Sit down with the highly accomplished members of Athena Alliance, an executive learning community for women leaders, to hear the personal tales behind their professional success. We learn the real story behind their inspiring executive careers — their fears, their failures, and what song they’re singing at karaoke. You don’t get to the top without creating some memorable stories along the way.
Inspire others to get more and to do more later in life.
Athena helps women achieve executive-level leadership expertise, polish their boardroom and executive knowledge, get closer to board seats, and make leaps in their careers.
She said, I don’t know how to answer that but I think someone in the audience does. Marcia, would you come up here and answer this question. That was daring.I was this was in my shy stage. This was not in oh, I want to speak on stage stage at all. As I’m walking up there, I’m thinking if I may kind of have that heart attack, could it be now. (cut my laughter) I did not want to be there.
Music Insert #1 Neon Beach (:33-:45)
Voice Insert #1
Welcome to Voices of Athena, a podcast highlighting the more personal side of the successful women that make up the Athena Alliance, a learning community for executive women. I’m your host, Priscilla Brenenstuhl. On this episode, we sit down with, Marcia Daszko, to hear how she transformed from a shy and reserved disposition into an outspoken business strategist, public speaker and best-selling author.
Hi, Good morning. How are you? Favorite part of my job How was your trip? It was nice. It was nice. It was it was my babies had the stomach flu. So it was Oh yeah. Oh yeah. And you know when it’s like hard to have six sick babies at all, but like when you’re away from home yeah that you have to keep them comfortable. Right. And yeah, I haven’t seen my six year old that sick ever in my whole life. So I really just don’t.
Marcia Daszko 0:48
Yeah. Just froze. That happened, you know, you just froze for a second. And I was on a podcast yesterday. And the same thing happened. It was like, they said, Oh, she froze and then but I was back in like one or two seconds. So it was very strange. I don’t know what’s with that? I don’t know.
Priscilla Brenenstuhl 1:14
So I am going to update my internet.
Marcia Daszko 1:23
I might have to do that too.
Priscilla Brenenstuhl 1:51
Are we tackle sorry. Can you hear me?
Marcia Daszko 1:57
Yes. We were frozen for a second again, but then you’re back so I don’t.
Priscilla Brenenstuhl 2:03
Okay, so what I did is I just transferred my server to something else. So hopefully that server is better. Because I don’t want to lose any parts of the conversation. We do have a little bit of a storm rolling in. Right now. It’s like fog coming. If it does happen again, I’m going to turn my camera off just you know, because connection will be better. Sometimes it works better. But yes, thank you for asking. It wasn’t what I expected. But the babies are better now. And you know, at least
Marcia Daszko 2:41
I have a six year old and what’s the other one?
Priscilla Brenenstuhl 2:44
He just turned 10 months.
Marcia Daszko 2:46
Oh my gosh. Yeah, yeah.
Priscilla Brenenstuhl 2:49
Yeah. So it’s, I’m in the thick of it.
Marcia Daszko 2:53
You are I was thinking well, I can hardly remember those days.
Priscilla Brenenstuhl 2:58
I don’t remember that either. I don’t remember yesterday. I’m like constantly. Where am I? Who am I?
Marcia Daszko 3:04
What you know one thing I wish I would have done that I didn’t do and you’re so busy that you don’t even think about it. I wish I would have even if it was two sentences a day. I or or or 10 minutes a week. I wish I would have kept a lifelong journal just of what was life like what were we doing? Where are the where are the places we went? Like we went to the park and then we went on Saturday we went to the zoo and we ate at this restaurant that you know, 20 years later may not even exist, and I just wish I had that. You know.
Priscilla Brenenstuhl 3:40
Thank you for sharing that with me. Because it sounds like something that now I want to incorporate in my life. I’m really bad at doing those kinds of things. And I’m really actually people for it being easier to take pictures these days. Because like my phone will often like Google will send me memories or years or something of what I was doing and I’m like, oh, you know, two years ago or looking
Marcia Daszko 4:10
I I did one of those books. It’s right here. So I put it all together. And um, my my son’s birthday is coming up, so I’m gonna do another one with him. That’s that’s the family. Oh, that’s
Priscilla Brenenstuhl 4:31
so lovely. We just became a soccer family over here.
Marcia Daszko 4:36
No goes your life
Priscilla Brenenstuhl 4:40
I read this meme and it said gosh and frozen. No on my end, okay, okay, we’re Oh no, this terrible time for this to happen. Okay, I really don’t want to say goodbye to your face from I don’t want to. So I’m gonna, I’m gonna give it another chance. I’m gonna like move close my desk closer somehow to the outlet and see if that makes a difference. So I read this meme that said, like, like, deciding to have kids so that instead of a lazy Saturday morning, you can go into a panic because some forgot to put the sports uniform. In the dryer. Got it sounds accurate
Marcia Daszko 5:46
does your husband work from home to
Priscilla Brenenstuhl 5:49
my so it not no, it’s tricky. He’s trying he’s actually trying to Lando work from home position just because of it’s hard our child goes to school further away. He is in a business of buying and selling cars. So basically he buys cars that have been mostly luxury vehicles that have been an accident off of auction and then rebuilds them like restores them with up with people and then sells them and it’s just a lot of running around. And but you know what? He is Nigerian and and he had he went even though he went to college here and he got his degree in networking and technology. It’s very very hard for him to get a job here as well. What
Marcia Daszko 6:49
about remote you know the like work for Google or Amazon or whatever?
Priscilla Brenenstuhl 6:56
Yeah, that’s what we’re starting. That’s what we’re trying to do now is like build up a resume if it’s different and showcases his achievements in school because it’s just, you know, that’s a new thing. And then in that year, we weren’t pushing it because I was like, I need you to be home or not work because I’m working so much and we have babies so now now we’re in the process of you know, re examining all of that and yeah, okay, but I don’t want to take too much time because I have so much things and first of all, I want to make sure I’m pronouncing your name right when they when I introduce you so help me.
Marcia Daszko 7:39
Okay, Marcia, and then dash code. So it’s like D A. ‘s Yeah. D A S H kayo.
Priscilla Brenenstuhl 7:49
Yeah, I would have said Daskal so I wouldn’t I
Marcia Daszko 7:54
that 90% of the time 95 The time Yeah.
Okay, great. So are so how would you describe yourself or introduce yourself either.
Marcia Daszko 8:06
So um, it’s so funny because I’ve had to write this out like 10 times in the past, you know, two days and then I go blank. So I’m, I would say I’m a business strategist, a conference corporate speaker, professional speaker and a best selling author. I’ve taught him classes. I’ve been an executive bazillion years ago, so any any parts and pieces so basically that I’m a business strategist, a professional speaker and I really focus on helping leaders transform themselves and their businesses. I think that’s maybe the crux after I ramble all over the place.
I’m a strategic that I help business leaders transform. I love a transformation. Aren’t we all seeking that at all times? Or if we aren’t, we’re, you know, feeling stuck in life. So So let’s say that we let’s say that we leave out professional accolades. Let’s say you I asked you to describe or introduce yourself just personally with professional inside
okay. Then I’m a catalyst for strategic transformation.
So would you say that that’s something that you are even in your most personal relationships?
Yes, just made me think back to. I’m informally coaching of one of my daughter in law’s best friends. Because she’s struggling. She’s struggled all through the pandemic. I think she struggles a lot. She’s got two daughters who were sweethearts, but she just she struggles and it’s and one of them has an eating disorder now, and I’m sure it’s coming. From the anxiety of the mother on too onto the daughter. And so I’m trying to always, but I don’t, but I don’t have any time with her. You know, it’s, she makes sorry, she makes comments on Facebook. And I and I respond to help her think different.
Got it. Got it. So even in your personal life and kind of that coach or that person that is yeah, I get it. I I get it.
Whether they like it or not, right. I mean, I just asked questions.
Yeah. Yeah, like, that’s it. That is so true. I wrote an article about that a few days ago. Curiosity is one of the strongest traits of a leader because they’re asking questions. I put a poll up on LinkedIn. And I said, if you are in a taxi from the airport, to your hotel in another city, don’t you’re not familiar with. Do you you know, put your face in your phone? Do you engage in a lively conversation with the taxi driver? Or they’re like I gave him three choices, and or comment and one person wrote, I read I read my book. But I was surprised actually 50% said that they would engage with the taxi driver. I thought most people would say they were on their phone.
Priscilla Brenenstuhl 12:11
Yeah, yeah. I mean, maybe and maybe it depends on the situation or the people who are being who you’re asking that question two, because I just opened it up to linkers. Yeah, I think a lot of people using LinkedIn are probably have leadership or thinking career, you know, and I would have to agree with that. Especially because having curiosity keeps you helps you find solutions instead of getting stuck on problems.
Marcia Daszko 12:40
always growing, always learning. That’s a difference. Because
yeah, I like that. And that’s perfect. Lead in for Who or what inspires you and why?
So, I am inspired. I’m inspired by people who are curious. So when people are asking questions when they’re struggling with challenging topics or, or challenges in society, then I am really admiring of them for asking the questions and seeking bold, better solutions.
I like that it’s such an interesting answer and different than ones that I have heard before. And I think what I’m picking up on is that if someone is asking questions, then then there’s not like you said an opportunity for growth. I know, I know. I’ll want a willingness and a desire to learn. And I think that that’s what makes kids so encouraging is just to see their curiosity because it shows that there’s they still have like a zest for life. Maybe when people aren’t curious. They either fallen into like repressing emotions, or depression, you know, not
Marcia Daszko 14:28
yet well, you
know, just like this idea of like if I stopped being curious you know, maybe I’ve given up on on a different life or different other possibilities, or I don’t see other options for myself or I don’t want to see other options because it’s too painful or too hard or outside of the norm. So yeah, I can get behind and I like that. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it is keeping it gives us life I think.
Marcia Daszko 15:06
Yes. It’s a couple of people that I asked to endorse my book. They’re caught two of them. Their comments were so similar. And one of them, Ken Blanchard said that I had a refreshingly honest guide for leaders and he said, Martian will not just shake up some of your long held beliefs about leadership. She will also inspire your thinking and move you to positive action. This book is a life changer for organizations everywhere. And then Dan Pink said it was full of counter intuitive advice. So when you mentioned I haven’t heard these comments before. He said that to him, he said. It will shake up your thinking about what it takes to be a leader. So
Priscilla Brenenstuhl 16:12
feel for our listeners. This is your year book, pivot, disrupt and
Marcia Daszko 16:17
Priscilla Brenenstuhl 16:21
We love that title. Thank you. Thanks, Marcia. Um um What song are you singing karaoke?
I am being so kind to everybody around me. And I will not sing but, but I will listen to and have along and dance. I will dance. I will dance too happy.
That’s right, you said it’s your favorite song.
It’s my favorite song. Absolutely. It will. Forever. Yes.
Yeah, that’s great.
I should play that every morning when I get up. Every morning. I do a dance. Yes. Great idea.
Can be your meditation. Meditation. Oh,
that will be my meditation.
So okay, but like let’s say you’re getting up in the morning and you’re playing it. Are you singing if you’re by yourself and no one’s around?
No. Singing? No, I’m still not saying no, I’m not a singer. I will play it loud. So it like fills the house.
Yeah, okay. And you move your body. Yeah,singing with your body, otherwise known as dancing.
You can grab you get to grab your six year old and dance around the house.
Yeah, no, it’s best. So I love it. We have dance parties almost every day. He loves that song and it used to be one of his favorites.
Changing the tune a little bit. What is your biggest fear?
I’ve I’ve actually given that some thought because I teach classes and workshops and give speeches about fear. Fear erodes, people productivity and profits. So the short and short title is spirit erodes profits because many times that’s what the executives care about. But my fear when I think about it is anything bad happening to my family. That’s the only fear I have. I’m not afraid of death. I’m not afraid of change and I’m not afraid of you know, even if I lost money or houses the house burned down. I don’t care and stuff like that is replaceable. And, yeah, the major fears. I don’t have that fear. In fact, one of the highest fears I mean, there’s fear of losing a job fear of losing a company fear of losing fear of change and fear of public speaking is one of the top and years ago that would have been like probably number two, I’ve been close to death and so that that didn’t scare me at all. Everybody else said Oh, you must have been so scared. I’m like, Oh no, it didn’t even cross my mind. It’s my time it’s my dog. No big deal. So so that’s what those are. The that’s the number one and then I used to be afraid of public speaking because I was excruciatingly shy. And now people don’t even believe me. When I say that because especially one on one. I can really have robust conversations. But in a in a even a small group like four or five people at around a conference table. People that I knew I would not speak up. Never unless I was asked a question.
I love this so much. And there’s a few things that I want to highlight. One thing that you’re bringing up which is really interesting and which I’ve thought of because I’ve thought before I would love to do this same interview with the same people in like 10 years from now. You know, because right now, you’re talking about like, like Marcia in different in different phases of life. Exactly. Right, it would have been this at this point it would have would have been this and maybe in a further point it will be something different. So so that is the first thing that I want to like touch on. Just how we change and evolve and grow and how different priorities come into life like if you asked me 10 years ago before I had children even though I was very young if I was afraid of death. Nope, not at all. I was like my life has been very full. And you know, now if you ask me if I’m afraid of death, it’s one of my top things because I just want to be with my children as long as possible. And they’re so young. Yeah, that I wouldn’t be there to just to give them all of my love is just the worst one of the worst things or losing them that I can think of. So it’s interesting, right? How that changes based on your priorities and where you are in life. And then the second thing that is really exciting about that answer is that one of your biggest fears, which I love ,is now something that you are doing regularly. like public speaking, you built a book and now you’re on this podcast and you’re like this is what you’re doing such a good job you’re doing such a good job of advocating for yourself which a lot of times you know that can be really hard and you write a book but but you know finding ways to advocate on your own behalf particularly if you have a background with like not speak up for yourself is a challenge. So congratulations on being super fabulous
It wasn’t me. It was I had mentors that pull. I believe that everyone has natural leadership. And my mentors chose me. I didn’t go searching for mentors. They chose me and they pulled the natural leadership out of me. And they put they put me in situations where I had to go speak and because my work ethic is so strong, I would never let them down. So I went and did what I needed to do even though inside I was dying. And so then I got used to it. And now the power that comes out of me is that not at all that I want to be center of attention even on my wedding day I did not want to be center of attention. I’m thinking how are we to get like out of this white dress. So I stand out like crazy, you know, you know I’m thinking back now I don’t think I thought that at the moment but it’s like, I’m not one that wants to be the center of attention. But I want the messages. I’m just, I’m just a funnel. I’m just a channel. I want them messages that I’ve been taught and that I’ve helped leaders learn and apply. I want those to be passed on to people who are struggling, floundering declining and other organizations are failing because they don’t need to. There’s a fork in the road. And some leaders go down this fork where they they grab on to and apply them. They don’t know any better. The management fads that quote unquote best practices, the latest, you know, buzzwords, they grab on to those and I get it, but instead what they need to do is go down the other path where they can think of question the beliefs and assumptions and quote unquote best practices because if they follow those, they will end up with waste complexity and and toxic relationships around them. So they have to let those go and instead, focus on how do we learn, work, improve and innovate together. So having a powerful, compelling aim and purpose that we work on together will take us further.
It sounds like your passion and purpose kind of launched you headfirst into your fears. And how do you confront them in or in in order to achieve
That’s awesome. And good for you for not backing down.
It’s still a responsibility that I feel. That’s why I love now I want the invitations to come in to work with a board of directors to work with an executive to work with a project team to to go up on stage and communicate interactively. I don’t care if there’s 20 or 200 or 2000 people in the room. I want I will do things so that we have interaction. People are interacting together. I’m just I’m not going to talk to them or PowerPoint them to death. We’re just rolling. And I hope that when they walk out of the room their lives will be a little bit different. They will think differently. The way that they walked in is not the way they’re going going to walk out and I never know until I talk to them later. What did you hear? What did you learn? What will you use? And I’m always surprised. One of my clients years ago, said Marcia taught me how to pick my battles. And I’m like, I don’t remember ever teaching. But he got that from something I said and then another lady at a speech last year at a conference in Las Vegas. She said I Marcia taught me that learning and doing things differently. comes at that edge of my comfort zone. I have to get uncomfortable in order to grow and move forward and have new experiences and opportunities.
It’s definitely my truth. Definitely my truth.
I think that that that leads itself and maybe you’ve actually already answered this or you’ve answered it in one way and maybe there’s another way so What is the most daring thing you’ve ever done?
I’m thinking about this. I one idea that popped into my head was when one of my colleagues who I greatly admire was up on stage. She was speaking in front of 1000 people. And then it was a q&a session and someone asked her a question from the audience. And she said, I don’t know how to answer that but I think someone in the audience does. Marcia, would you come up here and answer this question. That was daring. I was this was in my shy stage. This was not in oh, I want to speak on stage stage at all. As I’m walking up there, I’m thinking if I may kind of have that heart attack, could it be now could it just come in? I did not want to be there. And I went up and I have no idea what I said I don’t remember. Oh, it’s it’s gone. I don’t remember it. I obviously made it off the stage. Okay, because I’m here but I I do. I do remember I blacked it out. A blinker.
Well you said that you said you’re a channel. So you stepped aside which seems like it was it was what had to happen in some ways. In order for you to stay up there. In order for you to not like for your mind to not just be taken over by the fear. Your mind kind of shut down and the message just came out over the perfect channel you clear you blacked out and you’ll come through is that sounds right.
That sounds that sounds like the exact description and it and I all I remember was it was a question about psychology. And the person on stage. She’s a statistician and she didn’t feel she had that. That depth of background and in fact, she was a dean at Fordham University and she invited me in to give a class about theory of psychology.
Music Insert #2 Cast of Characters (:15-:28)
Voice Insert #2
Marcia Daszko is a catalyst for leadership and organizational transformation. She has 25 years of proven success as a Founder and CEO of a consulting firm, Marcia Daszko & Associates. She is also a best-selling author, her book Pivot, Disrupt, Transform: How Leaders Beat the Odds and Survive entices leaders to shake up out-dated beliefs and disrupt the status quo in order to thrive.
Okay, so So it seems like she would have been maybe one of those like, opportunistic mentors, right? She’s one of the people that were called you on stage before. That’s great. If you weren’t doing if you weren’t in your current profession what would you be doing?
If I had the the, the ability, the talent, that’s a word I want, if I have the talent, I wished I would have been a professional dancer. And that whole thing got to go here. It totally shocks people, because well, I never we I grew up in a smaller town 10,000 items, I suppose there were dance classes. It never crossed my mind at that time. Or my parents. I don’t know if any of my friends who went to dance class or ballet or anything. I took ballet when I was 21. I think one class it was nearly killed me. I had no idea that there were muscles where I was hurting. I was like, oh my god, this is a lot of work. I would go work full, full time and then go to ballet class. That was killing me. But I Yeah, professional dancer. And I assume I have no talent singing so if but if I could sing and dance out of a person that was totally afraid to to, you know and shy and to be onstage fascinating. It’s the opposite. Yeah, so I can dream that way.
I love that. Um, you know, I took just as this I took my first ballet class at 26. And it was I was I went to Evergreen State College. I went I went to a few different places but in Washington and they have like immersive curriculum where so I learned physiology and anatomy through bands. Oh, wow. It’s so just like you said those parts of the body that you didn’t know of really learn firsthand about them. And their names through dance.
Marcia Daszko 2:25
I did a very challenging year. I just remember I hurt I was like, Oh my gosh, I can’t even sit down it hurts.
Hurts So Good. I wouldn’t do it again. Thank you for that. So, Lou, tell me Give me about a life changing or life defining moment.
I’ve had a couple Well, one kind of bunched together is when I met my mentors. First Dr. Perry Blackmun. And then he introduced me to Dr. W. Edwards Deming because my first career was in corporate communications and marketing my master’s is in that field. And then I started working for Perry at his small consulting firm. And he asked me to do business development. I said what is that and he sent me off to Dr. Demings four day seminar. And Dr. Deming by that point, had helped Japan turnaround after World War Two and become a global competitor. And then he was back in the United States, working with the CEOs of Ford and General Motors to help save our auto industry. And then he was giving four day seminars to rooms full of 1000s of senior executives from corporate to nonprofit education, health care military, and I went to the first four days seminar was totally overwhelmed. And anyway, then met Dr. Deming and he asked me to come to as many as I could. I ended up going to 20 of his four day seminars. He mentored me, you know, all the way through, we had deep discussions about how leaders need to transform themselves and their organizations in order to contribute to society like he did with Japan and our auto industry. So that was one defining moment. So then the two of them taught me and taught me how to teach and guide organizations to apply his philosophy of management. And so that’s what I’ve spent another 25 plus years doing after I lost both of my mentors that they both passed away in 1993. And when I lost both of them, I thought, Now what do I do? Well, we had clients and they had taught me how to consult so I continued and started my own business. In 94. So that was a huge defining moment. That was a pivot. And through that time, that’s when I went from excruciating ly shy to you know, starting to build confidence because I could help. my response
Okay, now we’re back. I don’t think I missed anything. Shame, but I think at all natural spot that I’m like, Oh, God. Okay, so yeah, back to that. So it’s, it’s yeah, so it’s the fact that you had a purpose that was bigger than you that felt and they showed you that that that allowed you to kind of come out of your shell and and be able to share. I think that’s such an interesting point. I think that’s such an interesting point. Because I often feel that way. I often feel like like, I don’t want to be the center of attention, whereas like when I was young people might have thought that I did want to be the center you know, like, they would surprise like they might think I’m extroverted. But I actually have some like, kind of shy qualities but my desire for community and myself desire to make people feel included, propels me outside. of my comfort zone, regular on a regular basis. My desire for building connections, you know, and so I think that’s probably true for a lot of people and then it makes me think, alternatively are the people who aren’t connecting Is it because they haven’t found that genuine place or their authentic voice or, or or a truth that resonates with them in a way that excites them or keeps them curious or keeps them from keeps that wanting to engage?
Marcia Daszko 7:33
Yes, I think that the like, my life could have been just flowing simply for decades, right. So I that that huge pivot that I got in my career. I mean, my thinking when I was young was I, I want to have 10 kids and I don’t care about a career. And and so my life is totally upside down. I have one awesome son and family and and then this huge, I wouldn’t say have a huge career, but I have a huge desire to make a difference in however I can. And I have co founded a couple of organizations one was the Bay Area Domain User Group, we met monthly for over 16 years. And it was my responsibility to get a speaker every single month, which I did, and then we you know, that kind of closed down and then five of us co founded the into an thinking network with and in Southern California. One of our sponsors was Boeing, and we had an annual conference. That was a total of about four days with pre conference workshops. In the conference. And that was that without went for more than 15 years. And so those communities you know, that we built, were so powerful and right now, I don’t have a community like exactly like that. And so I thought I really miss it. I need to create it again or become part of something like that. That’s why also, I thought Athena Alliance might be that great connection for me to be part of that community to contribute to and to also help I mean, my my focus in joining also was to become a corporate board member so that I can contribute to a board in their strategic leadership thinking. So we’ll see.
And sometimes how you get that is through community is through knowing the right people at the right time or having the right people at the right time with you and know what you have to offer. This keeps keeping staying relevant. And building community so we’re so happy to have you and and yeah, we’re launching all new ways for the community to connect and that is my driving force is building like I said building community. That’s my I have a habit of a mantra, a personal mantra that community is the new money.
I love it.
Priscilla Brenenstuhl 10:41
Marcia Daszko 10:44
Go ahead. I was thinking you know, you were just thinking about wealth and riches and that can really take off.
Yeah, and I think it comes from you know, just from having, like I said, the right people around you and just what I said even you know,
communities as the new money is a little bit limited because it’s really like maybe full account I just drew a blank on the money that I are the money lays on the word prosperity community it just doesn’t have the same ring to it, because there are all these types of prosperity. And like I was saying before, like, you know, building your community focusing on networking, focusing on getting people to know who you are is like one of the top ways to to do to elevate your career and to even pivot your career or to take that next step. So that’s why I do what I do.
Marcia Daszko 11:53
I think you’re, you’re speaking about a lot of wealth. in multiple ways. But what I’m hearing is the birth of a book inside of you.
Priscilla Brenenstuhl 12:06
Thank you. I know that from from an author, I honor that I I have had that brought to my attention a number of times so just finding the right the timing right.
Marcia Daszko 12:20
Because that will be the right time that you don’t have to worry about that. It’s like for years I thought about writing a book for years. I thought oh, or should I get the PhD and I had breakfast with a professor at Stanford. One day at work. We we chatted for a couple of hours. And he had written a book about fear. So that’s why we were getting together and he said to me at the end of the two hours he said, Marcia, forget about getting a PhD. You don’t need it. He said just put three letters behind your name and nobody’s gonna even ask what what they mean. And he said, but you must write the book you must I written part of it. You must write finish the book, because nobody is talking about what you’re talking about. And you need to complete that. So I went home and I began to finish the book. And I didn’t get the PhD and I still kind of waver with that in the background. But I think you know, instead of putting that the time doesn’t bother me but putting that money into myself, why don’t I save that money and, you know, for for making sure the grandkids have a great education and so forth. I’m sure they will anyway, they’re straight A’s and so forth, but yeah, I just so he was my inspiration to to complete it that it has value. It’s important, and this is what you must do. And then he sent me an email that afternoon and he said, I pronounce you DC s. And I’m thinking this Yes. And he put Doctorate of common sense.
I like that and it’s also you know what he’s saying though, it’s true. It’s like, okay, it’s just evaluating your reasons. So it is like a PhD because it’s something i i a metric of success that I determined from long ago. And is that metric of success still applicable or is it this desire for lifelong learning? Because there’s so many ways to be a lifelong learner especially now. I mean, there’s institutions, Harvard and MIT are opening up a lot of courses for free. There is like Athena Alliance where, you know, it’s this this exchange of thought leadership that’s happening between leaders and and in a novel way because they’re not just talking about the ranches talking about the subject matter. But that also their experience of the subject matter and how it’s changed and their experience being a woman on the frontier of new things. So there’s so many opportunities for that seems like you’ve stayed you stay curious, right? Oh, I can go.
Like when I go into an organ or city when I go into an organization for example. (cut the pause)
Yes, we can quickly get out of the organization. So are they doing are they doing performance appraisals, and judging, criticizing, blaming ranking rating people, if they’re doing that? All of those 1000s of hours that everybody in their organization is wasting on those demotivating tools is crushing. I’ve seen a 363 60 assessments. I’ve seen too many people emotionally damaged and hurt in and managers accompany President and I thought I wouldn’t I am never gonna, I cannot support doing any of those things. Some tools that are harmful and toxic to people. And I and I teach and I speak about what the impact is and why it happens and what to do instead.
Yeah, it’s important especially when you think about how many hours and how much sacrifice of our lives that we’re giving. It’s so important to feel valued. (cut the pause)
And now we have this huge topic of mental wellness. And we have to focus well, I just read the article this morning. That said, there are like 6000 Navy sailors on a ship in import I think in Virginia, it’s like being overhauled or something and, and they’re taking hundreds, maybe they will end up taking 1000s of the sailors off the ship, because in one week, they’ve had four suicides. So it’s like what is going on there? What is that has to be immediately there’s has to be swift investigation now. It’s been brought to the attention of the CNO, the chief naval officer to Congress to and now of course, you know, the media is like, we’ve got to ask the questions, what’s happening? I mean, we’re hearing about it across all sectors, right? Education and hospitals and so forth where these numbers are are up, and it’s it’s a huge issue for the nation, but education, we have a broken education system, and if we were to address that, and the mental health and the family support, we would easily not easily we would solve these problems, but we need to focus on the right things. We need leadership addressing the education system, the mental health system, and, and health care so that we get the right things in place.
Why we need to make them integrated, like what you know, health and well-being should be a part of education. Absolutely, or should be a part of education. But I think we are we are leading in that direction. heading in that direction. We have to we have to, but sometimes, right that’s the crux that’s where that’s where it happens. You get to this point of no return or yield, you know where you’re saying, Okay, we clearly can’t keep heading in this way this direction. Drastic measures need to be taken to rewrite the system from the ground up. And so I’m excited to be to be among the people who who believe in transformation and change and look forward to ushering in a new paradigm and supporting each other and using using leaders leadership as a tool for for building morale and building community and supporting each other in our highest potential. That’s all very exciting to me. And yeah, yeah, I didn’t hear about that. I
think that the I think that the corporate CEOs have to be some of the people at the table who drive this who drive the the transformation of an education system because like the CEO of Xerox, David Carnes many years ago, I remember him saying, if we are our education system is in crisis. But if we fix that, we fix a host of other problems, like the gangs and the he didn’t call it mental health, but basically all of those issues, you know, suicides, anxiety, depression. It just, we can make such a difference. We’re not going to solve everything, but we can definitely pivot the outcomes and
Absolutely! I think education is a great way to start because it’s required because it’s something that you know, parents need for their children. You know, it’s something that I actually have my son in a Waldorf school here, which was one of when I learned when I studied Rudolf Steiner in in Evergreen, the same college was just really fascinated by his philosophy and around raising a child and outright ways in which we learn. So I felt super, super fortunate. It was back. You know, in my college days when I was thinking of having a child I thought this is like, this is like top three on my requirements for having children and put them in a Waldorf school. Because the mission is really to build leaders in their own capacities and to build a support system around them as they naturally are and to encourage their natural interests and to have well rounded education that touches on all kinds of things beyond just standardized testing, and oh, yes, the model that came under the Roosevelt area era of factory producing more people who can, you know, factory workers basically
I think that standardized tests, the SATs and so forth, are on their way out just beginning, but they’re on the way I know the California State University system with 23 campuses. I think I read just a week or two ago where they are not going to be looking at standardized tests.
So I was talking to somebody who leads skills, skills, I can’t remember the name but it’s it’s it’s it’s skills economy something anyway, but it’s building new skills. And basically, she talked about that AI development that they have right now around being able to, to help like civil simulations, okay, computer simulations where they pull out natural skills and innate abilities, that and then a lot of employers will be using that. And then it’s because let’s say you are like a mom who’s been out of work for a while, right, but you have all these time management skills and things that you’ve learned from being a mom. So kind of looking at certifications or test scores. It’ll be more of this kind of skill set that can come from anywhere. Maybe it comes from diverse background. Maybe it comes from having lived abroad and having different cultural awareness, but we’re making all this I’m very I’m a little bit like skeptical just because everything we’ve been AI has like blah, blah, blah, yeah, but I’m also excited about the promise of that and how we can really just
Marcia Daszko 24:43
look at the person to be interesting. Yeah, I always feel that. I assess a new employee based on the conversation, how they think how they and I know I’ve been hired by those conversations. So in one day, I was talking to one of my colleagues who is a tax partner at a very large CPA firm and he said, we’re not looking for skills anymore. He said, what we’re looking for is the thinking and will they commit to learning and to staying with us? Because this revolving door, we just get them trained, and a year later, they’re gone. So he said, the skills you know, if they went through college and they got their accounting or finance degree or whatever, then they get their CPA. That’s that that’s the
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relationship that I can that that will invest in the same way that I’m investing which is really important. That’s a good point.
Music Insert #3 Avacado Junkie (:33-:45)
We are closing, I want to ask if there’s anything else that you would like to say before we end anything you feel like you didn’t get in?
Oh, um, I feel like we’ve had such a robust conversation and we’ve almost taken on the world here. systems and you get everything fixed and I think that most importantly, I would say to people always, you know, I mean, we talked about lifelong learning, but really, you know, really do it. Like I was saying to someone yesterday, when you go to the bookstore, buy, buy a couple of magazines that you would not ever typically, you know, buy like buy a running magazine or something because I think I should be running but I’m not you know, I’m not out there doing. Yeah, just different. Things to think differently. And so I and I would also invite people to, especially executives who have an organization, get an assessment of where you are you personally you know, like your personal thinking about leadership. And also have someone assess your organization and give you feedback, give you a summary report, it’s it only takes typically like a week or so. And it can even be a huge organization and the reason I say that is I invite people to do that is because they don’t know what they don’t know. That’s number one. They need to invite people in from the outside who have a different kind of knowledge and can accelerate their knowledge. I remember once that someone had interviewed me, and he said, Marsha, I thought that I had a pretty successful business. But after talking to you, I wonder how much more successful it could have been all these years. So that’s why I want to invite people to, to reach out and you know, ask for you know, it’s almost like you go you go to the doctor for physical every year. You should do the same thing. Thinking about yourself, your thinking, your leadership, your organization, see what else you could get bring in to help your organization accelerate, maybe it’s improving, but you can accelerate that one plant they were at $30 million dollars, they The owner said I want to take it to 35 or 40 million, but I have all these problems. Can you help? I said, I don’t know. Let’s take a look. We went from 30 million to 300 million. And so that’s and we we do quick turnarounds because sometimes we have to people call me and they don’t tell me, but they call me in and say and I find out in a few days that they’re near bankruptcy. Oh, they didn’t tell me that. But that means I if I’m lucky have a month. Or two to stop the bleeding and then to turn them around and scale the business. It’s possible
and exciting and exhilarating and hard work. Possible. Right when you have that when you when you feel like you have the tools? Yeah. And in the passion for it. knowledge bases where you can apply it.
Yes, it’s knowledge that I didn’t have before my learning began when I was in my 30s my deep learning and then it’s new knowledge for them. Like Dr. Deming said, most executives in the United States not even in the Fortune 500 companies have the knowledge that they need to transform.
I believe that. It takes honest self reflection which can be really challenging, especially if you’re in a position of leadership and being told you’re right all the time. Hey,
yes, because they got the title. They’ve got the position and they’ve got the salary to you know, but how much with that, to me with that comes responsibility, huge responsibility, but some people don’t feel the same like us. They don’t know
they don’t what you said they don’t know. Yeah, and they think they’ve already reached kind of the pinnacle and that they should just keep doing what they’re doing. But transformation is evident and always happening and you know, if you’re not part of it, then you’re you are you are keeping it from happening or you can’t keep it from happening. But you’re getting in the way of it. Like if you’re not part of it, then you’re getting in the way of it are getting away. Thank you so much. Thank you for taking this out to talk personally and professionally and transformationaly with me. I so appreciate your your or exuberance i That’s the word that comes to mind, your exuberance through for life and for for helping change others in a way that is meaningful. And I just appreciate being able to have have this opportunity to share time with you in great conversation.
Thank you so much for inviting me. This has been so much fun. What a great kickoff to the day.
I love that and I’m looking forward to your salon.
Marcia Daszko 2:56
Thank you enjoy the rest of your day. You too. I’ll send I’ll send this to you too. So you can review it before we post it again. Okay.
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Music Insert#4 King Flamingo (:10-24)
Voice Insert #3
Thank you for listening. It’s an honor to share your time. I hope you’ll join me for our next conversation with Kim Alexis Newton. As a board member, global marketing executive, author and creator of The Intentional Pause™, she helps women to embrace pausing as a powerful way forward, with intention, to achieve their dreams.
If you’re a member and you’d like to be featured on an episode of Voices of Athena, please reach out to me at [email protected].
Your story matters.
Marcia Daszko 3:09
So when do we talk again about the salon?
Priscilla Brenenstuhl 3:15
Yeah, I think your next talk is not with me. It’s all set to go. So it’s a week before your salon your meeting with Coco who’s going to be your host. So they do the you know, the sussing out of details, but then I will be there the day of the salon to listen in and enjoy.
Marcia Daszko 3:37
So I So you asked about PowerPoints, you really don’t like to use them,
Priscilla Brenenstuhl 3:46
but they don’t use them at all.
Marcia Daszko 3:48
Yeah, I mean, there are a couple that like there’s one that is you know, I speak to this. So I kind of wonder if it would be helpful for the audience to have a visual.
Priscilla Brenenstuhl 4:05
Yeah, just Santa our way so now and then and it’s really it’s your it’s your time. So we can we can pop that up when you’re talking about it because it is helpful. If you’re referencing it. We can even send it out afterwards to the console. Okay. Yeah, so it’s not a requirement. It’s just saying if visuals help you guide, or if they’re visuals that can explain things that words can’t you know, but it’s totally up to you and more more of our sessions happen without signs and do with slides. You know,
Marcia Daszko 4:48
I thought Yeah, I thought so. The ones that I’ve watched or
Priscilla Brenenstuhl 4:52
Yeah, well, in some of them are just you know, lend themselves to slides or presentations more you need to present. Other times our conversational not so much so, but it’s your hour really nice.
Marcia Daszko 5:09
Well, that well, Coco and I haven’t had a conversation yet. So that’ll be I guess we have one before this one. I mean, we don’t just go right into it. But in fact today we were in the conversation before I really realized were in the conversation. I thought we’re just kind of kicking it. I
Priscilla Brenenstuhl 5:31
want it to be that way very natural and casual like you know, but yeah, you will have like a prep call. And then you’ll sign in and can 15 minutes early and will be an someone who will be off from the team probably Justin. Just to say oh, yeah, sounds good. You look great. Is there anything you want to test the sly? And if you want, you can stay on five minutes after you can interview you for like quick takeaways to create a sizzle reel that we can put on marketing.
Marcia Daszko 6:07
Oh, awesome. Yeah, because then I can take anything like that and put it out to my social media. And put that right and hashtag you know, a scene
Priscilla Brenenstuhl 6:22
and we will do so. Yeah. Thank you. So much. Oh, wrong time to freeze. Thank you Oh, thank you thanks, guys. Bye.
Unknown Speaker 6:48
This podcast was created to unravel the stories behind the dynamic and inspiring women of Athena Alliance. If you’re a member and want to be featured, we’d love to hear from you. Your story matters.