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Podcast Transcript

Oh What A Year

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  0:11  
Welcome to "Your Authentic Path to Powerful Leadership" with Marsha Clark. Join us on this journey where we're uncovering what it takes to be a powerful woman leader. Well, Marsha, we are opening up the final episode of 2023, Episode 119, "Oh, What a Year!"

Marsha Clark  0:34  
Thaaaat's right! Drum roll, high fives, smiles all around! You know, where's that confetti cannon when you need it?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  0:39  
Yeah, no kidding. I don't think we could fit that in this room. But I mean, imagine that in the studio. We'd be sweeping up for days.

Marsha Clark  0:47  
Well, that's true that we might make a mess. That's right. So maybe no confetti cannon, but definitely a day to celebrate with our listeners and supporters who helped us make 2023 a year worth commemorating.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  0:59  
Absolutely. Let's jump on into this. So last year on our year end episode, I started with a personal question before we jumped into looking at the numbers and the milestones. And I think we want to do that again today. So I had the honor of attending a huge Power of Self and CCC alumni reunion back in early October with over 100 graduates from the 20 plus years of both of these programs. And I feel so lucky that I got to hear what's been going on with and for you. And so I know our listeners who weren't able to be there would love to get an inside scoop on what you consider to be some of your highlights from 2023.

Marsha Clark  1:43  
Well, I would be happy to share those with our listeners. And for those of you who may not be familiar with, we talked about Power of Self and CCC, a leadership program that is basically the nonprofit program that stands for Clarity, Confidence and Community, a program that is based and outlines many of the same topics we cover in Power of Self, so just for that clarity as well. So in 2023, I had the privilege of working with some great clients and doing some great work. And, you know, these programs that we did were focused on helping the client be better leaders, to really working to ensure the cultures of their organizations were one of inclusion and then to enhance their high potential pipelines with smart and amazing women. So that's the first highlight I think about. The second one is I finished book two -(yay) sitting down and writing that. And for our longtime listeners you know that's "Expanding Your Power: A Woman's Opportunity to Inspire Teams and Influence Organizations". And then I'm also pleased to say that we hit a milestone back in the September timeframe with over 25,000 downloads in October and that that's a 40% increase in downloads in year two over year one. We hope to continue that trend, by the way. I have also been asked to be a podcast guest on seven other podcasts, as well as being a guest speaker at ten in house and public events, so happy that people are seeing the importance of sharing the message on women's leadership. We also have our first podcast sponsor Amazech and I love that that's a woman owned business. Thank you Shanthi Rajaram. We also are developing a learning guide or have developed a learning guide that links the book and the podcast, you know, the topics together so that we can facilitate the ease of learning more about what's in our books and what we then also talk about in our podcast, and that's both in support of individual and group learning efforts. And then for my the people who have known me for a while, they may also appreciate that for most weeks and 2023 I've worked a four day week which is almost unheard of. So taking many Fridays off and as I think about that, you know, it's my way of kind of easing myself into my version of retirement which is slowing down a bit. And these are the things that I'm proud of, that make me smile, having had this big year once again. And Wendi, I want to invite you . . . I mean you are such a big partner in this effort to bring this information in our podcasts. What are some of your highlights for 2023?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  4:38  
So in addition to being a part of this journey and helping Marsha reach the 119th episode which I am so amazed at and proud. Actually, I'm not amazed. I'm not surprised at all that Marsha, I knew that once she took on this form of communication with her readers, her coaching clients, her program participants, I knew that this medium was tailor made for you. I knew that this was going to be an amazing platform to help highlight not only those programs and the coaching that you do, and not only the books that you write and help sell those books, but it was going to be a way to be approachable to a lot of women who maybe can't afford to attend a program. And I want to just give Marsha a huge kudos for how many books that she gives away also. So if you are a student or someone who is in need, Marsha has no problem with that. Just reach out. So as for me, in addition, again, in addition to just being a part of Marsha's universe which is just the most happy and positive and fantastically woman empowering place to be, I also this year launched Frisco, Texas' first venture capital firm by women investing in women called Cassandra Capital. And Marsha is on our board of advisors as we attempt to raise fund one of $20 million which will go into four other female led venture capital firms across the United States who are also investing in women at various stages of corporate growth and in a wide variety of industries. So there's that. I launched that in March of 2023. It is huge. I mean, we're definitely you know, not only are we the first here in Frisco as far as women backing women venture, we're also picking up the gap that was left when the Texas Women's Venture Fund closed in the mid 2000's. So since that time, there has not been a female founded firm investing in women. So we're getting that momentum, starting to build that momentum again. And then also, as everyone knows, because this is just the weirdest economic time ever, people are hiring yet people are firing yet interest rates, there's all of that confusion. There's the Israel situation, there's the upcoming next presidential election and all of the kerfuffling that will go along with that has created a very stagnant and cautious investing and you know, financial environment. So because of that, I have in addition to founding Cassandra Capital, my focus for the next, for the last six months of this year has been on marketing and public speaking and being the venture capitalist on a panel judging startup pitches and all of that kind of thing rather than really trying to strong arm people into writing checks. And so in order to have access to more deal flow and have the exposure to more women led businesses, I have also taken my past consulting experience, digital strategy, digital marketing, digital media at companies like Accenture and Valtech and Brierley & Partners and I have just accepted, recently accepted a position as president of a business unit with nFLXn Point Group which is a a local management consulting organization that does everything to help a startup that is coming out of r&d and is starting to move into that marketing and sales and that inflection point of really getting off the ground. So I'm super honored and excited to be working with Chuck May on that and several other very experienced individuals who come from management consulting backgrounds as well and they all have different leadership areas of expertise with regard to board governance or finance or sales strategy and revenue generation. So we're forming this really awesome team and have been closing some deals here in q4 of this year. So I'm super excited about that and being a part of that moving forward as well.

Marsha Clark  4:57  
Wendi, I look at that, and I think about what a way to continue to hone your skills and learn for Cassandra Capital by doing this work with nFLXn.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  6:40  
Exactly. And I just realized that an aspect of myself is that I enjoy sales, but I enjoy sales and also being a part of delivery. Like I like to get in and be a problem solver and a team gatherer and a solution provider and all of that. I'm not just a hardcore salesperson where it's okay, they signed and now I'm on to the next. I need more of my brain power used so that was another reason why I joined.

Marsha Clark  10:08  
Yeah, that's a gift. You know, it's usually one or the other. I love sales or I love operations. To find both of those things in the same person is unusual.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  10:18  
Thank you. Thank you.

Marsha Clark  10:20  
What a gift you are to them.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  10:21  
Well,  so shifting gears again, we did do a bit of a 'state of the podcast' show back in episode 100 since that was a milestone moment for us. So let me add a few more important stats that have come up since then.

Marsha Clark  10:38  
Wendi, before you jump into that let's spend just a moment celebrating, you know, the fact that we even hit 100th episode. I know when shows hit their 100th episode on TV or whatever it's a big cake. It's a big deal. They want to really celebrate it. And I want to be sure and recognize that doing a weekly podcast that's educational and we've attempted to really have these be meaty, valuable, significant for 100 weeks, you know, that's a pretty big flippin deal!

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  11:08  
Absolutely. Let's wind up the party again. Drum roll and where's the confetti cannon? Yes, I'm all about recognizing that milestone. So just for some perspective, and for all of you data nerds out there, here's the stats on the current podcast universe. There are currently around 3 to 4 million podcasts out there according to listen notes. And some sites they'll go as far as to say that there are over 4 million. But according to Amplify and Pod News, 44% of the podcasts have less than 3 episodes. I want everybody to think about that. 44% of the podcasts out there have less than 3 episodes. Only 720,000 podcasts have more than 10 episodes. And out of those 720,000 podcasts, only 156,000 are releasing a weekly episode. So we've gone from a little over 4 million down to 156,000 are what I would consider real, viable podcasts.

Marsha Clark  12:18  
That's right, with consistency and predictability. You know, that's amazing. And I just think about 2 plus years ago when we started doing this there weren't 4 million or more podcasts out there. So the fact that this is a medium that is picking up and it's still growing momentum, yeah. And you know, just over 150,000 podcasters that you know that I did some quick math in my head. And so somewhere between 3.75 and 5% of all podcasts are being published weekly. We're a small company.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  12:49  
Exactly, exactly. Small company and I want to just reinforce the fact that what we're doing here is not easy. It's a significant commitment of energy, time, resources. And it's absolutely a labor of love. But it's one that very few stick with, as we've seen in the numbers. So another huge podcast milestone that our listeners helped us achieve as we crossed a total of 25,219 downloads in only 108 episodes. So we're over that now. That's remarkable and we obviously have our listeners to thank for all of that support.

Marsha Clark  13:31  
Yeah, we're already eclipsing the numbers on a month to month basis. And I just want to give a huge thanks to our listeners. You know, you shared with me that the podcast is in the top 20% of business podcasts on iTunes by episode plays. I think that's correct, Wendi?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  13:48  
Yes, exactly. And I want to let everybody know that the category of business podcast covers topics like careers, entrepreneurship, investing, management, marketing, nonprofits. You know that's, those are the topics that the category of business podcasts cover.

Marsha Clark  14:07  
I'm proud to be a part of this because I want people to see this as business, not self help. You know what I mean? So that's part of it and again, listeners, thank you, thank you, thank you because this would not be possible without you. And so Wendi, while we're on this topic of stats in the podcast, will you share with our listeners the data around accessibility?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  14:27  
Absolutely. So our editor, Zach, I'm going to give a huge shout out to Zach Lewis at Reach Creative Media who does all of our editing and fantastic things for us and the publishing. So Zach makes sure that this show is available on 15 different podcast outlets. The most popular is iTunes Spotify, and then also Marsha's website at and in 2023 it was heard in over 26 different countries on all seven continents.

Marsha Clark  15:01  
I can just imagine some person just wrapped up in all their warmth in an igloo somewhere. That's right. You know, Wendi, and our listeners know this, accessibility has been a driver for me. So somewhat as an answer to that often asked question of 'Where were you when I started my professional career or where were you when I got my first leadership role?' So the stats make me happy. And for our listeners, I just hope that you'll share our podcast with those in your networks and circles that may be earlier in their professional journeys and who are aspiring to grow and to learn and to take on more and more responsibility

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  15:42  
Exactly. For me, this podcast not only has the reach and accessibility, but it's the underlying theme around all of this content is longevity and legacy - legacy for Marsha's knowledge and wisdom and sharing all of that here.

Marsha Clark  16:01  
Yeah. And there is one last statistic that I really want to share with our listeners. And the show has a 4 point on iTunes, I should clarify, has a 4.9 out of 5 star rating. And you know, that just makes me grin from ear to ear. And I would also invite our listeners, please give us your feedback because I'd love to bump that number of whether we get to 4.9999 or whatever it may be, but just to share the information because people do look at that when they decide on what podcasts they want to listen to. So we'd love to get your feedback on that.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  16:40  
Yeah, I think maybe we need to consider adding that as a prompt at the end of the episodes and in the notes when we promote each show.

Marsha Clark  16:47  
I think that's a great idea. And I think most of us, I love writing great reviews for things that I really appreciate and enjoy. So but I just need to be prompted or know how to make that happen.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  16:59  
We need to add that in the show notes. Okay, so anything else specifically about the podcast that you want to share as we're highlighting this year?

Marsha Clark  17:07  
Well, we mentioned some of these things on our 100th episode and I just want to say it again that I so enjoyed all the special guests that we had in the studio with us. And we had many firsts, from our first girl dads panel to our first rabbi, to our first elected officials and of course, my dear granddaughter, Georgia - her first exploration of showbiz, as you will.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  17:32  
Yes. It was a year of firsts. And I, you know, I never did ask you. Did Georgia like being on the podcast? I mean, I know she did a great job, but I never knew what she thought about the experience.

Marsha Clark  17:45  
She told me at the time that she loved it, that she, was fun. She liked to think about things and she thought about things in a very different way that she ever thought about before. And so I was with her last night at her brother's baseball game. And I said, so I'm going to be talking and, you know, we have this question about what did Georgia think. So I said, here we are now. What do you what do you think about it now, months, weeks later? And she said, Oh, I still loved it. And she said, I want to do another one. And I said, So what would we do it on? And she said, Well, I think we covered Harry Potter. You know, she said, I think I want to talk about teamwork because on my volleyball team there's really not a leader, that we have to work as a team. And I thought, dang, she is on it again, right? Because book two is about teams and organizations. So this idea of even though the coach may be a leader of sorts, the fact that they rotate in, they play different positions. I mean, she was talking about that. So you know, expect another Georgia in 2024. Again, that's right. And she asked me she said, can I miss school to be on it? There's the 11 year old in her.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  18:54  
Exactly. Okay. Well, speaking of first, you also shared that you had been a guest on quite a few podcasts yourself. Right? So how was that? What was that like being the guest instead of the host?

Marsha Clark  19:07  
Well, I think if I hadn't been doing these for two years, it might have been that moment of how do I do this and will I be good and all that kind of thing. But what I, having done this and having this experience, I loved being on other podcasts and other shows to see how are they managing their process because we've got this person doing this and that person doing that. And so I loved just experiencing that from the other side, if you will. And then but most of all, I loved meeting the new people, right? So some of these were people that had heard about me or that had read about me. A couple of them knew me from some past life kind of thing or knew of me from some past life. And so meeting the new people, sharing the content that we offer and the experiences that we've had, and the new people include host as well as their listeners, and I love it because it goes back to that greater accessibility.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  20:00  
So did you pick up on any new ideas that we need to incorporate into our show?

Marsha Clark  20:05  
Well, interestingly enough, I've recently been asked to be a part of what they're calling a podcasting group. So this is an organization that produces several different podcasts. And that what they are going to do is they're going to actively support each other's podcast. So we're going to share that, share audiences. We're going to make a little comment about why we think it's important or what we liked about it, and that sort of thing. And so I love that and I would like to somehow figure out how we can leverage that as well.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  20:36  
Absolutely. Oh, I love that idea. Okay, another meeting to book. Okay, so between being a guest on other podcasts and the speaking that you're doing around the country, what kind of feedback are you getting about the podcast specifically? I mean, I see a lot of amazing supportive comments each week on your LinkedIn page for the different episodes, but I'm curious what stands out to you for any themes around the feedback.

Marsha Clark  21:03  
I'm big on themes and patterns. So I'm always looking for those connecting dots, right. So the themes are really about the value of having the tools that we offer up or the frameworks, the blueprints that, if you will, and that all lends itself to the practical application of the things that we're teaching. And I also get notes of appreciation for the language that we suggest. We don't give you a script or anything but we say, here's the essence of the message that you want to send. And in some cases, we do give specific words because that helps the person then know what, how to go communicate, right. And then last, leaders are using the book and the podcasts as a guide for developing their leadership team. So they're dedicating a part of their staff meetings or team meetings to covering certain things, sometimes from the chapters in the book, sometimes from a podcast episode. So those are the things that stand out for me. And I'm curious, Wendi, you share this with your network as well. What are you hearing or seeing?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  22:10  
I see a lot of similar comments about self guide and a team's guide. But then I also see comments about how this content fosters conversations with our listeners' children, like they are talking about this content with their daughters. They're also talking about it with their sons. And when their kids are around, as you were just talking about Georgia and her sports team, when their children are interacting with other kids, how they can step up and be a leader is coming from this content. So I see that as well.

Marsha Clark  22:46  
You know, I'm glad you said that because that is something I have seen but I failed to note here. And I will also tell you, I get requests from people, will you sign a book for my amazing niece or my amazing granddaughter or my amazing daughter in law, whatever, because they want to share this wisdom with them in a personalized way. So if there's any of that that our listeners want, we can accommodate that on the website.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  23:13  
So this time last year, we were celebrating nearly a full year of book sales for the first book, "Embracing Your Power" and your position on the best seller lists, multiple lists, right? Okay. So how's the first book doing now and what have been some highlights for you around that continued journey?

Marsha Clark  23:34  
Yeah. So we did a, we needed to do a second printing run, right? So that in and of itself tells you something. And we've sold between 5,000 and 6,000 copies. And just for frame of reference, because when I first saw those numbers, I went well, that's not enough, you know, because you've got to sell 25,000 to be on the New York Times bestseller. But I'd like to add, because this helped me tremendously with the perspective on it, is that my publisher shared with me that the average number of any book sold on Amazon (and by the way, they carry over 33 million titles) the average book sold on Amazon is 500 copies. So when I look at my between 5,000 and 6,000, I'm pretty proud of those book sales.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  24:18  
I don't blame you. Well, and of course, everyone is eager to hear about book number two, "Expanding Your Power: A Woman's Opportunity to Inspire Teams and Influence Organizations". So where are you in the process with that book and remind us of the anticipated release date because I know we've been over the last several, many, few months of episodes we've been teasing out a lot of that content. I know everyone is dying to get their hands on the actual book, including me.

Marsha Clark  24:49  
Well, let me just say we just got the production date this week and this is being recorded somewhere in mid November, so just for our listeners to get the frame reference here. But again, I'm happy to say the manuscript, my, you know, full first draft manuscript is with the publisher. And right now there are multiple edits that we're going through, and we're doing two parallel edits right now. So one is called the substantive edit which is looking at any significant content changes like you've got to move this paragraph out of story and example, things like that. And then the second kind of edit that is going on is to get approval for those places in the book where we're sharing someone else's intellectual property, so that's everything from quotes to frameworks, models. And that's really a tedious process. And I am happy to say and blessed to say that my assistant, Natalie Hollingsworth, coordinates that in the most competent way. And just as an FYI to our listeners, there are two other editing process that we'll still have to go through. And those are to where we're going to place the graphic images because we do have all kinds of reflection questions, activities, models, and so on. So where do we put those amidst the narrative script and then last, we'll do the final edit to ensure that all the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed. And then we know we have our title and I'm also currently waiting on the first drafts of the book cover.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  26:22  
Okay, how was the process of writing book two different from book one?

Marsha Clark  26:27  
Yeah, that's a pretty. . . I could write it faster because I knew what to do.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  26:33  
On your legal pad?

Marsha Clark  26:34  
Yes, my legal pad with my pens because what I did was incorporate, you know, going through the editor overall, those processes in the last one. I just, it really did take me less time. I could write in the right voice as well as just. . . last time I tried it on a keyboard, I tried it in audio version, I did all that. This one, I just sat down and wrote it.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  27:01  
That's awesome. Okay, I know this is supposed to be a reflection episode about last year, but I can't help but ask if there's any plan to do an official book launch and pre orders like you did with the first book, "Embracing Your Power".

Marsha Clark  27:15  
Well, the short answer is yes. And yes. And so we will do that. It'll happen. The planning for all of that we'll start working on probably right after the first of the year because I will share with our listeners and this is a little different than what we've teased out before, but the publisher gave us the production schedule just this week and it will be June before the book is ready. Just with all the things that have to happen with approvals and even placement with the printer and binding and blah, blah, yeah, all that. And because the publisher does a lot to position the book to be sold. We've got to let them do that. So that part will happen probably first part of the year and we'll be  announcing those things as the year goes on.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  28:02  
Exactly. Another reason to subscribe to Marsha's newsletter if you're not currently subscribed. Okay, Marsha, you keep hinting that you're slowing down and easing into retirement. But I'm just going to say that I still see you blowing and going and delivering workshops all over the country. How has your last year changed or shifted based on your goal to slow down?

Marsha Clark  28:25  
Well, you know, I've been saying for years I'm going to retire and people just laugh at me when I say it now and I get it because I've been saying it for at least 10 years. But I just want to say I mentioned earlier that I worked four days a week for most of 2023 and I'm going to continue to do that in 2024. Now, I want to make sure all our listeners hear this. I will continue to deliver programs for the next few years. So I'm just going to, I'm going to have my Fridays and I'm going to have some Mondays in there as well, that I'm I'm getting to spend some long weekends. And, you know, as I foresee it, I'm going to do coaching for the rest of my life. And I'm also being called to do more writing right now. So I think that'll be part of it as well. So I'm working, and I'm still doing a lot and I still have a lot of energy and passion around all this, but I'm going to spend less work days doing it.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  29:17  
Good, good, good. Okay, since we're talking about work, I also wanted to give you a chance to talk about two projects that are near and dear to your heart. The first is the CCC Leadership Program for Women and Nonprofits that you continue to support. And I know that the Power of Self Program officially ended after class 20, but there's still a version running that's designed specifically to support women in the nonprofit and education environment. So will you share a little bit about that program and how our listeners can learn more if they're interested?

Marsha Clark  29:51  
Well, I'd love to. So the CCC Leadership Program is a nine day program and it's spread out over four months and it is targeted for women in the nonprofit and the education sectors as you had mentioned, Wendi, and it is adapted from the original Power of Self Program. So the focus in CCC is for women to gain greater clarity. That's the first C. And this is around their core, just themselves, you know, who are they? What are their values? What is their life purpose? And completing a comprehensive set of assessments which those who know about Power of Self know that we use those considerably, and really encouraging them to lead in a manner that is authentic, intentional and effective which really leads to their confidence, right. So clarity, second C is confidence, and then to develop a community of female support network and tools and how to intentionally leverage that network. And I see that community, that third C, as being dual, right? I mean, one of it is creating a community of women doing this kind of work and the other is to serve and support our communities as a whole.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  31:03  
So for our listeners, the website for CCC is for anyone who wants to learn more about the program, check out upcoming sessions, which I think may be starting in the spring of 2024. Okay. And one other thing that I know you aren't likely to share on your own, but they do have a scholarship named in Marsha's honor to help women in these sectors who can't afford the tuition. And so our listeners may be interested in applying for the scholarship or they may want to also support the program by donating to that scholarship fund because that is tax deductible. And it's a good time to get that in before the end of the year.

Marsha Clark  31:44  
Yeah, thank you, Wendi, for that. You're right, I would not have mentioned that. But it is a real honor to have that scholarship in my name and it's a way of us being able to give to organizations and individuals who are serving our communities but whose size may not be such that they can afford personal or professional development for people on their team. So we've got everything from Mothers Against Drunk Driving to education, various kinds of education, helping kids prepare for college when they're the first in their family to ever have to deal with those kinds of things, homelessness. I mean, it is across the board in all the places that are so important to making our communities healthy and thrive.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  31:44  
The other future oriented topic I want to sneak in here while we have everyone's attention is that you and your team are working on a whole new product offering and a way to make your content even more accessible. So share with us what you can about that.

Marsha Clark  32:59  
Yeah, so we're in the design phase of what I refer to as a new product line and it's a series of on demand learning experiences that can basically be purchased on a form of subscription basis. In other words, you get a pass code kind of thing. And we're still ironing out the official name of this product line. And we're planning to launch it at the time that book two comes out, so somewhere mid year next year. And for now, we're calling it "Collections". So probably the easiest way to think of it is if you were to take the power cell for the CCC content and then convert it to an on demand platform. And so the two primary delivery mechanisms are going to be a class based environment where the learner will get to experience the content as if they were in a class by watching it on a video. And that will include other participants but you can do this at your own pace and your own time. And then we'll have a workbook that they'll use to follow along with the facilitated activities just as if they again were in a classroom. And we also want to offer that both the first book "Embracing Your Power" and the second book "Expanding Your Power" will be included as a part of that on demand program so that you have the videos, the workbook guide, the books, and the podcast all wrapped up together to give you resources for a meaningful learning experience.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  33:11  
There's nothing I like more. . . well, there's several things that I like more. But high on the list is self paced learning. It's fantastic to pop these things on on a Saturday afternoon before a ballgame starts or a Sunday afternoon as you're trying to gear up for the next week. So self paced on demand program, I'm all in on this. I can't wait till this comes out.

Marsha Clark  34:55  
Well, and it's kind of like, you know, I used to meet other working women at the grocery store at 11 o'clock at night because that's when we had time to go do it. And I look at this that if I want to listen to this in the car or if I want to have it on while I'm doing other things at home - cooking dinner, whatever it may be - because our lives are so dang busy. And so it's a way for them to have access to it. And I also want to mention that the other delivery approach is more like being in a one on one with me. So think about the classroom and the one on one kinds of things will be me, dare I say, as a bit of a talking head, right. But I will walk through topics like building your personal vision, exploring your values, some of the foundational elements that we share. So it's going to have a more intimate feel and almost like coaching.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  35:42  
So Marsha, what was the inspiration for offering your content in these formats?

Marsha Clark  35:47  
You know, Wendi, it all comes back to that word accessibility. I mean, it's just one more avenue by which we can make this content available. And we know we can only reach so many people through these actual live workshops and books and podcasts, I mean, more and more and more. But with this, I think the on demand learning program will match some of our listeners' learning styles, right, where they need that more visual, visceral experience. And we wanted them to feel like they're in a class or in a coaching session. So we're working to get a bit creative and doing our best to recreate that learning environment in this on demand format. And I want to say because there are many people who have said 'Marsha, why don't you do a web based training program or computer based training program?' And I fought it every step of the way because one, I didn't think that you taught human relations through a computer. But I also want to say now that we as a, can I say a market or a society, we become more familiar with how to build a relationship with people through a virtual platform.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  36:59  

Marsha Clark  37:00  
I think we're ready for it now. And as much as I've fought it in the past, I'm embracing this and excited as can be about it.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  37:08  
All right. So we're going to shift our focus back to some reflections. As you look back over 2023, what would you say have been your top three highlights professionally?

Marsha Clark  37:21  
Getting book two written and to the publisher is number one. Hitting 25,000 downloads of the podcast. You know I initially set the target to be 10,000 thinking that was a lot because at the time it was, and now we're at 25 and we're going to continue to up our goals. There you go. There you go. And then I think creating this on demand offering. It's, I have to smile because I get energized because it was like when we were creating the Power of Self Program except now we're doing it through a different medium. But it's a learning process, it's a creative process and that gets me really excited. And you know, we're having a meeting at Tracie Shipman's party bar to do our next creative, you know, I don't know, planning, strategy, brainstorming, all that kind of stuff.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  38:11  
I love it. Okay, well, now I'm going to ask you about your top personal highlights for the year. And here's why I'm asking. Our listeners either already know you well and love you and this is like their end of the year newsletter where they want to hear all about your adventures and celebrations. Or they only know you through this podcast and they want to learn more about you because you create such a powerful connection with them through the personal stories that you share here and the vulnerability that you demonstrate. They feel like they're your friends that they want to know you, too.

Marsha Clark  38:46  
I just have to smile at that. I tell people all the time, my clients become my friends, my colleagues become my friends, you know, because that's, I collect people. So I guess the big story that everybody really wants to know because if they watch me on Facebook, I've made a shift in my personal life and I have a full time man in my life. And, you know, I've been widowed now for 18 years and by the time this airs, this new man in my life will have, we've been together for almost two years. Now, I'll also tell our listeners we've known each other since seventh grade. And I share this you know, I'm 71 years old. And there's a part of me that wants our listeners to know it's never too late to fall in love again. And you can live as vibrant a life as you choose to and so I'm happy. I'm really happy in that relationship. And I also want to say this is not even 1-A and 1-B. This is No. 1 and No. I. So the second personal highlight of course is watching my grandchildren grow up, and they're growing up so dang fast. And they're smart, fun loving humans and they're just beyond precious to me. So, you know, I really consider it a privilege to be their Mimi. And so those are the two big personal highlights for 2023. And, you know, Wendi, again, I want to ask you, what are your highlights and, you know, you're my co pilot in this. And people tell me all the time, you and Wendi are so good together. And I just love how you banter back and forth and all that kind of thing. So give us some of your highlights both professionally and personally.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  40:36  
Well, turnabout is fair play. So I've already talked about professionally but personally, Scott, my husband, and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary on November 1st of this year.

Marsha Clark  40:49  

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  40:50  
Thank you. We got to travel twice internationally this year, both England in September and Scotland from late November to early December. So that was huge. We are finally you know, booking all of the travel that didn't happen during Covid so that's awesome for us. And then my parents are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary tomorrow night. So we're doing a special dinner for them and you know, all that kind of thing. So yeah, they are still going strong and driving and all of you who live in Allen, Texas, be on the lookout for them. I'm kidding, I'm kidding. They're doing great, they are self sufficient, and they have a good ole time. So I'm very thankful for that, on the personal front. So Marsha, as we close out this episode and the year, is there anything else you want to share with our listeners?

Marsha Clark  41:48  
Yeah, you know, I just want to shout thank you from the rooftops I mean to our listeners, and to all of the people that make this happen. You called out Zach earlier with his editing support that he gives to us.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  42:00  
And one other person I want to give a shout out to is Jane Padgett. She is the one who does all of the text transcripts for these episodes. So Jane is my rock in listening to. . . we first run these out. . . here's more detail than your listeners need to know. So we take, so Zach edits each one of these episodes and then I run the audio file through an AI device that converts this, its best interpretation, of what we have said into text, but then I pay Jane to do a human analysis because the words that this AI thing comes up with sometimes especially on people's names, like I make sure that Jane always has the correct spelling of people's names and the names of their businesses and the programs that we talk about and you know, that the tools are called what they need to be called and all of that. So Jane is a very important part of the team, also.

Marsha Clark  43:03  
You need to give me her contact information. I wasn't aware that that was someone different than Zach and I want to write her a note of appreciation.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  43:09  
Yes, well that's very sweet.

Marsha Clark  43:11  
Well, and I think this just goes to show, I mean, there's the two of us that everybody gets to hear on a regular basis but there's Zach doing editing, Jane doing transcription, and you know, so big shout out to Tracie Shipman who probably knows my voice better than I know my voice. I mean, her writing and the research she does to bring this material, to make it fresh, to make it current, to make it relevant. Great, big shout out to Tracie as our writer. I also want to give a shout out to Natalie because she's the one who makes sure I get my edits in and keeps the pieces of paper going back and forth so that we all have the information we need when it's time to record, so thank you, Natalie. I want to thank Misty Moore because she is my social media person. So she's the person who gets all this stuff up on the LinkedIn and Facebook pages that give us an opportunity to then share it further with all of our contacts, sharing it with their contacts. My son, Brent, who is also a part of the Marsha Clark and Associates team. He's the one who puts out our newsletters and updates our website with all of the information. And then, Wendi, I couldn't do this without you. I could not do this without you and so a big shout out as we finish year two, Episode 119. I pinch myself periodically when I realize all that we've accomplished.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  44:45  
Yeah, exactly. And so for me closing thought would be, you know, a big thank you to our listeners. We would not be here if not for you guys and I say it every week but please know how much we value it when you share this podcast and this content with other people, not just women, but men also. And so here's to more, bigger and better of everything in 2024. And we will be kicking off 2024 with one of our very favorite guests. LeeAnn Mallory will be back and she will be walking us through her beautiful and thoughtful reflection practice called "Beginnings". Then we will also revisit a helpful and relevant topic on prioritization for the new year called "Big Rocks". We're going to revisit that. And early episodes for 2024, those are going to be designed to help you all set some powerful intentions for the coming year - intentions about personal branding, networking, negotiating for what you want, and advocating for your health. So yay! So Happy, Happy New Year, everyone. I hope everyone is taking a break and getting some rest. And, you know, here we are! We're gonna be raring to go in 2024.

Marsha Clark  46:07  
That's right. And I too, just from the bottom of my heart, I thank all of our listeners because we do this for you. And you know, the idea of the work that it takes to do this, it truly is a labor of love. And we want our content to be relevant, to be valuable, to be significant. And we want to support you in any and every way that we can to repay you for the support that you give us on a regular basis. So thank you, thank you, thank you. And I hope that you get to enjoy more time with your families and loved ones. I hope that 2024 brings a brightness and an optimism that sometimes is hard to come by when we look at all that's going on in the world. But may we, may we love one another. You know, peace, love and kindness. So those are my three words. And I hope that you have lots of that in the coming year. And whether it be, you know, working, whether it be personal journeys, whether it be highs and lows, they're all going to be there. And through it all, may we continue to support one another. And as always, "Here's to women supporting women!"

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