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Powerful Women: Let's Talk – 77: Colette Colclough

Colette Colclough
Colette Colclough

Colette Colclough from Maryland Public Television is our guest on this edition of Powerful Women: Let's Talk

Colette Colclough is the Vice President and head of human resources for Maryland Public Television. As a human resource professional, she strives to help people reach their own vision of success. She says she's an "advocate for the voiceless and champion for the marginalized." She also is the founder of what has become a popular women's conference-The "Women's Leadership Forum" is now in its 5th year helping women become empowered through tools of support and community.

Powerful Women: Let’s Talk is created by WGVU NPR and made possible by WGVU NPR sustaining monthly donors. Become a sustaining monthly donor now at wgvu.org/donate to support WGVU NPR’s local programs, including Powerful Women: Let’s Talk.

Full Transcript:


Intro: Produced by women about women. Powerful women Let's talk is a series of interviews with women who are trailblazers and have helped shape our world transforming who we are and how we live.


Jennifer Moss: Hello, everyone. Time for powerful women. Let's talk.

Thanks so much for joining us today. I'm Jennifer Moss. It is a pleasure to bring you today's powerful woman on that National Front once again, women across the country also doing some incredible work and today's powerful woman are Colette Colclough with Maryland public television. One of our PBS sister stations. Colette is the vice president and head of human resources there. And that, of course, has powerful woman written all over it. Colette has more than 20 years of experience and training human resources payroll management and recruitment before her work at Maryland public television Colette worked at Maryland's Department of Labor, licensing and regulation where she recently had served as the director of human resources. She's also served as at other television stations in a human resources capacity as well as helping with the start-up of Politico a politically based journalism organization that distributes content via the Internet newspaper TV and radio. We're so glad to welcome you collect Colette Colclough to powerful women. Let's talk. We appreciate you being here.

Colette Colclough: Thank you, Jennifer. Thank you.

Jennifer: So, before we go, full steam ahead into our discussion. A few more facts about Miss Colclough. She's a board member with meals on wheels of Central Maryland and Marion House, a Baltimore based organization that provides rehabilitation and housing for homeless women. She's also the founder of Maryland, public television's women's leadership Forum which we’ll surely discuss. And she volunteers also with several youth groups again, Colette, we welcome you to powerful women. Let's talk. So, in your role as a human resource professional, you in your own words say” you strive to help all people reach their own visions of success. You say “I’m, a connector of people, places and things and a resource to each individual who approaches me with a problem a question or need focusing on non-judgmental inclusion and bringing positive energy to every endeavor.” And you say you’re an “advocate for the voiceless and champion the marginalized”. So human resources, a very key and much needed capacity and pretty much all businesses, correct.

Colette Colclough: Yes, absolutely. And we focus on the two words human and resources. We want. We want to help move people forward.

Jennifer Moss: So, you've had quite an accomplished career. Are you enjoying the journey as you move along? And what you're doing and trying to do for those you work with than others.

Colette Colclough: So, I would say 90% of that. Absolutely. But as you know in everything that we do. There's always peaks and there's always valleys. And so, it's how we overcome those valleys. That makes the peaks that much greater. So, I was saying throughout my career, I've had quite a few quite a few peaks and experiences with valleys. That allowed me to enjoy those peaks.

Jennifer Moss: Absolutely. I would imagine, talking about the valleys. You help a lot of people navigate through valleys of their own. That is part of your job. I would imagine.

Colette Colclough: Yes, whether it's personal, personal valleys, like family situations or its navigating work and career and try to reach a higher goal where people feel as though that there, they’re stuck, getting them actions and opportunities.

That's what the resources’ part is all about.

Jennifer Moss: And so, you know, I mentioned off the top your work with the Maryland public.

Television's women's leadership forum of which of course you are a founder. Talk about that. Like this has powerful woman written all over it. As I mentioned off the top as well. So, on your Linkedin page, you note that, you know, “when I see a void, I don't wait for someone else to fill it. I stepped forward to it myself. “That approach is what led to the founding and growth of the Women's leadership Forum now in its 5th year. Congratulations on that. And reaching more than 2100 women with tools with support, community and empowerment. You know, that is something again, you created because you saw a void. Let's talk about that void first. What was the void that made you say, you know, we need a conference for women to look at so many different things? We'll talk about that in a second to. But what was the void.

Colette Colclough: The void I think is actually being connected to other women. Yes, we have our girlfriends, but we also want to have mentors. People could give us expert information that would lead us to our next best thing not necessarily changing what you have in your hand but being able to be connected to someone who could guide you to doing what you dreamed of doing what you want to do, what you thought about doing what you think that you are like great at what you say. I have to, you know, provide for my family. How could I be great at the thing that I really love to do without sacrificing my family and my well being

so, I wanted to make sure that women could see themselves in all their possibility in all their greatness and be connected to the resource that would take them there.

Jennifer Moss: And that's exactly what you do now in your 5th year and conference actually coming up. How does it feel to have something that you perhaps maybe never even knew would do, grow to this point? That's got to be a good feeling you’ve got over 2100 women now participating.

Colette Colclough: Well, first of all, I'm blessed to be able to even say that because I didn't dream of that. And it is also a kind of ironic that I thought small, I thought of just getting 60 women like girlfriends, getting them together, having conversation and it grew. Exponentially to the point where I look for volunteers to help me to get off the ground and help me to navigate it. So, it really feels kind of surreal to be able to sit here and have this conversation with me to say fifth year, fifth year. The number of women to have people and the resources to actually come and say that I'd like to be a part of this. It is. It's phenomenal and it's awesome.

Jennifer Moss: And you cover everything in the conference. You know, that totally aligns with what we're doing here with powerful women , our powerful women segments. What do you help women do or discover through that? I look at your slate you've got and a wonderful number of people contributing to so many areas of conversation or fields of interest or people who are actually employed in those areas. What do you help women do throughout the conference?

Colette Colclough: I would like to say that we grew into focusing on money. We do focus on money because it's kind of what drives us in our economy and survival. And so, when we talk about financing dreams, financing hope, being able to budget making sure we have our pockets lined correctly being able to balance the budget being able to actually have

Extra money to be able to do the things that we dream about doing or want to do or to do just for ourselves and how we think about it. So even our Keynote is this year is focused on that.

But we also have a little bit of self-care. We talk about how we treat ourselves, what we should think about when we think about being good to ourselves. What does that actually mean to be good to ourselves as women even have a conversation this morning about how you how do you actually approach a boss about getting more finances which can be a form of self-care because we think about it. And sometimes we think about it so hard that it just causes stress, right.

Jennifer Moss: And you never talk about it.

Colette Colclough: and we never talk about it, or we talk to ourselves about it, which is the different things. So, we have to talk about mental health right How to communique.

So, we run a gambit of curriculum, if you will. So that women have choices

to be in the space that they would like to be in to learn more about themselves so that they can make better choices how to move in their lives, how to move their family with their families how to move in their communities and in their careers.

Jennifer Moss: Again, you said you run the gambit because you talk about the mental health but also talk about physical well-being. You talk about navigating, you know, and just stepping out for the dream. I mean, there are people who will discuss and an advocate for that.

Colette Colclough: Risk taking negotiating. We have sections of our workshops that are here for that.

Jennifer Moss: So, as we as we talk about powerful women and again, congratulations on that. Have there been a lot of, you know, we talk about using your voice and that sort of thing. Have you encountered barriers along the way? I mean you have established this. But I mean, you have a whole career in human resources. But you personally-Have you, as you've traveled your careers, journey, your path. Have you encountered barriers along the way?

Colette Colclough: Oh, absolutely. I don't think that I would be where I am if I didn’t and you know, the adage is true that. It's how do you navigate through those barriers and the lessons that you learned that kind of enables you to face the next day or the day after the month after the year being able to actually be a resource to someone else who might encounter the same barrier that you have. How Did you navigate that barrier? For the most part, the barriers are no different than perhaps our ancestors have encountered. However, they've got savvier, and technology has played a greater role in that. And so, we just have to learn and what that is and that's why it's important for us to stop and gather and tell one another what we're experiencing because the history actually helps us to navigate what's happening to us in the present.

Jennifer Moss: And so, people also would know that they're not alone. And on the journey as well to know that you're not alone for listeners and viewers. How is it that you became comfortable in your own voice because to have a position such as yours when you're advocating for others, you need to be comfortable within yourself. So how did you get comfortable in your own skin and be able to use your voice such as you do.

Colette Colclough: And part of that part of that is my upbringing, if you will. I think I have an extremely strong mother who has given me permission to be bold. Now mindful that that did not necessarily work with her.

Jennifer Moss: of course

Colette Colclough: but it did work when she Let me know that I do have a voice

and that it does not hurt to speak up. It does not hurt too Perhaps even speak up and be incorrect and be incorrect in what it is -as long as you acknowledge that you are incorrect in that. So, you know, there is no harm or foul in asking someone a question or being a risk taker. You are going to stumble along the way and navigating that becomes important and what she let me know is that you learn from those lessons on how to navigate at the next level. You take what you learn, and you navigate at the next level. So I think

just ahead, coming from a household where you were. We were allowed to be bold and be brave and to take a risk and be creative. he creates allowed me to do that in in my job here I am the HR director for the vice president of HR and I'm running a conference. People wonder why you are even doing that. There's a there's a need for the conference. There's a need for women to understand their roles that what they can do and the possibilities and that the being able to be encouraged in their risk-taking. And so, I credit my mom. I credit you mom and crediting my mom with giving me that that boldness to be able to do so

Jennifer Moss: and you found and saw the need to create the conference and that again is what you did. Human resources, of course huge and in most company’s course.

You work with a lot of people, then what leadership traits do you like to see in those in which you work or those that are on the journey with you. what do you like to see? And for those you mentor as well?

Colette Colclough: I would say it's it starts with listening. The ability to listen to your staff. Those that are around you also to synthesize what is being said it which is important because we all can take away what we take away. But is that actually what the person is expressing to you. The others are to understand what the needs of your surroundings. And by that I also mean the company for which you’re working and empathize empathy is important. It is. It is key, particularly now that we're coming off covid. There's a lot of mental health issues that are existing in today's environment doesn't mean that people can't work doesn't mean that people don't want to work doesn't mean that people don't have the desire to do better.

It's how they are trying to navigate. So being able to listen with an empathetic ear is important and being able to problems solve being able to take all of that and problems solve is important.

Jennifer Moss: You know, so many women deal with the pressures of trying to get it all done. I know you have child right –you have a son

Colette Colclough: he’s a grown person

Jennifer Moss: He’s grown now, but the key here is when we look back on the journey because my kids are grown, too. But what was that journey like. Because this is how powerful women tries to help empower other women in their walk when you're trying to get it all done.

I mean, you're you've got all these various positions we've mentioned, and you know, you're raising your children. How did you manage all of that?

Colette Colclough: I think my realization and I am saying that as much for back then and I am saying it for today. There's a myth of the Super woman

Jennifer Moss: It is a myth.

Colette Colclough: We think we can get it all done You know; we can’t- I don't know. I might be dating myself. I was like you can fry the bacon you can go out and have a job. But it does not all get done. Ladies. I will tell you today my clothes have been in that dryer since Saturday. Sorry-I’m not sorry- but just will not get it done and who's monitoring that. Yeah, there's no applause at the end of the day that says wow, you folded the clothes

Jennifer Moss: you’ve got to let some things go. Sometimes you just have to let it go.

Colette Colclough: You have to let- you have to let it go. You have to learn to let it go.

And, you know, I had a I have a girlfriend who told me when I was trying to figure out like what my son was going to eat, they will figure it out. He's not going to starve if I know he's not going to starve, but if he does not eat at 6 o'clock on the dot he's not going to starve. And I don't know -that it's stuck with me. I give you credit Pam for that. But yeah, it's stuck with me. All these years is like, you know, it will be okay.

Jennifer Moss: So, one of my easy breezy questions that I love to ask the people that I interview on powerful women is, you know, laughter is good for the soul. What makes you laugh. Everybody needs a little laughter in their lives.

Colette Colclough: I think when people look back and laugh at themselves. You know what you did like- what you did even just to get by. But what you did in your jobs like, you know, I told my boss that years ago. Why did I ever say that or? Yeah. I did try to make dinner and work and put gas in the car I was doing all these things I did at why was I in such a hurry for doing that. I think the ability the laugh and you is important because it is. I'm OK. I'm OK now. I'm also the one that I don't like horror flick but seeing a good movie. A good funny movie. Which there seems to be less of today. as always on repeat for me. I will go back and look at something very, very silly You know, you've got to have you can't be serious all the time, right.

Jennifer Moss: That's right. Absolutely. I totally agree with that. So, as we look at it and our final statements here. So much happening in the world that we live in today. We all know that, and people are often looking for that word, I mean, a lot of what you have said is already encouraging, but they're looking for that word that, you know, a signal of encouragement to you by chance have any favorite sayings or a model that you use to encourage yourself and perhaps others.

Colette Colclough: Take a break and do you, take a break and do you. I think as women we are such care givers We’re taking care of the dog, the cat the children. Let's face it, our husbands

Jennifer Moss: Our parents

Colette Colclough: I was going to say we are caretakers, caregivers we shop, you know, and I'm talking about grocery shopping. We might. We have to sometimes take a breath and say what. What is it that we can do to take care of ourselves. You know, what's that moment with the time that we carve out, we actually purpose to do for ourselves. So, ladies, this makeup that you see here today. It doesn’t happen every day. And it's something that I wanted to feel. I want to feel good about being here with you. That's what made me feel good about me being here on the air with you. Take that time out to do you.

Jennifer Moss: And that also is what your conference allows women to do as well. So good luck with that- blessings there. Colette Colclough. Thank you so much for joining us for today's powerful women. Let's talk. We appreciate you being here.

And we want to thank you for joining us for another edition of powerful women. Let's talk. We'll see you next time.


Outro: produced by women about women in these powerful podcast focus on powerful women and how their strength transforms who we are and how we live. Want to hear more powerful women. Let's talk get additional interviews at WGVU dot org or wherever you get your podcast, please rate and subscribe powerful women. Let's talk is produced by WGVU at the Myer public broadcast Center at Grand Valley State University, the views and opinions expressed in this program do not necessarily reflect those of WGVU.

Its underwriters are Grand Valley State University.


Jennifer is an award winning broadcast news journalist with more than two decades of professional television news experience including the nation's fifth largest news market. She's worked as both news reporter and news anchor for television and radio in markets from Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo all the way to San Francisco, California.
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