5 Inspiring Podcasts for Women Leaders
If you’re anything like me, you’re obsessed with podcasts. I listen to more than I can count―on the subway, in the car, making dinner, and walking around town.
With the explosion in the industry, podcasts have become many people’s on-the-go audio classrooms, covering virtually every subject imaginable. But as diverse as the subject matter content may be, the reality is that most podcasts are hosted by (white) men. Research shows that while they make up almost half of listeners, women only host 22% of podcasts. And when it comes to people of color, the host representation is also disproportionate to the listener base. On a given day, only 5 of the top 100 podcasts on iTunes were hosted by a person of color.
Even if I didn’t work at Catalyst, hearing female perspectives and diverse points of view is a priority for me. So, I’ve put together a list of five of my favorite podcasts that are hosted by women, including women of color, and also feature inspiring women leaders as guests.
The CNN anchor sits down with CEOs and entrepreneurs who offer insights into how they got where they are. And while she doesn’t just interview women, some notable episodes include Recode’s Kara Swisher, SoulCycle’s Melanie Whelan, and jewelry designer Kendra Scott. Scott, in particular, tells a fascinating story about launching her billion-dollar business with just $500 while caring for a newborn. A thread that runs through all the episodes is that no successful business person is truly “self-made”—they credit their trusted team of people with helping build and maintain their success.
Host Kailei Carr created this podcast to shed light on the “secret weapons” of successful women, examining the hidden things that can help or hinder a career. She mixes interviews with authors, industry experts, successful women, and career coaches with tips on branding, image, productivity, and leadership. One stand-out episode features Minda Harts, author of The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table. Harts describes her feelings frequently being the only black woman in professional settings and dealing with microaggressions. This led her to create The Memo, a platform that gives women of color career tips and resources.
Co-hosted by Alison Beard, an editor at the Harvard Business Review, this HBR podcast digs into a variety of workplace issues facing men and women, offering practical advice and some counter-intuitive takeaways. One great episode, “What Managers Get Wrong About Feedback,” challenges the notion that feedback always improves performance; if you focus on eliminating people’s weaknesses and rounding them out, you can miss out on people’s exceptional talents. Another one that hit a nerve for me is “Why U.S. Working Moms Are So Stressed – And What to Do About It.” That episode explores a study of mothers in four countries which revealed that the reason American working mothers are more taxed. The reason: A lack of parental supports and benefits offered by their employers and the government. (HBR also has a podcast, Women at Work, which I’m eager to check out.)
The Ellevate Network is a global network and community for professional women. The podcast, billed as “Conversations with Women Changing the Face of Business,” features interviews with women leaders who share their experiences and takeaways from their careers. In one notable episode, “Lifetime Income Protection – An Equal Pay Day Conversation with Caroline Feeney from Prudential,” Ellevate CEO Kristy Wallace and Feeney, a long-time Prudential executive, discuss financial challenges for women. Early in her career, a colleague told Feeney to lose her “empathy gene,” but she recounts how she recognized that empathy made her a better leader and ignoring that advice most likely cemented her future success.
Sophia Amoruso is CEO/Founder of Girlboss, an online community for millennial women; Neha Gandhi is the company’s editor-in-chief and COO. In this podcast, the two lead conversations with female powerhouses, such as editor Tina Brown, Reshma Saujani of Girls Who Code, and former senior White House advisor Valerie Jarrett. One of my favorite episodes features Bozoma Saint John, Chief Marketing Officer of Endeavor, a nonprofit aimed at supporting “high-impact” entrepreneurs. Saint John, a marketing dynamo who might have the biggest social following of any CMO, shares how being very different and standing out became a source of strength for her.
Looking for more resources on advancing women into leadership? Check out Catalyst programs and resources, and sign up for our monthly newsletter. Looking for podcasts for men who want to be gender equity champions? Check these out.
Danielle creates marketing materials and digital content for social channels. A graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, Danielle lives in Forest Hills, NY, with her teenage son.