The Sugar Daddy Podcast

27: Leadership Lessons from a CEO: Denise Conroy's Road to the Top

September 01, 2023 The Sugar Daddy Podcast Season 2 Episode 27
27: Leadership Lessons from a CEO: Denise Conroy's Road to the Top
The Sugar Daddy Podcast
More Info
The Sugar Daddy Podcast
27: Leadership Lessons from a CEO: Denise Conroy's Road to the Top
Sep 01, 2023 Season 2 Episode 27
The Sugar Daddy Podcast

“Queenmaker,” Denise Conroy is one of the 2% of women globally who have made it to the CEO role. She was the youngest Chief Marketing Officer in television history at The Outdoor Channel and her industry-renowned gift for strategy and trendspotting landed her the CMO role at HGTV. Denise’s groundbreaking strategy took the network from #17 to #4 in the ratings in only 18 months, generating an additional $250 million in revenue and crossing $1 billion in advertising sales for the first time in the brand’s history. In 2021, she founded Themy, a one-of-a-kind executive coaching practice dedicated to advancing more female executives to the C-suite and boardroom. Take a peek behind this incredible curtain as Jessica and Brandon dive into her leadership, advocacy and unique approach to empowering women through financial literacy and self-actualization. This riveting discussion is packed with life lessons, professional insights, and an opportunity to witness Denise's journey to becoming a successful CEO and entrepreneur. It’s a must-listen for anyone aspiring to get into leadership, and the C-Suite. Her first book The Blueprint: Playing Big with Your Life & Career is slated for release this month (September 2023).

If you’d like to leave us a question to be answered during future episodes, you can do so at Speakpipe. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Be sure to connect with us on Instagram

Learn more about Brandon, and Oak City Financial

Schedule 30 minutes with Brandon 

Please remember to subscribe, rate, review and share our podcast far and wide. It means so much to us!

Notes from the show:
Connect with Denise and view her offerings
www.themyllc.com
Connect with Denise on LinkedIn
Denise’s Email: dconroy@themyllc.com

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

“Queenmaker,” Denise Conroy is one of the 2% of women globally who have made it to the CEO role. She was the youngest Chief Marketing Officer in television history at The Outdoor Channel and her industry-renowned gift for strategy and trendspotting landed her the CMO role at HGTV. Denise’s groundbreaking strategy took the network from #17 to #4 in the ratings in only 18 months, generating an additional $250 million in revenue and crossing $1 billion in advertising sales for the first time in the brand’s history. In 2021, she founded Themy, a one-of-a-kind executive coaching practice dedicated to advancing more female executives to the C-suite and boardroom. Take a peek behind this incredible curtain as Jessica and Brandon dive into her leadership, advocacy and unique approach to empowering women through financial literacy and self-actualization. This riveting discussion is packed with life lessons, professional insights, and an opportunity to witness Denise's journey to becoming a successful CEO and entrepreneur. It’s a must-listen for anyone aspiring to get into leadership, and the C-Suite. Her first book The Blueprint: Playing Big with Your Life & Career is slated for release this month (September 2023).

If you’d like to leave us a question to be answered during future episodes, you can do so at Speakpipe. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Be sure to connect with us on Instagram

Learn more about Brandon, and Oak City Financial

Schedule 30 minutes with Brandon 

Please remember to subscribe, rate, review and share our podcast far and wide. It means so much to us!

Notes from the show:
Connect with Denise and view her offerings
www.themyllc.com
Connect with Denise on LinkedIn
Denise’s Email: dconroy@themyllc.com

Speaker 1:

I talk to a lot of folks that teach leadership, that teach business courses all over the world, and the one thing I said to them is what is the thing that is roundly common trait? Skill in people who are really terrific leaders CEOs, board members, founders, you name it and the one thing that came up although the language varied and how it was stated was learning. The best leaders are incredibly intellectually curious and kind of like what you just said, brendan. They're questers, right, we will quest and quest, and quest until we can figure out. You know, here's a hypothesis. I'm going to test it, and until we either prove it or disprove it, we will keep going right. We will not give up. We have a tenacity about us.

Speaker 2:

Hey everyone, welcome to the Sugar Daddy Podcast. I'm Jessica and I'm Brandon, and we're the Norwoods, a husband and wife team here to demystify the realm of dollars so it all makes sense while giving you a glimpse into our relationship with money and each other. We are so glad you're here. Let's get started.

Speaker 3:

Our content is intended to be used, and must be used, for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment, based upon your own personal circumstances. You should take independent financial advice from a licensed professional in connection with, or independently research and verify any information you find in our podcasts and we should rely upon, whether for the purpose of making an investment decision or otherwise.

Speaker 2:

Babe, I'm really excited today because we are sitting down with Denise Conroy, who is the queen maker herself.

Speaker 4:

I can see you. Obviously, if you listen to podcasts, you can't see your face. How big her smile is right now.

Speaker 2:

I know Well. So I have been following Denise on LinkedIn, kind of like a stalker, for a while and I'm just here for it. You guys know I'm here for women, empowering women, centering women and putting women at the table.

Speaker 4:

Also, one of your goals is to make it to the C-suite level.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, let's just put that out there. That is the goal. Denise is one of the 2% of women globally who has made it to the CEO spot. 2%, that's like nothing.

Speaker 4:

I knew it was low. I honestly didn't realize it was that low.

Speaker 2:

It is painfully, disgustingly, embarrassingly low, but we're going to turn it around and we're going to have a positive conversation with Denise today. Denise, thank you so much for being with us on the Sugar Daddy Podcast. We are thrilled to have you in the room. Thank you for having me honored to be here. Yes, absolutely, we're going to get into this bio so that everybody knows who we're talking to. Okay, so I've been following you for a while now. You are growing. You are not shy of having your opinion out there and really leaning in and stating what you mean, what you feel and how to grow as a woman in business. You're growing on TikTok 65,000 followers on TikTok, 28,000 followers and growing on LinkedIn. You are putting yourself out there and here's why. So let's get into the bio. You were born to be a change agent, someone who transformed people and organizations, and, for as long as you can remember, you've been committed to converting good enough to better, which I absolutely love.

Speaker 2:

Denise is uniquely qualified to coach and advise executives on their professional journeys because she has been there. She's been one of the 2% of women globally who have made it to a CEO role, and in 2021, she founded Themme, a one-of-a-kind executive coaching practice dedicated to advancing more female executives to C-suite and the boardroom. She was the youngest chief marketing officer in television history at the Outdoor Channel. Her industry-renowned gift for strategy and trendspotting landed her the chief marketing officer role at HGTV. Denise's groundbreaking strategy took the network from number 17 to number 4 in the ratings in only 18 months, generating an additional $250 million in revenue and crossing $1 billion in advertising sales for the first time in the brand's history. She revived the brand by taking it to unexpected venues like Comic-Con, south by Southwest, and attracting a younger demographic.

Speaker 2:

Okay, I know we're going to get into this. I'm obsessed with HGTV, but I know you have a very different experience. I know, I know. Okay, let's keep going. In 2014, she accepted her first CEO role with Iconic Group, an e-commerce photography company backed by private equity. The three-unit seasonal business had 10,000 employees and global operations. In three years, denise grew revenue by 30% and EBITDA by 73%. Okay, there's a lot of numbers in this biome. I'm going to skip some of this because it's going to get too much for our listeners. Please do, but you're a big deal. When you come into an organization, you change it for the better and it leaves better than you found it. Why is that?

Speaker 1:

Only after having many years of therapy do I know this. I grew up in this chaotic, very dysfunctional family. I was the oldest of four, only girl. I always was like, oh my God, this family is so dysfunctional and I wanted to fix it. I really believe that I found myself a career where I could fix things. I could turn them around. The bigger the mess, the more I want to run it or I want to participate in it.

Speaker 1:

This has so much about me like mental health-wise. What's really interesting is I just took a three-week vacation, which was amazing. I've not taken a vacation as an entrepreneur in two years. I went to Miravol over in the Berkshires. You've probably heard of the Japanese and I know I'll say this wrong Ikigai, which is where you take things that are broken.

Speaker 1:

You put them back together. We didn't do full Ikigai, but we did this thing where we took this little pottery figure and we put it in a dishcloth. We crushed it and then we put it back together. What was really telling is I open up the dishcloth after I've cracked it. I know it's broken and I can tell by the sound of it that it hasn't broken enough for me and I'm pissed. I want a bigger mess. I open this thing up. It's only broken into three really simple places. It was wild because the instructor was like the fact that you're disappointed says so much about who you are, how big of a mess something has to be to warrant your interest or attention. That captures my career, probably, in a nutshell.

Speaker 2:

I love that. I just got a really great visual.

Speaker 4:

You function and dysfunction.

Speaker 1:

Yes, I am. I always joke. I love to read about the apocalypse and all kinds of different viruses and you name it, I'm your girl. I'm always like if there's going to be someone, I feel like. If there's ever, I hope there isn't. That time. That's my time. That's my time to shine.

Speaker 2:

You've assembled your zombie apocalypse, steve? Yes, because that's what he does in his spare time. Totally Everyone has to have a role.

Speaker 1:

Right, I'm here for everybody. I've got other people in my life that are picked. You know what I mean. My brother's a physician. I'm like I got Joe for physician needs, I got this, I got that.

Speaker 4:

See, I'm not crazy. That is something for the team. Other people do the same thing, yeah.

Speaker 2:

I'm not one of those people, but I'm glad that you two are. Yeah, that takes all kinds. We are a financial literacy podcast. Denise, we're going to kick off. I know it sounds like we've kicked off, but we're going to kick off by asking what is your first financial memory?

Speaker 4:

First money, memory First money memory.

Speaker 1:

Good Lord. My parents were an interesting couple. They met each other and my mom got pregnant pretty quick. They didn't know each other very well. My first memory was took them a long time to officially get together I had already been born. They finally got together. This is all stuff I didn't learn until I was an adult. Basically they finally get together, and it's the 70s, so that stuff was kind of taboo. I think I'm maybe three, hell, I could even be younger. I remember them having a really vicious money fight. They were always fighting about money. We were living in this little apartment and my father was like well, if I can't make you happy, then I'm just going to leave. I remember feeling so panicked that my dad was leaving. He did. He left. He got to Ohio, we were in West Virginia and he called my mom and he's basically like if you changed your mind which in hindsight I was like I want to change my mind, right, but that's a whole other ball of them.

Speaker 4:

My mom went, like he said, left. I'm making like, oh, maybe he went to the store around the corner, not a completely different state.

Speaker 1:

He was like, and his thing was I'm going to Texas. I don't know why he had to be in his bonnet to go to Texas, but I just remember being really, really scared and being like, oh my gosh, like my mom was already the breadwinner. She was the one who was working. He hadn't been home from Vietnam for very long, so he was going to school full time on the GI Bill and I was just like, oh my gosh, like it's just going to be me and my mom. So that's probably the earliest money memory I can remember.

Speaker 2:

Do you feel like that had an impact on how you operate now and how you are working tirelessly to position women at the table so that we can make our own decisions, we can make our own money, or do you feel like that was a side effect?

Speaker 1:

No, it absolutely did. So. There's two things that I can contract specifically. Number one I've always been the breadwinner in every relationship and it's not because the men I've been with don't want to be the breadwinner, it's because I am such a control freak because I watched my mom like funny and also kind of not funny. It's both it's both right, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I watched my mother like my mother would bring all the money in and my dad would take it off of her and then she wouldn't. She didn't have her own car. We didn't have a car for a really long time, but there was a time when we had a car and he was the only one who could drive it. There was a big control piece there and I was just like, yeah, that's, I know I wasn't wanting that.

Speaker 1:

So I've done the opposite, which I can't say is entirely great either. Right, so I can control my own destiny. But I guess I do look at all of my female clients. I don't want any of us to have to be dependent on a man, or maybe a partner doesn't have to be a man. I want us to be in relationships because we want to be in relationships, you know, not because somebody is I know that's the Sugar Daddy podcast but not because we need a Sugar Daddy or a Sugar Mama. So I just there's something about being independent, 100% agree.

Speaker 2:

I mean, our tagline is how to become one and how to ensure that you don't need one, right? So it's all about be your own, and we say that all the time. He knows I'm not with him, you know, to keep the lights on or to keep the air conditioning pumping, it's because I want to be here. And doesn't that make for stronger relationships when you know the person is staying because they want to, not because they have to, right, I mean I think that's the relationship I want to be in.

Speaker 4:

I've always said that I wanted someone who wanted to be with me and didn't need to be with me, because there's no way that I can be someone's everything you know.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, that's absolutely. You want to. You want to have a partner and you want that partner I do at least to be their own distinct person. Yeah Right, that they get to do what they need to do and I get to do what I need to do.

Speaker 2:

Yes, exactly.

Speaker 4:

I think it can be hard for a lot of men because I think a lot of times that's not modeled for them growing up. So, like for me, my I was raised. My brother and I were raised by my mom, and my mom was a college professor. You know she was educated, did well for herself, and so I'm used to seeing a strong, independent woman. So, but for a lot of other men that's intimidating.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, my husband is. It's interesting, it's my second marriage. My first marriage my husband didn't have a lot of those role models, you know, for women to be out there and in charge and strong, you know, from a financial perspective. My husband comes from a family where, yeah, his dad was the breadwinner but his mom was brilliant, like his mother went to college when she was 16 years old. She went to Bryn Maher Like she was literally like a genius.

Speaker 1:

And it's really wild because my husband it was funny one of his siblings said this once or like the first time they met me a couple of years ago like man, ned really likes strong women and I was like, and that's a problem why I'm like thanks, yeah, thank you, thanks for the compliment and for Ned too. But I think that, when you know, I got to know his mom better, although she stayed home with her kids, really bright, really forthright, right, she's not a person who you're just going to whip around and I think that obviously that was instrumental in you know the type of women that he likes, that he's attracted to.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think it's so much of who we become and what we look for in partners does come out of our childhood, right, so it's like I mean it's so formative, okay. So I know we could get into a lot in your childhood and you're very vocal about the traumas that you've experienced, the things that you've held on to in your lifetime and that you haven't. You know that you didn't work out until you know well into your 40s, and so just thank you in general for being vocal and being honest and so vulnerable and transparent. I think, especially in the climate that we're in and in business, it's so important, right, because people bring their stuff to work.

Speaker 2:

I mean it just is what it is right. Like we can't separate life and work. That's not how it works. But I'm really interested and we're going to start with HGTV because, again right, I'm obsessed, but I know you are not. So walk us through your experience at HGTV and how it's shaped you and just what you went through there.

Speaker 1:

So it was interesting Before I got tapped to be the chief marketing officer at HGTV, I had worked at a small television network on the West Coast it was in Southern California called the Outdoor Channel. So if you're not somebody who's into hunting or fishing or shooting sports, you're not going to. You've never watched that, you just haven't. And we were like, right, that's not your thing, right? So a lot of people who live in urban areas who aren't into guns or not into fishing or not in any of that. So I obviously grew up in West Virginia. But what was weird about it was our family. My dad had come back from Vietnam and he was pretty anti-gun, anti-war, anti-everything. You know it depends, different people are affected in different ways by war and he came back very much as this advocate for no more of it, right, he felt like it was a suckers vet and so we didn't have guns, we didn't go deer hunting, we didn't fish, we didn't do any of that stuff in West Virginia, which made us weird.

Speaker 2:

Right. Isn't that what West Virginia is?

Speaker 4:

That's all I think about as far as West Virginia is.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, and so we were just the only people who would be the first day of like deer season, and we'd be like I don't even know what this day is, but it was wild because I worked there at the Outdoor Channel for seven years.

Speaker 1:

It was the first time I said that I'd ever worked in TV, had a lot of chances there and a lot of opportunity for promotion. And what's wild is you would not have guessed that a woman like me would have thrived there. Yet I did so and it was really good for me because I, you know, I grew up in this family. It was pretty progressive, pretty liberal, and it taught me a lot of things that it showed me the other side, which I needed to see. Okay, to be a more well-rounded person. So I get the call from a recruiter on HGTV and I'm like, yeah, this I knew I wanted to be a CEO and I'm like I need to work at a bigger brand as a CMO. So I'm going to take this jump. They were based in Knoxville, Tennessee, and they had a really hard time recruiting somebody to come to Knoxville Because, let's face it, media is in Los Angeles and New York and people who live in those markets typically do not want to live in Knoxville, tennessee. So I was like, well, I grew up in West Virginia. It's not that far away Can't be so much different. It was very different.

Speaker 1:

So I moved there with my husband at the time. He and I had been married for, at that point, almost 20 years. He was my college sweetheart and we had all kinds of problems that I was just completely blinding myself to, to be fair. So we moved there and it was very isolating, very difficult to get into the culture, just in Knoxville, because I don't have kids. So in a market like that, if you don't have children, if you're not going to soccer games, right, hard to make friends. So we didn't have a lot of friends. Neither of us did the.

Speaker 1:

I had a lot of people who resented me from day one. Specifically, I had these five women one was the senior vice president of HR and they just decided they were gonna make my life miserable every day and what sucked about that was I'm a pretty strong old person. I wasn't used to being bullied on that level. Of course I've been bullied as a kid. I think we've all had some sort of a bullying experience, but it was never chronic for me, right. I was always the kid who, like I punch in the face eventually, right, you know, and we'd be good, you know, and it was hard for me, it made me feel weak, it made me feel ashamed that these people I was a, you know, senior vice president level, the chief marketing officer in function, and these people just I mean, if I posted something on Facebook once I said, this is the best pie ever and it was around we made, I made a comp, I was a friend and I got called in HR for that, you know, and I, I mean I just got nitpick, nitpick, nitpick and at the same time I was doing amazing work. I mean, you read it in my bio. So it was really hard for me because I really like the job, but I really hated the toxic environment that I had to suffer through. So I was only there for three years. I did amazing things under incredible stress which, if you know my background, was trauma. That's not weird. I mean, I'm pretty good at thriving under really awful things.

Speaker 1:

And one day I had to meet with this woman from HR and you know I could not put her off anymore. I've been traveling and I've been just put her off, put her off, had to meet with her. She insisted on these check ins and the check ins would be a complete litany of how I was a Bad person, not a good match for the role, not a good match for the company, didn't? It wasn't be fitting of the culture the problem with her, as she had started out as the receptionist 20 years previous. So in that culture you start as the receptionist for the guy who started the business. She became the SVP of HR and I'd love to say she went back to college or she got more training. She really didn't. It was all on the job training and, to be fair, other than the fact that she was toxic and awful, she wasn't very good at her job, right, but she wasn't equipped better way to say it.

Speaker 1:

So I, literally, on this one day, was just like I've had it, I'm done, and she sent across the table with me and I said I quit, and she was like what? And I said I quit, and she just sat there like stunned and I said I quit, now get the F out of my office and go, you know. So I was able to thankfully negotiate a really nice exit package which I wasn't entitled to. I didn't have a contract. So you know I will say that the president of the network at the time was a woman named Kathleen Finch. Kathleen was very classy, very professional. She basically just said to me tell me what you want, I make sure you get it. Do? I think that they knew that I had a pretty good suit? You know? Potentially? Yeah, I do. I mean, I'm talking slut shaming. Like I had lost 50 pounds, I started to go.

Speaker 1:

My marriage fell apart, my husband cheated on me with our real estate agent, so all this happened at the same time. Add to that that I had never gone to therapy for the sexual assault that I suffered when I was five. So I was Raped by a group of teenagers in my neighborhood, in our apartment complex when I was five years old. Had never told a soul, so all of this hit perfect storm at the time. Here's the thing, though I needed to go through that, and it was horrible, was terrible, but I needed to go through it so I could come out the other side, the person I am today. If I hadn't gone through that, I'd still be asleep at the wheel. I think I was asleep for a good 15 years in that first marriage. So for me, although I hate the toxicity and I'm very vocal about what I went through at HGTV, I don't want others to go through it. I needed to go through that to assert myself and find myself, if that makes sense.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, there's so much to unpack. Okay, yeah, that's a lot. Where do you think that animosity, just for starters, came from right, like why did these five women Band together to make your life miserable? Was it because jealousy yeah. Was it because you were an outsider, could they brought you in? They, you know they tapped you on the shoulder. Was it that they had one of their friends in their circle that they wanted, you know, to take that role? Like what do you think it was yes, yes and yes, so let's start with.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, there was a lot of jealousy. So one of the women was my VP of creative. That was in this I call him the gang of five. She was my VP of creative and she thought that she was ready for that that CMO role. She, I knew, threw her hat in the ring way before I got hired and they rejected her. Right, the, the folks who were in the leader in leadership, the network, rejected her. They didn't think she was ready. After having worked with her for a couple years, I can tell you she wasn't ready like and I'll be honest, I don't think she'll ever be ready. She was a person who just wanted to spend money on things that were cool, not things that were impactful, which you see a lot with with some creative people. So she just really did not have and she was easily scorn, didn't have good EQ, like there are a lot of things there that did not make her, you know, great promotion material.

Speaker 1:

I would say that the woman from HR felt like she was a cultural gatekeeper. I would also say that, which of course, she's not. I would say she also probably thought that the woman you know who thought she should have had the role should have had the role, and I think too, she was a typical white feminist. Let's be fair White women are really nasty to each other and we're really nasty to each other because it's a way of upholding whiteness.

Speaker 1:

Patriarchy, I mean, we are, whether we like it or not, where the handmaidens for patriarchy. A lot of the time and a lot of times we'll go along with it because we're like whoa, it's just the system and I'm just getting ahead and that's not wrong, but it's also not right. Right. So I think that was a piece of it and I just think that some people I represented change because I came in and first to your point, they were like who the hell is this woman coming in from the outdoor channel? That's a crappy network, what? But nobody got there. Well, yeah, and nobody wanted to work at their crappy network at HGTV was Knoxville, which they didn't quite understand. They thought Knoxville was the greatest thing ever.

Speaker 4:

Is it still the headquarters in Knoxville?

Speaker 1:

Yes, even now that. So they got bought by Discovery. They were bought by Warner Brothers. So there's there's been a whole morph there and they're still in Knoxville. It's cheap, right.

Speaker 4:

Really really makes more sense now, because they do a lot of like shows that are based in North Atlanta, in North Carolina and I was always confused. I was like why are they always in like Raleigh North?

Speaker 2:

Carolina, durham, durham, a lot yeah.

Speaker 1:

I will tell you to like they are very. It was a problem when I was there. So I was there back in 2011, 2014, and I remember being in meetings where we did not have enough diverse talent and we really wanted to be able to bring in more black viewers, more you know, latina viewers, more you name it. I mean pretty much every demographic, but we were very, very white, and I remember being in these discussions about talent where the people from programming and say, well, we've tried people who are white and they just don't test very well. It's like, well, they don't test very well because you have all these white people Right.

Speaker 1:

So, circle, I'll watch a network a lot. My husband likes it, though he worked in real estate for a very long time and so it'll be on some times and I'm like, damn, that network is still really white and I don't ever see that changing because there is a, I think there is a cadre of folks and they won't say it in that org that are like, yeah, if we put too many diverse faces, the white people are gonna stop watching and then it hurts our ratings, hurts our advertising. So I think there is some of that at play, wow.

Speaker 2:

Okay, so you dealt with the mean girls. You went into this meeting. It sounds like you were not planning on quitting that day right now have a plan, but it just like came out word vomit. You're like I'm done with this, I'm done Right, yes, okay, how? Did you see that? How did you feel when those words came out and you said get out of my office. And you were like, did you have a moment of like? Oh my gosh, what did I just do?

Speaker 1:

Yes, yes, panicked and terrified and also relieved because I didn't have to put up the facade of that I, like these people, or that I, you know, was had to be professional or whatever. I was just like I'm done, you know, and I think what helped me do it, to be fair, is I had started because my marriage has started to crumble. We went to marital counseling. We only lasted like two or three sessions and I'm like, yeah, I don't want this and I don't want you, I don't want to be married anymore. However, I've got a whole bag of kittens that I'm gonna need to go through with a therapist. So I started on individual therapy at that time and I do think that I had just started to unravel all the stuff that wasn't working in my life and I think that gave me a little tiny dose of courage to resign, so resigned without that safety net.

Speaker 1:

The other piece that there was one other thing happening in tandem, which was I left out to a channel with a plan to be a CEO in five years, and you know, again, I walk into HGTV in pretty short order. I'm doing the whole network strategy, not just my strategy for my group, the whole network strategy to turn this network around which I did, I was like damn, that's CEO stuff. That is not, you know, marketer stuff, it's CEO stuff. So in my head I was already starting to think that it was time to pivot so I could still keep on that original plan of being a CEO within five years. So as soon as I left HG I embarked on what I call sort of a 10 months in the desert Trying to find somebody who'd give me my first shot as a CEO.

Speaker 2:

Tell us about that shot.

Speaker 1:

So got that shot from a recruiter who is recruiting for private equity. It was a an asset. This e-commerce was a photography company owned by Raymond James and another PE firm in New York, and they had held it for God 10, 11 years at that point pretty long time, hold for private equity mature business profitable though, and they had a couple years before they started recruiting they failed an exit. They thought they had shut or fly on the hook to buy the business. Shut or fly came in, looked at the technology specifically in the business and they were like, yeah, this is a joke, we'll pay for this, but we're gonna pay a lot less because the technology is just a mess. They passed, didn't go through the exit and unfortunately the old CEO the previous CEO was pretty demoralized from that, so he just was sitting on and coasting for a couple years before I came, came in and the plan was they're like coming in, be our CMO. We've never had a CMO.

Speaker 1:

You can train with this for the next year or two with this current CEO we have. He's got shops, he's got experience, and then one to two years he rides into the sunset. You slot into the CEO job and I'm like okay, I can take a step back, to take a step forward or take a step lateral Actually take a pick up, though, so. But I was that confident. I'm like, if you put me in that CEO role, I know I can shine, I know I've got what it takes. And so I was there for six months and I started to see what was going on around me and I went to the PE owners and I'm like, if you stick with this guy for a full year or two One, I'm not going to be around, because he loves me, because he had no involvement in bringing me on and I was about to ask.

Speaker 4:

that question is like how does he feel about that, knowing you were brought on to replace him?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that was really not a as concrete of a discussion as I was led to believe. So he was like who is this be and why is she here, right, which I completely understand. So I sat down with the private equity folks and said, hey, something's got to give it's either him, it's me, maybe bring somebody else in, I don't know. And they said, well, I guess you're gonna be the CEO, so are you ready to step up? I'm like, of course I'm not ready to step up, but you know we're gonna do it. So ended up getting the role after six months, and you know, my first year was the hardest ever in the course of my career. Nobody prepares you fully For being a CEO. It is a very lonely job. It's lonely, it's full of pressure, even on a level that someone who's been traumatized like me was like wow, there's a lot of pressure here. So it was quite a learning experience.

Speaker 2:

Then you took that and you made another pivot and you were like I've got to get women at the center of business.

Speaker 1:

Well, I took two more CEO roles so I was there. I was super successful in that role. We ended up exiting the business properly to a strategic buyer, so I left. I had a whole punch list of divestitures and things I had to do and I left even earlier than I was supposed to ran a retail company through the pandemic. I was there for a little bit over a year brick and mortar retail, and then I ran a Navy Seals training company for about six months and I have to tell you I think that although I was a terrible experience he was a founder, he wasn't ready to have an outside CEO in relink, push, control but what I learned from his business I saw how much money he was making and he was doing a lot of things wrong and I was like, right, you're like, oh, maybe I could do this right, cause I actually I know what I'm doing.

Speaker 4:

I always say people look, wait, just because people make money that they're doing things right. I'm like that's not always the case.

Speaker 1:

And for me. I looked at him and I was like, dude, this guy's a Navy SEAL Like I've always had like this high regard for those people and I still do, but that doesn't mean he's a good business guy, right. And so he did a lot wrong. He wasn't ready for me and it started to get my gears grounded, cause I looked around at like his competitive set and I'm like there are no women who do this stuff. It is all all the king makers out there, all the coaches that are really well known Tony Robbins, right, there are no women, very few.

Speaker 1:

Even if you look at somebody like Mel Robbins, she is more of sort of on the lifestyle side. She's not specifically for careers, and so I was like, huh, could I be that? Instead of a king maker, could I be that queen maker? Because the other parallel thing that was happening was I was still the only woman in board rooms and I was still the youngest and I was just getting in my third seat role, I was getting ready to turn 50. So I'm like I wouldn't slam young and I just feel like I was like this needs to change.

Speaker 2:

And didn't you have somebody I hope I'm not mixing up too many stories, but didn't you have somebody a male tell you when you were approaching like your 50, 51, that you need at least another 10 years before you can be in that? Oh gosh.

Speaker 1:

Right, that was it. That was an HDTV. That was a gent named Burton Jablin. He was the I name names now.

Speaker 4:

I don't care. He had no followers on anyone out there.

Speaker 1:

I think he's retired now anyway, so he could care less. But he was somebody who, honestly, we got along pretty well. Pretty intellectual guy, had gone to Harvard, real smart. And I remember saying to him I think I'm ready to run a network, because I looked around at some of the people running networks and I was like I can do this. And he was like, oh, you're way too young for that, you're going to have to be older. And I was like that was another thing, even though it was the toxic environment is what drove me out of HDTV. Knowing that there was this notion of the right age right To run, I was like, nah, not going to do that, that's so wild.

Speaker 4:

I also think people place their own limitations on other people. So maybe he wasn't ready at the age that you were at, so he assumed that nobody else would be ready.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, likely likely, because he had been. He was a lifer, I mean, he had been at HDTV again since the very, very early days. He was probably maybe 60, so he wasn't super old, and that is absolutely a really good assessment, brandon.

Speaker 2:

OK, so you had two more CEO roles. You're seeing the Navy SEAL business explode, making tons of money, and you're like I could do this better. Yes, and that was your pivot.

Speaker 1:

That was my pivot. Different demographic, obviously, because I'm not going to go work for the guy and then poach his clients. So very different demographic. But at the same time I was in chief. So I was in the women's organization chief and I looked around at their success and I was like man, there's a market for this, right. There's all these women who are senior director, VP Maybe they're even higher on the ladder than that and A they need camaraderie. I think chief covered off on the camaraderie piece pretty well. What they didn't cover off on was the skills and the expertise and knowledge, Because there are so many things that happened behind that curtain of power for a woman, for a woman of color. Right, the rules for us are very different from white guys. They just are. And I have people say, oh, you're so woke and why is it always about race? I don't know, Becky, Tell me why it's always about race. I didn't make it that way, but I'm going to talk about it Wait.

Speaker 2:

I do have a question, though, because so you grew up in a liberal house. You said I don't think liberal when I think West Virginia.

Speaker 1:

I know we're weirdos.

Speaker 2:

How, like? Where did that come from for you Right? Like, why are you like, no women of color need a seat, we need the diversity, we need to give women voices. Like, why are you so adamant about that when, frankly, you're from West Virginia and you could very easily get away with being like, well, my life is fine, so I don't care about anybody else's? What makes you that way? Where did that come from?

Speaker 1:

So I have to credit my father. So my father grew up on the north side of Pittsburgh, which, for anybody who knows anything about Pittsburgh, north side's nice now because it has a bunch of stadiums Used to be really poor, really terrible, very mixed race. So you had poor white people, poor black people, poor people of all stripes, all colors, and my father doesn't really know what to do with his life, like a lot of dudes who were poor and even now. So he's like I guess I'll go in the military. But the difference was you're at the height of the Vietnam War, so he goes with a couple friends, all white, and they sign up for the military. I will tell you and my father would have been my father's passed now, but he would always tell the story he grew up in a racist family. Like we are white. Irish Piker is a derogatory term that we would use for us.

Speaker 4:

I've never heard of you A piker is.

Speaker 1:

It's a grifter, it's somebody who's like a nomad. You've heard gypsies and other pejorative for that. It's somebody. It's big in some pieces of Irish culture. So we were people who didn't pay their bills, always poor, always fighting. Like. My grandfather was like muscle for the local mafia, like just not, it's so funny, people are like Thug. What do you think I think of my grandfather? That's what I think of.

Speaker 1:

I think of what? Now? I think of a big scary. My grandfather was a big scary white guy, I think of him. So we were not woke, they were racist, right.

Speaker 1:

My father goes into the service and right out of the gate his friends who sign up with him are assigned to be ground pounders, infantry, and they die pretty quick. They're sacrificed to that war machine pretty quick. My father, although he's not educated, is really smart and when they give you that test that you take when you go into the service, he tests into the Army Security Agency. So he had a actually pretty nice gig in Vietnam. Air conditioned, he was intercepting radio communications from the enemy right, that's what he did, sat in a dark room with headphones and that's what he did. But the one thing he noticed was he had a lot of guys that were in his barracks that were black guys. He'd never been around black guys before, right, he had. But you thought they were always going to steal from him or whatever was in his belief system. And he got to know these guys because they were all in the same boat, let's be fair. I mean, for him it was great, but it wasn't amazing and he started to see that they weren't that different, right, and he started to learn from them. He got really into Motown at that time. So some of my best memories, honestly, are sitting by the record player with my dad and him rolling through his amazing collection which I don't know what happened to it and listening to Motown Stacks, you name it like all the old music, and it changed him Like it fundamentally changed him. So a guy who would have, like, dropped the N word, literally probably before he went to Vietnam that was a common word in his house, I guarantee it. Growing up he came back and if somebody dropped the N word around him it was a fight like it was on, like he just fundamentally changed as a person, which gives me hope, right, that people can change.

Speaker 1:

Now what I say. My father was perfect. No, I don't think there's any such thing, even once he came back and he got woke or whatever you want to call it. Was he a perfect ally? No, but he was very intent on us understanding the history of civil rights. You know he ended up majoring in political science, ended up getting a master's degree in that and was really into studying everything from. You know, malcolm X, black Panthers, angela Davis, big, big Angela Davis fans, strangely so we were total weirdos in our family. I mean, I'll never forget.

Speaker 4:

In West Virginia I mean that'd be weird. We were, you know, during that time period, let alone in West Virginia.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah. Like I'll never forget, I used to do these history projects on the most insane for where we lived, right. So I did it on Japanese American internment camps and got in high school in junior high, believe it or not.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

My parents were these voracious readers. And my mom was like, do you know that we interned Japanese Americans? And of course, nobody was like teaching us about that back then. They still don't teach. And she's like you should do your history project on that. And I was like cool, I love this. So I did that I'll never forget.

Speaker 1:

Senior in high school, I went to this thing called the Academic Decathlon and I'd usually win like a couple of different. I never won the whole thing, but I'd win individual categories and I had to give a speech that was not an original speech, that was somebody else's. I memorized Martin Luther King's I have a Dream speech and I crushed that thing. And you know that these people are like why is this weird hillbilly white girl like reciting I have a Dream? But I won, I won the gold for that. So that's just. I don't know, it was just we were imbued with.

Speaker 1:

Now I just want to be really clear though you can be progressive and I know you guys know this more for your audience. You can be woke and progressive and whatever you want to call it, and still not be a perfect ally, like I still got to. Like you know, beat myself back, belief systems I have that I don't even sometimes know I have or I don't surface them. So I just want to be clear that I never want to put myself out there as a perfect ally, because I think there is no such thing.

Speaker 2:

No, I don't think I think understanding that right, understanding like hey, I'm trying, I'm learning, I'm absorbing, but I understand that there is no such thing as a perfect ally, there is no such thing as understanding what people of other races and cultures experience, right Like just not centering yourself, I think, is the key right. And you're doing that. You're not centering yourself, you're trying to center others, which is so big.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, because I think that's the biggest part that people miss. Is that I mean I can say I'm not going to speak for myself. Personally, I don't like when somebody else tells me that they understand my experience, when they don't look like me.

Speaker 2:

It doesn't work, absolutely it's not the same.

Speaker 4:

It doesn't work and I'm never going to understand a woman's experience, because I'm not a woman and it's OK to say that you don't understand and just be quiet, and that's it.

Speaker 2:

That's it. That's the end of the sentence. I don't understand. I'm not going to understand.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I always like to say to Mike because I have quite a few women of color who are coaching clients and I always say to them right out of the gate I just want you to know that whatever you tell me, I believe you, because I feel like that's the issue A lot of times right there. Whatever you're going to tell me, I believe you, because what I don't want, I think that folks, you all spend so much time censoring yourselves, right, what can I say? That's going to get this across. You know, and I'm like I don't want you, especially in a coaching relationship, I don't want you censoring yourself. I want you to tell me your lived experience and I want you to know I'm unbelievable, whatever you tell me. Yeah, I think that's how I have to experience to believe.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I think even like too deep, but, like I had, we had an experience where we were trying to explain to an individual what it is and you know, to experience as being a black man in America and he had a few black friends and I was like, what are your black friends? What have they said to you? He said the exact same thing that you're telling me and I was like and you don't believe them. I'm like this conversation. I'm like it's like everyone that you around, that you know of color, is telling you the same story but you still refuse to believe it.

Speaker 2:

That's not an ally. Yeah, it's not no, so okay. I know, I feel like we've just weaved and woven and all the things. Love it. You are. I know this has been fantastic, so you are now. Your business is now coaching women to get to the boardrooms, to get to the C-suite, to make their professional dreams come true. What is your coaching entail and what are you most proud of in your course and your curriculum and what you're putting out into the world?

Speaker 1:

Thank you, so in my coaching to varying degrees depending how long the engagement is with somebody, I'll go through my framework is what I call the Magnificent Seven. There are seven areas that I think you have to really take on, really get good at to be a great executive and I'm not talking about a great executive for the 50s or the 70s or even up to now the sort of executives we need that practice, outcomes based leadership, right for where we're going as a society and as a you know, business culture. There are a couple things I'm really proud of. The first is self actualization is a really big piece of my coaching. That's one of the seven in the framework, and all that means is just taking the time with a client to stop and say where are you at today? Why do you like what you like? Why do you not like what you like? Because we have to give ourselves room to evolve. We are evolving creatures, right, and you think about Darwinism at its finest and a lot of times we kind of force ourselves to stay in a box, whether it's a box of our own making or somebody else's society. So I do a lot of exercise and we even like I'll sit down and we'll go through Maslow's, you know hierarchy of needs basically, and and we'll literally you know sort of reach towards that top of the period for self actualization.

Speaker 1:

But the one thing that I think I've really dug into and it's by far my most popular workshop is my financial statements workshops. So I have two of them. I have one that's an intro to financial statements and the other one is basic financial analysis so people can make a business case. I also do a course on strategy where I present the most common six strategic frameworks to folks, and the reason I think that is so important for women specifically is people look for reasons, and this is women, this is men of color too, right, I mean it's, it's anyone who's not a white guy. People look for reasons to say not you in corporate America, right, anybody, but you, not you. And I've been there and I'm sure you guys have been there too.

Speaker 1:

And two things that they like to do, to just credit one, they like to impugn our intelligence. We're not strategic enough. Oh, denise is very tactical and very operational, but she not strategic enough, and the research numbers bear this out. There's been some really good research done on how women, literally until they're in their 60s, in a corporate environment are perceived as less strategic than men. It's the only area of all the ones that the researchers looked at.

Speaker 1:

Strategy is the only one where we get knocked throughout the entire course of our career. Now, is there anything intellectually inherent about women being less strategic? Of course not right. So that's one of those tired old tropes that I want to fight with this this course that I do. The other thing that we get knocked for is financial statements. Right, if we can't read a financial statement and, let's be fair, unless you have an MBA from a top tier school and or you're in operations or finance, you probably don't know your way around a financial statement really well. I was in marketing. I didn't, right. I didn't go to business school, so for me, I want to be able to check those boxes and arm people with the tool kit so they're not discounted.

Speaker 4:

And the crazy thing is this one of those things can easily be taught. It's just a matter of teaching. It's not this inherent skill that, like only you know, select few can actually you achieve. It's also very weird to me about the strategic part, because I feel like I mean not to sound like it's like women. I feel like women do nothing but think like it's the one thing that they cannot do we strategize. It's true. I can shut my brain off and literally not think about anything.

Speaker 2:

I cannot, I cannot, yeah, it's not a skill.

Speaker 4:

So like in my mind. To say that women are not as strategic doesn't even make sense from like it just doesn't make sense. It doesn't make sense at all.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

It's super silly and for the longest time, on the financial thing, it's funny on financial statements you know I didn't love math coming up. I had really bad math teachers and it wasn't until I got to college that I had a really good math teacher and I was like I actually like math, you know. And so it's all about the teacher number one and number two. Let's not pretend or let's not act like financial statement math. It's elementary school math. I say this to people.

Speaker 4:

It's not advanced at all.

Speaker 2:

But it is a lot of line items. Yeah right, it's a lot of it's a lot of line items and and I'm the person and now we have we have a five year old daughter and we don't say we're not good at math or we don't like math.

Speaker 2:

We don't use that language. His mom was a college math professor in math education for 30 plus years, so like that's literally not allowed. But even before coming into your realm as what I'm just going to call it is I was because I want to rise to the ranks I realized that was something that I never. You don't expose yourself to it unless you're intentional or unless you get to that role, which, again, how do you get there without having that background and that information? You have to seek it out, and so last year we have an ERO at my company called Chica Nomics, and they after our, because we're a publicly traded company after our our financial statements come out, they will go through and they'll do a session to break down.

Speaker 2:

What does it mean? How do you read it? What does it? What does it mean for the business Right? And so the first one I felt like, okay, this is a lot. It's a lot of numbers, it's a lot of line items, but, like you said, it's not algebra, right, it's not calculus, like you're not inserting the A and putting the line. It's not, it's it's money in, money out. Where did the money go? Right, it's, it's pretty basic. And then I did. I had an opportunity, through a Harvard Business School program, to sit with a Harvard Business School professor and talk about finances for business right. And, and again, they made it elementary, they made it rudimentary, they made it easy to understand. And when you expose yourself, you do have that aha moment of like this is not as complicated as everybody's making it out to be, and why are we all stressing about it?

Speaker 2:

So I love that you're taking that approach.

Speaker 4:

So a lot of things in finance aren't nearly as complicated as they make it out to be Like yes, but it's a patriarch trying to keep us 100%.

Speaker 4:

100% is that they want to be the gatekeepers of the information. So if they make it seem way more difficult than it is, that's going to discourage people from actually trying to figure out the information. I'm for unbeliever of that, like because there's so many things I said. As far as what I do, I explain to people. I have no problems. When I meet with someone for the first time, I'm like I'm not the super intelligent person doing all these things that you cannot figure out. It's just a matter of this is what I do for a living, so I have more time to do it.

Speaker 4:

But if you took time enjoy it and I enjoy it, and if you took the time to do it, you could 100% figure this out.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, 102 cents. And that that's what I like to do is I like to show the accessibility to it, Because we all have these. We build these things up. I mean, I did it with financial statements. You build them up to be so hard and then when you really get into them, right, you're like, oh, this isn't that hard at all and oh, by the way, it's kind of interesting too, right.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, and I feel like a woman. I personally feel like women are better with attention to detail and I agree. I feel like obviously you have to have extreme attention to detail when you're dealing with financial statements, so the thing that they wouldn't be good at that is just nonsense.

Speaker 1:

My mind is blind. You talk about being attention to detail. I love teaching workshops Because, invariably, a woman will see something in the financial statements we look at like we look at Twitter, tesla, we look at Netflix, they'll notice something that I never noticed, and I've taught this workshop a million times and it never fails that somebody, once you just teach them a little bit, will be like Did you notice this? So, brandon, it goes back to your point about that detail orientation and you're like I did not, you know, so I love that.

Speaker 4:

Because men tend to think they know what the answer is going to be prior to going through all the details. So sometimes, when they actually start to look through the details, they're not paying attention because they just want to confirm that preconceived notion of what they thought the answer was going to be. As compared to, a woman often doesn't have the answer. She's waiting to look through all the details to determine what the answer is Agreed, clinical.

Speaker 1:

I like it.

Speaker 2:

Can you walk us through your seven? Did you call them pillars?

Speaker 4:

Magnificent seven.

Speaker 2:

The magnificent seven. Yes what?

Speaker 4:

why did?

Speaker 2:

you come up with those. Why are they so important to you? I have to list them out as I talk through, okay.

Speaker 1:

So the first one is what I largely call learning. So before, here's how I came up with the framework I already had an idea, obviously, of the stuff of my 30-year career that I think is critical, right, but I wanted to talk to before I launched my coaching practice. I talked to a lot of academics, I talked to a lot of folks that teach leadership, that teach business courses all over the world, right, and the one thing I said to them is what is the thing that is roundly common trait skill in people who are really terrific leaders, right, ceos, board members, founders, you name it. And the one thing that came up although the language varied and how it was stated was learning. The best leaders are incredibly intellectually curious and kind of like what you just said, brandon, they're questers. Right, we will quest and quest and quest. Until we can figure out. You know, here's a hypothesis, I'm going to test it and until we either prove it or disprove it, we will keep going right, we will not give up. We have a tenacity about us, and so that first pillar, if you will, is learning, and that not only includes that questing, that curiosity about things that are even outside of your purview, because maybe you can bring those perspectives in to your business. But it's also about the self-actualization.

Speaker 1:

It is very, very hard for me to know you people who work for me and with me, if I do not know myself. I can attest to that personally. So I always say to my clients and I have some exercises that'll get them into it, you know, without going to full-on therapy, because I'm not a therapist, I'm not qualified to be a therapist and I don't think honestly, if you don't want to do therapy, there are people who had really lovely childhoods. I was not one of them, but they exist. I don't think you need to go do therapy. I just want you to reflect, self-interrogate all those good things. So learning is number one.

Speaker 1:

The second one is strategic thinking and in talking about strategic thinking, and the third one is financial statements. Gotta know how to understand a financial statement. The reason I bring them up together is they're inexorably linked. It is very hard to be a great strategist without being able to read financials, because invariably you're gonna have to look for opportunities, gaps. That's how the best strategies are really born. And you can't do that if you can't immerse yourself in the financials and go ooh, we're a little weak here, but if we did this, this and this, we might be able to bring that up and even surpass what our goals are right. So financial statements strategy very, very important.

Speaker 1:

The other piece is what's my last one Eye on the ball. I call it. Eye on the ball is basically, if you don't keep your eye on your career, your progression, where you're going, nobody else will. Not because I don't care about you, it's not because I don't love you or see you. It's just that people, we are inherently selfish and we just don't always have time to sit around and be like man. I wonder where Jessica's gonna be Now. If you find that boss or that manager, that leader, that's awesome and I think I hope we've all had maybe one right who looked out for us. But you have to be the person in control of your destiny. So that encompasses everything from with my clients, having a blueprint, knowing where you're going, how long's it gonna take, what skills and experience do I need? Like when I had put together my blueprint to become a CEO in five years, I knew I needed a bridge role at a bigger brand HGTV was that brand right? I was never gonna get there directly from the little old outdoor channel, and then the last three are more the EQ and our personal stuff.

Speaker 1:

So, first, it is being flexible and agile. You wanna be flexible and agile as a great executive, and what that means, though, is it's not about being wishy-washy, and one thing women get tagged with a lot is oh my God, she changes her mind all the time. She can't make up her mind. She's so wishy-washy. So, for women specifically, it's very important, when we change our mind, that we're very intentional and articulate in saying, hey, I had this information when I made this decision. I thought this was the way to go. We've now been presented with better information, and we're gonna go this way. You have noticed in my career, as long as you state it and you're transparent about it, nobody's gonna go oh, that's Denise, right. So that's the difference between wishy-washing and agility you don't hide your intention.

Speaker 1:

The next thing is curating talent. So you become an executive, and it is so much about succession planning, and I always say to my clients from day one when you start a new job, you need to be looking around figuring out who's taking my job, and if they don't exist in that business, you're gonna have to bring them in from the outside, but you gotta figure out how to come up with a deep bench. And part of that, the important part, is you wanna hire for potential, not entirely just a punch list of skills, right? So what's really held me in good stead throughout my career is I actually hire for attitude, for people that I think can grow. They show me behaviorally in their career and they can discuss it that they've had a history of growing not only themselves but growing a business. I can take that and apply it to anything in any industry and those people are probably gonna perform right. So that gives you. What's cool about that is it gives you a lot of leeway to recruit from a lot of different places, not just the little pond, perhaps, where your business sits, so you can really mine some amazing talent.

Speaker 1:

And then the last piece are the relationships. You've got four major relationships you gotta manage when you're in corporate America. You gotta manage up, gotta manage your boss, gotta manage your peers, which I always found to be very difficult because they have power that's equal to yours, and so that's all about diplomacy and negotiation. And you gotta manage your people Most people unless you're really just never got those skills, most people are usually pretty good at managing their people, at least the people I work with, the clients I work with.

Speaker 1:

But then you've also your fourth relationship is your relationship to the external community, networking right. So am I nurturing those external relationships? Again, with that eye on the ball, thinking about where I wanna go. Too many people go into an org. It's all encompassing, they're busy, they keep their head down. We're kind of a lot of us are geared to be great workers and unfortunately, if you never bring your head up then you don't nurture the relationships that, let's face it, you are probably gonna need this notion of working somewhere for 30 years, hell, this notion of working somewhere for five.

Speaker 2:

Right, not so like 30, right.

Speaker 1:

That's true, yeah, but the network is everything. So that's the seven.

Speaker 4:

I love it. She's a master networker, always Like she doesn't know a stranger. Oh, I love that.

Speaker 2:

I mean I slid into your DMs right, so you really did very quickly too. Very nice you did, you're a master still, thank you so good. Well, it's my happy place, people are my happy place, so it comes naturally to me. But now that you've mentioned those seven, there's definitely some gaps I need to fill and put on my blueprint as well. So Always.

Speaker 1:

But you wanna thrive. I mean, you wanna identify and I do this with my clients. You wanna identify what are you great at? And you just said it I'm amazing at networking. So let's make that a centerpiece of who you are. If you're good at networking, you're probably great at relationships internally at work too.

Speaker 2:

I like that thing, so I like to do that, and I just me seeing it as her husband.

Speaker 4:

That's just, I mean, obviously it's one of the things that attracted me to her was the fact of how she does curate her relationships and it's genuine, and that's one of the things I think is really hard for a lot of people when they network. Is that a lot of people? Obviously we all wanna network and we wanna grow that and, you know, be used to be beneficial for us, but she does it in a natural, very genuine way and I think that's hard for a lot of people to do it in a genuine manner.

Speaker 1:

Agreed and I think that's golden and I think it's why so many women don't want to. So many women think that networking has to be transactional and cheesy and real. I mean, let's face it, networking is about do I like this person that is in front of my face right now, or who came up in my DMs or my email and remember I was listening to somebody? I don't know if you guys follow Vanessa Van Edwards, but she studies charisma and interpersonal relationships. She's amazing. I will be now and she's like you decide whether you like somebody within five seconds. That is crazy.

Speaker 1:

I believe that I think it's accurate. I believe that.

Speaker 2:

You have to be energy and aura, and you know it's gotta be there. Yeah, it's true.

Speaker 4:

Yes, I'm not the best network by any means, but I think I'm pretty good at judging Like determining people's.

Speaker 3:

I can tell somebody's character pretty quickly. Yes, intent, yes, that's good, that's good, exactly.

Speaker 1:

Denise Good intuition.

Speaker 2:

This has been so fantastic. We could literally talk to you for hours and dig into each one of the magnificent seven, and then some right. Where can people find you? How can they connect with you, how can they learn about your course and all of the coaching that you're doing? Why don't you tell us that?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so easiest place to go would be my website, which is themmylccom, and I have a store on there so you can buy my workshops or you can buy my coaching programs. They're all on there and I try to make them pretty inclusive in terms of cost. My workshops are 300 bucks a piece and my coaching goes all the way up to $7,200. So there's some along that spectrum. There's something for everybody. That's intentional. The other place that you can check me out is I do a ton of TikTok videos. I'm Denise underscore Conroy on TikTok and on LinkedIn I'm just Denise Conroy.

Speaker 2:

So you can get me there. We will link all of that in our show notes. If you could leave our audience and our listeners with one thing today. What would it be? I would say.

Speaker 1:

Too often we talked about financial statements, strategies, all these big bad things. Too often we allow fear to put us in a box and I never wanna tell you to be fearless. I think when you're fearless, that's dangerous. If I'm honest, we feel fear for a reason. It's a self-preservation thing, it's a good thing. But I would say to you treat fear like an annoying little brother or little sister that your mom and sister has to tag around with you all the time. Right, here is something you should love. Fear is something you should listen to, but you should never let it dictate. So you wanna know what the risk is, you wanna know that maybe there's something to be scared about here and you wanna do things anyway. So I just don't like it for fear to hold people back, and I think too often it does Great advice.

Speaker 2:

Thank you so much for being with us today. This has been fantastic.

Speaker 1:

Thank you Appreciate it.

Speaker 2:

Don't forget. Benjamin Franklin said an investment in knowledge pays the best interest. You just got paid Until next time. Thanks for listening to today's episode. We are so glad to have you as part of our Sugar Daddy community. If you learned something today, please remember to subscribe, rate, review and share this episode with your friends, family and extended network. Don't forget to connect with us on social media at the Sugar Daddy podcast. You can also email us your questions you want us to answer for our past the sugar segments at the Sugar Daddy podcast at gmailcom, or leave us a voicemail through our Instagram.

Insights From a Successful Female CEO
Independence in Relationships and Work
Toxic Workplace and Personal Growth
Career Pivots and Female Empowerment
Growing Up, Advocate for Diversity
Empowering Women Through Self-Actualization and Finance
Mastering the Seven Pillars of Success