Today’s topic is how mothering and the labor associated with nurturing and raising a family has historically been undervalued and hopefully by the end of the show you’ll be inspired to deeply value the work of mothering and stop guilting yourself and others into feeling bad when you pay attention to anything other than your family.
On the show today is my guest Merve Emre, author of Paraliterary and The Personality Brokers, a history of Myers-Briggs and the birth of personality testing that comes out in September. Starting in the fall, she will be associate professor of English at Oxford University.
For anyone trying to start a business or new project, there’s a juggling act to be had. We need to rearrange our schedules and lives to make sure we can put sufficient energy into this new endeavor. Generally, that means taking away some time or energy from other responsibilities, or, as Emily Bennett of Baby Blastoff! has found, asking for help.
Emily Bennett is the founder of owner of Baby Blastoff!, a children’s clothing line aimed to transcending gender stereotype messages found in most children’s clothing. Her clothing is USA-made, unisex, printed from Emily’s original artwork, and made from high quality fabric. Emily sources all materials from local, reputable businesses, and sustainably manufactures all products in Albuquerque, New Mexico, supporting her community economically. Emily has her masters in education, and prior to starting Baby Blastoff she taught kindergarten, first, and second grade for five years. In this episode, Emily and I talk about the challenges of being a solopreneur, how to create a schedule that allows you to nurture your business and your family or personal life, and why it is so important to encourage gender equality at a young age.
What You’ll Discover in This Episode:
- What Emily does to maintain motivation as a solopreneur
- How Emily is able to create a schedule that allows her to fill her roles both in her family and in her business
- How you can use your creative skills to sell your product, business, or self
More About Emily
Emily began her business around the time that her son was born. In looking for clothing for him, she was shocked to see that so many of the clothing items available had phrases that blatantly perpetuated gender stereotypes, such as ““lock up your daughters,” or “tough guy.” “I can’t believe the messages we put on babies without thinking very much about how that impacts their lives and how others treat them.” Emily knew that other parents shared her dissatisfaction, so she decided to make clothing of her own.
Baby Blastoff! began in 2014, and seeks to create baby’s clothing with gender neutral or stereotype destroying messages. All of the clothing is meant for both boys and girls, though she hopes that she is able to encourage people to reexamine the words they use when speaking to any child. For her son and other boys, she “wants boys to have the message that they can be gentle. that’s part of being a boy too.” Emily explains, “we would all benefit from a world that was more equal.”
Emily’s business began at the same time that she began motherhood, and she quickly found that there simply wasn’t enough time in the day to take care of everything she needed to. She felt herself growing frustrated and resentful, and finally decided there needed to be a change. She and her family worked out a new schedule so that she could dedicate more time to her business. Right away, “that feeling of resentment melted away” and Emily was able to “get what I needed and take care of myself.”
For anyone hoping to start out on a business project on their own, Emily recommends that each day you ask yourself, “what can I do to feel productive today?” and be sure to ask for what you need both from your support system, and from yourself.
Check Out the Links Mentioned in This Episode!
When we think of success, we often visualize ourselves at the top. We’ve made it, we are the best at what we do, there is no one better than us. Realistically, though, no one makes it to the top without the help and mentorship of others. According to Southwest Women’s Law Center Director Pamelya Herndon, we can truly feel a sense of success if we flip that notion of ‘being the best’ on its head. Instead, she suggests, success comes with the more people you can bring along with you.
In today’s episode I talk with Pamelya Herndon. Pamelya is the Executive Director of the Southwest Women’s Law Center, where she fights to eliminate gender bias, discrimination and harassment; lift women and their families out of poverty; and ensure that all women have full control over their reproductive lives through access to comprehensive reproductive health services and information. Pamelya is a long time member of the National Council of Negro Women and sits as a member of the Board of Directors of Emerge New Mexico. She has received a “Community Service Award” from the New Mexico Office of African American Affairs, was named as the 2012 “Public Lawyer of the Year” and the 2013 “Outstanding Lawyer” by the Albuquerque Bar Association and, in 2015, was named as a “Woman of Influence” by New Mexico Business First and “Outstanding Business and Professional Woman” by Iota Phi Lambda Sorority. In this episode Pamelya and I talk about the work she does and why it is so important in America, her visit to the White House, what she does to make a difference in women’s lives, and why it is so important to collaborate for greater outcomes.
What You’ll Discover in This Episode!
- What you can do to to advance women’s rights
- How you can foster a feedback loop to ensure that you are making an impact on others’ lives and they are growing and developing as well
- How you can reach out to those that work in the same areas as you so that you can both get farther ahead
- How to change your perception of success to be more inclusive and farther reaching
More About Pamelya
At the root of what Pamelya does is collaboration. She works with women (and men) to help women to become empowered and reach financial equality so that they can live their best lives. She explains that she does this by focusing on “trying to increase women’s economic security while at the same time trying to reduce child poverty.” These two issues are intimately connected, as women head almost half of households in New Mexico, and still are not receiving equal pay. “Women are heading these households, they’re not paid equally; of course women are in poverty.” One of the most impactful way that Pamelya is able to help women is through education. Women often find themselves in positions where they are paid less for equal work, or that all childcare responsibilities fall on them, and Pamelya wants women to know that this does not need to be the only way. “We try to instill in women: the value you bring is worth something, its worth being paid for.”
For Pamelya, collaboration doesn’t just mean working with the women that she serves. To truly get ahead, it is essential to “recognize that you must collaborate; you cant do everything you need to do alone.” In this way, you know that you are making an impact on a larger group of people as it is not just you working alone. Also, your partners are able to use their unique ways of thinking to find new and different solutions and continue the network of connections. This is important for making a difference in the future, as well. Pamelya takes pride in the fact that she can “pick up a phone and people are willing to work with us.” Because she has a reputation for doing important work and working well with others, she has come to be trusted as a reliable resource with whom people want to work and for whom they want to help.
Check Out the Links Mentioned in This Episode
Do you ever hear of an innovation and think, ‘why has it taken so long for that to have been created?’ Or maybe you have an idea for an invention or new product, but for some reason you haven’t taken the initiative to dive in and create it. There’s something very scary about committing to creating something new. Change is intimidating, and we fear that if we are the instigators of change, we’ll be met with resistance. Inspiring change is difficult. You need to put your all into it, and have the tools to do it well. According to Thinx creator Miki Agrawal, to inspire change you have to put your all into it, and have the tools to do it well.
In this episode I speak with Miki Agrawal, CEO and Co-Founder of THINX, a high-tech, beautiful underwear solution for women to wear during their periods. Her most recent side project is called TUSHY: For People Who Poop aiming to upgrade the American bathroom experience and to help fight the global sanitation crisis that is affecting 40% of the world. Miki is also the Founder of the acclaimed farm-to-table gluten-free pizza concept WILD and 2015 will mark her 10 year anniversary of having her restaurants open. Harper Collins published her book entitled “DO COOL SH*T” on entrepreneurship and lifestyle design. The book hit #1 on Amazon Bestsellers list in entrepreneurship. In this episode Miki and I talk about where she gets her strength and motivation to discipline herself to making difficult changes in the world, how her health issues revealed to her that she needs to take better care of herself and how she did it, and how she uses dedicated focusing to get more done each day.
What You’ll Discover in This Episode
- How you can use Miki’s three step fool-proof marketing process to overcome stigma and instigate real change
- What you can do to practice deeper focus to do more in one day than most people do in a week
- Where Miki gets her inspiration and what you can do to be fearless and motivated in your ventures
More About Miki
Miki started her company, Thinx, because she recognized that there was a gap in what currently exists and what ought to in the menstrual care industry. Tampons were invented in 1931 by a man, menstrual pads came along in the 60s, and those two products have essentially dominated the market in the last fifty years. Miki explains that a huge reason that advances in menstruation care have been so few and far between has to do with taboo and stigma. It is “so ingrained in the psyche of history that periods are bad.” Marketing is such an incredibly powerful and influential tool that it has been able to foster an attitude of shame and disgust around “the thing that perpetuates human life.”
Miki explains that marketing tactics don’t create the stigma, they influence the public to trust the validity of the message. Therefore, we can use successful marketing tactics for our own benefit, such as to address taboo and really change culture. In developing Thinx, Miki created a three step process to address taboo and influence attitude change. This process focuses on innovation, artful design, and relatable communication, and has led to the overwhelming success and celebration of her product.
Thinx is not Miki’s first entrepreneurial venture. She has opened a restaurant in New York City, written a best selling book, and started Icon Undies, pee-proof underwear, and TUSHY: For People Who Poop, bidet toilet attachments. After years of going 100% all of the time, Miki began to feel a lack of balance in her life. She developed an acute thyroid condition and realized she had to “take a hard look at everything in [her] life.” While doctors told her she would need an operation, she chose to “trust [her] body and heal [herself] through that.” Miki now looks at that time as “such a beautiful, eye-opening experience,” because it has taught her that she needs to “live in full integrity” and dedicate herself to ensuring her “thinking, feeling, and saying all align.”
Check Out the Links Mentioned in This Episode!
What does the word ‘feminism’ mean to you? Do you struggle over whether or not you identify as a feminist Many of us exemplify feminism in our actions in its true meaning, yet some of us have an aversion to identify with the term due to negative associations. EMILY’s List founder Ellen Malcolm has seen the rise and fall and rise again in popularity of the term. To her, the word itself is not as important as fighting for what it really means: equality between men and women. Today I speak with Ellen about how she advocates for gender equality and greater female representation in politics.
My guest today is Ellen Malcolm, founder and board chair of EMILY’s List, an organization that seeks to give female political candidates credibility and resources to win by developing a a donor network that encouraged members to contribute to the candidates EMILY’s List recommends. Ellen is a veteran Democratic activist and fundraiser who began her career as an organizer at Common Cause and later served as press secretary for the National Women’s Political Caucus. In 1980, Ellen went to work at the White House as the press secretary for President Jimmy Carter’s special assistant for consumer affairs. Ellen is a recipient of Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Margaret Sanger Award — the organization’s highest honor and has been named one of the most influential women in America by Vanity Fair, one of Glamour magazine’s Women of the Year, and one of Ladies’ Home Journal’s 100 Most Important Women in America. Today I speak with Ellen about the changes and challenges EMILY’s List has faced over the years, the importance of including female voices in politics, and how she has been able to make real, sustainable change nationally.
What You’ll Discover in This Episode:
- What you can do today to encourage more female and family friendly policies
- How Ellen avoids burnout and why she thinks taking a break from work makes her a better, stronger worker
- How you can get involved in the political system to make a difference from the inside out
More About Ellen
Ellen has been active in politics since the 60’s. After graduating college in 1969 she became involved in the anti-war movement and participated by demonstrating and becoming active in rallies; fighting from the outside. Ellen says she recognizes herself in Bernie Sanders-supporting millennials today. There is dissatisfaction with the way the government is running, and people want change. For Ellen, after trying to change from the outside and having little success, she “decided that I wanted to go inside the system and make a difference.” She knew that there was little female representation in politics, and decided to take this on as her challenge.
Ellen began EMILY’s List in 1985 to help connect funders with female candidates to ultimately introduce more female voices in to our government. “EMILY’s List is an acronym, standing for “Early Money Is Like Yeast” (i.e., it makes the dough rise),” as Ellen recognized that financial backing is the starting point to get women into office. Thirty years later, EMILY’s List has seen the election of 11 female governors, 19 Senate members, 110 House of Representative members, over 700 state and local office successes, and the first female presidential candidate.
Today, EMILY’s list is proud to have seen such incredible change in a short period of time, but Ellen recognizes that there is still significant work to be done. She suggests the best way to initiate more change is for women to run for office, and she encourages any and all women to consider it.
Describe one personal habit that contributes to your well-being:
Walk my dogs.
What super power did you discover you had only to realize it was there all the time?
What advice would you give to your 25 or 30 year old self?
Expose yourself to a lot of different things.
Check Out the Links Mentioned in This Episode!