She+ Geeks Out podcast with Erica Kuhl

Podcast Episode 94: Creating Community with Erica Kuhl

In Blog, Community, The She+ Geeks Out Podcast by Rachel Murray

Erica Kuhl was instrumental in building the Salesforce community from its infancy. Late last year she decided to take all of her incredible experience and share it with others so they could benefit. Erica drops some critical knowledge on what community means, how to grow community, what to focus on, and why it’s more important than ever.

Quick Links:

We’ve got some great events coming up! See our latest events over here or sign up for our community or diversity, equity, and inclusion newsletters to get the latest news!


Did you like this episode? Subscribe, rate, review and reach out to us on the social media platform of your choice. Tell us who you’d like to hear from, ask us questions, or just say hi! View the full transcript below.

Rachel: Good morning, afternoon Felicia and Erica.

Felicia: Good afternoon.

Rachel: We are in all different sorts of time zones.

Felicia: I mean, let’s be real, what is time anymore. So, yeah.

Erica: Yeah, when you’re starting to eat like three lunches before 12 o’clock, you know, that is real.

Rachel: That is, I don’t even want to talk about what I did for breakfast this morning.

Erica: I might.

Rachel: But we don’t do that now.

Rachel: Let’s see, lead, Felicia, when we tell these lovely listeners who we are talking with.

Felicia: We are talking with Erica, welcome.

Erica: Yes, hi. Happy to be here.

Rachel: Erica is long time community builder and consultant. Yes, so all things community. So we would love to hear everything about what you’re doing and how you got to where you are today.

Erica: Yeah, absolutely. So I spent nearly two decades at a small little company called Salesforce.

Felicia: And never heard of it.

Erica: Yeah, I mean, who is Salesforce, but you know, ironically, a look at the cup. When I started there was very, very small. In fact, a fact I like to say is that I was employee number 176 and when I left, I think I was employee number 48,000 or something. So, yeah. Or, well, what we call it was the 176 but yeah that’s some serious growth and an amazing journey that I learned so much. I realized, not too long ago, that my journey was very interpreter Ariel. I didn’t know that word until not that long ago, but it definitely defines my journey throughout my career at Salesforce leading me to building the trailblazer community, which is a place where Salesforce customers and developers and partners, go to learn connect and have some fun and give back in many different ways, including mentorship and foundational work and yeah. And then what I recognize and realize is that I wanted to level up other companies that have not recognized the value and of community with their companies. And so I took a step, a big leap big risk and stepped out of my role at Salesforce and I’m giving all those playbooks and strategies and roadmaps and all the things in my brain to now other companies that want to recognize some of the value like we did at Salesforce with our community. Yeah, so that’s I’ve been doing that for a whopping six months and it’s been a wild an amazing six months and I couldn’t be happier about my decision.

Rachel: Can you share about what these six months have been like, especially given how things have just changed.

Erica: Drastically. Yeah. Well, number one, I’m really glad that I leaned right into the momentum of me leaving and I was deciding and I heard many people say, are you going to take a break. You know, you’ve been at Salesforce for 18 years. That’s a long ride. Do you need some time and I just had never felt like a stronger push when I left, I wrote a blog. And really, that was it and put it out to the world. And it was like a flood of excitement with building community. And so I took. I took it. I just was like, I can’t pass up this opportunity and I’m really glad that I did because if I was three months into my journey, instead of six months. This would be a very different story for me right now. Instead, I’ve been able to build a great set of clients that trust me, and that we’re working really closely together still through this. In fact, I’m helping them through this versus trying to build my brand. And, you know, enter into this world a while, you know, it’s spinning on its axis. So I’m really glad that I did that. My work is shifting to helping people get through this and being creative in whatever journey they are with their community, but that’s a real big challenge. And I’m thrilled that I have the skills to do it so it’s been good. It’s been a crazy six months.

Felicia: I can’t even imagine just considering that the last month in and of itself feels like it’s been a year so

Erica: Yeah so true.

Felicia: Yeah, I was just reading something on Twitter the other day about how now is not the time to pivot.

Erica: Yeah. Again, all the millions and millions of people who are suddenly on the unemployment market this whoever it was, was saying, you know, now it’s not the time to try something new because it’s just so crazy out there.

Felicia: Yeah. But I think what’s really interesting is that you’re not like trying something new. First of all, you’re doing something that you have a lot of experience in and secondly, this is, as you said, six months into it. So you’ve already sort of established that foundation, which is great. But still, you’re kind of at the beginning of this entrepreneurial or entrepreneurial journey of yours, which massively really even more crazy.

Erica: Yeah. It is, but if I pick the right the right risk and the right set of skills to bring to market at the right time. This is the right time because community is more important than ever. And you’ve heard a lot of people talking about that on Twitter and on LinkedIn, that it’s but it is 100% is true. And so if you’re trying to make cuts into trying as a company to figure out where to double down and have scale and momentum. It’s not going to be cutting community because if you do it right, you can do it with scale and you can do with authenticity and you can do it in a way that people need and want right now, more than ever, and it’s online, and it’s it’s it’s flexible so that’s what I’m going with is like yes it’s insane but i’m i’m working double time to try to explain that to my clients and to other people that there are other ways that you can shift right now, but don’t don’t shift your momentum with community. In fact, let’s dial it back and I was, I heard this term another community builder gave me this term that right now we’re just doing a bag of tactics. It’s like, where you were just like, skipping over the strategy part and skipping over the roadmaps and alignments and strategic engagements and like, we’re just going back to tactics right now because we got to get clients working with their customers and engaging with them in new ways. And that strategy will back into it now. Whereas my expertise has always been building all those strategies alignments budgets resources roadmaps and then getting them off and running. Now we’re like, okay, hold on that. Let’s just go right in and then we will work out the strategy later. So if it were flipping things on the fly right now.

Rachel: Wow that’s so interesting. I want to dive into that a little bit more too and that sort of sets us up really well for one of the questions that we’d had around understanding the ROI of a community. And I think also understanding what community even really means, you know, we actually geeks out, we think of community in a very different way than I think like Salesforce or other companies think about them and maybe approach things differently. But there’s a lot of similarity to and a lot of like, you know, in person events and ways to engage people online. But when you talk about ROI, that strategy. What does that actually look like, how do you prove value for the community.

Erica: Yeah, well, I want to make one point before I get that in because you said a very, very valid point that now. I have only been at this for six months in my book of my experience obviously with Salesforce, but I now know that almost with certainty 100% that community applies to every industry every company size every single thing that you’re doing, whether it’s

education, healthcare retail large SAS Enterprise it, it applies and I have our clientele that is very different. And they’re very, very different in the way you do it until you prove ROI, or even what the ROI is. But if the foundational stuff and the flavor puts in frameworks, they, they really apply and I just love that. Now, I love that I can say with certainty that the way you build community and the way you define community is different, but it’s it’s honestly important and valuable to your business, regardless of what you’re trying to do. Okay. That’s it. I’ll try to answer your question. Um, so I hate this answer, but it depends. It totally depends. And you know, it’s so irritating, but I’ll explain. So, um, one thing that I read, regardless of whether we’re doing a bag of tactics strategy or whether we’re setting the strategy. The one thing you can’t skip over is what you’re actually trying to do. So a lot of people don’t want to do that step for whatever reason they just jump right in and then they don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing. And so therefore they cannot measure it. So it’s critically important to do the very first thing the very hard thing to do is divide, you know, define the vision and the values of what you’re doing. One thing I took from Salesforce that I love is our, what we call a V2 mom. And Rachel, you might be aware of the distance you are married to a Salesforce, Ian, but what that means to people that don’t understand that is that it stands for vision values, methods obstacles and metrics. And it’s a defining framework and there are lots of other things that people do out there. Okay. Ours KPIs and all the things but this one I like because it’s very focused. And it starts with a vision and then it goes to values. So I do this with clients. I do this with everything in my life where I set the vision which is aspirational but reachable and then I work through the values that are going to drive it. And then I worked through the methods in which I’m going to achieve that vision. And it gets very, very specific, so that you know what you can then with em metrics and what you can actually show value. And so I take everybody through this exercise and what I emphasize is to start very small and to start strong and you can’t have everything right at once.

But then also, while you’re doing it, you can have these Northstar metrics that you’re moving towards but you can’t have those on day one. You have your small measurable metrics, as you’re marching through towards those big ones and those big ones are things like

alignment to business goals like whether you’re trying to drive down attrition. Maybe you have an attrition problem or you’re losing customers frequently and you want to try to leverage the power of the community to get your customers to stay with you longer or maybe you have a problem with the number of support cases that are coming in. So you might want to leverage the power of the community to deflect some of those cases, or maybe you are not making enough money and you want to leverage the power of the community to make more money.

These are all things that are absolutely achievable and measurable and should be something that you work towards. And then you benchmark that hypothesize that and then work towards that towards those methods and metrics. So that’s a very long answer, but it’s important to like to put a stake in the ground towards them saying that you want. You want to move in march towards them and then work your way towards measuring them.

Rachel: This is fantastic. We’d love to hire you.

Erica: Aim for higher.

Felicia: I realized that can be accomplished.

Erica: That can be accomplished. I will give you information on that later. But I mean, you know, and there are big, big goals and I just said, they can also be different levels of goals in between there. But regardless, you should have goals and yeah it’s boring.

Rachel: And now it’s probably even like more confusing than ever, like you said, everyone’s just focusing on tactics, but yeah, trying because, you know, we think about that, too, is you and I’m sure every so many not every business, but a lot of businesses are probably, you know, having much bigger attrition problems and they had before, because so many industries have been affected so yes, how to how to address that issue that’s sort of like, you know, cauterize the wound.

Erica: A little bit, yeah, just trying at this point to figure out, like, what are the things your customers need from you. And it could be and trying things. The beauty of communities, you can try things and it. People are not accustomed to this, but like you really you really

have the ability to try a few things. Test it out. That doesn’t work. And then you just shift to the next thing. But doing nothing is not an option. You have to really. That people are just hungry for that connection right now and what customers have is the ability to gather together customers that have something in common. So they just have to do that, whether they have a formal community or not. You have something that’s bringing them together. So, you, you, you owe it to them. That’s what you can bring them together. You might not be able to bring them lots of other things right now, but at least you can say, I’ll bring you together with other people that are like you either in your industry or your customer size or your product or like whatever it is. So, like, do that. Get them together so they can at least start connecting. It sounds really basic, but it’s what they can do.

Rachel: Well, it’s like the Dory. Like, just keep swimming. Like, just keep going and doing things and engaging and I get that.

Felicia: Yeah yeah I’ve a sort of random question that came to mind as you were just talking. Have you ever worked with a client or seen in practice, or action where there’s been an organization or company and their community is sort of like gotten away from them where the community, maybe has more like self formed and isn’t necessarily informing back those goals and those metrics that you were just talking about. I’m just curious if you’ve seen that or not.

Erica: Yeah, I think that comes from a lack of investment in the company. When a community gets away from a company, it’s because they’re not investing the time to nurture and grow it or build strategies for engagement or in bringing insights, creating processes to get the insights back in because they’re, they wanted, they’re going to do it. And so a lot of times what I hear, and I know this isn’t the exact question that you’re asking, but I bet it’s interesting, is where I’ve seen it is in a lot of ideation communities or parts of the community that are providing input to the product to the company. And if you don’t manage that correctly. If you let you let it get away there, it’s going to get ugly fast and they’re going to go do it. They’re going to say all the things so whenever I hear like well, they’re going to say negative things like it’s going to get, it’s going to be difficult. I’m like, well, that’s fine, but they’re going to go do it somewhere. So why not say it to your face. So that you can actually make some decisions on what you want to do with it and bring it to the company rather than just going off and doing it on their own, where you have no no control at all on what you can do with that information. So I usually when things get away from a company’s when they’re not they they’re not focusing on it. It’s been D prioritized and so

they’ve given away the keys to the kingdom too much and then it just runs off on on their own. So that’s, that’s where I’ve seen it because everybody wants a little bit of governance, everybody wants a little structure and framework and they’re like, whether or not they admit it.

Like my kids, they don’t think they want structure, but they do they need a little especially right now when they’re like running around like

Felicia: Gosh, we all need structure right now.

Erica: Right. And so this is the same thing when it comes to communities that they want a little bit of guidelines and I call them bump even like the bumpers on the bowling alley. They want a little bit of that so they can feel like they’re getting the most from, you know, from the company.

Rachel: That is such a great point because a lot of times we know we are very intentional about trying to get feedback from our community. And with this, with this current situation we’ve, you know, we sort of sent out a blanket, like, hey, give us feedback. What do you, what, what, how can we help you? What do you want? And I’ll tell you, basically, no one has responded

Erica: Yeah.

Rachel: It’s because it’s the bumpers.

Rachel: Yeah, don’t want a wide like

Erica: It’s too scary. Yes. And, you know, so, Rachel, I love that you said this, because I love quoting my mother because I used to like, be like, Oh, my mother, but she is she’s not. She’s in the dental industry like nothing regarding but I sucked so much goodness from that and she taught me this really wonderful thing that I have always done since I’ve heard it or since it like God into my adult brain, which is when somebody is going through a crisis or a hard time. You don’t say what you need for me. You just do something.

Rachel: Yeah.

Erica: Like so, like, now, like a girlfriend of mine had knee surgery, not that long ago. And instead of being like, Oh, can I do for you, I brought her, you know, because I love and soup makes me happy and and she was like, I thank you so much. Or, or, like, she said, I didn’t say like, can I help you in other ways. I’m like, I’m going to take you to physical therapy like it’s like I just I was like, I don’t care. I’m doing it, you know, and people just have to do something or provide like this is, I would like to take you, or do something one of these things works for you.

And then like a business example of that happened to me when I left the company. I built this amazing community and they rallied around me in a new way. When I left Salesforce in a way that literally could make me tear up talking about it. And instead of people saying, What can I do for you, Erica to get you launched successfully by this one individual who I just adore. He was like, Okay. I work at this company you helped me build my company. I’m going to build your website, build your marketing plan or, you know, or both, I can’t remember the third one, like, which of these things. Do you want me to do it for you? It’s not. It wasn’t like how can I help you, and it was brilliant. He built my website. His team built my beautiful website that he never would have had. And it’s just you don’t know what you want to ask for in times of crisis like that, you’re like, I don’t want to think about it. Just do something because.

Rachel: That makes me feel better because I went to your website. And it was really good. And I was like, damn.

Erica: I did not do it. It was by its own works is the name of the company. They’re amazing. Their leader is amazing. And what is just an example of like I didn’t even know what to ask him for I really didn’t. I was like, that if he was like, What can I do for you, I’d be like, I didn’t, I didn’t know. But he’s like, Here’s what my value is to you, I can. I’m great at this, this, and this. I’m like, I’ll take that. You know.

Felicia: Awesome. I love that because all London also sometimes. Yeah. Like you’re exactly right. People may not either know what they want or what they could take and use from you.

Or they may not feel comfortable even asking right because how many times have we been in a position where we’re like Oh, I’m fine. I’m fine, don’t worry about it and it’s like no. If someone just came by and dropped off food like you did with your friend or built the website or whatever else, then it’s helpful without having to just sort of have that shame aspect enter into there.

Erica: Yeah. You’re so right. People are not good at accepting help, they think it’s a sign of weakness, but I wanted to help you know and so did he, so it’s actually like offensive. If I didn’t accept his help enough in a weird way. You can look at it that way like people they want to. So just give them, you know, give me the ability and the framework to do it. So you can just reframe it Rachel or the way you asked for it. You like here’s, here’s how. Here’s some things that we’re thinking of. What do you like best of these options or something where you’re providing them not like green you know Greenfield but give them a couple of options and guidance and then say, if there’s something we didn’t say that’s available to or whatever. Yeah.

Rachel: Yeah, we just decided to just do everything or do all the things. But…

Erica: Like it is critical to ask though you know they they people love to be and that’s something people forget all the time, weirdly with community is they forget to ask them what they want. So if you are doing it. I have no idea what you did. But like, let’s say you were going to create virtual meetups for them. I have no idea if that’s what you did, but like you could say, hey, customers do you want virtual meetups. This is what we’re thinking about doing we’re going to do these things you like and they might be like, Oh no, actually what we really want is this. So you’ve given them like something to react to and then they’re like, oh no, really what we want is this and now you have what you want me like it’s default to like ask because they’ll just tell you.

Rachel: They’ll tell ya. So true. It’s a great point. And speaking of the virtual. I don’t know if she wanted to ask about the sort of the emerging trends.

Felicia: Sorry emerging trends.

Rachel: Oh, just sort of, you know like what the what.

Felicia: We can cut this up yet but yeah you skipped ahead in the questions and I was not prepared for you’re skipping ahead.

Rachel: Oh. My apologies.

Erica: I know I’m and I do that. Sorry. I go many different directions.

Felicia: So I was just not mentally with Rachel on that so you cut all this app piano.

Rachel: Did you want to ask the question, or shall I?

Felicia: Go for it.

Rachel: Oh yeah, sorry. I’m just curious, you know, given, you know, whatever, whatever things going on. In the world today, you know so much about community in person events and now you see we see all these huge pushes toward virtual and there’s, you know, we’re talking about, you know, virtual fatigue. At this point, because we’re constantly staring at a screen. And we’re also hearing that this isn’t going to let up anytime soon, there’s probably going to be waves, you know, over the next couple of years. And who knows, there might be another outbreak of something else. So this doesn’t seem like it’s gonna just be a temporary blip. So I’m wondering how you’re envisioning community, you know, in 2021.

Erica: Yeah, well, I have always thought that and I even have things that you can listen and read about before, and I feel like it’s not like I feel everything I say is going to be like, oh, that’s just because it’s Co. Big time. But like really be strategies have been by strategies for years. Decades. In fact, but so this came before is that the blending is where the magic happens the blend of online and offline. Has always been when a company finds that sweet spot that Venn diagram or like whatever that looks like. That’s where magic happens because they create this

personal connection and they bring that personal connection online and the people engage differently when they have a level of respect and they’ve seen your face and they’ve met you.

They can’t hide behind a profile or a username and they treat each other and the company with a different level of respect. So I think it’s a blending and and i know we can’t do the blending right now but weirdly, the trend before this time in this pandemic was offline. Online was the before everybody was like building an online community but weirdly, the trend was shifting to going back to in person connection because as a society we crave personal connection and now repeating it even more. But like we almost forgot about that with this digital revolution and our kids connecting in different ways, like we we forgot that there’s a huge value in this intimate, personal, person to person connection and so companies were trending. That way, like, oh, in fact, I’d say over 50% of the clients that I have in the last six months and I’m doing this wanted to build offline chapter programs. And now, of course, we’re not changing that strategy, it’s still an incredible thing to connect intimately with people. And so we’re just taking that chapter model and figuring out how to turn it virtual and it isn’t like a flip you just turn on the zoom and all of a sudden you’re in. So there’s new strategies that even I’m having to learn how to create the connection through a zoom like mentality. I’m learning from some incredible partners that I’ve met in different ways you can use things on zoom like breakout rooms that are so cool. And ways you can use like even your name on the screen to define how you’re feeling at the time, say like I rename it to be Erica exhausted, so you know where what I’m bringing to the table where you could get that in person. So there’s like all these really cool little tactics that are

applicable now to turning something that was offline to turn it on online. And I think people need to invest in that as a skill. And like you said, Rachel. It’s a leadership opportunity because it’s not going away and it shouldn’t because online provides inclusive it. Not everybody wants to go to an in person Meetup. It’s very scary for a lot of people that are very introverted or socially is very difficult for them. So giving them an option now to have an online. Opportunity is it’s really actually kind of incredible. And so now, there’ll be this. I think this blend going forward of chapter programs will have in person options and then they might co lead with somebody who wants to lead virtual options of that in person. Maybe the impersonal meet quarterly and the virtual or meet every two weeks. And they’ll still have that same intimate connection and that creates a better environment for people to engage in all different ways. Oh, it was a really long answer to your question.

Rachel: That was great.

Erica: I’m just a fan of all of this, and I don’t want it. I’m sad about what’s going on in the world, but I’m happy for what this is going to do for businesses, overall, and the different ways that people want to engage and it doesn’t cut people off in ways that they did in the past.

Rachel: I couldn’t agree with you more.

Felicia: Yeah, I think that’s a really important point that you bring up that you know what works in person isn’t necessarily going to translate beat by beat to virtual and vice versa. Right, so

I really think about what your goals are and how you can get that in different ways. We actually I love that zoom breakout feature room as well as cool. I use it for a lot of my dei training and people just blows their mind. They’re like, oh my god, this is amazing. It’s so easy.

Erica: I just get it.

Felicia: Put in a room with somebody

Erica: Yeah, I sit in front of my computer. It’s so cool. You’re right in there like, isn’t it weird how like you can have. I was just in a training camp where there were about 15 people. So all the boxes, all the Brady Bunch boxes and then they gave us a prompt to talk to each other, they put us in random breakout rooms. And it shifted the mentality immediately. Immediately we connected with one another in a different way that we did with them. And it’s so it’s possible. It’s super possible and I know it’s forced right now but we need to learn and we need to lean into being a little bit Genki to and not being good at this. Like it’s okay to be Genki and it’s okay to be awkward like it’s so awkward and people are talking over one another and stuff happening all around them in their backgrounds is different but like get over it. Try it. And this is going to be the new norm. So this is not a blip. Let’s treat this as a blip, because it’s actually really awesome so lean in feel awkward. Feel okay being awkward. Nobody really knows what they’re doing. Even the pros don’t even know truly what every single thing is going on because there is a whole new population of people that are joining them.

Rachel: Yeah man arc words are jam.

Felicia: Yeah, we heard about embrace your awkward.

Erica: There you go all in on that.

Rachel: We have the domain name and Bruce. Rom com so real.

Erica: Like this is that should be the motto of this time is just like embrace the awkward because it is people feel really uncomfortable right now I don’t because I’ve been doing this for seven years. Screen talking to people for seven years, but it’ definitely not the norm for people. So it’s really, it’s really excellent. So, good, good on you for getting that domain.

Felicia: We have many, many domain names and all sorts of areas.

Erica: I love it.

Erica: You got to get embrace the Genki now.

Rachel: Yes. Hold on a second. Okay.

Felicia: Well, and actually, you mentioned just now, you’ve been working from home or working remotely for a long time now. Even before you left Salesforce. We were chatting a little bit before we started recording. But you were sort of talking a bit about how everyone has suddenly become an expert on working from home you know 10 tips on working remotely and you’re like, please. I’m wondering if you have shifted anything in the way that you’re working or how you’re approaching it since all of this craziness has happened, even though you were already in this kind of mentality and format or are you just like, no, it’s just been like normal.

Erica: Yeah, guys, a really good question. I hadn’t really thought about it, I think the answer is no, I haven’t. I literally haven’t done anything different, because what the difference is that I’m now helping other people and that they yes they think they have the top 10 tips to working from home, but like I wrote an entire blog about this. And again, it’s like pre code, you could see the date on the blog. I wrote it in January. And it was a 10 top 10 sorry I mean like I know we’re all super bored of everybody stopped at this, but this was like mine and I don’t even know why I was motivated to do it. I just, I’m proud of where everybody is getting to now. And so it was they were not your basic ones, they were like mine after seven years of doing it. These are mine now. And I’ll share it. If you don’t, I’ll go to you after this, and you please shut out with this, but it is now. I’m just feeling like I want to help people through this more than anything. And so that’s been the difference but, you know, I’m just trying to be a little bit more welcoming. Now, I think it’s really what I used to think is, when I did this. It was a gift from Salesforce. I felt like it was a gift that Salesforce gave me because it was not something even seven years ago that

really many people were doing it at all. And I was in marketing at the time. And we really weren’t happening in marketing and so I felt like I really needed to prove myself that I was in my career and was going to continue to move forward. I was going to stay engaged. I treated it like it was a special gift and now it’s the ironic thing that now that everybody’s doing it, I, I’m like less I’m loosening up a little bit. I used to be very rigid in the way that I treated things. I always got dressed. I always made sure that I had the perfect background in the perfect lighting and and that was working those hours in a row of that now and I’m noticing that people are like chilling, the little bit, so maybe that’s the only changes that I chill a little bit more

Felicia: As we sit here in our hoodies.

Erica: It didn’t need to be judging.

Rachel: That wasn’t a no no for me.

Erica: Every day is different and I just know that more people are doing it. I don’t feel like it’s a gift as much anymore. It’s a reality and yeah, so I could go into that for a long time because of the different things that I had to teach Salesforce over the years. So those are a lot of the tips that I have there just there’s a lot of things that happened when you’re the only one on the phone or the only one. It lives now even when I did it. And people didn’t use WebEx even very much so often. I was the only one like coming out of a Polycom, and it was very difficult. So, teaching them. How to speak into a microphone or introduce everybody in the room or when the door opens. When I can hear a door open and someone walks in and they don’t get introduced. It’s like so jarring for someone that’s on the phone. So it’s like making certain everybody knows who’s in the room, even if it’s a zoom you can see everything. So like all the sudden you’ll hear a voice and you’re like, who’s that you know. So these are things that I’m helping now. Now we’re all online but like when people go back to the conference room there’s new mentalities that people are going to bring with them and new understandings of how hard it is for people that are remote and having to deal with people that are in an office. So all of these things are coming to me and that I’m gathering up and that I’m going to continue to share when people start going back to offices.

Rachel: Oh gosh. Love it. Yes, definitely send us that link.

Erica: Yeah, I will. I will. More, more top 10 list.

Rachel: Sorry, no.

Erica: It’s a good one.

Rachel: Look, they’re popular for a reason.

Erica: Yeah, yeah. And is that blog. Got it. You know, usually my blogs, like they’re interesting for a little bit and then they drop off you know interest level like anything else. But this one, it continues to be interesting. So it’s, it’s good. Getting a lot.

Rachel: Love it. Love it. And forgive me if I’ve skipped a question because I’m not sure if I have, but I was going to switch gears a little bit and wanted to hear what’s, what’s the big vision for you in this whole new one.

Erica: Oh, thanks for asking. Often I talk a lot about Salesforce still so it’s nice to talk about something else for us, even though we have really been talking about Salesforce and you know I’m taking it day by day, but I would say that like if I thought about a year or two out. I really want to create some actual accessible playbooks and frameworks that can be moved downstream a little bit right now. I’m working with bigger clients that have the ability to hire me for, you know, engagements. But that does eliminate, you know, a certain set of people that can’t afford to work with me and I want to work with everybody. So I want to create a more accessible set of frameworks and playbook so that I can work with anyone. And so that’s a little bit. I have to establish myself first. I gotta pay the bills so that I want to work on and yeah if I don’t really think that much more. Other than that, because my gosh, you know, things are changing so fast, right now, but I love what I do and I don’t really want right now to have employees. I’m not looking to build this like empire of many Eric has to be doing this. I like being the brand right now. I’ve never done that before. I’ve only worked for a brand. So I’m leaning into my brand right now and I’m leaning into like my brain getting into as many different companies as I can to level the boats that’s to raise the boats. What is that saying.

Rachel: Many boats. Many rising tide lifts.

Erica: tide lifts all boats. I want this industry to be better. That is what I, that was my goal. And so I’m just trying to touch as many companies as I can. And I’m trying to do podcasts like this and speak as much as I can and get myself out there so that people become better at this, because I really do feel like this is a better way to work and industries and brands will be happier customers we happier if they have this mentality to collaborate with one another. So that’s like my, that’s my vision my way I you know aspirational vision is to do that.

Rachel: That’s one of the best answers. I think we’ve heard. That’s a tough question I think for a lot of people.

Erica: You know?

Rachel: Yeah, it’s great that you’re able to articulate that I think I think revision.

Erica: Yeah, I had this really wonderful mentor. Her name is Joanna blower and she helps really get crystal clear on on what who you are and what you bring to the world and she’s amazing. I’ll give you a link to her as well. She does these incredible coaching sessions, she’s much more than that. But she is. She helped me early on remember what I was excellent. Dad and and how to get back out to the world and like get my confidence up that yes, this is something that I can offer. And so she’s helped me. She helped me articulate some of that so.

Rachel: And now wonder how wonderful it is that you have found something that you love and that you’re good at. I think that’s one of the things that people struggle with the most.

Erica: Oh yeah, that’s nice. That’s true. I mean, you know, I, I’m not gonna lie. I would love to be, you know, I love candy and I’d love to, like, open a candy store say my life. Where reality is, am I really gonna open a candy store, but probably not. I probably had a business anyway right now. But I do love this. And I feel like you’re right, it’s nice when you’ve honed a skill over these many years that actually brings joy to other people and brings joy to yourself.

Felicia: So let’s switch gears a little bit further and talk about what is your current favorite way to practice self care.

Erica: Ooh, that is great. Oh, it’s so hard for me because my favorite way to practice self care is actually I’m a runner and I’m starting to feel more and more guilty about running every day.

Yesterday I went out for a little run and I looked around. There was not that many people around. And people that were around wearing masks. And I thought, This doesn’t mean that it’s a good thing, like, Oh, I can go run because there’s not that many people around. It means I shouldn’t probably be running either like I should probably be in my house. Or I should probably be running with a mask. Yes.

Rachel: Yeah, no, don’t, don’t say that, that our governor. So I’m in California and our government our governor says that in the who says

Erica: Oh, yes.

Rachel: One of the best ways to make sure that you stay healthy both mentally and physically is to get to be outside and right is totally and there are plenty of people here in California that are running and then okay signs that are like don’t do stationary workouts, but definitely feel okay, run.

Erica: Good. That makes me feel better. I’m not, I’m not as informed and I guess you just hear these inputs from different people, you get like and I and I don’t feel like I can run with a mask. It’s just very good for me to imagine doing that.

Felicia: I’m honestly that’s what I have a hard time with is because I feel like I was talking about this. I think with Rachel and with my fiance, the other day, too, is that just because you run doesn’t mean that you’re not passing through the same air. So on the one hand, Rachel, your point, yes 100% valid. But on the other hand, if you’re going to run without a mask. I feel like you’re sort of defeating the purpose

Rachel: Where do you run?

Felicia: Being and stuff but it’s just, yeah, it does depend, of course. And, you know, we were just talking the other day about like our this morning about car culture and you know, if you’re able to like hop in a car and go somewhere where there’s not a lot of people, that’s a little bit different than like running down a busy street.

Erica: Right, yeah.

Rachel: Not that there are busy streets anymore, but is so that’s our thing.

Felicia: Yeah.

Rachel: You can practice social distancing and still run. Yeah. That’s the recommendations.

Erica: Yeah, I’ll go back and reread it, but that and there and I live in an area where there’s a beautiful open space. So even in the best of times, it really wasn’t a well traveled area. So I’ll see maybe six or seven people total in and we say it. We give birth, but I’m wondering, like, don’t mind not seeing people because I shouldn’t be out here or so I’m just switching it up and I’m doing, you know, doing some stuff in my house too, but there’s just nothing I get all of my my creative juices flow when I’m running. And I know that that’s not the way it is for everybody, but for me it’s where it happens. I always come home and I’m writing notes or I’m often when I was at Salesforce and I had this team. They always knew when I went for a good run, because I’d come back and be like, they get like 40 emails just like all these ideas or that would just come flowing in. So in or they the opposite would happen if I was not in the big good, a good headspace they’d be like, You need to get out. Go for a run because you’re you. You haven’t released that out. Like, you need recent pressure so that’s what I’m doing. For self care and I am going to now try to figure it out. The combination of militia and Rachel’s mentality of, like, what can I do other things I’m doing is I’m doing puzzles. You know, I do. I love puzzles. I forgot I love puzzles and my daughter’s actually weirdly awesome at puzzles. I had no idea. We’ve never done a cobble together. And so we have no kitchen table. Now it is covered in crack on one side and puzzle on another side. And so that’s what we do when I have breaks. I’ll go out with her and we’ll, we’ll put together a puzzle over the course of a couple weeks time. And yeah, I think that’s what i’m doing so far.

Rachel: And love that, I love that. And one of the questions that we always ask that we love to ask is what are you currently getting out about that has nothing to do with work or community.

Erica: What am I speaking out about, um, gosh. It’s not geeky at all. It’s just a weird thing. And I was actually going to write about it today. I have. I’ve always been. I always read online, like I actually read on my phone. Which is weird, for a lot of people are like, That’s so weird to read, but it was because I travel a lot for work and I just putting a book in my bag or an iPad. In addition to all the other crap that you have in your bag when you travel was not working. It just didn’t work for me. So it was either like don’t read or figure out how to read on your phone, but I just did the weirdest thing. I went and I’m reading a book online right now and I went and I bought it. I bought an actual book. And so I am kicking out now and like reading a book again. Like a physical lecture. And I even own the book I bought on my phone. And then I just bought it again and then I bought another book that I’m going to read and it’s weird for me and I love it. I forgot how much I love holding a book, but I don’t have to go anywhere. So, it doesn’t matter.

I haven’t picked up a purse. When’s the last time you picked up a purse, like I don’t even remember and I was always packing my purse over and over and over again, like, week after week. And now I’m like oh I just can sit and just read this book and it also like I’m going to shut up in just a second. After this, but like, it also is really nice for my kids. For them to see that I’m reading a book because, I’ll be like, Oh no, I’m reading. They’re like, oh, are you really READING ARE YOU SCROLLING THROUGH INSTAGRAM. Or Twitter or LinkedIn. I’m like no, I’m really reading. But now, like they really can see like, oh yeah, she actually is sitting and reading because I’ve got the book sitting in front of me.

Rachel: I mean, any book recommendations?

Erica: Um, you know, I read kind of light hearted stuff. I don’t read. Yeah, so.

Rachel: I know you don’t have to say like burn. Know, it can be like trash. It’s totally fine. We endorse it.

Erica: Yeah, the one I’m reading is called close enough to touch and it’s about this young woman that has a very rare genetic disorder that she is allergic to people so which is actually very interesting right now, now that I’m thinking about this, like, wow, nobody’s touching anybody right now that much. So that’s yeah, so I’m reading that right now. I read books like that like they have content, but they’re not. They don’t make me cry or them not learning and maybe that learning is like a new honing his skill or something. I need to. I need a ski. Reading is an escape for me.

Felicia: That’s totally fair, we are big fans.

Erica: Okay. Good.

Rachel: I think those were all of our questions. Um, thank you so much for joining us, tell us all the places we can find you.

Felicia: Will read to you.

Erica: Yeah, of course. Well, the good thing is that, my name has far more reach. I think that even I do sometimes. So it’s Erica with a ca Cool with a K k U H. L. And so if you just do a search for any of those combinations, you’re going to find all the things you’re going to find

My LinkedIn my Twitter is that my website. It’s very easy. You just have to remember that. My name is spelled Erica with the sea, because often people think it’s with the k. Yeah. So yeah, I know those things i i’m loving writing these days I’m doing a lot of writing. It’s not all about community. It’s sometimes about kids. It’s sometimes about random totally random things so

I have a blog and that’s a lot of fun and happened on my website. So yeah, just check it out if you want.

Rachel: That is awesome. Thank you. So much. Erica really.

Erica: Thanks for having the time. Yeah, it was wonderful chatting with you.