Attuned Leadership for Women Podcast

Episode 020

Reclaiming an Economy that Works for Women


When you think of pop culture icons like Taylor Swift, Oprah, and Beyonce, you may not first think of their influence on the economy. You most likely think of the powerful ways they’ve reinvented themselves to shift into more fulfilling and successful careers. Taylor Swift, for example, was once a country music singer and is now a Pop icon and Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. 

In this episode of Attuned Leadership for Women, Dr. Crystal Frazee is joined by Misty Heggeness, gender economics expert and author of the forthcoming book Swiftynomics, to discuss the practical applications of women reclaiming an economy that works for them. It’s packed not just with theoretical ideas that will inspire you, but with simple actions to break gender stereotypes at work and embrace more authenticity to thrive in your own life. Tune in to hear Misty name the specific barriers women, like you, face and hear her examples of how she’s used the power of reinvention for more success in her life.

A picture of me with text surrounding describing episode 006 and the importance of authentic personal branding to help women stand out in a male-dominant world.

About Misty Heggeness:

Misty L. Heggeness is an expert on gender economics and the author of the forthcoming book SWIFTYNOMICS – a feminist correction to our understanding of women’s economic power, dismantling the misogyny baked into the discipline (and often into the data itself) to imagine a more just future for all. She’s an associate professor of public affairs and economics at the University of Kansas, formerly a principal economist and senior advisor at the U.S. Census Bureau. She has appeared in outlets like The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, The Economist, and Science.

Quotes from the Episode 

“The economy was not designed for us. It was set up decades ago when literally men went to work and women stayed home.

Misty Heggeness

It’s not that women need to start doing more to catch up to men. It’s that men need to start doing less in the workplace and more in the home.

Misty Heggeness

“Being aware of how the system was built takes the burden from me and puts it on something else (culture) and highlights the adaptability and flexibility that women have to build, and that when they apply that to their career path can help them advance.

Dr. Crystal Frazee


[00:02:23] Women’s influence on the economy.

[00:04:30] Society’s economic bias against women.

[00:08:11] The Perfection Paradox.

[00:12:00] Lack of infrastructure and prioritization.

[00:14:43] Burnout rates and systemic problems.

[00:21:25] Challenging self-perception and authenticity.

[00:23:03] Finding Meaning and Happiness.

[00:27:06] Breaking down resistance.

[00:33:47] Economy of care statistics.

[00:37:55] The power of reinvention.

[00:43:11] Eliminating shame and gender bias.

[00:49:12] Reclaiming an economy that works for us.

Mentioned In This Episode:

      • Swiftynomics, Misty’s forthcoming book. Learn more here.
      • Cultivate Your Leadership Identity (A podcast series by Dr. Crystal Frazee that helps you understand how more authenticity leads to more influence and success): Part One, Part Two
      • Learn more about the Attuned Leadership Audits for emerging and established leaders
      • Kelly Diels, Feminist Marketing, mentioned in the show giving an example of how power is used to exploit women’s resources with the example of how women compensate in the school systems through the PTA. 

Connect with Misty on Social Media
 Misty’s Instagram
 Misty’s LinkedIn
 Misty’s Twitter
 Misty’s Website

Connect with Crystal on Social Media
 Crystal’s Instagram
 Crystal’s LinkedIn
 Crystal’s TikTok
 Crystal’s Website

FREE Leadership Resources from Crystal:

Get updates about Crystal’s upcoming book! REVIVE: The Working Woman’s Unexpected Guide to Recovering from Burnout

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Prefer to Read? Here’s the transcript!

*Just a heads up – the provided transcript is likely to not be 100% accurate.


Dr. Crystal Frazee: We are living in such an incredible time. It’s so empowering and it’s so exciting. And I think that if we don’t take the time to reflect on what’s happening in our current pop culture and beyond and try to take insights from that, that we’re missing out on a huge opportunity, which is a part of why Misty is here today. When you think about the success of the Barbie movie, the phenomenal impact Taylor Swift and other artists like Beyonce are having on our economy and on women’s buying power, it’s just incredible. And women are reclaiming their space in the economy. Misty is here to share her knowledge on what this means about the stereotypes about how women influence our economy and what ways that we may be thinking that we should be ready to move beyond.


Dr. Crystal Frazee: Where do established and aspiring women leaders go to get answers to their biggest challenges, like how to deal with double standards, break free from hustle and burnout, drive change without being bossy, and how to raise visibility by doing less, not more? I’m Dr. Crystal Frazee, your host and a women’s health and leadership expert and author. I’ve spent the past 15 years developing the answers to those questions. I believe that your body has all the wisdom you need and that without much effort, you can leverage it for things like faster, better decision-making, creating a magnetic presence for influence, and even navigating perimenopause so your performance goes up instead of down. In this show, I will teach you what traditional leadership approaches overlook, how to leverage your body wisdom to break free from time and energy traps, shatter barriers, dissolve the good woman programming that stops you from living on your terms, Level the playing field at home and work and be the most powerful leader you can be. Get ready to rewrite the rules of success and satisfaction using the practical strategies of attuned leadership for women.

Main Content: 

Dr. Crystal Frazee: Welcome, Misty. I am so pumped to have you here and to have this conversation.

Misty Heggeness: Thank you. I’m so excited to be here.

Dr. Crystal Frazee: Awesome. So, you know, a big piece of attuned leadership and what we do on the podcast is just try to bring to the surface some of the invisible challenges that women experience because until we can name something, until there’s that awareness, we can’t really change it. It’s hard to know what tools we need to acquire when we don’t know the name of the problem. That’s why I reached out to Misty Heggeness to come on. Now, I don’t normally do bios on the show, but I want to tell you a little bit about today’s guest to really set the stage. Misty is an associate professor of public affairs and economics at the University of Kansas. She’s formerly a principal economist and senior advisor at the U.S. Census Bureau. And that leads to her research focus on poverty and inequality and gender economics. She’s doing some really, really cool work to track the unpaid caregiving and labor, often fulfilled by women, that she’ll say more about on the show. And she’s appeared in outlets like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, The Economist, and Science. So she really knows her stuff. And Misty, I’ve heard you say something so freeing and calming about the economy. It was just eye-opening. And that’s that the economy was not designed for us. It was set up decades ago when literally men went to work and women stayed home. And families could survive at that time on single incomes. Our current economy is based on a model that was designed to track men’s contributions. Essentially, it was built to exclude women. And when I heard you say that, I was like, wow. It just shifts everything and feels like, oh, I see where the fault is. And it’s not on me. It’s on culture. Let’s start with having you jump in now and share your perspective, Misty, on how we got here. Elaborate on this for us.

Misty Heggeness: Yes, I’d love to. You know, so I would say I’m mid-career. I’m an economist by training. I worked for 12 years in the federal government and I’ve spent a lot of time around economic statistics and around economists in a space that tends to be very kind of male-dominated. And I would say recently in my research, what I’ve been focused on is trying to understand the barriers that hold women back from success in life just generally. And one of the components of that that’s just become blatantly clear to me through this research and study is just this fact that we live really in a society that was made for and built by men. We live in an economy that was made for and built by men. And so when we look at our economic indicators, when we look at the way that we measure how we’re doing as a society, it is all very much focused on how men interact with the society outside of their home. And that has been very frustrating for me, but I’ve kind of finally gotten to a space where I am no longer frustrated by this because I think we just need to reclaim and reown. So, you know, one kind of obvious fact of that is when you think about the way women show up in their life, you know, so for me, I get up in the morning, I’m usually juggling, getting my kids to school, getting them breakfast, transporting them to their school. I do all of these activities before I even get to the office. And those are all very economic in nature. We just don’t measure them. And so, you know, there are statistics out there. If you compare the amount of economic activity that women who work in the formal economy full-time year round, if you compare them to men, women in essence have like one to two hours less of leisure time every single day because they’re doing all of this other work for their families, that’s just really not getting recognized. And so I think we as a society need to get better about kind of identifying what that work is, acknowledging it, and trying to incorporate it into the way that we see the world. And I think we need to really push back on these kind of traditional standards of how we’re viewed, of how people see us. I actually have COO on my CV, you know, Chief Operating Officer for the Hagenes-Bascognan household. And the motto that I have on that, on my CV in that space is, you know, raising semi well-rounded children since 2008, which was the year that my oldest was born. You know, I want to live in a world where I’m not continually frustrated because the work that I am doing on a comprehensive level isn’t getting recognized. And I think we need to stop feeling shame and stop feeling frustrated when we’re not able to present ourselves in the same way at work compared to our counterparts, because we have a lot of competitive advantage, but we also have a lot of activities that we do that are not recognized that slow us down. And it’s not our fault, which is why I think we need to kind of shift the shame or shift the blame onto a different space instead of continually feeling like we’re failing or continually feeling like we are not able to thrive and succeed in a society that really wasn’t built for us.

Dr. Crystal Frazee: Oh my gosh, so many things in what you just said that little bells are going off for me. And I mean, I can say after working with women exclusively as a coaching consultant that there is not a single client that has not faced the difficulty of everything that you just described, and that has not also internalized that as a personal problem. And it is not enough at the individual level for women, professional women, to unpack this with a coach, with a therapist, with whatever tools, with your journal, with a relevant up-to-date book. it really needs to happen at a larger cultural level, which we’re gonna hop into that, I know we are. But also, you mentioned the one to two less hours of leisure time due to the work, and that’s the mental load, all of the invisible load. And I love that there’s studies coming out representing that, and it’ll be amazing to see how that changes things in the future. But I mean, just to take a second and name what this thing is that we’ve received intergenerationally the legacy is the perfection paradox, and it’s that women do all of the things and carry all of the roles without complaining and with a smile and. And that culturally is something that we need to change. And I’m realizing and talking to you that there is this symbiosis, and you probably know a better mathematical term for the rate of change of women unlearning the psychology of what I call the perfection paradox. is probably paired with women’s impact on the economy and financial freedom. That as if we could speed up the one, the other one would be paired.

Misty Heggeness: Yeah. I mean, I agree with that. And just, you know, going back to this whole idea that women have one or two less hours of leisure time a day, I just want to really solidify that concept because If you think, oh, well, women have one less hour of leisure time a day, OK, that’s just like making dinner. That’s an hour making dinner. What’s the big deal there? But if you add that up over an entire year, that is one extra month of economic activity of labor that women are doing relative to men. And if you look at the economic statistics out there, you’re going to think that women work less than men. And that’s so far from the truth. kind of start from a base economy that is focused on women, then you see the real value that women are bringing to the table. And it’s really frustrating that it just gets ignored and goes unnoticed. And I agree with you that there is research now in this space that is helping us to kind of recognize and value all of the diverse contributions you know, that women give in society. And I’ll just, you know, and this is the one thing where I do think we need to focus more on recognizing our own value and not being apologetic about it. And so the other piece that I’ll say here too, related to what you’re saying about women, you know, we live in this historical construct and we’ve been trained to be really good problem solvers. And so we do, we internalize and we problem solve. If you want something to happen, go find a mother like that, I think is the motto.

Dr. Crystal Frazee: And that’s literally what I tell my children. If you’re in a crowd and you get lost, find a mom. Find a mom.

Misty Heggeness: Yep. Yes. And the problem with that, you saw it in the pandemic, right? So the federal government, you know, they build out the airline industry. They they made special exceptions to keep liquor stores open. Um, but they couldn’t figure out how to solve the school problem for parents, for working parents, you know, that when everyone, all the kids were inside their houses. And so what happened, we recognized in the spring and summer of 2020 that nobody was coming to save us. And so we solved our own problem by creating all these grassroots educational pods. Right. You know, I had friends who were like, in my garage, we’ve got six kids and the moms are rotating or the moms and dads are rotating. And so we need to stop doing that. Like, I think it’s awesome that we have that like superpower, but we need to use that superpower. What I kept on saying during the pandemic was I would have loved to see all that energy just really focused on policymakers. and kind of lobbying policymakers to prioritize us. This is part of the problem is that we don’t get prioritized. And we’ve been trained to think that we don’t deserve to be prioritized in some sense. And then it creates this environment that we’re living in that isn’t conducive to the way that we live our lives. And it’s like a daily frustration. And there’s like these daily microaggressions or whatever they’re called that we experience and then somehow think it’s like our fault that they’re happening or, you know, whatever that might be. And I think it’s just really time that we focus on the bigger picture. We focus on creating the economy and the environment that we ourselves as professional women, we ourselves as mothers want to see. I tell everybody that I’m an academic professor. So big caveat there, but everybody on my staff, everybody who works with me knows you can’t reach me between, you know, seven 30 and nine in the morning and between two and three 30 in the afternoon, because I live in a state or in a County or in a school district that doesn’t have robust transportation for children in their schools that works, that functions. So I have to be the driver. I was so irritated by this last year that I actually calculated how much the state that I live in owes me in being an Uber driver. So I mean, these type of things, we need to really start putting the lack of infrastructure for us to be able to succeed in our careers, for us to be able to thrive. We need to start putting the blame where it belongs.

Dr. Crystal Frazee: And if we go kind of back just to kind of hit on some of the points that you’ve mentioned. the burnout rates are higher among women pre-pandemic and through the pandemic now, and taking the struggle and flipping it on its head and realizing that the pressure we feel to solve these problems, they’re not our problems. One of my mentors, Kelly Deals, uses the PTA as an example for this and says, you know, all the moms rally, they do the fundraising, and they solve the problem that’s actually not theirs. It’s a governmental problem. It’s a systemic problem that it’s not funded because it’s not valued because women keep filling the void. And so she opts out of PTA, and so do I. I realize I give in other ways. And it’s all of the ways if we think of how our time and energy is being utilized in problems that could be better solved in other bigger ways. And so I guess maybe two lenses to look at for the conversation is what’s personal, like what’s the personal activities that we’re doing that are taking our time and energy away from either working and generating income or actually recovering because, you know, burnout contributes to women’s cancer rates and heart disease and anxiety and depression are four times higher for women. So, you know, looking at it as a personal, like as the listener right now, what are you doing that you can stop? that you can say no to. And then also, you know, Misty has this amazing ability to break down and simplify the big perspectives of capitalism and the economy and how it has not been set up for you to thrive. You know, you’re saying, use the superpower differently. And that really, oh, that lit me up and struck a nerve because I realized recently with travel and hosting a party and my husband’s been sick and managing it all, that I don’t have an end. I don’t have a like, oh, well, this is too much. Right. The constant dialogue inside is I can keep going. I can keep pushing. I have more to give. Right. And we know that’s not true. I’ve been in burnout before. And that’s a problem. That’s a real problem. And so I’m wondering when you say use this superpower differently, how would you name that? Like, what would you like to see?

Misty Heggeness: So I think it’s being really authentic with yourself to start. First of all, we need to stop comparing ourselves to everybody else. You know, one thing that’s been really kind of core for me the past year or two is just focusing on however cheesy this sounds, but like, what brings me joy? If we can all get better at like incorporating, noticing the feelings that we’re having when we hear something or when we say something, I think it becomes easier to follow the path of authenticity. So the first thing is we need to stop comparing ourselves to everybody else. You know, my colleague at work, does this. And so I should be able to do that. Like that’s not that’s a that’s a recipe for failure. It’s toxic. Yes. And so it’s really starting at like, what, how do I want to live my best life? Right? And so what are my priorities? And then, you know, if the answer is, I don’t know what my priorities are, let’s name like four or five different activities, which of those sparked the most excitement in you? Which of those felt like, ooh, this is something that’s very interesting? And once we’ve listed or discussed what are the things that are my priorities right now in life, then looking at what is my reality, right? Because your reality doesn’t always, in fact, rarely ever matches up with your ideal expectations for life. That’s just being human. But there are ways in which we can prioritize the things that we enjoy and that give us joy and that we think are important and put less priority on the other things. So for example, I’m a leader. I love to lead. I love to innovate. I love to start new projects. I love to not be in routine. I was in the federal government, one of the ways of being a leader oftentimes was moving up the ranks, right, into a manager position, you know, branch chief, and then, you know, management position, whatever. And I really, really did not enjoy the administrative management aspects of being an on-paper administrative technical manager. But that was a path in order for me to have more control to start new projects and to do things that I really thought were fun and that I really, that I could be really authentic with. And so, you know, I jumped into this, you know, a manager position, not because I was in love with the idea of being a manager. And so what that meant was you can be an administrative manager and that can take up your entire portfolio, 100% of your time dealing with staff, performance reviews, product, whatever. And I had to be really intentional and say, I care about my staff and I care about these new projects that I want to do. So I’m going to focus on interacting with my staff in a way that’s meaningful. I’m going to focus on really pushing the envelope and really pushing innovative ideas and trying to get buy-in from leadership above me. then there’s this whole bucket of administrative tasks I’m supposed to do as a manager. And I’m going to minimize to the max on those. I’m just going to do the bare minimum. I’m going to get the C average. You know, I’m going to do enough to get by. But, you know, I think that that’s the way there will always be probably too much on our plate, right? Especially if you are in a management or leadership position, or especially if you are somebody who is super gung-ho or has a family or whatever it might be, there’s always too much on our plate. So I think it’s important to really be intentional and not to feel bad at, you don’t have to do everything at an A plus level. And we shouldn’t feel bad about not being a superstar in all of the things that are on our plate.

Dr. Crystal Frazee: And that takes some real unpacking, real unpacking. And I think, I mean, based on the, my client experience, I would say for the listener to take on that challenge that Misty’s describing and take it on with things that feel less threatening. So maybe it’s how you fold the laundry and put it away until you’re ready for that to be other areas of your life because that can create a lot of stress for people to challenge their self-perception in that way. But it is one of the top five ways to save your time and energy for sure. And I love that she mentioned to ask, what do I want for my best life? What are my priorities? What sparked excitement? And comparing that to what your reality is. And I have to ask you, that really sounds to me like the psychology of what capitalism is set to disrupt. It’s like capitalism in my mind, is meant to make us disengage with our authenticity. So we’re sort of sedated and seduced into this idea that we need more, more, more, or to be a different type of beautiful or to have different types of skills or, you know, to spend our time and energy and money on things that actually may not be authentically joyful at all, but help us, you know, fit that, that little picture we have in our heads. And You know, I’m wondering if you have anything you want to say about that.

Misty Heggeness: So I will say that, you know, just getting outside of the box of capitalism, but just thinking like an economist, right? Like the way that we kind of train our students and the way that we think about the world is everyone has limited resources. There’s a limited amount of goods out there. And what you really are trying to do at the end of the day in a very abstract way is kind of maximize your happiness, maximize your preferences, whatever they might be, given the limited amount of resources that you have. And so, you know, this idea that more is better is not a realistic expectation to live your life by. You know, there’s also trade-offs between quantity and quality, et cetera, et cetera. And so I think it’s just, it’s about finding that meaning for yourself. So, I mean, another example that I’ll give, and the reason why I think we need to reframe, and again, this is like for myself, I have stopped feeling, you know, shame about all the ways that I can’t be five people into one. So I’ve clearly articulated with staff, like, do not expect to interact with me during these time periods of the day. I also probably I think like three years ago was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. And one of the kind of symptoms of that disease is it gives you like extreme exhaustion. And so I have lots of days where I need to take a nap in the middle of the day because of my disease. you know, it’s just my reality. And I can’t, there’s nothing like I could feel frustrated or shame of that. I could, you know, I work in a very male dominated culture. Economics is a very male dominated culture. And a lot of the men that I interact with have all of this privilege and that a lot of them have a spouse lots of times who stays home, does all the care, you know. And so there’s lots of ways in which I could consider myself at a disadvantage to my male counterparts because they can jump up out of bed, take a shower, grab their coffee and come into the office and sit in the office all day long and be super productive, go home and have dinner waiting for them. That’s not the lifestyle I have. That’s not my reality. And I spent a lot of my 20s and 30s being really bitter about about that and kind of very vocal about it because I just felt like society doesn’t see that. Society doesn’t see the ways in which it is so much harder for me compared to other people around me who have lots of, I call it caregiving privilege. And now, you know, I’m in my 40s now and I’m just like, eh, you know, this is my reality. And I think in order for society to really get into a better space, It’s not that women need to start doing more to catch up to men. It’s that in the workplace, it’s that men need to start doing less in the workplace and more in the home. So that if we’re ever going to figure this thing out outside of the constraints of our gender, that’s something that we need to do. But we’re all unequal in some way, shape, or form. We all have things that advantage us and disadvantage us in different ways. And we need to just stop comparing ourselves to each other. And we need to just live within the shoes that we are given and figure out how – I still do a ton of amazing research. I’m engaged in projects that I love so much. I have an awesome spouse and two amazing kids. My life is pretty awesome. I wouldn’t give it up for anyone else’s life, you know, that coupled with pushing society to recognize the ways in which I’m held back that aren’t because of me, but because of the way that society sees me are the two things that I feel are most effective for me to focus on.

Dr. Crystal Frazee: And it’s so helpful, I think, for women to hear other women’s stories of how they’re choosing to be authentic and what they’re letting go of and how they don’t have shame about that. And they’re just who they are. This is who I am. And like you said, knowing the value that they contribute and hearing those stories, I think is a huge piece about breaking down the resistance to more women doing that. When I think of the big moguls, whether we’re talking about Taylor Swift or Oprah or any of the other big influencers, I think that they have been through what you’re talking about. They have those boundaries. And they also have a tremendous amount of financial privilege and support, but it’s just so important to find not just celebrities that can demonstrate those boundaries, but real life stories from regular people like you and I that have confronted how maybe some of the values we’re holding weren’t in alignment and how releasing that has really allowed us to have more joy, more fulfillment, and probably more influence and success at work as well. redirecting our time in more influential ways.

Misty Heggeness: You know, one’s ability to lead and be a really effective leader is really connected to your authenticity. I mean, it’s really hard to be a good leader if you’re always looking for validation from others, if you’re always comparing yourself to the person next door. And second-guessing yourself. Yes. And I think that’s where this space becomes challenging because to live your most authentic self, you need to really trust yourself. And that’s a scary concept lots of times. Why should I trust what I think is the best thing for me to focus on? Or why should I trust what I happen to be passionate about? Instead of what my company is saying is the best way to make it to the C-suite or whatever that might be. Like it’s very scary to kind of put yourself out there and trust yourself.

Dr. Crystal Frazee: Right. It’s a vulnerable feeling, especially as a woman to kind of stick your neck out. Yeah. It’s so important. And when it comes to economics, from what I’m understanding, the way that we in a micro way can influence the economy is by creating those boundaries. Like you said, don’t call me during this time. Right. You’re allowing yourself to recover, to rest, to be connected to your child. You know, you’re diverting attention where you need it. And that can translate to larger changes. And I can totally see how, especially if the more privileged in the workforce somehow were able to make a change so that there was less of a gap.

Misty Heggeness: Yeah. I mean, it’s really hard when you think about, again, there’s this competition between what your preference is, what your true authentic self is, what brings you the most joy, and then the reality of the space that you’re living in. And so it can feel really threatening or really intimidating if you have a supervisor that you don’t think is supportive of you saying, hey, I can’t be disturbed, you know, like. Context is really important. Context is important. Yes. But also thinking short term and long term. Right. So short term, it might be this supervisor is not going to be supportive of this. But long term, it might be let me do everything I can. Let me use the best energy that I have to try to find a job that’s a better fit for me where, you know, where I’m recognized for my talent and I’m appreciated in a way that my employer understands, you know, the unique needs that I have or whatever that might be.

Dr. Crystal Frazee: And just as a side note for the listeners, this is very similar to Episode 17 and 18, which is a two-part series on leadership identity. So if you haven’t listened to that, it’s very relevant in how having a leadership identity relative to the context of where you work can help you be more authentic, and that can help you have more influence, can help you reach your professional goals. But You know, for our conversation, when you say reclaiming economic activity and work in a way that fully represents women’s work in some of the reading that I’ve had of, of Misty, if you’re not following her and of course I’ll link all of her social media channels. I’ve just almost every post on LinkedIn. I’m like, yes, you know. It’s so great. She’s so good at taking complicated numbers and things and making it really easy to understand. But tell us more about what you mean by that piece of reclaiming economic activity, if there’s something we haven’t already said.

Misty Heggeness: Well, so I will give you two very specific personal examples for myself of how I’ve focused on this. So Again, economist by training, I was in the federal government for 12 years working as a research economist in that space, which as I’ve already alluded to is very male dominated, but also has lots of space for diversity and innovation. And there are lots of female economists in the federal government as well. But when I took this job in academia, one of the reasons why I wanted to take it was because I felt like I was a little bit stifled in my ability to represent the kind of economy that I thought we should be talking about. So in my current position, I have two projects that I’m super excited about that I just am in love with. And again, it’s this idea of moving into doing work that’s more aligned with your authentic self. So the first project that I’m doing, and this is something that I had to go out and get, you know, fundraise for and get funding for, but the first project that I’m doing is It’s a dashboard of economic statistics on the care economy. And the idea here, so if you think about economic statistics, the official economic statistics that we use, you know, the monthly jobs reports, all that stuff, all of those type of statistics that we turn out regularly were developed basically in between like the 1930s and 1950s. And generally they were developed by older, whiter you know, crotchety-er men who were really interested. Maybe you want to cut that out, I don’t know.

Dr. Crystal Frazee: No, it’s totally allowed.

Misty Heggeness: Don’t worry. But, you know, people who were very, who saw the world in a particular way. And it’s a world that doesn’t, it doesn’t reflect the world that I experience. And so part of this, the purpose of this dashboard is to create economic statistics about this economy of care, which is essentially, spoiler alert, the economy. Roofers are part of the economy of care because they build a shelter, all these things. But it’s like, can we create economic statistics that reflect my life and my lived experience, that reflect? So instead of these economic statistics that we use, that were developed by somebody who doesn’t necessarily represent me, we are creating a dashboard. of economic statistics built by caregivers to describe the economic activity that caregivers engage in. And so that’s one thing. And the reason why I’m doing this is because during the pandemic, I did a lot of research on women, like mothers and labor force participation, mothers of school age, kids in particular. And I was churning out statistics on labor force participation of parents because the federal government didn’t have that. They just have it divided by men and women. And I was continually getting called by journalists saying, can you give us the latest numbers? Can you update? And I was crunching these numbers on like evenings and weekends. You know, I wasn’t doing it as a part of my official job because that’s not how we function. So I was doing it on the evenings and weekends because I was so dedicated to getting the story right about working moms. And I just got burnt out and exhausted talking about the burnout and exhaustion. And I was like, there has to be a better way to do this. Let me go fundraise and try to get some money. And then let’s make this a formal thing where journalists, you know, policymakers, people and think tanks and nonprofits can go to the centralized place and find these statistics. And we can have a better representation of the actual economic value that women are contributing to society every day or that caregivers are contributing to society every day. The second the second project is my book that I’m working on, which is it’s a book about women in today’s economy. And it’s called Swiftenomics because Taylor Swift is like a really good example of, of how the, at least the younger generation is presenting themselves in, you know, their career and professional paths. It’s all about flipping the narrative. So instead of talking about how difficult it is for us, how challenging it has been for us, let’s talk about all the ways in which we have been completely and totally awesome. because even though we have three other layers of baggage holding us back, we’re coming at this not in an equal playing field. Can we really recognize that and just acknowledge women’s amazingness in their ability to thrive in a system that really wasn’t built for them? You know, I think that’s where kind of the rubber hits the road in terms of, I think we, as a society, we need to get better at acknowledging and valuing the ways in which caregivers are different in the ways that they present themselves and the economic value that they contribute, not only to this, to the economy of today, but also in developing the next generation economy and the next generation of workers. And we can’t get better at recognizing them unless we start really producing data on a granular and regular basis that highlights all of their contributions. So that’s what my, the two projects I’m working on now are about and it’s just very exciting to be working in this way.

Dr. Crystal Frazee: It’s phenomenal. Yeah, and we need the data because we have to have the data in order to unfortunately prove what we know is true. But this kind of, you know, speaks to one theme that you do talk about a lot, which is reinvention. And this kind of sounds like that. Am I right?

Misty Heggeness: Yeah, definitely. That is also a big component in my book is just thinking about how women are continually reinventing themselves in order to stay relevant and advance in their careers. And again, Taylor Swift is an excellent example of somebody who is continually reinventing herself to stay relevant in the music industry, but women do this all the time. So I took a women’s leadership program at the Brookings Institute like, I don’t know, 10 years ago. And they were really adamant that not just women, but everybody, but this was a women’s leadership group. So they were adamant that women really needed mentor. You need to actively pursue mentors and you should pursue male and female mentors and really focusing on how important, um, having mentors was to advancing your career. And so I really took that to heart. And so I had like a period of five years where I would find, you know, I would search for mentors in jobs that I think sounded interesting or that I might be interested in. I’d ask them to mentor me and make it as easy for them as possible. And I’d always come with the agenda and, you know, we do it for like nine months and I would meet with them once a month. But through that discovery, I realized, so the first meeting I would ever have with a mentor, I would say, tell me your career path. Tell me how you got to where you are. And not one mentor that I have ever had in the history of all of my mentors has ever had a linear path. So this idea that somehow when we’re young, we know what we wanna be and then we go to school and study it and then we get into the company that we want and we just work our way up the ranks is just such a false myth. It doesn’t exist anywhere. And I started out not as an economist. I actually have my MSW. One of my prior reinventions was as a social worker. I think we need to really reclaim this idea of reinvention as a normative component of who, especially of who women are as we move forward in our career paths. And part of that is, again, it’s, you know, we continually get stuck, right? Because either we’re too bossy, or, you know, there’s always something that’s like, we’re not supposed to be so assertive, like, there’s always something that’s getting in the way. And so it’s like, at that moment, you can stay where you are and be frustrated. Or you can look for other opportunities where your skill set and your ability to thrive will be better appreciated. I’ve had to do that so many times in my career. And I think that that’s very common. And you know, that’s, that’s what this whole idea about reinvention is. It’s, it’s about Take an advantage of, again, and it’s this thing about your authentic self, what gives you the most joy, what speaks to you most, and then the reality around you. Well, if you don’t like the reality around you, throw a wider net and look at the side reality that maybe you weren’t considering. Maybe it’s time to jump into that opportunity and invest a little bit of time in thinking about that and pursuing that. Because there’s so many barriers for women to thrive, again, in an economy that wasn’t built for us, reinvention is one of those really essential tools in our toolkit that can help us get to where we need to go.

Dr. Crystal Frazee: That really speaks to one of the earlier questions that I asked that was inspired by you, which was, what are the ways that we’re thinking that we should be ready to move beyond? It’s that there is a ceiling or that there is a mold. There really isn’t a mold. I mean, gosh, my background’s in health care and pivot after pivot. And also, I think there’s so much value in that. caretaking, how much we learn, that’s skill building. That really is. And as you develop more of that, you may learn that there is a more authentic path. You thought you wanted to be a X, Y, or Z, but now given the circumstances and life learning, you realize you don’t. Or there’s something about the industry you’re in that you are so fed up with that you want to initiate a change. And that’s similar to your path. And so I love the word reinvention. And that really, for me, is so comforting because it puts a positive spin on the experiences of not feeling like I fit into the square peg when I’m a round peg, or whatever the metaphor is. And it takes the burden from me and puts it on something else and highlights the adaptability and flexibility that women have to build, and that when they apply that to their career path can help them advance. And so I am so thrilled to read this book, which, by the way, for the listeners, we’re hoping to see the book in 2025. Yes. Yeah. I will be following along for that. This has been such an awesome conversation. I have so many thoughts and questions kind of going around my head, definitely a lot to think about. As we start to wrap up, is there anything else that you haven’t shared that you really want listeners to take with them or think about?

Misty Heggeness: I think I would just say, just reemphasize this idea of eliminating the shame for yourself. And I want to give a specific example of kind of how I’ve learned this skill set. So, I moved up relatively quickly in the organization that I was in. And by the way, I moved up because male mentors moved me up kind of the fast track. And I was in a position with quite a bit of authority. And I was working with a team and I had a new person come into my team who was lower ranking than I was. We were doing multiple projects. And so I said to him, I need you to schedule these meetings for this team over the next six months or whatever. Within less than 24 hours, his boss, who is basically the same rank as me, shows up at my desk and is like, What are you doing? Why are you asking this person to schedule these meetings? Isn’t that your job? Shouldn’t you be doing that? And that really enraged me, if I’m being totally honest. Yeah. But also, it made me do a double take, like, oh, am I not supposed to be asking? Afterwards, it frustrated me that I actually did the double take. And along the same lines, probably within the next two to three months, somebody else in another space that I needed something from wasn’t giving it to me. And so I was emailing him about it. His boss went to my boss and complained about me. And again, I thought, am I doing something wrong? Am I not doing the work in the right way that I’m supposed to be doing it? And then I kind of looked over to my colleague who was again, at my same level, a different colleague. And I was like, if he would have asked for that information and would have pestered for that information, because he wasn’t getting it when he was supposed to, nobody would have had the balls to go to his boss and complain. But since I’m a woman like so, I just want to recognize that, again, this idea that we live in a labor market and a society that wasn’t built for us, that people do lots of things either intentionally or unintentionally based on the expectation of the internalized gender. Yes. And I think it’s just so because that is society that we live in, it is so, so important for us to really pause when we’re feeling pushback, when we’re trying to be leaders, when we’re trying to be innovative, when we’re trying to be our most authentic self. When somebody is pushing against that, we really, the first instinct shouldn’t be, oh, did I do something wrong? Oh, was I, I mean, I, that second scenario I just mentioned where the other person’s boss went and complained to my boss. I know that my face just got all red. Like I know that I just felt like, Oh, I’m going to be in trouble here. And it really wasn’t my problem. Like I, you know, they were, you know, they were having problems because I was being assertive.

Dr. Crystal Frazee: Exactly.

Misty Heggeness: And, and so I guess that’s just what I would say is like, when we’re thinking about reinventing ourselves, when we’re thinking about bringing our most authentic self to the table, we need to not internalize other people’s BS. And just, we need to let it sit where it deserves to sit. I’m no longer with that organization. It’s an awesome organization, but it was just really hard for me to be the leader I wanted to be within that construct.

Dr. Crystal Frazee: I think that’s, it’s so important to recognize when you’re in an environment. And so, I mean, I’ve had clients where they feel like if they continue to prove their value in other ways, that they’ll be quote unquote, sort of chosen. And when the signs are on the wall, that there’s conscious or unconscious gender biases and other biases that are influencing your ability to advance, and noticing how in your body you feel when you interact with your coworkers and in this space with the practices that are being utilized, you have to respond to that and don’t waste years. I wasted years in a specific organization where there was no upward mobility, only sort of empty promises. And I think that if we collectively as women could do that, could be more self-confident to know what’s right and wrong.

Misty Heggeness: Even just wrapping ourselves in like a bunch of like protective bubble wrap. Right. I received, so part of the pros and cons, whatever you want to call it, of writing a book called Swiftynomics is that I have people in my life who give me friendship bracelets. And I got a friendship bracelet last week from somebody in the audience that said, the friendship bracelet says Swiftynomics. And that was just really, really special and so cool. But I have a student who gave me two friendship bracelets. One says, F the patriarchy. And the other one says, it’s okay that I’m mad. And I have to tell you, these things are really, you get these gifts and it’s like, oh, they’re so sweet. And this is really cool. But when I wear the bracelet that says, it’s okay that I’m mad, I just have a whole different ability to conquer the world because I can always just look down at that phrase and be like, yeah. So, you know, I think even if we can just bubble wrap sticky notes around us that give us these encouraging thoughts or like that remind us to remember. to be authentic, to not let ourselves get wrapped up in other people’s issues, to recognize that we don’t live in an equal world and we’re just all doing the best that we can, and to be okay with not being 100% of everything. There’s so much more potential there for us, I think.

Dr. Crystal Frazee: I love that. That’s so enlivening. That gives me so much energy and stuff to think about. And maybe I’ll make my own bracelet. So all right. I can’t wait to follow and hear more about what you’re up to and your research. And I really appreciate you sharing all of this knowledge so that we can also reclaim an economy that works for us and live more authentically, more fulfilled and to stay in our rightful power. Thank you so much. Thank you. After my conversation with Misty, I recorded a short summary of the main points that Misty made because I want to make sure that they sink in. Misty has an upcoming book released probably 2025 called Swifty Gnomics and it touches on three ideas that are so relevant for you right now and that we talked about in today’s show. The first one is to make sure that you’re moving shame that you may feel related to what you earn, your capacity to work, and this continuous feeling of struggling to balance it all off of yourself as an individual and on to society where it belongs. The second point we talked about today is it’s important that economic activity is tracked, reported, and used for things like governmental policy and organizational decisions in a way that fully represents women’s work, including the unpaid care economy. So my point there is if you’re not following MISTI and other people doing this work, follow them, cheer them on, share what they’re doing, because it needs to be more widely seen. The third point is reinvention is a tool that women inherently learn as they move through their life stages, whether that’s having children, navigating menopause, there’s so many examples. We have these transformation points naturally in our lives, reinventing our careers using new skills that we’ve acquired. and to honor the changes that we want to make in the world is a powerful way to advance your career and just find yourself feeling more fulfilled. So just think if Taylor Swift had remained a country singer, she would not be the pop icon or times person of the year that she is today. So take a moment, I love to give you an action item, which one of these ideas landed for you, let it sink into your body. Feel the impact of this idea on you and carry it with you as you go out and lead. Don’t forget that all the links and the transcript to today’s show are available in the show notes. Go to forward slash podcast to find all the great resources I’ve created for you. And this show specifically is episode 20. The writing, recording, editing, and publishing of Attune Leadership for Women is done by me, Dr. Crystal Frizee, as a way to help you find more success, satisfaction, and sustainability. If you haven’t yet left a written review, it would be a fabulous holiday gift to say thank you for all the effort it takes to deliver this show to you every two weeks. All you have to do is open the Apple Podcast app on your phone. It’s a purple square icon. Search for Attuned Leadership for Women in the search bar, and when it comes up, open it, scroll down past all the episodes where you’ll see the reviews. You’ll see a small tab on the left side that says Write a Review. It’s a link. You tap and open it, and then you type a sentence just like you’re texting someone and hit Submit. That is literally all it takes, less than two minutes for you, and it means the world to me to hear from you, to hear what’s valuable about the show. If you have any feedback or questions for me, please know that I always welcome communication in my inbox. Reach out to me by emailing me at crystal at Be safe, be well, and be attuned to yourself. Happy holidays, and look for the next show in two weeks.