In celebration of the vibrant intersection of music, art and culture, REVOLT TV was proud to curate a day filled with panel conversations, brand activations and live music performances.
Coinciding with Women's History Month and SXSW, REVOLT HOUSE made its highly anticipated return to Austin, Texas, for the sixth year in a row, playing host to an engaging and informative panel discussion aptly titled, "Boss Ladies: Women at the Forefront of Tech & Music." Sponsored by SIMPLE Mobile, the intention behind the initiative -- to dive deep into how these worlds collide and influence one another -- was executed admirably, calling on the expertise of a plethora of talented women who embody exactly where the future of tech and hip hop is heading.
The panel featured Lisa Godwin (Creative Technologist at The New York Times and founder of You Are Tech), Maya Cooper (Director of Marketing and Live Events at All Def Media and Founder of independent agency MIGHTY), Keyera Williams (Video Producer at BuzzFeed), Elise Swopes (Founder and Visual Storyteller) and was moderated by REVOLT TV's own Lynzie Riebling (VP of Insights and Strategy).
While it goes without saying that each woman has an incredibly inspiring journey unique to their own individual paths and skillsets, a common thread that arose during the panel was acknowledging the importance of staying true to one's integrity and understanding how forming relationships is a foundational major key regardless of the direction one's career may take shape over time.
With gem after gem of intelligible wisdom being shared at the historic Vulcan Gas Company venue during REVOLT HOUSE's annual gathering, let's take a closer look at some undeniable inspirational takeaways and keep the conversation going together.
Lisa Godwin's career is rooted in her passion for technology, culture and education. Currently serving as a Senior Consultant and Creative Technologist at The New York Times, Lisa brings over a decade of experience working with a slew of reputed brands, such as MTV Networks, NBC Universal and Complex Media, to the table; all while embodying the importance of representation and giving back to others. Her company, We Are Tech, is a platform dedicated to helping others transition into the burgeoning tech field, with Harvard's #WeCode conference recently tapping her to share her expertise with the next generation of leaders in tech. With a focused vision and hunger to keep providing resources and opportunities to empower others, Lisa is helping pave the way to a brighter future.
During the panel, she spoke on the importance of integrating hip hop culture into the work she does, noting how visibility and representation is a key aspect in ensuring a brand's messaging remains an authentic reflection of what its creators are working to represent.
"I think it's really important to have the right staff in place. When I'm looking for clients to work with or consulting, I'm looking to see what kind of staff do you have. Do you have people who actually know about the hip hop industry or is that why you're contacting me? It is important to know what you're getting yourself into as far as working with these different brands and things because you want to make sure that you genuinely support the message you're trying to send out. With your name being attached to it, you're generally saying I agree with whatever message they are putting out. It is very important to me to do research and for me, look into the kind of message you're trying to deliver and what the audience is like that you're trying to target and reach out to. It's really important to me."
As the Director of Marketing and Live Events at All Def Media, as well as the founder of her own independent agency, MIGHTY; Maya Cooper is dedicated to inspiring by way of living and leading by example. Her career has taken several different forms over the years, encouraging others to trust in the process much like she has learned to do firsthand. After attending college in Ohio, the Minnesota native made a jump to New York City where she launched her career in marketing through hard work and strategic relationship building. Her client list has grown to include the likes of Pepsi Co., Mercedes-Benz and Levi's, as well as has led her to work with some of the top artists in the game including Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg and Joey Bada$$. With innovative marketing at the forefront of her work, Maya is a refreshing reminder of how being resilient yields the best results.
"I didn't see where I was going at first or what I wanted to do. I was pretty open about that. I knew I didn't need to have it all figured out, I just need to cultivate these great relationships. When you build the right relationships, even if you don't know what the next step is going to be or exactly what you want to do, you can see how there's a common thread. We each have our own. For me, it's making sure that I'm always present and always solutions-orientated. Whatever I end up doing -- odds and ends jobs -- there's still that common thread and people remember me for that."
Keyera Williams is a content creator whose success lies in her ability to leverage key partnerships between media companies and those pushing culture forward. As the only black woman working as a Video Producer for BuzzFeed Studios, Keyera takes her position in stride, helping create opportunities that ensure representation and visibility are being prioritized in today's ever-evolving media landscape. Over the years, she has worked with a slew of industry giants including BET Networks and Clear Channel Radio, drawing from her multifaceted experiences -- both in broadcast journalism and digital content creation -- to ensure that authenticity doesn't get lost when translating cultural dialogue and experiences into content. Keyera has worked closely with artists such as Migos, BJ the Chicago Kid and Saweetie, creating videos that have racked up over 100 million views and counting. In addition to her work with BuzzFeed and other reputed companies, she also hosts her own podcast, "You, Me and Key," during which she discusses how to navigate life as a 20-something in Los Angeles.
"I feel like out of all of the brands, it would appear BuzzFeed is the least connected when it comes to hip hop. Being the only black producer there on the L.A. side, I have taken my experience from working at the radio station, from working at BET, and literally fight for that content. I go into meetings and fight to have BJ the Chicago Kid to come in, to fight for this partnership with Migos, to fight to have this meeting with Interscope and bring these artists in because I know they are important. Hip hop is the number one genre. This is something that is important to me. Ultimately, the whole company I work for is all about identity. I bring my identity into every room that I come in. Hip hop is something I'm passionate about so I like to incorporate that into the content that I'm creating there."
As a storyteller leading the charge of how we view and create personable content, Elise Swopes has solidified a lane of her own making. With her tenacious vision and dedication to her work at the forefront, she is building a brand that not only lives on social media; but helps bring it to life in a way that is inspiring, informative and innovative. She first joined Instagram in 2010 and became a quick study to how the social platform can translate into a viable career as an influencer, storyteller and content creator. Over the years, her passion for learning new skills grew tenfold, leading her to become a self-taught photographer and graphic designer. She has gone on to work with artists such as Jamila Woods, as well as companies such as Adidas and Pandora, expanding her client list with every passing day. As a top-tier creative working to innovate the multimedia landscape of digital media, Swopes has cultivated a powerful following along the way, all while encouraging others to work tirelessly to execute their goals and put ideas into action. Her work has taken her to places such as Tokyo and Dubai, exemplifying with grace how utilizing social media as a tool can open a realm of possibilities.
"When I think about hip hop being involved in whatever brands are creating, I think about culture and inclusivity. It brings me back a little bit to the early 2000s... there was so much in hip hop and tech culture, especially in commercials for wireless phones and stuff like that. It really reminds me of that time. It's coming back in a more authentic way now. You see commercials with Cardi B. Those are the people that these brands -- and us as people and buyers -- want to see. You don't want to see people you don't connect with. I don't care about Britney Spears. I don't care if Britney Spears is selling a Pepsi. I want to see Cardi B selling a Pepsi because she's going to be like 'okurrr' and that's what I connect to. That is what's real. That's what culture is at this point. We also have to give respect to where the culture comes from. A lot of these execs and these agencies really are full of a lot of white people who don't have a lot of connections to the black culture. When we think about culture, that is black people and people of color. There needs to be an understanding of where that comes from and this is what's happening right now. It needs to be respected at all times."
Lynzie Riebling's uncompromising drive led her to her current position as the VP of Insights + Strategy at REVOLT TV, one she executes with pride, enthusiasm and wisdom. Her multifaceted background lies in uncovering fan insights for companies such as Live Nation/Ticketmaster, as well as working on the agency side for brands such as Google/YouTube, Viacom, NBCU, Nike, Heineken and IKEA. As she draws from her past experiences to identify emerging youth trends and discover new ways to innovate the media landscape, especially as Millennial and Gen Z consumers are shaping the future in live time, her passion lies in keeping a pulse on culture in order to ensure REVOLT TV remains ahead of the curve. Lynzie's hunger and dedication to exploring societal/cultural trends has allowed her to separate herself from the pack and create impactful work along the way, all while helping others to elevate.
"It's not about working for your job, it's about making your job work for you. That's something I think the further you get along in your career, the more you start to realize I'm not just working to live."