Diana Kander is curious about the world faced by professional women, she said — how female do-ers and leaders uniquely experience life and career building.
The Podcast Play
That curiosity forms a through line for her new podcast interview series, “Professional AF.”
“Every episode is about something I want to fix and a lot of them are like personal therapy sessions for problems I have, like self-criticism and confidence issues,” she said. “I just let other people listen along because maybe they have the same issues.”
“I felt like all the business shows I listened to were by men and for men — it felt like using a pair of left-handed scissors for me,” she said. “Every interview I heard, there were all of these questions that I wish people would ask and a lot of people who weren’t being interviewed on topics that I thought were interesting and applicable.”
Click here to learn more about Diana Kander and listen to her podcast.
One Professional AF episode topic you wouldn’t hear on male-centric podcast: “How women sabotage other women at work and how to make it stop.”
“There’s also an episode I want to do on not getting kidnapped on the way to work and on personal safety,” she said, for example. “When men hear that they’re like, ‘That sounds crazy!’ but when women hear it, they’ll say things to me like, ‘Oh, I cut my hair just so people couldn’t grab onto it,’ So clearly, that’s a topic that a lot of women think about on a regular basis but nobody ever says out loud. So why not talk to an expert on how not to get assaulted or kidnapped when you’re traveling for work?”
“I just think there’s this whole world of content that has never been touched,” she added.
Kander was introduced to the world of podcasting when assisting with production of “Majority 54,” a political podcast featuring her husband, Jason Kander, former Missouri Secretary of State. The production company for that project pointed her to the firm Cadence13, which picked up Professional AF.
“They have been such an incredible partner, so I have folks that I work with to help with all the production, so all I have to worry about it the creative content and making the show really, really good,” she said.
The rest is just of matter of diving into Kander’s list of 49 topics, and getting experts to speak on the show — itself an exercise in opening conversations with her personal heroes, she added.
“I reached out to aspirational folks like Michelle Obama and Monica Lewinsky, people who I thought could help with certain areas and a number of people said yes, although — not those two,” Kander laughed.
“I have so many heroes and people that I’ve looked up to for a long time that I get to interview on the show — it’s just a dream come true,” she continued. “Every single week I get to talk to somebody who’s impacted my life in a significant way.”
The response has been widely positive, she added, noting a private Facebook group was created to share thoughts and stories with other listeners.
“People I don’t know are joining it, so that makes me feel like enough people are listening in,” Kander said. “Some people have told me they want to use it as a book club guide, but instead of reading a book, they listen to an episode to get together and discuss it. So I’ve started experimenting with creating discussion guides for those groups.”
A surprising number of men have become listeners as well, she added, noting that her target audience isn’t restricted to just women.
“They have told me how much they have gotten out it — a lot of them have daughters or a lot of women that they’re working with,” Kander said. “What’s funny is that I still listen to the ‘Art of Manliness’ podcast, so that’s kind of a similar thing.”
Season 2 is definitely in the future, she said without hesitation.
“I’m loving it so much! I’ve become a Google of self-help books because I’m reading one every couple of days now to prepare for the interviews,” Kander said. “The podcast is really a great reason for me to continue personal development, and it’s just so fun.”
Click here to read more about Diana Kander and her work as an innovation coach.