1st Birthday Series Part 1 – She Leads She Thrives Podcast Episode 53

Ep 53_She Leads She Thrives Podcast | Business coach for women Perth Australia
Ep 53_She Leads She Thrives Podcast | Business coach for women Perth Australia

It’s our first birthday week at She Leads She Thrives and to celebrate I caught up with some of your favourite guests from the first few months of the podcast. We chatted about the past year and where they are now. It was easy to choose each of these superstars because not only were there episodes in the most downloaded list, but they are stellar souls who are so amazing at what they do, generous with their time, and were truly excited to join me again to celebrate our first birthday.


In this first of 3 conversations, you’ll hear me chat with Stasha Washburn, Annie Gichuru, and Penny Soo. Check the rest of the show notes for links to their original episodes because if you missed them the first time, I know you’ll want to tune in now. And if you heard them the first time around, there’s so much wisdom to learn all these months later.


A birthday gift for you!

Access the special offer of 50% off all 

  • 3 options for Thrive Factor profiling
  • Business strategy sessions 
  • Thrive Factor Coaching
to celebrate our first year live in the podcast space. 
Use the code SLSTbirthday50. The code is good for all of October 2023!


The numbers of each offer are generous, but limited so if the links don’t work, they’re sold out. Here is where to access this rarely seen savings.


Connect with past episodes featuring today’s guests. In addition to listening to the episode, you can also read their bio’s in each of these features


Connect with today’s guests on their socials
Stasha Washburn
Annie Gichuru
Penny Soo
Tune into audio, or watch the video version of this episode below.

Episode Summary

Stasha Washburn

6:51 In the last year, what’s been your greatest personal evolution?

11:08 What’s gone on behind the scenes for you this past year in business that maybe we haven’t seen on your socials?

14:48 What if anything, do you wish you’d known a year ago that you know now as the business leader that you are?

18:15 Connect with Stasha


Annie Gichuru

25:42 What’s been your greatest personal evolution?

31:37 What’s gone on behind the scenes for you this past year in business that maybe we haven’t seen on your socials?

38:00 What if anything, do you wish you’d known a year ago that you know now as the business leader that you are?
43:30 Connect with Annie


Penny Soo

50:11 What’s been your greatest personal evolution?

52:39 What’s gone on behind the scenes for you this past year in business that maybe we haven’t seen on your socials?

55:32 What if anything, do you wish you’d known a year ago that you know now as the business leader that you are?

58:44 Connect with Penny

Episode Transcript


She Lead She Thrives, the home of inspired conversations, practical and creative wisdom, expansive leadership and business insights, abundant Bragaudacious moments of celebration and useful info you can actually do something with.


You’ll hear about mindset marketing, money, magnetism, self awareness and the Thrive Factor Framework, it’s Archetypes and more. Amplify your role as a leader, a self led soul. Tap into your effortless success zone. Turn your ingeniousness and wisdom into profitable income streams.

From solo shows to guests you’ll definitely want more from, there’s something for every ambitious ingenious soul. 

I’m Shannon Dunn, a true OG of the business coaching space, with an obsession with thriving. You are so welcome here. Let’s dive into today’s episode.

Visit ThriveFactorCo.com/links for all the latest news and offers.

Shannon Dunn  01:16

Welcome everyone to our celebration series for our first birthday of She Leads She Thrives. So across three episodes, I’m going to be chatting to previous guests from the early months of the podcast. These are guests whose episodes still rank amongst the most downloaded in our very first year of sharing the most incredible conversations and information and wisdom with you. 


Shannon Dunn  01:39

Team Thrive Factor and I thought it was a brilliant opportunity to check in with them now and ask a series of reflective questions so they could share more of their wisdom with you. And it’s been such a joy creating these conversations to bring them together and to share them as part of this birthday series. 


Shannon Dunn  01:56

Now before we begin with the first of our feature guest conversations for today’s episode, I also want to say a huge thank you to you, our listeners. Without you there wouldn’t have been as much fun and joy and celebration in this past year. I really adore and I hope this shines through, but I adore the podcast medium for connecting with a global audience. But it also makes the work and the energy that goes into every episode that much richer when we know there are people actually out there listening and downloading our episodes every week. So thank you, I truly hope that you’ll be a long term listener if you’re not already, and that you’ll continue to share our episodes and with your business and your leadership community. 


Shannon Dunn  02:38

So a huge big love to you all and if you still don’t know who I am because you are brand new to She Leads She Thrives. This a little final reminder before we dive into the first of our conversations in this special birthday series. I’m Shannon Dunn, I am the host of She Leads She Thrives. I’m a longtime business and self leadership coach. And I just love being able to bring more wisdom to the world. So thank you for your time today and have a magical day wherever you are.


Shannon Dunn  03:17

Big hello everyone. Here we are back with another one of these birthday series. Yeah, First Birthday Celebration Series chats . Now, why don’t we start Stasha like seriously, there’s so much we can talk about. But we’re gonna keep this succinct and I’m going to ask you the same three questions I’m going to ask every one of our guests for this birthday series. But I need to really highlight if anyone’s not been listening to the podcast since the beginning and hasn’t caught our early episodes. You were the very first guest that I invited to come and be on She Leads She Thrives back in oh goodness me or we recorded it. And I think it went live in October. Because it was episode five


Shannon Dunn  03:58

Yeah, so feels like a long time ago now. But you know about a year ago, give or take a little bit was when  we shared our first conversation. And we really focused on your pioneering work, which is kind of obvious because you’re a Pioneer Seeker is one of your Archetypes, but your pioneering work in the space of period coaching. And for I guess that’s a point to also highlight. I think the rest of the world knows when we say period that we’re talking about menstruation. In the US, of course that has another alternate meaning, doesn’t it? And so, I’d love you my beautiful friend to come and introduce yourself and then we’ll get stuck into conversation for this special series.


Stasha Washburn  04:37

Oh, well an absolute honour to get to be the first interviewee on the podcast. So just thank you again. That was an absolute delight. I love going first.


Shannon Dunn  04:47

We also had such a fun conversation. So yeah, we will make sure we link that.


Stasha Washburn  04:55

Yeah, absolutely. Well, I’m Stasha. I am the Period Coach. I am the founder of Period Coaching School where I certify people to become period and or menstrual cycle coaches. Of course, you know, people call themselves all sorts of things. But yeah, we have the international certifications. So it’s a fun school and program. I’ve been doing this work for about 10 years, because I have endometriosis. And it really made it impossible for me to hold down a normal person job. I am unemployable. 


Stasha Washburn  05:27

So, it really set me down a path of well, how do I keep a roof over my head, I can’t work a normal job. And that sort of stumbled me down the path until I realized that working in menstruation, normalizing these conversations, educating, really using my Mentor Teacher Archetype there, obviously, with Period Coaching School really was like a basis of what fills up my soul and lights me up, and brings me in profitable business. So it was quite a journey. But, you know, as my Heroine Adventurer enjoys the journey out there in the wild, I certainly learned a lot along the way and I’m really happy to be here now.


Shannon Dunn  06:15

Yeah, so good. And what we are doing for this birthday series, if anyone hasn’t caught any of these interviews, these conversations, is going back and doing a bit of reflection, because most of the guests that I’ve invited back, there’s a number of reasons. You were one of the earlier guests on the podcast, like you literally the first one, but also your episodes have performed so well over the course of this last year, or since your episodes went live, and consistently continue to get downloads, whether you’re sharing the episode with your community, or I’m re-sharing things, they’re still getting found and listened to which I love. 


Shannon Dunn  06:51

And that shows me that the topics that we talked about were things that people really have interest in. And I think it could easily be dismissed by a lot of women out there, because this podcast is focused on the the female gender, as She Leads She Thrives. The “she’s” in there, that people could dismiss or women could dismiss the link between periods, menstruation and even moving out of that into our peri-, and then menopausal phases and still being cyclical, you know, individuals, that missed the link and the importance of connecting that to business. I know you’ve done that so well. That’s not what we’re going to talk about today. I want to get jump into ask you these questions. So in the last year, what would you say has been your greatest personal evolution?


Stasha Washburn  07:46

Yeah, oh, you kind of watched this unfold. I have a house for the first time in years. So I went from college, to New York City where you know, you’re in an apartment to Los Angeles where it’s an apartment and there were a couple of other stops in there, but all in apartments and rentals. And then, oh, gosh, it must have been 8-10 years ago, I went nomad and I just put all of my stuff in storage. I got rid of, like 75% of my things, put everything in the storage and then just went out on the road. I love to travel. Los Angeles is insane. I was like, why am I spending all this money when what I want to do is be other places. So like, why am I spending all this money on Los Angeles rent, when I could take that same amount of money and travel really well. I was like that’s it. I’m going out and I’m going nomad and and I loved it. And I went nomad for a long time. 


Stasha Washburn  08:49

And then quite literally the opportunity for a house fell in my lap. And I took it and so now my partner and I have this house where we actually live in a house that’s not a rental that you know, it’s just it’s an amazing change of pace, but like I’ve never had a “this is where I live”.  I can paint the walls whatever color I want. I can put in a shelf. I can blow out a wall. Like I can do whatever I want because it’s my house now. So that’s been a huge change. A first for me. So yeah, that’s been the biggest change in my life for sure. In my personal life in the last year.


Shannon Dunn  09:31

How has that influenced your business having that one base that you call home?


Stasha Washburn  09:41

You know, I think it’s not easier. I don’t think it’s easier. I mean, it is like scheduling is easier. Knowing when I’m going to be available is easier, kind of like those little things are definitely easier. But I was always working my business with my cycles. So as soon as I started doing that, it’s always sort of maintains the same level like my hours of being a nomad. I’ll be interested to see what my hours look like at the end of this year. But my hours like I meticulously track I have been this exact  same from going nomad to moving to the house last year. 


Stasha Washburn  10:15

So the last year and the year before hours were for an entire year I was 10 hours difference between the two. So very, very much the same. But the fun! I can buy fun things now like for my office, I painted the walls for my brand colors. Like I had these old red floating shelves, I got out of storage. Being able to like, I really is kind of like just girl out and like, buy some more fun clothes for business video chats and buy some fun tchotchkes for the business and making sure I’ve got like….I got a new desk. Oh my God, I love my desk, I would marry my desk if it proposed. I have this big desk now.


Shannon Dunn  11:08

Yeah. And earlier this year, in 2023, you were in Australia, and you came and spent some time and met with me here in Perth. So we had a great couple of weeks together. And I remember at that time you were talking with Chris, your partner around what desk you were going to get. So I was so happy that you got the one that you love as much as you just shared. That’s so cool. I love it. So this might have something to do with what you’ve just shared. But the second question I’d love to know your answer to is what’s gone on behind the scenes for you in this past year that we haven’t seen on your social media. 


Stasha Washburn  11:45

I mean, I can’t say there’s a lot that I don’t share on social media, because I am  basically an open book. I will say something I haven’t talked about a lot. And actually this is something that I think should be a blog post like just kind of thinking about this it’s made me realize that the money anxiety. So going from digital nomad, and just kind of being like, I need to know where my rent is coming from or where my flights are going to be paid. You know, I often travel with one way ticket. So it’s like, will I be able to fly back. So just kind of having that basic underlying money anxiety because I was building the business and being a nomad at the same time. And then I know growing up poor growing up with money  concerns and living in New York City and Los Angeles kind of is a thing as well. 


Stasha Washburn  12:39

So I’ve just always had this like money anxiety my whole life of like, I have make decisions very smart, very practically,  very lean, very focused and controlled. I am definitely a saver not a spender, like pulling money off me as a challenge, right.  So it was this last year that I just kind of went, Oh, my goodness, like, I don’t have to think like that. I make good money. I have a roof over my head. I am making more than I need. So you know, I’m investing. So well, then why am I still running the same programming of money anxiety? So it’s kind of like a moment where its  just like you’re reinvesting, you know, $6500 in a retirement account every year, or you’re investing in CDs, and locking some money away for higher interest rate gains for years at a time that you can’t get to like, you have extra, so why are you still like making all of your decisions based on what’s the lowest price, the best rate, the most bang for my buck….. when it was like, or what if I just got the desk that I really wanted?  


Stasha Washburn  13:52

So instead of worrying about the… Yeah, so that for me has been a practice. And I want to be very clear that it’s a practice that I’m still practicing. Yeah, even just like going out to dinner. Like that was even a thing where we were out running around. We just bought a new car, we’re doing all these things. And I was like, I’m kind of hungry. And my first instinct was like, Okay, well, let’s just go home and make lunch. And it was like, or we could go get tacos. Let’s go get lunch out. It was that mindset moment where I was like, Alright, let’s get home, we’ll make something from the refrigerator, you know, whatever. And then I was like, Oh, well, we could just go out. But it was like oh, you just put all this money into a car. What are you thinking? you can’t go out to eat – you’ve spent money. Let’s just go out to eat.


Shannon Dunn  14:48

Yeah, the money stories, the money beliefs, the money patterns and how long we have had them run a certain way. So interesting, isn’t it? But I love that your your awareness is expanded, and you’re thinking about this. But yeah, definitely blog posts. And then when you have that blog post published, hopefully it’s before this goes live, or even afterwards, we’ll add the link into there if anyone wants to read that. Yeah, it’s a good thing. So my final question for you is, what do you wish you’d known a year ago, that you know, now as a business leader?


Stasha Washburn  15:26

This is one of those things that I don’t know if it’s something that I didn’t know. But I think it’s something that didn’t embrace in practice as much and very similar to switching that mindset is, I was making my offers in my business with the “I need to make money”. So what am I going to offer so that I can make money? Rather than, what can I offer that I know my people need and want and would be fun for me? Yes. And it’s, again, just switch in mindset really, but it was just one of those things that was just not very conscious, where it was, like, I need to make money, I need to do an offer, what do people ask me for? Let me do that, so that I can make money right now. And instead of going, I don’t need to make money right now. I am making money right now. What do I want to do that would be fun for me, and would provide value that people have asked for or wanted or whatever. And I want to do. Not just because people have asked for it, and it will make money now.


Shannon Dunn  16:33

Yeah, that’s a huge shift. And I you know, the reality is that there are so many times in our lives and transitions and experiences we go through, you know, what’s happened in the world the last three and a half or so years, where our security gets threatened in different ways. And I can see how easy it is then to switch into that space, that mindset space, I need to make money and I have to make this amount actually extra because there’s all these other increasing bills and cost of living and so many other things going on. So that comes from such a different space, as you said, then being able to go okay, like what what is actually valuable out there for my community and that I’ll also have fun doing,  that I’ll be energized by doing, that will for you, particularly I know, fit within you’re working in flow. Yeah, in a whole different way than what others would look at that. So that’s a really great piece of wisdom to tap into. And to remember moving forward, as well, right? 


Stasha Washburn  17:39

Yeah, it can absolutely be both. Like you can be of service and do the thing that you want to do. It makes you go from feeling kind of tense and driven and tight and squeeze to easeful and enjoying. and it makes you want to do it more. It makes you want to do the social media posts. Like you know, you and I we’re introverts. Social media is not exactly where I want to spend my time. But it makes me want to share because I’m excited about it. Yeah, versus going I have to share, need to make the money.


Shannon Dunn  18:15

Huge difference. And I find it so interesting when you have conversations with people about showing up, being visible in the digital space, whether it’s social media, or writing blogs, or doing interviews, whatever it looks like. And it’s so hard or I never know what to say or I don’t even know where to start or even what I’m offering right now. And it’s like, well, where’s the fan? Like, what are you doing that’s energizing you and you really enjoy? And usually there’s not a lot and that is a big contributor. So much so. I love it. Love it. Incredible wisdom, of course, as I expected from you. So how can people connect with you the easiest. So where do where do they go to find and connect with you if they don’t already follow you online?


Stasha Washburn  19:03

Instagram at @stashawashburn Easiest way to just shoot me a DM and pop up. But otherwise, you’re always welcome to head over to periodcoachingschool.com or theperiodcoach.com and, and check out the goods there.


Shannon Dunn  19:20

So many I mean, you’re one of a number of people who I have been connected to you and we’ve  developed this gorgeous friendship that we have. But for some time now and you’ve always got great resources, new stuff coming in, but you also remind people of what’s already there. So if anyone’s listening to our conversation today, definitely go back and listen to the Episode 5 of She Leads She Thrives – we’ll link that into the show notes – to listen to Stasha and I talk about where she was at and what she was doing with period coaching and really pioneering in this space. 


Shannon Dunn  19:54

But also follow up on those websites, follow her on Instagram because if you’re looking for any resources to support you as a cycling woman, then definitely, it’s a place to go for sure. The destination to go. I love it. Thank you so much for joining me, it’s so good to chat to you again and to capture another little piece of your wisdom to share with the world. And to you know, to have you back as our very first guest. If we do a birthday series like this every year, you know you might just come back every year because that’s the thing about having been the first guest. Like, where is she now? Very fun. 


Shannon Dunn  20:37

And listeners thank you for tuning in as well. And listening to this conversation I’ve had with Stasha today. Thank you for your ongoing support, we wouldn’t be where we are in our first birthday with She Leads She Thrives. I feel that I would have shared these conversations, even if there was not really many people listening, but seeing so many of you listening and downloading all around the world, 30 plus different countries. Hopefully, this birthday week, we will surpass our 50,000 downloads, it’s just been phenomenal and, and so much fun to connect with some incredible women in all kinds of corners of the earth. 


Shannon Dunn  21:15

My challenge for year 2, is to see how many additional incredible souls I can connect with in new places that I haven’t yet had conversations with guests. So if you are someone out there listening and thinking that you might be someone that could be a part of that, then reach out. Follow me connect with me build a relationship, because if you haven’t heard me share this before, my guest strategy is to only invite people that I actually have an existing connection and relationship with and I know that that adds to the richness and the value of the conversations we create and share with you. So wherever you are in the world, have a fabulous day, enjoy this birthday series. And I look forward to connecting with you very soon. Thanks, Stasha, see you soon.


Shannon Dunn  22:07

Now what a fabulous, fabulous thing it is to welcome back one of our guests. In fact, the episode featuring you Annie was our 10th episode, right back kind of in the early phases of She Leads She Thrives, right, like not quite a year ago from when we’ll be sharing this but coming up close to that. So it was officially our 10th episode and the focus of our conversation back then was around leading a more racially inclusive business. Its your jam right? That’s your thing.


Annie Gichuru  22:37

That is my thing, through and through.


Shannon Dunn  22:39

So much. So just for anyone who didn’t catch that episode. Firstly, we’ll tag that in. So you can go back and listen to that because I’m sure after you listen to our conversation today, you’ll want to go and hear the full episode that I recorded with Annie last year in 2022. But Annie Gichuru and I’ve known each other for some time now and got to know each other on a whole different level in the last couple of years in the masterclasses, the programs, the almost like the Activated experience that we’ve just wrapped up recently, was like a mastermind more than a program. 


Shannon Dunn  23:12

So we’ve done some really amazing things together. And it’s been such an eye opening, heart opening experience for me working with you to discover, to unlearn, to learn, to be challenged in the most beautiful ways around all the things – many that I didn’t even expect would come up but I think that’s part of the gift and the excitement for me – around how I could lead a more racially inclusive business, both as a coach with Thrive Factor Co and then as a lead educator in the Thrive Factor School with the self leadership coaching certification. 


Shannon Dunn  23:49

So tell us a tiny bit about you. We’re not going to kind of do bios as such officially this time. We’ll include that in the show notes for anyone who wants to read more about you, Annie. But I’d love for you to give us a bit of an introduction, then we’re going to dive into the three questions  I’m going to ask every one of our guests that I’ve invited back for this very special first birthday series for She Leads She Thrives and the reason that I’ve invited you is because your episode is still ranking as one of our most downloaded in this first year that we’ve been live.


Annie Gichuru  24:26

Thank you so much for having me, Shannon. And firstly, congratulations on one year, celebrating that. That’s a huge milestone, especially when it comes to podcasts and just you know, putting out really valuable content on a very regular basis. So congratulations on that. And thank you so much for having me back. What an honor to be invited back and what a treat. I’m so excited for us to dive in. For those of you who are tuning in and you don’t know who I am. My name is Annie Gichuru, a racial equity coach for online business owners who are ready to build businesses that are racially equitable, so they can be intentionally inclusive. The key word here being intentional with your inclusivity. Especially because we live in a world whereby we have been taught to be who we are, we subscribe to systems that a lot of the times we do not know that we are subscribed to them. And they cause us to behave in certain ways. They shape our belief systems, and in so doing, contributes to how we build our businesses, how we support our clients. And so being intentional about inclusion is what I focus on. And I’m looking forward to the conversation today, Shannon,


Shannon Dunn  25:42

I know, it’s gonna be so good. I’m not surprised that your episode has been so popular Annie because this topic and your area of expertise is so needed in the world. And I know that I’ve shared with you and I’m sure I shared it in our episode we recorded and shared last year, for me choosing to work with you was a no brainer. And you kind of ticked more boxes than I even knew I had around the kind of person that I wanted to be my mentor and my guide and my challenger and the one that would spark more curiosity in me around this area, because it’s such an important thing. But in these questions, I wanted to reflect for each of the guests, no matter when your episode went live on She Leads She Thrives kind of what’s happened for you in the last year considering we’re at the first birthday for the podcast. So the first question I’d love to know about is in the last year, what’s been your greatest personal evolution?


Annie Gichuru  26:35

Hmm, gosh, a lot has happened in the last 12 months. But on a personal, so not business, on a personal evolution, has been returning back home to Kenya, after four years and of course, very much impacted by the pandemic and not being able to go back home as often as we normally do. So from a personal perspective, just being on Kenyan soil, just being with my people, not having to think about my surroundings, where I am and how I have to behave or feeling like the odd one out or like I don’t fit in, like I don’t belong.


Annie Gichuru  27:15

 There is something about being home, there’s something about being surrounded by your people speaking your language, eating your food, and just being in that culture where you belong. And I think it hit home a lot harder for me this time, it really was a lot more personal. Firstly, because of not being home for such a long time. And before, the last time I was home, I wasn’t doing this work in this kind of deep way that I am now, you know, this is post the murder of George Floyd. 


Annie Gichuru  27:51

So a lot has happened from a racial perspective. And so the trouble of getting to Nairobi, the looking around, and the seeing the faces just changing from being in a predominantly white space to now checking into a predominantly black space was also something that my body had to take in. And I remember getting so emotional standing in line, as we were getting into the flight that would take us to Nairobi, and just feeling just emotional, seeing black people, speaking their language, being in that mix. And I just felt so grateful to be in that space, because it’s one that I had never felt the need to be grateful for, because I just was. And so I went home with a very different lens, came back with a whole different feeling in terms of my identity and belonging. And so I would say that’s probably been one of my biggest things that has happened from a personal perspective.


Shannon Dunn  28:53

Yeah, I remember seeing or tuning into the stories that you were sharing and I know Instagrams your favorite place to be on online in terms of connecting and sharing content, at that time that you were in Kenya and with your family. And it felt such a privilege and an expansion even for me being witness to what you were sharing, and giving us some insight into what that was like and I remember Annie feeling that emotion. Yeah, certainly I didn’t get to be in line with you at the time when that kind of first welled up but I could still feel what you may be going through and what that was like and to be honest, I kind of, not forgotten but in some ways I had forgotten, that this work you’re doing now and the way that you’re in it so deeply is new compared to when you were last time. So what a gift.


Annie Gichuru  29:46

And I think, not taking people for granted. You know, the conversations that we would have that you know we kind of took for granted sitting around the dinner table and having conversations, speaking your language, those are just things that just happen and have happened all of my life. But this time there was so much intentionality in presence. Being present with people, and also going back home and knowing that there’s some loved ones who were no longer with us. And just just being present with knowing the gift of life and having a lot of gratitude, and just feeling like, wow, I am so blessed to be here in this time and to experience this. So it was a very, very different, but very rewarding feeling. 


Annie Gichuru  30:35

And I’m so glad that a lot of you got to come along behind the scenes and experience this and people going, Oh, my God, I didn’t know Nairobi had such beautiful supermarkets. If that was what was here, then I would want to go grocery shopping. It was also a lot of cultural awareness. Because people think Africa, and they think certain things, you know, illness, poverty,  just all these things that were shown in mass media. But there’s another side that y’all don’t get to see. There’s a whole other side that is beautiful, that is rich, that is just a place that you would want to go on holiday and enjoy. And I got to share some of those snippets. 


Annie Gichuru  31:16

You do. I’m just thinking of as you mentioned  the supermarket then, I remember being shocked because I have been to Nairobi, but it was in the 1990s Annie. That’s a long time ago now. Oh, yes. Oh, my goodness, look at that, because of course supermarkets back then were not like they are now.


Annie Gichuru  31:35

No, they’re not.


Shannon Dunn  31:37

Being so expanded with seeing the different countries through southern Africa that I traveled to back then around the landscape, the beauty that was everywhere, the actual infrastructure that I didn’t imagine because of what I had seen in mass media, the rich conversations I had with people where I was the one asking about all kinds of things because I was so fascinated around culture, like dance and music and art, things that really connect me with learning about people and where they’re from. And I definitely will be going back and traveling more of Africa in the future, for sure. Fabulous. So our next question, what’s gone on behind the scenes for you this past year in business that maybe we haven’t seen on your socials?


Annie Gichuru  32:28

Building of relationships at a deeper level with my clients, with students, and seeing a lot of the things that I have been teaching and saying, if you do this, this is what the outcome will be. And now seeing that come to fruition for my clients and students, it has just been such a beautiful thing to watch, because it’s one thing to teach somebody to hold space for them and say this is what you need to do, this is what would make your business more inclusive. And then seeing the longevity, seeing the reward of being in this work of inclusion for an extended period of time, and what that looks like. And what my clients are teaching back to me as much as I am an educator in there to really hold space for them and open their eyes and lead them into a more inclusive business. I have also learned some of the things that I have been teaching, different things like for example, not all white tears are harmful. 


Annie Gichuru  33:40

You know, I came from the lens of white fragility and what that does and gets in the way of inclusion work when we shift lenses and have to then cater to the white fragility in the room. Now, learning the biggest lesson of those who have perhaps caused harm, said the wrong thing, holding space for them, allowing them to get vulnerable, shed their tears and hold that space for them, has been such an incredible thing for me to learn. And to see them transition from being so fearful and afraid of making a mistake, learning through whatever thing they have done or mistake that they have made. And staying in the work, being bigger advocates and becoming more genuine allies in this work because of the space that was held for them, the permission to be vulnerable and just something that hasn’t been spoken about a lot in this space and the permission that it’s okay to feel the pain. It’s okay to shed tears. It’s okay to be vulnerable and to be held in that space by a black person who is educating you. So that has been probably one of the things that has happened that has been transformational for me behind the scenes because this is deep work. it’s personal work, can’t share everything on social media with followers. But that’s the work that’s been happening that  has been a teacher to me as well.


Shannon Dunn  35:17

I love it, what an inspiration and, and a gift to you to be able to reflect and to share that that’s what’s been going on. And the thing that stood out, there’s so many things stood out in what you just shared Annie but the one that’s coming to mind now to just talk about briefly is, as you said, to be able to be in that space with a client or group, because I know you’ve had a number of rounds of Represented. And then we’ve done Activated, and you’ve done your masterclasses and lots of different learning experiences that you’ve held space for the people in that. But to see that people have stayed in the work, rather than taking the possibly very easy option and kind of bailing out, which you and I shared in our podcast episode last time. And then the many conversations we’ve shared – this is not easy work for a lot of people, irrelevant of your color. But  I feel like there is a lot of permission, maybe unspoken permission, to bail out quickly when it gets too hard or difficult or uncomfortable. So to have that experience for people where they have had your support. And they have stayed in, like that must just make your heart swell so much with all kinds of things.


Annie Gichuru  36:36

Though it has been very expanding for me, and also just giving myself permission to do this work in a way that feels right for me and the human that I am because sometimes it’s easy to look at what are other people in this space doing. How are others educating and trying to emulate that as being the standard of how to do inclusion work, but I think it is allowing myself to come as I am. I’m a huge empath. I’m an introvert and allowing that to come through. I teach with a lot of compassion, calling in, permission to please do make mistakes. But when you do, and you learn, you do better. 


Annie Gichuru  37:19

And I think that is something that has resonated with a vast majority of the people who say yes to working together, because that is a lens with which they haven’t quite seen as much out there. And they’re like, you mean I can make mistakes? You mean I can come as I am and I wouldn’t be shamed or judged or made to feel guilty? Yeah, absolutely. Because those are the ingredients that make doing this work very difficult and keep a lot of people bystanders, but when you allow people to come as they are, and work through whatever it is that they need to work through, we give room for more people to step into this work and we need everybody stepping into inclusion work really.


Shannon Dunn  38:00

Sure do. Love it, I think one of the things that I’ve also loved seeing, and possibly is happening more behind the scenes, and you probably don’t have as much awareness of it as I do, because I’m looking at it through the lens of your Archetypes that you discovered about a year ago as well. So being a Mediator Diplomat, the way that you really speak from your heart and share your truth, and want to offer different options for people to understand, to learn, and to connect with this work has really for me, it’s felt like that has expanded significantly. Your Mentor Teacher, she’s just doing her thig, like she does naturally and sharing wisdom, not just knowledge, which is such a shift and a maturity for the Mentor Teacher is being able to be in the space of sharing from wisdom, not from I just know things. And then your Inspirer Believer,  cheerleading people in whatever as you said, you show up as you are but also you’re welcoming and calling in people to show up as they are and cheerleading them to step more into all the different facets of this work. So that’s something that I’ve been observing and having that close contact with you it’s been such a joy to see and to feel that all coming to life. So I have one final question for you. What if anything, do you wish you’d known a year ago that you know now as the business leader that you are? 


Annie Gichuru  39:24

This one has been more of a recent learning like in the past few months – slowing down. I have been on a path of go go go go and how quickly can I grow my business? How quickly can I just climb the ladder and the goalpost obviously it keeps being moved? You should be a six figure business, a seven figure business and these are the secrets to get there. What I have just realized is that I need to slow down in order to speed up. And I have my body, because we’ve been in winter here in the southern hemisphere. And so we have been kind of forced to slow down weather wise, but also my health has taken a hit. And so I have been literally forced to stop doing as much as I was doing and to rest.


Annie Gichuru  40:27

 And it has been through that resting that I have realized it allows me to tap into my inner wisdom, as you as you spoke about moving from teaching to wisdom giving. And it’s really allowed me to tap into my thought. My thought leadership, whereas before, when you’re just doing, doing, doing and watching, watching, watching, it’s so easy to get influenced, – what are people saying, what are people asking, , but when you’re quiet, when you’re doing your thing, you are able to tap into the things that are deeply inside of you that you can only hear when you’re quiet. 


Annie Gichuru  41:09

And so I am treasuring slowing down, I’m treasuring not getting to my desk at a certain time, dropped off the kids, it’s 9am. Now I need to do work, I have to give this six hours until three when I go pick them up, like just allowing myself to have joy, take care of myself, ask my body what my body needs today, or now. Of course, work will still be done, but it doesn’t have to be in the rigidity of and lack of flexibility. And the guilt of oh, I didn’t get to my to do list or I didn’t do this and the other. So I’m learning but you can still slow down and still have a really successful business. You can still slow down and still have meaningful impact. Slowing down doesn’t mean not moving, it just means moving at a pace that is sustainable.


Shannon Dunn  42:00

Yeah, I love that any so much. One of the things that I talk about frequently is that there is no speed to success. We all are on our own timeline. Often we force that, so much, just as you talked about, the have to the should do, the must do’s, listening or tuning in or being influenced by all the noise in the business landscape and the world at large. That can tell us that we need to be or have done a certain something or many things if we’re ever going to achieve at a certain level. 


Shannon Dunn  42:28

And I love that there are more of us recognizing that that’s not the case, and turning down the volume of the noise and really listening to ourselves in different ways. And I think that is going to change the way that we are able to lead our businesses and share our wisdom and the connection and the gift for our clients and in us being role models in that. But also, what we’re able to share with them is going to evolve in such a beautiful way that the richness of that is just going to continue to amplify for them in their experience. So yeah, here’s to following your own path, right?


Annie Gichuru  43:09

Absolutely, yes.


Shannon Dunn  43:10

Yeah, what works for you, what works for us individually, which is so good. So that comes to the end of our questions for our birthday series. But what I’d like you to do now Annie is share where people can connect with you, and then we’ll make sure that we have the links to that into our show notes. So that if anyone is interested in they haven’t yet connected, they can do that easily.


Annie Gichuru  43:30

Absolutely. So the best place to find me on social media is on Instagram, my handle is @annie.gichuru. And that’s where I share on a very, very regular basis about how to be inclusive in your life and in your business. Send me a direct message. I love it when people say look, I listened to your episode, and this is what I got out of it, please come say hello. Or you can go to my website, anniegichuru.com. And there is so much in terms of resources that you will not be short of knowing where to begin your journey when it comes to inclusion or where to continue your journey if you’re already in it.


Shannon Dunn  44:10

Yeah, I think if I reflect on, even particularly the last year, the number of resources that you do create  and I know a little bit I guess of behind the scenes of been working with you, that the consideration you put into the research you put into what you’re going to create as a resource for those that are interested in learning more about this work and the way you work, is something that just makes the actual end result of what people get to sign up for and involve themselves with. Don’t pass that opportunity up at all. Annie thank you for coming back and chatting with me again sort of nearly a year on from when your episode. So as I said at the beginning, episode 10 was where you can find Annie, but we’ll make sure there’s a link in our show notes so it’s very easy to go back and tune into that full conversation  Annie and I had. It’s been such a joy to find out where you’re at kind of a year later. And also to be able to invite you as one of our guests that’s had a very successful episode on She Leads She Thrives to be part of our Birthday Celebration Series. So thank you so much my friend.


Annie Gichuru  44:49

Thank you so much for having me. It’s been an absolute joy Shannon, what a joy. Thank you so much for this time.


Shannon Dunn  45:27

Thanks, everybody for listening in. I look forward to sharing it a new guest with you in our birthday series very soon.


Shannon Dunn  45:43

Hello, everybody, and welcome back to another of these amazing conversations as part of our first birthday series for She Leads She Thrives. I’m Shannon Dunn, if you haven’t yet come across me as a host. I don’t know where you’ve been, shall I say that Penny? Cheeky right from the beginning, but I’m delighted to welcome Penny Soo back. So Penny was a guest of ours in a very early February 2023 episode, even though she and I recorded the conversation late in 2022. And the focus of our chat at that time was impactful messaging, like messaging is such a huge part of your expertise, what you love, and I see you sharing your content around messaging, like all the time in such beautiful ways. And at the time, we had already had one episode that went to over 1000 downloads in the first seven days that it was live. Your episode was the next one that did that. Do you remember me messaging you and tell you?


Penny Soo  46:37

I was like, oh my god, I was so so excited. It blew my mind.


Shannon Dunn  46:48

And I love when the guests that we’ve had on the show, when we have such a success with different episodes, are always so beautifully surprised and shocked. And that to me just kind of adds to the genuineness and reminds me why I asked you to come and be a guest. Because you weren’t looking to have lots of download numbers, you just genuinely were interested in coming out of your conversation with me, which is what this is all about. So yeah, so it was episode 21, we will make sure it’s linked into the show notes. If anyone hasn’t yet heard you talk about impactful messaging and what you love so much about it. Then they can go and do that. And I know for me some of the feedback I got from my community was around how simple you made it.


Penny Soo  47:31

Oh, wow. 


Shannon Dunn  47:35

So it’s very cool. So welcome back. I’d love it if you share just a little bit about what you do. And you know, the kind of people that you support in your business. And then we’ll jump into those great questions that I’ve been asking every one of our guests as part of the birthday series.


Penny Soo  47:51

Perfect, thank you Shannon for inviting me back for this recording. It just feels like it was just, I don’t know, a couple of weeks ago. Oh my God, where’s the year gone.  So yes, thank you so much, Shannon. And I had an amazing time in the episode. I think that really helps,  you’re such an amazing host. And yeah, that’s a bit of intro about myself, if you’re listening to this, and you have not listened to Episode 21 with me. 


Penny Soo  48:26

My name is Penny Soo and I am a brand and messaging strategist. I work mainly with online service providers, like coaches, consultants, most who have online businesses, so I help them with refining their messaging so that its impactful and they’re actually attracting only the best people and the right people to work with them and also in the way that is actually highlighting the gifts, not just hiding anything, like showing them and put it on there like full blast. So I love the work that I do. It’s such an honor to do this. 


Penny Soo  49:15

And I have high history on working in marketing. I started with public relations and working with big, multinational corporates and down to non-profits. So I really love this work and I love that right now I actually can do this for small businesses. A lot of very ambitious, self-led women who want to make an impact, not just want to have a business, because they know that the work that they do is so important. It’s  soul gifted and they would do this without even thinking twice. They’re doing their lives best work. I really  love supporting them with a messaging so they get their message out there and attract the best clients who really, really need them in their lives right now.


Shannon Dunn  50:11

Yeah, so good. All right, we’ve got some questions to go through that I can ask every one of the guests that we’ve had back on the podcast for this birthday series. And I’m excited to hear your answers. So this one,  in the last year, what has been your greatest personal evolution? So not necessarily business? But personal evolution?


Penny Soo  50:30

Oh, I love this question. It’s like, it’s funny, this year has been so much about my own personal growth, because last year was great. You know have a business and this year is really great for my own personal growth. One of them is actually really prioritizing myself. Something that is so easy when you are being your own boss, sometimes you’re like, you’re not the best boss, or the best employee to yourself. And what I’ve realized that I really wanted to connect with people offline this year. And this is something that  I’ve missed so much over the last two years, when we have been on and off, like, we can connect and when we can’t and it has been so amazing. 


Penny Soo  51:20

And I have been doing things that are more aligned to me rather than like… I am very logical minded person. And I’ve been doing things like okay, work strategically, but also this year  I’ve prioritized my mental health, I’m really trying to make everything with what aligns with me. And that has been my priority by doing things that are most aligned with me. And that means  letting go of certain things like working with ego. Not doing things that are ego driven, because it’s like, it’s great to be productive. But I realized its been feeding my ego, rather than what serves me and sometimes it’s great to look on your day to day like I got all this done. But do you feel good about having all this? Would you rather do something else? So I really been tuning into that, I’ve been having so much fun going back to like prioritizing my physical health as well. Doing more creative work, stuff that actually really,  like connecting with friends and going out and play. That has been the biggest change for me this year.


Shannon Dunn  52:39

And it’s been good to say that. So the next question is, I’d love to know what’s going on behind the scenes to you that we haven’t seen on social media? So I feel like a lot of what you just shared in your personal evolution we actually have seen. So you, like a lot of the guests that we have on She Leads She Thrives Penny, share a lot online. It’s part of your  brand, your messaging is to be authentic, to be to share some of your vulnerabilities, your stories, what you’re doing in your days. Like I love it when I see you sharing in your stories when you’re out walking your beautiful puppy. And  just getting out in nature, having coffee somewhere, eating… I can tell you;re a foodie because you often share restaurants and things you’ve been eating. But what’s gone on behind the scenes that we haven’t seen on social media.


Penny Soo  53:22

Well, something that I haven’t talked about very often, because I kind of share a lot of my life. I try to be transparent – that’s the easiest way to share content. If you’re holding it back, it makes it so hard. But one thing that I haven’t shared a ton is actually going back into,…. okay, outside of work. I am a circus artist, or aerealist


Shannon Dunn  53:50

That makes sense!


Penny Soo  53:53

Yeah, a lot of people like they think that I’m not afraid of height. I am super afraid of height.  Okay, I’m very scared of height. But I also find it really fun when I actually can conquer the fear. So what I love I’ve been doing a lot in the last…. I think started with February when I took on the 75 Hard Challenge that was like a reset for my health. And that has been really something that I really needed. It felt like it was part of my identity that was gone over the whole lockdown because I wasn’t able to come and work with people, hold hands. We work in groups and we hold hands or hold feet, and things like that. And to totally feel like oh my god, we can do this. This is so fun. This is like all we’ve gone through over the last few years is finally behind us, we can do this again. And it’s so nice to talk and touch and hug people.


Shannon Dunn  54:52

I know. I think even if you’re not a touchy feely person, I think everybody missed human contact didn’t they. 


Penny Soo  54:56

Yeah, so much. I am a hugger and it was so weird for me in the last couple of years where like you want to hug someone but you’re not sure if they want it. Just going to a live event. You know that I’m a foodie,  I go out and meet friends, go for live shows, theaters, just being able to actually go out there and really enjoy movies and live performance – that has been the greatest, the most memorable thing this year.


Shannon Dunn  55:32

That’s very cool. So the next and final question I have for you today is what do you wish you’d known kind of a year ago that you know now as a you know, a woman leading in business in your space?


Penny Soo  55:46

What I wish I would have known I …..Hmm, that’s a very good question. I think the most important thing I’ve realized, because I’ve  reduced my work hours. One thing for myself is like to realize that  nobody dies if you take time for yourself.


Shannon Dunn  56:09

Okay, prioritize you and that may mean less hours in your business.


Shannon Dunn  56:13

I think it’s always a work in progress. But what a great thing it is when you get to that point of understanding what is the priority from a self perspective and then are able to create a business and a life that does prioritize you. It’s such a rewarding experience, isn’t it?


Penny Soo  56:13

Yeah, nobody dies, nothing falls apart. Nothing. It doesn’t matter, right. Sometimes it’s like, I do a lot of things. I was like, oh, let’s do this, because I want to get things out. But then I realized, hey, you know, come on, give yourself a breather, you don’t have to rush it. And sometimes I get so excited about things. And I get it all out. But I don’t have to. So I’ve really learned that  things in divine timing. I really start to see things will happen, when its meant to happen, you don’t have to push. And sometimes we can’t rush certain things. And  also behind the scenes I don’t have a huge team, I try not to do that. And also hiring people and training them. And that has been something that I’ve really prioritized this year so that I have more time for myself, which is still a work in progress. 


Penny Soo  57:28

Yeah, absolutely. I think we start, and then when we get somewhere, like when we grow our business, sometimes it’s good to come back to as if… when we start we’re excited and do things and try a lot of things. And because you’re not afraid of failure, that’s like nothing to lose. And when you have achieved a certain amount of success, you’re so fearful you’re failing because you’ve achieved all that you’re like, well, this month, like if I have this event, and I didn’t have the same amount of people coming in this time versus you know, three months ago or last year. You feel like oh my God, what’s happening? But then its like well, things do happen. I don’t need all this to validate me as a person. And it doesn’t mean my work is less worthy. It’s really learning to, you know, to not let the ego.


Shannon Dunn  58:26

That’s been so fun. I’m so glad that we had you back and that we got to kind of check in where’s Penny now, what’s she up to, what are you focusing on? If anyone’s listening, and they’re not yet following you and connected with you in the online world, where’s the best place for them to do that? And then we’ll make sure like we did last time that all those links are in the show notes.


Penny Soo  58:44

Yeah, so I have been more present on Instagram this year than the last. Or my main platform is still Facebook. But yeah, if your favorite platform is Instagram, let’s connect on Instagram. My handle  @itspennysoo. I think you’re gonna put a link anyway. Yeah. So yeah, let’s connect. And if you like food,  if you like dogs, having fun –  yeah, let’s just connect.


Shannon Dunn  59:12

You’ll see lots of that won’t you. Looking at your stories and all your content, you definitely get to know your puppy, like so Blue gets a big feature. And I can see why, he looks like he’s very charismatic from what we can see and what you talk about. Yeah, lots of food pictures. So if you’re a big foodie, you’ll love what Penny’s sharing because there’s always pictures of where she’s out, what she’s eating, coffee. I see lots of pictures of coffee. And all the fun things to do. 


Shannon Dunn  59:38

And the fact you mentioned before that you do circus art doesn’t surprise me now because I can think back to the times where I’ve seen you sharing kind of acrobatic stuff that you’ve been doing a little bit in your stories like ah, now that all makes sense. 


Shannon Dunn  59:53

So thanks for joining me for coming back and coming back and having a conversation. And listeners, thank you for tuning in to part of this great conversation I’ve just had with Penny as part of our First Birthday Celebration Series, for She Leads She Thrives. If you’re a new listener, welcome if you’ve been around for a while, thank you for being here and supporting us because, I say this often, I would still show up and create these conversations, do the solo episodes, even if we didn’t have a lot of listeners, but the fact we’ve got so many in so many different countries around the world just makes it so much more exciting and joyful for me to do this. So yeah, very, very cool. So thanks everyone and wherever you are in the world have a fabulous day.

Thank you

Thanks for tuning into today’s episode. You are so valued and appreciated.


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Meet host Shannon Dunn

Shannon Dunn, CEO here at Thrive Factor Co is your host of She Leads She Thrives podcast.
Having hosted two podcasts previously, Shannon loves an opportunity to share her musings, wisdom and lived and learned experiences about a whole range of topics to support the ambitious, ingenious souls of the world to thrive in business, leadership and life.
An OG of the coaching world, Shannon believes thriving is a birthright and with the creation of the Thrive Factor Framework® and it’s 12 distinctive and female centric Archetypes, she’s on a mission to ripple as much thriving as possible across the world.

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