Episode 98: A Fond Farewell

Almost 2.5 years, nearly 100 guests, 3 major cities...what a wild ride it has been.

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Full text of this week's episode included below:

I’ve been trying to write these words for weeks now, but it’s been so difficult to try to encapsulate the journey That’s So Maven! has been in a handful of words. So much happens in two years. And so much has.

When the podcast started, I had a couple of goals: to create a community of support amongst femmes in business and leadership, and to provide a safe place to have open, honest, vulnerable conversations about what it’s like to be a femme in business and leadership.

I think that the show has reached those goals - and then some.

It has been truly remarkable to see the network - the web of femmes, if you will - grow and expand over the last two years. I’ve had the honour of connecting people, as well as watching them meet, collaborate, and kick ass at business and life together because of the podcast. I’ve had countless people tell me that this show introduced them to amazing businesses they didn’t know about, and that it gave them the courage to reach out to other femmes in business, whether for advice, collaboration, or friendship. A dear friend of mine labelled the show - and its accompanying website and blog -  an excellent “hiring encyclopedia” - a place to search for and hire people from all different industries.

Honestly, this makes me so happy I could explode. I’m so grateful I could play a small role in creating friendships, collaborations, and hopefully driving lots of customers and clients to local businesses - and beyond. (Shoutout to all of the amazing past guests on the show from Calgary and Vancouver - I see you!)

Now, as I’m sure you have gathered both from the title of this episode, and from the fact that I’m speaking about the show in the somewhat past tense, the time has come for me to close this fantastic chapter of life and move on from the podcast. I mulled over a lot of different ways of doing this, and I landed on this: an open, honest conversation about the show, the journey, and what’s next.

Now of course, being me and being human, I feel like I could never say enough, and that I may never find the right words, so here I am doing my best. I’m gonna give it a shot.

One of the things I get asked a lot about the podcast is what it’s taught me. I kind of feel like I would need 8 hours to really answer this question, but I’m going to do my best to explore some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned.

First of all, you’re not alone. That’s the biggest thing, hands down. And I cannot emphasize it enough. Imposter syndrome? Fuck yeah, we all have it (lots of us on a daily basis). Struggling to balance life and work? Yup. What does balance even mean, right? Feeling like you aren’t good enough? We’ve all been there (probably also on a daily basis). Getting caught up in the comparison game? Everybody does it. We all seem to struggle with celebrating our own successes, or speaking up about what we’re good at. Self-promotion is hard, especially as a femme. Social media is a double-edged sword - we all struggle with it. We all have a hard time taking vacation. Work is life. Lulls in business are scary. And no matter who you are or how long you’ve been in business, no one - and I mean NO ONE - feels like they have their shit together all the time.

Oh, and also, WE ALL FAIL. And failure is a good thing! There is no straight line to success. There’s no straight line in life. It’s a winding road, and the only way to learn how to pivot and adapt, to discover new ways to approach business, to carve your own path, is by making mistakes. If we never made mistakes, we’d never get better at what we do. It’s not about how many times we fall on our faces, or hit a wall - it’s about how we get up and how we move forward. Every time we get back up, every time we push on, we do so stronger, smarter, and more prepared for whatever the future may hold. Not only in business, but in life.

This has been a HUGE and amazing part of the podcast. And I know it’s been one of the biggest reassurances for everyone who listens. You are not alone. You never will be. Business is business - we all face the same challenges, and if you’re feeling it, I can pretty much guarantee you someone else has felt it, and someone else is feeling it right now.

Secondly, talking about your struggles, being vulnerable - it helps. It helps you. It helps others. It helps everyone. So we have to keep talking.

When it comes to talking, though, the last two years of this podcast have absolutely taught me (or rather, affirmed for me, because this is something I already knew) that systemic sexism is still a massive issue in all industries, because many women and femmes are still not comfortable opening up about what they go through, sometimes on a daily basis. I lost count of the number of times guests on the show downplayed their struggles and said they didn’t notice any sexism in their industry, only to open up and share gut-wrenching stories after the recorder was turned off and the mics were put away.

Don’t be mistaken: this not an attack on any of the guests who did that. I completely understand why they did. Instead, it’s an acknowledgement that for women and femmes and all marginalized folks, speaking up is a slippery slope (to put it VERY lightly). It can burn professional bridges, damage one’s position in the industry. In some cases, it can be straight up dangerous. Because when we speak up, we become “difficult,” or “man haters,” or any other of the countless names we get called. Because sometimes speaking up means naming names and society still doesn’t believe women most of the time. I’m not going to dive too deeply into this, because we all know I could rant about systemic sexism for 5 years. What I will say is this: times are changing, but they’re changing very slowly. The more we talk, the better, but there are still incredible hurdles to doing so. I am grateful for all of the folks standing up and speaking up alongside me. I’m grateful to those who say more and do more than I am able to do. And if you can’t speak up yet, for whatever reason, know that that’s okay. We’re all in this together. We all need to lean on each other as we lift each other up.

This leads me well into the last big lesson or affirmation I want to touch on, which is that we’re stronger together. The more we can lift each other up - both as business owners and as femmes - the more we all succeed.

Does that mean it’s all sunshine and lollipops? Hell no. Nothing in life is. But the more we can lead by example, find fellow good humans to collaborate and share life with, the more positive change will happen. Call me naive, call me whatever you want, but I will never, ever stop believing that kindness wins.

So, That’s So Maven! has come to an end. What’s next? Well, that’s a big question, and it’s one with many answers. First and foremost, I will continue to focus in on my own business as a professional filmmaker and photographer, and on building a life I love living. That has always and will always be my top priority. In regards to podcasting specifically, I will say this: I have a lot in the works. When new projects launch, you’ll be among the first to know. If you don’t already, I recommend following me on social media - you can head to my website, andreabeca.work, to find links to all the platforms I’m on.

How to close this final episode off? I honestly feel like I could talk forever. Don’t worry, I won’t - I don’t actually have the time and I know no one wants to hear me ramble endlessly.

I want to thank everyone who has been a part of the show. All of the guests. All of the subscribers. Everyone who tuned in to just one episode, and even those who didn’t tune in, but showed their support on social media. I want to extend a special thank you to my small but mighty group of Patreon subscribers, who generously supported the creation of the show and helped keep it going as long as it did. I want to thank Karen Unland, friend, past guest, guest interviewer, and founder of the Alberta Podcast Network, as well as ATB, for being the founding sponsor of the network. They really are more than a bank, and I’m grateful for all of the work ATB does in the city. And no, I haven’t been paid to say that.

And you know, while I’m at it, head to albertapodcastnetwork.com and check out all of the amazing content that’s being created in our province. There’s so much to listen to, there’s truly something for everyone, just go do it. Just go.

Thank you. Those words don’t seem like enough. But thank you. I’m so grateful to have been on this journey, and I’m so grateful to everyone who listened, cheered me on, and to everyone who helped spread the word about the show. I’m also so grateful to everyone who has reached out over the last two years to tell me they love the podcast, or to share the positive impact it has had on them. That has honestly made every hour of work I’ve put into this so worthwhile. It’s humbling, and amazing, and again, I’m just so grateful.

I’m also so grateful to all of the guests on the show. Thank you for giving me your time (I know how precious it is!), for sharing your stories, for challenging me, for reassuring me, for giving me (and everyone listening) great advice, for being open, and real, and making us all feel less alone. Thank you for hearing my story, too. For giving me a safe space to open up. For all the hugs and high fives. Thank you for the work that you do. And since you probably don’t tell yourself often enough, I just wanna say, you’re all amazing, kicking ass, and inspiring those around you every single day.

Almost 2.5 years, nearly 100 guests, 3 major cities…. 98 episodes. Over 30,000 downloads. Over 2,000 hours of work. Countless kilometres travelled...and a few parking tickets along the way.

Thanks for being here. Thanks for listening. Thanks for sharing in this journey. Let’s please keep lifting each other up. I’d say goodbye, but let’s be real - we’ve all become friends, and I know I’m gonna see all of you very soon.

Well, that’s it, that’s all, folks. My name is Andrea Beça, and it’s been an absolute honour to host That’s So Maven!, a podcast by, for, and about femmes in business and leadership.

Photo by   Jillian Schecher  .