ONE-YEAR AT GOIZUETA: JENNYFER GOUNÉ – Interview: Platform Marketing Summit

During the fall semester two of my classmates attended the Platform Summit and Goodie Marketing event. Their experience made such a great impact on them that I decided to capture the details by interviewing one of them.

The Platform Summit is an event that was launched in 2013 with the intent of engaging more minorities into digital and tech career paths and to show aspiring students that they can be non-traditional and pursue their own business ventures within these sectors.

Goodie Marketing, founded by Joey Digital, was created to develop non-profit organizations that help the economy and develop attendees as future
entrepreneurs.

My classmate Alexandra Rodriguez attended the events from Friday to Sunday and described the format as a conference followed by a mini hackathon-like competition. The goal of the competition was determining how to promote platforms, leveraging digital, social, youth, PR, and offline strategies, through a 5-minute pitch to judges.

1) How would you describe the Platform Marketing Summit & Goodie Marketing in three sentences or less?

Alex: Inspirational and memorable event with influential leaders. Engaging, emotional experience. It had an entrepreneurial and techy spirit.

Diaris: Platform Summit was an inspirational weekend about diversifying the innovation economy — getting more women, black, and brown people to participate and succeed in tech, media, entrepreneurship, etc. It was basically like “TED talks for black and brown people.” Goodie Marketing was a marketing hackathon geared at providing ideas and tactics for the mission of the nonprofit organization, Platform, which produced the conference.

2) What was your favorite part of the weekend?

 Alex: The speakers were very inspiring. Hearing the Latino female speakers describe strategies to really build as a community and come together as a whole. Being around like-minded
individuals and feeling that power and energy was also great. Everyone felt excited and engaged.

 3) How did Emory GBS prepare you for this experience?

 Alex: I had an objective, disciplined approach at crafting presentations that I learned from GMSC. Also, general networking experience getting to know my classmates and other backgrounds was helpful.

Diaris: One of the great tenets of my experience at Goizueta thus far has been surrounding dealing with ambiguity and working with new teams. This was particularly useful during
the Goodie Marketing jam session on Sunday afternoon.

 4) If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?

 Alex: I would have taken another class, like Appcology: New Commerce Infrastructure to learn more about coding and challenge myself.

Diaris: If I could do it all over again, I would make sure I spoke to more speakers after their talks and I would also be more proactive about finding team members for the marketing
hack.

 5) Who inspired you most at the summit?

 Alex: Paula Madison, founder of Madison Media Management. She is African/Chinese Jamaican so she grew up with a Chinese mother who was very family oriented “having a susu.” She taught us about pulling resources together to build a greater good. She also encouraged having a “side hustle” from a young age. She had strategic jobs, corporate jobs, and deferred income—a “backative.” She recently connected with her family members in China and helped bridge connections to help them start their own business. I was blown away by her charisma and go get ‘em attitude.

Diaris: Paula Williams Madison’s talk on Friday was pivotal for me. She had an incredible career at NBCUniversal and spoke of leveraging the corporate experience to drive
entrepreneurial endeavors, support family, and make an impact. She was one of few speakers that did not prepare PowerPoint presentation slides. She filled the theater with a magnanimous presence. I connected with her as a speaker because we are both women, share Jamaican ancestry, and have an interest in media careers and entrepreneurship. Seldom do I find women be both humble and unapologetic about being great. Her talk and her story was incredibly inspiring for me and I expect it to be for years to come.

 6) Please describe your project/task for the Goodie Marketing event on Sunday.

 Diaris: In approximately 3 hours, work in teams of 7 people to devise a plan within a budget of $40,000 to increase attendance at the Platform Summit 2015 and advance the organization’s mission. Plans had to include several components including PR, Social Media, Digital, Offline, and Youth.

 7) What was your greatest take-away.

 Alex: It’s never too late, anything’s possible. Seeing other individuals going through the same challenges really inspired me. Hearing other women/minority stories and how they got to be
where they are today.

Diaris: My biggest takeaway was actually that I am on the right path and that I should take more opportunities to embrace risk and leadership.

 8) How can other students/prospects get involved now/next year?

 Alex: Visit platform.org to get more information about the next summit, see newsletters and past videos from speakers. Next year, leverage GBS to get involved.

Diaris: Look out for information from Goodie Marketing and Platform and follow them on social media.

 9) How has this enhanced your MBA experience at Emory/in Atlanta?

 Alex: Meeting individuals that have achieved a lot made her able to connect with them in a more personal way and see how they arose from the challenges to success. At school you read a lot of cases and see many success stories, but don’t understand the struggle people go through. Meeting these individuals in-person was a more meaningful personable aspect to my learning experience.

Diaris: This event showed me that there is an incredible network of amazing people that are interested in supporting the power of diversifying media, tech, entertainment,
business, etc. and ultimately changing the world. The Platform Summit was a bit like a “piece of home” for me because there were a lot of successful people presenting at the conference that shared my background whether it be that they were from or reside in the San Francisco Bay Area, have similar interests, were “creatives,” or were of Caribbean descent.