Ep 24: Beth Castleberry: Building Your Marketing House

This is a transcript of Erica Mills Barnhart’s interview with Beth Castleberry on the Marketing for Good podcast. You can listen to the episode here and listen to more episodes on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you enjoy listening to podcasts. Enjoy!

KEY WORDS

people, fundraising, marketing, mission, nonprofit, thinking, invitation, grounbreaking

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Welcome, everyone, to the marketing for good podcast. If you’re new here, I’m so so glad you’re joining us, if you’re returning thanks for coming back. I have a wonderful guest today, Beth Castleberry, who I will introduce in a moment before we begin a reminder if you or your team they’re not mutually exclusive, but sometimes are, are feeling a little like low on inspiration or motivation as it comes to your marketing your fundraising, messaging, anything like that, it turns out I tire of a lot of things but but I never tire of talking to people about nonprofit marketing. So let me know, get in touch, if I can help for sure. And I do coaching I came to realize that people didn’t realize that that I still do coaching I do I love it, love it, love it. It’s like part cheerleading part therapy part like strategy. So anyway, if that sounds good to you go to claxonmarketing.com/coaching book a time and we will make that happen. Now to our guest, Beth Castleberry. Beth is a native of the Seattle area, which for those of you who are not familiar with Seattle is quite rare. That is worth noting, I want to come back to that. She has served in the nonprofit sector for more than 20 years. Today Beth serves as the Chief Development Officer at Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center. Previously, she spent 11 years fundraising for public libraries and held leadership positions in development and the arts, higher education and with a social impact investor. Beth is past president of AFP Advancement Northwest. She was the Founding Board President for the Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation, where she crossed paths, just fun fact, where she crossed paths with Maria Ross, a former guest on this podcast. So that was just fun to learn. And she currently serves on the Campaign Committee for Seattle Girl School. Welcome to the show, Beth.

Beth Castleberry 

Thank you, Erica.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Super fun that you’re here.

Beth Castleberry 

I’m delighted.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

I always start with backstory. I mean, you’ve listened to the podcast. So thank you. So you know that like I always ask people kind of like, what was your path to get here? Partially just because I find it really fascinating. I hope the listeners do too people have commented like, you know, it’s kind of interesting does it relate directly to nonprofit marketing? No. But it’s interesting. And clearly, you’ve done a whole bunch of interesting things. So you’re a Seattle native?

Beth Castleberry 

Yes.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Let’s start there, born and bred, super unusual. And then you stayed.

Beth Castleberry 

I did. So I do have a big asterix next to my native status in that my parents who are from here, Tacoma kids, both of them, graduated from, my dad from Bellarmine, my mother from Aquinas, married, went to the University of Washington, and then were drafted and moved to Georgia. So I was born in Augusta, Georgia at an army base there. And then we migrated back to the Northwest. So, I still consider myself a native, albeit my actual place of origin, place of birth, my place of birth is a little bit different. But definitely, you know, raised here, all my family and friends are here and was first introduced to fundraising here when I was a student at Washington State University, working in the Alumni Association. And at that time, WSU had really kind of the leading edge tele-funding program Call-A-Coug.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Cougars, it’s the Washington State Cougars for listeners who aren’t familiar with the area, so Call-A-Coug, love it.

Beth Castleberry 

High affinity in the alumni base. So it was a very successful, groundbreaking early outreach to like, hey, we could call our alumni with students and students could relate their experience and because Washington State University is located in very small town in Pullman, we quickly realized that it didn’t really matter that this alumni had graduated maybe 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago, they can very much relate to the campus experience that the student was having today.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Oh, that’s interesting.

Beth Castleberry 

And you know, I don’t I, I no longer get calls from Call-A-Coug. They’ve kind of moved on from that outreach. But, you know, I found it to be true when I was in alum as well, you know, I really did want to ground myself and kind of watch what’s going on in the campus today. And, and then specifically, of course, they would try to match students who were studying the same things that you had graduated in. So I’m a graduate of the School of Hospitality and Business Management. So like a good grad, I ended up going to work for a hotel chain in Los Angeles. And it was very glamorous it was actually exactly what a gal who grew up in rural Western Washington and who went to school in rural Eastern Washington would think Hollywood was.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

That’s fun.

Beth Castleberry 

It was really fun. I mean, it we because the I was working at the Beverly Hilton. So we had a lot of award shows, we had the Golden Globes, we had the Directors Guild, we had, you know, the Emmy Award voting was my was one of my clients. So I got to go to the Emmy Awards and be a seat filler at some awards that happened.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

You were a seat filler?

Beth Castleberry 

Yes.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Okay. Well, who was your favorite famous person that you met? Or one of them?

Beth Castleberry 

You know, one of the famous favorite people I met was Sean Connery. I will tell you, I mean, this was in the 90s. And he was already, you know, a distinguished gentleman, shall we say? But his physical presence is pretty daunting. It, he just has this charisma that jumps out at you. And then the same was true of Iman. She was the model, creator of David Bowie.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Yes. David Bowie’s wife.

Beth Castleberry 

And I saw her in the, in the ladies room when we were at an event together. And I, I just kept looking in the mirror really looking at her, but I was, she just glows. She’s, I mean, this was, you know, an event where there were lots of movie stars in line. And, and yet, even amongst this amazing group of beautiful women who were all, you know, very, extremely quaffed and put together, she’s still just jumped off the page, and she was, just jumped out of the room. She was beautiful. So it’s kind of fun.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Okay, so you have your glitzy Beverly Hills experience. And then how do you make your way back to fundraising in Seattle?

Beth Castleberry 

Yes. Well, you know, I’ve come to believe that all of us in the Pacific Northwest are a little like the salmon. We all start here. We go away, we come back. And so when I when I was in Los Angeles, and this is really fun, but this doesn’t feel like real life. And I’m eventually going to get back to Seattle. And when I come back to Seattle, I think I’ll look for a job in fundraising, being kind of the littlest fish in the in the food chain at the Beverly Hilton. Most of my clients were nonprofit clients. So I would have Dennison College reunion or the MS Society annual meeting. And I found that I really enjoyed reconnecting with these nonprofits. And I thought, you know, planning an event on the hotel side, and planning an event on the nonprofit side can’t be all that different. So within a year of coming back in Seattle, I’ve landed at the Seattle Symphony in the campaign to build Benaroya Hall, which is the performing venue for the Seattle Symphony. And worked with an extraordinary group of leaders who have gone on to just do amazing things. I was just making a note before we jumped on this of where everyone had landed. And Jeb Ricard, who was the Executive Director that time is now the Director at the Kennedy Center. You know, Bernie Griffin, who was the Director of the annual fund at that time is now the Director of the Fifth Avenue Performing Arts in Seattle. You know, Betsy Kern, who was my immediate boss was head honcho at the Seattle Parks. I mean, it’s just this extraordinary roster of dynamic and thoughtful and driven and compassionate leaders. And I thought, all right, this fundraising things for me, so I mean, I was all in. So that was at the Seattle Symphony. And then from there, I went to my first library gig, which was Seattle Public Library, where I spent five years later, I would spend six years at the King County Library System where you and I had a chance to work together. Then I spent a little bit of time or a period of time, seven years with Global Partnerships, who evolved from very much a family founded funded micro lender to what they are today, which is an extraordinary impact first investment organization that really helps people living in poverty, find opportunity. So right now, here I am. Coming up in my first year anniversary at Fred Hutch. We call it Fred Hutch.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

I was wondering about that. So it used to be Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center and now it’s just Fred Hutch?

Beth Castleberry 

Now it’s just Fred Hutch. So you know, part of that was actually very intentional pre COVID. But Fred Hutch has always had a big piece of business, if you will, in viral research. And so much of that had to do with the fact that when we pioneered bone marrow transplants, transplant patients would survive the transplant, and then the first flu season that would come along, they would pass from the flu, right? So from that they really started a viral enterprise to figure out how do we cure viruses, and then as HIV came along, our working in viruses grew. And then we’ve actually had some amazing scientists join the faculty in the last decade or more and really pioneer the HPV vaccine. And then here, we were ready, and did a lot of the early tracking and testing with COVID because we already had the Seattle Flu Network up and going. So we were tracking the spread of the flu at the same time that the Coronavirus hit. So we have a huge enterprise actually now of everything from the tracking and the tracing to I think there’s five vaccine trials that are active at the Hutch right now. And amazing amount of work. So.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Wow, I did not I did not realize that. Okay, so that’s super helpful.

Beth Castleberry 

It’s really, so for many reasons, but certainly that is one every day I’m so grateful to be at the Hutch. And it’s just been a really extraordinary year in the world.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Yeah. What a first year.

Beth Castleberry 

Yes. Yes.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

So Fred Hutch is a big enterprise. So for listeners, can you give a sense of like the bigness?

Beth Castleberry 

Yes, though, you know, for if you want to look at, for instance, just fundraising, our annual fundraising goal, annual goal, not campaign goal, not being in a campaign is about 80 to 90 million. And that’s on an average year. Yes, a lot. And so, you know, this this last year, we got over 80, which was extraordinary. This year, I think we’re going to be a little less, but you know, we’re still really excited about that. And we on the individual side, we’ll probably raise about $40 million through our annual fund, through our major gifts effort, and then through plan gifts. And that’s about a team of about 25 people will be-

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Okay, that’s helpful for scale.

Beth Castleberry 

And that’s gifts in the door this year. So there, they may be multiple year commitments, but the actual cash that will come in.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Okay. So you’re on a cash basis rather than accrual.

Beth Castleberry 

We do do accrual, but cash is king as they say.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Alright. And you have like, I mean, Fred Hutch has multiple lines of business. I’m assuming a lot of research funding and all the rest of it.

Beth Castleberry 

Yeah, we have national international grants. Yes.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

I wanted to sort of get that in listeners, minds and viewers minds. Because with I mean, this is always true that there is kind of, I would say, have a fuzzy line. This is like an ongoing conversation in the nonprofit sector, right. Like, what’s the difference between marketing and fundraising? And, and then I want to go into like marketing, when we hear the word we most people are like, oh, external marketing. But there’s this whole part that is internal marketing. So let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s start with how do you see as a fundraiser, what do you view the role of marketing to be?

Beth Castleberry 

I view the role of marketing, as the invitation. And the invitation can be meeting someone who is what is Fred Hutch? I’ve never heard of it, just generating some awareness. It could also be, why would Fred Hutch be of interest to me? So how does this relate? Oh, do you study viruses? I didn’t know that. Oh, you know, I didn’t recognize that you do ongoing trials. I thought it was something different. Maybe it was just research. So I think it can be the invitation. And fundraising is one of the actions that can come from that invitation. So in listening to your podcast, I was listening to one where you were talking about calls to action. And initially I was thinking about well, you know, the difference is marketing is the invitation and fundraising is call to action. But the reality is, I think, or at least for me, I think marketing is the invitation and it may include a call to action. The difference for me is that fundraising is also about the impact the donor wants to have versus the invitation that the organization is offering. The fundraising side is hopefully the donor is also offering, what impact they want that gift to have.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

So marketing is like the kind of like the getting folks into the door, the invitation to sort of like, join and come inside. And then they could go to multiple rooms within the home or the organization, fundraising being one of those rooms.

Beth Castleberry 

Yes. Could be, they could become a really informed advocate, they can become a volunteer, they could become a staff member, marketing can result in a lot of wonderful outcomes and a philanthropic gift might be one of them.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

And then let’s just tie here, just I don’t know if any listeners are thinking or wondering this, but my brain then goes to like, okay, so then what’s the difference between marketing and branding? And my take would be that, you know, branding, let’s just stick with the house example. Because it’s working for me for the moment, I hope for others, you know, that’s like, what kind of house are you going to have? Are you going to have a mid century modern? Are you going to have a colonial as a, you know, what’s it going to be? So it’s sort of like those, those external things. But here’s the important kind of thing I want to point I want to make is, that informs everything that’s inside too, right. So we’ve all experienced, like, you’ve walked in, walk into a house that from the outside, you’re like, oh, it’s gonna be like this and you walk in, you’re like, I’m sorry what? You know, why is there an anti hutch in the middle of this ultra modern home? And we’ve also experienced, like, continuity of, you know, from the outside to the inside to everything. So, you know, these things are all related, obviously. So I just think it’s really important to like, call out how they’re related, yet, they all have their individual distinct roles. So okay, let’s go into because you do work at this, like big enterprise. Now. So how much and what does it look like for you to kind of do fundraising and marketing internally, when they’re already in there? They’ve already accepted the offer. So is there a role for marketing internally in a place like Fred Hutch?

Beth Castleberry 

Absolutely. And I think there, there are always is in, you know, one of the things that I borrowed from the CL Girls School, who I think, was masterful in setting up their charter, I’m not a parent, part of their charter is that at least 40% of their board members will be non parents, because they actually want it to be larger than, well, Spanish works really well for my daughter so I would like everyone to have Spanish, they really want it to be much more global and larger than any one individual child, what are we doing? So one of the things that they did, and I was introduced to as a board member who was a non parent is they had a mission moment. And a lot of organizations do this, but they really baked it into the DNA that every meeting, we would have a mission moment and whether it was a student, whether it was a faculty member, whether it was a parent, but someone talked about why this organization was important to them. So they would read the mission statement, which they also have on their table tents, which I’ve seen done before, but their mission is so delightful that it really works. And they would have someone talk about why they came to the organization and why they stayed. And we folded that into our meetings at Fred Hutch as well. And we just recently did a survey about how effective our meetings are, especially in remote work, we found that to be really important. And the mission moment came up as the number one aspect of our meetings that people really connected to it. A) It was a great way to learn about our colleagues. But B) it just affirmed that for most of us, cancer is very personal. And we can forget that we can forget why we’re here, what difference it makes whose lives are at stake, what are we doing, so if I think grounding in the mission on a on a daily basis, or weekly basis is really key. And helps some of the distractions just fall away. So I think that that’s really, really helpful. And it also is really core in that branding or orienting on the inside is for people to also appreciate what methodologies we’re going to employ to hit our goal. So you know, if there was someone who said, gosh, you know, I really care about cancer, but my mission is going to be help people whose kids are in treatment right now. Like that’s really what I want to do is I want to give relief to those families. That is tremendous. That is not what Fred Hutch does. So making sure there’s both alignment around the mission, and how are we going to go about fulfilling that mission? Otherwise, I think you set yourself up for for a lot of friction and a lot of tension because people feel like, this is what I want to do. Why aren’t we doing it?

Erica Mills Barnhart 

And an instance like that, do you guide them to someplace that is doing it? I assume there’s some education where you say, that’s, that’s wonderful, that’s, that’s not what we do and here’s another place you would think of?

Beth Castleberry 

Exactly.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Yeah. Okay. And I can imagine some listeners that work for smaller organizations were like, well, that’s nice for you, Fred Hutch with millions of bucks. I mean, it’s tough. You know, and I think the smaller your budget is, and particularly right now, with COVID, and everything else that’s happening, we, you know, we know how much organizations are struggling, actually, you know, my capacity at University of Washington, we just got we just closed a survey last week about the impact of COVID on nonprofits in Washington State. Total, not surprising, out of that was just, you know, how much it’s impacted fundraising roles. So so we’ll see, we’ll see what that shifts, but um, you know, I think I think it’s tough to turn down money.

Beth Castleberry 

It really is. And I think, you know, one of the funny experiences I had in my years of libraries, was that whenever I told someone I worked at the library, they would immediately say, oh I love the library. And then they would say, do people still use the library? On a dime, you know, just the exact same two sentences would come out of their mouth. And, you know, 10,000 people a day I think it is, or is it is it a month, 10,000 people a month, sign up for a library card, at the King County Library System. And it’s really our privilege that we can of step back and say do people still use the library? And people were often, you know, nostalgic about the library, they wanted the library to be just about books, and they wanted it to be hardback books, or at least soft back books, so that they could go in and physically check out because that’s how we remember using the library. And we would have to talk about like the library, the busiest library branch is its online database, and why it is so important that we fund flexible dollars. So the library right now is offering job placement services, is offering new online story times for families who are housebound, is offering you know, citizenship classes for those who want to become American citizens, and all of the other things that the library would do, and kind of why their nostalgia for funding books is important. And the end that they wanted to see through that was informed citizenry would only happen if they can broadened their vision. And sometimes it worked, and most times it worked, but not always, you know, sometimes people are like, no, this is what I want to fund. Trying to, that’s why it’s fun to raising versus the marketing. Like we can tell them what we’re doing and they may not accept that invitation to support it.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

The marketing has gotten them there, though, into the library back as it were. Yeah, that’s what it was interesting in the work that we did together at King County Library System, which is the King County Library System is the largest in the country?

Beth Castleberry 

The fourth largest.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Fourth largest. It’s big, though, I mean, huge, huge. And the online piece of it, prior to COVID was a really big part of what that library system did. And that was, you know, that was eye opening, like I kind of knew, but just the sense of breath, which of course, you know, from branding and marketing messaging perspective was interesting to kind of navigate. It was like how much in the mission statement do you talk about books, when books are just at this point, kind of an example of how you access information, and you know, what, and then what does information do for you and, and, and all of that. So I want to go back, though, to this mission moment, which I agree isn’t necessarily a new idea. But I think it’s really, I think it’s interesting, how much of an impact that that’s had for folks at someplace like Fred Hutch, which if we take a step back, I could see makes sense, because so many folks are I mean, it’s big, right? So it’s like in it’s administrators and researchers and scientists and you know, lots of folks, but I actually in every single instance where I’ve worked with an organization and they and they start doing that it’s just huge. And then I’m thinking particularly a board, you know, boards of directors who come out and about in the world in between those board meetings. So for listeners, if you’re not doing the mission moment in your board meetings, and staff meetings, you know, it’s definitely something to add and doesn’t have to be like big or onerous, it lovely. I see no downside to mission moment.

Beth Castleberry 

One of the great things I think this meeting virtually has given us is these different tools in which people can respond. So one of the facilitators that I’ve really appreciated, has has done this work where, you know, he’ll ask a question about, you know, what, what piece of the mission do you feel most connected to you today? Or what is inspiring you about our work today? Or who’s a researcher whose work you admire? Think about it either, write, he, he really encouraged you to take a physical implement, and write it down, because there’s so little of that, or once you’ve written it down, and if you have written it down, rather, or type it into the chat, but don’t push, send, don’t push send and then everybody push send at once and, and you really do get this cascade this waterfall of just wonderful attributes and why people are there and why they’re connected. And it allows for people who are on that continuum of introvert and extrovert to kind of share equally which has been just great. And the other thing I think, has been really key is that, you know, in these, this new world that we’re in, we’ve had a lot of shining stars come forward that maybe wouldn’t have, you know, one of our more introverted, quieter scientists is a guy named Trevor Bedford, and he has become like this Twitter superstar. He was one of the earliest that was tracking, you know, the pandemic and flattening the curve and he had all these amazing graphics about what would happen if we did this, and what would happen if we did that. And, and, you know, you can follow him on Twitter, he will say that one of our internal meetings I thought was hysterical, you know, he was having a very thoughtful dialogue with our president director about, you know, what we could expect in the next couple months and this was way back in March. And Trevor’s cat would walk in front of the camera. And so in the chat, you see all of these wonderful comments about like, what’s your cat’s name, Trevor, say hi to the cat. And he just kept going, you know, he was a scientist, he was not going to be dissuaded. And it was, it was great, though, you know, he was there because he was, you know, an industry expert. He wasn’t there to chat about his kitty cat. But it was it made him human in that moment, and it was really good fun.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Yeah, those moments are, those moments are good. So it sounds, it sounds like also, you get internal alignment through this reminder of the mission moment, or you know, who’s inspiring you internally and, you know, that’s so helpful, because then when you go to do external marketing, and then fundraising, just knowing that everyone’s in alignment is so important, because otherwise it causes, you know, kind of, it can cause a little bit of mayhem, when you get some further along.

Beth Castleberry 

Yeah, and I think it’s also really key to invite people to realize how their role connects to it to a researcher, it’s pretty easy, it’s pretty straightforward. So for someone who works in the business office, and is processing invoices, it might be a little harder. And so one of the things that I think is really key is to look at that and say, okay, but if our financials are not in order, when we go to apply for a grant, we may be turned down, no matter how brilliant the science is, or when we show it and report to a foundation, and we ask them for their support, if they say, gosh, you know, we’re just looking at your website, and this doesn’t line up, or we looked at your 990 and we see these errors, we’re not going to have confidence. So I think making sure that people can see, oh, my role in accounting, is to provide accurate financials, because without those accurate financials, we’re not going to have this organization that we’re all so proud of.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Yeah, yeah. And also, I mean, I love that, that like accounting all the way to getting the grants, because oftentimes, those can be pretty siloed. Yeah, yeah, super important, you know, up, down, sideways, in and out, to get that alignment going on. So aside from the obvious that we are all working from home, all sheltered in place during a global pandemic. I want to transition talk about trends a little bit. It’s, I mean, it’s such an interesting time to be looking at trends and, and what’s happening and, you know, trying to like figure out like is that a trend, or is that just something that Suzy was doing last week? I don’t know. Um, but what, what trends are you seeing that you think nonprofits should be paying attention to? I know, you’re, you’re particularly intrigued. And actually now this makes more sense about the now that I know the backs this is why as for the backstory, knowing that you were in hospitality at that fancy hotel, particularly intrigued with the idea that the pandemic, that there’s a relationship between the pandemic and the anti-racist and Black Lives Matter movements, and how that’s changed the way celebrities are using their influence. Now audiences are, you know, interested in hearing more from experts and all that’s so. Okay, so let’s start there.

Beth Castleberry 

Yes. So I’ve been noticing this and then when I was reflecting I thought I should just make sure that I’m just not alone in this

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Sure. It’s like, a thing thing and not just a bad thing.

Beth Castleberry 

Yes, exactly. Yes. So I, as we all do, you know, started searching and realizing that yes, there there has been this coalescence, if you will, around, really wanting to hear from experts. And there was a great piece in The New York Times a couple months ago that talked about and it tied it back to our most basic needs around security. And the idea that in these moments, we feel most safe and secure when we know we are listening to experts in their field, and that they have no other agenda, other than to impart their information. And that they will acknowledge if they don’t know. And so you know, I think in in, you know, the United States, we look at Dr. Fauci and his credibility rate is, you know, I think high 80s last I checked, there’s a Dr. Fauci in for in Germany. There’s a Dr. Fauci in Italy, there’s a Dr. Fauci in Japan, whatever their expert biologist or epidemiologist is, is having those same press conferences, and they’re becoming household names, you know, that everyone knows who Dr. Fauci is, now, where six months ago, I don’t think any of us had ever heard of Dr.Fauci. And now they sell t shirts and candles, and you know, stickers with his head, candles-

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Candles?

Beth Castleberry 

 Yes, at least I know a person with-

Erica Mills Barnhart 

That’s super creepy. I’m melting.

Beth Castleberry 

And so it was fascinating to see, at the same time, they were kind of, you know, gaining fame and presence. We also saw this diminished kind of role of people who used to be on the cover of kind of People Magazine and Us Weekly and, and more every day people becoming our faces of celebrity, and that we have this need for connecting that is happening on a very genuine level with people and this empathy that I’m sure that you and Maria talked about, that people really want to know, like, what, what’s going on for other people who are experiencing this? What can I expect? And what I’ve noticed is that celebrities are using their platforms to introduce either new people they feel like should be lifted up, you know, whether it’s a black lives matter movement or someone in the health profession, and they’re getting out of the way. So there was the Pass the Mic Campaign that One Campaign did where you know, Julia Roberts was one who she gave over her social media channels to Dr. Fauci for I think it was a week and he would, you know, post pictures of himself on Instagram washing his hands and, and you know what he was tweet about what he was doing throughout the day. And then Joel McHale, local Seattle’s love, had started doing some work with Fred Hutch years ago. But then in this pandemic, started using a platform of Facebook Live to host conversations with a Fred Hutch researcher all about COVID. And he is obviously well read when he is prepared for those interviews. He knows what he’s talking about. He never comes on and says, this is Joel McHale telling you, he sets it up so he’s going to have this conversation with Josh Schiffer who’s the expert and field some questions and in response to what he sees in his chat and the Facebook Live and is using that platform versus you know, taking his own stance on it. Just opening the door for an expert to come through.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Yeah, you know, I, I think a lot about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. And really, it becomes, it becomes relevant, you know, moments like this. I do actually take a little umbrage with the idea that on the hierarchy It’s like basic physical needs or you know, at the bottom food shelter, not that I disagree with that. I just happen to believe that in our, that we have evolved to a certain place where psychological and I think this is playing out where we’re seeing, like psychological needs and physical needs are kind of on par at this point. Like, if you don’t feel safe psychologically, you’re not gonna, you know, it’s hard to think about some other things. So, you know, I just offer if he was still around, maybe a little bit, a little adjusting of that. But that, you know, we’re down here like if we stick with it, we’re not up here in like self actualization, you know, even though some of us have a lot of time, more time than we’re used to having. So you may be doing like some other activities. But the other thing I’m definitely you know, hearing from a lot of people is that, you know, the impact, the cumulative impact of just the weirdness and how stressed everybody is, and that, you know, people’s ability to access, any length of concentration is just shot, and then people feel guilty about it. So I guess I mentioned in here to say, if this is happening for you, there’s nothing, don’t feel guilty. There’s nothing you can do about that, like you are human, that is the most normal thing to be happening right now. But the you know, and what breaks my heart is when to hear examples of folks who are in, you know, working situations where there is no grace for that and-

Beth Castleberry 

There just needs to be grace for this. And I and I, so appreciate what you’re saying about, you know, this moment in time, you have to look at, what are you doing today, and it works today. It may not work tomorrow, it may not work next week, I had occasion, I had to go back into the office. We’ve been remote for six months now. And I had to go back into the office yesterday to pick something up and yeah, just surreal to go in that space and it’s this time capsule of what posters are still on the wall and the clocks are still on daylight savings time. It’s really strange. We had a very fun what was like, in a bonding experience across, you know, the entire fifth floor of the building I work in, which was a Bachelor bracket. I’ve never been a big Bachelor watcher. But you could-

Erica Mills Barnhart 

I had no clue what that was, I was like are you talking about the show or an actual unit?

Beth Castleberry 

But anyway, and I actually ended up doing pretty well. I think I came in like fourth or fifth. But I was like, that person who is really annoying and the sweet 16 where it’s like, I’m going to pick them based on their mascots. And then you know, you end up doing well. But, any who, it’s still up on the wall, because we went home in March before the show had finished. And so you know, that feels like ages ago, you can, that we we didn’t have a television show where people all live in one house together.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Yeah. Okay, so I want to, I want to bring this back to something you said earlier to make it relevant aside from just a complete sidebar, slash rant about Maslow’s Hierarchy being a little off in my humble opinion. I feel among especially within nonprofits, you know, where you kind of carry your mission, really close to your heart and I am definitely noticing, and I would say particularly my, you know, colleagues of color, those working in communities of color, other marginalized communities closer to the black lives matter movement, all of that. There’s just so much. And the burnout is so high, and it’s so real. And I wonder what your thoughts are on, you know, if you’re managing, if you’re managing people or teams, like, you know, there’s a certain amount of like, the work has to be done. So how do you balance that with, you know, there’s like, your goals so if you go back to 80 gajillion, I’m rounding. You know, how do you, how do you balance that?

Beth Castleberry 

Yeah, I think a big piece of it is grounding in that psychological safety. And, you know, Google did, this is a decade ago, probably now, a deep survey over what teams were the most productive. And the teams, they found that were the most productive were those that had the most psychological safety. And that really came from having clarity about what was expected of them, having respect, and then knowing that they could rely on their colleagues. So when I started this job almost a year ago, I went in with that knowledge thinking, okay, I really need to create this safe place where people are going to have trust in me, and they’re going to have trust in each other. And how do we do that? And then, of course, that work was just amplified when we went remote. You know, how do we continue to have, you know, a safety zone where people feel like they they trust that if they tell me, I have to I have to miss this meeting, because my child has a really important exam and we can’t be on WiFi while they’re doing this, I have to honor that. And I know that that’s not going to reflect on that person, that their commitment is still real. They’re also having this other commitment that is really real and how do we create space for that? So I do think it requires a lot of fortitude, in being grounded in what the end goal is, and not getting caught up in the how do you get there? And also allowing people that space to not always show up as their best self and giving them a little bit of grace and forgiveness if they’re having a tough day, because we all have those tough days. And I think someone might be having a tough day, because I’m getting little dings as we’re talking. But um, you know, there’s those moments of that. So I think there is continually reminding people of that safe space, then there’s a couple other things, I think one is definitely communicating in multiple channels. So what I’ve found is that we have, we have regular staff meetings and regular meetings. And then two days after that meeting, someone will say, you know, they just haven’t told us like, what is going on with XYZ? And I think, gosh, I know, you were in that meeting, and I saw you on Zoom so I, you seem present, but then having it in writing for that person is just critical, you know, or maybe in that moment, even though they looked physically present, they just mentally were thinking about, you know, why is that dog barking upstairs or what’s happening in my life? So I think it’s having the multiple channels of communication additionally and then I think, you know, it’s also doing really regular check in so sadly, one thing we have seen is that the number of meetings we’re all doing is is just skyrocketing. But if you can make those shorter and more concise, they can still be really present for people and, and having more regular check ins is really, I think, been really key for keeping those doors of communication open.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Yeah, I’m definitely hearing from some of the organizations that I work with the move away from the once a week to, you know, an hour once a week to like 10 minutes once per day and those types of things. And something else you were mentioning, I would just paraphrase maybe, as you know, when you check back in and that whole, like, but you were there, weren’t you there? And the difference between, you know, I think of John Powell’s quote around I can’t know what you heard, I only know what I said, and I and I want to make sure that what left my mind and heart lands in your mind and heart intact and without distortion. Now, do you need to say the entire John Powell quote, no. But I think if you take the idea of it, right, it’s like, did that did that land in and what did you hear? So there’s like, as a manager, or leader, here’s what I’m hoping you heard. So let’s check back, and I love that you were like, so for some people, it’s gonna be verbal, for some people it’s gonna be writing, and then how you offer the opportunity for them to sort of hold up and say, this is what I heard and then if they heard something, where you’re like, oh, just take it as information, right, like, oh, that’s interesting. Totally not not what I got. Right? And so how do you, you know, just circle back and make sure that it’s landed? Takes effort. Okay. I always end with the same question for all guests. So there’s inspiration and motivation. Inspiration is about breathing, in keeping you going. And then motivation is about action. So what inspires you? And what keeps you motivated to do this work?

So I was thinking about this question. And I knew I was going to be chatting with you today. And it coming around to the same quote that I really loved. It both inspires and motivates me, and I think will bring me to my answer. So I’m going to share the quote, life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage and it’s by Anaïs Nin and I’ve had that quote, just pinned up in almost every workspace I’ve ever worked in. And I think it’s the idea that I’m motivated to learn new things, and inspired by the exercise of the learning, not just a product, not just what did I come out with. But it’s propelled me to travel to places that I’ve been maybe afraid to go but once I decide, yes, I’m going to go take that trip by myself or I’m going to go do this adventure or I’m going to take on this new job or this new challenge or this campaign or a project that I don’t know that I’m ready for and someone’s invited me to, I have to just take that leap because I know my worlds can expand and when the world expands I’m really inspired by whatever I’ve found there.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

So inspired by the process and maybe motivated by the product.

Beth Castleberry 

Yeah.

Erica Mills Barnhart 

Oh, I love that quote. Thank you for that, Beth. Thank you for being here. Thanks for all your good thoughts and insights thanks of course to listeners and viewers for joining us as well. I noticed reviewers like I look a little ghosts like I’m not I don’t know what’s happening. I rely on natural light and so I think we’re having a weird natural light thing. Maybe it’s the transition into fall. I wonder about that. But I do I’m looking a little ghost like I feel fine. Anyway. Thanks for joining us and as always do good, be well and we will see you next time.