Businesswomen and Best Friends Karen Civil and Ming Lee
Businesswoman and marketing guru, Karen Civil has mastered the subtle art of being fearlessly authentic when doing business. Some would even suggest that her willingness to be herself at all times has opened many doors for her. From the doors of the media and entertainment industries to the White House. Now as one of the co-hosts of the ‘Girl, I Guess’ podcast on Joe Budden Network, Civil is letting her hair down and showing a different side of herself with her best friend and co-host Ming Lee, beauty maven, entrepreneur and media personality. With the podcast centered around sisterhood and business, Civil and Lee aim to dispel the myth that women and friends can’t go into business together. The duet is also promoting healthy candid conversations (and discourse) and vulnerability at a time when the pandemic has made it difficult for some to maintain strong bonds.
“Honestly, there’s no one else that I would want to do this with. It just makes the most sense,” said Civil. Business aside, Lee and Civil want to extend the invitation to others to sit with them. “The podcast is a great way to continue our friendship, to have an open dialogue, and let people feel connected to us; especially with everything happening in the world.”
The “Girl, I Guess” Podcast
Joe Budden Network
Since launching, listeners and viewers have been drawn to the many aspects of Civil and Lee’s relationship that make them pop! Civil considers herself to be introverted and said that Lee says the first thing that comes to her mind. Together, their candor, exploration of one another’s thoughts and experiences make for a good show. Within the first week of streaming, ‘Girl, I Guess’ quickly rose to prominence on the podcasting charts with over 80,000 listens on Apple Podcasts and over 60,000 views on YouTube.
Beyond the numbers, Civil shared that the conversations with Lee and guests are calling her inward. “This is forcing me in a sense to have tough conversations with myself. I am re-evaluating how I show up with people around me; my thoughts and viewpoints; and not being scared of the thoughts and opinions of others,” said Civil. She continued by sharing that is what matters the most.
According to Nielsen’s eighth annual report, From Consumers to Creators: The Digital Lives of Black Consumers, “African Americans 18+ are increasingly tuning into podcasts, with 70% growth in engagement from 2014 to 2017 (from 2.12 million to 3.60 million).” The numbers continue to grow as Black women find refuge in sharing their stories through podcasting.
Civil shared that podcasting is helping her to evolve. “This has been my therapy. I’m starting to have uncomfortable conversations. We had Imani “The Hood Healer” Cohen on the show and we talked about spiritual awakening, doing the work, and being socially conscious. We also spoke about fibroids and so many things I normally wouldn’t talk about,” said Civil.
Being vulnerable publicly has been transformative for her. “As much as it’s been hard at times to talk about certain low points, middle points, and high points; I think the most important part is that I get to show up and be authentic,” Civil added.
Doing Great Business With Great Friends
During the pandemic, people have read endlessly about the importance of being able to pivot. What is just as essential as being agile is having the right people in your corner. After exploring new ways to be creative and to do business, Civil expressed her interest in podcasting to a friend who has a show on Joe Budden Network. Shortly after, she received a call from Joe Budden, businessman, cultural critic, media personality, and former rapper inviting her to do business.
“We all got into a group text and began having the conversation about the title, figuring out x, y, z; and going back and forth. The most fun part was thinking of the promo around the podcast,” said Civil. And that’s when she stepped into full marketer mode. She began to do her research and come up with ideas that would work well for her and her Lee. “I wanted to find a way to bring the ‘funny and the premium’. And those two attributes are our benchmarks. We found a way to create funny promo with some incredible people that you normally don’t really see like Damson Idris, Lauren London, and Dionne Warwick,” she added.
And of course, they found a clever way to use Saweetie’s and Doja Cat’s hit single, Best Friend! When it comes to doing business with girlfriends, Civil is adamant about changing the narrative that you can’t or that you shouldn’t do business together.
“Ming and I want to dismantle the belief that you can’t do business with your friends. Yes, you can. You can do great business with great friends. And that’s what we’re going to continuously showcase. We’re breaking the rules that state, ‘You can’t stay with us.’ We’re creating a whole new blueprint,” said Civil. “Why wouldn’t I want to make a million with my best friend?”
Podcasting Is Opening New Doors
Civil and Lee are making the most out of every opportunity that presents itself as a result of being in the podcasting space.
“I think this [the ‘Girl, I Guess’ podcast] is leading us to our next endeavors. This opens up the door for me and Ming. And it allows me to open up a door for other women as well which is exciting,” said Civil. “Going into the production space; you never know what can happen in a year. In the short time that we’ve done a couple of episodes, we’ve had so many people reach out to work on different projects. I’m already in talks with somebody who I have idolized and appreciated for years about doing a podcast on their network that’s different from this.”
Through podcasting, Civil plans to leverage new relationships and promote healthy comradery between women.