Telum Talks To... Lia Cruz, Co-Creator / Podcast Host of What Glass Ceiling?

Telum Talks To... Lia Cruz, Co-Creator / Podcast Host of What Glass Ceiling?
George Putong

With ​​​​​​International Podcast Day on 30th September, we connected with Lia Cruz, Co-Creator and Podcast Host of What Glass Ceiling?, on how her team manages to secure interviews and if it's necessary to join podcast collectives to find success.

Tell us about your podcast and what inspired you to hit record?
What Glass Ceiling? is about women’s stories. It’s a podcast by, for, and about women, although we’ve gotten men as listeners, too, which is great! Stef Orandain-Virata, who is my partner in the show, was someone I previously worked with at TV5. We were both out of work at the beginning of the pandemic and I reached out to her if she would be interested in creating some sort of platform for women. We launched on International Women’s Day in March 2021.

We wanted to build something where we could learn from other women’s journeys, specifically about how they moved past struggles and dealt with issues. The term “glass ceiling” is traditionally used in a corporate setting. But we realized that glass ceilings exist everywhere for women — barriers or obstacles that stand in our way daily, whether they are struggles about how to advance in the corporate world, or juggle motherhood and entrepreneurship, or even overcome trauma or personal issues.

We discovered that different episodes resonate with different people (women AND men). Our hope is that you take away some nuggets of wisdom from the lived experiences of these women.

You’ve interviewed inspirational women such as Pia Wurtzbach, Shaira Luna, Daphne Oseña-Paez and many more. What's your secret to booking podcast guests? What’s a great approach?
We really try to look for inspirational women, with great stories. Sometimes we just approach a person, and they surprise us with things or past struggles that they’d like to talk about or that have been completely kept from the public. We’re also very lucky that we have been approached by PR and media agencies to feature certain personalities. 

For me, at least, securing the guest booking is the most stressful part of the process! Sometimes, it’s a lot of back and forth before we get the final schedule. What we’ve also discovered is that it helps to go through a mutual connection and extend the invitation from there. Of course, we have our share of cold emails which went unanswered. It’s easier to use your network, find that point of connection, and make the invitation more personal. But if that’s not possible, then we just shoot our shot and ask the universe for help.   

What is your advice for someone who wants to start their own podcast?
Our podcast is still very new, so we’re learning as we go. But I would tell others: make sure your concept is unique. Put in the work to develop the concept of your show. The podcasting world is growing, so there are a lot of new podcasts cropping up. Be different, offer something new. But at the same time, make sure that what you’re putting out there is quality, and not just so you can hear your own voice.

Is it necessary to join podcast collectives to be considered “successful”? Why or why not?
I don’t think it’s necessary. There are many incredibly successful independent podcasts out there. But that said, we joined a podcast network called Trypod Network. We needed technical support which neither Stef or I were very well-versed in. Trypod helped us immensely, and they also provide back-end and sponsorship support. We work very well with them, and our relationship with them has really grown. I can’t imagine this journey without them. We really value our partnership with them because we are on the same page about where to take the show, about how we work, and our ethics in general. And with that, if you plan on joining a group/collective/network, choose wisely. Make sure you’re aligned in terms of production values, ethics, workflow, etc.

What tips do you have for PRs who want to pitch interviewees, experts, and thought leaders to podcast hosts such as yourself?
Just get in touch! Podcast hosts are always looking for content, so trust me, at the very least, the pitch will be considered.  

Which podcasts do you love listening to?
I like The High Low by Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton (when it was still running), More Than One Thing by Athena Calderone, and Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard. Locally, I really enjoy listening to Between Us Queens and The Karen Davila Podcast. But I listen to others as well, depending on the topic or guest per episode.

Dream interview: who would you like to feature on your podcast and why?
Stef and I have a very long wishlist! We’ve only had Filipinas on the show so far, but that doesn’t mean we’re not open to international personalities. Off the top of my head, I’d say Maria Ressa, Lisa Macuja, Jessica Zafra and so many more. I would also love to have a medical frontliner on the show during this pandemic. We’ve tried scheduling it, even for our first season, but they are very busy, and, obviously, with good reason!

Listen to What Glass Ceiling on Spotify here.

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