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Podcast Transcript

Strong Women Are

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  0:11  
Welcome to "Your Authentic Path to Powerful Leadership" with Marsha Clark. Join us on this journey where we uncover what it takes to be a powerful woman leader. Well, Marsha, welcome back. I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day.

Marsha Clark  0:26  
Thank you, Wendi. And it's always a pleasure to be back. And I did have a wonderful Mother's Day. It was great spending time with my family and just celebrating all the wonderful women and mothers that we know.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  0:36  
Yes, yes. Well, I keep thinking back to our panel from last week's episode and how inspiring and sweet the stories were of the awesome moms. And I kind of feel like we need to have those conversations more often that moms are awesome, and we need to appreciate that.

Marsha Clark  0:54  
Yes, appreciate that in a public, vocal way. And, you know, we are in fact, continuing on that theme a bit for this week and celebrating and honoring strong moms and women with our special guest.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:06  
Yes, your good point. I mean, we're so we're here for another dose of inspiration to carry us through the week.

Marsha Clark  1:12  
It's the podcast version of the infusion bars that are popping up everywhere. So today is another infusion of inspiration with our guest, Shona Sowell. So welcome, Shona.

Shona Sowell  1:23  
Well, thank you. It's good to be here.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:25  
Yes.Yes. This is exciting. So Shona, I know you had originally responded to our call for women to participate in our awesome moms episode so you could share your story about your own awesome mom. But by the time the dust settled and the schedules cleared, we already had five women lined up for that episode and our content director Tracie realized that between your story and your mom's we had enough for a standalone episode. So welcome today.

Shona Sowell  1:53  
Well, thank you. It's great to be here. And yes, I did respond about being able to talk about my awesome mom. And so that was kind of how it started. And, you know, anytime I can talk about my mother, I'm going to jump at that opportunity. So I'm excited about this, but also excited to share my own story a little bit.

Marsha Clark  2:08  
I love that, too. So I'd like to start today with a little context on our episode title, "Strong Women Are...". So Shona, one of the activities we do very early on in our workshops and also in the book, "Embracing Your Power" is an exercise that helps the people and participants explore their own potential bias related to how they view the idea of powerful and powerless, you know, the strength of all of that in both men and women. It's basically a word association exercise where we use a sentence stem or a prompt, and we have the participants fill in the blank with a one word response. So can we do a quick little exercise around?

Shona Sowell  2:47  

Marsha Clark  2:48  
All right. So I'm going to give you the same prompt three times, you're going to give me the first thing that comes to your mind. All right, powerful women are...

Shona Sowell  2:55  

Marsha Clark  2:56  
Powerful women are...

Shona Sowell  2:58  

Marsha Clark  2:59  
Powerful women are...

Shona Sowell  3:00  
bounce backable.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  3:03  
There's not a word for that.There's not a word for bounce bankable, but that makes sense.

Marsha Clark  3:10  
We'll add that to, you know, that'll be one of those new words in the dictionary. They could add it. So I love all of that. And I you know, that even the title of this, Strong Women Are..., I've done this exercise now and you know, with women from over 60 countries in the last 20, almost 25 years. Strong is the number one answer to all of that. So, you know, there's a tie in with how we feel about that, and what our what our topics are today. So, you know, we actually did this entire breakdown of this activity, and so on in Episode 10 and for our listeners who have been with us for a while, you'll remember that was titled "Beyond Bossy, Bully and Bitchy". So you just did 1/4 of that exercise. And the other questions just so we know what they are, it's Powerless Women Are, Powerful Men Are,  Powerless Men Are.

Shona Sowell  4:00  
Well, that seems actually very powerful. I mean, so what kind of answers do you receive to some of those questions?

Marsha Clark  4:06  
Well, as I said, strong as the number one for powerful women, the second is smart. And the third is some form of brave, bold, risk taking, assertive, you know, something that you're really putting yourself out there. For powerless women, it's often isolated. And I guess the best way is just use the word abused, you know, and afraid. And having had life experiences, you know, that put us any one of us at any given time we can find ourselves in those places. And for powerful men strong is also the number one there. Their second is leaders. Because if you think about powerful men that you know, many of them are in leadership hierarchical leadership positions. The third one for them, though, is not quite as kind. It's usually something around dominating or domineering or controlling or, you know, it's kind of that power over squash feeling. And then powerless man are weak, wimpy and lazy. That has been true from the get go and those very words continue to show up.

Shona Sowell  5:15  
It's interesting the combination of those types of answers that people would have such a strong correlation to either their experience or someone else's experience. And and I think I mean maybe why choose the word kind is good versus maybe the man's answer is I think that you, we're put in that kind of that silo that says if you're strong, you have to be hard pressing or you have to be and I think at times, you all are those things. But I also think that sometimes real strength comes in being kind when other people are hard pressing and not.

Marsha Clark  5:50  
Shona, my favorite hat is Make America Kind Again, and my favorite t shirt is HumanKind. Be Both. And so, so much of our work is grounded on the idea of stepping into or embracing your power. And, you know, it's important that the people who work with us, especially women, we that we recognize that part of what might be holding us back from fully stepping into that power are some of those unconscious limiting beliefs that we hold about power, because it's usually bad experiences where someone has tried to have power over us. And if someone has those negative experiences, you know, maybe it's someone they worked with, and maybe it's an influential or person that they care about deeply in their lives and they haven't had a good experience, this exercise in and of itself, and I say the first words that come to your mind because that's from deep down, right? I'm not doing the politically correct or... And so it's almost it's eye opening first and then it's cathartic as well. And we find that their answers to the prompts really help them see what it is in their own history. And if I'm having, had this experience, it might get in the way of me being able to engage with someone who I view as powerful or powerless, either way.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  7:11  
Yeah. So Shona, where do you think your answers about powerful women came from? Like, what or who may have had some influence over who you view are powerful women?

Shona Sowell  7:23  
Well, the first answer is my mother. I mean, we're obviously talking about moms to some extent and my own but my mother was extremely strong and powerful in a different way than what you would think about and when we talk about her story a little bit, I'll be able to share that. My sisters, I am the youngest of three girls, and there's quite a bit of, they always love it when I say this, there's an age difference between my sisters and I. There's 15 and 11 years between us. So I'm not just the baby, but I am the baby baby. They love it when I say that, but they are very strong in their own rights, and have very strong opinions about things but just exude strength. And I think I learned from them because they were so much older, I was picking up a lot of who they were and what they were and what was important. I also think mentors, I mean mentors that I've had over the years from even when I was a student, all the way through to now mentors that I have, have somewhat shaped that and probably reshaped it from where I may have thought strength came from early on to where it's now shaped today. Yeah, as to what I think about strength. But But I also would want to credit mean, listen, there's a lot of ladies in my family. And I would be remiss to not say that there's only been two boys born and over five generations, (oh my god), that tells you so there's a lot of girls, there's a lot of (estrogen) a lot of female power in there. But there also have been some very strong men that have shaped it in some very good beneficial ways in my life as well. And I don't want to be I want to, I would be remiss to not say to think that it all came from the women in my life because there have been some very good men that have mentored me or done things to help me grow in my own strength. And so I think that's just as powerful.

Marsha Clark  9:11  
I do too. I do too. There's a lot of talk about men as allies and and we need that support and the acceptance for us being us in our own powerful, authentic way.

Shona Sowell  9:22  
Absolutely. Absolutely.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  9:24  
So I think this is a great segue, Shona, into how your mother was such a strong role model for you. So will you share a little bit of your mom's story and what was so inspirational about her?

Shona Sowell  9:34  
I would love to share about my mom. Her name was Elizabeth and if you asked her what she liked to be called, she would say queen.

Marsha Clark  9:44  
I like her already.

Shona Sowell  9:46  
You know, it's interesting when I was thinking about this podcast and kind of preparing, I looked up the definition of strong, just casual definition. And one of the things that it said was "able to withstand great force or pressure". And when I kind of thought about that more, it's it doesn't mean that you don't feel it, it doesn't mean that it's not hard or powerful or all those things, it just means you're able to withstand it. And when I think about my mom, she just withstood everything that life threw at her. She grew up in an age where it her life was not easy. She grew up very poor, did not have a lot of opportunities for her. And she early on, went to Secretary school, and at that point, started her career at age 18. And grew into an executive administrative assistant. And if you watch Mad Men or any of those other shows, you see that she was very much in that world of executive administrative assistants. But every boss she ever had grew to love her because she helped them to be successful and to be strong. And they then gave her opportunities to do the same. And it's funny, every single one of them, their families came to love my mom as well, because they just, it wasn't about this is my role, or this is my position. It was she just worked her work, worked herself to death. She worked hard. Probably the hardest working person I've ever known in every part of her life. She was a woman of faith, and taught me and my sisters is very much about our faith early on. She was an Olympic volleyball referee. So she was one of the first women that was actually allowed into Olympic volleyball refereeing back in the 70's. And so she did Olympic, she didn't do the actual Olympics, but she did Olympic expositions. And so she would go and do those different teams with Team USA and around the country. And for a kid, watching that was amazing. In fact, my sisters and I grew up on the bleachers of because she was refereeing all the time. And that was her second job. That was how she helped make ends meet. And that's how she helped us buy a dress for homecoming, right, you know, by refereeing a volleyball game. And so we went early on in our life and loved the game. And some of us played ourselves. And so for us, it was about just watching my mother, what she learned from her life and how she just kept powering through. And, again, because things weren't easy, she just had to constantly learn to overcome. And that's where I think her strength came from.

Marsha Clark  12:29  
Under pressure. Someone gave me a little plaque. And it said, women are like teabags. We get stronger when you put us in hot water. And that's, I was reminded of that, as you're telling your mother's story.

Shona Sowell  12:40  
Absolutely. She was a southern woman. I mean, listen, one of the times that my sisters and I got in trouble the most was because we were chewing gum in church. And I mean, her look down the down the row. Spit your gum out, you know? Yeah, it was things like that. But she was a gracious woman, but don't cross her.

Marsha Clark  13:00  
Yeah. Well, you know, living your values, you gotta you gotta be on your toes if you're gonna do two jobs and have my daughters and, you know, make ends meet and do it all at one time. I think your mother and I must be from a similar age group, because, you know, just this thinking about being the first woman to referee a game. And, you know, we finally got that in some more competitive, more visible sports, women on the sidelines at football games and basketball games and so on. But those were hard ranks to break into. So good for your mom and thank her for me.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  13:34  

Shona Sowell  13:35  
She did break into some ranks. But it was because she had a passion, right. She wasn't breaking into ranks just to prove it, to prove a point. It was because she loved the sport.  And you know, and she was good. She was good at it. And I think that was because she worked hard. And she was recognized for it that. That was the difference. It wasn't just about breaking a random barrier. For her it was because she truly had a passion and was good at what she was doing. She was an excellent ref. She did you know, there was a couple of times that other teams had her ref my games. And you know, that created its own little dynamic between mother and daughter. And there was one time she tried to give me a yellow card because I argued with her about a call. She said the ball was out, she said the ball was in I said it was out. We all know to this day, we didn't have instant replay but we all know to this day the ball was out. So I stand right on that one. But you know, she was the ref so I had to give in. So there.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  14:30  
Yeah. So Shona, as you were growing up and watching your mother, did you realize then how strong and special she was or did this recognition come to you as you became a mom yourself and as you've gotten older?

Shona Sowell  14:43  
You know I think there's a little bit of both. So there's, there's a part of it that you recognize, I certainly recognized how hard she was working. And I knew how hard things were for her up to an extent. Because, you know, you shield your children from a lot of that. But I knew there were certain things that were just very very difficult for her. But I do think we knew that she was very unique. And she was very talented in ways. And I think we knew she was very smart. She was sometimes our harshest critic. But she grew up in the age that that was a part of motherhood to some extent. But now I know that most of that was just because she wanted so much better for us. And she saw in us skills and talents, and she just wanted us to be able to thrive in our own futures. So I think I didn't recognize as much of that. Obviously, raising my own daughters, I've recognized so much more of what she went through and her strength and just the power that she had, and the power that she imparted to us as her daughters, that she was constantly offering opportunities for us. She couldn't afford to do things like clubs and lessons and all of that. But every opportunity she had that she could put us in front of something she took and pushed us to go and excel and soar. And I think that says a lot about what she believed in us and what she wanted for us.

Marsha Clark  16:06  
You know, I think about that so many mothers are living vicariously through their daughters, in some cases, and as you said, wanting them to have more opportunities than they may have had given their time in the in the world. And so you talk about your mom's strength, but she also valued education and even herself as a lifelong learner. So tell me a little bit more about that.

Shona Sowell  16:30  
So, you know, she grew up in the age and was an executive assistant in an age where technology was changing just nonstop. So if you would consider she spent 50 years as an executive admin, and all that technology that changed during that time, because she retired in 2004. So you think about the computers and email and even phones changed and Excel spreadsheets came in. All of that came into play. And she had to either adapt and learn, or she would have been aged out very quickly. And so she just took every opportunity she took every class she could take, she took every training opportunity that she could take and decided, no one's going to ever outdo me. I'm just going to keep learning. And so that was her goal. It was it. Some of it was about survival. But it was also because she just if she had the opportunity, she was going to learn it. Yeah. So while she was not a typically college educated woman, she was probably one of the smartest women I've ever known just by her world knowledge that she had. She read the newspaper every day cover to cover. And I think that's somewhat of a skill that's lost now. That just her understanding of the world and every opportunity that she had to take it in, she did it.

Marsha Clark  17:53  
I love that.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  17:53  
And she passed on education and the love of education to you. She did I'm seeing in my notes that you have four degrees, is that right? Four majors?

Shona Sowell  18:02  
Yes, four completed majors. I changed majors and oh did this. But yes, so I had I graduated from my undergraduate degree with four different majors completed. Social science education, speech and theater, political science and history.

Marsha Clark  18:25  
That's a combination.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  18:25  
Yeah, that's a politician's combination. A bit of theater. It's a little bit of government. Drama. No wonder. No wonder this is a former city councilwoman. Okay.

Shona Sowell  18:38  
It started as a I was pursuing teaching high school Social Studies and Speech and Debate. And then as I was doing that, some classes overlapped and the opportunity as I took more classes was to gain more knowledge. And I thought, well, if I'm, if I'm going to be a really good teacher, I'm going to need more background in this.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  18:44  
So were you in college for like a decade?

Shona Sowell  18:58  
No, no, because there was a limit on scholarships. So I was in school for four and a half years.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  19:03  
Okay so you must have gone like summer school.

Shona Sowell  19:06  
I did summers, I did. Usually I carried over 18 hours each semester. So I was carrying a whole, but because I had scholarships I could, I was gonna pack it all in as much as I could to get it done in time. But I did. And the only reason I had to do the half year longer was because I had to get my student teaching in. So I was... that next semester to do student teaching. Otherwise, I was done with all of my courses.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  19:32  
Four degrees in four years.

Marsha Clark  19:33  
That in and of itself, is wow.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  19:36  
I have two degrees in four years and I thought that was impressive, but no. Okay.

Shona Sowell  19:40  
My mother thought it was crazy. Yeah, but she made the joke for a long time that every time I called her I wasn't calling to change my major, I was calling to add a major. And all she kept saying was, listen, you gotta graduate, get a job. Yeah. So whatever you got to do to graduate and get a job then okay, let's do it.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  19:58  
Well, I also remember seeing in your bio, Shona, that you were also a nationally recognized High School Teacher of U.S. Government, U.S. World History and Communications. So how does someone achieve the level of being nationally recognized as a high school teacher?

Shona Sowell  20:15  
So I was teaching high school at the time. I was teaching government and history and then also coaching speech and debate. And we can talk a little bit about that in a second. But I actually had the opportunity, I was chosen by C-Span as their national teacher fellow in 1997. And that gave me the opportunity then. And it was about how I used current events and C-Span's programming and other things in my teaching to promote non biased opportunities for students to learn things about what was happening in the world. And then...

Marsha Clark  20:51  
If we could go back to teaching that today because we need it. Sorry, sorry.

Shona Sowell  20:57  
It might be really difficult. But it was, for me what that opportunity did was I spent then a summer working at C-Span in Washington, D.C. developing some of their educational materials, and, and how to then incorporate those for other teachers. So it was a chance that I created some materials for them to then go use with other teachers out in the country to what they could incorporate in their own classroom. So it was a great experience. I got to spend the summer, basically walking free around Washington, D.C. with C-Span to anything I wanted to go to. And that was back before everything was locked down. So I could wander in and out of the Capitol building as much as I wanted, and was an incredible experience for a young for a young kid teaching high school and it was a great experience.

Marsha Clark  21:43  
So your obvious love of history, government, debate, given that you are teaching all three and developing curriculum so to speak, how did that influence your desire to become part of the local government scene here in Frisco?

Shona Sowell  21:58  
I don't know that that's why I became involved locally. I think if I look back on where my love of things came from, I can't say where the love of Speech and Debate came from, other than it just at some point, I think my mother noticed that there was an intrinsic ability to argue, (because you were the youngest), because I was the youngest.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  22:17  
You had to speak up and had to get noticed.

Shona Sowell  22:19  
You're right. So I had to speak up a little bit, although my sisters would say I probably spoke up just fine. Yeah. But there was probably this, this love for I had a constant love for the research of the argument and the positions, to then formulate better arguments and positions. It was never to me about let's win the debate. Although, you know, you throw a trophy in there. I'm all about that. But it was about learning more to then be better at the argument to begin with. But early on my grandfather, my just beloved grandfather took me at seven years old, sat me down at the kitchen table in the middle of a summer, one day, poured out the newspaper and said, started pointing out inflation charts. And he said, Listen, what are you going to do about this? And I looked at him at seven and said, I don't know, can I have some chips? Can I have a snack? And but what happened was he just started talking to me. And I think he saw something in me that maybe was a little different, too. And things that I liked and things that I enjoyed. And so it just became an ongoing conversation with my grandfather. And I wanted to be prepared for those conversations. So I just started trying to learn anything and everything I could for the next time he pulled over the paper, because I knew he was going to and that's really kind of where that love and passion began was about a conversation with my grandpa.

Marsha Clark  23:43  
You know, speaking of men who have had influence positive influence in our lives, there's a big one. Yes. Yes. And, you know, I love the idea, though of ways that women supporting women, so you know, in community, so tell me a little bit about what you've done around that.

Shona Sowell  23:58  
One of the programs that I've been involved in over the years here in Frisco that I love and I know a lot of other people in this community have grown to love, too, is the ISM program for Frisco ISD that's Independent Study and Mentorship. And that's basically where students and that our juniors and seniors have the opportunity to go through a program, pick a project they want to study, and then they choose a mentor through that entire year. And in that it's an opportunity for you to share your knowledge weekly. I met weekly with each of the students that I mentor, most of them were young ladies, that was kind of almost a it wasn't what I always chose, but it was a very natural leaning because it was young women who were interested in policy, okay, and not politics, but they were interested more in policy and understanding public policy, which was my love. And so for me, it was a way in a very male dominated area, which is policy, to really engage young women into you have a voice, you have an opportunity here, go grab it, but learn all you can in the process. And so it was an opportunity for me to share my experience and education with them. But the key that I always found was I learned so much more from them about myself, but I also learned just about things that matter to them. So it helps shape. I think each each student that I mentored had helped me shape with the next student about things that are important to them. And, and so it was a great, rewarding experience. I am still in touch with most of those in those students today. And they've all gone on to do their own thing. And it's so exciting to see whether they got into public policy or not just what what that programming with opportunities shaped with them, and just the relationship that the give and take from both ends, you know that I'm still learning from them as well.

Marsha Clark  25:47  
Well, and Shona, I just want to also point out for our leaders, young women get to develop leadership skills in a variety of ways. That's right. And my belief is that leadership is a mindset, it's not a title, it's not a box on an org chart, it's not any of that kind of stuff. And so you helping those women develop their own leadership capabilities tend to be pretty rewarding.

Shona Sowell  26:08  
It's absolutely rewarding, because I think that we look at leadership, I think in a lot of ways as Oh, you're an elected official, or you are the head of a company, but leadership is just about the people you interact with every day. And, and there are lots of opportunities for that to exist. And so it's very rewarding to see young women go into that. But it's also very rewarding to kind of work with men, about how they can positively work with strong women as well. And so every opportunity I get with, with our own sons to do that, or with other students, that was extremely rewarding, I did spend a lot of time when I took some time off after teaching to raise my girls, I was privileged to get to do that. So I threw my hat and self into PTA, and, you know, room mom, and all of those things. And that in itself is another opportunity for leadership. Because I think there are times where we feel like well, because I'm not doing this level, that it's not as important or it's not enough, when actually, even the volunteer work are lots of opportunities for leadership and to learn those skills.

Marsha Clark  27:17  
I see volunteer as the influence without authority, which is an important skill to have, it's absolutely important. So we know that women have been historically much more socially adept at using relationships and influence to get things done, versus relying on that hierarchical or positional power. And that comes with that, you know, org chart stuff. So working in or for large, volunteer based organizations can provide incredible learning and growth opportunities. So, you know, for all of our listeners out there, there are lots of opportunities, if you may not have the promotional opportunities, or the career opportunities where you work, there are plenty of places in the community to take that on.

Shona Sowell  27:56  
That that's absolutely true. And one of the programs I think that's great here in our community of Frisco, but I, I know that it exists in a lot of surrounding communities as well, and, and wherever listeners are that there's probably a program like this in their community. And that's what we call here, Leadership Frisco, right? It's an opportunity that it's put on here by our chamber of commerce, and they choose about 20 to 25 candidates each year to go through a year long program. And in that program, you learn about the community and how it operates, and its successes and things that they could do better, et cetera. But you also learn leadership skills, everything from what your leadership style is to how you like to be led to communication, to how to work with people who are volunteers. So I went through Leadership Frisco in 2012. So a while ago, I was leadership class 16 and I actually was chosen as the president of our leadership class back when we used to choose presidents. They don't do that anymore. And it was a very shaping opportunity for me. I had come out of being the volunteer mom at that point. And it was an opportunity for me to change those skills, it from the volunteer community to how I could start taking everything I've done so far. And what that was going to look like going forward for me. And I didn't know what that looked like at the time. I just knew that there was an open door then for a lot of opportunities.

Marsha Clark  29:24  
Yes, it created the possibilities, if you will. Possibility thinking.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  29:27  
Right. So here in Frisco just for our listeners' education, the program is basically a rite of passage for many of our elected and appointed community leaders, whether that's planning and zoning or any of the other boards and commissions that support city council and and the mayor as well. So these types of programs exist all over the country and in communities, I think even across the globe. So for those of you who are interested, just do a simple Google search on your town and the word leadership and see what you can find. But if you can't find something locally in your town, I think almost every state does it. There's also a Leadership Texas that you can be a part of. And for those who want to try to apply for Leadership Texas, I think they recommend that you try to do your city one first, because it's even more advanced program. But if there's not one in your town look for look for one with your state in it also.

Shona Sowell  30:26  
I think it's an excellent opportunity. It hones your leadership skills, but it also gives you the opportunity to learn from others and their successes in leadership and sometimes even their missteps in leadership, I don't want to call them failures, but they're more missteps.. They're learning opportunities. But it's also a chance to network and to learn about other people's pathways, and how they, how they've come to the place they've come to, as well. So those are great opportunities, whether you're going to go into public service or other leadership skills, taking those skills back to your own life, I have found has also been very beneficial for me, just taking it back into my own daily interaction with even my own family has been very beneficial.

Marsha Clark  31:08  
Well, and there's even a Leadership America. So I mean, yeah. And I would also encourage our listeners to look and see if their chamber or any of their, you know, those kinds of programming are for women specific, because I know lots of chambers have women owned businesses support, that kind of thing. And I, you know, have supported a program for several years now through the Texas Women's Foundation that focuses on building leadership skills. And, you know, we have, like you said, women from many different industries, companies, levels, all of that. And it's amazing the shared learning that goes on in response to all of that. And so we also have a program that, as our listeners know, Tracie Shipman's involved in this podcast and pulling it all together. And she is part of a program called Expand Leadership. So if you're interested in that you can look at I think that's right. We'll put it on there somewhere. I'll make sure we get that into the notes because it's another place where you can gain some strong leadership training to help build that foundation.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  32:14  
Okay, I'm seeing in my notes that the listeners can find more information on Expand Leadership at (not com). Make sure you put that on there, So, Shona, back to your experience leading in the community, you graduated from Leadership Frisco and were you still teaching at that time? Or tell us about the transition after that.

Shona Sowell  32:39  
No, I had actually been home for a few years at that point. So I'm still doing some things in the education circles. But then took that opportunity started doing some volunteer opportunities for the Chamber of Commerce. I was the chair of their gala that year. And then that actually turned into working for the chamber at the same time. And so it was it was this real interesting transition, not something that I directed or planned it was, but I took the opportunity and said, Hey, this is this is a great opportunity and a great fit. And I started doing government affairs for the Chamber of Commerce. I became the director of government affairs at that point. What was interesting is, if I ever thought I was gonna get involved politically, and I think everyone who knew me assumed that I would probably run for school board. Like, if I was going to do something I would, it would make sense, I would run for school board my education background, that would be something that I would do. And that might be where I would, I would choose to serve. But at the same time, that I was working at the Chamber, I was finishing up my second master's degree at that time, and it was in public policy and political science and my love for public policy just kept rearing its head. And it was through a couple of people that kind of were talking to me and started kind of saying, Are you sure that school boards where you really, really want to go and so that that's kind of where things started to take a different turn.

Marsha Clark  34:01  
Nice. I love that. It started as a quiet voice. It became a roar.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  34:05  
Okay, so that's when you decided to go for city council?

Shona Sowell  34:09  
Actually, I had a few people sit down with me and say, listen, take your love of public policy and let's take it over to the city council level. That's really where the best fit for you might be. And so after I kind of sat back, prayed about it, thought about it a while. thought, you know what, yeah, okay, let's, let's, let's go that direction. And so I ran for office in the first for the first time in 2016. That was my first time and won that race, and then ran again in 2019 because we do three year terms here. And then was about to run for my third term in 2022 when I received the other kind of flip in my life that occurred with my diagnosis.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  34:47  
And we're definitely going to talk about that for a hot minute. But before we do, momentarily, a little cliffhanger for our audience. I want to spend a couple of minutes focused on your time as an elected city council member for Frisco. First, I think you were the only woman on council for five or six years. Do I have that correct?

Shona Sowell  35:06  
That is correct. I was we have six council members and a mayor and I was the only female out of the seven seats until the middle of 2021 when Angelia Pelham was elected.

Marsha Clark  35:18  
Right. We had, I don't know if you know this, but we had Angelia on the show a couple of months ago. And she has her own powerful story to tell and share as well. So some of our listeners may recognize that and I think, you know, we can all relate to being the only or one a few females in the male dominated environment. So I think all of us can can tell our own stories in regard to that. But when you think about being on a governing board like that, your your, you know, technically your power is supposed to be equal. Was that true for you? Did you feel like you had the equal seat at the table?

Shona Sowell  35:51  
I actually really did. And I think it was because I worked really hard to not make myself separated because I was female it was, I don't need you to look at me and be strong, because I'm female. I just need you to look at me and be strong because I'm strong.  And that really was where it came from. And I worked really hard. I was very prepared. I studied a lot. I met with residents, I took the time to do the work that was necessary. So it wasn't about, hey, I'm a female, I'm different here. You should listen to me. It was more about I've done the work, you should listen to me because I've done the work.

Marsha Clark  36:26  
I love that.

Shona Sowell  36:26  
And that was important. And I think that comes back to my mother. Don't ever show up and say you're doing this because, it's just do the work. And if you do the work, you'll be recognized for that. It may take awhile, but you you really will. And I think if you asked my colleagues, whether they agreed with me or not, on any issue, I think they would all say she was prepared. And she knew her stuff. And she was prepared to do what she thought was right for her residents at the time. And I think that's the difference that even if you're on a governing board or anything for and you're the only female, the the my colleagues were not my audience. The residents were my audience because they were the voters. So that that was something that I tried to keep in mind at all times.

Marsha Clark  37:10  
Yeah. Well and with your background in public policy, and all of the things that prepared you for that I think that's a great perspective to have. And no, whether you call it your audience or your customers, right, I mean, who your so, yeah. So I want to do a little you know, we started this with the powerful women are strong women,  I'm gonna give you some other words and I want you to tell me what you think about, the first thing comes to mind. So the first word is campaigning. Well, there's

Shona Sowell  37:35  
Well there's multiple words there. But hated it,  just hate campaigning. Some people love campaigning, some people like governing, I don't love the campaigning part at all. For me, it was It wasn't difficult to talk to residents at all. That was amazing. It was difficult for me to constantly say, I am awesome, and you should love me. And you should, you should vote for me. And you should... It was just hard. Because there got to a point where I was just so tired of talking about myself. Yeah, I wanted to talk about anything else. I could talk policy all day long. A lot of people don't want to get in the weeds. (That's right. That's right.) So that was that was the part that was I think, frustrating. And, and it's it's a grind, and I know you know this, it is a grind. It just doesn't end and it's intense. It's not pleasant. I don't know, any, any part of campaigning, other than just being able to meet with residents. And in any part that's, that's not intense. Yeah, I would say this, there's one really cool part. And that's the first time you see your sign go up either in someone else's yard that's not your own, or on the streets. We were driving down the street. And my girls saw it for the first time and said mom, there's your sign. And I almost pulled over to the side of the road and started crying. Yeah, not because of anything other than just it was such an overwhelming experience and that they were there with me when we saw the fine and that was just a really cool thing. (Oh, I love that.) The rest of the campaigning part was just hard.

Marsha Clark  39:05  
Yeah, and women, we are not wanting to toot our own horns. We there's all kinds of research and literature around that. We can advocate on behalf of others. But when it comes to advocating on behalf of ourselves, it's much tougher. (Absolutely.) So next prompt, first election results.

Shona Sowell  39:21  
Overwhelming. Proud. That was the moment that you can say oh, not talking about yourself. But just so proud of that moment all coming together everything that you've ever worked for kind of all. It's almost like you see that everything else goes black and the one, the one light that shines down on that one moment. My mother was standing on one side of me when the results came out. And I have this picture still of my mom standing right next to me and my daughter's were standing on the other side of me. And like that, that. What better moment is that? And then there's another picture that somebody took of my mom in tears and just hugging me. And just what a great an opportunity for her to see. She knew how hard I'd worked. She knew how, what, what we'd come through. And so that yeah, that that's an incredible moment. It's always emblazoned in my mind. And I think it's emblazoned in the people that were in the room at the same time.

Marsha Clark  40:19  
You can't not be (pardon the double negative), but you can't not be touched by that. I mean, we call them chill factor moments or goosebump moments. I'm having one of those right this minute. All right, I still get them. I know. And because and that's when you know, you're on to something, right. That's the way we have interpret, chosen to interpret that. So last prompt is serving on council.

Shona Sowell  40:39  
I might get a little emotional here. So I love serving. I love serving this community. I love this community and still do. I love the problem solving and the policy work for me. Other people, I'm the nerd that listens to public hearings, you know, until they go through the all hours of the night. I loved working with staff, I loved working with residents. We just have such an an incredibly talented pool of people in this community. I loved working with our state legislature in my role on council. That was just I still get goosebumps when I walk into the state capitol. That was just always overwhelming for me. And, and, and I do believe that I did it honorably. It was so important to me to do what I thought was right. At the time, with the knowledge I had, with every vote that I took, no matter what it was, I thought it was it was just so important to me to do that and, and to be researched enough to be able to do that. So I do believe that I did it honorably. And I, if anybody ever asked me in the future of like, if if there were things that you wish you could change about votes, absolutely. Because hindsight is I'm sure, certainly 20-20. But I do believe that every decision I made at the time I made with the information I had to the to the very best of my ability for what I believe was good for all of Frisco, and not just pockets of Frisco or organizations in Frisco or even from my own personal tooting of my horn. It was more about just what's good for the residents.

Marsha Clark  42:12  
Well, and I think that elected by the people, for the people, not just some of the people, but all the people. So thank you for that. And, you know, I know that while you were on council you talked about your preparation paid good dividends for you. People knew you were prepared. So as a result of that you were elected to be the Mayor Pro Tem while you were on council. And Angelia taught us that that's you know, the temporary mayor, the substitute teacher mayor. So tell us about that.

Shona Sowell  42:38  
So I was elected, both as the Mayor Pro Tem and then also as the Deputy Mayor Pro Tem which is has unique roles as well, and that that's chosen by your peers on council. So that's something that says very much about how they are working with you and feel about you. And they feel that you're a good representative, when you're out there. And and certainly it's an opportunity in this community, there's so much going on. Right? So there was always an opportunity to be able to, to lead in that way. And so I appreciated that opportunity. But I think it was also because they saw that I was working so hard. Yeah. And I think they knew that they could trust that I was going to represent our community well in those circumstances. And so that, to me is also an honor, it was it was very honorable for me to to feel that trust from our community. And from my colleagues.

Marsha Clark  43:26  
I think about is the icing on the great cake or (Absolutely), yes, it's the cake is good but when you get that extra icing, it's even better. Sweet. Yeah. So you also led the legislative efforts of the council at the local as well as the state level as chair of the council legislative committee. And while you were on council, you led multiple development projects with a focus on you know, Frisco sustainable growth. So what would you say were one of the the one or two key highlights for you while you were serving on that council and leading that council?

Shona Sowell  43:59  
Well, there are so many opportunities. I mean, certainly, we have, as we talked about so many great projects here in Frisco that are very unique and just really creative, fun things to do. But they're also very complex. And so just trying to weave your way through. Certainly, the PGA coming to Frisco is or was, I mean, it was a very complex problem to fix. But that was very exciting. Being part of those types of opportunities was always really cool, trying to come up with a way to make a development better for the residents. So you want it to be good for developers, but you also want it to be really good for the people who are here and who have been here and, and don't go home at night that that live here.  And so trying to come up with ways that that was better was just that, that constant problem solving. So those are certainly key things but there there is something that nobody else knows about. Nobody will ever know about for the rest of their lives. It'll never be make it into the books of history, but I know it exists and I know it's there. There's an amendment to a bill that was done at the state level, that it was a bill that was going to impact our community and something that we were able to do. And it's a complex way of doing it. But it was about how we could do certain bonds for certain projects. And it was going to negatively impact our community. And I went down and testified on the bill, and testified with those who are writing the bill and said, if you would just word it like this, you still get your, what you're trying to achieve, yeah. But you will not harm these other good principles. And they looked at me and said, done, and they put that amendment in the bill. I call it the Shona amendments. Nobody else knows it's there. Nobody would ever care that it's there. But I know it's there. And I know that I worked on that. And I know that that was something that I had a hand in shaping that forever will impact our community in a really good way. So I don't need my name to be shared on it. I just know that I did something really, really good and strong. That was important to us.

Marsha Clark  46:03  
Well, you can no longer say that nobody knows about it because all of our listeners know about it. We got a bunch of them so, there we go.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  46:09  
We have many thousands. So Marsha, you were so right when you said that most of our listeners haven't had the experience of putting themselves out there in their communities for an actual election. And then serving as an elected official. I mean, Shona, definitely, we're talking about strength here. And so earlier, you mentioned that as you were preparing to run for your third and final term in 2022, your world all of a sudden just turned upside down. So will you share what was going on for you around that time?

Shona Sowell  46:41  
Sure. It's, there was really two key things and they both happened during campaigns for my time while I was on council that were personal, both of which really impacted me greatly. One of them was I became a single mom, and all that that encompassed for me and the girls at that time. That was in 2019. So that was a huge change in our lives, and for the girls.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  47:09  
So how old were your girls when you were going through?

Shona Sowell  47:13  
17 and 14.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  47:14  
Okay, wow, that's an impactful age. So I know that your girls are probably strong because they get that from you.

Shona Sowell  47:22  
So my girls are strong. They they are some of the strongest women that I've ever met. Certainly, if you disagree with them, they will let you know how strong they are. But I knew that they were going to be okay, no matter how hard what we were going through at the time was, even though it's public. I knew that they were going to be okay and that we were going to be okay. We had incredible faith, the three of us did, as we were walking through that time in our lives, and we had incredible friends. And we had some incredible family members. My family just rallied around us at that time. And our friends rallied around. And I wasn't sure that I was going to run again in 2019 just because of that. And it was actually my daughters who sat me down and said, No, mom, you have to run and we're behind you all the way. And so that gave me the strength to keep going. And that kind of goes back to that definition that we talked about about strong before is that it's not that you don't feel it. That's not that it's not hard, it's that you will stand and do it anyway. That bounce backability.

Marsha Clark  48:28  
Well, and I you know, that very point is the theme that we've woven throughout our programs, the book, the podcast, is the power of a strong support system. And whether it be women supporting women, men supporting women, you know, all of that is important. And it sounds like you were really able to not only have that for you and your daughters, but for you to model and let them really see it for what it is. So share a little bit about that. How did you have conversations with them?

Shona Sowell  48:55  
Uh, just very honest conversations. And we talked about how hard things were, I gave them the ability to talk to me about how hard and difficult things were. And, and, and really shared with them at times what I could about how difficult things were. But I also put them in place with others to be able to talk about what they needed to talk about. And it really was about not just women supporting women, but you talk about the male support. My family, my brother in law is probably my biggest champion besides my husband now. The, I had, we had another friend, family friend that he and his wife stepped up and just surrounded me and my girls. And so it is the allies that you have. It's the people who support you. And I think during those times that you are struggling with being strong. It's it's how you lean on them and how you lean on your faith at the same time. And that really was, it was such a two pronged event for us. It wasn't one or the other. It was the combination of both really coming together

Marsha Clark  49:56  
And I love this idea of I lean on my family and friends for things I know to ask for or that I can predict an outcome. I lean on my faith when I don't know those things. And so I need all of that.

Shona Sowell  50:07  
Absolutely. It's, it is the, it's the partnering of that, for the things that you can see and the things that you can't see.

Marsha Clark  50:13  
That's right.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  50:14  
So you managed to get through all that. And then just as you're gearing up for your final campaign for city council, you get a devastating diagnosis in the spring of 2022.

Shona Sowell  50:26  
I did. So right as I was, I was filing for counsel, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, for invasive ductal breast cancer. And it was on a routine mammogram that it was found. Right at that same time, and I will tell you that you're thinking about campaign, and then all of a sudden, you're thinking I have to live, and the campaign won't matter if I don't survive. And my mother had gone through stage four breast cancer 17 years prior. And so it was, I had been her caregiver during that time. And I knew what she had gone through. I knew the difficulty of what she was, what she had gone through, and the difficulty of the surgeries and how long that lasted. And so I had an idea what my path was going to look like. You still have no idea until you get in there. And that I think for for me, there was such a challenge of how do I do both. And I know that, you know, for us, it was the decision of my husband said, I will I will back you in this campaign 100%. I need you to fight as hard in cancer as you're going to find in the campaign. And when you really get down to it, there was only one thing that I could do. And that was fight cancer. Somebody else could do campaigns, anybody else could do that. But nobody could fight cancer but me because it was my cancer. And so I knew at that point that I had to make the very difficult decision to step down and choose my own life instead of something else that had been really good and meant a lot to me. And that was it was probably one of the more difficult choices of my life, and a very emotional choice. But yet I don't regret making that choice. It was the right choice for me at that time.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  52:19  
Yeah, and that's around this time, we started seeing locally here in Frisco a lot of Facebook the hashtag strong like Shona popping up everywhere, because of the strength of her decision to do something that was best for her personally, for her family, even though that meant, you know, a gap there on council, somebody else had to step in. So

Shona Sowell  52:40  
It did. You know, one of the things that my mom consistently taught me was, life is hard. And it's challenging, and you're not going to stay standing up for everything that comes at you. Things are just going to be difficult, but you can fall down, you can pick yourself back up, you can keep going. And and what I really wanted those who around me to know and understand during this process is that and especially my, you know, my my little Frisco girls, my pretty blue eyed blonde girls that had lived in this community and also my sons, who had grown up in a nice, comfortable lifestyle. I wanted them to understand that life is not always fair. It's not always good. It's not always easy. But you can just keep pushing, and you can keep going. And when you fall down, it's not the end of things you just keep going and I think that was was what led to that strong like Shona hashtag. It was my campaign team at first that started it, that came up with the idea of, you know, hashtag strong like shona. And I will say that it was it was not easy to take on that mantra. For me that was difficult. But they were they were the ones who came up with it. And and then seeing it all over town, it was encouraging. It really was.

Marsha Clark  53:59  
Yeah, well inspiring for so many. And you know, I look at that, and you were a very public figure. And it's one thing to, you know, travel the journey of these hard things when we have a private life and it's not getting played out in such a public way. Was there anything unique about that, from that public aspect of what you were going through and what support people gave you through that?

Shona Sowell  54:24  
There were people that I had no idea, I didn't know them, that came out to support me in ways. There were women that we would run into in the grocery store or in some random place and they would come up and say, I saw your post about getting a mammogram and I went and got a mammogram. Thank you. And we had another woman that came up to us and said I went and got a mammogram and they found cancer. Thank you for encouraging me to not be afraid to go do that. And now I'm walking the same journey you're walking. So when I saw that it was making an impact in that way it certainly encouraged me to be public about that process. The harder part is to be public about when it's not going so easy. That it's a struggle, that it's hard because we all want to see positive on Facebook. I mean, that's really what we want to see. But I also want to see honesty on Facebook, because in my own journey, when I was trying to do the strong like Shona, there were days that I did not feel strong at all. And if I had only seen other women that had been positive about everything, it made me feel like I was weak. So when I saw other women going through things, or going through breast cancer, and they were honest about their experience, it made me understand this is normal. What I'm feeling or experiencing is normal and I can do this, and I wanted that message to then be available for other women. I wanted women to see the struggles that I was having and go, I can struggle too.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  56:01  
Sometimes the hashtag is struggle like Shona, isn't it that I mean, and you know what, that's okay, too. That's okay, too, because it's a part of the deal. And you can't, I don't think it's right to always be projecting that everything is together, that that only keeps other people at a distance from you to where they don't know how to step in and help. And they want to.

Shona Sowell  56:27  
That is exactly the truth. And I found that the more honest I became, and not in a way that was depressing, or pity party but trying to say, I want you to know I'm struggling with this. But here's what we're doing and go get your mammograms, go get your mammograms and there were days that it was kind of like, okay, I'm struggling, but I'm going to struggle well. That was kind of the mantra of like, let's just struggle well, and be honest about it. But what I have found, too, is that, the more that I could do that the more that other women could give me feedback of what they were struggling with and then I could encourage them. And it's opened up in a very public way so many other circles for me to support and have influence than council ever did in a very different way. And in a very unique way. So in meaningful ways. And so it's I've been able to get involved with some other breast cancer groups and, and work really hard in that aspect with other women who are struggling through that and experiencing those types of hard days. And that, you know, yes, it can hurt. It's a bad day, but I'm going to keep going. And now I'm sad. And yes, I grieve, and yes, it's all these things, but we're gonna keep pushing forward. And my mom, again, she was the one that was just constantly encouraging and that all of her life because her life was hard. Yeah. And, and I think it was, you know, she would constantly say, we are put into places uniquely, because we're put into opportunities uniquely, we take that stand for what that opportunity is for us. And so much like Esther, you know, it's that was a prevailing theme for us growing up was, you have a unique opportunity to do something, and it's, you're gonna stand up and do it or not. And so, I think this was a place where I could stand in several ways and say, I'm going to share my story, it's hard and I'm going to go forward with this and other people can watch it and hopefully it'll inspire somebody else down the road.

Marsha Clark  58:35  
You know, what research tells us and what our programs, what we pitch in our programs and even in the way that we design programs, is women learn through stories and we want our stories to be told. That was I think the theme of this year's International Women's Day and month was, tell your story, and being able to tell the story. It's not just the good parts of the story but I love your add, Wendi, of hashtag strong like Shona, hashtag struggle like Shona. That's the reality of it. And and as you said, I'm not weak if I'm not, you know, strong every day. I'm just you know, going to do it well. I'm gonna struggle well. And the fact that you can do that, and then me, I'm not alone. I get permission. It gives others permission to feel the real feelings and not just as we say, put lipstick on a pig.

Shona Sowell  59:27  
It's absolutely give us the opportunity to feel real feelings. And I think that's what I found from the other women survivors around me is my we give each other strength by saying this is my struggle. Help me. And that enables, it just opens the door as opposed to when you're looking at everybody who just continues to put positive things right. And there's a place for that but being able to share the struggle and bounce back and I think that goes back to that and  I want our kids, all of them, the boys and the girls I want them to go, you know, life isn't going to hand me everything I want. So how do I bounce back when it doesn't? And that to me was, I think the prevailing message for us.

Marsha Clark  1:00:09  
Hashtag, I can do hard things. I can do hard things.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:00:12  
Well, Shona, thank you for sharing these stories. I mean, you're beautiful, fierce, strong mom and then of course, your own, you know, compelling story of strength and struggle, both of them. And so I would love for you to do two things as we close out this episode. First is I'm guessing our listeners are gonna want to know how you're doing today health wise. So why don't you share that first, and they're probably feeling a little invested right now and your prognosis.

Shona Sowell  1:00:44  
Sure. And then if we get a chance, I'd love to share one more story. (Of course, of course.) So first, my prognosis is right now I'm cancer free. So I am walking that walk. But I am living with the after effects of, of cancer treatment and living with lymphedema. And all of the side effects that come with that. And my mission now has become we talk a lot about side effects and things for women during treatment. We don't spend a lot of time talking about women's lives after treatments, and the struggle there. And so now my, my mission has become how do we shed light on that so that we can now start working towards that part of breast cancer treatments and, and how to support those who are going through. So I am, I am cancer free and still am living a wonderful life with that, you know, we are in a position where we're empty nesters right now, we have one out of college and we have three in college all at the same university. Makes Parents Weekend really easy, really easy, because it's in one place. However, it makes it nonstop for hitting all the activities for all three. So that that is is just, we've come out of last year, really enjoying this year. And I think that's that's a great thing. The bounce back ability comes back into this year. And we appreciate things so much more this year because of the struggles of last year. But if I could tell one story about my mom just and this is because we haven't even shared this, that my mom was someone who would not go to the mailbox without lipstick.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:02:19  
God, your mom, they'd be friends. My mother wouldn't lay, with the hair..

Shona Sowell  1:02:24  
With the hair. So my mother was she had a standing beauty shop appointment every week on Thursdays for I think since she was five years old. Just you know early on, she would go to the beauty shop, she would get it washed, set, teased and back combed and have it set and then she slept in toilet paper the rest of the week until she went back again so it wouldn't mess up her big tall hair. The higher the hair, the closer she was to Jesus is her mindset. When my mother was diagnosed and lost her hair, we thought oh my word. This is going to be the most difficult experience for my mom of you know, we all are kind of attached to our hair in my family. And we thought this is going to be terrible. And really what happened is she shaved her head and she went to the wig store and she got some cute sassy wig. And the first person who said oh my gosh, you look, what's going on with you? You look 10 years younger. She was hooked. Her vanity kicked in and she never looked back. And she wore a wig for the rest of her life because it made her look 10 years younger. That was big. It was it was so part of what she did and who she was. Her words used to be as long as there's blonde in a bottle you will never see gray on this head. And then it was well once I have a wig you'll never see gray on this head. And that that was kind of how she lived her life and love her spirit. I love her. She was she was a fighter. I will say that my mother passed away last August. So adding to kind of the bounce back ability of last year, she suffered in the last two years with dementia. And so she passed away from complications with that and watching this brilliant, hard fighting hard working woman who was constantly educating herself and learning and she lost the ability to read. She used to do the crossword puzzle every single day. She lost the ability to do crossword puzzles, she lost her words. It was absolutely heartbreaking. But she carried it with grace. And even when people would come to visit her in her last few days, she would stop and say can you please get my earrings so I can put my earrings on before they come in the door? Because yeah, she wanted to still look the part. And on her last day my sisters and I were blessed enough to be surrounding her in her last hours and the three of us were at her bedside and we were holding her hands and holding each other's hands and we were telling stories about my mother would always say that's my favorite to one of us. But she said it to all of us. And we were finally like, Mom, the gig is up. We know you've been saying it to all three of us when it was when it suited your means, telling her stories about what we'd really done what she thought we'd done. And she had not been responsive at that point. But her eyebrows were moving like crazy, because she was hearing us. And we were we had the opportunity to say thanks, Mom, for being a good mom and for giving your strength to us because you did a really good job. And so that moment was probably it's emblazoned in my, in my mind, and my heart and a chance to say to the woman who gave me the strengths you gave me, thank you for giving me that strength. (Beautiful.) And so I guess I would say to the ton of listeners if you haven't had the opportunity to tell the woman or the women in your life who gave you the strength to be strong, tell them thank you because you know, that moment is powerful for them and for you.

Marsha Clark  1:05:54  
That's right. That's right. Oh, goodness.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:06:01  
I know. Another goose bump moment. Well, Shona, thank you for your service to our community. Thank you for your stories. Thank you for being here today. This has been an amazing episode.

Marsha Clark  1:06:12  
It really has. And I'm glad we got to kind of pull you out of the amazing moms, all stories that were wonderful in their own way. But there's so many different layers to this particular one. And it all goes back to strong, kind and bounce backability.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:06:28  
I'm adding that as the hashtag on this episode. Bounce backability. Right now.

Shona Sowell  1:06:35  
I love it. I love it.

Marsha Clark  1:06:36  
So thank you very much for being here. May you continue to be blessed to do the good work that you're doing. And with your health, may it continue to be something that enables you to, to do all the good work that you're doing, because stamina and physical health, emotional health and all of that is critical. I'm glad that your kids are living their best lives in ways that they've had models like you and your mom and your sisters, all, and being really a model and inspiration for all of our listeners. We do have lots of listeners. They're around the world and I know that many of them can relate quite closely to your story. So thank you.

Shona Sowell  1:06:36  
Well, thank you for the opportunity to share.

Marsha Clark  1:06:38  
Well, my pleasure in that. And I also say when we know better we do better. So all the work you're doing around the post treatment of cancer, go!  So listeners, thank you very much for being with us today. And as always, we hope that you'll let us know how we can support you and help you and it seems just ever more appropriate for us to end as we always do, which is "Here's to women supporting women!"

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