Personal Branding for the LGBTQ Professional

Thanks for joining me for episode #68 of the podcast. My guest today is Michele Wierzgac, who I’m so glad shared her story with me and now you. Michele’s journey is an interesting one; from the volleyball court to the main stage there’s never been a dull moment. She offers amazing insight into how to be authentically successful, as well as some of the best advice she’s ever received. She and I also shared a laugh about how unfamiliar we are with being bored – how many of you feel the same? I would love to hear feedback and/or questions. Drop me a line or comment below! Enjoy the show!

Links mentioned in today’s episode

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Would you prefer to read the transcript than listen to the episode? No problem! Read the transcript below.
AUDIO TITLE:  Jenn T Grace – Ep 68
Jenn T. Grace:
Let’s dive right in and tell the audience a little bit about yourself, your story, and essentially what your path looked like that led you to the place that you are today.
Michele Wierzgac:
Well I was born in Chicago, one of six children. My mom had eight brothers and sisters, and my dad had eight brothers. Can you imagine just being the baby of eight older brothers?
Jenn T. Grace:
That is a lot. No thank you.
Michele Wierzgac:
So you can get a sense that I grew up on the south side of Chicago with a big family, Polish Catholic family, and tons of cousins, aunts and uncles. And as a young child I played volleyball, softball and ice hockey with my brothers and friends in the neighborhood. And during this entire time while I was playing sports, my dad always yelled at me, "A woman's place is in the home to cook and clean and raise the kids. Stop playing sports!"

So my mother always said then, "Okay you can go out and play, only after you do the dishes." So I had all these rules and regulations I had to live by these traditional 'social values.' And then my grammar school coach who was my friend's mother discovered that I had a talent for volleyball, and she talked my mother into allowing me to go to practice after dinner. And that's how everything started for me, and I had somebody believing in me- my mom and my volleyball coach.

So in high school I was involved in everything from journalism to band, I played the flute, the piano, I refereed for basketball and played for softball, teaching volleyball clinic. And again, my mom told me to focus, you can't be good at everything, you need to focus on just a few things. So I dropped off journalism and band and everything, and I made room for volleyball and I discovered I had a natural talent again, for volleyball even at the high school level. We went to state, took second in state, I was the captain in All-State, All-American, and my high school coach called me as the season was over and said, "Michelle, you need to sit down, you need to take a look at this. There are eleven scholarship offers sitting her." At that time they contacted the coaches. And I said, "Oh, college?" And she said, "Yeah, college." And she said, "You really need to think about which college you're going to," and I said, "Oh no, my father would never allow me to go to college. There's just no way." She says, "Oh well I need to talk to your mother." My mother and my high school coach conspired. My father said, "There's no way. A woman's place is cook and clean and stay at home and raising babies." And mother said, "Like hell. She's going off to college. I never had an opportunity like this, and she's going." And I think really focusing on one sport really helped me out, and her wisdom really helped me out. So anyway, I chose Illinois State University and my mom and dad asked the question, "Why did you pick that?" And I said, "It's a great teaching school, look how they're rated." I did my homework, that's another thing that I learned to do.

Direct download: episode_68_michele_wierzgac.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:05am EDT