The best part of my new gig is the actual interviewing of the guests. Because of the pandemic almost all my interviews are done via an online recording service. My favorite part of my weekly conversation is actually after I stop recording and talk to that week's guest for a few minutes. The guest can relax and usually will talk about something personal or something really funny that they publicly don't want to say.
This week I was talking to Barry Pincus who is highlighted in this week's newsletter. I was telling Barry that if I wasn't doing this new gig, I would never have met him or the other really cool guests we've had. I even look forward to doing the prep for the interviews every week and learning something new from each guest.
After 8 episodes, I’ve: laughed so hard with Joe Pulizzi, the godfather of content marketing; met best selling author Moira McGarvey Black: reunited with former high school friend Bob Tuschman about his Food Network days: met (in person, at a distance!) hometown Sacramento hero Richard Turner; conversed with pioneering sports columnist and book author-- the legend Joan Ryan: learned from media giant Michela O'Connor Abrams about how to deal with tough life events; and relived my sports dreams with author and all around good guy Jim Roddy.
And then amazingly-- I just interviewed one of my personal heroes. Former SF Giants' star pitcher and broadcast royalty Mike Krukow is my guest for next week's episode. I was an awe-struck, nervous fan!
I feel so lucky these days. And have learned to challenge myself and of the power of doing something new and putting yourself out there!
In this week’s podcast, we talk with Michela O’Connor Abrams about facing life’s challenges head on and starting anew. Michela is the former CEO of Dwell Media, building the company from its early phase as a small magazine about esoteric design to an internationally recognized media brand. This was a huge achievement: The Internet has changed magazine publishing in dramatic ways and the brands that didn’t learn to develop new channels for their customer base sank quickly.
With Michela at the helm, Dwell became a 7-platform media brand. It’s known for showcasing gorgeous photography and innovative design and for bringing together architects, designers, and the trades in creating beautiful places to live.
Although there weren’t very many female CEOs 30+ years ago, Michela was a trailblazer in publishing. Prior to Dwell, Michela led companies from startup to exit and turnaround to high growth, at companies like IDG, Softbank, McGraw-Hill, Ziff Davis and Future Media.
Then four years ago, she faced the unimaginable. First, her mother unexpectedly was diagnosed with non-smoking lung cancer. Soon after that, one of her dearest friends died. Two weeks after that, her husband died, and then two weeks later her father died.
Flash forward to now. Michela says she is “emboldened and resilient.” She said it helped to imagine all four of her loved ones standing in front of her, telling her to go live her life with reckless abandon. “So that’s what I’m trying to do,” she says. I had to answer the question, “When, where and how do I recreate my future?”
Looking forward, she has been eager to draw on her many years of leadership and coaching experience. Michela founded a new media company, MOCA+. Tapping into her vast experience and connections within the industry, she creates a team to help her clients depending on their need: Coaching, fine-tuning, pivoting, buying and selling. She’s loving it!
In her spare time, Michela serves on the board of Arcbazar and is an advisor to Turkel Design, Nebia, Aplat Inc., NextPlay, and NewStory. She is a sought-after speaker on leadership, design, and media and is always game to share her passion for good design and business innovation.
3 key takeaways on beginning anew from Michela:
You choose what “balance” is and what work you take on. There’s so much to get involved in, you have to decide what you really want for you—first.
Ask, “What’s my time worth?” Decide a price/value ratio that not only works for you but for the client as well.
Take enough time off. Michela says she jumped back in after only 2 months but wished she’d taken more time in between business ventures.
For the full interview, listen to I Used to be Somebody, Episode #6 with Michela O’Connor Abrams. For listening details go to our website.
To learn more about Michela check out her website.
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the I Used to Be Somebody weekly blog.