The hype behind podcasts is legitimate. People are listening to podcasts now more than ever with consumers ages 18-34 being inclined to listen to monthly, according to Salesforce. As marketers, strategists and creatives, we all understand the power of a platform. Not just any platform but the one that connects you best to your audience. The fabulous ladies of Joblogues identified an untapped market and conversation that needs to be had in the industry. Proclaimed as your #groupchatgirlfriends, Joymarie Parker and Cortney Cleveland have built a community through audio and conversation that revolutionized how we view our careers. From collecting thy coin to media writing skills, Joymarie and Cortney not only share their advice but live it as professional women of color. Here's what they had to say:
Who is Joymarie Parker and Cortney Cleveland? Where are you both from and how have you navigated your career into this industry?
CC: Maryland girl, born in Detroit. I came to NYC after graduating from Howard University and quitting a PR job I hated, with no back up plan. A decade later, it’s not a strategy I’d recommend for everyone, but it is symbolic of how I navigate my career. I listen to my instincts and use every position I hold as a learning experience that allows me to adjust course. I’m currently working in the arts in digital marketing—not what I planned when I started, but I couldn’t be happier.
JP: I’m also from Maryland (we’ve been friends since high school), but grew up in Zambia, Tanzania and moved around quite a bit as a kid. I’ve always been comfortable with change and the same has been true of my career. After studying design in college I dabbled in advertising, non-profit work and HR before finding my way to a career in Marketing. Marketing is about storytelling through different channels and I’m fortunate to be able to do that both in and outside the office.
How do you define media? How does it impact you as a person and as a professional?
CC: Media is a lot of things, but more than anything it’s got to be a good story. Staying true to that keeps me focused. When I’m crafting episodes of Joblogues or content strategies at work, I’m not only thinking about the informational or promotional aspect, but also the emotional journey we want to take the audience on. A good story does all the things we want media to do—connect with an audience, deliver a message clearly, and resonate after its consumed. If I get that right, I know I’m good.
JP: Given our current political climate, I increasingly see media as not only a responsibility to tell stories – but tell stories that are honest, thought-provoking and perspective-shifting. We aim to do that with each episode of Joblogues by creating spaces for women of color to authentically share their career experiences – the good, the bad and the ugly. Difficult conversations can be tough to stomach, but are necessary for growth and are often a catalyst for igniting change.
Tell us about Joblogues and what inspiration birthed this podcast.
JP: Coming out of my job search a few years ago, I began to recognize the power of networking and candid conversations with friends, family, colleagues and mentors as I prepared to take the next step in my career. Many of us have girlfriends or confidants that we’re comfortable dishing our work woes to, but when you stop and think about it – there aren’t many spaces in media that amplify those conversations on a broader level, especially for women of color. Joblogues was created to fill that void in a fun and relatable way. Cortney & I aren’t career coaches or work experts – we’re navigating our own careers one step at a time right alongside our listeners. I think that’s been one of the reasons our show has been so successful and resonated so deeply with our community over the last three years.
CC: Good work inspires me. The passion and work ethic of the people we feature is a constant source of inspiration for me, and I love that we get to give exposure to success stories that aren’t getting enough shine, and help our listeners define what success looks like for them. So many of the questions we get boil down to: the world is telling me success is this or requires this one thing, but do I have permission to do it another way? I love how the Joblogues community empowers listeners to grab hold of whatever type of career they can dream up.
So, the episodes you've recorded range from "Can I Pick Your Brain?" to "Is the Coin Correct?" What is your favorite episode and what did you learn the most from a content and production lens?
JP: Too tough to call, but I really love our financial literacy series in partnership with OneUnited Bank. We’ve tackled topics like first-time homeownership, incorporating and legitimizing a business idea and building savings. We love seeing our listeners become more financially empowered and liberated.
CC: Impossible for me to pick. But I really did love “Working While Woke” (Episode 23). We were fresh off what felt like the 100th police brutality video circulating online and we pulled together women we respected to not only validate the feelings of our audience but provide resources to help them cope with those feelings at work. It was a great example of being flexible and nimble to support the audience.
The podcasting space is a booming industry without a huge historical look back. What's the secret sauce to rising above the volatile trends and a potentially noisy content space?
CC: Quality and community. Sweating the details and taking the time to ensure we have a polished product that reflects our commitment to our audience and listening to that audience. Not being afraid to test new things, and changing course to suit the needs of the people that support you. Your audience will reward you for meeting those needs.
JP: Definitely. I’d also say authenticity. When we first started, we looked for examples from other successful podcasts, but as we’ve gotten more comfortable we’ve leaned into our own sound, our own stories and our own voices. Don’t be afraid to start something because it doesn’t exist or there’s no precedent for it. And don’t be afraid to start something just because it does exist. You are the differentiator. The world wants to hear your story – in your voice.
As podcast hosts and bomb professional women, how do you measure the success you've had so far?
JP: How I measure success has evolved over time – initially, I aspired for a certain salary, title, a certain number of podcast downloads and followers on social. Nowadays (having already reached many of those goals), it’s evident that success for me is really about making a positive impact on others, being consistent, forming new connections and attracting new opportunities. It’s been a crazy fun ride to see where life has taken us as a result of putting a good quality product out into the world. You never know what might happen if you don’t take that first step and just start!
CC: Success for me is freedom. How much does my life reflect what I want it to be? How much does my work reflect what I want to see in the world? How much am I able to lift up the work of people I admire? Having the freedom and resources to do what I want is my measurement, and I think, always has been.
How do you want to define yourself in this industry?
CC: As an architect—creating the frameworks and structures that bring our stories to life.
JP: As a disruptor — creating unprecedented spaces, amplifying untold stories and revolutionizing the way we think and talk about work.
Where can we find you and what's next?
JP: Get at us anytime @joblogues around the web or at joblogues.com. We’re excited to launch a few partnerships this year that will help us inspire and reach more young professionals. Stay tuned. I’m always down to connect and build and can be reached at @heymissparkerr on social.
CC: And I’m @cleveoutloud on the socials. I finish my graduate program this summer—shoutout to all my fellow grad students, hang in there! Excited to redirect all that academic energy into new storytelling projects.