What benefits can you receive from tapping into your masculine energy? Do you have dreams of joining the corporate world? Can you draw from your ingrained skills to boost you in any career?
In this podcast episode, I speak with Michele Ashby about how to get just about everything you want.
Meet Michele Ashby
Michele Ashby started a non-profit to raise funds and awareness for Ewing’s Sarcoma in memory of her daughter, Dani. She’s an author and a former ultra-athlete and was named one of the Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Colorado. Today, her focus is on educating, supporting, and teaching other women how to attain corporate board positions.
In This Podcast
- How women can start becoming involved in the corporate world?
- How can women utilize their ingrained skills?
- Time is going to pass you by regardless, so why not try?
How women can start becoming involved in the corporate world?
- Are you a leader? Do you like being in charge and shouldering important responsibilities? Are you good at explaining to people what needs to get done and encouraging them to do it? If the answer is yes then you’re already on the right track.
- “Get that street cred”: Get into it, educate yourself and gather firsthand experience while learning the theory.
You got to get in there and plough through and you’re going to make mistakes, it’s not going to be perfect and that’s okay. You’re going to learn all along the way but aspire to be in those roles and then start talking about it. (Michele Ashby)
- Ask the necessary questions: Ask for advice and guidance from people you follow and who mentor you, and ask yourself the hard questions too: why am I not there yet? What can I do different to reach that goal?
How can women utilize their ingrained skills?
Pay attention, be curious. If you want to grow then you need to say yes. In the first two years of my career, I said yes to everything. Why? Because I didn’t know anything. I needed to get schooled as fast as possible. (Michele Ashby)
If you are in middle management and are looking to scale up in your career, look at how your colleagues are making progress and see what you can do similarly.
If you have contact with someone who is in a role above you that you would like to foster a relationship with, keep in contact with them. Email them and check in with them and offer assistance to show your support and willingness to succeed in the job.
However, be careful not to become a glorified secretary to this person. Try to help them in a way that is going to be on a peer-to-peer level.
You don’t know until you get out there and try. Let’s say you target three potential mentors for yourself, at least one of those will work. (Michele Ashby)
Time is going to pass you by regardless, so why not try?
If you have your hands full now, you will have your hands full with a job as well. Our time expands to fit the business that we create for ourselves, so create yourself your own business.
Prioritize your time. What can you delegate out to free up some energy and space on your daily plate?
Your life goes in phases and stages. There is a time for school and a time for working hard and a time for relaxing and a time for working hard again: when it is the time to do something, give yourself the permission to do it and to do it with guts and bravery.
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Meet Veronica Cisneros
I’m a licensed therapist and women walk into my office every day stressed and disconnected. As a mom of three daughters, I want my girls to know who they are and feel confident about their future. I can’t think of a better way to help other women than by demonstrating an empowered and unapologetic life.
So I started Empowered and Unapologetic to be a safe space for women to be vulnerable and change their lives for the better before she ever needs to see a therapist.
Thanks for listening!
[VERONICA CISNEROS]: And they look at me with complete regret and say, “I’ve never been happy. I’ve always lived for other people, especially women. I’ve devoted my entire life to other women or to my kids, to my family, to my friends.” Imagine that. Imagine living that life. So right now I’m going to tell you, “Hell no. Hell no, it doesn’t have to be that way.” And Michele, right now you literally just gave us gold.
Have you ever thought, “How did I manage to lose myself?” Being a mom is so hard, especially when we’re feeling stressed and disconnected. We exhaust ourselves trying to create this perfect life for our family. You deserve to enjoy your marriage and your kids without the stress perfectionism brings. I am going to teach you how to identify who you are outside of all of the roles you play.
Hi, I’m Veronica Cisneros. I’m a wife, mother of three, and a licensed marriage and family therapist. I am on a mission to teach women just like you, how to become empowered and unapologetic. Welcome to our girl gang.
Welcome to Empowered and Unapologetic. I’m your host. Veronica Cisneros. Today’s guest is on a mission to train a thousand women to take their place on corporate boards. She is founder and CEO and founder of ACE, LLC, Ashby Consulting Enterprises, LLC, and has 30 years of experience as a gold specialist analyst, financial expert, independent corporate director and successful entrepreneur. Holy moly. She is absolutely amazing. She was named one of the top 25 most powerful women in Colorado and I totally see why. Please help me by welcoming Michele Ashby. Hey Michele.
[MICHELE ASHBY]: Hey Veronica. Thank you so much. That intro makes me sound like I’m a hundred years old girl.
[VERONICA]: No, girl. Not to me. To me, as I’m reading that, I’m like, “Oh my God, she’s like a complete bad-ass. I love her.”
[MICHELE]: Well, like most women I’ve done a lot of things simultaneously over the years.
[VERONICA]: Absolutely. I am so excited to have you on. Thank you so much for joining us.
[MICHELE]: Thank you for having me.
[VERONICA]: So can you please start us off with sharing your story? How did you become this woman who is like taking the boardroom as like this next level, taking it to this complete next level? How did you do that?
[MICHELE]: Yes, well I think the short version is that my career was in finance and mining. So I was a stock broker and then I became a mining analyst and through that process, I met a lot of CEOs of mining companies who are men. And I happened to be around a lot of really good men over the period of my career. So over 30 years in finance and mining, these gentlemen mentored me, supported me, encouraged me. They lifted me up, they pushed me out the door, all those kinds of things. I did have, of course, some people who didn’t want me to be there, but the majority of support that I had, and I think the chutzpah that I have in my DNA combined kind of kept me going forward in that direction.
So I was invited to my first corporate board in 2005. And one thing I’d like to share with women is the fact that you get on boards because of who you know. It’s about your network. So this was a friend of mine. He called me on the phone. It was a very nonchalant conversation. “Hey Michele, I just took controlling interest of a company, and I’m interested in having you on my board. Would you like to join?” The answer was yes. It was my first one. So I’ve been on six corporate boards so far and five of those are publicly traded and one is a private company board. So I currently sit on one, which is a mining company traded on the New York stock exchange. But you know, that’s kind of the short version of how I ended up in this role.
I’ve decided to share what I know about how to be on a board, how to get on a board, all those different things, board governance, of course, financial acumen, risks and responsibilities to help other women get on boards. Because we all know that we want more women on boards. We take up half the population of the planet, 50%, and yet when we look at the overall percentage of women on boards that are reporting in the world, it’s about 17%. So why don’t we have 50, 50 in the leadership role? So that’s what my mission is, to try and get as many women as quickly as possible into these leadership roles.
[VERONICA]: So, you just said something very powerful that we’re not, even though we’re the majority, we’re still not. What do you think is holding us back?
[MICHELE]: Well, I think it’s a number of things. It isn’t just the good old boy network. It’s also women themselves. So that’s what I learned. I interviewed 200 women over 18 months, powerhouse women. I mean, I had a file that I called my super women file. And I was so impressed with them but what I recognized was that I knew something they didn’t know. There was this big gap of knowledge that I got from the gentleman who brought me along and mentored me that these women didn’t get. And so I was, “Wow, if I package that, teach it to them, I think I can get them into the boardrooms really quickly.” So there’s, it’s two sides. It’s our culture, and you know, we’re breaking the ceiling and now with Kamala in the White House, that’s going to make a big shift, I think, and help us with that momentum. But we have a long way to go. We can’t let our foot off the gas at all.
[VERONICA]: No. So how do we start this? How do we start taking steps towards the corporate role? Like how does one do that? What would be maybe some tips you can give us to go ahead and take us to that next level that we’re not doing right now?
[MICHELE]: So not everyone’s a leader. So that’s number one. Are you a leader? Are you the type of woman that wants people to listen to you? Are you bossy? Do you like being in charge? Do you like having that responsibility? If the answer to those questions are yes, then you’re already on your track because my guess is that you’re already leading somewhere and you got your eye on a prize. So, the thing is to really focus on those relationships. Who are the people who can help you keep going up? And most likely you’re going to be talking about a man because men are still in control of the power and the money. And as long as they’re in control of the power and the money, they’re the people that we need to be connected to. And they’re the ones who are going to help bring us into that space, most likely.
[MICHELE]: Yes. And then it’s education, and I’m not talking about, go get an MBA. I’m not talking, I’m talking about street cred here. I’ll tell you that, get that experience.
[VERONICA]: I love you Michele.
[MICHELE]: Try those things.
[MICHELE]: You got to get in there and plow through. And you’re going to make mistakes. It’s not going to be perfect. That’s okay. You’re going to learn all along the way, but aspire to be in those roles and then start talking about it. Start asking questions. Who are those people that you trust that you can say, “You know what I was thinking of getting a CEO role. I’ve been in tech for 10 years. Why aren’t I running a company?” So ask those kinds of questions of yourself and other people.
[VERONICA]: I love that you said that, that it starts within. Like, we are our own worst enemies. You know, I also love that you said you don’t necessarily need an MBA at all. I didn’t know that. I didn’t, not the MBA stuff, but I didn’t know until I was in the field that I’m in. I was always under the assumption that in order for me to be successful, in order for me to have my own private practice, I had to be this doctor. And so my goal was to be this doctor, and then I’m here. I did all of those things, asked all those questions to everybody. I would ask anybody a question that it was like, “Huh, it’s interesting what they’re doing. Tell me more. You’re doing this. Tell me more.” And tell you, I fell on my butt several times. It was a part of it.
And what I realized is Holy moly, now I’m in a position where those people that have that doctorate degree are not maybe as successful as where I’m at and it has nothing to do with education. It’s that street cred. I love that you said that. It’s a hundred percent, that street credit. And so I want to make sure I validate that because as long as you’re asking those questions, as long as you’re putting yourself out there, you’re now starting to build relationships, which ties into mentors. They’re going to want to help you succeed. Can you tell me more about that? Because I think that’s where a lot of us get a little intimidated and maybe we’re not enough. Maybe I’m going to be exposed. I know when I was working my way up, it’s like, “Oh my gosh, people are going to know that I don’t know what this means. They’re going to know. They’re going to know and I don’t want them to know.” So I don’t ask anything, but then that keeps you down here. So can you tell me more about that?
[MICHELE]: Absolutely. So you are going down the right path of thought here. I was 28, got divorced. I didn’t have a college degree. I got married right out of high school and had babies and ended up in a divorce with a five-year-old and a three-year-old. And I had just started in the brokerage business. So you don’t have to have a degree to get into, to be a stock broker. And I went through a lot to figure out what can I do as a career, without a degree. On the other hand, I’m a super smart person and so I also had a chip on my shoulder, which was, “I’m going to show you how much I can succeed without it. Just watch me.” So ladies, think about it. Bill Gates, didn’t finish college. Steve Jobs didn’t finish college. I mean, we can go down a list of some of the most successful people in the world who did not finish college.
So let’s just debunk that right now, okay? I did go back and get my degree in finance when I was in my forties. And all I did was challenge a degree, which means I took tests and passed. I actually graduated with my degree in finance and I was Magna cum laude, et cetera, et cetera. But where did I learn all that? It wasn’t in a classroom. It was on the street. And the first two years, here’s the thing I did, first two years didn’t know it. That was the worst stock broker ever. Like I was the worst rookie. It’s a wonder they kept me there because I was so concerned about people’s money I would talk to them forever. And my bosses would be like, “Dagger eyes. Like you’re supposed to be selling, not talking.” But I really wanted to talk to them and get to know them.
And that’s how I ended up specializing in gold mining because I was given all these debt accounts and I talked to the clients and they’d be like, “What happened to my gold mining stock company?” And I’d go, “I don’t know, but I’ll call the president and I’ll talk to him and I’ll get the answers. What are your questions? And I’ll call you back.” And through that process, I started developing relationships with these CEOs as well as investors and I became a gold specialist. And then I became a mining analyst. And again, it was like people taking me under their arm and going, “Hey, she’s interested. She’s asking questions. I want to help her. Can I lend, I mean, I had a CEO who lent me his textbook from School of Mines here in Colorado. And I would study at night, cyanide heat bleaching. You know, I didn’t need to go to school. I just needed the right information. So you’re right.
[VERONICA]: Right. Can you say that again? I didn’t need to go to school.
[MICHELE]: I just needed the right information.
[VERONICA]: Boom, boom. Ladies, write that down. Write that down. Yes. Yes. I love that you said that. Sorry, carry on.
[MICHELE]: So, and I think that this plays into our perfectionist gene. Okay, so let’s talk a little bit about research. We know that when we have a man and a woman who are equally experienced and skilled and they both are offered a promotion, the man is more likely to raise his hand and say, “Pick me, I’ll give it a go.” And they only have 60% of what they need. The woman is more likely to go, “Oh, don’t look at me, because I don’t have everything I need. Oh my God, I need four more years at this, and I should be managing that and I should be getting my MBA and then come back to me.” So we need to stop that.
[MICHELE]: We need to stop that. Raise our hand and say, “Pick me. I think I can do a better than anyone.” And then you’re going to be scared. That’s normal. And then you get the job and then you figure it out. You go do your homework like I did. You go get the textbook, you talk to the people who know how to do it, and you say, “Can you help me?”
[VERONICA]: Absolutely. I think there’s one thing that, I love that you mentioned how we have to have everything perfect. That one thing of wanting to have everything perfect is also what keeps us back in the back lines. We’re not looked at for promotions. We’re not looked at to excel because we’re not saying anything. We’re keeping quiet, we’re keeping to ourselves. However, one thing we do have is loyalty. We are loyal like no other. That is one quality that I’ve noticed in most women, like 95% of women. We are loyal like no other. And we will, if we don’t know, we will try to figure it out. I mean, look at us as moms. There’s so many things we didn’t know and we figured it out. And we’re responsible for these human beings and how they grow and how they learn. If we’re able to do that, hell yes, we’re able to go out and attack a boardroom, like no other, because we will have that loyalty to go out and learn.
[MICHELE]: Right. So let me talk a little bit about the compliment of men and women together. So I look at men, we have different things like you were pointing out. Women, the loyalty part. And men are loyal too. It’s not like they don’t have that characteristic.
[VERONICA]: Of course, yes.
[MICHELE]: Yes. But when we look at kind of the differentiations, I look at men as, they’re objective. “There’s the goal. I’m going to go get it.” Like, let’s say they’re hunting. “I’m going after the deer.” That’s all they have on their mind. It’s pah-pah-pah right until it bam, they get it. Women are planners and organizers and we’re like, “Okay, we got to scope out the whole thing. Like how many deer are in the park?” I mean, we do it differently, but together what happens is we have a different outcome. If the guys are going straight for the goal and they go for it, but they’ve destroyed the environment along the way. “Oh, oops, oops. We have a problem here.” Or if they’re stepping culturally over a society, so in mining, we have these issues. And so women will say, “Wait, wait, wait. Okay, we’ve got mine. We’ve got, we’re going for this project and we also need to take into consideration who lives around there? What kind of, not just people, animals, environment, how are we going to do this? How are we going to do that? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”
So when that conversation is happening with both of those voices at that table, that’s making the decisions, remember where at the board level, these guys make the top decisions of where the money is spent and what deals are getting done. Now you’ve got this complimentary group working together that I think has a much better outcome. You know, if we have all women, then we’re going to plan and never get anything done. If we have all guys, they go straight for the goal and they can run over you or get into trouble that way. So that’s where I see this magic. I’m a 50, 50 girl. I want to see the boardroom at 50% and you’ll see a lot of organizations that’ll say 20%, 30%. I’ve never been, I’ve been like, “We want 50%. 50%.”
[VERONICA]: Absolutely. Absolutely. I love that you just said that we need to be here. We need to be at this 50/50 level. And what you’re ultimately saying is ladies, you already have that skill ingrained in you. It’s ingrained in all of us. It’s already happening. It’s already happening. Now, how do you use it? How do you use it? So let’s say most of us aren’t in corporate America. How do we use it with our current jobs that we have today?
[MICHELE]: Well, I think pay attention. Be curious. If you want to grow, then you need to say yes. So the first two years of my career, I said yes to everything. Why? Because I didn’t know anything. I needed to get schooled as fast as possible.
[VERONICA]: That’s crazy.
[MICHELE]: So when they said, yes, they’re like, “Could you balance the checkbook?” “Yes, I’ll do that.” You know, it didn’t matter. I just took it and did it. So that’s earlier in your career. If you’re in middle management and you’re looking higher, then you’re going to be looking around and scoping out. “Okay, how did Tom get that? Oh, Tom is connected to Bill who’s up here. Who else is up there that I could be talking to and what, how am I going to do that, and in the current situation, because we’re all virtual?” The networking piece can be a little bit challenging. So my recommendation is if you have a contact with someone who’s in that role, be sure you’re emailing them and keeping in contact. “How are you doing? Just checking in. Is there anything I can do to help support you?”
[VERONICA]: Yes. Yes, that right there. That question alone will more than likely be met with, “Yes. Yes, here, can you take over this,” which then in turn is educating you.
[MICHELE]: Right. And so then be careful —
[VERONICA]: And then if you have any questions … mmh.
[MICHELE]: Yes. So be careful that you don’t become the under person. So, it’s trying to help them in a way that’s going to be on a peer to peer level. So, you might already have an idea like, “Oh my gosh, I’ve got access to these unbelievable professional women. You need a woman on your board. Can I help introduce you to a group of women?” I’m speaking to them on their level.
[MICHELE]: I’m not saying, “Can I help you train some?” I’m like, “I have them. How can I help you look better?” It’s about, “What can I do to help you look better?” We all succeed.
[VERONICA]: Bingo. Bingo. I’m glad you mentioned that because there’s a lot of women that get stuck or can get stuck in that trap of now I’m doing everything for you and you’re being highlighted and I’m just back here doing all the work.
[VERONICA]: How do we prevent that from happening?
[MICHELE]: So, there has to be a transition where you’re not in just the support role. You are going to be moving up into that leadership role. And that can be a factor of who it is that you’re talking to. And sometimes we think guys are champions for us and they turn out to be very satisfied with the place that they see us in and not interested in helping us get higher, if that makes sense. So you kind of have to try it. Like I said, some of them are super successful, some of them are not going to be. Some of them are going to keep you down. So you don’t know until you get out there and try. But if you, let’s say you target three potential mentors for yourself, at least one of those will work, I think.
[VERONICA]: I agree. I definitely agree because people want to help people. I know that sounds crazy. However, it’s actually true, especially in the corporate world or with whatever job you currently have. I don’t know how many supervisors that I’ve asked questions, even professors that later on, I became really good friends with because they wanted help. They want to see you succeed and as long as you’re able to go ahead and put yourself out there, then you will be met with some level of success that you just got to keep on pushing harder and harder and harder.
[VERONICA]: So what are, here we go, you mentioned dreamers. They told me it was impossible. I did it anyway. Tell me more about that.
[MICHELE]: Well, I think that ties back to having a high school diploma and being a divorced single mom. And you know, it’s like, I’m still going to go change the world. I’m going to go become a professional career woman. I’m going to support my family and I’m an entrepreneur. So I am not a corporate girl. I am an entrepreneur. I like to find a need and fill it. So I was able to say, “I know nothing about mining. How could I become an analyst and an expert in that field?” Well, I’m just going to go do it. And so dreaming big. One of my dreams that I haven’t fulfilled yet is to fly into outer space. So I want to be an astronaut. So I signed up for the Virgin Galactic Astronaut program, you know? So it’s like, I think important to keep your dreams and to keep going for them. I mean that’s what we can aspire to, training a thousand women. Where’d I come up with that? Oh my God. One person training a thousand women. Are you crazy? Dream big, do bodacious goals and then do the best you can to get there.
[VERONICA]: So I’m going to, I hear women already saying this because this is where some of my audience goes, “But Michele, you don’t understand. I don’t have time, I have all of these kids, and then I have my husband and he needs attention. My kids need attention, and you’re mentioning all of these big dreams and I’ve always wanted to do something like this. I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I’ve always wanted to be sitting in that boardroom. However, it’s just not in the cards for me because I don’t have time.” What would you say to her?
[MICHELE]: I would say you don’t have time right now. So let’s look at your life in stages. There’s a time for growing up, a time for going to college, a time for having children, and a time for career. And women have a different challenge than men. And we’ve talked about this for decades. Because we have to, we always take on more. The other thing I would say is I was a single mom for 14 years. And so the other thing is, suck it up ladies. You’ve got to figure it out and try your luck guys.
[VERONICA]: Suck it up ladies. Street smart and suck it up. Yes. Heck. Yes. Listen, time’s going to go by. Time’s going to go by no matter what.
So prioritize. Like a boss, what can you delegate to someone else? Is there a person who can come in and help you take care of the kids, make dinner or whatever, give you two hours that you can spend on developing your dream of your entrepreneur thing? Or you put the kids to bed earlier, like, “Sorry guys, you’re going to bed at 7:30, not 10:00. Go to bed. And I’m staying up until 10:30 to work on my thing.” So I can’t tell you like the hours that I spend, still to this day as an entrepreneur developing and working on things. I mean, I pull all-nighters, I work nine and a half hours on Sunday, but I’m committed to this. And you know, it’s a priority for me and it doesn’t mean that I do anything else less. So, I figured out, I take four days and we go, my husband and I go away. And it’s focus time with him. And then when we’re at home, he’s working, I’m working and, he’s used to me now because we’ve been together for 23 years. So it’s like, “Well, she’s going to work.” “Are you going back to work?” “Yes. I eat dinner, I come back downstairs.” “How late are you going to be?” “I don’t know. 10, 11, might be one, but I’m going to get it done.”
[VERONICA]: I love that you said that. I especially love that you said suck it up because it’s a hundred percent true. When my husband, he was away, he was in Afghanistan for seven months and I was finishing up with grad school, like literally finishing up with grad school. So my nights looked like me putting the kids to bed, making sure everything was done for the next day to take them to school, stay up till 11 o’clock at night, and then do as much as I could with regards to writing, studying, wake up at three, every single morning. Would go to bed at 11, wake up at three. And I woke up at three because I needed to get shit done. I needed to get, nobody was going to do it for me. Nobody’s going to read the books. Nobody was going to write my 20 page, 40 page papers. Nobody was going to do that.
And I was still interning. I was going to school and I was working. It was happening. It has, if that’s where you’re at right now, where I’m not happy with the way my life looks, you have to do something about it. Nobody’s going to give you permission. And I think that’s where a lot of us women stay stagnant. It’s, “Well, when is my husband going to give me permission? When are my kids going to give me permission?” Girl, I’m going to tell you right now, your five-year-old is not going to give you permission. They don’t care about your career. They just want mommy. They want mommy., they want daddy, they want to eat.
[VERONICA]: If you can make it work in between, it will happen without neglecting your kids and your family. Without neglecting yourself.
[MICHELE]: Right. And it is about prioritizing and putting yourself on that list. And then also like having the balls to stand up for yourself. And that doesn’t mean externally as much as it does internally. And sometimes it means a really tough call. It may mean a really big change in your life and that’s what’s holding you back, because you’re afraid for that big shift. You don’t know what’s going to happen on the other end of that. I’ve been through a nasty divorce. I know what that is like to have, to make that decision and then live in the aftermath of that kind of thing, and to be able to like stand on my own two feet at the same time, as I am taking care of all of the other things and making sure I didn’t lose control of having possession of my children and all that kind of stuff.
So, but good for you because what you described is exactly what I’m talking about. You really wanted it and so you made it happen. Anybody who’s watched the movie about RBG, they know that if you looked at the film about Ruth Bader Ginsburg that came out a few years ago, there’s a section in there where she was in law school and her husband was in law school and she only slept two hours a night because she did not only her homework, but his, because he was sick and couldn’t go in. So she was doing her work, his work and taking everything in. So she’s like the, and I’m not saying that’s a healthy model.
[VERONICA]: No, no, no, no, no.
[MICHELE]: She was the model for a period of time.
[VERONICA]: She got it done.
[MICHELE]: So remember we said phases. So ladies phases. So, what that means is be more strategic. Be strategic about your own life. Like for me, it was like when my son hits kindergarten and my daughter is going into preschool, I’m going back to work.
[MICHELE]: And that was my plan. And that’s what I did and my husband at the time was like, “Hmm, don’t like that plan.” And so we split.
[VERONICA]: And I want to make sure I clarify too. It’s not that you split just because, “Oh, well suck it up.” But you know, if you don’t like it, oh, well —
[MICHELE]: No. [Crosstalk].
[VERONICA]: There was more things.
[MICHELE]: Oh yes. Yes.
[VERONICA]: There was more things.
[MICHELE]: There was, ye, we’re talking about an abusive relationship that was going on. So I had to make a change.
[VERONICA]: Bingo. I had to make a change. Right now, for those of you listening, if you are already saying that in your head, like, if that thought is coming up for you, “I have to make a change because this isn’t working,” and you’ve been saying it for the past five years, let me tell you something, girl, you’re going to go another five years. You’re going to go another 10 years. You’re going to end up being 85, 90 years old saying, “Holy crap. I never made that change and here I am stuck. And this is what my life looks like.” I don’t know how many people I’ve asked that are older, that are in their eighties, “Are you happy? Tell me one of the happiest moments of your life.” And they look at me with complete regret and say, “I’ve never been happy. I’ve always lived for other people, especially women. I’ve devoted my entire life to other women or to my kids, to my family, to my friends.” Imagine that. Imagine living that life. So right now I’m going to tell you, hell no. Hell no, it doesn’t have to be that way. And Michele, right now you literally just gave us gold, completely gold on how to take the steps to go ahead and make that change because it is possible.
You’re telling me you went 14 years without any help. You were doing it on your own. That is a bad ass. And you could have come up with every single excuse. “My kids have this activity, they have school, I have to go ahead and do homework with them.” Yes, you probably did do all of those things and here you are coaching a thousand women how to go out and take it to that next level. So I want to ask, how do you help women today? So you mentioned coaching a thousand women, helping them get to those boards. What can you do for our listeners and how can they be a part of your product, your program?
[MICHELE]: Okay, great. So I want to acknowledge a couple things. One is that motherhood is a sanctified position and I would never want to take anything away from that. And there are women who are 85 who are happy.
[VERONICA]: Yes, of course.
[MICHELE]: I think because they did that, and I honor that. I want everything. I’m one of those people, I don’t just want one thing. I want all of it. And I had a coach one time say, “Michele, you’re not going to get everything you want.” And I said, “Not all at once. I’m going to get it, but I’m not going to get it all at once.”
[VERONICA]: Girl, you know I’m going to write that down. Yes.
[MICHELE]: So again, it’s that phases. Like I have time now. I’m going to pile that on my plate. So here’s how we work with women. I have a couple of programs, one’s online and I’m running a special during the pandemic. It was $595 for this primer series and it has four modules. We talk about your board resume, how to interview for the board and kind of like that, how to thing. And I have it on special for $59.50 cents right now. So they can go on my website at acellc.consulting and just click on Courses and you’ll see the primer one. The other one is my eight-week course, which is in person and I do it virtually in person. I train eight to 12 women at a time. So it’s a small group and it’s individual coaching. I help them get on boards.
It’s a bigger price tag ladies. It’s about a $7,900, but you get a certification, you learn everything you need to know. And I vet every one, of course. So it’s an amazing cohort of women that you end up working with. And to date I’ve trained, certified in that group, 81 women. And of the 81 women in the United States and Canada, because I work with women in both areas, we have 37 board seats that have been filled. These are corporate paying board seats. Corporate paying. We’re not talking nonprofit. I don’t teach people to get on non-profit. That’s for free. Stop working for free. Get paid. All right. So corporate board paying, four women have become CEOs since they took my class and a few of them have stopped their jobs and started their own corporations.
So we have transformation happening with these women all the time. My online course, I have almost 500 women who have gone through that to date. So on my thousand person goal, I’m almost halfway there. So ta-da, single handedly. We don’t know how we’re going to get there. Believe in it, go for it, and just take on that male attitude of the goal. So we’re both made, we’re all made up of the feminine and masculine strengths tie into that masculine strength. I’m going after that goal and I’m going to get there. It might take me a little longer, but I’m going to get there.
[VERONICA]: Yes, yes. Okay. So one of my questions or two questions that I ask all my guests, what are you doing right now to live the life you want to live?
[MICHELE]: Wow. That’s a loaded question. I’m a workaholic and I love that I’ve been given this opportunity. I feel like this is a gift from God. Like I was looking to get on more boards and somehow made this right turn to stop on my own and to go help a bunch of other women to get on boards. And it’s been just so, it’s been transformational for me internally because I always worked with men and I never trusted women before. So I had to go through my own internal transformation in order to get where I am today. And I love sharing all the things I know and have learned and I’ve experienced in my life if it helps someone else to kind of get there.
And then my family. I shared with you before we got on. My son and his daughter or his wife, sorry, his wife moved in with us and had a baby. So we have a newborn in our house. And I had just lost my father. You see my flag up here? My dad was almost 95. He was a world war II vet and so dear to me, we’re so close and to have the cycle of life, my father leaving and a new baby coming into the world, into our family. There’s just nothing like that.
[VERONICA]: Yes. So although you’re a workaholic, there is time and space that you provide for your family and you allow yourself to take that into. You’re able to do both.
[MICHELE]: Absolutely. Yes, absolutely.
[VERONICA]: That’s important. And I wanted also make sure, I stated that with us being moms, we’re given this beautiful opportunity to do both if that’s what we want to do, if that’s what we choose to do. It’s making that decision now versus waiting the rest of our life. The last question in one sentence, what advice would you give the mom who feels stressed and disconnected?
[MICHELE]: If you can, if you have a bathtub, draw a bath and find 15 minutes to go and sit in a warm bath with bubbles and close your eyes and think of a place that you make as heaven and take that little break.
[VERONICA]: Amen. Amen. Absolutely. Absolutely. I can’t agree with you, I can, yes, where was I going to go? Okay. Sorry, I was in the bath right now. I totally got [crosstalk]. I had my spot. I was there. I totally got distracted. So where can we find you? You mentioned your website. Where else can we find you on social media?
[MICHELE]: On LinkedIn.
[VERONICA]: Yes, we go.
[MICHELE]: LinkedIn is really good. I post there a lot. And if you go to my website and sign in, I do have a mailing list and you’ll be getting kind of information about our graduates and that type of thing. So yes, just go to the website or go to LinkedIn. I am on Instagram as well, so, those three.
[VERONICA]: Okay. So Michele Ashby, that’s what we’re looking for. And I’ll publish that. There we go. Michele, this has been absolutely amazing. I felt like ready. I’m like ready. I don’t even go into boardrooms. I go into an office, but I’m like, “I’m ready for a boardroom. Pick me, and I’ll say yes.”
[MICHELE]: Yes. That’s right. Raise your hand and say, “Yes, I want to do this.”
[VERONICA]: Michele, thank you so much. This was so much fun, so educational, and I just thank you. Thank you so much for being on the show.
[MICHELE]: Well, thank you. And I really appreciate you and all of your listeners and everything that you’re doing for women and moms. It’s really important and I’m sure that they appreciate it too.
[VERONICA]: Thank you. Thank you.
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