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Season Two Bravo-style Takeover Show with CK!

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Season 2 of “Just Stories with BT” features all Female Executive guests in the mattress/furniture space or other underrepresented industries!

These episodes focus on getting to know the amazing woman behind these roles and giving a platform to talk about getting our male dominated industries more balanced out!

Season two of the Just Stories with BT podcast featured 14 different female executives who have become incredibly successful in industries where upper tier leadership is very unbalanced. When I set out to record these episodes I thought about doing 4-5 shows, I could have never imagined that it would grow into a 14 week event featuring some of the most inspiring people I have ever met.

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This week CK and I break down what Season 14 meant to us, the takeaways, and I discover one of CK’s hidden talents as she gives everyone a 60 second Season 2 recap for the ages you will not want to miss!

Be sure to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and never miss an episode.

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Full Transcription:

CK Ong:  

Hey, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of just stories with BT. Oh, wait a minute, hold on just a tick. This is a different voice. Yes, not Brett. This is not bt, what’s going on?

Brett Thornton:  

TK is back to take over the show to do our Bravo-style season wrap show of season number two, which was incredible. So I’m so excited that you’re back, CK. Welcome.

CK Ong:  

Thank you. I’m excited to be back. And it was such a phenomenal season. I know. I actually have a question for you before we move on. And I can talk about the season for hours and days even. So, before we dive in, Can you remind us what season two was all about? And what inspired you to do this? Yeah, great

Brett Thornton:  

question. And, you know, it’s interesting, this is probably an explanation that people may not expect. But actually, the inspiration for this station came from my ex wife, who’s Oh, my best friends. And you know, obviously, we co parent two kids together, and we’re very close. And she actually brought it up. I was I was, I don’t know, almost done with season one. I think I had recorded six or seven episodes, and I was trying to think about what I should do for season two. And she just kind of off the cuff was like, Well, you did only have like one female on out of all the CEOs. And I was like, Yeah, that’s right. And she’s like, and isn’t your industry, like very underrepresented? Like, yeah. And then she’s like, is in your whole team, basically, females like, yeah, this is actually good. I’m like, wait a minute, like, there’s something here that kind of sparked the idea in my head, and I started thinking about, and then we had a bunch of conversations about, you know, you know, for you like trying to, like mentor you in this industry and get, you know, allow you to meet new people, and, hey, who do you look up to? And who can you listen to? And the reality is that, you know, there’s so many industries out there that are really underrepresented, whether it’s male, female, whether it’s your ethnicity, whether it’s whatever you know. And the reality is that a lot of times these leadership roles, they don’t align with the customer base. So let’s use the mattress industry is a perfect example of where one where you’ve got all of these old white dudes running this industry. And yet the cut the consumer base is obviously basically 5050. But typically, in most relationships, the female or person identify as female makes, like 80 90% of the buying decisions, right? And so you’ve got this cut, the main person making the buying decision is nowhere to be found in leadership of all these companies, which, which, if you think about it, like makes zero sense, right? And so the idea was, hey, maybe I can get some really powerful and awesome female executives in these underrepresented industries to just come on and enlighten myself and anyone else on like, hey, how’d you get an industry? How did you make it pass all of these hurdles? What were the hurdles? And then tell us, you know, like, what were your lessons? And how do we get more people like you into leadership, because we desperately need it in all these industries. That was the idea. And I knew a couple, you know, amazing women that I’ve met. And I was like, Okay, I think I have a couple lined up. So I thought maybe I do four or five episodes, honestly, like, I didn’t really plan it out too much longer than that. And obviously, we ended up doing what, 14 or 15 episodes, and it was really cool, because it was like, one would get recorded. And then, you know, I would meet someone or someone would connect on social media, or someone who was on the show was like, Oh, you got to go talk, you got to talk to so and so. And well, do you know So? So? Yeah, it was so much easier than I think the first time when I was just like, cold dming people, but the idea of being you know, I what I thought was, hey, let’s just have a cool platform in this great discussion, it honestly turned out to be a what I consider to be like a life changing event. Because Yeah, there are so many inspirational parts of these episodes. I can’t I mean, we could go through every single episode and just list out these different things. But if you bucket it, you really truly listened to this as a package. If you went through listen as as a an executive in one of these industries, there are so many things you can take action on literally tomorrow, that can get you in a better position in three, four or five years down the road to be to be at least more aligned, how you should be, you know, and I think that there were so many takeaways, and obviously, I want to know from you because you’re the one to listen. So that’s, that’s, that’s the most important part. But you know, really, for me, I think I expected, you know, that they’d be great conversations, and I would learn a lot. I didn’t expect how touched I would be by the stories. I didn’t know how emotionally charged the conversations would be. And I didn’t know how transparent people would be these are a stranger for the most part. And so that was the thing that stood out to me was like how transparent people got and how emotional they go with their stories and how willing they were To share their hurdles and struggles, even like this last episode with Tracy Jackson, who I worked with for years, I didn’t know she was going to talk about how much of a struggle it was at times, you know, because we were all friends and I was there for a lot of that. And so, those kind of moments, you know, really stuck with me and I think will stick with me forever.

CK Ong:  

Yeah, and dare I say that with you saying like, hey, it was like, Hey, you got to talk to so and so I know someone that you got to talk to someone so don’t dare I say it organically just kind of came together for you. And it became a season that like, I couldn’t get enough of I remember when you hit me up and you’re like, the season’s over. I’m like, Wait, what? You’re like there were 14 episodes. I was like there were

Brett Thornton:  

I know. So that was great. All right, so before we get into your three big takeaways from the podcast, I want to give people who never listened to an episode or maybe caught one or two, like just a teaser of each episode Sound good? Okay, okay, so for the people listening or watching you won’t know this about ck but I discovered something tonight about ck if you give her like a person like a name or like an event she can put like a one or two word like explanation to it like this like is this pretty amazing skill you have ck right? So we’re gonna put it to the test we’re going to put you on the spot. I’m going to go through all 14 episodes like lightning quick. And as soon as I say the name you just got to blurt out as a short description of the episodes something that likes gonna grab everyone’s attention. Sound good? Okay, yes, let’s go yes. Okay, so this is Season Two recap with ck the 32nd bullet edition. Here we go. Are you ready? Go Go. Laurie torque as President restonic redemption Julie Rigby global VP at temper breaking global barriers at law founder Sweet dreams Sweet dreams. But Kayla Ghazi, founder of other people you meet traveling with intention. Christina Dyer, CEO noble ventures bonding through adventure. Yes, Susan Walvius co co co cheeks. Nothing button minute. Ah yes. ck you. Identity Crisis. Lisa tan cmo reverie all about the bass ba all about those. Sandra Campos CEO project vert amazing. Ah designing inspiration. Yes. Okay. Holla Holly and Shana from beg your execs. championship team. Yes. tema al haasch. founder. Yeah, success from downunder success from down under Australia. Yes. Rena, merchant. Okay, you just got to Google her. Just got to Google her. Yes. She’s very inspirational. Just Google her. Trust us. Alex valus influencer, you get that one arachidyl influencer? Yes. Tracy. Only only, only, only only only? Yes. So and I didn’t mention so Rena, merchant, obviously Google exact. Alex vallez. New SVP for diaper. Tracy Jackson, CEO of HR easy. And then here we are at the Bravo episode, which so far as flirting on disaster, right?

CK Ong:  

Oh, yeah. Every time we get on air together.

Brett Thornton:  

Awesome. All right. So now we’re officially ready to get your feedback? What were your big takeaways?

CK Ong:  

You know, I think, like, try to do this like as, again, I can talk about all these episodes for hours. There was so much but one of the first takeaways I got and just hearing all these stories is it’s that confidence. And it’s not. It’s I don’t know how to say it. It’s it’s not arrogance, right. It’s not this like false belief that you know, you, you can do anything and everything. But it’s this confidence. And you can hear it in the way that every guest on every episode is speaking they have this confidence in who they are, and what they’re capable of what their potentials are, despite any of the challenges. And it’s kind of just as simple as that when you are on the phone with someone if they’re smiling. If you’re watching right now, that’s different story. But if you’re listening, you might hear a difference in my tone right now, just because I just started smiling. And if that can be carried on through just sound and voice like imagine what body language can do and a few different people in these episodes have mentioned that right? And so something about that confidence of knowing, despite what maybe inequalities are out there right now that we’re trying to balance out or any other struggles to each person individually having that confidence. You’re So first goes a long way. That’s like the first step. And that’s how you present yourself. So that was that was one key takeaway is never forget to have confidence in yourself first. Yeah. Yeah. And then the second one, the second takeaway is resilience. That’s resilience. You know, there’s something to be said about the stories of these these failure stories, if you will, failure, I’m going to put air quotes around the word because it’s not really failure if you’re learning from it, and you turn it into an opportunity, right? And what it is, is I’m seeing and hearing all these different stories about resilience from like, you can’t travel if COVID has blocked everyone and everything down. So what do you do in that situation? That’s an example from you know, episode with Michaela. So like, just examples like that of resilience, like roadblocks challenges, they happen to everybody, they happen to you, bro, they happen to me, they happen, you know, in different times in your life that might not even have to do with work, it might not even be a work challenge, it might be something happening, you know, in life, like talk about having to become the single parent and working at the same time trying to balance that and finding yourself into a situation like resilience is a word that I hold pretty dear to myself, because you have to believe that in order to get through whatever humps those are, you’ve got to be resilient. So confidence and resilience. And then the third takeaway, and this is a little bit different of a perspective I’m taking from all these episodes is that we’re moving in the right direction. That’s my main main takeaway from all of this is hearing from these, dare I say successful and sound seemingly happy, I don’t know, if you are Hope you are, if you’re listening, and you’re on these episodes, but you seem to be happy and successful, and you’ve accomplished the things that you wanted to maybe not even the way that you envisioned it. But at the end of the day, you know, we’re moving in the right direction, which is why we’re able to have these conversations, we’re able to have a topic like this on season two, you know, I’m having this conversation with you right now, you know, and just saying thank you being appreciative of everyone’s efforts cohesively in getting us to where we are now, we still have a lot of work to do, to balance out diversity, inclusion, and just building the future really, right, and giving everyone the right tools. So I want to say thank you, for the season, but also to all the speakers and the guests. On this season. Like, what you’ve really shown me is that we’re moving in the right direction, and there are people we can lean on that we’re not alone, no matter who you are, where you are. And that was my second key or sorry, third key takeaway from this season is we’re moving in the right direction, we’re having all the right conversations, and that is valuable. I mean, I don’t you don’t get that out of every podcast, you know.

Brett Thornton:  

So yeah, no, I love it. You know, I think that I’m, you know, that really makes me feel great, you know, that that’s what you’re getting from it, you know, as a listener. Um, and because I got the same thing as just sitting across talking to these people, you know, but I think that I agree with you in that. Every time I would ask at the end, right? for advice, I’d always say, Hey, if you’re going to give someone advice, you know, maybe you’re going to give a young lady advice on like, hey, I want to go into an industry that’s maybe underrepresented, or I want to give my younger self advice, right. So much of the advice was really like, know, your worth, know that you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re good, just as you are, and you’ve got the skill and you have the talent, and you know, you’re gonna make it here. And you’re here, you don’t have to worry about fitting in, you know, I mean, that, that really resonated with me, I remember, you know, I can look down the list and I can talk about these episodes. But Reena version story, when she talked about a couple things. But she talked about all I wanted to go into engineering and tech and eventually coding, and she talked about her first engineering class was 300 people, and there was eight females, you know, and like, so I’m sitting there, and then she, you know, ends up working her way up, and this amazing career at all these unbelievable companies, eventually, Google now is his executive. But she said, Hey, as early on, in my career, I had to be somebody else, because I thought I needed to be that person to fit in. And now I’m like, this person who is me, I am me. And I realized that the things that made me, you know, talented, and really good at what I do, is, is who I was destined to be, and I should have been from the start, you know, and I know, like, I look back at my career, and I can remember early on, you know, trying to be someone I wasn’t, you know, I’m a so called surfer. You know, that’s kind of my aim is that and that’s the truth. So, you know, I shouldn’t shy away from what makes me me, right. And thankfully, I had different mentors and, and people along the way that had told me like, Do be you, you know, be what makes you special, you know, and I think that I that kept coming up so many times, you know, and so if you’re younger, and you’re just getting into college, or you’re in work, or I don’t care if you’re older, doesn’t really matter age, but like wherever you are in your job, I mean, take the lessons They’re telling everyone which is you’ve got to be, you know, that transparent authentic self is what seems to be propelling so many of these people to eventually finally finding their success.

CK Ong:  

Oh 100%. And that ties into once you’re able to kind of encompass that from your your day to day life and just are yourself genuinely every day in every moment, what you can then do is have people see you, and connect with you and truly understand you because if you’ve got that mask or a wall or facade, you know, there, it’s really hard to be recognized for your true potential. Just, it’s it’s a conundrum right? Like, if you have it that way. And Tracey’s episode at the end, where she’s talking about just learning people’s names and connecting with people like that really just ended that season really well, for me in terms of like I said, we’re moving in the right direction and having these conversations, but prior to this, it was hard to even fathom where to start having those conversations. Am I supposed to have them with my boss, with my partner with my family? Like, that’s weird, you know, this is just something we’re kind of all going through, like, who did where do you start? And now we have all these resources, all these amazing people you can reach out to? And so yeah, that’s definitely one of my key takeaways. We have a community that is just growing. Yeah, really just growing?

Brett Thornton:  

No, absolutely. And I would say, you know, can you comment on that for people listening, which is, you know, you’re you’re the perfect example of someone who’s connected with basically everyone who came on the show, right? Like, yeah, now about these guests. I mean, I just, I loved it. Because even during the episodes, people, I would always ask them, like, hey, how can people connect? And it was like, well just reach out to me. And so I know, you just reach out to people and they’re, they’ve been amazing.

CK Ong:  

Yeah, I’m super responsive and awesome. And even if we don’t have the right conversation in place right now, I know that that resources there right. Like for Christina dyers episode now I know noble adventures is, is available. So I never even thought that something like that existed. Right? So like, Yeah, absolutely, in terms of just opening different doors and having conversations with people who have made it to a certain place. And I didn’t even think that it existed. Like, I’ve learned so much from just listening to these episodes, but also, I know that the resource is there if I want to connect it. So yeah, that’s awesome. It’s priceless. It’s really priceless. 100%,

Brett Thornton:  

100% you know, and tell me, you know, I know, it’s like, putting you on the spot. It’s difficult. But since we have the list, we see all 14 of these people. You know, what were some of your favorites. If you look down the list some of your favorites. I was so scared. Yeah, I know. I know and put you on the spot. And also or you could just pick out some of the stories that maybe really resonated with you, you know, since it is a podcast about people’s stories.

CK Ong:  

Oh, that’s really hard. I can just find a cop out and choose my own episode and just call it bad, right? Because I don’t want to choose that. From from the first episode with with Laurie speaking, it immediately became one of my favorites. Just because again, she’s we talked about this and she’s one of the trailblazers, you know, for women in the industry and that Redemption of being told like no, you can’t do this like and then coming back and you know, becoming president like that’s awesome. So I love that story of redemption. So that stuck with me maybe because it was the first episode maybe not you know, either way. I’m just going to do one of them beginning one kind of in the middle and one in the end just to be fair, I can’t choose you can’t put me on the spot like that. So I’m in the middle of that. Yeah, actually Sandra campuses episode really hit me too. I I’m first generation you know, here and hearing back going back to school, you know, and stuff like that. And just just, it there’s something to that, that that hit me a little bit different with being in tech as well. Right. And being in an industry that like not a lot of females are in we’re just going outside of mattress industry now. I’m just talking about it could be anywhere. So I’ve been there. I’ve been in the music industry and it’s very male dominated, right, so I get it. Um, so that was really inspiring for me to hear and then at the end like Alex and Tracy’s episode I did I don’t know. All Honestly, I can’t even talk about it. Like all the episodes were amazing. But Alex’s episode. Really, I’m not a single parent. I don’t I don’t have any kids right now. I’m not yet anyway. But I can only imagine what it’s like right now. I’m like, thinking about balancing like your your home life, your social life, your and all that stuff with at the same time just doing something you’re passionate about, you know, and she just did it organically and all of a sudden is an influencer because people saw the genuine just passion that she had for what she was doing. You know, and the less effort you put into, like doing it for the cloud, if you will, quote unquote. It just happens. And Tracy’s I have to just say that Tracy’s episode. We’ll always kind of just stick with me because I’ve heard Tracy’s mean, in so many different audio books, I’ve listened to so many other podcast episodes I’ve listened to related to, like, you know, bringing up sleep, train stories and everything. And just hearing how her upbringing really influenced how she went about connecting with people. And my parents are the same, like my parents are still around. And they are some of the most welcoming, hospitable people ever, you know, they don’t judge, they’re so non judgmental. They judge me just fine. But that’s a story for another day, but picking up the qualities from them that made me who I am today. That really stuck out with me too. So, man, I’m sweating, because I feel so put on the spot. And I’m like, I want to talk about all of them. And I’m not just saying that they were all amazing. So I just thought I was just trying to be fair, and go, you know, a little bit here and there.

Brett Thornton:  

Yeah, it was a safe sort of cop out. But you gave us some good stuff. So and I couldn’t agree with you more. So what would you say? You know, for someone who didn’t hear any of the episodes this season, you know, what, what’s your sense? We work together. And obviously, you were in this season? What’s the sales pitch? Like? Why should someone invest? You know, 45 minutes to listen to these some of these episodes?

CK Ong:  

Oh, gosh, I kind of said it earlier when I was giving my initial like feedback. But you know, there’s something to be said about hearing from people that you normally don’t, you know, a lot of these other podcasts and stuff, they’ll feature the same demographic. And now you get someone like Tracy, who’s an only only only, but hearing it from different perspectives, like that’s my sales pitches you I’ve learned things by listening to these episodes that I never would have heard anywhere else, I don’t think that, you know, applies to what I’m trying to do right now. If you are young and upcoming and think you’re upcoming, or think you want to be upcoming, like, this is something you should listen to, because these are stories that you wouldn’t hear elsewhere. These are stories genuinely vulnerable stories about people’s failures and successes. And when I say people, I mean, people who identify as female in this industry, which is kind of hard. It’s it’s difficult. It’s difficult to even find these people. And so kudos to you, Brett for finding 14 to talk to you in just one season. But we’re growing. And that’s great. But hearing this because the I think it was mentioned in one of the episodes where it’s companies who have this diversity, inclusion and understand it from that different perspective, who are finding success, success, you know, we’re headed that way. So you kind of have to understand that. But yeah, they’re super awesome, funny stories. There are a few funny stories in there. Super relatable stories as well, you know, even though you didn’t have the exact same experience, they’re super relatable. Yeah, I don’t have the experience of leaving my phone in an Uber or taxi cab, but not yet. There’s,

Brett Thornton:  

there’s so many good ones. Uh, that was amazing. That’s a way better pitch than I could have given, you know, myself. So I appreciate it. And I thank you so much, you know, for your support. And, you know, the reality is, and I said this, I think a bunch on the podcast, but if it wasn’t for ck, and you know, the team that I have avocado, have these amazing, you know, female leaders, you know, I want to do I just want to done the season, you know, I have that inspiration. And then I really believe that I’m hoping everyone on the team is now in a better position because they’re able to see people that they can look up to, right, because newsflash, like, I’m not that person. I can be as good as leaders I can be. But at the end of day, I’m not a female. And I don’t understand certain things. And that’s cool. That’s life, you know. But I think that what we don’t want to do is we don’t want to look back at this industry or any of these industries. But hey, we’re on this one. So I can talk about matters furniture, specifically, we don’t want to look back in five years and be sitting here. We want to be, you know, elevating into a different place and have a more diverse leadership group in the entire industry. And I think that, as you said, these are the conversations we have to start. And then it can’t be just conversation, it has to be action. And that was the thing that came up quite a bit because I would always ask people, how do we get more females on leadership? How do we give more diversity? Right? Well, everyone said the same thing. You have to be actionable. It has to be a part of your leadership DNA to say it’s not acceptable the way we look. Now, we have to make steps to do this. So that means we have to look into different places to recruit, we have to go into different job portals. We have to go to different universities in different areas of town like whatever it is to start recruiting and then once we do find people who might fit into these only categories or only other categories will then we need those people to also help recruit in those specific areas because there was a lot of you know, whether it was Katie or a lot of different people said hey, I found a lot of success once I was there, because then it was like I was able to, you know, draw Directly recruit people who, you know, you know, went to the same things and did the same things as I did. And so it’s like, okay, it’s all seems relatively clear and simple, but yet there’s still so many that aren’t doing it. And I think that these people showed a really cool roadmap that just takes effort. But at the end of the day, there’s really no excuses that know that any company shouldn’t be doing this.

CK Ong:  

No, absolutely. And we also have to remember to also look outside of the industry sometimes, right, because there are so many transferable skills from different roles that you’re playing in life, whether it be a job or elsewhere, you know, so yeah, you can even look outside the industry to grow the industry as we should actually, because there are so many transferable skills

Brett Thornton:  

And we have to do one or two things that came up a lot, too, was making sure that we start marketing it, you know, so you can’t just, you know, and to other segments, and you got to get people who, who, who hoo go out of their way to say like, hey, over here, we actually have this really cool industry. Yeah, it may not look on the outside, like, it’s super welcoming. But actually, everyone’s cool. And this is what we’re doing. And, you know, whatever that is, and that’s how we can get them. So. So I love that it was such a great season. I’m sad to kind of tie a bow on it, you know? Yeah, it was just yeah, I mean, emotionally, it was kind of a crazy few months, you know, these episodes were so much fun, and so inspiring. And kind of like some of them were emotionally draining today, because they were heavy, and which is great. Um, but that being said, I’m really excited about season three. Yeah. Are you gonna give us a little teaser about? Yes, I am. So season three is going to focus all on getting to know the people behind the words. So it is all authors of all kinds of genres. And I’ve already recorded the first four episodes, it’s unreal, blowing my mind and stuff I’m learning. So, you know, these will be from all different genres, all different types of industries. But ultimately, these are books that everybody who listens this podcast, I firmly believe, like, you need to read this book, listen to the book, whatever it is. And so we give 10,000 foot views, you know, kind of stories around the book. But really, it’s a chance to meet these authors and like, what got them to write, right? What was the tipping point that actually made them put pen to paper? How do they do it? They tell stories. And then at the end of the day, what’s really cool is they actually give advice for for people who are sitting out there sitting on these great ideas, because we all are right? We all have ideas. And we’re like all have that fantasy about like, well, I could write a book on XYZ, but 99.99% of us will never do it. And so I asked everyone, well, what, like, how did you just do it? Right. And so the stories were pretty cool. And they’re actually all so far kind of similar. And so I’m hoping that really motivates, like the next generation of authors. So I’m pumped. Like, it’s really cool. So season to go. See the three is gonna be all time.

CK Ong:  

I’m stoked for season three. And I, I get the feeling that I might hear some familiar voices. And if not, I have some recommendations of some authors that you know, you might want to interview.

Brett Thornton:  

That’s, that’s the new strategy. I do one interview and I’m like, Hey, who do you know, so, since you are a star of Episode 17, you know, I need as many intros as I can.

CK Ong:  

Of course, Brett. We’ll get there. I’ll get you in. Thanks for having me. Right. Awesome. ck. Thanks again. So we will see you at the end of season three. For the next recap. I’ll be there. Yeah. Awesome. Thanks. Bye.

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