The Otherwise Intelligent Woman Podcast

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Episode 25: 15 Productivity Hacks for Focused Meaningful Work

Today’s podcast is a list of 15 tips that will provide a realistic approach to work, productivity and prioritization. I talk about building momentum upfront and putting boundaries in place around focused work, as well as eliminating attention stealers and distractions. Because you want to get your best work done in the shortest amount of time, so that you can (gasp!) maybe leave the office early and actually get the sleep you need. 


What to ask yourself honestly to have a productive day [ 2:55 ]

The magic of putting yourself first [ 3:50 ]

Mel Robbins’s tip about the snooze button [ 6:10 ]

Rituals to get into a get-shit-done mode [ 8:22 ]

You do not need to check your email every five minutes [ 10:22 ]

Do things at the last minute [ 11:55 ]

Pomodoro Timers [ 13:12 ]

What racing taught me about limits [ 16:15 ]

Expectations cannot be of perfection [ 17:53 ]

Protect your weekend for an optimum workweek [ 18:53 ] 

Find and capitalize on your sweet spot [ 20:22 ]

Stop sacrificing sleep [ 23:27 ] 


Let’s make sure that we’re focused on the tasks that matter. 


Apps and Tech recommended in this episode:


Books recommended in this episode:

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Episode 24: Committed to Real in an Instaperfect World with Jackie Marwah-Chow

Jackie grew up dancing, but knew that it wasn’t what she wanted to devote her life to, so she went to business school at Wilfred Laurier University. She was a teaching assistant, and even though she was terrified of public speaking, she realized she loved to teach. Jackie started working in brand management after university, loved the work and lifestyle downtown, but then left to pursue project management. She shares her true motivations for moving on more openly than most of us can; she wanted more money, a title that demanded respect, and the opportunity to grow. After two years there, she still wasn’t happy or fulfilled and found herself being called to work in fitness instead, at a barre3 studio where she truly felt at home.

Jackie explores the physical symptoms her body was experiencing when she needed to leave a job that wasn’t good for her, but she also shares the mindset that plays devil’s advocate to our gut feelings and keeps us stuck. We also chat about the effect that Instagram has on our lives and the role it plays in the fitness industry specifically. Jackie describes how elusive the ideal concept of balance is, how difficult it is to receive negative feedback at work, and the power of feedback in the moment. As freelancers we discuss how to choose clients, juggling workloads and the beauty of Google Calendar colour blocking. 


How Jackie determined dancing wasn’t her thing [ 3:17 ]

The gift that being a teaching assistant gave Jackie [ 4:34 ]

Checking the boxes to have the job in downtown Toronto [ 6:56 ]

The true motivation behind moving into project management [ 7:37 ]

When Jackie knew she needed to leave corporate to work at barre3 [ 9:50 ]

The “is this all there is?” moment for Jackie [ 11:08 ]

The physical symptoms that prompted Jackie to leave a job [ 17:17 ]

The mindset trap that keeps us in bad jobs [ 21:09 ]

You never know fully what you are walking into [ 27:00 ] 

Instagram is no longer instant [ 29:22 ]

The social media challenges of fitness [ 32:30 ] 

The elusive concept of balance [ 39:30 ]

Why it’s so difficult to commit full-time to fitness [ 46:40 ] 

The power of feedback in the moment [ 55:40 ]

Constant juggling in freelancing [ 1:01:44 ]

Blocking off a day for your sanity [ 1:05:15 ]

Jackie’s Quotable:

Don’t be afraid to ask. 

I was an otherwise intelligent woman, except for the fact that I was so worried about what everyone else was thinking about me.


Connect with Jackie:


Learn more about barre3:


Books mentioned in this episode:

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Episode 23: Back Yourself Even When No One Else Will with Rachel Kurzyp

From an early age, Rachel got comfortable with speaking to people and asking for the sale. She has literally done it all - from selling pizza and managing retail stores to corporate communications, lecturing at universities and working as a copywriter and marketing manager. After jumping around a bit to try other companies and positions, Rachel decided that she wanted to be in control of whether she had a job or not, and how she chose to show up. 

We talk about what it’s like to get the education and the good job, only to find out that we don’t like it or that we can’t make a difference. Rachel and I had many parallels in our corporate struggles, and we talk in depth about the friction between the Millennial workforce and the Baby Boomers. We also chat about the difference between being honest about money and marketing tactics used on Instagram. Rachel is an open book when it comes to income, freelancing, and architecting your lifestyle and business. She shares the mindset roadblocks that kept her scared when starting her own business and her advice for backing yourself, even when no one understands what you’re up to.


How sheep shit taught Rachel all about sales [ 2:05 ]

Rachel’s favourite part of her business [ 5:22 ]

Success meant going to university and getting a good job [ 9:22 ]

How Rachel was viewed as the annoying one in an organization [ 10:13 ]

The different personas of a CEO [ 11:07 ]

How the constant fight for justification and support wore on Rachel [ 13:50 ]

The contrast between Millennial and Baby Boomer workers [ 18:50 ]

What owning a business looks like out on the outside versus the reality [ 22:44 ]

How freakout mindsets follow us through building a business [ 26:30 ] 

Why Rachel doesn’t advertise her $40k months like other coaches on Instagram [ 30:04 ]

Why work hours aren’t the driver in architecting your lifestyle [ 35:49 ] 

How time off fuels your business [ 36:55 ]

Rachel’s Quotable:

I had to keep getting permission to be seen or heard, and I was done with it. 

I was an otherwise intelligent woman, except for the fact that I let other people’s ideas of who I should be stop me from being who I was meant to become.


Connect with Rachel:

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Episode 22: What Happened When I Took a Month Off Social Media with Kattie Thorndyke

You’ve heard me talk about this in previous episodes, but now it’s time to give you all the details about my digital detox in August. Maybe you’ve felt like I did, which prompted this experiment: you can’t focus, you don’t feel particularly happy, and you just can’t put your finger on why your brain feels off. After some research into the psychological tactics and motivation of social media companies, I put boundaries in place around email and the apps, limited my consumption dramatically, and learned to look forward to free time. The lessons learned for me were profound and the process wasn’t pretty, but in the spirit of honesty and sharing knowledge, I’m laying it all out for you.


Where I got the idea to try a digital detox in August [ 0:44 ]

How social media apps make money [ 1:33 ]

My favourite parts of social media [ 2:22 ]

The worst feeling ever that prompted me to get off social media [ 3:20 ]

What the heck a digital detox actually is [ 4:15 ]

How I put boundaries around my email [ 5:50 ]

Treating my cell phone like a landline [ 6:48 ]

How I redirected my escapism in the first week of the detox [ 8:08 ]

Withdrawal-fuelled meltdowns [ 10:00 ]

The importance of time boundaries with work [ 11:15 ] 

Metrics do not equate to personal worth [ 12:20 ]

What I finally had time and space to contemplate [ 15:14 ] 

Social media is not a requirement for business success [ 18:10 ]

How I was screwing up my own psyche [ 19:40 ]

Why I need to stay away from social media [ 21:50 ] 

The imbalance that profoundly affects creatives [ 23:00 ]

Kattie’s Quotable:

You need to create more than you consume. 


Book recommended in this episode:

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Episode 21: Wealth is Much More than Money with Danielle Weinreich Lombardo

Danielle and her husband, Tony, met while Danielle was a professional acrobat for the Toronto Raptors half-time show and Tony was her photographer. Today, Danielle and Tony have two photography businesses, one specializing in wedding and lifestyle shoots and another focused on the commercial side. Danielle shares how she discovered her passion for photography, alongside Tony, and how she shot on the weekends as a creative outlet, while maintaining a full-time career in advertising. They slowly built their business, and when Danielle became too busy to manage it all, she left her advertising job and went all-in.

Danielle provides incredible insight into how she created her business to provide the lifestyle and experiences she desired, because wealth isn’t necessarily just money. As Danielle and Tony became parents, they continued to prioritize time with each other and their children, which was facilitated by the freedom to choose when to work as entrepreneurs. Danielle explains how she’s learned to cope with the ups and downs of a seasonal business, and how important it is to do what’s right for you, not what other people think is right. We also talk about technology’s impact on business and photography, as well as how to deal with the fear that is ever-present in running your own business. 


How acrobatics was the spark for Danielle’s first business [ 2:50 ]

How Danielle discovered her love of photography [ 5:50 ]

When the time was right to focus full time on the photography business [ 7:06 ]

Danielle and Tony’s business inspiration [ 8:00 ]

An alternative definition of wealth and riches [ 11:42 ]

How the business provides the freedom to maximize time with their children [ 16:00 ]

The type of activities that Danielle and Tony model for their kids [ 21:30 ]

How to cope with seasons in business [ 23:05 ]

Making the decision to not work in December [ 26:45 ]

The difficulties and changes that social media brings [ 36:36 ] 

How the photography industry is segmented with respect to technology [ 42:22 ]

Which touchpoints Danielle and Tony invest in for advertising [ 44:15 ] 

How Danielle deals with the fear inherent in running your own business [ 48:22 ]

Danielle’s Quotable:

Our idea of wealth is not necessarily money, it’s lifestyle. 

I was an otherwise intelligent woman, except for the fact that I knew nothing. 


Books discussed in this episode:


Connect with Danielle:

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Episode 20: Mistakes Made (and Lessons Learned!) in my First Year of Freelancing with Kattie Thorndyke

The 20 episode milestone seemed like a good time to record my first solo episode of the podcast. I took a look back over the last year to share with you honestly my biggest mistakes in freelancing and what I learned (and you can too!). The biggest problem I’ve had with freelancing is the lack of information on how to do this crazy thing. So in addition to giving you the solutions to all my mistakes, I’m providing the biggest resources that I use, including business podcasts, financial and tax resources, remote work job boards, as well as where you can find information on expected salaries. Grab your coffee or tea and let’s chat.


How my freelancing journey unfolded after handing in my notice [ 1:26 ]

The gig that really allowed me to work from home [ 2:35 ]

Where I got bitten by the podcasting bug [ 5:15 ]

An injury that taught me an important lesson [ 6:18 ]

A good friend of mine recruited me to start copywriting [ 7:55 ]

How and why I eliminated editing as a source of income [ 10:30 ]

Everything came to a screeching halt in August [ 12:42 ]

This is the part of business that people don’t talk about [ 14:01 ]

My mistake to do with diversification [ 19:04 ]

Accounting, savings and financial buffer blunders [ 21:19 ] 

How to transition safely in flexible work roles [ 24:20 ]

The importance of always being on the lookout for new opportunities [ 26:44 ] 

Why we all need to talk about money more [ 30:30 ]

Kattie’s Quotable:

Ask questions about money and talk about it freely. 


Job Boards and resources recommended in this episode:


Podcasts recommended in this episode:

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Episode 19: Finding Work You Can Be Proud of with Ceilidhe Wynn

Today, Ceilidhe is an incredibly diverse writer, with experience in copywriting, technical writing, and romance writing. In the beginning of her career though, Ceilidhe experimented with different types of work and found a great job as an administrative assistant, but realized that she still wasn’t using the full breadth of her skills. Becoming a mother changed Ceilidhe’s view of work, and instead of returning to her office job, she went back to school to learn technical writing. Ceilidhe applied to a position for remote copywriting work, where she could really excel, and had the flexibility to work only three days a week so she could spend full days with her daughter.

All throughout Ceilidhe’s career, she wrote romance on the side, resulting in three complete manuscripts. After participating in Pitch Wars, improving her manuscript with the help of a mentor, and obtaining a literary agent, she’s poised to submit her book to editors this fall. We get into what it takes to write a manuscript, the full force of the romance genre, and the financial realities of freelance writing.


How motherhood changed Ceilidhe’s view of work [ 3:30 ]

What Pitch Wars is [ 9:07 ]

Why Ceilidhe used to be embarrassed about writing romance [ 11:43 ]

The benefits of learning technical writing [ 17:50 ]

Generational beliefs about degrees and certifications [ 20:55 ]

Transparency in privilege and finances [ 21:43 ]

The importance of financial independence and worth [ 24:19 ]

Does your work make you proud? [ 29:00 ]

Your “why” can change [ 30:46 ]

How Ceilidhe prioritized her own writing for Pitch Wars [ 35:01 ] 

Fiction writing work is all upfront [ 40:55 ]

Writers often let the negativity creep in [ 44:17 ] 

Your best work is all that you can control [ 47:08 ]

Ceilidhe’s Quotable:

If I had to pay someone to watch my child, it had to be for a job I was proud of.

I was an otherwise intelligent woman, except for the fact that I didn’t believe in myself. 


Books discussed in this episode:


Connect with Ceilidhe:

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Episode 18: How To Show Up as Yourself To Do Your Best Work with Ashley Cox

Ashley Cox is leadership mentor for professional women and female founders. She started her career in corporate HR at Kroger, where she was able to develop and create programs for new employees and leaders, but her husband’s job moved and so did she. Ashley then began her own small HR consulting business to help other small online business owners. She’s now transitioning her business so that she works on the part of HR that lights her up: mentoring women business owners who are working with teams of employees.

Ashley and I discuss the stressors of a typical corporate career and the benefits we both now have working from home. Ashley’s leadership mentors in the corporate world told her to be tough and put on armour, and that she couldn’t be too nice or too empathetic. But once Ashley questioned that advice and decided to lead from a place of authenticity, everything changed, and people actually respected her more. Ashley also shares why we need to de-stigmatize conversations around money so that we can start to be more honest with one another and quit the comparison game. 


How Ashley entered a career in human resources [ 3:03 ]

An unplanned career change was pivotal [ 4:12 ]

The best way to hire your first employee [ 8:59 ]

The stressors of a typical corporate career [ 14:16 ]

How Ashley thrives as a social person working from home [ 18:06 ]

How to break through gender stereotypes as a female leader [ 19:42 ]

How to lead from a place that feels good [ 25:16 ]

Men and women lead differently [ 29:12 ]

The internet is just one bit ruse [ 35:12 ]

The truth about business growth [ 38:02 ]

One thing that new business owners often overlook [ 40:30 ]

The problem with comparing ourselves to other business owners online [ 43:55 ] 

Be careful what you buy into [ 48:18 ]

Three incredible books on money mindset [ 51:35 ] 

The month of “no” [ 1:04:28 ]

Ashley’s Quotable:

Everyone is not making as much money as you think they are. 

I was an otherwise intelligent woman, except for the fact that I was helping everyone else succeed. 


Books on money discussed in this episode:


Connect with Ashley:

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Episode 17: How To Get Real with Nutrition with Heather Allen

Heather Allen is a holistic nutritionist in Toronto, who works with entrepreneurs, doers, and go-getters to help them empower their plates and get realistic about nutrition. She’s also the Director of Operations for Entrepology Labs, running the backend of the projects and businesses. In addition to that, Heather works with an organization called Building Roots, which develops urban space into garden centres that create food for under serviced areas. 

Heather is intentional about spending time in nature and taking breaks during her work day to decompress. Her nutrition protocols for clients often include taking time to breathe and spending 20 minutes outside every day. Heather explains her Instagram hiatus and how being bombarded with content muddied up her own message. She also introduces the concept of re-evaluating all daily habits once or twice a year, as well as tips to make your salad not suck and how to embrace failure as the way forward.


The missing piece in Heather’s original business plan [ 3:09 ]

Where traditional entrepreneurship education falls down [ 7:00 ]

How Heather splits up her week between roles [ 9:00 ]

Freelancing versus entrepreneurship [ 10:54 ]

Heather’s work with a community garden in downtown Toronto [ 11:35 ]

The power of time in nature [ 13:42 ]

Why we need to stop judging ourselves for our human needs [ 15:39 ]

Super cool metrics used to track stress response [ 18:55 ]

Heather’s three-month hiatus from posting on Instagram [ 23:15 ]

How to determine if daily habits are serving you [ 31:10 ]

Tips for a delicious and nourishing lunch that’s also easy to make [ 36:33 ]

Protein sources when you aren’t into the meat scene [ 39:30 ] 

How Heather got over the fear of failure [ 47:04 ]

September is the new January [ 49:10 ] 

Heather’s Quotable:

Get ready to fail, embrace the failure, and rock the next step. 

I was an otherwise intelligent woman, except for the fact that I was scared to fail and I thought it would define me.


Apps discussed in this episode:


Connect with Heather:

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Episode 16: Finding Purpose Outside the Corporate Box with Andrea Gust

Andrea began her career in journalism, after being told that her real passion at the time, photography, wasn’t a practical choice. Andrea later returned to photography both as a stock photo editor and a business owner, before deciding to return to the world of writing within a small digital marketing firm. She shares with us how she worked with adrenal fatigue, when she realized she needed to leave the 9-5 job, and how she structures her days now as a novelist.

Andrea and I talk about how our priorities shifted when we left the corporate world. We’ve both found purpose outside of our work, and surprised ourselves at how useful we can be outside our professional wheelhouses. As Andrea learned to embrace the journey outside the corporate box, she’s realized that she’s ok with not knowing what’s around the corner and she’s happier than she’s ever been pursuing her purpose as a writer. 


Going back to what you really wanted in the first place [ 3:16 ]

Andrea realized she didn’t have the entrepreneurial bug [ 4:11 ]

Working with adrenal fatigue [ 5:15 ]

How the idea for the book came about [ 7:13 ]

The exact moment that Andrea knew she was done with her 9-5 [ 7:50 ]

The unexpected opportunities to travel that appeared in the first year [ 9:50 ]

Why the side hustle model as a writer didn’t work for Andrea [ 12:00 ]

How to find purpose outside the corporate box [ 14:24 ]

How releasing a title led to understanding priorities better [ 18:01 ]

The power of diversified skillsets for flexible work [ 26:00 ]

Focus and clarity came when Andrea found what she wanted to do [ 29:06 ]

Where Andrea found inspiration to get her manuscript done [ 32:35 ] 

The oxymoron of getting to where you want to be quickly [ 33:55 ]

Friendships while making big change [ 35:50 ]

Andrea’s purpose in writing her book [ 42:30 ]

Andrea’s Quotable:

Don’t lose sight of your “someday” dreams. 

I was an otherwise intelligent woman, except for the fact that I listened to other people’s opinions too much.


Books mentioned in the episode:

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Episode 15: The Truth about Freelancing with Taylor Marsden

Taylor Marsden is a freelance copywriter in Toronto. She studied English in her undergrad and Journalism afterwards. She ended up applying to a start-up, where she learned how to copywrite and was promoted to content editor over the four years she spent there. A year into full-time work, Taylor started a side hustle as a freelance copywriter, where she was able to find more diverse clients, which she loved writing for. When the company she was working for folded, she had amassed a large enough client roster, portfolio and website to go it alone.

Taylor and I started our conversation talking about how we use Instagram now and how we could use it better. We also chat about focusing on fewer platforms and choosing the ones that feel best, while walking the tightrope between business and influencer. Taylor describes the many ways that you can freelance, how you can ease the transition into becoming a freelancer, and how to stop drowning in fear. We both discuss our biggest lessons learned as freelance copywriters, mistakes made, and how we found the best fit for our own preferences.


The dark side of selling/coaching on Instagram [ 3:42 ]

The Instagram hiatus [ 6:20 ]

The Matrix is glitching [ 9:15 ]

The power of social media for freelancers [ 10:10 ]

The addictive darkness of The Black Mirror [ 12:20 ]

Ways to eliminate social media noise [ 16:58 ]

You don’t need to be all the places all the time [ 21:02 ]

Who are you in social media apps? [ 22:08 ]

The journey to becoming a freelance copywriter [ 23:47 ]

How starting a freelance career allowed Taylor to travel [ 28:07 ]

The clarity that comes from having a full time job [ 30:48 ]

How social media has glamourized freelancing [ 31:55 ] 

How to take pressure off your creative career [ 33:28 ]

Money mindset as a freelancer [ 36:26 ]

Lessons learned when writing for a living [ 38:25 ]

There are so many ways to freelance [ 45:05 ]

Taylor’s Quotable:

Never forget who you are and what you bring to the table.

I was an otherwise intelligent woman, except for the fact that I let my tendency to self-sabotage get the best of me.


Connect with Taylor:

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Episode 14: Tech, Teaching and Raising Good Humans with Alyssa Rowley

Alyssa was a teacher who loved her job, but realized that she was spending all her time with other people’s kids, while missing her own grow up. Alyssa got resourceful one night; she set up a website for her editing services, registered her business, and sent the link out to her family. Working from home was never the goal, but once Alyssa saw the power of setting her own hours and being available for her family, it became her primary focus.

Alyssa and I talk about how university and one career was the only option for our age group, as well as where education and post-secondary degrees are headed in the future. We go deep into the effects that social media, comparison and technology have had not only on ourselves, but on the next generation. We are able to work flexibly because of technology, which is amazing, but we are both starting to be much more conscious of where else in our lives we let technology in, and where we choose to limit or eliminate it.


The week that changed Alyssa’s life [ 3:15 ]

The realities of being a supply teacher [ 5:30 ]

How Alyssa set up her editing business in one night [ 6:12 ]

Why flexible work was better for Alyssa and her family [ 9:30 ]

Teachers get a horrible wrap [ 12:43 ]

How a website kickstarted Alyssa’s business [ 17:34 ]

The most freeing part of Alyssa’s work at home [ 20:12 ]

University and one career was the only option 10-15 years ago [ 24:50 ]

The every day heartbreak of being a mother [ 29:37 ]

How profession is just one puzzle piece [ 30:37 ]

The financial career trap [ 33:12 ]

The difference between feeling anxious and struggling with crippling anxiety [ 35:23 ] 

The power of getting outside into nature [ 39:27 ]

Technology’s effects on children and what Alyssa feels is best for her kids [ 44:18 ]

The connection between mental health issues and technology [ 53:03 ]

Alyssa’s Quotable:

You can’t predict how your life is going to change you.

I was an otherwise intelligent woman, except for the fact that I hate to turn down work.


Connect with Alyssa:


Learn more about the businesses Alyssa works with:

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Episode 13: Corporate Leadership, Overwork and Trust with Wendy Swinden

Wendy ran the HR team at Sick Kids Hospital after managing a hospice in Toronto and a volunteer program at a children’s mental health centre in Whitby. Wendy was then recruited by Walmart when they first started implementing HR in 2006. She held a field role first and was then asked to manage a portfolio containing the speciality groups and the merchandizers, which gave her full access to the senior leadership team that she eventually joined.

We talk about HR challenges, leadership change and a significant reorganization that Wendy and her team had to manage. We also talk about the regrets she has about the 24/7 nature of her job when she couldn’t be 100% present at her son’s volleyball games. She reclaimed her life and left Walmart to consult for local businesses, while allowing herself the flexibility that works best for her lifestyle. We get into the nitty gritty of overwork, wearing work hours as a badge of honour, navigating corporate politics, and the difficulty in saying no to leadership.


Wendy’s career left turns [ 6:23 ]

Two things that Wendy learned working for Sick Kids Hospital [ 8:42 ]

The authenticity at Walmart that drew Wendy in [ 10:21 ]

What Wendy learned when working through a leadership change [ 15:54 ]

The challenges and mistakes made in a massive reorganization [ 17:36 ]

The worst decision that Wendy made about her position at Walmart [ 20:00 ]

The major regret Wendy had about the 24/7 nature of her job [ 20:39 ]

How Wendy networked locally to find her first consulting clients [ 25:10 ]

How Wendy pauses to find truly fulfilling work [ 28:20 ]

The mind game of work hours and corporate face time [ 34:50 ]

Billing guilt, hours as a badge of honour, and overwork [ 39:17 ]

Why more women weren’t store managers at Walmart [ 45:53 ] 

The emotional toll of the reorganization and the fallout [ 54:18 ]

What it means to have employees’ backs [ 1:01:35 ]

Competence doesn’t have a lot to do with promotion and hiring [ 1:08:27 ]

Wendy’s Quotable:

People tend to be more productive when they have flexibility. 

I was an otherwise intelligent woman, except for the fact that I forgot how smart I was.


Connect with Wendy:

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Episode 12: How To Get Real on Instagram with Meg Stypa

Meg is a writer and brand strategist, who encourages her clients to look at their content creation differently, in order to engage more meaningfully with their audience. Meg and I share a lot in common; she is also a wife, dog mom, tea lover, and autoimmune disease warrior. 

Meg shares practical lessons about using social media, showing up in a way that’s true to you, and how to be intentional about your screen time and the messages you’re putting out into the world. We also discuss how we both started our Instagram pages and then transitioned them to more authentic content. Meg breaks down her top three wellness tools and the important mindset reframes that she used to push past the fear. 


Why Meg doesn’t share all about content on her social media channels [ 4:18 ]

How your social media can bring you business without it selling your services [ 6:50 ]

Why personal connection is so important at work [ 8:32 ]

Why Meg has taken intentional breaks from Instagram [ 9:55 ]

Lessons learned about going dark on social media [ 13:49 ]

Phone hack to make social media less addictive for times of productivity [ 15:45 ]

The social media enabler that Kattie tries to block out [ 18:21 ]

Where Meg found support for her chronic illness during the diagnosis [ 22:29 ]

How women are influenced to downplay their illnesses [ 24:59 ]

Meg’s #top three wellness tools [ 31:42 ]

The mindset differences between genders in job searching [ 45:47 ]

How to shift your mindset around lack of experience [ 57:21 ] 

Meg’s Quotable:

You don’t need experience to offer a ton of value. 

I was an otherwise intelligent woman, except for the fact that I got really stuck in my head and didn’t take enough action.


Connect with Meg:


Books and Articles from the Episode:


Episode 11: How To Find Your Way to Feel Good Work with Sarah Vermunt

Sarah is a badass career coach, author, and the founder of Careergasm, where she helps people quit jobs they hate in order to find work that feels good. Sarah walks the walk, and started her career on the path to becoming a professor in business school, but found herself extremely unhappy, and instead of pushing through, left her PhD program four years deep. 

We talk about how to navigate looking for a new job or building a side hustle while you’re still employed. We also get into the power of great mentors, the struggles inherent in leaving academia, and dealing with people who are unsupportive of big changes. Sarah explains how she schedules her week to match her work chemistry, and advocates for experimentation in order to find what works for you.


A simple exercise to gain clarity on your desired career ingredients [ 4:13 ]

How Sarah and I went on a journey of theme hunting [ 7:26 ]

How to handle looking for a new job or building a side hustle as an employee [ 10:00 ]

How to reframe the guilt you feel about leaving a profession [ 12:20 ]

The “other” student debt [ 14:14 ]

The sunk cost fallacy to the max [ 16:30 ]

How mentors helped Sarah get unstuck in academia [ 20:30 ]

One of the signs that you are in the wrong career track [ 26:55 ]

Where many issues with work tend to manifest [ 30:02 ]

How Sarah schedules her week to be a coach, author and human [ 33:37 ]

What Sarah thinks about how you’re “supposed to” write [ 36:47 ]

How Sarah balances her ambition and need for a life [ 44:53 ]

What to do if you find your interests changing [ 50:37 ]

Sarah’s Quotable:

The need for career experimentation never actually ends.

I was an otherwise intelligent woman, except for the fact that I was doing too much at once and not enjoying the beautiful successes along the way.


Connect with Sarah:


Sarah’s Books:


Episode 10: Prioritizing What You Really Want with Alysha Dominico

Alysha is the co-founder of Tangible Words, an inbound marketing agency that uses a distributed office model to empower their employees. Alysha and her wife Vicky built the business so that writers could just choose their hours and write without worrying about sales and scaling. We talk about the power of content creation and how the company works like a well-oiled machine. Even though Tangible Words operates in the digital space, we discuss the power of in-person networking and conferences to kick-start a career or small business. 

We get into how Millennials operate differently in business (ourselves included) and how they have been exposed to more mental health conversations, meaning they know how take care of themselves. It’s a generation that has seen its parents get laid off in force, creating a distrust in organizations and a desire to do work that they are passionate about. To that end, Alysha explains how she structures her week and the importance to putting the things you want first and letting everything else fit into the cracks.


How Alysha built a business to just let writers write [ 3:30 ]

The hardest type of sales in terms of the psychological load [ 5:15 ]

The number of blogs a business needs to write per month [ 6:55 ]

How to network as a solopreneur or small business [ 9:03 ]

What the Millennial Cookie Dunk is [ 11:11 ]

How to build strong relationships in a digital space [ 12:36 ]

What changed in Alysha’s business that makes Mondays amazing [ 14:35 ]

Why Millennials look at work differently [ 17:05 ]

The shifting career, education and management models [ 22:14 ]

How to get listened to better in your career [ 27:46 ]

The driving values behind Tangible Words [ 28:40 ]

How Alysha schedules her week for maximum productivity [ 30:40 ]

How to prioritize the things you love [ 33:50 ]

Why you need to be able to put down your work [ 36:49 ]

Alysha’s hacks to writing without distractions [ 38:33 ]

Alysha’s Quotable:

You have to commit with your whole heart to something and say: I want this.

I was an otherwise intelligent woman, except for the fact that I was impatient and too hard on myself.


Connect with Alysha:

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Episode 9: How To Set Boundaries to Work Hard and Play Hard with Heather Ricketts

Heather Ricketts owns her own boutique political and nonprofit fundraiser and compliance firm. Today she’s sharing with us the realities of having a side hustle in order to find work that feels good in your soul, and how she structures her day for maximum productivity, which also keeps her aligned with her fiancé’s work schedule. We talked about the value of a supportive partner in building a business, both emotionally and financially.

Heather and her fiancé subscribe to the work hard, play hard mentality. With her fiancé’s six weeks of paid vacation, Heather was motivated to jump into entrepreneurship so she could schedule her own time off and enjoy the breaks together. But in building her own business, it required a tremendous amount of work and it took years for her to put boundaries in place with her clients. Now she’s much more confident in communicating her boundaries, and letting clients know when she is and isn’t available, without guilt.


How Heather used a side hustle to test out a new job [ 6:27 ]

The realities of keeping your “real job” while exploring other opportunities [ 7:41 ]

The most undervalued marketing tool for your business [ 13:30 ]

Why Heather had to hustle harder in the beginning [ 14:28 ]

How Heather structures her day as a business owner [ 17:29 ]

One of the biggest struggles when starting a business [ 26:25 ]

How to deal with work FOMO when you’re on vacation [ 31:35 ]

The unsung heroes of our businesses and lives [ 34:38 ]

Why getting rid of vacation/sick days was a big motivator [ 39:25 ]

One the best ways to find work that you really love [ 46:00 ]

A weekly practice that Heather uses to connect with her clients more [ 49:58 ]

Heather’s Quotable:

Boundaries have helped me to feel confident and capable enough to unplug.

I was an otherwise intelligent woman, except for the fact that I did not know my own boundaries.


Connect with Heather:

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Episode 8: Empowering Girls by Cultivating Creativity with Danielle Connolly

In today’s episode I chat with Danielle Connolly, founder and CEO of Make them Mainstream, an organization that empowers young girls through STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education. It’s no secret that there are very few women in STEM fields, and Danielle is on a mission to change this by working with young girls ages 4 through 9, their parents and teachers.

School was really hard for Danielle, who was always a creative. She was a dancer, an actor, and a writer, and never excelled in academia. But in her last year of high school she realized that math and science could be creative pursuits as well. She went on to become an engineer, and now frames the scientific method and engineering problem solving as creative processes. We chat about why this is critical for girls who want to pursue STEM, how our careers become our identities, and the challenges that women face in male-dominated industries.


How Danielle combined all her interests to create Make Them Mainstream [ 5:30 ]

How there’s no one path to finding feel-good work [ 9:10 ]

What your five-year-old self knows [ 11:55 ]

Why there aren’t many girls in STEM [ 12:26 ]

Why a creative mindset is necessary in engineering [ 16:17 ]

What university really trains you for [ 17:44 ]

How perspectives on intelligence are changing [ 21:45 ]

How to shock confidence into people you are talking to [ 23:28 ]

Where we place so much of our worth [ 29:29 ]

What happens to girls around the sixth grade [ 31:30 ]

Why it’s so important for moms to have a holistic sense of identity [ 36:14 ]

The biggest question that female engineers are asked as mentors [ 37:55 ]

The realities of working in a male-dominated industry [ 40:00 ]

How to be in tune with yourself to combat overworking [ 45:25 ]

Danielle’s Quotable:

Life doesn’t have to be linear. You can try different things. 

I was an otherwise intelligent woman, except for the fact that I had no idea what I was doing with my financial life. 


Connect with Danielle:

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Episode 7: Setting Boundaries at Work with Celeste Ortiz

Today on the podcast I’m speaking with Celeste Ortiz, who is a mechanical engineer in California. We discuss the culture shock that she experienced, not only in the workforce, but also at university orientation. Celeste is one of the most self-aware women I know, and she’s teaching us the lessons she learned about speaking up and setting boundaries at work. 

Celeste also fills us in on the layers of being an enGIRLneer, which is her brand of apparel that she created to empower women in engineering. We also cover our tendency to let things slide and to stay quiet, because of being taught to protect our jobs at all costs. Celeste has found her voice and knows when to use it when something is not ok in the workplace.


How Celeste experienced being different in her college orientation [ 7:31 ]

The daily schedule of working throughout an undergrad engineering degree [ 18:18 ]

The one part of Celeste’s personality that really affected her at work [ 22:06 ]

The price of protecting your job at all costs [ 22:56 ]

How the political climate created a sentiment in the workforce [ 25:02 ]

Assumptions made of “pretty girls”, especially in engineering [ 27:58 ]

What “forced diversity” is in the workplace [ 29:56 ]

The biggest thing Celeste wishes she did sooner in her career [ 35:19 ]

The true experience of jumping into engineering as a woman [ 37:04 ]

The shark versus dolphin mentality of a woman at work [ 41:42 ]

What was missing in Celeste’s professional life [ 48:12 ]

Where the idea for EnGIRLneer came from [ 48:54 ]

How many women leave the engineering industry [ 50:44 ]

Celeste’s Quotable:

No amount of compensation is worth putting up with that environment. 

I was an otherwise intelligent woman, except for the fact that I didn’t use all the resources available to me. 


Connect with Celeste:

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Episode 6: Follow Your Curiosities with Christine Sharpe

From childhood through university and into adulthood, Christine has always been a dancer. Although she’s a self-professed introvert, she loves the stage and performing. Needless to say, the traditional 9-to-5 job was never for Christine. Life as a performer often required a lot of side gigs, but she loved the flexibility. 

After getting married and having kids, Christine thought she’d be a stay-at-home mom, but life did not turn out the way she thought it would. A painful divorce taught Christine just how strong she really was, and how much change she was capable of withstanding. It was this event that was the catalyst to changing her life, allowing her to pursue her dream of opening a barre studio. We are chatting about what it takes to open a fitness studio, how women-led businesses operate differently, and what you can do to find your own business passion. 


What Christine’s parents encouraged in her that many others don’t [ 2:45 ]

What travelling around the world imparted in Christine about happiness [ 6:14 ]

What a “Joe job” taught Christine about female leadership [ 7:34 ]

How Christine’s divorce was the catalyst for changing her life [ 10:14 ]

One of the most important life lessons to finding happiness at work [ 17:47 ]

How Christine pivoted from employee to entrepreneur [ 19:39 ]

How Christine consciously branded Cbarre from the beginning [ 23:07 ]

How to start small as you build your business or fitness empire [ 29:58 ]

Why transparency with your team gives them more personal ownership [ 33:54 ]

How women-led businesses teach a different way of succeeding [ 38:49 ]

Christine’s biggest struggle in building a business [ 42:33 ]

Christine’s Quotable:

“You have got to expand and own your own worth.”

I was an otherwise intelligent woman, except for the fact that I kept myself small.


Connect with Christine:

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Episode 5: How To Speak Up at Work with Ami Au-Yeung

Today I am sharing a conversation with my friend Ami Au-Yeung, an HR professional turned career coach and writer. We chat about transparency and communication in the workplace, as well as speaking up when you are different from everyone you work with.

Ami intentionally recalibrated her career and she’s taking us on the journey of exactly how she made it happen. We chat about overcoming our critical inner voice and comparison to others. She also shares with us her simple cue card system, which she takes with her to remind herself of how she wants to feel at work and what type of work she wants to do.


How Ami defines success in her coaching practice [ 4:18 ]

What a career in HR looks like in the corporate space [ 6:53 ]

Why change is so difficult within organizations and how to make it easier [ 9:21 ]

How Ami handled resignation in her career and what she’d do differently now [ 16:31 ]

Why it’s harder to stand up for yourself when you are different [ 20:17 ]

The effect of positional power on what feel comfortable talking about [ 23:18 ]

How Ami completely recalibrated her career [ 27:15 ]

The emotions Ami managed in her transition [ 31:46 ]

Strategies to better manage your time on social media [ 38:27 ]

How to handle shiny object syndrome in your business [ 47:36 ]

A 30 second exercise to gain clarity in what you want to do for work [ 51:01 ]

How Ami combats feeling isolated as an entrepreneur [ 52:57 ]

How to effectively ask for what you want in your career [ 55:09 ]

Ami’s Quotable:

“Don’t be afraid to stand out and ask for what you want.”

I was an otherwise intelligent woman, except for the fact that I compared myself too much to other people.


You can connect with Ami on:

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Episode 4: Trust the Process with Laura Milne

Today I have the pleasure of sharing my conversation with Laura Milne, who is a badass business and branding coach on a mission to serve and empower women. She is the co-founder of Luscious Hustle, a money mindset maven, and an incredible mom.

Laura explains why it’s so hard for us to make big career pivots, how we can transfer the skills from our university degrees to different jobs, and ways that we can check in with ourselves to see if we are in the right career. We talk about money, trusting the process, and getting resourceful to create the life you desire. 


Expectations society puts on working mothers [ 5:59 ]

Why it’s so hard for the Type-A personality to make big career leaps [ 7:40 ]

What you need to prepare for every time you level up [ 9:51 ]

Common misconceptions about manifesting [ 10:53 ]

What we give way too much power to in our lives [ 15:22 ]

How to make better decisions around money [ 20:07 ]

Why it’s important to know yourself on a deeper level [ 27:24 ]

Why a six hour workday makes sense [ 33:59 ]

Root causes of dis-ease in the workplace [ 35:51 ]

A metric you can use to evaluate the fit of your current job [ 38:33 ]

Why you shouldn’t worry about pivoting away from your university degree [ 42:20 ]

How we can transfer skills to new careers in unique ways [ 46:54 ]

What is just as important as your IQ [ 55:07 ]

Laura’s Quotable:

“You set the destination and you do the work, but the universe decides the how.”

I was an otherwise intelligent woman, except for the fact that I ignored my own intuition for a really long time.


You can connect with Laura on:


Laura’s Favourite Personal Development Experts:

  • Byron Katie

  • Brené Brown’s Netflix special

  • The Soul of Money by Lynette Twist

  • Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

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Episode 3: You Are Not Your Job with Betsy Milne

Today on the podcast I am speaking with transformational business and branding coach, Betsy Milne. Betsy is the cofounder of Luscious Hustle, which is on a mission to empower women to build businesses that support the lives they want to live.

Betsy and I dive into chasing titles, working with chronic illness, and all the issues surrounding getting paid what you are worth. We share war stories of working in very masculine energy professions, and the toll it took. But we also share how we were able to transfer our skills to completely different industries in order to find health, happiness, and fulfilment. 


What it means to play the long game in building a business [ 10:00 ]

Why women always show up and push through [ 11:27 ]

What to do if you are severely ill and work in a non-supportive atmosphere [ 14:51 ]

How to build a business while you are healing [ 17:04 ]

False beliefs associated with chasing titles [ 19:42 ]

How everyone else’s money stories influence us at work [ 27:27 ]

How lack of transparency in salary plays into not getting paid what you’re worth [ 28:54 ]

What Betsy wishes she knew about money when working in corporate America [ 32:00 ]

The driving force in corporate that becomes systemic [ 33:39 ]

How to do research on what you should be making [ 38:17 ]

Why doing what you love can still lead to burnout [ 40:27 ]

How to combat the sunk cost fallacy when you are leaving a profession [ 44:17 ]

How to recover from feeling unworthy [ 52:59 ]

How to redefine what hustle means to you [ 59:02 ]

Betsy’s Quotable:

“Success happens when we are willing to pivot.”

I was an otherwise intelligent woman, except for the fact that I let other people define my worth. 


Connect with Betsy on:

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Episode 2: If This Is Success, I Don’t Want It with Karen Calder

In today’s episode I get to sit down and talk to my friend, Karen Calder. She is a badass career and corporate coach, a public speaker, an educator, and a consultant. She wears all of the hats and gives us some insight into how she does it. 

Karen has an extensive business background, and climbed the corporate ladder to the top. But once there, she made some really important realizations about what success meant to her. We explore a ton of topics to do with Karen’s journey, including false beliefs about paycheques, what it feels like when your job is killing you, and how to live from the inside out. 


Why we believe that if someone else signs our paycheque it’s more secure [ 9:10 ]

What it actually feels like when your job is killing you [ 12:50 ]

The question that changed Karen’s view on success [ 14:54 ]

What you don’t see from online entrepreneurs, which is a key part of the journey [ 20:20 ]

How many women respond to work environments, culture and performance reviews [ 25:06 ]

How to live from the inside out [ 27:00 ]

How to practice gratitude daily and quickly [ 31:15 ]

How to divide your business activities into separate buckets in the day [ 36:11 ]

Key considerations if you are thinking of starting your own business [ 42:50 ]

Karen’s advice to those entering the workforce now [ 49:57 ]

Karen’s Quotable:

“Live your truth, trust yourself, and go for it.”

I was an otherwise intelligent woman, except for the fact that I did not trust myself. 


Connect with Karen at:

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Episode 1: The Otherwise Intelligent Woman Podcast

Welcome to the very first episode of The Otherwise Intelligent Woman Podcast! Today I’m giving you a brief introduction to the podcast, myself, and what I hope that you’ll get out of each episode I release.

My name is Kattie Thorndyke, and I am a professional engineer turned writer. I went from working in a corporation to working from home just over a year ago. Through this change I’ve learned a heck of a lot, made a million mistakes, and found comfort in the comradely of other intelligent women. 

This podcast is about connecting you with the women that have kept me going, encouraged me, taught me hard lessons, and most of all told the truth about what it means to be a woman in business. 

This is about learning, growing, and rising together.

Let’s get to it.