Club House is a new podcast that celebrates female role models in diverse places and positions across the country. In each episode, one woman tells the story of how she built her amazing life. We often call people “amazing” because their work has drawn headlines or because they boast C-suite titles at renown corporations, but Club House guests are amazing for other reasons—all unique—with one consistent thread: they’ve created lives that fulfill their personal, individual goals. And in the Club House, they speak candidly about how they made that happen.
Storytelling is something I’ve enjoyed for a long time—I studied theater in college, and my post-college work focused on crafting compelling stories to pitch to journalists. But my interest in telling the kind of stories we hear on the podcast emerged during my time at Yale SOM, in two ways. First, the election happened just as I was settling in here in 2016. In a flash, I became aware that living exclusively in the Northeast had turned me into someone who was disconnected from people in many parts of the country. I wanted to change that; I wanted to have more opportunities to get to know people in other places. Second, I noticed a pattern emerge at many of the panels and talks I went to here: speakers painted their lives and careers as lineages of impressive achievement after impressive achievement. Talk of the process of building toward those achievements was rare; talk of mistakes or stumbles rarer still. Without that, I struggled to connect, and often left hungry for role models who would speak as openly about moments that required resilience as moments that inspired accolades.
With those two interests in mind, I created Club House.
The show launched in March with stories from Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Louisiana, and from women like Rachel. Rachel moved to New Orleans to do Teach for America, thinking education was a pit stop on her way to pursuing a “more prestigious” career (her words) like law. In her first year teaching, one of her students was murdered. Dealing with the aftermath of that tragedy showed her the vital role she could play in education. Her law school plan disappeared, just like that. Now, 10 years later, she’s one of the most beloved educators in the city and speaks about her life and work with a contagious spunk. Rachel exemplifies the care, attention, and intention all of the Club House guests have put into building lives that fulfill them.
Most recently I interviewed beloved SOM Professor Amy Wrzesniewski for the show. Her willingness to participate is one example of the support I’ve been so fortunate to receive from our warm community. Professor Wrzesniewski has taught many of us about building meaningful careers. It was an honor to get to hear speak, generously and openly, about how she built her own. I’m looking forward to sharing her story on the podcast this summer.
At the conclusion of each interview, I ask the guest, “What does success mean to you?” Though these women come from disparate places and backgrounds, their answers have been remarkably aligned around one word: balance. It’s an answer that refreshes and inspires me, and of all the life advice I’ve gathered at Yale SOM, it’s the thing I most hope to keep with me after I graduate this month.
The first four episodes of Club House are live now on iTunes and wherever you get your podcasts (and at my website, arielhudes.com). Four more episodes—with stories from Michigan, Minnesota, and right here in New Haven—are coming this July. You can also follow the show on Instagram: @arielhudes.