Linda Grasso is a Los Angeles-based veteran journalist who has worked in every medium. After a 17-year career as an on-air reporter/anchor and entertainment correspondent, Linda stepped away to raise her two sons. When she tried to return to the workforce several years later, she experienced challenges. Linda switched gears—ultimately getting her mojo back—by helping launch Ventura Boulevard (the sister platform to Southbay), which covers lifestyle in the San Fernando Valley. That experience led her to launch the SheSez podcast. In the 40-minute show, Linda interviews fascinating, inspiring, accomplished women–from Fortune 500 executives to Oscar winners to women who have pulled off remarkable midlife pivots. The common thread? All are achieving success—no matter how they define it—on their own terms.
Who are your listeners on SheSez?
They tend to be educated and savvy. They realize what is important in life. And they want accurate, meaningful information to apply to their own lives. In addition to featuring inspiring women, I also have a fair number of guests in health and wellness. But it’s not what you typically see on women-centric podcasts, which is guests who are trying to sell product.
If we are talking about antiaging, for example, I’ll have a guest who has conducted research about what to look for on product labels—specific ingredients that can make a difference. On another episode with a well-regarded beauty industry critic, we examined this: Retinol can reduce the appearance of fine lines somewhat, but in the long run is it damaging your skin?
When it comes to health and wellness, I interview scientists, researchers and physicians who are immersed in state-of-the-art medicine. I just interviewed two National Institutes of Health researchers, for example, about studies they’re conducting that show a link between low estrogen and depression. Ever wonder why so many women experience depression for the first time in their 40s and 50s? It has to do with the fact that they are perimenopausal and menopausal. And the studies are part of an effort to develop a pharmaceutical drug specifically for midlife women suffering from depression.
What differentiates the SheSez podcast from other shows that are aimed at women?
I try to have candid, compelling conversations. I key in on the how and why of a guest’s story and keep the discussion relatable. So yes, we share what the woman has done or is doing, but I avoid unnecessary puffery. I believe we are all more alike than different and we can all grow by sharing honestly.
We also discuss struggles and stumbles, keying in on how challenges were overcome. With each show, I want the listener to walk away with at least one solid takeaway. If she hasn’t learned something that inspires her or she can apply to her own life, I’ve missed my mark. I like to think of SheSez as a master class for the modern woman.
What inspires you?
I get inspired by women who are able to step over the no’s—women who repeatedly get rejected and have their ideas shot down but are somehow able to overcome it and forge ahead until ultimately they’re successful. The founders of successful brands like Yasso, Beauty Pie, Barney Butter, One Kings Lane, Koia and News Not Noise have all come on SheSez and talked about how their ideas were repeatedly shot down by people “in the know.” Most of us hear a succession of no’s and think: This must not be a good idea; they must be right. Sticking to what you know to be true—in the face of abject rejection—is a talent I admire.
After five years of hosting SheSez and interviewing so many women, how do you reflect on your struggles with reentering the workforce?
I think: Geez, I was at my peak. In my early 40s and after five years at home, I finally knew who I was and was smarter and more capable than I’d ever been! But I let all this crap get into my head and wipe out my professional confidence.
There are so many negative messages from society for women who have been at home raising children. You are out of the loop, dated, irrelevant, and you don’t know the latest technology. It is ridiculous. Does the ability to learn somehow get obliterated after the age of 35?
The detail-oriented, multitasking skills that a stay-at-home mom develops can be applied to a multitude of mid- and high-level jobs—not to mention her ability to manage stress. A stay-at-home mom’s stress would bring most Fortune 500 CEOs to their knees.
What are you passionate about?
I am an avid cook and gardener (flowers, citrus and veggie), and I love interior design. That’s why if you go to SheSez.com and SheSez’s Instagram and Facebook pages, you’ll see a lot of those kinds of posts. Sometimes I’m the one sharing the how-to, but in most cases I’m the student.
I tap my contacts as editor of Ventura Blvd—well-known and accomplished chefs, landscape and interior designers in L.A.—and query them. My curiosity, essentially what got me into this business, is endless. Sign up for the SheSez twice-a-month newsletter on our website if you want to come along for the ride.