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How did JoyGenea go from kindergartner with Dyslexia to successful entrepreneur? Sideways and with lots of professional detours. Seriously, JoyGenea’s life will be the best biography of the century. 

Learn about JoyGenea’s connections to the community and how her past has shaped her present and future as Michelle interviews her co-host in this episode of ‘If These Heels Could Talk.’



J:  Hi I’m JoyGenea and I own Solutions by JoyGenea.

M:  And I’m Michelle, owner of BadCat Digital. Welcome to If These Heels Could Talk. Today on our show I’m going to be interviewing JoyGenea, as we know you want to get to know each of us a little bit more.  And JoyGenea was super looking forward to this. So we’re actually going to do two podcasts. One where JoyGenea interviews me and one where I interview JoyGenea. If you are listening to this one you’re going to want to look up the other one as well and then get to know us both a little bit better. We’re actually going to answer the same questions.  Starting with this one.  So Miss JoyGenea, how have you shown influence and leadership in your profession and industry?

J:  I really like working with people.  Part of how I got into the digital marketing aspect of things was the fact that I was working with clients, helping them get organized.  Doing a lot of electronic digital organizing.

M:  Yeah.

J:  And I was seeing an industry that was immensely taking advantage of people.

M:  Yes.

J:  It really was at its infancy.  It was very male-dominated.  Now I’m gonna throw that under the bus.  It was very male-dominated and it spoke in foreign language that none of my clients understood.  They just knew they needed a website and then people were walking through the door and saying, “You know what, I will give you 5 page website for $15,000.” And I just couldn’t.  I understood the technology.  I had been making websites, you know in the late nineties and I’m like, I am not a rocket scientist but – A. Like, I can do this and B.  that’s not ok.  So when you’re asking about profession and industry I more or less stepped up and into this because I felt that wasn’t ok.  I had a couple clients that paid for those sites.

M:  Oh my gosh

J:  And then they were 5 page, horrific HTML things that no one would ever like.  I would need something edited on the page.  You are ghosted. That was like. 

M:  And you were gone.

J:  I’m like there isn’t, I just I saw it as an industry and a market that I could be myself.

M: Right.

J:  And I could also bring a lot of compassion and empathy and leadership actually and guidance. It was interesting because as I would move websites from those types of people they would come and be like well you know argh argh and I’m like you ghosted them.  I would just call them on it and I said no this market is changing.  You’re gonna wanna evolve or you’re going to have to figure this out differently for yourself.

M:  Because now there’s people like me and you out there.

J: Right.

M:  Who are going to service a client for an appropriate price.

J: Right.

M:  Isn’t a gouging price but still is profitable for us.

J: Absolutely.

M:  And we’re going to do it with a smile and maybe a little bit more casual conversation.

J:  And education and follow-up.

M:  And education and follow-up and transparency and all of those things.

J:  All those things.  So I guess for me I felt like that was a really that was kind of one of my braver influences.

M:  It is brave.

J:  Thank you.  Mentorship of other small business owners. Truly if I think that they have the potential to succeed I will invest time and energy in them.  If I’m at a luncheon with somebody and they’re telling me about this great business they’re going to do. How they’ve got this all figured out.  I get that they are not in need of a mentor or any form of support, like they got this.

M:  Yup.

J:  And so I have learned to not help everybody.  Help those that ask for help. Very good.  And then hiring people, contractors and people just graduating from school and just giving them some opportunities to get that experience.

M: Right.

J:  That can then lead to a great…

M: Full time job that they want.

J: Right, with a nice introduction letter.

M: With a career they want.

J:  And those kind of things. So that’s how I feel like I do that.

M: Well it’s really good.

J: Thanks.

M:  And can I also say as a testament to her mentorship you are invaluable to me as I started my business and really…

J: Thank you.

M:  And really wonderfully helpful and fabulous with the staff as well.  Because there were things that would come up that you know they would be more comfortable talking to you about and it was like having an aunt with the mom. You know there is somebody on your side who’s going to tell you about the things that you really need to know about but not violating anybody’s trust.  And that was really cool.

J:  Thank you.

M:   A little testimonial for you.

J:  I’m taking it.

M:  Ok, next question. How have shown influence and leadership in your community?

J:  I grew up in a little town.

M:  Little little?

J:  Little 500.  500 oh were talking.

M: Ooooo that’s a little town.

J:  We’re talking literally my mom would go through the phone book and know addresses near my friends and call those neighbor women and they would open their door and yell for me, “Your mom needs you to go home.”  Small town. 

M:  Yeah.

J:  And because of that I learned community is your neighbors.

M:  Yup.

J: And community is the people that you see at the grocery store and community and it where you live and you participate in things like that. So…

M:  You engage.

J:  You engage.  You do.  You don’t over engage and wear yourself out, that’s not healthy, but you engage.  And so for me things that I am passionate about are education, but education for the more non-traditional student because that’s what I was.  And so that’s why I’m on the St. Cloud Technical and Community College board foundation board so that I can make a difference in their scholarship program and in their relationships with the business community because I am part of the business community. 

M: Right.

J:  And so that makes a difference for me and I had a great friend on another board that asked me if wanted to be part of the Listening Point foundation board, which deals with Sig Olson.

M:  What is that?

J:  And it’s actually up in Ely and the Listening Point. It’s a book that Sig wrote but he wrote, oh gosh I think he has 10 or so books that he has written.

M:  Ok.

J:  It’s about the relationship that we have with the wilderness. 

M:  Interesting.

J:  Ohh it is.

M:  And that is a huge passion for you

J:  Yes, it is.  

M:  Cuz I always joke about how you go camping and do things that I will never do in million years

J:  Yes, but for me it settles me.  Like it’s my balance, my settling space and I get for a lot of people it also is.  And that’s what Sig wrote about and so he helped preserve at least 13 wilderness areas.  The Boundary Waters canoe area being one of them. 

M:  Oh cool.

J:  Like he dove into the legislation.  He is was part of writing things.

M:  Wow

J:  Yeah he is a really, really huge influence on all of that. He lived in Ely and he writes about having a space in the world that is your listening point.  Basically, where you slow down and you stop and you just get your crap together and you listen.

M:  Nice.

J:  It is and it.s different for other people.

M: Right.

J: But it more or less communicates that everybody should find this spot.

M:  Yeah.  My listening point includes air conditioning.

J:  Yeah.

M:  Yeah.  Cuz its different for everybody.

J:  Exactly.

M:  Because for me being in those kinds of environments is very anxiety inducing.

J: For a bunch of people it is.

M:  It’s dirty, it’s hot, it’s buggy, it’s all of those things I do also understand the value and see the value of keeping those spaces though because it’s how everything else works.

J:  Yeah.

M:  Like you have to have those spaces.

J:  Well and getting to have the conversations with people about what a listening point is and encouraging people find yours.

M:  Yeah.

J: Whatever that is and then make sure once a year you go and…

M:  You go there.

J:  You go there.

M:  You touch your listening point.

J:  You do and you need part of that and so that is why we preserve that property.  And that is why we’ve continued that and that’s the goal of the foundation is to help people as they read his books and so forth. They start on a quest and a journey of their own to kind of find theirs.  And they like to see where he started his.

M: What a cool organization.  I had no idea.  I’ve known you for years and I had no idea you did this.

J:  I know.  I don’t talk about it much.

M:  Yeah. I love this.  This is great.

J:  But it is a lot of fun.  And it gives me an excuse to go up to Ely and I don’t argue with that.  I don’t argue with that.  I like that.

M: But now you do a lot of other things around here too.  What else are you doing to show leadership and influence in the community?

J:  In the community.  Um my book club.

M:  Yeah

J:  Going on its 8th year.  We were just calculating that.  I have a leadership book club that I make sure just kind keeps going so every month we read one book a month.  And right now we literally just finished Leonardo DaVinci’s biography.

M:  Oh my gosh. Well and I started it on your recommendation and it’s really good.

J:  And you want to get the book.  Like the audio is great to listen to but you kind of need the book or else you need to be googling.

M:  Right the pictures.

J:  The pictures are just so… And this is part of my leadership in belief in the community and so forth.  It is in that mentorship and so like my book clubs like why don’t we just do all personal growth or why don’t we… ya know why do you keep mixing in these big ol’ biographies and stuff.  And I’m like because we need to understand other people.

M:  Yeah.

J:  And when you read about someone’s whole life, people evolve and change and you see that. And you realize that…

M:  Well, and they’re inspirational people you know.  People don’t write a biography about somebody boring.

J: Ah no.

M:  Because that would be the most horrifying biography ever.

J: It would be bad.

M:  It’s not like the fairy queen of biographies.

J:  And a lot of these people that we may read about weren’t popular in their own time.

M:  Nooooo.

J:  It’s very interesting the evolution of like how they might have been before their time and in their time they weren’t accepted.

M: Right.

J:  Or maybe welcomed. And so being a part of that is really good.  I also

M:  It makes you feel good about being in the freaks and geeks club.

J:  Hell yeah.

M:  Yeah.

J:  Being a nerd is ok. It’s good

M:  It’s good.

J:  Yeah not everybody fits in.

M:  No.

J:  All the time.  Leonardo DaVinci started out not fitting in.

M: Right.

J:  Like he was born outside the appropriate spheres.

M:  Yeah.

J:  So I mean like dude was just that’s how its gonna go.

M:  Yup.

J:  And I think it was in his best interest.  You figured that out.  I am also a retired firefighter.

M:  Super cool.

J: So at one point I was deeply involved in my community.

M:  Saving lives.

J:  Meeting people. Meeting people on some of their worst days

M: Absolutely.

J: That’s how I always looked at it.  Like we’re gonna meet somebody who is probably in the worst moment.

M: Worst day of their life.

J:  Yeah and how do we make that a little bit different.

M:  Yeah really cool.

J: And it was awesome because they were my neighbors or they were people traveling through on Hwy 94 and so they were definitely like where am I?  And then I do volunteer with the church and just little things that might be going on in my new town.  My town now where I live is not so big. It’s a suburb of the St. Cloud area and so it’s a little bigger. I do try to know my neighbors a little big and be an ok influence in that.

M: That’s cool.

J: Thanks

M: That’s super cool. 

J: It is fun.

M:  Ok next question. Can you please explain your ability to have an impact on your profession and industry in the future.

J:  You know what I’m just gonna stay doing a lot of what I have been doing.

M:  Hhhhmmmm

J: I’m adding in that new coaching element. And so for me that’s how I feel I can do more.

M:  Yeah.

J:  And be of more influence. I’ve been working on this for a while.  Being less afraid to speak my experience or to speak my observation.  I try and avoid the word truth because truth is about perspective.

M:  Yes.

J: Biased.  So I might just want to speak my perspective in a conversation and that might lie in a board meeting.  That might lie just in a conversation with somebody not agreeing maybe with their perspective but learning to be comfortable to say, “I hadn’t seen it that way before, would you want to hear a different perspective.”  I would like to share this with you. 

M: Very anti-Minnesota.

J:  It is and it does make some people uncomfortable and so I want you know there’s a lot of visual, social cues that I watch for but that to me is actually one the greater ways I would like to be of impact is just showing more compassion love and kindness towards a variety of viewpoints hosted here that may not be mine and then feeling confident enough to step up and say don’t quite lump me with that. That’s not maybe my perspective and that’s ok.  Like that doesn’t change our friendship. That doesn’t change how we’re going to…

M: We can have shared goals and have different perspectives.

J: Absolutely.

M:  Absolutely.

J:  So I feel like that is something I am working on and passionate about within the industry.

M: Well what’s interesting to me about the coaching thing is – to me you are just a natural coach so it feels like a solidification of what you have already been doing.

J: Thank you. Yeah.

M:  It really feels like something is taking you awhile to feel comfortable calling it that.

J:  Yes

M: But that’s what you have been doing the whole time anyway.

J:  And I needed some new parameters.

M: Yeah.

J:  Around it so that’s where the class and certification has been really nice.  Like you almost had but you were doing this little thing over here that wasn’t.

M: Quite right.

J:  Was counter-helpful to people and it’s like if you just move that out of the way.

M: That’ll work.

J:  I know.

M: Yeah, I am super excited about it.  It’s gonna be great for you.

J: Thank you.

M:  Explain your ability to have an impact on your community in the future.  I am sensing a theme.

J:  It was. We didn’t write the questions but were just going with it.  Ya know what that impact again, that’s being on those boards. Having those conversations and being kind and gracious to people whenever possible, just stopping to not be rude to people when I’m in a rush.  I mean those sound like little things.

M:  They’re big things though.

J:  Everybody’s having the best day that they can and everybody came from whatever they came from 5 minutes before they arrived in your space and just having some grace.

M:  Yeah.

J:  Overall, I feel like with people I can be an influence and taking time to more connect with people. That’s another way that I’m working on participating more as a community member.

M: Got it.

J:  And as a person.

M:  That’s cool.

J:  Thanks.

M: That’s cool.  It’s a different way to engage.

J:  It is.

M:  It’s a more personal way to engage. It is a more community-based way.  So, what have you learned from other generations in your workplace and what do they have to learn from you?

J: I love both generations. Actually, I have struggled most with my own generation.  I do.  I struggle most with the Gen X.

M:  Cuz you’re an Xer right?

J:  I’m an Xer.  And ya know it was interesting as the millenials were coming up people were talking.

M: Us.

J:  Right, we’re talking about you.

M:  Yes.

J:  And the ones behind you and as I got to know more and more millenials and so forth I’m like, I think this was my group. I just got ahead of it.  I’m like these guys.  Like they ask questions, they work in groups, like they’re doing the things that I’m trying to make happen in a Gen X society that’s very independent and not doing these things so I’m like oh I like them. And then I’ve always liked the generation that was before me.  I’ve enjoyed their music.  I enjoy the baby boomers also (obviously I married one).  I actually kind of have a deeper respect for the 2 generations before and after me. One of the greatest things I’ve been gaining from the younger generation, particularly women, is the letting go of the body shaming.

M:  Oh yeah.

J:  And one of the biggest influences is a wonderful young lady in my life who I saw a picture of her on Facebook in a bikini.  I stopped swimming years ago because of how large I am. I literally stopped.  I know.  I know. But that’s a body image issue.   I’ll go but truly it’s in leggings and a big shirt and like I will bury.

M: Wow.

J:  Yeah I will bury it. And I love to swim.  If you knew me as a child. I lived in the water.  But once the body ya know once you start to not like how you look you stop wanting to be looked at.

M:  Yeah.

J:  And I remember this was literally a few months ago but I saw her photo on Facebook and I just it really was transformative cuz I went ahhhhh.

M: She looks happy.

J: She doesn’t care.

M: She doesn’t care.

J: She doesn’t care.

M:  She’s not there for anyone else, she is there for her.

J: And I’m over here caring, waiting, I still have some beautiful swimsuits I may someday wear and you know those kind of things and I just remember in that moment and she was just the final thing.  You know other young ladies had been inspiring me but it was like, ok so those stretchy leggy pants that I never wear to the gym. 

M: Hmmmmm.

J:  I’m like why am I not wearing them again? Oh yeah because I’m waiting until I lose weight.  And I heard my brain say I’m waiting until.  And I went you know, you’ve been waiting 20 years.  And if you keep waiting it’s never gonna happen.

M:  Right,

J:  And so I really have to say this next generation men and women they are teaching me about not waiting.

M:  Yeah.

J: And about not… Because I was that generation between women going to work ya know what I mean and all those things that they had gained from all of their hard work and then tiring to incorporate that.

M: Right.

J:  So they fought for the right.

M:  In a really weird way.

J: Right they fought for the rights to be in the sports. They fought for the rights to vote. They fought for the rights to be in the workforce and be treated equally.  Ok great, we needed to step up and be in the workforce equally and hold down full time jobs and those kind of things but then…

M:  And negotiate that in our personal lives in what that meant in changing.  Like in a really real way.

J: Right and so.

M:  Our mind is one thing.

J:  Right, thank you.

M:  But then actually making it work for daughters, for yourself.  Actually living out this in your life is different.

J:  My mom was part of that first wave so she was an at-home mom but also trying to work part time to bring in some money.

M: Right.

J:  And do that kind of thing but yet my mom is an at-home mom at heart.  My mom is an amazing mom.  Like that is. She’s an artist. She’s not driven to be a business professional. 

M:  Right, that’s not what she wanted.

J:  No.  What she wanted was to be a great mom but yet it’s really hard and we needed a little more income.

M:  And that was the rise of the two-income household

J: Right.

M:  And now standards have changed because you have a rise of the two so the middle-class changes.  What that looks like changes and what that requires.

J:  As part of watching all of that and so I acquired both.  What I came to recognize is my generation was like, “ok so I got to work and have family and do this job thing” and it was like aren’t you going to college.  So honestly it’s been easier to relate to the two generations then be in the middle I think. As a woman it’s been challenging.

M:  Yeah.

J:  Overall.  To be all independent but yet the reality is you gotta work together.

M:  And my generation got to watch that. Got to watch that kind of fumble through all of the cultural norms and social morays that came with it. We got to watch that happen and then start to step away from.  I still really admire that in a younger generation as well. Because for me I think they just named us Xenials, you know there’s like this 5 year like doesn’t really fit into the Gen X doesn’t really fit into millennial and that’s where I live.

J:  Yeah.

M: But at the same time I’m proud to carry the mantle of millennial. I’m glad that we’re killing off the diamond industry or whatever it is because we don’t have any money. So I think that it’s one of those things that that does shift over time and you know you kind of gravitate toward what you feel like.

J:  And I feel like each. I do Zumba.

M:  Yeah.  You love Zumba

J:  Oh I do.  I love the Zumba.  That’s become my form of exercise.  I do Zumba with people 20 years older than me and plus.

M:  Yeah yeah.

J:  It inspires the heck out of me. It really, really does.  And I love that. So I just feel like there is so much to learn from all the generations so any chance I get to kind of be around them and pick their brain and just learn some more even my own I have much to learn about the independence and those kind of things.  So generations to me are fun. There’s just a lot to learn.

M:  There’s a lot to learn.

J:  Yeah.

M:  And there is a lot of different perspectives.

J: Absolutely.  And yours is not the one and only true perspective.

M:  Never ever ever.

J:  Yes.

M:  Ok so now some more factual things. 

J:  Ok.

M:  Little bit little less heavy and philosophical. 

J: Good.

M:  A little more a little bit more straight forward and easy to answer.

Where did you grow up?

J:  I did grow up in that small itty bitty town. I was born in Minneapolis but I actually grew up in Colrain, Minnesota.  Northern Minnesota. Right on the edge.

M: Colrain.

J: Yes.

M:  or Cold Rain

J: Coal Rain

M:  Ok well that’s provocative

J:  Right on the edge of the Iron Range

M: That’s a visual that’s kind of interesting.  I am picturing black rain.

J:  Nooooo.

M:  No?  Ok good.

J: Very beautiful just on the edge.  Northern Minnesota.

M: Oh yea,h I suppose.

J: Yup.

M:  It’s just gorgeous.

J:  It is.

M:  Yeah.  Ok so talk about your journey from high school graduation to the next thing whatever that was.

J:  I appreciate you asking that is because it was not some smooth little like…

M:  Neither one of us.  Neither one of us has a smooth ride.  Had a smooth ride through that.

J: That’s not our approach.

M:  No.

J: Sometimes I want to encourage a lot of other people – it does not have to.

M:  It doesn’t have to be smooth.

J:  It does not have to be Disney.

M: Right.

J:  It just doesn’t.

M: Well, cuz it almost never is.

J: Right.

M: And frankly if its Disney you’re not getting prepared for non-Disney.

J: So the total truth is by the time I graduated from high school I hated school.

M:  Yes.

J:  Not just hated school.  I HATED school.

M:  Why

J:  Because of oh that’s right we haven’t talked about that at all.

M:  No we haven’t talked about any of it at all. Tell people.

J:  Ok so I when I was 5 years in kindergarten I couldn’t tie my shoes properly.  Like they were trying to get me to do the left, right, and the rabbit ears over and I could not do that. Luckily I had a very skilled and long-time Kindergarten teacher – should have retired years before I got there but had not yet. God bless her though.  Because she had seen everything.

M: Right.

J: And she took one look at little 5-year-old JoyGenea and went that girl’s got dyslexia. She can’t. She’s not comprehending things the way the other kids are and I’ve seen it before.  And it was time when they could say those kind of things in school.

M: Right.

J: Thank god.  And so she did. She pulled my parents aside and she’s like yeah this one you’re gonna wanna get tested now.  So I was blessed enough to actually get tested.

M:  You know a lot of kids don’t have that early enough.

J: I do.

M: Especially your age and my age.

J: Oh exactly.  In a little town of 500 people with one Kindergarten class like what were…

M: It would just be sitting down and forcing you to do it over and over and over till you got it right.

J: Right.

M:  How frustrating.

J:  I can’t. I’m lucky.  Needless to say, I was diagnosed with a really good case of dyslexia I’m going to have for the rest of my life.  It’s a learning disability.  It’s brain change.  And your language center of your brain and so I’m always going to have that.  And it made school ridiculously difficult.

M:  Yeah.

J: And so my ability to spell was compromised. Immensely.  Art class, phys ed, anything fun was removed from all of my curriculum for all of the elementary school and most of middle school and replaced with spelling words. Over and over. So really they’ve trained the other side of my brain like people with strokes who lose that function.  I’ve trained a different side of my brain to completely spell.  So all spelling comes from over there.  And it’s just memorized after a hundred times of basically writing a word.

M:  Oh my gosh.

J:  It goes in there.  And it worked but it meant my experience with school was not fun.

M: Right.

J:  You know or anything. 

M:  And separated

J:  Oh yes separated.

M:  Like you were separated and excluded from everything cool.

J:  Like I ask myself. How many adults would keep showing up for the same job if every day their boss told them they sucked and handed them a piece of paper that had red marks all over it and said they failed.  We quit.

M:  Yeah. Absolutely.

J: We quit.  12 years.  I did this for 12 years.

M: Oh my gosh.

J: Everyday I was repeatedly informed I was a failure. A big F on every sheet of paper.  Gobs of red ink like it was….

M:  And then people start to treat you like you’re not intelligent because you can’t prove your intelligence.

J: Right.

M:  Like the way that we prove intelligence is through articulation.

J:  Is this one way.

M:  Is this one way.

J:  And that one way wasn’t my way.

M: Right.

J:  And my way is differently.  I’m not not intelligent but I have a disease.

M:  A different way.

J:  Yeah, I have a mental illness that makes it impossible to go that one way which the whole system was created on. So by the time I graduated not only was I not loving school I believed I was extremely stupid and a total failure.  So I was ready to launch out all right. And my parents were done.

M:  It’s like the rocket aiming at the ground.

J:  Ohhhhh totally.

M:  And then shooting you right into it

J:  And I feel for my parents cuz I’m the oldest they have got 2 more children behind me that are both also struggling with similar things plus severe ADHD.

M:  Oh my gosh.

J: Each of them presenting differently. Ok so they’ve got these kids so god bless my parents. And they’re just like this one has to leave.  And I don’t know how to leave. 

M:  Yeah where are you going to go?

J: Where am I gonna go?  So god bless Dad. I’m 100% percent sure my dad filled out the application for Moorehead State University cuz they had a program at the time for dyslexics. 

M:  Ok.

J:  It was a credit-based program where I would earn my credits. And part of earning them would be showing up every day, turning in every worksheet. 

M: Like slogging your way through.

J: Right.  And I would get credit for that.

M:  You would get credit for the effort.

J:  And then tests were the last portion of it, which test anxiety, that’s a whole other topic.  My father helped me get into Moorhead State and it was fascinating because my dad is not overly affectionate.  That’s just not how he works the world. And so literally one of his other great gifts he gave me was he drives me to Moorhead State he’s like nope your mom can’t come with she will be too smooshy or touchy feely. It will just get carried away.  He’s like I got this.  And so dad and I silently drive to Moorhead State.  I’ve missed the first semester because I was really that scared and so he made sure I got into the next semester.  So its November and he pulls up at the curb and he opens the minivan door.  1980’s mini van door.  Wood Panel.  And pulls out all of my stuff. Everything I own is in this mini van and he sets it on the curb and he goes.  And I’m like, “Are you going to help me haul it in?” and he goes “No. If you go through those doors, they will have a cart and then your gonna ask some other people for help because this is college and that’s how you’ll make friends. “

M: Wow.

J:  And he gave me a hug and got in the car and he drove away.

M:  Wow.

J:  Yeah.  I just remembered being like I’m on my own.

M:  Yeah.

J:  I’m just like ok.  And he was right.  I walked through the door and there were people there.  They all came out and they helped me and I had a roommate I had never met until that moment.

M:  Oh my gosh.

J: But I figured a lot of things out.  And in a lot of ways as much as it was traumatic.  You know sometimes just rip the damn band aid off.

M: This is not a helicopter parenting kind of guy.

J:  No. This is not at all.

M:  It’s definitely not a 2019 kind of drop off at college.

J:  And I would love to tell you that I succeeded.  I didn’t.  I fumbled around. Fell in love. Fell out of love.  Got depressed and in the end 4-year Moorhead State College make it about a year and a half. Yup.  And then at that point again not exactly sure what’s next and how do I make that happen but I was dating a young man that lived in Willmar. So many miles away. Farm town.  And he was going to the Technical College.  That sounded like a good idea so I moved in with my boyfriend.

M:  Of course.

J: Who had 2 other boy roommates.

M:  Ewwww.

J:  And I remember sending my parents a letter in the mail and saying I am going to be moving in with these people at Christmas time. 

M:  Yes all of these men.

J:  I remember my dad called and he’s like we already knew. 

M:  Yeah.

J:  And I’m like what. And your parents are just so sly

M:  They just know.

J: And so from there I actually worked in manufacturing then for the next 6 years.

M:  Yeah.

J:  Yup.  I processed turkeys. I’ve made hotdogs. I’ve worked at a marketing company and made the little trinkets and tchotchke stuff.

M:  Yes the trinkets and tchotchkes.

J:  I have learned silk screening.  I’ve learned plastic welding.  I’ve done a variety of that and I worked at a life jacket company locally that was around. 

M: Wow.

J: And that’s when I worked in the warehouse.  I learned to drive a forklift.  I became a mechanic at most of the jobs that I worked at.

M: Sure.

J:  Because it paid better.

M:  Yeah.

J: And I could do it.  I’m actually very good with tools.

M:  Because it’s how you map. Cuz it’s how your brain works.

J: Right it is.

M: If you map through that process, it’s very visual. There is no reading required. 

J: Right and its very tactile. 

M: Its very tactile.

J: Very tactile.  So it’s all engrained in there and so when I worked at the life jacket company I quickly went wow you know those people driving forklift make $1.50 more an hour why not me.

M:  Why not me?

J:  And then you know the next after that was well I would make a buck more an hour if I loaded semi-trailers. I would make 2 dollars more if…

And so I just did.  I would work my way up in that manner and enjoyed doing that but there was a point where I really gosh if I come in and work in warehouse with no windows anymore I gonna…    And I think I am supposed to do something else and by then I think I was about 26.

M: Ok.

J:  And that was when I made my way to the Technical College and stood there and figured out what I was going to do next.  That’s when I studied land surveying and civil engineering.

M:  Yeah.

J:  And dove into that. And truly it was interesting because when I showed up I was not expecting to be the only woman in the room. And there were actually three.

M: Yeah, I sure you were.

J:  No there were three. 

M:  Oh wow.

J:  One quit within the first week. 

M:  Holy buckets.

J: Another one made it through most of the first semester and went this is not for me.  And she was really right it was not resonating with her and we all knew it.  So she made a really good call on that one.  And so then there was me.  It was really an interesting journey so not a smooth amazing launch but definitely my way in there.

M:  And definitely one that taught you all of the things that you’re going to need as you’re in the coaching process.

J: Absolutely.

M:   Because man that’s some life experience to help you out. Alright we are going to end.

J:  Yes.

M:  With one of my favorite things.  This was a surprise for JoyGenea.  So I’m a huge fan of Inside the Actors Studio because I kind of love the format and I love James Lipton and the way he talks to all of the celebrities. And he has this questionnaire that he does at the end by this French guy. Barnard Pevo.  So he has adapted it a little bit.  I’m going to do James Lipton’s version. We’re gonna just do this very fast and have the first thing that comes to your mind. Are you ready?

J:  Go.

M:  Alright what is your favorite word?

J: Because.

M:  What is your least favorite word?

J: I don’t know.

M: Is that the answer?

J:  Yes, that’s the answer.

M: What turns you on?  Creatively, spiritually…

J:  Engaging with other people.

M:  And what turns you off?
J:  When people belittle me.

M: What is your favorite curse word?

J:  The one that starts with an F.

M:  That’s really funny. What sound or noise do you absolutely love?

J: The ocean.

M:  What sound or noise do you hate?
J:  I hate when the tv is fuzz.  It doesn’t do it anymore.  The static…

M:  Oh yeah that is a terrible noise.  What profession other than your own and the one you’re transitioning too would you like to attempt.

J: Wouldn’t it be fun to be a lounge singer?

M:  I’m ah Ok.  Yes, I think it would be.

J:  I stumped Michelle.

M: Fantastic in the sequence dress is what I was going to say. 

J: I know.

M: What profession would you never like to attempt?

J: English teacher.

M: Great answer. 

J: Ever.

M:  Ok last but not least if heaven exists, and we’ll have a conversation about that later. If heaven exists what would you like to hear god say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

J:  It’s nice to see you.

M:  Excellent. Well thank you so much JoyGenea. That is all for today’s episode of If These Heels Could Talk. We hope that we have brought some new ideas, encouraged you in a new direction and inspired you just a tad.

J: Thank you so much.