Aleya Harris is the spark for your spark™. With her infectious energy and profound expertise, Aleya Harris stands as a intersection of innovative storytelling and strategic thinking.

In this episode we discuss:

  • The secret to successful public speaking
  • Using stories to build your organisation
  • Succeeding through adversity
  • Being part of StoryBrand
  • Understanding the challenges women face in business


Aleya Harris

Aleya Harris is the spark for your spark™. With her infectious energy and profound expertise, Aleya Harris stands as a paradigm of innovative storytelling and strategic thinking. As the founder and CEO of The Evolution Collective Inc., and a seasoned former marketing executive and ex-Google Vendor Partner, Aleya brings a wealth of experience to her role as a Strategic Storytelling Consultant.

Aleya excels in guiding entrepreneurs, executives, and teams to excavate their radically authentic stories, fostering memorable connections that resonate deeply within and beyond their organizations. Her unique approach leads to significant shifts, differentiating brands in the market, repairing workplace cultures, and fulfilling a higher purpose through meaningful connections.

As a two-time Speaker of the Year award recipient, Aleya has captivated audiences with over 100 presentations and webinars, and has been featured on over 125 podcasts. Her role as the host of the award-winning Flourishing Entrepreneur Podcast further solidifies her status as a thought leader.

Aleya Harris is not just a dynamic voice in the industry; her diverse background, including her time as Stevie Wonder’s private chef, adds an extraordinary layer to her narrative. Aleya’s rich tapestry of experiences includes certifications as a StoryBrand Guide and NES Health Practitioner and is augmented by her presence in global platforms like Thrive Global, Authority Magazine, and the Marketing Made Simple podcast.

Aleya Harris is not merely a voice in the industry; she is a spark of innovation, inspiring leaders and teams to embrace and articulate their unique narratives. Her commitment to strategic storytelling and transformative leadership has made her an indispensable figure in the realm of business consultancy and public speaking.

Strategy Sessions Host – Andi Jarvis

If you have any questions or want to talk about anything that was discussed in the show, the best place to get me is on LinkedIn or Instagram.

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Interview Transcription

This transcript has been done automagically using Happy Scribe and hasn’t been checked by a real person, so there may be some hilarious mistakes where the AI can’t work out our accents – I’m sure they’re trained on just the American accent.

[00:00:00.000] – Andi J

What one thing do you wish you’d have known 10 years ago?

[00:00:04.410] – Aleya H

There are many, many things I wish I had known 10 years ago. Oh, girl, the journeys you have travelled. But if I knew one thing, it would be to trust in the core of my resilience. I have always had issues with anxieties and even panic attack. But if I knew how much I could move forward and be absolutely fine, I would I hope that that knowledge would allow me to just let go, make less fear-based decisions, enjoy the journey a little bit more knowing that I could handle it.

[00:00:39.100] – Andi J

I had a guest on earlier this season called David Mannheim, who runs a tech company, and his answer was very similar to that. He’d been through a process of having a lot of panic attacks, a lot of stress, and a lot of anxieties. I asked him the same question I’m going to ask you. Do you think you can learn to deal with that without having to learn to deal with it? Can you learn from listening and from practising, or do you sometimes have to go through that dip to build the resilience that you have?

[00:01:09.760] – Aleya H

Resilience, for me, is a core belief in understanding and deep knowing that no matter what, you’re going to be okay. I don’t think that you can get that from listening, no offence, to a podcast or reading a book.I have a podcast here.I mean, these podcasts are terrible.I’m.

[00:01:23.200] – Andi J

Just saying. These podcasts are terrible.They’re.

[00:01:25.380] – Aleya H

Horrible.a awful. Really? Can’t stand them. But you You have to go through something. Now, do you have to go through all the things? No, no, no, no, no. But do you need to be able to at least touch on something to know a more guttural experience about the thing?Yes.Yeah..

[00:01:44.720] – Andi J

You Or you just have to see where hell is. You don’t have to go in and have a season ticket.

[00:01:48.710] – Aleya H

Exactly. But then the thing is, too, when you’re in hell, keep going. People are like, Okay, I’m going through hell. I’m just going to sit here. I’m like, Why? It doesn’t even actually matter what direction you go. Just keep moving because that’s how you will actually get out of your own most likely self-created hell.

[00:02:09.060] – Andi J

And I think talking as well helps, doesn’t it? I’m a big fan of… Well, I have a podcast. I talk all the time. But I realised when me and my wife went through an awful time is that you wouldn’t have come out the other side if it wasn’t for talking to people and therapy and friends and just opening up and allowing yourself to say, I’m not feeling very good about this, is a real It’s a strength, isn’t it? To be able to move through that.

[00:02:31.450] – Aleya H

It’s a huge strength. I had a baby, she’s super cute, and I went through postpartum depression. When I did it, I was curious to see what was going to happen afterwards. I’m already, I mean, I’m hashtag a mood, but I’m also moody. I was like, Well, this could be a possibility. I was watching myself. When I started seeing signs of it, I was called up my medical provider. I was like, I need therapy. I was in five hours of therapy a week talking walking it out. Because what happens with a lot of issues, you keep them to yourself and they just get worse. They’re not going to get better, and they’re not going to help anybody else as I wag my finger at you. You’ve done something wrong.

[00:03:14.550] – Andi J

Look, And I love… So the British perspective on this is I think Americans have always had a better relationship with therapy than Brits have. So you had TV shows about therapy and things like that. In Britain, you only went to therapy if you were a little bit lost. The language language wasn’t great. Yeah, crazy. And whisper about in corners. And it’s only in the last few years that I think we’ve walking up to that. But to give you an example, you were going to therapy five hours a week. I was paying to go through therapy. There’s no easy way to say this. It’s a sad story, but my wife and I lost a child. Oh, I’m so sorry. So it’s a little tattoo there to remind us of Jude. Well, not done on that too much. I’m sorry. There’s no way of saying that without being sad. No, no. But I got therapy through a charity and we paid for it as well. I got an hour every two weeks. But that wasn’t because that’s all we could afford. That’s all the time they could give us because their services were so in demand. An hour every two weeks, and you’re there going, I had five hours a week.

[00:04:19.800] – Aleya H

. I was like, Can you just move in? Can you get Dr. Sparks, if you could just move on in, that’d be great.

[00:04:27.760] – Andi J

We got a bed lined up for you and everything, and just Every time I open my eyes, you can come and talk to me. Exactly. I think we’ve got a long way to go in Britain, but I’m pleased we’re on the right trajectory, and I think we’re getting there.

[00:04:40.890] – Aleya H

One thing that I think that people hold themselves back from getting that help is that they are afraid of being vulnerable in private or in public, and then they’re afraid of what happens to their identity if they admit this thing, and then who are they? I like to say my My favourite quote currently is by me, personal quote, and it’s, Secrets don’t help anybody. Secrets don’t help you. Secrets don’t help anybody else. If you are coming to whatever your shtek is in life, you’re a business owner, you’re working for somebody, whatever it is, for me, you’re supposed to be coming from it from a place of service to help others. The best way to help other people is to make sure that they are not feeling isolated it alone in whatever the struggle is. Connexion helps. You can’t build those connexions if you’re living lives and so busy keeping and tucking the secret.

[00:05:44.420] – Andi J

It’s a Latin phrase translated to it, The truth will set you free.

[00:05:47.270] – Aleya H

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. Brilliant.

[00:05:51.480] – Andi J

What a start. We should, at this point, 10 minutes in, probably tell everyone who you are.

[00:05:56.210] – Aleya H

Thank you. I know that you’re not lying because you actually sent me a WhatsApp that said, how am I supposed to follow that?

[00:06:03.840] – Andi J

You did it. You were like my worst nightmare. Look, genuinely, I go to a lot of conferences, right? I’m sure you do. And there are some great speakers out there. There are some good speakers out there. There are some great ones. And there are some people who are at the very top of their game, and you are in that category.

[00:06:23.370] – Aleya H

That means so much to me, especially because I do think a little differently than folks do. We chanted on stage today, and I was two steps away from just, Haare Krishna meditation over here, but that’s okay.

[00:06:41.240] – Andi J

But people come with you. I’ve been to a conference where somebody tried to get the audience to sing, and the only thing that happened is I wanted to eat my fist. I was just like… People did it, but it was awful. I’m not a meditation tonic. I meditate by exercising. That’s my meditation. I actually get out and walk. I was in with you. You were in? Yeah.

[00:07:03.370] – Aleya H

You did it? You chanted with it?

[00:07:04.840] – Andi J

I chanted with it, and I came with it. The audience came with you, and they came with you because of the way you set it up. You might be listening to this and going, She had people chanting. That sounds like the worst thing ever, especially Brits, right? We don’t do that. I’m like, Whatever. But it was a perfectly natural thing to do at that point in your presentation because of what you’d done beforehand, what you were talking about and where you went next. It was natural and it was perfect, and I loved it. So I was with you.

[00:07:37.350] – Aleya H

I’m so glad. That means a lot to me, especially coming from you as an accomplished speaker and such a kind human being. By the way, it might sound like, dear listener, we’ve known each other for years and years. However, we met in person about, I don’t know, maybe five hours ago.

[00:07:54.730] – Andi J

Where are we?

[00:07:57.120] – Aleya H

We’re in this Disney… This is the most magical place on Earth. The most magical place. Look at this. Magic.

[00:08:04.410] – Andi J

We have this perfect Disney backdrop, right? But we can’t go outside for whatever reasons. The Health and Safety Police won’t let us.

[00:08:12.980] – Aleya H

Just trust us. We’re for real in Florida.

[00:08:14.630] – Andi J

Yeah, definitely there. You got into public speaking and you do speak about marketing and storytelling, but you’ve merged that. You talked about the chance and things with the odd view on… Is it wellness? Is that how you would call it?

[00:08:27.490] – Aleya H

Which word will scare you less? The word that I was using was bioenergetic. If you were to ask me what exactly, it’s terrifying. I know he’s backing up in his chair. Oh, my God, I’ve loved him. I want to say I’m a bioenergetic business coach or business consultant. People were like, First of all, I don’t know what that is, and what are you about to do to me? All bioenergetics is, it’s a study, detection, correction of your energy field, your mindset, how you operate in the world. When I do that with clients, they love it, but they usually come for something else. They come for speaker coaching, they come for an email sequence. They come for… And they get a life shift. It’s awesome. I love finishing consulting sessions with people, and they go, Can I swear?

[00:09:20.500] – Andi J

Yeah, of course you can.

[00:09:21.800] – Aleya H

They’re like, Oh, shit. I didn’t expect that. I’m like, Yeah, buddy.

[00:09:26.850] – Andi J

The thing when you talk to successful people, and this isn’t a podcast, bro, we’ll make you rich podcast. But when you talk to successful people, Seth Godin, who was on a couple of episodes ago, said to me, he’s like, I don’t have more talent than you. I just have a craft and a dedication to writing. That’s why I’ve written 20 best sellers, and that’s why I blog every day. It’s not about skill in most cases, it’s about mindset. And that’s why I think when people can match the the mindset and the skill, that actually has a lot more power, doesn’t it?

[00:10:03.900] – Aleya H

It has more power because the only thing in your way is you. All of us, me included.

[00:10:11.080] – Andi J

That’s the clip for the promo, right? That is the clip. Wink.

[00:10:17.230] – Aleya H

When you are able to remove your limiting beliefs from the equation, that’s when it starts to get good. Before then, it’s the doubt and the fear and all of the I can’ts and who am I that keep you from shining in the core of who you are in your most radically authentic self. For me, I also use all kinds of euphemisms. Radically authentic self is another way of saying your soul, your core, your essence of who you are that’s unchangeable and perfect. If you have this little ball of light within you, you’re bouncing around with it, and then as life happens, you put trash on it, you cover it in mud, you beat it down, you try to break it up with a hammer, you to do all this stuff to it, and then wonder why people, Nobody sees my grand up. Well, honey child, you don’t want to cover it first. So you need to let it be seen. And that’s what I help people do.

[00:11:17.870] – Andi J

And I think that ties us back to the very first question as well, doesn’t it? Because I think what you say, people look at you and I get this question sometimes, and they say, Oh, you were great at speaking today. Or they see me beforehand and like, You okay? I was like, No, I’m really, really nervous. People have seen me a few times. They’re like, Why do you get nervous? There’s like 900 people in the room. They’re going to be sitting and looking at me for 45 minutes going, What’s this idiot talking about? It’s terrifying. But they think because they see you on stage, they go, Oh, you’re perfect. You don’t have this problem. But to go back to where you started, you’ve been on that journey. You’ve seen it, haven’t you? You’ve probably not always been an award-winning international keynote.

[00:12:00.910] – Aleya H

No, I was not born this way. Yeah. No, unfortunately, they don’t just give you that, a slap on your butt, call you a speaker. I wouldn’t. My speaking rate, if that were the case, by now would be out of the room.

[00:12:12.170] – Andi J

Absolutely, yeah.

[00:12:14.860] – Aleya H

But it’s funny that you bring that up because, and I’m not trying to sound like a dick, but I don’t get nervous. I’m going to tell you why and how I don’t get nervous.

[00:12:23.520] – Andi J

I’m here for this because I do.

[00:12:25.280] – Aleya H

It has nothing to do with me. The whole thing, no matter how fabulous, and I do look good. But no matter how fabulous I look on stage or the words coming out, people are there, and every person in that audience is a narciss with a short attention span. If I can solve their problem, I could be turning cart wheels on my head. They wouldn’t care. It’s all about being of service, which means you need to know who you’re talking to, why you’re talking to them, and what words to use to get them. It’s not about me trying to prove to you that I have this huge vocabulary, this knowledge, and all this stuff. It’s about me being like, What word do you understand? Because if I’m trying to be of most service to you right now, I just need to get in to you. I’m not nervous because I know that I know who I’m talking to. I know that what I will say can help. Yes, my hair is fabulous, and people are going to listen. Another reason why I’m not nervous is this. I always get the comment when I got off stage, I love your energy, right?

[00:13:34.730] – Aleya H

I brushed it off. I always brushed it off. There was one time when during my postpartum journey, I was crying in my hotel room. Postpartum is, for me, is an experience of just unbottomed sadness. Sometimes you’re just like, Oh, my God, I’m so sad. Nothing has happened in this moment. I’m just so sad. I had to get on stage. I get myself together. By the way, this is the video that’s on my website. This is in my speaking room because the video turned out great. I get on stage, I kill it, crush it. People walk up to me and they say, Oh, my God, I love your energy. It was in that moment when I also realised it had nothing to do with me. That energy is not mine.

[00:14:20.890] – Andi J

I love it. I get nervous beforehand. Not when I’m on stage, but the first minute. I Actually, it’s 30 seconds before you go on. I don’t know why I get nervous because a lot of the time I do the same presentation. It’s worse when it’s very new because you’re trying to remember, do you remember all the content? That’s a little bit different.

[00:14:43.760] – Aleya H

And your presentation was so good.

[00:14:46.470] – Andi J

Thank you very much. But there’s so… There was a problem with the EV today for me. I wanted now and next on the comfort monitor down the front. If you listen to this and you don’t do speaking, you’re like, What are you on about? But you have a monitor that shows you, usually, what the next slide is, you’ve got the notes. But this one only shows you what was on the screen behind you. But the way I don’t really present, I say I tell stories, which I remember, it sounds incredibly wanky, but there’s a journey that-I’m a strategic storytelling consultant, so I think it’s great. You get it right. Thank you. So I’m telling stories, but you can’t hit a punchline if you’ve already flicked to the slide and given everybody the. So now and next is really important for me. So I know when to change and all, and it wasn’t there. So that’s carrying into my nerves. And then my hands are getting sweaty. I can feel my heart rate going up, and all these things are happening. But once I get on and I tell a first story, everything goes better from there.

[00:15:39.670] – Andi J

But that little bit about it’s not from you. Although the other side of that is I use those nerves They make me prepare. I know I’m going to get nervous, and I know if I haven’t prepared, those nerves are much worse. Oh, yeah. So it forces me to prepare. So I don’t mind the nerve so much, but I love that. It’s like, It’s not about you. No one knew you were a disaster, I suppose, before you went up there, and then you still pushed it.

[00:16:03.730] – Aleya H

You picture Manko, you adjust your girdle, and you get up on stage.

[00:16:08.270] – Andi J

You put your shoes on.

[00:16:09.270] – Aleya H

I love Dan. If they weren’t so big, he’d be missing these.

[00:16:13.490] – Andi J

As we’re in America, I have to call them pumas. Puma.

[00:16:19.530] – Aleya H

Puma. That’s just like Adidas.

[00:16:22.180] – Andi J

Yeah. Sorry. If you’re listening to this podcast, because most people do listen, sorry, I am wearing some bright sneakers.

[00:16:30.060] – Aleya H

And they match my top. They match.

[00:16:33.110] – Andi J

It’s almost as if it was made. Yeah. So public speaking, you’re amazing. Links in the show notes, get in touch with the layer, have a look at Showreel. I hope you can afford a fee because you will not, absolutely will not regret it. So that’s number one, take it off the list. Although I’m sure we’ll circle back. Tell us about your agency consultancy. How do you frame it?

[00:16:54.350] – Aleya H

It’s a consultancy. Consultancy, yeah. But it really exists so that I can have more in-depth work because you can only do so much from the stage. When someone comes to me and they’re like, Well, come and speak now in my corporate, and then, Well, now you’re making me realise I have a big problem with my culture. Because the way that I look at stories is they are grand connectors. Everyone has their storyline. You think of a movie like Knives Out or something like that, a big ensemble cast. Everyone has their own story. But they find ways to intersect them for the grander story. That’s how workplace culture works, intentionally or unintentionally. People are intersecting stories to form something. But is it a story, that grander culture story, that actually is going to serve anybody? Or is it going to serve your strategic goals? I love it. People do this. They’re like, I’m so smart. I’m going to get with my executive team. It’s going to be a whole leadership retreat and stuff. We’re going to do four days and come up with our strategy. They didn’t talk to anybody else besides who was in the room.

[00:18:07.050] – Andi J

A little bit of me has just died when you talk.

[00:18:08.380] – Aleya H

Yeah, I know, right? It’s sad. Then they go back and they’re like, Well, the powers that be have now said, here is the strategy. Their culture is totally misaligned. They’re like, We’re going to be the most innovative company ever. I was like, Well, you literally just told me to stick with the script as my manager a week ago. I’m not going to innovate. I’m going to get fired. You have to understand what the stories are that you’re telling and then weave them together. When I do consulting work, it’s a little bit of an assessment. I’m married to a college professor.

[00:18:39.770] – Andi J

You have my deepest sympathism.

[00:18:44.090] – Aleya H

He’s a college professor and a director of research. But he has woven within me. He’s like, No, let’s get the data. Let’s get the data. That’s what I do. I’m like, Okay, let’s talk to people. You can’t be in the room, Mr. Manpower, that be. We need have a conversation around what’s actually happening and the stories that are actually being told, and if they match the story you want to be told and how we fill in that gap. It usually is around building a collaborative narrative that fosters a culture that can actually help you get your strategic objectives. Beautiful.

[00:19:19.440] – Andi J

Because when I go into companies, I consult a marketing strategy. You go into companies and they’re like, So here’s our business strategy. I tend not to do business strategies, more marketing. And they’re like, Show me the business strategy. How did you come up with this? The senior leadership team went off-site for four days, and they came back with the tablets of stone from up the mountain and told everybody what to do. And you’re like, Okay, so when did you learn to predict the future? And it was like, What do you mean? I said, Well, all of this presupposes that your competition is not going to get bought by that massive American company and have a marketing budget 20 times yours, or that COVID is not going to happen or whatever. Oh, no, but this is our strategic plan. Innovation is I’m always in there. Every strategic plan that’s ever been created has got something about innovation, sustainability, great team culture.

[00:20:08.590] – Aleya H

It’s bullshit. All of it is.

[00:20:09.800] – Andi J

All of it’s bullshit.

[00:20:10.840] – Aleya H

If on your wall in your big office building, you have those posters at the lion that says, Perseverance,automatically no.GTFO..

[00:20:23.730] – Andi J

That’s all it’s actually-I’m going to have to double my fee for this one. When I work with companies as well, and they’re like, What’s your mission statement? And the moment it’s got all your values, it’s a mission vision and values. And so the one word I can’t accept in a mission or a vision is quality. It’s high quality. It was like, wait a minute. Let me just stop you there. What does that even mean?Yeah. What does it mean? And what’s the opposite of that? You’re just going to purvey as a pot of shit.

[00:20:56.760] – Aleya H

Don’t pump out shit. Well, thank you.

[00:20:59.790] – Andi J

My Yeah, and that’s table stakes, right? You just got to get… And then my other one, when you get into values, is honesty. If you’ve got to write that down, you’ve already lost. We have a lot of grander problem. Yeah, you have lost already. Me and my marketing strategy, this is a microphone. It is not a magic wand. I can’t solve the problems like that, right? We would do marketing strategy based out of facts. We don’t do magic. My magic wand broke. I’m not Harry Potter. I’m not I know. Yeah, I cannot do that.

[00:21:31.510] – Aleya H

Can’t fix it for you. I would love to.

[00:21:33.530] – Andi J

You go into places where there are often problems, and it’s about crafting the storytelling and the culture and things like that, and doing those two together.

[00:21:41.590] – Aleya H

Exactly. We do it in a little… There’s a gamut because I’m very woo, so we can do it from storytelling sessions that we do together all the way to group meditation visualisation sessions. It’s a whole gamut.

[00:21:53.530] – Andi J

Depending on the company, you can be somewhere in a different place along the line. Yeah, good. No, I like that. I wrote a blog linking the show notes again, I don’t know why I point down, for a guy called J. P. Castlin, who was a very early guest on the podcast. He’s got a great strategy news, like they call strategy in practise. And I wrote about storytelling. And I was like, I’d said I’d write about storytelling, and then all of a sudden you sit down to write it and you go, I don’t want to write something about storytelling.

[00:22:21.850] – Aleya H

What do I know about storytelling?

[00:22:23.080] – Andi J

The first thing I’ve got to do is tell a good story, right? So I started to think about it and I found an art to look at it through. And the art I picked was religion. Now, I was a churchgoer as a child, less so now, with births, deaths, and marriages now. But I remember there was a guy called Alan Evans who was a great preacher, and he could paint pictures and he could have you Just delving into that, I think the line he was just like, I remember sitting there thinking, how big are the towers of Jericho? That’s what I was like, wow, these things. Alan was such a great storyteller. And if you think of what religion is, and this isn’t belittling it, but you’re being asked to believe in something. And the only thing you have is stories to make people believe.

[00:23:03.780] – Aleya H


[00:23:04.940] – Andi J

And the sign off at the end of the first section of what I wrote was, do you know what you never hear anybody using when they’re a preacher? There you go. Percentages. And what is every single presentation? We did the data and look at what we have to tell you.

[00:23:22.480] – Aleya H

It weren’t that way. Our brains work in process in stories.

[00:23:26.980] – Andi J

There’s actually-How do you square that circle? How do you square it?

[00:23:30.630] – Aleya H

I mean, data is important. So this is the way I look at it, or I guess a question that I always philtre through. Why is my lived experience less important than your numbers? If I can tell you a story about something that I’ve overcome, that other people have overcome, we’ve done focus groups, we’ve done primary, we’ve all overcome this, and it’s all qualitative, why is that less valuable than quantitative? It. People find comfort in numbers because they can set it up and then manipulate them to their wills. That’s what happens with numbers. Then you can argue against it.

[00:24:10.470] – Andi J

I’m a qual researcher. This is music to my ends. Keep going.

[00:24:14.830] – Aleya H

You can then, Well, let me fight you on. It’s not 80%, it’s 60% because I asked the question in a different way. Well, yeah, but you can’t fight me on the story that I’m telling you. If you would listen to the stories that illuminate, that that add things that I can actually action to that data, then you’re in a better place. Are you trying to gather this data from me so that you can just have a bunch of data? Are you trying to do something? I want to work with you if you actually want to do something as opposed to just collect a bunch of spreadsheets.

[00:24:48.960] – Andi J

I had a data guy, Thierry, on doing Black History Month. Black History Month in England, different day is in October. I did a Black History Month mini-series.

[00:24:59.370] – Aleya H

I’m now celebrating both.

[00:25:00.690] – Andi J

There you go. Absolutely. Both sides of the year. Why do it only once? So Thierry is a data guy, and one of the things he said is that he hates what data and data guys do is use it to be gatekeepers of things, but also He hates setting dashboards up because what happens in corporate culture, you set a dashboard up, people don’t go in to look for data. They’re going to look for the one data point which supports the view they’ve already formed. And therefore, that becomes an argument point, not a data point. And you can’t do that with stories, can you? You need both. I call data black and white and the colour. The colour of it. That brings the picture to life. But you need both.

[00:25:39.580] – Aleya H

You need both. And then I ask you the question is, what is the truth? Is it found in the numbers? Is it found in the stories? What is the truth? Well, the truth… I’m reading a book right now that I’m now rereading for the second time called Ask and It is Given by Esther Hicks and Jerry Hicks or Abraham Hicks, depending on who you want to attribute it to. It talks about how the truth is really just something that a lot of people have believed in, and they’ve worn that trail and that communication and that story over and over and over again until it becomes the truth. There’s grand truths like the Earth is flat, right? How long was that the truth?

[00:26:21.280] – Andi J

Most of civilization, if you take your long enough viewpoint.

[00:26:24.650] – Aleya H

Exactly. That was the truth. Well, then we found out something else. Well, now it’s a different truth because now we’re wearing that different pathway. I’m not saying that there’s not absolute truth, but when we pull up our dashboard and we pull up our numbers and we try to divorce them from the story that they’re trying to tell and say that they are the truth, we’re actually doing ourselves a grand disservice.

[00:26:52.000] – Andi J

I think, as I said, a call researcher and a social scientist is my background. I think this is the problem in that we live in a day in a driven world. When you analyse data in certain disciplines, maths, physics, for example, there is always a right answer. It doesn’t matter how many times you add two and two together, the answer is always four. That’s a mathematics problem. People are not maths. When people give me unalienable truths about human behaviour, I’m like, Okay, honey, are you sure? Are you sure? There are things like shelter and basic needs. But once you get beyond that, I was like, Why did you buy this drink?

[00:27:39.610] – Aleya H

You didn’t buy it, I know. Why did you buy that drink? I don’t buy my drinks. They’re given to me.

[00:27:46.100] – Andi J

Service. Bring us a. But why did people post-rationalize? The reason they tell you is not because… And sometimes, do you know what? They don’t even know why they did the thing. So then people said, All right, our Our job is to sell more of product X. And then you hear all these facts given about it, and it’s like, it’s not a fact. It’s an interpretation of what we think we might believe.

[00:28:12.670] – Aleya H

It’s a very compelling fact that you want people to believe it’s true. Some people accept it to be the truth, but that doesn’t mean that it is truth with the big T.

[00:28:22.820] – Andi J

I’m not against percentages, but I have never been able to convince any senior leadership team, either when I was in-house, when I was an agency, or now when I’m working with teams to present ideas and things to clients. I’ve never been able to convince a senior leadership team with a graph. No. And I have shown plenty. There was a client I worked with last year, I can’t mention him because the thing we said that we were doing is still in development. So there was a new idea, and we presented it to the board, and like 40 minutes of the presentation, and you could see they got where we were going, but they weren’t really… It, Yeah, but you could see the list of objections was getting longer and longer. We got 40 minutes in, and then we got together,. We clicked the button and we had three one-minute clips from customers talking about the problem they have with the thing. The meeting was finished. The moment the third clip finished, they were like, Brilliant. When can we start? That was it. Three minutes of customers saying, Oh, this is the problem, and this is the effect it has on me.

[00:29:25.160] – Andi J

And one woman’s face, she ran through the impact of the problem on her and her family. And it’s really about cars. That’s probably as much as I can tell you. Yeah. And you wouldn’t think it’s a tin box with four wheels in the corners, right? And it costs a fortune to run. But when it stops working, And she had a disabled son who couldn’t get to school. She had the mother who needed to go to hospital. And the pain on the woman’s face was immense. And like, one minute, close the deal. It was done.

[00:29:57.580] – Aleya H

It was the story.

[00:29:58.260] – Andi J

It was the story.

[00:29:59.780] – Aleya H

It was the lead-up. So the data and everything, I’m sure, added credibility. They could get a clear path forward. They understood you were legit.

[00:30:07.450] – Andi J

I cocked up. I should have just put the stories at the top. It was a lack of confidence. I should have just put the stories like, Hey, listen, look at these three women. Are we done? We’re done. Just sign up there.

[00:30:17.950] – Aleya H

Always just listen to the women.

[00:30:20.180] – Andi J

I mean, there’s a lot of sense in that. There is a lot of sense in that. On that, this is probably going to go out around International Women’s Day. In fact, it This is going to go out around International Women’s Day.

[00:30:31.590] – Aleya H

We can say that now. It’s a plan.

[00:30:33.630] – Andi J

Yes, it’s a plan. So always listen to women. But I always feel really weird asking questions like this as a guy, but as a woman who runs a business, tell me about the additional challenges that you face in your world, which is LA is your world. But do you work just in LA or do you work all over the US? Tell me about the challenges of being a woman CEO, a female CEO.

[00:30:57.750] – Aleya H

That is another podcast episode in and of itself. The challenge is of being a black woman CEO because I don’t know how to extricate them from each other.

[00:31:06.760] – Andi J

Yeah, I was running this morning and my knee suddenly decided it doesn’t want to go that way. So I’m old.

[00:31:11.110] – Aleya H

I’m a former chef and I understand the knee issue. So as a black woman CEO, there’s multiple ways to answer that question. But one of the ways that I realised recently is I actually don’t know what the difficulties are because they are my lived experience. That’s all I know. Until I go and I listen, and for some reason, I’m able to hear a conversation or listen to a conversation where people are not talking to me or they don’t know I’m theirs, especially men, white men. I’m like, That’s all you had to do? They didn’t question you for hours about your credibility, that you didn’t have to send five million follow-up emails, you didn’t have to be the absolute very best, that you could You just showed up there, huh? You don’t even look like you combed your hair or washed your shirt. Well, your hair challenge.

[00:32:10.420] – Andi J

Shots fired. Shots fired.

[00:32:13.670] – Aleya H

But That is a lot of it is when you have your own lived experience, you sometimes, and I sometimes, don’t even realise how stressed the fuck out I really am in comparison to everyone else because it’s just how I live. I mean, a lot of black people grew up with the thought from their parents, you have to be twice as good to get half as much, etc. As much as people would love that not to be the case, it’s still very much the case. I have intentionally even aligned myself with companies run by white men to vouch for me into rooms that they will not hear me in.

[00:33:08.900] – Andi J

That’s so sad.

[00:33:09.800] – Aleya H

It is sad, especially because I’m really good at what I do. It was interesting, too, because it still doesn’t matter on one level. There’s another speaker at this conference, this conference that we’re at right now, black woman, fabulous speaker. Someone walked up to her, and I didn’t see this. I don’t know. It was a man. I don’t know what man. I started talking to her about her presentation, except it wasn’t hers, it was mine. This woman and I look nothing alike.

[00:33:37.500] – Andi J

You look more like me than you do this woman.

[00:33:41.750] – Aleya H

I actually even told her that. I said, and we are Our presentations were at least a little bit closer in content than mine was with hers.

[00:33:50.760] – Andi J

Now, this has happened to me as well with Will Reynolds from Sears Interactive. Do you know Will at all?

[00:33:55.730] – Aleya H

I’ve seen his picture.

[00:33:57.590] – Andi J

Will’s picture does not look like my picture. It happened in Dublin. I laughed it off because I don’t know what else I’m supposed to do. What are you supposed to do? But then you feel awkward going…

[00:34:12.120] – Aleya H

Oh, no, I don’t feel awkward.

[00:34:14.860] – Andi J

God, I’ll challenge you.

[00:34:16.710] – Aleya H

I’m American.

[00:34:18.720] – Andi J

Yeah, I apologise to her because I was British. I was like, I’m sorry. Rightfully sorry. I believe you’ve confused me with Will Reynolds.

[00:34:26.840] – Aleya H

I go, Oh, no, I’m so sorry. That’s the other black one.

[00:34:29.500] – Andi J

You confused me with a man from Philadelphia.

[00:34:32.460] – Aleya H

That’s unfortunate. Yeah.

[00:34:34.510] – Andi J

So that’s happened today?

[00:34:36.470] – Aleya H

Today? Today. It is January 2024. So you asked me why is it difficult? It’s Because no matter… I have a unique-ish look. I’m tall, I got lots of hair, big bright pink lipstick, I’m wearing a colourful shirt. I stand out, and I purposely stand out from a crowd. I mean, not in a crazy way. I’m still keeping it cute. But I still don’t like… No matter what I do, people will still see me as other. And then they put you just in this grand big other bucket.

[00:35:14.930] – Andi J

I spent a lot of my childhood… I grew up in a place called Bradford, which you’ve probably never heard of.

[00:35:22.730] – Aleya H

I have not.

[00:35:23.090] – Andi J

I’m so sorry. Bradford, as we’ve called it already. And the part of Bradford I grew up in, there wasn’t a huge amount of black people. Bradford has got quite a big Asian population, but the bit I lived in didn’t. I spent a lot of my youth wanting to blend in. I have mixed race. I have a black dad and a white mum. I spent a lot of my youth just trying to blend in and almost be disappearing in the background a little bit or just be like everybody else. And it’s only as I’ve got older, and we’re back to the Bright Sneakers again, but I moved to Ireland 13 years ago, where there are even fewer black people than there are where I I grew up. And I realised I was like, Why are you trying to blend in? You stand out. So just dial that shit up. Yeah, absolutely. Turn those knobs up to 11. But I think that’s to go back to the question I asked you. It’s like, Can you learn that? Or can you learn it from a book? I read loads of books about standing out and being the thing, but until you have to go through it and you go, Do you know what?

[00:36:21.980] – Andi J

Stuff this. I am just going to be me. If people don’t like that, who cares?

[00:36:26.910] – Aleya H

Who cares? I think, though, resilience and standing are different because I have a course that I teach people how to be speakers. The very first thing we talk is not about, Oh, you need to say this or do this, this slide. We get to that. But the very first part I go over is helping people excavate and tell their crisis stories. You can do that really well and then know what that means for who you are and how you can stand out. When you want to stand out, you don’t have to go. You don’t have to. I mean, you can’t be, won’t you? You don’t have to go through the same type of struggle. It doesn’t have to be a learned experience. You have to have a experience of it within yourself, but you can do it, I think, with a little bit less pain.

[00:37:11.600] – Andi J

Yeah, and that’s got to be a good thing as well.

[00:37:13.090] – Aleya H

Oh, yeah. I’m not here to inflict pain on people.

[00:37:15.860] – Andi J

No, no, no. That’s, again, a different podcast. The After Dark podcast. Moving on. I’m not going to ask you what you change or what would fix to make it better for women in business, because it’s It’s not your problem. It’s a man problem. It’s not a woman problem. It’s not my problem.

[00:37:33.420] – Aleya H

I’m literally… I am doing enough. In fact, I am doing more than enough.

[00:37:40.740] – Andi J

Absolutely. So let’s get back to… Again, I’m aware, like the Black History Month series, I didn’t just want to bring black people on and say, Tell me about being black, and I’m not going to bring them. I said, Tell me about being a woman. I want to know about your work as well. What’s your career background that took you to? Again, you weren’t just born a speaker and you weren’t just born a CEO. What were the What were the key influences to get you to running your own business?

[00:38:03.760] – Aleya H

This is my second foray into business ownership. I started off in the cosmetics and retail fashion business and hated it. I didn’t understand why the jeans were $400 It cost $20 to make a major butt look flat. What was I paying for? Luckily, I got laid off, so I don’t have to worry about it that much longer. I couldn’t get a job doing anything. Then my friend was over at my house and she He said, Well, your food’s pretty good. You should go to culinary school. I said, All right, bet. So I did. I was in culinary school for two years, and I got some wonderful advice in culinary school. A very grumpy chef instructor told me that I was going to have to work for $10 an hour for 10 years before I ever made anything of myself as a chef. I said, You clearly don’t know me, haven’t met me, and will never understand me. I promptly started my first company then. It was a catering company called Culinary Princess Catering. I know. Then it was a catering and private chef company. I signed up, as one does, for an agent in LA.

[00:39:10.390] – Aleya H

Everyone has an agent. My very first client was Stevie Wonder. I was- Spoke off.

[00:39:19.580] – Andi J

No. I mean, the most LA story in the world.

[00:39:25.340] – Aleya H

I warned you. I was tiptoeing into it with the Asian thing. We travelled the world. I travelled the world as his chef and hung out in the entourage. Then I had other stars and screen.

[00:39:37.960] – Andi J

You’re off for $10 an hour.

[00:39:39.060] – Aleya H

I’ve never worked for $10 an hour. I’ve never worked for $10 an hour. But it was that moment that painted the stakes for me in the story. Like, oh, wait, that’s how bad this could get, $10 an hour? Oh, no, no, no, no. It motivated me. The walk in the road. Yeah. Wait a minute. If I just keep plugging on this, I should have One, research is a little bit better before I started your school. Two, what can I possibly do to make sure that doesn’t happen to me? I did that for a while, but I was part of somebody else’s empire, and I loved it. He’s a very kind, wonderful man. I have beautiful stories of being in his presence. Then I was like, Well, but what if I want people to know my name? How does that work? Then I applied online and I got a job as a Google Vendor Partner working on their food team. I was in the tech/food space, and I was on their marketing team. We talked about the future of food, and we ran summits about food sustainability, and I got to work on global teams. That was when I really started bringing in the concept of choice and how choice really affects purchase and how the stories we tell affect how we purchase and what we feel and how we interact with the world around us.

[00:40:57.360] – Aleya H

Then I was stuck in my parent company to be the head of marketing for North America, and then I got laid off again. I know. I promise I’m employable. Well, maybe not as much as employable. I’m not anymore. I’m totally not employable. I was good. I knew what I was doing. There were real layoffs. I didn’t get fired. But two weeks before they did that, they sent me to get a story brand certification. Then they laid me off two weeks after that.Donald.

[00:41:24.730] – Andi J


[00:41:25.000] – Aleya H

Miller. Being type A, I got my story brand certification. I now an on-air personality for Donald Miller and Dr. Jj Peterson.

[00:41:33.940] – Andi J

Seriously? Yeah. Oh, jeez. I’ve binged a lot of the content in COVID.

[00:41:39.780] – Aleya H

I know intimately. Then I go also around on story brands’ behalf and I teach the framework to private companies. Okay, right. Then I took story and tell it.

[00:41:50.130] – Andi J

You still do that story brand as part of… Half of the people listening will be like, Oh, my God, she does story brand. Other half will be like, Oh, my God, what is story brand? Tell us, just give us not the elevator pitch, but the elevator plus a little bit pitch of story brand.

[00:42:06.670] – Aleya H

Story brand is based on a book written by Donald Miller called Building a Story Brand, and it takes a seven-part framework of story creation and applies it to marketing. If you’ve ever heard of Joseph Campbell and Hear It with a Thousand Faces, the book that he wrote, by going around and asking a bunch of questions and reading text and realising that human beings not only all tell stories in a similar pattern, or similar flow, similar framework, we also live our lives that way. And that’s how we understand our lives and how we understand problems and processes. So then Donald Miller and his brilliance took it, distilled it, applied it to marketing, and wrote off into the sunset.

[00:42:43.240] – Andi J

Not Steven Spielberg, but Look, whenever we were at Disney. George Lucas, get to the right one, was a big fan. I don’t think it was the guy that you just mentioned, not Donald Miller, the other guy. Was it Campbell? Yeah. Probably was it Pamble. No, I think it was. A big fan of his work and influenced Star Wars.

[00:42:59.460] – Aleya H

No, Star Wars follows the hero’s journey to a T. It is what people teach when they teach about story, about how to follow the hero’s journey.

[00:43:07.750] – Andi J

Because Lucas was a big fan of… He looked at different cultures and realised that you can go to Hawaii and listen to their old stories, and you can go to India and listen to their old stories, and the names change.

[00:43:21.160] – Aleya H

But it’s the same story.

[00:43:22.970] – Andi J

It’s the same story, yeah. It’s the same story. And decided that you’d build something around the universal truth of… I’ve been People don’t change. It’s the same thing. It’s good, it’s evil, all that stuff.

[00:43:34.900] – Aleya H

And he seemed like he had some minor success with that, yeah?

[00:43:38.180] – Andi J

I don’t know that it’s going to go anywhere, this Star Wars thing. I’m not sure. I enjoyed it. I don’t think it’s got mass appeal. Okay.

[00:43:45.000] – Aleya H

I won’t put too much credence in stories then.

[00:43:48.570] – Andi J

So story brand, you’re part of them in an on-air personality. What does that mean?

[00:43:54.240] – Aleya H

On-air is like so they’re in a livestream. I teach their livestream when they go and they educate companies, buy seats or to learn the framework and to implement it. Then inside of a business made simple university, I’m a co-host.

[00:44:06.600] – Andi J

There you go. This all makes perfect sense. I would say the business made simple. I watched a webinar. I started in COVID. I watched the webinar. I think it was Donald Miller who did the webinar. And basically, I hate webinars for the very simple reason that they are… Sorry. I hate webinars run by Americans because you know they’re not going to tell you anything. They’re just going to sell you a product. Exactly. And they just say, Let me tell you how to fill your water bottle up. But first, I’m going to tell you this. And then it gets to you’ve been there 45 minutes and they’re like, If you just drop 3779, I’ll then teach you how to fill a water bottle. And you just feel like you’ve got nothing for your time, and it drives me insane. Yes, Donald was selling throughout this, but I actually made more notes about how to run a webinar than I did. I didn’t buy the book in the end because it wasn’t the thing I needed at the time, but it was an absolute masterclass in how to run a webinar. There was a certain… It was, I think, 10 to 12 minutes, and then he would stop and hook back and just repeat what he told you.

[00:45:10.730] – Andi J

And then he’d do it again, and then he’d repeat one and two. I was like, This is amazing. And he’s got such a great delivery with it. And then the sales pitch came in a little bit and he just teased it. And then it came in again a bit harder. And then at the end, bang, it was dropped. And it had everything that all the tech bros do, but it just had a lot- They’re not slimy. They’re not slimy. And I got a lot out of the webinar. I didn’t buy the product, but I got a lot out of it. And do you know how many people have told about it since then? Exactly. Even though I didn’t buy it. And I think I know half a dozen people who bought it on the back of me saying, You should go and have a look at this.

[00:45:48.080] – Aleya H

And you should cosign.

[00:45:50.570] – Andi J

There you go. Can I get commission for that?

[00:45:52.890] – Aleya H

I mean, I have an affiliate link.

[00:45:54.100] – Andi J

Excellent. We’ll put an affiliate link in the show and I’ll share it around widely. Share it around. That camera. There you go.

[00:45:58.960] – Aleya H

I mean, I guess I’m going to share with you. Oh, cool.

[00:46:01.610] – Andi J

Excellent. I didn’t know that. So you got into story brand, you’re doing that. And then, so your business, what is your ideal client? It’s a marketing podcast, right? Yeah. So who do you want to come and work with?

[00:46:12.790] – Aleya H

Well, the thing right now, I I’m not my baby. What I really would love to do is just go around and speak. My ideal client is most likely a company that is trying to tell a different story, whether it’s a company or an association, and they’re struggling to clarify their message and to clarify one that is truly to who they are.

[00:46:34.340] – Andi J

Do they have this problem at a certain time? And what I mean by that is I often get brought in at two points. The sales have started to go down, and it’s like, Oh, we need a new marketing strategy. Our sales are going up nicely at 3% a year, but there’s a new board or a new chairman or a new owner, and they go, That’s 3% is wonderful. We need 15%. Those two are the inflexion points where my phone usually rings. Is there a point where people say, We need to clarify this Usually when there’s a leadership change.

[00:47:03.180] – Aleya H

Because-regime change. Regime change. That’s when the people at the top or top-ish have the ability to take a story and implement it. When sales are dropping, unless it’s a big enough deal for someone at the top to take a huge notice of, it usually is not because of that. Right. Either a regime change, sometimes sales dropping or something has happened.

[00:47:29.150] – Andi J

But A bad thing has happened.

[00:47:30.620] – Aleya H

A bad thing has happened.

[00:47:32.680] – Andi J

Yes. I suppose the bad thing is almost crisis comes in. I know a guy who run a crisis comms agency. I said, Why do you do it? And his answer, he gave it in a very PR way, but he was basically saying he can charge five times more for his hourly rate than a normal PR for it.

[00:47:47.900] – Aleya H

But I come in after that guy. After that guy, yeah. Because it’s like they’re wise enough to realise how they got there. So they paid that guy five times as much. And then they’re like, We should probably lay some groundwork.

[00:48:01.130] – Andi J

So we don’t- He put the fire out, you’re rebuilding the house.

[00:48:03.300] – Aleya H

Exactly. Okay.

[00:48:04.880] – Andi J

So do you just flick through the LA Times or whatever the American equivalent is of the Financial Times and go, Oh, new leadership at X company. Not X. Because no one is working with those of you. No, not yet. But new leadership at FijiWater. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let me just fire a resume off to them. Is that basically off your marketing funnel? Ceo sucks. Send us a CV.

[00:48:27.410] – Aleya H

My marketing funnel is just just… It’s embarrassingly simple. It usually involves me receiving an email because people have heard me speak. And that’s why I’m like, Yeah, just have Bruce come in and bring me to speak. Everything else will take care of itself after that.

[00:48:44.360] – Andi J

We’re back to where we started. Oh, not where we started. Where we started speaking. Invite Aleya. Do. Just do it because you will not regret it. It is an experience. It’s incredible. I got a lot of conferences, and I make some very good friends from conferences, and there’s very few people, I would say, have dropped into that top bracket where I’ve just gone.

[00:49:08.860] – Aleya H

I hope all of you marketing leads, as well as any corporate event planners, are currently listening to this endorsement. Thank you very much.

[00:49:16.770] – Andi J

But don’t just buy her. I’ve got to make a living, too. I got to make a living, too. I got children to feed. I got things to do. I need a new car. Okay, there we go. No, no. So speaking is part of the funnel. That’s what fires it.

[00:49:31.060] – Aleya H

It’s part of the funnel. Then also I have a programme, Spark the Stage, where I go and I bring people in that are wanting to be speakers. And believe it or not, they’re like, Well, I’m not ready for this thing at my company, but I’ll send you. And then I’ll do consulting from them through that. But I actually, I don’t want to sound like, I’m so busy. But I will take… I mean, if you want to work with me, let’s talk. But I like filtering them through if you’ve seen me on stage or if you’ve come through my programme, because there’s a certain knowledge of what we’re going to do together, what we’re going to get, that when you get people off the street, it’s a little bit like… It’s a different vibe. Yeah.

[00:50:12.390] – Andi J

It qualifies as a supposed to be. Brilliant. I love that. I think you’ve got the LA West Coast. Which bit of LA do you live in? I’m going to turn up Burbank.

[00:50:22.920] – Aleya H

No, you can turn up. Hi, come on in. Media City. I actually live where the headquarters of Disney is.

[00:50:30.400] – Andi J

This is full circle. Excellent. So we’re back to talking about Disney. So you live in LA, and is LA… There’s the British culture we know there’s this East Coast, West Coast thing. Is the West Coast different? That’s obviously rap music, but business-wise and things like that. Is there a difference in the business culture in LA compared to New York?

[00:50:52.500] – Aleya H

Yeah, there’s going to be a difference in the business culture because there’s a difference in the culture, considerably. It’s much more laid back. I mean, you have Wall Street in New York, which I feel like colours a lot of the perspective of the way people do business. It’s like you have suits on one Coast and weed and linen on the other. I don’t know. I don’t Yeah. Okay. I mean, not saying that everyone is like that. There’s always a mix back and forth, but that was one of the things that I love about being in California is that I get to be able to work with other people that I fly around and I work with people everywhere. But when I say I’m from California, they also guess what they’re going to get. Got you. They probably know I’m not going to show up in a three-piece suit.

[00:51:39.520] – Andi J

Yeah.. Fantastic. So last question then.

[00:51:44.660] – Aleya H

You can ask me as many questions as you want.

[00:51:45.950] – Andi J

Okay, we might keep going. I only ask because you’ve talked about your daughter before as well. So you became a mum.

[00:51:52.750] – Aleya H

November seventh, 2022.

[00:51:54.690] – Andi J

November seventh, 2022. And life-changing experience? No.

[00:51:59.810] – Aleya H

It was incredibly life-changing. So let’s back up before November seventh. I was the cuteest pregnant lady. I had no problems at all. I was the person. I have big hair now. It’s double the size. It was gorgeous, glowing. I had a little bump. I only gained 16 pounds my whole pregnancy. A dream. Then labour hit, and from that point on, it’s been a shit show. I was in 36 6 hours of labour that ended in a C-section. Then I had the baby blues or so, I thought, that gave me a debilitating mental illness is the way I experienced my postpartum journey. Could I couldn’t show up, couldn’t speak the way I wanted, couldn’t hold thoughts together. Connecting two thoughts and trying to link them was a challenge. I thought something was… I wasn’t sure if If it was permanent or if it was temporary or if I was ever going to recover. Then on top of this baseline mental illness, there was this grieving period that also began to happen. Because, well, who was I? I actually posted a post about this summer last year or summer 2022. I had to edit it at the top because it was just a picture of me in greyed out a little bit with my birth date to my daughter’s birth date.

[00:53:35.060] – Aleya H

It looked like I had died. People started calling my husband. It was like, I’m okay. I’m okay.

[00:53:45.660] – Andi J

Famously, I’m not dead. I’m not dead.

[00:53:48.360] – Aleya H

I already had one death hoax, so that means that I’m going places with my life. But it was a post about the rebirth experience and the morning who died and realised Realising that the woman that died, I was so mean to her. I didn’t even appreciate her that much when she died. How dare I even… I almost felt like, How dare I even mourn her because I wasn’t very nice How does it start to begin with?

[00:54:17.440] – Andi J

I have a lot of mental turmoil about asking you that last question. And the reason I ask you that I worry about asking you the question is, very rarely do I have men on the podcast and ask them about having children. It comes up more frequently when I have women on the podcast who often bring up that they have children, so then I ask them questions. So it’s not that I’m sitting here going, I must ask a woman a question about being pregnant or having a kid. But I’m aware I don’t say that. It’s not a question I ask men. But then again, I don’t really ask it. It’s only if it comes up in conversation. Women tend to bring it up more than men do. Anyway, so the reason I’m telling them, just because I’m like, Should I have asked that question? But you’ve talked about your daughter, and that’s- It’s We’re not talking about women in his dream.

[00:55:02.550] – Aleya H

Being a female business owner and a mum at the same time is just another reason why women are super strong as humans.

[00:55:09.410] – Andi J

There’s a woman called Sherice, sorry, Sherice Anibaba who was on. She, Head of Marketing, worked for McDonald’s UK and things like that. It was one of my favourite podcasts I’ve done, not because of anything I did. She was just incredible and everything she said was music to my ears. Now, she works in the corporate machine, doesn’t work for herself as you do. But what really blew my mind, as an open-minded man, I would think, I think I’m a fairly progressive chap. Okay. But she talked about how she was worried that her career was over because she wouldn’t be able to She wouldn’t be able to stay late. She wouldn’t be able to be part of some of the things. She was going to take nine months off. We get proper maternity leave back in the UK, by the way. Nine months? Nine months, yeah. That’s your legal minimum. You can take a year if you want. So, yeah, you got a long way to go. Yeah. But she was genuinely worried that her career was over, and she’s one of the most amazing marketers I’ve had on the podcast. And you think, if someone that good gets pregnant and one of their first thoughts is, Shit, my career is over, How have we fucked the world up so much?

[00:56:19.150] – Andi J

How have we ruined business so much that we have amazing, talented women who worry so much about it? You run your own company, so maybe is it slightly different? Or did you have all those same concerns?

[00:56:33.980] – Aleya H

Very similar. I would actually say that I don’t think we’ve ruined business that much. I think it’s a little bit almost sadder than that. We’ve ruined our culture that much.

[00:56:44.020] – Andi J

Just to be clear, you haven’t. We haven’t. It’s the boys who’ve done it.

[00:56:48.160] – Aleya H

Yes. No.

[00:56:48.850] – Andi J

It’s not the women who’ve done it, it’s the men who’ve done it.

[00:56:50.600] – Aleya H

We participated. That’s the only reason why women aren’t ruling the world. You can be as negative to me as you want to be, but if all of the women that I knew banded with me and stood against you, you would be powerless. The problem is not only the men. The problem is the women who allow it. When we have been growing up in an indoctrinated state, most women, me included, are not even fully aware of the… You’re talking about truth. Truths that we have accepted that actually are robbing us of our power.

[00:57:29.720] – Andi J

Is that a woman problem? I know you said the women who accept it, but when you look and you dig into the patriarchal structures that we’ve developed from an early age of that, I sense it’s changing slightly. But when I grew up in the ’80s, even just watching cartoons on TV, you were very much reminded that, Hey, you’re a girl. You can be a nurse. You’re a boy. You can be a doctor. So it’s not just the overt stuff. It’s the It’s the underhand stuff as well. And when you have a whole lifetime… There’s a famous experiment with fleas, and I’m not comparing women to fleas here.

[00:58:08.430] – Aleya H

I’m like, This is going down.

[00:58:10.440] – Andi J

So how did you get cancelled, Andi? But there’s If you put fleas in a jar and you cover the jar, the fleas will spend the first 10 minutes jumping up, trying to get out of the jar. And when they stop, you can take the top off the jar and they will never, ever jump out of it, ever.

[00:58:26.840] – Aleya H

He did just compare women to fleas.

[00:58:28.780] – Andi J

Just give me a chance to save myself, give me a chance to save myself. The point I’m making, it’s a metaphor, not a comparison, but the point I’m making is that when you spend your whole life from the moment you can interact with the world, so from being a toddler, effectively, when you spend your whole life being told that this is how it is and this is what you’re going, is it really your fault that you don’t see that it can and should be different? Or is it the fault of the system that’s made you look that way and think that way?

[00:58:55.950] – Aleya H

I think it’s a little bit of both. I don’t think that it’s that simple. I do the flea, not comparison, analogy, metaphor. Thank you for being so sweet about that. There you go. But I just like you.

[00:59:09.880] – Andi J

As this is the last podcast I’ll ever record, and Sorry. Let me finish. Please save me, Leia.

[00:59:18.100] – Aleya H

I do understand what you’re saying, but by that same vein, black people in the US should all still be slaves, right?

[00:59:28.450] – Andi J

I mean, you’ve got me there. I have no comebacks. You are 100% right.

[00:59:33.650] – Aleya H

I’m not saying that the burden is all on one side or the other, but as a woman, how can I sit here and say, I want to stand strong, be a partner, I’m not a victim, and then out of the other side of my mouth say, You did this to me, and take no responsibility for my current state?

[00:59:54.460] – Andi J

Yeah, both things can be true, as you said. It’s a bit of both. Absolutely.

[00:59:57.460] – Aleya H

At the same time, I I acknowledge that there is 100%, I’m sure, somewhere, I don’t even know what it looks like within me because it probably is so ingrained in the way I sit, operate, dress, talk, the part of the debilitating patriarchal system. But I’m not calling for us to all rise at once and have this great conscious awakening. I mean, that would be awesome. If you are going to schedule that, let me know. I will be there. But send me a Google calendar invite. But I’m just calling for people to be aware of how they’re living their own lives and make small changes. That’s how any change happens. I take accountability and responsibility for showing up. For me, that’s actually a really big deal. I know it doesn’t seem like it, but it is because when I was dealing with postpartum depression, I couldn’t show up. Me getting on a live, getting on a podcast, restarting my own podcast felt like herculean effort. I’m not saying what it should look like for every single woman to stand in her own power. It could be as small as closing the door when you pee because you’re taking five minutes to tell your partner that you deserve to pee alone.

[01:01:16.810] – Aleya H

It could be small like that, and it could feel huge. It’s just about taking the responsibility for yourself in the moment because you can’t control what your grandmother did, but you can control what you do. Yeah.

[01:01:33.060] – Andi J

Thank you. What I like about podcasting is, firstly, discussing interesting things with interesting people, but the challenge It throws at you about how you think. That’s challenged how I see this problem. It’s a man problem. It’s not a woman problem. It’s a man problem. There’s a system that’s created that benefits us and does benefit you. That is true. But you’ve shone a light on it in a different way that’s now going to have me thinking about it for days to come going, Okay, what about this? And it challenges that. And that’s why I do this. Don’t do it for the downloads and the listeners. They’re nice. They’re lovely. They stroke your ego. It’s fantastic. Like and subscribe. Yeah, absolutely. Smash that like button.

[01:02:18.540] – Aleya H

But it’s interesting, too. So if we actually think about this flea comparison, let’s say you were able to-Not comparison. Yes, sorry. Metaphore. Yes, not comparison. And you were able to isolate one flea, and you told that flea after you suppressed them. Jump, flea, jump. What? What’s jumping? I haven’t jumped. Okay, you’re going to show me what to jump. Okay, I’m going to start jumping. And one flea starts jumping, and then the other flea start jumping, and then the other flea start jumping. What you actually don’t do as a disservice to the flea is turn the jar upside down, because then all the fleas just fall out. To their deaths, they’re not able to, like we were saying, walk through the process of flexing those muscles again to be able to jump and jump their way out. We have to participate in our own healing.

[01:03:10.480] – Andi J

I never thought we were going to go deep on fleas today. Which is one of the- You started it. This is why I don’t script it. Some people who come on the podcast and say, Will you send me the questions? I was like, I have no idea what the questions are going to be. I know what the first question is going to be. I know what the last question is going to be. Everything else?

[01:03:24.650] – Aleya H

That’s beautiful.

[01:03:26.190] – Andi J

Your podcast, what is it? How do people find it?

[01:03:29.370] – Aleya H

Tell us about My podcast is called the Flourishing Entrepreneur podcast. It’s about using tried and true marketing and storytelling techniques to help people tell radically authentic stories.

[01:03:38.510] – Andi J

You’ve practised that before, haven’t you?

[01:03:39.460] – Aleya H

Yes, I have.

[01:03:40.000] – Andi J

I am here for it. I love it. Is it guest format? Is it- It’s a little bit of both.

[01:03:47.200] – Aleya H

It’s really whatever the hell I wanted to be. I do have guests on there, and I love talking to guests, but I also have episodes.

[01:03:58.170] – Andi J

Do you want to be a guest? I mean, look, if you’re asking, please. I would love to have you as a guest. You don’t need to say that now. I should be like, I’m not going to have you as a guest.

[01:04:08.700] – Aleya H

Well, no, it’s recorded. I mean, I have to stick with it. No, but really, I would love to have you as a guest. But I also have episodes that are just guided meditations. I have episodes that are live coaching between me and a coaching client. I have episodes where I actually record a version of my speaking topic and call it Stage to Stream. So my content’s out in the world.

[01:04:30.180] – Andi J

Amazing. Aleya Harris, thank you so much for your time. That is genuinely amazing. This is why it’s much more fun doing it in person. You just get the fun. It was amazing. Thank you very much. No, it was great. You very much.So much.