The companion to the Student Social Media Academy:

Leading with Kindness with Krista Boniface

Krista Boniface - Leading with kindness

Big Heart, Kindness First. It’s one of the first things you’ll see in Krista Boniface’s Instagram bio, and really, it’s the first word that comes to mind when I think of Krista.

Social media is not always built with wellness in mind, and most days, it certainly seems like it’s not built for kindness. But that is part of Krista’s power, creating a digital presence that is inclusive and empathetic.

Getting her start in the Canadian film industry, Krista is now a Senior Social Media Strategist overseeing the central social media presence for the University of Toronto @UofT.

With over 7 years of Marketing Communications experience in higher education, non-profit film organizations, higher and start-up environments, Krista has produced social media activations and video content for the Canadian Screen Awards and Toronto International Film Festival. She is also a faculty member of my Digital Community Building Cohort, and in her free time, Krista is a crafting and gardening extraordinaire.

In this episode, we geek out on all things community building, real talk about wellness for social media managers, how Krista has supported herself in the 12 years since being diagnosed as Bipolar, and a refreshing approach to goal setting called Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life.

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Campus Sonar offers unmatched insights and expertise that build client capabilities, transform campus goals, and support higher ed community learning and networking. They use digital and social intelligence to help campus partners understand and implement meaningful change.

Notes from this Episode:

More About Krista

Krista Boniface is a Senior Social Media Strategist overseeing the central social media presence for the University of Toronto @UofT. With over seven years of Marketing Communications experience in higher education, non-profit film organizations, and start-up environments, Krista has produced social media activations and video content for the Canadian Screen Awards, Canadian Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival and Mongrel Media. 

She has also led strategy and content plans for a Canada 150 Signature Project with REEL CANADA. She is a faculty member of the Digital Community Building Cohort led by yours truly!

Connect with Krista

[00:00:00] Josie: I had wanted to start a podcast for a while before I press record. The microphone was literally sitting next to me for months and months. What was holding me back? I had done my research and new podcasting wasn’t just like blogging or any other form of content. There was a lot to learn and all that was going to take time.

And obviously, eventually, I did and went through the trials and tribulations of learning from trial and error. And that’s why this season, I’m partnering with Alumni FM to bring you great conversations like today’s.

They are a higher ed podcast production and growth agency. Their team works with leading institutions like Stanford University, Howard University, and Middlebury College to create podcasts that resonate with their communities. It’s been awesome to know that the team of Alumni FM are guiding all parts of my strategy — from graphics, sound, and more. If you’re thinking of podcasting, check out www.alumni.fm to learn more and get started.

Hello, and welcome to Josie and the Podcast. I’m Josie. And Happy New Year 2023. What does it mean to lead in the digital space with heart and humanity? On my podcast, Josie and the Podcast, I spend time answering this question with all kinds of heart, soul, and lots of substance. My goal is to share conversations that encourage you, empower you, and yes, even entertain you to rethink digital strategy for yourself and the organizations you support. All right. Let’s get to know today’s featured guest.

Krista Boniface is a senior social media strategist overseeing the central social media presence for the University of Toronto. With over seven years of marketing communications experience in higher education, nonprofit film organizations, and startup environments, Krista has produced social media activations and video content for the Canadian Screen Awards, Canadian Film Festival, and Toronto International Film Festival. She has also led strategy and content plans for a Canada 150 signature project with Reel Canada. She’s also a faculty member for the digital community building cohort led by yours truly. Krista and I get into our own mental health journeys, how to approach social media management with community at the heart, and finding a little bit more meaning while getting paid for it. Enjoy.

I am so excited to be joined today by my good friend and fellow community-builder, Krista. Krista, welcome.

[00:03:26] Krista: Thank you. I’m so happy to be here.

[00:03:29] Josie: I feel like this has been on the list for a long time. Now that the podcast is back, we get to geek out on all things community-building, little bit of wellness. So, your Instagram bio, I don’t know if you updated it lately. When I went to it, I was like, this is so yummy.

[00:03:44] Krista: It’s juicy.

[00:03:45] Josie: I love it. Okay. So, I always kick off every episode with having guests react to their own bio, basically. And I’ll link it, of course, but you’ve got, like, this selfie emoji, social media at UFT and freelance, big heart, kindness first, #toronto, #hamont, Black Lives Matter, Every Child Matters. So, give us reactions to a couple of those things.

[00:04:14] Krista: Well, definitely, it’s emoji-filled. So, that is one thing. Definitely, me out with my cell phone is my daily occurrence. So, that’s why that’s the first emoji there. Big heart, kindness first, I’m sure we’ll get into it as we chat, but that’s really my modus operandus, if you will. So, I love just being there for my people and being there for my community. And that’s why I put it in my bio.

I work in Toronto, but I actually live in Hamilton, Ontario. So, those are the hashtags for my location. And then, Black Lives Matter and Every Child Matters, those are two little things that I put on there because I find that they’re very important to me. Black Lives Matter, as we all know, has been a movement that has been happening all over North America, but in the States primarily. And I just wanted to put it in there to be a reminder, a daily reminder, that we should really be taking care of that. And also, Every Child Matters is a movement in Canada, mainly. And it’s about the residential schools in Canada, and it’s about protecting the lives of children and remembering them. So, that’s kind of why I wanted to put that there, too.

[00:05:23] Josie: Well, a language matters so much to be able to even use a place like our bios to document our values. And I have to say, your Instagram has also been full with photos of you and elephants and wedding dresses.

[00:05:39] Krista: Yes.

[00:05:40] Josie: And you rolled into your wedding reception on what are those things, the scooter?

[00:05:47] Krista: On segues.

[00:05:48] Josie: Oh, my, Krista.

[00:05:48] Krista: On segues. Yes, it was great. We also did a dance to the final countdown choreographed by Dance Dance Revolution on YouTube. So, that was amazing.

[00:06:01] Josie: I mean, talk about personalizing, like, really making that wedding experience, and I’m sure you had setbacks and timelines thrown off because of COVID.

[00:06:11] Krista: Yes.

[00:06:12] Josie: I can’t even imagine.

[00:06:13] Krista: Pandemic weddings, if anyone’s listening and they’ve gone through a pandemic wedding, completely are with you. I’m with you 100% on that.

[00:06:20] Josie: And you waited a little bit to do a honeymoon. I mean, not that long.

[00:06:24] Krista: Yes, we did.

[00:06:24] Josie: But it was, I mean, okay, I didn’t unfollow you, but I became so jealous of your life.

[00:06:31] Krista: I did lose… It’s funny because I don’t really track my own analytics that much, but I did lose more followers being away and posting than I ever have when I’m at home. So, I think people like to see the day to day. They like to commiserate.

[00:06:46] Josie: We all wanted to be with you. Amazing-looking honeymoon. Well, let me ask this one now because it was one that I stumbled upon that was a recent post. And you told me about this tradition in your new neighborhood of Hamilton that you decorate your front windows. This is so adorable. So, I’ll link to the post, but tell us the background, what your theme is this year, and how we all should be doing that in the States.

[00:07:16] Krista: Yeah. So, it’s called the Ward 3 Advent Calendar Windows. So, think about an advent calendar and you open up a window every day, but instead of it being a chocolate calendar, it’s actually people’s homes that people light up a window every night. So, every day of the month, there’s a new window in our neighborhood that gets lit up with artwork or with paintings or with children’s drawings. It’s really, really cute.

So, my artwork, actually, this year was inspired by the White House design that someone had done. And I saw it… And if you follow @potus at all, and actually @potus is the one that you need to follow for the White House at Christmas time. But her windows and everything at the White House was just so amazing that I want to recreate it. So, I created it with tempera paint and dish soap. For all you parents that are listening, you can mix dish soap with paint and paint your windows. And then, you just have to spray it with water and it comes right off.

[00:08:16] Josie: And then they’re clean.

[00:08:17] Krista: Yes, exactly. Actually, my teacher friend told me about this. So, I’m, very, very lucky to have a lot of teacher friends that gave me lots of tips.

[00:08:26] Josie: Oh my gosh, I love that. Well, let’s scroll up clock back before Instagram and you as a, as a young Krista. What was your earliest memory of technology?

[00:08:39] Krista: So, I really had to think about this one. And it came to a game called Lemmings, if you remember Lemmings. But it was basically a little, like, 2D game where these, like, little groups of little green-haired people that would follow one another, and they would have different roles and responsibilities. So, you would have a builder. You would have a climber. You would have someone that would jump. And you had to basically try to save these little people in the game. And it was so fun. And I used to play it with my dad and my brother. So, I totally had to remember that.

After that, I really think about RollerCoaster Tycoon. I loved RollerCoaster Tycoon growing up. Definitely wanted to save people and make sure that my rides were safe and people weren’t crashing off of them. So, that was another memory for me.

[00:09:27] Josie: So, gaming. Do you still do gaming video games today?

[00:09:31] Krista: I don’t, but actually, my husband just bought a Switch, so he’s been playing it. I’ve been sitting back and watching it. And I might get in on some of the Mario card. We’ll see.

[00:09:42] Josie: Oh, and they’re coming out with a movie about-

[00:09:44] Krista: Yeah.

[00:09:44] Josie: … Mario Cart too. So, all these ’90s kids in the room were like, oh my gosh.

[00:09:50] Krista: Yeah.

[00:09:50] Josie: Well, in your bio, you also, you mentioned about kindness. And when I got thinking about you, well, I think about you all the time, Krista. This morning, I knew-

[00:09:58] Krista: Oh, that’s so nice.

[00:09:58] Josie: … you were going to record. I don’t even think I, like, necessarily registered that kindness was on your bio, but it was the immediate first word I thought of you — kindness and caring.

So, thinking about our conversation today, and there’s an intersection of wellness and mental health that I’m including in this podcast season, and you’ve done, over the years, a number of different sessions and just elevating this conversation about wellness for social media professionals, because one could wonder if it’s actually possible, these positions that are so tasked into digital and internet spaces, that also maybe weren’t built for wellness.

So, I’m jumping ahead, but what brought you into social media? And then we’ll layer on the wellness considerations for today.

[00:10:54] Krista: So, I didn’t actually start in higher ed. I actually started with a nonprofit and was working for an award show called the Canadian Screen Awards. So, I started actually doing more glitzy social media. In my early career, I was on the red carpet with Canadian celebrities. I got to use the Twitter Mirror when it first came out. So, got to be a part of a lot of innovations in social media at the time. I mean, we don’t have the Twitter Mirror anymore — or Periscope, for that matter — but we did get to use some of the innovations then.

And then, I ended up working at Reel Canada, which is a sesquicentennial project in Canada for the 150 years. And there, I got to produce a lot of social media for films, Canadian films, across the country that were going coast to coast to coast. And so, a lot of my work was surrounded by films, movies, entertainment.

And then, I dropped into higher ed through working at the University of Toronto, and I’ve been there now for seven years. And in that time, I’ve really found that my social media strategy really hinges on research, on the community that we are aligned with. And it’s just been so fun to make the transition from glitzy into really meaningful, meaty stuff.

[00:12:08] Josie: Canada does such a good job of supporting the arts and entertainment.

[00:12:13] Krista: Yes.

[00:12:13] Josie: They’re just, like, giving out money to do creative projects. I mean, I know there’s a lot more to it. And so, that’s interesting that transition over into higher ed. We do see that as an industry, people pop around into different industries because social media, you know, the platforms are the same.

And maybe, no matter what the platform or industry is, what have you, either, experienced or you see as some of those biggest challenges for social media professionals as it relates to wellness?

[00:12:45] Krista: Well, I think for myself, my downtime is spent on social media, as much as my time in working is spent on social media. I go to social media to find new things, new articles, things I want to cook, things that I want to learn. And so, there’s not really that much of a blurring. Actually, there’s more of a blurring between the personal and professional when we are on social media. And we’re on it so much and all the time that it can be really exhausting. So, I would say that the biggest challenge for me, and I think for other social media pros, is that it really doesn’t stop. The time that we spend on social media is so much.

[00:13:24] Josie: And so, have you implemented any tools that have helped you in the past that you could recommend?

[00:13:32] Krista: Yeah. So, I wanted to talk a little bit about revenge bedtime procrastination. You may have heard of it. That goes by a couple of names. But revenge bedtime procrastination is when you’re on your phone or you’re trying to spend time in your, in your leisure time to work on things that you would like to do in your spare time. But you should go to bed, but you don’t want to go to bed, and you end up taking up some of that precious sleep time away from yourself.

So, I really have tried to get to bed on time. I have an alarm set in my phone to alert me at 10:30 — it’s time to get ready for bed, take your medication, and slow down for the evening. So, that’s really been helping me. I’ve also been trying to do some screen-free lunches. It’s only an hour for me, but trying to really be off my phone, taking the time to eat mindfully, just get off the scroll for a little bit in between my day.

[00:14:30] Josie: That just made me think about what I did for lunch. And it wasn’t at my desk, but it was actually duels. I was watching something on my iPad, and my phone was right there.

[00:14:40] Krista: Mm-hmm. We’re so approachable with it.

[00:14:43] Josie: I did, a while ago, moved my phone from the bedroom to the bathroom at night. And that helped, especially for those, like, last late-night checks. Now, didn’t you do a workshop once where you talked about a box, like a timeout box?

[00:14:58] Krista: Yes.

[00:14:58] Josie: Okay.

[00:14:59] Krista: Yes. So, I did a workshop with Erin Supinka, and we talked about mental health tips. And I actually had, it’s like almost a little bit of a timeout box for my phone, but I called it my phone bed. And so, it’s a little lockbox that my phone gets charged in at night. And it’s in the living room, so it’s away from my bedroom. And I decorate it with stickers. There’s a little, like, tea bag and a little bed sticker. So, it’s very cute. I filled it with, like, little pictures. And I made it a really positive experience to put my phone away. And so, that has been really helpful, too, because I know that my phone is away. It’s away from me when I’m getting ready for bed. And then, in the morning, I’m not reaching for it right away. It’s in the box, and I can go downstairs and grab it and start my day.

[00:15:46] Josie: It just sounds like another craft project.

[00:15:48] Krista: I’m really into crafts. You will totally hear this today, that I have so many things that I craft.

[00:15:55] Josie: We need it. Like, even when you think about non-screen time, to busy our hands and to construct something that’s physical that you can hold-

[00:16:04] Krista: Exactly.

[00:16:05] Josie: … that’s not on the internet.

[00:16:06] Krista: And that’s why I’m so into gardening, too, because there are some really amazing studies that show that mental health can be improved by gardening because you’re getting your hands in the dirt, you’re really focusing on beautifying something that is away from screens. And there’s been a lot of studies that show that it can really help improve your mental health.

[00:16:28] Josie: I had an astrologer once tell me I need to hold a tree every day.

[00:16:34] Krista: Oh, I like that. Give it a nice little squeeze.

[00:16:38] Josie:  I do love trees. And I live in LA, so there’s lots of tree-huggers out here. Well, so I’m also asking all of my guests to honestly reflect. We’ve been through a lot the last couple years, no matter what your position is in higher ed or just being a human. So, how would you describe how you’re taking care… I mean, you’ve given lots of examples of how you’re taking care of yourself, but how you’re addressing wellness with honesty, with kindness of yourself, with care, that might be nice for listeners to hear?

[00:17:11] Krista: For sure. Well, number one is I am a huge proponent of therapy. I’ve had a number of therapists over the years. But my therapist now, I actually work with her once every two weeks. So, I am having some time with her. And you can probably hear I’m stumbling on my words a little bit because I’ve actually transitioned to a new medication, and it can affect my motor skills a little bit. So, that’s an honesty that I’m kind of grappling with right now.

As you may have known, I’ve been diagnosed with bipolar. So, I’ve lived with bipolar for 12 years, and I’ve actually been hospitalized twice for a manic disorder, I would say manic episodes. And so, at the time, it was really scary, and I had to be off work and had the support of my friends and family. And, you know, getting through those times and coming back to work and getting back to a place where I could be supporting myself again really took some time.

And through the pandemic, it kind of reminded me of being off actually, because we were in our homes and we couldn’t really go out. It really reminded me, in a lot of ways, to when I was in my traumatic times after I had been in my episodes. So, I think coming out of the pandemic and being able to see our friends and family again has been so tremendous.

And for me to be able to share that I’ve been through struggles and that I’m still struggling now through some medication changes and through some medical changes, really, it’s been such a process. And I think if anybody’s listening to this and you’re struggling in your own way, you’re on your own journey. And we’re all going to get through it. And I just wanted to let you know that you’re not the only one.

[00:18:54] Josie: Be able to tell our stories. And thank you for your willingness to share yours. It’s just so permission-giving. I don’t know if you listened to my first episode. Oh, I think you did.

[00:19:05] Krista: Yes, I did.

[00:19:06] Josie: You messaged me.

[00:19:07] Krista: Yes, of course.

[00:19:08] Josie: I mean, my podcast isn’t supposed to be therapy. I do have a therapist. But yeah, to be honest with ourselves, with those that we’re really close to, and then again, when we’re ready to tell our stories, because I think so many people are suffering in silence, whether, if that is just like some general anxiety to more significant things. I mean, even, this isn’t coming out until the beginning of January, but there was just, you know, like a heartbreaking suicide, Twitch.

So, it’s, again, I feel like this necessary element to add to the podcast, especially for campus leaders, for social media managers, it’s an element of critical hope too, right? We can still have hope, but we have to be honest with what realities there are, us as individuals, our teams, because sometimes these platforms work against us.

[00:19:58] Krista: Yeah, we need to have a starting place with ourselves to be able to go somewhere with it, too.

[00:20:09] Josie: Josie and the Podcast is sponsored by Campus Sonar, who offers unmatched insights and expertise to build client capabilities, transform campus goals, and support higher ed community learning and networking. They use digital intelligence to help campus partners understand and implement meaningful change.

On January 12th, Campus Sonar is hosting a webinar focused on using audience-centric strategies to increase brand cohesion. Visit campussonar.com to learn more from Liz Gross and Rebecca Stapley.

So, what do you wish campus leaders would know about being a social media manager and how these roles can impact the humans that have been tasked with them, considering kind of what we just talked about?

[00:21:09] Krista: I think I would love for campus leaders to know that we see everything. We are the eyes and the ears of your institution. And so, when it comes to a level of content moderation and issues monitoring, it’s really substantial. Thinking about your social media managers as the first line of recognizing when there’s an issue and just how that can really affect a person, too, especially when there is an issue at hand. You know, checking in on them making sure they have all the resources they need. Are they able to take a break from their channels when there is an issue that’s come up? Just making sure that you’re there for that person when an issue arises.

[00:21:48] Josie: I mean, just being that kind of first-line first responders of the internet, the toll that can take. But I also, that note of you see all, you have such a pulse on what’s happening with the community in ways that we never had before. And so, that’s really powerful.

[00:22:10] Krista: And it’s really an opportunity, too, to be able to have good communications between leaders and social media managers. That can mean the response time can be shortened, or there could be a new perspective given to an issue at hand. So, I think the opportunity, not just that it can be a burden on people, but it’s an opportunity for leaders to be able to tap into that resource, too.

[00:22:35] Josie: Yup. So, considering you are day in and day out — well, minus taking breaks and vacations and all of those things — you’re doing social strategy, digital strategy, and you teach this in the digital community building cohort. You’ve been part of this-

[00:22:54] Krista: Yes.

[00:22:54] Josie: … since the beginning, in the fourth round. So, in your own words, because you’ve experienced it in a couple different versions, what does this experience really provide people trying to manage social media in higher ed that’s kind of unique compared to other things that are or are not offered in higher ed and social media?

[00:23:15] Krista: I would say that the DigiCohort… I like to call it the DigiCohort for our hashtag. But I would say it’s really a community within community. Picture that you’re going through all the things that you do at your institution but you don’t have a group of people to be able to, really, I would say, echo off of or communicate some of the issues that you’ve had or some of the challenges or maybe even the opportunities and positive things that you’ve had in your role.

And the DigiCohort gives people the opportunity to really tap into that community, to reach out and talk to one another about what we’ve been seeing and doing, and creating best practices based on what we’re seeing in real time, I think, too. Because it’s a two-month course, it really gives people the opportunity to dig in and make the most of their time, create new strategies, create new goals, and really see it through to evaluation, too. You really go through the whole process with the goal-setting into strategy, into platforms, and into evaluations. So, we really cover all the bases, and it’s a really great crash course for anyone who is really looking to up their game.

[00:24:24] Josie: Crash course with community.

[00:24:27] Krista: Yes. Crash course with a community, with a soft fall.

[00:24:31] Josie: Yeah. We have some fun. There’s lots of gifts. And I mean, just to be able to have access to someone like you, not like you’re inaccessible from DMing you on Twitter or messaging on LinkedIn. But I found that past participants have reached out to faculty like you or in your workshops, just being able to workshop ideas or to kind of get coaching live, you know, based on whatever’s going to be happening in February or March 2023.

And talking about always evolving. Both platforms are always evolving, but your workshop has definitely evolved over time. And I really love where it has landed. Your workshop was on community management. So, social strategy can be taught a variety of ways, but we teach it in a way that’s very community-centric. And you used a Community Canvas framework which exists out there, and that will link to, especially to run a new community or improve a new one.

So, could you give us, kind of, like, the high-level breakdown of what this framework is and how folks listening could apply it to their work?

[00:25:38] Krista: Yeah, of course. So, the Community Canvas I actually found is a project from 2017, but it’s still applicable now. And it’s an open source community guideline, really, on how to build community and how to align your community, how to create some framework for how to follow along with who you’re creating your community for.

And it’s really centered around three things: identity, experience, and structure. And then, it’s divided into 17 themes. But the first theme of identity is sort of the why of the community, including the purpose, values, brand, success definition. And so, it puts together the why of why the community exists and how you kind of see yourself evolving in the community.

Then comes experience, and experiences could be shared. It’s a pretty large part of the whole Community Canvas, too. So, talking about what brings people together — the rituals, the rules, the roles, content — and how people experience it, and transitioning through the community from start to finish. And I think that this specific quadrant of the Community Canvas is really interesting for higher ed because it talks about how we’re kind of going from first year into alumni at the organization and how you can really be part of the community in so many different ways and how your time in the community grows and changes and how each person is able to experience it in different ways.

And then, finally, the last part of this is the structure and how the community is organized. So, the last part in structure is how you create your channels and platforms, what governance is put into place to lead it, and how data is managed. So, that’s sort of the way that your community is organized.

And then, finally, if you put it all together, it’s just a super helpful tool for higher ed because it helps people really find a place within the community. And I think it really helps to foster some really interesting connections between the quadrants and really gets people thinking about where and why we are doing this.

[00:27:39] Josie: It starts with why, right? I mean, we’re asking why now about Twitter or what do we do now? But so many communities, whether if it’s groups in digital spaces or platforms, get started up without answering some of those pivotal questions. So, I do find in some of our workshops and coaching is kind of giving people permission where they might need to move their efforts away from, and/or, too, again, do some of these strategy exercises in order to get that clarity, so then they know their people and the experiences they want them to have. And when you showed that one in your workshop, my eyes just lit up. I was like, because I really give y’all a lot of independence.

[00:28:25] Krista: To be able to see it, I think, is really great. And I think what you said about getting clarity is really important because it starts with the center of it with being your purpose and identity. So, once you’re able to identify what those things are in the center of your canvas, you’re kind of able to use it to construct the other parts of it very easily.

[00:28:46] Josie: So, another element that you added, that again I was like, lit up, it’s like, what is this, is a approach called Ikigai.

[00:28:57] Krista: Yes, you got it.

[00:28:58] Josie: I did it. So, you applied this to community management, but it’s also this refreshing perspective to goal-setting. And with this episode coming out the first week of the year, we are over-inundated with, you know, New Year’s resolutions and tensions, manifesting all of the things.

So, first, tell me about this perspective. I think there’s work and frameworks behind it, and how it shows up in your life, as well as how you approach digital strategy.

[00:29:33] Krista: Yeah, so Ikigai is actually a book that I discovered, and it really changed my world, especially too, because I’m Japanese-Canadian, and seeing a concept that was Japanese really resonated with me. But the book is called “Ikigai: the Japanese Concept of Finding Purpose in Life.” So, that’s pretty heavy and very… I want to say it’s like large scale, but it breaks it into really bite-size pieces on how you can actually create some purpose in your life.

So, the book is by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles. And the book itself talks about “iki,” which means talking about the life. I think “iki” means to live, and “gai” means the reason. So, it’s really talking about what is your daily motivation. And talking about the Community Canvas, It sort of relates that there’s actually a cross-section of four quadrants in Ikigai. So, the quadrants are what do you love, what are you good at, what the world needs, and what can you be paid for. And this equals passion, mission, profession, and vocation. And where these quadrants oversect is where you can find your Ikigai.

So, thinking about what are the things you love to do, what are the things you’re good at, what the world needs, and what you need be paid for. And a lot of times you might have a couple of those quadrants that intersect, and that will become a little bit of your Ikigai. Also reflecting on what are the things that you do right now and are interested in doing that make up your purpose.

So, it may be that you really love helping people. For me, I would say that it shows up in my life as I love helping people. I think I’m a pretty resourceful person. I like to be able to connect the dots for people. And this shows up in a way through servant leadership. But the idea in social media and helping and aiding where it’s possible is that, for me, that’s something that I love to do. And what the world needs, too, is have people wanting to help and wanting to connect.

So, I think my help within the U of T community allows me to feel that need and allows it to be filled. And then, when we try to take our passion and mission for helping people enter our profession and vocation, that’s kind of where it gets interesting as social media managers because we can figure out what we’re good at and what the world needs and figure out where we can really help our communities and really find some opportunities there.

[00:31:51] Josie: I just really appreciate how you can take these tools or, like, this framework that probably wasn’t even written about social media or strategy, and then how you include it to make it so much more meaningful. I mean, that’s kind of my whole thing, too, is let’s intersect this stuff. Like, we already have so much heart-centered frameworks out there. And so, that’s why it always lights me up so much.

Also, I find, just to like give somebody the keys to run social strategy, there are some best practices out there or missed expectations that are given, but I find a lot of digital professionals want meaning in their work and do believe these tools can provide some of that. And so, it’s just so refreshing in another roadmap. And those quadrants that you listed out, I hope people, like, pause this episode. That’s your homework. Go do it.

[00:32:56] Krista: And answer those questions — what you’re good at, what you love, what the world needs, and what can you be paid for. And again, they may not all intersect, but the idea is that if you find a couple that intersect — maybe what the world needs and what you’re good at are two things that intersect, maybe what you can be paid for and what you love maybe intersect — that’s kind of where you can find some purpose. And that really helps if it is connected to your job because you can do that in your day-to-day life.

[00:33:22] Josie: And I guess, on the other side of that, within wellness and mental health, what about those that are thinking about those questions, they don’t feel like they have that answer? Like, just answering those are overwhelming. Any guidance there?

[00:33:38] Krista: I think, maybe, starting with one of what you’re good at, like taking some time and reflecting on what you think you’re good at. Maybe you’re really good at making lists, or maybe you’re really good at organizing things, or maybe you’re really good at ideating on some issues or some opportunities. So, I think starting with what you’re good at is a really good place to list, and then seeing how that intersects with some other places.

So, you might even want to draw yourself a little chart of how that connects to something that you’re paid for, or maybe that connects to something that the world needs. Especially, when it comes to organization, there’s a lot of places that really need some organization, but they don’t necessarily know in the role exactly how that can be happening. But maybe you bring a different lens to the job that is very specific. And so, I think, trying to list it out and taking some time to really reflect is a good starting place.

[00:34:34] Josie: Love it. We’ll make sure to link to all of that goodness. Do you have anything, other than the Digital Community Building Cohort — DigiCohort, which you did give us that hashtag — what else do you have coming up in 2023? Any goals, intentions, stuff you’re cooking up for University of Toronto?

[00:34:54] Krista: Yeah. So, I would say my goal for 2023 is really to just stay afloat. There’s so many changes in the platforms, as we’re seeing with Twitter and Mastodon and all different sorts of social media, and that I’m just trying to stay apprised of what’s coming up and not feeling overwhelmed that I don’t have all the answers right away.

I think, too, we don’t need to jump the ship right away. There’s still so much happening and so many things that we can learn from the platforms that we’ve grown for so long, that I don’t think it’s necessary to really jump ship just yet.

Another thing for myself that I’m doing is I have a self-care menu. It’s a little bit of another craft. But the idea is that I have a list of things that I like to do for my own self-care. And when I do them, I put a little sticker next to the thing.

So, because it’s wintertime, I actually have a skating rink really close to me. And so, I have skating at Bernie Morelli on the list. And so, I can just… once I go skating, I can, like, tick off that I’ve gone. And I’m hoping, by the end of the month in January, I’ll have lots of stickers on my list to have, you know, spend some time with my self-care.

[00:36:05] Josie: I was obsessed with stickers as a kid.

[00:36:10] Krista: Yes.

[00:36:10] Josie: And I forgot this. I have stickers. And I do bullet-journaling, and I used to incorporate all these stickers. And then I got busy. And it… and one of the exercises that I’m doing at Renew, which you’re also a facilitator for, is I’m trying to rekindle inspiration because y’all are creatives in this space, and to always feel like you’re needing to be creative when maybe you might be stressed and burnt out.

And so, some of it is thinking about us as kids or what we used to like to do when we were younger or even, like, last year. Because sometimes, we do realize, “Oh, I haven’t done that for a while.” And so, this is so fun that you, actually, like, have a list of things. And there’s stickers involved. Maybe, you take a photo and send it.

[00:36:55] Krista: This also relates to Ikigai again, in that there are things that we enjoy and things that fill us up. And we should be able to do more of that. So, focusing on the things that do fill you up and seeing how that can connect to the rest of your life.

[00:37:09] Josie: Well, I don’t think I connected the dots of… or I’d be like, well, it’s just stickers, Josie. But no, you like them. I think they’re fun.

[00:37:15] Krista: Yes.

[00:37:15] Josie: Like, having a sticker on a full-week planner.

[00:37:22] Krista: It’s really important to tap into our little selves, for sure.

[00:37:25] Josie: Yeah, I like that. Well, talking about tapping in, how can people connect with you on the interwebs and such?

[00:37:35] Krista: Yeah, they can find me on LinkedIn if you search Krista Boniface. I’m mostly on Instagram. So, it’s probably best to connect to me there, krista.boniface, or on Twitter @KristaBoniface.

[00:37:46] Josie: Awesome. And so, a couple questions I always end every episode with, if you knew your next Instagram post was going to be your last, what would you want it to be about?

[00:37:59] Krista: So, this question really sticks with me because it has happened to me that a social media, sort of, like a leader to me had passed on, and she had a post really about buoying each other up. And so, I really love that phrase to be able to buoy each other up in times of trouble. And I would want to have my last post really saying something similar, being about kindness or how to lift each other up in hard times.

[00:38:26] Josie: A buoy is such a…

[00:38:28] Krista: It’s such a beautiful word because it’s one of those words that really sounds and feels like what it is.

[00:38:34] Josie: Oh yeah. Is there a word for those kinds of words?

[00:38:38] Krista: I’m sure there is. I’m sure somebody will tell us in the comments.

[00:38:42] Josie: Yes, please do. Well, for now, you’re in a few different digital spaces. What do you hope your impact will be, because you’re choosing to be in these places? And basically, what is your why for leading online?

[00:38:57] Krista: I would love for my digital presence to be inclusive, creative, understanding, and empathetic. And my purpose for leading online is to really empower others. I love working with my work study students right now, who are really the lifeblood to our social media communities. The students themselves have so much to give, and they have so many opinions, and they have so many ways that they can improve our communities. And so, I love working with students so much. And I want to empower them and give them an opportunity to be on our channels more.

[00:39:33] Josie: Yeah, I miss working with students so closely.

[00:39:36] Krista: It’s the best.

[00:39:37] Josie: They also, like, I feel so lost in fashion right now.

[00:39:42] Krista: I don’t have any crop tops or anything like that.

[00:39:46] Josie: Influences us in other ways. Krista, this has been such a joy to get to chat and hang out.

[00:39:53] Krista: Yeah, It’s been awesome.

[00:39:55] Josie: It’s great to know we will have many more conversations with the cohort quickly coming up. I can’t even pinpoint the first time that we connected. But you really do just buoy or ooze or, like, this innate hope and kindness that I just love and want to be able to share with the world.

And I also have never told you this, I’m going to drop this on the podcast. So, I was the keynote speaker at PSE Web, pre-pandemic.

[00:40:25] Krista: In Saskatoon.

[00:40:26] Josie: Saskatoon, I don’t even know what the year was. I was talking about leadership and really trying to elevate marketing and communication professionals. And basically, I asked them kind of the question I just asked you. Like, what’s your why? Not just for leading online, but why you’re here. And to be honest with you, so I asked for questions and your question to me, and we didn’t know each other as well as we do now. Your question to me was, well, what’s your why? And I got to tell you, it was a very busy season. I was building, creating, teaching, educating. And I was like, “Well, crap, Krista.”

[00:41:05] Krista: I put you on the spot.

[00:41:07] Josie: I hopefully said something, but I think it was a reminder that we always need to do our own work. And even those whys can evolve and not just because you’re going to give the right or whatever answer in front of a crowd. But you always ask really important questions and intentional and reflective, and it was really good reminder for me. And I think I was overdue in really touching base with what my why was. So, thank you.

[00:41:39] Krista: And I think we can revisit it many times. Like, I think that it evolves over the time that we have on this planet and who we interact with and what jobs we’re in. So, I would definitely suggest taking some time to reflect as many times as you can.

[00:41:55] Josie: Yeah. Well, thanks again. This was so fun.

[00:41:59] Krista: Yeah, this is great.

[00:42:01] Josie: Krista is such a prime example of how a platform like Twitter can spark a connection that has led to collaborations and friendship over the years. And getting to get her on the podcast was not just so great to check that off, but I hope you found this conversation to not just be surface-level social, but just getting into the realness of life from career, leadership, health and wellness.

I want to give her a shout-out right away for role modeling with honesty and vulnerability, as she shared her mental health journeys and even what those realities look like today and real time in the episode. Words are powerful. And specifics to know, for example, how medication may be impacting us and what that looks like, with even self-compassion and loving kindness, as Tara Brach would say, or for example, sharing how she is bipolar. This gift Krista so kindly opened up to us, I hope, for some listeners, that might make you feel seen. If you too identify, you know someone, or again, remind you, you may need to reinvest more into your health, whether that is mental, physical, spiritual, and more. Because here’s the reality for those tasks with social media: it never stops, even when you’re off the clock.

Now that this episode is live in the first of the year, you’re coming off of your holiday breaks, how many times did you have to log back on? Or, what was the process to try to untether yourself from phones or from checking? Or, what has it been coming back online? And just paying attention again with acceptance, as those feelings and emotions come. But how darn important it is for downtime, that these tools can be exhausting.

At the same time, they also can be really exciting and fun, wanting to learn new things. Krista shares she finds new books to read and things to cook. And of course, we get way into crafting. And I know I picked up a whole bunch of ideas from her for that. She talked about this practice that actually is out in articles and things called revenge bedtime procrastination. And you have to make your own intervention when you are maybe doing that revenge bedtime procrastination too often that it is starting to creep too much into sleep. For example, I put my phone in my bathroom. Once I place it there, I do not go back for it.

Again, she uses lots of crafts that are going to physically get her attention. So, the phone, the screens aren’t there. And then she’s shared a few different times over the years, this fun phone box that she decorated with stickers, that she places. And that’s kind of like the timeout room for the phone.

She also talked about having a screen-free lunch. And you didn’t obviously see it because this is a podcast, but in the video I was like, I think I just had lunch a couple hours before and definitely had the screen in front of me. And so, that was a great reminder, just even for me, how just have some lunch. Or, if you are watching that show, which was probably Desperate Housewives, just enjoy the show and don’t also have the phone open.

And finally, I was excited to get into a philosophy and framework called Ikigai, “iki” meaning life and “gai” meaning reason. And we get all into it. As you think about what you love, what you’re good at, what the world needs, and what you could be paid for, thinking about filling those quadrants with your interest to help you find purpose and how you can align what you’re doing and how you can get paid for it. You might be off to a good start into this new year.

And it’s kind of that season for it. If you haven’t checked out the episode, “Creating Goals with Soul,” while I don’t use that framework to think about goals a little bit differently, I love how it puts meaning and purpose at the center and not just doing. But also bonus, make sure let’s get paid properly for these goals, too.

I also got to give a special shout-out, not only for Krista coming on the podcast, but being part of the Renew Retreat series. She is one of our facilitators in January. There’s two dates left, the 9th and the 13th. If you cannot afford the $25 registration fee, or if you know someone that would love to come and that might be their case, jump into my DMs. I will add you into one of those, no questions or proofs asked. Just want people to experience these retreats.

And then she is also part of the five faculty team of the Digital Community Building Cohort. She just brings so much kindness, love, and experience to the program. And you would get to experience her for two whole months. And we start that in just a little less than a month on February 1st.

So, a little bit of call-to-action as we think about Ikigai. I challenge you to pause and to think and sit down and write or stand. Don’t have to sit. What is it that you love? Free-write, brainstorm all the things that get you all the feels, that fill you up. What are you already good at? Let’s find those things that you’re not going to have to, like, go get a degree or a course. Or, maybe that might excite you, and that’s okay.

And then, what does the world need? I love this question, too. Again, like, what’s bringing value? What’s purpose? What’s meaning? And you could leave it at that. But if we are looking to really tap into, maybe, some career directions, side hustles, but also just acknowledging that you bring quality and experience into the world no matter what that is, how could you be paid for it?

I encourage you to pick up the book, “Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life.” Grab it at your local or independent bookstore. And now, I’m also happy to help, too, as I explore my own Ikigai and how I can help you, too. You can, of course, find me on all the digital spaces. Visit me at josieahlquist.com and find out how my services are helping develop digital leaders and creating strategic, yet humanizing, digital strategies.

Thank you for joining me today for this first episode of 2023 of Josie and the Podcast. There is so much more in store the rest of this spring as we give you this season five. Make sure to join the conversation online. Find me on all the platforms @JosieAhlquist. And the podcast is on Twitter, @JosieATPodcast. Those show notes can be found at josieahlquist.com/podcast.

The easiest way to stay updated when a new episode comes out is to subscribe. There’s lots of feeds out there. Find your favorite, and just click subscribe. Your feedback is also very important to us. So, whether if it’s sending it to me in an email or a DM or adding a review, that is so very helpful. And, of course, passing this episode onto a colleague.

Don’t forget, registration’s open for Renew. We’ve got two dates left in January. And the Digital Community Building Cohort registration’s open till the end of January. If you’re interested learning more about my speaking and consulting work, you can check me out at josieahlquist.com.

Thank you so much to our podcast sponsor, long-time supporters of the podcast, Campus Sonar, and the producers of this show, Alumni FM. x

Sending digital hugs, loves, and waves to whatever corner of the world you’re listening in from. This has been Josie and the Podcast.

About Josie

I’m Dr. Josie Ahlquist—a digital engagement and leadership consultant, researcher, educator, and author. I’m passionate about helping people and organizations find purposeful ways to connect, engage, and tell their unique story. I provide consulting, executive coaching, and training for campuses, companies, and organizations that want to learn how to humanize technology tools and build effective and authentic online communities.

My blog and podcast have been recognized by EdTech Magazine, Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education. My book, Digital Leadership in Higher Education, was published in 2020 and was listed as a #1 new release for college and university student life. I have been growing my consultancy since 2013 and am based in Los Angeles. When I’m not helping clients lead online, you might find me training for a triathlon, spoiling my nieces and nephews, or exploring with my husband and our rescue dogs in our new RV called Lady Hawk.

I’d love to connect! Find me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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