Following A Podcast Model That Helps In Transitioning Your Show With Maricella Herrera Of The Ellevate Podcast: Conversations With Women Changing The Face Of Business

TBF Maricella Herrera | Podcast Model


Transitioning our show through a podcast model can be a daunting task, but it’s essential to keep your show fresh and engaging. In this episode, we have Maricella Herrera Avila from Ellevate Podcast to discuss how to transition your show through an effective podcast model. Maricella shares her own experiences with transitioning the Ellevate Podcast all the while keeping the show authentic. She discusses the challenges she faced during the transition, as well as the benefits of adopting a new podcast model. Throughout the episode, Maricella provides practical tips and advice for podcasters looking to make a change in their format or style. She also shares the two sides of their podcast: the direct-to-consumer side and the enterprise business side. From having a clear vision and purpose to making decisions about your show, Maricella shares everything you need to elevate and transition your podcast. Join us in this insightful conversation and learn how to take your show to the next level.

Watch the episode here


Listen to the podcast here

Following A Podcast Model That Helps In Transitioning Your Show With Maricella Herrera Of The Ellevate Podcast: Conversations With Women Changing The Face Of Business

This is a little bit of a repeat in terms of bringing an episode back but I am bringing an episode back that we did the interview in December of 2019. The world is pretty different but this show has been going on since 2016 so it’s also been going on for quite some time and it’s got some continuity and learnings to it but not just that. I interviewed Kristy Wallace of the Ellevate Podcast back in 2019 and now I’ve got Maricella Herrera Avila. She’s coming on and has taken over the helm of the Ellevate Network. She’s running the conversations with women changing the face of business and that is the new Ellevate Podcast model and title.

She’s taken this over but she was involved in the podcast from the beginning so there’s a lot of continuity there. Let me do a little bit of an intro to Maricella so you can get to know her. We will link back to the original interview with Kristy Wallace so that you can see the differences between where their show was and where their show is in 2023. Maricella is the CEO of Ellevate Network, the largest community for women plus at work focused on creating a culture of equity, inclusion and business. She oversees overall business operations, growth and strategy and works closely with Ellevate’s chapter leaders, business partners and champions to further Ellevate’s impact.

As a strategy executive with several years of experience building and scaling teams, brands and businesses, Maricella has led the creation of impactful programming such as the annual Mobilize Women Summit, which reaches thousands of professionals across the globe and is supported by some of the world’s leading companies. Maricella is also the host of the Ellevate Podcast: Conversations with Women Changing the Face of Business. Throughout her career at Ellevate Network, she has managed the business through an acquisition, a re-brand and a fully operational/workforce transformation.

Prior to Ellevate, Maricella held several positions in real estate banking at Banamex, Citi’s Mexican subsidiary, where she worked on providing credit funding for low-income housing development projects in the North of Mexico. She received a BA in Financial Management and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

Maricella is off the chart with energy. You’re going to love the way they run the show and love this model of how they shifted their show hosts over time, which is an interesting model too because some of you might sell your podcast and need to transition your show. You might be in the business where you can’t run this anymore, your job has changed and you need to bring somebody else in. Following this model as they did with the Ellevate Podcast is going to be a great model for you. Read intently while we’ll know all about how the Ellevate Podcast has changed.

About The Ellevate Podcast Host Maricella Herrera

TBF Maricella Herrera | Podcast ModelMaricella Herrera Avila is the CEO of Ellevate Network, the largest community for women+ at work focused on creating a culture of equity and inclusion in business. She oversees overall business operations, growth and strategy, and works closely with Ellevate’s Chapter Leaders, Business Partners, and Champions to further Ellevate’s impact.

Follow Maricella Herrera on Social: Instagram | Facebook | LinkedIn | Youtube


Maricella, I’m so glad to have you here and to be talking about the Ellevate Podcast and how it’s shifted over time. I’m happy to see that your podcast has made it to so many episodes. As we do this in 2023, you’re well over 345 episodes and that is exciting to see an organization say, “This is working for us.” You continue to put forward great episodes week after week.”

Thanks, Tracy. I’m so happy to be here. I had even forgotten when we started the podcast. That was long ago in 2016. It’s hard to believe that six years later, we’re still here. We’ve gone through different iterations of the podcast and learned what our audience likes and doesn’t and all of this good stuff but the essence is still the same. It’s lovely to know that it’s continued to grow. Our downloads have certainly grown in the last few years, particularly in 2022.

It certainly seems like it has because I also check out your website and I see that it’s growing. That is fabulous to see an organization says, “This is a critical part of our process.” It says a lot about how podcasting has worked for you. Let’s dive into that a little bit and talk about it. You were involved in the podcast in the early days when you first started it and you were the co-host you have at the beginning of each episode.

I noticed and maybe it’s sometimes but I only spot-check through a handful of episodes, but you don’t have the co-host do the interview. You do not tag teaming interviews. The interview is done by you alone but you do have this early discussion between you and a co-host. You were that co-host for Kristy Wallace whom I interviewed last time. That’s great. You had that transition. The audience already knew you when you transitioned to take this over.

It was a plus that the audience knew me, my voice and the different perspectives and personalities that Kristy and I brought to the table. It wasn’t jarring for people to all of sudden, hear a new host. Thinking about the beginning of the podcast, because you mentioned that and my involvement in that, when we started it, it was because the owner of the company, Sallie Krawcheck, at that point was like, “Let’s start a podcast.” That was my cue to go figure it out. “Sure we can start a podcast so we can do anything.”


TBF Maricella Herrera | Podcast Model


In 2016, that was a lot harder than it is in 2023. Kudos to you for figuring it out.

We will tap some good people like Katharine Heller who has been our producer. She was making sure that we sound good. Editing the podcast was instrumental in us getting it out in the world. We started with the idea of we’re going to have two hosts at the beginning talking to each other, getting that rapport and making sure that people get to know us and then one of them will be the lead on the interviews.

We did that. To be honest, a lot of it. We did want to have one point person that the audience would get the most familiar with. I did do some interviews throughout my time as co-host with Kristy but it was usually either when there was someone whom I knew and there was a built-in rapport or if she couldn’t make it for some reason, I would jump in and cover.

It is nice because you’ve got that consistent backup if you needed it. That’s wonderful.

That worked out well for us but many times, as you and your readers know, it takes a lot of time to put together a podcast.

TBF Maricella Herrera | Podcast Model
Podcast Model: It takes a lot of time to put together a podcast as it does.


Megan Oliver is your co-host with you and she does a fabulous job. In that early part of the episode where you guys talk about things, what you’re thinking about and what’s going on sets a tone for the interview. I like the way that this model works and it’s great for an organization to have a second touchpoint as well. How did you select her?

Funnily enough, when Kristy and I were doing the podcast, we went through a couple of people within our team who would help us either find guests, schedule or do different things. Megan is our social media person and marketing associate. She does a lot of marketing stuff, particularly in the social media world. One of the things when she started, I was like, “Do you want to try this out?” For us, the podcast is about brand awareness and showcasing the Ellevate community. In our business strategy, that’s where it lives.

That’s the same way I see social media and our thought leadership. It’s how we put ourselves out there for new people to find us. It made sense for her to jump in and do a little bit of that, which she ended up being good at. She’s the one that came up with a lot of the ideas for how we start the episodes so that it has some structure that flows into the interviews, which was a challenge for her. Also, who are we talking to that makes sense for our audience like how many of our guests are from the community versus not from the community that we can share points of view. In the end, she’s the one that came up with us having this history-maker segment.



Every week, we celebrate the firsts of women and minorities, particularly women but also some non-binary individuals and transgender individuals. it’s about whether we can shine a light on the fact that there are still a lot of firsts happening. It became this cheeky way of both celebrating and also shaming a little bit, the fact that there’s a lot of progress still to be made.

I love that you’re getting involved with your social media team, whether you have a team, an individual or whatever that is. Often podcasters don’t do this and we do this here on our show as well. At this point, we’re making some choices about what we’re going to do in 2023 that’s a little bit different than we’ve done in past years. There’s always this overlap that happens. Typically, I’ve recorded out until February or March right of the new year. There’ll be this transition period and then it starts in March of every year and moves into the next year, same timing.

Rethinking it, how can I tie it into my social media strategy? How can I have good shoutouts? How can I have good features that regularly appear on social media that get good engagement? If you don’t start having that conversation, then you can’t structure the show. It’s like they have to pull things out of your show, instead of having the show naturally do it for them.

That’s where we were at. Megan was part of social, going through a lot of the podcast stuff to pull out and understand what we’re talking about and how to promote it. She sends assets to all of our guests and does all these things. To me, it’s anything where you’re speaking externally to an audience that doesn’t know you or wants to reach a broader audience. It needs to be tied together in a way that makes sense strategically what you’re doing.

We’ve seen it work well. This is one of the reasons why our downloads improved since Megan took over because she was so invested in the podcast too that the promotion of it was sick and natural. It was easy for her to know these are the important parts and things that we should highlight. It flows naturally.

That’s a great concept and I like the idea of that. Sometimes when you do an introduction to an episode, it feels like you’re lecturing about a topic because you’re alone. Having that co-host and being more conversational fits the name of your show, as well as the style of your show. This fits you. It’s a great choice and it’s serving your podcast well.

It’s the binge factor for you. I’m going to highlight that. The binge factor for you is that you say you’re going to have a conversation and you do. You have a conversation about a topic at the beginning or what’s going on in the ecosystem, the atmosphere, the environment and socially what’s happening. You have then a conversation that follows with your guest and they have a great follow-through for your audience that says, “I’m going to come back for more.” That’s why I binge on your show.

We try to make the whole show a conversation. It’s important. Megan and I worked together closely. Kristy and I also worked together closely for many years so it was natural for us to chat. With what happened with the change in the host when Kristy left, it’s funny you were mentioning how you tape until March, we had a lot of episodes taped that she was interviewing people. When she left, there were a bunch of episodes where it’s me, Megan or Mia and someone else from our team first has a conversation and then goes into an interview where Kristy’s leading the interview. It was a little harsh but it worked fine for the episodes that we did and it did teach us a lot more about how much better it is if we can have that throughline.

It’s the case. I didn’t catch any of those episodes. I probably should have looked but I didn’t know when the transition happens. As you’re going through your catalog of over a year, it’s a lot of episodes to speed through. I didn’t catch that but that’s an interesting thing. For all of you out there, if you go back to around mid-summer 2022, like June or July, right around that timeframe, this is when you’ll see some of those episodes that transition because that’s about the time that Kristy left. It’s an interesting way to pivot your show.

The name changed because it was just the Ellevate Network. I remember having this conversation with Kristy at the time that I didn’t recommend it. I felt like the show sounded salesy for the network with that name. Sometime after that, you must have changed the name. How did you come up with this new name, which is Conversations with Women Changing the Face of Business? I love that. It’s a long title and I don’t recommend a long title but you did it well in the way it looks on the cover. I encourage all of our readers to go look at it the way it is because there are a lot of small words in there and you highlighted the important ones. That makes it work.

It’s a long title and we’ve still debated if the title should be something shorter, which probably but we called it what it was. That’s where it came from. We are having conversations with all of these incredible women and some men. We want to change it to Women Plus, which is how we refer to our community, who are making great things, creating their businesses, creating change within their companies or doing something worthwhile for others to hear. I do think everyone is or everyone that’s in the show.

The phase of the business part that we always debate is, “Is it a culture business? Is it something else?” When we changed that name, it was very much. We wanted to double down on the fact that leadership can look many different ways and show up in many different ways. That’s why we went with Changing the Face of Business to make sure that we were putting that aspect of diversity and leadership. It doesn’t have to all look the same.

TBF Maricella Herrera | Podcast Model
Podcast Model: Leadership can look many different ways and can show up in many different ways.


How big is the network?

We have about 200,000 women in the community around the world. It’s grown every single year. It’s a lot. It’s a big community. Most of our active people are in the US. If you notice, we do talk in the podcast with people from different places but it is a lot of the people focused on the US market because that’s our biggest market within the community.

With a community that big, you have the issue of serving that community as primary importance because they’re going to be your best readers and they’re going to recommend people to read. They’re going to share your show. That’s going to have to be your primary direction in this. Let’s hit into our three things while we touch on this, which are the guests, listeners and return on investment. Let’s talk about it from the viewpoint of building a community the way that you have and serving a network. You and Megan are looking for guests that are a mix of within your community and externally. Why is it that you had that mix going on?

We’ve gone through many iterations. There was a period when all the guests were the only people within our community. There were other times when most guests were outside of the community. The reason we ended up being with a mix is that if we go out to a community so large, the people that we hear back from wanting to be part of this are the same in many ways.

We are very aware of the diversity that we want to place in the show. I’m not talking about diversity as ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, faith or all of that. I mean industry, career trajectory and lessons learned that we can share with the audience. Probably 80% of our guests from the community are people who are very much involved in Ellevate in one way or another or are members who have great stories.

We also try to bring in men and people who don’t necessarily identify as women or who have expertise in particular areas where we can’t necessarily find them within our community. Those are the 20% or probably less than that that we add. It is more to the point of serving our community. If we can’t get them content that’s also interesting, relevant and valuable, then what are we doing? You can only listen to so many of the same stories. That’s why we sprinkled in.

As a podcast, if you can't give your audience content that's interesting, relevant, and valuable, then what are you doing? You can only read so many of the same stories; that's why you should sprinkle editing. Share on X

The point of what you’re saying here is if you don’t step outside of it, you don’t grow and change your face the way you want it to. If you want that diversity to happen in your community, in your network, you’ve got to make that happen and show them why it’s valuable.

The stories that are the most powerful are the ones that come from very different perspectives. We hear a lot about success but then when we talk about failure, it can be the most important or eye-opening discussion and conversation that we might have. Having both is usually worthwhile for us.

I love that you have a focus on that. It is honestly something that I recommend to people who have this model of doing all their members or group. You might do that for the first year because that’s where your core is going to come from a listener base but as you try to start growing beyond your initial startup of the listener base, you have to also expand. Let’s talk about listener growth because you want your listener growth to align with your network growth. You want both. How are you going to outreach and bring the podcast to a broader community? How do you grow your listener base?

We talked a little bit about social media so I’m not going to go into that but that’s a big strategy for us, which is having the podcast be part of our social media strategy, which is showcasing to other people. We grow a lot by word of mouth but that’s also the nature of the network. Ellevate itself has grown in the last several years that it existed from word of mouth because people get familiar with the community. They like it, feel comfortable and tell their friends.

The podcast has become very similar where someone who listens to it identifies with the story or feels motivated by the story and then tells their friend or sees their friend identify with the story and so is like, “You have to listen to this.” We’ve grown a lot through that. We’ve also done a lot through cross-promotion. Having a guest on a podcast and me or Kristy we’re on their podcast and do a little bit of cross-promotion within that. That’s been helpful. Those have been the main ways we’ve grown our listener base. We certainly make it easy for our guests to promote the podcast on our behalf and on their behalf.

That’s why that’s so critical to have some of the outside the network because you don’t want to promote the same people.

That’s been big. Even within the community, if a guest shares a podcast with their broader network, it still brings in listeners that are not part of the network, especially when you have a network or a community that’s very gender-focused. We want the audience of the podcast to be morally encompassing. It does help to have some people externally sharing the show.

TBF Maricella Herrera | Podcast Model
Podcast Model: Even within the community, if a guest shares a podcast with their broader network, it still brings in readers that are not part of the network.


You guys get some decent engagement on your social media site. In addition to listener growth, engagement growth is essential for a network because if you’re not getting your members engaged, they don’t renew. How do you encourage that? The podcast seems a little more passive. They’re not involved in it. How do you get them to engage through that model on social or in your network?

The podcast is more passive. We have gotten good and what we do well at Elevate is created spaces where people can show up as themselves and talk about their work life, the good, the bad, the ugly, all of it. We’ve replicated that with the podcast on the conversations. Certainly, it’s a two-way street between me and the person to whom I’m talking but it’s not necessarily that for the community. What we do is then invite them. We do this at the end of the podcast episode. We invite them to join our events, social or stuff that is on our site and website, where we host a lot of virtual events. That’s where people come in and can interact and engage more with the community.

On the social aspect, a lot of it is little sound bites and clips of the podcast that help with the engagement because it teases people and helps with that. The biggest opportunity we’ve seen is to bring them back within the fold of Ellevate where they can talk about both podcasts. We had a chapter, for example, in LA. LA Chapter for a while hosted a pod club. They would listen to an episode of the podcast and instead of a book club, they would discuss the episode of the podcast.

It worked out well because we were getting more listeners. They were getting a lot of engagement from their people. We were all talking about the same thing. I see that at our events too, in person in New York. It’s been a while since COVID but before that, I would get people. Every time, there would be at least someone who comes up to me and says, “I know your voice.”

Don’t you love that? It’s a little creepy and then at the same time, it’s encouraging and you want to keep going.

At that point, I was on it for ten minutes in the beginning. It was so sweet that they would come up to us for that. We are giving the content, providing the opportunity for engagement in another channel and making sure that both those channels are connected in some way.

TBF Maricella Herrera | Podcast Model
Podcast Model: A pod club provides the opportunity for engagement in another channel and makes sure that both those channels are connected in some way.


Do you do a newsletter for Ellevate as well?

We don’t. We do an Ellevate newsletter. For many years, we had a weekly podcast there and then we stopped because we were in our strategy trying to figure out what we want to do with a newsletter the most and it was getting engagement in our events. We took it out and then realized this is still engagement. Why are we limiting ourselves to one touchpoint when we have many different touchpoints that serve different people?

That’s something we started doing again and we’re featuring it. I don’t know if it’s every week but we put them on more. Another thing that we do that we didn’t do for a while was the transcripts, like transcribing every episode and making sure it was available for accessibility and then taking information from that. One of the things I want to do with the podcast eventually is to bring a full circle with more of grabbing content from the different episodes and putting content together in a more structured way.

Let’s talk a little bit about return on investment. Monetization, when we think about that from the podcast, in a large network, an organization, retention is important. I do think that it’s a sorely under-measured item that the podcast helps with retention because they’re consuming something so your front of mind. That helps to have something that is getting delivered to them regularly and yet doesn’t require lots of one-on-one meetings, extra events or those other things. It’s an underutilized tool. It’s great for a network like yours but what other return on investment measurements do you look at and say, “This is working for us and we’re going to keep doing this?”

We’ve gone through many moments of evaluating of is it worth it. Everyone does. In the beginning, it was all about whether we are getting new people into the community. In the beginning, it was about downloads and if our community is listening to it. The first audience was the one that we already had so are they consuming it?

We started with, “Are we getting new people,” which is hard to measure in terms of who is coming from the podcast. We shifted to a lot more engagement with the podcast metrics and anecdotal feedback, which is not statistically significant. We do keep an eye out for people who do come to things and mention the podcasts. We have a lot of that. I can say probably every week I hear about 1 or 2 people at least who are like, “I hear the podcast. I learned about Ellevate from the podcast.”

Honestly, that might be something you could measure. I don’t know what you call it but some people call it a sales team and an enrollment team. Does that team have fewer conversations to close someone into the network because of the podcast? We hear that a lot. That used to be 3 calls and then it’s 1. Things like that can happen and can be a measurement. You’re right. It’s hard to have a more direct line but it does have a residual effect on shortening timelines and creating a long number of months where people stay subscribed and also increases. There are some measurements that some organizations can take a look at.

We have to get better about that. I see it in two ways. We have two business lines. We have a direct-to-consumer business and an enterprise business side. When I’m talking about new people coming in and people who listen to the podcast and grow the network, usually I talk about the consumer side. That’s pretty difficult to measure. On our enterprise side, the podcast has been extremely helpful in closing deals. Instead of having to talk ten times, they’ve consumed the podcast, know what it is and then it’s easier to understand the whole ecosystem of Ellevate.

Let’s reveal that because I want to make sure anyone who’s sitting back is going, “What is an enterprise model? Is that an interesting model for a network?” What’s the enterprise size look like for you?

We work with companies in different ways. The primary ones are their sponsors of our events or our podcast and I’m not talking about the traditional ad model of sponsorship and monetization for the podcast. We can talk more about that. It’s usually we get exclusive sponsors because of the audience that we have. We have such a specific audience so it’s much easier to be able to have these conversations with our current existing partners or partners that come to us.

Another thing is companies use this as their external arm for a lot of their ERGs, particularly their women’s group. They come and buy memberships into the community for the women in their company and give them access to this external network where they can learn from other people, find advice, find clients and find a shoulder to cry on almost and make sure that they’re learning and bringing that. It’s part of leadership development within their companies.

For those of you with small enough businesses, it’s an employee resource group. It might be something that you have as an external part of your training or that you provide as a resource to support your staff. It depends on the size of your company and whether or not you have a named, coined phrase for it or not.

Sorry about that. I’m so used to saying it but it’s the employee sales group.

It makes sense in the enterprise situation that it would be the catchphrase.

Those are our two main ways of working with companies. When I said sponsorship, that encompasses a lot of things. We do a yearly summit every June. They sponsor that, the podcast, an event or different things, where a lot of it is they want to align their brand with ours. That’s been very helpful with the podcast because we’ve seen a lot of interest from companies who have a very specific target audience in mind and want to get in front of them. Some of them are educational institutions and it makes sense. This is the type of people that want to get into when they are looking for people to go into their executive education programs.

The other thing that helps when I’m saying the podcast helps with enterprise is the fact that a lot of companies are looking for ways to have their leaders showcased and build their brands. When we’re talking to a company, if we can say, “As part of this, you can be on the podcast and the people in our community, including your employees, can be part of the podcast,” there’s an aspect of we are not just helping our employees build relationships. We’re also helping them build their brand and uplifting the brand of the company by having these people on the podcast. That’s been helpful too.

You’ve got so many models of business in the way that you run and a lot of this does dovetail nicely with the way that you can utilize the podcast to both serve them and create revenue opportunities as well.

That’s what we’ve seen. It’s funny. For a small business, we have a very complicated business model. I don’t know if it’s because we’ve been around for so long but it can get crazy. One of the things we try to do is to put things together so that everything we’re doing has a rhyme or a reason and can support some other aspect of our business. The podcast as a portion of Ellevate supports everything else that we are doing and everything else that we’re doing supports the podcast. It becomes circular.

One of the things that I heard on one of the episodes, which honestly, I have to say surprised me from the fact that you’re a membership group in a community and you have business alignments as well as individual alignments. At the same time, I was glad to hear it because it’s a reason to join your community as well. That was when the Roe v. Wade ruling came down and you made a preamble. You attack it, recorded it, added it onto the episodes as it was airing and made a commentary about it. In a way, you took a position. Did you go back to your organization and say, “We’re going to make this position,” or did you make that decision as the CEO here?

I always talk about it with our team but in this case, specifically with Roe v. Wade and the Dobbs decision, there wasn’t anywhere else to go. It was the right thing to do. It was a risk. This is one of the things that both in the podcast and through Ellevate, you probably will see is changing and has changed. I’m pretty outspoken. I bring that and do it and not everyone liked it. We are a huge community. We have different opinions.

I had an event with Planned Parenthood where I was talking to their Chief Equity Officer. When the Dobbs decision came out, besides the podcast, the first thing was I put out a statement talking about it, why it’s important and what are the things that you can do to help but particularly because the way I see it, it’s as much as an economic and career progression issue for women and people with uterus as it is equal pay. It affects your livelihood and the livelihood of your family. We put that statement and the truth of this is I got some backlash from the community.

Some people didn’t like it. Some people didn’t agree with our position or were like, “Stay in your lane. You are in business,” which I argue. We are in whatever affects women. We are in, “How do we support women,” especially when it’s an economic and financial situation. It was a risk and it was a decision that I made with my team and we’re not shying away from it. I heard that little thing on the podcast from some of the podcasts I listened to. I was like, “This is great.” I started looking into responses to Roe v. Wade.

I can’t remember their name but it a group of podcasters started doing that. They put it out there and there was a whole list of podcasts. They put out the statement and the wording that podcasts should use about the viewer both for a US-based one or an international podcast. It was one of the first times where I was like, “Let’s join this bandwagon of other podcasters that are doing this thing that is important and aligns with our values. We might get some backlash but let’s support this movement.” That’s where that came from.

It’s a bold choice but it is the right one for your organization. That’s what I heard in a lot of the show. You’re not shying away from being authentically you and neither is Megan. That’s important because part of the reason we choose an organization is leadership. To hide who that is, dumb it down or soften it to be politically correct doesn’t mean anything. It’s not going to be real to what I’m going to get from the organization later or what I expect from it.

It is the right thing for your organization to not shy away from being authentically you, Share on X

You were talking about tech impact groups and women in tech. I don’t remember which episode it was but it was one of the ones I listened to. They were pointing out that Lyft took a stand. It made a difference. They saw a lift, pun intended here, in their business at that time because they made a statement. It may take a very vocal hit in your organization but it also may be a long-term reason to do business with you.

That’s more the case for brands. In the last few years, we’ve seen it as a part of the stakeholder capitalism movement. People want brands to stand for something. People want companies that they do business with to stand for something. It’s the adage, “Staying silent in the face of injustice.”

It’s worse. That’s what I tell my daughters. I say, “If you stand by while someone’s being bullied, that’s worse than bullying.” That’s what I try to teach them. Especially listeners of podcasts expect their hosts to be real. I want to hear what you think. Even if it’s not popular and not my viewpoint, that’s also a great way to invite engagement. Let’s talk about it.

It’s what we try to do. That’s what Ellevate is and stands for. As we create these spaces where people can show up as themselves, then we are not doing that. If we are not showing up as ourselves, we’re not walking the talk. We’re saying we’re building something but it’s not true.

TBF Maricella Herrera | Podcast Model
Podcast Model: Ellevate creates spaces where people can show up as themselves.


If you’re going to change the face, which is your title, you got to make some statements or it’s not going to change. At the end of the day, you probably made the best choice for your community but it’s hard. I applaud you for that because it’s hard to make that choice when you’re representing 200,000. It’s a hard place. You get into almost a corporate mode of making no choices or generic choices.

It is hard because you are talking about a very large group of people. In Spanish, we say, “I’m not a gold coin. Not everyone is going to like me or want me and that’s okay.” That’s the stance we are taking with Ellevate. We might not be the right fit for everyone and that’s okay but we want to be especially strong for the people for whom we are a good fit and vocal for them and those who can’t be vocal. One thing I’ve always understood is that there is huge power in numbers. If we have a community that has many people, then that’s a powerful voice to use. It’s our responsibility to do so.

There is huge power in numbers. If we have a community that has many people, then that's a powerful voice to use. Share on X

I’m so glad you’ve continued on the show and had continuity from the beginning, to be honest, because you shifted it over time. I applaud what you’re doing over at Ellevate Network in general. Thank you so much for everything that you do, Maricella.

Thank you, Tracy. This was fun.

There were so many interesting things that we talked about. The way they have such a conversational model is important to their audience. Women like me love to hear it, “Be dialogue.” I don’t like to be lectured to. It’s not something that I respond well to. If I want to train and learn about something like how to do something, that’s perfectly fine for that model but this conversational model of creating a network, a collaboration and a community for change is right for it. The community is right for it. Their podcast model and network model audience match well.

That’s something that we don’t always take a look at and consider. As we’re testing out what’s working and not working, we’re not thinking about the model of our show as a model for the type of thing that the audience or the client base in our business wants. In a membership model, this is essential. It’s essential to provide a similar experience and be aligned in that thinking. They do a great job here on Conversations with Women Changing the Face of Business.

Even with this long title, it’s the right title to tell me what I’m going to get from the show and their network and what can I expect. The authentic conversation that’s happening between Maricella and Megan lends itself to making sure that I know what I’m getting into in the organization. Even if I disagree about it, I know that it’s conversational and I have an opportunity to participate and engage in that conversation. That’s important and this happened in Spotify.

Here at Podetize, we are the only company that has a phone number for a hosting company in the podcast ecosystem. When it came out that Joe Rogan was doing some things that lots of people didn’t agree with and some people were upset about it, they were calling our phone number and yelling at Spotify and Joe Rogan saying, “I’m quitting your show and network.”

The reality is they were talking to the wrong phone number but we were getting the brunt end of it and hearing that. It wasn’t a dialogue saying, “I want to improve what’s going on here. I want to see what you’re going to do. I want you to take this and learn from it.” They didn’t invite dialogues. Spotify invited cancellation. That’s something that can’t happen when you’re trying to build a collaborative network. They’ve opened that up by inviting conversation, calling it a conversation and handling it as conversation. All of those things are going to serve their network well. While they might lose some people, they’re going to gain more in their net result.

Looking at the ROI, that’s the last thing I want to mention. She was talking about all the different ways that they’re thinking about their show. They measure their show and why they keep going with their show. Those things are essential for all of us to look at but the measurements shift and change. Tom and I did an episode for Feed Your Brand. We do a weekly coaching call for anyone who wants to listen. You can join us live on Facebook, live on LinkedIn, live on Twitter and listen to us.

Every Wednesday at noon Pacific time, we come in with a topic. The topic we came in with before I recorded this episode was we were talking about our yearly measurements, the return on investment and how we decide. The essence of it is that I have three measurements that I look at each year and they’re different every year as we go into the podcast and as the podcast is at a different stage.

After I surpass 100 episodes, I look at the podcast differently than I do before that. Those three measurements and the model by which we measure are something that you might want to think about and adapt. If you are at that stage of business that Maricella and the Ellevate Podcast is, you might want to look at it at a very different stage and set of measurements than you would if you started and you’re within your first 25 episodes.

With that episode, you can see maybe some ideas for how you can take what Maricella was suggesting and find the right measurement for you. Hopefully, this was an incredibly helpful episode to you and gets you motivated and moving on your podcast so you can keep going, make well over 300 episodes and create a dynamic network as well.

Thank you everyone for being here and for being Binge Factor engaged. I’m hearing from you all the time and you’re telling me what kind of shows you want to hear from. If you’re not participating in that, make sure you find us somewhere on social media. Go to the website and reach out to us. Tell me what you want to hear in 2023 and I will find the right podcaster to interview and bring it back to you.


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Tracy Hazzard

Tracy Hazzard is a former Authority Magazine and Inc. Magazine Columnist on disruptive innovation, and host of 5 top-ranked podcasts including: The Binge Factor and Feed Your Brand–one of CIO’s Top 26 Entrepreneur Podcasts. She is the co-founder of Podetize, the largest podcast post-production company in the U.S. As a content, product, and influence strategist for networks, corporations, marketing agencies, entrepreneurs, publications, speakers, authors & experts, Tracy influences and casts branded content with $2 Billion worth of innovation around the world. Her marketing methods and AI-integrated platform, provides businesses of all sizes a system to spread their authentic voices from video to podcast to blog, growing an engaged audience and growing valuable digital authority.
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