HERdacious

A Lesson Outside the Box

May 24, 2021 HERdacity Season 2 Episode 50
HERdacious
A Lesson Outside the Box
Chapters
2:45
On socialization, again
5:39
Do away with gender presumptions
7:10
To want the job or to not want the job
10:34
How qualified is qualified enough?
14:28
Sucker-punching imposter syndrome
20:42
Risk
22:25
Building courage
27:00
Femme fact: Women in Blues
HERdacious
A Lesson Outside the Box
May 24, 2021 Season 2 Episode 50
HERdacity

What To Do When You Don’t Feel Qualified

In this episode, herdacious host Lorelei chats with Julie Parsley about the never-ending list of job requirements and how we meet them. Imagine this: you’re applying to jobs and can check off all but one, two, maybe three of those qualifications. But those few are enough to cast doubt in your mind and one might dismiss the position entirely. However, as an out-of-the-box applicant herself, Julie helps us realize that striving for perfection can often hold us back from career opportunities that, beyond the boxes, we are absolutely qualified for. From understanding how our experience can translate to other positions, to using our learned skills in crafting a personal narrative, Julie helps us realize that we should not let the self-sabotaging qualification battle be a barrier to our career trajectory. Let’s encourage our professional growth by writing our own stories, where we save the day and get the job [done]! 

Host: Lorelei Gonzalez
Co-host: Julie Parsley, JD

Julie Parsley currently leads Pedernales Electric Cooperative as the Chief Executive Officer. In her role, Julie values member service and making a positive difference for the company’s top management positions. Julie’s work within the company earned her recognition from the Austin Business Journal as its 2019 Best CEO in the nonprofit category. Prior to working for Pedernales Electric Cooperative, Julie was a utility attorney in Austin, as well as the former commissioner of the Public Utility Commission of Texas. 

Things you will learn in this episode (chapter markers available):  

  • On socialization, again 2:45
  • Do away with gender presumptions 5:39
  • To want the job or to not want the job 7:10
  • How qualified is qualified enough? 10:34
  • Sucker-punching imposter syndrome 14:28
  • Risk 20:42
  • Building courage 22:25
  • Femme fact: Women in Blues 27:00

Resources mentioned in this episode:  

Episode sponsors:  

Looking for additional resources on this topic? Check out our blog “Why Women Need to Define Their Own Success | HER Side” by Catherine Ashton

Loved what you heard on herdacious and want to share with friends? Tag us and connect with HERdacity on social media:
Twitter: @herdacity
Facebook: @HERdacity
Instagram: @herdacity
LinkedIn: HERdacity 
Email: [email protected](dot)org

For up to date information on HERdacity events, webinars, podcasts, and community activities, join our newsletter here

 

Disclaimer: While we appreciate our sponsors' support in making this show possible, herdacious content is curated with integrity and honesty.

Support the show (http://herdacity.org/donate/)

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What To Do When You Don’t Feel Qualified

In this episode, herdacious host Lorelei chats with Julie Parsley about the never-ending list of job requirements and how we meet them. Imagine this: you’re applying to jobs and can check off all but one, two, maybe three of those qualifications. But those few are enough to cast doubt in your mind and one might dismiss the position entirely. However, as an out-of-the-box applicant herself, Julie helps us realize that striving for perfection can often hold us back from career opportunities that, beyond the boxes, we are absolutely qualified for. From understanding how our experience can translate to other positions, to using our learned skills in crafting a personal narrative, Julie helps us realize that we should not let the self-sabotaging qualification battle be a barrier to our career trajectory. Let’s encourage our professional growth by writing our own stories, where we save the day and get the job [done]! 

Host: Lorelei Gonzalez
Co-host: Julie Parsley, JD

Julie Parsley currently leads Pedernales Electric Cooperative as the Chief Executive Officer. In her role, Julie values member service and making a positive difference for the company’s top management positions. Julie’s work within the company earned her recognition from the Austin Business Journal as its 2019 Best CEO in the nonprofit category. Prior to working for Pedernales Electric Cooperative, Julie was a utility attorney in Austin, as well as the former commissioner of the Public Utility Commission of Texas. 

Things you will learn in this episode (chapter markers available):  

  • On socialization, again 2:45
  • Do away with gender presumptions 5:39
  • To want the job or to not want the job 7:10
  • How qualified is qualified enough? 10:34
  • Sucker-punching imposter syndrome 14:28
  • Risk 20:42
  • Building courage 22:25
  • Femme fact: Women in Blues 27:00

Resources mentioned in this episode:  

Episode sponsors:  

Looking for additional resources on this topic? Check out our blog “Why Women Need to Define Their Own Success | HER Side” by Catherine Ashton

Loved what you heard on herdacious and want to share with friends? Tag us and connect with HERdacity on social media:
Twitter: @herdacity
Facebook: @HERdacity
Instagram: @herdacity
LinkedIn: HERdacity 
Email: [email protected](dot)org

For up to date information on HERdacity events, webinars, podcasts, and community activities, join our newsletter here

 

Disclaimer: While we appreciate our sponsors' support in making this show possible, herdacious content is curated with integrity and honesty.

Support the show (http://herdacity.org/donate/)

Sponsor: Today's episode is brought to you by HERdacity. HERdacity is a non-profit inspiring confidence in women to achieve their professional goals. For resources, networking opportunities, and a strong community of women, visit herdacity.org to learn more.

 

Lorelei: Welcome to HERdacious, a podcast for audacious women. Welcome back to another edition of HERdacious, the podcast for audacious women looking to make some career moves. And HERdacious is here to help you do that. My name is Lorelei, the happy host of the show, and today we're gonna be talking about what you can do when you don't feel entirely qualified for the job. And to help me in this amazing conversation, I have former public utility commissioner and Solicitor General for the State of Texas, the CEO of Pedernales Electric Co-Op Julie Parsley.

 

Julie: Hey, how are you?

 

Lorelei: I'm fantastic. How are you doing?

 

Julie: I'm great, thank you so much for having me this morning.

 

Lorelei: It is an absolute pleasure. This is gonna be a really good conversation. It's gonna be really beneficial to a lot of folks.

 

Julie: I hope so. I think this is a good topic for women because I do believe this comes up a lot from people...

 

Lorelei: Yes, it does. Now, where would you like to start off in a conversation like this?

 

Julie: Well, studies show that men will apply for jobs when they meet only around 60% of the qualifications.

 

Lorelei: Yeah, yeah, I think a lot of us are familiar with that number.

 

Julie: But women only apply if they meet around 100%.

 

Lorelei: Around ____.

 

Julie: [laughter] Around, yes!

 

Lorelei: Check every box.

 

Julie: All the boxes. This finding initially came from a Halford internal report that has been quoted many, many times and explored in different articles and different writings. But I think it's still very much a part of the discussion. I think there's still things people can learn about the subject.

 

Lorelei: Well, it seems that study kinda hit home for you. How did that impact you?

 

Julie: It did, it really hit home with me because I realized that I actually have applied for jobs when I have around 60-70% of the qualifications. But I have talked to friends, and giving them advice or just talking through issues with them, where they all felt like they were not qualified 100% for a particular position. And so I thought this really does come up for people, and it is an issue. I was wondering, is it really the confidence in yourself or is it respecting the rules of the job application? I've had friends tell me that they're scared of the job because they aren't quite qualified enough, so I think that exploring the real reasons behind these numbers is really important.

 

Lorelei: Excellent, so let's talk a little bit more about the gender differences when it comes to applying for those jobs.

 

Julie: Yes. Well, there definitely are gender differences. First, you have just personality differences, some people are more adventurous or they just started a little more confident, but also part of it is socialization. You can't ignore that there are social expectations that men are more driven, women are taught to follow the rules. AKA, you don't apply if you don't meet 100% of the qualifications.

 

Lorelei: There's that perfectionism.

 

Julie: There is a perfectionism, which also kind of bleeds into an idea of whether you have the confidence to make it, or do you really wanna put yourself out there if you think you're going to fail simply because you don't have all the qualifications.

 

Lorelei: Right, right.

 

Julie: And one thing that I think that is still very ingrained is this idea that men tend to be promoted because of their potential, and women tend to be promoted because of their accomplishments. I saw this when I started practicing law years and years and years ago. There could be a narrative like, well, what we're gonna invest in this woman? You know what, she might go have a baby and then she might not come back. But if it was a man, he would stay. It was presumed that he would stay there, it was more of a presumption that gender difference was gonna create a more loyal employee that was going to stay longer. I personally would really like to see that... Even if it goes to people's heads and it's not said any longer out loud because it's really inappropriate... But I think it does sit out there on the surface sometimes, and so I do believe that personally, I'd like to see that whole notion go away because I know that when I've changed jobs, I've remained friends with the people in the jobs I've had before. I've sent them business or we have interacted again. I think it's much more important to create that loyalty and support and the training for everyone that you have on an equal basis.

 

Lorelei: Have you done a little bit of that at Pedernales Electric Co-Op?

 

Julie: We are doing that, the electric industry tends to be a bit more male-dominated. We have had some female line workers, which I'm very, very proud of, and we are working to promote women in the workforce.

 

Lorelei: Julie, what do you say to those hiring managers who might have that weird little thought in the back of their brains, kinda like you mentioned, about like, "Oh well, she might get pregnant and have to leave the workforce, or she'll be less loyal because she has a child." Whereas, we don't view men in that same sort of way, even though they have children too. What would you say to those managers who might be promoting men based on their potential and women on their track record?

 

Julie: Personally, this is something that has always been offensive, but what I would say is, the more you nurture and the more you train your employees, male and female, the more loyal an employee you have, number one. That doesn't mean just 'cause you're going to leave the job that you weren't a good and loyal employee at the time. I've left jobs because I had my children, I have left jobs to move to different jobs. People move jobs for a lot of different reasons, and what you want is to build that bond with them so that when they leave, you have a good relationship. They will send you work. They will send you people. They will say you should apply with this company because they are great. I loved working there. Every place I've worked, I left on good terms. And I have had good relationships with them. I have sent people to them. I have worked on projects with them just because they're not direct, somebody's not directly your employee anymore, it doesn't mean they're not an asset. So I think that people need to understand the benefit of creating that loyalty and that training and that mentoring for all of their employees because if when you do that, you form that bond and it's a relationship that you can count on, hopefully as long as that person has a career.

 

Lorelei: So where in the job application process should we start asking ourselves the question, "Am I qualified for this job?"

 

Julie: I think maybe flipping the script might be a better way to look at it. Instead of, "Am I qualified for this position?" You should say, "Do I want this job and how much do I want this job? But really, do I want this job? And why do I want this job?" I think you have to know why you want the job and that you're the right person for the job. For instance, does it fulfill a goal that you've had for a long time, is this something a great interest to you, or maybe it's a step to lead you towards your goals. But you need to first decide, "Do I really want this? And why?"

 

Lorelei: What do you do next?

 

Julie: So next, I think what you start thinking about is, do you have the expertise, not qualification, but do you have expertise that lends itself to doing a good job in this area? Can you look at what they're asking for and fit your experience and your desires, your goals into that? What they are looking for? It might be the precise check the box sort of qualifications, but it may be something that you can help the company succeed more in because you have this sort of experience. For instance, there might be a training or educational level or a certificate, a degree that you don't have, so that's one thing that kind of does eliminate you, that would be a necessary requirement. But you also may have experience in relationships, you may have worked in a different business process that you can bring benefits from into this new position. So you wanna globally look at that and see how that would fit into the qualifications that they are saying that they need.

 

Lorelei: Give us some greater clarity on this. So we've figured out that we want the job, right? And we figured out why we want the job, and we have started comparing what we have to what they're asking for. Where do we go from there?

 

Julie: The critical question is, what does the company need? What are they looking for? What slot or position are they looking for here and what are they trying to fill? What are they trying to supplement their workforce for? It could be a backfill for someone else or it could be a new job, and you really have to see what the company needs. So it is important in this regard to know some recent issues about the company, even possibly some difficulties they may have incurred or some issues that they're facing, so that you can see if you've got a solution for some of those. Or if you've got something that you believe you can offer that might be unique.

 

Lorelei: That's an excellent reframe.

 

Julie: Yes. Because what do you bring to the table? You may have analogous experiences, you may have really meaningful relationships that could move the company forward, you might have a voice in some community that could really benefit the company, you just don't know. You have to kind of look at what they really need, because what they want to do is I need to fill their gaps, mold their needs. And what you need to do is be able to say, I have this experience and it fills that need for you.

 

Lorelei: What do you suggest women do when they're hitting that, maybe eight out of 10 bullets for the job qualifications list?

 

Julie: I don't even think eight out of 10 is necessarily necessary.

 

Lorelei: Ooh Julie!

 

Julie: You still need those minimum qualifications that we've talked about.

 

Lorelei: Right, like education.

 

Julie: Right, education. Those kinds of things. But I really do think that if you can frame your analogous experience in a way that meets their needs, then that is really what your key should be.

 

Lorelei: So what is necessary if we're not just checking all of the little boxes that they're asking for?

 

Julie: What you really have to do is craft a story. I think this is something that's very important for an interview. In your own mind, think of an experience you've had that could explain to the interviewers. That you could say, "This is what happened under this circumstance, and this is how I handled it, and this is what I brought to the table." And then you could say, "And I know that you've had this issue over here, and I believe that what I did in this realm that was successful under these circumstances could be applied to your situation for these reasons." And so you're going to take what you've done and craft an answer for what you see their need is. Why they are trying to fill this role.

 

Lorelei: So we're gonna be story-telling our own narratives, our own experiences, our own background, history, education, all the things that make us who we are as a professional. And we're gonna be telling them how those things translate into the job they're looking to fill.

 

Julie: Yes.

 

Lorelei: Even if it doesn't check all those little boxes they put on that job application check sheet?

 

Julie: Even if it doesn't. Even if it doesn't, because what you want to leave them with is this idea or the knowledge, I suppose, that what you have to offer fits their job, whether it's actually checking the box and the qualification.

 

Lorelei: What if they call us out for not having one of those boxes checked.

 

Julie: Well, then you explain why your analogous experience can check that box.

 

Lorelei: That makes me think of how they promote men based on their potential as opposed to women based on their track record. What happens when we're hitting that barrier?

 

Julie: That's right. And that's what you would want to do. I'm a CEO of a electric company now. I did not have any experience ever managing as many people as I'm managing in this job. I'm responsible for a very large workforce, but I had to explain how my job as utility commissioner, and even as soliciter general managing the people that I did at helping co-management agency, the different activities that I did would translate into an executive position where I was managing a large workforce.

 

Lorelei: I love how you shape the narrative to fit in for their positional needs.

 

Julie: Well, it worked.

 

Lorelei: Thank goodness it did. We're gonna take this quick sponsor break, we'll be right back.

 

Sponsor: Hi, Barbie here from Moonray, husband and wife indie pop duo. If you enjoy the intro music, we invite you to listen to our debut EP Honeymoon. Streaming now on all platforms. Visit www.moonray-music.com for more.

 

Lorelei: And we're back talking with Julie Parsley about overcoming minimum job qualifications when applying for positions. Now, we talked about some challenges that I think a lot of women face when they're applying for new jobs, let's start talking about some solutions. What shall we do as people when we are maybe feeling unqualified?

 

Julie: I really think that you just have to kind of gird your loins, so to speak, and say, look, assuming you know you want the job, why you want the job, you know what you can do, you know what you can do for the company. So that you could tell them what you want to do for the company. So those hurdles have been met, right, so if you're just personally feeling unqualified, you just need to take a chance on yourself and you need to see what fears do you have, what kind of concerns do you have. I've talked to women in different settings, and I have gotten a surprising number of questions about the impostor syndrome. Have I had it? What do you do about it? How do you work with it or around it? And it occurred to me that you're not an impostor just because you haven't done something before, you just haven't done that thing yet, and once you've done that thing how are you an impostor?

 

Lorelei: I love it.

 

Julie: So it's just a reframing of the concept, now it's a real feeling and I felt it myself. It is something that you feel like if somebody could discover I don't know what I'm doing. But you just have to take that step forward. Winston Churchill said, "When you're going through hell, keep going." A lot of this is like that. You just gotta take that step and keep going.

 

Lorelei: Well, when we talk about flipping the script on the feelings that we might have, I have recently read an incredible article where it talks about re-framing impostor syndrome.

 

Julie: Okay, good.

 

Lorelei: And the author's perspective was that impostor syndrome isn't really a thing, it's more about the systemic structure of how we view success. We have often been socialized to view success from a linear, often male perspective, and that success can often look very different from a woman's point of view or from what success might feel like for women. So when women are coming into the workforce in full force and we're succeeding, but it looks a little bit different for us, a lot of women are feeling like they're not succeeding, and that's not true.

 

Julie: Right, I understand, because my very first job at a law firm, I left it through a series of different events, I had my second child, I had some issues in my family, I stepped back away from that practice for a little while. It turned out to only be about 10 months, but I left it, I stayed home. And honestly, I thought I'd ruined my career, I thought "What's gonna happen? What am I going to do?" I've stepped off that natural track of progression, but I think that's when you step back and say, "Okay, what do I wanna do, how I wanna do it?" And I narrowed my practice to the area that I wanted to pursue, and I got that particular job. It was 10 months later, it worked out great, it led to being Soliciter General. Which led to a lot of other things. But it was taking that step back, that really helped. But it was certainly not linear. There is very little that's been linear about my career, so I understand exactly what you're saying, that if I compared my career trajectory, especially around about 10 years ago to everything else, I'd be like, Wow, that is other man did or what this other person did. It really concerned me earlier on, but it all worked out. When you're in the middle of it, when you're in the middle of that moment, you can feel a lot of fear, you can be afraid. You just have to keep going, you have to keep moving forward.

 

Lorelei: Well, on the topic of fear, how do we go about overcoming that fear, because speaking for myself, a girl's gotta make some money. And I still wanna apply for that job because it's the next step in my career, or it's the next level up for me and how I see my professional trajectory.

 

Julie: Right. Well, there's all kinds of different fears that you can have in the circumstances. You get the fear, there's professional embarrassment if you don't get the job, not getting the job. So that's another fear, or getting the job, because getting the job could cause an immense amount of change in your life. Especially if it's a leveling up, significant leveling up, it could really change your position, your life, your relationships, there'll be a lot more demanded of you, and that can be a scary place to be when you change like that. There's just a sense of your security changing, there can also be a fear that your current job will find out you're playing for another job and be in on it. You're just gonna be very careful in the way you manage that and be honest about it, taking the time off as PTO. Don't say you're going to the doctor and then don't go to the doctor. So there are those, and there's also just the performance question, you've got a new role, it's going to be different, how has your performance going to be and all of those things can add up to be quite frightening. But at the end of the day, to me, the ultimate question that I've asked myself and I've asked my friends who have listed their fears and concerns about jobs I wanted to apply for. It really boils down to one ultimate question, in my opinion, which is regret. Would I regret not applying for this job? Would I in a month or six months or five years say, "Man, I wish I had just done that, if I had just taken that step and applied for that job and gotten it, that would have changed everything?" And usually that is what can really crystallize that and help you assuage those fears.

 

Lorelei: I love that. Good call out. Yet going out on that type of limb does require a certain amount of risk. Talk to us about taking that risk.

 

Julie: Well, it's like the question, were you going to regret not having this job or not have implied for this job? You've just gotta determine what it's worth taking the risk for. The types of risks are a lot like the fears that you're feeling, 'cause that risk is presenting itself as a fear, because you have relationships, your personal and professional relationships, those will change if you change jobs. Well, at least professional will. Personal, you don't know, but it could. You could have those lifestyle changes that you're not sure you really want to have happen. You don't really know what's going to happen with that. You could take a job in another city and you might have to move away from family...

 

Lorelei: Or towards family...

 

Julie: Both can be risky. And then you just have the general risk, I think too, and it's like the performance issue. But you have a new job and if it is moving you towards a goal, it is probably a leveling up and you have to perform in that job, and that can be your risk too. But I love this quote from Somerset Maugham and it's, "You can do anything in this world if you're prepared to take the consequences." So really, if you are willing to just say, "Alright, I'm gonna take those consequences, I'm going to do this, I'm gonna move forward." That can give you some courage to do it as well.

 

Lorelei: How can we start developing more of that courage? Because we're talking about reframing risk, understanding your fear of change, understanding your fear of going into the unknown.

 

Julie: Yes, you know, you have to decide how you really envision your professional career. How do you want it to progress? Some people can do that. So people like to do that by having their mission statements or their goals, that has not really ever been something that worked for me. I tried that at one point, but I always deviated from that in my non-linear approach to the way my career has gone.

 

Lorelei: I imagine a lot of our listeners can empathize that experience.

 

Julie: Right. And so I think you just have to say, "Well, I regret it. Is this where I wanna go professionally?" Because careers always have some level of risk and challenge, or it's probably just a job. If you want a career, then it's going to have that level of growth because the risk and the challenge is what provided you the growth that you can become who you need to be in your career and you can have that greater presence in your job and with your company. Like anything, you have to invest in your personal growth and your professional development, and if you can view all of this, the time it takes to research the company, the time it takes to take your experiences in your track record and formulate that into a story that the company will find compelling enough to hire you and show how your qualifications, meet their needs, that's all an investment in your professional growth and in your development as a person. Because you are worth that. And like I said, your career has to have some level of risk and challenge, or it's just a job.

 

Lorelei: I love that. I love the distinction there between a job and a career.

 

Julie: Well, at the end of the day, you always have to grow. I believe that that. I've seen too many people who kinda got to a point and they just sort of stopped doing that. Kind of fizzled out. You can look at people who retire, that's different than getting a job, but the people who stay active and learning and doing things, are healthier and happier than those who just retire. People invest in their brain health in a lot of different ways, and this is another way you can invest in your brain health is to be challenged. Another quote that I really love, and I think it really sums up a lot of this is, "Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become." So the more you grow, the more you become that person, the more success you can obtain.

 

Lorelei: Well, after those amazing quotes, share with us some amazing resources for any of our listeners who wanna continue their professional growth, invest in ourselves, take a few risks, developing a little more.

 

Julie: Yes. Well, I love Sheryl Sandberg's new book, "Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy." That's a great book. It's kind of the sequel to "Leaning In." theSkimm, which is a daily mailed newsletter by Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg. They do a series of podcasts called "Skimm'd from the Couch," and they have an episode with Sheryl Sandberg. They have one right now with Kendra Scott. They talk to a lot of different women about their success, their businesses and the different things that they've faced and overcome in their lives, and it's a great series of podcasts.

 

Lorelei: Nice.

 

Julie: There's also a LinkedIn Learning course called The Six Morning Habits of High Performers. It is a paid course, but it is a great course. There's also an article from the Harvard Business Review, "Why Women Don't Apply For Jobs Unless They're 100% Qualified" by Tara Sophia Mohr, and that's also a good article.

 

Lorelei: And we will be sure to link all of those resources in our show notes, which I highly recommend you go click on and learn more. Now, Julie, what kind of music do you listen to?

 

Julie: My favorite band is Led Zeppelin.

 

Lorelei: Nice.

 

Julie: But now that I kind of live in the Hill Country in Texas, so I listen to a lot of country. Which is really great.

 

Lorelei: That's neat. We're gonna talk about Led Zeppelin here in a second, but let me ask you, when I say jazz or blues, what artists come to mind?

 

Julie: I would think about Ella Fitzgerald and I think about Louis Armstrong, Chuck Mangione, because that was very popular when I was in high school...

 

Lorelei: That's quite alright. I think it's safe to say that many of us instinctively gravitate towards the big names like Louis Armstrong, right? Miles Davis, BB King, Coltrane, Duke Ellington, even Stevie Ray Vaughan for those Texans out there. All these musicians harness incredible talent and undeniably elevated their genres to new heights. But we are here today for this femme fact, to ask yet again, where my girls at? Though we regard these previously listed artists as the faces of jazz or blues, a slightly lesser known fact, is that women were largely responsible for shaping and establishing blues here in America. Around a century ago, blues was listened to and performed almost exclusively in the south, and was limited to venues frequented predominantly by African-Americans. At the time, the most popular blues performers were almost exclusively female. These performers worked in music venues that were housed in primarily Southern cities like Memphis or Birmingham, and jazz and blues were so different from anything we'd ever heard before. With a level of emotional authenticity, it piqued the intrigue and interest of many, many people, and many, many Americans, and that curiosity flourished into quite a substantial fan base, all thanks to women singing the blues.

 

Now, despite this growing genre, female blues singers were generally shut out from the recording industry. However, in 1920, one strategic and brave woman was able to get a New York City recording studio to produce her music. Mamie Smith recorded her version of the song, Crazy Blues, a song now considered amongst blues and jazz scholars alike to be one of the first blues records in all of history. Not only was Crazy Blues considered to be the debut of Black female singers into popular music culture, this also made history as Mamie Smith became the first Black vocalist to ever record a blues song. To put the impact of Mamie Smith and her song Crazy Blues into a modern day perspective, it was roughly equivalent to... You remember rhe Adele song, Rolling in the Deep? The one that was playing on literally every station every 10 minutes? It was kinda like that. But with the song, Mamie Smith single-handedly cultivated the blues genre popularity and simultaneously opened the door for future Black female singers to follow in her footsteps. So let's quickly touch base on a few other amazing artists who greatly contributed to the genre success. First, we have Sister Rosetta Tharpe, otherwise referred to as the godmother of rock and roll.

 

She was one of the first to create music that fused elements of both rock and roll and the blues. Rosetta produced a whopping 17 albums throughout her musical career, each and every one of which celebrated her individual sound. She is now said to be the musical genius behind popularizing rock and roll's electric guitar, so much so that Elvis Presley and Mr. Johnny Cash themselves credited Rosetta Tharpe as inspiration to their own music creation.

 

On the topic of rock and roll, we're gonna go back to Julie's favorite Led Zeppelin. You know the song "When the Levee Breaks?"

 

Julie: Yup.

 

Lorelei: They didn't write that song.

 

Julie: Really?

 

Lorelei: Nope, that was actually written by a female blues singer named Memphis Minnie.

 

Julie: Awesome.

 

Lorelei: Yeah, Minnie was a prominent guitarist, vocalist and songwriter in the late 20s to the 50s, a time frame in which she absolutely crushed the male-dominated blues industry. She chewed tobacco, she carried a pistol and supposedly never backed down from a fight. Minnie was certainly not Minnie in any way, shape or form y'all. And she could play the guitar so well, she often challenged her male peers to play off contest and she would regularly crush them, which I love.

 

Now, perhaps you have seen the new Billie Holiday movie out on Hulu? Billie Holiday is now considered to be one of the greatest jazz vocalists of all time. Eventually winning five Grammys, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame back in 2000, and the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame in 2004. Now, few artists overcame as much racism and bigotry for their art as Billie Holiday, and thank goodness, she did. Holiday became the first African-American woman to work with an all-white band, breaking racial barriers. And one of her most famous songs, "Strange Fruit," is now considered to be one of the first protest songs of the Civil Rights Movement. Kanye sampled it about a decade ago in the song "Blood on the Leaves."

 

Then there's Gertrude 'Ma Rainey, considered to be one of the greatest blues singers of her time. Hers was among the first albums to be identified as a race record, which was the name for albums that were made for and by African-Americans from the 1920s to the 40s. 'Ma Rainey was so influential that she holds the title of The Mother of the Blues. And I mentioned Elvis a moment ago, you know his song, "Hound Dog?"

 

Julie: Mhm.

 

Lorelei: Well, he didn't write that long either. That song came from the brilliant mind of Big Mama Thornton, a blue singer-songwriter and drummer. Her original version of Hound Dog, which she didn't write by the way, was released in 1952 and was later on... I don't wanna say the word "stolen"... By Elvis in 1956. It was said that Big Mama Thornton only received $500 in royalties for that infringement, which apparently is just the tip of the legal iceberg for that song 'cause that song had a lot of drama. But in the original when Big Mama sang that song, it was pretty ground-breaking due to the sexual nature of the song, specifically from a woman's perspective. And when we look back on genres that wouldn't have been possible without the pioneering efforts and epic talents of some incredible women, it's odd to see how these legacies can be eclipsed by their male counterparts. It makes us wonder what else women have created that is either little known or inaccurately credited. We keep finding more and more of these instances in history, and I hope we as a society continue to look out with a more critical eye on the real heroes or heroines and who they really are.

 

Julie, it has been an absolute pleasure to visit with you today, I really appreciate the confidence boost you've provided to us, and especially for those in the job hunt.

 

Julie: Thanks, Lorelei, I have really, really enjoyed it. And if I can provide any encouragement, I want to do that because that's what we need to do. Is encourage each other.

 

Lorelei: That's right. We gotta lift as we climb.

 

Julie: Exactly.

 

Lorelei: Well, I hope you enjoyed today's episode. If you haven't already, please subscribe and share this episode with a friend who might be on their job hunt or maybe just looking for that new podcast. HERdacious is happy to be that podcast. You're welcome to leave us a review and send us an email at [email protected] And don't worry, I'll put that email in our show notes too. Until next time, keep making moves in your career. Who knows? You might be able to claim your place in history.
 

On socialization, again
Do away with gender presumptions
To want the job or to not want the job
How qualified is qualified enough?
Sucker-punching imposter syndrome
Risk
Building courage
Femme fact: Women in Blues