The College Club for the Creator Economy

In this podcast, the host Jessy Grossman interviews Dylan Huey and Julia Conoscenti of Reach. Reach is the first and only social media club that started at USC and is now part of over 50 universities around the country. But they're more than just social media. At Reach, they've created a community for content creators, digital marketers, influencers, actors, and anyone interested in entertainment and social media. They host creator workshops, influencer content days, student socials, guest speakers, and more.



[00:00:00] Jessy: All right. So, you guys listening are in for such a treat today. We have not just one, but two guests from an incredible organization called Reach. And I’m excited for you to learn all about them. But first and foremost, Julia Dillon, welcome. Nice to have you.

[00:00:19] Julia Conoscenti: Thanks for having us.

[00:00:21] Dylan Huey: Thanks for having us.

[00:00:22] Jessy: Yeah, I love episodes with a couple of different people because I don’t know we get more perspective We get like it’s just a fun chat like amongst friends so really excited to have you guys here, and to have all of our community learn more about the really Awesome work that you guys are doing.

[00:00:40] Jessy: So, I certainly like Teased it a bit in the intro to the show, but I’d love to hear in your own words, you know, who started Reach and what was even the motivation to do so? Dylan, and Julia, which of you want to take this

[00:00:59] Jessy: first one? 

[00:01:00] Dylan Huey: I like, I’m the CEO of Reach, but I didn’t start it. It was started in 2017 at USC. By four individuals, students at USC, one of them named Mark on Benham, who has 7 million followers on social media, another than party shirt, 20 million followers and TikTok. and they saw that there were a lot of people passionate about social media on campus, but there was no place for these individuals to come together.

[00:01:25] Dylan Huey: Obviously, USC is a big film school. It’s a lot of cinemas focused. Students and they can easily come together. There are student organizations for people, very cinema, acting, entertainment-focused individuals, but none for this new digital landscape. So originally READ started in 2017 was this place for those passionate about social media to really come together, learn from each other, collaborate with each other, and really grow.

[00:01:52] Dylan Huey: I joined it my first semester at USC, which was. Fall 2020. I’m a current senior in business administration. and it was very impactful. I mean, like I said, there was no other club or organization really focused on content creators across the United States or at USC in general. So, this was a very new space.

[00:02:13] Dylan Huey: Julia. I think Julia, you joined it the second semester. Um, my second semester. So, you joined it spring 2021. Obviously, my semester was on COVID. and yeah, Julia became president of the club. I think my sophomore year and then I took it over right after and we’ve been growing.

[00:02:33] Dylan Huey: It’s now we’re in over 55 universities. 

[00:02:35] Jessy: So cool. Julia, I’m curious, like when you joined in the first place, like what was your hope to get from the organization? Like what was really exciting to you?

[00:02:46] Julia Conoscenti: So, I had heard about reach. I wasn’t really too much like in the influencer space. So, I came from an acting background and you know, when I first discovered reach, I was like, oh, you know, this is for influencers and people who do that type of stuff. But then I shortly learned that it’s actually just for anyone that’s kind of in entertainment or in that space.

[00:03:07] Julia Conoscenti: So, we have people who are like musicians who do podcasts, who do marketing, like digital marketing. And I think for me. I coming to us, you kind of get a sense of like imposter syndrome a little bit. You’re like, oh, you know, cause you, you have these people who, who just come from insane backgrounds and do incredible stuff in your classes.

[00:03:25] Julia Conoscenti: And, you know, I think when you come here to such a big university, you want to kind of find that sense of belonging, that community. And, that’s why actually I applied to reach. And since then, I think most of my closest friends here have. Been from reach and, it’s just phenomenal to just find likeminded people and be able to like collaborate and be creative with them.

[00:03:48] Jessy: so, you joined and you were feeling like a bit of imposter syndrome, maybe like being amongst like such like impressive, interesting people at the school. So, like, what did you hope to get from REACH? Like, did you hope to overcome that through, like, how?

[00:04:02] Jessy: What, what was the value prop when you first joined?

[00:04:05] Julia Conoscenti: so, I think, you know, at USC to such a large school that the main thing is I wanted to make it feel smaller. I didn’t want to feel like a small fish in a huge ocean. so, I think, you know, going to USC there, they have these clubs that are so specific and so niche. And, I mean, the thing is I never really went to high school.

[00:04:25] Julia Conoscenti: I did online high school. So, the people I really surrounded myself with were in like the entertainment business. And, um, I kind of wanted to continue that in college, but when you’re in college, obviously it’s harder to, to audition and film and stuff. And I was like, you know what? I want to be around people that will help me kind of create my own content online.

[00:04:44] Julia Conoscenti: So, I wanted to do acting, but kind of like almost behind the scenes, kind of creating my own stuff. And so, joining REACH, I was able to kind of find those people. And also, my like major was really small journalism. I had like the same 15 people in like all my classes. And so, it was just a great way to kind of make the school feel smaller and find friends.

[00:05:06] Julia Conoscenti: Because I feel like, you know, when you have the amount of students that we have, it’s a little bit harder. And so, it was just a great way to be able to find people that kind of share the same values that I And, we have done such like phenomenal stuff with reach and I’m really happy that we’ve expanded it to other universities because now I have friends like at UCLA and LMU and even like Penn State.

[00:05:27] Julia Conoscenti: So, I think it’s a great way. Yeah, like I said, to just reemphasize that to make such a huge school feel smaller and to find people who share the same values.

[00:05:36] Jessy: No, I love that. I think that’s great. And then like Dylan, in your opinion, who do you think reach is specifically made for these days? And why do you think you guys had such growth and are able to, you know, what are the students all over the country so excited about to join it?

[00:05:55] Dylan Huey: Yeah, I think that’s a great question. And I think that there’s a connotation that reach is built for people with a large following. They have to have millions of followers to join our organization. That’s really not true. And I mean, we have chapters over at Penn State and UPenn and UPenn is very big.

[00:06:14] Dylan Huey: Yeah. By nature, very business focused. They don’t have too many massive content creators. we’re in obviously our USC chapter. We have a lot of people interested in entertainment. A lot of people interested in content creation and social media. so, I like to say that reach is built for anyone who’s a creative, whether you want to be a content creator, whether you want to be a social media marketer, whether you want to be an actor or videographer or cinematographer, photographer, a writer, every single person in the creative field is a person who would fit the reach demographic because entertainment and traditional entertainment and digital entertainment, they’re all merging.

[00:06:52] Dylan Huey: Industries are merging into one kind of central hub where everything is very aligned nowadays. And the fact that someone who is an actor also needs to have a digital presence online makes it very advantageous for them if they’re in college to leverage, reach, because. It’s not a one size fits all.

[00:07:11] Dylan Huey: There’s opportunities for people who are more interested in the back end. And there’s more, there’s also opportunities for people who are interested in the front end of being on talent and being camera focused. So, yeah, everyone really who wants to be in the creative space.

[00:07:27] Jessy: Cool. No, I love that. And I think that that’s what I want to emphasize, I think it’s important that people know that it’s not just for like what you think of as a, like a traditional influencer, it’s for people who like value having a presence online and doing whatever they want with that, which I think is like a really powerful thing.

[00:07:48] Jessy: What do you feel like has been some of your biggest hurdles in growing reach, in retaining, you know, members and, and having everybody get what everyone wants out of the organization? What have been some of the hurdle’s you guys have had to overcome?

[00:08:03] Dylan Huey: I think, the biggest thing is that reach is in general is a very easy sell people understand reach very quickly and people, especially students love rallying around the mission and the vision of what reach is. I’d say there’s a few hurdles that we’ve seen so far. The 1st is that reach as an organization.

[00:08:24] Dylan Huey: It’s the first of its kind it’s the first and only collegiate influencers, social media, content creator organization. and for a lot of these brand strategies or these, marketing agencies or digital marketers who are in the professional space working at fortune 500 brands, and when we come and we pitch reach, well, we’re not pitching an individual influencer.

[00:08:45] Dylan Huey: We’re pitching reach as a whole. Well, we have 2000 content creators, 300 million followers amongst our members. That’s a very unique pitch where a typical marketer hasn’t heard of an organization like this. And typically, they’re like, okay, well, where does reach fit in our marketing strategy and our budget?

[00:09:01] Dylan Huey: because we, I mean, the ways that we work with brands. It’s obviously very different from a way that a typical content creator would work with a brand because of how we’re structured, I think that’s the first and foremost, unique hurdle. But I think, you know, through word of mouth, through us being able to adapt and be flexible and offer.

[00:09:20] Dylan Huey: So many different service offerings. I mean, campus ambassador programs have been huge. User generated content production has been huge. obviously, the traditional paid influencer campaigns. I like to say that we act like a talent agency as an ad agency and a student organization all in one. And I think that’s a very unique approach for these brands to leverage.

[00:09:42] Dylan Huey: The other thing on the student side is that, we do a lot of different things and we offer a lot of different opportunities for our members. I think oftentimes our members feel overwhelmed because they’re like, Whoa, step back. There’s a lot happening. You guys do a lot. And there’s so many opportunities where a lot of people are like, well, FOMO, I don’t want to miss this next Netflix movie premiere.

[00:10:04] Dylan Huey: But then, hey, reach is also doing a headquarter tour or they’re doing another event that same day. And I can’t go to both all at the same time because I’m also a student and I have classes. so, I mean, for us, we obviously are trying to offer our members, our students and our organization, the maximum amount of opportunities that they have because the demographic of creatives.

[00:10:27] Dylan Huey: Is very vast and very different and someone who’s a content creator may be less interested in a headquarter tour at YouTube, but maybe more interested in a movie premiere where they can really be able to make some content. So, you know, we offer a lot large service and opportunities and it’s about our members who are in these chapters to be able to be like, okay, this is what I know that I want to do.

[00:10:51] Dylan Huey: And this is why I want to do it. And I’m going to leverage reach, for these specific opportunities rather than going to all of them, because there’s always going to be opportunities that reach funnels. It’s about picking the best one for myself and my professional career. And what I want to do when I graduate from the university.

[00:11:06] Jessy: And I can also imagine that, especially since you guys are in so many schools and expanding quickly, that I can imagine that You know, you’re, you’ll hear different things from different pockets of the country, you know, different focuses, different things that they’re looking for and things like that. So, I guess, like, generally, what do you hear the most about from the students?

[00:11:27] Jessy: Like, what are they most excited about? And also, like, what do they worry about?

[00:11:33] Julia Conoscenti: I think so there has to be like a balance. So, I found, you know, we wanted to bring in these professionals. We wanted to do these workshops. Then we also found out that a lot of these individuals, at the end of the day, like social events and like to collaborate and, you know, that’s kind of what we wanted through reach.

[00:11:49] Julia Conoscenti: I think they kind of worry about the, social media is so saturated nowadays. And so I think the main thing, you know, I’ve had people come up to me and they’re like, okay, like I want to do this. I want to grow my following. I want to grow my engagement. Like, how do I do this? And, you know, I think Instagram has been the main one that people are trying to understand kind of how to grow on there because Instagram is just like, I feel like it’s a little harder for you to get your stuff kind of out there on the explore page on Instagram compared to TikTok.

[00:12:18] Julia Conoscenti: and so, it’s really just like kind of. Now I feel like it was a lot easier to blow up, you know, during the pandemic at two, three years ago. But now, there’s, I remember Dylan telling you a statistic, there’s like over 50, 000 creators with over a million followers,

[00:12:35] Dylan Huey: on Tik TOK alone.

[00:12:36] Julia Conoscenti: Um, on just TikTok and so I think that’s like just the main, yeah, the main concern here.

[00:12:42] Julia Conoscenti: Like I want to grow. I’m doing collaborations. I’ve, you know, how do I get like a unique niche? Because, you know, we have a lot of people who are lifestyle and it’s like, okay, but how can you kind of leverage that you’re in college and make that unique to like a specific demographic? Because there’s a lot of people out there.

[00:13:00] Julia Conoscenti: who wanted, like, you go to USC, you live in Southern California, you’re doing all these incredible stuff, like, use that to your advantage. And, it really just comes down to, like, almost a science at the end of the day. Like, I remember just, like, you know, uh, reading, and you have to catch your audience’s attention.

[00:13:19] Julia Conoscenti: In three seconds on TikTok, that’s how it determines if it pushes it through, you know, the algorithm or not. And so, and the hashtags you use, the sounds you use. So yeah, everything just kind of comes down to a science. And I think that’s the main thing that people worry about, like how in, you know, a place that’s so saturated, like how do you stand out?

[00:13:38] Dylan Huey: I think that social media, in general is a very interesting place because a lot of people perceive social media, especially content and creation as It’s all pure luck. It’s lucky to gain a following on TikTok. like you have to either be attractive or you have to be funny on TikTok, et cetera, but when you really think about it.

[00:13:57] Dylan Huey: It’s a textbook. There’s a textbook way to grow on social media and how to go viral. And I think that that’s something that people don’t understand, especially because algorithms are really changing and you need to study and you need to learn the algorithms at that time and be able to make your content.

[00:14:14] Dylan Huey: Well, one, make it unique for you and have a unique value proposition, but then two as well, you need to be able to. Ensure that your content gets seen by ensuring that it’s compliant with the algorithm and the best possible scenario. One of our alums, actually, his name is Alan Chicken Chow. He’s the most watched YouTube Shorts creator in the world.

[00:14:32] Dylan Huey: He kills it on his content and he really knows how to master, the YouTube Shorts algorithm where it’s very structured. I mean, he spoke at a USC chapter, earlier this year. And he was going through his process from creative strategy to execution and how in a one-minute video, he had probably 90 different clips that he would cut together and his first three seconds and what his intent was behind his first three seconds and showed his user retention.

[00:15:05] Dylan Huey: And shockingly, even though the video was one minute long, the. Viewers would watch the video longer than a minute and on average, which is wild, but he was able to really master that. And he didn’t even have a Tik TOK account or YouTube account before he even joined reach. He wanted to be a full-time actor and a full time, you know, in the entertainment space, but because he joined reach, you know, people were like, well, you should start on Tik TOK.

[00:15:33] Dylan Huey: You should start in social media. He’s killing it now. So, he’s made the top 50, uh, Forbes creator list, which was incredible.

[00:15:40] Jessy: That’s pretty cool. It’s interesting how, you know, I don’t know, I can imagine that. like the mindset of a student in REACH, like there’s, you know, you’re talking even briefly earlier about like imposter syndrome, like I can imagine that like if I had either, you know, not a following or even just like a smaller or more modest following and then I was amongst people who.

[00:16:01] Jessy: just seemed like they were doing such incredible things. Like it’s intimidating. but you want to learn from each other and you want to sort of approach it as, as much of a science as possible, right? Cause then if you approach it with that mindset, you assume that you can, you can succeed. It’s not out of your control.

[00:16:19] Jessy: It’s not like the algorithms will do what they do. Like there is something to glean from it and you can do it too. I also wonder if there’s like, Do you guys ever think about or talk about like the mental health aspect of it all, like the pressures associated with it, the, you know, comparison factors associated with it, you know, how do we distinguish ourselves and really, truly be individuals online versus trying to, you know, emulate or, you know, based on the most innocuous thing is that you’re just, you admire what someone else is doing.

[00:16:55] Jessy: So how do you guys. discuss the mental health aspect of it because I’m, I can only imagine that that’s pervasive of conversations amongst your members.

[00:17:07] Dylan Huey: there’s always a dilemma of mental health amongst, college students, as well as, Gen Z, whether it be from social media or other streams and, other mediums. for me, I started social media back when I was 16 years old and I actually built my following because of mental health.

[00:17:27] Dylan Huey: I was getting bullied in middle school. So, I wanted to build a platform to show other people that there’s others relate to them. And I gained 30, 000 followers in the first week. And I think for me, I was able to build my social media up because I was vocal. About mental health and I was vulnerable and I was talking about it in a way that other people weren’t on social media.

[00:17:48] Dylan Huey: obviously managed other content creators through my journey. And I managed a kid named low Huddy. Uh, I mean, I was about 60 million followers, manage a bunch of other content creators, and that was still, you know, something that I saw, I think what put me really aligned with the creator economy at an early age.

[00:18:09] Dylan Huey: Was the fact that all the content creators that I was surrounded by, were also dealing with similar circumstances. It wasn’t, I was the only one who dealt with bullying. It wasn’t, I was the only one who was facing mental health. Every other content creator that I talked to, you know, when I was getting my start in 2016, they all had a story that day of why they started social media.

[00:18:32] Dylan Huey: and I think that that is something that’s been really prevalent for me is that I really want to understand what people’s stories are and why they started social media and why they got their following because it is daunting to have a following online and as well, once you are able to build your following.

[00:18:50] Dylan Huey: To be able to still, you know, wake up and understand that, oh, people are now watching everything that I do. I get 20 million views on Snapchat. and you know, people watch my content and people look forward to watching my content and the content that I make has an impact on other people. So now I’m, you know, while I started off on social media for myself, I’m also doing social media for other people that.

[00:19:17] Dylan Huey: Are resonating with my content. I think what put me in a very unique perspective is that when I was going on tours back in 2017, my mom, myself, we were getting parents coming up to us saying that the content that I made, Save their children’s lives. And I think that was really inspiring for me. going into USC and continue to make content.

[00:19:41] Dylan Huey: I was like, okay, my content really has an impact on other people. there’re others who understand me, relate to me, not only content creators, but also my, my audience. I mean, the first question we asked anyone interested in joining reach is what do you do beyond social media? Beyond USC to make an impact in your community.

[00:19:59] Dylan Huey: And I think that finding people who are like minded who are not only doing social media to make money, but have a story that they want to tell, have a reason of why they’re doing social media, maybe to escape something. Maybe it’s to, you know, feel a sense of community that they’ve never felt before.

[00:20:17] Dylan Huey: That’s the most important thing for me when it comes to social media, I’d rather. Put my time and my effort into individuals who have a story that they’re trying to tell or something that they’re trying to prove rather than someone who’s just in it to make money because they see that the creator economy is a lucrative business nowadays, obviously make money.

[00:20:34] Dylan Huey: And that’s amazing. And I make money off of social media now too, but really, you know, we try to align with those who are really mission driven and mission focused and want to use their platform for good and want to use social media for good. And I think what, makes reach really unique is we’re not just a network.

[00:20:51] Dylan Huey: We’re not just an organization. We’re not just a club, but we’re really a family. And, you know, people are able to talk to each other, make friends with each other and really push each other. so that, you know, any time there’s a problem creator, burnout is huge. You can always have someone else’s back in the organization.

[00:21:10] Jessy: I love that so much. Yeah. I was going to say, Julia, is there anything else you wanted to

[00:21:14] Julia Conoscenti: yeah, so I think, you know, growing up in the entertainment field since I was a kid, the main thing that they emphasized, is just like to stay grounded, to have that support group that you can go to at the end of the day, that’s going to keep you grounded. and that was my family. And those are my friends from back home who weren’t in the entertainment business.

[00:21:31] Julia Conoscenti: So just being able to, to go to them and kind of talk to people who weren’t in that space helped me a lot. and then also, like. I remember when I first started out on TikTok and I wanted to reply to every negative comment that was on there. I was like, oh, get me so upset. They’re like, they criticized just like something I had no control over.

[00:21:51] Julia Conoscenti: And then I, you know, talking to that support group that I had, they’re like, why would you reply to some random person that’s on the internet that’s just trying to tear you down, you know? And so I think I had to like. Learn those small things that you can’t, because I was a people pleaser, a huge people pleaser.

[00:22:06] Julia Conoscenti: And at the end of the day, you know, I had to learn that I can’t please everyone. And no matter what I do, there’s always going to be something for someone to criticize and. That’s okay. And so, I think just being able to just kind of disconnect yourself from that and realize this has nothing to do with you and at the end of the day, it’s just all lighthearted, just all fun.

[00:22:27] Julia Conoscenti: You’re just being creative. You’re being, you know, your silly self on the internet sometimes because, you know, it’s just like Dylan was saying, it was almost like a creative outlet. And I think, you know, a lot of the time you have to think of it like that as a way to just kind of de stress, to create content, to be unique, to be different, to do what you want to do.

[00:22:47] Julia Conoscenti: And I think, you know, what I heard a lot with social media, especially TikTok is that, you know, with the creative burnout is that people would stop doing what they wanted and kind of what other people wanted. And it’s like, at the end of the day. I kind of choose my own happiness. And if it’s something’s not working anymore and I’m just so tired of it, then eventually it’s going to all come crashing down.

[00:23:09] Julia Conoscenti: So, switch gears, switch gears, you know? so I’ve learned on social media, cause people are like, what do you do? And I’m like, honestly, I just kind of shared behind the scenes bits from acting. I wasn’t trying to do anything for anyone else. It was just kind of my own personal video diary. People liked it and it’s like, hey, if you want to comment, if you want to share that’s like on you.

[00:23:27] Julia Conoscenti: But at the end of the day, I think I was using social media for myself and, just doing it because I loved it. And I think that’s, you just have to keep, yeah, I don’t know those things separate and, you know, have that support group and. Be able to at the end of the day to just go home or go to someone and be able to, to disconnect.

[00:23:44] Julia Conoscenti: Because I feel like a lot of the time, you know, we’re on our phones 24 seven and, it’s just really hard to disconnect. So, I think being able to learn. To do that, um, has helped me a lot.

[00:23:54] Jessy: Yeah. I just, I don’t know. There’s like a lot of challenges that I can see. It’s like incredibly admirable that like, you guys and people your age are. You’re getting such a leg up because you’re starting so early. You guys grew up where this only existed. Like you didn’t have, I don’t assume your whole childhood, you know, all social media was around, you know?

[00:24:16] Jessy: and so. I feel like that’s, that can be such a strong plus, like that could be such a strong, advantage, but it can also, I see that it can be, difficult. Like it can be a struggle to detach and to not compete. and there’s just, there’s a lot of competition, and speaking of, I’d sort of love to hear what have been some of the success stories, for some of your members and the students.

[00:24:48] Jessy: I mean, I hear that, you know, you’ve had alumni who are, you know, the top shorts creators and things like that, but what are, if you could share like some alum that have been like, Thank you. you know, really gone on to do incredible things. Are there a few stories that you guys can share?

[00:25:05] Dylan Huey: yeah, I mean, obviously we had the big creators in our club, Alan chicken chow, most watching shorts creator, 40 million followers on social media. We have. Party shirt. One of the founders, 20 million followers in Tik TOK. Mia Finney, 10 million followers on Tik TOK. We have, Gigi Robinson who, you know, is killing it on social media, talks about chronic illnesses.

[00:25:27] Dylan Huey: We have Brianna Seberg who has almost a million followers in Tiktok I mean, we have a lot of successful content creators. Cause that Ranaab who has 2. 3 million followers in Tik TOK. I think my

[00:25:38] Jessy: all the, what about all the other side too?

[00:25:41] Dylan Huey: Exactly. I was about to go to

[00:25:42] Jessy: yeah, good, perfect.

[00:25:44] Julia Conoscenti: we, um, we have someone who was the youngest woman to climb out at Everest.

[00:25:49] Dylan Huey: she’s currently in our club. She’s not even an alum

[00:25:51] Julia Conoscenti: Yeah. She’s not even alumni. So, it’s just like, or like, what are some athletes? This is a Dylan’s, uh, photographic memory. That’s why I always have them

[00:25:59] Dylan Huey: yeah, I mean,

[00:26:00] Julia Conoscenti: Pulls out the names and the number.

[00:26:02] Dylan Huey: we have a lot of, we have a lot of kids who are killing it. I mean, on the athlete side with what Julia was talking about. Those are active members. I mean, NIL is changing so quickly. So, we’ve only been accepting athletes into our club for the past year or so. So, we have a, track and field athlete at UCLA who has a hundred K on Tik TOK.

[00:26:20] Dylan Huey: And we have an Olympic athlete over at USC and we have the youngest American girl, Claremont Evers, who’s currently a USC student. those are all active members. I think, you know, what speaks for me a lot is that we, you know, beyond the, the bigger. Creators and the people who are killing it, who are more on the public figure side, which are those individuals.

[00:26:42] Dylan Huey: We’re having people who are being successful at different brands and working in the industry. One of our members, Daniel Dana, just got, you know, a role. He was at good morning, America for the past year, and he just got a role at ABC quite recently. so now he’s doing, you know, digital, journalism over at ABC.

[00:26:59] Dylan Huey: And that’s huge. And then we have individuals like Lexi Lee, who’s working, as a digital marketer and a social media marketer for a small, coffee business over in, Minnesota. I think all of our members, what we really love is the fact that reach is able to create a group of individuals. Her passion about social media, but want to do something in the social media space long term when they graduate.

[00:27:23] Dylan Huey: It’s not someone who’s Oh, I want to just have social media be a side thing or a side hobby. It’s people who want to take social media in any direction and be able to align with it for their professional career. And we see a lot of our members being really successful on the small business side and the digital marketing side and We have people who are working at record labels.

[00:27:48] Dylan Huey: you know, we have people killing it on all fronts. And I think that’s what makes reach really unique is that it’s not only content creators who are being successful. It’s not only these digital marketers, its videographers, it’s agency owners. And, you know, it’s really, if I think about it, reach in itself is its own ecosystem of creatives.

[00:28:10] Dylan Huey: Yeah, a hundred percent

[00:28:12] Jessy: and to that point, my question, my next question for you guys is how, you know, so our community, our members are largely those who hire or advocate for influencers. So, we have people on the brand side, the agency side, talent management, et cetera. How can our members utilize reach? So yeah, like our, you know, our members are largely those who advocate for influencers or hire influencers. And so, if our community wants to partner with you guys, can they come to you if they’re looking for college aged influencers and you can help if they’re looking to, you know, recruit, you know, young, great young talent to work for them.

[00:28:53] Jessy: Can you guys help with that? Like how can they partner with you guys?

[00:28:57] Julia Conoscenti: Yeah. So, I think what’s so special about reach is a lot of people, a lot of companies want to reach kind of that Gen Z college demographic. And what’s so special about our members is that they’re just so excited to learn and to grow and to just create content. And so, in order to kind of get in contact with us, I mean, we’re in 55 universities, so no matter where you are, we’ll probably have a chapter.

[00:29:22] Julia Conoscenti: close to you. that’s just, yeah, we have member saying, from all different niches. So, it’s someone who is big into s we most likely have them. Someone who loves podcasts. We have that someone who’s in kind of like the sports industry. And so that’s, what’s so great is it’s not just like, Hey, you know, everyone’s kind of doing the same niches in the same area.

[00:29:49] Julia Conoscenti: Um, we have people from all over who are doing phenomenal things in, different places. So, I think that’s so special to just be able to have that big group, that demographic of Gen Z people who, um, have all different passions and

[00:30:03] Dylan Huey: In general, we love working with brands and we love being an asset to brands and all fronts. And we work with brand very individualistically. you know, brands are constantly trying to tap into college students in general. And what, puts us in a very valuable asset to these companies is our members.

[00:30:19] Dylan Huey: Aren’t just college students, they’re college students who are influential, whether they want to be a content creator or on the backend, you know, these students are the ones who are being leaders in different clubs who are involved in Greek life, who, they’ve been able to cultivate a community, not just on social media, but on campus as well.

[00:30:37] Dylan Huey: and for brands, they see that as very valuable. With one stone, right? They’re able to find call students who are influential, but then as well, because reach has such a large national network. Now they can geographically target content creators that they want to tap into. Let’s say a campaign is happening in.

[00:30:57] Dylan Huey: And Minnesota, for example, right. And, you know, someone comes to us and, or comes to any talent agency and says, hey, we want some soda focused content creators or your average boutique talent agency is going to be like, I’m going to be honest with you. We don’t have Minnesota content creators. we only have you in Los Angeles and New York.

[00:31:16] Dylan Huey: A little bit of Florida for us, we can be like, well, we have a hundred students over at university of Minnesota who are content creators and we’re passionate about social media. Let’s get them involved. That’s what we constantly do for those companies that are really trying to target a specific campaign for a market.

[00:31:34] Dylan Huey: mean, we try to be assets in all fronts. Okay. I’ll start

[00:31:37] Jessy: I love it. I’m just like, my brain is, you know, turning with all the ideas of how I think our community can really partner with you and utilize you guys. I mean, you were talking also just briefly about like NIL and like, that’s such a huge market and growing markets. That’s so cool that you guys also have, you know, your members who are athletes and everything as well.

[00:32:01] Jessy: and so I’m curious, like how, You intend to continue to grow and to reach more students and, you know, just grow in 2024, like what’s on the docket? What are your plans?

[00:32:15] Dylan Huey: 2024 is a big year for us. transparently this year 2023 was the first year that we started the national organization and we’ve grown so quickly since then. I think there’s a lot of things that we want to see for 2024. Obviously. We want to go to more universities. We want to, or students see the value of reach.

[00:32:36] Dylan Huey: and we want to help inspire other people across these different universities who are feeling like their classes might not be the best or the most useful for them because they want to be in the social media landscape or they want to be social media marketing or creator. you know, we want to launch at those universities.

[00:32:53] Dylan Huey: So, we are going to be continuously expanding, that side. but then as well, working with more and more brands so that our members can get professional opportunities that they can leverage. That’s experiential and something that you really don’t get out of a classroom. more universities, more growth, I think in general, more fun.

[00:33:12] Dylan Huey: Like all these events that we’ve been doing are very exciting and we’re always constantly excited to be able to collaborate with the studios and different, you know. Companies that are hosting creator focus events to invite our members because our members are really eager and they’re excited to get in this space and they’re young, and they want to network.

[00:33:32] Dylan Huey: They want to learn and they want to go to cool things. So, opportunities for us to be an asset to these companies. you know, we’re going to be continuously working with more companies growing out our 501 C three side. Separately growing out our for-profit side where we’re working with these brands, where we’re, working with different companies, where we are doing some very innovative projects.

[00:33:56] Dylan Huey: I’m sure Julia has a few things to add on that.

[00:33:58] Julia Conoscenti: Yeah, so I think, being in so many universities, I think we want to do more collaborations with these universities, like, you know, USC, UCLA, LMU, kind of bring people in that kind of region together so they can meet not only people at, you know, USC, but, in other universities. And then, now that the strike is over, I think we’d like to touch base more into kind of the entertainment field we’ve really focused on for a long time, just kind of like the digital media area.

[00:34:24] Julia Conoscenti: and I think it’d be nice to, yeah, just because you know, the entertainment world is so closely intertwined with digital media. Now, I think, just kind of to expand in that area and like Dylan was saying to do more stuff with these studios and, these entertainment companies, is kind of what we’re looking to do now.

[00:34:41] Julia Conoscenti: So, 2024 is just growth, more collaboration, just expanding into new territories and, just bringing more people together.

[00:34:49] Jessy: Yeah. I mean, I’m so excited for you guys and that’s part of the reason why I just wanted to have you guys on because I think that just more people need to know about you guys and know what you’re doing. Because I feel like once they discover you, it’s like, oh my gosh, there’s so much that we can be doing with you guys.

[00:35:04] Jessy: I mean, essentially, it’s a really powerful thing to be able to be the epicenter of like cultivating these like great minds and these like super creative folks who are just so like forward thinking and, to be able to, you know, work together to learn, to be able to work together, to network with each other and all of those things.

[00:35:22] Jessy: It’s just, there’s really cool things happening over by you guys. So, I was super excited when, guys were able to come on the show today. So, with all that being said, is, there any sort of final thoughts that you want to leave our audience with and, and the best ways for them to reach out to you?

[00:35:38] Julia Conoscenti: I mean, if you’re hearing this and you’re in a university that doesn’t have reach, let us know. We’d love to just set something up. we’re, yeah, we’d love to, cause there’s so many universities out there and we’re just trying to reach as many as possible. So, if you think that your university will benefit from a club like this, don’t hesitate to reach out.

[00:35:57] Dylan Huey: I’ll leave my final thoughts with this. I think that college students are the tastemakers of traditional or not traditional of today’s culture. college students are the ones who are going to be consumers in the future, who are currently consumers, who understand trends, who are trend setting. and. Brands need to leverage these individuals, whether they know it now or they realize that later, they need to either be able to tap into these consumers now while they’re in college, or when they graduate, they’re going to be in the professional workforce, whether they’re a content creator or, you know, marketer or anyone working in any industry.

[00:36:37] Dylan Huey: You know, they’re going to be consumers, and buyers, no matter what a brand’s target demographic is. So being able to leverage these college students early and to be able to understand these are the students, these are the people I’m trying to tap into. This is why I’m trying to tap into them. That’s really a massive goal for us to be able to instill in these brands is that it’s never too early to tap into college students

[00:37:04] Dylan Huey: And it’s so important for these brands to be able to access these college students who are being cultivators. I mean, I couldn’t name a better organization than Greek life to have a large sense of community where, you know, something. Goes viral in Greek life. We’ve seen this with Tinder. We’ve seen this with Celsius with Bumble, then the world is going to talk about it.

[00:37:29] Dylan Huey: And, you know, we really see that vision with reach. I mean, we want to both educate our students, but as well, educate brands and educate, you know, the entire economy about how impactful, you know, social media and the digital landscape really is, so that’s really important for us, I think in general if people want to get involved with reach, I mean, we’re all over the place.

[00:37:50] Dylan Huey: We are, constantly doing stuff and there’s always ways for anyone to get involved with reach. you know, our website is very accessible or social media is very accessible. each of our chapters have their own Instagram, right? So, there’s at USC reach there’s at UCLA reach there’s at reach national, which is R E A C H N A T L. All these social medias are there, anyone who’s interested in getting involved can easily reach out to us and, you know, we’re happy to see how we can be an asset to any individual and how we can help inspire them, but help them learn and grow. So, yeah, thank you so much for having us.

[00:38:30] Jessy: Yeah, no, thank you. And we’ll drop all those links to in the show notes for you guys, especially the website. I feel like that’s like a good hub to start with. I’m just grateful for you guys, honestly. And I feel like a lot of people listening will be like, thank you guys for like making like professionalizing, this like budding demographic of influencers, you know, I think that like there’s so many brands and stuff that want to work with Gen Z and like younger creators for a variety of reasons.

[00:38:58] Jessy: But there are some trepidations because maybe they’re, they just don’t know the business side yet, or, you know, they might be more difficult to work with simply just because they haven’t done it before. They feel like you guys are solving that problem. You guys are helping them be the utmost professionals and familiar and just.

[00:39:15] Jessy: business savvy and aware of all the things that, you know, they can be doing to leverage their social media, work with brands, partnerships, the whole nine. So, thank you for creating such a great crop people to work with. I have a feeling that a lot of our members are going to reach out for sure. So again, we’ll drop all that stuff in, the show notes.

[00:39:34] Jessy: Thank you guys so much for coming on today. It was such a pleasure learning about you both and like what you’re creating with Reach.

[00:39:40] Dylan Huey: Yeah. Thank you for having us.

Dylan Huey

President, REACH

At just 21, Dylan Huey has become a successful content creator, musician, entrepreneur, host, speaker, innovator, and leader in the entertainment, social media, and technology industries. As a creator, he has garnered over a million cumulative followers on social media under his monicker and stage name, Rodin’ Flash. In addition, he has previously managed other creators with followings over 100M. Currently, he is a University of Southern California student studying business administration and minoring in music industry. At USC, he runs the first and only content creator club at any university, REACH, which has since expanded to 50+ campuses, including UCLA and Duke University.

Julia Conoscenti

Director of Marketing and Branding, REACH

Julia Conoscenti, born in Thousand Oaks, California, faced early challenges including anxiety and her parents’ divorce, but found solace and strength through her passion for acting. Introduced to the craft at a young camp, she blossomed into roles from musicals to commercials, eventually starring in a Nickelodeon Special and FOX’s Rosewood. Transitioning to the academic world, Conoscenti pursued Journalism and Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, where she embraced writing, working on her introspective novel, “Behind the Scenes.” Drawing from her life in entertainment, she aspires to delve into behind-the-scenes roles while highlighting the value of self-compassion.

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