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Name: Elise Gaston Chand
Business: Because of Horses Podcast
Location: Sunnyvale, Texas, U.S.
Industry: Media & Publishing
Reason for starting? Because of Horses Podcast is about people who have found a way to incorporate their passion into their everyday lives, and who’ve given back and helped others because of that passion. Each week’s guest is from a diverse background, pursuing a wide range of careers, including a former CBS news correspondent, a National Geographic filmmaker, a prolific author, an internationally recognized photographer, and husband-and-wife country performers.
It’s also a personal journey for me — a single mom from Dallas, I was laid off earlier this year after working as an HR exec for over 25 years. My dad passed away two days later, following the loss of several beloved family members over the last year. These kinds of things tend to make you introspective… which led to a genuine clarity about having only one life and determining what I really want to do with it. As a former journalist, it made sense to share the stories of successful and well-known people who are living their dreams.
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How do you define success? I think success is very much an ongoing work in progress. Being successful is about making the decision to try, then re-committing to that decision every time there’s a bump in the road or things don’t progress the way we had originally envisioned. Success is also having the courage to follow paths and opportunities as they open, even when doing so is scary. And success is having the generosity of heart to include others on that journey. As a consequence, “success” to me is not an end point — it’s every step we take in the pursuit of our dreams and the way we interact with others along the way.
Biggest success: On the personal side, my most profound success is seeing the young woman my 15-year-old daughter is becoming — her keen intelligence, quick wit, and incredibly generous and tender heart. I am truly humbled by her courage and resilience in living with and overcoming chronic pain, which made her house-bound for over a year. And the way she has regained her life and is pursuing her own dreams serve as ongoing inspiration to me.
On the professional side: making the decision to create a podcast that explores the lives of phenomenally talented and successful individuals who are pursuing their own dreams and, in the process, are genuinely helping make the world a better place. I not only get to share the stories of people like Michael Martin Murphy, Donna Barton Brothers, Rupert Isaacson, and Dr. Alan Hamilton, I also get to learn from them as I create my own intentional life.
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What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? The biggest challenge any podcast faces is reaching their audience/expanding their audience. Consequently, I utilize a number of channels to get the word out about Because of Horses Podcast. This includes heavy social media blogging, a weekly five-minute video, advertising with the top equestrian online and print magazine, networking, public relations with media, and asking listeners to spread the word.
Who is your most important role model? My daughter, for the reasons I explained earlier: I am truly humbled by her courage and resilience in living with and overcoming chronic pain, which made her house-bound for over a year. And the way she has regained her life and is pursuing her own dreams serve as ongoing inspiration to me.
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Edited by The Story Exchange