Are you mindful of how you approach your ideal clients? Why must you explain your “why”? How does your content depend on your customers and vice versa?
In this podcast takeover episode, LaToya Smith speaks with Danielle Melton about your community and how to build it and grow it.
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Meet Danielle Melton
Danielle Melton is the Founder & CEO of the MOTHERBoard Society, a member-based community for professional working mothers who want to grow in their careers, families, and self while connecting with other goal-getting mothers.
In all the work she does, Danielle seeks to empower all working mothers to reimagine how women thrive in motherhood— encouraging them to pursue their goals and passions in both work and life. This is done through her empowering speaking engagements.
She and MOTHERBoard Society have been featured in publications such as Mother.ly, Entrapernista, Yahoo! Medium, and many other media & press outlets.
When you are trying to connect with your ideal client and grow a community, you must be mindful of how you are expressing your intentions and desires.
[Don’t say], “Oh, please follow me, I would like it and appreciate it, thank you”. No, you have to figure out what your audience needs and how you are of value to them. (Danielle Melton)
Do not ask people to outrightly follow you, because you first need to provide them with value so that they know what services you can provide for them if they choose to become a part of your community.
Be specific to your community
Once you are gathering a following, create content consistently and keep it specific to the needs and desires of your community.
The content that you create and the service that you provide to your audience need to be in balance throughout the growth of your company, because your content, your services, and your ideal audience all work in unison.
Hearing what they’re needing and wanting was really important because, again, [this work] is for the community, and that’s why I created those chapters so that it can be more specific to the community. (Danielle Melton)
Explain your why
Use your vision and passion to drive you.
Take the initiative to reach out to your ideal clients and create a conversation that will include them to connect them with you.
Be able to move forward and not be afraid to take those steps and those leaps … that’s how I’ve built what I have. (Danielle Melton)
Do not be afraid to put out what you are doing to expand your community, and when you explain your “why” really well, you can connect more easily with the people you want to work with.
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Welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast, episode number 722.
Hey everybody. Welcome back to the Practice of the Practice podcast. Again, my name is LaToya Smith. I’m doing a podcast takeover series and today as always, we have another special guest. Her name is Ms. Danielle Melton. She’s an accomplished executive leader, foster care and adoption advocate and working mom visionary. She has a background in school administration and college instruction. Danielle leads her expertise and voice as a champion for working with mothers and children worldwide as the founder of the MOTHERBoard Society. The MOTHERBoard Society is community for professional working mothers, seeking sisterhood and connection while growing their careers, families, and self with other goal-getting mothers while fulfilling their purpose and passion and work and life. So today I welcome in Ms. Danielle Melton. Danielle welcome.
Thank you so much, LaToya for having me. I’m super excited to be here.
I’m excited too, because the behind the scenes, getting this set up was something so I’m excited that we got things going and figured out. I know we chatted before. I met you through Instagram and I was like this page is hilarious, this is fun and so I just reached out to you. So yes, I read a little bit of your bio, a little bit about you, but tell us some more, just who you are, what you do.
Thank you for the wonderful introduction first off, but yes, I’m Danielle Melton, I am a mother, I am a foster mom. I have been married for 11 years and I have a background in education and yes, I’m here in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and have created a community for working moms. Super excited for where we are and where we’re going.
Awesome. Awesome. So how many children do you have, so you’re a foster mom and then how many children are you raising?
So as of right now, so we’ve been doing foster care since 2016. My husband and I did that, we chose to do that because I actually grew up with foster siblings, my parents with the route of having foster siblings, so seeing them like give their love and affection to these children. I wanted to make sure I did that myself with children in our community. So that’s how we got into it since 2016. As of right now, we have five kids in our home, including our adoptive daughter, Kennedy and four foster kids, all girls crazy enough. Only two of them are related.
It ranges from high school down to elementary?
It ranges from seventh grade down to kindergarten.
You got a nice little range yes. So they’re involved in a lot of activities, they do a lot of —
Yes. We try to, one thing with fostering, it’s really important to have the children to feel like regular children, so being able to go over friends’ houses, being part of sports, being part of different things. Yes, we try to really do that as well as expose them to things that they haven’t been exposed to. For instance, this past weekend, we took all of our kiddos to Dallas on a plane. My husband worked at American Airline, so we’re able to get the flight benefits. They had that experience of not only just being on a plane, but getting out of Oklahoma. They’ve never been out of Tulsa. So I’m like, hey, let’s give them that experience, so going to the aquarium, going to a hotel swimming, it’s just a lot of things that they’ve done, they’d never done that we were able to give the.
So yes, they do a lot of things. We have sports, we have conferences we’re doing with the girls and other cool things. They also get an allowance, like other kids, because they work around the house as well. So they look forward to that. But yes, we try to do our hardest to treat them like our own basically.
Yes, I think that is so special going on the flight. I know the flight was pretty short, but I think that’s still special.
It was very short. It was 45 minutes, but it was more than they’ve ever done.
Yes, I think that that part is special.
I think, I mean, it’s just beautiful when you said it, I was like, man, it sounds like a beautiful ministry to have like, not just parents, but pouring into these young people. Man, that sounds so good. I probably should come stay at your house and get all the benefits, just for the American Airline benefits. So I see what you’re pouring into young people, but then even as a mother and like we just mentioned a minute ago, you were with like education, you have a background there, so let’s talk about now, even for the people listening, being a professional or daily working professional or entrepreneur, what have you, but then also being a parent. I tell people, man, that sounds like two full time jobs, at least, parenting and then your career. So let’s talk about putting them both together, how you work that and then what you tell other women?
So I always start off with saying the juggle is real because it’s literally a juggle. This whole work life balance mindset, this wanting to work towards a balance is a myth. It’s not there. There’s no such thing as balance. So let’s just get that out of our vocabulary. It is a hundred percent a juggle. I say that because we say we’re juggling, we have different balls, different things we’re doing. With a lot going on, there are balls that will drop. I mean, just like a juggle, it will drop, you are one person . So with that in mind, like being okay with that is, you need to be okay with that because you’re only one person, you’re only human.
That’s what I like to tell people. Then when the balls drop, you pick them up when you can and then just keep on going. But yes, it was an issue. That’s actually one of the reasons that drove me to create MOTHERBoard Society because I was in senior leadership, I was over a school as well as having children, being a wife, doing all this. As I mentioned, I adopted my daughter, so I have actually entered into parenthood in a nontraditional way through foster care. So having kids right away, not being able, thinking I’m prepared because I have a background in education and I teach early childhood and child development and everybody was so funny.
Everybody kept telling me, Danielle is not the same. It’s not the same. I’m like, yes, studies show, blah, blah, blah. All this stuff, my background. But once the children are in your home, it is totally different. So in the beginning it was a lot, it was a lot of that juggle, a lot of that feeling like a failure, like how are people like doing all this at a hundred percent? Because I’m not, and I need help. How is this happening? So that’s basically why I created MOTHERBoard Society because I was feeling lonely in motherhood. I felt like I was going through a lot of things by myself and I just needed some community and connection.
That’s where it stemmed from. But yes, the juggle is real ladies. It’s normal, as I’m finding out, is normal and just having that foundation, those people behind you, those people walking alongside you so important so that you don’t feel alone in motherhood. Even studies show that being a working mom it’s lonely. Being a mom, period, I think they said 70% of women feel lonely in motherhood. Now I have a career to that. I mean, you already know it’s darn near isolating. having that community connection is important. Yes, that’s all I got to say, but yes, the juggles real ladies.
I like that. You almost made me spit my coffee out on that one because I was taking a sip. You said that and I was like, that is funny. But I hear what you’re saying and I’m glad that you’re saying those things because I hear that a lot or see it in my friends who are parents. Then I’ve heard them say, they feel like they’re not meeting the mark or not being everything they’re supposed to be and being really hard on themselves. Meanwhile, from the outside looking in I’m like these guys are superheroes, this is amazing. You know what I mean, do this and it and you look like you’re doing it so effortlessly, but I’m glad that you said that because that’s real and that’s vulnerable. Like listen, in this walk, in this role we have, you’re not, you could feel alone. You could feel like you’re missing the mark. But what I hear you saying is many of us feel that way often.
Oh, probably all. I mean I was on, I had a live with a woman who is actually on the real house, was it real —
Real Housewives of whatever city.
Oh, of Dallas. Tiffany Moon, she was explaining that and she’s a doctor and she was, I mean, she was on the show and explaining that the juggle is definitely real for her. So I mean, hearing that from like someone who is affluent, who has all those, she even has a nanny and all this stuff and still feels that way. So I’m just saying like, yes, this is a norm for moms, for women. Then it’s just really heartbreaking when women try to show off as if, hey, everything’s perfect, everything’s fine and then you’re looking at yourself like, dang, what am I doing wrong because how is she succeeding in all this? I’m trying my hardest and I’m not. So just knowing that this is normal and it’s okay, I think that’s a big thing being okay with it too, that you’re not going to be perfect at everything. So yes I think that’s really important as well, so.
Thanks for sharing all that. But I also want to hear, I want to make sure that we talk about, okay, so you feel this now, you hit everybody with statistics. They’re like, no, it’s different when you get the kid when you get the child in the house and then somewhere along the line, you were like, listen, I need to start the MOTHERBoard Society because I know I’m not the only one and I want to connect with community. So I really want to talk about, I want to make sure that we highlight yes how to build community with those that we’re most passionate about or are our target audience amongst our niche, but just tell us how you even came with the idea and then how you started building community or the society?
MOTHERBoard Society was formally known as Boss Mom Crew. We recently rebranded and changed our name during our two year anniversary. We were established in 2020 right before the pandemic happened and the real reason, as I mentioned for creating this is to fill a void within myself, because I was feeling lonely in motherhood. So I was like, I need this, I need something to something, friends, somebody. Am I the only one feeling this way? So I was like, let me look and see what they have out there to see if I can join something. On my search, I literally couldn’t find anything. I was that focused on the mom, like I did find groups that were like mommy groups, Hey, let’s take our kids here. Let’s talk about child development, how we can hide broccoli and brownies, things like that.
That’s great and all, but I needed something to feed me as the mother, like I needed my community, my journey to be understood. So that’s what led me to create it because I couldn’t find anything out there. So I said let me create this. If someone is interested in talking about things like this, needing this community that I’m needing, then so be it. So crazy enough, I really think the pandemic had a lot to do with our growth because a lot of moms were at home and we were overwhelmed and I was able to speak that language, like, Hey moms, I get you, I’m here, we’re here to support each other. I think that’s what led others to tell everyone about what we were doing because we were stuck at home and we had our phones and our computers more often than we normally would if we were at work physically.
That was definitely a time to find support and community.
We were all looking for that.
Yes. So is that how you started, like how’d you find the people? Did you just start posting on social media one day?
Oh, I started, so we were going to have our first in-person event here in Tulsa. I already had the place, like I was super excited about it and then the pandemic happened, so we had to move it to virtual. We had to move it to virtual and then that’s what happened. So in the beginning, basically what I was doing is a lot of messaging people, “Hey, we’re here to support you. We’re working around community and letting people know.” That’s another big thing too. Like I also have a branding company, a branding and web design company and one thing that I like to preach is when you are messaging people, because it’s really important when you’re messaging to message people first off but not to say, really understand your verbiage.
So it’s not like, oh, please follow me. I would like it, I appreciate it, thank you. No, you have to figure out what your audience needs and how you are of value to them. My language is, “Hey, I see that you’re a working mom. We are here to support working moms. I would love to invite you.” I was getting a lot of, oh my gosh, thank you for thinking about me. Oh my gosh, that was so you. So keeping that in mind is how you approach for like more so again, hey, I have something that would benefit you instead of please follow me. That would be nice. No. That was one of the ways that we did get people to know who we are, was inviting them, just a personal invitation. Then, of course, we did some giveaways and did some lives and did other things like that to get the word out there as well. So that was basically most of our way in the beginning to get people to know who we are and things like that.
A lot of it, what I hear you saying is, and that’s good too, I didn’t know you had a branding and web design company, I didn’t know that, so that’s awesome. But what I hear you saying is in the approach, like really, to begin to build your audience, one, you want to make them aware that you’re there, but it’s not about like, here I am here, I am follow me. It’s more so about like hey, I see you and I see your value and how can I help you? Or invite you into this space with us? Like kids at the lunch table, oh, I see you need some place to eat. We’re all eating. Come sit down and eat with this.
I have something for you. Please give me a like and follow. No, that’s not. Maybe, but what do you got, why, what’s the why behind that? Hey, I have this community. I think you could benefit from. You’re a working mom. I see you’re awesome. Wow, thank you for thinking of me. Yes, I’m following. I didn’t even say follow me. I just say, hey, I have this. Come check us out. So yes, it’s really the message behind it.
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That first virtual event thing, because I hear you say, okay it was supposed to be, you had the whole location picked out then you had to back up and do a virtual, how was that?
I had to literally take what I was wanting with MOTHERBoard Society in the beginning to transition it to virtual because it was going to be what it is now, now that we’re back in person, but I had to shift. So we were doing like lives with different people. One of my biggest things that I loved was, actually I think it was this time last year, we had, it was a whole mental health, like a panel discussion. We had 160 people online. We had six beautiful women to speak on mental health, one therapist, one yoga instructor, one person in regards to nutrition and spoke on like different things in regards to the mental health of a mother when it comes to those different subjects.
And it’s really important to understand what your audience wants and needs. A lot of people were messaging me like, hey we want to, are you doing in person things? Are you going to be here? Are you going to be there? I’m like, okay, so hearing what they’re needing and wanting was really important because again, it’s for the community and that’s why I created those chapters so that it can be more specific to the community. So let me get into that a little bit., We are now doing national chapters MOTHERBoard Society so that we are able to have that in person everywhere. Right now we’re in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and we’re expanding. We are about to open one in Goldsboro, Dallas, I mean, we’re, we’re going to be nationwide.
What it is is you’ll have two co-presidents who are there to help lead and help listen to what the mothers in the local chapters want as well as giving back to the community. So we have community initiatives, like, what do you want to do for your community to give back? It’s all community specific as well as things from headquarters that will be given to all of our members, like our monthly ready-set goal, ready-set goal sessions that we have to prepare for the upcoming month, things like that. But yes, we have a lot of different things that we offer from our members because we it’s a holistic approach. It’s not just motherhood, it’s not just career, it’s like how are you at home? How are you financially? How are you with making friends? How are you with your resumes, moving up in the company, motherhood? All these different things is included for our MOTHERBoard Society members. Because again, we are, we are one person, but we have many different titles. So we want to make sure that we’re helping everyone to not only have that community and connect with their community, but level up in all these different ways.
That’s good. I love that. It’s still holistic we’re still trying to help all of you. I understand, like you said a minute ago, the juggle is real and let’s stop trying to balance everything. You know what I mean? To me, it’s good, because again, it goes back to, I see you. How do you build community? I see you where you’re at, hey, come check us out because this is what we’re doing. Even starting, I even think that’s good about, and I imagine it started way from what you’re saying, like hearing what your audience is saying and what they need. Because you really could have kept it straight out of Tulsa and this is what we do and we meet here and you all get the recording but it sounds like you heard the need of your community, like we still want to get together publicly or in person here and that’s how that unfolded like the other chapters.
Yes and then like you were mentioning and I was saying like finding what they’re wanting. So say you have a business, I don’t know a fashion business, it’s the same thing. So I go to different pages and go to see what they’re interested in. I see, okay, she’s really fashionable. She would really benefit from what we’re doing over here. So let me let her know about this or that. Or especially even if it’s a celebrity or something, hey, I have this one pair of pants or this shirt, I think you will look great in and just send it to them, something like that. So being able to not just read your audience, but even take that initiative to take that step forward, because I’m not scared to DM anybody. I’m like we all are people. I’m going to make a seat at the table. If I’m not at your table, I’m going to create one.
So I think that’s really big too, is being able to move forward and not be afraid to take those steps and those leaps, because I think that’s really important. That’s how I built, I have one of the ladies that I do talk with, she’s actually from Bravo and we’re really close and I message her the same message, “Hey, I see your work with your mom.” She was like, “I love this. Oh my gosh. Whatever you need.” We’re pretty close. So, yes, it’s awesome. So it just, don’t be afraid to put the reel out to expand what you’re doing and stuff like that. Because every person, especially when you’re trying to grow a community, you have, there’s a reason there’s a why behind it. So when you explain your why really well, you’ll get the people too, who needs you to come and be part of what you’re doing.
I like that explain your why really well. That helps you build a community. That’s good. You needed the community before and sometimes we get ahead of ourselves. I love that you, I guess said a minute ago, I love that you’re going nationwide, worldwide with it. But at first you needed to build with the simple steps. So sometimes we think I’m going to the world like first and we build it and then nobody comes. First things first, invite the people in with a genuine invite, understanding your why really well and bring them into your space. Then for people that want to join, this is for every mom, the mom who is a homemaker from the mom who has, the CEO from the mom who is expecting a child, wanting a child to one who has a house full of children. So every mom is a part of this.
So every working mom, or those who have worked. One thing is, people are like, hey, my kid is in college. I’m like, well, we still need you because you’ve done it. So help us with the young ones. How have you done that? Please be our mommy mentor. So yes, it’s a community for everyone. We have all ages, all types of women. We have foster moms, we have adoptive, we have pregnant moms, we have aunties raising kids, we have all that. Because again, that’s one thing that we have in common. I’m really big on diversity. I don’t know if you’ve noticed that, but we have all types of races, all types of career backgrounds and being able to bring them together with that one thing in common is really, really important to me like, hey yes, I am a lawyer and I am a jewelry maker, but one thing we got in common is this is working mom juggle is real. I really need this support in this community. So yes, that’s what I’m really excited about.
I’m glad you mentioned that because the social media page is really funny, like the different videos. How do you get, and I know that helps to build community too, because it makes me, I stop and laugh at some of the videos that I see. Do people send those in? Do you ask people to send the videos, like the reals or whatever, TikTok?
No. I mean it, myself and my assistant, we just find some great videos and we make sure to tag the people, but it’s just, I started adding those because people seem to like those. At first I was just like, really like, oh quotes and stuff but when I put on like, okay, this video of this mama really struggling, or this baby doing this, because we can all relate, I’m getting like a whole bunch of new followers, new likes, all this stuff. I’m like, oh this is what y’all ladies want? Okay. So we’re starting to make sure to add those in. Right now my marketing guy also said that reels is where it’s at. Like right now that is where it is at.
So ladies, if you are, you got to come up up with create creative things, yes, but reels is where everyone wants, what people want to see. They want to watch something, not read something as much. So we’re trying to keep that in mind with our brand too, especially on Instagram. Facebook is more, we have more words on there, but Instagram we’re trying to have fun.
Then tell us a little bit about that too. When it comes to building community, what team do you have with you? Because I’m asking you can’t do all this by yourself. Again, it goes back to that not even trying to balance.
Yes. So it was me at first until we started, t got bigger and we are doing more newsletters, all this other thing. So I have an assistant, she’s our executive assistant slash member service representative. She just helps with my emails and helps me with social media. She and I tag team on that. Then we recently hired a marketing guy because now we’re expanding nationwide, we’re working on what that looks like, how we are going to get people to know who we are so that they can in turn being part of what we are doing. Then I also have a planning person. Her name is Jamila. She is our planning coordinator. She helps like plan the events, especially the in-person events we’ve had here in Tulsa and supports our co-presidents on creating events and creating those opportunities for their people. That’s all we got right now.
No, but that’s good. That also goes with building community, like when you get to that point and you’re ready to grow and expand, like it’s okay to add, like in business.
Oh yes, don’t put that on you. You can go crazy. That’s a lot. It’s a lot.
Yes. So as you grow, at first, like you said, okay, maybe it may be just me, but when I’m ready to level up, grow, bring people in that are good at that so now I can put my attention my time and focus on what I’m good at or most productive and then continue to grow from there. This is awesome. Anything else about the, well, tell people how they can find you if they want to connect, if they want a chapter or how it works.
So right now we’re currently, like I said, expanding. We have to have two co-presidents per chapter. The co-presidents are the ones who lead the chapters. The reason for two is again, we are busy, we are working moms, so I wanted to make sure that is split so that that’s not all on one person. If you’re interested in co-presidency you can just message us on our website, motherboardsociety.com. This is the same if you’re interested in membership, is motherboardsociety.com. Our Instagram, Facebook is both MOTHERBoard Society. So yes, just check us out. Let me just give you a background of the name MOTHERBoard Society. MOTHERBoard Society, basically motherboard is the center of a computer. Nothing can function without it. So that’s what we did with MOTHERBoard Society.
The mother is the center, a lot of things happen because of mama, if mama ain’t happy, no one’s happy. If things aren’t going, mama is the one who’s making things go? So she’s really, really important. That’s where we got our name, so I just wanted to let everybody know that. But yes, we’re expanding chapters and I’m really excited. So if you’re interested in, again, being a co-president or being part of a chapter, just check us out, motherboardsociety.com or our Instagram and Facebook at MOTHERBoard Society.
Awesome. Well, Danielle, thank you so much for even being willing to come on and talk about the MOTHERBoard Society, especially because I think it’s really important and good to have for the community, but like I said, everybody, if you go to Instagram and look at this page you’re going to laugh and your heart’s going to be full and it’s just a good time. So I thank you. I even thank you for starting the community and then tell us how to start it ourselves with your community. I could see MOTHERBoard Society being international. I’m sure it is already. I’m sure people are checking in from all over. So this is awesome. Thank you so much for being a guest and everybody, go like, follow those pages, build and grow and continue being great moms.
Doesn’t give yourself, moms and those who are wanting to move forward with creating community, don’t let that stop you. I mean, if you see something, if it’s something you’re wanting, it’s something you’re yearning, especially if it’s something you see that is needed in the community, don’t be afraid to start it. Take that leap of faith. Be that change that we want to see in the world. So I’m just keep that in mind.
Awesome. Well thank you so much, Danielle.
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