Shama Hyder Podcast Transcript
Shama Hyder joins host Brian Thomas on The Digital Executive Podcast.
[00:00:00] Brian Thomas: Welcome to Coruzant Technologies, home of The Digital Executive Podcast.
Welcome to The Digital Executive. Today’s guest is Shama Hyder. Shama Hyder is the founder and CEO of Zen Media, an international keynote speaker and bestselling author. Fast Company calls her a millennial master of the universe and a Zen Master of Marketing. She’s a Forbes and Inc. 30 Under 30 alum, and LinkedIn has called her a top voice in marketing four years in a row.
Shama was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by the White House and a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 35 by the United Nations. Zen Media is a PR and marketing agency serving tech driven B2B companies around the globe. which include Chase Business, Dowalla, ATB Ventures, Cox Communications, and more.
Shama has been a media correspondent for Fox Business, MSNBC, Bloomberg, and CNBC, and she’s one of the world’s leading experts on marketing and PR in the digital age.
Well, good afternoon, Shama. Welcome to the show.
[00:01:07] Shama Hyder: Thank you so much for having me, Brian.
[00:01:09] Brian Thomas: This is awesome. Finally get to meet you in person. I’ve followed you for quite some time as we talked about before we hit the record button. I’ve worked with close to 400 agencies globally and yours, I would say, is one of the foremost prominent agencies out there. And what I like about it is you are a multimedia person. So that’s just so awesome that we finally got to connect. So, thank you very kindly.
[00:01:32] Shama Hyder: And thank you so much for those kind words, Brian and it means so much to me, not just, from an ego perspective, which I think in my 20s, it would have been more of a thing, but just, I know how hard the team works, right?
Every, every day, in and out, often, in the background, just slacking away, zooming away. Pitching all the things that go into it. And so, you know, into building a brand, right? And so, when someone does say that, I take it as very high praise and I do pass it on to them. So thank you.
[00:02:00] Brian Thomas: You’re very welcome. And thanks again. And Shama we’re going to jump right into the questions here. Let’s get your story out there. You’ve got quite the career in marketing and PR obviously, right? You’re a visionary business strategist for time. LinkedIn top voice and marketing named top 10 keynote speakers in the world as well.
And now you’re the founder and CEO of Zen Media. Could you share with our audience the secret to your career growth and what inspires you?
[00:02:25] Shama Hyder: Oh goodness. So, I think the start of my career was a lot of people saying you’re crazy. This is not the future. And by that, I mean, I did my thesis on Twitter when it had 2000 users, Brian.
So super early days. And now it’s what X, the just the letter, right? The platform previously known as Twitter, ladies and gentlemen. And it was such early days, and people used to look at that and just say, what’s Twitter, right? Facebook is something for my kids. Just social media is, is a fad.
Kind of like the internet was supposed to be a fad, right? Podcasting was supposed to be a fad. All these things that are now so part and parcel of our life. And yeah, I think part of it has been, oh my goodness, a combination of things. But one, I think not being deterred by what people see right now.
And being able to have belief in what I see, right? And I think part of that is a very kind of experimental attitude, I would say towards life and trying things. When I started the company, I was so naive and young. I started the agency; I was 22 years old. And I had a lot of passion for marketing.
I understood like even, the digital space, right? Digital natives as they like to call it. But I didn’t know a thing about running a business. I had to learn that on the job if you will. So yeah, I think it’s been a combination, honestly, of naivete, willingness to experiment and try things, not being deterred by other people and what they see.
I don’t think that’s, whether that’s good or bad, it’s never really phased me. I’ve just always been single minded, single track. I see something, I believe in it, and go for it. If it doesn’t work out, so what? You try something else. I think that attitude, maybe for being an immigrant and coming here and having to assimilate into a different culture at a really young age.
Fueled that for me, like I got used to kids not understanding why I wore a petticoat to school Why I pronounced words a certain way and then I think eventually just learned not to care and do things my way Anyways, and then look I think anyone Who says that there’s no luck involved is just, is lying or not perhaps being honest with themselves because I don’t know any, I think it’s so easy to look back and say, ah, that’s how I can connect the dots.
Like that’s what success looks like. But I think when you’re in the throes of it it’s a very different experience. So, I always give luck its due. I think a lot of it. in life is right time, right place. And all I can do is be grateful for that.
[00:04:53] Brian Thomas: Absolutely. And I love you sharing that whole backstory there. Obviously, there is some luck involved, not going to lie. But as an entrepreneur, you know, this, there’s a lot of hard work and, you’re putting yourself in front of those opportunities or open doors because you’re knocking on those doors, but I appreciate that. I really, really do. And that helps our audience.
We have thousands, tens of thousands of listeners that are entrepreneurs as well. So, thank you. And so. We’re going to switch this next question here. You’re one of the most sought-after speakers and PR agencies in the world. And we talked a little bit about that before we hit the record button, but what makes you stand out from the rest of your competition in your opinion?
[00:05:28] Shama Hyder: Oh, goodness, Brian. So I think it’s really interesting because, Zen media doesn’t come from the PR world, right? Like It’s always funny to me that PR has been so distinctive for marketing when the lines are so blurred now. And so, I think the difference with Zen Media is that our ethos has always been in marketing.
We’re like a marketing first firm that leverages earned media to get messages out there, right? To create relevance, to create reach. But we are not like a traditional comms firm. And I tell people that it’s if you’re looking for a very straight up communications firms, there’s a ton out there. But our lens is so different that we’re just wired that way to think in terms of, like we, we call it sales enabled PR, right?
How can PR, how can you amplify that? How can you use earned media to drive leads and revenue? And the term sales enablement is like, it’s like a foreign language to someone from the communications or PR world. And our audience, like we try to tell people this too, is that. The world we serve today, the world everybody listening to this serves today is so dramatically different.
And people can shake their heads and say, Oh, no, but we’re still human beings. They say, Okay, yeah, but just our habits and what we are now accustomed to and how we make choices and how we buy and the definition of media. Brian, you have an illustrious career as a CTO, you’re an executive, you come from the tech space, but right before we hit record, we were talking about this and he said you are now an influencer, right?
You are, you are a media personality because I said, who, Brian, how have you worked with so many firms? Like, how would you know that? And you’re like, I get pitches from Europe, from the US. And your podcast. It’s a platform. It reaches people. So, I think even the definition of what is media has changed so much.
And so, it’s much more about finding those platforms, those individuals that have the ear and the trust of the audience that you’re trying to reach. And with our clients, we try to connect those dots. So, I think it’s just like a different genesis, right? We don’t come from the comms perspective, or the job is to make a press release look pretty or make sure it’s really about that kind of holistic understanding of.
How the digital space functions and who are the true influencers, whether they call themselves journalists or not?
[00:07:44] Brian Thomas: Thank you. And I appreciate you breaking that down. You’re right. There’s a lot of cookie cutter organizations, agencies out there that, , offer that 1 thing. But I appreciate the fact that you again explained everything as far as what your agency does.
And you’re a little bit different than the rest. And I’ve worked like you said, I’ve worked with quite a few 100 around the world. So, thank you. So. We are a technology publication platform podcast. I love tech. I love people more, but I always tell people that, but we like to ask every guest, regardless if they’re a technologist or not, if you’re leveraging any of that new and emerging technology.
And if not, maybe there’s a cool tool or app you might share with us today.
[00:08:21] Shama Hyder: Oh, Brian, I love technology. Right? So I’m fascinated by it. Me doing my thesis on Twitter when it had 2000 users wasn’t an accident. I’ve always loved technology. And I don’t need to talk about this. I don’t know if it’s ever come up in any of my past interviews, but, the high school I went to was a magnet program, and the magnet program was, the Academy of Media Arts and Technology, which now maybe doesn’t seem as, common, but, this was, I graduated oh three, so this was in the early nineties for the to be able to have access to that.
So yeah, I’m a huge fan. So, ways where we’re using that already, certainly with generative AI, right? I think that’s part and parcel. We’re already leveraging that Across the board. So, I’ll give you two examples there. And then we’re also working on some, creating some tools of our own that will help us serve our clients better.
I love where the world is going. So, one of the tools that I really like is called audio pen. io and it lets me ramble and it transcribes it into notes, but. a regular transcription tool, which is just here’s the transcript. No, this actually uses my voice and it like puts together a, a much more coherent version of what I was trying to say.
So, I feel like that’s made things easier for my team. It’s made it easier for me where I can just talk and it’s a good tool. And then we’ve been working and using 11 labs, which has been such a neat tool to bring some of our clients. Voice literally to life. We have a client that for the longest time, he’s a C suite mid-market B2B company.
So very much our bread and butter. And this guy’s great. He’s so smart. he’s got such interesting thoughts and opinions about the industry. And for the longest time, he’s wanted to start a podcast, right. But most C-Suite executives doesn’t have time or whatever, it’s just he’s not been able to really make that a priority.
And so, what we did with 11 Labs is we were able to take his voice, so just a little clip, and use the blog post that he’s already worked so closely with our content team and contributed his thought leadership on to bring that to life. So now he can have his podcast, right? He can have the audio experience version of it, at least.
And those are the things I’m fascinated by. We’ve got another project we’ll be launching here very soon that plays in the AI space and uses generative AI and the powers of chat GPT to really better server clients. I’ll put a little bit more technology backbone.
[00:10:49] Brian Thomas: Absolutely. The good part about this is these platforms. Like you mentioned, I think, audio pin dot IO. We’re given free plugs to all these platforms, which is great for them. But we appreciate it because we’re learning something new.
I think besides meeting somebody new every day, I’m actually learning about a new platform that’s been released and this last couple of years has just been outrageous as far as the proliferation of these applications. So, thank you again. That was perfect. Absolutely. Shama, last question we are going to ask you today.
Can you share something from your career experience that would be helpful for our audience and those looking to grow their career in either PR, marketing or entrepreneurship?
[00:11:29] Shama Hyder: Brian, my best advice, my hands down best advice to anybody who Wants a career right across the board my best advice for anybody who wants a career a thriving career is embrace building your brand build your personal brand and here is The trick to really embracing this because I find that the biggest reason people don’t build their brand is because so many of us were raised to be shy, or we hear things like pride has a fall, or, you want to be humble, and so we were literally taught growing up that you don’t toot your own horn, you sit there and you do your work, and maybe this advice worked in a different era, yeah I’m not sure.
I can tell you today, it’s very important for you to be able to showcase the things that you are working on. It’s crucial in fact to be able to share your story and here’s why so many people have this misconception that it’s selfish or it’s self-involved or I’m building personal branding right even the term is it’s all about me, but for me the shift.
And this is how I’ve always thought about it, and I was surprised to kind of learn that people didn’t already think about it this way, is that the more doors that you knock down, the more doors that you break down in your career. That’s that many doors that you can now hold open for other individuals.
The greater your platform, the more you can lend a hand. So imagine you’re on this giant stage and you got up there, right? And you’ve got that limelight. You might be like, I’m a little uncomfortable in the limelight. But guess what that allows you to do? That allows you to reach down your arm, your hand and pull other people up on that stage with you.
And that’s such a powerful thing. So yes, I would say that’s the best career advice I can give anyone is don’t just do the work because you might be great at your work, but share that, talk about that work, showcase those stories. And I see it happen all too often. I see executives. This, with such regularity, it’s crazy.
They’ve been working at the same corporation for 20, 30 years sometimes, and then they leave and they’re like, or they laid off or something happens. And it’s like, they’re starting from scratch because nobody knows who they, the individual are. Right. Or what role they played in certain things.
Cause they never shared that narrative. They were too busy with their head down working. So yeah, again, you’re kind of bringing it full circle, Brian, your podcast, like a podcast. You being able to share this, you’ve now created a platform where you can highlight others. Where you can be the change that you want to see in the world.
Whatever that looks like. Whether that’s inviting more women, right? In tech, to your show. It’s inviting people of color. Whatever it is. I think it’s very hard also. to be a good ally if you don’t have that strength within yourself to be able to offer someone. So I see it as a social good that I think every individual for their own purposes, for their career, for the benefit of society, honestly, right?
If you really look at this as an altruistic way to be able to create that platform, to have the ear, to be that thought leader, because it means you have the power now to lift others up.
[00:14:38] Brian Thomas: Absolutely. I love that. And for many years, same here, very, very humble. but I love to mentor people, people that are coming up in their careers, whether they were starting out, whether they were, male, female, whatever it was, I just, I poured my heart into that, but I was always humble and doing what I’m doing today.
Is so different. But when I realized just like you touched on, I can share that. Share those successes. Share your story like today with the rest of the world. I forget about being, humble and sitting in a corner because I know it’s not about me. It’s about helping the world. So that’s awesome.
Thank you for sharing.
[00:15:11] Shama Hyder: My pleasure. Brian. This was so fun.
[00:15:13] Brian Thomas: Absolutely. And it was my pleasure for having you on here, Shama. But I look forward to speaking with you real soon.
[00:15:20] Shama Hyder: I’d like that. Thanks so much.
[00:15:22] Brian Thomas: Bye for now.
Shama Hyder Podcast Transcript. Listen to the audio on the guest’s podcast page.