You’ll never know until you ask. Giselle Ugarte’s cool encounter with internet personality Gary Vaynerchuk happened all because of social media and the power of the ask. Giselle is a multimedia personality as well with her own following when one of his followers reached out to give her a copy of Gary Vee’s book. They met up over coffee and Giselle ended up uploading a picture of it on social media. Little did Giselle know, Gary Vee saw this interaction and he either favorite it or re-tweeted it.
From there, some of his local following started following her as well, until eventually, Gary Vee’s promoters reached out to her inviting her to an event that they were hosting for Gary Vee. Giselle took it one step further and asked if she could host the event, and they ended up hiring her as the emcee. Until now, this is something that Giselle still cannot believe is happening. Giselle says you have to ask. People could say no, but what is there to lose?
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The Power Of The Ask: How Giselle Ugarte Landed A Gig With Gary Vee
I have got my gorgeous friend, Giselle, here with me. Let me give you a little bit of background on this powerhouse entrepreneur. She lights my soul on fire on another level. Whenever I see her coming through Instagram, do yourself a favor, go follow her. She has beautiful photographs but she has the heart to back it up and give great wisdom and insight. If I'm ever feeling down, I go to Emily for Zella and I go to Giselle. Those are my two girls.
Honestly, it's the caption that comes first and I have to try to find a photo somewhere in my archive that matches whatever emotion that I'm going through, which can be awkward if it's one of those more vulnerable posts because I don't want to be that cliché, leave a quote with a picture type of an Instagram, but it's coming from my heart. I feel like whatever that wisdom is, either something that I'm going through or something that a friend's going through or I feel this tugging at my heart, someone needs to hear this and know that they're not alone. I love that about social media. It can be as superficial, hateful and negative as you want, but it can also be a place of positivity, inspiration and light if you use it correctly.
I'm all about it at all levels. Let me share with the audience how fabulous you are. She spent nearly ten years in LA and she is now proud to be called a Minnesotan again. She's back here. She has a weekday show from 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM with Ben, Dana and Giselle. If you are local here to Minnesota, go to 96.3 FM. She is a blast and I have listened to it. A little bit of background on Giselle. She is a multimedia personality, writer and producer. I was like, “What the heck doesn't she do?”
She's been featured in huge brands and outlets all over the world and she has over 300,000 followers. She is the real deal. There are some of those people that when you meet them in person, you're like, “That's a person,” but when you meet with Giselle, she truly is. She's not only an amazing talent, but she has the heart to back it up. She's been featured as a contributor and face for big names like CoverGirl, Proactiv+, The Today Show Australia, E! Entertainment, Dash Radio and Hollywire, just to name a few. I am so honored to be interviewing you.
Thank you for having me. I was inspired by you. Every time I check if you're doing one thing after the other. I feel like it's a community that we can inspire each other and grow together. I love that.
I met her through the pageant arena. A mutual friend invited both of us to a pageant event. She won the title and I came first runner-up. It was fun to meet her there and I feel like she's a kindred spirit. I was intrigued by her story because if I were to redo my life, I probably would have gone down a very similar path to what she has accomplished in her first ten years. She went out to LA and decided to chase the American dream. Ten years later, she was a bit disillusioned and burnt out. I want you to share the whole story. It’s cool to hear the wisdom that you got from that first part of your journey and where you're at now.
I did grow up in Minnesota. I grew up in Wayzata Suburb of Minneapolis, by no means a small town. I did go to a small school. I had 95 people in my graduating class. I am Mexican-American, so it felt like I grew up in a bubble. My parents were encouraging me to go away to college. I tended to stay here and I had been admitted to Carlton in Northfield. I was involved in dance and I love the Minnesota Vikings. I always had this dream of being a Minnesota Vikings cheerleader while I was in college and they said, “No, we want you to go to New York or California. Go anywhere but here so that you can explore and see something outside of yourself.”
I ended up going to USC in Los Angeles. There was a part of me, before going to college, where I was trying to decide if I want it to be a doctor or go into entertainment because my dad was a doctor and I had gotten into John Hopkins as well. I knew I was down to John Hopkins or USC and I knew that whichever one I picked would decide what I would do. At least that's how you feel in high school, you think that picking your college is going to decide the rest of your life.
We look back on that now and realize that it had little effect. I chose USC, I went to the journalism school. I always wanted to be Giuliana Rancic on E! News. I wanted to do entertainment news and be on the red carpet with the celebrities. That was something that I would watch ritually every single day. I would know all about all the gossip, news, who was dating who, and who was wearing who. That's what I pursued from the get-go. I had my first internship my sophomore year at E! Entertainment and from there, hustled and tried to learn everything.
I do wear a lot of hats. That was one of the pieces of advice that I’ve got, it was to learn how to produce, write, work for a publicist, work for an agent and work for the manager. If you want to work in entertainment in LA, you need to know how everything works and you need to know everybody. Being a Latina woman and watching the media go from television to digital, you needed to know how to edit video, how to upload instantaneously, how to upload on the CAASPP, start tweeting and marketing yourself digitally.
Somehow, it all ended up working out. I started a blog when I was in college and that also helped, a YouTube channel as well. I worked my way up as hard as I possibly could to get it on every single red carpet I could. I got into The Today Show Australia network program, which was a job that I didn't even seek out for myself. It turned out, “I can talk about entertainment on a network program. I can sleep in and be on TVs all over the world, but still have privacy. This is crazy.”
I did reach a point where I forgot about my why. I had always wanted to go into entertainment and I didn't remember why. I had gotten to know the entertainment industry and realized, “This is not as shiny and glamorous as I thought that it was.” Things just changed. I woke up one day and I was making more money than I had ever made before and I was dating someone who I thought I was going to marry, but something didn't feel right.
I didn't want to go to work. I was so burnt out. I was working nights, weekends, holidays. I was saying yes to absolutely everything and every single job. For some reason, I felt miserable. That was the most terrifying thing because my dream job was there. My dream life of getting married and settling down was there and I didn't want it. What was I supposed to do? It took a minute to regather and figure out what to do. Somehow, I ended up here.
I was supposed to go to New York and I stopped here on a whim to take some time off. I had met with an old boss who worked in radio. One of my internships in college was here over the summer at a radio station. That radio station had reformatted into a different format. I met with my former boss who is now the president of the company. I wanted to talk to them about what are some of my opportunities that I would have, given my experience, but I don't want to do entertainment anymore. I haven't done a lot of radio. I've done a little bit of digital radio. I had my own show on Dash Radio. What I'd be able to break into radio, whether it's news or morning show radio, I haven't been to one of those smaller town stations that a lot of people work their way up with.
His proposal was, “Would you ever want to move back to Minneapolis?” “No.” “Are you sure?” I had never spent more than maybe five days in Minneapolis since I had left for college, except for that internship, which was four weeks. I said, “No, there's absolutely no way.” He goes, “How about this, you come into town pretty often. How about the next time you're here, we've been looking for a female morning show co-host. If nothing else, the guys will hear what it's like to have a female on the show and you will have a real firm, top market that you can take with you to New York.” “Okay.”
I came into town a couple of weeks later and it ended up being so fun. I had found this spark within me that I had completely forgotten about because I was burnt out, I was taking jobs just to pay the bills, and I didn't know what was next. All of a sudden, I had this new challenge of working with two cohosts, working with two men, having to be myself and talk about my own life rather than reading a script or gossiping about someone else's life, which was one of the most soul-sucking things done. I realized, “I'm supposed to be here. I can't see it long-term but maybe I could do this temporarily since they haven't found someone for the job.” It turned into, “Let's do this for two or three weeks. Let's do this for a month. Let's do this for six months,” two years later, I'm still here.
When you feel like you're running towards this dream, this end all be all, and you get there, you are disillusioned. You're like, “Now what? This is not what I signed up for,” I'm disillusioned. You get to the point where you’re, “What's that next step for me? I'm feeling lost in translation.” This side thing that you never thought would turn into anything is part of your destiny and you start to pursue it.
You mentioned disillusioned. We're constantly in this mindset of setting goals and achieving the goals. We have this mindset that your happiness or that victory is within that goal and you're not going to find that happiness until you reach that goal, whether it's that dream job or that goal way, “Once I hit that, I'll be happy.” I found success early, I was 24 or 25 when I got that awesome opportunity. The moment of feeling so lost, confused, and wondering, “What am I supposed to do?” I had left my job at The Today Show and I had another show that I did not get renewed. I was entirely unemployed, and I broke up with my very serious boyfriend.
There was this moment where I reconnected with my faith and I felt this sense of peace and happiness, unlike anything I have ever experienced. I had the verse on my heart, “I do not worry about anything, pray about everything.” All of a sudden, I had this clicking moment where I realized it's not about that end goal, it's not about achieving that goal or dream job or that ring on your finger, it's about finding happiness for no reason at all, and that's real happiness.
It's about finding joy and fulfillment in the process and not just in what you accomplish. It's about finding gratitude in the failures and not when things work. It has allowed me to feel comfortable hitting that reset button all the time. People say, “Would you ever move?” and a lot of people our age would probably say, “No, I don't want to start over.” I'm like, “I don't have kids, I don't have a husband. Sure.” If this job left me or our show got canceled tomorrow, I'd be like, “What's next? What am I going to do?” because I know that I'm going to be fine
That's such an extremely strong mindset. So many people can get into the fixed mindset of limiting themselves so much because this is the way that they see life going and they don't want any curve balls. Heads up, here are curveballs coming and so they have a hard time course correcting.
What is it that you always say about having the multiple streams of income?
It’s wise to have multiple streams of income just in case one dries up, you've got a couple of others to choose from. Digging your will before you're thirsty. The average millionaire has seven. I encourage my friends to at least have two. I've got six, I'm on my way to seven.
That's another valuable lesson. It's not that you're doing it out of fear or to chase something or you're constantly seeking more money. It's because there's something gratifying about all the processes, seeing what you're capable of and pursuing different interests. Not getting stuck in that monotonous single lane of one skill but knowing that there are more things in the world that you can give your gifts to. There are more talents that you can cultivate when you take that risk and when you're okay with knowing that, “This might work, or this might not. It looks fun and I saw someone else doing it, so I can do it too.” It's so valuable when you share your lessons and victories because people see that within you and if she did it, I can do it too.
There's so much magic in pursuing that calling because in that small voice when you're like, “I don't know how this is all going to work out, but I'm going to put one foot in front of the other because this is where I'm feeling called.” That's where the biggest doors of opportunity open up. Even when you were at a place of, “I don't know what I should be doing,” my dad says, “You can't drive a parked car,” and you put one foot in front of the other.
You're like, “I don't know how long I'm going to be here at the radio show but this is where the soul is feeling lit up like game on.” I even asked you, “What's the end all, be all?” Your answer was beautiful. At the beginning of my career, I was like, “I'm going to do this. Here’s my five-year plan and my ten-year plan. Go, team. Go, God and me.” You have to give yourself that breathing room and room for growth. When you aren't so fixed on that end all be all, that's where the magic happens. I've seen that so much in my life and I've seen that in yours.
You can't have that tunnel vision, whether it's the people who you meet or the opportunities that come your way, if you are so set on having your own path, that's when God's going to be like, “Nope, that was cute.” When you’re not open to it, that's when you're going to get caught up in the stress and anxiety of having control issues. You need to be able to adapt to whatever comes your way and be open-minded because you could be digging and digging your way to water, not realizing that there's a water fountain there.
We finished up talking about your transition here to the radio and the magic moments.
The magic moments were in not knowing and trying. At one point, I thought I was going to go back to school. I took tours of business schools on the east coast and I did interviews, and I started studying for that GMAT, but it didn't feel right. I have aspirations of going back to school or even teaching a class. You mentioned the goals of the future and it's not something that I can put a definitive label on. It's that there are those little benchmarks along the way that I want to do that I know will continue to keep my soul on fire.
One of those things could be a continued education or writing a book or going on tour. Those are things that are ongoing and not things that are all, “In five years, I'll write it down and I might set a deadline for myself to get going.” I'm not going to restrict myself with time knowing that the greatest opportunities that I've had like where I went to college, some of the greatest jobs I’ve had and relationships and friendships that came unexpectedly were things that I didn't seek out myself and came out of nowhere when I thought I was not ready.
It's the person that you become on the way to the goal that is so much more important than the goal itself. When you can breathe through those moments where you're not quite sure what's going on, God has your back and there's peace there and you put up your hands in surrender. I even heard a quote saying how he hates it when people say, “God won't give you more than you can handle.” He's like, “Yes, he will but not more than you can handle without him by your side when you can team up with him.”
When you're at that breaking point and you surrender it all, that's where he wants us all the time. Sometimes he has to put so much on your plate and take the vision a little bit and saying, “No, little grasshopper. It's my plan, not yours.” I loved that and even what you did, it's cool that you put out some intentions out into the world and how it comes back tenfold. I want to talk about the cool encounter that has transpired about the whole event were you were with Gary Vee. Spill the beans on how this all came into fruition. I see through my Instagram story that Giselle has partnered up with Gary Vee and she's hosting an event and he's coming to in Minneapolis. Amazing on another level.
Even upon posting and seeing it, I was like, “What?” If you don't know who Gary Vaynerchuk is, you should follow him. He is a source of inspiration to take your life and your work to the next level. He's @GaryVee on Instagram. He is awesome when it comes to branding and getting rid of the BS and any excuses or insecurities that you might have. A lot of what he says echoes what I've been learning about myself over the last several years. I had put up a rant about the music industry on Twitter and maybe Instagram and someone saw my rant and said, “I loved your rant. It reminded me a lot of this guy Gary Vee,” who I was new to and I was like, “That was a nice compliment.” He goes, “I love it so much. I have this extra copy of his book, I want to send it to you.” He had no ulterior motives, no intentions of trying to get anything from me, but he had been a follower of mine and a follower of his and thought I would enjoy it and appreciate it.
I took it one step further. I always say, “Use social media to connect, network and inspire.” When someone writes to me, I always like to look at who they are and I like to follow back. I want to know who my audience is. They're the ones who are paying my bills because without them, I would have no one showing up and no one listening. It's valuable for me to get to know them, connect with them, and love them. I looked him up, realized he was a new graduate and I said, “Rather than mailing me the book, it looks like your local. Why don't we go to coffee? I would love to meet you.” We spent about an hour and a half going back and forth and I let him ask me whatever he wanted. I wanted to learn from him too.
There's so much that we can learn from the younger generations and from students. I say that like I'm a million years old and I'm not, but they are absorbing technology and media in a different way than we did when we were kids. We were experiencing the transition and hey only experienced what it is now and what it's going to an exponential level. I loved it, took a picture of it, and uploaded it even from the get-go when he first offered me in the book I use it as an example to my followers to show them this is where kindness can get you. This is what social media is all about, it's about being social. I have met people on Twitter and Instagram, even best friends.
There are definitely creepers out there, don't get me wrong but as long as you do your little bit of research, it can be valuable to you. Gary Vee saw this interaction and he either favorite it or retweeted it. From there, some of his local following saw what I was doing and they started following me as well. That night, I went home and wrote down, “I need to see Gary Vee.” He speaks all over, he has conferences and panels. The next day, I crossed it out and said, “I need to work with Gary Vee.” I didn't realize this but the next day, the promoters who were bringing Gary Vee had reached out, that was the first day. The next day after I wrote in my post it, it was in my message requests box, so I didn't see the message until about a month later.
The promoters reached out to me inviting me to this event that they were hosting in Rochester in August. I hopped on the phone with them and was going over some of what they were doing and said, “Do you want me to be a guest? I would love to host this.” After some talking back and forth, they decided to hire me as the emcee of the event. They could have said no, but what would I have lost? You’ll never know until you ask. This is something that I still cannot believe that it's happening. I'm excited and proud of it and there’s so much pressure on that opening monologue.
That makes my heart explode because I have said many times, “There is so much power in the ask. Putting yourself out there.” I even had an experience with my book launch at the mall of America. I wanted to pitch a sponsor for the fashion show. I walked into the first place because I thought, “Who would be cool to have at the fashion show? Victoria's Secret.” I walked to Victoria's Secret, I pitched the whole thing and she looks at me like a cow and a new fence post. She's like, “We've never done anything like that. That's crazy.” I said, “If you're interested, let me know what.” I gave her my card, I walked out, and I was like, “That went differently in my head.”
The second time, I walked into Calvin Klein. She said, “Let me get back to my manager, to the higher-ups in California.” She got back to me within four hours and she said, “Absolutely.” They put something in each swag bag and they sponsored the whole thing, the fashion show. Long story short, that was the catapult that brought Fabletics with Kate Hudson and other amazing sponsors. You don't know if you don't ask, I am so obsessed with that. I say, “Go, boss bold.” You have nothing to lose and everything to gain in putting yourself out there. That's where the magic happens. Giselle, thank you for leading from the front. I'm sure there are other people that are like, “I was so nervous about doing that one thing. If Giselle put herself out there and look what she landed, what can I do?”
Visibility is so important on social media. There is a sense of social media where it is about bragging and where people are very boastful. I do think that especially with women, minorities and when it comes to business, it's important to share those victories and the stories of how you got there so that you can show people that tangible way of how to get there. I shared a story recently because I got a promotion at my job, I'm an on-air personality in the morning show. “A promotion, what does that even mean?” I talked about how I want it to be involved in the business side. I walked into my boss's office when I first got the job and I said, “I want to spend at the big boys' table.” “What does that mean?” In my head and outwardly, I said, “I want to be listed in the meetings and I want to be able to have a voice. I want to know what's going on. I want to be able to learn.”
It took about a year for me to define what that was for me and then create a job role. From there was a lot of back and forth, there was a lot of him playing this game of, “You show me what you want and I'll help you get there,” but I had to show him what I wanted in order for me to help me get there. It took me putting a presentation together, taking my business card and slapping a post-it on top of it and putting the job titles that I wanted in addition to morning show host. Now, I'm the digital brand manager and I posted about it.
A lot of people think, “That's bragging. She did this, she did that.” I’ve got so many messages from women saying, “I had been wanting to ask for the raise and I was so scared, but I saw that you did that. I went into the office, I wanted a promotion and I put together an outline. I talked to my boss and she was so grateful and wondered what took me so long.” It's those little things that help us help each other. Don't get me wrong, I know that you are insecure about certain things and I get fearful of certain things. There are things that both of us are scared to ask for now in our lives and we need to have those other people see ourselves and others that is powerful.
You don't realize what that is until it's shared whether it's about professionalism or relationships. I always say if you're dealing with anxiety or depression, unfortunately, we've seen suicide in the news so much lately, talk about those things that you did or stop doing to pull yourself out because we keep seeing either you're happy or you're sad. How do we show those moments of, “It's going to be okay because I can show you that it's going to be okay?”
There needs to be more of that. Even for me, some of the times where I've made those biggest leaps, it's because, “That girl did it. That guy did it. I'm going to give it a shot.” Jump and the net will appear, but you need to have some of those people around you. That's why your inner circle is so important.
Choosing them wisely. Someone who was inspiring to you might not be inspiring to me. I have people who, for whatever reason, think that I’m fake or cocky or you can fill in any negative adjective. I had been called every single one in the book to which I say, “Don't follow me.” Find that person who makes you feel good. If for whatever reason anything I post makes you feel bad about yourself, whether it's because you're comparing yourself to me or because I rubbed you the wrong way in some capacity, that's fine. I come from a good place but I'm not for everyone and that's okay. Find a person that does make you feel okay. You can do anything and you are capable of getting what you want and deserve.
I see you doing so much on social media and it's inspirational. Do you ever experience burnout? Do you ever experience to the point where you're like, “I'm taking on so much?” There have been belts in my entrepreneurial journey where I'm feeling like things are going in a great direction and I have enough help. There are other points where I hit that point where I'm like, “I can't take on one more thing.” If you do have burnout, how do you deal with it? I would love to hear what's going on your head with that. A lot of entrepreneurs or people that are running it out in media sometimes experience.
It happens all the time. I've gotten better at managing it through the little things that I included in my daily routine that I started doing years ago. For example, when I get into bed, I don't leave my phone on vibrate, I put it on do not disturb. That has helped me sleep so much better and every single night I have it on do not disturb. If people need to reach me an emergency, I have my favorites where my phone was still ringing. I had that thing on my phone when it rings twice, they can get ahold of me. It has made all the difference where you don't see that light when you're sleeping. Also finding gratitude and purpose in what you're doing and not just doing it because it's part of the routine.
Instagram used to be putting up a picture every single day, now it's, “What is a message that I can give every single day?” I'm going to have those moments where I want to share that cute picture of me or if my dog. A lot of the times, I try to make it a little bit more heartfelt or I put my audience first in everything that I do. What are my people going through? I need to check in with my people. What are they experiencing now? What's the burnout that they're going through from their families, professional lives, from the woes and how can I make their lives better. That helps me to have some fulfillment but also, I've got a lot of burnout.
My biggest burnout has come from YouTube because I used to do all my own editing and I would get sick of looking at myself or hearing my voice. It took a long time to get used to that. I had to take a break because I wanted to get good and comfortable and find that positive in a couple of social platforms versus all of them. If I had a bigger team or more time, I would love to do all of it. I hope that I can eventually get there. That's definitely on my goals list and being able to upload regularly. Instagram, you have the live feature, you have the video feature, you have the photo feature that's all-encompassing and I try to use that as a way to condense everything else. I also have listed off the pressure of having everything be entirely current and instead of trying to make my content evergreen.
There have been weeks or two weeks at a time where I'm uploading pictures and none of them are new. They are all old pictures, not from two or three years ago where I don't even look like myself, but in the last maybe six months or maybe a throwback picture. I'm still uploading consistently and I'm still keeping those algorithms alive to push to my profile and I'm not going completely blackout on a platform.
At the same time, it's still giving me some time too in some ways disconnect without disconnecting because I want to be able to enjoy certain moments. I’ve got a new puppy. People ask like, “Why aren't you posting more pictures with her?” I want to enjoy her. I have one day where I took a bunch of pictures of her and those are the only pictures that I've been uploading or pictures from when she was still a foster puppy. No one knows the difference.
I'm always about leverage, automation and delegation. As far as the team around you, do you have an assistant now or the go-to girl? If you do have an assistant, when was that timeframe of going this was a good time to pull the trigger?
I have someone who I go to when I need help, but I don't have someone full-time. I have the desire but also, I want to be hands-on with everything that I do. In that sense, I need to get better at delegating. It would take much longer for me to teach someone to see things the way that I do and to edit it the way that I do, but I'm not even having time to edit it myself. Maybe I should invest that time like I might invest my money into something and find someone who can and find those things. What are the things that make me happy? For example, responding to comments and tweets.
Now, I'm still able to manage that but it is getting harder and harder as my following gets bigger. It allows me to stay grounded in what I'm doing and remember why I do what I'm doing, which is ultimately to have that real-life connection with my people. I do need to get better at it. I have those moments where I realized, “I am burning at both ends and I need to make time to exercise. I need to make time to cook myself a meal and not just eating McDonald’s or Taco Bell on my way to my next meeting because that's not doing anything for my body. That's probably the biggest thing that I'm working on now.
All I can come up with is that routine and that consistency. I will say that having a clean house is the best thing you can do for yourself. I do love to clean. I don't always have time to clean. Every now and then I do need to have someone come in and help me clean my house because my brother told me, and he didn't make this up by any means but, “Messy bed, messy head.” It makes such a difference when you have a clean home, it will make you feel better versus having the clothes that you throw on that couch or it starts to get dusty over here, that definitely will get to your head.
You want to have a place, a sanctuary that when you come home you look forward to it. Even if you've been living out of a suitcase, maybe you're in a hotel room, but still coming home to that clean hotel room and having some sort of organization in that place where you recharge every single day is so important. If you're going invest in something, having someone to help you clean or organized might be the first place that you need to do it.
Even from the level of the influencer that you are, you're like, “I'm putting one foot in front of the other. I don't have it all figured out, but these are some different things that have helped me.” I feel like I'm in a very similar boat to you. What do you outsource? What do you delegate? I'm working on that. Thank you for giving us breathing room that you don't have it all figured out.
No, I don't. I recommend that you do this all the time too is asking yourself, “What is my why?” Why am I doing this? When you do start saying yes to so many things or you get asked to speak all over everywhere. You're saying constantly saying yes, wanting to see, feel, and touch more people. You want to connect, network and work with these awesome companies, businesses and other influencers around the world. All of a sudden you realize, “I have not had any time to myself.”
It has become a routine and you start to lose that fire. It becomes something that you perform rather than something that you're experiencing. Either hitting that reset button or having that “me” time or having that moment where you go, “Why am I doing this again?” Having a moment with God. What is this? What does it mean? Where am I going? Why am I doing this? Am I still going in the direction that I need to be going in or am I going in this direction because I'm following?
There's so much wisdom there. I ask myself, “Is this a good thing or a God thing?” Even my executive producer was like, “Stefanie, there's a lot going on,” these are all good projects. She said, “I want you to make yourself a list of your to-do, your to-stop and then your automation and delegation. Let's get this all figured out. Take a deep breath.” “Thank you, Crystal.” She has been my lifesaver.
Having her take on even the online course that I'm creating with the Boss Like Blueprint and she's like, “Just step-by-step, one foot in front of the other.” I'm like, “Thank you.” Part two, we flip it around and I need to interview you. I want to finish up with a couple of closing questions after we do the lightning round with the lady boss. If you wouldn't have started with what you started with going into media, what would you have into?
I would have been a teacher. I was at the final round of interviews for Teach for America and I didn't show up to my last interview because the day before, someone called me out and they said, “You'd be a great teacher, but you don't want to be a teacher. You're afraid to pursue what you want to do.” It was someone who I'd never even met before and they were right.
It's amazing when God puts those angels in your path for such a time as this. People would be surprised to know that you spend so much time doing.
No one's surprised that I spent so much time working. I'm trying to think of, “What do I spend time doing a lot of time doing?” I love driving, but that's not much of a surprise. I'm so open about a lot of things, I don't know if you are surprised. Cooking is something that keeps people for whatever reason I surprised by. I love to cook. Chopping vegetables is like therapy to me. Don't ask me why but I love chopping vegetables. Onions and garlic are my specialties.
Your celebrity crush?
The dad from This is Us.
Chipotle or Chick-fil-A?
Your favorite way to spend downtime like you have any?
Church with my family. That's one of my favorite things to do. If I could have the perfect warning, it would be wake up, yoga, coffee, church, Mexican food.
What are you absolutely addicted to?
Diet Coke. I've cut it down to maybe one a day, but it's an association type of a thing where when I'm eating a certain type of food I need to have my diet coke. I've tried giving it up and I can’t. I never keep it in my house and I only ever buy it from the vending machine at my office.
What are you reading now?
It's Own The Moment by Carl Lentz. It’s at Hillsong Church in New York and it's the type of book where you can start it wherever. I started months ago and I'm just picking and choosing chapters. I always read a book that I gave to you which is Competent Women's Devotional. I've had it for probably seven years and it's something that I carry with me. If I'm carrying it with me, I give it away.
Best piece of advice you've ever received?
Learn how to do it all. This was one of the first conversations that we had because you were trying to figure out what to delegate for this podcast. I said, “Even if you hire someone to edit or produce your materials, learn how to do it.” When you do learn how to do everything in your field, it gives you such an appreciation for the crew or the people who are doing it. It also can give you some authority if you realize that, “This could be better” or “I don't think you're doing it quite to the standard that you should be.” Let me help you. Let's help each other. When someone doesn't show up, someone's sick, wear the other hats. That is valuable, and it also adds some uniqueness to your resume, especially in media where a lot of people, all they do is they know how to read a teleprompter on a camera. It’s going to get you far. Sitting there and looking pretty won’t work anymore.
Most embarrassing moment?
I don't have a lot of those. I’ve learned from morning radio every day can be embarrassing. I have had dates, ex-boyfriends called on the air without me knowing and talk about relationships on the air. There's very little, if anything at this point, that would embarrass me.
If you could spend one day with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
My dad. He's my best friend in the whole wide world and I feel like the two of us are workaholics. It's not often that the two of us get to spend more than an hour at a time. I do talk to him on the phone every single night, but it would be great to have a full day, just the two of us uninterrupted. No mom, no sibling, but just hang out with my dad.
Tacos. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, late night. Quesadillas, enchiladas and tacos.
Who inspires you or who do you aspire to be like?
There are a lot of people who I'm inspired by now, but I don't think there's any one single person who I want to be. I'm inspired by you, Gary Vee, by the kindness of my mom, and the speaking abilities of my pastor at church. It's not one single person, it's little nuggets of things that people are doing and even inspired by. I was on a podcast with two kids who graduated from St. Thomas and I'm seeing how they have this podcast going every single week and I'm like, “If you can do it.”
That's such a beautiful mindset to be in because sometimes when you can get caught up in that one person, it starts to get unhealthy versus I'm going to be the best version of myself and I'm going to pull inspiration from little glimpses that my soul sees. That's a piece of my puzzle. Which would be harder to give up, coffee or chocolate?
Chocolate. I have chocolate every single night.
I would not have expected that. I am coffee all the way if you want to know.
I keep chocolate in my medicine cabinet and I always have chocolate in my house.
Describe yourself in one word.
You really are. Thanks for inspiring. If you could swap lives with one person for a day, who would it be and why?
Who would you?
I'm going to be real with you. Oprah. I want to know what it would be like to walk in her shoes. I am on another level, I am enamored by the lives that she's touched and the impact that she's made. Just the way that she thinks about things would be fascinating.
Maybe Oprah for me, but circa 2000 when everything was happening and when everything was built. That may be something for me. Even someone completely different from who I am like Laverne Cox or someone who sees the world completely differently, who has a different skin tone and a different sexual orientation. Just to have a better understanding of what they experience on a daily basis. The way that people look at them, the comments that they get from people and the way that they're able to handle things, that would be the most valuable lesson.
That's super strong. Those are both super valid. If you were a superhero, who would you be and why?
Wonder Woman, my absolute favorite. I do have a Wonder Woman costume and it's one of those all-out costume and old school comic book Wonder Woman. I want to update mine and get one like Gal Gadot. Wonder Woman was one of the first characters who, when I was growing up, I looked at her and I said, “She looks like me.” I had Barbie dolls and Barbie doesn't look like me. There was Princess Jasmine, but still not quite. There was something about Wonder Woman where she was ambiguous enough and I saw someone who was strong and powerful and didn't need a man. Someone who was going for it and believed in love, I thought that was beautiful.
When I saw the movie, I went to the first showing and five minutes in, I started crying. Back to that visibility thing, you don't realize how rare it is to see an all-women cast of warriors or a woman who is that strong and powerful until you see it and then you go, “Where has this been my whole life?” My dream is to get a new updated costume, go to the hospital and visit the kids.
If someone met you and said, “I want to become the boss of my own life and call the shots, what's my first step?”
My question is, “What's stopping you?” It’s first figuring out what is it that's getting in your way and why aren't you doing it. Whether that's insecurity, a toxic relationship, an unsupportive family or a financial difficulty, it's first getting rid of all of those obstacles. From there, setting your goals and finding that competence that you need within yourself to know that you're capable. A lot of times, my competence didn't come from knowing where I was going or knowing what that first step was, it was knowing that there was nothing in my way. Usually, the biggest obstacle in your way is yourself.
Often, we have all of these voices of doubt inside of our heads and there's that one little one that says, “I could do it,” that to me is God. Listening to that little voice, even though it seems small, can actually deafen out all of the other voices in your head. If you have that little glimmer of hope that against all of that, you can, but maybe I can listen to that one. Tell them to shut up, be the boss of your own life and take control. You're going to have to do that a lot. Knowing that you're going to have a lot of moments and I know that you go through this too, where you're like, “I don't know if I could do this,” even though you're doing it. Even though a lot of people might think that you're significantly further ahead, they're always going to be those things that are holding and pushing you back and getting in your way. You have to constantly reset and have those moments that I'm made for this.
Couldn't have said it any better, Giselle. Any words of wisdom you want to leave? How can people connect with you? I felt so equipped and empowered by following your journey. When you can find those people that have little pieces of your soul that are stepping into different things that you want to do, let those be the things that help you on your journey. I want people to know where to follow you and connect with you. You have such a beautiful soul, I want to share you with the world.
I’m most connected on Instagram. Being on the platform I hated the most because I thought it was so superficial and all about the likes and pictures. For me, I made it a source of constant inspiration and connection. It has many multidimensional platforms that if you use it, it can be a great place to know, love and share with your people. @GiselleUgarte is where you can find me on Instagram and I make all of my stories and my direct messages public, so anyone can reach out to me.
Thank you so much for sharing your light with us and putting yourself out there. Such a beautiful transition that you made from talking about all the other people and things in the media to opening up your own heart. That takes courage and confidence even when you aren't feeling confident. You have blazed a trail and become bossful that I talk about that all the time.
Thank you for being that for me and countless others. You're making you for being that. We're stronger together. It's great to see women not seeing each other as competition but as competent. We can go through this together. It's not this winner takes all, it's that I can see you from the top or I see you from the top, but it's up to you if you want to climb those steps with me ending there.
We are so thankful that you tuned in. Our challenge is for you to fire your fear, build your faith and become the boss of your own life. Thanks.
About Giselle Ugarte
After spending nearly ten years in Los Angeles, Giselle is proud to call Minneapolis home - again! You can listen to her every weekday, from 6 to 10am, on Mornings with Ben, Dana & Giselle on the all-new Go 96.3FM.
Giselle is a multimedia personality, writer and producer (and, occasionally, a commercial actress and lifestyle model), who has been featured by brands and outlets all over the world. She's especially driven by social media (more than 300k followers), relationships and storytelling, and she's almost always working early mornings, late nights, weekends and holidays. Each day welcomes a new office (from the radio station to the news room - and everything vlog-worthy at home and in between), a wide range of demographics (from 16 to 66), and multiple job titles (from backpack producer to LIVE on-air talent). She really can do it all - and often does a lot at once. She's also available for creative direction, digital consulting, public speaking and private coaching.
You might recognize her as a featured contributor and face for big names, like COVERGIRL, Proactiv+, The Today Show (Australia), E! Entertainment, Dash Radio and HOLLYWIRE, to name a few. And you probably didn't know that she's a long-time gymnastics coach for Special Olympics, an ambassador for Secondhand Hounds, a captain for Best Christmas Ever, and a hand-picked member of the Ballpark Enhancement Committee for the Minnesota Twins. She wears her heart on her sleeve and is passionate about bringing out the best from everyone. Also, she’s a die-hard fan of her alma mater, USC, and the Minnesota Vikings.
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