COFFEE WITH NICOA: Creating A LIFE BY DESIGN.

S2 EP12: VIOLETTE DE AYALA, FOUNDER & CEO OF FEMCITY

March 20, 2024 NICOA DUNNE CORNELIUS Season 2 Episode 12
COFFEE WITH NICOA: Creating A LIFE BY DESIGN.
S2 EP12: VIOLETTE DE AYALA, FOUNDER & CEO OF FEMCITY
COFFEE WITH NICOA: Creating A LIFE BY DESIGN. +
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Show Notes Transcript

Nicoa is a proud member of an amazing organization originally called FEMFESSIONALS now known as FEMCITY which has Femcity groups all over the US + Canada!  This is an interesting interview with the founder and CEO of Femcity, Violette De Ayala where they discuss everything from rock bottom food stamp moments to beautifully curated and designed moments of abundance in life and love and family today. She did it and had role models all along the way. Violette is a powerful role model of living a LIFE BY DESIGN and has mentored 1000's of women across the globe helping them to step up and live lives they love, too!

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Nicoa Coach:

Grab your coffee and join me Nicoa For a caffeinated conversation about life. I'll be talking to people who have chosen to walk their own paths and just like me, are creating a life by design. I hope that will give you the inspiration you need to do exactly the same. Hey, everybody, this is Nicoa with coffee with Nicoa. I am so honored to have gotten a yes. From my friend and my former, I guess, acquaintance through femme City at the beautiful violet de Ayala, Violet, I started researching about you and I was like, Oh, her saying yes was actually a really big give on her part. You're super busy and amazing woman these days that I was like, well, if she said yes to little Oh, me.

VIOLETTE DE AYALA:

Oh, I I'm so happy to be here. And thank you so much for for asking me to be on your podcast super excited. Well, I appreciate the support. And I know that this is just kind of who you are when it comes to supporting women and the women that you've come in contact in your world. And so let me do a quick introduction. So everybody knows who you are, and how we were connected. And then we're just going to jump in and talk all things violet. Guys, you should probably just go Google her really quick. It's violet de Ayala. As I said, she's a friend of mine from probably, I guess what, like 2009 10? Yeah, like 10 years ago, when I was the I don't know if you remember this title I had. But when we kicked off the Raleigh femme city, I don't remember which, who which president. But I was the passion these the chair? Do you remember that title? Do they still have that? No, I didn't. I didn't remember the title. I remember you were part of it. But the title I didn't remember that. But that's, that's hilarious.

Nicoa Coach:

That is hilarious. I wondered if that title, you know, continue to foster its way through firm city, we might need to revive it.

VIOLETTE DE AYALA:

Totally.

Nicoa Coach:

Well, Violet, you have been actually the founder of them city since 2009. I guess we did connect in the very beginning. You're also a wife, a mother. You call yourself a seasoned entrepreneur, I read that you started a business when you were 22. We might even dig deep into that beginning of your life. You also are really profoundly kicking in now with this social media creator role. And I love following you on Instagram. Everybody go check her out. She's a lifestyle wellness business, you know, creator designer, and recently, the 50 plus silver fox because you stopped dyeing your hair right.

VIOLETTE DE AYALA:

23 weeks ago, I stopped dyeing my hair. It's been Yeah, I mean, it's getting there. It's getting like, starting to really, I mean it now as I told my husband today, like I'm in it now. Like,

Nicoa Coach:

yeah, it looks beautiful. I think you look great. And I love Have you been posting regularly to show people where you are in that stage. You know, you can, you can find out about violet as well through her website, Violet de ayala.com. And she's not only doing all this stuff on social media and running them city, but she's also a speaker, a coach, a mentor, and author. And as I read in one of the paragraphs, you like to foster soulful leadership. And I know that you embody that. So yeah. And a proud Cuban American girl because you love your heritage, and I love you sharing it. So Welcome to Coffee with Nicoa.

VIOLETTE DE AYALA:

Thank you, thank you so much. For all that love, I really appreciate it.

Nicoa Coach:

Well, we didn't even we don't have time to read all the other places that you've been quoted, and all the top news outlets and your blogs. And I mean, you've really done a lot in the last 15 years. So let's back up and just start with asking you a little bit about, you know, your background, like who is little violet, and you know, tell us a little bit about that foundation of your life that got you to this amazing space.

VIOLETTE DE AYALA:

Yeah, so my, my young years, my younger years you know, I'm since you mentioned Cuban American, my parents arrived to United States in 1960 1961. And really, my childhood is comprised with hearing stories of like that immigrant story, you know, right arriving to a beautiful country with I'm so privileged I understand that so privileged, so many art don't have the same benefits that I did coming to this country. And you know, hearing the stories of families losing everything and coming to a new country, not knowing the language, not knowing the culture, and really recreating wealth in this new world. And so, all the stories I heard growing up were of stories of, you know, people making it here starting a business growing that business starting another business. And so I really think that the entrepreneurship Avenue was really something I had to take on because I heard those stories growing up over and over and over again. And when I turned 22 years old, I was actually living in Raleigh, North Carolina. We had just had Chris off, and I was really wanting to be home with him. But I also needed to create, obviously, revenue and money to support my family. As we still like live in this world where you know, if you have children, two incomes are definitely easier than one income. So I started my first business in Raleigh, North Carolina is 20 years old, I charged everything to my brand new discover credit card, and they do not pay me to say that really a discover credit card was the only credit card I had. And I put on that credit card, exercise equipment. I was a personal trainer, I got my certification through a certification. And I used to go to people's homes and I would train people in their homes. And then that really got me into becoming certified in Pilates. And then when I started my Pilates studio, I opened for those that are in the Raleigh area, I opened a studio in five points. I had initially started historic oak wood and the back of my house had this really cool studio. And then as I got more money and more students, I opened a location there next to NOFO. And then after that, I just grew it right on top of Aloma Crenshaw is antique store, I ended up renting that space. And then I ended up having a couple satellite Pilates studios in Raleigh. And I loved it, I had a great time, I think I ran that business for 10 years, I only had women in my classes, it was women only very small boutique. And it was such a great, great time in my life. And I had three kids during that time as I was running that Pilates studio. And that's really this whole entrepreneurship avenue for me, but I, you know, I only heard those stories growing up. So I know, I recognize that, you know, there were failures and things along the way. I never took a business class. That was before Google or LinkedIn, did everything. You know, I remember creating my logo by hand. I remember putting advertisements in I think the publication was called the independent. I'm not really sure what the local newspaper is. That's right. Independent. Yeah. Independent, I put an ad there. And I put an ad in my local church bulletin as well. And I got started just like little by Lee, exactly, just little by little and grew and grew. And, you know, I, I never thought I could truly fail because I had only heard stories of success of other Cubans that had arrived to United States and started like, you know, they purchase a BP Oil or a gas station, and then they or they franchise, seven elevens. Like, you heard those stories. And so that was really, for me a great way to create balance and wealth and still be there to pick up my son from school. Wow. And you were so young. I mean, how old are your three kids now? Oh my gosh, so Christoph is gonna be my baby at that time. I'm gonna share that story. He's gonna be 30 years old. I know. I say it. I'm just like, wow, so Christoph is gonna be 30 Excuse me. Bianca just turned 24 And then my baby just turned 17 She's a senior in high school she's getting That's right. I saw your post that your children are so beautiful. And when I when you talk about being in Raleigh, and then you said Oakwood justice, my oldest, he's 26. And he just bought a townhouse over and we call it Oakwood east. It's just way past, like right past that's the beginning of that growth over there. And I can't even fathom Him, you know, at 22 already doing as much as you were already doing having babies and you got I'm assuming you got married before you were 22. Tell me that story. Because there's a story there. We're gonna get to in a minute. Yeah, so Steve and I got married when we were 21. We had Chris up at 22. We had Chris up in Miami and then Steve was working with Nortel Networks. So we moved back up to and had offered him another position up in North Carolina. So we moved back to Raleigh or he had gone to NC State. So he had lived in NC State for a while or he lived in North Carolina for a while. And yeah, we lived in five points right there in Glenwood Avenue and then we bought a house while we renovated that house and then we bought a house in historic Oakwood. At that point, Stephen. I also owned a design build company. So we used to do that. Wow. Other people. Yeah, it was that was so much fun. And then our last house that we lived in was inside the Beltline by Kenmore but always in that little area so I love that area and I I used to go back when we had a huge from city Raleigh chapter I used to go back every year and it was always so magical to see. You know, my city. I mean, so I think it's my city still right.

Nicoa Coach:

Yeah, growth. You mentioned you know, Oakwood East. I mean, I know exactly you're talking about it wasn't called that when I lived there, but I don't know what they call it now.

VIOLETTE DE AYALA:

Well, we wanted to kind of claim oak wood but it's not really oak wood. It's kind of Yeah, but

Nicoa Coach:

You know, you're to know that that positivity and that optimism and you said something that's pretty critical. And it's about the stories that were raised under. And you know, not everybody's raised under those stories, but it's never too late to change the story, to sit in that state of belief. Because when you tell a story over and over and over again, it does change your level of confidence and optimism and possibility. You know, my father used to always open the newspaper and say, You can't tell me there's not a job out there. So I've never thought that there wasn't a job, like there's always going to be a job. And even if I'm doing something entrepreneurial, I always feel like way in the back corner is the emergency job that will be there. If I needed to go look in the news, well, look online. Right. Right, that first job in the newspaper, but you had that optimism, and you must have had clearly role models in your family who were successful. It does help, doesn't it?

VIOLETTE DE AYALA:

It does. And we My father worked for the local university here. And so my mother worked for the local hospital. So they were not entrepreneurs, though, they always had ideas, and they always thought about starting it. My stories really came from friends and their parents stories. And just the culture in general. I think Cubans are like loose immigrants, you know, a little bit gritty,

Unknown:

a little bit raspy, you know, like, you got to make it work, you got to make ends meet. And those were the stories and I had so many friends also that were around my age that were starting businesses too. And that was really cool to hang around with. And again, I made every mistake, every mistake you could possibly make I made. And that's why I love what I'm doing now is like helping women not make those mistakes, it really fills my cup, because when you make those mistakes, it not only takes a lot of money away from what you could have earned. But it also hits you hits you a little bit hard in the gut, and you got to figure out like, okay, get to start to get on my feet again. And keep on going.

Nicoa Coach:

Well, FIM city in and of itself that, you know, you're helping people write new stories and giving them that support. So you guys are in over 60 local communities in the US and Canada. And I I see you traveling all the time. Last week, you and I were both in Philly. I thought that was so weird. I think we might have crossed over on one of those days that you were visiting one of the film city communities. So talk to me about the mission of Film City and help educate people so they can kind of see that connection from your past, and how you've, you've translated that into a mentoring program.

Unknown:

Sure. So when I lived in Raleigh, and I owned my Pilates studio, I used to belong to a group called chicks in biz and Raleigh. And I don't know if they're still up and running. I think

Nicoa Coach:

they are, I think so

Unknown:

I hope they are. Yeah, Elizabeth Galecki, who is a good friend of mine, she started it and I used to go to every meeting that they had, and I really found such a great support. And all we would do is pretty much get together at Elizabeth's house, or this really cool house. super funky, and potluck, you just bring a little dish to share. And we would just sit in the circle, go around, share what you do your business. And I really think that that group propelled my Pilates studio to always be number one to always be always sold out. And when I moved back home to Miami, I started working at the Four Seasons during the marketing PR for their club and spa, which made sense I was doing marketing for my club. And so I moved over and I started doing it for the four seasons. And I really missed that group. I really did. So I reached out to Elizabeth. I said, Elizabeth, I miss you, girl so much. Could I start chicks and is here in Miami. And then you know, if you guys get to that point, I'll just loop in with you guys, because I really really miss it. So yeah, yeah, let's do that, you know, start some little group. And then in a year, we'll touch base. And you know, we'll kind of bring them together. And so that's really why starting city, I was like, my intention was to bring it under two chicks and biz. And then when I reached out to Elizabeth, she's like, No, we're not really there yet. You know, we're not thinking about launching. So I said, you know, I'm gonna keep on doing from city. And I really loved it, it fills my cup we got together. At the beginning, it was just 20 women, and then it grew to 60 women and 80 women. And so at the start of femme City, it was really just about networking was just getting together, having that safe space for men to find the support and the resources that they needed. And then in 2009 2010, Google came around and said, hey, we'd love to teach some classes for your members. We were like, that's super cool. So Google taught some classes. And then Yelp also did the same thing that we want to teach some classes for your members about bad reviews and how to get on Yelp. And that's really what propelled us into being in the online space teaching business classes. So it wasn't my idea it was at the opportunity came to us. Our members loved it and so we kept on doing it. So we've we've been in the networking in real person kind of scenario and also online classes, mentorship or coaching for say a good solid 10 years. We have you Look at our demographics Generally, yes, there are more small business owners. But we do have a corporate program now. And that comes with executive coaching. So really, we are an organization there for all women. And we have a girls pharmaceuticals program. And then we also have a scholarship program for women that, you know, don't have the means to join from the city. We have some women from Nepal that joined, we have some from India as well. So we do have other collaborations going on, we want to make sure that some cities are for all women, regardless of where you're located or what your finances are,

Nicoa Coach:

oh, my God. And that's only been in 10 years. Look what you do 15 years, okay, still, so much can happen in such a short period of time. You know, as a founding member, I have to say, I don't log in as much as I used to, I'm a little busy, but I do know that it's there as a resource. And sometimes I'll just go and check it out and see what the latest is. And I love your founders circle that you do because you will coach individual members and and that's really where I would recommend people really tapping into access you and other leaders that are members because that kind of mentoring opportunity is really the most powerful in my opinion. And, and that's why I loved it so much. And I can't believe I didn't know the chicks in business connection, because Elizabeth is a good friend of mine as well. And you're talking about her cool. It's century modern home that she has now since sold. And she got married and is living her best life out in like Wisconsin. Where is she? Oh,

Unknown:

it's somewhere like it's in the Midwest somewhere. It's beautiful. It's fabulous. I think she's in a beautiful farm of the pictures that I see. I also have the worst memory. So best life. She's living her best life. But she was such a great friend. We used to get together all the time. And that house was so cool. So I love

Nicoa Coach:

that house. If I could have bought that house when she put it on the market. I wasn't even living there anymore. But I was just like, that is a gem and her studio. Her photography studio was downstairs. Yeah.

Unknown:

Oh, I

Nicoa Coach:

love it so much, Elizabeth.

Unknown:

I just found she used to do this for those that are photographers out there and looking for like a really cool marketing campaign. She used to do this thing. Every October they were called Boo boop shots be Oh, and they were in a kid's costumes. And it was a fraction of the price because it was just a blip of a second like you go you have a little time block. It's your you put your kids in these beautiful like Victorian chairs are like chases and they'd she would take pictures of them and boom, they would out the door. And we used to sneak up every single year. So I just found one of my Bianca who's 24. I just found one the other day as I was cleaning the closet, and it's one of Elizabeth's few pictures. Black and white. perfectly beautiful. It's Oh my gosh, I just we used to do the Wilmington shots too with her. She was just great. Oh

Nicoa Coach:

my gosh, yeah, she would do a day in the life. Right? She's Oh, I that is like my favorite concept where you pay somebody to come and they literally are in your house when your children are waking up. And they are taking those random photos of them eating their cereal and their little wampie Wake up heads. And I mean, she was very she is an excellent role model of entrepreneurialism as well. And she's selling her cookies out the backdoor. But I should call her and interview her and we got to talk about

Unknown:

she's been great. I love her. Yeah, have you do let me know so I can listen to it. I love

Nicoa Coach:

course, of course. Well, let's talk a little bit about your life by design. I mean, this is just one little thing that you happen to do. You have this really as as my husband, John. And I like to say, we really fill all the moments, right, and you filled your moments, and you're filling them with not just your work. But what I noticed is that it's a little heavy on the personnel when you share socially, and I love that you're talking about renovating a house, you talk about your own fashion style, your own favorite products. I mean, you and your children, I mean, you're just really a lot more expansive in a creative space for it seems that you found a way to have a life by design that really fuels you. How would you describe to us how you created this life by design.

Unknown:

So I it's not always as beautiful as you make it seem like the reality is, when I hit rock bottom, there's beauty and hitting rock bottom. And the beauty is that you lose everything and you're able to then carefully curate the pieces that matter to you. And so that's really what happened to me. It wasn't like I was like, oh, you know, my life is always perfect and carefully curated. It was really like, there's moments when you lose like 250 $1,000 or, you know, your divorce the love of your life, like those moments, when you really find yourself and I think that's glossed over and it's not pretty, it's not sexy, but there is beautiful. There are beautiful blessings in that moment. And that's when you kind of You can put the pieces back and say, You know what, I really want to make sure that this is in my life. Let me work on that. And then when you have that piece, you're like, Okay, now I really want to go and create this little piece. So everything in my life in my home is carefully curated, it's intentional, it's purposeful. There's not a lot of fluff. And even with relationships and friendships, I find as I get older, I'll be 52. As I get older and older, I'm finding that I'm becoming more carefully curating the relationships around me as well. You know, does it fill my cup? Do they bring me joy is a healthy relationship, healthy friendships. So that's really where that came from, is because I lost everything. And so it's like, Okay, now what if you're at the bottom, it's almost like when you lose everything in the in my gosh, how horrible a fire, you lose everything. By the point, you're like, you know what, now I can just put the pieces back of what I like. And I don't have to put up with the pieces that were given to me, I can really spend time thinking about what are those elements that I want to have in that kind of life like causative life?

Nicoa Coach:

Yeah, it really helps you prioritize what matters most? Why don't you share with us a little bit about that rock bottom moment, and that experience and or whichever one you want to share, because it's profound, right. And I'll turn off my ringer, sorry,

Unknown:

that it was mine, was mine. So, I mean, it happened a couple of times. So there was one time when Steve and I, we were yelling, we're 22 years old. I mean, we did live on food stamps, I'm really open about that. At the time, I was embarrassed, you know, it's stand in line, probably at the Harris Teeter, and was thoroughly embarrassed, just awful, you know, and that's definitely a rock bottom, you're sitting there with your baby, and you're you know, and I was supposed to go to law school, and I had a lot of money and just getting to a new city and not having a job and Steve, so being in college. So that was one dark moment. And again, you know, creating my personal training business, you know, crafting and curating my life so that I could actually be active with Khrushchev's upbringing, versus like, putting him in in full time daycare, which is how I grew up going to, you know, full time daycare. And so that's one piece there. The other pieces, you know, after 911, we had a lot of investment properties, those didn't do so well. Got caught on those. Again, you kind of you ever hit that bottom, and so you reevaluate your life, you pick out the pieces that work you you look to see like, what are what fills my cup? And where can I create wealth, but still find the balance and the social impact? And then, you know, 2009 2009 was a rough time for many people. We were living in Miami, the market hit really hard here. And, you know, again, going through that, that turning point of just saying, okay, like things are tight, how are you going to navigate this, but making sure that we're carefully curating our life intentionally and purposeful. So there have been pockets have that. And you know, it's interesting are the 2009. One, we had a neighbor across the street, who was working for Bank of America, like one day, he was working for some company, then the next day, I think, was like Morgan Stanley, and then Bank of America. I can't remember what the mergers were. But I remember he heard us in our store, and he goes, Oh, you guys are young enough, you can actually hit rock bottom, like three or four times, you'll be good, you'll be fine. And it was great to hear that from someone who was incredibly successful. Say that to us. Because he's right. I mean, we have a luxury of picking up the pieces. And okay, let's get back to it. You know, that that grit that it creates, makes it so that you can share those stories with other people, inspire them, I think that's why I'm so powerful. Now, it's because I've been through that journey. I know what it's like, and I can help someone to navigate that versus someone who, you know, had a million dollars out of college and was able to invest that money. And now as a billionaire, I mean, you're gonna be a little bit different. The grits gonna be a little bit different. I

Nicoa Coach:

remember after we closed, roving coach International, we went from cradle to grave in about four years, and I went, and I used to hang out with these good old boys at the Starbucks over at the Harris Teeter over there at the village. And I sat down with them, and they're like, what's been going on with you? And I was like, Well, I gotta close the business. And they were like, what? Oh, it happened, you know, and I'm telling the whole story. And then as I walked out to my car, one of the guys was walking with me and he, he came up next to me said, listen, until you like, you know, last two or three businesses, you know, it doesn't really matter. At least you tried, at least you put yourself out there and he goes and plus that four years, what an education. Right? And so, when I think about your stories and your rock bottoms, what would you say was different about you each time so what did you learn about yourself that would help you with that resilience that you now you know, share with others?

Unknown:

Oh, I Think you get on your feet faster. I mean, it's very, it's very similar to a child learning how to walk, when they first fall, they spent a lot of time crying. You know, they're on the floor, they don't want to get up, they're crying, crying, crying, you're trying to pick them up and like, Nope, I don't want to get picked up, I want to sit here, I want to cry, I want to cry it out. It's like a 10 minute kind of thing. Eventually, that child as they get older and older, you know, two years old, three years old, they still fall, but you'll notice that they get a little bit faster, up on their feet, and the scrapes are so rough. And then eventually, they don't fall as often. And you know, and if they do fall, they barely scuffed themselves, they kind of just, you know, are able to catch themselves. Sure, the same thing, entrepreneurial world or even in, in life in general. I mean, as those things happen, you become more. you persevere, you you don't spend time wallowing as much you don't spend time like feeling bad for yourself blaming others, you take accountability, recognize it's on you, what are you going to do about it? How are you going to get yourself out of it, and you have the power to do it, at the end of the day, we have the power to create the life we want. And we know this to be true. Because now because of the power of Internet, and YouTube, and LinkedIn, we hear stories of people that, you know, lived on welfare lived in foster care. And we're able to create, I mean, I have two personal friends of mine that lived in foster care. And you know, both of them sold their companies for over $60 million. So you hear those stories. We all have the potential, we all have greatness within ourselves. We all have the power, it's really that grit that gets us back on our feet. And I would say the most millionaires that I personally know are billionaires, that even millionaires, let's put them in the billions. All of them had that upbringing, every single one of them, they all had that start. And I think that's what their power is, is that they were able to understand that this pain, this short term pain is what it is. It's short term pain, it does not dictate my worth, it does not dictate my legacy. What I can achieve, this is just a blip in time. This too shall pass. So I think that's what that's what that that journey really teaches us. What

Nicoa Coach:

did you how did it feel to be you back then? What was the self dialogue? Because I, one of the goals of this podcast is to really help people kind of dig past the layers of the lessons and really learn from the self experience, right? So that somebody can see themselves in you. How would you authentically share what it was like to be you then compared to now?

Unknown:

I remember. Right before I started my Pilates studio, I remember going on interviews, and there was a gym that was close to like Fairview, and like Whitaker mill like that area. Yeah. And it was a personal training studio. That guy, it was like a personal training only studio. So you could only go if you had hired one of this guy's personal trainers. And he wanted me to be a manager for the studio. And I had my personal training company, and I think going to people's homes, but for whatever reason. He wanted me to be not only a personal trainer, but also manage one of his locations. And he had a ton of locations. I can't remember it was called we had a ton of locations. And it just didn't feel right. And I remember we were dirt poor. And when we were dirt poor, but we were we were tight. Like things were tight. Because I had already been a personal trainer. Things were tight. And I knew I knew there was something more for me. So I remember being in the car. I think it was literally on Glenwood Avenue right around that Wade Avenue intersection. Yeah. And I remember having that sensation of that thought of like, there's a better life for me. Like there's more to life. Like, I didn't sign up for this. This is like it's too hard. It's too challenging. Because I was thinking already like if I work for him, I have to think of a daycare because I think at that point, I had two kids maybe yeah, two kids. So like, Okay, now it's two different daycares or two different schools and, you know, the stress of work in the hours and I and like, there's got to be something more like I didn't sign up for this. And I remember and I went to tell my friend the story later on. My friend Julia from childhood, who always had her stuff together, always. And I literally sat there. I said, What would you do? Because she always had everything on point. What would she do? And I was like, she would not take this job. That's like literally I was like, she would not take this job. And I didn't and he called and he called they added more money and I was like no and I started my Pilates studio. We bought the house in Oakwood. We I created a studio in the back of my house. And I started teaching classes there and from that it really pivoted into like it just opened up the avenue for so much greatness but I remember having that fire I remember thinking this is not what I signed up for. There's more to life than this is not This is too much like I can't live like this anymore and life just changed almost like overnight.

Nicoa Coach:

Oh I'm so proud of you. I remember looking up once into the sky and say I was not put on this planet to work like This, talking to my mom crying to my mom on the phone. And yeah, it was a pivotal moment as well. These are the conversations that when we really allow ourselves to listen to why we're reacting, like why we're resisting, when you're resisting, start asking what is this? What am I really resisting? And is there a better way? Is there a path of least resistance? That can be more fulfilling for me? So he Yeah. And so when it sounds like though now, and but wait, before we come back to the now, because there was another moment in your life, where you and your beautiful husband decided to call it quits. Tell me a little bit about that.

Unknown:

So we were on year 20. And, you know, I was just like this again, this is not what I signed up for. This is not even though we loved each other. It was just, I could feel like it was on the cusp of being unhealthy. Like he was on the cusp of us being angry with each other hating each other. And I did not want to have that. I mean, my parents when I grew up my parents before they divorced, screaming, fighting, throwing things at each other was not healthy. And so I was like, you know, it's better to address it now. While they're still off. Because it's just it's not going in the right direction. And so, yeah, it was painful. I mean, we still maintained a friendship we co parented together, he was traveling a lot, I was traveling a lot. We loved our house on Key Biscayne, this beautiful island, outside of Miami, Downtown Miami. And, and so, you know, we navigated like that for a year and a half, two years, I think of being divorced. And you know, we still do the holidays together. And like all of our holiday pictures were together and even my dad's first wife and my dad's third wife, and then on my dad's second marriage, so like our family was always so blended. And one summer you know, when you have friends are like, You should come visit, I have a house and such as like, you should come visit me like, yeah, summer, I was like, You know what the kids are up with their grandparents. I like three weeks to myself, I can work from anywhere. I'm going to take up all my friends and all these offers, I'm gonna go so I spent about three weeks in Europe, I went to all these different homes of friends that, you know, offered their house to me. And as I was going through Europe, Bruges and Brussels and Normandy, I was constantly about Steve, I was like, God, he would really love this. But you know, it's a shame that we're divorced. And he's got a girlfriend now, and he's very happy. And so I was like, he would really love this would have been so cool to be there with him. So I was thinking of all these things, and flew home, my son was supposed to pick us up, or someone specifically picked me up at the airport. And instead, Steve showed up, and I was like, Huh, what? Are you picking me up? They're like, No, I just asked Chris, if I could pick you up. I was like, Okay. He's like, do you want to get lunch? I was like, yeah, let's get lunch. I mean, you know, so we had lunch. And we started talking, and he started asking us, like, I think we should give it another go. I think we should try again. You know, I've grown you've grown and we should try. And so that the whole foods in downtown Miami, I'm gonna forget. So all these friends are like walking by and say like, you know, having these, you know, this super tough conversation at the whole foods. Anyway, we didn't tell anybody but we did spend time together that weekend, we went bike riding. We went snorkeling by the beach. Even the kids were like, what's up with you and dad? Like, why are you guys together? We were like, No, we're just working on our friendship. And we really were so before even getting back together, it was really becoming friends again. So again, that that love hadn't ended. It had just changed and, and it was really just getting to know each other again. So we dated and I'm using like air quotes we dated for two years, I think. And then and December 30. On December 31 2019. We got remarried. Yeah, and it was just beautiful. We had the kids with us, and I really didn't think the kids would think much of it. But they all cried, and they all thought it was you know, some of them were adults. And it was really beautiful. So

Nicoa Coach:

it is and it's such a mirrored story. I don't know if you remember this, but my parents got divorced when they were at their 21 year mark. And my mother left. She left us here, the sound house. I live in my childhood home. She left so I was nine. And there they divorced after fighting and yelling and throwing and all the things and she was gone for five years and they reconnected when they had a common friend. I think maybe it was a funeral or something horrible, but they were they rebounded and they were like What are we doing? We still love each other and they had grown a lot in those five years. And when they got back together I remember thinking what help mom, you just told me you were left because of, you know, Ms magazine and wanting to really find yourself and she said, Well, this time, it's my choice. She goes before I was running away from something when I was getting married even though I loved your father then now I'm much more conscious. And I just think that's so neat that you guys got back together and your your story has been shared all over on ABC or NBC or all the all the outlets,

Unknown:

like CDs like so we were on Good Morning, America. And it was the first one that the producer wanted Steve on there, too. So usually, I mean, Mary Claire wrote about it. Cosmopolitan, Shonda LAN BBC, well, anyway, so see, was after he's like, I don't want to talk about anymore. He's like, no more TV. And so literally Nicoa Like, the day after the BBC reached out, and they were like, Hey, can we cover your can we cover your story? And I was like, Oh, my gosh, I cannot tell see, because he's gonna be like, but they didn't want to talk to us anymore. They just they had the information. They just wanted to run the story. And I said, that's fine. You run the story, because it's a beautiful story. It's

Nicoa Coach:

a beautiful story.

Unknown:

He just doesn't want to be on TV for that again. Again, he's done.

Nicoa Coach:

This, it's funny. My mom and dad didn't really talk about it anymore. But as a family, we had this inside joke. They're like, Oh, our parents were together for 67 years, plus or minus five.

Unknown:

That's what I think. I'm like, happy anniversary was like our 31st anniversary recently, we think? Yeah, cuz we met in 1992. We got married in 1983. So we just did our 31 ish. Yeah, we say plus, plus or minus, plus

Nicoa Coach:

or minus? Well, when you to think about your life by design now, you know, what's next for you. I know, you're renovating a home. You're doing lots of fun things as a family and your kids are growing up and growing out. We're empty nesters now, so you're right behind me. So what's next for you?

Unknown:

So we talk about this often. You know, we thought about sailing. So we were working on our sailing certification. Steve just told me other day. Yeah, I don't want to be sailing. It's too stressful. I think probably in the waters of Miami. It's a little stressful. You know, we thought about doing golf, traveling more. I think for us, we love renovating home. So we thought about, you know, do we do another house? Do we do it up north? Do we do it? He's part Italian. So we're like, do we do it? You know, someplace in Italy. So I don't know, I think we're just really excited. This will be their first time. You know, just being us. And that's a beautiful thing. In this new us where we enjoy our time together. It's definitely I grew up, he grew up, I worked on myself, he worked on my own himself. So we're at this really pretty place where you know, there's just so much we want to do together and travel and renovate more homes and finish this one, we've got two more years in this house. So renovating this house. So I don't know I'm excited for it. I'm excited that to be an empty nester because it will be 30 plus years of parenting, because our kids are six years apart each of them. And I feel like it's the first time I can work on my career, which sounds really crazy. But it'd be my first time like able to just focus on my career. 100%. So I'm excited about that. Well, I

Nicoa Coach:

think you guys are actually probably some of the early pioneers of conscious uncoupling and conscious coupling. And I When did you tell your stories, I mean, it's really critical. And you said you both worked on yourselves in order to get to that space of empty nesting. You both have to know who you are, without the identity of your children and the role that you play with your children, for those of you who have kids. And you know, I like to ask this question lately with some of my clients as we're uncovering, you know, who they are and what they want in their lives by design. So let me ask you, who are you without all of these identity stories?

Unknown:

Um, you mean who might at the core like soulfully? Yeah.

Nicoa Coach:

And you talk about soulful leading, and often we talk about authenticity, and who am I? And maybe we just play with this for a second. But who am I? When I'm not the mom, the podcaster, the coach, the recovering corporate executive, the girl with the divorce parents, how do I really discover her and have you tapped into her more lately, now that you've getting ready for that empty nest and a few years?

Unknown:

I think the one thing that I've always I just want to leave the world in a better place. And I know that we all are limited to our reach, right? So it's, you know, some people have a bigger voice, some don't, regardless of the platform, I just want to leave every area in a better way. So even like for instance, since we were traveling, I was in Philadelphia and I like three hours to kill and I went to the lounge the Wow, just packed had a waitlist, it was like long and people were grouchy and you know, went over and wasn't grouchy, it was just smiling and happy. And it made the women that were working behind the counter happy. And they were so happy that I was happy. And they even mentioned, like, thank you so much for not being grouchy, you know, like, even in those moments of just like, just baking others find joy with that moment, I think that's the power that we all have. And I think that that's something that's at the core of who I am is just, you know, wanting to make sure that when I leave a store, or a party, or an event or a phone call, that I left that person feeling better than what they felt like before,

Nicoa Coach:

who makes you feel better than when you felt badly or you're in a state of not feeling good.

Unknown:

Um, I, I'm really good at meditating. So I think that comes from my connection, spiritually, I think that's like a core piece of that. I think my husband also is a really good expander. For me, my my kids also are really good expanders. And I think my my tier one friends, like the people that I have in that tier one, I think they are they, they get me and they also help to keep me mentally grounded, but also to make sure that the energy is always at the highest vibration, I think those are key elements, you know, I've had in the past people that have been in my life that weren't in that space. And that definitely, you know, kind of diminishes your vibration. But I again, going back to curating those relationships around you is like having those key people around, that it's not like weighing on them. But the little memes that they send me or like the little tags, or the funny things like, it definitely helps to keep my energy and my vibration high. And that's really important. Meditation,

Nicoa Coach:

vibration, being grounded. I mean, there's themes here, everybody, so please, if you're listening, you know, the world is not happening to you, but for you. And if you can find those spaces of groundedness, then you are at choice because the amount about the amount, the capacity that you appear to have, right, which clearly you do, and the the ability to have this bias for action and everything that you do get to those outcomes, because you have those practices. And because you've been intentional, at least from an outsider looking in. So I'm really grateful that you shared those practices, and it is about a high vibration. And we talk a lot about energy leadership. And when you you can tap into those higher vibrations. Only if you are grounded. And only if you've asked yourself, what are the lessons from those rock bottom moments? What are what am I learning? What am I learning, and to have people around you that are self learning as well, and supporting you along the way. So now and it

Unknown:

wasn't always like that I wanted to add because you might have some listeners that are like, Oh, well, she's probably always been like that. So you know, I want to add, I was an angry person. You know, for many years of my life I had I had angry parents. So when you are in that space of anger, I was angry. I didn't know how to communicate. I blamed others. I wasn't accountable. I was a flake. So it wasn't like I was always like this and now I'm like brighter or higher vibe. It was I went from a very low place and worked on myself to become where I'm at now. So my dogs are going free dogs

Nicoa Coach:

are ready. the.we knew it was coming.

Unknown:

They gotta close the door. But I want to add that because it's a journey. It is it takes work. It's practice, you create practice meditation, the first time I meditated, I was in Spain. I was 40 years old. And I thought I was gonna lose my mind. I started meditating. I was like, Oh, my gosh, this is crazy. I can't meditate for five minutes what's going on? And I bought Deepak Chopra's book, it's called, like seven spiritual laws of success or something. And I opened it up and the first page was about meditation and how when you start meditating, you know, you're going to lose your mind. And that's what I felt like, I felt like I was gonna lose my mind. But eventually, it wasn't my mind that I was I was losing it was that for the first time, I was hearing myself and healing and trying to become a better person. So there's definitely, it's a journey. You don't you're not born like that, you know, work on it. It takes

Nicoa Coach:

practice. Now, you're absolutely right. And sitting alone with our own thoughts is one of the things that I think causes the most suffering and people and if they can master that, they can master anything. And you talk I'll ask one more question. And then I want to make sure to give you time to share with us what what you're working on anything you want to market or share with our audience. But you talk a little bit about that superpower talent with individuals and encouraging them and you you've referenced it if that's one of your powers. It's So what are you really most proud of and want to celebrate about your own superpower talents? Is there something you'd like to highlight?

Unknown:

I think my superhero talent is there's something about my energy that makes people feel comforted. And I'm not really quite sure what that is. But and perhaps it's been my journey, perhaps it's, you know, because my service is to make people feel better, to empathize with them to share, that we can create success and wealth with having a kind heart with leading with purpose and soul. So I think that that's definitely it. i This weekend, or this past week in Philadelphia, meaning our members, I mean, so many, you know, hugging them, holding them really tight. I mean, that just meant the world to so many of them. And I feel like in a world where we're kind of disconnected, it's really, that, to me has become apparent that we just, we all crave love, we all crave wanting to be accepted for who we are for what we've been through for the religion that we practice the color of our skin. I mean, you know, the mistakes that we've made in the past, we all want to just be seen, heard and loved. And I think if I had one to choose, it would be that and getting permission to love other people, including ourselves, despite all the differences, or the mishaps we may have had. So I think that's if I had one, that would be my, my one.

Nicoa Coach:

That's definitely yours. Absolutely. And my dad used to say, and maybe somebody else said at first, but to love and be loved. That's really kind of the goal. And you really do create a safe space for people not only with the work that you do, but also as an individual. And it really comes through through your social media and, and I've always felt quite connected to you. And when I was thinking about it, I thought, Well, are we really friends? Or did I like just meet her once or twice. But I feel like your friend

Unknown:

that's the best compliment ever. Listen, that is equivalent to someone coming to my house and taking their shoes off and snuggling on my sofa or opening the refrigerator and grabbing something out like that. That's the best compliment because it means that they feel at home. And yeah, that means the world to me. Thank you for sharing those words with me. I appreciate it. Well,

Nicoa Coach:

it's sincere and authentic. And I really mean it. And so much so that you know, I was telling I can't wait to talk to my friend violet. And then I thought are we we are we are? Well, let me give you a chance to share if there's anything that you're working on you want to market now this IP is episode probably won't air until season two, which will be around the March timeframe. So anything there that you want to point people to right now? Yeah,

Unknown:

so 2012 2024 We're starting to grow more from City Chapter. So if if you don't have one in your neighborhood, probably we're launching one soon. So we are back at launching communities. We just launched Toronto, Fort Myers, McAllen, and we relaunched San Antonio. So we're so excited, I would love to be back in Raleigh. That would be so amazing. But I'm hoping that 2024 brings us a good 2030 New chapters, and we have a free membership. So if you want to participate in some city, it is free, we do have a community membership that's available. So head over to thumbtack calm and you get a lot and get a master class with me once a month. Lots of other goodies as well. So access to local events. So those are two areas that I think would benefit your listeners.

Nicoa Coach:

Well, I'll definitely put all the information in the show notes and make sure to point people in their in your direction. And I'm just so proud of you. And I'm so excited to see your outcomes and what you're working on. And I can't wait to see how the house turns out. And anyway, we could talk all day but I will let you go and you got to walk the dogs and just want you to know how grateful I am. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you Violet

Unknown:

Nicoa Thank you for having me. Talk to you later.

Nicoa Coach:

Bye. Love you.

Jennifer Gardner:

Thanks for joining us for a caffeinated conversation. Subscribe to Coffee with Nicoa for more stories from people living a life by design. You can also find inspiration on Instagram. Just follow Coffee with Nicoa and check out our website Coffee with nicoa.com and that's Nicoa N IC O A. We look forward to talking with you soon. And enjoy your coffee between now and then