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How Michelle Glogovac of The MSL Collective Tackles The Extreme Work Life Balance Of Being A Woman Business Leader During Covid-19

This time has forced people to no longer sit back and ignore things. Whether it’s the pandemic, politics or Black Lives Matter, everyone is now paying attention and are finally understanding that they need to speak up for what they believe in and to be the change, or we won’t see change. The silver lining is that when this crisis lifts, we’ll have a more engaged society. We are seeing and being active participants more and more and this is a change in the right direction.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Many of us now have new challenges that come with working from home, homeschooling, and sheltering in place.

As a part of my series about how busy women leaders are addressing these new needs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Michelle Glogovac.

Michelle Glogovac is the CEO & Founder of The MSL Collective, a full-service Public Relations and Podcast Production Agency and host of the My Simplified Life podcast. She is a mom of two (Irish twins!) who are 4 and 5 and works from home, along with her husband, Ted. Michelle has her B.A. and M.S. in Law and resides in the Bay Area.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

As a child, I envisioned becoming an attorney and even brought my dad’s briefcase to school instead of a backpack. While in school at UC Santa Barbara I needed a part-time job and since I was able to walk to the airport, landing a job at the general aviation terminal was perfect. This launched my 18 year career in corporate aviation. I moved and traveled around the country for my work and had a focus on sales and business development. I continued down this path for almost 2 decades because I felt a corporate career meant financial security.

After 10 years with a Fortune 100 company, I was laid off. By then I had a new baby and another on the way. I quickly landed another position with yet another Fortune 100 aviation company, but 2 years later was laid off due to an acquisition. This was when I knew it was time to relaunch my career in an area that I loved that gave me purpose and passion. I wanted to also not have to travel with an entourage that included 2 babies and a nanny. In September 2018, I listened to my first podcast and knew that podcasting would change my life because it was changing the lives of others. In December 2018, I pitched my first client to be interviewed on podcasts and ultimately started producing podcasts. I have now worked with top-rated podcasts, had clients featured in Thrive Global, Authority Magazine, CNN, VoyageLA, KQED and more. I launched my own podcast, My Simplified Life in September 2019 which features solo and interview episodes of people who have had their own career switches and offers tips and tools on how you can make a career switch and what you need to launch your business.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started at your company?

The most interesting story since I started my company would be the connections I’ve gotten to make. In my previous career I met a number of celebrities, CEOs and other well-known people because they flew private jets. I learned early on that those individuals are humans like the rest of us and you should never be intimidated or afraid of someone, no matter how famous they are or what kind of influencer they are. I’ve reached out to people who were complete strangers to me but had a message I wanted to share with the world and be on my podcast. Every single person has said yes, when I have asked them to share their story. There’s a beauty in helping people on their journeys and to hear from others who have been exactly where they are and to know they aren’t alone.

I have focused my content on mothers because I am one and I understand the struggle of juggling being a mom with wanting to have a career. I understand waking up in your 30s and realizing that the career you’ve had for over a decade isn’t what is filling your soul or bringing you joy. My goal is for other women, especially moms to know that they can make a career switch, that it is possible to have a job that gives you a feeling of purpose and that it can all be done while being a great mom to your children.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I am launching a podcast course with Allie Casazza (host of The Purpose Show) on August 20th. The Podcasting Confidence course is the only podcasting course which is giving you everything from A-Z on how to not only create and launch a podcast, but how to grow it, build a community around it and sustain it. Allie and I have spent hours together taking notes on every single thing we do, know how to do and would have wanted to know when we launched our podcasts and we are sharing it with everyone.

The beautiful thing about podcasts is that they are the biggest free resource and educational platform there is. You can literally find an episode on any topic you want. You can hear about the journeys and stories of others who are at the same spot in life as you are and how they have grown, overcome odds, and found their passion in life. I feel very strongly that we all have a story to share that someone else in the world needs to hear and if you have the ability to change one life by sharing your story, then it’s your duty to get it out into the world. Podcasting allows people the ability to do this, which is why I am so excited to launch this course.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I have been very blessed to have a number of people in my life who have helped me get to where I am. Two stand out the most for me and the first is my husband, Ted. We have been together for 13 years and during that time, we’ve experienced a total of 3 layoffs, working for corporations and startups, consulting and now me launching my own business. Through all of it, Ted has encouraged me and supported me to do what makes me happy. He is also in corporate aviation, so for me to steer in a completely different direction and career path was a challenge for both of us. I was learning a new industry, new skills, creating new relationships and anyone who has started their own business understands the work, dedication and sweat that takes. On top of that, we have two young kids, so I am up at 5am and some days working until 10pm. Ted has been supportive in all of this and I know I couldn’t have scaled so quickly and grown my business the way I have if it weren’t for him.

I think it’s important to surround yourself with like-minded people and for me, that person is Keren de Zwart, Founder of Not Your Father’s Lawyer. I met Keren online over 2 years ago and during that time, we both launched our companies and have been a constant support system and source of motivation for each other. Being an entrepreneur can be a very lonely experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Keren and I have now met in person as well, so our friendship isn’t just a virtual thing anymore. We have gotten the opportunity to not only work alongside each other but to work for each other as well. Keren has done some legal work for me and I have done some podcast PR for her. We are able to share our trials and tribulations and cheer each other on. We also hold each other accountable when we have projects and deadlines looming which is great because we both understand what it is to be moms, wives, and business owners.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Can you articulate to our readers what are the biggest family related challenges you are facing as a woman business leader during this pandemic?

Our “normal” life prior to the pandemic included my husband and I working from home and our two children. We haven’t had a nanny in over 2 years and during the day, I also undertake the bulk of the responsibility for caring for our kids. The biggest challenges for us have been that we don’t have playdates to head out to. I was regularly taking the kids to the park, out to playdates, to the library, to the store, etc. We are taking every precaution we can during this time, therefore the kids stay home and haven’t been anywhere. It’s difficult to come up with daily activities to keep them entertained as well as to have them not see their friends. You don’t want them to have too much screen time, but at the same time, they have to do school on a screen and want to enjoy some of their favorite shows as well. Meanwhile, we are still trying to work and get our jobs done. Luckily, they had an understanding of Zoom meetings and conference calls prior to the pandemic, so that wasn’t such a big adjustment for them.

Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

I’ve been working hard on giving myself, my husband and our kids grace. I’ve created a schedule for myself in which I don’t take calls on Mondays or Fridays or after 2pm the other days and I do not work on the weekends. We talk openly with our kids about what is going on in the world and especially with the pandemic. It’s hard for them to realize what’s going on if they don’t understand it, which is why we have kept them informed on what the virus is and the importance of how and why we are protecting them and ourselves. We’ve started to do some social distancing playdates with neighbors in which the kids ride their bikes at the end of our court. They also pass notes to the neighbors behind us through the fence on a daily basis. Giving them outdoor time has been important for us as well. We go on bike rides, walks, and swimming regularly and try to take them on car rides if at least one of us can stay in the car with them and not all go into a store. When we are working, the kids have free reign of the backyard and also have Kindles which have some amazing educational resources on them.

Can you share the biggest work related challenges you are facing as a woman in business during this pandemic?

When the pandemic first hit, I feared that my business might not survive the pandemic because podcast downloads dropped in March across the board and PR was an area that some people might pause due to timing. I did find that some podcasters struggled with figuring out how to record with children now in the house and their immediate reaction was to pause their shows. In regards to PR clients, the challenge has been in ensuring our messaging was relevant to everything that is currently happening in the world.

As a business leader and owner, it’s always at the forefront of your mind as to how you can not only grow your business but scale it as well. Adding a pandemic to the everyday challenges means that you have to also look at your pricing structure, your offers, your ideal clients and whether you need to make any pivots in these areas as well.

Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

When it comes to anything client related, I have worked directly with my clients to help them through this time. Podcasters can record from their closets (I do this!) and not only is the sound ideal but it’s a great escape as a mom (that’s my secret!). It’s ok to put a movie on for the kids and spend 30 min recording an episode because you’re also helping change lives and grow your business with that recording time and that should definitely be a priority.

I worked with all of my PR clients to ensure that our topics were relevant to the pandemic, Black Lives Matter and everything else we are experiencing in life right now. For me it was of the utmost importance to reach out to my clients directly and check in with them, to offer up solutions they might now have considered and to see how I could help them during this time.

Can you share your advice about how to best work from home, while balancing the needs of homeschooling or the needs of a family?

Learn to practice flexibility and know that tomorrow might be completely different from today. Designate an area for yourself to work and a space for homeschooling. I work best at my desk and my family knows that if I’m at my desk then I’m working. If you start to use multiple workspaces, then it can be confusing as to when you are actually working versus when you are not. This will also be true for your child who is in school. Setup a workspace if you can, even if it’s at the dining table so they can work from a place other than the couch or bed. It’s important to separate workspace from relaxation space.

Take time out for yourself. I designate every morning with time for journaling and setting my intentions for the day. I also take a minimum of 15 minutes to work out and I block off every afternoon to spend time outside with my children. We have always been a family who shares dinner together, so if you haven’t done this, try to incorporate sitting down for dinner since we aren’t all running in different directions. We turn off the TV and chat about our days, what the kids are learning and also do a round of knock-knock jokes most nights!

It’s important to remember that this is hard on your children in the sense that they don’t have work to keep them busy or to change up their day and they don’t have the connection of friends and playdates. Your kids might appear to regress or become short tempered, so be sure to check in with them and talk to them. Communication is key in being able to effectively work from home and do your best to meet the needs of your family and to understand their feelings. Communicate how you are feeling as well, so everyone can understand each other.

Can you share your strategies about how to stay sane and serene while sheltering in place, or simply staying inside, for long periods with your family?

One of my secrets to staying sane is to take some extra time when recording my podcasts. I record my show from my walk-in closet and my family knows that I cannot be interrupted while I’m locked in the closet…so some episodes might take an extra 10 minutes because I need that quiet time. I’ve also started journaling every morning using The Five-Minute Journal. It’s allowed me to be more intentional with how I want my day to go and to reflect every evening on what I wished had gone differently. Setting out my daily intentions have also made my priorities front of mind.

With the cooler spring weather, we were inside a lot but have always ensured we get out for a walk or bike ride every day. Now that we have warmer weather, we do a lot of swimming. In order to maintain sanity as a family, we also do family reading time or movies with popcorn. My husband and I also try to ensure we each get some time to ourselves without the kids and lucky for us, we put them to bed at 7pm, so we have our evenings to ourselves. As a couple, we have been watching more old movies on TCM, but also have happy hour in our sunroom, which is our version of date night at home.

Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

My first piece of advice would be to turn to the news off and not watch it every single day. We are evening news watchers, but it got to a point with the news and every commercial talking about the pandemic that we had to turn it off. We’ll tune into the evening news now a couple of times a week to catch up, but that’s more than enough these days.

My 5 reasons to remain hopeful during this Corona Crisis would be….

  1. Remote Working — This time is reshaping how we all look at working in an office and is creating more flexibility around where and when you work and working at home with your children. I know there will be some who want to run back into an office, but for so many who have wanted the opportunity to work from home, embrace this time. If you are enjoying it, then maybe this will be your new work routine.
  2. Quality Family Time — We are spending an unprecedented amount of time with our families and this is truly something special and unique. We were lucky enough to have this kind of time pre-pandemic, but I know many families who worked early and late hours and missed out on having dinner together or taking a lunch hour with their partner or children. You can do this now and it’s something that might not happen again, so embrace it. Look at this time as a gift and use it wisely.
  3. Meeting Your Neighbors — We are a walking family and that’s nothing new, but what is new is the amount of neighbors we are seeing who are also out as a family or getting fresh air. We’ve taken this opportunity to introduce ourselves (from a safe distance), but it’s been incredible to finally know the names of so many new neighbors. I’ve loved seeing (and partaking) in social distant happy hours and seeing the unique ways people are coming up with in order to safely see friends and family.
  4. Self-Discovery & New Opportunities — This time at home is the perfect opportunity to look at what you are doing and if it’s what you want to do and are really passionate about doing. Take 15 or 20 minutes every day to think about and research what you might want to do in your career and life. Create a list of what it would take to make these goals happen and slowly start to implement them. Use this time to go after what you want. One thing I think everyone should think about is starting a podcast during this time. More and more are doing it and I know it’s life changing for the host and listeners, so why not start now?!
  5. Engaged Society — This time has forced people to no longer sit back and ignore things. Whether it’s the pandemic, politics or Black Lives Matter, everyone is now paying attention and are finally understanding that they need to speak up for what they believe in and to be the change, or we won’t see change. The silver lining is that when this crisis lifts, we’ll have a more engaged society. We are seeing and being active participants more and more and this is a change in the right direction.

From your experience, what are a few ideas that one can use to effectively offer support to their family and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

We have to let people know first and foremost that what they are feeling is ok and absolutely normal. We are all going to have different reactions, emotions and feelings to what is going on and they are all ok. Let love ones, family and friends know that you are there for them, whether it’s to talk, listen, go for a walk, sit in silence or have a glass of wine. Be open to hearing how they are feeling and why. Check in with your family and friends with a text or email or FaceTime chat to connect and be proactive about it. Create crafts with your kids to send to others in the mail or write a short note to someone in the mail. Small acts go a long way, whether it’s during a pandemic or not. My sister sent my kids some craft projects, so we’ve gotten to spend time together making them and then have gifted some of the crafts to our neighbors. I’ve also done this with the vegetables we’ve gotten from our garden and made zucchini bread for neighbors. Remind others that they are not alone in this. We are all at home and experiencing and feeling different kinds of emotions that are new to us.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My favorite life lesson quote is by Marie Forleo in which she says, “Everything is figureoutable.” We will figure this out and pivot to make it work along the way…in jobs, as a family, with friends, and with ourselves.

How can our readers follow you online?

My Website

www.themslcollective.com

My Instagram

www.instagram.com/michelleglogovac

My Simplified Life Podcast

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/my-simplified-life/id1479782634

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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