#507: International Women's Day - WiiN Webinar with LTL Hosts

Today’s episode is available in audio on “Let’s Talk Loyalty” and in video format on www.Loyalty.TV. March 8th is International Women’s Day around the world.

To celebrate, Carly Neubauer created a very special webinar featuring the three female guest hosts of Let’s Talk Loyalty.

This was in response to feedback from members of WiiN, a not for profit association that works to connect, educate and empower women in the incentive and loyalty industry.

When WIIN members were asked who they’d like to hear from for International Women’s Day, the names that came up included Paula ThomasCharlie Hills and Amanda Cromhout.

Today we’re publishing that webinar as an episode of Loyalty TV and Let’s Talk Loyalty to celebrate International Women’s Day, and as a perfect opportunity to hear from all of the Let’s Talk Loyalty interview hosts in one recording.

Thanks to Carly and everyone at WiiN for organizing this webinar in celebration of International Women’s Day.

Show Notes:

1) Carly Neubauer

2) Paula Thomas

3) Charlie Hills

4) Amanda Cromhout⁠


Audio Transcript

Paula: Welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty, an industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals. I’m your host, Paula Thomas, and if you work in loyalty marketing, join me every week to learn the latest ideas from loyalty specialists around the world.

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Hello and welcome to today’s episode of Let’s Talk Loyalty and Loyalty TV. As most of you will know tomorrow, March the 8th is International Women’s Day around the world. To celebrate the day, one of our guest hosts, Carly Neubauer, created a very special webinar featuring all of the guest hosts of Let’s Talk Loyalty.

This was in response to feedback from members of WiiN, a not for profit organization that works to connect, educate, and empower women in the incentive and loyalty industry. When WiiN asked its members who they’d like to hear from for International Women’s Day, Carly was thrilled that the names that came up included myself, Charlie Hills, and Amanda Cromhout. And of course, we were all thrilled to have the chance to record together and support the WiiN webinar. 

It then struck me how wonderful it would be to publish that webinar out as an episode today of Loyalty TV and of course, Let’s Talk Loyalty to celebrate International Women’s Day from our side. So with thanks to Carly and everyone at WiiN for organizing this webinar. I’m delighted to share today’s episode of Loyalty TV in celebration of International Women’s Day.

Carly: Okay, so welcome. Welcome to our amazing members. Thank you all for joining us and especially our very special guests joining us for International Women’s Day. So, we are recording for Loyalty TV as well, and I’ve received a number of questions from our members over the last few weeks. So we have lots and lots to chat about today.

I’m excited to introduce these superstars of loyalty incentives and rewards from across the globe. We have Paula Thomas, coming from Dubai, Amanda from Johannesburg and Charlie Hills from London. And thank you all for making the time to join us for this fabulous webinar. 

Considering usually you guys are doing the interviewing, I think this is going to be fun because you’re usually on the other side of the mic, so to speak, but now we’re obviously all very aware of your current amazing, incredible roles in the industry. So I’m not going to go into that at this stage. What I want to do is ask you all, let’s go back to your very first job. What was your very first role? Like first thing, making money in the industry or not outside of the industry. Where did you first work? So Charlie, I’m going to go straight to you. 

Charlie: Oh, well, my first job was brilliant, you know, child of the seventies. I worked in Wellington Country Park selling ice cream in the summer and as a Christmas elf in the winter in the grotto. It was a brilliant job. I absolutely loved it. Mostly costumes, if I’m completely honest, and a whole range of horrifying stories, including the John Lewis Staff Day where they put the ice cream tent next to the karaoke tent. And by the end of the day, I actually wanted to kill myself. There was absolutely no I will survive whatsoever. So that was my first job. 

But then my first sort of proper job was actually whilst I was at university, I got a bar job like everybody does. And then I got really into data and insight and kind of really unusual, you know, a girl who likes Maths and people was pretty unusual when I was doing my Economics and Mathematics degree at Warwick. And I got a job in the NUS research team doing qualitative research and quantitative research as part of that. And I think that’s kind of where I got the bug really for understanding, you know, trying to figure out what people wanted. And then design props and things to excite them. So that was my first sort of proper job. 

And at the time we were using it to create the entertainment schedules for the university services to students. And then that kind of carried me through. I then got a job at Boots on their graduate scheme, doing branding and innovation. I had the privilege of working on Boots Advantage Card, which was amazing kind of grounding and loyalty.

And then from there, where did I go after Boots? Oh, then I thought it would be really fun to go agency side and actually do some work for all of you that are client side rather than just getting other people to do it for me. So I went to a brilliant agency called the Marketing Store and I worked on MasterFoods, McDonald’s, Shell, Vodafone, Cereal Partners, got some really fantastic experience.

And then through a consultancy called Cherry, where I got into partnerships, data and insight. And then I co-founded Mando-Connect in 2017 for WPP with my now Managing Director, Jo Ashdown, and my CEO, Becky Munday, and the rest is history. We’ve kind of gone from there. So yeah, a really exciting, slightly patchwork journey, but always with that funny little thread all the way through it of data and insight applied to partnerships. 

The first skincare brand I made for Boots was called Tea Tree and Witch Hazel, which was a perfect partnership of tea trees to help calm down and witch hazel to kind of soothe it. And now actually my children and my God children, I buy it for them all. It’s still going sort of 25 years later. So it’s quite cool to kind of see it, but yeah, always data, always partnerships, always loyalty and engagement. 

Carly: Oh, that’s so, so good. Paula, please tell us, where did you first start out? 

Paula: Thank you, Carly. Yes. Yeah. Not quite as amusing as Charlie. I was packing bags in the supermarket, but I will say that my claim to fame was I was the chosen one to wash out the butcher cabinet. So apparently that was a bit of a promotion at 16 years of age. Yeah, so hideous stuff please God, I never had to go back there again, Carly. 

And I suppose just my first real job, then actually I did set up my first company at 19 years of age, which was a beauty salon specializing in nails. So a million miles away from where we are today where I am today, but yeah, always love the kind of innovation and entrepreneurial side of my personality.

Carly: Yeah, you can see where this sort of really comes through in this day and age, right? And Amanda, please tell us about your first role. 

Amanda: So Charlie, we are obviously sisters from another mother because I, my first job was also selling ice cream. And I remember getting into trouble for like, stealing the little fudge bits off the fudgy flavored ice cream.

Charlie: It’s outrageous. Blackable offense. 

Amanda: So, I also sold ice cream in a garden centre. That was my first job. And then my first real job was I was on the British Airways graduate program straight out of university, which was the most phenomenal experience. Like it was a four and a half year. I can’t say baptism of fire, but it just from day one, we were literally running with really big loyalty stuff without really thinking about it being loyalty.

It was just go off and negotiate co-branded card deals with CEOs of European banks. Like, and you’re like, okay, cool off. I went on. So that was an amazing career. And I ended up staying with BA for a good period, 11 years. So I was really privileged. It was a great experience. 

Carly: Wow. Now, Amanda, while we’re chatting with you, please tell us if you could give yourself some advice, industry advice 10 years ago, what would you say to yourself?

Amanda: So, I mean, I’ve been running Truth now for 14 years and it’s loyalty, you know, it’s neat loyalty process. It’s not like I was shifted jobs 14 years ago, like it’s the same company. So I think more and more as I’ve got older and grayer, I trust my guts completely. So if you’re working for a client or working with a colleague or whatever it is, I physically feel a gut reaction to things like in my stomach and trust it.

You know, I remember being offered a role, where it looked amazing and everything about it looked amazing and I was so tempted and I accepted it verbally and went home that night and just felt these knots in my stomach. And it’s physically telling me this isn’t right and on paper it looked perfect, the salary, the exposure, the people, and then I just, everything about it and I assessed why it wasn’t right and had the courage to go back and go, I’m going to mess you around now. I’m really sorry, but I’m going to walk away. And I walked away and it was the best decision I ever made. 

So it’s just and one of the best mantras I live by was given to me by a senior executive at British Airways, a guy called David Noyes. And he just said, if it doesn’t scare you, it’s not worth doing. So that gut reaction in your stomach, if it’s fear, kind of maybe push through it. If it’s worthwhile, cause fear is okay, but trust your gut reaction, but run towards what you’re afraid of. 

Carly: Oh, that’s amazing. That’s our tech right there. I think but this is so true. And I imagine there’s so many people here in this webinar that would resonate with that and really understand that or have lived that similar experience for sure. For sure. 

I want to ask you, Charlie, you were telling me about some of your journey as well and getting straight into it over some time, you’ve had this contra feedback around being more like a man, how can you be more like a man, but also at the same time is misunderstanding that with a name like Charlie, you’ve been mistaken as a man not face to face, I assume, but you’ve had this experience.

Charlie: I hope not. My God, I hope not. 

Carly:  Please talk to us a little bit about that. Obviously this be more like a man, but hold on, I’ve been mistaken as a man. What’s going on here? 

Charlie: Yeah, I mean, it’s funny, isn’t it? When we think about these prep calls and it’s been a really interesting thing, actually, to kind of reflect back over the experience of my career and how that’s then made me who I am today and how that’s made my agency what we are today and how we work.

And I think I’ve always been very unusual. And I’m sure there’s lots of us here on the call who have stood out for something over time. And I have always stood out. Kind of unusual in my field, you know, it was very strange when I was at university, I was the only girl on my course, you know, I actually went to an all boys sixth form school that took like 20 girls, and sort of 480 guys. So I’ve always sort of operated in a fairly male field. 

And actually, I think we’ve seen a big change in that in loyalty and engagement in the last sort of 10-15 years, but I still find quite often that I am the only female representative there, and it’s something I’m really passionate about, you know, in the research and the papers we do, I’m always pushing for female representation of the experts. It’s one of the things I love about the Leadport loyalty team I’m here with today, you know, lots of kind of female empowerment and support for each other, but also for everyone. 

And I think, you know, we were talking about some of the times in my career, and I’m sure we can all empathize it where you’re in the room. And you know, you’ve sat down to a meeting, you’re meeting a new client, and you know, you’d be chatting and doing tea, and then it comes to introductions. And in my case, because I have a boy’s name as well, they’ll be like, Oh God, Charlie, you know, because they were expecting the senior man to walk into the room, not the sort of smiley person making tea with the biscuits, chatting to everybody else. And I think that’s, I’ve had sort of three or four moments like that, certainly since we founded Connect and a lot more kind of in my earlier career. 

And I think there’s two ways you can deal with that. And I think my way of dealing with it has always been to celebrate it, make the most of it, and actually use it as an opportunity to go, actually, look, you know, I’m here. This is me. Let’s work together. Let’s create something new and be quite brave with it. And I think that’s probably one of the things, you know, to Amanda’s conversation about what would you do is just be brave, give it a go. You know, we all feel nervous. Sometimes we’re in those rooms. We all thought, gosh, you know, should I be here? And yes, we absolutely should be here and we should all have a voice. 

So, yeah, I think those moments have been quite entertaining at times, quite scary, others quite intimidating at others. But I think that kind of that key thread of just be brave and roll with it and try and influence things so that for women coming through now, the teams that actually we’re supporting them and giving them the priority they need so that they won’t face some of those same challenges.

Carly: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And I think this is kind of a really good segue as well, Paula, when we were chatting about the fact that you live in the UAE and there’s it’s perceptions, there’s definitely perceptions around women working in the UAE. Can you talk to us about that and kind of the realities? You live there, you know it. 

Paula: Totally, totally, Carly. Thanks a million. And I feel like we, it sounds like we all prepared the same answer, but actually we didn’t of course, but I just want to endorse that my pet piece of advice is feel the fear and do it anyway. So regardless of the UAE, I’ll speak to that now for sure.

But, you know, as somebody who, you know, started broadcasting with absolutely no training you know, five years ago, it’s definitely something that thankfully has served us all well, and I’m feeling so proud to be, you know, here today and surrounded by all of you because of the work we do together.

But back to the question, Carly sorry to go off topic. So I first came to the UAE, would you believe 1995. So I’m giving my age away now, of course, but you know, for me, it was, you know, a very exotic idea. I had some family who’d lived here in the late seventies. And back then I was not surprised that every time I went back to Ireland, people would say like, what’s it like there? Do you have to cover your hair? Can you drink alcohol? All of those questions came through. 

But I think, you know, the reason I wanted to talk about it today is that I still get those questions and I find it bizarre that nearly 30 years later, in a country that is so, you know, reputed for its innovation, for its ambition, that there’s still that perception. I got an email yesterday about a big conference that we all know is coming up in April here. And they’re asking about the dress code for women. And I’m like going, my goodness, I’m still answering that question now in, you know, in 2024. 

So I guess what I love about here, as I said, the ambition, the innovation, but particularly it’s represented at the government level. So in Ireland, when I look at our cabinet, there’s about a quarter of it are female. So of course we’d love it to be more balanced, but here in the UAE, it is actually the same. So I love, I suppose, sharing the message that this part of the world, of course, is not perfect and, but it’s certainly making huge strides. So I’m hoping loads of people are going to come and visit me and I’m really proud to live here.

Carly: Well, as you should. As you should. It’s an amazing place. Definitely. Definitely. I’m going to ask you all as well. I wanted to ask you all, if there was anything you could change about our industry broadly what would it be? And it can be anything. I’ll leave you to choose who’s going to, who’s jumping on this.

Paula: Well, I would just say, I suppose, sorry, Amanda.

Amanda: No, go, go, go. No, go.

Paula: I know it’s something again, Charlie’s already alluded to it in terms of representation at events. So I would say for the podcast, I feel like we do have, again, amazing female hosts as evidenced, and we do get a lot of female guests. But when it comes to speaking on stage, I know there’s still a lot of reluctance, myself included.

So I think for us as an industry to change ourselves, I mean, I know we want the world to change, but I also like the idea of taking responsibility. And again, maybe that same point about feel the fear and do it anyway. I’d love to see more people alongside Charlie, Amanda, and all of us on stage speaking about things we’re passionate about.

Carly: Yeah, totally. Amanda, you were going to say something too. 

Amanda: Yeah, mine’s slightly different. Like, it’s actually a little bit more well, it’s twofold. One is the technical answer to like the, actually, what is the loyalty industry? And one is a little bit more around a bit of what’s Paula has said, Paula related to, what Paula has said.

So the first one is more I think there’s a massive misunderstanding what loyalty is or what incentives are or what, and it’s so broad, it could be anything. And I feel sometimes there’s a million and one conferences that say they’re loyalty conference. And yet it might be about gift carding, which is a critical industry, but it’s not loyalty.

I almost feel like there’s this broad misunderstanding and you can get to a conference and kind of go like, Why am I here? Like, this is all about something that I actually, you know, if you’re a data strategist for a loyalty program, gift cards aren’t that interesting for you, but if you’re in the incentives market and gifting it’s critically important.

So I think there’s a big misunderstanding. So I always, I stick to my lane. Like I stick to my lane. I keep it simple. We’re a loyalty strategy organization. We do everything about loyalty, which includes data, but we’re not the analysts and we go deep. And I think individuals need to pick their lane male and female and be proud of it and don’t try and be everything to everyone. 

Because there’s enough space for all of us. There’s enough space for male, female, young, old, but being a specialist, I feel is more of a talent than being a generalist. And all of us, it’s such a broad industry, even though it is so niche, ironically. Just find your niche and stick to your lane. And that I get particularly irritated if I’m at a conference that I think is going to be about X and it’s about Y and I’m like, the marketing has just mislead me. I’m getting nothing out of this. 

So it’s kind of combining the two. It’s kinda like be clear on the strategy, be clear on what what it’s all about, but then be yourself and decide where you sit. But there are, I’m being a bit unfair, there’s probably a lot of, there’s, there are a lot of generalists who could do really well across the board, but in an industry such as ours, which is quite specialist, I think it’s like, know your stuff and know it well and be proud of it.

Carly: Yeah, amazing. Charlie, your thoughts? 

Charlie: And it’s such an interesting thing. I think I run loyalty lab WPP, and all the different people who work in loyalty from all the different agencies, consultancies, creative teams, digital agencies, partnerships, and rewards agencies. We all come together. And actually I ran one yesterday and I thought, Oh, it’s so interesting to me. We all come at this from such different angles. You know, the consultants come at it from the point of the business case, the creative teams come at it from the position of the idea, the researchers come at it from the angle of, you know, what’s going to matter to the customer, the branding strategist. So actually, how does this program really deliver the brand?

And every time I sit in those forums, I think, oh, this is such a fantastic industry because you can look at it so many different ways and reach so many different conclusions, and I think the one thing I would really like to see more in the loyalty industry is that collaboration and innovation. 

So my favorite thing everyone knows is I love building programs. And I love building programs with a loyalty strategist, a really engaged client team, a fantastic creative agency, a brilliant technical platform, the rewards and partnership specialists, you know, all working together because then I think what you can create is something quite unique and quite special.

And we’ve just published our British research. We’re just working on our European research. Amanda’s actually interviewing me later today for the Let’s Talk Loyalty podcast. 

Amanda: Yes. 

Charlie:  Yes. I’m on the field research. And I think what we’ve seen is this meteoric rise in the differentiated program. You know, those days of one size fits all, whip out a points program and stick your logo on it have completely gone.

And I think a large part of that is about collaboration across the industry and taking those different viewpoints and actually creating something that works for the brand, for the audience, for the partners, for them, you know, that is technically capable for the platform and the business and for it on comms.

So I think that’s the one thing I’m most interested to see in the industry, that rise of collaboration. And I think it plays to Amanda’s point about swim in your lane, like recognize. When you know what you know, and also when you need to ask for help, you know, like I would always reach out to, you know, one of our creative agencies or one of our creative teams. Develop a branding proposition, you know, me and my team of partnership specialists, we would never, you know, pretend to come up with a conceptual name and an amazing creative thing. And I think that’s so important. 

So collaboration, I think would be my big one, leading to really good invention and innovation, not just collaboration. So we can all sit in a room and make each other feel better. It’s like, what do we actually do differently as a concept? That collaboration. 

Carly: Absolutely. Absolutely. Amanda, do you have any recommendations? Because I know we have chatted about this previously as well. Launching a global program. So if, you know, anyone listening and our guests and members here as well, what sort of recommendation would you give if someone was launching a global program?

Amanda: We always start like go back to the roots of strategic. I mean, I’m a loyalty strategist, right? So I design programs from strategy through to implementation. But as Charlie says, to get to implementation requires a whole heap of other specialist skills. But start with your strategy. Like if you actually don’t know why you’re doing it, you’re going to get into such a mess when you actually try and implement, cause you’re going to go back to, well, is the data important? Is the CVP important? 

So if it’s because a lot of organizations assume you’re doing it just because you’re going to get more sales or better profits, actually, how about the customer? You know, like, so why are you doing it strategically? What’s one of those? So what’s in it for you as a business is always the client starting point, but actually we’re constantly playing the role of fine, but what’s in it for you? Like, why would you do this for your customer? So the strategy at the start is the is the starting point. There’s a reason it should be at the start, not we’ve got a technology solution that can do this. Can you build a loyalty program around it? Cause that’s probably the more common approach. So start with your strategy and then you probably expect me to say this, but everything about ours, our consultancy approach, the title of my book, everything is, keep it simple.

Like you don’t have to launch the Rolls Royce complex solution on day one, keep it simple and develop it over time. When you understand it more, understand how your customers react, but you could develop it covertly. So it’s more differentiated. So your customers always feel that it’s simple. It could be hellishly complex below, below the behind the scenes and below the waterline, but keep it flipping simple for your customers. 

Carly: I feel like the, what you’re describing here is also great advice for life as well. This is loyalty, but as well, I’m loving this. 

Amanda: Yeah, yeah.

Carly: I’m like, right. It takes notes here as well for myself and Paula, if we were talking about metrics, like we’re talking about building a program out and coming from the lab and the collaboration, and then building a program strategically as well. And obviously a simple one, even though we’re probably all swimming like crazy behind the scenes. If we talk about any metrics, like how are we measuring these programs and metrics that are usually overlooked? What would you talk to about that? 

Paula: Thanks, Carly. Yeah, I was thinking about this last week. Actually, I was asked to speak on a panel at a conference in the hotel sector. And just to pick up on Charlie’s point, I have never run a hotel loyalty program. So I was frantically reaching out to the hotel loyalty specialist that I know going make sure I have, you know, a real understanding of this sector before I put myself up on a stage.

But one of the key questions was around metrics. And when I thought about all of the answers that have come through on the podcast, I realized I did have a favorite one that I hadn’t heard from anyone except one particular person. So I wanted to highlight that, but I suppose the other ones that we all know and love, like my favorite, you know, popular one, I suppose is Net Promotion Score.

But there are so many, the recency, frequency, monetary value, the lifetime value, the upsell, the cross sell, you know, the increased visits, increased spend, like there are, you know, probably 20 different metrics. So I think it’s important to acknowledge all of that.

But the one that I hadn’t heard before came from the President of the Advantage Program for American airlines. At the time, Bridget Blaise-Shamai was the guest’s name and they specifically, or she had identified based on the insight that we all know that burn drives earn. Her key KPI was the speed to first redemption. And I thought that was brilliant because we all know that we want people to engage and we want them to, you know, to burn the points, but the speed of which that actually happens builds the trust.

And it comes back to Amanda’s point, you know, like the purpose of a loyalty program internally, is of course to drive profitable behavior change. But if you talk to a consumer, they’re actually like no, no, no, no, no. I’m joining this program. So you can be loyal to me. Like it’s totally opposite. 

So I think we have to bear that in mind that they want to be recognized for their past behavior, whereas the business wants to look to drive the future behavior. So yeah. So speed to first redemption, help them believe, help them to trust you. And then they will get into that virtuous circle. So that’s definitely my favorite KPI. 

Charlie: Yeah, I think KPIs is is such an interesting topic, actually, and we work, it was one of my favorite things about being agency side, you know, we get to work across so many sectors and so many brands and travel is such a world in itself, you know, when we’re working with Marriott or the summits and stuff it’s a fascinating sector.

I think one of the things I’m really interested to see is the development of those KPIs. And I’m sure Amanda, you’ve got a lot on this as well from the frontline, but we traditionally saw behavioral KPIs 15 years ago, and actually they were quite transactional metrics. And then I think Forrester came along and a recognition that actually, you know, behavioral loyalty is really important, but actually emotional loyalty is what drives you for the longterm.

And then we saw that raft of emotional kind of KPIs coming in, and then that impact on brands. So one of my favorite loyalty KPIs is about brand I love. And actually when you can see the differential between people who are in a great loyalty program where they’re highly engaged and those that aren’t, I think that’s really interesting.

I always like to look ahead and I’m always like, well, what’s coming next? 

And we did lucky enough to work with Christina Ziliani of the Loyalty Observatory. And she did a really interesting speech last year where she talked about citizenship. And actually people are members of programs. It’s about their relationship with the brand, but there’s an increasing expectation from those members that actually those brands are behaving in a responsible way for people, society and the planet.

And it’s something we’ve researched for a lot. I think I put it in 2020, you know, which is four years ago and already feels like a lifetime ago. But looking at how important those corporate social responsibility KPIs to people in loyalty, and I have as yet to see one, but I’m really hoping that at some point in the next 12 to 20 months, we’re going to be working with a client that has a direct corporate social responsibility KPI for their program.

Be that a sustainability KPI for their impact on their planet or their charity, because it’s a lot of what they do, but it’s not yet something that businesses are holding loyalty programs accountable for. Everyone will say, yes, I contribute to my corporate social responsibility policy of my company, and this is what we do, but it’s not yet emerged as an actual kind of KPI, and I think it’s really important in loyalty that we think about the long term.

We’ve had a lot of, you know, discussions with a lot of the brands and programs that we work about this tension between the short term and the long term, particularly the impact of the cost of living crisis and actually that really shifting consumers and loyalty program members to not only claim a lot more, they’re claiming a lot faster at the moment, Paula, than they were five years ago, but actually, you know, value, value, value.

And I think one of the things we always push back on is, well, value, value, value is really important now. But in five years, What have you done now to help people, planet, and society? Because if you don’t do it now, you can’t start doing it in five years. So I think that’s a really interesting area for me, and I’m really excited to see the development of those KPIs as we move forwards.

Carly: Amanda, have you got any thoughts around what you see, especially in your region around KPIs and measurement? 

Amanda: Well, I love what Charlie is saying. I mean, obviously a lot of the work we’re doing personally is in Truth linked to charity and so on. So I’m just hanging on every word there, Charlie. 

Charlie: We’re part of the Million Tree Pledge as well. You know, we’re all trying to do our part, aren’t we?

Carly: Absolutely. Amanda, tell us about Blind Trust as well. Please do. 

Amanda: Yeah. Can I skip the KPI question? Cause I feel like it’s super well answered by these lovely ladies.

Carly: Yeah, let’s do this. Let’s get straight to it.

Amanda: So we had a beautiful chat last week on Let’s Talk Loyalty, actually about the white paper, the South Africa white paper launch. And I think my favorite question you asked me, Carly, was the last question. It was like something around, so you know, how do you find satisfaction in your work? And I said, please, let’s talk about it for today because I’ve had a really privileged career. I’ve had an incredible career. I love my work.

Like I’ve never got up in the morning and not wanting to go to work. Like, so, and I know not everyone has that. So it’s a real privilege. And I’m grateful for the journey I’ve had, whether it was with British Airways, whether it was selling ice cream, or whether it was with Woolworths South Africa, which is a premium retailer.

And now I’ve got Truth. And Truth’s always been like amazing. I love it. Like, and, but suddenly now it makes sense. And I feel that since we’ve launched the Blind Loyalty Trust, it all makes sense. Because I’m, we’re able to use our position in the industry around the world and here in South Africa, but to continue to do a great job for our clients, like Truth is a serious consultancy, like we’re not, you know, I’m not belittling what Truth does by just talking about Blind Loyalty or the Trust, but now we’re able to approach loyalty programs and one redemption at a time, to one switch of expiring points at a time, we are saving, changing the world one eye surgery at a time. 

And I shared this with you that last weekend we took 25 individuals from rural South Africa who were bilaterally blind and through money’s raised through Blind Loyalty Trust, which is predominantly through redact. There’s a lot of corporate donations for which we’re extremely grateful. And a lot of. The, all the profit from the book sales and all the profit from the bracelets around the world, all of that I’m incredibly grateful, but the real, well done.

Carly: It’s always on, always on.

Amanda: The real money come from redemptions from loyalty programs, and that is changing people’s lives. And it not only changes the individual’s life who’s blind, but it changes their family’s lives. Because typically in South Africa, if someone is blind, the child gets taken out of school to look after their parent or grandparent who’s blind. Or the father is 92 years old. He is looking after a 75 year old son who’s blind. So we’re changing communities. And I just want to keep encouraging anyone who’s got influence out there in the world of loyalty. If you can switch your program and you’re looking for a charity choice, please join Blind Loyalty Trust and let’s continue because we don’t have to stop. We can carry on. 

And now suddenly the work we do at Truth, and we don’t employ people at the Trust, it’s done through the Truth team so that 100 percent minus stupid banking costs go to the, go to trustees. The work at Truth carries on, but it really has so much more meaning. And I sound sort of all kind of philosophical and, but I’m not, it’s just, if I, if we can do what we do to help clients, but help also do all of this stuff, it’s just so much more worthwhile.

Carly: Yeah, I love this so much. I love this so much. And I was really, really happy to have that conversation with you and also make sure we, we went through it again today because I think the more exposure, the better. 

Amanda: Yeah, thank you.

Carly: It means so much. Now, I do have to honor some of these questions that I’ve been sent. We had a lot of excited members that number one, they requested you, they wanted you ladies here. Right. And also sent in a lot of questions as well. 

But the one, there was a really big one and I’m going to ask this one because, and we’ll close it out. We’re going to start wrapping up here as well after I ask you, but I do think this is an important one as well. And maybe a bit controversial, but it’s really important.

And this one came in, um, the key here is when do you feel that the world can stop and no longer need to celebrate International Women’s Day? When can we, not needed anymore?

Charlie: Wow! That’s a big question. 

Carly: I was doing it slowly. I was doing it slowly to prepare you. I was giving you some space. I was preparing you.

Charlie: Brilliant question. Whoever asked it. It’s a great question. I think we talk about this a lot at work actually. And diversity and inclusion is really important, and it’s how we think about this topic.

Actually, we do support women. My CEO is a member of Wacl, which is a big network of women in communications leadership. We do a lot to promote our team. But actually, we do a lot to promote and support our team and the people we work with. But for all types of people, all different working patterns, all different needs.

And so I’m not sure the world will ever not need International Women’s Day. I think it’s a great celebration. I’m privileged to work with some incredible women, be mentored by brilliant women, have been managed by brilliant women, have brilliant women in my team. But I’ve also got brilliant men in my team and had brilliant men managers and brilliant male mentors. And, you know, I think that’s one of the things that we look at. 

But we also look at age. We look at race. We look at people’s backgrounds. And actually, I think it’s really important that we celebrate and support everyone. So I don’t think there will ever be a need not to have International Women’s Day. I think we will always need it. But I think we need to celebrate and support everyone and make sure that we’re bringing everybody into our industry and welcoming those individuals and actually creating career paths and working patterns and training and support to make sure that everybody feels part of our industry.

I think, you know, the one thing you can definitely say about loyalty marketing is it’s the more, the merrier. We need more people in, we need more different types of people because then the programs that we work on will be better. Back to that original point on collaboration the more we do, the more we bring people in, the better the work will be. So that’s probably a bit of a roundabout answer but I don’t think we’ll ever not need it. But I also think we need to celebrate everyone and bring everyone on the journey. 

Carly: Yeah, awesome. Awesome. Paula, what are you thinking? 

Paula: I am thinking Carly, you know, when I think about my younger self, I probably would have, you know, subconsciously like, you know, turn certain parts of myself down for fear of offending, for fear of, I don’t know what kind of misguided ideas I had about who I should be.

But I think for me, like I love the idea now of celebrating femininity at any time and in any context. And I think women love to connect with each other. So, you know, like Charlie said, like we, we may never not need it, but I think we’ll always want it. Like I again, I’m filled with like joy and pride for what everyone around this room is doing and talking about, you know, and the work that’s being done. And I feel like we deserve the opportunity to share that time together. So for me, you know, if I could spend more time with all of you women, I would, I just think that’s something that I want more of.

And again, I love men. I married one, you know, and I’ve kept him around and, you know, he’s wonderful. 

Carly: That one is good.

Paula: But it’s a different conversation. So for me, the fact that we do, you know, intentionally celebrate this day together. And again, my tiny contribution is publishing it out to the Let’s Talk Loyalty TV audience because Loyalty TV hadn’t really thought about International Women’s Day. So we’ll definitely make sure to do that next year. But thanks for the opportunity, Carly. I love this day and this opportunity to talk with you about this. 

Carly: Oh, we thank you for doing it as well. Amanda, what are your thoughts? 

Amanda: Yeah, I’m kind of like the same. It’s the same as both what Paula and Charlie have said, so I very much in South Africa, we have a woman’s day and in August. So it’s a separate date. It’s the 9th of August. And there’s a lot of celebrations in South Africa to honour previously disadvantaged groups. So, obviously, South Africa’s got a history of notes and that includes youth, that includes race, that includes women. 

So, but there’s been wrongs in the past, right? So it’s a different approach potentially, but that’s just South Africa. And I think about some countries in the world still don’t offer the same opportunities or respect to women versus men. But that’s not my place to pinpoint that. 

So I very much feel like Paula, I love being around great women, unthreatened women who try to build each other up rather than tear each other down. And I really do think this, that’s something that you gravitate towards if that’s how you feel. But I’m very much like Charlie as well that I don’t really, I’ve never had a problem in my career, but I’ve never felt like I’ve hit a glass ceiling. I’ve never felt like I’ve been disadvantaged because I’m a woman. I’ve never felt intimidated because it’s a group of guys. I grew up with three older brothers. It was like suck it up and get on with it kind of attitude, you know, like survive or die. 

And so I feel that I don’t particularly like the discussions because I’m like, well, what difference does it make? Like, like we’re all great humans trying to do the best in life. But I do understand some places it’s necessary. And, but I personally also really love, I love great strong women, but I also love strong, intelligent men. You know, like I love being around unthreatened men who are intelligent. I can’t bear being around people who are threatened just because you’re impactful or strong woman, I find that’s just like, move on.

But I don’t like the questions of like, well, how does a woman survive in a business role? Or how does a woman survive in the world of loyalty? Like, how does a man survive? Like ask him the same question. So I very much agree with both Paula and Charlie and, celebrate all of us, not just the four of us on the screen, every one of you out there and every one of you out there watching Loyalty TV when it launches.

So, I just think it’s actually about being respectful and supporting each other, whether you’re male or female, young or old. Just show respect and be kind and do your best. 

Carly: Oh, this is good. This is so good. Thank you all so much as well. We really appreciate you joining us, especially with all the respective time zones that you’re covering at the moment as well, and being all on the same webinar at the one time.

So a big thank you, Charlie, Amanda, and Paula. And also Paula for broadcasting this via Loyalty TV at a later stage as well. So thanks from WiiN and we have a great day, night, wherever you are, and we’ll wrap it up right now. Thanks. 

Charlie: Thank you. 

Paula: Thank you. 

Amanda: Thanks, Carly.

Paula: This show is sponsored by Wise Marketer Group, publisher of the Wise Marketer, the premier digital customer loyalty marketing resource for industry relevant news, insights, and research. Wise Marketer group also offers loyalty, education and training globally through its Loyalty Academy which has certified nearly 900 marketers and executives in 49 countries as certified loyalty marketing professionals.

For global coverage of customer engagement and loyalty, check out the wisemarketer.com and become a wiser marketer or subscriber. Learn more about global loyalty education for individuals or corporate training programs at loyaltyacademy.org.

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