Join us for the first episode of the She Means Business podcast, hosted by Ashley Mastowski. In today’s episode, Ashley sits down with special guest, Marilyn Holstrom, her 84-year-old Grandma. Marilyn is a remarkable woman who dared to defy the gender norms of her time. From raising four boys to earning her Master’s in Public Administration to becoming a respected City Manager for nearly 20 years, her journey is an inspiring tale of a true trailblazer.

Episode Highlights

  • Ashley introduces her Grandma, Marilyn Holstrom, with whom she mentions that she shares many characteristics. (8:23)
  • Marilyn discusses her journey in breaking gender norms, pursuing education and a career while raising four boys, and finding fulfillment in both her personal and professional life. (9:42)
  • Marilyn shares that growing up she didn’t have access to role models or information about different career paths, but she was determined to advance and succeed in her chosen field of City Management. (19:12)
  • Marilyn discusses the lack of advancement opportunities for women in her time and her decision to pursue the City Manager job instead of an assistant role to the Mayor. (21:12)
  • Marilyn advises young women and new moms to prioritize what’s important in their lives, learn from watching and listening to others, and find a balance between work and family responsibilities. (27:47) 
  • Marilyn shares that despite being 84 years old she remains interested in the changing world and women’s roles, and continues to pursue goals and travel. (31:00)
  • Marilyn shares that controlling emotions is crucial for success in business and public life, and the importance of being cautious about what is shared online is essential as it can have lasting consequences. (32:16)

Key Quotes

  • “Many people have written books on what it’s like to be a leader and what things to do and everything else. I have not read them. That doesn’t mean they’re not good. It’s just that I learned better watching and listening and following people than I do reading about it.” – Marilyn Holstrom
  • “The world today is a very different world and I watch it with interest. I watch women’s roles with a great deal of interest and knowing that I was part of it.” – Marilyn Holstrom
  • “Watch and listen, to other people who are strong leaders, and you will not see the emotions. I did not ever allow my emotions to appear, even though my staff would know when I was absolutely furious or upset over something. They learned they knew me well enough to know. But keep it inside and control it.” – Marilyn Holstrom

Resources Mentioned

Ashley Mastowski

Ashley Mastowski

Ashley was in the insurance industry for over 10 years as an Office Manager before opening First Choice Insurance Group. Protecting families from the unexpected is her #1 priority. By asking the right questions and getting to know her customers and their families, Ashley can make sure all the gaps are covered in the event of a loss.

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