We all like killing to birds with one stone, right? Metaphorically, of course. I don’t actually kill birds. Neither do you, I hope.
But when you can learn amazing insights from someone who leads influence marketing for a big brand, but that person also happens to be a content creator themselves, well now we can double our takeaways and smarts without having to go two different directions.
Zeena Koda has been a content creator and media personality for the better part of the last 15-20 years. She’s been everything from a red carpet host on television to a voice-over artist to a podcast host and even a standup comedian. Her background is in the music industry … she’s been in a band as well … and like any artist or creator, she has multiple avenues and outlets for that content and creativity.
But sometimes we also have to pay the bills if that art doesn’t necessarily take off right away, so she’s also built a nice career on the brand side of things engaging communities, building marketing and influence programs and more.
She recently landed at 2K Games, which is one of the most successful video game companies out there. With titles like PGA Tour 2K23, Marvel’s Midnight Suns and the Borderlands series, Zena has the interesting challenge of managing community and influencers for 2K … the brand … but also the sub-communities and influence programs for each title, because each game is different with a different audience, and influencers.
When I realized we had the opportunity to learn two volumes of expertise from one guest, well, I jumped on it.
Zeena and I caught up recently to dig into her new role at 2K, her approach to influence and influence marketing, and some of the other issues she tackles in the business. She still has a popular podcast called Everything is Political, so she’s still a creator and influencer in her own right. She is also a co-founder of the Asian-American Collective, which is an organization worth paying attention to.
We’ll explain why and dive in deeper with Zeena on Winfluence.
Winfluence is made possible by Cipio.ai – The Community Commerce Marketing platform. What does that mean? It’s an influencer marketing software solution, but it has additional apps that function to tap into your brand community to drive commerce. Community Commerce Marketing moves beyond influencers to fans and followers, customers, employees and more. Try its generative AI application, Vibe Check, with a two-week free trial at cipio.ai/vibecheck, and generate a library of social captions in minutes you can use right away.
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Zeena Koda Transcript
[00:00:00] Jason: On this episode of Winfluence.
[00:00:01] Zeena: What you consider community for one title could be completely different for another. So that’s one thing that’s definitely hard to assess, but actually a fun challenge, right? To really go and unearth and figure out where those communities are and where we should water, where maybe you should pull back, right?
It’s tempering how you are communicating, thinking of the consumer journey and how we want to interact with our consumers. And also thinking about building infrastructures for the long term, whatever long term means these days. I think is also another challenge, right? But I don’t think anybody has the answer.
And you know, having a bit of humility and understanding that and going with the flow. I think that some of the best companies on earth, you know, are just transparent with what they’re trying to do, how they’re trying to do it, and we all learn from, you know, our successes and really learn from our failures.
[00:00:44] Jason: There’s a difference between being an influencer and actually influencing. I’m Jason Falls, and in this podcast we explore the people, companies campaigns and stories that illustrate that difference. Welcome to Winfluence, the Influence Marketing Podcast Hello again, friends. Thanks for listening to Winfluence the Influence Marketing podcast. We all like killing two birds with one stone, right? Well, metaphorically, of course I don’t actually kill birds, neither of you, I hope. But when you can learn amazing insights from someone who leads influence marketing for a big brand, but that person also happens to be a content creator themselves, well, now we can double our takeaways and smarts without having to go two different directions.
Zeena Koda has been a content creator and media personality for the better part of the last 15, 20 years. She’s been everything from a red carpet host on television to a voiceover artist, to a podcast host, and even a standup comedian. Her background is in the music industry. She’s been in a band as well. And like any artist or creator, she has multiple avenues and outlets for that content and creativity.
But sometimes we also have to pay the bills if the art doesn’t necessarily take off right away. So Zeena’s built a nice career on the brand side of things, engaging communities, building, marketing, and influence programs and more. She recently landed at 2K Games, which is one of the most successful video game companies out there with titles like PGA Tour 2K23, Marvel’s Midnight Suns, and the Borderlands Series.
Zeena has the interesting challenge of managing community and influencers for 2K, the brand, but also the sub-communities and influence programs for each title because each video game is very different and has a very different audience than thus different influencers. When I realized we had the opportunity to learn two volumes of expertise from one guest, well, I jumped on it.
Zeena and I caught up recently to dig into her new role at 2K, her approach to influence and influence marketing and some of the other issues she tackles in the business. But she still has a popular podcast called Everything Is Political, so she’s still a creator and influencer in her own right. She is also co-founder of the Asian American Collective, which is an organization worth paying attention to. We’ll explain why and dive deeper today with Zeena on the show.
Winfluence is presented by cipio.ai, the community commerce marketing platform. I love what they’re doing so much. I joined the company as Executive Vice President for marketing in November. Cipio.ai is a platform that has a family of apps that helps you drive commerce through your own community.
One of those applications taps into a big theme for 2023 for brands and creators, and that theme is efficiency. Whether you’re a brand or creator, you probably spend a lot of time writing and rewriting captions for your social media content. You also have to make sure that content will perform well by keeping up with the trends across social media, right?
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That makes it very different from other AI content generators out there. Now those of you who know me know I’m not a big fan of automating content creation. Well, first of all, the generative AI behind what we have at cipio.ai is pretty fantastic, the humanities there. But that’s actually not the point. Vibe Check produces a ton of great content to save you writing time.
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Managing community and influence for a brand then for multiple communities under the brand hard task that will break down with the woman doing it big. Zeena Koda from 2K Games is next on Winfluence.
Zeena, I love your title, head of Global Digital Community Marketing. There’s a lot to unpack there. I know the idea of community is on one hand more pronounced in gaming than other verticals, perhaps different than say, clothing or a CPG brand would use it. So I guess a good starter question for us here is what’s yout sort of definition of what community means to you, and then maybe to 2K as well.
[00:06:16] Zeena: Oh, that’s a good one. Thanks for having me on, by the way. I would say I actually reshaped the name of the department, because when I initially came in it was Head Of Social Influencer And Community Engagement, which was a mouthful.
But ultimately I switched it to Digital Community Marketing because it’s interesting in this ecosystem, right? Like everything that you’re doing that falls underneath each of those individual pillars. Actually is just community marketing. Right? And when you think about the community and the extensions of the community, social is the direct in like the OG community, right?
Like, other than forums and other, you know, old school quote unquote community you know, kind of portals, social is really the place that you start to incubate conversations and you know, some people see social as an output, as a leaderboard, right? Which is just bad practice in the first place.
But you know, in gaming for 2K specifically, we see social actually as a place where you start to build community and build a vibe and build a voice for who we are as an individual titles and who we are as a brand, right?
So, you know, identifying that pretty quickly and seeing that social was a community driver, it made sense to me to kind of reshape that, into just overall digital community marketing. And when you talk about the creator and influencer space, I think that sometimes people forget that those are communities, those are literally the strongest communities. Right?
So we have a program called the Next Maker Program, which is almost like a creator loyalty program with some of our most loyal creators that love our games and, you know, we engage with them directly, give them all kinds of perks and benefits. Create, you know, IRL opportunities for them as well to get together, to stream, to talk, to get access to the games. And I think that’s really important because again, here we are creating more community within our digital space.
And then on the other side of the, you know, the fence, you have actual community, engagement, quote unquote, right? And in that space, you have avenues like Twitch, right? Because that are driven by content and the way that we’re kind of framing it content. And we know that content is a beast, right? Like when you’re trying to make it consistently.
So that’s another area that we’ve really, doubled down on and we’re trying to kind of push through even more. And also under that is everything we’re doing with Discord, which is the new forum, right? And Discord has endless opportunities for building different communities, whether or not it’s more functional and more feedback loops for the games, or it’s actually, you know, going in and creating a specific initiative that we wanna execute with our community.
I think we’re only starting to scratch the surface, but we have some pretty deep ones already. With NBA, with PGA, we’ve seen a lot of learnings and it’s cool to start to build more of a space for people to not only meet each other, but also have an opportunity to learn more, and for us to be a voice back to them too, right?
So when we’re thinking of how we incubate all of these things, and in the gaming industry in general, you live and die by it, because gaming is really the only entertainment method where you can, have an opinion and your opinion gets heard and actually is reflected in the game. Right?
Like, you can make a crappy album and everybody’s like, next time. You can make a crappy movie. And you take the L and then you move on and try to make a better one next time. Right. And you might get some feedback, but there is a big lapse time between, in gaming it’s more immediate, right?
So the precedence on community is paramount in this type of situation. And for us it’s just really been great to kind of see that as it’s matured into one coalesce function over the last few months of me being here and seeing where it’s gonna go is really exciting for the future.
[00:09:49] Jason: Okay, so you made a little bit of a reference to this. So 2K games obviously is the brand, but your products are the games themselves. And I don’t think it’s hard for people to understand that the influential voices and fans and community of say, PGA tour 2K23 are different from Marvel’s Midnight Suns or the Borderland Series. So I’m guessing you’re managing multiple instances of communities, right?
[00:10:14] Zeena: Yeah, absolutely. And they all have different needs and cadences and wants, and again, like what you consider community for one title could be completely different for another title. So that’s one thing that’s definitely hard to assess, but actually a fun challenge, right?
To really go in unearth and figure out where those communities are and where we should water, where maybe you should pull back, right? It’s tempering how you are communicating, thinking of the consumer journey and how we want to interact with our consumers, and also thinking about building infrastructures for the long term, whatever long term means these days.
I think is also another challenge, right? But I don’t think anybody has the answer. And you know, having a bit of humility and understanding that and going at the flow. I think that some of the best companies on earth, right, you know, are just transparent with what they’re trying to do, how they’re trying to do it.
And we all learn from, you know, our successes and really learn from our failures, right? Or where things didn’t quite go the way that we expected. But the learning is the key in building community because if you just hang out and no one’s coming, well, you gotta move on to somewhere else, right? Like you’re gonna have to make sure that you’re showing up where that audience is and showing up meaningfully.
[00:11:22] Jason: Right. I’m just kind of trying to get my head wrapped around the whole sort of community engagement and management piece for so many different, you know, basically brands. What’s the size and scope of that look like? What kind of team do you have to manage all that?
[00:11:35] Zeena: I have a pretty big team. Again, I think a lot of automation and just like streamlining processes and like leveraging where you can eliminate things from the past, right? That don’t necessarily matter as much, today.
I like to be very forward thinking and think to the future, right? Especially because I am starting in a new capacity, in a new place, bringing a new function to life. Just really important to kind of think forward that way.
Team’s pretty big, pretty deep. Each of these teams really is focused on their specific areas and also bringing it together in a digital community marketing lens, right? So when we’re thinking about marketing something from community aspect, like we’re thinking of creators, right? Because creators are the people who are within those communities. We’re also working with those creators on creating content, right? There’s a whole ecosystem that’s there, and how does that show up through social.
So when you think about that and the different ways that each of those different functions coordinate and also compliment each other, that’s where like we try to create more efficiencies and better ways for the teams to be working together and considering each other because that creativity, that synergy actually is like a game changer for any organization, whether it’s us or you know, another company. And it doesn’t matter the industry, right?
When you’re actually understanding how those different touchpoints create a consumer journey, you’re able to really understand like how you can best impact your consumers. And also, hey, you may be missing them in one area, but you might be hitting them in the other.
[00:12:55] Jason: So on this show we, talk a lot about influence marketing without the r, and what that implies, at least to me, is there’s more to it than social media influencers. When you’re building out, influencer concepts or when you’re thinking about building out influencer concepts in this new role, are you thinking that you’re gonna look externally to gamers who have established channels on Twitch and YouTube and other platforms? Or are you more apt to kind of look internally at the current community that’s already there and try to find those brand enthusiasts? Is there a preference on your side, or is there a difference in how you would look at it from an entertainment product that has an engaged community versus maybe a consumer product that doesn’t?
[00:13:34] Zeena: I think consumer products do have advocates, right? Like, think about a McDonald’s is crushing it. And people have affinity towards brands in a completely different way than I think they’ve even had in the past. Right? Like, brands have become identity in some ways, right? It really is kind of a reflection of what your values are, especially with the younger generations. Right?
I would say it’s a balanced of both to be honest, because you, obviously wanna, like, what are those relationships that got you where you are today, but then it’s also taking a look at like, how do you expand that audience? Are there audiences that you may have, lost along the way, but could redeem? Are there also like audiences that you are not hitting? Like, you know, you probably see it nausea and people like how do you target Gen Z and Gen Alpha and like what is the best way and it’s authenticity and it’s TikTok and it’s this and it’s that.
Yeah, it’s all of those things. And it’s honestly community, right? Like because those younger generations grew up living on digital communities. So it’s the number one way that they know how to communicate.
And I think once you like grapple with that as an elder millennial myself, like, and just understand that communication flow and understand like, the precedence that your marketing campaigns need to, lean into for reaching those communities, then I think like it makes it easier to see what that split looks like, right?
I, don’t think it does anybody well to abandon your old consumers, right? Like your consumers are there for a reason, especially in the gaming space. I feel like they might have grown up, but they say, hey, they also had kids that will not be playing your game. Like, you know, I’m an elder millennial, as I mentioned, and I have friends that are my age that also have kids who are now like getting super into NBA, right?
So understanding, hitting all those different generational touchpoints, I think too is, tough, right? Because those are multiple different communities. But when you have a map against what you’re trying to do, I think that makes it as succinct and as calculated as possible while leaving room for kind of just growing the community and the way that the community grows, right?
Like you never know what’s gonna happen, right? Like you put your best effort forward and see what happens. And sometimes you’re pleasantly surprised to be honest in the way that things kind of come back.
[00:15:38] Jason: Well, I’m, delightfully uncomfortable with the term elder millennial. I’ll throw that out there now. I think it’s high time for me to just start screaming, get off my lawn and let y’all take over. Anyway, somebody asked me the other day what generation I am, and I said, almost dead. So that’s where I am.
We are talking to the fantastic Zeena Koda. She’s the Head Of Digital Community Marketing Globally for 2K games makers of fine video games, but Zeena is also a creator, a media personality and influencer her own self. When we come back, we’re gonna talk about that side of her world. Stay tuned.
Back with Zeena Koda from 2K games, learning a lot about her leadership and approach to community there. But I do want to turn the conversation a little different direction now. Cause Zeena, you are a fairly prolific media personality, podcaster, influencer creator. How do you describe yourself outside of your professional role?
[00:16:36] Zeena: Mm. Creatively curious at all times. Yeah, a hundred percent. I mean, I started as a media personality at a time where it was an actual profession, where we would go in studio and like read from a teleprompter, you know, and, it feels so foreign now considering the ways that people consume and just almost kind of ridiculous. And, you know, I’d make my $500 for the day and was balling. You know, in the 2000s this legendary time.
But think about it, that was 20 years ago, right? It’s insane to think the different trajectories they’ve taken within such a short amount of time where you had to earn your right in your spot in the journalism world, in the media world and be a voice, be confident and get out there and make those relationships and do the work at the same time.
But then also like still make money and live. And I lived in New York City so you know, we were eating pizza every day. So it definitely is, kind of inspiring and wild to see like how people are just really generating income and, becoming their own businesses without having to go through all those barriers and those pain in the ass things that I had to do early on in my career.
You know what? I take it back. Hell no. I loved being part of that generation of you know, just media personalities and journalists and people were given a platform and a voice, but you had to really fight for it at that time, you know? So it’s been fun to kind of pivot that on a personal level too and, find where my creativity is kind of satiated through those, new mediums.
[00:17:57] Jason: Yeah, it’s really interesting to think that the younger generations will never know what it’s like to audition to be on television, because all you gotta do is turn on your damn phone and live stream for wherever you are and you’re on television. So…
[00:18:08] Zeena: Well, you think about it, that’s why it’s kind of interesting cause I worked in music for a very long time. Right? And in some ways, you know, we do a lot on a 2K in the music space too. And I run a nonprofit that’s music that actually originated from the music space too.
So never far from my heart. I’m a musician, I’m an artist, and it’s been cool to kind of like see, how it’s broken down a lot of barriers for people that had been previously gate kept in a way that was probably not the most effective.
But also at the same rate, there’s a bit of a QC aspect here too, right? There’s quality control. Are these people really performers, right? They have a hit song that like pops off on TikTok, but can they perform? Can they tour? Can they actually go do the media thing? You know, can they get up and do those things? And I think it’s very similar with media personalities that pop up on TikTok or whatever.
Sure there’s some that elevate to that next level. Maybe get into YouTube, Hollywood or whatever. But then there’s plenty more who just could never hack that part of life. Right.? So it’s two different performance mechanism or two different like avenues, right. That you can take that I still feel is there, but in a completely different way.
[00:19:13] Jason: So I know you’ve done hosting and MCing for tv. You’ve done commercial work over the years. I think you’ve also worn the label of standup comedian, but you’ve also juggled all that with real Jobs, as it were. Is there a world where you, forego companies and brands and just be a creator yourself? Or do you lo like playing both sides of the fence?
[00:19:33] Zeena: I’m not retired yet, so maybe. I would say, yeah, I mean that’s always in theory been a dream of mine, right? To like just focus completely on those aspects. And it’s not just monetary, resources that kind of drive me. There’s something really awesome about being a businesswoman because it really, sharpens my entrepreneurial skills, right?
Like I remember when I was in a DJ on Sirius when I was hosting a morning show every day and then going to work at a creative agency, all day long. Was working on music projects and was also like a music outlet. So they were all interconnected. But I never felt like I was working in some ways because it was like I was just going from like one really dope, creative idea to the next, and then, I would go to practice with my band at night.
And I felt like all of these things were intrinsically connected, right? So when I think about, business and why I do what I do, like there is so much creativity in what I do every day. Like I’m a problem solver by nature.
So like when you couple creativity and problem solving, it’s like if I was just solving my own problems all day long, like I could see that being a little overbearing, but it’s cool to solve other people’s problems. And they’re problems that, come up that you would never experience in any other forum. Right.
So yeah, there might be a future at some point. I love the idea of being entrepreneurial and autonomous and not relying on anybody else. Right? And I think like, hey, creator economy is like powerful enough at this point where you can make that happen if you dedicate, but I’m also not delusional enough to think that, that doesn’t come at a price, right? Like you’re juggling multiple jobs. You’re juggling if you’re doing freelance work clients, especially freelance clients, do not always pay on time.
Like I know that cause I’ve done tons of freelance work and had an LLC on my own, right? So yeah, that would be the ultimate goal at some point in my life. But I enjoy working with these companies. I enjoy jumping industries in my later thirties. At one point you couldn’t have paid me to leave music. Right? There would be no way I would do that.
But I felt, I reached a point in music where I just was like not working with the smartest people I’ve ever met. And that was a really odd realization because music people hustle so hard. They can make anything happen overnight, it’s very unstrategic. Nothing is strategic there and there’s no like block by block, like problem solving.
So kind of like pivoting into the brand space when the North Face and now coming 2K, there’s a little bit more of ownership and substantiation of like what you’re doing and why and really thinking through that level setting, getting to know the numbers right in a way that you just, were not seeing music cuz you just had to get it done at that moment and if it didn’t get done, it wasn’t getting done. And then the album fails and you have the moment right.
[00:22:08] Jason: Nice. It’s interesting to, hear that perspective on the music industry. It doesn’t surprise me, but I don’t think I’ve ever had anybody sort of assert it that way but interesting to think about. So I think these days your main content focus away from., you know, the day job is, you’re very interesting and well done podcast.
You host, Everything’s Political. I don’t want people to assume what that is though. So tell us about the show. You know, what launched it, why is it there? Who’s it for?
[00:22:32] Zeena: This is probably my fourth podcast that I’ve done, and then I produce some for like different media outlets back in the day. I spent a big chunk of my career, like six or seven years being a metal journalist and, hosting music content and kind of really deep in that space.
And one thing that I always felt that I wasn’t able to kind of explore is a little bit of my radicalized side, right? That’s a little bit more politically savvy. My mother worked for the United Nations her whole career, so I spent a lot of my childhood kind of deeply entrenched in world politics and really understand, the ways of the world and how almost literally everything that you work on in life is political, right?
So that had been a concept that had been kind of brewing in my head for some time. I did some women’s centric podcasts, and it was all leading here because I wanted an opportunity to not only evangelize like the importance of your vote, the importance of your civic involvement, in order for you as an individual in society to actually make your mark, whether or not you believe in one side or the other didn’t really matter to me.
It was more of, empowering people to understand kind of the ways that things are actually working right now. Right? And just the political nature of life. So aside from like actual, like, you know, city or county politics, state politics, like, national politics, right?
How can you kind of view everything that you’re doing in life, whether it’s your job, whether or not it’s your family whether or not also it’s just dynamics between friends and other people, right? Everything is political.
So it’s kind of been fun to, build the messaging around what that is right? Because I’ve really interviewed a variety of people you know, for people running for office, which to me is extremely fascinating because it seems masochistic at times. But these are honestly everybody I’ve interviewed who’s been like candidate I had a candidate for Manhattan DA, right? Which is a freaking crazy job, right? When you think about it, the national reach of a city job, there is wild.
And interviewed somebody running for California State Assembly, right? Like these people who are doing the work and where they came from and why they chose to do that work. I think these are the real unsung heroes in the world, right?
And a lot of us bitch about politics, but ultimately, like, it’s extremely important for us to understand like how one domino kind of like falls on the other, right? And what our involvement can be.
So, that’s been really fun to do. And you know, some of the other people I’ve interviewed are also musicians or artists or other media personalities or people who have been through the ranks of trying to do something with their career and either been stifled or stunted and have dealt with adversity because, you asked me the question, right.? Being in media full-time is brutal. I had a really tough time, you know, auditioning, kind of going through everything, being told I wasn’t white enough, being told I wasn’t skinny enough, especially like during that time, thick was not in I lost a lot of weight. You’ll never see me that skinny again.
But, there is an acceptance now of all types of body types, personalities, faces, skin tones, looks and identities, that was not there when I was really deep in the trenches there 15 years ago. So, you know, being able to kind of tell those stories and it also like give people the tools and context to hear, you know, those kind of tales, is really important because I think that people can learn from those kind of instances.
So like when I say everything’s political, genuinely everything in life is political. Life’s nature is political, so I hope that people take that away from the podcast and understand that they’re gonna learn a little bit of something if they’re tuning in, listen.
[00:25:53] Jason: Well, and for those of you who are tuning in listening, you can search for Everything’s Political where you get your podcast. We’ll also make sure there are links in the show notes as well. Zeena I would be remiss if I didn’t also ask you about something that I think extends that conversation a little bit more and that’s the Asian American Collective. I know it’s a big deal in what you do. Tell us about it and then maybe tell us how brands and creators might benefit from getting invloved.
[00:26:17] Zeena: Oh, absolutely. So in 2020, I was working at Atlantic Records heading up Urban Digital Marketing. My team consisted of people from all kinds of different backgrounds, right? But one thing I noticed was like, there were a few really, like engaged and hardworking Asians like myself, I’m Filipino. You know, that we’re working within our, company, and I just thought really deeply.
I’m like, there really has not been a place for us to kind of coalesce as a group. And I was working very closely with a lot of black women who had great networks between HBCUs and just like other sororities or just kind of relationships they had built over the years. And seeing that camaraderie, you know, I was like, where’s that for us? Like I want that for us too.
And I wanna build that same kind of amazing community cause the work that they were doing in championing each other’s careers and just kind of being a network for each other, it was just enviable. It was amazing, right? To kind of see that level of support.
So for Asian American collective, I had this idea in my head forever and knew that I couldn’t do it alone. Right? Because it just really takes an army to, to run a nonprofit or even a run a community organization. I met my partners through working in music. One works at YouTube Music as a head of East Coast relations. Her name’s Grace Lee and the other one is a huge agent at WME, who’s been working in hip hop for years. Right?
So we’d known each other, worked with each other in some kind of capacity, kind of got together, had breakfast one day with Grace when I was living in New York and we’re like, let’s just do this. Let’s just see what, it becomes. Right? And our first event we did at the Grammy’s in 2020 at CAA when my partner Caroline was actually working there and we had hundreds of people show up.
And we were like, holy crap, we actually have something here. Right? And then of course we know what happened. In March of 2020, the entire world shut down. We had one other thing in New York too, in between, which was also extremely successful. And then I actually decided to move to Denver to take on a role at the North Face.
So I unfortunately left, but then the pandemic hit. So it worked out in my favor. And we kept the community going cause during that time, people wanted to find something, find community and find a voice and find different ways that they can kind of communicate with each other.
So, we grew digitally and then when everything started happening with Stop Asian Hate, we had already been doing a mentorship program and had, kind of dug into that part of what we were trying to achieve. And we started to really like become advocates for the community too, during that time, like we weren’t a nonprofit yet, we started a petition with change.org that got a lot of visibility with celebrities cause we had all those connections.
And you know, people were just so supportive of what we were trying to do and build visibility with mainstream media, you know, for kind of these hate crimes that we’re having into Asian Americans at the time. And continue to happen, right?
But it was the first time that we felt compelled and I felt empowered, even as an Asian American to have that voice and stand by that voice, right? So we were one of the, you know, main drivers of that. And after that it just all kind of exploded, right? We continued on our course of really looking at education, advocacy for the community and being an in real life resource, right?
We started to trickle back into it. I like to think we’re kind of post Covid now. Fingers crossed. And really have been doing committee events and supporting through nonprofit. We became an official nonprofit. You know, supporting other nonprofits in all of the volunteer days that they do.
But, our mentorship program’s a big driver. Partnering with other organizations to provide mentorship opportunities, creating community as well. We have a Slack channel we do in real life events in New York and LA looking to expand in the next year. It’s literally been one of the most satisfying things in my life.
And like I’ve done a lot of, things, but watching and seeing the progression that so many people have made from their careers, just being part of our community and meeting each other, which was literally the whole thing that we wanted to do, has been so cool to see.
And to see celebrity engagement, honestly, with what we’re doing as well. And gaining a little bit more, notoriety from Hollywood, you know, there’s other groups like gold house, that are also doing similar things that we’re friends with, and it’s just a really cool community of like Asians doing different things and catering to different communities, helping to uplift each other and be a support network.
[00:30:11] Jason: That’s fantastic. Well, I appreciate you sharing that with us and certainly appreciate your thoughts on things community, influencer and otherwise, with us all here on Winfluence where can people find you and you’re very things on the web?
[00:30:25] Zeena: Oh my God. I’m so easy to find. It’s just @ZeenaKoda everywhere to E, Z E N A. Not Xena, like the Warrior Princess. Hate that. And that is a millennial callback cause nobody younger is like, would have a clue who Xena the Warrior Princess is.
[00:30:40] Jason: Oh man, I missed Xena a warrior princess. I, was a Gabrielle fan though. I don’t know. I like Gabriel.
[00:30:45] Zeena: Ah,
[00:30:45] Jason: Sorry.
[00:30:45] Zeena: I knew it. I knew it. Yeah, just, Zeena Koda everywhere. It’s pretty easy to find me luckily.
[00:30:51] Jason: That’s great. Well, thank you for being here. This was fun.
[00:30:53] Zeena: Thank you. I appreciate it..
[00:31:01] Jason: Fascinating stuff from Zeena. I loved the learning she delivered for us. I know you’ll take that and apply it to your business to find more about Zeena and her links in our show notes page at jasonfalls.co/zeenakoda. If you wanna know how to spell that, it’s Z E E N A K O D A ,Z E E N A K O D A. So jasonfalls.co/zeenakoda.
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