Episode 32

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Published on:

4th Jan 2023

S1 E32: You never know where it's going to take you (Rashel / @RashelHariri)

Rashel Hariri joins the show to talk about her origin story, from being attracted to the creativity of marketing at a young age to working in Marketing at McDonald's and Shopify, and now as a fractional CMO for tech start-ups as well as an entrepreneur making Chelle Body.

We discuss how the journey of your career isn't always as clear, looking forward as it is at the end, looking back. We talk about the role of marketing in the tech industry and the similarities and differences from inside and outside the tech industry.

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Transcript
Eddie:

Welcome to episode 32 of the web joy podcast.

Eddie:

I'm your host Eddie.

Eddie:

And in this podcast, we interview guests about their origin story and

Eddie:

what makes them excited and joyful to be part of the tech community.

Eddie:

I hope you enjoyed today's episode.

Eddie:

You never know where it's going to take you with Rochelle.

Eddie:

Horary.

Eddie:

Welcome to another episode of Web Joy.

Eddie:

Today we have Rochelle with us, and I'm excited.

Eddie:

Rochelle, say hi to our listeners.

Rashel:

Hi everyone.

Rashel:

Thanks so much for asking me to join your podcast.

Rashel:

I'm super excited to chat with you about all things marketing, tech,

Rashel:

and, uh, being a non-technical

Eddie:

and tech.

Eddie:

That's really exciting because I think a lot of people on the podcast

Eddie:

so far have been pretty technical.

Eddie:

We've had couple people less so recruiters, you know, things like that.

Eddie:

But I'm excited to mm-hmm.

Eddie:

be chatting with someone who's a little bit in a different

Eddie:

space that the listeners don't always get to hear from a lot.

Rashel:

Yeah.

Rashel:

I definitely think I can, uh, Bring a different perspective to the podcast,

Rashel:

especially from the side of the marketer, cuz obviously in tech product is always

Rashel:

first and then you have all these like services and, and different departments

Rashel:

around that support the product.

Rashel:

So happy to be joining you from

Eddie:

the marketing angle.

Eddie:

I guess to get started, if you just want to kind of share who you are, what

Eddie:

you do, a brief intro so that everyone kind of knows where we're coming.

Rashel:

Yeah.

Rashel:

Love it.

Rashel:

My name is Rochelle Hariri.

Rashel:

I have over 13 years of experience in the digital marketing space.

Rashel:

I've worked from anywhere, from nonprofit to banking to food and beverage

Rashel:

at McDonald's and tech at Shopify.

Rashel:

And most recently I've been consulting as an independent

Rashel:

consultant and fractional C M O.

Rashel:

So I've been doing this for just over a year and a half.

Rashel:

So I work with a lot of different companies in the tech space and also some

Rashel:

D to C companies as well with helping.

Rashel:

Build their brand, build their marketing teams and departments,

Rashel:

and help them really align on what that vision should be for their

Eddie:

company.

Eddie:

That's really cool.

Eddie:

How did you get involved in that, right?

Eddie:

I guess, what's your origin story?

Eddie:

What made you think marketing seems cool?

Eddie:

I'd like to do that.

Rashel:

I grew up watching a lot of nineties movies and there was always

Rashel:

like the advertising exec, or like the marketing person who lived in New York

Rashel:

and had a really cool, exciting job.

Rashel:

And when I grew up my, my father was an entrepreneur and so I always knew like I

Rashel:

wanted to start my own business somehow.

Rashel:

I also was really attracted to the creativity of the advertising

Rashel:

space and marketing in part.

Rashel:

And so from a very young age, I knew that that's either I was gonna

Rashel:

go into the marketing field or interior design, and I went marketing

Rashel:

And so they, hey, never say never.

Rashel:

I could always still like transition into design, but that was always like

Rashel:

from a young age, I knew that that was sort of the space that I wanted to go

Rashel:

in, and that's just what I pursued in university all throughout university.

Rashel:

Once I graduated, It was just written in my D n a

Eddie:

almost.

Eddie:

Wow.

Eddie:

That's really interesting.

Eddie:

I love that you had this idea that that's what you wanted to do.

Eddie:

So early on I feel like a lot of people kind of stumble around, right?

Eddie:

Investigate different things that interest them.

Eddie:

It's funny cuz I have a similar background.

Eddie:

Like I pretty much grew up interested in technology and I knew that I

Eddie:

wanted to do technology stuff.

Eddie:

I didn't necessarily always, What I was gonna do.

Eddie:

Mm-hmm.

Eddie:

. But like I built my own computer following like this book that was telling you how

Eddie:

to build a computer at like 12 years old.

Eddie:

So I've just always been like, computers are cool and I

Eddie:

wanna do stuff with computers.

Eddie:

, I

Rashel:

love that.

Rashel:

I think like, I love hearing people's origin stories too, because you hear about

Rashel:

like, These influences that you have as a child and how they really impact you

Rashel:

as you get older and you mature and you figure out what you wanna do in life.

Rashel:

And so I love that when you were 12 you made your own computer.

Rashel:

That's genius.

Eddie:

It's cool to see, right?

Eddie:

How those different experiences and things shape us and guide us and.

Eddie:

We never necessarily end up where we think we're gonna be.

Eddie:

Right.

Eddie:

I mean, no one can.

Eddie:

Yeah.

Eddie:

Look 20 years in the future.

Eddie:

Economies change, technologies change, everything changes.

Eddie:

But it's cool to see kind of the paths when we look backward.

Eddie:

I actually just saw Tweet today that someone said about a saying

Eddie:

that Steve Jobs said, which was.

Eddie:

Essentially like you can never see how all the dots line up ahead of time.

Eddie:

You can only go through them and look back and see how the dots

Eddie:

aligned to get you where you were today, which is pretty cool.

Rashel:

I absolutely agree.

Rashel:

I think like.

Rashel:

As you're thinking about your journey through life, like, I know we're talking

Rashel:

a lot about like tech and careers, but it's a big part of your, your life, and

Rashel:

I think there needs to be a good balance between what you wanna contribute to the

Rashel:

world and what you wanna work on and how you wanna influence and work with people

Rashel:

around you in the mark that you leave.

Rashel:

And so, It's, I like that you're talking about the Steve Jobs, the, the Dotted.

Rashel:

And maybe because I'm Persian, I've always, uh, my, I guess sort

Rashel:

of like metaphor was, has always been like, you always know that

Rashel:

you're weaving, like there's a rug , you know, like Persian rugs.

Rashel:

Like, you know that there's a rug.

Rashel:

You don't know what the design is gonna be, you know, the output of what.

Rashel:

You want to create, but the steps that you take, the colors that you use,

Rashel:

how you create this thing is gonna change as you develop and progress.

Rashel:

But in the end, you know, like what the end product would be.

Eddie:

Nice.

Eddie:

I love, which is love that . Well, and that's cool because oftentimes

Eddie:

you look at the back of a rug, right?

Eddie:

Which like mm-hmm.

Eddie:

, it doesn't quite strands go from here to there so that the same string can be

Eddie:

going, like, it doesn't always make as much sense as when you flip the rug over

Eddie:

and then you see this beautiful design.

Eddie:

So that's really cool.

Eddie:

You've been in the same field marketing for a while.

Eddie:

You've kind of gotten started in other companies and then you had this

Eddie:

shift where you went from being in marketing with companies outside of

Eddie:

the tech industry to working with shop.

Eddie:

How did that shift go for you?

Eddie:

Right.

Eddie:

What differences did you notice in your role?

Eddie:

Did it feel the same?

Eddie:

Did it feel different?

Eddie:

Kind of talk to us what that transition looked like for you.

Eddie:

I certainly

Rashel:

think that there is that same thread of marketing that goes through,

Rashel:

so like once you understand brand positioning, once you understand consumer

Rashel:

insights, the psychology of why people buy, how they connect with brands,

Rashel:

you can kind of take that and mold.

Rashel:

Into the different industries that you're in.

Rashel:

And so in my experience, I think it was like a, a natural launching pad for

Rashel:

me while I was at McDonald's because I actually joined the digital team.

Rashel:

So I was like the first employee on the digital team.

Rashel:

It was me and the head of technology and the head of digital.

Rashel:

So it was the perfect branch.

Rashel:

We were kind of like, This like startup within a very corporate company that

Rashel:

had been around like a very successful global billion dollar business.

Rashel:

And we were doing things on the digital side.

Rashel:

So we were driving digital marketing, the kiosks in the restaurants,

Rashel:

launching that app for McDonald's, which you can now order and, and

Rashel:

do all these great things with.

Rashel:

And so that's really what got me to think a little bit differently about

Rashel:

how I was approaching marketing and thinking about pursuing a career in tech.

Rashel:

Because as a lot of other non-technical people, you often

Rashel:

think, well, I wanna get into tech.

Rashel:

I'm interested in technology, I'm interested in in SAS products,

Rashel:

and I love creating things, but what's my entry point?

Rashel:

How do I get in there if I'm not an engineer or you know, like a UX designer?

Rashel:

And so that was kind of the natural progression of my journey is I was

Rashel:

on the digital team, we were working on these great projects and products

Rashel:

and it was a great evolution because then, you know, when there was an

Rashel:

opportunity at Shopify, I was able to take a lot of that experience

Rashel:

I had and move it over to a tech

Eddie:

company.

Eddie:

That makes a lot of sense, right?

Eddie:

Finding things that are in your general area that are connected to

Eddie:

you, that you can make these small shifts that then lay the foundation

Eddie:

for when you wanna make a bigger.

Eddie:

You have some kind of experience in your career to say, Hey, company X, I do have

Eddie:

experience with this, and now I'm ready to take that experience to the next level.

Eddie:

I love that kind of shift and then, you know, kind of step up type of a move.

Eddie:

For sure.

Eddie:

And also

Rashel:

I think like, Sometimes you need to just do things in your career and try

Rashel:

things, whether it's like being on the board of something or being a volunteer,

Rashel:

or just putting yourself out there and trying things that you like because you

Rashel:

never know where it's gonna take you.

Rashel:

And it's kind of like we were talking about that journey and that,

Rashel:

that, that pattern or the weaving.

Rashel:

You gotta put yourself out there.

Rashel:

And, and even like an example I have is when I, um, started working for

Rashel:

McDonald's, I had no idea, but previously I was, um, heading social media for

Rashel:

in Toronto, the Santa Claus Parade.

Rashel:

And it was just something I was volunteering for cuz it had

Rashel:

been a parade I'd gone through, gone to since I was a kid.

Rashel:

. And little did I know that actually the head of McDonald's Canada is,

Rashel:

was funding the Santa Claus parade.

Rashel:

And so there was a big connection there.

Rashel:

And then when I joined McDonald's and I was talking to them about

Rashel:

this, it was very serendipitous.

Rashel:

Certain things happen in your career, you just end up being in different

Rashel:

places and later you look back and you're like, oh yeah, I volunteered,

Rashel:

or I did that and it actually helped me get to where I am today.

Rashel:

So that's my advice, Louis, to anyone.

Rashel:

Whether you're technical, non-technical, whether you are, you know, in

Rashel:

medicine or a different type of field.

Rashel:

Just putting yourself out there and having experiences and just

Rashel:

living life, trying and learning will, will lead you down a really

Eddie:

interesting path.

Eddie:

Absolutely.

Eddie:

That's cool.

Eddie:

So you're at McDonald's, right?

Eddie:

You.

Eddie:

Are starting to get involved in tech stuff, you move to Shopify.

Eddie:

Now, my understanding is Shopify went through a lot of growth

Eddie:

while you were there, right?

Eddie:

Yeah.

Eddie:

What was it like when you started?

Eddie:

What was it like when you left?

Eddie:

What was that, those transitions like and like what was your position?

Eddie:

Does it change over time and stuff?

Rashel:

Yeah, so I think I joined Shopify at a really interesting time.

Rashel:

I.

Rashel:

Refer to it as like their awkward teenage stage because the

Rashel:

company was growing really fast.

Rashel:

I think by the time that I left, after two and a half years, 90%, like we had this

Rashel:

on the, on our internal systems, it would show you how many people joined after you.

Rashel:

And so 90% of the company had joined after me.

Rashel:

It had just like exploded.

Rashel:

It was so big.

Rashel:

There were so many different departments, so many like different projects

Rashel:

that were happening at the company.

Rashel:

And so I joined at a really interesting time because I

Rashel:

think they were still trying to.

Rashel:

Identify the role of marketing within Shopify, within such

Rashel:

a product driven company.

Rashel:

How did marketing talk about the product?

Rashel:

How did you get people to be excited about entrepreneurship and wanna join

Rashel:

this movement that, you know, was led by Toby and c e o and so there

Rashel:

was a lot of growth, a lot of change.

Rashel:

and it was interesting for me in particular because I had come

Rashel:

from, you know, about like four and a half years at McDonald's,

Rashel:

which was a very process-driven organization, like to the team.

Rashel:

McDonald's is exceptional at being an organization that knows, like in

Rashel:

fact they have, um, test kitchens in Chicago, their head office, and so.

Rashel:

They can model any McDonald's restaurant across the world like

Rashel:

that is how precise they are.

Rashel:

The timing means to be perfect.

Rashel:

And so coming from that environment where there was like so much rigor and process

Rashel:

and learning how to navigate and work with different departments and basically

Rashel:

just like get shit done to a company like Shopify, which was like process.

Rashel:

We don't like process here.

Rashel:

That's a taboo word.

Rashel:

Like don't talk about.

Rashel:

It was a lot, it was a bit of a learning curve for me because I was so used to

Rashel:

like a certain type of thinking and flow and, and a work and execution.

Rashel:

And so that, that took some time to get used to cuz it was like, wow, literally

Rashel:

everything that I have been groomed to learn to do and to think is now going

Rashel:

out the window and we're just gonna try things and experiment and test.

Rashel:

So I think that was like a really interesting learning curve for me.

Rashel:

I really am grateful for that experience because now what I do in tech, it has

Rashel:

really enabled me to be flexible, to be agile, and to be ready for anything,

Rashel:

especially in the startup world.

Rashel:

Like things are definitely not process driven, they're not organized.

Rashel:

It's oftentimes chaos and you're sort of going in there and helping

Rashel:

these small businesses or you know, very well funded business.

Rashel:

Get shit done, organize things, have a vision, and then bring it to market.

Rashel:

And so that was part of my experience at Shopify is like it just turned everything

Rashel:

upside down in the most incredible

Eddie:

way.

Eddie:

It's funny that you kind of tied that into what you're doing today,

Eddie:

because as you were talking about your experiences at Shopify, My mind

Eddie:

kind of started to go there, like you started at McDonald's, which like you

Eddie:

said was very big and process oriented.

Eddie:

And then that transition from there to Shopify was like, okay, now you're going

Eddie:

to a smaller company, but now you even work with startups and stuff, which

Eddie:

is even smaller and earlier stage than Shopify was when you got involved in that.

Eddie:

And so it's like you've been working your way into smaller.

Eddie:

More chaotic environments.

Eddie:

. Rashel: Yeah.

Eddie:

I mean, yeah, I guess like there's something wrong with me.

Eddie:

. for chaos.

Eddie:

But yeah, absolutely.

Eddie:

I think, I mean, and the interesting thing too is, so I was uh, working for

Eddie:

McDonald's Canada, and so McDonald's Canada, I think at the time was only 500

Eddie:

people at the organization in Canada.

Eddie:

So going from that, And then even seeing Shopify in its growth stage where it

Eddie:

completely scaled so quickly, it was interesting to have the comparison.

Eddie:

And even before that, when I was in the finance space, it

Eddie:

was a different world as well.

Eddie:

Like interestingly enough, I worked for I N G Direct now Tan

Eddie:

Tangerine Bank, and they also were like not a big fan of process.

Eddie:

They were sort of the anti-bank.

Eddie:

They worked very much like in an agency type.

Eddie:

And so, you know, when I look back in, in these different experiences I have,

Eddie:

there's so much learnings that I have from each one of these environments

Eddie:

and businesses and how they work.

Eddie:

And you're absolutely right, like having this journey has prepared me now because I

Eddie:

am flexible, but I'm still process driven.

Eddie:

I like working in chaos, but I'm also very organized . So I think

Eddie:

that's kind of like the benefit that I bring to the table as I'm working

Eddie:

with these founders and these teams.

Eddie:

Honestly, nothing faces me.

Eddie:

So as a marketer, I'm, I'm not shocked.

Eddie:

I'm always ready to pivot, and I think these are just great life skills.

Eddie:

Aside from career skills, life skills, like you need to be prepared for anything.

Eddie:

You need to be flexible.

Eddie:

Have a good attitude.

Eddie:

Be strategic and then plan, like plan ahead, but also be ready to change

Eddie:

your plans and pivot.

Eddie:

I think that's definitely something to be found there for like everyone, right?

Eddie:

And their career is that when you're looking at what's the next company

Eddie:

you wanna be involved in, what's the next job opportunity you want?

Eddie:

Sometimes it's looking and saying, have I done a lot of the same

Eddie:

thing, the same size company?

Eddie:

The same industry?

Eddie:

Like, can you kind of flip that around?

Eddie:

Because I actually have been, my journey has been similar to

Eddie:

yours in that it's all different types of company, different sizes.

Eddie:

Like every job change has put me into a very different environment.

Eddie:

I've done literally, like I've.

Eddie:

Like two person co-founder of a company that never got off the ground.

Eddie:

I've been in government contracting, I've done design agency work.

Eddie:

I've done smallish, okay startups, and now I'm at Glassdoor, which does

Eddie:

obviously a larger tech company.

Eddie:

And it's like all of those different environments to your point,

Eddie:

teaches you something different.

Eddie:

And if you've been.

Eddie:

In the same industry or the same type of company for a while, like

Eddie:

go with a bigger or smaller company, go in a different industry, um,

Eddie:

find a, some way to change it up.

Eddie:

Yeah,

Rashel:

I absolutely agree.

Rashel:

I think like one piece of advice, I often, um, speak at different universities

Rashel:

and I talk to like the marketing students, and one piece of advice I

Rashel:

always give them is when you're looking for jobs in the future and trying to

Rashel:

build your career, don't just look.

Rashel:

The role that you want.

Rashel:

Because the role can always change, right?

Rashel:

Like you can go into a certain job and make it your own and

Rashel:

change it and grow and develop.

Rashel:

Look at the company and why you wanna work for that company.

Rashel:

Is it their product?

Rashel:

Is it the way they run the company?

Rashel:

Are you interested in that particular industry?

Rashel:

And I think that's like, that's kind of been my motto of why I've

Rashel:

jumped to these different companies.

Rashel:

I wanted to learn what happens in baking.

Rashel:

I wanted to learn the processes.

Rashel:

I wanted to learn how they, they run successfully.

Rashel:

How do they make money?

Rashel:

Like obviously , but also like with McDonald's going there, or when I was in

Rashel:

the nonprofit space, I was just interested in learning about these different things.

Rashel:

And I think like when you approach your life and your career

Rashel:

through a lens of wanting to.

Rashel:

And not, you know, going in there thinking I know everything, but you're

Rashel:

like, no, I'm actually here cuz this is great and I wanna know what you

Rashel:

guys are doing and how I can help.

Rashel:

You'll be happier in your jobs as well.

Rashel:

And I think that's also why in my career I've had, like most of the

Rashel:

companies that I've worked at, I've stayed for like four years.

Rashel:

Is because there was always something to do.

Rashel:

There was always more to learn and there was always more that I could

Rashel:

contribute and then it would get to a space where I was like, okay,

Rashel:

I think I've done enough here.

Rashel:

Like I need to go and explore something else and move on.

Rashel:

Uh, so that's always been my advice.

Rashel:

So I a hundred percent agree is put yourself out there in situations where

Rashel:

you can learn and go to companies where you're interested in, in the

Rashel:

leadership vision and what they're

Eddie:

trying to accomplish.

Eddie:

I love that.

Eddie:

That's awesome.

Eddie:

So the experiences you've had have all been very different, but the through line

Eddie:

is you've stayed in marketing, right?

Eddie:

You knew at a young age you wanted to get into marketing.

Eddie:

You've stuck with it this long.

Eddie:

Right.

Eddie:

What is it about marketing that kind of keeps you excited, that keeps you

Eddie:

in the game and passionate about it?

Eddie:

Well,

Rashel:

I think.

Rashel:

Fundamentally marketing is connecting people and brands and businesses.

Rashel:

And so when you think about it from that lens, anything that you

Rashel:

do in marketing is just a creative element that's added to it.

Rashel:

And so I think it's never the same.

Rashel:

Even as I work with different startups, there is no template.

Rashel:

You know, I don't take a template and.

Rashel:

Here's how I'm gonna do it for you.

Rashel:

Here's how I'm gonna do it for you.

Rashel:

Here's like, it's different for everyone.

Rashel:

And I think that's what keeps marketing interesting for me.

Rashel:

Just the type of person I am is, I like change.

Rashel:

I like interesting projects.

Rashel:

I like challenges.

Rashel:

So marketing.

Rashel:

And there's so much change in marketing as well.

Rashel:

That's what keeps me going.

Rashel:

So for example, You know, years ago everyone was like, oh, don't

Rashel:

use s m s marketing, right?

Rashel:

Nobody wants to hear from you on s m s email, no, social media is a thing.

Rashel:

Gotta go to social media.

Rashel:

Then at one point it was like, well, you don't own those user relationships with

Rashel:

social media, so email is the way to go.

Rashel:

Everyone needs to be focused on email.

Rashel:

And then more recently now, like we're seeing really low click, like

Rashel:

click rates and open rates of emails.

Rashel:

And so it's like, go back to sfs, SMS is like the sexy thing.

Rashel:

And so it's always evolving and you're.

Rashel:

Keep on top of the trends, and when I say the trends, it's really just understanding

Rashel:

human behavior at the time, right?

Rashel:

Like the, the common thread through all of this is the people.

Rashel:

At one point everyone was obsessed with social media.

Rashel:

Then it was all about like your emails, subscriptions, and what emails

Rashel:

you get in your inbox every day.

Rashel:

And now it's like, I'm sick of all of these things.

Rashel:

If you just text me about your product and you just text me to

Rashel:

make sure that my service is good.

Rashel:

That's how I prefer to hear from you.

Rashel:

And so I think that's another reason why I'm still very interested in marketing.

Rashel:

And I think once you understand marketing how society works and you

Rashel:

can analyze and critique that, it helps you really in anything you do.

Rashel:

Like if you start a business, if you shift to another type of function, you can

Rashel:

still use these insights to support you.

Rashel:

And so for me it's, it's just like it's ever-evolving.

Rashel:

You're always trying to keep up with what people want and how

Rashel:

they want you to communicate

Eddie:

with them.

Eddie:

I feel like a lot of people in the tech space, right, aren't as involved.

Eddie:

Mm-hmm.

Eddie:

with marketing, and so I feel like a lot of times there can be this

Eddie:

perception that like, oh yeah, like marketing is, I don't know, either

Eddie:

this cookie cutter formula or it's just about like throwing ads out there.

Eddie:

Right.

Eddie:

Like a, I think a lot of tech people are like, oh yeah, the

Eddie:

marketing people handle the ads.

Eddie:

Right.

Eddie:

So I love that.

Eddie:

Where really, in essence, it's the same thing that we do on the product

Eddie:

side, where it's like, okay, we need to understand our users, what they need.

Eddie:

From the marketing side, you're understanding our potential users, right?

Eddie:

The people we haven't gotten to yet and saying, Where are they?

Eddie:

How are they communicating and how do they want to hear from us or

Eddie:

even like the trial users, and how do we get them to come back and

Eddie:

actually use us more and stuff?

Eddie:

So I love that.

Eddie:

Really at the core essence, it's all about understanding people and how

Eddie:

to connect with people, and it's just are you connecting with them when

Eddie:

they're not in the product experience or are you connecting with them when

Eddie:

they're in the product experience?

Eddie:

And it's just, that's the only D major.

Eddie:

Yeah,

Rashel:

absolutely.

Rashel:

And I part of like marketing as well, or maybe it's, you know what, it might

Rashel:

just be my view on marketing because I see myself as very much a, a generalist.

Rashel:

I'm not like just focused on email or just focused on this part of brand

Rashel:

or I very much like, and I think this is where I determined I wanted

Rashel:

to work with startups is because.

Rashel:

I'm the type of person who's interested about what's happening in different

Rashel:

areas of the business and then how marketing flows and supports

Rashel:

all those different functions.

Rashel:

So for example, even if you're looking at your user onboarding journey,

Rashel:

what, what are the different steps?

Rashel:

How are they going through the trial?

Rashel:

What are, where are the misses?

Rashel:

How are you emailing and communicating to them?

Rashel:

Where are are your blind spots?

Rashel:

But then also like how's your C s M team and your BDR team

Rashel:

working with these people?

Rashel:

It's really like at the end of the day, It comes down to the core of how you use

Rashel:

your expertise or your hard skills or your soft skills to make customers feel good.

Rashel:

And also like you, you definitely as marketing need to be partnered with your

Rashel:

product team a hundred percent cuz you need to funnel those insights and have

Rashel:

that feedback and that loop with them.

Rashel:

So I think there's, there's a lot of different interesting face.

Rashel:

To marketing in different ways that marketing supports businesses, that

Rashel:

sometimes they, they're invisible, right?

Rashel:

Like cuz you don't have a deck on a certain thing that's

Rashel:

happening or you haven't executed.

Rashel:

So it's more than just the ads, it's more of like the insights, the changes, and the

Rashel:

interactions that marketing is creating that not everybody sees or, or recognizes.

Eddie:

You know, I guess you've been on this journey where you were, you know,

Eddie:

in banking and McDonald's, and you know, McDonald's, you were doing tech stuff.

Eddie:

You've kind of shifted more into the tech realm.

Eddie:

Right now, your position right, is you're offering services and consulting and you

Eddie:

will come on board certain startups as like a part-time chief marketing officer.

Eddie:

. And from my understanding, you primarily gauge with tech startups.

Eddie:

Is there, you know, a specific reason you've kind of stayed in the tech space

Eddie:

now that you've kind of entered this that has kind of called you or that you

Eddie:

like working with in any particular way?

Rashel:

I think it's just kind of how I've navigated this journey.

Rashel:

I, I ended up in the tech space.

Rashel:

I also really love the developments and the.

Rashel:

At which tech companies work, right?

Rashel:

Like the, the ability to make such frequent updates to the product, to

Rashel:

listen to customer feedback in one day, and then have a deployment like two

Rashel:

days later with those updated features and, and insights that you've gathered.

Rashel:

So I love that experience and so that's why I think tech is, is

Rashel:

the, the space that I've stayed in.

Rashel:

Although I have worked with DDC brands and brands outside of.

Rashel:

It is an area that I, I also found oftentimes when tech companies are

Rashel:

getting started, their funds are limited and sometimes, to be completely honest,

Rashel:

they don't need a full-time marketer.

Rashel:

They don't need a 10 person marketer team.

Rashel:

So what they often need is someone to come in and oversee what's happening

Rashel:

in marketing, to help create a vision for their marketing, to make sure that

Rashel:

things are set up and working well.

Rashel:

To be an ear or like to, to feed the ear of the founders with like,

Rashel:

Hey, here's what we're seeing.

Rashel:

The customers are saying, here's a few other, you know, options

Rashel:

of how to connect with them.

Rashel:

Here's some feedback on your product, et cetera.

Rashel:

In those early days, you don't need to hire a marketing C M O salary.

Rashel:

You can hire someone that maybe you only need one day a week, and they're

Rashel:

gonna help you move things forward so that you, as the founders can just

Rashel:

focus on your mission of developing the product or getting it into market

Rashel:

or completely disrupting an industry.

Eddie:

Awesome.

Eddie:

No, that's, that's really interesting.

Eddie:

Do you, do you find that a lot of.

Eddie:

Founders are looking for marketing people.

Eddie:

Are you having to kind of sell them on the role of marketing in early startups?

Eddie:

How does that kind of feel?

Eddie:

How's that going?

Eddie:

Yeah, I think

Rashel:

it's going really well for me, , so no complaints there.

Rashel:

Um, but I think it's, it's because oftentimes, you know, when you look at

Rashel:

the founder profiles, sometimes you'll have like two technical founders that

Rashel:

come together, or you'll have one founder that's technical, one that's really on

Rashel:

the user experience, potentially brand.

Rashel:

And so oftentimes what they realize they miss is, Hey, we're really good

Rashel:

at like engineering and building the.

Rashel:

We're really good at making sure the experience is good in making these

Rashel:

updates, but what we don't have is someone to translate our product into the market.

Rashel:

And we don't know necessarily, like we know why our product is great

Rashel:

and why it's needed, but how do we get that message into the masses

Rashel:

and get more people interested?

Rashel:

And so with that, in that case, that's where a fractional CMO or a fractional

Rashel:

head of marketing or whatever you wanna.

Rashel:

Is great to bring in because they can help eliminate some of these additional

Rashel:

thoughts that founders have that they can't necessarily put to pen, to

Rashel:

paper and figure out, you know, like I know what I, they, it's usually

Rashel:

like, I know my starting point and I know where I wanna get to, but I'm

Rashel:

just not sure how to go from A to B.

Rashel:

And so that's where you can bring in like a fractional role.

Rashel:

Say, all right, let me work with you.

Rashel:

Let me get, gather some customer insights, competitive insights.

Rashel:

Let's figure out what the right marketing strategy is for you

Rashel:

and how to bring this to market.

Rashel:

Or if it is to market, then, all right, let's make sure we

Rashel:

know what the evolution is.

Rashel:

Let's make sure all your systems are set up in like those processes

Rashel:

that people hate so much.

Rashel:

How do we feed that back into

Eddie:

the company?

Eddie:

That's great, right?

Eddie:

You come into a place where they don't necessarily have a lot of clarity.

Eddie:

You help provide clarity and then you create some processes to leave behind.

Eddie:

So you're kind of like, you just dive into chaos and then you like build

Eddie:

processes and, and leave processes behind.

Eddie:

That's awesome.

Eddie:

, yeah.

Rashel:

Dive into the chaos, accept the chaos, and then help them.

Rashel:

But the, and another thing too that I find, and this is just

Rashel:

anecdotal from my experience.

Rashel:

No one has got it figured out.

Rashel:

Right?

Rashel:

Like even, and I think that's where, you know, like there's a, a coaching

Rashel:

element to what I do as well and talking to these founders is there's

Rashel:

so much pressure as entrepreneurs and founders that they put on themselves

Rashel:

of wanting to be so excellent with what they're doing and wanting to

Rashel:

bring a really great product to market.

Rashel:

And oftentimes there's a lot of the stress that they carry.

Rashel:

And it's nice to have someone come in and say, Hey, you know, I've

Rashel:

worked with like four other C.

Rashel:

You guys are doing great actually.

Rashel:

You know, like you may be really hard on yourselves and hard on your team.

Rashel:

You're doing exceptionally well or you know, like what you're facing.

Rashel:

So are other companies, but maybe people just don't talk about it openly.

Rashel:

It's behind, you know, like these gates and, and not everybody is,

Rashel:

is sharing some of the struggles that they're going through.

Rashel:

And so I think that's also the benefit of hiring someone and bringing

Rashel:

someone on a fractional basis is.

Rashel:

There's an ear to what's happening in the industry and it helps to reposition

Rashel:

and, and, and help you figure out, you know, is our business doing well?

Rashel:

Do we need to pivot?

Rashel:

Are we doing great?

Rashel:

Are we doing as bad as we think we are?

Rashel:

and how do we evolve with the industry?

Rashel:

Cuz especially right now in tech, there's so many changes happening,

Rashel:

there's so many layoffs going on, and so how do you help these founders

Rashel:

who are so focused on their own.

Rashel:

To, you know, like open up and see what's happening around them sometimes

Rashel:

and grow within, you know, a recession

Eddie:

environment.

Eddie:

I love that.

Eddie:

Definitely that changes things up, right?

Eddie:

Having an A feel for what's going on in the rest of the industry.

Eddie:

Because companies and startups can be very insular because you just have a

Eddie:

bunch of people who are there working on that problem, looking at that one thing.

Eddie:

So, you know, one of the things we like to do in this podcast is kind

Eddie:

of just talk about what brings us.

Eddie:

So I just had a question on like what's something that brings you.

Rashel:

I've been actually thinking a lot about this question,

Rashel:

and I love that you asked.

Rashel:

This.

Rashel:

One thing I've realized brings me a lot of joy outside of, you know, like

Rashel:

travel and my dog and things like that, is just doing more service, being of

Rashel:

service to people, helping people.

Rashel:

There's nothing.

Rashel:

That will, if you're having like the worst day, the shittiest day,

Rashel:

I don't know if I'm allowed to say these things on your podcast

Rashel:

. Eddie: That's fine.

Rashel:

, Rashel: if you can be of service to

Rashel:

in, in need, even like, just like the smallest thing, whether it's meeting

Rashel:

someone for a coffee, who is graduating from university and completely lost

Rashel:

on the direction they should take, or whether it's donating clothes or

Rashel:

actually like donating your time.

Rashel:

I find that that creates the biggest joy for me outside.

Rashel:

, you know, the regular day-to-day things that I do, and like having a matcha latte,

Rashel:

spending time with my dog and husband.

Rashel:

And that's one thing that I, I try to share a lot with my friends as

Rashel:

well, is like, let's keep each other accountable to being more helpful

Rashel:

and of service to other people.

Rashel:

It doesn't cost you anything to be helpful or kind, right?

Rashel:

It's, it's free and it makes you feel amazing.

Rashel:

So that's what brings me.

Eddie:

Yeah, I love that.

Eddie:

Right?

Eddie:

Different ways people can be of service.

Eddie:

It's like, okay, you know, like, are you donating your time in some way?

Eddie:

I know a lot of people, um, in like the tech Twitter and design Twitter

Eddie:

space, like they try to post what they've learned on social media.

Eddie:

Like for free so that other people can like learn it as well.

Eddie:

And maybe you work for a company that does good work in that way, you kind

Eddie:

of almost double dip where it's like, okay, you are getting paid, but you're

Eddie:

also having like an impact on the world.

Eddie:

So, perfect.

Eddie:

No, I, I love that idea of being, of service and just kind of reflecting

Eddie:

and looking and saying, how have I been able to be of service Right to the.

Eddie:

Around me, family or in community, or to the greater

Eddie:

world and the environment, right.

Eddie:

And all kind of from the small scale all the way up to the big scale.

Eddie:

I, I love that.

Rashel:

Yeah, for sure.

Rashel:

I mean, it's, it's interesting that we were just talking like two minutes ago

Rashel:

about companies being really insular and, and founders focusing on certain

Rashel:

things, and it's kind of like we do that with ourselves as individuals, right?

Rashel:

Like we can be so insular and so focused.

Rashel:

Success and goals and things that we need to achieve that you often forget to like

Rashel:

pause for a second and be like, what am I actually doing to help other people?

Rashel:

What have I done this week that's been helpful to anyone other than myself?

Rashel:

So I, I like to have that reminder of like, what, what am I leaving behind?

Eddie:

What's my mark?

Eddie:

Well, and kind of swinging that back around to.

Eddie:

The tech industry.

Eddie:

I think sometimes we can become insular in our little silos of

Eddie:

engineering and product and marketing and like, that's kind of every time

Eddie:

I invite guests onto the podcast.

Eddie:

A lot of times, like one of the first questions they ask is like,

Eddie:

oh, how'd you have this idea?

Eddie:

Like, why did you wanna do this podcast?

Eddie:

And I don't always have a really good answer for that other than like,

Eddie:

Hey, I, I realized there was a lot of negativity and I wanted to spread joy.

Eddie:

But I think the other interesting thing that I kind of just realized, I'm trying

Eddie:

to help everyone in tech break out of the bubble that they are in, right?

Eddie:

If you're an engineer and you don't know anything about what the designers

Eddie:

do or think, or product managers or marketers, we're all in this

Eddie:

together, and by breaking down our silos and having a place where we can

Eddie:

all come together and have similar conversations, like helps us understand

Eddie:

where each other's at, and removes that insular of what we have individual.

Eddie:

What we have in our little silo, what we have in our company, like this, insular,

Eddie:

this starts from the individual and then it like slowly spreads outward, but it's

Eddie:

always about where we are at and what we are doing, and understanding people,

Eddie:

whether it's in a different department or in a different culture, like all

Eddie:

those different types of things can help us have a more broad view of the world.

Eddie:

I don't know.

Eddie:

I I love that.

Eddie:

That's great.

Eddie:

Yeah, no,

Rashel:

I, I completely agree with you.

Rashel:

It's at the end of the day, like we're all just people on this planet that's

Rashel:

like floating into space , and we're just trying to figure things out.

Rashel:

And so e exactly like what you're saying, like if you're in engineering

Rashel:

or a different function, meet with other people outside of your department and

Rashel:

the area of work, because we all speak a different language, like if you're

Rashel:

talking to accountants or the finance folks at the company versus the marketers,

Rashel:

versus the engineers versus the product.

Rashel:

We're all focused on different things.

Rashel:

We speak a different language, and so the more you can bridge those gaps and

Rashel:

talk to different people, the better understanding you have of number one,

Rashel:

what else is happening at the company and what people are working on.

Rashel:

You also hear a lot of feedback, like you may hear feedback from certain,

Rashel:

even like your accounting team or your finance team on the product or

Rashel:

things that they've heard, but because they're so focused on their area, they

Rashel:

don't think that their feedback is of value potentially, and so they don't.

Rashel:

but there's a lot of interesting nuggets that you can uncover just

Rashel:

by having conversations with people.

Rashel:

And so I know we're in a remote world, so I always say like even

Rashel:

just having chats like this virtually and just picking someone at random

Rashel:

at your company that you're like, Hey, I've never talked to you.

Rashel:

Like, can we chat for 15 minutes?

Rashel:

It helps to really uncover a lot and it actually will make you

Eddie:

better at your job.

Eddie:

I love that.

Eddie:

That's what.

Eddie:

We had a designer join our team and he set up just like, he was like,

Eddie:

Hey, can we meet once a month and just chat for, you know, 15, 30 minutes?

Eddie:

And I was like, sure.

Eddie:

Like no one had done that before and I've worked in remotely

Eddie:

for the last seven years.

Eddie:

And I was like, wow.

Eddie:

That's the first time someone's just like, Hey, let's just get

Eddie:

together and chat casually.

Eddie:

And so, yeah, I think that makes a huge difference when you can.

Eddie:

Get to know people in different departments in different things.

Eddie:

That's awesome.

Eddie:

Well, cool.

Eddie:

I mean, you know, as we wrap up, we always just as a community, like to

Eddie:

support each other and, you know, wanted to hear if there's anything

Eddie:

that we can do to support you.

Eddie:

If you have anything you've been involved in or anything you've worked on that

Eddie:

you'd like to share with the community.

Rashel:

Right now I'm actually, as I'm, I'm consulting and, and working as a

Rashel:

fractional C M O I am also working on a skincare brand with a really good friend

Rashel:

of mine, and we are both, obviously we're women of color, we are females in

Rashel:

the D two C space and we are creating a skincare brand called Shell Body.

Rashel:

So, My only ask for the community is to check out shell

Rashel:

body.com, C H E L L e body.com.

Rashel:

Take a look at our product.

Rashel:

It's something that we created and launched in the fall, and we've

Rashel:

been creating small batches of this product and then selling out

Rashel:

every time, which has been great.

Rashel:

It is based on.

Rashel:

Ancient Persian beautification rituals and like hamams that they had back in the day.

Rashel:

So it's like an exfoliation for your body.

Rashel:

It makes your skin so smooth, it feels really good.

Rashel:

And our mission is to make skincare no fuss with simple ingredients that

Rashel:

you can actually read and you're not questioning what kind of chemicals are

Rashel:

in these products that actually work.

Rashel:

And so that is the journey that we're on, the two of us together

Rashel:

and it's been really fun.

Rashel:

So any feedback anyone has, I would love to hear it.

Eddie:

That's really cool because as soon as you mentioned, right, that

Eddie:

it was based on kind of some older, traditional ways of doing beautification,

Eddie:

like I was like, oh, that's really cool because most of the time you hear of

Eddie:

skincare and different things like that.

Eddie:

Like you're instantly like, well, what chemicals are going into this?

Eddie:

And like, what new methodology is someone trying to use and is it real, you know?

Eddie:

Anyone can say, Hey, I came up with a new way to do this thing, and if they

Eddie:

say, oh yeah, it just takes a year or two and your skin will be like new.

Eddie:

It's like, well, you're paying them a year before you know that, so I love that.

Eddie:

Instead, you're looking back and you're saying, how have people

Eddie:

done that and how can we take.

Eddie:

What they've done in the past, milled it with what we know today and like

Eddie:

bring that together as a combination.

Eddie:

That is really cool.

Rashel:

Awesome.

Rashel:

Yeah, and it's, and we're like you said, it's for our product.

Rashel:

You don't have to keep using it for a year.

Rashel:

Literally the first time you use it, you will see results.

Rashel:

We've had people that have tried, it's like an exfoliation MIT and a polishing.

Rashel:

And after they use it, I've had text messages, people messaging me and

Rashel:

emailing us and saying this like, so much dry skin came off my body.

Rashel:

My skin is so smooth now.

Rashel:

This is incredible.

Rashel:

And so I think that's another reason why we're really motivated about this is.

Rashel:

The skincare industry at large, it's a billion dollar industry,

Rashel:

like multi-billion dollar industry.

Rashel:

But there's nothing that's that immediate where you see results right

Rashel:

away, unless you're spending thousands of dollars on lasers and things.

Rashel:

And we wanted it to be at an affordable price point where anyone can purchase

Rashel:

this product and feel good, and also feel good knowing like, I'm

Rashel:

not putting a ton of chemicals on my body or doing anything harmful.

Rashel:

Yeah,

Eddie:

absolutely.

Eddie:

Well, great.

Eddie:

So if anyone is interested in that, go take a look at the.

Eddie:

Read what it's about and yeah.

Eddie:

Well, that is pretty much it for today.

Eddie:

Rochelle, thank you so much for joining us.

Eddie:

It's been just a pleasure to chat and get to know you and your journey and hear

Eddie:

your thoughts and what brings you joy.

Eddie:

I just really appreciate it.

Eddie:

Thanks so much

Rashel:

for having me.

Rashel:

It's been so fun getting to know you these last couple of weeks and then

Rashel:

actually having this chat with you today.

Rashel:

So I really appreciate it and I hope that.

Rashel:

Anyone who watches this podcast learns a little bit about how to, to work

Rashel:

with marketing teams and the value of marketing and the psychology of

Rashel:

building products for consumers.

Eddie:

Thank you for joining us for episode 32.

Eddie:

You never know where it's going to take you with Rochelle horary you

Eddie:

can find out more about Rochelle on her website or Twitter at.

Eddie:

Rochelle hurry.

Eddie:

You can find links to everything we talked about in this episode, as

Eddie:

well as a link to Rochelle's website and Twitter in the show notes.

Eddie:

If you enjoyed this episode, help others discover it as well.

Eddie:

How about giving us a shout out on your favorite social media

Eddie:

platform tag, a friend or coworker that you think would enjoy it?

Eddie:

And don't forget to follow us wherever you hang out online or subscribe to

Eddie:

our newsletter to stay up to date.

Eddie:

Thank you for listening and have a great day.

Show artwork for WebJoy

About the Podcast

WebJoy
Find your happy place
The WebJoy podcast is an inclusive community centered on celebrating the diverse origins, skills, and experiences that make up the tech industry.

Talking with guests about their origin stories, what they love about working in their roles, and what they find joy in keeps this an upbeat and rather lighthearted podcast.

We approach the world with optimism and hope, while recognizing the flaws and challenges within our own industry and the world at large. We believe that if we work together, we can all find our happy place.

About your host

Profile picture for Eddie Hinkle

Eddie Hinkle

Eddie's mission is to bring joy and empathy to the tech industry. He does this through engineering leadership, mentoring and podcasting. Eddie currently works as an Engineering Manager at Glassdoor, Mentors on ADPList and hosts the WebJoy podcast.