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Episode 1: Amy Walker

On today’s episode, Kelly opens by sharing her vision for this podcast. Her goal is to invite amazing women and men to share their encouragement with you! Then, Kelly is so excited to introduce you to her dear friend, Amy Walker who shares her heart and perspective on navigating society as a woman and focusing on how to encourage other women to use their voice. She is so bravely vulnerable throughout the interview. We love Amy and know that you will too!

Kelly: Hello! I am so excited for today's show. My dear friend, Amy Walker, is going to be on the show. So, in total transparency, Amy and I actually already recorded an entire podcast episode. This is what happens when you first start out, right? So, we already recorded one. Unfortunately, I had some machine malfunction. And, it was terrible sound quality. If there’s one thing that I want to do for you throughout this whole podcast is that I really want to provide good quality to you. So we knew we had to go back to the drawing board. Amy and I had a great conversation, I really loved it, I value that time. I'm sorry we can't share that with you. But, I brought her back today. Originally, we had talked about friendships because Amy is a fantastic friend. But today we're going to incorporate that, but really we're going to talk about the view of women in society today and how we can, as women, build up each other and really empower and support each other. So, I hope you enjoy today's show!

K: Amy, thanks for being here with us today.

A: Thanks for having me.

K: So, I've already shared with the listeners full transparency, our last conversation unfortunately, will not be shared with the world. But, it was fantastic!

A: Yes, it was. It was fun.

K: I do think though, that that speaks volumes to you as a friend. So, thank you so much for hanging in there with me through this process and being willing to come back.

A: Of course. Happy to support you.

K: Thank you! So, today we're going to really change direction. Last time we talked a lot about friendship, you had a lot of wisdom to share. I loved it. And so, this time what I think would be really great, is we'll stay kind of along the same lines but right now there's a lot going on in our society.

A: Yes.

K: There's a lot of hurt. There's a lot of confusion. And when this podcast comes out, at that point the decision will be made for Brett Kavanaugh if he is Supreme Court or not.

A: Yep.

K: And so, I hope though, that although that decision will be over, the relevancy of topic does not go away. And so, I thought it would be great for us to be able to discuss. Not the political aspect of things but the view of society of women. And, really how we as women can empower each other and move closer or forward, I guess I would say, in society. So, can you tell me a little bit about your perspective? You know, how do you feel women are under valued or how do you feel they're viewed in society right now?

A: Umm... Well, I mean, I think that there has been progress. I think there's been movement in kind of more value and appreciation for women. I still feel like there's plenty of growing room in lots of capacities. I think that there are a lot of women who are under valued or their voices aren't necessarily respected or heard.

K: I think you are very accurate in that. And like we have discussed before, there's just so much hurt that's going around right now. And so I'm hopeful that through the podcast we can provide some encouragement for women as well, and men and children, really. You know, when it comes to this topic of being under valued it's not just women, by any means. And so, I think that would be good to be able to dive into that a little more. So, how do you think that the view of women, of society as a whole, can affect us on a daily basis even if we're not always necessarily surrounded by people who have that same view?

A: I just feel like there's so many different capacities and environments and scenarios. I mean, even thinking of, you know, I’ve been told that I’m kind of a strong more independent assertive woman, and that's not necessarily received well by certain people in society. Or that I come across as bitchy. Because I stand up for things or I assert myself in ways that maybe other people don't. But, I think it's important for women to have a voice. I think it's important for women to stand up for one another and support one another and empower one another. Like you said, that goes for men, children, everybody. I think we need to have a mutual respect for one another and everybody should feel equal and valued.

K: Absolutely, absolutely. I think one thing that is a strength of yours as well is that you are really great at encouraging other women to use their voices. I feel like a lot of times you're almost in the background with people being like, "you can do this!", sharing your thoughts or even processing through different situations. Would you say that's fairly accurate for you?

A: I believe that's an accurate assessment of me.

K: Yeah! Absolutely! I mean, I don't want to brag but I think it's pretty accurate! For sure. So, how do you think that we can help men really understand the woman's perspective on safety. I mean, particularly surrounding the high number of sexual assault, you know 1 in 3 women, 1 in 6 men, will experience sexual assault at some time in their life. So, obviously we don't want anyone to experience that. But when we look at the numbers that shows us that women are two times as likely to experience that. So there's two of us in here, so if we had one more person in this room, I mean it's very possible all of us could have experienced that, but at least one of us would very likely have experienced that. And, I’m wondering what we can do as women to help educate even the men in our lives about this topic.

A: You know, it's interesting that you say that. Because even I have regular conversations with my husband about this topic. I’m actually very proud of his perspective and his stance on things because I think he has a very high respect in regard for women. I think we can kind of attribute that to his own upbringing, so thanks to his mother and father for that.

K: Shout out to them.

A: Yeah! They instilled some good values in him for sure. I think that, just even things that I think of I even think of relating this to even the field that I’m in and the work that I do. I mean, I work with just all-adult males. And how society views how a woman dresses, how she speaks to people, certain things that they view as, "well, she's wearing that because she wants attention." Or, "She's saying that because she wants attention." When in all actuality that could just be how she dresses that provides a comfort to her. She communicates how she communicates because that's just what type of person she is. So, more individuality of a person rather than making assumptions that all women dress a certain way because they want attention from men or they want a certain thing that aren't necessarily accurate.

K: Absolutely. You know, if there are men listening, I would say the majority of decisions women make are not because they are concerned about what a man thinks.

A: Correct.

K: A lot of times it's more so just wanting to feel good.

A: Right. I was just going to say, and a lot of women I think want to just, and I try to reiterate that, too, like, dressing a certain way provides maybe some confidence or increases some self-esteem. It's not necessarily because they want male attention. It provides that internal kind of self-confidence for that woman. Not because they want something else.

K: Right.

A: I think just having conversations and educating people on, hey, there's other perspectives or other reasons for this rather than what you just think may be reality or fact.

K: Do you feel like that's helpful to talk men through that and try to almost open up their minds to different perspectives? Does that seem to be beneficial?

A: I do. I mean, there's always people that I think are not open to other perspectives or other ideas, I think it's important for us to always consider taking the perspective of other people and kind of putting ourselves in their shoes and what does it feel like to go through something like this? I mean, men, women, children, whatever. Any situation.

K: Right, absolutely.

A: And I think people have difficulty putting themselves in other people's shoes and having that empathetic kind of response to a terrible situation and terrible traumatic event.

K: Right. Absolutely. You know, and I apologize I didn't have you introduce yourself and tell about yourself because I’m just like "they know you know!" But, one thing, too, I wonder as a therapist, I was just thinking about this the other day, I wonder if part of that when it comes to sexual assault is that it's such a scary topic, and so a lot of times people don't even want to think about the fact that that's possible. And so it's hard for them to even consider what someone's experience would be because of course that wouldn't happen.

A: Yep. And I think like you said, that's so true. And, then those conversations I feel like need to happen even if they're uncomfortable or taboo, so to speak. Even going back to where I work, which is kind of talking with the guys, I mean, even when you’re in a committed relationship with somebody and there's that mutual love and respect, there might be times when you're just being playful and smackin' her on the bottom or groping her in some way thinking, you know, that's my significant other, I'm in a relationship with them but in some ways they may not want that in that moment or they might view it as disrespectful and just being open to communicating those things and hearing that input maybe if their partner is feeling uncomfortable.

K: Absolutely. I think you hit on a really key point is that communication aspect of things.

A: Mhmm.

K: And that I think could, it certainly would not eliminate everything but I think if men and women were willing to take a step back and really discuss about and really hear each other, that might really help in a lot of those situations.

A: I hear a lot of "well, she likes it." How do you know she likes it? Have you ever asked her?

K: Right.

A: Have you ever asked her, do you like it when I smack your ass? Sorry.

K: That's okay. You can say ass. That's fine. Disclaimer if you have children right now. Probably don't let them listen right now. No, you're fine. No worries.

A: Bleep it out.

K: You know, I think the reality is that it's such an important conversation and so if that means that somebody needs to just not listen to this part when their children are around that's fine. It's not a problem by any means. You know, I’m wondering. Can I ask a little bit about consent and the increase in conversation in society? How are you handling that with you children? And, does that change how you parent your son or your daughter?

A: Mm. I feel like, as a parent, me myself, speaking for my own kind of parenting and experience, I like to be very transparent with my kids. And the importance of having those valuable conversations with people and having that mutual respect for the people in their lives. And I think, if you instill those things in them that they're going to hopefully make good choices. Having that open communication, having that respect and yes, as I said, when we're in committed relationships sometimes I think we think we don't have to ask permission maybe or we don't have to consent for certain things. But. out of respect for that person, I think sometimes it's relevant, it's important.

K: Absolutely. And I am so glad that you brought that up. Because I’m not sure that's something that a lot of us think about very often. But, that's very accurate. Most certainly. Can I ask, do you parent to your son and your daughter differently on this topic?

A: I probably could honestly say yes. Because I feel like, just again going back to society, how gender roles are so kind of, formed and are meshed in our society. I still think that I instill the same values and the same communication importance and the same respect component as being extremely valuable in relationships. But, I think that women and men, they're also different.

K: Right.

A: They face different things. So I think you kind of have to shift your parenting style to those gender roles and those needs that need to be addressed, I guess.

K: Absolutely. No, I think that's a great perspective. Thank you for sharing.

A: Mmhmm.

K: Do you ever find that there are women in your life or maybe women that you have just ran into that don't really seem to get that it's an issue for maybe women to have as much of a voice or to be degraded, some like maybe don't see it the same way?

A: I do. I think that there's a lot of people that still have kind of maybe old school values or old school kind of things instilled in them. And it's more instilled that I’m supposed to be home and taking care of the house and the children and doing things like that, where I’m maybe less vocal or not heard as much. Like I said, some women viewing other women that are more vocal and more assertive as, I don't know, too over, I don't know what the right word is that I’m looking for, but too overbearing or too straight-forward. And maybe should be heard less.

K: Sometimes it almost seems like women who aren't quite, and this is, I hope this does not come across as judgment, but women who aren't quite as confident in themself often view women who are very confident as a threat.

A: Yes.

K: And I think that that perspective is really dangerous and can cause a lot of difficulty. Because really, I think that especially as women, we have to know our boundaries, not every woman is going to be a healthy relationship with us, so by all means, but I think especially as women, you know, we know what we go through. And so I think it's really important to try to be as supportive as you can.

A: And that's where I think that just as women, kind of being supportive and empowering one another, and when we recognize maybe somebody's a bit more quiet, reserved, and that's okay. That's how that person is. But kind of supporting them and building some of that confidence and being able to feel like they can vocalize things or feel strong in some capacity with that support of other people surrounding them.

K: Absolutely. Do you have some ideas, just like really tangible ways that people can make some effort if they do feel like maybe a friend of theirs needs, you know, some encouragement to really use their voice more, you know, ultimately that person makes that decision. But what are some ways that maybe we can reach out or show that support without coming across as, "why aren't you speaking your mind?" You know?

A: I think we just need to be more, my perspective I guess, is just being more vocal in that support. Kind of instilling that confidence in that you appreciate and value them and kind of giving reasons why and eventually the more they hear those things, the positivity and the encouragement, I think that that's going to build confidence, for somebody to maybe feel like they can be more confident and strong and assertive.

K: Absolutely. You know, there's that parenting perspective, I’m sure that you've heard it, it's really focusing on like, speaking truth into your children. And I love that perspective and I do that often with my son. But I think even for just one mother speaking truth into our lives, you know, the things that we maybe see as a strength for somebody or maybe we do see that they're having a bad day and we just take some time out of our day to check on them. And so, you know, I think that is one of your strengths as well. You know, you seem to have a little bit, like an intuition when people maybe need some support. Do you feel like that's pretty accurate?

A: I do. I do feel like I have an intuitive sense to me. And I know, even thinking like reflecting on myself, when I’m having bad days or I feel like I need some support. I may not be the best at asking for that sometimes when I really need it and I know that's an area where I need to improve on because I feel like I need to just be able to handle it. But I very much think that all people deserve to hear their value and their worth.

K: Absolutely. Absolutely. And isn't that a perspective though, I feel like, often gets pushed on us, is you can, you need to handle everything.

A: Yep.

K: You know, I saw an article that was talking about how being a mother is like having two and a half full-time jobs. And so, certainly not everyone listening is a mother and so I will not degrade the fact that a full-time job and just yourself is a lot. I mean, it is a lot. So when you throw on a family as well, I mean, that is, it's quite a bit. And so, to think that we as humans can handle every possible thing by ourselves is just, it's just not realistic.

A: It's not.

K: But our minds tell us we should.

A: Right. And I think that's where it is. We feel like we should and if you ask for support or help that you're weak but the reality is it's okay to be weak and vulnerable. I think people just have difficulty accepting that.

K: Yeah. This was probably, I don't know, I think it was probably about two months ago now. But I had an experience without going all-into it, where I had the opportunity to share something that I had written with a group. And we were all supposed to be sharing but everyone was really shy. So, I was like ah, I’ll just do it. You know how I sometimes? I'm like well I’ll just do it. I'll just like take one for the team.

A: You?! Really?! No!

K: Yeah. I'll take one for the team. And so afterwards, you know, people were like, "That was really brave." But the thing of it is, in that moment I didn't feel brave. I was scared to be honest. I wasn't sure what feedback I was going to get. I was like this is so vulnerable. This is something that's near to my heart. You know, how am I going to be able to share this? But I was like, someone has to, it might as well be me in this moment. And so, I think that's what's interesting is those moment where we're so vulnerable everyone else is seeing us as brave. When we're seeing ourselves as scared.

A: I totally can relate to that.

K: Can you?

A: I think, yeah. There's time when I maybe feel insecure or I feel a little less confident then I’ll maybe start something out, I don't know if I’m doing this right. You know, and even though to others I seem like I feel confident with my decisions and I know what I want to do and where I want to go in life, and there's going to be days when I question that and I don't feel very confident and I feel vulnerable.

K: Absolutely. I often will tell clients if they feel like everyone in their life just knows what they're doing, I will say, if they really told you what they were thinking, the majority of people are going to have some type of doubt.

A: Right.

K: That's just human nature. And so, although you may feel like you're the only one that's doubting yourself, probably everyone's doubting themselves. It's just, are you brave enough to share that doubt with somebody else. You know, that's really what it's all about.

A: I'm brave enough to let others see that vulnerability because we're all vulnerable.

K: Yep. Absolutely. Have you always been good at that?

A: No. God, no. Sorry.

K:. No, I love the honesty!

A: No.

K: I love the honesty.

A: I have not always been like that. I've always been younger, more kind of behind the scenes, quiet, a bit more shy, I would say. Definitely not confident. I went through a phrase where I went through some bullying, myself, too. And that just sticks with me today, so, but, having grown and become more confident just with life experience and just as I get more comfortable with myself as a woman and as a human. Yeah. I'm always growing. I'm always gaining more perspective and I think that builds confidence, too.

K: I would absolutely agree with that. I know that we have talked before but it's almost like every year life, you know, it seems to get better and better. And not that it's not hard, but it's just, you know, people really fear aging a lot of times. But I feel like, for me each year has given me a new opportunity to learn myself more, trust myself more and honestly care a little bit less...

A: About what others think? Yeah?

K: Yes. And so I think that that has been super helpful. Can you think back to like what changed for you when you first started being more open and vulnerable?

A: I don't know. I think it's just knowing my life experiences and some of the tough things that I’ve had to go through. And knowing that I was able to come out stronger and be okay. That's just like, hey if I can get through that, I can get through anything.

K: A lot of reasons, for sure. And I think that really shines through, too. And you know, it inspires other people as well. Are you familiar with Brene Brown?

A: Yeah.

K: I figured you are. I was like; I am almost guaranteeing that you are. She's a vulnerability and shame expert. Listeners, if you haven't heard of Brene Brown, go and check out her research now. She has tons of books.

A: It's amazing.

K: She a TED talk that's really, she has several TED talks by now, but there, yeah, she's really, really great. In one of her books, Braving the Wilderness, she talks about how when you go into the wilderness, it's really scary, it's really vulnerable, and you don't really have anyone with you. And, you're going out in there by yourself. And, you may find eventually there's other people in the wilderness, but it takes you a bit to weave through it. Do you feel like there's been times in your life, it can be about any topic, it doesn't necessarily have to be about what we were discussing earlier, but that you felt like you are stepping out into the wilderness and not sure where you're going and you're not really sure who's with you, but it's something you have to do for yourself?

A: Oh God, yeah. So many times.

K: Is there one that you feel comfortable sharing?

A: I think the biggest thing for me is when my mother got diagnosed with cancer. And the type of cancer that she had. Knowing that she had to have a pretty significant procedure. She had to have a bone marrow transplant and knowing that, you know, needing a caregiver for several months, in a different state. I was in grad school at the time. I was working full-time. I had a family. Questioning how am I going to support her and myself and my family and get through this? So definitely felt like I had to put myself out in the wilderness and be vulnerable and get through it.

K: That is so much on your plate, though. My goodness. Even just thinking of that now, can you still feel how you felt then?

A: I can. It was a very tough time. There was lots of days where I questioned like, I don't know if I can make it through all of this. And I felt like there were days that I was in like autopilot or like, I always refer to it as like robot-mode. Like, I just did what I needed to do everyday, without really like, thinking or feeling a whole lot. Just because, I was in like autopilot. I felt like a robot almost, like I don't know how else to describe it.

K: No. That makes a lot of sense. I believe I've shared with you before, and it's not my story to tell so I’m not going to go all into it, but I had a brother-in-law that we lost from cancer. What my husband has helped me to learn, which is so interesting because he is not someone who is super insightful, but, is that although it was not my main story, I still have a story about it, my perception. One thing for me was that I was also on autopilot. I was doing whatever I needed to do for my sister and for the girls and for him. Although there were so many people that were supportive, I almost felt so much on autopilot that I didn't even realize how long I had worked at the job I had worked at, looking back.

A: I was very good at taking care of everybody else and everything that needed to be done but I wasn't taking very good care of myself. I can look back on that now and say that but in the moment I was just doing what I needed to do.

K: After you went through that, was there a time then that you were able to really reflect more and get some rest? That's such a hard thing

A: I do, I think. There were some other stressors happening at that moment, too, that just, as you're able to kind of reflect back and like even asking yourself, "oh my God, I don't know, how did you do that?" But being able to have some open communication with those loved ones and acknowledging those who were there to support you and thanking them for kind of being that support during that time and acknowledging that you did notice and you did appreciate it.

K: Right. I think that's definitely a big portion of it. You know, really though, when you look back do you kind of think, "I'm kind of a badass"? Like, seriously, you really are.

A: I don't know if I feel like that, but, I mean there's many days that I do think, "How did you get through that?" Proud of myself for being able to stick it out and do that.

K: Right.

A: Definitely. And I think that's just, knowing that you can get through difficult times and come out stronger and just a better human, I think builds confidence.

K: Yeah. I would agree with that. You know, we certainly don't ever wish any situations like that to ever happen in life, by any means. Just like we talked earlier. But, I do think that, if we can hold on to some of those outcomes it can be really life changing. Truly. So, how did you, you mentioned, you know, that you had some people that were really supportive for you. So, how did you find those people?

A: Like, during that time or just in general?

K: In general.

A: I think it's just people who have kind of, sometimes, expectedly and unexpectedly entered my life and people that I just feel are truly like, good, genuine humans. And I love to be around them and know that they have my back no matter what.

K: Yes. So, what about somebody who doesn't have someone in their life right now that they feel is really genuine and that does have their back; how would they be able to maybe differentiate between new people they would meet if this is someone that's really supportive for them or if it's someone who maybe isn't the most healthy?

A: That's tough. 'Cause I feel that every individual and every individual situation is different, but I think you know when that person is a good, healthy, positive support. You know that in times of difficulty, in times of need, they're going to be there; are going to ask what they can do to help you. They're going to ask what they can do to support you and they truly mean it. I think that's the biggest thing. You know those people that are going to be there no matter what and have your back and lift you up and provide support and positive encouragement.

K: Do you think sometimes that, depending obviously, like you said each situation is so different, but sometimes we need to model the relationships that we're hopeful to get and like, if we're wanting people that are really good and supportive for us and healthy relationships, it's almost like we have to be able to offer that to someone that as well.

A: I think that's hugely impactful. I think in all aspects of life and all avenues, we need to be role models and influential, positively influential towards other people because I think that's, I mean, the things the positive things that I see in others makes me want to strive to be that, too. You know and I think it's healthy. There's so many good qualities that people have that I think are of benefit and we can always kind of learn from other people and grow from other people and we do that by seeing, observing, and seeing how they speak to people; seeing how they support people; seeing the things that they do and emanating those things.

K: Right. So, what would you say to somebody if they have really unsupportive people in their life? How do you navigate through that and maybe set up some appropriate boundaries?

A: I think, I guess the biggest thing for me would be encouraging those women to step out into the wilderness and sometimes during those uncomfortable moments, those are the times when you might find the most support unexpectedly in somebody. You know, whether it be family or friends or seeking maybe a support group that provides some comfort or some support in some way. I think, identifying and recognizing when people are negative in your life and learning when to be able to healthily detach yourself from them and knowing that they may be causing your more stress and bringing you down rather than lifting you up. Just knowing which people lift you up rather than bring you down.

K: We may have talked about this before, but there is the theory as far as energy giving, energy sucking and then neutral. And that I think is such a healthy perspective. So what, how do you leave feeling that person? Do you feel refreshed and energized? 'Cause there's people like you that I sit down with and I’m like "okay!" Like I feel like you know, really great. Even with really hard conversations, even in those vulnerable moments. There's other people you may talk to and they just take so much energy you leave thinking "I am just exhausted."

A: Yes.

K: You know, I can't spend another moment with this person. And there's people that don't really affect you one way or the other.

A: You feel kind of neutral.

K: Right.

A: Actually, I just watched that video yesterday.

K: Oh did you?!

A: That's funny that you say that.

K: Yeah! I hadn't necessarily heard of it exactly like that. I've heard of some theories like that. But, I think that's such a good way to gauge people.

A: It is.

K: It's a really, it's a simplified version of it. Because how you feel, the energy you're getting from somebody, not to sound all hippie-ish but the energy that you're getting from somebody, there's a reason you're getting that. And so, I think if we can start trusting ourselves, that's really beneficial.

A: I agree. And that's where, yeah, people need to put themselves in the wilderness. Be willing to find those people that lift you up and you leave the conversation feeling positive and empowered and ready to take on the day.

K: Absolutely.

A: And I hope everybody can find those people, that tribe, so to speak. That good-vibe-tribe.

K: Yeah! Exactly. I’m certainly hopeful for people, too. I am hopeful as well if there's someone listening that's feeling really discouraged about not being surrounded by a really great group of friends that they keep trying, keep putting themselves out, because that's really the only way that you will be able to meet someone. And to also, I think, even when you are not just looking for friendships but if you're starting a new project, like, look around you. Like, who has those skills, you know, who would be a really great person to come alongside you and who might you have never thought you would ever want to be friends with but they just seem kind of interesting. Like, why not, what's the worst thing that can happen if you ask them to go for coffee someday?

A: Right?

K: They say no? Okay.

A: Right?

K: You tried.

A: You try. Try again.

K: Yeah, you know.

A: Try somebody else.

K: Exactly. At some point you're going to find somebody that you really connect with.

A: And I think those people, like I said, enter our lives unexpectedly, too. You might not be searching for that support person or that positive friend but they just come into your life for a reason.

K: So it's good to never shut yourself down. Like, you know, my husband, he's just funny. He'll be like, "I think I just kind of have enough friends." I'm like, "But there might be someone out there that you'll meet and you'll really..." "Eh, I don't know." I’m always going to keep that window open. Because I would never turn down a really great relationship with anyone; just because I have other really great relationships, too, you know.

A: Yeah. I mean, you can, even if you're a homebody and it's hard to put yourself out in social situations but maybe encouraging yourself or talking yourself into signing up for an activity you wouldn't normally do or a class that you wouldn't normally take. You never know who you might meet in a situation like that. And it could be somebody, a blessing. A blessing in disguise.

K: Yeah, I think you can even just be like, not that you would meet someone in a grocery store, it's not like a Hallmark movie here, but you know, I think that you can have like small interactions like that that can be extremely powerful for your life and so, I would hate for anyone to discredit or discount themselves from finding a friend in just like the weirdest situations ever. I think that would be really helpful for people. We've talked a little bit about how women can help encourage other women and how we can inspire and continue to just really be there for one another, when we flip that on the flipside of things, so we're looking at men. This part's a little trickier. If we're not surrounded with men that are super amazing or maybe have really clear perspectives on their view towards women, how can we help that?

A: I think, the biggest thing that I think just over-arching all of this and that can help, it's just having constant conversations, constant communication, constant awareness of things. And perspective taking. Both males and females, I think we need to be more open to taking the perspective of the other gender and how certain things make us feel. That's the biggest place to start.

K: Absolutely. I think you're very right with that. I often tell people that I’m a firm believer that we can have good relationships with people that we don't agree with at all.

A: Right?

K: And I use my marriage as an example because I love my husband but we do not agree on a lot. We really don't. We have some really great conversations and I do feel like both of us really take a good look at the other person's perspective and certainly give when necessary. But I think, only surrounding yourself with people that have the same opinion as you is really dangerous.

A: I agree. And I can totally relate. I have men in my life that have very different perspectives and views on things and that's okay. I even think of that work-life, personal-life, home-life. It's healthy to have different perspectives. And it's healthy to have those conversations and be able to have open conversations about that. Because, who knows, even though I disagree with something my husband agrees with, there might be something that he tells me that I've never thought of. And I open my mind to, "Oh. I never thought of that before. It does kind of make sense."

K: Yeah. I think we look life from our own lens so when we, you know, based on our own life experiences and, so I think when we can look through a different lens that's really beneficial and super helpful. You know, one thing I keep thinking, too, is, how can men help with other men? That’s one part I think that we often miss, too. Because I have been so impressed with men that are in my life that have been really supportive of women. And I don't know that I have always been able to see it as much. I think that they're being much more vocal now and I think that's awesome. But I’m also thinking, you know, how can they help other men? And one of the things my mind jumps to is even just something as simple as you hear one of your friends make some joke that's like totally inappropriate, you know, even stepping in in those moments, even if you're not the cool, funny guy, you know.

A: Right.

K: Or if somebody speaks poorly about your girlfriend or your wife or your mother or their mother or you know, trying to set up those boundaries. Because I think that men have an advantage over pointing that out versus women pointing it out.

A: I think it's awesome that you said that because I think that's where some of our barrier lies. Because I think for the sense of maybe fitting in with other males or not kind of creating conflict in some way, that a lot of people just go with the flow, not realizing it's at the detriment of somebody. And it's important for somebody to, yeah, be assertive or stand up and say, "Hey, you know, that's somebody that I love that you're talking about" or "somebody that I care about that you're talking about. I'd appreciate it if you would have more respect."

K: Right. You know, it almost makes me think as far as race as well. I had a conversation with somebody the other day in my personal life and they mentioned this theory with everything going on in the news they feel like it's not all men, but it's most. And so, I really got to thinking about that. I obviously, I have no idea what it feels like to be any other race than I am, by any means, and I will never pretend that, ever. But I could imagine if we flipped that and we even think, okay, not all white people are racist but most. That really changes your perspective and your view on things and so I think that even just on a race level, if we see that something has happened, we do have a privilege and we have the ability to say something that maybe somebody else in the minority might not be able to. And I think it's the same type of situation, no I’m not comparing the two, very different. But I do think as far as men speaking up for women, I do think that can be really helpful as well because they can have a different privilege than we have. Because a woman might be told that she's being too forward or she's being, let's just call it like it is, a bitch, and a man might be really respected for being strong in his opinions.

A: Yes. Agreed. More confident and that's somebody we want running this company.

K: Right. So women often get suppressed, but we're making progress. Do you feel like we're making progress in society?

A: I do.

K: Yep.

A: I think I said that in the beginning. I think there's been a lot of progress and a lot of things that make me proud to see and witness in my own life. I think there's a lot of growing yet to do.

K: Yep. You know, I think too, when there's really like, almost like a huge reckoning coming, there's a whole bunch of dysfunction and it feels like we're in this dysfunction and pretty soon something major is going to change. And it's almost felt like it's been increasing probably over the last year especially. So I’m really interested to see like 6 months from now, a year from now if we can still keep some of these really open, honest communication and topics. It'll be interesting to see just on a day-to-day basis the impact we can have.

A: I agree.

K: I think people get really bent out of shape about wanting to be on social media and throwing out all these things. Every now and again I get really angry, too and I want to do that. But is that beneficial or can we make more of an impact on a daily basis?

A: I think social media can be a very bad, a very good and a very bad tool. Because yes, I mean, people are free to express their opinions but sometimes people express their opinions not realizing the hurt that they're causing to people that are reading that. I find myself getting very cautious about what I post and kind of respecting view points of all people, trying to anyway. And I also find myself scrolling through things and reading comments and I’m just furious about some of the things I read, but I mean, what is the point in kind of fueling some of those conversations? If it's going to go in a negative direction rather than something influential or positive or maybe recognizing they may not understand that side of it. Ever.

K: Yep. And that just may be where they're at. And so I think at some point you have to decide are you going to continue to talk to a wall or are you going to go down the street and talk to someone who might really hear you out on it. And I think the thing about, you know I talk a lot with clients with rage and anger and you know, I don't always think it's a bad thing. I mean, I’m not saying we should be out there and like hurting other people by any means or breaking stuff. But, I also think that it's really with any emotion what you're doing with it. So if you can use that rage and that anger and that frustration to set up better boundaries for yourself to speak your truth more, I think that could be really influential and powerful.

A: Absolutely.

K: It's just a matter of how you come across.

A: I think the biggest piece of that is just how we do it. How we go about it. Are you doing it for the sake of hurting other people and not caring? Or are you doing it for the purpose of educating and helping others understand other sides of things?

K: Yep. If I can throw one more thing out there, too. With everything that's been happening, so many brave men and women and children have really come forward with their own stories of assault. And I think that it is really amazing and just super impactful that people are willing to allow their story to be known and heard. But I also want to really encourage people to not feel obligated to share their story. And I feel like I’m seeing a lot of that.

A: Feeling obligated to?

K: But the reality is sometimes that will help and if it helps you that's the most important thing. But I just don't want anyone to feel pressured to share something like that.

A: I think it's important for people to do something like that when they feel the need.

K: Absolutely.

A: When they feel safe and comfortable enough to do so. And I think it's important for people to recognize that talking about something traumatic like that brings up a lot of difficulty for the person that's doing it. I think we lose sight of how difficult, kind of reliving that experience is for the individual sharing that.

K: Yeah. We can have a lot of compassion for people, that will go along way in this world.

A: Even if it was 30 years ago, 20 years ago. It still impacts that person in a very big way.

K: I have people that I work with that are almost in their 90's and had a trauma happen when they were in their teens and it hurts the same today as it did then.

A: Right. That frustrates me. Well it happened 30 years ago, they should be over it by now.

K: You know that would be nice. Wouldn't that be cool if that's how trauma worked? We could just get over it?

A: Just get over it. That's just not how it works.

K: But I think in some ways too, the more that we can educate people about trauma the more beneficial that will be, for sure. So in wrapping this up, I have some questions that I’m going to be asking everyone and one of these you may have answered at your last interview but I’m going to switch it a little bit.

A: Okay.

K: Who sticks out in your mind as your biggest encourager for empowering women to use their voice, to speak up for themselves, to encourage other women, has there been, you know, anyone in your life that has been just really influential in that?

A: I think for me probably the most influential female right now that comes to mind is my sister. I feel like she also has been through a lot and she has overcome a lot of things and it's created a beautiful, strong person. And I feel like we have very much been huge supports of one another and that's speaking to this whole conversation, to the whole empowerment of women and supporting women even if you disagree, even if it's difficult for you to support them. Just always being there and she has definitely been somebody in my life who I can say that has been true in all aspects.

K: Thank you for sharing that. Can you just throw out there if you had, just biggest encourager in general? I may be able to guess this but who would you say just in life in general?

A: Definitely my husband. He's been very supportive and encouraging through a lot in my life, so, huge kudos. Shout out Kevin. Yay!

K: Yay, Kevin! He's a good guy that's for sure.

A: And I know I always have said that he is, and I say this on a regular basis, he is my rock. He is, I tend to be a very emotionally driven person and I allow my emotions to get the best of me and he is kind of my balance, my kind of person of reason to help me be more reasonable on things.

K: Yeah. That's great. So let's say someone listening to this conversation and they wanted to make some connection with you, would you be okay with people contacting me and me connecting them with you?

A: Yeah, that's fine.

K: Is that probably the best way?

A: Totally cool with that.

K: Well thank you so much for talking with me for the second time, maybe you can come back again, what do you think?

A: I would totally do that.

K: Awesome! Well thank you so much.

A: Thanks for having me!

K: I appreciate it!

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