Companies, Cultures & Leaders I Admire: Judy Shapiro & Her Engaging Networks
Last week in New York, I had the great pleasure to meet Judy Shapiro, otherwise known as “Judy Consumer,” and currently founder and CEO of engageSimply. Within minutes, I felt her great energy, and found myself fascinated with her vision for “Engagement Networks” which she is building many of on – or should I say in – Eden.
Eden is an online platform connecting human beings around ideas, but not in the typical “social network” way. Eden is a place of trust, where people are not assaulted by ads, where their privacy is respected, and where the content is so beautifully curated that in fact it feels like a “creative garden.”
Judy has been in the “communications” industry throughout her career, but the definition of communicating is broader than the “telecommunications” industry she and I both started in. Judy has always been inspired by change, and after senior marketing careers at Bell Labs, Lucent and AT&T, ventured into software, web and mobile communications, including pioneering in chat technologies at PalTalk, and found herself immersed in marketing technologies.
A true New York, heart, soul and spirit, Judy now is building what she envisions as the future of how brands and consumers communicate – contextually, authentically and “engagingly.” Wielding a black belt in integrated consumer and B2B marketing, digital and social media, content monetization, and community creation, there is nobody I have met who has a better feeling for the “new art of persuasion” as Judy. Her blog, Trench Wars, is popular and fun and her regular writings for AdAge, Social Media Today, and Huffington Post are never boring and often provocative and mind melting.
But the reason I’m profiling Judy on B the Change is for her non-stop support of non-profit organizations, which she is leveraging EDEN to support.
One example is the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation, which Joe Torre, former professional baseball player and manager of the LA Dodgers, created with his wife Ali Torre to help keep kids safe. Joe grew up in Brooklyn, NY, and endured a childhood filled with violence due to physically and emotionally abusive father. Joe went public with his family secret in his autobiography, Chasing the Dream: My Lifelong Journey to the World Series.
Ali and Joe wanted to educate children about the issue of domestic violence, and in 2002 established their foundation, and then “Margaret’s Place,” named in honor of Joe’s mother. With a growing number of locations, Margaret’s Place offers a comprehensive program providing students with a safe room in schools where they can meet with a professional counselor. There are now ten fully-funded locations, in New York City, LA, Westchester County, New York and New Jersey.
Judy has given her platform (and talented team) to the Safe at Home Foundation to create an Engagement Network where important issues can be shared and discussed here:
A very sharp and successful business woman, Judy is building a real time human interaction platform which creates opportunities for brand to engage with consumers and businesses to engage with other businesses in authentic ways. “Pulling in” with content, vs. “pushing ads” and demanding personal information, EDEN is in fact a next generation communications garden.
What Judy is building is not easy, especially if one doesn’t really open themselves to feel about how other are feeling, seeing, sharing and behaving. Even as a very busy entrepreneur, she gives up tremendous amounts of her time, not only to the Joe Torre Foundation (expressed on her platform) but to many other organizations.
I am learning this is how the greatest communicators roll, and because Judy is also a great technologist and inspiring business leader – her gifts and those of the fine human beings like Joe and Ali Torre – scale.