[Podcast] Industry Spotlight | Christy Harst – Voice Over Actor and Public Speaker – Overcoming Barriers to Success: Strategies for Women in Leadership

Industry Spotlight | Overcoming Barriers to Success: Strategies for Women in Leadership

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Show notes

On this episode of The Full Desk Experience, host Kortney Harmon interviews Christy Harst, a successful voiceover actor and public speaker, discussing gender disparity in executive leadership, the challenges women face in out-of-balance work environments, and ways women can prioritize their health and find support. They touch on various wellness resources available for women while also exploring how certain conditions and stress points can lead to detrimental physical effects. They also highlight the importance of finding a good work-life balance and seeking outside counsel and professional development to sharpen skills and improve job prospects. Finally, they talk about the cultural impact of the pandemic and how companies need to appreciate and prioritize women’s needs and values to grow stronger cultures of leadership. This episode is part of the show’s Industry Spotlight series, which features change-makers and thought leaders in staffing and recruiting across various industries.


Christy Harst [00:00:00]:

I don’t have to work for a company that doesn’t jive with my moral code. And so that’s why you’re seeing this huge resignation of women in higher level positions, because they realize now, thanks to the pandemic, I mean, this all would have happened eventually, right? But the pandemic just sped it up. What you’re seeing now is that women are realizing that they have options and they have choices, and it’s not just about giving somebody an extra week of vacation. That’s not it. It’s about appreciating what they do, giving them clear pathways to leadership, and offering or just your company culture. You’re going to have to hire people who jive with your company culture and the set of morals that you have for your employees.

Kortney Harmon [00:00:37]:

Hi, I’m Kortney Harmon, Staffing and Recruiting Industry Principal at Crelate. This is the Full Desk Experiences Industry Spotlight series, where we are talking with the top leaders and influencers who are shaping the talent industry. In this series, we’ll be shining a light on popular trends, the latest news, and the stories that laid the groundwork for their success. Thank you so much for joining us today. Today we’re talking to Christy Harst. She’s a voiceover actor as well as a public speaker. Christy and I actually cross paths as of one of her recent explorations of research. She was really focusing on the discussion that many women are having. The issue in executive leadership, really the disparity between the lack of taking benefits at work, inequality for pay, just disparity that women encounter in leadership in general, and so much more, which also has ironically been a recent discussion in the women’s leadership movement of ASA. So the American Staffing Association as well. Christy isn’t just you talking about this, it’s everybody. So I love that. I’m so excited to have you. Thanks for coming on the show today. So let’s start out talking a little bit about you, your background and what inspired you to develop this talk and really focus on this passion that you seem to.

Christy Harst [00:02:03]:

Thank you, Kortney. I’m excited to be here on the number one podcast in the recruiting and staffing industry. Yes, thank you so much for having me.

Kortney Harmon [00:02:11]:

Love it.

Christy Harst [00:02:12]:

I am a voiceover actor. I’m a full time voiceover actor and I work out of my home based studio, Brick Studio, and I’ve been doing that for about 1718 years, but probably ten to eleven full time. I’m also a public speaker in terms of voiceover. You’ve heard my voice on the World Series, the NBA Finals and Monday Night Football. It’s one of the national voices for YouTube, TV, and in 2021 and 2022, I was the national voice of John Deere. And specific to your audience, I’d like to share that I am the official elearning voice of Mars, the Chocolate People, Delta, Faucet’s High in line of products, and Sherwin Williams. So if you work any of those companies and need to be trained, you’ve probably been trained by my voice and in public speaking, I have two signature speeches. One is where I walk through people my path to voiceover because it isn’t necessarily a straight path like many people. And I didn’t always want to be a voiceover actor and some goal setting methods that I use. And the other signature speech is what’s led me to you and meeting you because I’ve been doing a ton of research on women in corporate culture and the challenges that they have, because I recently, four or five years ago, went through some health challenges. And my path of healing has led me to realize that there are women in my position in corporate, at home, in all facets of life. And I really wanted to dig down deep and find stats, read studies and see what is going on post pandemic with women in the workplace and how can I be of benefit.

Kortney Harmon [00:03:41]:

I love that. That’s amazing. So let me clarify, based on something you just said, has majority of your research been post pandemic? I love that. I mean, it’s changed the world.

Christy Harst [00:03:51]:


Kortney Harmon [00:03:52]:

I don’t like to say the C word, whatever, but it’s definitely changed our world. It’s changed our staffing and recruiting industry, how we focus, but it’s changed leadership, it’s changed how we work 100%. So thank you so much. So let’s talk about a little bit about this research. I know I personally got to talk to you. You asked me a bunch of questions, but I know you were really focusing on a few separate areas. So let’s talk a little bit about that research, talk about what did you hear, what sparked your interest? And what made you focus on just a few of those pieces?

Christy Harst [00:04:23]:

So I was planning an event with a couple of other women. And we knew we wanted to help women that are at the corporate level, women that have reached the manager level, the CEO level, CMO level, that level, because those challenges are unique to those women. And oftentimes they’re the only woman. And if you’re a woman of color, you’re often the only woman of color or person of color at that level. And so those challenges are unique because I wanted to have this event and focus specifically on the challenges that they were having. I wanted to make sure I knew what was going on. So I had about 14 1516 conversations one on one with women in those positions. And I shared with them some stats that I had researched from studies and white papers. And what I found was that the white papers and the studies are pretty on point with what’s really going on in the workplace, which is this. I narrowed it down to the top three things, which is one, women are being pushed to the side. They are being put on pause and being completely ignored for promotions that go to the upper echelon. There are women who have worked 10 15, 18 years at a company, they are at the top level that they can get at. And when they say, hey, I want to get up there, they’re like, oh, no, just be a part of this little program that we have. It takes six months. Then you’ll be put on a list. And once you’re on that list, we can promote you. And then these women sit for an additional six months. After the six months, just twiddling their thumbs, waiting on the list, right? So the directions on how to advance, very unclear. The second thing I gathered most that was most common was that there are plenty of companies who are post pandemic offering wellness initiatives and wellness programs. Here’s the Peloton app for free. Here’s a yoga class in the conference room. Here’s access to this service or that service. Problem is, nobody has time to take it, because post pandemic, there’s not enough workers. Everyone’s short staffed. I spoke with a woman who is in a high level position at a local hospital, and she expressed to me that they have something called Code Lavender. It’s meant for nurses to use when they just need a break. Because nurses work long shifts. They deal with a lot of heavy stuff. So if a nurse says, hey, Code Lavender, they will actually have somebody come up and do aromatherapy for them or a little shoulder massage, you know, that kind of stuff. Nobody takes the code lavender. Nobody. Because if they do, there’s less people to service, the people on their unit, and it stresses everybody else out. It’s kind of like if you were in a corporate environment with cubicles and offices and you’re whispering, did you see what Barbara did this morning? She went to that yoga class in the conference room. I wish I had time to go to the yoga class. And so there’s this stigma of taking advantage of what would possibly help them. And then the third thing that I saw most common was the microaggressions, or is the microaggressions that are happening specifically after George Floyd, and also how difficult it is to have conversations not only revolving around the dei component, but dei also encapsulates talking to a male superior about getting a raise. How do I tell my coworker that some of the stuff that they say is offensive to me? Maybe it’s based on religion. Maybe it could be based on anything. These are tough conversations to have. And because post pandemic, we were all used to for two years dealing with people online, and because we were all going through the same human experience, boundaries were put down. Now people are going back in the office, and those boundaries, oh, how do you get them to go back up? Right? Because if Bob from Receivables was saying something that you didn’t like, you could just mute don’t have to hear them, right? Don’t have to deal with it. Oh, I have to go to the bathroom, but now you have to deal with that in the office. So those are the top three things that I saw. And so these are the top three things that I want to make sure that I address and research appropriately when I deliver speeches to these groups of women.

Kortney Harmon [00:08:34]:

I love that. That’s amazing. I really heard and I’ve seen some of the same things, personally experienced some of those same things as we talked about before. So I think it’s good. And I think it’s not only good for women to have a voice, but I also think it’s the idea of the men in the leadership roles to hear those challenges as well. It’s not like the don’t ask, don’t tell kind of concept. It’s like, how do we make this better for everyone? So, Christy, you talked to a lot of women. What are some of the common barriers? You said those three things, but did you hear any Reoccurring themes when it came to that advancement? Let’s go to that number one, the advancement into that executive leadership role. Yeah, you said the idea, well, let me go through this training, but talk to me about what you heard. Did you hear anyone successfully overcome those?

Christy Harst [00:09:22]:

No, I did not hear anyone that had successfully overcome those. Isn’t that a shame? The lack of leadership development for females is astounding it really is. There is no track or path for women to get to that C suite level. To get to the upper echelon of a company, they have to claw and fight their way, and they have to do it against what I’ve been told and what I’ve heard from my research, there is still a boys club. There is still a good old boys club that exists, and not in all companies. Right? But in most companies, there still is that club of some sort that is hard to break through.

Kortney Harmon [00:10:01]:

Yeah, I’ve seen it. I understand that. Did you hear any Reoccurring themes about continuing to have a conversation? Because I think sometimes I don’t know about you, I can probably speak to my own experience, but sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. Right? You don’t know what you don’t know. And it’s really the idea, like, do I have the conversation? Do I talk about it frequently? Do I understand? I’m a big proponent of learning and development. So you just spoke my language, I am sure. And I have seen women in leadership have to get outside regardless if they want that advancement. It’s like, okay, look what I did. Here’s my piece of paper. I went to this thing, I got this thing. I did it on my own. Because most companies, A, they suffer on training to begin with, let alone leadership training, let alone specifically women in leadership training. So they all suffer with those things. But I really think when it comes down to it, did you hear a lot of women asking for those things. Did you hear a lot of women? Would you encourage, based on your studies, like, would you encourage women to bring those conversations up frequently?

Christy Harst [00:11:01]:

So out of the 16 or so women I spoke with, there was one woman who said that she had repeatedly gone back to her superiors. How do I gain access to this part of the company? What do I need to do? And they just keep feeding her different stories. So there’s someone there’s an example of somebody who kept going back, going back, going back, and to no avail. That woman also told me that the reason her company has amazing, absolutely amazing resources when it comes to wellness, financial wellness, all of those things is because women were in those positions to then make all that stuff happen.

Kortney Harmon [00:11:38]:

I love that they brought that to that.

Christy Harst [00:11:40]:

Women have to be the ones in those positions who can then create that system. But if women aren’t allowed in those positions, those systems will never be created. I would say maybe very few had said they sought counsel outside of the workplace. Very few had sought counsel. And I cannot speak to whether it helped them because I guess they didn’t because they’re still in the same position.

Kortney Harmon [00:12:02]:

That’s fair. I was blessed enough to be on the Women in Leadership Council for American Staffing Association, so I’m on that this year, and I love that. It is such an amazing group of women. They are there as mentors. They are there as ask me anything. They are like, let the veil down. I am here for you in any way possible. I have never truly been a part of such a positive woman environment, and that’s wonderful, but I’m not going to lie. I just turned 40 this year, and I never knew this was a thing before to get to where I am today, I didn’t know those resources were out there. So I think there are certain organizations that are doing very well, especially in our industry, for staffing and recruiting. That is a wonderful resource to use. So for those listening, if you are interested, to be able to help those women in leadership, get them a part of that ASA event and women in leadership, because we are there to help. So I love that. All right, Christy, you talked about stresses. Code Lavender. My dogs only come to probably for a treat if I yell Code Lavender. So my coworkers aren’t amazing, but it sounds like I totally understand. Like, you get that wellness resource, but it’s like, oh, did you hear so and so? She did that today. Or she missed out today. Or there’s people like, my last organization, there was unlimited PTO. But unlimited PTO is almost that double edged sword. It’s like, yeah, I get unlimited PTO, but, oh, are people talking because I’m taking too much time? Or, hey, what do people think? That’s a stressful situation. So as you saw those stressful situations. As you talk to these women, tell me things that you seen and you heard from women. Like, are they doing anything? Like, I’m not a yoga fan, I don’t do yoga. But like you, I had a health condition over the past two years and I’ve really had to find my own way, my own things. And I’m going to tell you, that was probably a struggle in itself.

Christy Harst [00:13:59]:

I totally feel you on that, and I feel you on the yoga. Why do I need to sweat when I stretch? That’s just unnecessary. That doesn’t need to happen at all. So to answer your question more succinctly, Courtney, I would say I saw two things. One is that women are post pandemic. Women are seriously considering starting their own businesses.

Kortney Harmon [00:14:20]:

I’ve heard that a lot.

Christy Harst [00:14:21]:

So there are women who are working 1618 years at a company they can’t because there’s no direct path to the upper echelon of their company. They either are toying with the idea of just staying where they are, taking full benefit of all the stuff that they’ve earned, and just, hey, this is how the rest of my life is going to go. Or some of them are saying, I could probably jump ship and start my own consulting stuff. Like I could really have a lot more freedom. I don’t have to worry about Barbara taking my lunch every day. I don’t have to worry about Joe and accounting saying inappropriate things. I can have as much PTO time as I want because I can schedule it because I own my own business. That’s one section of people and then the other section of women who, as you said, you’ve had the luxury of being able to navigate your healing process for your health, and what have you. And so have I, because I work from home. But what I’ve noticed about the women who don’t have access to that time is that they’re simply not taking it. And what does that do over time? And I don’t know if people really understand mental health disorders or mental health, mental illness or just mental health in general, how when it’s not taken care of and you don’t address what’s going on, that leads to your health, your physical health deteriorating. And so often people will ignore that for decades and decades and decades. And I’m pointing to me decades, and then something bad, something tragic happens. And for me, I was hospitalized in ICU and treated for a stroke. So I couldn’t feel the right set of my body because I had never dealt appropriately with all of these things in my life that just build up and exploded, right? And it took me over a year to recover. And when I say recover, I mean just do normal daily things like take my kids to school and back. I couldn’t do that. Pick up my kids from school? Couldn’t do that. Take a shower. I had to take, like, a four hour nap afterwards. So it took me a year to get to the point where I was living a fairly normal life. And then I started working on figuring out what brought me to that ICU room. And so I believe that women don’t necessarily have to take their lunch hour to go to therapy. Therapy is a great tool, but if you don’t have access to that for time, there are other things you can do if you’re willing to and you’re ready to take control that don’t take that much time, that are within your control and in your power. That can create a small puzzle piece to the rest of the puzzle that you will eventually create that’s going to make you feel better and be better not only for your job, but for your family and for yourself.

Kortney Harmon [00:17:01]:

I love everything that you said. I’m going to ask you a question because I’m going to base your story off.

Christy Harst [00:17:05]:

Yes, please.

Kortney Harmon [00:17:06]:

Sorry. I wouldn’t think this surprises anybody that might listen to this. I’m a very type A person. I was a Division One athlete. I know you played sports. You function at a higher level of stuff. Like, I deal well with stuff coming in. And I think when it got to the point before the health decline, because I had the same situation, I didn’t know I was stressed. I think that was the crazy part. I function in such high levels of madness. Like, chaos is a thing. I function well in chaos, and I just think that it’s because I balance things well. I don’t show them. But you know what? It took the toll on my body whether I wanted to figure this out. My body’s. Like, if you don’t want to figure it out, I’m going to figure it out for you. So I really think it’s the idea of it’s not just, yeah, I feel stress, but I think there’s an expectation, too, that women function in high, like high anxiety or high stress situations. It’s just what they do because I’m not going to discount anyone else, but we’re moms, we’re housekeepers, we’re all of the other things, and I want to get into that next. But did you realize that you were even stressed before all of this stuff happened? Or is it just me? Am I just the problem?

Christy Harst [00:18:21]:

So I knew that I was worried about certain things, right? Like, I knew that there were certain things that were taxing, but to say that I was stressed, I don’t necessarily know that I would have labeled that because all my life I have felt the same way, right. This is just how I live. This is just how I operate. Right. So when I was in ICU, it’s kind of like the universe’s way of saying you’re not listening. And if you’re not going to listen, I’m going to put you down for like a year until you realize. So, no, I wouldn’t say that I was necessarily stressed, but I don’t know about you, but I look back now and I was, oh, yeah, maybe that thing I could have dealt with better.

Kortney Harmon [00:19:05]:

There were signs.

Christy Harst [00:19:06]:

Maybe that thing I could have dealt a little bit better with and then maybe that maybe wouldn’t have put me in ICU. There are things looking back now and now because I’m doing the work and have done some work, I know I just instinctly know I need to stop. It’s time for a break. It’s time for me to go do these other things, these exercises or these rituals, these routines that I know will bring me back to center.

Kortney Harmon [00:19:30]:

I love that. I’m glad I’m not alone. I was like, oh, you want me to deliver a training program in four months? That normally would take a year. I can do this. I’m up for the challenge. You want me to be a tidaly winks? I will figure it out before next week. I love it. Okay, so good. I’m glad I’m not the only one. And I’m sure that I’ve heard this. I’ve heard this a lot. I just did Thrive virtual with ASA, and it was the same kind of thing. It was, learn to ask for things, but learn to slow down. Learn to say no. Know when your limit, so you slow down. So that’s going to lead me to my next question. Women in particular, and this is maybe just an opinion, but I feel like they beared the brunt from the pandemic, picking up the slack at home while still trying to meet the demands of their job, taking the kids to doctors appointments, making sure everybody’s doing what they need to do. Third grade is a nightmare. That’s another story for my kid, like making sure they’re functioning right. But how do you see this affecting women in the workplace and their mental health? Do you think it’s taking a toll? Do you think it’s all things to all people? I know we talked about it a smidge, but what do you think? What did you hear?

Christy Harst [00:20:38]:

So the studies that I am reading about and the information I’m gathering from the studies that I’m reading is true to what’s happening post pandemic. So during the pandemic, everybody was going through the same thing. Everybody was feeling all the same feelings. It was almost like we’re all even, right? We’re all on zoom. We’re all doing this together. We’re all experiencing it. Post pandemic, with the staffing shortages and less people going back to work, there’s more of the housekeeping that needs to be done at a business or in your department or within your team. Those housekeeping tasks are assigned to women. Why? Because women can do it. Because women are multitaskers. Because women will always get the job done. We all know that when you want to get something done, you hire somebody that already has a full plate, because they’re going to get it done. And that’s what women do. So now women are taking on all of these even in leadership positions, they’re taking on these duties that could be assigned to maybe an intro level position, but they don’t have them because they can’t hire anybody, right? So it’s women that take those on. And what does that do in the culture of men being above them and the women taking on not only their roles, but then all of these ancillary roles that are typically given to an entry level position? It makes it feel like they don’t need to advance because they’ve already got so much on their plate. They’re doing all of this stuff. And I’ve also found that post pandemic, not only this one woman that I had a conversation with said this. She goes, men are so excited to get back to work. Men are the one that want to come back to the office because it’s a break. They need a break from being at home all day. And I laughed. Men wanted to come back because when they’re at work, there’s no distractions, right? They get to handle what they get to handle. They get to be in charge. They get to have lunch by themselves or with a friend when they’re at home. The dogs, the kids, the cats, all this stuff is going on. And so this one woman said, the men are glad to be back. They’re happy to be back. After the pandemic, the women are realizing what I said before, which is, I don’t have to be here. I can be at home. I can be managing things at home on my own schedule, and I don’t have to be in a culture or I don’t have to be in an organization that doesn’t meet with me morally and ethically. I don’t have to work for a company that doesn’t jive with my moral code. And so that’s why you’re seeing this huge resignation of women in higher level positions, because they realize now, thanks to the pandemic, I mean, this all would have happened eventually, right? But the pandemic just sped it up. What you’re seeing now is that women are realizing that they have options and they have choices, and it’s not just about giving somebody an extra week of vacation. That’s not it. It’s about appreciating what they do, giving them clear pathways to leadership and offering or just your company culture. You’re going to have to hire people who jive with your company culture and the set of morals that you have for your employees.

Kortney Harmon [00:23:34]:

I love this because there’s going to continue to be a shortage of workers. Granted, the pandemic has changed things. There’s a huge resignation of people in general. Boomers are retiring. I listened to a podcast the other day, and it was really the idea. They called them geriatric millennials, which I was like, struggling.

Christy Harst [00:23:53]:

I’m like, do I fit into that category?

Kortney Harmon [00:23:55]:

But they have their boomer, parents are retiring, they get certain money coming in, their workforce is going to change because they’re going to have money set aside and it’s like, well, they’re not going to have to work 40 hours a week anymore. And then it’s the idea again, we’re going to continue to have shortage after shortage. We’re going to have to upskill and reskill people. So you as an employer have to be an employer of choice. It’s not the days of selling well. They want to work for me because they know who I am anymore. But it’s like, what are you doing differently? What are you doing for people? What are you doing not only training for them, but what is their career path like? What’s in it for them? And you have to have that clearly laid out because otherwise people aren’t going to want to work for you. And if they do, it’s going to be limited and it’s going to be for a very short time.

Christy Harst [00:24:40]:

I’m looking at my notes because you brought up a really good point, that someone shared a fact with me and I was blown away. It was about Nike. Was it you that told me that?

Kortney Harmon [00:24:51]:

I don’t think it was. I want to make sure if it sounds really smart. Of course.

Christy Harst [00:24:58]:

If it was smart, it was me. I believe, if I’m not mistaken, nike gives the month of June or July off. You just take it off and you can do whatever you want with it, right? You can work from home, you can split your hours, you can do it. But the flexibility is what people are looking for after the pandemic. People are realizing what’s most important. And it’s not going to work every day in an office. It just isn’t. And it’s a huge shift in our culture in America.

Kortney Harmon [00:25:25]:

And you’re going to have to be creative because there are some creative companies out there right now, but understanding that. So I love that. If you find it, feel free to stop me and we’ll go, yes, I just found it.

Christy Harst [00:25:35]:

Okay, here it is. Nike has a mental health wellness program where one week in July so not the whole month, but one week in July. You can take it whenever you want in July and do whatever you want with it. And that is paid. You don’t have to worry, but you just tell them when you’re taking it and you take it. I think that’s huge.

Kortney Harmon [00:25:55]:

That is huge. I mean, heck, there’s people going to four day work weeks. There’s people that are going like the best 40, whatever it is. But people are starting to get creative in the idea of the functionality of work. So I love it and I think we’re only going to continue to see that.

Christy Harst [00:26:09]:

Of course. Yes, I agree. And I think it needs to, and especially for women, as you mentioned, we are in charge of the home.

Kortney Harmon [00:26:15]:

We are.

Christy Harst [00:26:15]:

In charge of kids, dogs, cats, all these appointments. The stuff that I was just telling you this before we got on, I had, like, three service people at the house that I had to deal with. Right. And I was recording. Right. So the more flexibility that we can provide women, the better off your company is going to be, your team’s going to be, and the mental health of the women who are doing that job is going to be because you cannot approach family life, your job, your marriage, relationships, empty, or half of yourself. You have to be whole. And if you’re not, unfortunately, you may end up like me and Courtney in the hospital. Yeah.

Kortney Harmon [00:26:51]:

So what has helped you on your path to healing? And if you don’t want to go down this route, that’s fine, too. But I love this idea because it’s like, sometimes, again, you don’t know what you don’t know. What can you tell people, at least to help them think about living healthier, happier lives and what maybe helped you the best?

Christy Harst [00:27:08]:

It’s so interesting you ask me that, because I watched a TikTok reel yesterday, and it was from 60 Minutes, and her first name is Leslie, I think. I don’t remember the last name of the reporter, but you’d know her if you saw her. She was interviewing people that were part of a 60 year study, and they’re in their 90s, almost 100, and they’re kicking it. They’re like, oh, yeah, they’re 100% all there. They may be a little slower. And what she did was she asked, what do you think led to you living this long? And they found out medical wise, yeah, there’s something to do with genes and DNA. Right. But this one guy was like, I drink beer every day, and the other day was like, I love desserts. And she asked all of them if they exercised on a regular basis. Oh, no, I don’t exercise. Maybe I’ll go for a walk. Maybe I’ll pick a flower, too. So I think there’s this misconception of what health good health is. What I’m discovering since four or five years ago when I was in ICU, health isn’t jogging for 2 hours every day and lifting weights and eating nothing but vegetables and fruits. Are those things important? Of course. But it’s really about balance, and that’s something I had never had before. I was very much all in all in all the time. Like, you Type A personality, I can do whatever I want. No challenge is too great for me. I’m going to address it head on. And what I’ve realized is that balance is actually when they say 50 is the new 40 or 30, like, balance is the new health, the new best of health. Right. And it’s taken a lot. It’s adjusted my personality. And it’s a shame that I realized this when I did. I literally couldn’t get out of bed at the time. My youngest was three and a half, and he crawled into bed and he said, mommy, when are you going to be happy again? And I just thought to myself, it’s got to change. And when you are at that point, when you are at that lowest point, you’re willing to try anything. So prior to my ICU visit, I would never have even thought of anything. Woo woo. Right? But when I was at the point that I was my child crawling onto bed and being like, what’s up? What’s going on? I was willing to try things outside of my comfort zone. So one of the things that I would say to people is go outside your comfort zone because you may find things that really, really help. And for me, it wasn’t yoga. I’m not sweating, stretching, but there’s something called qigong, and it’s like a moving form kind of thing. Like, if you were to see me do it, it would look like tai chi. And for six months, I held off no. And a friend of mine, a fellow voiceover actor who had gone through cancer and cancer treatments, she’s like, Christy, you got to do it. And it wasn’t until I did it that I found this huge relief. Huge relief. I gave up dairy. I don’t eat dairy anymore. And I’m very sad about that because I miss mac and cheese and pizza. I really missed it.

Kortney Harmon [00:30:07]:

I love me some cheese.

Christy Harst [00:30:08]:

Yes, well, I love me some cheese and ice cream. Shut up. And I also got in touch with my faith. You can believe in God. You cannot believe in God. You can believe in Buddha, not believe whatever it is, right? But for me, I was raised Catholic, and while I’m not a practicing Catholic now, that faith base was there. And so that helped me as well. There’s a lot of other little things that I do. There’s certain music that I will and will not listen to. I found that music really changes, and actually scientifically it does. It changes how your brain works and all that other good stuff. So I’m still on my path to healing, and I’m discovering new things all the time. What I would say was be open to things that might make you feel a little uncomfortable. I would also say take time and give yourself grace and space and that these things don’t have to take up hours of your day. It can literally be 15 in the minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night. And again, it doesn’t involve a lot of sweating.

Kortney Harmon [00:31:09]:

No sweating and stretching. I only have two more questions, and I think it’s really about future. So, like, future, how can we help people? So what advice would you give aspiring women leaders who are looking to break into executive roles, and what steps can they do to overcome those challenges and succeed?

Christy Harst [00:31:27]:

I think that women in executive roles that are looking to advance need to number one at all costs, stay true to themselves. Never try to be somebody that you’re not. Never try to fit in. Never be a square trying to fit into a round hole. If that is a situation and you’re constantly bumping up against something, go take your talents like LeBron. Go take your talents elsewhere. I’ve chosen to take my talents. You choose to take your talents elsewhere because there is somewhere where you will fit and you will be appreciated. Don’t waste time. Don’t spend 10, 15, 16 years at a job that doesn’t appreciate who you are and what you can do and value all the work that you’ve done. Move on. I would then say if you are in that environment and you are in a place where they appreciate you and they don’t give you a clear path, go find the path from someone else. Find a woman somewhere else in the United States who is in a similar position as you and then advanced. LinkedIn is a great tool for that. Ask them to have a conversation just like you and I are having now, a zoom conversation, and get advice. I can almost guarantee that no one’s going to turn you down for that. Use resources and tools around you which are typically other women who have done what you want to do. And then third, if you need to seek outside counsel and pay for it, there are plenty of development programs, there are plenty of people offering probably within your industry, ways to sharpen your skills and make you even more attractive to your boss across the table when you’re negotiating a raise or a promotion or a future employer.

Kortney Harmon [00:33:00]:

Yeah, you said something. And one of my mentors, so two in one, get a mentor. I have a couple that I talk to. I love me a good mentor just to tell me different perspectives or tell me what’s not that I’m not thinking about I think that’s great. But I was given advice one time from a mentor to say, no one will remember you working at 11:00 at night except the people that are closest to you, your family. They will remember the dinners you missed, the games you didn’t attend. Your work will not recognize you for that. And I’m not telling you to work hard. I’m not telling you to put everything in, but it has stuck with me.

Christy Harst [00:33:34]:


Kortney Harmon [00:33:34]:

From three years ago, whenever I was told that.

Christy Harst [00:33:37]:

Yeah, that’s a mic drop quote right there. And I feel like it’s in the similar vein of when you’re on your deathbed, no one’s going to talk about how you were at work on Saturday. That’s not what’s going to happen.

Kortney Harmon [00:33:47]:

No, I love that. Okay, my last question, I promise. Christy I think as we look as the future of work and we talk to that executive leadership and I’m not specifically just talking to men, I’m just specifically talking in general. How do we create a more equitable and supportive workplace for all people, regardless of gender, regardless of anything. I know the common joke in any addiction program is like the first step is I joke like to say like okay, the first step is to admit but what do you look at to say how do you pay attention to this? How do you as an organization be better regardless if you’re a man or a woman or just to be supportive and have equality for everybody?

Christy Harst [00:34:31]:

So I’m going to go to my notes because somebody alluded to the answer to that and I’m going to share what they said. The number one thing that I think that a corporation or company can do to provide equality across the board, no matter if you’re a man, woman, no matter what your race, religion, nationality, is flexibility. Where they work, when they work, their salary and the culture. You have to provide flexibility with all of those things or else you’re not going to have equality at work. Susie and Accounting can’t have Mondays and Fridays at home. If Ben and Graphic Design can’t have Monday and Fridays at home, it has to be across the board. And I think that’s really an easy start. That’s easy. That’s so easy to do. It’s not hard to provide those things on an equal basis for everybody.

Kortney Harmon [00:35:29]:

I love it. I think that’s great. I think that’s a very good first step in the idea of what this means. I would also encourage people to listen, listen what other people, other organizations are doing to be creative because there are so many smart people out there and I love talking to business owners and understanding like, oh, you’re doing that. That’s such a good idea to be able to say level set that across all organizations. You’re doing something special. I know you probably don’t want that out because it’s your secret sauce, but it’s culture. It’s something that where each and every organization is getting better at every day and it’s going to continue to evolve in the future of work in general.

Christy Harst [00:36:05]:

I do want to say this. We could talk for hours about this. This is a hot topic. The women I was talking to, they were like, I could stay on the phone for the next 2 hours because everyone is feeling these pain points. They’re all feeling it some way, shape or form. And your podcast is a great way to start getting these hushed conversations louder and in a safer space.

Kortney Harmon [00:36:28]:

I love it. Well, Christy, thank you so much for joining us today and giving us your insight, your research and all of your brain power from all of the white papers and all the time that you’ve put into this. I am so excited. I love this and I’m super passionate from the bottom of my heart. So we’ve obviously you shared your thoughts and your insights that challenges that women are facing in executive leadership roles. You also discussed common barriers the impact of women’s health, emphasizing the need for support from employers, how remote work has affected women both at home and in the workplace, and really provided advice for aspiring women leaders and discussed the importance of self care, building supportive network, and much more. So this not only gives staffing and recruiting firms insight for women leaders, but just the business world in general. So thank you so much, Christy, for joining us. And we hope this episode sparks discussions and drives positive change within your organization. So stay connected with us for more insightful content and follow the podcast. But thank you so much for joining us today. I’m Courtney Harmon with Crelate, and thank you for listening to this month’s industry spotlight. I’m Courtney Harmon with Crelate. Thanks for joining us for this episode of Industry Spotlight, a new series from the Full Desk Experience. New episodes will be dropping monthly. Be sure you’re subscribed to our podcast so you can catch the next Industry Spotlight episode and all episode modes of the Full Desk Experience here or wherever you listen.

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