They say if you’ve got lemons, you might as well make lemonade. Michele Folan took her “lemons” and made a global top 5% podcast in just six short months of starting one. Michele is a wife and mother to two daughters and four step-children, a proud graduate of Ursuline and the University of Cincinnati and is the current Director of Field Inside Sales at a large services company, where she has over 26 years of experience in the healthcare and sales world prior. But her true passion began during COVID-19 as the host of Asking for a Friend Podcast, a forum that brings experts to listeners in many disciplines, focusing on issues that matter to midlife women, like Michele.
For anyone living before, during and dare we say after the COVID-19 era, struggled to understand the pandemic and live through it – some more than others. For Michele, this meant losing her job due to an acquisition and immediate restructuring of a previous role right before March of 2020. “Nothing prepares you for a full-on job search in your mid-fifties during a global pandemic,” Michele says. “But it was also during this time that I discovered that a creative outlet was really missing in my life, which is why I started the podcast.”
In the early months and even first year of COVID-19 in the United States, many individuals found different ways to cope. From drinking bottles of wine, to cleaning and reorganizing every closet in the house 17 times, most people did what they needed to do to distract themselves from the growing number of infections. But for Michele, her focus turned inward, and she began to make her self-care and fitness a priority.
“I took the time to not only get back to a solid workout routine but also focus on relaxation, breathing, and quiet moments. Drinking became quite the norm during this time, and I reassessed my relationship with alcohol as well,” Michelle says. “Being in midlife it is vitally important that we shift our mindset and make changes in how we exercise and what foods we are eating to maximize health and longevity, as we want to be able to enjoy our later years.”
During the professional day, Michele helps her team exceed aggressive revenue targets by training them to use selling techniques that win new business opportunities in competitive markets. After work hours, Michele heads to the microphone. No topic is off topic, but she does acquire experts and lean into the conversation that matter to her and women her age like menopause, bone health, cardiovascular issues, fitness, nutrition, relationships, and mental wellbeing. For example, Michele interviewed Dr. Carly Rose of Clear Eyes and Aesthetics who is a national thought leader on the topic of dry eye in women Michele’s age. (And now Michele can’t recommend her enough on a personal level!).
And beyond health and wellness, Michele is also interested in a woman’s journey and believes this story is equally important to their advice in health.
Michele says, “It never ceases to amaze me how many women are “going after it” in their fifties and beyond, writing books, starting businesses, and coaching.”
“A Leadership Style” is a column authored by WISe Wellness Guild founder Stevi Gable Carr and powered by Crunchmaster Crackers aimed at celebrating female leaders who have advanced in their careers because they have integrated work and life through whole-self wellness.