We had the good fortune of connecting with Keri Henry and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Keri, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
When the pandemic hit, my brain went into fight mode. I saw a problem, many problems, and I wanted to fix them. I’m a fixer. I may not always fix things, and I certainly have messed things up I’ve tried to fix, but boy do I want to try. The first thing I saw was that doctors and nurses were in need of PPE. I couldn’t fix that, HOWEVER., I could find a way to get them other things they needed, like: toiletries, snacks, hand lotion, pens, hydration packs, and compression socks. I found a way to rally my community to get these items in the hands of doctors and nurses, and the Houston community showed up! https://www.fox26houston.com/news/volunteers-donate-morale-boosting-gifts-letters-to-coronavirus-icu-medical-staff?fbclid=IwAR03BDnSoRtO6YTHOe0tNpsQcdpAJOqhfbCLNl3PH1_xY444c_5SmZRm3R0 I then saw a problem with small businesses. Our favorite establishments closing, local artists without jobs, events getting cancelled. This seemed way too big for me to wrap my mind around, but I wanted to at least try to share about as many small businesses on my social media pages, and show my support. And also try to share about the how others are helping and the amazing things they were doing for the community (Artists for Artists for example…it’s a simple click of the SHARE button if you cannot donate yourself). I hired a friend of a friend who lost her marketing job, to help with my business, I shopped local, I tagged restaurants and local artisans any chance I could; and I tried to encourage my friends to do the same. I didn’t do much, but even the smallest act can make a change, and this is what I try to teach people. If we can ALL practice these small mindful acts, then we can make a difference. This rule especially applied when standing up for social injustice. Showing your support for what’s right, supporting small businesses who fight harder than others to be seen, finding learning opportunities to educate yourself, and meeting others who can show YOU how to make a difference. Finally, and this pertains to my new business venture, I saw the struggles that our local Houston charities and Non-Profits were having. I found that throughout the years, with raising small children, but wanting so badly to get involved in ALL the local charities, my heart was there, but I didn’t have the volunteer time around my kids, and I didn’t have the money to donate. I wanted and buy every $250 gala ticket that came in the mail! I sat and thought about how I could blend the thing I love to do most (social media) with my mission (helping non-profits/charities/and small business owners), and somehow create a business, so that I could one day NEVER have to turn down another gala ticket (and, because I am emotionally involved in disaster relief….give more of my time and money to hurricane relief, than ever). I had also had several phone conversations with non-profit directors who were really struggling to pivot with taking their events, and acquiring donations, volunteers, and awareness virtually. Sure they had social media accounts, but they needed to really figure out how to level that up and grow their social media, and virtual presence. THIS WAS IT. I found my calling. I would help Non-Profits and small business owners with their social media! I am funding this new business with my current business which is in marketing clean-crafted wine online. I have also had to pivot and move my wine business completely virtual. So I am simultaneously learning how to double my income online in wine sales (and have had really good success with only selling online, when I used to do in-person wine tastings only); and I want to take that knowledge and that growth and teach these non-profits and small businesses how to do the same. It is taking me longer me a bit longer than I hoped to get my online courses set up, but in the meantime I am having phone and zoom conversations with as many people I can help at no cost, to see their needs and struggles with social media, so that I can formulate my business from there. I LOVE coaching people on their social media, and have seen immediate growth from some of those I have already coached. I am so excited to see where this leads for helping our Houston community, and hopefully beyond!
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I help Non-Profits and small business owners level up their social media, so they can positively impact more people. My passion for this really developed as I learned how much of a struggle it has been to help raise awareness for my niece Caroline with a rare disease. Raising awareness and fundraising has been a big challenge for me, and it really takes a village to be able to manage that all, plus the emotions that go into the cause itself. I took this experience, combined with helping in relief work, Covid, and some other missions, and have formulated this into a way to help on a bigger scale. There are many social media management agencies out there, but few who work specifically with non-profits or charities as their main clients. Non-profits, charities, and small businesses who have a mission to help others, must take a different approach when planning their social media content. They not only need to make sure their page clearly tells potential donors, volunteers, or customers how they can support, but they also need to formulate their content in a different way, get creative with their niche hashtags, recognize their donors and partners, tell stories that tug at the heart, and maximize their corporate partnerships, and influencer/local business collaborations. I am really excited about this because I feel that more people will be able to find their communities that can help them overcome what it is they are struggling with. Social media is intended for people to be social, and was never intended to be polarizing. Now more than ever, social media platforms are investing millions into how to get everyone connected with the people they most want to interact with. Facebook groups, Clubhouse rooms, TikTok for you pages, YouTube playlists, podcast subscriptions, all of these are advancing to put people in their perfect communities where they can connect. This is what we need to leverage in order to help more people, and I’m really excited to be a part of this, and to help others find their communities of like-minded helpers. This has certainly not been easy, and I am still building this business, and it may never be finished. I’m ok with starting without being fully ready, because I am currently learning the struggles so I can further formulate my business on where exactly to help. And each client will be different. Monetizing all of my personal activity online for my wine business has been a challenge but also rewarding, So I am taking what I learn and I am teaching this to my clients. I want the world to be reminded that social media can be used for doing GOOD. If we can shift our mindset that these platforms aren’t all taboo and if we can get rid of the stigma about the negative sides of social media (which yes, there are MANY), but instead embrace it and learn to use it for doing GOOD, and setting our algorithms to see ONLY the good, then powerful and positive things can happen. Focus on the bad, and you will see only the bad. My job is to teach people to focus only on the good.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I am a foodie and a wine lover. Since I run my own business in clean-crafted wine, I am very picky about my wines and if I want wine at dinner while out, I prefer a place that has a “low intervention/biodynamic wine list” Many restaurants in Houston are adapting to this, and I am really happy to see this. Restaurants like Nobie’s, Rosie Cannonball, El Topo, Doris Metropolitan all have fantastic wine lists curated by extremely talented sommeliers. As far as a MUST for guests, I would definitely take them to Chinatown to enjoy the Szechwan Houston has to offer, with a stop to Super H Mart, and Red Circle Ice Cream. I’d take them to a few of our favorite Vietnamese spots. Persian restaurants, Indian restaurants, and so many more of the international cuisine that our international city has to offer. Entertainment- Houston has a great art scene, wonderful murals. I would 100% take them to my favorite outdoor bar Axelrad. The owner Adam Brackman is a huge supporter of the Houston community. As far as new places, I have not been too many places since Covid, and would need a refresher myself!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
One of the best lessons I’ve learned was the “Oxygen Mask Theory”- your airplane is going down, the oxygen masks fall, and they always instruct us to put on our mask before our children’s mask. The option that would help both individuals is for you to put on your mask and once having done that, you can help the person next to you. Because you can’t help them, if you pass out first. This scenario is more a lesson in giving than it is in selfishness. With that being said, I attribute much of my success to all of those who have recommended fantastic personal development books, seminars, coaches, therapists, and much more, so that I could better myself, so that I could help more people. I am constantly fueling my brain with self-improvement and I thank all of those who have recommended lessons from Jen Sincero, Brené Brown, Tony Robbins, (they are the 3 main teachers who changed my life). Everyone must find their time to receive this information, hopefully this might help someone out there, who thought all of that personal development stuff was BS, because that was me. But in today’s world of horrific news stories and trolls all over social media- are you going to let that negatively impact your life? Stay stuck and miserable and complain all day? Or turn it around and make a difference? I also want to shout out to my friends in disaster relief who inspired me more than ever this year, and went and made a huge difference, in a year when it was harder for me to get out and do so. Allison Zapata (author of Bernadette the Brave), Taylor Fontenot (Affordable 1 Home Services), Cara Adams (Texas Relief Warriors), Barbara Huang (Affordable 1 Home services), and Jessica Dubose (Lily’s Toy Box). all took MASSIVE action in 2020 during Covid and especially after Hurricane Laura in Louisiana). They went in, when the rest of us couldn’t. They kept going back, and they never once stopped to help those communities AND their local Houston community. THOSE are the people that inspire me daily.
Other: Come see my crazy side on TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@keri_henry?lang=en
julieleonardphotography Quy Tran Photography