What are the most popular episodes of 2021? What is it like to host, run and plan for the future of the Women of the Military podcast? This episode is a two-part episode. First I chat with Trish Alegre-Smith and talk about what it was like to create the Women of the Military podcast and the future of the podcast. In the second part, I do a quick round-up of the eight most popular episodes for 2021.
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Most popular episodes 2021
8. Episode 144: Writing for healing, Carolyn Patrick
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7. Episode 108: Empowering Women through Storytelling, Kerri Jeter
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6. Episode 116: Flawed but Still Worthy, Allie Brazas
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5. Episode 151: Attending a Military Academy, West Point, Cadet Holland Pratt and Cadet Hannah Blakey
4. Episode 161: Overcoming imposter syndrome, Alani Bankhead
3. Episode 160: Rock the Boat, Danelle Barrett
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2. Episode 112: Becoming a Rear Admiral in the Coast Guard, Melissa Bert
1. Episode 138: Pros and Cons of being a Woman in the Military, round up
Check out the full transcript here.
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Welcome to Episode 166 of the women of the military podcast. This is the last episode for their season three and it is both a roundup of the most popular episodes for 2021. And also an interview with my friend Trish asking me questions about podcasts, the future of the podcast and a little bit more about how the podcast came to be. So I really hope you enjoy this interview. And I hope that you have a nice holiday season and we'll be back on the 11th of January with new episodes. So if you want to listen to the podcast, go go back and check out any of the episodes that you missed or just enjoy this holiday break. And we'll see you next year. You're listening to season three of the woman on the military podcast here you'll find the real stories of female servicemembers. I'm Amanda Huffman, I am an Air Force veteran military spouse and mom. I created a woman in the military podcast in 2019 as a place to share the stories of female service members past and present, with the goal of finding the heart of the story while uncovering the triumphs and challenges women face while serving in the military. If you want to be encouraged by the stories of military women and be inspired to change the world. Keep tuned for this latest episode of women on the military. Women on the military I would like to thank grunt style for sponsoring this week's episode. grunt style is an American Veteran Owned and operated company that prides itself in patriotic spirit. grunt style makes high quality clothing with patriotic themes that way the American flag with pride with more than 200 veterans on staff grunt style has taken the American fighting spirit and instill that in everything they do. Gun style had humble beginnings starting off as a t shirt company out of the back of their founders car. They have since grown to employing almost 400 Americans and producing apparel for working out everyday wear fishing, hunting and more. Women of the military podcast listeners can get an additional 10% off your first order by using my discount code Huffman at checkout. So go to Grand style.com and use the discount code Huffman Huff ma n at checkout for an additional 10% off your first order on any items that's goodsell.com and use the code Huffman women of the military podcast would also like to thank Savio coding boot camp for sponsoring this week's episode. Savea coding boot camp is a top ranked coding boot camp that is 100% dedicated to helping smart and highly motivated individuals become exceptional software engineers visit their firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how you may be able to use your GI Bill benefits to train at Savea your tuition and monthly BH stipend may be paid during your training period. They are also 100% committed and helping you find your first job in tech. So don't forget to head over to www.sabya.la to learn more. And now let's get started with this week's interview.
Trish Alegre-Smith 03:23
Well, this is going to be a change for today. Today, instead of Amanda doing the interviewing I Trisha Legree. Smith will be interviewing Amanda Huffman and asking her about her podcast with some of the questions that us as listeners have always wanted to ask her. So are you ready today?
I don't know. I think so.
Trish Alegre-Smith 03:47
We'll see. All right. So one of the questions that has come up for those of us who knew you I know that we first you know, when we first met, I remember that you had asked for inputs for your blog, airman's Mom Blog, why did you start the podcast versus sticking with the blog?
So when I was working, when I first emailed you or got connected with you, I was working on creating a blog series. And what I would do is I had a Google form that you guys filled out, and then after you filled out the initial questions, I would transfer them to a Word document, go through the questions, ask more questions, and then send an email out to everybody who, so I had like, I think I had at least 100 people before and I had 2726 people right back. So that's like about a quarter of the people that filled out the initial form when I sent them the email, they either never got the email or it went to their junk mail or they email me back and said they were gonna do it but they never finished it. And so there was like this huge amount of work. I mean, like Yeah, amount of work. but never even got any didn't even get the story because I only got the like basic generic like, when did you serve? Did you experience things? And I didn't have like the whole story. And so around that in that year 2019 was 2019 2018 2018. Yes. That was the first time I'd heard of podcasting. And I don't regret doing all that work of like looking at the questions, the answers, and then coming up with questions, because I think it helped do oral interviews, and I don't think I would have been ready. But that's when I was like, it will be so much easier. If I just did an oral interview, and the person was there, I asked all my questions. And then I could just make a podcast episode. And so I think it was all the work that I had done for were written felt really safe, but written was a lot of work. And then not a lot of reward, because only one out of four people would write back.
Trish Alegre-Smith 05:55
Yes. And I can only imagine even for those of us that wrote back the back and forth the amount of back and forth that you would have, and you have that time delay versus when you're interviewing us on a podcast, we're just like, we're doing it here. You're talking back and forth. See if you have a follow up question. You can ask that right then and there. Now, you have initially said, you know, that request for the blog, you know, it's 100 people, how do you find with the women veterans that you want to host on the podcast.
So when I first started, I use that initial list. And I emailed people who had been interviewed for the book, either if they had been interviewed and email me back, or just had interviewed and only gone halfway. And so that was like my initial list of people. And I got about 10 people from that area. And then I really started going through LinkedIn. And I was like, I would have typed veteran in the search bar. And then I'd be like, guy, guy, guy. Oh, there's a woman. And then I just started a podcast about women in the military. Would you like share your story? If so, here, fill out this Google for. And then I had that at the bottom of the show notes. And on my website, and people kept signing up. Wow, yeah. And so in the beginning, it was me doing a lot of work, sending out emails asking for people. And then after, I would guess, around the first year or so, my list would continually grow. And people would send inquiries. And that was how it all end. Because my like, factor is woman veteran, and not like, I don't try and factor anything else in my list. It's really easy for my list to grow, because there's so many women veterans out there, and so many women veterans who want to tell their story. So
Trish Alegre-Smith 07:42
How many podcasts can you actually do a year or that you actually record a year?
Well, this year, I tried to do two a week in the beginning. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. And by March, I was ready to quit podcast. Because it was so much work. And it was so stressful. And so I decided to go back to one a week. And so my goal is to do one a week of, well, I'm trying to do something different next year. But my goal is to try and do one a week for podcasts. But I'm trying to introduce some like panel options once a month, where we focus on different issues. And then I'm also thinking about the fact that I'm moving this summer. And so I'm trying to figure out like, should I do interviews? Should I just do solo episodes, or how to figure out my plan for the summer. So I guess there's like a bunch of different factors. I want to keep trying to improve the podcast by adding new ways of covering Women veteran issues, and helping women who are joining but I also need to think about like, my life and the fact that we're PCs seen probably other side of the country,
Trish Alegre-Smith 08:55
because what makes you like many of us who are women veterans who are also still an active duty military spouse, so you know, bringing that life into it or that perspective into it has really made your podcast very unique in the women veterans space. Now, I know you mentioned panels, like bringing those up is something that you want to do in your podcast was that one of the takeaways that you had from your interviews was women veterans, as you can hear the issues that they were dealing with and brought up or their other takeaways that you had.
I think it's that I'm, like, so immersed in the women veteran community that I know things that are happening, like I was actively watching the NDAA as it was getting passed this year, and I knew like the I am Vanessa Gan active was in there. And like I was watching when the draft was in and then taking out and then all these women who are breaking barriers that before I wasn't aware of like all the things happening for and around women in the military and veterans and so I guess it just made me realize there's like This whole other aspect of issues that aren't being covered, like we tell stories on the podcast, and that does give me like a wide variety of stuff to talk about. But then it also, we can't really deep dive into anything specifically, like there's a number of women I know who are on Capitol Hill doing amazing things. I want to know more about that. So I figured maybe everybody else does too.
Trish Alegre-Smith 10:24
Yes. Well, and and how we can support them. Right, especially if they are advocating for issues that we care about as women veterans will, how can we support them? You know, or what should we be aware of? So that we can self advocate as well?
Trish Alegre-Smith 10:39
What have you learned from creating this podcast? I know, there was some bumps at the beginning. And I know one of the things you talked about was how many could you possibly record without burning out? You know, what are some other lessons that you learned as you were recording the podcast,
I learned that I'm like a perfectionist. But then I also learned that I have to let go of some of my perfectionism and just like release the episode, I usually don't listen to an episode once it's on the podcast, because I can tell you like all the things that I didn't fix that I'm still like, if I listened to it again, I would find more flaws and more edits. And so I just edit it once. And then I put it on the podcast, and then I don't usually listen. So if you ever hear anything, and it's not quite right, feel free to send me an email so that I know but I also learned like, there was so much that I didn't know about like videos and editing video and editing and audio, I always had just been like words. And the more I like, edited audio, the easier it got. And then I started working on video, and I've been learning a lot about like that technical side,
Trish Alegre-Smith 11:51
Which is really, what's your favorite episode?
Um, I, it's so hard to pick a favorite.
Trish Alegre-Smith 12:02
You have a few really good ones. There's ones that I've left along with a few that I've Okay, more than a few that I've cried during the episode as I've listened to it. So I'm careful now when I listen to the podcast just in case.
Normally, I say the women round up of all the advice, especially Episode 100, because that was the first time I had done that. And the response was really amazing. But I actually got an email yesterday from a young lady who's looking to join the Navy and her husband is a former Marine, and she asked for resources for him. And so I mentioned the military veteran dad podcast, because Ben coy is a friend of mine, and I listened to his podcast even though I'm not a dad. But I was like, I don't think your husband's a dad. But I think this podcast would really help. And then she wrote back and said, and I told her Ben's been on the podcast, you can go check out his episode, I think it was episode 74. If I remember this, listening to his, and she told me, thanks so much for recommending Ben, I've been listening to podcasts, obviously for 74 episodes. And when I heard his episodes, it made me cry. And that's when I decided to reach out to you. And I've felt guilty about having been and David on the podcast because they're men, and they're veterans. And I always like I was like, Did I do it for me? Or did I do it for my guests. And I did it because I thought we needed like a different voice. And I thought Ben had a lot of really deep, insightful ways of looking at being a veteran, and he really helped me in my journey. And so that was why I had him on the podcast. So to have like, validation from her that like the episode made her cry. And it was the thing that pushed her to send me an email to ask for mentorship was just really, I don't know, cuz I always was like, Am I doing the wrong thing by having a guy on the podcast once a year, I do it for Father's Day. And that was really validating.
Trish Alegre-Smith 14:00
So speaking of that, you know, when that realization, you know, that validation that wow, somebody actually was impacted by one of my episodes or that the you know, that risk that I took by putting somebody on who wasn't a woman veteran, but could offer a different perspective. In that same vein, this this question is, when did you know your podcast actually had an audience? I mean, you see the metrics for the downloads, but that's not the same as knowing that it actually has a following and an audience.
Yeah, I mean, cuz I saw the metrics. And when I first started, I was like, Wouldn't it be amazing if I got 10,000 downloads? Which I also thought was absolutely impossible, like no way that would this ever happen. But wouldn't that be absolutely amazing, and then in December, are in the 9900 range, but there was like only one leak left and I had never gotten more than, like about 500 downloads a week. So I was like, Well, we tried and I show you way closer than I thought. And then I don't know, someone shared an article about me. And there must have been other stuff. And all of a sudden, like my podcasts like, numbers, and I got over 10,000 downloads the first year. And I mean, I know it's a number, but 10,000 is like,
Trish Alegre-Smith 15:18
no, that's huge. That's huge. That's a huge milestone.
Yeah. And the first year, and I thought that was like, impossible, and now it's approaching, like, 70,000. And I'm just like, That's just insane to think that, like, 70,000 different episodes have been listening to me like, those are real people.
Trish Alegre-Smith 15:40
Repeat, right? Is there certain episodes I go back to because, you know, at least for each of us, we have an experience that will mirror or, you know, comes close to where we can relate to for one of your guests. And so that's always an episode that we might go back to. And so I think that's, that's amazing that when you see that, I mean, you go from 10,000, your first year over 10,000, your first year, just, you know, we're about to close out your third year. So but you know, to go through that much growth is amazing.
Yeah, it's been, it's been crazy. It's been so overwhelming. And like, in the emails that I get, I guess, like the email I got yesterday, whenever I get an email from someone who is either joining the military, or who has listened to it and impacted them, that's when you know that it's not that it's not just affecting me, but it's affecting other people because you hear their stories.
Trish Alegre-Smith 16:31
And so now that you're in your third year, in closing our third year, where do you see yourself? I love this question. But where do you see yourself in five years?
Oh, my goodness, I don't know. It's so hard to think. Because I think back to who I was at the beginning of this year, and like where I am now. And I would have never told you like, this is where I'd be. And this is where I'm going. And I mean, I'm working on my memoir, like actually working on my memoir, not just talking about it, I'm taking I thought a memoir was it what a memoir is, are two totally different things. So I guess I'd like to publish my memoir in the next five years. And I really want to figure I'm trying to figure out a way to provide a mentorship type network that can help connect women veterans and women who are joining. And so I haven't, I keep like thinking about it and trying to figure out a how to start and then like be where I'm trying to get. So I feel like I've been thinking about the five year plan. And I'm like, I don't know what I want. But I know I want something that can help connect women, veterans, with women who are joining.
Trish Alegre-Smith 17:46
Especially if you you know you live in an area and you're not sure who to ask because you may not live in an area that's a heavy veteran space, right? Where there's a lot of veteran groups, we're kind of insulated, being here in the DMV in the Washington DC area, because there's a lot of national veteran groups based here so you can find somebody but what if you live in another part of the country where you just don't have that are the closest thing you have are veterans that are clearly don't look like you, or you just can't relate to?
Yeah, and that's been a big thing this year for the podcast is like checking to make sure that diversity is something because we know because we're working on a project together. These are all white people. And so making sure even the panels that I'm talking about, like I'm very cognizant to make sure that it's not all white people talking about their experience, but getting people from different just different perspectives, different races, different ethnicities, and different gender.
Trish Alegre-Smith 18:48
Gender identities. Yes. And because everybody's experience is different. And however you identify yourself affects that experience and how everybody reacts to you and your service when you were in uniform. And then once you get out. Yeah, because we have all been there. When we identify ourselves as a woman veteran. We've had the myriad of reactions, right?
Yeah, I'm reading educated right now, which is a memoir, part of my memoir research. And she's talking about how she's learning stuff that was taught to her differently. And like once she learns the truth, or once she learns a different perspective, she can't unlearn that. And so trying to figure out like, How can I bring more perspectives and more diversity so that we can cover more aspects so that more people can see themselves and get the advice that they need to help them in their journey?
Trish Alegre-Smith 19:41
Now, with that in mind, do you do any follow ups with the women that you interview or any of the guests you've had? Because you've also had men on the on the podcast, but do you do any follow ups or planning on doing any follow ups?
I haven't done that yet. But I'm kind of pivoting towards being cuz so many young women are looking to join the military who listen, I'm trying our young women who are in the process of joining the military and following them through their career. So I just did an interview this week with someone who's only been in the Air Force a year. And she went through boot camp during COVID. And we got to talk about some of the different things that have changed in the military, like the retirement system came up. And she talks about how she didn't know until she joined that the retirement system has totally gotten a makeover. And so we talked about that. And as she goes through her career, I would love to follow up with her. In five years, he did a six year commitment. So in five years, she'll be deciding to stay or get out of the air, Laura's love to hear that too. And then I also connected with a young lady who is just finished basic training for the army, and she's coming home for Christmas, and we're doing an interview while she's home. And then she's going to OTs, right after and we're gonna do an interview. And so we're gonna follow these two women, and I'm working to get more as they go through joining the military, and then what their experiences of serving in the military more instead of like, I've been out 15 years, and now I'm looking back. It's, they're actually going through it right now. And they can talk about like, things that they didn't know, things that they wish they knew. And they can actually remember because,
Trish Alegre-Smith 21:25
Yes, and elected us from different sources, because I know that you were good about that, for those of us who are, you know, a little bit more seasoned on the women veterans side, and but we came from all different sources. Some of us, you know, Academy enlisted, you have ROTC, you have OTs, other different programs, whether it's Guard or Reserve. So it's neat to hear that you're doing the same thing with young women that are coming through is you're also identifying different sources and ways that they're coming up through the ranks, because there's many different programs out there that people may not be aware of that there's not just one path of joining.
Yeah, that's true. Yeah. So if you're listening, and you're considering joining, and you want to be interviewed, send me an email so that I can connect with you.
Trish Alegre-Smith 22:12
Yeah, cuz that that would be something that I know, I would want to hear as a parent of somebody who has an A daughter in high school who is looking to join at some point. So it's funny, because even though you have a parents, which is you know, we talked about, oh, we need this resource for people who don't know women veterans, it you also need it for people who are too close. So for me, it's, you know, I went through it, but it my experience will definitely be different than what my daughter will go through. And also sometimes they just need to hear it from more than one source. soars. Yes. Do you have on the immediate horizon, anything exciting happening in 2022 that you want to share with the listeners?
I would say, I have a bunch of exciting stuff happening next year, but I can't talk about any of it yet. Okay. Keep your ears peeled.
Trish Alegre-Smith 23:03
You know, I'm really excited. I am excited to hear when you make that make the announcements is as soon as you can about what is coming in 2022. Because I know that as much as your podcast has grown as much as you as a speaker have grown, as far as the demand for your time has grown. I am really excited to hear what is coming next. Because it's always been something that I don't think anybody else could have seen coming. But when you look back at everything that you've that has gone before that you've done before, it actually makes sense.
Trish Alegre-Smith 23:38
Thank you so much, Amanda for letting me interview you and turning the tables on you and doing this for listeners, other listeners like me just to get a little bit more insight into what what's the the genius behind the podcast, what you're thinking, how you find us as guests and what we can do to help you in the future.
Thank you so much for interviewing me. It's been really fun to talk about the podcast and with these questions. So thank you so much.
Trish Alegre-Smith 24:08
Here are the most popular episodes for 2021. In then number eight spot episode 144. With Caroline Patrick, she discovered writing for healing after leaving the Air Force. It started when she and her husband each wrote their military story to share their joint retirement ceremony when she transitioned out of the military. After 26 years of military service, she found the transition hard and began writing every day through the writing. She wrote a book. It's called True feathers. And it is a fictional story of cuckoo, the dove who was raised by hawks and she goes on her own journey of self discovery. Next we have episode 108 Carrie Jeter, Carrie is empowering women through storytelling. Carrie is also a podcast host and shares the stories Military woman on her podcast the freedom sisters podcast. She launched freedom sisters magazine, a virtual online magazine to help women veterans in January of 2021, and she is currently working to make a hardcopy version of the magazine starting next year, she'll go check out her episode 108 To learn more about what she's doing. The six most popular episode is episode 116 with Allie braza sometimes the challenges we face in the military cause us to feel as we have lost our value, but it isn't true hard experiences are difficult, but we are still worthy. In the interview with Allie. She talked about her time in the Navy and the challenges that she faced she wrote her whole story in a book called GLAAD but still worthy, which you can check out in the show notes. In the number five spot we have episode 151 with West Point cadets and Rhodes Scholars, Holland Pratt and Hannah Blakey. Do you want to know what it's like to attend a military academy? Listen to the interview with cadets. Hollom Pratt and Anna Blakey. Both cadets are seniors at West Point and they hold leadership positions for their senior class of cadets Cadet Hall and Pratt has been named West point's first captain, she is only the seventh female to attain this rank. And it is the first time there has been two females appointed first captain consecutively. Cadet Hannah Blakey is the new brigade executive officer. This past summer she served as the cadet basic training Regimental Commander for the summer training, she was responsible for 1200 new cadets who reported in late June both women share their experience of what it was like to apply to attend West Point and what they hope for the future. I also want to mention that Holland and Hannah were both awarded us Rhodes scholarships this past fall. If you listen to the interview with Hannah and Holland, you won't be surprised that their names were on their list. And the number four spot is episode 161. With a Lani Bankhead, she talked about her overcoming imposter syndrome and how it affected her and her military career. She is an army brat and thought she would go to West Point and join the army. Instead, she ended up joining the Air Force through an ROTC scholarship and then she served in the Air Force where she is still currently serving in the reserves. She struggled with imposter syndrome and she can pinpoint how the struggle intensified when a colonel her senior year of college told her she would never commission she used his words as motivation to prove him wrong and has worked to overcome the imposter syndrome she felt and it has helped her accomplish a lot but she also struggled with not feeling good enough. And we talked about what she has done to overcome it and what she is doing today. So let's go on to number three. And then number three spot we have episode 160 With Danelle Berek. She is a retired Rear Admiral and she took her 30 years of military experience and put those stories and experiences into her book rocked the boat. In her book, she talks about the lesson she learned from her military career while also including real stories from her time in the military. In the interview, we talked about her experience in the military, what it was like to be both a mom and a military service member, why she wrote the book and some of the stories from her career. The second most popular episode was episode 112 With Rear Admiral Melissa Burt, she decided to join the Coast Guard because her dad had served in the Coast Guard and she suggested looking into it. She attended the Coast Guard Academy, and at the time, there were only 10% women, a lot has changed. And we talked about what it's been like to serve in the Coast Guard and to be in the position that she's in today. And now finally, the most popular episode for 2021 was episode 138, which was the pros and cons of being a woman veteran. Last year for episode 100 I decided to take the pieces of advice from women who have been on the podcast and do a round up and share them in an episode. It's one of my favorite episodes, but I had planned to do all 100 pieces of advice and realize that would make for a really long podcast episode. So I decided this year to do it again for episode 138 And it's been the most popular listened to episode of the year actually hits the most popular episode ever. And because of its popularity, I decided to do three more episodes at the end of this year, containing more advice from women who've been on the podcast to help women and their journey to military service or maybe you're just like me and you like listening to them, but those are the most popular episodes from 2021. I'd love to hear what your favorite episode was and why. So if you're on social media at Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter, you can always send me a message or comment on my page to let me know what your favorite episode is. And I'll be excited to read that. So I'm taking the next two weeks off for a break, and I'm starting something new in January. I'm excited to share with you so thank you for listening to this week's episode of women of the military podcast. Do you love all things women in the military podcast become a subscriber so you never miss an episode and consider leaving a review. It really helps people find the podcast and helps the podcast to grow. Are you still listening? You can be a part of the mission of telling the stories of military women by joining me on Patreon at patreon.com/women of the military or you can order my book Women of the military on Amazon. Every dollar helps to continue the work I'm doing. Are you a business owner? Do you want to get your product or service in front of the women of the military podcast audience get in touch with the woman of the military podcast team to learn more. All the links on how you can support women in the military podcast are located in the show notes. Thanks again for listening and for your support.