I think we do need to advocate, we do need to have a mission behind what we’re doing. We do need to consider the people we bring into our company.
Ravneet Vohra is CEO and Founder of Wear Your Voice, an intersectional feminist publication. The media network was created for and by LGBTQIA+, Black, Indigenous and people of color. The company’s mission is to educate, inspire and empower society through first-person stories, videos, podcasts and events.
In this episode of Velocitize Talks, Vohra shares her thoughts on advocacy, diversity, and finding your voice.
The Art of Being Authentic (1:16)
Big corporations didn’t always consider that having a woman of color behind the stories gives a totally different perspective.
Marketing as a whole tends to focus on two of the biggest buzzwords in the industry today—diversity and inclusion. But in Vohra’s opinion, businesses need to actually examine the overall make-up of their company and the role of diversity. “I’m not sure companies and corporations are doing it the way they should be,” she said.
Meanwhile brands continue to incorporate purpose and value into their campaigns to meet their audience’s expectations of fairness and inclusivity. An “authentic purpose is now as important as digital to the next generation of customers,” according to a Deloitte report.
Does your brand reflect society as a whole, and your audience in particular? In order for brands to earn the loyalty of Gen Z, for instance, they should act on their core principles.
Check Your Bias (2:42)
Opportunities are given to people with privilege. Opportunities are given to people who have accessibility to education.
So how can businesses be intentional about avoiding biases in Artificial Intelligence? For one, look at the make-up of your team. Certainly a white man is not the ideal choice to communicate and connect with women of color. In other words, different and distinct voices will resonate with different and distinct consumers.
A prime example of bias in AI is facial recognition. Face analysis services were created to identify gender in photos. However, the Algorithmic Justice League found they’re most accurate when identifying light-skinned males and much less so with dark-skinned women.
Democratization of Publishing (5:00)
Our voices are often silenced, our posts are often tagged for inappropriateness; but as a whole, the digital empire is integral to survive for companies like mine.
Source: Columbia Journalism Review
Vohra says that she wouldn’t have been able to launch her own business five years ago without using WordPress; the CMS gave her flexibility in terms of web content and design. As a result, the right platform enabled Vohra to create Wear Your Voice the way she wanted to create it.
Wear Your Voice is a vibrant publication as well as a strong voice for their global community. Above all, digital and social media have helped promote the magazine’s mission to a wide and diverse audience. But in order to grow, Vohra is looking at implementing other projects and tapping into different types of multimedia.
“You should be able to see us and how we represent, how we talk, how we communicate,” Vohra says. “Because there aren’t enough who look like us in mainstream media.”
Making Voices Heard (7:22)
We really know who we are as a company and we understand the voice of our community. We serve them what they need.
Image credit: Negesti Kaudo
So how does a company succeed with such ambitious global viral campaigns? For one, they listen. “We care about putting topics out that don’t get a lot of visibility,” Vohra says.
Consequently, Wear Your Voice has not shied away from critical issues. They have created campaigns like #KillTheSilence to raise awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence and #DropTheTowel to promote positive body image.
Beyond Beauty (8:13)
Black women often don’t get the credibility they deserve. We take ideas from them. They’re always a step ahead of the curve. They’re always pushing boundaries by the very way they look. Their barrier to entry is immediate. They’re always having to push further and further in order to be noticed, to be heard, to be seen.
One of Wear Your Voice’s past body positivity campaigns, #BeyondBeauty, focused specifically on Black women. The campaign celebrated all bodies “regardless of size, race, gender expression, disability or religious background.”
Photo credit: Elena Kulikova
The New Face of Entrepreneurs (10:35)
Women entrepreneurs—especially mothers—are expected to be everything and everywhere but we are pulled in 10 different directions. But I think we are the future of entrepreneurism. When it comes to multitasking, and strategy, and thinking ahead and thinking outside the box, that’s us.
Although women can’t have it all, Vohra says, they can definitely start to break down barriers, “especially if we link arms and do it together.”
This episode of Velocitize Talks was originally recorded in Los Angeles in 2019 and has been updated accordingly.