes is when we fail. The whole point is that when we fail, we make sure we are failing forward and learning a valuable lesson out of that failure so we don't repeat it again. If you are conditioned like I was to hate failure, just call it experimenting instead. You're testing something out, you don't know what the results will be, but after testing, you'll take the data/feedback and move forward with your next trial.
What habits helped make you successful?
It's important that when you're grinding out, working long hours and going above and beyond in your position, try not to compare your success to other people. You need to realize that social media is nothing more than a highlight reel of all of our best accomplishments and accolades. When you're looking to build yourself up, don't look to the right or the left. Focus on your own talents; your own abilities, the things that make YOU unique and stay prayed up and the blessings will soon follow. If you don't, it could make it very easy to covet what someone else has, and that's never a good position to be in. Do something every day that will make you a better person than you were the day before. For me, some of my habits include reading, listening to positive affirmations and giving to others without the expectation of receiving anything in return.
Being an intrapreneur, there are a lot of eyes looking at you from inside Mashable and outside. What are your tips to balance work and life?
When you have a job in social media to begin with, a huge challenge is work-life balance. Having the ability to work remotely can be a blessing and somewhat of a curse. When you take your laptop home with you, how much time do you devote to work and how much time is devoted to leisure? It's tricky. I always like to give myself hard deadlines and actually stick to them. I set my phone on a timer and when it runs out, I’m done working — no exceptions. Our mental and physical health are top priorities, and if we don't give ourselves time to do what we love, whether it's unwinding, disconnecting, eating at our favorite restaurant, playing an instrument, going to the gym, it can be a lot more damaging to us mentally in the long run.
The simplest thing anyone can do is to actually take your lunch break. This might come across as silly, or a no- brainer, but you would be surprised how many people will take their lunch back to their work station and continue to work while they eat. That is a bad habit that you need to break. Your mind needs to take a breather. Get out, stretch your legs, get some fresh air, give yourself time to refocus, then you can get back to work.
Can you speak on your recent panel at SXSW with the Cookie Monster? What sparked that idea, and how was the experience for you?
I was the co-host of our first-ever Mashable Show on Twitter. This is the first time our company has ever been a part of a production this large before, which was tall order but an exciting opportunity to rise to the occasion. My job as one of the co-hosts of the show was to be our audience's Twitter and poll guru. At the end of each show, there was a large stunt that would take place to give our audience something to look forward to including: breaking two Guinness World Records, playing a nostalgic-driven game show called “Seriously '90s” and hosting our own version of Shark Tank called “Dolphin Habitat”.
It was my job to help create interactive Twitter polls and questions regarding these big stunts and encourage our audience to share their thoughts on Twitter. Although I didn't interview Cookie Monster personally, he was kind enough to allow me to take a photo with him. Everybody involved played such a critical part in bringing the show to life. It was an incredible experience that I am so proud to have been a part of and I can't wait to see what else is in store for us.
Was this year your first time attending SXSW? If so, what was your take on the festival?
This was my first time attending SXSW. It was such a blast! It's incredibly fast-paced, but I loved the small-city feel of Austin and seeing people out and about on the streets, jumping in and out of different activations. I didn't know what to expect originally, but I think SXSW is a unique way for companies to display different components of what it represents while sharing it in a tangible way.
One book, quote, song or piece of inspiration you live by?
Being a follower of Jesus, I believe the Bible is God-breathed and inspired by the Holy Spirit. One verse that I live by would have to be Isaiah 41:10, which reads:
"So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
There have been many times in my life where I felt like I've hit walls, been confused, felt forgotten, frustrated and ignored, but then I remember God is not man, therefore He cannot tell a lie. Because of that revelation, I have always found comfort in that verse because God knows what I'm going through and is going to help me get through my obstacles, no matter what.
Do you know a millennial doing great work in the community? If so, pitch us why they should be featured in our next Millennial Monday.