Wisdom From My Mother On Courage and Reinventing Your Career After 45

by | Mar 20, 2024 | Podcasts



SPEAKER_1: You’re listening to She Grabs The Mic, and I’m your host, Cole Baker-Bagwell.

SPEAKER_1: Every week, we’ll explore what it means to be happy, present and whole.

SPEAKER_1: You’ll hear from courageous women who are kicking ass in their lives, and leave with actionable tips that you can apply to reset from toxicity, tune into your gold, and live powerfully from the bedroom to the boardroom.

SPEAKER_1: Right now, it’s time to grab your headphones, kick back and relax, and get ready to be inspired.

SPEAKER_1: Welcome, Amazing Ones!

SPEAKER_1: We have an extra special guest this week.

SPEAKER_1: My mom, Pat, AKA Peaches.

SPEAKER_1: She’s an inspirational woman who is the epitome of the 1970s Anjali campaign, strong, sassy, and packed with general badassery.

SPEAKER_1: You are absolutely going to love our conversation.
SPEAKER_1: This week, my mom and I are talking about reinventing your career after 45.

SPEAKER_1: Peaches is going to share her She Grabs The Mic story of going from playing it safe to taking a big ass leap.

SPEAKER_1: Mom, welcome! I am so glad that you’re here with me today.

SPEAKER_2: Thank you.

SPEAKER_2: I’m delighted to be here.

SPEAKER_1: Awesome!

SPEAKER_1: Okay, you’ve always been an entrepreneur of sorts.

SPEAKER_1: Before we get rolling today, tell me about two to three of your favorite little business ideas that you had.

SPEAKER_2: Well, I think probably my first great little business idea was making cheese.

SPEAKER_2: My aunt had a wonderful cheese recipe, and she used to make it for like Thanksgiving, homecoming events, Christmas.

SPEAKER_2: And as she had gotten older, she quit making it.

SPEAKER_2: And one day I decided I needed to make some extra money.

SPEAKER_2: So I went for the plunge.

SPEAKER_2: My aunt said, that cheese will never sell.

SPEAKER_2: You’re not going to do that.

SPEAKER_2: So I got a friend.

SPEAKER_2: And she and I, I researched everything.

SPEAKER_2: I had to go to the health department.

SPEAKER_2: I had to get containers.

SPEAKER_2: I had to make labels and figure out how to buy the products at a rate or at a price rather, so that when I charged for the cheese that I was about to prepare, I would make a little money.

SPEAKER_2: I was really ahead of the game because some of my kids went to school with Bobby Ukrop, who was a great big grocer in Richmond, Virginia.

SPEAKER_2: So I went to Bobby and I said, Bobby, I want to bring you some cheese for your wife to try, and tell me whether you think it will sell in your store.

SPEAKER_2: Well, Bobby took the cheese home and he said, Pat, I wasn’t in the house an hour before my wife said, buy all that darn cheese you can buy.

SPEAKER_2: That’s how the cheese business started.

SPEAKER_2: So, it turned out to be a raging success.

SPEAKER_1: What was your favorite part about the cheese business?

SPEAKER_2: My favorite part about the cheese business was having the enormous amount of cheese delivered to my house.

SPEAKER_2: And the neighbors were saying, oh my God, what is the truck doing in front of your house with all that cheese?

SPEAKER_2: And I would say very calmly, oh, we’re making cheese to sell. SPEAKER_2: And it was called fromage delight.

SPEAKER_2: Doesn’t that sound sassy?

SPEAKER_2: Sounded so sassy that people could not resist buying it.

SPEAKER_1: All right, that’s awesome.

SPEAKER_1: Entrepreneur, she invented this woman like dreamed up ski pants for women with a flap between your legs to pee without having to take off all the clothes.

SPEAKER_1: Like countless ideas.

SPEAKER_1: I mean, this is where I get it from.

SPEAKER_1: All right, so we’re gonna shift gears here a little bit, mom.

SPEAKER_1: Ageism, gender inequality and pay inequality are very real issues for working women.

SPEAKER_1: I mean, so many people in America are facing this right now.

SPEAKER_1: And this is especially pronounced for women like me, like you, over 45.

SPEAKER_1: The labor researchers actually classify me as an older woman.

SPEAKER_1: What do you think about that?

SPEAKER_2: By God, I think that’s terrible.

SPEAKER_2: She’s not older.

SPEAKER_2: She’s just getting started in life.

SPEAKER_1: All right, I agree.

SPEAKER_1: I mean, my God, over 45 and you’re an older woman, amazing ones, we have to change this whole way of talking about ourselves when we get to be over 45.

SPEAKER_1: I will take experienced.

SPEAKER_1: I will take seasoned, wise, sassy, strong.

SPEAKER_1: I will not accept older under any terms or conditions because I’m not older.

SPEAKER_1: I feel 25, and my mother is sitting here beside me and living proof that you are only as old as you feel.

SPEAKER_1: She, I won’t tell you how many revolutions, but they’ve been more than 45 around the sun.

SPEAKER_1: And this woman is extraordinary.

SPEAKER_1: So for all of you listening who are in this club over the 45 club, we’re just getting started, like Peaches said.

SPEAKER_1: All right, back to you, Peaches.

SPEAKER_1: So before we get in to how you landed in the low country, tell us what you learned across your career about some of the challenges you faced as a razor sharp, talented-as-shit woman in the medical field.

SPEAKER_2: I was very fortunate in that physicians came after me and offered me positions. I never really had to look for a job.

SPEAKER_2: My first best job after I graduated, well, I went through many, many phases of hospital life.

SPEAKER_2: I was in Europe for five years, doing hospital work there.

SPEAKER_2: And then when I came home, I was blessed.

SPEAKER_2: The gentleman who used to write all the urology sections for the medical books throughout the entire United States, somehow got my name and asked me to come to Norfolk, Virginia and interview with them.

SPEAKER_2: And I was thinking to myself, my God, what do those people know about me?

SPEAKER_2: Why am I going there?
 Well, anyway, to make a long story short, I was really blessed. I think when I was put here on this earth, I was meant to do medicine and raise three girls. And by the way, I never liked girls. When I was a little girl, I always preferred boys, and God got even with me. He gave me three beautiful girls.

SPEAKER_2: Pat Devine was kind of the spokesperson for that practice.

SPEAKER_2: And I think he kind of liked me right off the bat, and I kind of liked him, but neither one let on that we pretty much cared for each other.

SPEAKER_2: And finally, at the end of the interview, he said to me, well, Pat, you will be the first urological nurse practitioner in the United States.

SPEAKER_2: Number one, my practice has never had a nurse practitioner, so you’re going to have to put up with all the residents and the interns here.

SPEAKER_2: And thirdly, if in three months I don’t like you, I can ask you to leave, and there will be no questions to ask.

SPEAKER_2: And then I took a deep breath, and I said, Dr. Devine, that sounds like a plan.

SPEAKER_2: And in three months, if I don’t like you, I can leave and no questions are asked.

SPEAKER_2: But you see, in the world that I grew up in, I grew up, my grandmother raised me, and my grandmother would love me with one hand and spank me with the other.

SPEAKER_2: And this is the thing that she always said.

SPEAKER_2: Tricia, you can do anything in the world that you want to do.

SPEAKER_2: Always present yourself like a lady and never say no.

SPEAKER_2: So I was a little bit of a daring woman, I think, in that I spoke my mind.

SPEAKER_2: And I think in any situation, even today, if you speak up and present yourself in such a manner, men will have to look up to you and respect you.

SPEAKER_2: They will say, hmm, not here.

SPEAKER_2: I was the only woman in a practice with 13 men, with six residents and five interns, and I never once had any disrespect shown to me.

SPEAKER_1: All right.
SPEAKER_1: So talk to me a little bit about pay. There are enormous pay gaps now. Women are paid 70 cents on the dollar what men are paid.

SPEAKER_1: What was that like for you back in the day, being a nurse practitioner in a primarily male- dominated medical field full of doctors and surgeons and other?

SPEAKER_1: What did you notice?

SPEAKER_2: Well, I went into this kind of practice with a lot of trepidation because I knew I’d be at the bottom of the totem pole.

SPEAKER_2: I was a woman.

SPEAKER_2: I was not an MD, but I was very smart.

SPEAKER_2: And I knew that I could do anything that was required of me.

SPEAKER_2: And the pledge that Dr. Devine kind of made with me, he said, Pat, if in six months you can do everything that my residents can do, I will pay you equal pay to them.

SPEAKER_2: And by God, in six months, some of those guys didn’t like it, but after a while they learned to respect me because they learned that I didn’t whine.

SPEAKER_2: I went in, I did my job, washed my hands and was ready for the next go-round.  I didn’t really experience any pay inequality. In the hospital I did, but not with these guys.

SPEAKER_1: Okay, so in the hospital, and you think back now about self-advocacy for what you deserve to be paid, what do you think was important?

SPEAKER_2: I think people today don’t value a human being.

SPEAKER_2: I think they look at you as here is someone that’s going to warm the seat and get the job done.

SPEAKER_2: You have to speak up for yourself.
SPEAKER_2: You have to lay out your requirements before you even entertain a job.

SPEAKER_2: And if they want you bad enough, they will pay you a little more.

SPEAKER_2: I just don’t believe that women will ever, even though this is a woman’s world today, don’t get me wrong, you just look around.

SPEAKER_2: All the CEOs in these big corporations are becoming women. Why?
SPEAKER_2: Women are task-oriented.
SPEAKER_2: They don’t bicker.

SPEAKER_2: They get the job done.

SPEAKER_2: They put their heads like my daughter, who is brilliant.

SPEAKER_2: She can do anything in the world that she wants to do.

SPEAKER_2: Just give her a task, and boy, she will measure up.

SPEAKER_2: And I think today as maybe we progress a little more, people are going to realize that women are not going to work with a lesser pay scale than men.

SPEAKER_1: So let’s move into, thank you for all the points you made about pay.

SPEAKER_1: I heard you saying that you had to work six months to get the pay that the residents got, but that you had a very generous boss that recognized your value, and you spoke up for what you needed, and that’s one of the tips you’re sharing with women today.

SPEAKER_1: So I could not agree more.

SPEAKER_1: So let’s head into 1990, just before you landed in the Lowcountry.

SPEAKER_1: What was life like for you back then?

SPEAKER_1: Specifically, what were some of the financial challenges that you were facing?

SPEAKER_2: Boy, that’s a loaded question.

SPEAKER_2: I had three girls, two of them were in college.

SPEAKER_2: My husband, this was my second marriage, my husband had three children, they were all in college.

SPEAKER_2: He came home one day, we were not married at that time, we were about ready to get married, and he said, Pat, I think I’m going to quit Carolina.

SPEAKER_2: And I was at Duke, Ken was at Carolina, UNC.
SPEAKER_2: He had been there for 27 years as a brilliant teacher and a researcher.

SPEAKER_2: He came home and he said, I think I’m going to quit.
SPEAKER_2: I said, you’re going to quit?
SPEAKER_2: He said, yep, I want to start a practice.
SPEAKER_2: And I said, well, I don’t know who will work for you because you don’t know how to work.

SPEAKER_2: All you do is teach and do research.

SPEAKER_2: I said, I’ll tell you what.

SPEAKER_2: I’ll run an ad in the paper for you, and we’ll see if we can, you know, round up some people that would like to work for you.

SPEAKER_2: I said, you’re so smart that I think people probably would grab the opportunity.

SPEAKER_2: Well, he didn’t seem to kind of buy that idea.
SPEAKER_2: And a week went by and he said, I have a great idea, Pat.
SPEAKER_2: Why don’t you come to work with me?

SPEAKER_2: You know medicine so well.
SPEAKER_2: And I went, I hate what you do, Ken.
SPEAKER_2: I am not, I’m a surgical human being.
SPEAKER_2: You are a medical thinker.
SPEAKER_2: I will never learn that.
SPEAKER_2: He said, oh, yes, you will.
SPEAKER_2: You already know medicine, so please come to work with me.

SPEAKER_2: I said, well, we’ll probably be divorced in five minutes.
SPEAKER_2: Well, anyway, he told his colleagues at Carolina that he was going to resign.

SPEAKER_2: This is really what started the ball rolling.
SPEAKER_2: They said to Ken in the parking lot, not in an office, you’re going to fail. SPEAKER_2: You have no idea what it’s like in the private world.

SPEAKER_2: You’ll never make it.

SPEAKER_2: He came home and told me that.

SPEAKER_2: I went, by God, we’ll prove them wrong.

SPEAKER_2: We’re going to be the most successful people that they have seen in a long time.

SPEAKER_2: So people started calling from all over the United States to Ken because he was so well known for a lot of the work that he had done.

SPEAKER_2: And I kept saying, we’re not going west. SPEAKER_2: We’re not going north.
SPEAKER_2: We’re going south.
SPEAKER_2: We have kids in college.

SPEAKER_2: This is the world that we have to live in.

SPEAKER_2: So we landed in Charleston, South Carolina with probably two nickels to rub together in our purse.

SPEAKER_2: We didn’t know anyone.
SPEAKER_2: We had no connections there with prior medical students, professors, friends.

SPEAKER_2: So we just decided, I said, Ken, we’ll find a place to practice, and we will make it work.

SPEAKER_2: So we took an old building.
SPEAKER_2: We renovated it.
SPEAKER_2: We started this practice.
SPEAKER_2: Within about two years, we bought a piece of property.
SPEAKER_2: We sat on that piece of property, and about nine years later, we built our own practice.

SPEAKER_2: When we retired, we had 20,000 patients.
SPEAKER_2: People came from everywhere.
SPEAKER_2: People even came from Korea.

SPEAKER_2: How about that?

SPEAKER_1: People came from Korea.

SPEAKER_1: What did you learn about yourself during that whole experience that was most meaningful?

SPEAKER_2: Oh, I learned…

SPEAKER_2: I didn’t have to learn this.

SPEAKER_2: I knew this.

SPEAKER_2: I knew that you had to love people like they were your family, treat everybody the same, no matter their socioeconomic background, and be kind to everyone.

SPEAKER_1: And what did you learn about yourself?

SPEAKER_2: I learned that I was tough as a bull.

SPEAKER_1: And what did it mean to work for yourself for 30 years?

SPEAKER_2: Well, amazingly enough, people would say to us all the time, how in the world do you and Ken go to work 12 hours a day, almost 7 days a week, and still live together?

SPEAKER_2: I said, well, Ken goes in one direction, seeing patients, and I go in the other.

SPEAKER_2: We love each other.

SPEAKER_2: We were committed to what we were doing.

SPEAKER_2: And actually, it was a wonderful experience to be able to know that I could learn from such a brilliant man, and we had such a great practice.

SPEAKER_1: So a lot of people talk about retiring mom at 60-something.

SPEAKER_1: Again, I won’t share how many revolutions you have, but you were not even close to 60-something when you retired from your practice.

SPEAKER_1: You stayed on much longer after that.

SPEAKER_1: What kept you there?
SPEAKER_2: Oh, what kept me there? Love of our patients.

SPEAKER_2: You see, another strange thing, living in Charleston, we didn’t have any family there.

SPEAKER_2: My kids were everywhere, and they had children, and they were all busy. Ken’s children were everywhere.
SPEAKER_2: They were busy and had children.

SPEAKER_2: So my patients became my family.

SPEAKER_2: And my family there, those people kept me there.

SPEAKER_2: They needed us.

SPEAKER_2: Yes, I was much beyond the age of 60.

SPEAKER_2: I went around the sun a lot more years after that.

SPEAKER_2: And truly, if my husband wanted to retire at 75, and if he had wanted to stay in practice, I would have stayed right there with him.

SPEAKER_2: I still miss it every single day.

SPEAKER_1: So as you think about the work that you did in that practice, what are you most proud of?

SPEAKER_2: Oh, I think I’m most proud that we went there.

SPEAKER_2: We were the only true 100% endocrine practice in the state of South Carolina.

SPEAKER_2: No one could do all of the things that my husband could do.

SPEAKER_2: Since he had been a teacher, he knew everything from the top of your head to the tip of your toes.

SPEAKER_2: And most people that did endocrine, they either did diabetes, or they did thyroid disease, or they did menopause, or they did something.

SPEAKER_2: We did it all.
SPEAKER_2: It was just the most amazing experience to learn every single day and to see people as…

SPEAKER_2: A woman that’s my very dear friend that worked for us, she said, Pat, those people loved you and Dr. Gray.

SPEAKER_2: She said, You were not just their doctor, you were their friend.

SPEAKER_2: And you know, when you have a situation like that, I wish medical practices were like it today.

SPEAKER_2: People never had to wait when they had a phone call, they got an answer.

SPEAKER_2: We didn’t leave and go out of town and prescriptions were not filled and people didn’t know what was going on.

SPEAKER_2: We really took care of people as if they were our immediate family.

SPEAKER_2: And that was the most gratifying thing in the world, to go home at night and put your head on the pillow and know that you had done a good job.

SPEAKER_1: Okay, so what are you most proud of when it comes to the decision you made to get out of the safety of a big organization, take the leap and go work for yourself?

SPEAKER_2: Well, I’m proud that we had the courage to do it. SPEAKER_2: I’m proud that we had the tenacity to do it. SPEAKER_2: I’m proud that we knew that we were never going to fail.

SPEAKER_2: I mean, there is not a day in my life I still own the building that we built, and there is not a day in my life that I don’t walk into that building or go by that building, that I am so proud of all of the people that we loved and left behind, that still, you know, I still get phone calls two or three times a week.

SPEAKER_2: And I have to remind people, you know, I don’t have a license anymore.

SPEAKER_2: You need to call your doctor.

SPEAKER_2: They said, well, they don’t answer the phone, and Pat, you know everything about us.

SPEAKER_2: So how could you not be so proud that you have left behind some place in the world better than it was when you found it?

SPEAKER_1: I love that.
SPEAKER_1: That’s beautiful.

SPEAKER_1: Okay, Mom, last question.

SPEAKER_1: What piece of guidance would you offer to women who are over 45 and have a big dream like you had of, I mean, I don’t really even think you knew it was your dream at the time, but then it became your dream.

SPEAKER_1: So what is one piece of guidance that you would offer to women who are thinking about, like, oh, I’m getting ready to bust this joint and go do something on my own?

SPEAKER_1: What do you think is most important?
SPEAKER_1: One sage piece of advice from a woman who’s done it.

SPEAKER_2: Well, I think the most important thing is to know what you want, to plan ahead and try to figure out how you’re going to get it.

SPEAKER_2: I mean, you just can’t walk out the door with your suitcase in your hand and never come back.

SPEAKER_2: You absolutely have to be determined enough to know that when you walk out that door, you are not going back because you are going to find the dream that you were searching for and you’re willing to work as hard as you possibly have to to make that dream come true.

SPEAKER_2: And let me tell you, it takes hard work.

SPEAKER_2: It wasn’t a piece of cake.

SPEAKER_2: It didn’t happen overnight.

SPEAKER_2: I mean, Ken and I didn’t even have health insurance for a year because we had five kids in college and they had to have insurance.

SPEAKER_2: And I used to say, my grandmother used to tell me all the time, God looks after fools and drunks.

SPEAKER_2: I said, we must be the fool because we sure weren’t drunk, but we didn’t have any choice.

SPEAKER_2: But you know, if you love something enough and you want it badly enough, you will succeed.

SPEAKER_2: But I am telling you, it is not for wimps.

SPEAKER_2: It is for people who are strong, who are determined.

SPEAKER_2: And you have to love who you have to love yourself.

SPEAKER_2: You have to believe in yourself.

SPEAKER_2: And I hope you all have a grounded family and have someone that you love as much as my daughter loves that husband of hers and he loves her.

SPEAKER_2: And all of those things make something possible.

SPEAKER_1: Thank you! That’s a whole heap of tips.

SPEAKER_1: We heard strength.

SPEAKER_1: We heard courage.

SPEAKER_1: We heard tenacity.

SPEAKER_1: We heard don’t just pack your bag and think that it’s all going to work out.

SPEAKER_1: You’ve got to have a little bit of a plan.

SPEAKER_1: We heard loving what you do and having that vision for yourself, believing in yourself, having that sense of self-love, which is all super important.

SPEAKER_1: And I can attest to that.

SPEAKER_1: So if any of you are teetering on the edge, on the brink of leaving that big, comfy, cozy job you’ve been enjoying because you have a dream for yourself that is bigger, that is outside of that box, I can help you.

SPEAKER_1: Head to my website, colebakerbagwell.com.
SPEAKER_1: Hit my contact page and send me a note.
SPEAKER_1: And let’s talk about what’s possible for you.
Let’s talk about the steps because as Peaches said, you can’t just pack up and roll. I mean, you can, and I’m not sure how well that’s going to work out for you.

SPEAKER_1: But if you truly want to reinvent your life, if you want to reinvent your career and do makes your heart sing, there is a way to build your runway, and I can help.

SPEAKER_1: So again, head to my website, colebakerbagwell.com.
Let’s talk about what’s possible for you.
And in the meantime, I would like to thank this beautiful lady, Peaches Pat Gray, for joining us all the way from Charleston, South Carolina, and most importantly, for sharing her wisdom.

SPEAKER_1: Any parting words for these women?

SPEAKER_2: If you’re ever in Charleston, look me up. I’d love to entertain you.

SPEAKER_1: All right, Amazing Ones, until next time, be good to yourself and have a wonderful week!

SPEAKER_1: And that’s the end of the show today, everybody.

SPEAKER_1: I hope it has served you well.

SPEAKER_1: Thank you so much for tuning in.

SPEAKER_1: If you’ve liked what you’ve heard, please drop a review wherever you grab your favorite podcast.

SPEAKER_1: Please subscribe so you never miss an episode.
SPEAKER_1: And please be sure to share this podcast with another woman that you love.

SPEAKER_1: If you’d like to learn more about me or my work, check out my website, colebakerbagwell.com.

SPEAKER_1: Until next time, remember to be super kind to yourself and do your very best to leave everyone and everything just a little bit better.

You will leave this episode feeling inspired and heart warmed. And, if you’re flirting with the idea of reinventing your career and you don’t know where to start, I can help. Send me a note. I’d love to meet you. Let’s explore what’s possible for you, together. ❤️

Cole Baker-Bagwell

Master Certified Professional Coach

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