Episode 1 – My name is Karen. I’m NOT a Karen.

Show Notes:

Welcome to ThirtyFiveSixtyFour, a podcast for the middle. Join me as we chuckle, commiserate, and most of all, cheer each other on. Because here, in the middle, is where the zest of life’s experience gives us the best stories to share.

Join me, Karen Stones, as I share a personal and candid reflection on my journey through middle age, from being a mother of three to life as a seasoned marketing professional. Listen in as I recount my career evolution from a sales and marketing assistant to becoming a global marketing director, all while navigating the nuances of leadership and growth with the guidance of a pivotal mentor. You’ll also hear about my ventures as a boutique marketing agency owner and the adventures that come with it.

In this episode:

  • Karen Stones shares insights on midlife, marketing, and motherhood
  • Journey from sales assistant to global marketing director
  • Personal growth and leadership lessons
  • Current topics and trends – should we be doing these things?
  • Subscribe, like, and send us your comments and ideas for future episodes

ThirtyFiveSixtyFour is your weekly dose of inspiration for navigating the exciting, unpredictable, and undeniably transformative journey of midlife. Hosted by Karen Stones, founder of 13 Jacks Marketing Agency, avoids the tired cliches of crisis and stagnation. This podcast celebrates the power of play, discovery, and possibility that comes with this unique chapter in life. Join us every week as we delve into the real stories, challenges, and triumphs of midlife. We’ll explore fresh perspectives, practical tips, and inspiring experiences that will help you thrive, not just survive, during this pivotal time. Ready to rewrite your midlife narrative? Head over to www.thirtyfivesixtyfour.com and be a part of the adventure!

Resources:

thirtyfivesixtyfour.com
13 Jacks Marketing Agency

Show Transcript:

[00:00:00] Let’s talk about real stuff, like, should you be freaked out about AI? Should you be using it every day? How can you use it every day? What kind of vitamins do you take? Do you actually really spend $600 a month on something that data says you might just be peeing out? I don’t know. You tell me what works you u.

[00:00:31] Welcome to 35 64, a podcast for the middle. If you’re between 35 and 64 years old, that’s you, my friends.

[00:00:45] In this podcast, we’ll explore why midlife is interesting. Yeah, we have some unique challenges that crop up at this age, and we can chat about those. But there’s also a lot of goodness to celebrate at this age. We’ve earned something special, something young adults just don’t have. Wrinkles, gray hair.

[00:01:11] Okay, joking aside, us midlifers have wisdom and confidence that only comes from having been there and done that. We know who we are, and we know time is precious. I’m your host, Karen stones. At 44, I’ve been through a lot. Some good, some bad, and some of it hilariously unbelievable. Along the way. I’ve met so many incredible people, too. It’s all made me who I am today. So I’ve lined up some of those incredible people as guests and reoccurring panelists. They’re here to give us the real deal on how to thrive during this supposed midlife crisis. Their backgrounds are diverse, and their expertise is fascinating. You can expect real conversations with real people about stuff that really matters. Okay, so just so we’re on the same page, your life did not peak at 30. It’s not too late. You’re not too old, and you’re definitely not dead. Okay? All right, so let’s dive in. I promise this is going to be fun.

[00:02:34] I am your host, Karen Stones, and I’m thrilled that you found this podcast. We’re here to explore all things middle age. Middle age, being 35 to 64 years old. And I really want to share some positive, fun, interesting, cool information with you so you can expect really amazing guests, access to them like you’ve never imagined possible, and just the ability to talk about stuff that you and I are facing that is very, very unique to this age. So, a little bit about me. I am 44 years old, and I have three kids. Oh, my goodness. I can’t believe I’m even saying that. I have two boys and a girl. They’re all in elementary and junior high age. They’re fantastic. They’re amazing, and they’re a handful. I’m sure you know, if you’re a parent. It is one of the biggest blessings and one of the hardest things at the same time. I am a business owner right now. I run a boutique marketing agency called 13 jacks. We work with a lot of really big brands to enhance their marketing. Whether it’s pr, podcasts like this, digital ads, demand gen, you name it. We are partnering with different organizations to help them get better. I have had an interesting journey. I was married for ten years and I’m currently divorced. I’ve been divorced for about four or five years now and I’m really happy with my current boyfriend. I couldn’t be more grateful for him and all that he’s brought to my life. I have also been a normal corporate citizen, a non business owner, someone taking commands and direction from others. And my career has been quite interesting. I started out as a sales and marketing assistant sitting at the front desk of a really small company that sold computer software and services as I monitored the fax machine. Yes, really a fax machine for purchase orders, got the mail and helped all the executives make their way through their busy schedules. I slowly started learning more and more about how to be a good corporate citizen. In a few months, I found the really amazing opportunity to become a marketing manager. I then moved up after being a marketing manager to a marketing director, and over the course of ten years, I ended my career at that particular company as the global marketing director. I was also running an inside sales team and I had over 25 people reporting to me. It was a really interesting time. I was young and quite inexperienced when all of this opportunity and leadership came my way. I remember having one employee actually quit and I went through her computer trying to figure out, okay, where are these projects at? And I ended up doing control f. That means you’re looking for something inside that control f. I put my name Karen.

[00:06:30] Oh my goodness. I’m not even going to repeat some of the things that she said about me, but they were not good. You’re not even going to believe some of the wild things that she was saying in email. But you know what? It was a wake up call. I had no experience being a leader. My emotional intelligence was lacking and I had a lot to learn. I was so lucky. One of the board members at this company realized that I was very young, very inexperienced, and I needed some guidance. His name is Michael and he took me on as a mentor and coach. Over the coming months and years he worked with me. He helped me become a better leader. He helped me understand how to connect with my employees, my team and most of all, he helped me balance that relationship between being respected and being liked. I have a lot of good information that I can’t wait for him to come on the podcast and share with you. He is such a rad person and I’m really grateful that he happened to stumble upon me and took me on at that stage in my career. So as a global marketing director. I was presented some really unique opportunities. I traveled the world. I was all over the place. Germany, Spain, Cyprus, England. I even went to the Ukraine. And one of the places that I frequented was France. We had offices, two offices located in that country. And my boss, who was the CEO, thought it would be a good idea for me to learn French. I was that weird person who lives in southern California and did not take Spanish. In high school, I took French. So I had a really basic understanding of what I was getting into and my boss hired a French tutor for me. This French tutor came in a couple times a week and worked through basic business language, how to conduct myself, and it was a really, really cool experience.

[00:08:59] So I was feeling pretty confident and I was ready to get my French on the road and see if I could do this. I had this opportunity to go to Cannes in the south of France. There’s a big trade show there every year. And I was given the opportunity to go with the team who was going to set everything up, staff the booth, and connect with other consultants and analysts. So as I was flying over from Paris to the regional airport near Khan, I was chatting with folks in French. Now let me tell you, my French is kindergarten at best at this point. But I’m okay. I’m talking chatting, doing the meet the person next to you in the seat on the airplane. I was asking, where should I go? What should I do? And I asked the really basic question, what’s the easiest way to get to my hotel in downtown Cannes from the airport? Well, they gave me the best tips. I was so grateful. I had insider information about what to do and how to get to the places I wanted to go. So I rolled up to the airport and I went to a ticket counter and I purchased a ticket from the regional airport over to Cannes. Now, the ticket I purchased was a helicopter ticket. That is what the local told me to do. After all, this is a place that Hollywood stars and fabulous people from all over come. And of course, it has to be typical to take a helicopter, right? I thought that was pretty bougie and cool and I was all for it. So I took this amazing ten minute helicopter ride right over the coast. And I remember there was this woman, just incredibly beautiful with her husband, the little poodle. It was the whole thing that you imagine. So I land at the helipad, and they hand me my luggage, and my hotel is just across the street. I was staying at a really fabulous hotel. I walk in, life is good, and my boss is right there in the lobby. He was sitting down and he said, hey, Karen, how was your trip? And I told him it was pretty uneventful. Great flight from LAX. And hey, that flight, that helicopter flight that everyone takes from the regional airport here, oh, my gosh, that was once in a lifetime. And he looked at me and he said, what? What did you say? I said, the helicopter ride that I took from the regional airport to the city here, it was once in a lifetime. Amazing. And he looked at me again and said, I took a cab. And I said, Ashley, why did you take a cab? That’s not how people get around over here. And he laughed at me and said, I don’t know where you’re getting your information, but everyone takes a cab. So here I was. I think I spent at the time, it was like $1,500 for a private helicopter ride from the regional airport over to my hotel. That was a story that I never, ever lived down in my stay at that organization. I will tell you, my boss was cool and he let me expense it, but I did not hear the end of that for a long time. That’s a pretty funny story there. So after I was at this organization, I moved on to another software company, and then I even went to another company. I’ve been in the high tech software services hardware space most of my career, so I have a little bit of a nerdy side to me. And I ended up having a really cool experience at a company. I was maybe employee 30-ish, and this company was a startup. We had a really interesting leader, and we ended up going IPO. I got really lucky to see what that process is, how it looks, and frankly, it’s a lot of work. I can tell you more about that in another episode. After I had my daughter, I decided I really wanted to pursue one of my dreams, which was to own a marketing agency. I still have another dream, and that is to be a CMO. But who knows what life has in store for me? Maybe I was supposed to be a podcaster instead. Well, after I started this marketing agency, I had the unique opportunity to start working with all sorts of companies, not just tech, a lot of consumer organizations, big, small, everything in between. Doing things like pr, social media, website, digital marketing, demand gen sales strategies, go to market, all sorts of really neat things. And I’m so blessed I’ve been able to do that for the last ten years. I’m still quite in awe that I have been given this opportunity. It’s been amazing to work with such a diverse group of organizations, companies, and people. I have learned so much and I am so grateful to all my clients for these experiences. So one of the things that I’ve had a great, neat opportunity that’s been unexpected in the last few years is coaching. It wasn’t something I tried to get involved in. It sort of landed right in my lap. And over the last few years, I’ve had the chance to coach some amazing marketing executives. Most of the time, I actually learn more from them than what I’m bringing to the table as far as strategy and advice. But it’s been really fun to work with them and be a straight shooter. Tell them their strategy is incredible or not that great. This isn’t how people do stuff anymore. You’re way off base here. I can’t believe you’re spending this much with your ad agency. That data is crap. All the things that you really want your team to tell you, but simply don’t. As I was coaching, a lot of the topics ended up turning personal. I’m struggling in my marriage. I’m not getting the time to exercise. I’m unhappy. All sorts of things that we ended up starting to talk about. And I had really such a unique position in being able to explore both personal and professional with some of these individuals, if you’re one of them. Thank you. I appreciate you. It has been such a good journey to do that with you. Okay, so I am still running this marketing agency behind the scenes, but I want to talk to you a little bit about why in the world I started this podcast. So I started this podcast because I’m a podcast junkie. I have found myself listening to podcasts in the shower when I’m, gosh, getting ready for work, when I’m driving around town, when I’m folding laundry. I absolutely love taking in information, hearing stories, and learning every day. But one of the things that keeps on bothering me as I’m out in the podcast world is I’m getting a lot of advice from people who are really young. Now, that’s okay. I know you can pull data and information and research things to death, but a lot of these well meaning young adults just don’t have the wisdom. They haven’t been there they haven’t done that. And a lot of their advice rings a little bit hollow to me. I know that they haven’t been through the things that I have and that you have. So I thought I need to create a forum, a space that people can talk about middle aged stuff. This is a unique time now. I don’t think this is a midlife crisis. I think that this is actually the best. Now there’s tough stuff. I’m not going to lie. I’ve got a lot of unique things that I’ve never thought about. Can I retire? When can I retire? I’m scared for my parents to die. What am I going to do without the same friends? They’ve moved away and our friendships have changed. There’s so many unique things that I faced during this time, and I know you have too. Well, one of the ways that I like to navigate life is to ask an expert. I have this really amazing core group of people in my life that I just adore, and what’s so neat about them is they are really deep experts in specific places. So one of the things that I want to do is bring on experts that can help you and I navigate midlife a little bit better. I’ve got a CEO, entrepreneur, an attorney, and no, you don’t have to pay the crazy hourly fee to chat with her. And an author TED talk speaker. So many interesting people lined up for you. And the goal is, let’s talk about real stuff, like should you be freaked out about AI? Should you be using it every day? How can you use it every day? What kind of vitamins do you take? Do you actually really spend $600 a month on something that data says you might just be peeing out? I don’t know. You tell me what works. Another thing that I’m really curious about is all these weird trends. Should you do the ice plunge? I don’t know. Should you be grounding? Do you know what grounding is? That means walking around barefoot. There’s all sorts of interesting things that we are faced with in midlife. So I’m bringing on some really unique personalities, experts and cool people who are going to give you the real reels. All right, so you can expect an episode at least once a week from us. As we come on board, we start chatting and I cannot wait to hear from you if you have an episode idea. If you’re interested in joining the podcast, hit us up. You can also find us on all the regular social channels. But I think the biggest thing here that I want to say is thank you. Thank you for giving me your time today. I can’t wait to get to know all of you, our listeners, and explore all these really interesting, fun, crazy topics with you about midlife and really come at it from a positive angle. I know that you and I are going to face difficult things, but I also know that we can thrive if we share, support and focus on the good. So welcome to ThirtyFiveSixtyFour, a podcast for the middle. I can’t wait to start this journey with you.

[00:21:00] And that brings us to the end of another episode. I hope you enjoyed the conversation as much as I did. Okay, so if you haven’t already, make sure to hit that subscribe button so you never miss another episode. If you’re loving what you hear, I would be incredibly grateful if you took just a moment to rate and review this show on your favorite podcast platform. It helps others discover us and it’s a great place to share your thoughts, suggestions and ideas for future episodes. For even more exclusive content and detailed show notes, check out our website at thirtyfivesixtyfour.com. As always, a huge, huge thank you for spending time with me today during this episode. I appreciate that you tuned in. I’m going to leave you the same way I do every episode. Remember, it’s not too late, you’re not too old, and you’re definitely not dead. Okay, until next time, friends.

  • Karen Stones

    Show host Karen Stones is the creative heart of ThirtyFiveSixtyFour. Born in 1979, Karen is a child of Generation X. As a podcast enthusiast, she noticed a major void in content catering to listeners her age. Karen found existing productions were either niche, evangelized negative perspectives on aging, or hosted by a well-meaning young adult who lacked the wisdom and life experience to provide meaningful insight. Thus, ThirtyFiveSixtyFour was born. The philosophy behind ThirtyFiveSixtyFour stands in stark contrast to the conventional midlife crisis narrative, advocating instead for midlife to be seen as a time of confidence, reinvention, growth, reflection, exploration and renewal.

    Karen has over twenty years of mass communication and marketing expertise. Her journey in media started early, as she interned for notable figures like Larry Morgan and Ryan Seacrest at the Los Angeles FM radio station STAR 98.7. During her university years Karen served as a disc jockey for the on-campus, student-run radio station. Following a successful career in the corporate world, she took the entrepreneurial plunge, founding 13 Jacks Marketing Agency in 2014. The agency currently oversees multimillion-dollar projects including global product launches, international events, specialized social media and advertising campaigns. Beyond her agency pursuits, Karen extends her expertise to coaching executives seeking to enhance their business strategies and personal growth. Based in Orange County, California, Karen is a dedicated mother to three and an outdoor enthusiast.

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About the Author

Show host Karen Stones is the creative heart of ThirtyFiveSixtyFour. Born in 1979, Karen is a child of Generation X. As a podcast enthusiast, she noticed a major void in content catering to listeners her age. Karen found existing productions were either niche, evangelized negative perspectives on aging, or hosted by a well-meaning young adult who lacked the wisdom and life experience to provide meaningful insight. Thus, ThirtyFiveSixtyFour was born. The philosophy behind ThirtyFiveSixtyFour stands in stark contrast to the conventional midlife crisis narrative, advocating instead for midlife to be seen as a time of confidence, reinvention, growth, reflection, exploration and renewal.

Karen has over twenty years of mass communication and marketing expertise. Her journey in media started early, as she interned for notable figures like Larry Morgan and Ryan Seacrest at the Los Angeles FM radio station STAR 98.7. During her university years Karen served as a disc jockey for the on-campus, student-run radio station. Following a successful career in the corporate world, she took the entrepreneurial plunge, founding 13 Jacks Marketing Agency in 2014. The agency currently oversees multimillion-dollar projects including global product launches, international events, specialized social media and advertising campaigns. Beyond her agency pursuits, Karen extends her expertise to coaching executives seeking to enhance their business strategies and personal growth. Based in Orange County, California, Karen is a dedicated mother to three and an outdoor enthusiast.