Meet Nicole Walker of She Leads Podcast: Leadership Empowerment for Women of Color
My journey of creating She Leads Podcast: Leadership Empowerment for Women of Color began with a burning desire of wanting more out of life. After years of feeling unfulfilled in my corporate career I decided to try entrepreneurship. I tried entrepreneurship three times in the past; however, I did not take it or myself seriously at those times. In my past life of entrepreneurship I owned a recording studio, started a recording label, and founded a photography company. Then, on September 1, 2017 I relocated over 1,200 miles from the place I called home since I was born, moving from New Jersey to Florida. When I decided to make this move I promised myself I would take entrepreneurship seriously for the fourth time. Upon moving to a foreign land, where I only know one person I now had all the time I needed to focus on founding and growing a new business. I started attending various business workshops and expos to expand my knowledge of entrepreneurship, network with like-minded individuals, and within three months I hired my first business coach. My first business coach suggested podcasting as a means to spread my message, which was something I had only heard of once at one of the workshops I attended. I never thought of becoming a podcaster in the past, yet now I was considering entering into a field I knew nothing about.
After learning more about the concept of podcasting and brainstorming about the message I wanted to share, I decided to become a podcaster. As with many things I do, I made this decision spontaneously before fully understanding the work required and commitment needed to start this venture. The glam of this new idea excited me and ignited my love for planning, so I planned away. It sounded like a fairly easy pursuit and I was all in until I found out that it was not as easy as it seemed. Because I am a person that chooses to operate in excellence, just putting out content is not okay with me. Presentation is everything in my book, which requires diligence. Now considering all aspects of podcasting and doing it properly, I changed my mind completely. I recall telling my coach, “this wasn’t even my idea so I’m not going to do it”.
Well a few weeks later my no became a yes after attending a workshop in my local area entitled Podcasting 101. The information I learned at this workshop made the concept of podcasting not seem as hard as I told myself it was. And, after talking to the workshop host about my ideas he encouraged me to go forward. Initially my idea was leadership in general and having a platform for all leaders, then my idea turned to focusing on Women of Color and getting leadership insight from them. Within two weeks of attending the podcasting workshop I finalized my podcasting plan, put out a call for guests in a Facebook group, and started interviewing. Four weeks after holding my first interview I launched She Leads Podcast: Leadership Empowerment for Women of Color on March 1, 2018 in commemoration of Women’s History Month.
Fast forward to today, She Leads Podcast: Leadership Empowerment for Women of Color has successfully completed five seasons which equates to highlighting ninety Women of Color Entrepreneurs and having over forty-five hours of leadership insight and advice for the world to consume. She Leads Podcast has been listened to in eighty countries across the globe and is closing in on 15,000 unique downloads to date. She Leads Podcast has also received recognitions such as being one of the Ten Best Female Leadership Podcasts to Tune Into on International Women’s Day, Best Women of Color Podcasts around in 2019 and 2020, and Top 20 Women Leadership Podcasts You Must Follow in 2019 and 2020. Most importantly, She Leads Podcast has proven that women can work together to support each other by spreading knowledge and empowerment of how to be and do better.
One of the biggest struggles along the way of creating and growing She Leads Podcast has been staying motivated and confident in my abilities. Self doubt and imposter syndrome has creeped in on me from time to time since beginning this venture. I questioned myself on whether or not people liked me as the host and enjoyed the content that was being released, I also wondered in women of a certain caliber would deem She Leads Podcast good enough to share their message. Getting out of my own head is something I have struggled with for years, and it did not stop with the creation of She Leads Podcast. If anything, it actually got a bit worse and the self criticism became louder. Thankfully, with more coaching and by receiving messages of praise from fans of She Leads Podcast I have become more confident in myself and proud of what I am doing to make the world a better place. Now instead of questioning and doubting myself, I consider my feelings and use them to make changes where I feel I am lacking.
Another hurdle I faced with the creation of She Leads Podcast was accepting my issues with enunciation. I do not pronounce all words correctly, and have battled with feeling inadequate for this outlet. I often laugh and ask God, why he chose me to be a podcaster knowing I can be incorrect often. Nonetheless, I did not let this stop me. Instead of being defeated by my weakness, I would go to You Tube and find out the correct way to pronounce the words that stumped me. This has helped me to learn more and be okay with myself. Sometimes I still pronounce names and words incorrectly, and hope people are not offended or making a mockery of me. I’ve learned to accept myself because I know my heart, and choose to do the work I have been chosen to do….flaws and all.
The why behind She Leads Podcast comes from my experiences being bullied as a child and feeling rejected in the workplace. Both of these experiences were extremely hard to endure. For years I let these experiences harden my heart, and change who I am at the core. I have always been a loving and hopeful person, but due to not feeling loved and appreciated I became cold and callous. I stopped trying to get ahead in life, because of the rejection I received. I also stopped trying to be nice to others because it felt like a hopeless cause. It took years for me to realize that I was not the problem and should not change myself because of the other people. Instead of being a victim to life, I decided to be an example of what should occur. Women of Color deserve recognition which is why She Leads Podcast features Women of Color. Women should be more celebratory of each other, as opposed to being back-biting which is why I collaborate with and highlight other women doing great things.
She Leads Podcast is a seasonal production, highlighting 18 Women of Color Entrepreneurs per season. We are content curators. We catalog and spread the messages of Women of Color Entrepreneurs to the masses. During each episode of She Leads Podcast, listeners can gain insight on Self Discovery, Self-Leadership, and Personal and Professional Best Practices. She Leads Podcast gives listeners the ability to get to know Women of Color Entrepreneurs on a personal and professional level, while giving guest speakers the opportunity to increase visibility, show transparency, and build trust. She Leads Podcast is known for leadership content; however, we provide much more than this.
She Leads Podcast shines a light on those that are normally overlooked and undervalued. She Leads Podcast asks the questions required to get a thorough understanding of our guest’s experiences and insight. She Leads Podcast believes in collaboration over competition, and we are showing the world that women can come together to embrace and celebrate each other. It is a statistical fact that Women of Color are systematically disadvantaged by being both a woman and a person of color. She Leads Podcast represents for the underrepresented by solely showcasing Women of Color because we matter!! Stories are impactful, and help to influence others. She Leads Podcast proves that Women of Color are a conduit to affect positive change, promote growth, and spread knowledge by sharing the personal and professional insight and stories of our guests. Many people, including myself, take a long time to understand the importance of self-leadership and the necessity of having a positive mindset that can derail or prolong their journey to greatness. She Leads Podcast provides the insight and tools needed to stay inspired, maintain motivation, and take action both personally and professionally.
To my knowledge She Leads Podcast is the first and only Woman of Color Leadership podcast featuring Women of Color Entrepreneurs. She Leads Podcast is a platform that provides personal and professional success strategies for those looking to grow, elevate, and expand. At She Leads Podcast, we aim to teach others a better way. It is uncommon for a podcast to cover all of the topics we cover in one episode of She Leads Podcast. Our topics range from childhood through adult life stories, leadership principles, mindset, adversity, entrepreneurship, and productivity.
As a company, we are most proud of sticking to our laurel of being a Woman of Color platform. Although this choice has not been the fastest in growing our numbers, we stand behind our premise and are excited to learn about the amazing Woman of Color Entrepreneurs all across the world. We have been approached by many high profile individuals of all races and both sexes, including a person who was running for 2020 presidency; yet, we held strong to our merits because we value our mission more than the numbers.
I love this question, thank you for asking it! I view success as trying to be and do better. In life we never know if we will fail or succeed; however, we can’t do either if we don’t try. Even if we fail at our attempts, there is always a valuable lesson to learn in every circumstance which is success in my book.
I would go as far as saying the desire to want more is a success as well, because without the desire we cannot take the steps necessary to grow. Whether it is personal or professional growth doesn’t matter to me as much as the concept of growing in general. I believe there is always a higher mark to strive for, no matter how old we are or how much we know and I look for new ways to improve as often as I can.
I also view success as helping others. I don’t think it’s enough to just work on ourselves, I believe we should share our experiences, knowledge, and advice with others so we can help someone else along the way. If I can save a person from going down a wrong path that I went down I am elated to see them avoid the pitfalls that I had to endure. Similarly, if I can shorten the time it took me to get a concept or achieve a goal, so that the process is faster for the next person then I am successful. Even if it is only helping one other person, I view it as a success.