My name is Emily Tisch Sussman and I am a mom of three, Founder and Host of She Pivots the podcast, Contributing Editor to Marie Claire, and a women’s and family advocate. So I wear many hats but they were never hats that I thought I would be wearing at this point in my life.
I started out in the heart of DC politics working on campaigns like the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. After having my first child just a few days after the Presidential convention in the 2016 election, trying to juggle my fast-paced career in DC, then having my second child I began to realize how unsustainable it had become. So I pivoted out of a job I loved but couldn’t keep up with and into my first podcast, Your Political Playlist, which featured all-women experts and covered a variety of issues. I was honored to have the opportunity to interview some incredible women like Secretary Hillary Clinton, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Stacey Abrams, and more.
Now, with She Pivots I have broadened my horizon to topics beyond politics and I’m learning and growing more than I ever have by redefining my idea of success.
She Pivots is an incredible collection of conversations with dynamic women who have pivoted in their career for personal reasons. Our first episode launched with Sophia Bush and her business partner Nia Batts. And many people don’t realize that beyond her acting career, Sophia is a really prolific investor and after she and Nia were forced to close their small business, a salon called Detroit Blows, they pivoted, using their dollars to invest in women-owned and founded companies. Our second guest is Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code and the Marshall Plan for Moms. While she is well-known, most people don’t know that while she was building successful organizations, she was also going through a brutal ten-year struggle with fertility.
She Pivots presents stories of women who are successful, and sometimes famous, but pulls the curtain open behind the personal struggles and sacrifices that put them on the path to success. Every guests’ pivot point is unique, some based around the challenges associated with becoming a parent, but many are not. I wanted everyone to be able to see themselves in this show, whether they are a parent or not.
All of our guests have had such amazing and unique stories to tell and I can’t choose a favorite! But one that I think is particularly special and I felt honored to be able to be one of the first major podcasts she has done, is with Paula Neira.
She is a transgender US Navy Veteran who has a deep love for the Navy but was forced to leave when she decided to pursue her authentic self in the 1980s. Her story combines a deeply personal decision, with respect for where she pivoted from, and the need to redefine what success means to her.
Just let go of your previous expectations of success and recalibrate what success will look like to you in this moment.
I think success is often viewed as a linear path and I’m trying to change that with this show.
Since the whole point of the show is that there are often unsaid personal reasons behind the shiny professional career changes, I had to go to women I knew personally for most of my guests in the first season. They had to trust me to tell the personal, and often painful, parts of their journey. Now that we are looking to a second season, I will mostly be interviewing women that I have never met before, so expect it to be often surprising.
This is the crux of the show. That success is not how many zeros you have on your paycheck or how full your calendar is. It’s the ability to redefine personal success personally.
I also think too often women are in this catch 22 of either being too successful at the detriment of their personal lives or being too committed to their personal lives that they don’t have a career. I want to change that narrative and show that it’s actually more common than we think to shift our relationship to success based on personal reasons.
One of my curses/blessings is that I just can’t seem to fully pivot from politics. So I’m still involved with a few local races and giving a voice to the millions of women who are worried about the status of reproductive health care.