Reesha Howard 1 Empowering Voices: Nextdoor's Reesha Howard's Journey to Amplify Diversity in Marketing

Empowering Voices: Nextdoor’s Reesha Howard’s Journey to Amplify Diversity in Marketing

Welcome to Marketer Interview, where we dive deep into the minds of marketing experts across various fields. In today’s interview, we have the pleasure of speaking with Reesha Howard, a seasoned marketer with over 10 years of experience. Currently serving as the Product Marketing Lead and Multicultural Engagement Lead at Nextdoor, Reesha has been instrumental in driving impactful campaigns and initiatives that foster connections within diverse communities. With a focus on the intersection of Product Marketing and leveraging diverse lived experiences, Reesha is a thought leader who continuously strives to uplift underrepresented communities while driving growth. Without further ado, let’s delve into Reesha’s expertise and insights in the marketing industry.


Can you share a bit about your background and how you got into the marketing field?

I founded a few small businesses (A sports camp for children that my husband and I owned and operated as well as a Vegan Vending Machine company) and took on the role of Head of Marketing. I learned the ins and outs of this industry in real time and had to have the figure-it-out spirit. It was obvious early on that it wasn’t so much being a founder that excited me as it was Marketing. The other interests I have lie in connecting people, community building, and content creation. The story of how I was able to merge all my interests is pretty magical but the short version is that I was selected as a beta-tester for Twitter Spaces and pushed the boundaries of the product in just about every way. I have stories about that for days. People and media outlets noticed and my unique methods lent to organically evangelizing the product, improving it, and I was instrumental in it becoming wildly popular. One day I received a DM from a Twitter manager who recruited me and I joined the company in an official capacity as a Product Marketer. Upon leaving Twitter I was recruited to eBay working in Ads where I earned a role as Head of Product Marketing. I am now reunited with my former colleague turned manager from Twitter, Chris Klotzbach, at Nextdoor. Chris’ support and trust in my abilities and gut instincts have unlocked a new level of passion and creativity for me and I am in my zone.

Personal Passions? Core Values? Career Goals?

Personal Passion

Family. I am a wife and mother of 4. People are always shocked to learn I have as many kids as I do and wonder how I make time for it all. The truth is I was blessed with really amazing kids who are the best of myself and my husband. They too are creatives, dreamers, and doers. We rock all this out together.

Core Values

Being myself at all times, no matter the cost. I am very good at my job. I don’t shy away from saying that. But I am a multi-layered person. I feel deeply. I love to laugh. I am obsessed with humor as resistance to negativity and as a healer for heartache. There are people who don’t subscribe to that but I very much do and sticking to what feels good for me has brought me this far.

Integrity I am unwilling to step on folks, be a gatekeeper, block other’s ideas, or infuse a cutthroat mentality into gaining success. I say no to opportunities that are not rooted in integrity or that involve people who do not value doing right by others. I have never regretted a no and my yeses are usually really great fits for me wherever I am in my journey at that time.

Bringing people together I am something like a people plug. I think of myself as a “good people” magnet and find deep fulfillment in connecting them and watching them take over the world together. There is so much to be said for a simple, “I’d love for you to meet x…”

Career goals

I am fully committed to trusting the process and am confident that I have a lot of amazing days ahead of me. I feel like I was a secret to the world for a long time but guess what? The secret is OUT! Dreams are personal to me and need to be protected so I am cautious about where I share the details of what I see for myself next. What I will say is I have so many good ideas. They keep me up at night. I have to see them come to life and will continue to align myself with organizations that want to be beneficiaries of that.

Reesha Howard 3 Empowering Voices: Nextdoor's Reesha Howard's Journey to Amplify Diversity in Marketing

As the Product Marketing Lead and Multicultural Engagement Lead at Nextdoor, what does a typical day look like for you?

I love this question because I am always so fascinated by others day-to-day. I will skip the tedious things that we all must do in the workforce and say that one thing I do is stay fresh. I am always learning, reading, ideating, and building. I make sure I am in the right places at the right time. My work is very cross-functional so there is never a day that I am not collaborating with others. I keep a list of my workstreams and am huge on sticking to my task list. The tiniest of items are added to my task list because that prevents me from letting things fall between the cracks and also because it simply feels rewarding to check things off. Some days that list is as long as a CVS receipt but the only way to eat an elephant is a bite at a time. I am also big on leaning into my flow and listening to my body/brain. I have bursts of creative energy and hyperfocus and I seize them as they come, no matter the day or time. Many creative people have similar quirks and if we don’t learn how to work with them instead of fighting them we won’t reach our full potential. I don’t want to risk that so I have to embrace self-awareness and do what works for me. That means my day can look very different than those around me.

My toolkit is adaptable. I’m always willing to adjust or fine-tune it to align with my ongoing projects and requirements. I firmly believe in maintaining simplicity in my tech stack, as too much complexity can be counterproductive. Additionally, I avoid falling into the trap of endlessly exploring the newest tech on the market. With that said, AI is a big yes for me. I tend to utilize it as a personal assistant. It can be super helpful for putting my big plans into succinct messages. My prompts are usually formulated for time-saving rather than research and almost never for creating. AI is an incredibly useful tool for busy brains, but I am also dedicated to generating original ideas.

Could you tell us more about Nextdoor’s Amplifying Multicultural Perspectives (AMP) program and how it aims to deepen connections within Black and Brown communities?

Nextdoor AMP (Amplifying Multicultural Perspectives) is an always-on program where community meets impact.

Our goal is to deepen connections within Black and Brown communities, selecting members who bring diverse experiences and a proven track record of hands-on community involvement.

As a member of Nextdoor AMP, you’ll not only engage in meaningful discussions and provide crucial insights, but you’ll also experience opportunities for personal and professional growth.

We aim to make this journey with Nextdoor both rewarding and impactful. You’ll have access to exclusive events and development programs, amplification of your work, expansion of your network, and other incentives.

What are the ultimate program goals? How do you see the program evolving?

We want to walk alongside our AMP members in their aspirations to build stronger local communities. We believe that lending support, providing resources, and being a sounding board will lead to a greater positive impact, faster. We are aiming to create a blueprint for unique ways to advocate for lovers of community in hopes others will be inspired to walk this walk with us.

We hosted a retreat in Los Angeles with a group of our AMP members. We filmed a transparent conversation on the current state of community, infused with rich storytelling and powerful ideas of how to grow stronger together. We believe that it is also very important to constantly restore the energy and spirits of people who do this work. It can be so taxing. Adding moments for levity and rejuvenation will be critical for the long road ahead. We ensured that the retreat served these goals as well and members were wined and dined by an amazing Black woman chef, Shanita Castle, of Castle’s Catering. We played games, did a guided breathwork session while poolside, had professional headshots taken for everyone, and shared belly laughs and tight hugs. It really set the tone for how we work and our recognition of the value of what our AMP members bring to both us and their respective communities.

Highlights from Nextdoor AMP members retreat:

Reesha Howard 2 1 Empowering Voices: Nextdoor's Reesha Howard's Journey to Amplify Diversity in Marketing

How do you approach the challenge of effectively engaging diverse communities and ensuring their voices are heard in your marketing campaigns?

When people share the lived experience of the voices they are amplifying it makes for a synergy like no other. I am a Black woman from the South Side of Chicago with a public school education. My approach is empathetic, open-minded, and sincere. I have been through some things. I’ve seen some things. I let people be their full selves. I insist on it. I am also very protective of diverse communities and am intentional about who we partner with and what we expose these amazing leaders to. Cultural relevance is a major key. I think it is a huge miss to engage diverse communities without actually representing them authentically. When you see a company campaign, and you can discern that there were no Black or Brown folks leading or even consulted, it begs the question of whether the motives are even pure on behalf of whoever commissioned them.

In your experience, what role does leveraging diverse lived experiences play in creating impactful marketing strategies?

Oftentimes people like to enjoy and indulge in our creativity and uniqueness but shy away from learning about the roots. It can make them uncomfortable and cause introspection when people learn WHY we are so vibrant, strong, and undying. It is one thing to emulate or co-opt a trending cultural moment. It is another to do the work and earn the trust of the brilliant minds behind the virality. Leveraging diverse lived experiences isn’t a one-off campaign but is a commitment. We are more than worth the effort.

Can you share an example of a successful campaign or project where you utilized diverse lived experiences to drive results and make a positive impact?

Nextdoor Example – This immediately points back to what we are doing with Nextdoor AMP. Every day I am working with and partnering with people who share so many experiences that I do. We understand one another’s challenges and we are a powerful support system. AMP has so many amazing events ahead that we can’t wait to share and we are going to accomplish everything we set out to do, so long as we continue to be enabled to do it. Each of our members is then able to pour back into their communities and that is how impact scales. It truly is a beautiful, ripple effect.

Twitter Example –  My experience with Twitter Spaces is one of my favorite examples. I infused all parts of me into all my programming, content, and work I did. I left it all out on the field and bared every part of myself. It has inspired a lot of people to love themselves more and insist the world accept them as they are. People got to see and are still witnessing all that unfolded as a result of me being vulnerable. We all have our own path and once we really lean into that, we take off and the opportunities are endless.

What strategies or tactics do you employ to measure the success and impact of your multicultural marketing efforts?

I am glad this was asked. I could list key ways to measure success and of course our team absolutely has them in place. At this moment, I would like to offer something different. I would challenge people to sit with the idea that there is a huge deficit in trust building in multicultural communities and traditional metrics do not always capture what is working. We have to ask lots of questions and do a lot more listening, then actually implement change. If you want meaningful, significant, and lasting success when engaging our communities, there are no shortcuts and we should expect to make a real investment. 

How do you collaborate with other teams within Nextdoor to ensure that multicultural engagement is integrated into all aspects of the company’s marketing initiatives?

I am using my voice. I speak with executive leadership often and freely. I have had moments where I have said, “Hey this isn’t reflective of what is authentic to what is important to or resonates with many Black people…” While I am not nor will never aim to be the spokesperson for Blackness (no one ever could be), I think it is safe to trust that I am more in tune with the pulse of my community than someone who is not a member of it. There is nothing better you can do when you hire people who look like me and desire to engage people who look like me than to trust us. In many cases, the result is something that can be attained in no other way than to defer to voices with lived experience. I work and collaborate brilliantly with people who embody supporting one of Nextdoor’s core values which is to, “Act like an owner”. I am the driving force behind our Multicultural Engagement Strategy and I am deeply grateful for those who lend their expertise, support, and encouragement. I have some really amazing teammates and there are colleagues who are die hard fans of the work we are doing. They make this journey all the more exciting.

What are some of the key challenges you’ve faced in your role as a Product Marketing Lead and Multicultural Engagement Lead, and how have you overcome them?

I have had to stick to my instincts even when it isn’t popular. Showing is much more powerful than telling and while you can evangelize and share your work until you’re blue in the face, it doesn’t mean that you’ll get buy-in from everyone. That’s just a part of life and I work through it. Another challenge is time management. I am always reworking tactics to address this. While I always meet my goals and deadlines, there is definitely room for improvement in how I value and spend our most precious resource which is time.

Looking ahead, what are your future goals and aspirations in the marketing field, particularly in terms of uplifting underrepresented communities and driving growth?

Reesha’s goal? Do exactly what I am doing right now and then exactly what I am supposed to do after that. My gut won’t fail me and I will always be exactly where I am meant to be.

Reesha’s goal for Nextdoor? – I love the way we have been walking into uncharted territory as a company. We are doing things around here that we haven’t done before. I would love to see us continue to take calculated risks and evolve as needed.

Advice to fellow Product Marketing Professionals? – Relationships are everything. Build rapport with your cross-functional teams. Always tie everything together. No loose ends. The small details matter and strong, frequent communication is your friend. Also, don’t get too hung up on thought leadership around the PMM industry because it looks very different across organizations. That can be jarring for someone who hasn’t been warned about it. 

Reesha Howard’s journey from founding small businesses to becoming a pivotal figure in product marketing and multicultural engagement at Nextdoor illustrates a deep commitment to leveraging marketing as a tool for community building and inclusivity. Her unconventional path, marked by self-taught marketing strategies and a knack for connecting people through innovative platforms like Twitter Spaces, underscores the value of diverse experiences in driving impactful marketing efforts. Reesha’s role at Nextdoor, particularly through initiatives like the Amplifying Multicultural Perspectives (AMP) program, showcases her dedication to fostering deep connections within Black and Brown communities, using her platform to elevate underrepresented voices. Her approach, which emphasizes authenticity, integrity, and the importance of embracing one’s unique story, not only challenges the traditional marketing playbook but also sets a new standard for how companies can engage with diverse audiences in meaningful ways.

The insights gleaned from this interview highlight the transformative power of marketing when coupled with a genuine understanding and appreciation of multicultural perspectives. Reesha Howard’s emphasis on integrity, community building, and leveraging personal passions for professional growth serves as a beacon for aspiring marketers. Her success in implementing strategies that resonate with diverse communities, as demonstrated through Nextdoor’s AMP program and her impactful tenure at Twitter, reiterates the significance of inclusive marketing. Howard’s visionary approach not only enriches her company’s engagement with multicultural audiences but also paves the way for future marketing innovations that prioritize diversity, empathy, and genuine connection. Her story is a testament to the idea that the most effective marketing strategies arise from a deep-rooted commitment to representing and uplifting the voices of all communities, thereby setting a precedent for future generations of marketers to follow.

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