A Good Pour is a series of good conversations with good people. It is inspired by the 100 Cups Academy with the awesome Jason Elkins through the very helpful TN Small Business Development Center at Vol State. Learn more at https://100cups.coffee/.
A Good Pour with Katherine Louw and Kathryn Strong
How I Know Katherine and Kathryn
Katherine Louw and I met through our church, Hendersonville First United Methodist, about 10 years ago. Together we’ve counseled each other through multiple job transitions, juggled emotions as our kids entered teenage years, brainstormed new ideas, discussed challenging topics, talked about interesting podcasts (see her Good List submissions below), and prayed through several hard seasons. Because we’ve been through these things, we can be reminders to each other that God is for us and with us, and He answers our prayers. She is often called “salt of the earth,” and that’s the best way to describe her. If you know her, you know what I’m talking about.
Kathryn Strong and I met when we went on a girls’ mission trip to Haiti in 2017, and let me tell you, if you live and serve in 100-degree temps and heavy emotional conditions for a week, you get to know each other. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t met this strong-willed, spirited woman before then. While I haven’t spent a ton of time with her since Haiti, we can jump into real conversation immediately every time we see each other. And that’s because she’s real – what you see is what you get – no pretend, no false pretenses. I love her laughter, opinions, and confidence.
While every other “A Good Pour” has been a one-on-one meeting, I wanted to take the opportunity to gather us back together. After this conversation, we all agreed that we needed a meeting of the Katherine/Kathryns at least quarterly.
Their Sumner Stories
Fun fact: y’all… these two superwomen once lived on the same street in Gallatin!
Katherine (Orgain) Louw’s roots are deep as a 5th generation Sumner County resident. She met her husband, Rico, in Spain (ask her about that someday), and they started their lives together in Nashville while she worked as director of development for Vanderbilt University. After moving back to Sumner County and taking some time off to be with her girls, Emma and Hanne, she became the director of development for Kore Foundation, a nonprofit that works to bring sustainable solutions to poverty in Haiti. Then, almost three years ago, she took all that experience and began helping Watterson Brands build their foundation and their culture of good. She has been helping them do crazy good, innovative work in Bluffton, South Carolina. And now, after serving from Nashville to Haiti to South Carolina, we are so lucky to get her professional time and talent back in our area as she will be the new executive director of the Carolyn Smith Foundation.
Kathryn (Tidwell) Strong grew up in Hendersonville and Gallatin. For 23 years, her father and grandfather owned and operated Tidwell’s Super Value grocery store in Hendersonville, which later became Piggly Wiggly. She married her best friend, Justin Strong, while attending Nashville School of Law and then began practicing law in Sumner County after graduation in 2007. She formed Strong Law Group in 2010 and was elected as the county’s Circuit Court Clerk in 2014, a position at which she still serves. If you don’t already know her, you’ll probably recognize her name as she is the one that sends jury duty requests and updates. Kathryn and Justin have two children, Olivia and Luke.
When these two were growing up, Gallatin pretty much ended at the Walmart; people in Gallatin rarely went to Hendersonville and vice versa. So I asked them what they think about the growth and the change. They both agreed our culture has experienced positive development along with population growth. They said that each town in Sumner County adds to that culture, and we should visit them to feel connected to our county and each other.
What is helping you right now?
Katherine Louw: The teenage drivers that help her get her active girls to and from activities while she and her husband work. She also credited her husband, who held down the fort – without complaint – during her monthly travels to South Carolina.
Kathryn Strong: Tara Leigh Cobble and The Bible Recap
What is an organization or cause near and dear to your heart?
Both of these women have servant’s hearts and have given so much to our nonprofit and religious communities. I think this is why we ended up having a long discussion about being right here, right now, for a specific purpose and loving people – all people – along the way. I wish I would have recorded this part of the conversation, but here are some highlights:
1. Community change starts at home and in our small circles. – Katherine Louw
2. Every great effort that has produced real change started from people loving each other. – Kathryn Strong
3. We all have influence. – Katherine Louw
4. Perspective is shaped by how we listen. – Kathryn Strong
5. Step in where He is already leading. – Katherine Louw
6. Before joining another board or leading something else, I remember my biggest disciples are still in my home. – Kathryn Strong
What is a movie, television show, podcast, writer, song, etc., that you think should be added to The Good List?
- EnneaSummer Series on the That Sounds Fun with Annie F. Downs Podcast
- White Lies NPR Podcast
- The Dabble Co. Podcast
- Raising Boys and Girls Podcast
- Stompin’ Grounds coffee house in Hendersonville
- What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
- The Bible Recap Podcast by Tara Leigh Cobble
And we all agreed that Rosie Food and Wine in Hendersonville should be added!
(Read more from The Good List.)
What marketing question do you have for me?
Katherine: Can you market these days without using social media?
(This came from a discussion of hating the negativity on social media these days.)
My short answer is no. Social media presence gives a business needed credibility these days and can be an excellent tool for building brand awareness, increasing following, and growing email lists. But I think companies are quick to believe that social media will solve all their marketing problems. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case. In fact, in almost every business I’ve ever worked with, social media has the lowest conversion rates.
Between planning, posting, and engaging (not to mention the temptation to be sucked in), social media can be time-consuming and expensive if you are running ads. So here’s what I recommend if you are getting started or are looking to overhaul your social media:
- Focus on content first. For example, suppose you develop a blog that answers customer questions. This content can be posted on the website, developed into a video, sent in an email, and, yes, posted on social. But the bulk of your time has been spent creating something that has lots of uses rather than just a single-use social post.
- Pick one social media channel on which your target customers are present and active. This isn’t to say that you can’t post on other channels, but pick one to study.
- Set a goal. Do you want more online sales, in-store traffic, email addresses, phone numbers, customer engagement?
- Post content, ask questions, engage with your audience on your platform of choice. Don’t just post and forget. Take the time to learn what is meeting the goal and understand why.
- If posting on this channel meets your goals, consider expanding to another channel if it makes sense for your audience and won’t take time away from another marketing tactic that you already know is working.
Kathryn Strong: How can a company that doesn’t (at the moment) want to grow its business utilize marketing tools?
Focus on culture and customer service. While operating at or over capacity usually means substantial revenue numbers and business is good, it can also mean that employees are maxed out. If managers aren’t careful, this stress can impact the culture and result in bad customer service simply because employees feel overworked and underappreciated. Customer service is one of the most effective marketing tactics, and often don’t treat it as such. So, what ways can you use marketing to focus on culture and customer service during busy seasons? Here are a few ideas:
- Post employee spotlights on social media. Recognize the individual strengths each employee offers your company.
- Take the time to collect reviews from customers. These help your Google My Business page and often give you ideas to improve.
- Celebrate good reviews with your team. Read them aloud and recognize any employee that is stated by name.
- Focus on doing a little extra for your employees and customers. This can be in word or action; both matter significantly during times of high productivity.
Bottom line, say thank you to your employees. Say thank you to your customers. Mean it wholeheartedly; people aren’t stupid.