SnackWalls

E61 Stephanie Andrews: Step Out Of Your Circle

November 09, 2020 Mike Roberts Season 1 Episode 61
SnackWalls
E61 Stephanie Andrews: Step Out Of Your Circle
Chapters
SnackWalls
E61 Stephanie Andrews: Step Out Of Your Circle
Nov 09, 2020 Season 1 Episode 61
Mike Roberts

We took a couple of days off last week, but have no fear because we're back with another great episode!

Stephanie believes that during this COVID season, it is easy for us to get stuck in our own circles. When you only communicate or network with people in your circle you wont be exposing yourself to new experiences or different perspectives. Similarly, companies that have trouble recruiting diverse talent need to connect with different people and groups outside of their typical network. Stephanie is in favor of dropping the CS degree requirement for tech roles because companies should hire people based on their experience and skills, not necessarily a degree. She always tells people that her degree is her paper degree and her real degree was building her business. She believes that the apprenticeship model would work in tech because it builds experience by working and learning directly from experts in real world situations. Stephanie recognizes that attracting talent is only part of the battle, retaining employees is equally important. She has found that people are happier and stay at workplaces where they feel like they belong and are part of a community. At the end of the day talent is more than just talent, they're people.

While attending Ryerson University back in 2014, Steph founded Origins Magazine, a platform that shared the raw realities of entrepreneurial journeys. In 2016, Steph joined Chatter Research as their Marketing Lead, directly assisting with landing major client accounts such as Fanatics Clothing, Purdy’s Chocolatiers, Modell’s Sporting Goods and more. In 2018, Steph saw the need for audio-first content and fell in love with podcasting as a way for brands to conveniently build strong relationships with their customer base. At that time, she pivoted Origins Magazine to Origins Media Haus, a boutique podcast and video agency focused on helping brands create engaging audio experiences and took the leap into full time entrepreneurship as CEO. After Origins Media Haus was acquired by Quill in 2020, Steph has continued on their team as Head of Production. Success to Steph is continuously finding the edge between growth and ease. 

SnackWalls is powered by San Diego Code School: https://sdcs.io

Please share like and subscribe for more reach 🙌🏾

Show Notes Transcript

We took a couple of days off last week, but have no fear because we're back with another great episode!

Stephanie believes that during this COVID season, it is easy for us to get stuck in our own circles. When you only communicate or network with people in your circle you wont be exposing yourself to new experiences or different perspectives. Similarly, companies that have trouble recruiting diverse talent need to connect with different people and groups outside of their typical network. Stephanie is in favor of dropping the CS degree requirement for tech roles because companies should hire people based on their experience and skills, not necessarily a degree. She always tells people that her degree is her paper degree and her real degree was building her business. She believes that the apprenticeship model would work in tech because it builds experience by working and learning directly from experts in real world situations. Stephanie recognizes that attracting talent is only part of the battle, retaining employees is equally important. She has found that people are happier and stay at workplaces where they feel like they belong and are part of a community. At the end of the day talent is more than just talent, they're people.

While attending Ryerson University back in 2014, Steph founded Origins Magazine, a platform that shared the raw realities of entrepreneurial journeys. In 2016, Steph joined Chatter Research as their Marketing Lead, directly assisting with landing major client accounts such as Fanatics Clothing, Purdy’s Chocolatiers, Modell’s Sporting Goods and more. In 2018, Steph saw the need for audio-first content and fell in love with podcasting as a way for brands to conveniently build strong relationships with their customer base. At that time, she pivoted Origins Magazine to Origins Media Haus, a boutique podcast and video agency focused on helping brands create engaging audio experiences and took the leap into full time entrepreneurship as CEO. After Origins Media Haus was acquired by Quill in 2020, Steph has continued on their team as Head of Production. Success to Steph is continuously finding the edge between growth and ease. 

SnackWalls is powered by San Diego Code School: https://sdcs.io

Please share like and subscribe for more reach 🙌🏾

Mike:

Welcome back to the SnackWalls podcast. I'm Mike Roberts, your host, and we're here to talk about increasing and maintaining diversity in tech, beyond the perks while companies think they can lure people in with unlimited PTO and dogs in the office. We're here to talk about how you keep them. All right. I'm gonna throw it over to our, special guest today in a few sentences. Can you tell us who you are and what it is that you do?

Stephanie:

Absolutely. So, hi, I'm Stephanie Andrews and I'm the former CEO and founder of origins media house, which was a video and podcast production agency, which was recently acquired by Quill, inc, which is a podcast platform that connects indie podcasters with creators.

Mike:

Awesome. So this is right up my alley. I've had someone else from Quill they were awesome guests. So I'm looking forward to your answers and, uh, I'll just jump right in and ask I'm hearing from some leaders that finding diverse talent in tech is a challenge. What are your thoughts?

Stephanie:

Yeah, for sure. I think, especially with COVID today, it's so easy to kind of get stuck in our own circles. Right. And I think that can be a serious issue, whether that's in professional networking, or even just with your friends and your family members, if you're always talking to the same people, you're never going to be getting different experiences in different perspectives, which is so important, especially in today's climate. So for example, even if you think about political views, it might be worth it to actually go and seek out, you know, what people you disagree with are thinking and are saying just so you can get that other perspective. And especially if you look at, you know, even the tech world today with Facebook and Google, it's easy for us to get stuck in these chambers of constantly basically breathing in and out our own ideas and our own information. So I just think it's really important to be seeking that out in terms of seeking diverse talent, that then provides that whole problem, right. It's like you need to actually go and use that same methodology of seeking out different groups, different places, and trying to find people that you wouldn't normally connect with. And also don't necessarily listen to your own biases just because you've worked with this person before. It doesn't mean that this other candidate who might be in a different group or might have a different view, or it might be from a different background than you is any worse than the one that you've worked with before. Right. So it's just about like building that comfort level and recognizing that we all have our own personal biases. I think.

Mike:

I love that. So you covered implicit bias. That's awesome. Like just making sure people recognize that and the fact that you covered another big one, so great. Phenomenal answer. The echo chamber, the like staying inside of your same group. I think if you're expecting different results from the same actions, that's the definition of insanity, right? Yeah, Exactly. What do you think about the remove to push the push, to remove CS degrees from the requirements for some tech roles?

Stephanie:

So, I Would say that you don't need a degree and I've been so adamant about this my entire life. So to give you some background, when I started my company, I was actually in my first year of university, I had no idea what I was doing. And I always tell people that my degree is my paper degree and my real degree was actually building my business. And so I don't think that you need a degree to actually learn a skill. And there's also so many resources online where you can be self-taught or you can be getting internships or getting, you know, jobs or working with people who maybe are more experienced in the field and learning from them. In addition to that, if you look at our society today, not everyone has access to go to university. So that immediately is giving more access to privileged people to get into these larger roles that are going to be higher paying. And then that actually creates that larger gap. Right. So that's kind of my thoughts on it. I don't think that you need a degree. I don't think that that should be needed. I think it should be based on what you can actually do and what your experiences.

Mike:

Love it. I think that's a reasonable take.

Stephanie:

Thank you.

Mike:

So what do you think about the apprenticeship pattern? Do you think it would work for tech roles?

Stephanie:

Yeah, totally. Um, I think that, like I said before with my last answer, I think experience is where it's at, right? I mean, you can only learn so much from school. You can only learn so much from, you know, putting your nose in a textbook and resources and online courses, whatever you might be doing. And so, yeah, I totally think apprenticeships should, or sorry. I think apprenticeships, uh, would work really well because then you're actually learning directly from the experts that have already like seen these challenges and stuff before.

Mike:

Yeah. That's the big deal. I think in the classroom that theoretical knowledge is not really tested as well as when you're seeing unique problems that you're trying to solve for the business. Like in real time. Right. Be there that can bring a little bit of that, um, experience and a bigger, you know, sample size of like, okay, I've seen this many times before, here's how we address it and can level you up faster. Right. Because you don't have to spend as much time like reinventing the wheel in terms of solutions. So.

Stephanie:

Yeah, exactly. Like if you've seen it before or, you know, someone that's seen it before, then you're going to know how to react to it. Whereas like if you see it in the workplace and you've never had that experience, you're gonna be like, Oh God, what do I do? Right. So.

Mike:

So what advice would you share with companies that are looking to retain diverse talent? Let's say they did a great job of broadening and getting out there and attracting candidates. How do you retain them?

Stephanie:

Yeah, I think that's such an important question because I really think that attracting talent is only part of the battle here and retaining is such an important aspect. I think that what's really important and what's missing in a lot of companies is making everyone feel like they're part of one whole and making people feel like they're a part of the community. So when we were running OMH, that was like, the biggest thing that we tried to do is every person on our team, I wanted them to feel like they were a part of this OMH community. And we wanted people to feel empowered and give their opinions. But we also recognize the only way that we could do that is if they felt comfortable and they felt like they could share that with us because they were all part of this one thing and they were contributing to this one thing and making it better. So we really went out of our way. So you could do that through like team outings, building strong relationships, you do that through even making time to do one-on-ones with people and just getting to know them at the end of the day, you know, talent is more than just talent they're people. And I think it's really important that we recognize that we're all people and we celebrate everyone's, you know, shared experiences and, um, we try and actually get to know them and build a community. I think that's super, super important. Um, yeah, I would say that's probably the biggest thing that I would say in terms of retention.

Mike:

I like it. So the, the word that's ringing in my mind through, throughout that entire like answer, which I think is awesome. You talked about community is really like inclusion, being comfortable like that, you can bring your whole self in to work every day and that you'll be, um, supported by a community of people that you work with because we spend so much time at work. Right. We spend most of our like daytime lives at work, not at home with our families. And so it's gotta be, it's gotta, you gotta feel like you're welcomed there because otherwise you're just gonna be like, yo, I'm just going to dip. Like, there's no reason for me to stay here if I'm not being treated like I'm one of a n, instead of kind of like feeling like I don't, I don't fit or belong. So.

Stephanie:

Yeah, exactly. And I feel like everyone's had that experience right. Where like you've been in a job where you've really felt like you belonged and you felt like you were part of the crew and you just, your ideas are better. Your work is better. You want to be there. Whereas like, if you're in another job or you feel kind of like an outsider, it's like back to elementary school rules, you know what I mean? If you feel like you're not a part of the social group, you don't want to be there. So.

Mike:

Absolutely. Yeah. And the other part you touched on, I think it's really important and employers should hear is you got to be listening, you got to be having the one-on-ones and you gotta be open to the feedback that you're getting so that you can make the changes that you need to create that environment where it's like, I often thought the anti toxic environment would be the opposite of a toxic place to work at. Right?

Stephanie:

Yeah. I love that. I think that's so great. And I also think that like when you do that, make sure that they feel like they're being part of something that goes to building something, right. Like part of the reason I think that people get really excited about their job is because they feel like they're contributing to something that's greater than themselves. And so you need to make them feel like they're doing that at work.

Mike:

Absolutely. So great stuff. Who is someone like yourself that you would like to acknowledge as a leader and think would be a great guest on podcasts like this?

Stephanie:

Yeah. I was thinking about this before I came on and I think someone would be really great is my friend Ugochi. She runs an incredible startup called Flindel. I think she would be an amazing guest.

Mike:

Flindel. Okay. That sounds good. That's on my radar now. So definitely got to reach out. I'll probably not going to get that one right when I guess, but where can we find out more information about your company? This is a great time for any shameless plugs that you've got.

Stephanie:

For sure. So you can find out about Quill, uh, quillit.io. Um, you can also connect with us on LinkedIn, Instagram at Quill Inc. Um, and if you're a freelance podcaster who is looking to make some money and potentially please sign up for our platform, uh, we have leads come in all the time and people who are looking to create their own shows. And if you have your own show, but you're looking for some help perhaps with making it even better, taking it to the next level, feel free to contact us on the platform.

Mike:

Awesome. All right, well Steph. This is the toughest question. So I'm going to give you a second to marinate, but what are you snacking on lately? What's your favorite snack?

Stephanie:

Ooh, that's such a good question. I love food. Um, so I would say that I'm vegan. So I have to get really creative sometimes lately it's been, I've been really into baked kale chips. I've been really into fried kale, also been getting really into like mixing pumpkin seeds with literally everything that I eat. So I've been doing like vegan Alfredo with pumpkin seeds on top and it is really good.

Mike:

I got to get back into a healthy, a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle. Corona has caused me well, not just corona, but like prior to corona last year, you know, as an early in startup, I was year one of startup. So you know what that life is like. And so I was not doing my regular exercise regimen and I was working 24, seven, seven days a week. So I've put on like, I'd say 60 pounds since two years ago when I was like in the gym with the t rainer and we were just like banging it out. So Corona has not helped.

Stephanie:

It's been hard for everyone. Me too, honestly. Like it's been the only reason I think I sound like I eat healthy is because I'm vegan, but honestly it's so hard. Like my birthday was last week and I had a whole cake in my fridge and I ate the entire thing. So you're not alone.

Mike:

Yeah. But I like that snack all those snacks, sound pretty, pretty healthy, at least healthier than I usually hear. So you're, you're on the right path there. So thanks again Steph for coming in. I appreciate it. This has been a pretty, I think interesting episode in terms of like, your thoughts are like spot on and uh, and again, I appreciate you coming on and sharing those.

Stephanie:

Thank you so much for having me. It's been lovely to get to chat today.

Mike:

Awesome. Thanks again!. The San Diego code school is a proud sponsor of the SnackWall's podcast. The San Diego code school is leading companies to tech equity, with tech enabled apprenticeship program is a venture whose heart is to do a lot of social good and do good work. You can help San Diego code school, secure funding for change. By hiring developers, bringing a team in to relieve your backlog or becoming a program sponsor. You can visit us on the web for more information at HTTP colon / / SDCS.io