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Podcast | Agents of Change

The power of listening

Eboni Blake

Who is behind the scenes solving problems and uncovering issues? Conga's Agents of Change podcast is going to find out.

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Below is a transcript of the episode, edited for readability.

Eboni Blake: So my first thing is, instead of trying to say, “Well, I've done this before with different organizations, these are what you need to do: X, Y and Z,” you really need to take the time to listen to all parties.

Jason Gabbard: If you have heard it once, you have heard it a thousand times: Change is scary. For established companies, change can mean overhauling years of processes and proven methods, impacting hundreds if not thousands of employees. These changes have to be given a lot of time, thought and discussion to inspect every angle. And even with internal buy-in and a collective agreement that the change is for the best, there is still the actual process of making the change.

Because of all of this, you might think change is easier in a younger or smaller company. When you have to move quickly, though, you may not be able to take the time to consider every effect a change — no matter how necessary — might have. 

It is truly a tall task. And that is why I admire the Eboni Blakes of the world. Eboni is a business systems analyst at Ibotta, an app that helps you earn cash back every time you shop. 

Eboni Blake: So Ibotta is a cashback app where you can get earnings on everyday purchases, so our mission is to make every purchase rewarding. So think about buying groceries and getting cash back off of alcohol. The holidays are approaching. So your festive needs even for, you know, traveling. So we really look at how we can help savers across the nation in the US earn cash back, but also work with clients and brands and agencies to really understand who their customers are, as well as gain new customers and really enhance their performance of their brand. 

As our system's business analyst working on our Salesforce platform, I really need to understand how we can be more efficient in sharing information all the way from sales and sales support to building all the internal processes that happen along the way and really making sure that we are thinking of how we can scale both our processes as well as our roles.


Jason Gabbard: As you can tell, Eboni values listening. When she came into her role, she was tasked with analyzing processes and implementing changes to help the business scale. Before jumping in to make changes, she took time to listen and understand where the greatest opportunities existed.


Eboni Blake: It's a struggle too, because as a new employee, you want to be able to show that I'm able to affect this change. I'm able to implement and see the results of that. But I think that in taking their approach, you're really listening first.


You can find, instead of implementing one either. I was able to simultaneously say, “OK, here's a quick win that we can execute this report.” And I could turn that around. And in a day while still building out the larger project or processes that we were going to change.

Jason Gabbard: More opportunities to win. That is a characteristic of an agent of change. So let’s dive into the conversation and hear how Eboni found opportunity by listening and acting with purpose, driving Ibotta forward in the process.

I want to pause here for a moment and focus on that idea shared by Eboni. Giving the sales team more time back in their day. When you are moving at the speed of a fast-growing scale-up company, which has just been valued at a billion dollars, finding ways to save time is vital. 

When you think of what change looks like at your company, I think there is a lot to learn from Eboni’s approach. Willing to listen, eager to act but only when it adds value to the lives of those around her easier and more productive.

Let’s jump back into the conversation as Eboni talks about the power of automation.

Empowering. Sharing. Learning. Listening. These are the values of an agent of change, Eboni has them all and demonstrates the power of those values in action. 

So what’s our takeaway from Eboni’s story?

If you’re an agent of change — someone looking to make a difference through the work they do  — then it’s important to note that the changes you seek to implement impact multiple people, no matter your role. My hope is you feel empowered by this knowing you can create lasting change or those you work with.

Eboni showcases how important it is to listen before acting. She took the time, which can be hard to do, by listening, observing, and then making recommendations for change.

So let me ask you, what’s the impact of this story for you? As you head into your day, what kind of impact can you make?

Well, that’s it for today. We hope you’ll continue with us on this journey as we hear from more agents of change who are making an impact on their businesses. 

In the meantime, you can stay up to date on each of our episodes by subscribing on your favorite podcast app. We’d also love if you would be willing to leave a review on Apple Podcasts.