For this episode of the Advocacy Update, Claire and Clark spoke with Kelly Gasque, Executive Assistant and Multimedia Design Specialist for ACB. This is the second podcast in our two part series on ACB’s online presence. Kelly shared with us the work that she does to coordinate and update the ACB website and social media platforms, and we discussed how this information is used to amplify the advocacy and governmental affairs work of ACB.
Intro: 00:02 You are listening to the ACB Advocacy Update.
Claire Stanley: 00:08 Hey everybody. Welcome back to another episode of ACB Advocacy Update. I am Claire the Advocacy and Outreach Specialist here at the American Council of the Blind. Sitting next to Mr.
Clark Rachfal: 00:19 Clark Rachfal, Director of Advocacy and Governmental affairs for ACB. Thanks everyone who's listening via their favorite podcast player and all of those of you tuning in over ACB Radio.
Claire Stanley: 00:32 So I am really excited, excuse me, about our guest today because we are talking with one of our very own inside ACB employees here at the national office. Literally her office is next to Clark. So right here we're all surrounding a little table together with Tulane my guide dog under the table. It's very intimate. I like it. The sun is shining in everybody. I'm doing this as your audio description. It's very intimate. It's beautiful. With that, Kelly, we are really excited to have you here with us today. Kelly, why don't you tell everybody what your title is because I always get it wrong.
Kelly Gasque: 01:09 Well I am Kelly Gasque. I work as the Executive Assistant and Multimedia Design Specialist for the American Council of the Blind. I am also referred to sometimes as the Swiss army knife.
Claire Stanley: 01:23 I like it. And why are you the Swiss army knife?
Kelly Gasque: 01:25 So I do a little bit of everything here. You know, I started off as the Executive Assistant, so I do basic stuff like handling our mail, scheduling flights, you know, just basic packages and things that come in.
Claire Stanley: 01:39 She says basic, but it's so much work. She's amazing.
Clark Rachfal: 01:42 And like a Swiss army knife. She always has a wine opener handy. [Laughter]
Kelly Gasque: 01:48 But I also work on all of the social media as well as on design work for the organization and some, you know, marketing communications type stuff for us as well.
Clark Rachfal: 02:03 Kelly, what is your educational background?
Kelly Gasque: 02:06 So I actually went to VCU, Virginia Commonwealth University. I got a degree in fine arts specifically in design, and I have a bachelor's degree in that. So I went there several years ago because I've always been interested in arts and graphic design.
Clark Rachfal: 02:27 During your time here at ACB, you've been putting that graphic design background into use, correct?
Kelly Gasque: 02:34 Yes. So they, when they first hired me, you know, I was kind of getting familiar with how the office ran and everything and it just, so it was needed. We really needed some graphic design work because you know, even though many people are blind, we also have people that we work with, other organizations, and we want to have a professional face on our design work.
Claire Stanley: 02:59 I think that's really important. I think people can sometimes just think, Oh, they're blind or visually impaired, whatever. But no, we want, you know, a great product to present to the world. And because of you, we have really great product present to the world.
Kelly Gasque: 03:11 And there's more that comes to actually designing stuff for the organization because everything that we do has to be accessible. So all of the items that I do work on, like our annual report, I've got to think about alt-tagging images. I'm making sure that the documents read correctly. So it is some visual stuff obviously, but there is also a lot of, you know, behind the scenes work that go into making a document as well.
Clark Rachfal: 03:38 And Kelly, real quick, will you describe the ACB logo that you designed?
Kelly Gasque: 03:42 So the ACB logo, it has the letters ACB in print and beneath it it has the braille version of the letters below. And then to the right there is a line and then spelled out American Council of the Blind with our tagline below "together for a bright future".
Claire Stanley: 04:02 Nice.
Kelly Gasque: 04:03 And it's like a kind of like a purple, deep purpley blue.
Claire Stanley: 04:07 Ooooh.
Clark Rachfal: 04:08 Well I did not know that. So thank you for sharing. And you've assisted some of our ACB affiliates with their own logos, correct?
Kelly Gasque: 04:18 Yes, I have assisted a few affiliates with their logos. I love doing work like that. I've done a logo for the Oklahoma Council of the Blind, ACB of Virginia, Friends in Art, ACB students. That's something that, you know, is an option for any of our affiliates. If you're interested in getting a logo, please contact me. My email address is [email protected]. That's K-G-A-S-Q-U-E. So if any of our affiliates are interested in getting a logo done, please contact me. It's, it's a lot of fun. You know, for ACB of Virginia, they wanted to do, you know, something that looked like the state of Virginia, but I did a geometric shape for their logo that emulates the blue Ridge Mountains. So it's kind of a geometric design that looks like the state of Virginia and mountains at the same time.
Claire Stanley: 05:11 Oh how cool.
Kelly Gasque: 05:12 So it's a fun project for me to work on.
Claire Stanley: 05:14 Nice.
Clark Rachfal: 05:15 So Kelly, in addition to the graphic design work, the logo, the accessibility work for ACB materials, you've really professionalized our ACB social media presence. What's that like?
Kelly Gasque: 05:32 Well, I really enjoy working on our social media posts. I have several people that send me stories of interest. You know Kim Charlson for instance, Immediate Past President Kim Charlson, sends me some really interesting stuff all the time. And you know, I kind of get to pick and choose what really will you know, appeal to our audiences, what would interest our members. So it's a great way to convey information to our members and people that are just interested in ACB in general.
Claire Stanley: 06:09 And does ACB use multiple forms of social media? I know, of course we have Facebook, Twitter.
Kelly Gasque: 06:14 Yes. So we use, we have Facebook, we have Twitter, we use LinkedIn. That's a little bit newer for us, but we've started posting a lot of stuff on there as well. And then of course we have our website that's like the main hub of all our information and our YouTube channel as well.
Kelly Gasque: 06:32 So typically when we post ACB centric information, so stuff that specifically has to do with ACB, we post it across all of the channels that we have. So that excludes YouTube unless it's actually a video, but we want to make sure that this information is up on our website. Usually in our news section of our website that's up on the front page. And we like to cross post. So you know, Facebook, Twitter LinkedIn, YouTube, we like to kind of post links that drive traffic back to our website. And I think it's important that we have all that information on our website because, you know, it is ACB related news and we want to have a central place that it's all located.
Claire Stanley: 07:20 Do we see, by the way, do we see like the numbers increasing as we put stuff on social media? Can you see, do we even have that ability to see how many visits we have to our website.
Kelly Gasque: 07:30 So we do have, Google has an analytics site that can tell you about site traffic and there are times, you know, that we do posts specifically related to ACB that does increase the traffic of our website.
Claire Stanley: 07:45 That's exciting.
Kelly Gasque: 07:46 So we also do post other articles that you know, are unrelated to ACB that, you know, that's like the coolest tech idea that's come along recently. But those, we don't put up on our website because it's not, it's just, you know, kind of muddies up the waters, we want to make sure it's interesting, but we send it over the list.
Kelly Gasque: 08:07 Oh, and that was another avenue that I didn't speak about, another communications channel we have is our email lists as well.
Claire Stanley: 08:14 Yeah. So going back to just the social media itself, is there any quote unquote method to the madness on what you choose to post? Because we definitely live in a time where there's so many things you can put out there. Do you have just had fun picking things? Did you have any practice behind it?
Kelly Gasque: 08:28 Well we want to make sure that it's interesting, you know, there's articles that are put out there that are really boring. But you know, we want to make sure it's something of interest that actually adds value to our page. And really, you know, anything that I feel like appeals to our members would be great to add on. So it's really, you know, any information about other organizations, for instance, AFB or Microsoft, will sometimes have some really cool posts. And we'd like to help them promote the good work that they're doing. So we always repost for them, sometimes.
Claire Stanley: 09:05 That's great.
Clark Rachfal: 09:08 So in last week's podcast, we spoke with Jeff Bishop about the kind of like the revamp of the ACB website and all the work that he's helping on the back end of acb.org and acbradio.org. Then we talked about the listservs as well, not just their management but the use of the list serves as an advocacy tool and the social media platforms, we rely on as an advocacy tool as well. So could you talk a little bit how, for example, like if we share information over the listservs, you know, we can include an entire article in a link to that information. So how, how will you tailor the message for different platforms?
Kelly Gasque: 09:55 So we, I like to be consistent with the messaging that we put across. So specifically, you know, if we're going to share, we usually share a link to something because with the social media channels like Twitter, you can't, you have a content limit. You can't actually put the whole article within the tweets. So usually I like to post a link to the full article or whatever it is that we're talking about. Again, this is when we post things to our website. It's always helpful because with Twitter you can't say everything in one little tweet, so it'll be helpful to link that. And then it depends like with Facebook sometimes there are articles that I'll post the full content of it. Sometimes it's just the intro paragraph, but really with the email lists what I like to do just to make it easy for everybody is post the content as well as a link to the content as well. So people can have it easy to access and then if they want to share that content over their social media or just to other people, they have that link that they can use.
Claire Stanley: 11:03 Gotcha.
Clark Rachfal: 11:04 Yeah, that's great. So for example, a little teaser. So when we have our upcoming podcast episode on the reintroduction of the Cogswell Macy Act we'll do a podcast for the advocacy update and folks will be able to find that on ACB Radio again as well as their favorite podcast player. But then we also share over social media that we have a new podcast, right?
Kelly Gasque: 11:33 And we like to keep a regular cadence. And with social media in general, I mean, first of all, you don't want to bombard people with too many posts. So with our social media posts, especially on Facebook, because Twitter is a little bit different, I like to do about two posts per day. With our podcast, we post that every single Thursday, you know, no excuses it's got to get posted. On my day off, I posted that podcast,
Claire Stanley: 11:57 Rain, sleet or snow!
Clark Rachfal: 11:58 Sorry, Thanksgiving.
Kelly Gasque: 12:01 But it's, you know, it's just good to have that regular cadence so people know when to expect that the podcast is coming. Similar with ACB reports, I've started recently posting that podcast as well. You know at the beginning of the month we like to get that out so it's done every single month. But with our advocacy podcast, cause you guys are awesome and really on the ball. We've been able to actually, you know, do that once a week.
Clark Rachfal: 12:26 And it's always interesting seeing once the reading, once the podcast is shared on social media, especially on Facebook, you know, you have the likes, the loves and only likes and loves. That's the only thing we track.
Claire Stanley: 12:38 That's right, nothing else!
Kelly Gasque: 12:40 Nothing else, none of the negative stuff. [Laughter]
Clark Rachfal: 12:42 But we also have comments from the people who follow ACB or who like ACB and that's a really useful advocacy tool as well.
Kelly Gasque: 12:52 Yeah, definitely. And we put out a lot of good subject matter in my opinion, at least on this podcast. I know there are some that do better than others, but like for instance the Joe Strechay podcast that we did recently about the show See and Apple TV and all that did really well. You know, because it's just something that's you know, a lot of people find that interesting cause it's entertainment. So there are some items that do better than other items.
Claire Stanley: 13:21 For sure. So one thing we kind of jumped over to go back to but you talked about the, the email listservs. Do you send a lot of similar content through those, or are those popular and how, what do we see that usage look like in ACB?
Kelly Gasque: 13:36 So typically we have several different lists that we use. I typically send to two main lists, leadership and the announce lists, but whenever we do post something on our social media pages you know, Twitter or Facebook, we always post it over the list. And then there's some information that we don't put over social media because we don't want it to kind of clutter our social media or web page. And we will send that out through the lists.
Claire Stanley: 14:02 I think that's great because I think it might've even been when we were talking to Jeff Bishop on one of our last episodes, he was commenting blind people still really like lists, they're very easy to use. We can get information to one another fairly easily and it's a great format to have.
Kelly Gasque: 14:18 Yeah, definitely. So you know, it's a very helpful tool for us. And you know, we'll be looking at kind of, you know, modernizing our lists in the future too.
Claire Stanley: 14:28 Gotcha.
Clark Rachfal: 14:30 Yeah. And I think that's really important because ACB being a nationwide membership organization we're full of a bunch of different people and different people have different likes, different interests and different ways that they like to access information as well. So yeah, we have some folks who maybe even reluctantly have an email address and they like receiving information over the list and we have others that are full gung ho, you know, track me wherever I am, give me information straight to my cerebral cortex, waiting for the chip to be implanted and want to be up to date with everything on social media. You discussed a little bit, YouTube. One of the things we also use is Facebook live. Can you talk a little bit about ACB's use of videos?
Kelly Gasque: 15:23 So it's interesting that you brought that up because I was just thinking a comment about that. I really love doing the Facebook lives. I'm the one that's behind the camera.
Claire Stanley: 15:34 She's a great videographer.
Claire Stanley: 15:34 You might hear a laugh out of me every once in a while in the background.
Clark Rachfal: 15:39 And occasionally a snort.
Kelly Gasque: 15:41 Yes, occasionally. Cause I'm stifling the laugh so hard that it ends up coming out as a snort. But with our Facebook live videos, I think that they're great. You know, because for instance, I believe it was the first time we ever did a Facebook live, we actually introduced some of our board that had been newly elected. And I think it's really important for people who are interested in ACB and also our members to know who we are. Like who the people that are, you know, driving this organization are. And it also gives, you know, kind of a great insight into like the different, different personalities that run around here. So Facebook live has been a great vehicle for information because you know, it gives people a little notification when we go live so that they know that we're live and they can join in.
Kelly Gasque: 16:34 And it's also great because you know I've noticed a lot of people, not a lot of people, but some people do not like using Facebook whatsoever. So Facebook has it that you can actually save the videos that you do. So all of the videos, the Facebook lives that you do, you can also find them on our YouTube page. Because that, for some people that just don't, don't want to be a part of Facebook, they don't sign up, you know, they can they can access that same content on YouTube as well.
Clark Rachfal: 17:02 You anti Facebook people, you know, who you are.
Clark Rachfal: 17:06 Yeah, so Kelly, we've discussed quite a bit of stuff here. So both I guess electronic prints audio content as well as audio, video content. And we, we recognize that the audio content and audio video content that ACB produces is not accessible to everyone. So we've started to do some work in that regard so that our sight and sound impaired members of ACB have equal access to this information as well.
Kelly Gasque: 17:44 Exactly. And that's, you know, we've received comments before from people that do have issues with their hearing that want to access the information but they're unable to. So for instance, for this podcast, we've started doing a transcript every week. It's, we use an automatic transcript maker, but it's not perfect whatsoever. So I always go back through and edit what has been run through the little auto thing.
Claire Stanley: 18:14 So if we make really funny noises, does that make it even more difficult for you to edit it?
Kelly Gasque: 18:18 I actually edit it, you had said something for our Halloween episode where you went "wooooo!". And I wrote it out and then I said in quotations that it was spooky. Yeah.
Claire Stanley: 18:29 I'm just going to make [funny noises] noises. [Laughter]
Kelly Gasque: 18:35 Oh, that'll be fun. It'll be really fun to work with.
Kelly Gasque: 18:39 I think we all find it very important that you know, all of our members have access to the content that we are putting out.
Claire Stanley: 18:45 Yeah, if we're advocates we have to walk the walk.
Kelly Gasque: 18:45 Yeah, definitely. So moving forward, that's something that's going to be, you know, really important for us. We just kind of started doing the transcript within the last couple of weeks, but I think also with our videos especially Facebook live, you know, that we, when we put it into YouTube, it's important to have captioning for that as well. So this is, this is definitely going to be you know, an important thing for us to do moving forward.
Clark Rachfal: 19:10 Yeah and certainly still a work in progress, but it is something that we are aware of and actively working to address.
Claire Stanley: 19:19 And if we can accommodate other people with disabilities in any way, we're just overlooking, please let us know. It's really important to us.
Claire Stanley: 19:28 So Kelly, I feel like we talked about a lot of the important work stuff, which is great, but I want to know who is Kelly, who is the person, the dreams, the desires. What's a fun fact about yourself?
Kelly Gasque: 19:42 A lot of people that work here know this, but I love to bake. Baking is awesome. I love desserts and pastries. So it's totally like for personal satisfaction that I like to bake.
Claire Stanley: 19:52 It's true, Kelly and I are friends on Facebook and I swear every weekend on Facebook I see like, baked another cake, baked a pie. It makes your mouth water.
Kelly Gasque: 20:02 My grandma actually growing up taught me how to bake pies. So it's something that kind of runs in my blood. I have a really good pie crust recipe and on Thanksgiving I'm always the one that makes all the desserts and everything for my family.
Clark Rachfal: 20:15 Oh man. Are we going to need an ACB pie bake off? Thanksgiving pie bake off?
Claire Stanley: 20:20 I think so, yes.
Kelly Gasque: 20:22 Well, if anybody is interested in trying my baking, I am actually going to be putting something in the holiday auction.
Claire Stanley: 20:30 Ohhhh!
Kelly Gasque: 20:30 You can bid on one of my, my bakes.
Claire Stanley: 20:32 You heard it here early ladies and gentlemen, participate in the holiday auction.
Clark Rachfal: 20:36 What a pro plug.
Claire Stanley: 20:38 Yeah, I like it.
Clark Rachfal: 20:42 Kelly, anything else that we overlooked? What else do you do
Kelly Gasque: 20:48 Just day to day here or outside?
Clark Rachfal: 20:51 In, in terms of work? So for example, the ACB website we have the news section.
Kelly Gasque: 20:59 Oh yeah. So any, so any content really that goes on the ACB site that, I manage that, I place it on the website. Any updates that we have. The website, you know, it's always a moving project. Like the website's never actually going to be finished. So, you know, I definitely add content and make sure everything's up to date, but we still have work to do in that arena.
Claire Stanley: 21:26 Great. Well we thank you for everything you do, Kelly. You literally juggle a million things and you put up with Clark and myself at the same time so that, you know, wins you a lot of points. [Laughter]
Kelly Gasque: 21:35 Well I love you guys. Thank you so much for having me on your show cause it's really great to work with both of you. They're pretty awesome.
Claire Stanley: 21:41 Well thank you.
Clark Rachfal: 21:43 Well I can't think of a better note to end the podcast. [Laughter]
Claire Stanley: 21:47 As always, everybody, stay tuned next week for our next episode of ACB Advocacy Update. If you have any issues you want us to know about, please feel free to contact us. You can email us at [email protected]. Bug Clark, all you want, bug him. That's what he's here for. You can bug me too, I promise. But yeah, thanks for listening everybody and Clark, what do we always say?
Clark Rachfal: 22:10 Well, first we tell people to find out more information about all the great resources that Kelly was just talking about. You can visit the ACB website at www.acb.org and like Claire said, you can reach us [email protected] and let's all do it together.
Clark, Claire, and Kelly: 22:31 Keep advocating!