1. Introducing the Mindful School Marketing Podcast with Aubrey Bursch and Tara Claeys

Aubrey and Tara talk about the new podcast, Mindful School Marketing, and how it will help independent school leaders and marketers learn techniques to improve their overall effectiveness, enrollment, success and happiness at work and at home. They will apply their own experience as parents, marketers, business owners and school administrators to share ideas and interview guests in the marketing, mindfulness and independent school industries.

About Aubrey Bursch & Tara Claeys:

Aubrey Bursch is founder + CEO of Easy School Marketing. She’s also a mom, lover of green smoothies and Peloton, and podcast host. She is passionate about supporting small + independent schools to increase enrollment, retention, and revenue.

Tara Claeys is the founder of Design TLC – a professional website agency for small schools. She’s passionate about helping organizations provide enriching experiences for children by creating a great first impression online.

Find Aubrey Bursch & Tara Claeys:

Show Notes


Clockwork and Profit First, by Michael Michaelowicz
Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid
The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

How to Raise Kind Kids, by Thomas Lickona The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money, Ron Lieber
Roar, by Stacy T. Sims
The Big Leap, by Gay Hendricks


Show Transcript

Tara (00:24): This is Episode 1, Welcome to Mindful School Marketing.

Aubrey (00:28): I’m Aubrey Bursch,

Tara (00:29): And I’m Tara Claeys. We are excited to get this new podcast started. So we thought we’d start out by introducing ourselves and talking about what this podcast is about. So go ahead, Aubrey.

Aubrey (00:42): Sure. Well, I’m Aubrey Bursch with Easy School Marketing, and so I help small schools and medium-sized schools really learn about their marketing in a unique way and optimize the resources they have to build the foundations for a solid marketing program.

Tara (00:58):And I’m Tara Claeys, I’m the founder and owner of Design TLC, which is a website agency specializing in websites for independent schools and enrichment programs. And so we support the types  of things that Aubrey does, in a much more granular way. We basically build websites and help make them effective, use them as marketing tools and connect them to other tools that you use.

Aubrey (01:21): Great. And now you might be wondering why are we starting this podcast? So we wanted to tell you that because what we saw was a hole in the market, in the podcast market, I should say. We really didn’t see anything out there that really addressed both the holistic view of what small school leaders or school leaders in general need.

Tara (01:45):Yeah. Aubrey and I have known each other for, I guess, about a year or a little bit more. We have been in a small mastermind with some other school consultants and have just been talking about  just how we wanted to engage more with the community at large, and also as, as moms and as women, filling in a spot here too, kind of bringing that perspective to the podcast, a school marketing and admissions podcast space. So we thought that we could broaden the topic beyond marketing in a specific way to talk about other things that we do as marketers and as administrators, enrollment-focused people on how we can do a better job.

Aubrey (02:27):I think we’re going to, a lot of people talk abstractly about how to do a better job, but we’re actually going to have guests on that are going to give you action steps, action-oriented tasks, so that you  can implement this in your life and find it really helpful. As someone who works with a lot of schools and heads of school and marketing and enrollment directors, I often see that they’re like us, right? They’re juggling a lot of things and they’re trying to also be present at home and do an excellent job at work so that they can help move their school forward. And we really just want to be supportive of that effort. And that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing right now with this podcast. Yeah.

Tara (03:10):

And selfishly, I think we both love geeking out on some of this stuff. I mean, things like productivity and tools and just, self-improvement are things that Aubrey and I have talked about offline for a long time. So we kind of put our heads together and wrapped our heads around the kinds of things that we could talk about and share and help ourselves at the same time. So I think we’re each going to get something out of this in addition to what we’re going to be sharing with you all. So we’re just looking forward to meeting you, meeting more people that can give us all ideas on how to be better at what we do.

Aubrey (03:42):

Absolutely. I think you’re so right about geeking out. I’m just looking over at my bookshelf over there and I’m like, oh yes, of course, this isn’t at all selfish. So I love it. And I love that, I feel like we compliment each other really well, we’re from different perspectives. And I’m just really excited about this collaborative effort because I just think it’s going to help so many people and us too!

Tara (04:10): Really fun. I think, I mean, I’m really looking forward to getting started and, and putting this all together, even just as we’ve been evolving it rather quickly, right over the past month or two, just, it’s becoming more and more exciting as we get closer to the launch. So I’m really excited to share our first few episodes with people really soon.

Aubrey (04:29):

Now what I have to ask, I’m curious, like, what topics are you most excited to dive into? I mean, we’ve already had a couple of interviews and we have some people booked.

Tara (04:38):Yeah, for sure. I think part of it for me is being relatively new in this community is meeting people and putting names to faces and hearing more about what they have to say, specifically in the   marketing industry for the independent school community. But combining that with things like the Enneagram, which I know was speaking of geeking out, I mean, we talk about it. We’ve had guests come on, who are into it. So like that’s going to be really fun to talk to Shay Bocks about Enneagrams, hearing about digital marketing tactics. I think it’s always something that I love hearing more about ideas and approaches to that. So that, and then I think hearing from some people who are really engaged in the community about what that means to them and communities are so important as we’ve learned through COVID. How just even without being in person, how communities have stayed together and grown just from an online presence. So I think that the underlying element of what we’re doing is all about this community, right? Anybody can listen to this podcast, even if they’re not a school administrator and they’ll probably get something, hopefully they will get something out of it, but we really want to apply what we’re talking about to the specific challenges and joys of somebody who works in a school.

Aubrey (06:00): Absolutely. I’m excited for it all, as you can see, I’m just, I’m really excited for it all. I am excited to not only learn more about marketing trends. We’re going to have some Facebook ad experts on and analyzing the data. So there’s all that traditional marketing stuff that I think is so important in our ongoing growth in the field to understand and embrace as it’s ever-changing. Right. I mean, look at where we were last March, the amount of change that’s happened since, you know, March 2020 is crazy. So, I’m just excited to dive into that, but then there’s that other piece. I’m excited to find out more about work-life balance. Like how do you stop burnout before it happens? I mean, the amount of heads of school I work with on the edge of burnout, last August, August 2020, It’s huge. And so I’m excited to have those conversations. It’s in those conversations, I think you’ll agree with me that all of a sudden, we come upon this unexpected jewel, right? This nugget of gold that someone will tell us about, and we’re like, oh, tell us more. And it’s those things that just are amazing. I’m hoping that since this is like a community, right, it’s free content that people can digest and use in their lives, that we’re giving them these tools to then take away and I’ll be sharing them with my clients too. I think this is just going to be so beneficial for everyone. And I’m really excited about that if you can’t tell.

Tara (07:35): Yeah, me too. And I just had another thought as you were talking, which is the timing of this new podcast coming, right on the cusp of what we see as hopefully the end of this pandemic period where we’ve spent the year, school have spent the year adjusting to what they weren’t sure was going to happen. And then, what was clearly happening and now there’s a whole other pivot, that’s going to be happening as things return back to normal, but normal is not the same normal. How do you retain these new students that you’ve gotten and what are your new challenges? So I think we’re also coming out at a time where there’s going to be a need to have even more transition and more adjustment to a new way of doing things. So I’m really excited to explore that in this whole scheme of what it means to be mindful, which is really also what we’re talking about, I think in every episode is being mindful in what we’re doing and being mindful about what’s coming up.

Aubrey (08:30): I know people are like, this couldn’t be come at a better time, you’re right. Because, mindful, I mean first of all, this is a disruption, right? This has been disruption, and wherever there’s disruption, there’s opportunity too. I think we’re in this amazing, amazing time and this couldn’t have happened at a better time. And I think bringing mindfulness into it is, is so critical. And I think as we’re going through these episodes, I think all are going to really hear from other people what mindfulness means for them, because we could all go off of one definition for it, but in different fields and for different people, it means different things. I think those very perspectives, and viewpoints are so important and actually will help us uncover some more ways that will help you move through your day in your life.

Tara (09:17):Yeah, exactly. So that’s a summary of what we’re doing and we’re not going to give away everything, but we’re really excited to just kind of put it out there that this is what’s happening and to get   episodes out as soon as we can. So let’s talk about some fun facts. What are three fun facts about you, Aubrey?

Aubrey (09:36): Okay. I’m so excited about these and not many people know them. I feel like we’re having a coffee chat and like you all are all my closest friends. So, I recently had a big birthday (not mentioning what that was!) And most people were really surprised to know that I went to Portugal for two weeks on my own with no one else, notice I have two small children, so this was actually like having quiet time was amazing to learn surfing and yoga. That’s right. It was really fun, and I learned that I did get up on the surfboard, but I learned that it’s harder than it looks. Then number two, I was once an amateur roller derby captain of a team. It was quite interesting and no, I did not close line anyone. It is not that, it’s a very technical sport. Number three, I come from giants. My family are, I would have to say, I am the smallest person in my family at 5’10.” My cousins, I’m the shortest of all nine of them and with the tallest being 6’7.” So when we all go places, people kind of just stare. What about you Tara?

Tara (10:47): Those are great. So I love jelly beans, which is not a secret at all. As a matter of fact, during COVID last year at Easter I ordered myself a gigantic bag of jelly beans, and then a few months later, another big bag of jelly beans, from Amazon, like a 5 pound or 10 pound bag of jelly beans arrived, and I thought I must’ve had it on a reorder, but it turns out my father had ordered them for me as a gift because he knows I love jelly beans cause he also loves jelly beans. So, that’s one thing is jelly beans.

Aubrey (11:15): I have a follow-up question, I’m sorry. What is your favorite flavor?

Tara (11:20): Orange, green, if there’s a cinnamon red, I like that. Little spicy. I like the basic Brach’s though or the speckled one. So this is my season. This is the jelly bean season right now.

Aubrey (11:31): You’re a happy girl.

Tara (11:32):I am, I already had one bag. So another fun fact about me is that I speak French. I spent a year in France in college, my sophomore year, which is unusual. Then another fun fact is that I once  dressed up as a taco and stood on 14th Street in Washington, D.C. when I was the marketing director for a gourmet store. So I will do anything for marketing.

Aubrey (11:56): I love it, I love it. I can envision you in your taco costume. I’m sure it was complete with toppings.

Tara (12:02): I was the proud marketing manager at like 25 years old standing on the street.

Aubrey (12:07): Absolutely. We will do anything. I’m sure you got a lot of customers in the door.

Tara (12:12): Oh, I’m sure. Yes.

Aubrey (12:15):All right. So I’m really excited about these rapid-fire questions that we ask our guests on  many episodes, but now we’re the ones answering it. Do you want to lead this off?

Tara (12:27): Yeah, let’s wrap this up like we’ll be wrapping up all of our shows with these rapid fire questions. So the first one is what’s one book that has had an impact on you that you would include in a high school curriculum? You want to go first?

Aubrey (12:39):Sure, okay. So, of course this was the hardest decision ever and I thought of 50 books, but you made me keep it to one. So, The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks, just because it talks about limiting  beliefs, and I think, if only I had known what I know now as a teenager, I mean, don’t, we all say that, but just those limiting beliefs that are holding you back in life is so important and I’d love for our youth to have access to that information. And also anything financial related, because I have to say, I barely knew how to balance my checkbook in high school. And as a business owner, it would be very helpful to pick up those skills earlier on.

Tara (13:17): Yeah. That should be something we can talk about on an episode. For me, the Little Prince is just like the book of just, I love it. There are so many things about it as an adult and as a young adult that I love also, it started out in French, so I like that too. But it has great lessons about what you value in life and sort of stopping to smell the roses and being loved and loving something. So, I just think that that’s all everything right there in the Little Prince, love that book.

Aubrey (13:51): Okay. I’m getting teary-eyed. I read that to my son. I hadn’t read it in a long time. And then I pulled it out because it’s on our bookshelf, it’s an old classic, and I started reading. I was like, this is kind of sad. It’s meaningful, but it was a good one. Oh my gosh. I love that you surprised me with that one. Awesome. Next one. Okay. What is one app you couldn’t live without?

Tara (14:18): For me, I have an app called Cloud App, which allows me to do screenshots and videos just with a couple of keystrokes. And I use it every day, all the time, sending screenshots and little video recordings to family, friends, clients, colleagues, I use it all the time. So, I use tons of apps, but that one, I probably use the most,

Aubrey (14:46): By the way, if you’re not already tight with Tara, you should definitely because she will send all the coolest apps she has. She has made me buy many an app. I’m like, oh, that is the coolest thing ever. I’ve got to get that. Meanwhile, look at me spending like a hundred dollars a week on the newest, latest, greatest thing, but she’s got.

Tara (15:04):Some of them really work.

  (15:07): Yeah, that’s true. So well, my app, it was a three-way tie and I know I’m not allowed to do this, but I’m breaking the rules already. So Peloton app, because I’m attempting to get back into shape or better shape at home with that app has been very helpful. The kids even have this family fit thing and they’re hilarious doing their, what they call every workout, they call it “yoga” even though it’s like lifting weights, “mommy’s doing yoga, let’s do yoga with her!” I’m like, okay! It’s hilarious. And that’s three-way tie with my grocery delivery app, which I couldn’t live without. I was doing it before COVID and then everyone jumped on it during COVID, I love saving time and not going to the grocery store, saving so much time. Tied with Voxer for my team, I use it for my masterminds. I use it for all sorts of things. I love Voxer. It’s like a voicemail, it’s like texting and voice messaging back and forth, like a walkie talkie, and I tend to talk really fast, so writing that all down will be really difficult. So I find it’s like a nice little shortcut across the way.

Tara (16:16): I have not used that.

Aubrey (16:18): Oh, look, you’ve learned something new today. Okay. Now let’s jump into, so what are you reading right now?

Tara (16:27): So I am reading a novel called Such a Fun Age. I don’t know the author. It’s like a gripping kind of novel, good to read. Then I also like to kind of have a couple of self-help business type books. So you mentioned money, there’s an author named Michael Michalowicz, and he wrote Profit First, which I loved. Then he also has one called Clockwork, which I’ve also been kind of, so Profit first I read a while ago, Clockwork is about sort of time management or time tracking, and so I’ve been trying to pay a little bit more attention to that. So I kind of have that like on my shelf, but I’m not reading it every single day.

Aubrey (17:10): I love those too. I was almost going to put Profit First on my list, like if we could get him on the podcast, I’m sure 1 of his top 10 list everything, but oh my gosh, that man, I love those books. I have Clockwork too. Although I’ve picked it up and put it down several times because I was like, oh my gosh, there’s so much I need to do, but a great book.

Tara (17:31): Time audits. Oh my gosh. Gosh, spare yourself. Yeah,

Aubrey (17:34): Exactly. You’re like hmm. So what am I reading right now? So, I will have to say, I’m going to be completely honest. I read about 10 different books at a time because I feel like books are like friends and sometimes you need like the serious one, that talks about things. And sometimes you need a lighthearted one, or sometimes you need something that’s more soft on your soul or you need the hard facts and numbers. And so I literally, we just picked up our latest library haul, which thank goodness the libraries do these massive pickups. It’s been a lifesaver for my family. And I myself, I have 25 books in that haul, 25 books. My nightstand is overflowing, there’s stacks on the floor. It’s the only part of my house that I would say is really messy because of the books. So for me, it was really hard narrowing things down to what I’m actually reading right now, because I’m reading like 25 different things at once. But these are my favorite right now. So I’m a parent of six and eight-year-old. And let me just tell you, parenting is hard. I feel like they should have given you a course before you actually had kids like how to parent. So right now I’m reading How to Raise Kind Kids because, gosh, don’t we need more kindness in this world? Great book. It’s by, let’s see Thomas Lickona. I am going to return this to library. If anyone has been trying to check it out, I’ve had it for the past four months. I’m going to buy my own coffee, copy, with a coffee! Opposite of spoiled another parenting book by Ron Lieber, highly recommended. I’m also finally going to return the library after four months and buy my own copy. You can see there’s a trend here then. This, I really wish I had had as a teenager. I know this is going off in left field, where did we go? So I’ve always been active, an athlete in school and worked out and stuff like that, but this really talks to women especially. You don’t have to be an athlete, like anyone who works out with purpose. It talks about how to like really, Listen to Your Body and understand your body more, to be able to work out better and to be able to be happier and healthier and everything like that. And I just wish I had read this. It’s called Roar. You should do it. You should totally, because I know you cycle and everything like that. Yeah. And then, yeah, what else?

Tara (19:49): Aubrey, do you finish all these books? Or do just kind of skim through them?

Aubrey (19:51): I do. Now, there are some people who do not know, by the way, if I ever write my own book, which I should put it on my dream board, I will make sure that the chapters, like I know a good book layout, like the ones that just go on and on with like no bolded letter, like no subheadings and stuff like that. Once, I just checked out a book and promptly returned it, it was 1,050 pages long. It was this thick and there was no anything. And I was like, this is ridiculous. But yeah, I do. There are some that I skim through, like when I first get them and I’m like this book isn’t for me, I can tell pretty quick on which ones I want to dive into where I’m like, no.

Tara (20:35): Yeah, cool. Well, and as far as parenting goes, my children are in their twenties now. So I have been there and done that and still doing it. But looking back, you kind of do what you do and it feels right. And I’ve read a lot of books too. And I hope that they helped because my kids turned out so far pretty great. So I think you model good behavior for your kids, which I know you do.

Aubrey (21:07): Aw, you’re so sweet. But what I hear you saying is Aubrey, if you have any parenting questions, you should come to me, because I raised two great kids!

Tara (21:12): Oh goodness, no, I’m saying don’t drive yourself crazy with books because about parenting because it comes to you, you are a good person.

Aubrey (21:25):  Aw thank you. Wise words.

Tara (21:27): Which leads us into our last question. Good segue, which is what is one great piece of advice to leave everyone with?

Aubrey (21:35): You should go first on this one.

Tara (21:37): Well I just gave you some advice, some parenting advice. So I kind of feel like I did that. I have a saying up on my wall over my computer that says “work smarter, not harder.” And I don’t know that I necessarily do that, but I do, I mean work really hard, but I do try to really be mindful about the work that I’m doing and how I’m doing it. So that is advice that I don’t always follow, but that I like to share and try to take into to my heart.

Aubrey (22:04): And I think you saying the word mindful is so appropriate, right? Similarly mine is about being mindful of just how you’re spending your time in your day in your life and making sure it’s a reflection of how you want to live your life inside. You know, we’ll get into Enneagrams later, but I’m a workaholic Enneagram. So I could literally work day and night and just burn myself out, which I have in the past, and so it’s a good reminder, I think just every day to remember what’s truly important and to align my time with that, like my family is amazing. I have the two little cutest kids and I just must snuggle with them. And I got to remember, you know, okay, laptop closes when they’re home from school, mommy’s present and I’m there for you. I think that’s just, my advice is just, you know, treasure, treasure, what’s important for you to make time for it.

Tara (22:57): For sure. Before you know it they’ll be grown and living across the country.

Aubrey (23:00): Oh gosh, this is so fun. I’m so excited. So you all, if you enjoy this little intro, you’re going to want to check out the rest of our episodes. We can’t wait. And if you have ideas, let us know too.

Tara (23:14): Yeah please do! We really look forward to hearing back from people and hope that this is meaningful for everyone, including ourselves. So thanks.

Aubrey (23:23): Bye!

Tara (23:23): Thanks for joining us on the Mindful School Marketing Podcast!

Aubrey (23:30): We’d love it if you pop into iTunes and leave a review, five star preferred! Let us know how you liked the show. It helps us improve what we’re doing and helps others find us too.


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