Ep 37: Mita Mallick on Representation & Inclusion in Marketing

On this episode of Marketing for Good, Erica is joined by inclusive marketing extraordinaire, Mita Mallick. They discuss colorism in marketing, the impact of changing demographics, and recommendations for meaningful and inclusive marketing. Mita talks about how representation on social media has shifted, shattering stereotypes and shifting cultural narratives. She also gives you concrete ways to measure your impact. Do the work now, don’t wait.


This is a transcript of Erica Mills Barnhart’s interview with Mita Mallick 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!


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Erica Mills Barnhart  00:04

One of the things that we talk a lot about on this podcast is inclusion. And how can we make marketing more inclusive, because historically, it has not been historically, we have been bombarded with images of, you know, especially in the realm of beauty with images of white women, white people, blond haired, blue eyed, very Eurocentric. And that’s, that’s not our culture, that’s not our society, it’s not reflective. It does not represent the beautiful diversity of voices, perspectives, and bodies that really make up our society. And so I’ve been heartened to see progress in this direction. And I’m joined today by Mita Malik, who, gosh, if you’re interested in marketing, she is such a strong advocate. So consistent, so insightful, definitely go check out her LinkedIn profile. It’s just like a treasure trove of examples of what’s working and sometimes what’s not. But like Katie story now of mega babe, who, you know, is such an advocate for all bodies are beautiful. She has this really wonderful way of bringing people into the conversation. And if somebody has maybe not met the mark, she doesn’t she never shames it’s always from a perspective of like, let’s do better, I think we can do better. So she just has this wonderful, wonderful combination of deep insight, tons of expertise, her lived experience as a woman of color, who has been in marketing for 15 plus years. And also she is just really practical, as well. So she always pairs insight with action and practical tips. So we talk a lot about that as well. But I just I feel like she’s such a special person in the space because of her combination of, you know, she she she doesn’t hold any punches, and yet, they land softly. They land softly and I anytime I get to share time with me to I’m learning that that is time really, really well spent, I gain greater perspective, I always learn from her. And I’m always inspired by her. She’s really just truly wonderful. And I can’t wait for you to listen to this conversation. And I’ll be intrigued to see what you what you learn from her and what you take away. I am so deeply hoping that the progress that we made during the pandemics, the dual pandemics will stick with us and that we truly are at a tipping point when it comes to inclusive marketing. One of the things meet and I talked about is like our dream is that, you know, someday when you say marketing inclusion will just be implied. We’re not there yet. We have a long ways to go. But thanks to people like Mita we’re a lot closer than we ever have been. So enjoy, enjoy, enjoy my conversation with Mita Malik. Okay, I am very excited because With me today is Mita Malik. She is a corporate Changemaker with a track record of transforming businesses who gives innovative ideas of voice so true, and serves customers and communities with purpose. She’s currently head of inclusion, equity and impact at carta really interesting job title, I want to talk about that. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen that trio, inclusion, equity and impact. She was formerly the head of inclusion and cross cultural marketing at Unilever. She has loved marketing and storytelling since she was a little girl and parlay that love into an extensive career as a marketer in the beauty and consumer product good space. Mita is a LinkedIn top voice a contributor contribute tour for entrepreneur, and her writing has been published in Harvard Business Review fest company and Business Insider. Luckily, luckily Luckily for us, Mita has channeled her considerable talent into making marketing way more inclusive. She is a powerhouse when it comes to representation and inclusive marketing and advocating for that and I’m so glad that you are here with me today. Mita. Welcome.


Mita Mallick  04:48

Erica, thank you so much for having me. I’ve been looking forward to this conversation.


Erica Mills Barnhart  04:51

Yeah. So on your LinkedIn profile. It says I believe diversity of thought doesn’t happen without diversity of Rep. presentation, when you have all those points of views, life experiences and cultural backgrounds coming together around a table colliding, clashing and collaborating, that’s when magic happens. One that is just beautifully written, and a testament to your love of languages storytelling. Yes, it is. Thank you. Will you share a bit with us about how you ended up doing what you do?


Mita Mallick  05:24

Gosh, well, it all starts from my childhood. I’m the proud Daughter of Indian immigrant parents, my younger brother and I were born and raised here in the US, we were raised outside of Boston. And I was the funny looking, dark skinned girl with a long funny looking braid, whose parents spoke funny English until I wasn’t funny anymore. And that became the start of bullying for me. And I think the dark side of when you start to sow seeds of othering individuals, that person is crazy, different, strange, funny, weird, lazy, not very smart. And the things that we say casually, that start to create a narrative of person, and I was excluded by my peers every day, they let me know I didn’t belong in that community. And so that was my upbringing. And then at the same time, I didn’t grow up in the Instagram error. Wow, has it changed? Now? There’s so many amazing black and brown role models out there. But I didn’t have that. And so I always was like, why doesn’t this work on my hair? My skin? Why don’t I see individuals like me reflected, I can remember my mother concocting things in the kitchen, for my skin or my hair or bringing things back from trips for from India. And so I think if you know that about me, that’s really what’s driven me all my life is to make sure no one ever feels excluded. And I think in particular, when it comes to marketing, and how we all want to be as marketers surprising and delighting customers, surprising and delighting.


Erica Mills Barnhart  07:02

But also, and you’re talking about this in the opening to your excellent Harvard Business Review article, titled marketing still has a colorism problem about like, yes, we want to surprise and delight, but also there’s this sort of like, but we’re not going to go too far. We don’t want to make anybody uncomfortable. And so can you talk about that, that like balance between kind of the powers that be, and marketing as a discipline? We talked a lot about this on the show, and I talked a lot about it. When I teach at the University of Washington, when I teach marketing, it is white dominant, like the people making decisions, myself included.


Mita Mallick  07:38

So there always seems to be this burden on historically marginalized communities to prove the markets they’re to prove the darker shades of foundation will sell to prove that somebody would buy this for this type of hair to prove to prove to prove. And I think what’s interesting now, Eric, about the time we’re living in is the demographics from a US perspective have rapidly changed so quickly. And if you look at Nielsen, which is one source, the multicultural consumer, as they coin it, there is over $3.2 trillion dollars of spending power with that consumer. So what I would say to anybody listening, who says they’re struggling with growth, I’ll convince you otherwise, you’re not looking hard enough. You’re not thinking about your products and services, and who you’re serving and why and who you’re excluding, and who you’re not talking to. So I think it is tied to what my good friend DC Marshall, who’s the CEO of diverse and engaged calls the diversity tipping point of last year. And what we see happened on top of the changing demographics of our country, on top of the pandemic we’re living in and on top of the other pandemic, which is the pandemic of racism, right? So you think all these things are building and building and building? And so all of a sudden there’s there’s an explosion, and consumers are demanding, are demanding these things. And do you believe that we have tipped permanently? I believe we have. I’m a half glass full person, me to my husband, my husband jokes. He’s half glass, I’m damn left festival, but it’s always I choose to do this work. I think you have to be half possible. I think there’s glimmers of hope. I don’t want to think that we’re going back. I want to think that it’s like street sleep training my daughter. I’m so intrigued by where you’re going with this step forward. 10 steps back, you steps to it right. It’s sort of the back and forth pendulum, but eventually she will sleep by herself one day, I know she will. And so this is I have this, it will happen. And there’s so many amazing people doing the work and pushing for change that I know it’ll happen. Mm hmm.


Erica Mills Barnhart  09:54

Let’s talk a little bit about this article. colorism so again, it was called marketing still has colorism probably one of many articles that you’ve written. So I just, I find this one particularly relevant. First, will you explain what colorism is? Because I’m not sure all listeners will be familiar with that term. I mean, it’s sort of intuitive. But anyway, I’d like to hear you speak to that. And then I want to talk about your recommendations, because one of the things that I really appreciate about your writing is, it’s practical when it’s backed by research.


Mita Mallick  10:20

So the academic ma works out on that. But also, it’s really practical to come back to the recommendations. But first, what is colorism? It’s a product of racism, it is discrimination towards individuals who have darker skin. And I have personally experienced that, through most of my life, I wrote a piece for cosmopolitan on what my life might be like if I was a lighter shade. Oh, interesting. And that is something that I have faced as an n m woman of South Asian descent, and something that happens often in the South Asian community that we don’t talk enough about. And so that I had personally experienced and then I saw that coming. You know, as I started my career in marketing over and over again, like I talked about in this piece, wanting to hero, a dark skinned woman for this beautiful campaign that I was working on early in my career. And the creative director be like, we can’t put someone so dark skin for the campaign. Like we can’t do that. It’s like, why not? Again, why not? Right? Because it is colorism is also tied to the the notion that there is only really ultimately one standard of beauty, which is Eurocentric, white, blond, blue eyed, tall, thin, but that’s the only one standard of beauty. And so that is and that there’s all that’s tied to the history of our country and our world. And so that is colorism. Okay, thank


Erica Mills Barnhart  11:58

you for that. I mean, I wish that we could have even had, like, we had video of that conversation with you being like, why? But why? Cuz I just, I mean, I’m curious what he actually said, because I can’t imagine any response. That wouldn’t be palatable today.


Mita Mallick  12:21

Because the markets won’t like it. The other markets like it, I won’t sell the product and sell was very clear response. And that’s not the only time that’s happened in my career, the product will not sell. And here’s what’s interesting, Nielsen has done some research and study around this is that when you have when you lead with an insight for the black consumer, and in particular, I would say black women, you solve for many women of color. So as a woman who identifies as South Asian as a brown woman, I am first in line to use products that my black girlfriends recommend. Because I know if it’s working for their skin and their hair, it’s going to work for me as well. And so the market actually becomes even larger, if you think about it from that perspective. And yet, we’re still back to convince me Show me. I don’t believe you it’s not going to sell.


Erica Mills Barnhart  13:15

What do you think it’s going to take for that question to go away?


Mita Mallick  13:19

I think it’s going to take more black and brown representation around tables, whether it’s as you’re starting off as an Associate Product Manager or marketing coordinator all the way into the CMO position. And it’s really interesting, I think we often talk about from the marketing lens, we talk about the marketers in the organizations, it’s a huge ecosystem agencies play a huge role, right? Because you’re working with some of the largest sort of marketing organizations, they don’t do the work alone. They are the agency you don’t. And so the agencies and I know you talk about this in your in your class, and communications, and who else is up the table. And so I think, again, it’s nothing for us. Without us. You can’t be wanting to sell products authentically and serve a community without the voice of that community at the table in a meaningful way. And that you also allow for that voice to be heard. And I’m hearing you say meaningful start to finish, meaningful start to finish and not tokenized. And not just one person because guess what, I don’t speak for all brown women. So that’s also a burden you bring me into the room. I’ve had that happen before. And it’s like oh meter meter is going to speak to all brown women. It’s not a model solve this across the board. Yes. And so that’s no, it is every you know, you think about from the time you write a brief from the time you develop a product from the time you are actually on set, who’s behind the camera, who’s in front of the camera, if I’m talent, and somebody says to me, Well, your hair’s too difficult to work with. Or actually your skin’s too dark. I don’t have any foundations to match or any eyeshadows or blush that are going to work. That’s that’s We’re talking about it’s the ecosystem.


Erica Mills Barnhart  15:02

It’s the ecosystem. It’s the ecosystem. And that was one. So that was one of the recommendations that you made in this article, yes is kind of be be mindful of your ecosystem really look at. Because also right there with the agency piece or, you know, consultants or you know, whoever you bring in, because it’s just easy to default to white people. Because we’re so dominant, you know, within the space in the marketing industry. And so, you know, sort of like looking at your supply chain. Yes, yes, this is not the sexiest work that one will do. And we think of marketing to sort of external and just the product. And so I just want to just underscore how important that recommendation is. And looking at the whole ecosystem, the whole supply chain, the whole nine yards,


Mita Mallick  15:50

and don’t and let me just add this, Erica, don’t wait, do the work. Now start to create diversity of representation when it comes to your list of marketing agencies you work with, right, the best in class, whatever roster you have, which I know many big companies have the same five agencies they go to. Now, I mean, people don’t try to retrofit when you decide, I actually want to extend this product line. So it speaks to, and can be in service of women with darker skin. Don’t do it, then do it from the start when you start working, as we talked about, as you so generously read part of my LinkedIn section. It is that’s where the magic of magic of innovation happens. So do that from the start. Yeah,


Erica Mills Barnhart  16:39

I, you know, I think a lot about and we talk a lot about when I do teach my class, we talk a little bit about it on this podcast, but marketing also tends to attract people who are prone to perfectionism. Yes. And so I just want to say to listeners, like Do not let perfectionism get in the way of progress, even if it is incremental, even if it’s one step in the right direction. You know, start now, don’t like this piece run, don’t wait. I think that I think that perfectionism gets in the way.


Mita Mallick  17:07

Absolutely. And I think there’s a bit about and I can say this as a marketer. There’s been moments where I’ve been arrogant, because you say, but I’m supposed to know my consumer the best. Like I have all the insights I know. And Erica, you’re coming in and telling me, there might be colorism. In this content I produced? No, I know. And then I’m admitting I don’t know something. And that’s really difficult, right? Because all of a sudden, Oh, wow. Well, I guess I don’t know my consumer as well as I thought I did. And someone else was questioning me. And so that’s the vulnerability and growth piece.


Erica Mills Barnhart  17:41

Well, and that’s about culture. Yes. I mean, again, so much of marketing, like it would be super handy if it didn’t have to do with organizational culture, and organizational development and leadership and all the rest of these things. But it’s actually very, very messy. And I have marlette Jackson and Aaron Dell on the on the show a while back, just talking about their article about woke washing your company won’t do it. Yes. Just kind of like you can’t just schmear, you know, the work I do with my clients. So you know, I create powerful messaging for purpose driven clients. And mainly what I’m working on is mission, vision, values, purpose statements. And then how do you flow those into things? Because when you’re solid on those, and you have the values filter, you know, it goes both ways. It goes internal into Korean culture that lives into those and then they make their way into external marketing. And it’s really interesting to me how bifurcated that is and how we try to do this, like cute and run, where it’s like, well, we were just gonna update the website, but that doesn’t. That doesn’t have to do with culture. It’s like it has he just you can’t schmear, a bunch of Rp. No, no, that’s that’s not that doesn’t address the problem. That’s


Mita Mallick  18:45

diversity washing, which we’re talking about. Yeah. Washing, diversity washing. Absolutely.


Erica Mills Barnhart  18:51

Yep. 100%, you had another very specific recommendation, which I want to talk about. So you say, intentionally cast and feature dark skinned models and actors in your content and programming major, the impact consistently and evaluate your progress on a quarterly and annual basis, brands have the power to shatter stereotypes by moving beyond featuring only light skinned individuals. say more about this. I mean, so much of this, as we’re talking about it comes, you know, I think we have to acknowledge that holding on to power drives a lot of decision making. And this idea of casting sort of racially ambiguous feels models feel safer.


Mita Mallick  19:27

Yeah, it makes us feel uncomfortable. What is it that makes us feel uncomfortable, we have to ask ourselves, and so when you think about, I think about myself as a little girl, if you can’t see it, you can’t be it. And so if I don’t see people like me represented in media, in images in marketing and campaigns, where do we leave our younger generation, the generation of leaders who are rising and who you know, that’s what we’re doing all the work for is for them? That’s what I believe that’s why I do this work for all of our Yeah. And so that that’s the question you have to ask. yourselves is like racially ambiguous just feels more uncomfortable, we don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable back to that point of like, Oh, that’s gonna make people uncomfortable, no one’s gonna buy the product if we feature someone of a darker skin. And that those are the conversations, we’re not having Erica, which is why I wrote this piece because I know these conversations happen. I’ve been in the room, but no one wants to talk about it. And so that’s also about shattering stereotypes, shifting cultural narratives, making sure that you see people represented in different ways. That’s what that’s about.


Erica Mills Barnhart  20:33

I’m wondering if you can talk a little bit about measurement, like measuring impact is tricky. So if I’m a company, and I’m like, okay, we’re gonna start doing this thing. We’re committed to it. What do you measure that truly reflects impact?


Mita Mallick  20:48

Yeah, I mean, I think it’s like, you go back to the, it’s the end to end inclusion ecosystem, like start with agencies, right, start with who’s sitting around the table, start with diversity of representation, not just on your own team, but also on the adjacent teams that are working with you. So it’s the marketers, it’s the agency, its sales, its finance, a lot of people touch marketing, it’s the hub and spoke as we know. And so who else is involved in what you’re creating, I think is really important to think about. And then I think measuring things also like products and services I go back to I’m a cosmetics beauty person, as you know. So I go back to that a lot. But I recently saw and I and I won’t name the brand, a beauty brand on Instagram, who featured a beautiful, beautiful shot of a very dark skinned woman. So I was like, wow, this my heart sings this speaks to me. I go and do some research, Erica, they don’t sell darker skin foundations eyeshadows or blushes. Oh, wow. But they have a cosmetics line. And they’re featuring her with some sort of dewy look lip gloss. And like this is so that is what I would call diversity dressing. It’s like window dressing. But then you could go to the other end, you could read this piece. And you can say yes, practical tips. Now I’m going to really intentionally measure and feature dark skinned models. And then you don’t actually have products and services that serve them. So you’re like, wow, that’s,


Erica Mills Barnhart  22:27

I mean, that that that concerns me so deeply, because most folks aren’t going to go do the research that you did. Yeah, it’s diversity dressing. Right? They’re gonna like we’re scrolling through Instagram, and you’re like, Yay, like, nailed it. Beautiful. Yay. I mean, I suppose that the research would be if you were really moved, like by it, and you went and tried to find products as a black or brown woman? And you were like, Wait, what? But how many? How many? How many, you know, will that aggregate to a point where there would be backlash?


Mita Mallick  23:00

I think it will, eventually, it will, it will eventually. Because I think especially with the diversity tipping point, brands, marketers are under a lot of pressure. And there are no quick fixes in this work. There are no quick fixes. The work takes time. And it’s the work that you do every single day. And I think Sephora, I give a lot of props to them. For the progress they’ve made every single day since being accused of having a racist incident in their stores back in 2019. You look at them now. I’m like, but this is, listen, organizations are flawed brands are flawed, because human beings are flawed. And that’s who runs them. And so we have to show ourselves, I think the same grace we would for people in our lives, making mistakes, right? And that give them a chance to show that they can do better and be better. That’s what I think. And so But back to your measurement piece. So if you think about the ecosystem that we talked about, there are so many places to measure. And in the article as I reference, some research, there was research done to actually watch to see after the diversity tipping point, were companies going to be actually featuring more darker skinned models, and we see a slip, we see a slip, it lasted for a little bit. And then we see the slip. And so that’s what we have to watch out for to make sure it’s not performative. And check the box exercise.


Erica Mills Barnhart  24:22

Yeah, that it actually sticks. Because the goal, I think the ultimate measure of impact is that when we say marketing in inclusive marketing is implied. Absolutely. It shouldn’t be marketing.


Mita Mallick  24:39

It should be Yeah, it is one in the same. It should be one in the same. It should be. Yeah, but I don’t know that. I think it’s to prove wrong that the the growth is there. The girl Yeah, right. So I go back to the again, my my favorite beauty example. Everybody is is chasing with Fenty and sort of how they disrupted the entire marketplace two years ago. Oh my gosh, there’s 40 plus shades, right? darkest skin tones. And then it’s like, Yeah, but I want lipstick and I want eyeshadow and I want blush. Like why are we stopping with that? And of course, Fenty has gone beyond that. But that’s been sort of the check the box for brands and there’s growth to be had. Because if you’re going to, if you’re going to sell me the Foundation, which I’m going to buy, I need the whole look, Eric, I need. Yes, exactly. Sell me all of it.


Erica Mills Barnhart  25:29

Who else is getting right? What other brands are getting it right?


Mita Mallick  25:32

Oh, my gosh. There is a brand recently, I profiled on LinkedIn called coffee. It’s a South Asian brand, started by a founder of South Asian descent. And she’s really again trying to fight colorism and also trying to create a beauty line that’s inclusive. So I think that’s there’s so many. I mean, there’s just so many examples out there. I think Sephora, if we so let me let me step back. If you go on Instagram, you will find so many brands getting it right. And a lot of them are black and brown founders who have seen where the gaps are in the market. And they say I’m going to disrupt this industry. So that is what you’re seeing happening. And then you’re seeing really big players having to say, Okay, now I have to retrofit or now I have to really get this right. So Sephora, yay, Target, yay, as well. And it’s been way too much money at Target. But target, really, I mean, you look at what target’s doing with their accelerator program, and supporting black and brown founders and bringing them in so that they can understand how they can get their products retail ready. Look a big kudos to them. And then another brand that I’ve been watching is Hallmark Hallmark cards. replanned, they did not see that coming. Yeah, I’m gonna give you different examples they created online, black writers writing for black community, our black friends and our black colleagues who need healing. And so how can you express that in the form of a greeting card, and how you express it is with the insight of nothing for us without us. And so having black writers and designers behind that line is so meaningful. So I’m like, I, again, half glass full, I think there’s a lot of positive momentum in the market. And again, inclusion is a driver of growth, there is growth to be had, when you start to problem solve and think about what are all the gaps in the market that have never been addressed? Yeah, I love how glass half full you are.


Erica Mills Barnhart  27:44

Tell me how many people will people ask me, you know, like, how do you keep doing this work, as you know, I work to apply, marketing’s that it’s, you know, eradicating extreme global poverty and, you know, feeding hungry kids and like, these are not like little topics. They’re happy. And what I, you know, I’m like, because I think we can, like, I believe that we can solve these intractable issues or would not keep doing it, we just have to double and triple down. And that takes a certain amount of internal fortitude. But also, I mean, one of the reasons I get worked up, and why I love teaching so much is because I see the things that my students dream up and come up with. I mean, you were so generous, you came and joined the marketing class, thank you for having us. It was so fun. And like they’re, they just they blow my mind all the time, every time. They like it. You know that that generation is amazing. And I don’t know, I just whenever I get a little like, the world is kind of going to hell in a handbasket. I literally go back and I look at some of my students,


Mita Mallick  28:49

but that’s what we said it’s for the next generation. It’s for the rising leaders that we do this work for.


Erica Mills Barnhart  28:54

In Yeah, totally. Okay, um, I want to shift gears a little bit. Sure. And talk about how you’re using LinkedIn as a platform to advocate for representation and inclusion. So you are super active. You’re constantly putting out like this amazing content every single time I’m like, again, and again and again, and you do it all yourself a job at carta, and you have these two beautiful and young kids. And and and so so I have like a super practical question, which is like, what’s the mechanics behind that? Sure. And or are you on other social media platforms is actively or were you like, I’m all in on LinkedIn.


Mita Mallick  29:34

So here’s my secret. Are you ready? grab a pen and a piece of paper. I stopped drinking and I stopped binge watching Netflix and then all of a sudden, you’ve got time. And I say that tongue in cheek but I also say for the things that matter for the things that you want to work on in your life. And I think these last 16 months have given us as we’ve all gone through a lot of grief and loss. It’s like what matters and it’s like, I want to use my power of storytelling to share the stories of others and like the amazing things that are happening in the world. And as you see, I’m not in the business of indicting brands, I will use my own personal experiences, but I want to shed positivity and practical. Okay, so what are we going to do about it now? Like, yeah, I know that there’s this problem. So what can you personally do about it? And my, I think one of the biggest compliments I’ve gotten is people reaching out to me saying, who’s your social media agency? And I said that you did that. You want to three people who’ve done that. And I was like, wow, maybe I could make a living off this. But it is me, myself and I. That’s who it is. And it’s pretty easy. I stopped reading books, this pandemic actually stopped reading books when I had kids, to be honest, I don’t have time I started reading what they read, right? Yeah. So I recently have been reading stamps for kids with my son, I was a and my grown ups, which with my daughter, and I had posted about that this week. So I try to read things that we can read together. But otherwise, I’m reading a lot of short form. And I just post on things that I’m reading, and I try to post four to five times a week. I don’t post on the weekends. And I post when I have something meaningful to say. And if I skip a day, I skip a day doesn’t matter. I’m not doing it for anything, but I want to share what I’m learning. And I’m also now really focused on watching black and brown founders, founders from historically marginalized communities who are solving some of the biggest problems, and also some of the problems in our lives that you’re like, wow, I never thought about this, I just met with the founder this morning, a co founder who started West meets east, I’m gonna butcher this West x east, like, West by east, like so she doesn’t know in which direction by another direction is that it was like South by Southwest. So the branding I want to get right is like west by east, right, West, x east. And it is all about customized Indian apparel. So for anyone of Indian descent, who’s either gotten married or had to go to a wedding and having to go back to India, or find somewhere in the US where you can find an outfit that you like and get it tailored and customized is an enormous hassle and usually ends up in lots of tears, and a colossal failure. But she has created she and her co founder this amazing business where you can actually get customized outfits, one on one consulting and tailoring and it’s just phenomenal. And I’m like, That’s amazing. Like, I just feel like there’s so much goodness in the world and people doing such great things. So that’s what I use back to LinkedIn. That’s what I like to use my platform as well for. So I just interviewed Guy Kawasaki for the show. Yes, um, who a lot of social media,


Erica Mills Barnhart  32:48

all social media all the time. Not all the time. I’m kidding. But you know, he has a massive presence. And he’s on all the, you know, he’s on all the platforms. And I said, how, like, my, one of my questions to him was, how does he decide what to post? Yes. And I’m paraphrasing what he said, because I don’t remember it. But he basically said he didn’t want his grandchildren to ever wonder where he stood on things. He was like, I don’t even want them to have to ask me, they should know. Wow. And I thought that is such a powerful filter. Like very clear, you know, and he’s like, you know, he’s, he also is gonna post on, you know, entrepreneurship and technology, of course, and all these things, but he actually has somebody. So what he said was, when you see posts, like he is very pro vaccine, very anti anti vaxxers, like he’s in, you know, he is clear about his political views. And you know, him surfing, any anything that’s him posting, and then he has somebody who posts on sort of, you know, the other topical content areas, that he’s known for design technology. And so he has sort of a divide and conquer approach. But I thought, well, I feel like one of the things that I hear leaders struggle with in terms of how to handle social media, like one, there’s just so much instant consternation, right. Like, should I be on there? Do I have to be on there? And I’m sort of like, if it doesn’t feel good to you. Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Do it. I enjoy it.


Mita Mallick  34:08

I enjoy it a lot. Can you ask me that question earlier, LinkedIn is my primary platform. I have a public Instagram account. I have Twitter. I say Twitter scares me. So I’m not really audit. face. Why does it No, I find that people are less friendly on Twitter than LinkedIn. Although LinkedIn, LinkedIn has gotten LinkedIn, I’ll give LinkedIn props when there has been hate speech on my posts, that gets removed pretty quickly. But I find LinkedIn to be as my friend Kelly Schweitzer would say, who is now one of the Creator program leads there is that it’s a platform of generosity. I find it to be a very generous platform. And so that’s the approach I take but you should not do it. If you don’t enjoy it. I enjoy it. I look at it from if I learned something, I want to share this other people, that’s my filter, or if I’m struggling with something, I want to To share with my community that I’m struggling and I, as a working mother, which I know we’ve talked about, I feel really strongly not to pretend that it’s really easy. And everything’s gonna be okay. And every day I wake up with Yes, all this energy like, No, that’s not it. And so I don’t want to, I want to let people know that like, yeah, it’s possible to have a successful career and to be an amazing wife and mother, but it’s also a struggle. And so I want to be I’m very open on that, as you know.


Erica Mills Barnhart  35:31

Yes, yes. Well, I think it is one of the the gifts of the, of the pandemic of the multiple pandemic, so we’re living through is like, we used to be if you wanted to, you used to be able to be like, my private life is entirely my private life. But when you’re like, for me, you know, I have a 13 and a 16 year old and despite my best efforts, you know, they like they’re gonna pop into the screen and be like, I can’t find the peanut butter. Like, it’s exactly, it’s exactly where the peanut butter is. Yeah, the same spot in the fridge. Did you did you look for the peanut butter there. And it’s like, that’s my life, you know, and I, you know, I love being a mom.


Mita Mallick  36:10

But I have to hide it. That’s the soundtrack of our lives. And we actually don’t have a choice. We can’t hide it anymore, which I think is one of the silver linings of the pandemic. I want


Erica Mills Barnhart  36:18

to make sure our listeners just hear what you said, which was that’s the soundtrack of our lives,


Mita Mallick  36:21

the soundtrack of our lives, and I’m not hiding it anymore. And so my kids might come in cool. They’ll say hi.


Erica Mills Barnhart  36:28

Oh, my gosh, that picture that you posted of them with their books on LinkedIn. If anybody would like an infusion of adorableness. Oh, to meet as LinkedIn, oh, one quarter so cute. Oh, they’re big smiles in their books in there. I love that. I’m in this phase, because my kids are older than you and I was not a baby person. That’s clear. Now all of a sudden, I’m like, a little person. You know, my daughter, like what is wrong with you? I’m like, you’re big. But she’s not very big as she she’s a very teeny person but


Mita Mallick  37:00

but like, if you ever ever up for babysitting post pandemic, they’re not that cute. Right around bedtime.


Erica Mills Barnhart  37:08

I remember the witching hour. It is really tough teenagers because sometimes pop into my you know, they disappear. Yeah, like there’s no there’s no bedtime ritual. There’s me being like, hey, love you. Do you do what you want to do? No, no chit chat if you really have to insert yourself and it’s a very weird transition. That kind of happens. I mean, at least for me, like it happened. It felt quickly. Like I went from being like, Oh, my God just could have been like, hey, do you want to like hang out? You want to go get coffee?


Mita Mallick  37:40

Off to get some advice from you flash? flash forward into the future for me. Just


Erica Mills Barnhart  37:47

always be there and have them know that you’re always there, no matter what you’re gonna love no matter what. That’s it. That’s always advice. No matter what, even other thinkers? Yes. Which they will be. And I will be a stinker. But yeah, I would say that’s another like I have good relationships with both my kids. And I do feel like part of it is I decided early on that I wasn’t gonna act like I got it right when I didn’t. Like his parents, we are all doing our best. all day, every day just doing our best and then we mess up. Yes. Back to your point because we’re humans.


Mita Mallick  38:17

Well, that’s back to leadership marketing. Right? all around.


Erica Mills Barnhart  38:21

Yeah, owning 100% of your actions. Yes. For sure. I asked every guest this final question which is so inspiration, if you look at the root of the word is about breath to take in breath. And motivation is about action and taking action. What inspires you What keeps you motivated to do this work?


Mita Mallick  38:42

My kids, all of our kids. I use that really broadly. once said, I just inspires me you think about your students in that class. So when I went to inspiring my kids, their friends, my niece’s my nephews, neighbor, kids that yeah, that’s the that’s the generation. That’s the future. That’s why I do this work, because I want them to live in a different world than I grew up in.


Erica Mills Barnhart  39:04

me to thank you, thank you. Thank you for being here. Being willing to have a candid conversation about a topic that is sometimes tricky. And for the huge contribution you’re making to making marketing and just making it the norm to just say marketing and have that be inclusive and have it be implied.


Mita Mallick  39:24

Thank you so much for having me. I want to come back next year, but an awesome conversation.


Erica Mills Barnhart  39:28

You can come back anytime, anytime. Okay, anytime, anytime. Is there anything that you were hoping I would ask you that I didn’t that you still want to talk about?


Mita Mallick  39:35

No, I just would love for people to follow me on LinkedIn and continue the conversation there. I love meeting new people.


Erica Mills Barnhart  39:43

Yes, I will put all of your contact information there for sure. Everybody should connect with you and follow you. I find inspiration and like everything you post, so thank you. Oh, thank you very much. Thank you. Yeah. Okay, listeners. Thank you for being here, as well. Do you know how to get in touch? If you have comments or questions do good be well and we will see you next time. Thanks for listening to the marketing for good podcast. If you enjoyed the podcast please rate subscribe review and share on Apple, Google or wherever you get your podcasts. If you’d like more information about blacks in university, how to make more impact in and for your organization for hiring me to speak or coach. Go to coxsone marketing comm or reach out at info at Clarkson marketing comm again, thanks for listening, and thanks for making our world a better place.

Do you communicate as effectively as you think?


Do you communicate as effectively as you think?