If you’ve been reading this magazine for the last five years, you are aware of the fact that we find inspiration from intelligent womxn who pave the way for future generations. Our friend Brandy Whalen is an entrepreneur with a big love for learning, growing and evolving. It is the combination of these qualities that offer a warm glow that you just want to be around. She was kind enough to tell us her story.
Let’s start at the beginning and talk about how you found yourself in Denver.
I grew up in a small Iowa town surrounded by cornfields. When I was 15, we took a trip to Glenwood Springs to visit my aunt, and that’s when I fell in love with Colorado. I mean, how could you not fall in love with these views? It’s like looking at a motivational poster every damn day.
When my husband and I were chatting about where we wanted to lay our roots, Denver and Seattle were both high on our list. So we took a trip to Seattle and it was just too gloomy, beautiful but not our jam. That’s when we decided to pack our Ford Ranger with all of our possessions and head west to Denver.
Our first place was an apartment right next to the Rockies stadium. That was right when things were beginning to come alive in the Ballpark and Rino neighborhoods, and we finally had the funds from our grown jobs to bounce around to games, restaurants and shows. It was really fun!
When we were ready to start a family, we moved to Wash Park to still feel urban but have access to one of the most beautiful parks in the city! Fifteen years and three kids later, we are never leaving Wash Park. We truly have the best neighbors and community; I can’t imagine a better place to raise our three kiddos.
When we first met you, you were running a successful PR company and raising three young boys. How did you switch gears to co-founding a startup?
Well, I’m still raising three boys, but just not so young anymore. In fact, the oldest now towers over me! My role as a mama has evolved from kissing boo-boos when the boys fell to being the rails of this roller coaster ride called life. Trying to simply guide the boys to make good choices while also letting them feel the thrill and fear a bit. It’s a delicate dance that we do as parents.
Yes, when we met, I was running Whalen Media, a small PR agency. As part of a larger PR initiative, I began finding opportunities for my clients to guest on podcasts. It was fun to watch clients light up while sharing their hopes and dreams for their future.
I just had this pull to audio as a medium, maybe it’s because I have always loved talk radio. Terry Gross, host of Fresh Air, is my all-time hero. I began exploring opportunities or gaps in the podcasting industry. Myself and my co-founder, Ryan Estes, just believed there was a lot of potential for storytelling and brand awareness in audio that hadn’t been realized yet. As podcasts continued to grow in popularity, we heard from a lot of folks about their desire to start a podcast which is really a heavy lift. Instead of plunging right into starting a podcast, we encouraged folks to guest on a handful first to see if they even liked it. That’s really when Kitcaster was born.
For our readers who don’t know, can you tell us all about Kitcaster?
Absolutely! Kitcaster is a podcast agency focused on booking clients on podcasts interviews to speak directly to their ideal audience. We believe there is no better way to gain authority within your target market than to make regular appearances on the kinds of well-respected podcasts that facilitate a real human connection with existing and potential customers. Our clients sit atop of some of the fastest-growing SaaS, tech, B2B, and VC-backed companies.
Our Kitcaster core values are thoughtful work and taking care of each other. We have a give-first mentality with our team of 25 and roughly 100 clients. We care deeply about our work and lifting each other up through our work but also by giving back to the community. At this point, we have participated in about 600 hours of volunteer work with a variety of local organizations. We have prepared meals with the Same Cafe, harvested and packed meals with Commún, and did some yard work through Meals on Wheels – we are always looking for new opportunities to be of service.
How do you see Kitcaster evolving in the future?
There is a lot of innovation to be realized in the podcasting space. The medium has already come a long way over the last 15 years but there are so many areas for growth. We will continue to work with our clients on the podcast guesting front but also explore ways to lift the podcast advertising space.
We are currently launching products to support the podcast guesting experience, like content pieces that can be used to give the interviews extra miles on social media and blogs. We will also be enhancing our story craft product to be more accessible and comprehensive for folks interested in honing their storytelling skills specific to podcasting.
Can you offer some sage advice for all of us working mamas? How do you make it all seem so effortless?
I first want to say that I’m incredibly sorry if I make it look effortless because it certainly is not! I actually have a big problem with folks not being real about how hard parenting, marriage, being a friend, and running a business can be. It all takes work, deep reflection and constant iterating. There is no such thing as work-life balance and the sooner you accept that, the better off you will be.
I think creating boundaries and containers for the important pieces of your life is the best advice I have. If you are working, work but once you are home, leave that work at the door. When you are with your family, be with your family. Be present in whatever you are doing. There are always going to be things you need to get done, that’s never going to stop. I mean, you should see my laundry room, it’s a disaster. Know you’re going to fall short, and learn to be okay with that. Sometimes we are late for school, sometimes I’m late for a meeting, sometimes the kids get frustrated because they have no clean clothes; who cares? Obviously, you see a trend here with laundry, so the last piece of advice is teach your kids to do their laundry early but don’t let them touch yours – haha!
What motivates you?
I’m motivated to be a better version of myself each and every day. I will never stop learning and improving. Being open to feedback from my kids, husband, friends and colleagues helps the self-reflection process.
I have also always been drawn to connection and conversation. Most of our circles of influence are pretty small. When you get to have real, authentic conversations with complete strangers from varied backgrounds, you quickly realize that our core values are often not much different from one another. Even if two people have opposing viewpoints, they usually find centers of common ground. And that motivates me to have more connections and facilitate more conversation.
When you’re not working, how do you like to spend your free time?
My free time is spent hanging with the family. Weekends and evenings are often spent in the bleachers watching the kids play basketball, football and lacrosse. When we have an empty sports schedule, we like to escape to the mountains to hike, bike and ski.
During my alone time, I read everything and anything I have on the book shelf or find in the little free libraries scattered around the neighborhood. I have this small space in the backyard that has become my reading corner. If you are up roaming the park in the morning, you might see me jogging very slowly with far too many layers on for the summer heat.
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
We are living in a time that requires us to wake up and start participating in society in an impactful way. I’m keenly aware of the fact that I have benefited from the hard work of people who have dedicated themselves to fight for human rights. I think my next chapter will involve community organization and committing myself fully to causes that are important to me – it’s important work that has fallen off the radar for many.
We couldn’t agree more with this sentiment, Brandy. Again, encouraged by your wisdom and happy to join you in committing to these organizations and causes. Together we are a force.