Twila Dang was on top of the world. She was working as a radio personality in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. It was a job came unexpectedly, after she had joked at a lunch with a group of new friends about how great it would be if someone paid her to talk for a living. One of the friends happened to work in radio and connected Twila to the program director who agreed to meet. During the conversation, the program director shared that the radio station was shifting formats from women’s talk to pop culture. Coincidentally, Twila had launched a blog called “Pop Culture Parent,” which explored the intersection of pop culture and parenthood. Soon after, Twila was offered a position as a talk show host.
Up to that point, Twila was a stay-at-home mom with three children, which she considered the best job she’d ever had. But her kids were getting older and needed her less. Prior to motherhood, she worked a variety of positions—from bank teller to IT manager—whatever offered a regular schedule and a steady income. Her priority at the time was paying down her college debt and covering the majority of household expenses as her college-sweetheart husband was attending medical school and completing his residency.
Now, as a 40-something professional woman enjoying a new career, Twila was seeing the world through a whole new lens. It wasn’t long before she noticed something that didn’t sit well with her. There was a recurring message in mainstream media aimed at her demographic—women in their 40s were losing or had lost their appeal and relevance. They needed to change who they were to fit in. But Twila didn’t see it that way. She was the best she’d ever been. She’d created a wonderful family and home. She had finally found the right career path. Not only did she want to continue sharing her voice with the world, she wanted other women like her to have the same opportunity.
As Twila considered her future, she honed her broadcasting skills. She participated in sales meetings at the radio station and learned how to deliver a pitch. She mastered the art of creating recorded segments and using the production equipment. She was adept at doing research, organizing information, interviewing guests, managing the clock and telling stories. She started thinking about ways to create media for women like her. Then, as she was co-hosting a Sunday radio program with Dr. Eric Heegaard, an obstetrician-gynecologist, she shared the seed of an idea for a podcast network to amplify the voices of all women. Not only did he encourage her to do it, he said he’d invest.
In 2017, with an initial investment from Dr. Heegaard to purchase equipment, Matriarch Digital Media was born. The Minneapolis, Minnesota-based podcast network offers an online and in-person community that honors all women at whatever stage of life they’re in. Through a variety of programming and “Women in Podcasting” meetup events, Twila aims to make women feel understood, encouraged and uplifted. Her current roster of programs addresses topics like body positivity, motherhood and entrepreneurship. In addition to creative directing and executive producing, Twila co-hosts two programs, including “Twila and Natalie,” which addresses life for women over 40, and one with Dr. Heegaard called “Gynocast.”
There are several new podcasts in the works and Twila also produces content for various clients. She is energized by the continued momentum of the podcasting industry and believes it’s a powerful medium for connecting communities of people. She hopes women who listen to her programs feel like they are hanging out with their best friends. But her overall vision is much bigger. Twila wants to influence the way the world communicates to and about women and girls. She wants every woman to know: You are amazing and wonderful just as you are.
Twila still believes motherhood is the best job she’s ever had, but her business takes a close second. For the first time in her life, she feels like she is doing the work she was meant to do. She can’t wait to jump into work every morning, and even on challenging days she feels fortunate to be creating something that is positively affecting the lives of women everywhere.
To learn more about Twila’s business, visit MatriarchDM.com.
Photo: Matriarch Digital Media
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