You may know Erica Ehm as a pioneering “VJ” (video-jockey) on MuchMusic (Canada’s equivalent to MTV) in the 80’s and 90’s, but she is that and so much more!
In this wide-ranging discussion, Erica shares her wisdom on:
- Asking for what you want, the simple strategy that got here started in the competitive entertainment TV business
- How to be an ally for those you love who are struggling with mental health issues
- Her mother’s life-changing words to her at age 8, along with notes from her own parenting journey
- Her husband’s advice that “there’s a seat for every toilet”
- How she told her kids “Mommy comes first”, and it empowered them to know and show respect for women
If you would like to live a life where you are able to make bold choices and successfully act on them, this is the episode for you!
Where to find Erica:
Yummy Mummy Club: ymc.ca
Connect with Elaine:
Get a free chapter from Elaine’s book, Sell Your Passion: https://elaineskitchentable.com/book
TruShield Insurance – When I switched to TruShield Insurance 5 years ago, I saved money and got better coverage!
Visit https://www.trushieldinsurance.ca/createbetter/ for a free quote!
Elaine Tan Comeau: 00:04
Hello, welcome and I'm so excited that you're joining us today here at Elaine's Kitchen Table where we talk about how to create better health, better family, better business, better self. And today I have a guest with me that I am so excited and honored like any time of my life I could like sit across a coffee table and have this beautiful woman across for me. I couldn't have even imagined it but today we have with us Erica Ehm. That's right, I said Erica Ehm. Erica Ehm, you know her, she is an icon. She was one of the very first "VJs" and she was part of MuchMusic and that's where she launched and she is not just that.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 00:47
She is a woman who has done so much. She's an award winning songwriter. She is a creator of multiple businesses. She is a champion for women in many of her businesses, they they focus on the woman, the mom, and she is a woman who is a mom, a wife. I almost want to say serial entrepreneur but she started her first go for it job when she was 16. She just went up to somebody and said, Give me a job, please. And it went from there. I am so excited. She's an author. She's a well sought after speaker. And, I adore her and I'm so honored to have you Erica Ehm. Welcome to Elaine's Kitchen Table.
Erica Ehm: 01:35
Well, thanks so much. And you forgot to mention that we actually met in the bathroom at the Mompreneur conference, and you were the big winner that night. And we were celebrating you in the bathroom.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 01:49
Indeed now this is how incredible this woman is. When I first met her yes, we were in the women's bathroom at a hotel. I had won the 2014 Mompreneur of the year because they only had one award back then. And this incredible woman said let's have an interview right here right now. And I remember it was a full bathroom and all these ladies were just gushing because Erica Ehm is standing there in a bathroom and interviewing me. And that was a signal to me and a reminder to say don't miss an opportunity - when you see one, take it! Why not? Don't wait someone come to you right?
Erica Ehm: 02:26
That's amazing. Yep.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 02:27
Erica, I would love for you to fill in some gaps because you are so authentic. You are not just a woman who shares your wisdom because you are head smart, but you've lived a life full of experiences that I think all of us would love and be so inspired to know about. And I know I touched on it when I say when you were 16 you just went for it. We all have daughters out there sisters, nieces. And I, I'd love for them to hear your story of just when you were 16. What on earth were you thinking?
Erica Ehm: 03:07
Well, it actually boils down to how I was raised. And I can tell you this specific day when my life kind of changed when I came home from school and told my mom, I was hungry, and that tonight, I would like to have pizza for supper. I'd like her to order pizza for supper. And she said, Sure, pizza sounds great, but you're going to order the pizza. And of course, she was insane because I was eight years old, and when you're eight you don't call up yourself and order from grownups. But she said, if you don't call, we're not having supper. And she literally held me to it. I was upstairs, starving, and she refused to order. So finally I went downstairs called the pizza place. Hi I'd like to order a pizza, please. And you know what happened? It's the craziest thing. They listened to me. I was eight years old with a squeaky little voice. And Pendeli's Pizzeria in Montreal, sent us our pizza. And I remember, I was so hungry by the time it arrived. And my mom said to me, so what have we learned? And I was like, you know, pizza is delicious when you're starving. And she said, No. What we learned here is that you need to be able to ask for what you want. And I was like, Okay, sounds good. She goes, Well, what would have happened if the pizza joint didn't take your call? Didn't allow you to order because you were only eight. What would you have done? She said, you would call another pizza place, and they would send you pizza. And so she said, that's what you need to be able to do in life.
Erica Ehm: 04:48
And so that those were the words that were ringing in my ear, when I saw the program director of CHOM FM in Montreal, at a Cars concert at the Montreal Forum. I had met him about three months earlier, when I ran a contest for my school, which we didn't win. That CHOM FM had run. So I created a protest from my school. There were about 60 of us who marched from my school to the radio station, closed off the street, we had signs and we were chanting, and someone said, Who's in charge? And everybody yelled it's Erica! So when I was 16, I had my first interview on the radio station, at which point I met some of the people there, which was Wow, mind blowing, considering I wanted to work in the music business.
Erica Ehm: 05:39
And so there I was three months later, there was the guy, he was right in front of me. And I walked over to him and I asked him, Hi, Rob, do you remember me? I'm the girl from Marionoplis, um can I have a job at CHOM? And he said, Now is not the right time to talk to me. I'm at a concert. If you'd like. You can get an appointment with my assistant and we'll talk. And so I, I called him or called the assistant when I was 16. Shaking, we did meet, and I asked him for a job and he said, No. And I thought, you know, he was setting me up for a yes. And he said, No, I can't hire you because you're still in school. He said, however, if you would like to be the music librarian at CHOM FM, you wouldn't get paid. You would get to come into the radio station as if you worked here. You get to organize all the music. You get to hang out with the bands, you get to hang out with the DJs. If you're open to that, you can be my assistant and share my office with me. So of course I grabbed the opportunity. And then all the kids at my school, word got out. You know, Erica is working at CHOM FM, the coolest radio station in the city. How'd you get your job?
Erica Ehm: 06:56
Erica Ehm: 06:58
People were like whaaaat? But really, that is how you get ahead. How did I get on your podcast? You asked me. I mean, and if I couldn't do it, I would say I'm sorry, I can't do it. And then you would say, Well, what about a different date? Or is the topic not working for you? Or is there a reason, you would have at least initiated a conversation and maybe you would learn that your podcast wasn't good. You know that I found something offensive. Well, you would have learned something from it. By asking you not only get what you want, or you have the side benefit of learning about yourself, your product, your service, anything because it just moves you forward.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 07:43
I love everything that you said from how it started with pizza, that you ordered pizza and that your mom taught you. If you want something, just ask, right and then if they say no, then you ask somebody else for pizza. And that is so true. I read somewhere that you know, if someone says there is such a thing as failure, what it is, is a result of success or a result of a learning lesson. And, that was an interesting take. But I agree that you learn from everything. And even if it's a success, you learn from it, and then you try to replicate it and move forward.
Erica Ehm: 08:19
That's if you have a mindset, a success mindset, right? There's closed and open mindsets. And if you've an open mindset, that means that you understand that every single thing that happens to you or that you make happen, is an opportunity for you to learn something or grow in some way or take something from it. The people who have a closed mindset are the people who I guess see the world as the glass is half empty, or they take things personally all the time. And you know, in life, people aren't out to get you. Sometimes there isn't a fit My husband, who really has a way with words, said to me a long time ago that there's a seat for every toilet. And what and you know, I thought that was a somewhat profound in the sense that when you ask for something, it may not be the right fit for whatever reason, but that doesn't mean that your toilet isn't valid. It means that you need to find the right seat. And the people who have a closed mindset, just go That's it. This isn't good. And I think a lot of people are afraid of being vulnerable. And that when they ask for something they're afraid to ask because what if they say no, my feelings will be hurt, it will invalidate me it will mean that I don't matter. That is not even close to the truth. It means that the opportunity isn't the right fit. And I think those people and I think all of us, I do it all the time I hear myself going Oh, I'm not even going to bother. Why would you not bother? Stand up, take the hit, if it comes to a hit, but you'll learn something from it, you will get something from it, you will have built a relationship, you will have started a conversation.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 10:15
Absolutely, very beautiful what you said and it is about taking that risk. And that risk means jumping into the unknown, which is scary. But I think it is a lesson to our kids who are watching too, that it's okay to fall and it's okay to get someone saying no to you. Because I think the greatest lesson is, how we react to that no or to the not yet. And that we aren't giving up or that we're saying things to ourselves that we wouldn't say to our children like would we say to our children, you know you're not good enough. You shouldn't go for it because it's bigger than you are. We wouldn't say those things to our kids, but yet we all have that voice that we say that to ourselves as women who are in a startup, a woman who is thinking of changing a career, or a woman who's thinking of stepping out of a career and doing her own thing. It is scary but we need to get out of that comfort zone, or we will not grow. And you know, when I, I wrote to you, and I said, I'm just putting myself out there. And I'm just going to ask beautiful Erica, if she would be on my podcast, and I am so honored. I am so honored.
Erica Ehm: 11:32
Let me throw back to you. If I would have said no. What would you have done?
Elaine Tan Comeau: 11:39
I would have thanked you, I would have thanked you for for taking the time to reply to me. And I would have said exactly what you had said earlier. Is there a time that works better for you or what may I ask is the reason that doesn't work for you right now. And I would just love to learn from that exactly what I would say to you. I'm so sorry. That's my dog in the background.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 12:03
I have I was gonna say three kids at home but two right now at home. I want to know you have a daughter you have a son and those who are listening right now we'd say okay, well Erica, how do you do it? How on earth are you doing your companies because you have multiple businesses, award winning businesses, an award winning songwriter that mean that was it Van Halen who sang one of your songs?
Erica Ehm: 12:36
Yeah, he did. He included one of my songs in one of his what are they called one of his on one of his albums, but just part of a song.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 12:44
That's incredible. Yeah. And I there's so many things that I have just discovered about you like she cowrote the theme song to the animated Pippi Longstocking? Who knew? Who knew, but you are a mom. You have these multiple businesses, and you have two wonderful children. So when do you do turn it off work and turn on mothering? Or do you just blend it all together? For that mom who's listening right now.
Erica Ehm: 13:13
So first of all, I am quite self aware. I acknowledge what I'm good at, and what I'm not good at. So even before I had kids, when I met my husband and I met him late in life, we got married when I was 38. I think he was 37. I said to him, you know, I'm not going to be a traditional wife. I'm not really good at cooking and cleaning. I really haven't had a lot of babies. I don't really know how to raise kids. So if you want to marry me and you want to have a marriage, I need you to be in 50% with me and understand that I will probably be a breadwinner more than I am as a caregiver. And so we kind of shook hands on that and our relationship has progressed with that agreement. So keep in mind that when I started YMC which is the business that I launched, soon after I had kids. It was, it was in the world of motherhood. And it was a virtual business. And in fact, when I first started it, it wasn't a business. It was more of a passion project for me to connect with other like minded women because I didn't know how to be a mom. So I just wanted to create this large community of like minded women, which eventually became very large, and it evolved into a business that I made up along the way, but I was able to do it from home. I was able to say to my husband, I'm working now it's your turn. We did hire a nanny for part of the time so that I could, even though I was working from home, I still had my own space to do it. And it was important for me to spend money that I was earning on childcare so I could take the time and sequester myself and focus. So I really had the best of both worlds because I had a participating partner and I worked from home. So both were great, but because of the content, it was entirely based around my children, so I involved my kids in a lot of the day to day of the business and I think ultimately it will serve them well because they understand that one has to work for a living and they see my husband and I working from home. I also early on forced myself to remove guilt from my plate, if you will.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 15:57
Let's talk about that. That rules so many people, moms.
Erica Ehm: 16:01
Yeah. So I said, my kids don't come first. I come first. Because if I don't come first, I can't take care of my kids.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 16:13
Erica Ehm: 16:14
So, for example, I have very clear memories of my son holding my leg crying saying Mom, don't go to your book club stay home. So I said to him, I need to go to book club because that's my play date. I need play dates, the way you have play dates, I said, but if you want to start your own book club with me, we can read books and we can discuss them like I do with my girlfriends. So my book club has been going now for 16 years. We had our book club meeting last night. And I demand from my family that book club is my night. Now, if my kid had a fancy presentation or something, I would cancel book club because really, my kids are the most important thing, but I want them to see me as a woman with needs and wants, not someone who was there to serve. I don't think that women were put on this planet to serve. So my needs are important. And when my kids see that, then my son learns to respect women and my daughter learns that women should be respected.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 17:27
Wonderful, that's incredible. I know that like what you just said, when you put yourself that you put yourself first. I think you just say he yanked out the chair out of my listener right now who we have this mindset of thinking, Oh, no, no, no. Our children come first. Our family comes first. Everything comes first. You know, my job comes first. But you are so right. If you don't have a full cup. You cannot fill other people's cups and I so appreciate that, you know, we always come back to that analogy of you know, when you're on the airplane and they tell the adult to put your air mask on first, and then help somebody else, your child or the person beside you.
Erica Ehm: 18:10
I'm going to tell you a little story. There was a woman, a friend of a friend who chose to stay home with her kids, which I think is totally great. I don't think that you need to be a working mom outside the home. I don't think that that makes you any more powerful than someone who chooses to stay home and raise their kids. If, if that's what turns your crank. Okay, if you want to stay home with your kids, that's feminism because that's your choice. If you want to be out and working or working from home, that's also fine. You have to make it work obviously within your family, etc. So this woman chose to stay home for her daughter. She was I believe she was an airline stewardess at the time, so she worked flying around the world, but she gave it up to stay home with her daughter. When her daughter had grown, she turned to her mom and she said, You were never there for me. Hmm.
Erica Ehm: 19:10
Now, can you imagine this woman who gave up her career because she thought it was the right thing to do. But clearly what it tells me is, she wasn't actually in there with her daughter. I, to me, it sounds like she resented her decision to stay home, that she missed her life traveling around the world, and her daughter was the cause of that. Mm hmm. And her daughter felt it. Wow. So, to me the lesson in that is you need to be true to what your needs are. And not that this woman should have been, you know, a full time you know, working in the airline business and never home. That's not what I'm saying. But she gave it all up for her daughter. But I believe that there was a hole that wasn't filled that her daughter can sense. So I think we all need to find that situation that will be okay for the family, but also good for you so that you are filled up. When I started Yummy Mummy Club, I got a lot of pushback on the name, because people thought that that was really very, not very feminist, right that it was all about the way you look. But for me, it was re-appropriating that term of Yummy Mummy word isn't about your looks. It's about women who are filled up on the inside. That's yummy, if you will. That is important. It's not how you look, but it's how you feel in what you do. And that to me is the most important thing for anybody who is listening. Are you filled up? Because if you're not filled up then what kind of message are you giving to your kids?
Elaine Tan Comeau: 21:12
I so appreciate what you're saying. I am going to go back to what you even said about your book club. And that you the lesson that you taught each of your children there your son to respect women. And I love that you said you know Mommy needs a playdate, too. This is my playdate. And we can do this too. And you're validating him and his attention that he needs from you. But you're validating that you are a person and that you have needs and wants and that it's okay. And that is that must have screamed so loudly to your daughter to know that. Wow, okay, mommy can make her choices for herself and not just here to serve us. As the mommy, but she is a woman a human. And she, she has her needs and wants and she is fulfilling them. What an incredible lesson to your children.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 22:12
And I want to ask when you were 16 and you went out and created your first little protest and your first go getter for that job. What would you tell your 16 year old daughter today and my 17 year old daughter, the mom and woman who's listening right now, for her daughter, no matter what age her daughter is, what would you say to that 16 year old girl who is looking at her future and thinking what on earth am I supposed to do with my life? In my career? What is that about? And how is that different from when you're 16 to today?
Erica Ehm: 23:01
Well, I think what I would tell a 16 year old is the same thing that I would tell every one of your listeners your age. Follow your heart. Do what you love. Follow your heart. Do what you love. Be brave. Follow your heart. Don't let things get in the way. Push through obstacles, ask for what you want. have set reasonable goals and achieve them. And then well you just moved from A to B, now move from B to C. And just keep on slowly, slowly pushing the goal line a little bit further. I'm guessing you did that with Easy Daysies. You didn't just you know invest a kazillion dollars into your business and grow it. No you had this little idea. You built it. You tested it. You asked for help you learned a little bit you went oh, and you very slowly built what your heart was telling you was needed. And for our teens, I think the most important thing is to instill in them a sense of curiosity and tenaciousness to just ignore everybody, and just listen to what you need to do and what you want to do. Because if you do what you love, then it doesn't feel like work. And you will be way more aggressive in the pursuit of it. But, for example, in high school, you have to take all these courses, because you're getting a smattering of everything to find what you love. And you can see by your kids' marks, I don't like marks but you can see the some of the things that your kids are more interested are drawn too often their marks will be higher, not because they're better at it, but because they tend to spend a little more time and they will dig into those things a bit more. Those are the things you need to pay attention to. What makes me feel lit up when I do something? Those are your clues. Listen to the cues in your body. Your body tells you what you love to do. Just do it.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 25:20
I love that and it's not just for our kids, right? Is it, the woman who's listening right now. Do what you love. If you if you're not loving what you do right now. Be brave, step away, step out of it, find a way to bow out gracefully and and say thank you, but no thank you and that is not just mom guilt. That's like woman guilt.
Erica Ehm: 25:42
Oh yeah this has nothing to do motherhood, that's just all of us. I think what makes us feel happy, is a sense of purpose.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 25:53
Erica Ehm: 25:54
If you do what you love, then you have purpose. If you do something are not fulfilled, then you will be unhappy because you will not be fulfilled because you have no purpose. That's sort of a basic tenet of psychology. Psychologists talk about this sense of purpose. And it struck me a few years ago, I was really not happy. And my friend who's a psychologist said, You've lost your sense of purpose. And I was like, Ah, you're right. Wow. And then, when I found another project I wanted to work in and I felt all lit up. I was like, oh, wow, I have purpose again. Wow. So I think that's a really important thing for people to understand about how we all work and what we inherently need. I don't know what you need, except you need purpose. Only you know what you need.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 26:49
That is amazing. And you were when you're talking about purpose you're reminded me of a Japanese term and it's Ikigai, and there was a study on this one small island in Japan. Because these people have the longest life span on the planet, and there are more people in the population of over 100 years old still today in this tiny little island in Japan, and why? It's because they have something called Ikigai. And what is Ikigai? It is waking up knowing you have a sense of purpose. And it's not saying that you know, you have to work for 100 years, but they wake up like they did a study that people who have an Ikigai are more likely to live longer, be married or have a job, have education, all because they know that they wake up with a sense of purpose and their term is Ikigai, and that is that light, that spark that just puts that smile in your heart. Even though like your life is crumbling around you. It's okay because it's not about the circumstance around you. It is about what is inside you that keeps driving you forward.
Erica Ehm: 28:04
What concerns me as someone who's listening to this and feeling sad because they feel like I don't have purpose. And my, my words to you are, that's okay, because we're those, those of us who find our purpose sometimes lose our purpose. It's a roller coaster. Yeah. And we're all in different stages of our life. But the advice, the practical advice that I would give to anybody is pay attention to how you feel during your day. And when are you feeling happy? Hmm. When do you feel really unhappy? Those are cues that again, only you can, can sense. But you have to be aware that your body and your brain and your heart and your intuition is talking to you all the time and you have to listen, and you'll start to figure out Whoa, every time I cook I'm so happy. Or in my case, whoa, every time I cook, I hate it. [laughter] But that's okay. Because that says to me, I just it doesn't work. It's not something that lights me up. But my friends will spend hours in the kitchen preparing a meal. Tto me, that's insane. Why would you waste two hours? That I'm just going to gobble down your food in 15 minutes, but it's a seat for every toilet as my husband said, there's nothing, there's no wrong answer to what makes you happy. But your goal when your job and your homework is to find out what is it that lights me up, and then start doing it more. And you can do it as a hobby. You don't have to be doing it as work. And then maybe because you become so self aware, you will find work in the field or in the things that light you up.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 30:01
I so appreciate that in this COVID-19 isolation time. And you're listening to us right now. And I really appreciate it Erica, how you you touched on that that? Yes. There is someone who's listening who's like, well, I don't know what my purpose is. I'm feeling sad right now. Because look at all these other people who are just go getters. But you're right, let's go through that day and listen to yourself on those moments that do make you happy. Please do listen to yourself. And because that joy will come from inside because it's not going to come from the outside of yourself because then it's circumstantial happiness. So what is it that drives that inner happiness and just listen because it's there, it absolutely is there and it's so different from for everyone.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 31:01
And you know, when I was a school teacher, I knew that one in four kids come into my classroom with anxiety issues. One in six with depression, and this is children and the numbers are higher for adults. And it is a reality. Mental health is, is actually I appreciate how people are just embracing that mental health issues is everywhere. We all have them, we all have them. And it's not something to look down on. It's actually something you embrace and say, Okay, I need to be healthy. And health is not just physical in the sense of you have a broken leg or you have a cold, but it's your mental health. And I know that you Erica have been a champion for for mental health issues as well. And do you have like, just one big tip for us to embrace on mental health?
Erica Ehm: 32:04
I guess the most important thing would be no shame. It's, my daughter has mental health issues right now. And she's in intensive therapy right now, which my husband and I are part of. She's in, it's called comprehensive DBT therapy. And it's comprehensive because it's weekly, one on one, plus, she's in group therapy once a week plus, the parents have to go to group therapy every second week with other parents. So we learned DBT skills. That comprehensive program is what anyone who is struggling with mental health has to consider, which is you need to get help. But the people around you also need to get help so that you all are speaking the same language. And so the people around you understand what kinds of struggles you're dealing with and why and how they can participate in a positive way. So DBT therapy is amazing, comprehensive DBT therapy is amazing because of that. So that's what I would encourage. It's just like, when you have mental health issues, you need to go to the doctor, and you need to be able to work on what is the problem. There's, it's just, like, I think that what we know, there's been so much stigma about mental health. And one of the big ones for me is people just not believing it. That you're faking something or that you can just, you know, suck it up. But that's not helpful. If you break your leg, you don't just suck it up and walk on a broken leg until it heals crookedly. And you could never run again. You go to the doctor, you go to a professional, and he sets your leg and he gives you exercises strengthen it. That's that's what health is.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 34:03
Erica, I want to ask you, because I've come across a study actually my daughter also shared the same study that the average teenager today has an anxiety level of someone who used to be committed back in the 1950s. And we don't recognize it, because with all our technology, everything is instantaneous. I can't imagine the pressures our children face today. And, and I know our time is short, and I just could talk to you forever. And these aren't even the questions I wanted to ask you. But I have friends who have children that are teens, and there are red flags that parents might not notice but as an outsider, because maybe my daughter has shared with me and I see these gorgeous, beautiful kids. What is an indicator to parents that they should notice and be aware of? In their teen, that may say, Hey, this is a cry for help, but I haven't noticed it. Is there something?
Erica Ehm: 35:08
Well, there's a lot. I think, you know, it's hard because every kid will scream for help in a different way. Sometimes they get really quiet, sometimes they get really angry. Sometimes they get really high. Mm hmm. And one of the things that a therapist told me is that kids shut down when they have secrets, painful secrets. And I think the most important thing is to validate your kids and to talk to them. You don't even have to look them in the eye. driving in a car is a great way or taking a walk like somewhere where they don't feel trapped. And just ask questions and to listen. You don't even have to give advice you can't fix, you can only listen. And I think that was is a big thing that I've come to understand is validation. When a kid says something, you go, oh, and then you mirror it back. Mm hmm. So you're feeling really scared right now? Must be really hard. Mirroring, validating. And then they'll probably respond with Yes. And then they'll continue talking. And you just listen. And you say, wow, that must have been really scary. Or that must have really hurt your feelings or, and you just keep on having that conversation. No advice. You can't give advice. You can't give your opinion. You could just say I'm here to listen. And I'm here to help. If you need my help you tell me how I can help.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 36:57
Erica Ehm: 36:59
The most important thing is for your kids to feel safe to tell you some really crappy things.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 37:07
Wow. I'm going to echo what you just said. Because that is an incredible parenting lesson right here, too, for the purpose of helping to feel loved and safe, is to listen. And, and like you know, a lot of people say you can't hear me You're not listening. But that's when you're saying don't just listen validate them by mirroring, you said, what they just said to like, so they know that you're hearing them. And the hardest one that you said that we all fall into is, don't give your opinion or your advice or how to solve it. But validate and then offer and say, let me know how I can help you. I'm absolutely here for you. Let me know how I can help. Instead of saying well do this do that don't go there and you know, they're not gonna open up, they're not going to talk to you anymore because you're just going to tell them what to do or who not to see. But to validate their hurt.
Erica Ehm: 38:08
And ask them how they plan to deal with it. What's your plan? How do you want to deal with that? That's hard.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 38:16
Wow. Like that is a huge advice right there.
Erica Ehm: 38:22
Well, teenagers are on their way. They're stuck, right? They're kids, yes. On their way to being adults. So they don't have the skills or the answers, but they desperately want to be independent. That's hard. that's confusing. When you kind of look like an adult in some ways, and you're sometimes allowed to do grown up things, but not always, you know, it's, you're sort of in this in between land so I would proceed and give them as much respect and space to be themselves.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 38:58
Respect and space. And that's funny because I've been on a lot of different webinars speaking as the keynote sharing about how to survive during this COVID time helping our children learn from home and how do we work from home, especially when you're all in the same space. And I know that right now you are at your cottage, and I love that you shared with me that this is your own space right now. And, I so admire you as another as a mom from afar as a woman entrepreneur. I respect how you have just, you're trail blazer, and I want to say thank you for that, Erica. Even how you started the Yummy Mommy Club. It was because you admitted I don't know everything. I need help. And if you if you're listening and you haven't checked out, it's ymmc.ca and I'll have all this in my show notes as well. It is an incredible platform because Erica, you have articles about everything. Like anything like cars, you talk about cars, you talk about...
Erica Ehm: 40:13
It's all written by women. So the car articles are written by Emily Chung, who has her own mechanic shop. She's a mom of two. And so she writes from a perspective understanding, women often don't know much about cars. So she demystifies things in a really easy way and gives us useful information that we can act on.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 40:35
That is incredible. I'm gonna go there right after this. But I want to end on some rapid fire questions. Okay, so Erica, you have not heard my questions. I'm just gonna throw them at you. I'm gonna throw 10 questions at you, first thing that comes into your head. Some are deeper. Like the first one is a big one because you are the master of personal branding. What is your one top tip on how to personal brand?
Erica Ehm: 41:01
Be authentic, never lie. Be yourself. So you're consistent. I am the same that I was on MuchMusic as I am here today, same values same voice, same style. And I think that's the most important thing is just be who you are. Be true to yourself.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 41:19
Thank you. When you were a video jockey a VJ. What was one of your most favorite interviews that you did?
Erica Ehm: 41:28
Probably Sting. He said I was hot.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 41:32
I'm gonna put it out there that she also interviewed Duran Duran, I think like multiple times, not just once. Just putting it out there. Third question. Your favorite book?
Erica Ehm: 41:44
Oh, I think a Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 41:51
Okay, number four. So we're gonna remember that one. Number four favorite age in your life.
Erica Ehm: 42:02
I would say probably, my early 30s when I was really getting good on MuchMusic and I had a songwriting career and a voiceover career and hat company and great friends and I was traveling around. I had no kids. So I was completely selfish. And creating, just creating and creating. And I think that, well, I'm going to lie because then I think my, actually, it's a lie. Because really my favorite time was right after launching YMC. I would say about two years into YMC. My kids were about three and five. And I had built this incredible community of like minded women and we were doing incredible things from our kitchens. That to me, was incredible.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 42:52
Awesome. Next question, number five, I think. Next question is favorite time of day.
Erica Ehm: 43:00
Hmm, I don't know. I mean, I'm, my life is a roller coaster so I never know, not a morning person. Not a night-night person. I'm a day person.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 43:17
Coffee or tea.
Erica Ehm: 43:18
Elaine Tan Comeau: 43:19
Nice. I'm toasting right now then. And next question is, favorite inspirational quote.
Erica Ehm: 43:30
From my mother, "Don't be afraid to ask".
Elaine Tan Comeau: 43:33
Beautiful, love it. I'm going to end on this last question then. This last question then is who was a mentor in your life and why?
Erica Ehm: 43:45
Well, there was obviously my mom. More recently, there was a woman who I hired in for YMC in 19, sorry, in 2007 when she had entered a contest, and I thought she was really funny, and she wrote really well, and so I stalked her online. And I asked her to come and be my assistant. And she was like, Who are you? And why are you bothering me? I'm just a mom. And I said, but there's something about you. And I talked her into helping me with my company from home. Her name is Sharon DeVellis. And Sharon has been working with me now for about 12 years. She has quit about five times. Once she quit for three years. And she started working for me again about three months ago. And Sharon is really, she is just the coolest, most authentic person with the best moral code. And I have learned so much from her. And she's my secret weapon in life.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 44:56
Wow. Wow. That's my hope and wish that everybody has a secret weapon in life. And and you will find it if you don't have it because we are stronger together than doing it alone. And that's why I'm so grateful to Erica for creating platforms like Yummy Mummy Club. And, and just being so authentic. And I adore you, Erica, and I'm so honored that you are on my podcast and thank you with all my heart. And I just want if anybody wants to come find you, where is the best place to find you?
Erica Ehm: 45:35
Well, I'm all over social media. If you want to talk business, that would be at LinkedIn, I'm Erica Ehm. If you want to watch my life, which is not all that interesting, you go to Instagram, that's Erica Ehm. If you want to chat with me on Twitter, that'd be great. I really love Twitter. It's Erica Ehm. I have a Facebook page, Erica Ehm, I don't use it very much. I don't know like, just reach out or you can find my website. It's EricaEhm.com if you want to learn more about me and my agency, Ehm & Co, I'm always looking for interesting artistic collaborations. So you never know.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 46:16
Love it. Love it. I will have all of that in our show notes. And Erica, you are just amazing and inspiring. And I adore you super lady, and you're just so awesome. I just want to say thank you. And thank you very much for listening today and joining us and we are stronger together. I hope you grab so many tips and strategies. And for me, it is a huge reminder. The lesson with the pizza, and if you want something, ask for it. Just do it today. I challenge you as the listener as our listener. Do it, just go for it.
Erica Ehm: 46:58
And not take it personally If someone says no, suck it up, put on your bold face and ask someone else.
Elaine Tan Comeau: 47:07
Yes. And learn from it. Like, great. Thank you for letting me know that this does not work for you. I would just love to learn why. And like Erica said, don't take it personally, ladies. And that's the difference with I think sometimes men and women. Men don't take it personally. They just move on and they keep climbing. And we sometimes put it as a big heavy boulder in our sack that slows us down. And so drop that stinking boulder. Keep moving. And thank you so much for listening and joining us today and thank you Erica.
Erica Ehm: 47:42
Elaine Tan Comeau: 47:44
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