Uncharted Journeys

Episode 19 - Kate Bradley Chernis, Rock Star Pioneer, with Cathy McNight of Uncharted Journeys Podcast - Featuring the Lately CEO

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Speaker 1: (00:13)

Welcome to Unchartered Journeys on your host, Kathy McKnight. If you're like me and you've ever sat back and wondered, How did I get here, Whether literally or figuratively in terms of your career or life in general, then you're in good company, have come to the right place on uncharted journeys, you'll hear from amazing women about their straight and narrow zigzaggy and somewhere in between past to success. Today I am so happy to be connecting with our guest after a few close counters. Most recently at Content Marketing World's Party at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the founder and CEO of Lately ai. She's a former rock and roll DJ, who served 20 million listeners as music director and on air host at Sirius xm. She's also an award-winning radio producer, engineer, and voice talent with 25 years of national broadcast communications, brand building sales and marketing expertise. What she learned in her radio years about the neuroscience of music helps fuel lately's artificial intelligence. Prior to found founding. Lately she owned a marketing agency and as a sought after podcast guest and conference speaker, she is fierce in all that she does. Welcome great. Kate Bradley Church.

Speaker 2: (01:15)

Thank you so much, Kathy. Great job, .

Speaker 1: (01:19)

Thank you. Thank you.

Speaker 2: (01:21)


Speaker 1: (01:22)

So I mean, those were strictly the highlights. Tell our audience a little bit about yourself.

Speaker 2: (01:26)

Yeah, I mean, it's all true. It sounds like so glamorous, you know, in writing, cuz of course we're marketers and we want it to sound that way, you know, But there's, there, the journey from certainly in, in radio to startup life is a pretty bumpy road. So I was, someone was asking me the other day, like, What do you do for a living? And I was like, I compartmentalize for a living

Speaker 1: (01:55)

. I love that.

Speaker 2: (01:57)

That's what I do. And I was telling my therapist that yesterday and she's like, you know, com compartmentalization should be your last, It's like a special skill you pull out when you really need it. It's not your way of life. And I was like, Well, it is my, my way of life because not that I want it this way, but the, the houses are all on fire all the time, right. And I have to choose which one gets the water, and I can't put any of them out. I can just sort of dampen it, right? And that's, that's, it's tough. Kathy, I was just, um, I'm getting deep with you, but I was just listening to, um, I do a 10 minute meditation every day with, um, Sam Harris. And I try to do it every day. I've been kind of crappy about it lately, total pun intended. And so I, I've been committed to going for a walk every day and I just thought, okay, even though I'm not laying down or sitting down, I'm gonna just try to listen to this while I'm on my busy walk, you know? And see if I, I can at least check meditation off my list because I can't change the storm. I can't change it, but I can change the way I perceive it. So, you know, that's, that's about me, generally.

Speaker 1: (03:16)

It's so interesting though. I have no less than three meditation apps on my phone. And with each one that I download, I iterate to myself, I'm going to do this. This is good for me. I can find 10 minutes a day I can do it. This is, this is not onerous, and yet it doesn't happen. So, you know, that's one of the things that I find that, you know, we were talking a little bit before we started recording about the, the themes that I'm finding through our conversations that I'm having on, on, in the privilege with, with all these amazing women is this pressure to tick the boxes to continue with the list and, and get things done, even when they're things that are just for us. Right. It's still a task. That's right. Which I would love to dig in more, uh, with as we go on. But of course, as everybody knows, I start my, I start all my conversations with four core questions. So first question, what was the first career you remember wanting to do when you grew up?

Speaker 2: (04:14)

Um, wow. I don't remember that actually. Like, I never, I never had an aspiration of I want to be something, I'm being really honest. It was just sort of like, see what the hell happens, You know, or I, I'll try this and if I like it, you know, I'll go with it. That's really honest. I, I never, I mean, it's the same thing with I never thought I would, I never saw myself as a bride or a mom. Like, I just didn't, I'm really trying to think about this answer and make sure that that's the honest truth and yeah, that's the truth. .

Speaker 1: (04:45)

And you know what I think, I think some of us, um, like you, I never envisioned being married or having kids, You know, if I were to go to a high school reunion, I think a lot of people would be like, What , You live in suburbia, you're married, you have kids. What? They won't be surprised that I have two dogs, but everything else about my life, they'll, they'll be somewhat surprised about. So again, I, you know, going back to what we were saying, these pressures about, you know, wanting to, to to be what we're supposed to be, I think that tells a lot about who you are by, you know, even as a, as a kid, just, you know, ah, let's just see what happens, you know? Yeah. Living in the day. And,

Speaker 2: (05:24)

Um, I certainly, I think, I mean, I was super self absorbed as you are in your teenage in 20 for sure. And I think my, my biggest mission was falling in love though. Like, I had this empty black hole and like, I wasn't complete until I had that. And like, certainly I've done some therapy done do this, um, that, that feeling. But like, that was what I was, you know, that's what so many women, we are reinforced by everything that that's the deal. We're not complete until there's a partner. Yeah. You know, know. And so my, that, that was my everything, you know, I was just always trying to think about like, how do I get attention from guys and not even the right guys. I mean, I've certainly dabbled in

Speaker 1: (06:11)

Those make the most interesting stories. Yikes.

Speaker 2: (06:14)

I mean, it was so, so bad. But I just remember really feeling that like va pretty vapid, um, kind of need for, um, for attention, for love for it. It was really sex based also, you know, like that's what we were taught that, right? I mean, that we still are, everyone, every young woman I know is on Instagram stripping basically, and you're like, Jesus Christ.

Speaker 1: (06:39)

Wow is

Speaker 2: (06:41)

, what the hell is that? Yeah, , I didn't do that. Um, but, you know, it's, it's, um, when I met my husband, what's great about David is, um, zero drama. So like all of the that I would try to pull with him or that I, that I learned from, you know, my mother and others, um,

Speaker 2: (07:05)

He doesn't respond to. And so I'd be like, I don't wanna have sex with you then. And he'd be like, I don't care. You know, like he, there's no response, you know? Yeah. And it was great to unlearn that, but at the same time it's because I had filled the hole. I mean, I had a, I had a teammate and there was this feeling to me many times I had it and it would occur often trying to carry the groceries, groceries up, you know, a four, a four story walk up, um, standing there in the rain, fumbling with the keys and thinking, God, I just wish I had help. Right. I wish I had a teammate. Yeah. And when I solved that, I, my, I feel like my life opened up.

Speaker 1: (07:45)

I love that. From an influencer perspective in my life. It sounds like you had some various similar influences from behaviors, but is there, is there someone that you can think back to who, you know, whether it was early years or middle years, or even early career that had a big influence on your life? Sounds like David has, has done that for you For sure. Yeah. Um, but someone where you remember going Yeah, either, you know, that's who I wanna be or I wanna be like that, or that's the way to do it. Yeah.

Speaker 2: (08:17)

My, so my Aunt John is a remarkable human being. And, um, she lost her three children in a fire 40 years ago, 39 years ago. My cousins my first cousins, and we were all about the same age. My one girl cousin, we were exactly the same age, and she was my best buddy. I was nine. And it's horrible. And, uh, John's life literally was gone. Everything, her house was gone, her clothes were gone, her family was gone. Her and her husband, my uncle David had already split. And, um, she, she somehow managed to exist to still exist. She went back to school. She got her undergrad and her master's and her doctorate. And she went to DC and worked for Senator Rockefeller, helping people with disabilities. Who, of those 54 million Americans, the majority live underneath the poverty line. It's a, it's a terrible loop that you can't get out of sort of furnished by like the tax system.

Speaker 2: (09:17)

Anyways, so she was at sometimes my surrogate mother, cuz my mother had moved away. And, and I think in a way I was her sort of surrogate daughter, but I ended up working for her. She's, she's the one that brought me to the Walmart project. That was her project. And she always, what, what I love about John is this horrible thing has happened to her, but the grace with which she listens to anyone else's, is endless. You know, because you, she's just got this way about her and her wisdom and kindness. I mean, when she says life is too short, she knows, Right? And it, whatever the advice that she gives anybody, I'm always just amazed that she's not thinking, Are you kidding me? Your, your wimpy problems compared to what's happened to me? You know? But that's not her at all.

Speaker 2: (10:08)

Um, so she's been a great guide, obviously as, um, just a human. But then because we work together also, she taught me a lot about how to lead other humans. And I, and I aspire, Kathy, I'm, I'm, I mess it up a lot. You know, I do. One of the best things about her is she lets people make mistakes. And that's a huge, I think that's one of the best qualities of leadership is to know that I'm hiring you, and I've said this to my team, it doesn't matter how much you, you might something up. Your level of mistake is so superior that I don't care. I want you to, I just trust you to go do it. Figure it out.

Speaker 1: (10:52)

I love that capabilities, regardless of the stumbles way, way out, exceed the, whatever the challenge or failure is. So yeah, instilling that as a, as a leader into even as a peer into people that you work with, I think that's probably one of the strongest messages you can give someone that enables their success. So. Exactly. Clearly, clearly she's taught and guide as well. Yeah. Okay. So now this is probably gonna be an easier question for you than some of my other guests. Some people struggle over this, but what's the song? Or is there a song that's epitomizes your career path or maybe how you're feeling these days in your career? You got a lot going on the song that really resonates you. Maybe a touchstone .

Speaker 2: (11:35)

It, it has nothing to do with the lyrics. Um, but so my husband's spanned. So we met because David was the guitar player for a band called The Wells, which had our favorite record of the year, my first year at xm. Now he is in sales and has short hair and wears Chinos, Sadly . But anyways, , he still plays the guitar for me, which I love. Um, so there the Well song I Am A Lever is one of my favorite songs because I love the guitar, uh, riff that he plays. And the reason it's meaningful to me especially is because, so when I was at our first startup accelerator in New York City, so I had to go and live in New York for four months. I hate New York. I I, it's filthy. I'm sorry, everybody who lives there, but I just hate it.

Speaker 2: (12:22)

And, um, I've had to, you know, I live an hour and a half from the city soon. I've had, I used to go in there every week, but I had to live there for four months and it was just torture. And I started smoking again. And, um, cuz I felt like you had to, to survive. And so at the demo day, everyone is younger than me too. I'm, I'm 48 than I was 41 I guess, but everyone's, you know, twenties and all of them, all of the entrepreneurs had a theme song that you could enter in walk into before you did your presentation to a room of like, I don't know, 900 people. It's a pretty big room. You could have a theme song. And they all had edm, , all of them had electronic music. But I had a rock song, this, this great drum rift and, and the, the turnaround and turn, No, no, no, no, no.

Speaker 2: (13:10)

And uh, it was my husband playing me into the room. And so accidentally I stood out, you know, which was useful in a, in a sea of venture capitalists. Um, and what I also like about in that moment too, that I noticed is that that song is a real song where there's space in the music. So if you look at, um, a sound file of a, of music, right? Songs mostly today is just a big wall of a zigzag of sound on in the audio file because people stopped leaving space in the music. So there's nowhere for your ear to take a break. And there's nowhere for like, as a human to get that breath. You know? It's the same way in writing the space is important how it looks. Right. You know? Yep. Um, and so that's the other reason it stood out is because there was like this space in the room. The interesting thing about that, Kathy, is of course the way I stand out generally is , there's a lot of space around me. You know, me as ceo, me as an online personality for my brand, me trying to articulate what you're asking me here today. You know, I'm, I'm not a, I feel like I'm, that whole we talked about before, like, I'm not complete. That's how it feels.

Speaker 1: (14:35)

Yeah. And, and I think that's another really great point in that if, when we feel we're complete, what do we start missing? Because we're not looking for the next thing. We're not exactly allowing the space. I love the way you put that, um, for the, the opportunity for that new thing. Maybe the thing we didn't even know we needed or wanted or would enjoy to come, if we think about ourselves as complete as done is, you know, ticking off all of the boxes, uh, proverbial or real. Um, I think there's a greater opportunity to miss out on something. So I, I hadn't, I, I had realized, and it's interesting that obviously with your music background and me with absolutely none other than I love music. Part of the learning curve of, of this podcast is I always close it out with the, the song that the, the person mentions. And that's one of the things I'm noticing is the pattern in the music. Mm-hmm. and the ebbs And the flows. And the breaks Exactly. And what that means and where to find things. And it's, it's fascinating. I mean, there's a whole, I, if I could go back and do a study of music and language in communications, I think, uh, that should have been my thesis.

Speaker 2: (15:45)

Yeah. It's so important because that space, by the way, in all the ways we're talking about, it gives the listener, the viewer, the reader, the friend, the opportunity to, to participate. It gives you room to connect. Do you know what I'm saying? Yeah. Right. As opposed to just the wall. You know, Brian Kramer, who's I'm assuming our mutual friend, or if you don't know, Brian should, Yeah, he's great. Um, there's a discussion he led on Facebook a couple years ago and it was talking about perfection. And I, I was really interested in this conversation at the time and I was thinking about humans and it is sort of a bit of a religious thing, but a humans, I feel personally feel that in order to be fully human, you must, to your point, always be being aspiring to perfection. It's not getting to perfection, it's the aspiration that is the reason to live. It's the reason to be. Right.

Speaker 1: (16:38)

Yeah. And per and perfection can be

Speaker 2: (16:40)

Anything. Anything. You just have to try. If you're not trying you, you might as well just lie down and die. You have to try picking

Speaker 1: (16:46)

Up. On that note, if your career were a street name, an actual road, what would it be?

Speaker 2: (16:53)

Foxville. .

Speaker 1: (16:58)

Now is that a road or a street?

Speaker 2: (17:01)

It's the highway. . Um, might be the, what's the German one with? No, no speed. The aban might be the aban. No, um, that's not, that's sort of tongue in cheek. I think it is. Um, the wire. And I say that because my first instinct was to think about the thread, cuz like, I like that the thread of, of life connects for me, but only does because I've made it so, or I've spun it. So, but I think that's part of the joy of the life is when the threads connect. And I chose a wire because a wire is a bit more sturdy. And also I like the sound of when you pluck a wire , you know, there's, there's something to that. And then there's the type tight wire, obviously metaphor. And I feel like I'm always on that wire.

Speaker 1: (17:51)

We all, it's uh, again, one of the challenges, and as I was telling you, travel has, has picked up, right? Yeah. Events are back. Um, and people are having a really hard time, I finding navigate them. Yeah. The, the vibe at conferences, I mean, content marketing world is an example. I, I followed that up directly with Dreamforce and the vibe is off. There's something people are trying to figure out that face to face, again, the new gen of, of people who, you know, this is their first foray into events because they just started their career during Oh yeah. During that nasty C word. And they haven't even been to an office, right? So this, you and I, across the screen is, is their version of interpersonal interactions. You put them in a room of people and they have no idea what to do. Especially room full of strangers.

Speaker 1: (18:41)

Yeah. Um, and as an introvert, I get and respect that wanting to retreat to the corner. Totally understand it. But, um, it's been really interesting. It's been a real, um, study in sociology, I think, um, in, in how people are are responding to, to this. And I mean, I look at your career and, and the diversity that you've had 25 year, uh, career in music. You had your own agency before that worked with some huge brands like Walmart. You now are CEO and founder of an AI artificial intelligence platform that is just gaining momentum. I mean, people are just raving about it. Some of the, the digging that I did into got into, but what does that career journey look like? You know, and, and was there, what was some of the pivotal moments? So moving from music into starting this, starting lately, um, you know, how did that all come to be?

Speaker 2: (19:42)

Um, thank you, by the way. Well, so radio , it was a great ride. And I would take it again for sure. The radio I was in was, I, I say lawless and the lawlessness was part of the fun, you know, so the good part was I was able to program my own music. You know, that doesn't happen anymore, fyi. And I was live for a lot of radio, so I could experiment and learn all the tricks of not only how to shape your voice, literally. And that only comes from practicing cracking that mic on the overnights, you know, where you can experiment and no one cares. And I was also, because I was programming radio, I, my, my mentors Jody Peterson and Steve's end, um, were teaching me how to arrange music in a way. So it's a conversation happening, right? So the the whole thing, even though I wield the mic, you Kathy feel like you have a voice and that you're on this journey with me, you know, know it's a collective conversation.

Speaker 2: (20:49)

That skill is what I learned to translate through writing as a fiction, writing major in college. And what I learned to take with me to, to Walmart and to lately in radio. Like, the bad part though, about getting back to that was, um, boys club. So here I am at xm I'm at the show. Everybody wants to be there. It's just mayhem. Tony Bennett is walking by you three feet away. There's crap in posters hanging from this giant open rooms. This is before everyone had open offices, you know, this was a new idea. And all these, they'd cherry pick the best of the best all to be here. And everyone mostly has a face for radio. I do not. And I'm one of, you know, 10 women among 300 jocks or programmers as we like to call ourselves more. And um, the first day my boss said, If you ever, ever, ever, ever go to hr, I'll ruin your career.

Speaker 2: (21:46)

First thing. Wow. First day. And then he would tell I was the music director. So all of the a and r guys that he was introducing me to from the different labels, he would ask them, Did you talk to her on the phone? Did she get you hard? Meaning like, how did her voice sound? You know, Isn't, isn't she sexy? And that was just a ta a taste of how it was. Now I also participated in that because it was rewarded. It was, you know, I could hang with the guys. And this is in 2006. So like, we didn't have, Me too didn't exist. There was no, like, you didn't have the term hostile work environment, which is actually what was happening to me. So like, I, I killed it. My station was great. All the work I did was, you know, great. And I was constantly getting on.

Speaker 2: (22:37)

And I couldn't understand why. I'm like, I'm, I'm, I'm achieving an a plus here. Why am I not getting the credit for this? What, why am I in trouble still? And I was young and remember I had that, that hole to fill still. And so I was looking for approval constantly. And I felt deep shame because I didn't get it from my male bosses, right? Cuz that's who was my boss. They all were. And um, my body started trying to tell me something, Kathy, it was listening and when I wasn't, and so I had a, a series of weird ailments. Like I had a rash on my torso for like a year that no one could explain. I fell down the stairs, tore ligament into my ankle, was on crutch crutches or in a cast for about a year and a half. I, my hands started to get epicondylitis and tendonitis so, so badly that the pain never went away.

Speaker 2: (23:26)

It was waking me up at night and I couldn't type anymore. And so I kept trying to solve this for myself because no one was helping me. I looked fine, I was a complainer at work because I needed a special accommodations. So I was perceived as a huge pain in the s I had no money. I mean, it's radio, right? So I lived on ramen and two buck chuck and here I am having to buy a laptop, which is really expensive. Having to figure out that this thing called dragon naturally speaking voice activated software existed for paraplegics. I found one of four coaches in the country who happened to be a fan of my channel. So I paid her in CDs cuz I got them for free, you know? And in the meantime, I hired an intern, I'd pay him in cigarettes and rides to work to come and type for me at, at the, at the office because XM wouldn't help me.

Speaker 2: (24:14)

You know, it was terrible. I was terrified. I couldn't do what you and everyone else can do. How would, how would I work? What would I do? And so I ended up moving to a, a different company, um, another music related company. And it was the same thing I got there. I'm a colossal pain in the because I need a, I need my own office cuz the voice activated software hears everything. It, so it can't learn unless it's silent in the room listening only to you. Right? So what a pain am I in the? I I need an accommodation and they won't give it to me. And so I'm, you know, I'm collapsing, I'm, I'm toxic. I'm smoking all the time. I'm crying all the time. I, I've got eastern, western medicine p poking me, doing the weirdest I can find to do. I'm trying everything. I'm trying, I'm like, I'm, I'm, I'm making every effort to make this better, you know? And my dad one day kind of had it with me, and very lovingly shook me by the shoulders and said, You can't work for other people. And there's no shame in that.

Speaker 1: (25:18)

Oh, that's profound .

Speaker 2: (25:20)

Yeah. He thinks I don't listen to him, but I, I listen , he, he doesn't know. I talk about him on podcast, I've told him, but he, he's not really internet friendly.

Speaker 1: (25:31)

, you know, I get that. Yeah.

Speaker 2: (25:35)

So anyways, um, that was a pivotal moment because in that,

Speaker 1: (25:39)

So that was a turning point for you.

Speaker 2: (25:40)

Yeah, yeah, it really was. And he hit, he had hit on two things, obviously. One is there's another way ob obvious, and then two, the shame. That's what I felt. I felt shame. And it's because Kathy, we do this as women specifically as we take it on. Because all that was going on my mind was this is my fault. I have done this, I have caused this, right? Mm-hmm. , I'm not getting their approval cuz I'm not doing something just, just right enough, whatever it is, you know, that that's the tape that runs through your head.

Speaker 1: (26:08)

Yeah. And, and like so many women, um, and it's interesting, I'm just finishing up, uh, Brene Brown's book on shame, which I would encourage all to read or listen to. Wow. Um, some really great context. And it's time for flexion. So, so that's huge. You go out on your own, you start up this great company leveraging and really understanding how impactful that technology can be. Um, you having been an early adopter of AI and, and, um, machine to text, so being able to leverage that voice to text technology and whatnot, What's your current role like, because I mean, the compromises and situations that you were put in and, you know, we all own our story, so as you say, allowed yourself to be put into, I've gotta imagine that has significantly shaped the work environment that you've created for people, um, at the company. And I'm, I'm wondering how the compromises are different now you clearly you had a lot of compromising of yourself in, in radio years and, and probably beyond that, but what does it look like for you today? How is, how, how is it different, better and, and maybe what are some of the same things that you struggle with?

Speaker 2: (27:28)

Yeah, so the best part is I listen to my body when it is yelling at me. I know something has to change and it's usually some, I mean, it's not a physical thing, it's something in my life. It's not going well and I need to address it. Right? Um, so there's that very clear line for me now. And I, and I'm a bit crazy about it. Like, I, I, um, I go for a walk every morning, Every morning I go and I have to rip my outta here. I, I got here at 11, I got here 20 seconds before I was due to talk to you because I had to have that walk this morning and I just was late getting it the other. But like, I had to do it. And if I had to call you and be like, Kathy, I'm gonna me a couple minutes late, I was willing to do that.

Speaker 2: (28:12)

I gotta do it. You know, I go to the gym every day and I, and I lift weights and I'm trying to do my meditation. Like these are the non-negotiables. But there's more than that. I mean, like, I, I, because of my hands, I, I do require a series of physical therapy and everything from acupuncture to massage. Like, there's a lot of things I need to do so that I can touch the computer a little bit every day cuz I have to do demos and stuff like this. Um, so, you know, as you had touched on earlier, like that's just, that's like three hours a day of, you know? Yeah. That's just like, to get to the same place you are, right? Forget doing the laundry and cleaning the toilets and all that other garbage, remembering birthdays and all that. Um, and then there's work, you know, so the self-care required, the, that priority is, is a good thing.

Speaker 2: (29:06)

But at the same time, I'm the first person that takes the cost of anything. It's a weird thing because here I am trying to heal myself constantly, but I'm also still constantly abusing myself. Right. You know, so, so one of our key team members just, um, accepted to position somewhere else, Lauren. And at first blush it was like, holy. But then immediately it was like, thank you universe, this avenue we all needed right now, here, here's the opportunity to get off your right. To change it up. Don't be complacent, look at, have a new perspective, shake it up. Like all that stuff. I'm really looking forward to this time. Right now I'm a Capricorn, so change I don't really look forward to, but I know that it's what I need because I could feel my, my mind just being flat. Do you know?

Speaker 1: (30:01)

Yeah. And, and your ability to recognize that, be at a capric coroner, . I know nothing about, um, astrology. I'm a, I'm a Gemini, cancer cuffs baby. So you're dealing with three of us here.

Speaker 3: (30:16)

Entire hilarious.

Speaker 1: (30:21)

But I, I have been told that I am, I am all like people. Oh, yeah, that makes sense. , I'm not that's a compli, but let's just move on

Speaker 3: (30:30)

There. You

Speaker 1: (30:31)

Pick up on what you wanna learn, right? Yeah. So I choose to let that one go. But it sounds like you've found, I mean, so many people go through challenges and hardships and, and, and different parts of their life and they continue to run into the wall. It sounds like you've recognized the wall. You may run into it occasionally as we all do, but you've learned when and how, uh, to go around it or over it or under it as the case presents itself

Speaker 2: (30:59)

Through I go through

Speaker 3: (31:02)

Or through probably a brick wall too. Yeah. It

Speaker 2: (31:06)

Sounds like. Yes. My, my favorite investor, Joan Wilson always says to me, you can walk through walls. And that's true. And that sometimes it's because I'm so stubborn, Cathy, you know, that's part of the problem is the, it's, there's an addiction. You guys have all, all seen these, like whether it's Elizabeth Holmes or that the weirdo from We, we Work, whatever his name was, like yes. or, uh, Facebook guy, whatever. Like there is a certain, or or even Elon Musk, there's a certain amount of, I don't wanna disparage anybody by saying this, but like, there's a certain amount of crazy, for lack of of better word, that you have to have for this, you know? And I have it too. And it's, for me, I believe it's like an addiction to the ups and downs. Like, you know, I'm, I'm not delusional, but I'm so stubborn that I'm, there's a lot, my, my threshold for, for pain and is very, very high because I want it so bad.

Speaker 1: (32:05)

Yeah. And certainly, uh, well then you have found the right industry because

Speaker 3: (32:09)

Start next,

Speaker 1: (32:11)

Having been through a few of them, you are, you were in your sweet, sweet

Speaker 3: (32:16)

Spot, my friend. This is,

Speaker 1: (32:17)

This is exactly where you were meant to be.

Speaker 2: (32:20)


Speaker 1: (32:20)

But if you weren't doing what you're doing, I mean, you are here by choice. So, you know, I appreciate that. It might be like, nope, all good. Um, but if you weren't in the tech space, if you weren't, you know, building this amazing organization and, and, and technology and really being on the cusp of things, what would you be, where, what would you be doing

Speaker 2: (32:40)

Practically speaking if there was life after? Lately? I would love to be a part of an accelerator and be a mentor within an accelerator. Um, because I do like being around the energy, you know, And I feel like I could be incredibly useful there as a woman and as someone who, you know, so many entrepreneurs are, are so bright-eyed and there's no map, zero map for anything we're doing. Like it's almost, I'm not gonna say pointless, but I am, it's almost pointless to ask for advice because like, no advice matters. You just have to throw it out on the, on the wall and see what happens. You just have to, Right. But there is advice around, I'm gonna call it the rules of engagement, the emotive parts, the mental parts. Um, I'm really good at that. And I really wanna give people the knowledge that I didn't ha I had to earn, earn the very hard way, , um, and hopefully shortcut their, their mental, um, anguish. But I think that would be, I, it's hard, Kathy, because like, I can't, my dad said it, I can't work for other people, you know, I can't. I know I can't. And so I'm making this salary. I mean, I should be making two or three times of what I'm making and I'm 48 and I don't really have any savings. And you know, it's a little embarrassing at this point, but

Speaker 1: (34:06)

Never embarrassing to follow your passion and to do, recognize what you're good at and pursue it. So, um, I think it shows amazing, um, courage and commitment to self to, to pursue that. And, um, I hear you on, on working for others, , um, not my Bag . Um, you can listen to other episodes. I won't, I won't go through it again for my, for, for the people who've heard it a couple of times. But, you know, I, I made my way from a very small startup where I was the first external non nepotism hire, and in trying to stay with small orgs, ended up working for IBM because of acquisitions, um, and failed, I guess I was gonna say abysmally, but actually failed in, in stellar manner, at ibm because I just, it was not my, my jam. Like I just, yeah, it, it's not the way my brain works.

Speaker 1: (35:03)

It's, I don't understand not being able to go into anybody's office regardless of whether the CEO or the janitor and say either I have this brilliant idea, or go, What the hell were you talking about in that meeting? Yeah. Um, and as you know, when you work for other people, especially in certain organizations, that just doesn't fly and you can't do that. So being in a place where I'm accountable for my success and my ideas, but also able to encourage and, and boy up and challenge others that I I work with is immensely important to me. And, and hence why consulting is, you know, I love it. I mean, I could sit across your pick your worst person you've ever worked with in your life. , I could sit across from the desk and work with that person on a gig because I know it's short term. I know it's gonna be three, four months. Yeah. I can deal with anything they have to say. I thankfully, we don't no longer have to put up with the that you did

Speaker 1: (36:02)

. Um, I say that figuratively speaking, in an ideal world, we don't, there are still so many cases where, you know, people are still being told. Yeah, yeah, me too. Yeah, yeah. You know, harassment. Yeah, yeah. If you report anything, you're gone. Just know that. Um, and it's, and it's awful. But, you know, as we close out, because again, I know you're super busy and, um, I'm glad you got your walk in. Not sure if you got your meditation in, but I'm wanna make sure I give you space for that. Is there, you've given, there's been so much that I've, I've taken away from our conversation today, but is there one piece of advice, maybe, you know, focusing on the women in our audience, um, your best piece of advice, whether it's on life, career, success, that you'd like to share?

Speaker 2: (36:45)

Yeah, so I just I just shared this with someone else recently and it is, don't be nice is my advice. Be kind, which is a different thing, but don't be so nice. I feel like we go way out of our way to be nice and what's the cost? You know, it doesn't mean don't be considerate, but like, you don't need to be so polite. You don't need to undercut your own authority with weak words. Like I, I think, or I just might, or I maybe, you know, like just say what you wanna say.

Speaker 1: (37:19)

Love that . Yeah. If we could only all be more like that ,

Speaker 2: (37:24)

We would get so much more done, Kathy, wouldn't we? If Right. It's like,

Speaker 1: (37:28)

Yes, absolutely. And I am, I am blessed. My business partner enables that. You know, that would be my wish for all is to be able to find that working relationship. Um, and it's not all roses. We don't always, you know, see eye to eye on stuff, but I always know no matter what, you know what, I don't have to, I can say what I wanna say. Yeah.

Speaker 2: (37:48)

There's a lot of freedom in that. Yeah.

Speaker 1: (37:49)

Yeah, there is. Absolutely. Kate, thank you so much for today's conversation. Your experience, um, is inspirational. Your advice is so insightful. I have taken so much away from this and I'm getting off our call and I am putting a reminder, um, in my calendar to get my button gear on this whole meditation thing. And I'm gonna do it on my walks. I have two dogs and I walk every day. So there's no reason why I can't multitask, although I think that's probably not the idea behind meditation doesn't

Speaker 2: (38:18)

Matter. Just count in what you can ,

Speaker 1: (38:21)

But at, but at least I'm getting it done, right? Yes. Yes. Um, so thank you so much. Um, and to my audience, thanks for listening to Uncharted Journeys with me, your host, Kathy McNight. I hope you enjoyed our conversation, um, my conversation with Kate and how hearing about how not being nice but in the nicest way really helps you achieve your goals. Um, and if you're keen to hear more amazing stories from amazing women, join me next week when I'll be speaking with Dia Bondi to hear about her auctioneering prowess and how her contagious confidence empowers the people and company she works with and really helps women get more of what they want. As always, you can head over to uncharted journeys.net to sign up for our email list, as well as check out the links and resources in the show notes before. And we will be checking out and leveraging lately AI for, uh, some of our social posts. So let us know how you feel about those. Um, and thanks again for listening. See you next time. And until then, enjoy the journey

Speaker 4: (39:54)


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