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Episode 78: Listening & Learning with Gale Straub of She Explores

"It just feels important to share a diverse range of stories and experiences."

The queen of podcasting herself is here - Gale Straub, founder of the She Explores podcast and co-founder of Ravel Media. Gale is a well-rounded creative and she joins us to talk monetizing her passions, creating community with intention, and creating content during a pandemic.

Follow Gale:

Follow us: @wheeliecreative

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Episode Transcript

Iris: Hey, Lisa.

Lisa: Hey Iris.

Iris: Welcome to your own podcast.

Lisa: Hey, thank you, and welcome all our listeners to another episode of Outside by Design. We are still recording from our homes, um, in different locations. So you may notice our audio sounds a little different than it does when we are in our studio. Um, but here we are having a great time.

Iris: I closed my windows so you can't hear all of the birds outside, hopefully. Cause that's all I listen to all day... and construction noise.

Lisa: I have a really serious gopher problem at my house because I'm a vegetarian and I won't kill animals.

Iris: Mmm. Lots of peeps.

Lisa: Yeah. So everyone at work is really aware of like, how bad it got and how, like, they came out this spring and um, they're called Colombian Ground Squirrels. It looks like they had a busy winter breeding and they’re... I mean, it's like... I'm legitimately worried about my drain field and my propane tank and maybe my well, like they are everywhere.

Iris: Yep. And your dog, you should worry about your dog.

Lisa: Yeah. And I, so I've been trying to relocate them with a cage with peanut butter and crackers cause it turns out the gophers like peanut butter, but I just don't want to kill them and I, it's out of, it's out of control.

Iris: We'll kill them for you. It's okay.

Lisa: [laughs] That would require me to leave my house.

Iris: There's no other way. There's no other way.

Lisa: That's very Montana of you.

Iris: You can't just ask them nicely to leave.

Lisa: No. Yeah, yeah. Anyway. Well, we've got a really fun episode today.

Iris: Yeah, we do. Today we have Gale Straub. And she is the creator of She Explores as well as co-creator of Women on the Road and Ravel media.

Lisa: Yeah. Gale's awesome. What a damn good human.

Iris: Yeah. Super cool. And she was out supporting women in the outdoors way before it was cool and really getting, um, women's stories out on the forefront and in the media and telling important stories that weren't being told.

Lisa: Yeah. And Gale stands for creativity and she loves using her platform to amplify the voices of others. And she just brings this really calm humility to this episode. And I've never met Gale in person, but I sure can't wait until I do.

Iris: Yeah. So Gale’s here to talk about Ravel Media, which she just started this year with a few other women, um, creating community and creating content during the global pandemic.

Lisa: Yeah.

Iris: And we flipped a script on Gale and we made her come be on our podcast, and so she took a break from her podcast and here it is. I hope you enjoy.

Lisa: Gotcha good Gale.

Lisa: So Gale, first of all, thank you so much for being on our podcast today.

Gale: Thank you so much for having me.

Lisa: You know it, and the first question we ask everyone is to describe where you are and what you're looking at.

Gale: Ooh, I was just thinking about that because I... it's beautiful outside right now. Blue skies, sun, and I am in a probably three by two foot closet and it's completely dark. I have no lights in the closet, so I'm staring at the red recording light of my microphone and I spend a lot of time in here. I do.

Lisa: [laughs] That's amazing. We also have a podcast recording closet at our office. Um, but now, now I'm working from home, so yeah. But that's hilarious. I'm glad to know you also spend some time recording ina closet.

Gale: [laughs] Yeah and I am, for context, I'm at home in New Hampshire. I live on the sea coast in New Hampshire, like the sea coast area in a town called Dover.

Lisa: Awesome. I spent the morning stalking you online and there are some fun things that you and I have in common. We are both twins.

Gale: Ooh!

Lisa: That's a good one. We both graduated college in 2008.

Gale: Ooh.

Lisa: Yeah, good year. Good year to graduate college. And uh, and then we both have built lifestyles and businesses around creativity. So I'm really excited to dig in with you a little bit more about the business side of creativity.

Gale: Oh, me too. That sounds great. And I'll try not to “ooh” too many times. I realized I just did that twice with different inflections. The whole podcast could just be me oohing and in different tones [laughs].

Lisa: [laughs] um. Well, I love, I love having you as an interviewee on the other side because as our listeners likely know, you founded an amazing podcast. She Explores, it’s extremely popular. Um, you have another podcast, Women On The Road, a media company, Ravel Media, and you're also Gale with your own Gale website. So. You have a lot going on. I kind of think of you as a powerhouse creative, although I know you kind of identify as a listener and an editor, and um, but you've built this amazing, robust, thoughtful lifestyle around creativity. And I'm curious, what did you want to be when you grew up as a kid?

Gale: Ooh, as a kid. Well, thank you first for those compliments. That was really nice to hear. Um, especially working from home, like a lot of us are right now, but I always actually work from home, so sometimes it can feel a little isolating even though I have an awesome team that I work with remotely. Uh, so thank you for that.

But as a kid... as a kid, I was very indecisive, uh, which I guess carried into adulthood. And I never really had something that I wanted to be, I actually couldn't really picture it. I would sometimes make things up when people ask me the question, so I might say I want it to be a teacher, or if I felt like I wanted to make my mom happy, I might say I wanted to be a doctor, but. And for a small, very small period of time in high school, I thought I might want to be an actuary [laughs] which is someone who calculates like the reserves in insurance companies.

Um, so I never really knew, but like, inside my head I had some secret wishes and my secret wish in high school was, and getting, getting older was to make films and to tell stories in that way. Uh, because I have always had like a fairly visceral memory, and I think having a twin, uh, compounds my memories in certain ways. I have someone who I can relive like those experiences with, which is one of the biggest gifts that I think I have in my life is, is both having a twin sister and then also having that ability to really tap into what it felt like to be a kid and to carry that into adulthood. Um, but yeah, long story long, I didn't really know, but I had some secret desires that I feel like end up manifesting regardless. You know, like you kind of go through certain things, certain motions as to what you feel like you should be doing, and then what you should be doing kind of happens. Like what, you're... not… it’s so cheesy to say what you're “meant to do,” but that's been my experience is that I went in one lane and I ended up in another, but it was where I was supposed to be.

Lisa: And you were a CPA for a while, right?

Gale: [laughs] Yeah. That's the lane. That's the lane that I ended up in I initially, uh, because as, as you said, Lisa, um, we both graduated in 2008 and I was a psychology major as an undergrad at college. At Boston college. I took a lot of different classes. I kind of settled into the groove of being a psychology major because… because I didn't end up becoming an English major or a math major, like I thought I might. And, um, psychology just made sense to me. People made sense to me. Um, and so I settled on that major, but then I graduated in 2008 and wasn't really prepared for the job market. And then I really, wasn't prepared for the job market that happened in the fall after 2008 when the market crashed. So I, using the rational side of my brain, like the... I feel like I'm a big, like a definite mix of like type A, type B personality. Using my type A side I was like, I need to have something stable. Accounting makes sense to me. Like that's something that's never going to go away. And it also was something that, um, made sense for me at that point in my life because I was very shy and I didn't have a lot of confidence, so I felt like I could go into being an accountant, just deal with numbers and not necessarily have to get out of my comfort zone.

Um, and actually it was really funny because I went to grad school, became… got my MSMBA from Northeastern. I ended up working at audit at a big four public accounting firm in Boston. And surprise, surprise, a lot of audit is actually talking to people and, like, you know, solving problems and, um. Getting information from people that you know, don't necessarily want to be working with you. So it actually ended up helping me with my social skills. Like, I've always been a bit of a late bloomer and, and that really helped. And then it helped me kind of gain the confidence to leave audit. I went and worked at, um, a venture capital firm in Cambridge and, um, had a great experience working with an almost all-female finance team, which was great, and then decided to leave that job and finally had some of what I needed, I guess, to create what I, what I wanted to create in She Explores, which has now kind of blossomed into Ravel Media.

Lisa: Yeah. Do you want to talk about what you've got going on with Ravel Media?

Gale: Yeah. Yeah. So Ravel Media is a media company that houses, um, the two podcasts that we produce. So one being She Explores, and then the other being Women On The Road, which, uh, Laura Borichevsky executive produces and hosts. And, um, we also have done a lot of other creative projects with brands that kind of utilize those platforms. And also, um, we've learned a lot in terms of strategy and, uh, photography. So we have a lot to offer brands in what we do. I would have to think about specific campaigns or projects to kind of, um, describe that further. But Ravel was kind of a long way, not long way coming, but it… it's been a slow evolution and it kind of feels funny to start the media company after creating the media, but it's been really fun to work on that with the four other women who I have on my team.

Lisa: That's amazing.

Gale: Thanks. Yeah. I feel like we really jumped a lot between, uh, I, I, it's so funny to be, you know, you talked about like me being on the other side of this and I'm like, wow, I just like sped through 10 years of my life, which is, which is a lot to do in two minutes.

Lisa: [laughs] It wasn't too wild of a ride. Although I do, I do... I love kind of framing your, I love framing this conversation around your experience in finance. Um, and now you're monetizing creative, right? And like, selling story and, um, kind of these ambiguous things that aren't really tangible but are highly important. So like, how does, how does that resonate with you when you think about monetizing story?

Gale: The monetization part has always been the hardest part for me. Um, because I started working on, She Explores specifically back in the beginning of 2014, uh, when I knew I was going to leave the VC job, uh, to take, Itook a year long road trip with my partner, which feels a little cliche now, but it was a really great time. It was the right thing for us to do at that point in our careers. We were both working in places where it didn't necessarily, we couldn't tell where up was, and I think a lot of people in our generation felt that way in terms of, especially working at bigger companies, if there wasn't a clear track to promotion. And it felt like just the right time to take… not necessarily a break, but like to save up for a deliberate choice to do that.

So we save for a year and a half before we quit our jobs and built a Sprinter van and traveled for a year. And being, like I said, that mix of type A, type B, I wanted to have something to work on, like I like working. And I had had in the back of my head this, um… This, this wanting to share a point of view or like the way that I experience the outdoors and travel with more people. Um, and in my spare time when I was working at the VC firm, I would walk around with a camera at night and just take nice photos of kind of like, houses that were like warmly glowing and a little sleepy and just finding beauty in my neighborhood.

And a lot of that was like a little bit of loneliness, like a little bit of like trying to find, trying to find beauty, but also trying to fill my time. Like, what am I, what am I doing? Like, what do I want to be spending time on? Um. And so I kind of developed some of, like my point of view through doing that.

And then also jetting up to, uh, New Hampshire and Maine on the weekends. And, um, in any case, in 2014, there weren't a lot of websites for, for women in the outdoors, there was Outdoor Women's Alliance, which is a nonprofit, which I know you're familiar with, cause you've done work with them. Um, there was Dirtbag Darling, which is Johnny Gall's then blog that's kind of centered around to like her experiences in the outdoors.

And then Instagram was kind of blooming, um, and coming to be what it is. It was like a great time to, to enter that. It was almost like there was like a lower barrier to entry in the Instagram world. So I started an Instagram handle called she_explores, which still exists today. And I also started a corresponding website with it, and I just wanted to have something to work on that felt like me for the first time. Um, and then I realized it wasn't really about me, it was about all these other women out there who also enjoyed spending time outside and maybe not always in that super extreme way.

Not that... I think that there's lots of different ways to experience the outdoors and the way that She Explores is tapped into it often has been through creativity and art, and, um kind of meditations on how the outdoors makes you feel. So it started with a blog and a social media platform, and then after a couple of years, I started the podcast and I wasn't really expecting to monetize it - to get back to your original question - in the beginning, I kind of in the back of my head knew, Hey, I'm like, there's a hole here. Like there's something that people are craving this, and since then there's been, there's, I don't know how many, there's countless women in the outdoors kind of platforms, and I don't think there's a hole there anymore, but at the time I felt like there was an opportunity there, both for me to, for lack of a better word, explore what I was interested in, and then also to provide other people a container for their own, like outdoor exploration.

So I wasn't really monetizing that first year. I was just building it out. My partner and I were doing some consulting on the side. He's in marketing himself. He's in brand strategy and marketing, so he taught me a lot about, like, what he knows, and I happen to be a quick learner. I think, you know, it's so cheesy to talk about like a psychology major, but I think that just called into... was a bit of an aptitude, I guess. Um. And so that kind of kept us afloat for that year, along with like the savings.

And then we were, we were very realistic in that we needed to be in one place and we needed to have a constant income stream. So I kept doing some of our consulting work and he found a full time job. And so he was a little bit of the benefactor of, She Explores, like if I'm being totally honest and I'm totally grateful to him for that. We have an amazing partnership and I'm really glad that it survived van life. I know not all partnerships do. [laughs]

So, um, the monetization piece, um… has always been tough for me, I think because I care so much about the work, and especially with the podcast. When I first got it going, I was going to make that podcast, whether or not it was being monetized. So I think over time I've gotten better at understanding that and I've gotten better understanding that about myself. And I brought, we brought on - Laura and I brought on Noel Russell to help us with brand partnerships. And I think having someone else who can be the one bringing in the money, making sure that we're monetizing allows me to be able to focus on the creative.

And then also I still do the books for us. So I get to like also focus on like how much do we have going in and having that knowledge is helpful to be able to plan for the future and to see, you know, how we're doing and what we need to do better, or what areas of what we're putting out there. Maybe we're lacking in terms of like the money that's coming in. So I'm eternally grateful for the CPA and going to school for that because I had no knowledge about business in that way. Um, but I'm also really happy that I'm able to not be the one who's, who's doing the actual sales because it's just not something I'm good at. And I think a big part of running a business and working with partners to run a business is to know what you're good at and what you're not good at, and like step back when someone else can take the lead.

Lisa: I love that. I love that. Your story… your story seems really organic and how it came to be and evolved and, um, yeah, you know, grew into a media company, I guess. And um. As well as these podcasts and community. Right? I hate using the word like company around you because it's such an issue. You have, you have companies, but you also have a wildly successful community that's beautiful. And I don't know, it seems listening to you talk, it's very organic, but also you, you seem really thoughtful in your process. Does it, is that what it was or do you think it was reactive? It seems like you have just such beautiful intention behind your process.

Gale: Oh, thanks. Um, I think that it's both. It's been very emotion-driven, um, and then it's also been strategic in certain ways. And then it's also been reactive. So sometimes, sometimes we feel like we're building, and when I say we, I mean Hailey, who's now a partner in Ravel and then Laura Borichevsky, who's also a partner in Ravel. Um, it feels like somebody who's like, we're building the tracks, you know, as the train is coming. But the, um, the thought element goes in just with who, who we choose to feature, like who's on the podcast, why it's not all big names, even though you do see some big names in there, sprinkled in there every now and then, um, because it just feels important to share a diverse range of stories and experiences, just so that more people have the opportunity to see themselves like in the outdoors and also to feel like there's potential for, for them to maybe grow a little bit outside their comfort zone. I don't know. And I also just love listening and learning about different people. I never get bored when it comes to, to what people have to say. There's, I do get bored if it feels like... if we had for She Explorers for a podcast, like if there was a true... this is the intro, this is the outro, this is, this is where it goes. And there is some repetition in that. But like, if every episode were the same, I probably wouldn't be doing it anymore because I love to be challenged in that way.

But, um, this strategy part I think came in, in terms of… when I started She Explores as a podcast, it was partially because I was probably going to start doing something else if I didn't start it as a podcast. I was, you know, realistically, it's really tough to truly monetize social media and blog, and blog is like, wonderful. And I think it's an important component of a content platform, but it's it, you know, it's just very... the monetization piece has just gotten diluted over time, you know, as there are more... There's more content, you know? So it's just like with the web, it used to be easy if you wanted to have banner images to, to make money through click-throughs. Like it's just a different world out there now. So that wasn't going to be a good, I wasn't going to be able to sustain that as, as a lifestyle, like as an individual. And I certainly wasn't, wasn't going to be able to grow that into a company. Um. And I also was a little getting a little uninspired with everything happening digitally.

And I was feeling a little removed living in New Hampshire, and I felt most energized after I talked with people. Um, and it felt like I had a true connection with people and I loved, I loved that. And then I had also started listening to podcasts and I felt like there was really an opportunity there to… to dig into, dive into a different medium. Um, and with the strategy piece - to get to that, I feel like it's taken me a long time to get to any point here today - but the strategy piece came in just in terms of the fact that there weren't really... I don't think there were any other podcasts for women in the outdoors in 2016 when I started, maybe there were, and I, I am deeply sorry to anyone else who's out there who was out there working on that specifically for women.

But, um, I didn't see that. And so I decided that that felt like both what I really wanted to do, and also a good, a good decision. And it was also something new to talk about. People already kind of knew what I was doing with She Explores, and it was great to be able to say, “Hey, this is, this is a new project and I'm really, really excited about it. I'm going to make it whether or not. Um, it's going to get funded or whether I take on a full time job or whatever, like I'm going to keep working on this podcast.” And I loved it so much that I teamed up with Laura to... we started the second one and she is taking that and run with it. So, so I think it was the right call.

Lisa: Yeah. That... how have you, how have you, or, uh. How did, how does the business aspect of needing to monetize the work, how does that intersect with the creative control for you?

Gale: Well, luckily with, I think one of the great things about podcasting is that it's, we like to think about the the story or the interview or the content in the middle, almost like the magazine pages and then the ad, it just comes in between. So we don't give, we don't typically give any creative control to a brand. If someone wants to know what the content is... We're a small team. We honestly don't always know what's coming, what's coming up in a month anyway, so they have to just be... they have to feel aligned with what we put out there, what we have already put out there.

And now as She Explores, we have about 150 episodes. So you're able to look back and see whether the brand feels aligned with that or not. Um, and that also protects, that also protects the, the individuals who are part of it. Like, I wouldn't want someone to think that their story wasn't worthy of being sponsored or upheld or you know, that we're going to push it because we need to make money. It's like, no, we're, we're going to make what we're going to make and hopefully people will get behind it.

And I've had, I, I did have one learning experience early on in the show where a sponsor dropped out because I told them about the content and the fact that there was something sensitive in nature and they didn't want to take that risk. And, um. I think the conversation has changed overall, like in terms of like what brands want to talk about in the last few years. So I think that more brands are seeing the importance of aligning themselves with import- Uh, I keep using the word important, but like conversations that are happening that affect real people.

And so I don't think that that would happen. What happened in 2016, would happen now. Um, but. In terms of creativity, I think it's very much possible. And then the other fun thing about creating podcast ads when I think about just audio as the medium, is that there's a lot of room for creativity within those ads, too.

So you listen, if you listen to a lot of podcasts, a lot of people will just like read scripts and you can kind of tell if you listen to a lot of podcasts that a lot of points are being regurgitated across podcasts. And that's effective in terms of like if you're listening. You're probably... that’s sticky, like you're going to hear it all over again.

But we really try to make ads that are engaging and when we can, we bring in an ambassador of the brand and we do a little micro interview, or we'll take a recorder out and like if we have boots on that are meant for walking in the snow, like hear that crunch of the snow and make it a more three dimensional experience. And hopefully listeners are more likely to listen to it versus fast forward it. And it's also an opportunity for us to be creative in the process as well. Um, and I think... I feel similarly about any sponsored social media content or visuals because there is, again, a lot of repetition on social media and like how can you keep iterating on something and make it fun and also engage with your audience when it also happens to be sponsored. Um, that's a whole ‘nother level of problem solving.

Lisa: Yeah. Yeah. That is, that's a really unique and I think really cool approach to advertisements.

Gale: Yeah. Well, we all, well, we also, as a company, like I know a lot of podcasts, um, have Patreon or they ask, um, their listeners to help support them. And I think that that's great. Like that's one way of engaging and building community, but we made a deliberate choice to not ask, uh, so that... so that, and in doing so, the onus isn't on the listener. It's on us to, to figure out who are the right people to partner with to be able to continue creating - creating the podcast, creating the social media content, creating blog content to be able to keep going.

Lisa: Mm. That's thoughtful. It’s that thoughtful approach again.

Gale: [laughs]

Ad Break: Hey, Iris. / Hey, what? / Do you remember earlier this week when we were having a video meeting with our whole team and then my golden retriever puked up a pile of stomach bile and embarrassingly a pair of my underwear. / Yeah, I do remember that. / It was really weird, but I was, it got me thinking a lot about how a nice pair of underwear is… it's always there. You don't really feel it, but it really makes a positive, positive impact on your day. / Hm. That makes me think of a creative agency I know where it works behind the scenes to help pump out creative work for your brand and has a positive impact on your brand and your customers. / Yes. What kind of agency is it? / It's a creative agency called WHEELIE and you can check them out and they will help you level up yourself, your brand, and your community with meaningful and impactful creative work. / And like a good pair of underwear, most of the time they don't smell! like underwear for your brand.

Iris: So Lisa, speaking of ads, our listeners just had to listen to one of our very silly ad spots there a second ago, and just like Gale, we like to keep our ads fun and engaging as well.

Lisa: Yeah. We clearly don't plan them out that well, but we have a very good time recording. [laughs]

Iris: Yeah. Maybe we should have a script. We don't. We'll work on that.

Lisa: Yup. Yeah. The way she does it seems really good.

Iris: Yeah. I like that she manages to, um, keep creative control even when working with brands and telling like a meaningful story instead of just reading something off of a prompt, because those are the ones that I always skip through, but the ones that are fun or funny or tell an actual story, I just keep listening to and that's how they get you. That's how they work.

Lisa: Mmhmm.

Iris: Well. Should we stop taking a break and get back to Gale?

Lisa: Let's get back to Gale.

Lisa: I'm super curious how your self growth as a person - you've been doing, you've been doing she explorers for six years. Um, so how…

Gale: Oh my gosh.

Lisa: I know! And like you're not the same person you were six years ago. So I guess this is a personal question. How does your self growth intersect with your business over time?

Gale: You know, I would say that the healthy thing would be to say that it's not connected. You know, like that I have this independent life and in actual self-actualization that has nothing to do with quote unquote work. But that's not true. [laughs]

Lisa: No because you have to put so much of yourself into the type of work that you do. Like so much of your soul and self goes into that.

Gale: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Um, so I would say that. I, if I think back o..., so I'm 33 and I started thinking about She Explores when I was 27. Um, and now I never would have even thought about a media company, Ravel Media. So really that's one thing that I couldn't have necessarily pictured.

I think it at 27 I was, I didn't have a lot of confidence, but I felt like I had ideas. So I think there's been more of an alignment between like the confidence and the ideas and making them happen. Um, but... I've also, through, I think, the business side has helped me gain some of that confidence, but I also think that the podcast and having these conversations with really hundreds of people and getting to... I talked about being shy when I was younger and yeah, I broke through some of that, but the podcast has really helped me figure out how I feel about things. ‘Cause I, I'm not really a verbal person, as much as I've been blathering on this podcast. I am someone who, it takes me a while to figure out how I feel about things and sometimes it can feel like I'm at a remove. Like I can't really get to me. Like how do I really feel?

And hearing someone else talk through what they felt like as a kid or how they feel about climate change or what depression and anxiety means to them in their everyday life helps me figure out how I'm going to navigate that. And sometimes the, if we do, if we do like a themed episode, it's because I really am just trying to figure it out for myself. And it really helps for me to, you know, hear it come out of other people's mouths. I don't know. It sounds, sounds odd, but it's building these relationships and also just having these conversations has really helped me figure out the place that I want to have in, in the world.

Lisa: I love that. That's beautiful. Um, how are you going to take what you've learned and formulated your own ideas around, with Ravel. Um, what's your approach to kind of your own way of doing things as a, as a media company?

Gale: I think we, and this is something that we also as a team are always talking about and figuring out like how are we presenting ourselves. We really truly launched in January. We've been kind of operating as if we were one earlier, but we truly launched our website... It's funny when you get busy just making, making the podcast, doing the other like, it's like the work life gets in the way and then there's all these other bigger picture things that you have to work on and talk about.

But we always come back to being or striving to be as deeply empathetic as possible and really having that shine through in the podcast we put out or any of the content we put out that we are... yes, we can't totally understand someone else's lived experience, but we're going to really try our hardest and try to showcase people in the way that they want to be highlighted.

Um, and we're also always looking to let it be known that we don't have all the answers and that we're with, with the people listening or scrolling on social media in that we're questioning too. Like we're figuring it out. It's okay to make mistakes, and that's something that we're really trying to embody as a company. So that... I dunno, like we want people to see that we know, we know the outdoor and travel space, especially through the feminine perspective, but we don't want to make it seem like for, you know, like you said, our community, that we have it all figured out because we're still figuring things out. And I think that that leaves a door open for people to, to figure it out with us, if that makes sense.

Um, yeah. But. I'm definitely excited for the future and what it will mean for us and how we can continue to, to navigate, like, you know, we know now. I mean, we always knew, but like the world is changing really quickly. It feels like, especially salient right now.

Lisa: Yeah.

Gale: Um, and to continue to be both a... like, almost like a support system for the community, but also a support system for, for any of the brands that we're working with that like we can help them talk to who they want to talk to, if it's, you know, within the, the market that we're currently sitting in.

Lisa: Yeah. That's super collaborative and approachable and, and like you said, empathetic. So that seems like a beautiful combination for, um, yeah, a supportive community that also has, has a little bit of brand messaging attached to it.

Gale: Yeah, I know. It's, it's, yeah, it's a lot to balance.

Lisa: It is a lot to balance. How, how does that type A / type B balance that you have come into that? It seems super advantageous.

Gale: [laughs] The analytical and the creative side?

Lisa: Yeah!

Gale: Yeah. Um. I think it's just when it's hard is like, when do you turn one of them off? You know, like, I think that's like when anxiety comes in. Like if there's too much, too much analytical, then it's like no, focus on how does, how you want this, the feeling of this, like listen to your gut versus listen to the, the numbers side of things. Um, I think that it's... I don't know. I've never, I don't think I'm going to change. So it's just something that I'll always, always be kind of treading the line between the two. But I, I, for today, I'll see it as an advantage that it is something that helps, to be able to be strategic, but also to be able to listen to your heart.

Lisa: Yeah, that's a, I think that's a special combo.

Gale: Oh, thanks.

Lisa: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Is there anything that I didn't ask you that you would like to share with our listeners?

Gale: Yeah, I think, um, it's been, you know, in terms of creating content that is monetized during COVID-19 and during this whole pandemic, and reaching people… our primary... primary audience on both She Explores and our sister podcast Women on the Road is the United States, but we do reach a whole lot of other people in countries around the world. I actually recently did a podcast episode that focused on outdoor memories because I wanted to create a space to kind of grieve a little bit what we can't do right now if it's not possible.

Um, and several of those people who submitted were from the UK or India and there was another woman in South America. So it was really cool to hear where people are listening in from and what their experience is like. Um, but all that to say... It's been interesting navigating content, um, because there are these varying levels of how people are impacted by COVID-19 right now.

And we've had a lot of conversations as a, as a team, as to like, do we keep things going as we would? Like, do we just keep uplifting, awesome women? I mean, that's partially what I always want to do, but at the same time, like what's right for right now? Um, and I think it's been great to see big brands stepping up and creating, you know, sections of their blogs that are pandemic related or outside having the whole section that's all COVID-19. But then at the same time, people don't necessarily want all COVID-19 all the time. So it's been, um, I don't want to say it's been fun at all, but it has been something that pushed us all outside of our comfort zones in terms of how can we, how can we do this in a way that feels good to us? And it's really good, I think, to have times as a team to have to discuss, uh, and not work, you know, as much as we have our own skills and our own projects. And like, I work primarily on the podcast, on the She Explores podcast and Laura works primarily on the Women on the Road podcast. And, um, it's good to have those discussions to figure out what's going to be best for the people that we're we're serving, and also what's going to be in the best taste.

And we, so we did, in terms of like ads on the podcast we talked with, we shaped the language, so we made sure that it wasn't like “get outside and do it right now.” It's “whenever the time is right for that next adventure” or, you know, shaping, just shaping the language just enough so that everyone feels good about it. And then also that when you go back and listen to it, for, at least from an ad perspective, it's still going to make sense in a year, you know, weather depending on what our climate looks like.

So it's been, it's been uh, I, I'm gonna use the word interesting like a thousand times in this interview, but it's been, it's been, it's been a lot to navigate.

Lisa: Yeah. Thanks for sharing that and thanks for, uh, being vulnerable on the other side of the microphone than you're normally on.

Gale: [laughs] Yeah. Thank you. I appreciate it.

Iris: Thanks for being here, Gale. We loved having you on the show and making you join someone else's podcast instead of being on your own.

Lisa: Yeah. Thank you for all your thoughts and words and humor, and it's been really wonderful getting to know you in this capacity and hearing about your story and I hope that our audience got some good takeaways from this and, um, we'll see you next time.

Iris: Please leave us a review on iTunes if you enjoy the show or send it to a friend, it really helps us grow the show. With that, we will see you next week. Bye.

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