Catherine is a long time listener to the Strategy Sessions and good friend. It’s an honour to hand over the reigns for this episode – the first I don’t feature on! – to Catherine.

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In this episode we discuss the highlights from the episodes featuring Aleya Harris, Geraldine DeRuiter and Emma Mallett that made up the Women’s History Month Mini Series.

Catherine McKernan

Catherine is an accomplished marketing professional with over 10 years’ experience across the manufacturing, engineering and hospitality industries. She’s currently the Marketing Manager for the Galgorm Collection – the premium hotel group from Northern Ireland.

Catherine is highly strategic with a creative mind, who matches her marketing skills with empathy and a calm composure that gets the most out of her team. You’ll often find Catherine with a book, writing, baking or at a gig.

Find Catherine on LinkedIn.

Andi Jarvis

If you have any questions or want to talk about anything that was discussed in the show, the best place to get me is on LinkedIn or Instagram.

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Interview Transcription

This transcript has been done automagically using Happy Scribe and hasn’t been checked by a real person, so there may be some hilarious mistakes where the AI can’t work out our accents – I’m sure they’re trained on just the American accent.

[00:00:00.000] – Catherine McK

Eyup, and welcome to the Strategy Sessions. I’m not Andi Jarvis , if you haven’t already caught that.

My name’s Catherine. I’m a long-time listener of the podcast, first-time podcaster myself. I’m here with this episode of the Dog Walk podcast. Huge thank you to Andi for having me as the host for this great episode. If you’re unfamiliar with the format, the Dog Walk podcast is, in essence, a TLDR synopsis summary of an episode, or in my case, series of episodes. Now, full disclosure, I don’t have a dog, never had a dog. My family just aren’t dog people. I’m not 100% sure what the average length of a dog walk is. So hopefully this episode will accompany you on something I’m more familiar with, which might be having your coffee in the morning. So hopefully this will be the perfect accompaniment to your speciality, Morning Coffee. It’s difficult to know where to begin with this episode. So if you’re familiar with the podcast, you’ll know that Andi has previously done a mini-series on Black History Month, and in a similar vein, has just completed a mini-series on Women’s History Month with three incredible guests, Aleya Harris, Geraldine DeRuiter, and Emma Mallett.

[00:01:28.900] – Catherine McK

We’re Where did we begin when there’s a smorgasbord of insights, knowledge, and takeaways, and downright incredible anecdotes in some cases. To take a little creative freedom on this episode, I’ve blended my two favourite podcasts together, being number one, The Strategy Sessions, of course, and number two, being Desert Island Discs, if you’re familiar, which I’d imagine a huge proportion of your listenership are familiar with. If you’re not, essentially a cast away guest is welcomed on to choose eight tracks that track their life, I suppose. At the end, they’re allowed to select one luxury item to take to a desert island. Now, don’t worry, I won’t bore you with my eight favourite tracks, although if Lauren Leverne is listening, I’m more than happy to be a guest. But I will choose a couple of key highlights from each episode and then summarise that with my one luxury item, which will actually be my one golden takeaway that I’ve had from the series. Without further ado, let’s begin with Alea, who was the first guest in the series. She is founder and CEO of the Evolution Collective, a bio-energetic business coach, which, if that doesn’t have you hooked from the get-go, I don’t know what will.

[00:02:52.370] – Catherine McK

She’s an innovative storyteller and strategic thinker. If I were writing this woman’s bio, I’d also add in that she’s the CEO of Bringing the Energy. Honestly, this woman is a bill of verb, a complete tour de force, and one that shouldn’t be missed. In the episode, Andi covered everything from The Secret to Successful Public Speaking, Using Stories to Build your Organisation, and Succeeding Through Adversity, amongst much other key insights. This woman is incredibly interesting. In fact, it’s the resource I wish I had had at the beginning of my marketing career, as is a lot of the episodes in All Almost Day. Each one really It, of course, took a different theme, but not only that, really brought a different essence to what it is to be a woman in marketing in this day and age, not to sound I’m ancient here. But to begin with, Alaya discussed something I’m quite passionate about. They talked everything from therapy to what it’s like to become a mother while maintaining your career. One of the main things that stuck out for me was when Alaya said, The only thing in your way is you, which sounds so simple in theory, but such a radical way of actually choosing to live your life and move through your career.

[00:04:37.370] – Catherine McK

It’s this idea of removing limiting beliefs to become your most radically authentic self, which, again, so much easier said than done. But I think once you listen to this episode, I’ll be surprised if you don’t leave with a new vigour, a bit of a pep in your step for what it is that you hope to achieve. So Alea discusses how she consults businesses on bringing out the story in their brand. She’s not merely just a voice in the industry, she’s a real spark of innovation and inspires leaders and teams to embrace and articulate their unique narrative, which is a theme that weaves throughout the episodes. When we move into episode 2, we have Gerald Jean de Voijter, who’s an acclaimed author, a world-renowned public speaker, and the voice behind the award-winning Everywhereist blog, which Time magazine named one of their blogs of the Year in 2011. You’ll see there’s a real strong theme of storytelling throughout the episodes. Some One thing that really appeals to me, I’m an avid book reader. Book reader? I’m an avid reader, with a real interest in books, and in particular, the mechanics behind the publishing industry. I I really enjoy peeling back the curtain and getting a little look behind how the machine operates.

[00:06:07.830] – Catherine McK

Jordaline discusses the publishing of her most recent book, which is just out, called Take the Heat. It’s Essays on Food, Feminism, and Furie, which, again, just completely appeals to me, and I’m sure it will to a lot of other listeners. We begin with Géraldine’s viral blog post, which came off the back of some controversy around celebrity chef Mario Batali, who released in his newsletter where he discussed the allegations. He concluded that newsletter with, A recipe for cinnamon rolls, which if you’ve had as many cinnamon rolls as I have over my time and you feel as strongly as I do about them, you make sure you deliver a decent recipe. So Géraldine discusses this God awful recipe. Spoiler, it includes a savoury pizza dough as the base. She discusses her viral blog post around this, which catapulted her into this realm of food writing, which I think she would argue herself. She’s a travel writer above a food writer. And I think in that itself, there’s an interesting message of sometimes we have this power that we don’t overtly realise we have or that isn’t necessarily what we’ve set out to achieve. Which is a very interesting point.

[00:07:48.580] – Catherine McK

Obviously, an incredibly talented travel writer, but with that comes a real skill, a real craft around I would absolutely recommend checking out the original blog post on the cinnamon rolls, and I myself will be definitely ordering the book. I can’t wait to get a different perspective on feminism and theory through the lens of Chiril Dean’s experience. With that comes, actually, again, some incredible anecdotes in Charles Dean’s episode. We talked about trolls on the internet, something we’re very familiar with. If you’re on any social media platform, but especially Twitter or X, as it’s known now, you’ll be familiar with the theory of just about everyone, about just about anything. Who would have thought that Geraldine’s experience of discussing essentially somebody who had crashed her aunt’s funeral in what can only be described as a look. Charlene tells us that she arrived in a pink mini dress and a white hat, which I mean, if you’re going to get crashed at funeral, make it a bit more reserved than that. But yes, Charlene discusses her experience of having someone get crashed at the funeral. She then took to threads, I think it was, to discuss the bizarre realities of it all and to, I suppose, make people aware, does anyone know who this woman is?

[00:09:39.740] – Catherine McK

What were her intentions? I almost would say, not surprisingly, Jordine was met with quite a bit of uproar from fellow users, which just goes to show the nature of social media and what we’re up against regularly. She talks quite interestingly about this this idea that this idea about trolls and some personality traits that have almost come to characterise these individuals, which was something I wasn’t previously aware of. But I digress. An incredibly interesting episode. But what really stood out to me was this idea of owning your platform. I’m a huge fan of long-form content. I’ve been reading blogs since the heydays of the UK beauty blogging scene back when you had your Zoella at her peak. I believe most of those blogs were written on blogger, which I don’t even know if Blogger still exists, but I’ve been so interested over the years in following that transition from long-form content, owning your own blog, to then with the introduction and evolution of social media channels, having to move your content or spread your content across the latest platform, I suppose the most recent being the likes of TikTok. But essentially what Geraldine is saying is X was predominantly her strongest platform, and probably what she used to feel her book promotion.

[00:11:31.830] – Catherine McK

But what do you do when your strongest channel is the one that’s becoming a slowly dying sceptre of negativity? Where do you go from there? How do you promote a book? And this is the bit that really interests me. Geraline took to asking favours of people she knew that she had worked with before. If you have a blog or if you have a podcast, if you have a newsletter, can I be It is really interesting and something that I watch with a lot of interest, given that I do have a slight habit of buying new releases, and with that comes this notion of the book promo trail, which I almost think is a slight blueprint now, especially if you’re with the major publisher. You’re a guest on How to Feel with Elizabeth Day. You’re a guest on Table Manners, and you will have an opinion piece in The Guardian. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll follow this blueprint trail of the book promo. I definitely find it really interesting to learn not even so much of what the book promo trail or how to promote your book when your strongest platform is dying, but more so just a real learning on.

[00:13:06.770] – Catherine McK

You cannot always put all of your eggs in one basket when it comes to owning your brand on social. Again, it plays into this idea of what Geraldine discussed. I’m not a video content creator. Tiktok is not my channel. It made me think also of the music industry at the moment and how artists are expected to be community, songwriters, producers, performers, and video content creators. It’s really fascinating, and I would definitely encourage you to listen to the episode to really understand Geraldine’s point and everything else that she has to discuss as well. She’s an incredibly warm person, and I thoroughly enjoy listening to her. Then we move on to the final guest of the series, which was Emma Mallett. She is a marketing and business development for a B Corp. She also helps young marketers build a career via her Concrete Club platform and podcast. Emma is the type of person that, from this episode, I believe, can really make a change in business. Definitely the mentor, again, that I wish I had at her age. She’s accomplished She’s doing an incredible amount of things in her career already, and I think she’s only in her early 20s.

[00:14:39.840] – Catherine McK

Honestly, there’s so much more to come from Emma, and I’m really excited to follow along her journey. Also on a side note, from looking her up on LinkedIn, I’ve never seen a bio with so many notable accomplishments and achievements and professional involvement, I suppose. I think what was really interesting about Emma was learning more on what it’s like working for a B Corp. If you’re unfamiliar with B Corp, it’s a company with essentially what I think we mostly know a B Corp’s buy is this idea of a triple bottom line, which is people, planet, and profit. Working for a company that supports people, planet, and the community, in essence, which is something I don’t think I know anyone who works for a B Corp. So thoroughly enjoyed peeling back the layers of that and what that means for business decisions that are made and Emma’s clear passion for working in that space, which was very interesting. Emma and Andi talk about… They begin to talk about business. They talk about Emma’s current role. They move on then to discuss the much-debated topic of sales and marketing and how, of course, they need to be aligned, which is something, I guess, we’ve all experienced in one organisation or the other.

[00:16:12.940] – Catherine McK

We then go on to discuss. Andi asks Emma what she wishes she had have known 10 years ago, as well as what it is about… What it is… Sorry. Andi also asks Emma what her misconceptions about marketing were when she began. As someone who’s still relatively early on in their career in marketing myself, what really, really stuck out to me was when Emma discussed how she has been emboldened to speak out in business and at a relatively young age herself as able to make business decisions and contribute to business decisions that I think a lot of us might actually shy away from, especially in those times in our careers. Andi asks what she attributed that encouragement to. Emma discussed then being surrounded by people and more importantly, in an environment where she felt emboldened to speak out and ask questions. I found it so heartening to Emma’s desire to later pay it forward through her most recent venture, which is her Concrete Club platform. This leads me on to the next discussion in the episode, which, again, I absolutely do not want to do a disservice to, so I would urge you to go and listen to it because Emma herself has personally gone through an incredibly challenging time, has come through some adversities that many of us would never be able to comprehend.

[00:18:08.930] – Catherine McK

But I suppose from that has developed an incredible idea in her Concrete Club platform, which, as I said, is her way of paying it forward for the future generations and making accessible content to those who have perhaps experienced the adversities or similar adversities that Emma has. In the episode, they delve into some complex topics around PTSD, mental health, and how Emma has essentially rebuilt herself to the person she is today, all while maintaining this, what can only be described as a positive outlook on life and business. And that’s where I come back to saying that I just can’t wait to see what she does next. A really, really insightful individual, for sure, and want to watch. Now, if you’ve made it this far, I hope I haven’t bored you. I’m going to round off this episode with my key takeaways, which, again, if you’re familiar with Desert Island Discs, you’ll know you choose one luxury item to take the island with you. I’m spinning that on its head and I’m going to take this as my golden nugget that I’m going to move forward with and something that I’ve taken from this mini-series. I know it’s a marketing podcast, and perhaps from what I’ve discussed so far, that’s not maybe been all that clear.

[00:19:56.780] – Catherine McK

That’s the point for me. It’s a business podcast. It’s a marketing podcast. The ladies have spoken incredibly well about their marketing careers. But my takeaway from it all is just the multifaceted nature of her career. We had Alea talking about her career path, what took her to where she is today. We had Géraldine talk about her passion and how that turned into this beast overnight by a viral post. Then we have Emma who talks about, personally, the challenges and also the challenges as well as the opportunities that she’s been afforded throughout her studies and early years in her career. What’s really stuck out to me is these have incredible journeys, but more so it’s their spark, their personalities that really came through, their view on life, each individual so unique in their own tenacity and desire to succeed and to lift others up. I just think you can’t help but come away from these episodes having felt I’ve arrived, in all honesty. I think we’re just so much more than our careers, and it comes back around to something that I’ve started to implement. When I meet new people, I think we fall into this habit of asking new people that we’ve just met, Oh, what do you do for your career?

[00:21:48.570] – Catherine McK

What’s your job? Which is such a boring question to ask. I think these episodes are testament to that. There’s so much more to an individual than just their job title. So, yes, without rambling on any further, I would really encourage you to go back and listen to the mini-series. You will not be disappointed. And I look forward to hearing everybody’s thoughts on the episodes. Lastly, a huge thank you to Andi for entrusting me with this episode. And, yeah, I cannot wait to hear what comes next. All right, goodbye.