Since 2016, the award-winning The Receipts Podcast has become a space for friends Audrey Indome, Tolani Shoneye and Milena Sanchez to share real-life experiences and hilarious gossip, all while offering meaningful advice to their listeners and building a loyal following along the way.
They aren’t shy about speaking their minds and with a younger audience of predominantly Black British women, they’ve become honorary big sisters and best friends to their online community.
Not only are the trio front-runners in the world of conversational, British podcasting but they are also changing the face of what it means to work in a creative tech industry and who has access to such a new and exciting medium.
Now, Audrey, Tolly and Milena are working with Samsung's Solve for Tomorrow initiative to deliver an alternative education for a younger generation seeking careers in creative tech, offering up real and honest insights into the world of podcasting. Refinery29 spoke to them about how we can nurture our authenticity online, tackle racial bias in tech and the importance of tangible change that stretches far beyond buzzwords.
What does podcasting mean to you and how has it changed your lives?
Audrey: Podcasting, right now, means everything to me because it's how I'm surviving, ultimately. The most important thing for me is having a voice.
Tolly: It’s one of the very few media platforms where there are no gatekeepers. It can help you find your niche. So if your thing is ‘I really like biscuits,’ there is a podcast for it somewhere!
How has podcasting grown your understanding of what work can look like?
Milena: This was just meant to be a little side thing that was gonna bring me into music; little did I know that it’d change my life.
T: It wasn't planned. I mean, just by virtue of how I am as a human being, I wanted it [our podcast] to be good. But did I think it would be anything like this? Did I think I could make a career of it? Absolutely not.
A: It was a side hustle that's now become my main hustle and now my nine-to-five is like my side hustle. It's just an example of how you can make money and become successful off of something that you love.
What advice would you give a young person today who’s curious about podcasting – or other creative tech careers?
M: You might be able to open doors for the generation behind you. You also have to be consistent and not watch other people’s journeys. Even if there are other podcasts that are talking about the same thing as you, don't think that there isn't space for you.
A: Research the industry you want to be in and what skills it requires. It's definitely a mixture of owning it and saying it out loud but actually putting the work behind it to make it happen.
What are three ways to find and keep your voice and authenticity online?
T: You have to know your voice; there's no authenticity if you're not actually sure of what it is that you're saying. There's a lot of noise on the internet. So before you go and shout on the internet, know your voice.
A: Know when to shut up. I feel like sometimes we get so caught up in the internet hype, we actually overemphasise our voices. It's not every space you need to be talking in, it's not every battle you need to take on.
You inspire so many but what have you learned from young people when it comes to using tech to find your voice?
T: Fearlessness and curiosity. They are just so fearless about what they can make from technology.
A: I’ve learned so much from Gen Z by looking at the things that they are not tolerating versus the things that I tolerated when I was growing up.
What has brought you joy over the last year and has tech played a role in that?
A: Our whole lives are based around technology so it's just about how you utilise it to make you smile as opposed to making you sad. My group chats make me laugh without fail. Communicating with friends and family is where I get my joy from and technology allows that to happen.
T: I try to avoid complaining on the internet. I want my [online] space to be a space where you come and have a little giggle.
What tangible future changes do you want to see for diversity, equality and inclusion in the workplace?
T: Diversity, equality and inclusion need to go past buzzwords. There is no need to make us all one, as there are so many different layers to everyone. It makes no sense, especially in a tech world, when the melanin on my skin means I can’t open a phone or it’s not smart enough to recognise my face when my wig is different.
A: There are so many people within the last year who were suddenly appointed to D&I [diversity and inclusion] roles. What is the point if that person doesn’t have any power to make a tangible change? It means it’s performative. Put your money where your mouth is and make sure those people have power.
Samsung's Solve for Tomorrow represents the action behind the buzzwords by ensuring that everyone from all backgrounds has a fair shot in the tech space. It’s no longer good enough to just talk about it, what’s important is putting things into practice and opening up opportunities to those who may not have known the possibilities.
How can young people, especially from marginalised backgrounds, play their role and ‘Solve for Tomorrow’ when it comes to DE&I?
T: Talk up! I realise that’s a big thing to say. It took me a long time to audaciously be myself in places where I thought I had to mould. It’s big, it’s brave, but that’s the only way we’re going to change.
M: Question everything. There’s this sense that you have to be appreciative of your position in a company and you don’t want to be too loud. Don’t let fear stop you. Find your voice, ask the questions and be confident in that.
Samsung's Solve for Tomorrow offers you a chance to explore the role tech can play in tackling some of society's most pressing issues, including sustainability. No qualifications are needed, and no matter how you learn, you can get inspired by livestreamed Future Talks with the UK's top experts or go at your own pace and catch up with On Demand online learning courses. The free course on Designing for a Diverse and Inclusive Future is available online now.