Fadia Kader is no stranger to the world of social media. She’s built a reputation as a dot connector and trend forecaster, creating high-impact strategies for platforms at the intersection of tech, music, media and culture. From her role as Head of Senior Music Partnership Lead at Twitter to her position as the Strategic Music Partnerships Lead at Instagram, she’s worked with some of the biggest names in social media.
Now, Kader has taken her talents to Clubhouse as the Global Head of Strategic and Media Partnerships. Clubhouse, the audio-based platform that allows users to gather in virtual rooms and engage in live conversations about everything from fintech to fashion trends, is one of the fastest growing social media apps. Since its launch in April 2020, Clubhouse has amassed millions of users including thought leaders like Oprah Winfrey, superstars like Drake, and global corporations like L’Oreal Paris.
While Clubhouse was slow to attract corporate users at first, Kader and her team are working to build collaboration collaborations with brands and creators in music, media, and tech and connect those partners to the platform’s growing audience. Kader’s goals include equipping brand partners to use Clubhouse strategically while giving users access to their favorite artists, brands, and public figures and creating meaningful moments.
“We have solid vertical leads across thought leadership, entertainment, sports, and news media. And our job is to make sure that when people want to talk, they come and talk on Clubhouse,” Kader said.
Kader recognized the impact Clubhouse conversations could have even before she joined the company. While still in her role at Instagram, she was a regular in Clubhouse rooms, engaging in conversations with peers and like-minded individuals. Thanks to her affinity for identifying the topics, ideas, people, and brands that people are most interested in, she quickly saw the Clubhouse’s potential to reveal the innovations that will take off. Since joining the platform, she’s continued to tune into Clubhouse rooms to spot trends, partner with brands, and amplify the creators who are at the forefront of the culture.
“People will tell you what’s cool. Trend forecasting doesn’t start with the companies and creative directors or the strategic partnership manager. It starts with the community. It starts with the creators. And we see that every day on Clubhouse,” Kader explained.
Under Kader’s direction, Clubhouse has been able to create unique partnerships with brands like TED and Netflix. For example, after the release of Netflix’s highly popular satirical comedy, Don’t Look UpKader brought in the film’s director, Adam McCay, to deliver a live director’s cut in a Clubhouse room.
Although the Clubhouse makes it easy to spot what’s popular in music and media, it’s Kader’s unique perspective and experiences that make her so good at turning trends into successful partnerships and events. A first-generation immigrant who has lived in several countries, states, and cities, Kader is no stranger to diverse people, cultures, and ideas.
“It was like the perfect crash course on how to deal with multiple personalities. That set me up for success with dealing with talent and public figures and various people,” Kader shared.
Kader also has a rich background in media, music, tech, fashion, and culture. Early in her career, she managed up-and-coming hip hop artists and hosted events and spaces to amplify Black and Brown creatives. That work opened doors for her in the media and music industries, including roles at Complex and Def Jam Recordings, in addition to her work with Twitter and Instagram. In each role, she intuitively created models and developed partnerships that have continued long after she’s left.
“I often don’t realize how impactful those moments are until after the fact; because in the moment, I’m just working towards something, and it feels good. Afterwards, is when I realize I’ve helped change the whole trajectory,” Kader noted.
But while intuition guides her work, Kader is very intentional about her career pivots. She noted that people often become too comfortable in their success and remain in the same job for decades. But she prefers to move on when she feels that she’s made a meaningful contribution and opened doors for others.
“The way I know when it’s time to leave isn’t when I’m being pushed out or things are in a lull. It’s about recalibrating. What have I contributed in this role? What have I brought to the table? What opportunities have I presented, not only internally but externally, for others? Do I feel good about the work right now? And then based on that, I make a decision,” Kader explained.
Kader isn’t ready to leave Clubhouse just yet. She’s excited to continue supporting the platform through its development. She’s especially proud to keep building Clubhouse’s audience and amplifying Black and Brown creators. That work has begun from the inside under the leadership of Clubhouse’s CMO, Maya Watson. Kader and Watson have been intentional about building a diverse team that understands the culture and experiences of their users.
“We can’t talk about elevating these voices, and then the team is not a reflection of the voices and the users of the platform. So, we’ve done an amazing job with building a team that is not only racially diverse, but also 60% of the management team are women,” Kader said.
Kader applies that same lens of representation to her work in developing partnerships at Clubhouse. As she plans collaborations, she’s always conscious of how a brand impacts and reflects the Clubhouse community. She also pays keen attention to what both the creators and community need to get the most out of the app.
In the two years since it launched, Clubhouse has released several new features that serve creators, users, and brands. Backchannel allows users to send private messages, while In-room Chat lets users share messages with the entire room. Payments give creators opportunities to earn income from fans on the platform, while Pinned Links make it possible for creators to attach a link to a room so users can visit external sites.
“Imagine being a young author and just putting your link to your presale for your book. Or an artist being able to have a listening party on Spotify or YouTube. These are just some of the ways we’ve seen payments and pinned links be extremely productive for our community,” Kader shared.
Other new features offer more ways for users to share and listen. Clips let users capture 30-second audio clips to memorialize parts of Clubhouse conversations. Clubhouse also introduced Replays which remedied the app’s ephemeral nature by letting the community consume live content later.
“All of these things are based on feedback we heard from our community and partners. We appreciate feedback, and we work hard to act on it. Coming from places where feedback hasn’t been listened to, it’s nice to work at a place where you know everyone’s building with intention.”
Despite the Clubhouse’s impressive growth, the brand is still in its infancy, and Kader is careful about fostering partnerships and collaborations with brands and creators that can be empathetic to the challenges of building a game-changing brand from scratch.
“We’re a two-year-old platform experiencing continued growth and momentum. The team has gone from eight people to a little bit under a hundred. We’re building the train track and riding the train as we go. But I think social audio has become a big factor for marketing and promotion and building authentic communities, and I’m excited about what’s to come.”