IAM1708 – CEO Leads Global Brand Focusing on Gender and Diversity in the Tech Industry

Podcast Interview with Kate Brodock

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”: It was great to hear Kate's story and what led her to get involved within her organization. We can often forget the multiple ways to become a CEO and impact organizations. It was great to hear how she focused on tech founders and create the resources to help them.

I AM CEO Handbook Volume 3 is HERE and it's FREE. Get your copy here: http://cbnation.co/iamceo3. Get the 100+ things that you can learn from 1600 business podcasts we recorded. Hear Gresh's story, learn the 16 business pillars from the podcast, find out about CBNation Architects and why you might be one and so much more. Did we mention it was FREE? Download it today! 

Previous Episode: https://iamceo.co/2018/08/10/ceo-leads-global-brand-focusing-on-gender-and-diversity-in-he-tech-industry/


The full transcription is only available to CBNation Library Members. Sign up today!

Kate Brodock Teaser 00:00

That benefit of having been around for over a decade, we're one of the strongest brands in sort of the gender and tech space. So I have been fortunate to be able to lean on that.

Intro 00:14

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of.

This is the I am CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:40

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and I appreciate you listening to this episode. If you've been listening this year, you know that we hit 1600 episodes at the beginning of this year. We're doing something a little bit different where we are repurposing our favorite episodes around certain categories, topics, or as I like to call them, business pillars that we think are going to be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, and business owners, and what I like to call the CB nation architects who are looking to level up their organizations.

This month we are focused on technology. We're a technology company that does dot, dot, dot. Technology is no longer an afterthought or something that you might do and is actually a core part of your business. If you are a real estate investor, you're using it. If you're a financial firm, if you're a cleaning company, an author, or speaker, you are using technology. If you are in any business, you are using technology, and if you're not, then you're probably going to be disrupted by an organization that is.

So this month we are going to look into purposing episodes that are around technology, whether that be firms or organizations that are actually using and investing in technology as a core part of their products and services, or potentially those individuals that are using and leveraging CEO hacks and CEO nuggets that center around technology and sharing ways that we can leverage it as well. Remember that you are a technology company that does dot dot dot. Sit back and enjoy this special episode of the I am CEO podcast.

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Kate Brodock of Women 2.0. Kate, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Kate Brodock 02:11

Thanks. I'm glad to be here.

Gresham Harkless 02:13

Awesome, awesome, awesome. What I wanted to do was just give you a little bit of information to Kate and what it is that she's doing. She is the CEO of Women 2.0, a global brand that focuses on gender and diversity in the tech industry through programs, products, and media.

Kate, are you ready to speak to the I am CEO community?

Kate Brodock 02:30

I am.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 02:32

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Well, the first question. I have is just to learn a little bit more about you and your background and what kind of put you in the position with your business now.

Kate Brodock 02:40

Great. So a little bit unique, I ended up starting Women 2.0 in what we affectionately call it's phase two. The company itself has been around for over a decade and I acquired its assets about two years ago. So the business side of it was completely shut down and then restarted. But I had the benefit of being able to actually acquire, and have an existing, very strong brand. And where I got to that place, I'd done quite a lot of work. First of all, in the tech startup space in general. I was in tech startups, judging, mentoring, a little bit of investing, that sort of thing. So really passionate about the startup space. And then I had also been doing a lot of work in gender, in tech, and entrepreneurship.

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I was in a nonprofit for a number of years and ran it for a while. So this was a really great opportunity to be able to combine those two sides of things that were structured as a for-profit for good. So part of what got me really excited was being able to take something like gender and tech, which is normally in the nonprofit space. Many of the organizations doing work in the space are under a nonprofit structure. I was really excited to be able to take that and see if we can actually make a sustainable actual for-profit company that has an impact focus. So that's essentially how I got to where I am now and we've been turning along and developing products and that sort of thing.

So yeah, that's the backstory.

Gresham Harkless04:20

Awesome, awesome, awesome. And what I wanted to do now is drill a little bit deeper into it. I know you mentioned that you had the digital assets and you acquired those, but you've been able to restart or implement the business aspects as well too.

So could you drill a little bit deeper into what exactly you guys do to serve your clients?

Kate Brodock 04:34

Yeah, so small backstory. For most of the history of Women 2.0, we were essentially a traditional events network. So 35 cities around the world, conferences, local events, that sort of thing. And that was the main business model. And for anybody who has done that as a business model, it is very difficult. That was largely shut down by the time I took over. We really wanted to flip some of this on its head and think about new ways that we could tackle some of these issues. And so we have two main lines of the company on the back end and it's all you approach the company essentially through the media property.

That's our large public facing, where we engage the most with our audience initially. And then that drives into one arm of what we do really deals with gender in tech. We do a lot of work with female founders, a lot of work with women advancement internally in companies, that sort of thing. Then we have a diversity and inclusion arm. We found pretty quickly that once you start dealing with gender issues, you're pretty immediately dealing with several other areas of just general diversity inclusion, race, geography, anything in that realm. So we opened that arm about six months ago.

We have several different ways to work with us. We have some services, so we have workshops, courses, training, and consulting, and then we do have several products. We have a subscription product in D&I( Diversity inclusion) that is essentially an educational product. Then we are developing a product D&I in a box for small to medium-sized businesses that is in development right now. So we have a good mix of products and services which is how we do the deep-level work that we want to be doing with companies and really changing workplaces in the industry.

Gresham Harkless 06:32

Awesome. But I wanted to ask you a little bit more about the organization itself. What are some of the things that you feel are maybe the secret sauce or things that make you guys unique?

Kate Brodock :06:39

Well, I think a couple of things. First of all, we do again, have the benefit of having been around for over a decade. We're one of the strongest brands in sort of the gender and tech space. I have been fortunate to be able to lean on that from a differentiation standpoint. One of our big things, especially in the diversity and inclusion space is that we have a pretty strong focus on earlier-stage companies. I think a lot of the focus right now in that area is on larger companies, corporate, that type of thing. Our philosophy has always been, if we can focus on essentially the next generation of large tech companies and make an impact now while they're growing, building teams and creating culture, we're gonna have a bigger, long-term impact for the future of tech.

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So we try to put a lot of action. We drill right down when we're dealing with female founders. It is drilled right down to access money. And then lastly, the big thing we also think about is the issue of access. So if you aren't in our world, this is the hotbed, but if you aren't in Silicon Valley and you don't have access to a pitch competition or an accelerator program or DNI consultant, we wanna make sure that you can have that access. So a lot of what we're doing is virtualization and figuring out how we can get some of that online action or access going. For a lot of the people who have been underserved by many of these programs in the past decade.

Gresham Harkless 08:21

Awesome, awesome, awesome. And now what I wanted to do was switch gears a little bit and hear what I call a CEO hack.

And this might be an app or a book or something that you lean on or lean-to that you use on a regular, everyday basis that makes you effective and efficient as a CEO.

Kate Brodock 08:38

Yeah, I'll answer this in two ways really quickly. The first one is because this isn't a normal course of action for small business owners, but I spent the resources on an executive coach, and specifically a startup coach, a startup founder coach. And I thought that was just a fantastic addition to my toolkit. It's something that normally would've been put off for years or never. I knew that if I set myself up the best that I could be as CEO, the company would benefit if I did that. So I really felt like the investment in myself was an investment in the company.

Secondly, just on a tactical level, for me it's about filling in the holes that I know that I have. I don't try to know how to do everything. I know where my weaknesses are and I've built around those weaknesses to the best of my capabilities, and then I delegate further. But just as an example, I am very not detail-oriented. So I have a system in place for email management, for response time, for calendaring, for time blocking, that sort of thing. And that helps me very much. I've sort of forced structure on something that would naturally not be structured. So I'm a huge fan of time-blocking and prioritizing my quote to-do lists which can be the death of any CEO pretty easily.

Gresham Harkless 10:15

Yes. So now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget, which might be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice you might have for an entrepreneur or a business owner.

Kate Brodock 10:22

Yes. One of them I would lean on is that consideration of a startup coach or a founder coach, or an executive coach, whatever you wanna think about. It's becoming a little bit more popular in the tech startup space now to be getting coaches, and I do think it's a valuable time to be thinking about that. The reality is that that's not in everybody's budget.

So for me, golden nugget I'd probably pull from some of the things that I learned from the process, but one golden nugget that I've really developed over the past year is the idea of being very comfortable with the delegation and developing a relationship with the people that you're delegating to the point where trust is really that core piece holding it together. If you can trust the people, that you are delegating to, it makes that delegation a lot easier, and that it fights things like micromanagement. It fights things like keeping too much on your plate. It really does allow for a lot more freedom on your own schedule. So that's one of the things I've gotten. I've spent a lot of time thinking and executing on that in the past year or so.

Gresham Harkless 11:46

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Well, one of my favorite questions, especially loving to hear your perspective is what does it really mean to you to be a CEO?

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Kate Brodock 11:53

Yes. So for me, I am a CEO who tries to have a good combination. I am a big team person, and so I am largely focused on how I can empower my team enough while still making sure that decisions from the top are being made and are effective and that can be a really hard line to draw. You are either maybe a bit too democratic sometimes, or maybe not enough. So finding that middle ground where you're really giving the team enough tools, enough resources, enough of your time to be able to make killer decisions themselves and really impact the bottom line while still remaining, I guess in control has been a big area of focus for me, I'd say in the past year,

This is my first time actually running a company. I've been in executive positions several times in startups, so I've been close, if you will, so really developing that team aspect of it, especially when it's a small team and it means something to me. I care a lot about the people that I work with and who work for me and being able to care deeply and still move the company along in a very efficient and effective way, I think is, one of my core jobs.

Gresham Harkless 13:30

Absolutely. I love that. I think a lot of people when they think about businesses, they forget that they are made up of people. And being a leader, of course, as CEO consists of a lot of being able to interact and lead and manage those people and those personalities and everything that comes with that.

So I think that's an awesome definition.

Kate Brodock 13:47


Gresham Harkless 13:48

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Well, what I wanted to do was just pass you the mic so to speak, to see if there was anything additional you want to let us know about Women 2.0, or any words of wisdom or piece of advice that you might have for us, and then also how people can get hold of you.

Kate Brodock 14:00

Wonderful. Well, Women 2.0, definitely check us out. It's just women2.com. Again, you can interact with us both on the gender side and also on the workplace side. That's our big D&I focus, is we really are committed to making really balanced and inclusive workplaces. And you can reach me pretty easy. It's kate@women2.com. Then, just not really advice, but a book that I just finished reading, Radical Candor by Kimberly Scott was awesome for me. It was about having that deep connection to the people that you work with and also being able to be very direct and very candid with people.

I am the type of person at my core who as I mentioned, I like people, and sometimes that has held me back from being direct and handed and talking about some of the tough issues, which is what you need to do as a CEO. That is part of your job, is that you're gonna have to deal with the crap and you're gonna have to address the crap. And so really being able to put that into a framework thought process was valuable for me. That's a book that I would recommend to everybody. It's, again, Radical Candor, and that's probably what I would leave with. I try to be a very compassionate CEO and I hope others bring that into their own view of leadership.

It's been meaningful for me and I think it makes a difference. So that's probably what I'd leave with.

Gresham Harkless 15:41

Awesome. Well, I truly appreciate you Kate, for all you're doing, and we'll make sure to have those links in the show notes just in case anybody wants to follow up. And I hope you have a great rest of the day.

Kate Brodock 15:50

Thank you, you too.

Outro 15:52

Thank you for listening to the I am CEO podcast, powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co. I am CEO is not just a phrase. It's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts, subscribe and leave us a five-star rating.

Grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I am CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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