Annmarie Gajdos of Room 3228 on uplifting marginalized voices through media

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Describe your business in a few words:

My name is Annmarie Gajdos. I am a 23-year-old activist, content creator, and aspiring human rights lawyer. I am also a co-founder of the Room 3228 podcast, where I work with Chanel Cummings and Anita Tunduwani to highlight diverse youth voices and give people a safe space to share their thoughts on the world around them. I am passionate about uplifting marginalized voices through media and responsible travel.

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

Prior to starting my own business, I had a background in technology and entertainment. I am a multipotentialite who has a lot of interests, from public service to videography. I’ve worked at mental health companies and interned at numerous media conglomerates, such as Turner Broadcasting, HBO, Atlantic Records, and iHeartRadio. My varied experiences showed me that I wanted to use my voice to tell underrepresented stories in an authentic and powerful way.

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

I always knew that I wanted to be seen as a leader in my community, but I didn’t necessarily dream of starting my own business. While gaining professional experience through jobs and internships, I realized that autonomy and flexibility in my daily activities were extremely important to me. I wanted to be in charge, and I wanted to be able to create my own schedule, rather than being glued to my desk all day. Once I realized that there was a niche that I could cater to with my podcast while also creating a more flexible schedule for myself, entrepreneurship became a feasible option for me.

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

When I first created my podcast, we did a combination of physical and digital marketing. We posted flyers on campus, partnered with our college radio station, and invited prominent leaders on campus to go on air with us. We also heavily marketed ourselves on Instagram and Facebook, while employing Facebook ads to increase our reach. Lastly, we threw an exclusive podcast launch party to generate buzz about our first episode. Our initial marketing was successful, but it took a lot more effort on our part to sustain it as time went on.

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

I am most proud of the international following that we built. We not only have listeners in all fifty states in America but also in over 15 countries (Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Morocco, India, Russia, Brazil, Colombia, Canada, Thailand, Australia, Peru, Slovakia, Mexico, Greece, etc). In addition, hearing feedback from viewers is very meaningful for me. Many people describe our podcast as a welcoming atmosphere that feels like home. One listener told us that when she moved to Europe for college, she felt extremely lonely and cried every night. To make herself feel better, she would listen to our podcast and it made her feel like she was chatting with her best friends back home. It felt good to be a source of comfort for people who are going out into the world and trying new things. Our mission was always to help youth grow and learn from one another, so seeing that come to fruition is incredible.

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

Work/life balance is extremely important, especially in order to prevent burnout. I find that I am most productive when I’m happy, and I’m happiest when I give myself the space to pursue a healthy combination of my professional and personal interests. We live in an increasingly digitalized world so the line between work and free time is blurred. It’s important to set boundaries for oneself. I turn my phone on airplane mode at least an hour before I go to sleep so that I’m not tempted to check my work email before bedtime. I also schedule out blocks of time for recreational activities each day, whether it’s an hour for me to go for a relaxing walk or binge a new episode of my favorite Netflix show. I also prioritize engaging in social activities during the week. I work from home so it’s easy to lose track of time and feel removed from reality since I communicate with my team virtually. Getting dressed up and going out with friends helps me remain motivated and productive.

What have you achieved recently that you’d like to celebrate with our community?

We recently launched our third season after a short hiatus due to COVID-19. For the first time in two years, my co-hosts and I were able to record an episode in-person, rather than virtually. We booked a cabin in the woods in upstate New York and spend a week making content and planning out the new season of the podcast, as well as creating a social media marketing calendar.

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

We intend to keep facilitating controversial conversations with youth in order to uplift underrepresented voices. We hope to start bringing on celebrity guests to talk about their experiences, as well as how public perception of the media has influenced their own efforts as unifiers. Eventually, we would also like to have a podcast tour around the United States where we host in-person meetups with listeners and pair people with conversation partners so that they can share their opinions with one another.

What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member?

I’m excited to get the chance to learn from amazing female entrepreneurs who are fearlessly pursuing their dreams. It’s inspiring to be part of a community that brings women closer together in an attempt to help one another succeed and grow their businesses.

Learn more about the Entreprenista League and join today!

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