Communications and branding professional Stephanie Lieb is excited to be bringing back “Gabbin’ with Mavens.” The podcast she created in 2019 will return as an Instagram Live talk show beginning Aug. 5. “Every episode, I interview a different expert on a different topic,” she says. “My dream has always been to do a talk show.” The episode will be available for later viewing if you miss the live version (@stephnlieb).
She explains that people often associate the word “maven” with a woman, but in Yiddish, the word “meyvn” translates to “one who understands,” so a maven is an expert in their field, male or female.
Her first guest to kick off the new format is Cynthia Sassi, president and founder of FabulousArizona.com, a local online lifestyle publication covering restaurants, resorts, spas, events, homes and more.
Her goal is to have an episode weekly, but she is focusing on two a month for right now. Each episode will also feature a charity chosen by the guest that they will fundraise for during the Instagram Live event. For example, Cynthia chose Lucky Dog Rescue for her charity.
A fellow dog lover, Stephanie has two German Shepherd mix rescues named Asher and Sadie. In August 2019, she created an online community on Instagram called Pups of AZ (@pupsofaz) for people to share photos and stories of their pets and focus on fundraising for Arizona nonprofits for dogs directly from Instagram.
“We had one in-person event when we first started before COVID hit, and it was a meet-up to donate money for a nonprofit, and I offered photography for people and their dogs,” says Stephanie.
Stephanie owns Serenity Now Photography and has been a professional photographer since 2018. “It’s my passion. I love photography,” she says. “I’m not formally trained, but I have a pretty good eye, and I make people feel comfortable.”
She jokes that the company name was inspired by the “Seinfeld” episode called “The Serenity Now,” where an instructional tape advises Frank Costanza to say “serenity now” every time he gets angry to keep his blood pressure down.
With Stephanie’s passion for photography and background in communication, she has been interested in the various #igers (Instagrammers) communities on Instagram that have popped up representing most major cities. As a result, she has been involved with @IgersPHX.
Stephanie explains the concept is threefold, “To feature photography showcasing that location, second is photography contests through the page with a theme in a separate hashtag (i.e., # #igersphxwildflowers), and third, in-person meetups to network amongst other photographers.”
When she moved to Flagstaff in June 2020, she decided to start an Instagram community there. “I started @IgersFLG, and then all these people kept tagging me in Sedona or Prescott or the Grand Canyon, so I started @IgersSedona, @IgersPrescott and @IgersGrandCanyon.”
She wants her #igers accounts to be more than just landscape photographs, so she encourages photos of people. Stephanie also realizes that many people get information from Instagram. “I like to promote local businesses too, so I will reshare them to the stories,” she says. “If this is the only page that a person goes to in a day, I want them to know what’s going on.”
She realized that her #IgersFLG page became a news source for people during the recent wildfires and flooding in Flagstaff. That also made her realize that the media coverage in Northern Arizona was lacking.
“It was hard for me to reshare things as fast as they were happening,” says Stephanie. “I’m in the process of launching an online publication for Northern Arizona, but I want it to be community based. I want to model it off of Arcadia or North Central News – it’s called Our Northern Arizona.”
Stephanie is also an advocate for mental health awareness and is launching @ATherapySession is the next few weeks. “I want this to be a page asking people to discuss mental health,” she says. “A safe space to talk about mental health.”
She is hoping to enlist the talents of the creative people in Flagstaff to help her with these online enterprises. “I have discovered a fun niche to create these communities for people,” says Stephanie.