Sarah Stockdale (00:00):
Instead of trying to move into these very bro-ey Silicon Valley spaces that were using lots of acronyms, you probably wouldn't feel comfortable asking questions or speaking up. We wanted to create a space where you can learn hard skills, but it felt like a soft place to land. You know, build your own table if you don't like the ones that exist.
Rob Pintwala (00:27):
Welcome to Actualize a podcast focused on the intersection of performance, ambition, and ment al health. I'm Rob Pen, and I'm joined by my co-host Kim Foster Yardley.
Kim Foster Yardley (00:41):
Rather than fixate on the wins and successes, our mission is to uncover the whole picture of the human being behind the performance. Join us as we interview top performers across business, sport, and the arts.
Rob Pintwala (00:56):
Actualize is presented by first session. Have you ever considered trying therapy or simply just wanna level up in your personal or professional life? I started first session back in 2019 to help Canadians find the right mental health professional for them. Since then, we've connected thousands of Canadians with the right therapist, and I'm really passionate about helping each individual find the right fit in the therapist for them. We spend hours and hours interviewing therapists across Canada, and each one of them has a professional video for you to take a look at while you decide who might be the right fit for you. Check us out @firstsession.com.
Kim Foster Yardley (01:33):
Actualize is also presented by the Mental Game Clinic. TheMental Game Clinic was founded by myself, Kim Foster Yardley. I combined my 20years of experience as a clinical psychologist with my passion for sports psychology, and I built a team of therapists who specialize in working with high performers, Olympians and founders. Find firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rob Pintwala (02:04):
Today's guest is Sarah Stockdale. Sarah is the founder of Grow Class, a universe of practical marketing courses taught by experts. If you know Sarah, you know that she's very outspoken on social media and we discuss the repercussions of that. We also explore what it's like being a woman in tech. We touch on privilege, confidence, imposter syndrome, and growing a values first organization. As Sarah is also a new mother. We talk about what it's like bringing up a child in today's society and we explore how priorities shift when you become a parent. Please enjoy our conversation with Sarah Stockdale.
Okay, Sarah, I'm gonna jump right in. I see you as someone who is not afraid to speak their mind and stand up for what you believe in on social media in particular Twitter, but I imagine other platforms as well. And for things like feminism and calling out misogyny and like tech bro culture.Why do you choose to be outspoken like that? And also what has some of, like the backlash been perhaps of you being outspoken? Or do you consider yourself outspoken? <Laugh>?
Sarah Stockdale (03:18):
I definitely consider myself outspoken. I, I think I, I am because it matters. Because I, you know, I experienced a lot of things in my early twenties that I don't want other, you know, women in marginalized folks coming up in tech to have to experience. I have a platform and an audience and a bit of power in working for myself that I can, you know, I have a little bit more freedom than a lot of people do to call things out and say things that I,I think need to be said. I also think that it's, there's power in telling your truth so that other people can find you. It's how a lot of folks find grow class cuz they're looking for something that doesn't reflect maybe some of the tech pro culture that's out there and that reflects more of their values. So I,I think showing up authentically as who I am, which sometimes is maybe a little bit sassy, <laugh> a little bit, you know, challenging what's going on that enables me to find more of my people and build more of a community that reflects and shares the same values and also can help kind of push things in a direction that I hope they can, they can move in.
Rob Pintwala (04:31):
For someone who's like observing that, I imagine you've gotten dms and just like some people on the internet, whether real or fake have been a-holes to you. And maybe constantly like how do you deal with that? And like, I imagine most people don't know about that. They don't see that.
Sarah Stockdale (04:49):
Yeah, so I have a, a newsletter that's pretty progressive and it's values pretty left-leaning just cuz that's who I am and what I care about and doesn't always vibe with everyone and sometimes it doesn't vibe with trolls. I've had a few pylon situations, I've had death threats threats of other natures that, that have been jarring and scary. Definitely not to the extent of friends of mine who aren't, you know, cis white women. Like, I get far less backlash than folks with other identities than I do. So I have privilege and power in in that that I can use. But yeah, for sure I get scary dms. There was a period of time that I was very vocal about vaccines. And the anti-vaxxer community found me and posted me on their Reddit thread and did a bit of like a pylon situation which was, you know, it was just interesting to see like other folks get it a lot worse than I do and a lot more consistently than I do. So experiencing just a fraction of that was eye-opening. But, you know, don't feed the trolls and <laugh> screenshot and report things that are specifically scary, but it's not gonna stop me from saying things that I wanna talk about.
Kim Foster Yardley (06:07):
I just, I love how you contextualize that as well. I wondered about what you said about your twenties. I you know, like I work with a lot of female founders. I think just being female myself, they are looking for allies or support outside of the tech environment and I've, I've really heard some horror stories to be honest, and I just wondered if you would be open to talking about some of your experiences and your learnings from that.
Sarah Stockdale (06:32):
Yeah, I think, you know, the, one of the reasons why you tend to experience more, you know, sexism or just inappropriate workplace behavior when you're earlier on in your career is because you have less power.You have less of an audience. You, you don't know what you don't know. You're still so early on in your career that maybe you think some of these things are normal and like try to ignore them or brush them off. You don't have a network or an audience to go to and figure out, you know, is this okay, what do I do about it? So early on in my career, like a lot of that weird stuff happened to me. I was working in environments that were majority men. I, you know, I was on teams of all men a lot of the time. I was, you know, even later on in my twenties, I was usually one of the only women on executive teams startups, and that sucked and was something that I was consistently, you know, being annoying about and trying to change.
But, but yeah, there it's, i I feel like there's more at least discourse around what is and isn't appropriate at work and what you can do about it, what recourse you have.But there, there wasn't a lot of that conversation when I was early on in my career, so I didn't know what I didn't know. And and weird stuff definitely happens to you all the time.
And just like even tiny micro aggressions like that, like I didn't have the voice to say like, Hey, what you said was inappropriate and not okay. And I didn't have the confidence to say that, even if I had known to say that I didn't have the confidence to say it. So I'm gonna say it now and I hope that, you know, we're changing the culture inside of these organizations enough that I don't think things are gonna stop happening to, you know, I don't think, you know, we've, we haven't the problem but at least I want women and marginalized folks who are experiencing weird stuff or bad stuff or assault early on in their careers to know what they can do about it and to have support and to, to be offered power from this system and a community that can stand up for them, not just like these, you know, isolated incidents for people that feel isolated and who don't know what they can do about it.
Kim Foster Yardley (09:22):
Hmm. Because I, I find like with micro aggressions, so having experienced them myself and like I said, working with clients, they so subtle, they happen so quickly. And sometimes you almost feel like, did that really happen? If I said it, would it actually like land? Well, and then there's also the power dynamic, like you said, being in your twenties, you know, if you say something that implies real implications. What kind of advice would you give to young female executives or females in the tech industry around how they can look after themselves?
Sarah Stockdale (09:59):
Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, I think one of the, the most helpful things that I've started doing is ask people to repeat the micro aggression. You might not have an immediate rebuttal, you might not have the confidence to say what you said was inappropriate, but what you can say is, can you say that again? Can you explain that? And then kind of force them into thinking more carefully about the thing that they just said. A lot of people immediately backpedal like, as soon as you ask the que and you can do it, like, can you say that again? I didn't understand it. Can you explain that tome? What do you mean by that? And forcing them to explain the micro aggressionusually at least gets them to consider what they've said, especially if you'renot at the point where you're like, Hey dude, that wasn't cool. Like, let'stalk about how we speak to people because that's not appropriate, which is whatI would do now, <laugh>. But, you know if you don't know what to do, just keep asking questions until you get them closer. And then document, everything. Mm-Hmm.
Kim Foster Yardley (10:59):
<Affirmative>. And, and have you found supportive spaces, I'm just thinking in particular in Canada, in the tick world, you know, when I'm working with these women, one of the things is to find spaces that affirm your experience. Like have you found that in Canada at all, or even in the us?
Sarah Stockdale (11:15):
Oh, for sure. We, we built one. So part of the reason growclass exists, and we have a community called Gather is to build that supportive space for women in marginalized folks, specifically in marketing.That's the, those are the people that we work with. But a lot of the time the conversations that are had inside of our Slack channel and inside of our accountability and co-working spaces veer way far away from just, you know, everyday marketing stuff. And, and I I, you know, we built that space because early in your career you can feel so isolated, especially in fear in a male dominated workplace. So how do you find your people? We, we built a community for them and there's a whole bunch of incredible communities for, you know, women who are entrepreneurs women in different streams and, and different industry, like different industries inside of technology. But, but yeah, we built Grow class for partly to build that kind of community. Amazing.
Rob Pintwala (12:18):
Yeah. I'd love to, good timing to maybe just allow you to explain high level what Grow class is. I'm a I'm a customer of, of Grow class and I think the community is like super valuable that you've built, so thank you. But I'd also want to know, like the way you're speaking about it now, there's like almost like multiple you know, impact or places of impact that you see. When you started it, were you envisioning, you know, having a safe space for people to talk about, you know, these types of things? Or were you justlike, I wanna teach people how to do marketing? <Laugh>,
Sarah Stockdale (12:58):
<Laugh>. I think there's, there are a lot of spaces on the internet that you can go to learn marketing. There's kind of two that existed when we built Grow Class. One was very high level college style marketing courses that didn't really teach you anything practical. The other side was very bro-ey, Silicon Valley, high price point, all white, mostly white men. I think it's getting better demographically, but at the time we built Growclass, that's who it was for. And that's who it was built by. And so there wasn't anything that, you know, felt like you could come in and learn harder skills than this like, high level college marketing thing that existed already.But do it in a way that felt like an inclusive space that was built specifically for women and marginalized folks to build community and feel like they belonged somewhere.
Instead of trying to move into these very bro-ey SiliconValley spaces that were using lots of acronyms, you probably wouldn't feel comfortable asking questions or speaking up as, you know, someone who's not the primary demographic there. We wanted to create a space where you can learn hard skills, but it felt like a soft place to land. Like it feels like a gentle, kind, inclusive, we're gonna cheer for you, we're going to answer your questions no matter how basic or weaker they are, because we don't care because we're here trying to help and add value to your experience. It, it was just a, a combination of education and professional network that I didn't have early on in my career that I would've loved to have had. And that's, you know, that's the space that we're consistently working to create for folks. You know, your own table if you don't like the ones that exist and, and, you know, bring as many people in as possible and, and get as much feedback as possible so that you can, cuz you know, I miss this white lady, I'm, I'm gonna get things wrong all the time.
So bring in the kinds of people who can make us better and make me better. And also just, you know, add value to people as much as we possibly can instead of just trying to sell courses. Like we're, we're not, we're not in the business of just, you know, getting you to buy something online and being like, yeah, done<laugh>. Like, that's the beginning of our work. We want to onboard you to make you feel part of this community, to help you actually learn hard skills in a way that doesn't make you feel overwhelmed or intimidated or silly or behind. And then help you get paid more. That's the, the benefit that we want for folks is you come here, you feel like you belong, you learn something tangible that helps and the network helps you find more money so that you can build, you know, more power.
Rob Pintwala (15:57):
I've heard you, I've heard you mention, you've heard, you mentioned the word power now, like three or four times. And I find, I find it like, I love how you're just kind of explicitly saying it cuz it's often just gets like, you know, avoided and how important it is with like the influence in, in this space and in all spaces. But I'm curious like what motivates you now? And also like what inspire, like what in, where do, where do you draw your inspiration from and is that changed like over the last like five, you know, you were in the startup world, some, you know, startup and maybe corporate a little bit, but now you're an entrepreneur I'm sure you have <laugh>, you know, a lot of the struggles of, you know, uncertainty like a lot of other founders have. But like, are you motivated in somewhat to kind of build this influence to kind of set things straight or has, you know, like give us, give us an idea of the influence and, and power kind of where you draw that where you draw from that?
Sarah Stockdale (17:10):
Yeah, it's a great question. I think I'm motivated, like every time I get a DM from someone and they say, you know, I'm making $42,000 more than I was six months ago, or I quit my job. I didn't feel valued, I didn't feel respected and I'm starting my own thing and I already have three clients. Like those stories are why I care about doing this thing. It's not that we can take credit for <laugh> for any of that. That's, those are, you know, those people are doing the work. But if we can play a part in supporting and networking specifically folks who tend to be underpaid, if we can help them,
You know, cuz money and resources is a, is a part of power and if we can help them gain a little bit more power and a little bit more freedom in their lives shit, I wanna be part of that all day. Like, that's allI wanna do <laugh>. So, and I think there's, you know, there's a lot of incredible folks who are building businesses that have values that I'm very excited by. Like the, the founders of Ben and Jerry's are very like anti-capitalist and care very much about their politics and are very public about their politics and have had tons of bash backlash from it. But they do it because it matters and they do it because they can, you know, make a difference. And so I'm really inspired by companies that are built on a, a framework of values and, and care and that are public about what they care about because some people use it as like a part of the brand or like a branding exercise <laugh>. But, but it, it's, it's not like, and it, it doesn't work if it's just a branding exercise.
Rob Pintwala (18:56):
Did you have to like build some of this, I guess I, what I would consider confidence, like, did, has this grown over time? Like as far as you being outspoken and standing up for what you believe in, or have you been like that from a very young age?
Sarah Stockdale (19:13):
No, I wasn't like this. I, I feel like you experience a bunch of things and you get consistently angrier and at some point you have to put that somewhere useful or you just become a crappy person to be around. So it's more like finding finding a way to be, you know, take action on things and be, be part of a solution rather than just grumpy about the problem. I'm not like, I, I'm really good at appearing confident <laugh>, but I'm like a very anxious person. <Laugh>, I'm consistently dealing with imposter syndrome. Huge anxiety. I have a D H D, which comes with a whole assortment of comorbidities. So I'm really good at faking it <laugh> and I'm working on like building the, the internal infrastructure to support what I'm faking because you know, faking the confidence helps you get closer to feeling it
Kim Foster Yardley (20:10):
I mean, one of the things that I talk a lot to my, my coaching- my female coaching clients about, is the difference between confidence and competence.
Sarah Stockdale (20:20):
Mm, I love that!
Kim Foster Yardley (20:21):
And that, do you know what I mean? Like, just because you don't have the confidence doesn't mean you don't have the competence. So, even-it’s because sometimes they're like, “Yeah, but if I say confidence, am I really competent?” I’m like, well, they're two different things.
Sarah Stockdale (20:34):
Yes. I love that. Mm-Hmm.
Kim Foster Yardley (20:36):
So you can be very competent, right? And then you have the reverse where people present themselves in a very confident way, but they actually don't have the competence.
Sarah Stockdale (20:42):
Yes. And that was for, for us, it took me a, I think about a, a year to start feeling like I could really push and promote growclass even though I feel like most founders, like the second they start something, they're like really hardcore about promo because you have to, you have to be the biggest hype woman for your business or hype person for your business. But until we started getting receipts, like until we actually knew for sure tangibly, quantitatively that we were doing the thing that we said we were doing, then I felt confident talking about it. But I feel like a lot of folks do the reverse. They, you know, they have the confidence before they have the receipts, and I've always needed it to be, you know, I've always needed the proof before I can, you know, feel confident about it or feel competent
Rob Pintwala (21:30):
I struggle with this a lot and I've been thinking about ita lot actually very recently. And I'm the same way with my business and I'vebeen, I have this big question that in my, because because you mentioned that,you know, sort of, I don't, I don't know if you used the word fake in confidence,but, you know, striving towards confidence can kind of be like a leading, youknow, a leading indicator of like real confidence catching up perhaps. Butspeaking of tech, bro culture, like I see there's like a huge like kind of fakeit till you make it culture out there. And like, and then I'm also seeingeveryone starting to talk more about imposter syndrome, which I think is goodto talk about, but I just see those two as like so correlated because I, Ican't really fake it till you make it like, I'll, I want to invest in a goodbrand and nice design and good cooperating and all those other things, but youknow, like <laugh>, it's hard for me to embellish. But I think that whenpeople are like driven to be taught to fake it before you make it, that is theway mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, how are you not feeling like an imposter atthe same time? Like those two things just, they seem to go hand in hand.
Kim Foster Yardley (22:45):
Well, it's interesting Rob, because, sorry Sarah, I'mjumping in. But confidence. When I teach confidence because it is a skill, oneof the strategies I actually use is to have someone think about what they valueand actually ground themselves in their values and know their values. And withthat understanding of what they value, there's a level of ease and confidencethat just, they just exude because they know who they are and what they standfor. Mm. And then, and then they, then they don't have to fake it.
Sarah Stockdale (23:23):
I love that. I always feel like the people who are ableto, you know, present themselves in a way that is not authentic to theirexperience or maybe just is, you know, completely ego-driven and doesn't havereceipts behind it. I, those are not the people that I find are talking about imposter syndrome. Like, I feel like that's a, some, I was having a conversationwith a girlfriend the other day and she was like, but what if I am not goodenough? Like, what if I am not qualified enough for this? And I was like, thepeople who aren't, probably aren't worried as much as you are about it, they'reprobably just okay with pretending you're not okay with pretending andtherefore you are going to do the work. And, and that to me is a signal that,that that imposter syndrome is signaling that you care and that you want to bequalified and that you want to be competent and that you want to add value anddo good things. And I don't really hear that very much from the people who, youknow, as, as you mentioned, Kim, like aren't rooted in their values, aren'taren't, that don't have an infrastructure of competence behind them. I usuallyfind they're just dif just different people. The, the braggers and the doers.
Kim Foster Yardley (24:39):
It's so true. Like coming from South Africa, it's beenquite a culture shock because in South Africa also being a bipoc person andhaving loved through apartheid, like you're taught to be humble, to kind ofhide, not make waves. And then I come here and this in the, initially I gotswept up in believing when people were very like talking Oh yeah. Talking thetalk. And then when I would actually see what they did, it didn't match up. Andit was very confusing to me because we, I, I don't think we would do that. Idunno if it's just because I'm a woman, I can't speak for everyone's experienceas a South African. And so this, you know, just having to really startrecognizing, finding those spaces we value that are value driven, having tokind of constantly even when I interview and employ people to work with methinking about this is what they're saying, but what, who are they? And lookingat that for, for their confidence and not even their confidence, rather theircompetence and, and how they would show up with the rest of my team. Cuz that'salso important becomes more important than being able to put up this facade.
Sarah Stockdale (26:00):
And I feel like those, you know, those facades are made ofstyrofoam. Like once you just start poking at it a little bit, like once you,you know, ask three curious questions, you get past the, the highlight realportion.
Kim Foster Yardley (26:13):
And for sure I, I wanted to like changing the subjectslightly cause I think I'm very unpleasant to be around sometimes because of myanger and <laugh>, you found such a wonderful way to direct your anger.Like what is it in the world that's, that you're angry about right now? Andwhat do you think are some of the solutions or what are you doing about it?
Sarah Stockdale (26:33):
Oh my gosh, what am I not angry about? <Laugh>? It'sa better question cause it's a shorter list. The, the, I'm thinking a lot aboutthe attack on trans youth in the US right now. That's something that's like I'mreading about constantly and especially some of the legislation that they'reputting forward to force kids to detransition and take away gender affirminghealthcare and ban drag shows. Like it's just, there's, I I feel like there's,you know, a portion of politics in America, but everywhere in Canada too, we'reseeing it that wants to address everything but the actual problem. And in doingso, scapegoat, vulnerable people who require more love and protection than,than they're even getting right now and then consistently making their livesharder and more dangerous for sound bites on tv. Ugh,
Kim Foster Yardley (27:31):
<Laugh>, what do you think is the underlying problem
Sarah Stockdale (27:35):
Hate? I, I think it's really easy for a portion of youknow, for a portion of our politics to kind of say, you know, don't look at thefact that we're taking away your healthcare. Don't look at the fact that we arecreating tax cuts for billionaires that's going to impact your social services.Look over here at this other thing that we're gonna make you scared of, thatyou should never you, that doesn't concern you and you should be in supportive.I think it's a, you know, mechanism of hate and distraction from what are the,the true issues that actually these, these folks should care about. And it's away to distract them from kind of the other horrible things that are going on.But in the process you're just absolutely, you know, creating a situation wherevulnerable people have to live in a much more dangerous world for them. Andthat's not, that's not okay. Like we need to be standing up for, you know,vulnerable folks and stopping these middle-aged white politicians from hurtingthem like trans. You can't find a more vulnerable population of people thantrans trans kids. Like we should be defending them in every way possible.
Kim Foster Yardley (28:55):
I just find it interesting that we are also not allowed tohave different opinions anymore. Like it seems people are very threatened when,when your opinion isn't the same as theirs or they somehow then have see you asa threat and have to attack mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And I've just foundthat very interesting. I mean, dunno if I'm going off topic, but I just, Ithink that can also happen in the workplace. And I'm thinking of toxicmasculinity and some of the things that get put on the female face in theworkplace around suddenly they're the VP of people, they're the person that hasto be the community builder. But what if that's not the, how they identi? Whatis that? What if that's not what they wanna do? What if they're an engineer andthey wanna <laugh>, you know, be building product? Like, you know, Ithink when you're the other, you can end up being just a mirror for everyone'sprojections around those things. You're nodding your head. It sounds like youhave had that experience.
Sarah Stockdale (29:56):
Oh yeah. I tell young women in tech, like, don't take notes,don't organize the social like that. You, you're going to be asked to do a lotof unpaid labor because of your age and your gender. That's not your jobdescription. You don't have to do that. And if you start doing it, it's goingto become expected of you as though it's part of your job description. Iplanned so many parties, so many events, so many like that we're completelyoutside of my job description for years because no one else did. And I was the,you know, youngest woman at the office and therefore it became my job. But itdoesn't, you know, it doesn't have to be, and you can, you know, why did youask me to take notes? Like, just curious questions. Curious questions help callout some of that bias.
Rob Pintwala (30:43):
Sarah, I'm wondering what leaders in either like in your you know, more, I guess immediate proximity or out in the larger world that you believe are holding true to the val their values and you know, actually are inspirational to you. Like, do you, what are some of your, you know, who do you look up to?
Sarah Stockdale (31:11):
Oh, the first people that popped into my brain when you said that are Jonathan and Melissa Nightingale. They're the founders of a company called Raw Signal Group. They're tagline is they build better bosses.They are management training, they do management training with a lot of tech companies. They are, you know, a B Corp. They are so incredibly dedicated to their values. They live them every day. They don't work with companies that don't align with their values. And like to the point that they could have, you know, they, they say no to money in order to align their company with their values. And that's rare <laugh> in capitalism and also just they're building a business that's going to help so many young folks who are being led by people who have no idea how to lead, who have never been taught how to manage people who are probably doing a lot of damage to the folks that they're in charge of leading without knowing it because it's not their fault.Nobody ever taught them these skills. So I'm constantly in awe of them. I call them friend tours, they're friend mentors. I'm in awe of how they're building business. I'm in awe, you know, what they're doing for specifically tech, but a whole bunch of other industries. So that was my, that that was like my knee jerk reaction was Melissa and Jonathan Nightingale.
Rob Pintwala (32:36):
I love them. Hmm. They're on, they're on the list.
Kim Foster Yardley (32:41):
I was gonna say I wanna meet, I wanna meet this, wanna talk to
Sarah Stockdale (32:44):
You do you do you really do
Rob Pintwala (32:45):
My partner's really do. My partner's company went through training with them during the pandemic and it was amazing and we worked from the same room. So I got to indulge in a lot of that content myself.<Laugh>
Sarah Stockdale (32:59):
Yeah, they're incredible. Amazing. I'm happy for you.Yeah,
Kim Foster Yardley (33:02):
Rob Pintwala (33:03):
Cool. What do you think, is there anyone in politics thatyou believe is heading in the right direction at least? Or do you think thewhole thing is broken and needs to be re redesigned?
Sarah Stockdale (33:13):
Oh, there's so many people who are, who are doing good work and who are trying, but you know, they're working in a broken system. And, you know, it's, it's, it's hard. But as you can tell, I'm a, you know, BernieSanders and <laugh>, Andrea Ocasio Cortez, like those, those are my people. That's my, those are the folks that I'm, that I'm vibing with obviously.But you know, there are a lot of, a lot of activists who are also doing a lot of lobbying work to keep politicians honest in Canada and in the us. So I think the, there's, you know, the system is set up to, to assist with bad behavior, but there's a lot of people who are trying to make it better.
Kim Foster Yardley (34:00):
I mean, Sarah, what I'm loving that you, what I'm hearingfrom you and actually what I need, so thank you very much, is that even thoughyou're angry, you are also hopeful.
Sarah Stockdale (34:09):
So hopeful. Because I get to talk to people like you folks and because I get to hang out with the, the folks inside of girl class and, and talk to people who are activists and, you know, see people who are trying and I think there's, you know, hopelessness has a lot to do with isolation. And the more you're in community with people who share your values, the harder it is to be angry and hopeless all the time.
Kim Foster Yardley (34:36):
I really like that. Thank you.
Rob Pintwala (34:39):
I want to ask one more quick question on kind of like the theme of anti-capitalism before talking about you as a mother as well, causeI'm excited about that. But as, as sort of someone who values, you know, people who speak out against the down downsides of capitalism or just capitalism in general as a business owner who offers what I consider a great product, how do you think about charging for that product? And is that difficult for you? Like when you think about the investment that people have to make to be in your community?
Sarah Stockdale (35:19):
Yeah, no, absolutely. It's a great question cuz it's, it's hard cuz I have a bootstrapped business. I employ folks we need to make money and be profitable in order to continue to be a business. It's, it's not a nonprofit. I am part of capital. We all are. Whether or not we wanna be. The more successful you are at it, the the more power that you have that you can use to change power and capital are are resources that you can use to help. We have a scholarship program. We give away a hundred thousand dollars worth of courses every year. We specifically work with organizations that can help us find the kinds of folks that wouldn't necessarily be able to acc access to access grow class, but that we want to have as part of our community. So we wanna make sure that we, we can make that accessible for them.
We have a value inside of our core team called Financial Flexibility. So we had someone reach out to us the other day. We're actually gonna make this a little bit more public cuz we were talking, but we're like, we do this quietly, but we never say anything so people don't know that they can ask for this. But we had someone reach out and say, Hey, I've got a professional development budget, it ends in April. Can, can I use the rest of it? And then can you like, let me wait and charge me again when it refreshes so that I don't have to pay out of pocket? We were like, absolutely. Like you wanna pay over two years instead of one year. You want to, you know, pay in five installments, you need a discount because you've recently lost your job. Like we're not we have a premium price point because we offer a premium product that we know works. But at the sametime we wanna make that product available to people who c couldn't access it in, you know, in the, the regular ways. And so we work a lot with scholarships and financial flexibilities of value on our team to, to try to bring in as many people from different backgrounds and identities and and you know, folks who can afford different price points as we can.
Rob Pintwala (37:27):
That was an amazing answer, <laugh>. I took inspo from that answer. Oh,
Sarah Stockdale (37:33):
<Laugh>. Thanks <laugh>.
Rob Pintwala (37:38):
How has your, how have your priorities changed since becoming a mother and how long ago was, did you become a mother?
Sarah Stockdale (37:46):
Yeah, so I had my son Wesley, we in he was born April13th, 2022, so he's 11 months old. He's almost a year. I feel like if your priorities don't change when you have a baby, then there's something weird going on. Cause I, I don't know how to say this without swearing my fuck budget is lower <laugh>. Like, I just, I don't, I I don't care about things that don't matter. I don't spend time on them. I don't worry if people that, you know, I don't need to interact with on a daily basis like me because the, the thing that matters the most is that little baby <laugh> and mortality becomes very obvious when you have a baby. You're like, whoa, I'm gonna die for sure. Like as soon as you have a child, you're like, yep, this is, this is ending at a certain point <laugh>.
And that focuses everything very clearly. You're like, mortality very much focuses your time and energy on things that matter, people that matter and solving problems and leaving a legacy that matters. And the rest of it just kind of falls away because your fuck budget gets so thin that you just don't have any left to give to the things that don't matter as much.And that's so cool. It's, it's so awesome. And I think also, and this, this, I don't know if this is an experience everyone has, but I I think so when you have a kid your like heart grows <laugh> like a hundred x the size it was before. And I just, yeah, I feel like my capacity to care and my capacity to love has just grown and it's so cool.
Kim Foster Yardley (39:36):
Sarah. That's beautiful. Thank you. Wow. So beautiful.Hmm. Because you already come across as someone with such a big heart, so I was just trying to imagine like, wow, your heart's grown even more <laugh>.It's incredible.
Sarah Stockdale (39:49):
It's scary, <laugh>, it's super scary and thank you.That's very kind.
Rob Pintwala (39:55):
Do you ever have people women in particular who talk to you about like, the fear of bringing a child into this world? A and is that anything all the time you ever considered? Like did you have to get over that barrier?
Sarah Stockdale (40:13):
Oh, for sure I did. Especially with like climate change and there's, there's a whole bunch of reasons why adding bodies to this like really crappy house party we're all in right now is like maybe not a great idea. But there's something super hopeful in like punk rock about having a kid in 2022 or 2023 cuz it's like a, a very hardcore commitment to making things better. Like when you have a child, you're like, oh, it is my responsibility to clean up this house party that I brought you into. That's like going very much in the wrong direction. So I, I completely understand and validate that some folks are like, shouldn't invite anyone else to this party. This party sucks.So I think you either don't invite them or like work your ass off to make it abetter space for the, the tiny people that we're bringing into the world. So both very valid <laugh> decisions. I just don't think you can bring kids into the world and not be part of trying to change it. Like I think that is, that is where you get some side eye from me because if, you know, if you're bringing a kid into a world that's gonna have trouble feeding it or providing it fresh, clean water and you don't care about solving those problems, then then you're just, you know, inviting people to a, to a bad spot.
Rob Pintwala (41:42):
What are some sacrifices I just wonder about? Yeah, Kim, go ahead. Go first. Rob. Sweat at that
Kim Foster Yardley (41:47):
<Laugh>. We did it. I was just wondering about, I mean you are in the fortune position of, of fa like being the founder of your own company as a mother mm-hmm <affirmative> and I often see that double standard that happens where a lot more is expected of the mother in than in terms of sacrifice as opposed to the father or to show up in the workplace mm-hmm <affirmative> the kinds of things I can get away with essentially.And I just wondered, do you see that and what have you built in, in your company to allow mothers to be able to not have to make those choices of my child versus my job?
Sarah Stockdale (42:31):
Yeah, I, so I feel like I found a life hack that I want everyone to try. And if you don't have a partner open to this life hack red flag I split maternity leave with my husband, so I took the first five and a half months off and he took the second five months off. And that I found in terms of equalizing, who is the primary caregiver who understands the needs of the child, who is consistently responding to the needs of the child. Like usually that's mom stuff. Like regardless of how incredible your partner is, whatever gender they are, the person who's going off to work eight hours a day and coming home knows that kid less knows how to stop them from crying, know show to put them to sleep, knows what food they like, they just have less information cuz they're gone all day.
And so if you can equalize that information you change the dynamic of the household quite significantly. So my, I have an incredibly supportive partner, he's amazing. I was super resentful in those first five months because he didn't have all the information I did and therefore I did a lot more work even though I was doing all the work all day. I was also doing a lot more of the work at night just because I had a lot more information and, and skills that he hadn't acquired yet. And so switching those roles and having him be the primary caregiver for five months gave me, gave him that information and gave him that perspective and allowed us to co-parent instead of having a primary parent and having, you know, a parent that just doesn't really know what's going on as much. So highly recommend <laugh> that mm-hmm.
<Affirmative> if it's something that you can do financially, if it's something that makes sense for your partnership. And then in terms of grow class, so right now we're a very tiny team. I'm the only person who's, who's left and taken maternity leave. But we have flexible Fridays where if you wanna take a four day work week, you can absolutely do that. There's no expectation like nine to five is kind of whatever. Our team is all over the place. You can work remote, we're fully remote, you can work from anywhere and no one's breathing down the back of your neck to be in the office, in the office <laugh> all day. And so it's just a, like the, one of the reasons I wanted to start my own company is I just didn't see a nine, you know, specifically a startup job, which is never nine to five, which is always like 10 or 11 hours a day.
I didn't see how I could do that and have a family. And so the company that I have now, like, you can work Friday or not, doesn't matter. We'll never have meetings on Friday. We don't care. And we're not gonna message you after 5:00 PM we're not gonna bother you before 9:00 AM. And if you, you need to, you need to do whatever. Like I was, I was pretty much off all day Tuesday cuz my kid got gastro flu<laugh> and I was like, oh, daycare, that's what daycare is. Great. but that flexibility extends to everyone on the team. And it's not, we're not a hustle culture company at all. We're a, you know, do do your, do your work, do a great job of it. I don't really care what else happens.
Rob Pintwala (45:55):
<Laugh> you're making things that are so hard, sound so easy right now. <Laugh>
Sarah Stockdale (46:01):
<Laugh>, they, it's, it, it's easy. It becomes easier when you have good people who you trust and it's easier when you're small. Like right now it's, it, this stuff is easy because there's a small group of folks who trust each other as our team. I'm sure if I had a team of a hundred people, this would be really, really challenging, but that's not the business that I'm interested in building, so I don't have to solve those problems. Thank God.
Kim Foster Yardley (46:23):
I was gonna ask you firstly that switch from the five months to the five months, like how you manage that, because I'm not a mom, butI have so many, my sister is a mom, I have so many friends and clients that are moms. The mom guilt is real. And I just wondered, how did you, did you, were you confronted with that and how you managed that?
Sarah Stockdale (46:47):
See, okay, and I fe I feel like this is, this is not a common experience, but I didn't really feel the mom guilt because I knew my son was having a great freaking time with his dad. Like, I trust my partner. I know he is more than competent and, and not just more than competent, like fun and great as a father. And so Wesley was having a great time and I was able to bring back a little bit of my identity, which
Rob Pintwala (48:26):
I love that. I love that. I feel the same way in daycare they're doing, there's so much more fun happening at daycare for our little guy<laugh>.
Sarah Stockdale (48:35):
Yeah, hanging out with just me all day. It's just not as cool. <Laugh>
Rob Pintwala (48:40):
One, one last question. I know we're almost at time here.What are you optimistic about in the next year? Either in your own life or things that are happening in the world or both?
Sarah Stockdale (48:50):
Oh, every day I meet people who are building things that are going to help, like what you're doing at first session. Like a lot of the folks in Grow Class are just building things that I think are going to have a positive impact on the world. Meeting young people who care so much about progressive politics and who have so much more information than I did when I was their age and like are so much more active. And then, and then for me, I'm like, I'm, I get to watch this little like bean grow up and he is so much fun.In the next year he's gonna start talking and walking and having more of a personality and you know, being a little independent tiny human in the world.And that's so cool. I'm so excited to, to watch him grow and to watch Growclass Grow and to try to do do my best of both things, <laugh> and we'll see how it goes. I'm gonna try really hard.
Rob Pintwala (49:47):
<Laugh>, thank you so much Sarah. This has been very inspirational. Where can people who want to continue to get inspired by you find you?
Sarah Stockdale (49:54):
Oh, that's a very nice question. And uncomfortable to answer <laugh>. But I'm you, you can find Grow email@example.com. We are on all socials as Grow Class. I also write a sassy feminist new newsletter that has nothing to do with marketing. I apologize. That is called, we need to talk about this @wntta.co. And then yeah, I'm Sarah Stockdale on all social things.
Rob Pintwala (50:23):
Amazing Sarah. Well, thank you so much and we will call it there.
Sarah Stockdale (50:26):
Much for having me.
Rob Pintwala (50:40):
Thank you for listening to this episode of The ActualizePodcast. You can find the show notes for this episode as well as all other episodes at first session.com/podcast. If you like this podcast, please leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform. Thank you again and we'll see you next time.