Podcasting to Empower Women: Greydaliz Rivera

Greydaliz Rivera calls herself a “bicha cool” or its closest English translation, a “cool bitch.” Through her daily Spanish language podcast, she speaks and shares daily inspiration to other “bichas cool.” The name refers to a woman who does not care about being nice or expresses unpopular opinions. However, she does enjoy doing good through entrepreneurship.

Greydaliz first recorded her podcast in January 2018 from a closet in her apartment in Texas. Originally from Puerto Rico, she had moved to Texas with her daughter and then boyfriend to find a better future after Hurricane Maria hit the Island in 2017. A year and over 400 episodes later, she is back in Puerto Rico living in a house she built on her own. Surpassing her goal of a year of daily podcasting, she is now able to earn a living from her various passion projects including mentoring and coaching, podcast workshops, and now her own line of inspirational t-shirts.

Just as thousands of women in Puerto Rico and abroad, I also became an avid listener of these 10-15 minutes podcasts. The subjects include tips on becoming an entrepreneur, time management, tools you can use and other topics based on multiple books she has read throughout the year. She also shares her daily struggles of dealing with entrepreneurship and motherhood, relationships and self-care. In this interview, we talked about her experience of empowering women through podcasting.

How would you describe what you do?
I am a researcher and I want people to find what they are a capable of. I am mainly a podcaster now and I want to use my voice and my experience to be a model to other women. For me, the best way to help other people is just showing how you do it.

What made you decide to do a daily podcast?
I wanted to make content creation a habit. I know that if you want to learn something, you have to do it daily. I wanted to create content as a lifestyle, not just as a hobby I do once a month or whatever. I wanted to do it every day because for me that is the best way to learn something.

When I first listened to the first podcast that you did, I loved it because it was not a “perfect” podcast. You decided to just launch it and improve throughout the way. How do you feel the podcast has changed from that first episode?

A lot, I’m more fluid, more real, more spontaneous. Its now part of my day and I have changed a lot in the past year. I adapted the format to my new lifestyle, to my new routine, to my new needs. It has changed a lot but it feels more real, more connected, more me. It involves less planning and more about documenting (daily life).

How you pick the topics for your podcast? It must be a challenge doing it daily.
For me it is not that difficult because I read a lot. I have a big community now: a lot of women ask me many questions and I use those questions to make an episode. I get inspired with my experience as a mom and businesswoman. I mix everything: some days I want to talk about something and I just think of a perfect podcast with the perfect situation and I put it all together for an episode.

What has been one of the greatest challenges that you’ve had in the past year since you started this podcast?
I think the most difficult challenge that we have as humans to overcome is our mind. If you want to do exercise or have a healthy life, want to do a daily podcast or whatever is your goal, your mind is going to say ‘no, not today, maybe tomorrow, you are tired, why don’t you have a cookie.’ You have to control your mind. If you control your mind and you build a habit, you can do whatever you want.

You also have given workshops on how to podcast. What’s a key piece of advice you give to those people who are interested in making a podcast?
The first one is that you have to be comfortable with yourself. You have to be you. You have to take whatever you are, and be proud. You have to speak to the world like you are and then you will be able to be fluid, to express more comfortably. Like me, I don’t speak English! I am not thinking about the pronunciation or the verbs, I try to do it with intention. As a person, I do my best. People love that! Be real.

“You have to control your mind. If you control your mind and you build a habit, you can do whatever you want. “

How would you describe what you’re doing in terms of mentoring and coaching?
For me mentoring is that you know some things, that you are ten steps ahead me and you have the good intention to help me and to help out other people. Ultimately is to have some knowledge and just want to share it with the world.

What kind of projects do you have coming up that you combine with your podcast?
I have my t-shirts and I want to do other products like boxes and bags. This is just the beginning because I am a very ambitious woman. I am also working with an application that is taking me longer than what I had planned, but it’s coming this year, and I’m preparing an online course on podcasting.

What are two or three key resources you recommend?
In the podcast area I am always listening to new programs. I just recommend you go to the search bar and put the topic that you are interested in. You are going to have many choices because every day there are more people in this podcasting world. In the book area, I just read three very good books: Profit First, This is Marketing from Seth Godin and The Power of Now.

Do you have questions, feedback or suggestions of people to interview? Contact me!

Advocate for Military Spouses: Jamie Muskopf

The day of my interview with Jamie Muskopf from her home in Washington state, she received a called from school saying her kids would have no class that day. Even with that unplanned event, she still went through her day as usual managing her responsibilities as a Project Manager for Microsoft’s Military Spouse Technology Academy, recording an episode of her podcast S.O. Unbecoming, and this interview. Jamie is also completing her Doctor of Social Work studies at the University of Southern California while taking care of her three children and her active duty Navy spouse.

This was another typical day for a military spouse. While significant others perform their jobs at home or abroad, these military spouses must manage their households and in many cases, their careers as well. Jamie has made her mission to advocate for them.

Before marriage, Jamie had started her started thriving career in technology as a developer in college, a job she learned “accidentally” when her supervisors at her summer job at the University of California Santa Barbara asked her to create a website. A few years later, back at home in Hawaii, she became a Director of Web Services at Pacific University and completed a Masters in Information Systems. Later she joined the U.S. Pacific Fleet to develop their Knowledge Management program. At her job she met her future husband. She continued working until the demanding schedule at work and at home forced a career break. In the meantime, she completed her Masters in Knowledge Strategy from Columbia University with the goal of one day returning to the workforce, which happened last year.

During our conversation we talked about her career in tech and Knowledge Management, her mission to use what she has learned for social good, and her weekly podcast S.O. Unbecoming, where she interviews military spouses who are “unbecoming one version of themselves in favor of another.”

What made you realize that knowledge management was important?

As you know, the military is full of different tools and they’re all there for interesting reasons. But there’s always this assumption that “if I use this tool everything in the world will be better.” And really you need more of an understanding that the information you work with and create are part of a larger eco-system. Where I was working at HQ at Pacific Fleet, it was definitely always tied into decision making.

I learned to be very empathetic ultimately to the Commander because there are all these people generating a lot of information (for him). I happened to have a commander that said “pump the brakes, you are giving me all this stuff, tell me why it matters. You can’t just give me a bunch of raw data. I need you to collaborate, and I need you to create something that is just a higher level than what you’re giving me right now. It’s good information, but it’d be richer knowledge if you put it all together first.” I listened very intently to what he wanted. He eventually took high notice of that and he became a really big supporter of knowledge management because he just got it. He understood what we were trying to accomplish. 

When did you take a break in your career?
My husband was my boss’ flag aid. I had no intention whatsoever (to go out with him) but he kept bugging me (laughs). A year later, I was like fine (laughs). We got married and then a month and a half after he went to Connecticut for school. I was pregnant at the time, so I ended up staying in Hawaii. I worked after getting married for the next two years. Then I had two babies who are 18 months apart. Once I had my daughter, he was on a sea tour.

My career and his career were way too competing because at that point I was traveling once or twice a month. We had built a knowledge management program to be pretty wide and all across the fleet, and I was doing a lot of speaking engagements. But it was just not sustainable, so I left. It definitely had a huge impact on my life. It definitely taught me how much my identity centered around my career. I felt kind of lost for a little while.

I loved being a stay at home mom. It was something I dreamed about because I was a single mom for a while and then I was working. I loved my job, but I also hated the fact that I was gone from my son, even though my mom and dad were in Hawaii, so I didn’t have to worry about that so much. But it was tough making the switch from being very career driven to being mommy.

What were your assumptions about military mothers before?
I just had this assumption that it would be easy. I really felt “what could be so hard about having someone else pay your bills and staying home with your kids?” Overtime I learned, on the other side, there are people thinking the same thing about you “they have it so easy, they work, they have their own money, not have to worry about all of these things.

What prompted you to switch to social work?
Because that is knowledge management. People don’t understand that really, at the core of knowledge management, is people and behavior and a culture. If you don’t have a culture that supports good knowledge management, that supports the idea that people need to collaborate and share, we don’t have good knowledge management, that is impossible. You might have semi decent information management but you don’t have knowledge management. If we’re going to really do knowledge management in the world, something more has to be done about how we address behavior. That is not psychology, it’s not necessarily education, it’s a little bit of all those things, but what is it?

When I was still at Columbia University, a friend of mine who’s a social worker was always telling me “you should be a social worker.” (I thought) I would cry every day; I get too emotional over things (laughs). But she said “Look at the Doctor of Social Work program.” So I did and I realized that the program is an innovation program. It almost should be like a Doctor of Social Innovation because what we’re learning right now is what is social innovation, what does that mean, and ultimately, how do you address or how do you identify social norms. The program is bringing me a completely different set of research and lenses. I love that because of what I care about now, which is advocating for the military spouse community. There’s a lot of crazy social norms involved in that, that keep us from working.

How would you describe what you’re doing now at work?

I’m the Project Manager for Microsoft Military Spouse Technology Academy. Right now I’ve been working in the Pilot Program Classroom. It’s been interesting watching this whole process unfold; seeing from both a participant side and being empathetic to it because I am a military spouse. Then seeing from an employer side: what social norms are in place there, what culture, what things are operating in the norm, and the norm being that military spouses unemployment rate is 54%. That norm is very much on purpose. It’s part of a culture around military spouses that has been there since the beginning of the military; your number one job is to support your spouse.

The military spouses now, they want to work, they are working and if the military wants to retain active duty people, they’re going to have to really figure out how do we support working military spouses.

Changes have to happen inside the culture that is the Department of Defense, changes have to happen inside the culture of military spouses. Then there’s also changes that need to happen inside employers and potentially inside the law when it comes to employers creating more innovative ways other than just saying “why don’t we just make all jobs remote.” That is part of an answer, but its not the whole answer. I might suddenly had to pack up-house, I might suddenly have to prepare my household for an unexpected deployment and I need my employer to be flexible about those things.


If I need to move, I would like my employer to be flexible, either allowing me to continue remotely or maybe helping me find another position in our company. Maybe connecting me with a partner in the location that I’m at. Employers need to be incentivized to do such things by the local state governments and potentially, the federal government.

I feel like being in the DSW program is going to give me that lens and that science background to really look at that whole problem or the series of problems, and come up with a model or multiple models that can provide solutions.

The military spouses now, they want to work, they are working and if the military wants to retain active duty people, they’re going to have to really figure out how do we support working military spouses.

Why did you start a podcast on the topic of working military spouses?
My whole point in that podcast is do three things: one is to give to military spouses who are going through the process of getting back into their careers or maintaining their careers, the opportunity to share their stories. I want military spouses of diverse backgrounds; I want to see the diversity in the military spouse community that I see day-to-day, represented in some platform.

Number two is I want to give other military spouses the opportunity to hear those stories, and be inspired by them, or at least, have community with them. As the show goes on, not all the stories are going be great, some of the stories are really heart-breaking and are really frustrating. I know that there are stories that other military spouses will connect with because they’ve had a hard time getting back into the workplace or continue their education.

The third piece of it is definitely to educate civilians, educate employers on what these people are going through, and how are other employers innovating or how are they operating in a way that is supporting military spouse careers. I’ve been very surprised and not surprised at how little people really understand about the military spouse experience, and the kinds of stereotypes and biases that people have about military spouses. It’s been very eye opening.

What are three resources or pieces of advice that have helped you in your career?
My number one thing is to always be growing and tending your network. The way that I have done that over the years has been LinkedIn. Now it is more widely used and it’s a great way to build your professional network. I got recruited for the job with Microsoft over LinkedIn.

The second piece of advice is to always be in learning mode and to have a growth mindset. Even when I was home with babies and sitting there wondering if I’m ever going to get more sleep, I took every opportunity I had to keep up with what was going on, to learn, to read. I listened to the Tony Robbins podcast, Gary Vaynerchuk, Side Hustle School. I love listening to Malcolm Gladwell, Hidden Brain. There are just so many podcasts out there, you can put it on even with your baby on (laughs).

The third thing is just be kind to yourself. It is a hard lesson that I had to learn. I never really give myself grace to be like “it’s okay, you don’t have to be going and going and going all the time, you’ve done that for a long time.” Being kind to myself also has meant changing the perspective of failures to opportunity. I think once you start recognizing that you may fail at things or things that you do may fail, it is just about getting an opportunity to learn something and then try something differently again. That to me is being really kind to yourself.

Do you have questions, feedback or suggestions of people to interview? Contact me! 

Recommended Books, Sites and Podcasts

In 2018, Communicate Blog featured interviews of experts in diverse fields. In these interviews they clarified some misconceptions of their professions, gave us insights into what motivates them and shared very useful resources.

As you plan the year ahead, here is a list of some of these resources to help get you ahead on your career, or explore a new one.

On Knowledge Management

Stan Garfield’s interview is filled with great info about all aspects of this field, including relevant resources. Knowledge Management is not just about technology, but about community building and sharing.

On becoming a developer (or learning about it)

Listen to the Complete Developer Podcast and check out the interviews with their hosts Will Gant and BJ Burns.

On User Experience and User Interface

If you think you know what UI/UX is about, I recommend reading Think First by Joe Natoli and his interview for additional resources.

On Fashion

Fashion is not just about pretty clothes, it is about reflecting a culture and making a statement. Read Nasheli Juliana’s interview for more details and career inspiration.

On Leadership

If you want to know tips to redefine your career and get inspired, read Mariela Dabbah’s Find Your Inner Red Shoes and her interview for more info.

On Relationship Building

Developing relationships, knowing your audience and striving to find the facts are some of the insights shared by Howard Altman. These journalism lessons can be applied in any field.

 

Do you have questions, feedback or suggestions of people to interview? Contact me!